Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Unweaving the TRINITY!
What’s the difference between the traditional Jewish view of the Messiah and the New Testament view? Strip away the Trinity, preexistence and the virgin birth, and what remains is the resurrection. In BOTH the New Testament and in Judaism THE MESSIAH IS A MAN destined to rule over Israel. A MAN OF ISRAEL -- a prophet from the midst of Israel, an Israelite like unto Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15), one from the very reproductive organs of Abraham (Genesis 15:4) and of David (2 Samuel 7:12) -- a MAN exalted to heaven via a resurrection from the dead such that he can occupy the throne of David and bring lasting peace to Israel at his future coming. This is the good news of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
by Noel Rude
If you have come to reject the Trinity, chances are you arrived at your conclusion slowly and rather methodically. You likely proceeded along a particular path, unraveling one error at a time -- the errors upon which this doctrine was founded. If you’re like me you began with the holy spirit. You came to see that it is not some “person” in a Trinity but rather the power of divine wisdom and understanding and truth. Then you came to see that Yeshua the Messiah was not God, and that he did not pre-exist his human birth. Lastly, perhaps, you have come to question the virgin birth.
If this is the order in which you have unwoven the Trinity, it is the reverse of the order in which the doctrine developed. There is no disputation in regard to the virgin birth in the New Testament, yet this was one of the earliest controversies for the Gentile Church. Justin Martyr, for example, cites Isaiah 7:14 in his disputation with Trypho:
"Then Trypho retorted, ‘The quotation is not, Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, but Behold a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and so forth, as you quoted it. Furthermore, the prophecy as a whole refers to Hezekiah, and it can be shown that the events described in the prophecy were fulfilled in him. 2. Besides, in the so-called Greek myths there is a story of how Perseus was born of Danaë, while she was a virgin, when the one whom they call Zeus descended upon her in the form of a golden shower. You Christians should be ashamed of yourselves, therefore, to repeat the same kind of stories as these men, and you should, on the contrary, acknowledge this Jesus to be a man of mere human origin. If you can prove from the Scriptures that he is the Christ, confess that he was considered worthy to be chosen as such because of his perfect observance of the Law, but do not dare to speak of miracles, lest you be accused of talking nonsense, like the Greeks.’ "
At this point a quote from Thomas Jefferson should be noted. While he clearly rejected the virgin birth of the Messiah he did not reject biblical religion --
"The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors." (From a letter to John Adams dated April 11, 1823).
What would the openings of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke have sounded like to a Judahite of the 1st century? The Ebionites -- who were a remnant of the original Jerusalem Judahite congregation -- REJECTED the virgin birth, as recorded by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History III. 27. 2:
"For they considered him [the Messiah] a PLAIN and COMMON MAN, who was justified only because of his SUPERIOR VIRTUE, and who was the fruit of the intercourse of a man with Mary. In their opinion the observance of the ceremonial law was altogether necessary, on the ground that they could not be saved by faith in Christ alone and by a corresponding life."
So clearly they would have thought the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke seemed to be saying that YEHOVAH God was putting his blessing on an illegitimate birth!
Read it in Matthew 1:18: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” It does NOT say that this was a virgin birth, only that Joseph was not the father, and because there was no virgin birth teaching in the Hebrew Scriptures nor was there any such tradition anywhere (that I know of) in Judaism, an obvious conclusion would have been that the Messiah was illegitimate!
But if this were the case then Yeshua could not have been the Messiah -- thus notes David Klinghoffer (2005:164): “If he wasn’t Joseph’s son, he cannot be the messiah. If he was Joseph’s son, he cannot be the son of God”. This is to say that Yeshua cannot be the Jewish Messiah unless he descends through male parentage from David, and that if Joseph were the Messiah’s father then he cannot be the Son of YEHOVAH God in the way Christendom envisions the Messiah’s only father as being YEHOVAH God!
Now some who are yet with me will wonder how far this will go. First we question the Trinity and then the Binity and/or Arianism, we question preexistence and then the Virgin Birth -- where will it end? Must we cast aside the New Testament and all of us convert to rabbinical Judaism? I say that we not easily throw out anything, and that only by questioning sacrosanct doctrine will we arrive at the truth. What is false we can cast aside and what is true will be strengthened by surviving the challenge.
It is NOT the goal of this article to cast aside the entire New Testament as some have done when they realize that the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke are later spurious additions not found in the original Hebrew gospels. The important truth is NOT the virgin birth, but what is CENTRAL to the New Testament -- namely the RESURRECTION!
We have been in the process of peeling away the false doctrines of Christendom in reverse order in which they were established. Justin Martyr begins with the Virgin Birth which to him means preexistence. The Church Fathers later debate what preexistence means -- is the Messiah God or was he a being created at some point in the dim reaches of past eternity? Last of all the Cappadocian fathers instantiated the holy spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity. If we highlight the virgin birth and make it central to our argument against preexistence, why will it not lead right back to the Trinity just as it did in the beginning?
THE MOTHER OF ALL CHRISTOLOGICAL HERESY WAS THE VIRGIN BIRTH!
Son of David Son of Abraham
The New Testament opens with a genealogy (Mat 1:1): “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Do the Scriptures allow that the son of Abraham could be by adoption? When Abraham remained childless he himself wondered (Gen 15:2-3), “And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.” But, NO, there was to be no adoption (Genesis 15):
4 "And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir."
YEHOVAH God was explicit more than once, in Genesis 17:
16 "And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her."
And again in verse 19 of Genesis 17:
19 "And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."
The same applies to David -- there is no hint that the Messiah would become a son of David by adoption -- rather lineal, physical descent is emphasized (2 Samuel 7):
12 "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom."
It’s there too in Psalms 132:
11 "The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne."
We read of it again in 1 Chronicles 17:
11 "And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom."
Then there is the promise that David would never be cut off a man (àÄéùÑ as opposed to àÄùÌÑÈä -- Gen 2:23), which is paralleled by the royal genealogies, as in Matthew 1, for example, which always go from father to son and never to a daughter -- which can be taken that the Messiah would bear the Y-chromosome of David. Thus David advises Solomon (1 Kings 2),
4 "That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, [saying] there shall not fail thee…a man on the throne of Israel."
And Solomon petitions YEHOVAH God (1 Kings 8):
25 "Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me."
And YEHOVAH promises Solomon that if he is faithful (1 Kings 9),
5 "Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel."
The promise and prophecy take up a chapter in Jeremiah (Jer. 33):
17 "For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
18 "Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually."
Genetic markers (mutations) on the Y-Chromosome of the sons of Aaron have been identified. This is a remarkable confirmation of YEHOVAH having kept His promise, as here in Jeremiah 33 and as, for example, in Exodus 40:15 and Deuteronomy 18:5. If YEHOVAH God has secured an identifiable male to male genealogy for the priests from Aaron to today, could He not have done the same thing from David to Joseph? And if so, why only adopt the Messiah into that genealogy?
19 "And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,
20 "Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
21 "Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
22 "As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
23 "Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
24 "Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
25 "Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
26 "Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them."
The preservation of David’s dynasty is important to YEHOVAH God, for when YEHOVAH proposed to rend the kingdom from Solomon’s son he nevertheless would preserve the dynasty, just as he said to Solomon (1 Kings 11:13), “Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”
Notice that YEHOVAH God wants HUMANS of Israel’s royal dynasty -- not aliens from outer-space -- to rule over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, just as it says (Heb 2:5), “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.” This was the first law of the king as enshrined in the Torah (Deut 17:15):
"Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother."
The United States Presidency is founded upon a similar law -- Article II, Section I of the Constitution which states, "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of the President."
So what was prophesied? It was a man not unlike Moses from the midst of Israel (Deut 18):
15 "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
16 "According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 "And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18 "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."
Contained within this fundamental messianic prophecy is this warning (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) --
"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet SHALL DIE. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath NOT spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
The ultimate proof of the messiahship of Yeshua is whether or not he will come back and finish the job (Acts 1:11):
"Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
Peter invokes this prophecy (Acts 3:22), “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” Paul also invokes the prophecy (Acts 7:37), “This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” Similarly in the transfiguration the voice combines Moses promise with Psalms 2:7 (Mat 17:5), “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”
Theoretically speaking the Messiah could be born of a non-Israelite mother, a convert like Ruth, for example. However, the promise was that his father be of the line of David.
The Illogic of the Virgin Birth
Aside from the fact that the Virgin Birth DOESN'T SQUARE with the Torah and the Prophets, but fits perfectly with the paganism of the period, and aside from the fact that it sparked no controversy in the New Testament but did the minute the Gentile church fathers began disputing with the Judahites -- aside from all that the Virgin Birth is ILLOGICAL!
The Virgin Birth would make sense if the Messiah were an avatar of some preexistent divinity or angel such as suggested by Barker (1992). Mary would have been a surrogate mother, and as such there would have been no need for a father. But for those who reject the preexistence of the Messiah, why should there be a Virgin Birth?
Why would the Bible preserve father to son genealogies from Adam to Joseph only to have the Messiah adopted into the genealogy? If Yeshua were a preexistent being then this would make sense -- otherwise it does not.
And so for Trinitarians, Binitarians, and various genres of Arians, the Virgin Birth does make sense, and thus my argument is not directed at them but to those who reject the personal preexistence of the Messiah.
Notice what William Barclay says regarding Luke 1:26-38 --
"In this passage we are face to face with one of the great controversial doctrines of the Christian faith – the virgin birth. The Church does not insist that we believe in this doctrine. Let us look at the reasons for and against believing in it, and then we may make our own decision.
"There are two great reasons for accepting it.
(1) The literal meaning of this passage, and still more of Matthew 1:18-25, clearly is that Jesus was to be born of Mary without a human father.
(2) It is natural to argue that if Jesus was, as we believe, a very special person, he would have a special entry into the world.
"Now let us look at the things which may make us wonder if the story of the virgin birth is to be taken as literally as all that.
(1) The genealogies of Jesus both in Luke and in Matthew (Luke 3:23-38; Matthew 1:1-17) trace the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph, which is strange if Joseph was not his real father.
(2) When Mary was looking for Jesus on the occasion that he lingered behind in the Temple, she said, ‘Your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety’ (Luke 2:48). The name father is definitely given by Mary to Joseph.
(3) Repeatedly Jesus is referred to as Joseph’s son (Matthew 13:55; John 6:42).
(4) The rest of the New Testament knows nothing of the virgin birth. True, in Galatians 4:4 Paul speaks of Jesus as ‘born of woman’. But this is the natural phrase for any human being (cf. Job 14:1, 15:14, 25:4).
"But let us ask, ‘If we do not take the story of the virgin birth literally, how did it arise?’ The Jews had a saying that in the birth of every child there are three partners – the father, the mother and the Spirit of God. They believed that no child could ever be born without the Spirit. And it may well be that the New Testament stories of the birth of Jesus are lovely, poetical ways of saying that, even if he had a human father, the Holy spirit of God was operative in his birth in a unique way. [Or that this emphasis on the spirit of God led to some textual corruption." NR]
There are some who subscribe to the preexistence of the soul, but for such believers the body still results from the union of egg and sperm and thus for them the Virgin Birth still makes no sense.
Another scenario one might imagine would be that what was found in Mary’s womb derived not from the normal union of egg and sperm but was a zygote independently created as if at the moment of “conception” -- perhaps prefigured by Adam who was without human parentage. Nevertheless the new creation (καιν κτίσις) that we are to become (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15) in no way implies a by-passing of the normal process of conception and birth.
Aside from such a scenario, what would the Virgin Birth entail for the non-Trinitarian, non-Binitarian and non-Arian?
It would mean that YEHOVAH God committed adultery! YEHOVAH would have committed adultery with the woman betrothed to Joseph. For either the child entered Mary’s womb as a zygote (fertilized egg), or it resulted from the fertilization of one of Mary’s eggs by a sperm from outside. And if this is what made YEHOVAH God become the Father of the Messiah, it was adultery plain (if not pure) and simple.
The Trinitarians, of course, have taken the position that the Messiah was an avatar of the Second Person of the Trinity -- whatever that means -- and that Yeshua’s sonship does not derive from a conception in Mary’s womb. Thus the Trinitarians speak of “the Father eternally generating the Son.” One never hears that it was the conception in Mary’s womb that bestowed fatherhood on YEHOVAH God. To say so would be accusing YEHOVAH God of adultery.
But Luke, it seems to me, speaks not of surrogate motherhood, but of a conception (Luke 1:31), “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” And then again in Luke 2:21 we are told, “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” It is similarly said of Elizabeth (Luke 1:24), “And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived,” and again by the angel in verses 36-37, “And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Now to sum up: Mary was either a surrogate mother or YEHOVAH God committed adultery with her. The virgin birth makes sense only if the Messiah was an avatar of a preexistent being, whether that being was God himself (the Second Person of the Trinity), a second YHVH (One of the Binity), or a created being. The latter might have been created eons in the past (the Arian view) or at the moment the zygote entered Mary’s womb.
My wife brings up another irony: If YEHOVAH committed adultery with Mary he also committed incest, for wasn’t YEHOVAH also Mary’s Father even before the conception occurred (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8; 1 Chron 29:10; Luke 3:38; etc.)?
Therefore I have to agree with the Trinitarians insofar as they reject the notion that YEHOVAH God became the Messiah’s father via the conception in the womb of Mary as described in Luke 1:31, 35. Rather it was from the womb that the Messiah was led by a holy spirit and that is what made him a son.
It’s not that the Messiah began as a divine emissary from Heaven, or a special physical creation, rather it’s that A MAN OF ISRAEL -- a prophet from the midst of Israel, an Israelite like unto Moses (Deut 18:15), one from the very reproductive organs of Abraham (Gen 15:4) and of David (2 Sam 7:12) and from whose genealogy a man (àÄéùÑ) would never be cut off (2 Sam 7:12) -- that a MAN is exalted to heaven via a resurrection from the dead such that he can occupy the throne of David and bring lasting peace to this world. This is the good news of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
How Is He Then a son?
The shocking but wonderfully good news of the New Testament was that Yeshua the Messiah had been resurrected from the dead. Until that point the disciples seem to have understood that Yeshua was the messiah, meaning that he had come to sit upon the throne of David and restore the kingdom to Israel. It was not in their purview to think that he would die first.
But think what that would have meant. Once again there would have been a mortal sitting upon the throne of David. How long would he reign? Forty years? Maybe a little longer? However long and however effective his reign, how would it be any better than that of Moses or Joshua or David? Justice would prevail and the nations would flow up to Jerusalem for however long, and then what? The same old same old. Human nature being what it is, sooner or later the leader would go astray and so would the people.
No, a resurrection to immortality was required!
When the angel tells Mary that (Luke 1:35) “a holy spirit shall come upon thee,” this parallels what had been said to Zachariah in regard to his son (verse 15), “…and he shall be filled with a holy spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” From the perspective of Luke NEITHER pregnancy is sired by the holy spirit, rather in each instance the child is to be IMBUED with a holy spirit from the womb.
Again when the angel tells Mary (verse 35), “…therefore that which shall be born of thee shall be called holy, a son of God,” this matches what Luke cites from the Torah in Luke 2:23, “Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.”
What is the contrast that Luke intends? Let me suggest this: If the firstborn of an Israelite woman is holy, so also is the firstborn of the celestial Jerusalem -- as pictured in the book of Revelation (Rev 12:1-5):
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne."
Note that there is no mention of the Messiah’s human birth and no mention of his death. The “travailing” is the birth pangs of the Messiah (çÆáÀìÅé îÈùÑÄéçÇ) -- not the Messiah’s “passion” and death -- it’s the suffering not of the Messiah but of the NATION giving birth -- and there is no mention of his death. Rather the Messiah is caught up to YEHOVAH God so as not to be devoured by the dragon, i.e., the demonic power behind Rome. Thus the birth chronicled here is not the virgin birth but rather the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead. We, unlike the Messiah who has been so birthed already, we yet await our turn within the womb of Israel (Rev 20:1-5), nevertheless, as Paul says, we all -- the Messiah included -- have the same celestial mother (Gal 4:26): “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”
Thus Luke records that the Messiah not only will be called holy, he will be called (Luke 1:35) “a son of God.” And this accords with what Paul says in Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” And just as every male that opens the womb is holy, so also would he that opens the womb of the celestial Jerusalem be called holy, a son of God. It’s the spirit that would come upon him in the womb that would set him apart as a son of YEHOVAH God. The angel’s statement (Luke 1:35) that the “holy spirit shall come upon thee and power of the Most High shall overshadow thee” is paralleled by Peter’s recollection (Acts 10:38), “as God anointed him with holy spirit and with power”
It was just as it had been prophesied. Inheritance and scepter come via the patriarchy (Num 1:18-19; 2:1-2), and genetic descent is everywhere emphasized. Israel’s Messiah exemplifies both the human genealogy and a godly inspiration (Isaiah 11):
1 "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 "And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD…"
Taking in stride all of Luke’s statements we see that the anointing in Luke 1:35 was not what made Mary pregnant -- it was what made Yeshua the Messiah or Christ.
Luke 1:35 need say nothing different then John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” What was incarnated by a spirit of holiness was the Torah (Jer 31:32 ), “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
The author of the Epistles of John says two things. He says that we -- including the Messiah -- are sons of YEHOVAH God (1 John 1:3; 3:2; etc.), and he says that the Messiah has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3):
"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
The point is made again in 2 John 1:7 --
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
Now if saying that Yeshua has not come in the flesh perverts the promise of Scripture in regard to the Messiah, might also denying that the Messiah had a HUMAN FATHER verge on being an anti-messianic deception?
The Word of Life
The Messiah prayed (John 17:3), “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” How is knowing YEHOVAH God the same thing as eternal life? One is reminded of this in a verse of the New Covenant chapter (Jer 31:33 ): “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them...” The key to it all is in 1 John 2:3-4, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Knowing YEHOVAH God is keeping His commandments! And the commandments in the heart equals eternal life -- life via a resurrection from the dead. The wisdom of Torah (1 Chron 22:12) is symbolized by the tree of life (Prov 3:18): “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”
The spirit is connected to the word, as in John 3:34: “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” And it was this that empowered the Messiah to triumph over sin (Heb 4:15), “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” It was not easy, he could have failed (Heb 5:7-9), “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him…”
And so from the womb there would come upon the Messiah ‘a holy spirit’ (Luke 1:35), and this, according to Paul, is what brought the Messiah up from the grave (Rom 1:3-4):
"Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead…"
Yeshua is called “the firstborn from the dead” in Colossians 1:18 and in Revelation 1:5, and “the firstborn among many brethren” in Romans 8:29, thus indicating that we are to follow the same path to resurrection. Conception and birth as a spiritual metaphor is explained in James (Jas 1:13-18):
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits [ἀπαρχή] of his creatures."
And so if we are firstfruits this implies resurrection, as it says (1 Cor 15:20), “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits [ἀπαρχή] of them that slept.”
And let us not forget that the seed of it all is Torah, as in James 1:18 (“…begat he us with the word of truth”), and as Yeshua himself says (John 6:63), “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
Now what is the end result of all this? According to the Messiah the sons of YEHOVAH God are slated to be sons of the resurrection (Luke 20:36): “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”
This is the huge new understanding that the Messiah’s disciples were destined to proclaim!
Of course the Messiah had to die before he could be resurrected. Paul writes (1 Cor 2:2), “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Paul doesn’t mean, of course, that the Messiah’s death is what it’s all about. No, in “the resurrection chapter” of the same book he also says (1 Cor 15:19-20), “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
The disciples’ teaching differed little if any from that heard in the synagogue -- except on the one huge issue of the Messiah’s resurrection. Why did Yeshua’s disciples deem it necessary to lay down only the least requirements for their Gentile disciples? Because they were already attending the synagogue and could learn there! As James said at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:19-21),
"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day."
We are sons now but the birth process is not yet complete (1 John 3:2), “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
What’s the difference between the traditional Jewish view of the Messiah and the New Testament view? Strip away the Trinity, preexistence and the virgin birth, and what remains is the resurrection. In BOTH the New Testament and in Judaism THE MESSIAH IS A MAN, but in Judaism the messiah remains mortal and reigns however many years and then he dies. I ask again, How will his reign be any more successful than that of Moses or Joshua or David or any other righteous in Israel? He may restore the kingdom to Israel, but then he will die and Israel will go into apostasy and it will have to be done all over again. Call it the eternal return!
Resurrection Implied in the Tanakh
On the Shavuot or Pentecost following the Messiah’s resurrection, Peter preached from the Tanakh on the necessity of the resurrection of the Messiah (Acts 2:24-34),
"Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him [Psalms 16:8-11], I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne [Psalms 132:11; 2 Samuel 7:12-13]; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption [Psalms 16:10]. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself [Psalms 110:1], The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Psalms 16 can be taken to refer to the future resurrection of David, other passages simply say that the throne -- not necessarily the mortal sitting upon it -- will endure forever. And I can imagine that this is precisely how the Messiah’s contemporaries, his disciples included, understood such verses. But then after the resurrection the full import became abundantly clear. The Messiah would have to be resurrected from the dead! Otherwise the throne itself could not endure -- why? Because sooner or later a scion of that throne would lapse into sin, the diaspora would forever repeat, and darkness never would be permanently expelled from the nations.
One great treasure that Judaism bequeathed to the world is the idea of progress. History is not just endless cycles. Rather we are headed somewhere. The God of Israel is goal oriented. He has a plan and a schedule. Winston Churchill expressed this conviction in his address to the Congress of the United States at the onset of America’s entry into World War II (December 26, 1941):
"If you will allow me to use other language, I will say that he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below of which we have the honor to be the faithful servants."
Commenting on a comment by atheist Sam Harris to the effect that Jews should repudiate the existence of YEHOVAH God because of the Holocaust, David Berlinski replies (2008:31), “And if God did not protect his chosen people precisely as Harris might have wished, He did, in an access of his old accustomed vigor, smite their enemies, with generations to come in mourning or obsessed by shame.” In spite of all the evil in the world, history is moving inexorably toward a better future.
But none of the Gentiles ever viewed time as linear. They saw it as cyclical -- the eternal return. Sometimes they envisioned a golden age long past, with the present and the future exhibiting but a pale semblance of that age. None of the Gentiles ever believed in a resurrection. While the resurrection is biblical and Jewish, escape from this world to "heaven" is totally PAGAN. According to Wright, "The roots of the misunderstanding go very deep, not least into the residual Platonism that has infected whole swaths of Christian thinking and has misled people into supposing that Christians are meant to devalue this present world and our present bodies and regard them as shabby or shameful" (2008:18). And, of course, if there is no resurrection then we are stuck with the stark caricature laid out in Qohelet (Ecc 1:9-10):
8 "All things are full of labour; Man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 "Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 "There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after."
That is the bleak message that tradition mandates be read on the intervening Sabbath within the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, which begins with the sixth Yom Tov (annual Holy Day) of the sacred year. It is then we anticipate rest from the sufferings inflicted upon us during the progress of YEHOVAH’s great spiritual creation -- as in Isaiah 65:
17 "For, behold, I [am creating] new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
18 "But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I [am creating]: for, behold, I [am creating] Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy."
Is it true that the Tanakh prophesied a Messiah who would be resurrected from the dead before he would sit upon the throne of David? Consider Psalms 2:
6 "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."
Paul sees in this passage the resurrection of the Messiah (Acts 13:33), “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Luke emphasizes this divine sonship (Luke 1:35) and relates it to Adam “who was the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Adam was made in the image of YEHOVAH God (Gen 1:27), and part of that image is immortality -- having the mind or spirit of YEHOVAH God that merits eternal life as symbolized by eating of the fruit of the tree of life and living forever (Gen 3:22). This is the birth imagery in John’s gospel, e.g., John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Paul interprets this as the resurrection (1 Cor 15:50-52):
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
And so the king of Israel who occupies the throne of Adam is -- like Adam -- a son of YEHOVAH God. The rulers of Israel already occupy offices of YEHOVAH God, meaning that Israel fills in for Adam (Ezekiel 34:31):
"And ye [fem.] are my flock, the flock of my pasture, ye [masc.] are Adam I am your God, saith the Lord GOD."
But Israel is composed of mortals, as this Psalm of Asaph reminds us (Psalms 82):
6 "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 "But ye shall die like [Adam], and fall like one of the princes.
8 "Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations."
In verse 6 ‘ye’ (àÇúÌÆí) is Israel but in verse 8 ‘thou’ (àÇúÌÈä) is YEHOVAH God -- YEHOVAH God shall inherit all nations -- but how? Doesn’t YEHOVAH already possess them? He does -- nevertheless he turns them over to the Messiah (Psalms 2:8),
8 "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
When the Messiah has subdued the nations he turns them over to YEHOVAH God who then shall inherit all nations (1 Cor 15:27-28): “For he hath put all things under his feet [Psalms 8:7 (6)]. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
YEHOVAH God Himself will descend to the Mount of Olives and take up residence in a new Temple built on Zion where He will rule the entire earth with the Messiah King over Israel and High Priest to his Father (Zechariah 6:12-13; 8:3; 14:3-4, 9).
It is not a part of Judaism to suggest that the Messiah might be made immortal before being installed upon the throne of David. Nevertheless there is an interesting passage in the Talmud which so alludes (Sukkah 52a):
"The rabbis discussed (apart from the Mishna): Messiah son of David, let him be revealed speedily in our day, the Holy One blessed be he will say to him, Ask whatever and I will give it to you, as it says (Psalms 2:7-8), 'I will declare the decree...this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance…' And seeing messiah son of Joseph who is killed he will say to him [to God], Master of the Universe, I ask you for nothing but life. He will answer him, Life before you said it! Your father David already prophesied about you, as it says (Psalms 21:5), 'He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him...'"
Thus when Messiah ben David sits upon his throne, it is life -- eternal life -- that is the prerequisite. And so the Messiah is established upon his throne in the image of YEHOVAH God as a son (Psalms 2:7), “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” It is the Messiah SON OF JOSEPH who becomes YEHOVAH’s firstborn (Jer 31:8 ), “for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” And then afterward the Messiah son of David is installed upon his throne as YEHOVAH’s firstborn (Psalms 89:28 ), “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” One imagines that YEHOVAH God has only one firstborn by his legitimate wife the celestial Jerusalem (Rev 12:1-5).
The resurrection is still a very Jewish hope, itself immortalized as the 13th of the Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Faith:
"I believe in complete faith, that the resurrection of the dead shall occur in the time when the purpose of the creation is manifest, his name shall be blessed and his remembrance shall be raised up forever and ever."
And Judaism understands, just as the New Testament (John 1:14; 6:63; James 1:18; etc.) that eternal life is imparted by the word in us, as in the traditional prayer recited after reading the Torah:
"Blessed are you Adonai our God king of the Universe, Who gave us the Torah of truth, and implanted eternal life within us. Blessed are you Adonai giver of the Torah. Amen."
Just like YEHOVAH God Himself -- the Messiah is a stone of contention for the Judeo-Christian (Isaiah 8:14; 28:16; 1 Pet 2:6; Rom 9:33). The one denies his Davidic descent, the other his resurrection to immortality. If you accept that he was truly of the seed of David patrilineally and resurrected bodily from the dead to eternal life then you are a heretic in both camps. The question, however, is: Might you be right?
-- Edited By John D. Keyser.
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