The Deity Of Jesus (Yeshua):
Son of God/Son of Man
by Christine Egbert
Proverbs 18:13 declares that “If one rejects a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.” In this article, I will use Scripture and extra-biblical Jewish writings (both ancient and contemporary) to prove that during the First Century many in mainstream Judaism believed that Israel’s Messiah would be divine.
Anthropology affirms that when folklore is shared by more than one culture, it’s highly likely that these people groups shared common ancestors who experienced the actual event. A worldwide flood has been recounted in the folklore of people groups located all around the world. In 88% of these stories, one family was saved. In 95%, the flood was global. In 66%, the flood resulted from man’s wickedness. In 70%, one family was saved in a boat. In 57%, that boat landed on a mountain, and in 67%, animals were on the boat with the family. So, what if the Tri-Unity of the Godhead did NOT originate in the pagan world as many claim? What if it was merely adopted by pagans? In this article, I hope to prove that the plurality of God (Elohim) was taught by Abraham, Moses, and Israel’s prophets.
Elohim Is Plural, Echad Means A Compound Unity
Many of the nouns referring to God (Elohim), which are rendered in the singular in our English Bibles, are actually plurals in Hebrew. In Hebrew, Isaiah 54:5 literally says, “Your Makers are your husbands,” and Psalms 149:2, literally says, “Let Israel rejoice in his Creators,” both of which are congruent with Genesis Chapter One, which says, “Let US make man in OUR image.”
Many claim that these strange plurals found throughout Scripture are simply the Royal We. For instance, in Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the author writes: “For thy Maker is thine husband–Both these words, ‘maker’ and ‘husband,’ in the Hebrew are in the plural number. But the form is evidently the pluralis excellentiae–a form denoting majesty and honor.”
The problem with this explanation is that the “Royal We” was never used until 1169, when King Henry II, assuming the “divine right of Kings” (a belief that monarchs act conjointly with God) spoke of himself in the plural, establishing this practice for royalty. This so-called Pluralis Excellentiae was stolen from God. the LORD (Yahweh) did not borrow the “Royal We” from King Henry II. Thus, Barnes’ attempt to explain away God’s speaking of Himself in the plural to denote His majesty and honor is pure bunk.
Yahweh; The Word Yahweh; & Spirit Yahweh
Scripture speaks of the LORD (Yahweh), the word of the LORD (Yahweh), and the messenger of the LORD (Yahweh). “Word of the LORD (Yahweh)” first appears in Scripture in Genesis 15:1, where Moses wrote: “After these things the Word of the LORD (Yahweh) came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield…’”
A. G. Shlomo points out, in his book about the Jewish origin of the Trinity, the following. “In the Hebrew text of this passage there is no article ‘the’ before ‘word’. The literal translation from the Hebrew reads Word Yahweh. It was Word Yahweh who came to Abraham in a vision.” The Hebrew for “word” is “dabar” (דָּבָר). Remove the prefix letter “dalet” (which in pictograph Hebrew represents a door) from “dabar”, and you’re left with the word “bar” (בָר), the Aramaic word for “son”.
“In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” (John 1:1 & 14) The Son, the Word of God, said, “I am the door. If any man enters through Me, he will be saved…” (John 10:9)
In Isaiah 48:16, Jesus (Yeshua) is speaking. He identifies Himself as the “first and the last” in verse 12. Then, in verse 16, after declaring His existence from the beginning, He says, “Lord GOD (Yahweh) and His Spirit sent Me.” The Father and Spirit sent the Son.
Let’s read this passage from the Literal Translation:
Isaiah 48:16 “Come near to Me; hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning. From its being, I was there; and now Lord GOD (Yahweh) and His Spirit has sent Me.” It’s Jesus (Yeshua), the Sent One of Deuteronomy 18:15-19, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-3), Who in the beginning was with God and Who was God, and through Whom all things were made.
Below are two amazing scriptures. In the first, the Messiah is referred to as the Branch, a “man” who will rebuild the (millennial) Temple described by Zechariah. But then, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, this very same Branch will one future day, that day in which “Judah is saved” and “Israel dwells safely in the land” will be called “Yahweh Tsidkenu” (the LORD our Righteousness).
Now let’s read both passages, the first establishing Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) humanity, the second His divinity:
Zechariah 6:12 (Humanity)
And speak unto him, saying, Thus says the LORD (Yahweh) of hosts, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; He shall grow up out of His place, and shall build the temple of the LORD (Yahweh).
Jeremiah 23:5-6 (Divinity)
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD (Yahweh), that I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He (the Branch) shall be called, the LORD (Yahweh) our righteousness.
The Bible is crammed full of glimpses of Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) deity. It would take a book, not an article, to list all of them, but here is one more.
“For so says the LORD (Yahweh) of Hosts. He has sent Me after glory, (Who sent Him? The Father sent the Son) to the nations who stripped you; for he who touches you touches the pupil of His eye (Whose eye? The Father’s eye). For behold, I will shake My hand over them, and they shall be a prize for their servants. And you shall know that the LORD (Yahweh) of Hosts has sent Me.”
Who was sent? Who came and dwelt in our midst? Jesus (Yeshua), the one who said: “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father, and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7)
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
“Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
Jesus (Yeshua), the Messiah, is the One to whom every knee will one day bow and every tongue, both on earth and in Heaven, will confess is Master. (Philippians 2:10-11) This act of worship will please the Father, the very One who declared in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD (Yahweh), that is My name, and My glory I will not give to another.” Yet, the LORD (Yahweh) had no problem sharing His glory with Jesus (Yeshua) before the foundation of the world.
“And now, Father, glorify Me with Yourself, with the glory I shared with You before the world began.” (John 17:5)
Yeshua Is Emmanuel: God With Us
Isaiah 7:14 & Matthew 1:23
“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold! The virgin will conceive and will bring forth a son; and she shall call His name Immanuel.”
“Behold! The virgin will conceive in her womb and bear a son and his name shall be Emmanuel, which is translated God with us.”
“Watch that there not be one robbing you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Messiah, for in Him (the Messiah) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
God In The Flesh
1 Timothy 3:16
“And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in flesh, was justified in Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”
Scripture tells us Jesus (Yeshua) is the “Only Begotten” Son of God, indicating that Jesus (Yeshua) came forth (was separated out of, emanated from) the Father. He is not simply as some false teachers claim “our older brother, who became perfect through suffering and keeping the Torah.”
“God cannot be tempted by evil” is not a proof text that Jesus (Yeshua) cannot be God because Scripture says that Jesus (Yeshua) was tempted in every way. Scripture also says that Jesus (Yeshua) was without sin. The phrase“God cannot be tempted by evil” means Jesus (Yeshua) would not (and did not) succumb to the temptation.
Philippians 2:6-7 says that Jesus (Yeshua), “though being in the form of God, emptied Himself and took on flesh”. So do not be deceived by anyone attempting to deny the Messiah’s deity.
Professor Daniel Boyarin & The Son Of Man
Professor (of Talmud) Daniel Boyarin, an orthodox Jewish Rabbi (not a Messianic Rabbi), wrote a book titled, “The Hebrew Gospels”. In this groundbreaking work, Rabbi Boyarin points out that Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) most often used self-description is Son Of Man. This title attests, not to Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) humanity, as many suppose, but to His deity.
Here is an excerpt: “In the Gospels, Jesus is more likely to be referred to (or actually to refer to Himself) by the title “Son of Man.” Most Christians today think that this title, Son of Man, designates Jesus’s human nature, while the title “Son of God” refers to His divine nature. That was indeed the interpretation of most of the Fathers of the Church… but I will show that the opposite was the case in the Gospel of Mark. “Son of God” referred to the king of Israel, the earthly king of David’s seat, while “Son of Man” referred to a heavenly figure…”
Boyarin expounds on this theme when he writes: “The Book of Daniel is one of the earliest apocalypses ever written. Taking its clues from the prophet Ezekiel, it describes the heavenly visions of the prophet Daniel… in this remarkable text, we find the prophet Daniel having a vision in which there are two divine figures, one who is depicted as an old man, an Ancient of Days, sitting on the throne. We have been told, however, that there is more than one throne, and sure enough, a second divine figure, in form “like a human being” is brought on the clouds of heaven and invested by the Ancient of Days in a ceremony very much like the passing of the torch… We can begin to see here a notion about redemption quite different from the expectation of the restoration of a Davidic king on the throne of Jerusalem. This text projects a second divine figure to whom will be given eternal dominion of the entire world, of a restored entire world in which the eternal king’s guidance and rule will be in accord, completely and finally, with the will of the Ancient of Days.”
Professor Boyarin listed the “crucial characteristics” of this younger figure, later named the Messiah: He is divine. He’s in human form. He is portrayed as a younger divinity than the Ancient of Days. He will be enthroned on high and given power, dominion, and sovereignty. All the same characteristics, Boyarin points out, are attributed a century and a half later to the Messiah in the Gospels.
Boyarin goes on to say that by the 1st Century C.E. in many Jewish minds, that divine figure merged with the expectation of a returning Davidic king. This is why every time Jesus (Yeshua) referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” Jews, who did not believe that Jesus (Yeshua) was this Son of Man, sought to stone Him for blasphemy. But make no mistake, they understood the term “son of man” to refer to the promised divine yet human Messiah (spoken of by Daniel). This explains why John wrote, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ (Yeshua Messiah) has come in the flesh is from God.” (1 John 4:2) And everyone who does not, is of the spirit of antichrist.”
Colossians 2:9 informs us that in the Messiah all the fullness of the deity dwells in bodily form and that He is the head over every power and authority.
How Does Coming in the Flesh Depict Divinity?
Coming in the flesh, for ordinary, non-divine human beings like us, goes without saying. So the fact that Scripture tells us Jesus (Yeshua) came in the flesh indicates His deity. To claim otherwise would be as ridiculous as claiming that the “sign” referred to in Isaiah 7:14 was a “young woman” giving birth instead of a virgin. Why? Because young women give birth every day, thousands of times a day. It is only when a virgin gives birth that this birth becomes a sign.
When a fully human virgin overshadowed by the Holy Spirit conceives and bears a child, that child, according to Isaiah, will be called: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. That One, known as the Son of Man in Daniel’s night vision, will be given dominion, glory, and a kingdom that will never pass away.
Why A Divine Messiah Was Not Beyond Belief
Simon Rocker, of the Jewish Chronicle Online, had this to say about Rabbi Boyarin’s groundbreaking work in an article titled: “Why A ‘Divine’ Messiah Was Not Beyond Belief”.
“In ancient times, the borders between Judaism and Christianity were far more porous than we conceive today… it was not until the fourth century that the doctrinal differences were clarified, not least because of the desire of the Roman-backed church to put clear water between the spreading new faith and those it considered Jews. His most explosive contention is that the concept of a divine messiah was not an alien import but part of the cauldron of ideas that bubbled in the volatile world of classical Judaism… The basic underlying thoughts from which both the Trinity and the incarnation grew are there in the very world into which Jesus was born.”
Rocker went on to write this: “Some interpreters may regard the Son of Man simply as the symbolic representation of a warrior-Messiah, who does not enjoy divine status, or of heroic Israel. But Boyarin suggests that Daniel’s vision reflected earlier traditions of a dual Father-Son godhead, which later rabbis successfully fought as heresy, but which underlays the Gospels’ depiction of Jesus.”
Just as the Roman Catholic Church created doctrine to distance themselves from everything they saw in the Old and the New Testament as Jewish, many Jewish rabbis began teaching that the “Father-Son Godhead” as depicted in the book of Daniel was heresy. Why? To distance themselves from all those who worshiped Jesus (Yeshua) as Israel’s divine Messiah.
Jesus (Yeshua) Is God
Jesus (Yeshua) emanated from His Father. He is God and was God. He is at the same time, the Only Begotten Son and the express image of His Father. The Father sent Jesus (Yeshua), Who is in perfect unity (echad) with His Father. Jesus (Yeshua) had to be both fully God and fully man in order to be the only Mediator between God, the Father, and humanity. That’s why Scripture says, “Jesus (Yeshua) emptied Himself and took on flesh.” His compound unity with His Father is expressed as a Remez (allegorical, hidden, or symbolic meaning beyond just the literal sense) in the Shema, which hints at the mystery of the Godhead.
“Hear, O Israel, the LORD (Yahweh) our God (Elohim, plural) is one (echad, a compound unity). Echad is the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:4, which says a man and his wife shall become one (echad) flesh. The Shema does not say: “Hear, O Israel, there is “yachid” God. Why? Because yachid indicates an absolute singularity, and the Scriptures reveal a unified Godhead, a compound unity. That’s why Genesis 1:26 says, “Let Us make man in Our image.”
When Jesus (Yeshua) took on human flesh, He limited Himself for the duration of His earthly ministry. That is why He said it was better that He go away and send the Holy Spirit, for the LORD (Yahweh) is a Spirit and His Holy Spirit is omnipresent. Jesus (Yeshua) took on flesh in order to represent His Father to their Creation, and yes, I said “their” creation. Scripture tells us in several places that without Jesus (Yeshua) nothing was made that was made. But Scripture also informs us in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, that the Father, who subjected all things under His Son’s feet, is not subjected. And one day, after Jesus (Yeshua) has put all things under His feet, including death, He also will be in subjection to the Father—now pay attention, for this is quite interesting—so that God may be all in all.
We see a “type and shadow” of this mystery of compound unity in Genesis chapter one, when God (Elohim, a plural) says: “Let Us make man in Our image,” and creates Adam, one man, out of whom God separates a second being, bone of Adam’s bone and flesh of his flesh, Eve. Then what does God do? God instructs Adam and Eve (who was formerly in Adam) to come together again, to become echad, in order to procreate.
This mystery of compound unity was taught by Jesus (Yeshua) in John, chapter 17. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for those who will believe on Me through their word, that they may be one, as You Father are in Me and I in You, that they may be one in Us…Father, I will that they, whom You have given Me may be with Me where I am, that they might behold My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:16-24)
Brad Scott elucidates this mystery, which we see replayed in many forms throughout scripture, by his description of our DNA. Interpreting that verse found in Job which says, “In my flesh, I will see God,” Scott takes Job’s declaration far beyond the Remez (allegorical, hidden, or symbolic) level, which hints at the resurrection, into the sod (secret or mystery) level. After reminding us that God reveals Himself to His creation, through His creation (Romans 1), Brad Scott brilliantly likens the Father to our DNA, that blueprint of life that never leaves the nucleus of the cell, which Brad likens to Heaven. Messenger RNA, which Scott likens to Jesus (Yeshua), the Messenger of the LORD (Yahweh), is an exact duplicate of the DNA, differing only in its purpose, which is to leave the nucleus (Heaven) and replicate DNA in the body (body of Messiah, the church). Thus, in our very flesh, we see a revelation of God.
The Ein Sof
I came across a teaching by Eddie Chumney titled: “The Jewish View Of The Godhead.” Here is the description of that video. “From a Jewish perspective, the God of Israel is ‘Ein Sof’ (without definition). ‘Ein Sof’ is explained in human terms to manifest Himself to the natural world by causing His eternal light to become a prism. This prism that reveals the attributes of ‘Ein Sof’ and His Will in creation is known as ‘Sefirot.’ There are ten ‘Sefirot’ which are called the ‘Tree of Life.’ They form three pillars that represent the ‘Godhead.’ The middle pillar of the Godhead is known as ‘Metatron’ and the ‘Son of God’ and is the visible image of ‘Ein Sof.’ The Jewish view of ‘Metatron’ matches descriptions of Jesus (Yeshua) in the New Testament. The numeral value of the attributes of the middle pillar of the Godhead is 26 which is the numeral value for the LORD (Yahweh). In Jesus (Yeshua) dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9)”
The Tri-Unity of Yahweh Is Actually Jewish
What if, contrary to Rabbinic anti-missionary claims that echad means an absolute one, you were to learn that like the Apostolic writings (NT), the Jewish Zohar also teaches that the LORD (Yahweh) is a triune being? Elohim is a combination of two Hebrew words “El & Haym” which should be understood as “They are God.” Eloheinu is the first-person plural possessive form of the noun Elohim, which is also plural. Now just like in Christianity, Judaism has many different schools of thought. But I want to focus on the orthodox and prove that they have no problem with the LORD (Yahweh) being a triune being or their Messiah taking on flesh. They only have a problem with Jesus (Yeshua) being one of the three. Want proof? I will quote a few passages, but there are hundreds, from the very Jewish Zohar.
First, here is a quote taken from Zohar.com to establish what orthodox Jews believe about the Zohar: “Revealed more than 2,000 years ago, the Zohar is a spiritual text that explains the secrets of the Bible, the Universe and every aspect of life.”
Zohar, Volume III, page 65 of the Amsterdam Edition says this: “Eliezer’s father said to him: Come and see the mystery of the word Y’H’W’H: there are three steps, each existing by itself; nevertheless, they are One, and so united that one cannot be separated from the other.”
Zohar, Volume II, page 26 “Thus are the three Spirits united in one. (1) The Spirit which is downwards (as counting the three) who is called the Holy Spirit; (2) the Spirit, which is the middle pillar, who is called the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, also called the Spirit below. (3) The upper Spirit is hidden in Secret. In Him exists all the holy Spirits (the Holy Spirit and the middle pillar) and all that is light.” (Literally, all faces giving light)
Zohar, Volume II, written by Rabbi Simon ben Jochai and his son Rabbi Eliezer, “How can they (the three) be One? Are they verily One, because we call them One? How Three can be One, can only be known through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.”
Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai, Propositions of the Zohar. cap. 38, Amsterdam edition. Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai commenting on the Zohar: “There is a perfect Man, who is an Angel. This Angel is Metatron, the Keeper of Israel; He is a man in the image of the Holy One, blessed be He, who is an Emanation from Him; yea, He is Yahweh; of Him cannot be said, He is created, formed or made; but He is the Emanation from God. This agrees exactly with what is written, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Of David’s Branch, that though He shall be a perfect man, yet He is ‘The Lord our Righteousness.’”
Rabbi Tzvi Nassi
In the early 1800s in Breslau, Silesia, a young Rabbi named Tzvi Nassi discovered through his study of Scriptures, the Targums, and the Zohar that Jesus (Yeshua) was indeed Israel’s promised Messiah. Hoping to establish a Messianic congregation within the Jewish community, he began sharing his great discovery. But when he began reading his congregation passages from the New Testament, they thought he had lost his mind, and drove him out of his synagogue and his community. So, Rabbi Nassi left and entered the ministry.
In England, he continued his studies at the University of Cambridge, and gave lectures in Hebrew at Oxford University, where he published a well-known text on Hebrew Grammar titled “Analecta Hebraica.” But through all of this, Rabbi Tzvi Nassi never stopped immersing himself in the Targums, the Sefer Yetzirah, and the Zohar. Finally, in 1863, Nassi published his monumental work, “The Great Mystery or How Can Three Be One?”
This created quite a stir, for in it he quoted a myriad of passages from the Zohar and other Rabbinic sources to establish, unequivocally, that Judaism does in fact teach there are Three Pillars of the Godhead. His title (How Can Three Be One?) is based on Zohar 2:43, which I have already quoted above. But here it is again: How can they (the three) be One? Are they Truly One because we call them One? How Three can be One can only be known through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.”
I could go on listing a dozen more quotes from the Zohar (and I haven’t listed even one of the many found in the Targums, or the quotes from Philo, an Egyptian Jew who was a contemporary of Jesus (Yeshua), though not His disciple), but this article is already too long. So please look them up for yourself. Instead, I will close with a quote from a Jewish website called the Virtual Yeshiva Discussion Forum, where someone listed some of the quotes I just listed above and asked if they were authentic. The administrator did not deny it. Instead, he disparaged Christians who point out these (and many other quotes) as being uneducated and too unspiritual to understand the Zohar. But let me quote him directly:
“…Missionaries, who haven’t the slightest idea what Kabbalah is will use anything they can to justify their twisted beliefs. They will take short passages out of context as “evidence” that what they believe is supported by the Jewish Sages. The problem is that the Zohar, being the foundational text of Jewish mysticism, provides the SOD, i.e. mystical level of exposition on the Torah and … the context and relevance of the texts can only be understood by individuals who have the proper education and training, something that these (Christian) missionaries not only lack, but will never achieve.”
Rabbinic Judaism’s belief in a One Person God is NOT part of ancient Israel’s belief system. It’s a 2nd Century fabrication birthed by Jews who rejected Jesus (Yeshua) as their Messiah and needed to distance themselves from Israel’s ancient “three Powers in Heaven” understanding of the LORD (Yahweh), so they could claim that the tri-unity doctrine was pagan in origin, rather than adopted by pagans. But facts are facts. Ancient Israel’s understanding of their echad Elohim as a unified plurality is revealed in every Passover Seder. Where? In their 3-in-1 matzo-tosh bag. Why? Because this 3-in-1 bag represents God’s three-in-one nature.