There are several different positions that have to be dealt with in presenting the Deity of Messiah:
Judaic Anti-Deity Position - These reject the deity of Messiah because they insist it is contrary to Judaism. These are not persuaded by New Testament “proof texts”. They will dismiss such proof texts as invalid and even corruptions because they are supposedly not Jewish in theology. They will reject Tanak “proof texts” on the basis that Judaism supposedly does not understand the text that way.
Pure-Biblical Anti-Deity Position - These reject the deity of Messiah because they insist that it is contrary to Scripture. They are not persuaded by the demonstration that the doctrine is authentically Jewish. Many of these may actually look down upon Jewish tradition and especially Kabbalah.
Christian “Oneness” Theologians
Christian Orthodox Trinitarian Theologians
One finds oneself engaging on a debate on multiple fronts. Proving that the “New Testament” teaches the deity of Messiah to the “Judaic Anti-Deity” followers will generally only succeed in proving to their minds that the New Testament is in error. They must be shown that the teaching is authentically Jewish. However the “Pure-Biblical Anti-Deity” followers will misinterpret or misrepresent such arguments as “proof” that the doctrine is based only on extra-biblical sources and cannot be shown from the Scriptures themselves. And oftentimes single individuals will waffle between those two positions, not realizing their own inconsistency. All the while Orthodox Christian Trinitarians, Oneness Christians and others are raising their own issues along the way, which only serves to sidetrack the primary issue.
Therefore in order to deal with all of the issues in an organized manner this paper will be presented in five parts:
Part 1: The Deity of Messiah from the Scriptures
Part 2: The Deity of Messiah is Jewish
Part 3: Concerning Orthodox Trinitarian and Christian Oneness Theologies
Part 4: First Century Roots of the Kabbalistic Godhead Model
Part 5: Proof of the Ancient Nazarene Position
The Deity of Messiah is Scriptural
Messiah as YHWH
The deity of Messiah is very easy to show from the Scriptures. The simplest way to show the deity of Messiah in the Scriptures is to point to instances where the “New Testament” quotes passages from the Tanak (“Old Testament”) and applies them to the Messiah.
For example in John 19:37, Zech. 12:10 is quoted:
But when they came to Yeshua, they saw that he was dead already
and did not break his legs.
But one of the soldiers stuck him in his side with a spear
and immediately blood and water came forth,…
For these things happened that the scripture might be fulfilled
which said, A bone of him will not be broken.(Ps. 34:21(20))
And again another scripture that said, They will look at him
whom they pierced. (Zech 12:10)
But now let us look at Zechariah 12:10 in context:
The burden of the word of YHWH concerning Israel.
The saying of YHWH, who stretched forth the heavens,
And laid the foundation of the earth,
And formed the spirit of man within him…
I will pour out upon the house of David,
And upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
The spirit of grace and supplication;
And they shall look at Me whom they pierced;
And they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only son….
(Zech. 12:1, 10)
The one being pierced in Jn. 19:37 is clearly Yeshua but the one being pierced in Zech. 12:10 is clearly YHWH.
Lets now look at the quotation of Is. 8:14 in Rom. 9:32:
Because it was not from faith but from “Works of the Law”,
for they stumbled at the stumbling stone.
Now Paul is clearly referring here it Messiah, but lets now look at Is. 8:14 in context:
YHWH of hosts, Him shall you sanctify; and let Him be your
fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary;
but for a stumbling stone and for a rock of offence
to both the houses of Israel…
Here it is clearly YHWH who is the “stumbling stone”.
OK now lets look at Phil. 2:10-11:
That at the name of Yeshua every knee will bow
that is in heaven or on earth and that is under the earth,
and every tongue will confess that Yeshua the Messiah is YHWH,
to the glory of Eloah the Father.
Here Paul clearly refer to Is. 45:23:
Thus says YHWH…
That unto Me every knee shall bow,
and every tongue shall swear.
(Is. 45:1, 23)
Clearly Paul applies a Tanak passage which clearly speaks of YHWH to the Messiah.
Now lets look at Rom. 10:9, 13:
And if you confess with your mouth our Adon Yeshua,
And you believe in your heart that Eloah raised him from the dead,
you will be saved. …
For all who will call on the name of YHWH will be saved.
(Rom. 10:9, 13)
Here Paul clearly quotes Joel 3:5 (2:32) but applies the passage to Yeshua despite the fact that Joel is clearly here speaking of YHWH.
There are several other examples: James 5:7 clearly speaks of the coming of Messiah as likened to the “former and latter rain” while in Hosea 6:3 this is clearly the coming of YHWH. Likewise Jude 1:14 & 1 Thes. 3:13 refer to the coming of Messiah yet quote 1Enoch 1:9 & Zech. 14:5 which clearly refer to the coming of YHWH. Finally in Mt. 22:41-46 Yeshua himself identifies himself with the “YHWH” at the right hand of “YHWH” in Ps. 110:1-2, 5.
The Three Pillars
Now in Romans 1:19-20 we are told that
what may be known of Elohim is manifest in them [mankind]
his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood
by the things that are made, even his eternal power
and Godhead [or divine nature]..."
Then in Rom. 1:26-28 we are told that those who fail to perceive these things may fall into the errors of Homosexuality and Lesbianism. So when in creation were G-d's invisible attributes manifested in man and made clearly seen. The answer is in the Torah, in Gen. 1:26, 27 where we read:
Then Elohim said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness...
So Elohim created man in His own image;
in the image of Elohim He created him;
male and female He created them.
Now following the parallelism of the passage, "Our image"; "Our likeness" and "male and female" appear to be parallel terms.
Now there are passages in the Tanak in which YHWH is referred to in a male, fatherly aspect:
…If then I be a Father, Where is My honor?…
Says YHWH of Hosts…
…You, O YHWH, are our Father,…
But now O YHWH, You are our Father…
But there are also passages in the Tanak in which YHWH is referred to in a female, motherly aspect:
As one whom his Mother comforts,
so will I comfort you…
Now YHWH as a “Father” and YHWH as a “Mother” are clearly two DIFFERENT aspects of YHWH, they are not the same thing.
Moreover YHWH as an allegorical “Mother” is also YHWH as a “comforter” which is the same as the Holy Spirit:
…the comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom my Father will send in my name…
(Jn. 14:27 see also Jn. 14:16-17; 15:26 & 16:7)
Now just as YHWH is expressed as an allegorical “Father” and an allegorical “Mother”, the combination of these two aspects produce an allegorical “son”:
Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has bound the waters in his garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name? And what is His Son’s name, if you know?
The kings of the earth stand up,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against YHWH, and against His Messiah…
YHWH said to me: “You are My Son,”
This day have I begotten you…
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry…
(Ps. 2:2, 7, 12)
So now we have a Godhead which is the “image of Elohim” and is “male and female” expressing YHWH to us as a Father, a Mother and a Son.
Since the Son is the combination of the Father and Mother aspects of YHWH he is the fullness of the everlasting Godhead: “in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead” (Col. 2:9).
Thus the Messiah encompasses all the image of Elohim from which we were created:
…the Messiah, who is the likeness of Elohim.
[his Son] who is the image of the invisible Elohim…
[the Son] who is the radiance of his glory,
and the image of his being…
And thus we can see all three aspects of the Godhead in passages like:
I, yes, I have spoken, indeed, I have called him,
I have brought him, and he will make his way succeed.
Come near to me and hear this: from the beginning
I have not spoken in [the] secret; from the time that she was,
there I am, and now ADONAI YHVH has sent me and his spirit.
(Is. 48:15-16 Original Bible Project preliminary edition)
Note the speaker is YHWH. Here we have:
1. YHWH the speaker.
2. ADONAI YHWH who sent Him.
3. "she" i.e. "his spirit"
("ruach" (spirit) is the only feminine word that "she" could refer to)
Another example of these three aspects is to be found in Hebrews 9:14:
How much more shall the blood of Messiah,
who through the eternal Spirit
offered himself without spot to Elohim,
purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?
Here we again have three aspects:
1. The Messiah (who is YHWH)
2. The Spirit through which his blood is offered.
3. The Elohim to whom he offers himself.
These three aspects of the Godhead are called in the Aramaic “K’NUMEH” (plural) “K’NUMA” (singular) as we read in Yochanan (John) 5:26:
For the Father has life in his K’NUMA,
Thus he gave also the Son to have life in his K’NUMA.
(Jn. 5:26 from the Aramaic)
K’NUMA is an Aramaic word meaning “aspect, element, substance, essence”. The three aspects of the Godhead are three K’NUMEH but are only one YHWH.
ECHAD as a Unity
This brings us to the wording of the Sh’ma:
SH’MA YISRAEL: YHWH, ELOHEYNU, YHWH ECHAD
“Hear O Israel, YHWH, our Elohim, YHWH is one.”
Let us examine other passages in the Torah to understand how this word ECHAD (“one”) is used in the Torah:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined
to his wife, and they shall become one [ECHAD] flesh.
And YHWH said, “Indeed the people are one [ECHAD] and they
all have one language…
Thus it is clear that the word ECHAD in no way requires a singularity and can refer to a composite unity. Thus Deut. 6:4 may be taken as referring to the absolute unity of the three K’NUMEH of Father, Mother (Holy Spirit Comforter) and Son (Messiah).
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