Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Who Knows Best Who Jesus Is? Jesus!

Who Knows Best Who Jesus Is? Jesus!
If you will agree with the above common-sense proposition, let us see what Jesus had to say about his own identity. Churches gather under a longstanding banner -- belief that Jesus is God, Jesus is Yahweh, the God of Israel.
But did Jesus say any such thing? He could so easily have gone about declaring: "I am God." But he never did. Not once. Who then did he claim to be?
The question swirled around in those frenzied days of the ministry of Jesus. Some thought Jesus was one of the prophets, restored to life. Others had other opinions. Jesus as a master teacher, in love with unity and good order, posed the question to his chief students: "But who do you say that I am?" (Matt. 16:15). Forget popular guesses, and let’s get to the real truth. Peter answered confidently, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Is it clear? Wanting to side with Jesus, I am listening carefully to Jesus’ response to Peter’s enlightened answer to the big question -- the really big question on which the whole Christian faith depends.
Jesus greeted Peter’s splendidly correct answer with overflowing joy. Peter, said Jesus, had been gifted with a miracle of understanding and was able to define who Jesus was and is correctly. He is the Son of God and the Messiah. "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven," and I propose to build my own Church on this stupendous insight that I am the Son of God and the Messiah (Matt. 16:17-18).
Jesus thus told us in clear terms: "I am the Son of God, the Messiah." He knew who he was.
After New Testament times that foundational, unifying and stabilizing truth did not remain in place. It suffered the ravages of Greek philosophy which reworked -- and confused -- the whole biblical teaching about God and His Son, the Messiah. But while Scripture was being written and the apostles were still alive to hold the fort, the cry continued to go out: "These things [the whole gospel of John] were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (John 20:31). Sound familiar? Even later in John’s farewell communications in his epistles, the note of urgency has if anything increased. "He who denies that Jesus is the Christ" has lost out -- he who denies that Jesus is the Son of God. Look up 1 John 2:22; 4:15; 5:1, 5, 10, 13, 20 for a blockbuster emphasis on this point.
All this is quite simple and straightforward, as long as we keep later philosophical language like "two natures," "three hypostases" and "one substance" at arms length, lest it blind us to the much easier words of Jesus. On the rock foundation that I am the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus’ Church is founded. Nothing about his being God!
What more can we say about Matthew? He seems to have paid careful attention to who Jesus is. He opens his whole book with the caption that Jesus is the son of David and of Abraham and also, of course, of God who was the Father of Jesus, causing his genesis, origin (Matt. 1:18; note the word carefully).
Ah, but the book of John, how does this fit the plain teaching that Jesus is 'the Son of God' and Christ? Perfectly. Did not John say expressly that his whole book was written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (20:31)? Look carefully at Jesus’ early days. What do the disciples say? "We have found the Messiah" (John 1:41). We have found the Son of God (see John 1:49). Were they mistaken? Absolutely not.
Now come the precise and confirming words of Jesus in John 4 where he encounters, at a well, a ... lady in Samaria. Jesus, with his marvelous all-embracing style allowing him to talk to all and sundry, engages her in conversation. This much she does know: "We know that the Messiah is coming" (v. 25). Looking her squarely in the eye, Jesus replied, "I am he, the one speaking to you" (John 4:26).
Jesus was not playing games and shifting the whole conversation, thus deceiving the lady. Some would have us believe that there is no connection between "the Messiah" of the lady’s statement and Jesus’ response "I am he." We have learned from John himself that he wrote all he wrote to convince us that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (20:31). "I am he" (hallelujah!) confirms the lady’s expectation that the Messiah was indeed coming. She was privileged to meet that very person. Jesus ought to know who he was and is! He said it here in John 4:26, just as he said it in the other gospels. I am he -- the Messiah.
The Greek for this wonderful saying "I am he" is ego eimi (pronounced in modern Greek ego eemee). John has skillfully set up this phrase as the code for "I am the Messiah" -- certainly not "I am God"! The first and key occurrence of the "I am he" saying is the one we have just examined. There are several others in John. Consistency of course requires that the same phrase be put into English by the same words each time. Sadly your translations, keen to make you think in another direction, have not allowed you to see that Jesus makes exactly the same "I am the Messiah" utterance in John 8:58. Quite unfairly the translators left off the important word "he" when they translated "ego eimi" in John 8:58. In so doing they made it hard for you to recall the claim to Messiahship in 4:26: "I, the one speaking to you, am he."
Jesus persistently and consistently continues to maintain his claim to Messiahship. After all, it was his stated intention to found his Church on this insight.
Even before Abraham, who joyfully looked forward to the Messiah, Jesus is the promised Messiah, the one expected to come. "I am he, the Messiah."
A few chapters later in John 10 Jesus is confronted by hostile Jews who are deeply unhappy with his claim to Messiahship and unique Sonship -- meaning that he was speaking and acting uniquely for his Father, the one God, whose "own Son" Jesus claimed to be. Angrily and maliciously the Jews (at least some of their leaders) accused Jesus of making himself out to be God.
What an opportunity for Jesus to confirm exactly what they suspected -- that he was claiming to be God, or at least "a God." Why did not Jesus simply reply by saying, "Yes, that is right; that is who I am -- God"?
He did no such thing. He explained that he was acting as unique spokesman for that one God, his Father, but far from being God himself (which would have rightly been judged as blasphemy), he was the Son of God. Why are you so perturbed that as the one God sent on a mission as the Messiah,
"I said ‘I am the Son of God’?" (John 10:36).
There from the lips of Jesus himself we have the true identity of Jesus. Are you prepared to believe that he knew who he was and was able to tell them and us?
At his trial with complete consistency he affirmed the charge that he was "the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One" (Mark 14:61-62). Does it sound familiar? To crown it all Jesus summarizes our whole duty as believers: "This is the life of the age to come [eternal life]: that we come to know you [the Father], the only one who is truly God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent"
(John 17:3).
516 times, no less, in the New Testament, Jesus is called the Christ. Is the point about identity clear?
Go through the book of Acts and you will find exactly the same truth being broadcast everywhere. "[I] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" "God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ" (Acts 8:37; 2:36). [See also Acts 9:20,22]
Another title has surfaced here, requiring your utmost care -- Lord. You will immediately recall that Jesus is "the Lord Jesus Christ," "our Lord Jesus Christ," "Christ Jesus my Lord."
Our most extensive of all New Testament writers and teachers is Luke, companion of Paul on his journeys. Luke’s primary information about the identity of Jesus appears in the early chapters of his work. The angel Gabriel is charged with making clear who Jesus is. In Luke 1:32-35 Gabriel carries out his teaching ministry in a few brief, instructive words, which ought never to have been overlooked or misunderstood. Mary’s baby is identified as the Son of the Most High. Jesus is also the son of David due to his blood relationship through his mother, a descendant of David.
Then, in answer to Mary’s very reasonable question as to a pregnancy without the benefit of a human husband, these words, needing to be shouted from the rooftops: "Holy spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and that is precisely why the baby to be begotten will be holy, the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
Once this extraordinary baby was born, the believing shepherds were told, "Today has been born in the city of David a savior who is the Lord Christ" (Luke 2:11). Not, I hasten to add, the Lord God! But the Lord Christ and Son of the Most High. Sounds familiar!
Those trusting blind men [and the Canaanite woman] were theologically correct when they addressed Jesus as Lord, son of David (Matt. 20:31; 15:22). This is the exact equivalent of the Lord Messiah/Christ.
and Christ are titles, of course, rooted in Psalm 2 where the One God of Israel and of us all, announced: "
[You are my Son!] Today I have begotten you ... I will set My King on My holy hill ... Ask of Me and I will give you [My Son] the whole earth as your inheritance."
[Psalm 2:7,6,8]
That begetting of the Son happened some 2000 years ago. We know this by merely tracking the "begetting" word from Psalm 2:7 to the same word in Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of the beginning, begetting and birth of the Son. The decree, "Today I will beget you" (Ps. 2:7) came true on the day in which Mary conceived by miracle and the angel reassured Joseph, "What has been begotten [brought into existence] in her is from the holy spirit" (Matt. 1:20). The child thus fathered (begotten) was of course the Son of God.
Luke reports the same good news from Gabriel: "Precisely because of" (dio kai) the miracle in Mary, the child will be called (=will be) the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Take that as the most brilliant definition of the Son of God and cling to it throughout the rest of the New Testament. But beware of turning it on its head or standing it upside down and destroying it by turning it into "God the Son." There is no such person in the Bible.
In Acts 13:33 Paul, traveling often with Luke, and naturally in harmony with Luke, places the begetting, beginning, coming into existence of the Son at the start of Jesus’ life (hardly rocket science, as they say!). It was when God "raised up," i.e. put on the human scene just as He raised up Moses, Pharaoh or David [Exo. 9:16, Acts 7:35, 13:22], that the begetting of Jesus happened. Just exactly as we learned from Matthew 1:20 and from Luke 1:35 (above).
Don’t be misled by the KJV adding the word "again" to "raised up" in Acts 13:33. This would confuse the simplicity of truth by making Jesus Son of God
only at the resurrection: "raised up again." But the resurrection of Jesus is described in verse 34, and a different Old Testament text provides the proof of the resurrection.
Then look at the same simple truth about the begetting, beginning and birth of Jesus in Romans 1:3-4. Jesus is there God’s Son, a descendant of David (Paul and Luke in Luke 1:32-35 in perfect harmony) according to the human blood line, and installed as Son with power at his exaltation to the right hand of the Father.
Jesus did not become Son at the resurrection, nor at his baptism. He was God’s Son by being miraculously procreated in Mary (Luke 1:35 again).
Then to Hebrews 1. God did not speak through a Son in the Old Testament times (Heb. 1:1-2). This should put an end to any speculation about the Son being the Old Testament angel of the Lord! The whole point of Hebrews 1 is to remind us that Jesus is not an angel, never was, and not therefore an archangel (a highranking angel). If Jesus were the angel of the Lord, his coming into existence in Mary would be impossible and the story we have outlined above would be derailed and put beyond recognition.
Hebrews 1:1 to 2:5 gives us an account of the new covenant creation in Jesus, the "society to come about which we are speaking" (2:5). This began when God fulfilled His promise given in 2 Samuel 7:14 that He would one day father, beget, bring into existence His own Son: "I will be his father and he will be My son." We saw how that promise came to be reality in Luke 1 and Matthew 1.
To make the same point about the begetting, procreation of the Messiah, Son of God, the Hebrews writer quotes Psalm 2 about the beginning of the Son of God ("You are My Son; today I have begotten you," Ps. 2:7 quoted in Heb. 1:5). ...
Putting this New Testament-wide information together, data which is entirely consistent and coherent, we are urged to believe simply that Jesus is, as he himself declared, the Son of God (John 10:36). And he really ought to know, and we really ought to believe him -- we claim to be believers!
The alternative to this belief is to subscribe to the strange idea that Jesus is God the Son, an eternally existing member of a triune God. This concept, judged to be an impossibly difficult and illogical mystery even by experts, derails the biblical identity of Jesus completely. Worse still it precipitated the most awful conflicts, excommunications, heresy-hunters, inquisitions and burnings at the stake.
Ask your Jewish friends. They will tell you that the Messiah, God’s anointed, is not God Himself, making two Gods, since the Father is God.
Luke 2:11 [the Lord Christ/Messiah] and Luke 2:26 [the Lord's (i.e. Yahweh's) Christ] provide the elementary and fundamental distinction between God and Jesus.
There are two Lords in the Bible. Firstly, the Lord God who is one single Person, so described by thousands of singular personal pronouns. Second, the Lord Messiah, who began to exist some 2000 years ago (Luke 2:11).
Those two Lords are beautifully described and distinguished by the most popular verse quoted from the Old Testament in the New. Psalm 110:1 speaks of YHVH [Yahweh] addressing David’s lord, the Messiah. That second lord is adoni ("adonee") in the Hebrew text. That form of the word for 'Lord' never means God. Obviously not, since in the Bible, God does not speak to another absolute God. That would be polytheism and this is the ultimate theological disaster.
Bibles which put a capital letter on that second lord in Psalm 110:1 mislead you. When the Hebrew word is adoni it is rendered properly as lord or master (not a title for God). But in Psalm 110:1 the translators of various versions broke their own rules for capitalization. You were supposed to imagine that the second lord was somehow the God-man of traditional creeds. But once people were taught that Jesus is Yahweh, this of course produced the "problem" (a favorite word in theological writings!) of how two Yahwehs could really be one Yahweh. Jesus after all believed that the most important of all truths is that we believe that "the Lord our God is one Yahweh," or Lord (Mark 12:29).
An expert writer on the Trinity committed himself in a theological journal to the proposition "God is simultaneously one Person and three Persons"!
The foundations of the universe were shaken and the course of church development permanently disordered by the Church Councils’ decision to speak of three who were each God but mysteriously and illogically only one God. This involved the imposition on the very Hebrew-oriented Bible of categories drawn from the alien world of Greek philosophy. This was a disaster needing recovery and restoration, so that all who meet in the Christian church gather to believe in One God the Father, and one Lord Messiah, the man Messiah Jesus (see 1 Tim. 2:5).This is the simple truth so needed.
Abandoning Jesus’ creed and substituting a different three-in-one creed has been a tragedy as so many expert observers have noted:
"In the year 317, a new contention arose in Egypt with consequences of a pernicious nature. The subject of this fatal controversy which kindled such deplorable divisions throughout the Christian world, was the doctrine of three Persons in the Godhead, a doctrine which in the three preceding centuries had happily escaped the vain curiosity of human researches."[1]
"When we look back through the long ages of the reign of the Trinity ... we shall perceive that few doctrines have produced more unmixed evil."[2]
"Christological doctrine has never in practice been derived simply by way of logical inference from the statements of Scripture ... The Church has not usually in practice (whatever it may have claimed to be doing in theory) based its Christology exclusively on the witness of the New Testament."[3]
"The Greeks distorted the concept of Jesus’ legal agency to ontological identity, creating an illogical set of creeds and doctrines to cause confusion and terror for later generations of Christians."[4]
"Nowhere does the New Testament identify Jesus with God."[5]
"Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon."[6]
"How shall we determine the nature of the distinction between the God who became man and the God who did not become man, without destroying the unity of God on the one hand or interfering with Christology on the other? Neither the Council of Nicea nor the Church Fathers of the fourth century satisfactorily answered this question."[7]
"The adoption of a non-biblical phrase at Nicea constituted a landmark in the growth of dogma; the Trinity is true, since the Church -- the universal Church speaking by its Bishops -- says so, though the Bible does not! ... We have a formula, but what does that formula contain? No child of the Church dare seek to answer."[8]
Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. Son of God is defined by Luke 1:35 and God is the God and Father of Jesus the Messiah, the Lord Messiah born in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. That Messiah is destined to come back to take over the reins of world government and save us from our astonishing loss of simple Truth. The truth sets us free, as Jesus said so well (John 8:32).
Two or three who are each God makes three Gods, however much we may protest. If each of the members of the triune God is Yahweh then they cannot together make one Yahweh. One will never be three, however much obfuscating language is produced to convince us. One X does not amount to three X’s.
Jesus commanded belief in only one Yahweh (Mark 12:29), and of course in himself as the Lord Messiah, not as a second Lord God.
Paul summed it up in a short and easy-to-grasp formula: "For us Christians there is one God, the Father and no God besides Him" (1 Cor. 8:4, 6). Paul here piles on the singular grammatical forms designating of course one singular and single Person, the Father. Access to that One God is obtained through the mediation of the one man Messiah Jesus, who is not the Lord God (making two [Gods]!) but the Lord Messiah, the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
[Making one Lord Messiah hence one Lord, Eph. 4:5 in contrast to one God and Father, Eph. 4:6]
With this pristine New Testament creed a new era of intelligent dialogue can be opened between three great world religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
It is time to renounce the brain-breaking, befuddling formulas of some Trinitarian experts. I cite in closing the exasperation of a Harvard professor who wrote a key book entitled Reasons for Not Believing the Doctrine of the Trinity. Andrews Norton lamented the appalling complexities to which loss of the pristine creed had led. He was referring to the attempts of "theologians" to explain how Jesus could be 100% God and 100% man. The teaching involved what was called the "Communication of Properties":
"The doctrine of the Communication of Properties," says LeClerc, "is as intelligible as if one were to say that there is a circle which is so united with a triangle that the circle has the properties of the triangle, and the triangle those of the circle."
"It is discussed at length by Petavius with his usual redundance of learning. The vast folio of that writer containing the history of the Incarnation is one of the most striking and most melancholy monuments of human folly which the world has to exhibit. In the history of other departments of science we find abundant errors and extravagances; but orthodox theology seems to have been the peculiar region of words without meaning; of doctrines confessedly false in their proper sense, and explained in no other; of the most portentous absurdities put forward as truths of the highest importance; and of contradictory propositions thrown together without an attempt to reconcile them. A main error running through the whole system, as well as other systems of false philosophy, is that words possess an intrinsic meaning not derived from the usage of men; that they are not mere signs of human ideas, but a sort of real entities, capable of signifying what transcends our conceptions, and that when they express to human reason only an absurdity, they may still be significant of a high mystery or a hidden truth, and are to be believed without being understood."
[1] J.L. Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, New York: Harper, 1839, Vol. 1, p. 399.
[2] Andrews Norton, A Statement of Reasons for Not Believing the Doctrine of the Trinitarians Concerning the Nature of God and the Person of Christ, Hilliard, Gray & Co., 1833, p. 287.
[3] Maurice Wiles, The Remaking of Christian Doctrine, London: SCM Press, 1974, pp. 54, 55.
[4] Professor G.W. Buchanan, from correspondence, 1994.
[5] William Barclay, A Spiritual Autobiography, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975, p. 50.
[6] "Trinity," in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 782.
[7] I.A. Dorner, The History of the Development of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1882, Div. I, Vol. 2, p. 330.
[8] "Dogma, Dogmatic Theology," in Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition, 1936, Vol. 7, pp. 501, 502.
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