For over 2000 years Jews and the followers of Yeshua have disagreed concerning Yeshua’s claim of divinity. The events concerning Yeshua’s words and actions coupled with the reaction of contemporary Jews gives us some great insight into the tension these claims caused 2000 years ago.
Matt. 9 …When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home.
32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”
Matt. 10 …24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
Matt. 12… 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
Matt. 13…54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked…Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
Matt. 21…14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
Matt.26…The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”
Matt. 27…41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
John 10…The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Analysis: To sum up the critique of the Jewish religious leaders: blasphemy! How dare a man of flesh and blood equate himself with God Almighty, whom Torah taught had no form and thus it was mortal sin to make an image [idol] to worship. They acknowledged his power but attributing that power to Satan; Killing him was seen as a legitimate recourse — stoning was the prescribed punishment for blasphemy under the Law of Moses, and while under Roman rule they couldn’t carry out the sentence themselves, they still thought it warranted; They took offense at the wonders he performed; They physically abused him before his sentence; they had no compassion for him even mocking him while he suffered near death; he was worthy of death by claiming to be God.
The Jewish leaders acknowledge he did miraculous works of healing. What they could not and do not accept is his claim of being one with YHVH, the great I AM. This begs the question: Is there any evidence in the Tenakh [Hebrew Bible, Old Testament] that God Almighty became man or predicted He would inhabit flesh and blood?
8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Analysis: The first man and woman heard the Lord. Not in their mind’s eye but really heard Him. How is that possible? The Scripture says He was walking in the garden. This means he put on legs. It gave new meaning to Gen.1:26 “Let US create man in OUR image after OUR likeness”.
There are multiple important meanings here. First, we were created to be immortal in God’s image. No other part of earthly creation does. Angels are eternal beings, but we do not have anything in Scripture indicating they were created in God’s image. Second, we were created to be like Him in having the desire to create by design — not just to procreate like all living things, but to design and then build to our design. Not even the angels are like this. And, yes, third, we are created with a somewhat distinct body, the only purely biped upright mammals, not created as predators but having the forward- directed eyes of predators.
The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
Analysis: For the LORD to appear to Abraham it meant that Abraham could see Him, but was He in human form? What we read is that he saw “three men standing nearby.” He then in meeting bowed low to the ground acknowledging their superior status.
Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Analysis: From one of these three men the LORD [YHVH] speaks to Abraham. It does not say an angel speaks for the Lord but the Lord in human form is speaking to Abraham.
When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
Analysis: We know the LORD is in human form because Abraham is walking with the three men and as they walk the Lord again speaks.
Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous…The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord…When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
Analysis: The previous analysis provided above is proven true when the Lord again speaks but this time the other two men depart and it says “Abraham remained standing before the Lord” Then the Lord (in human form) left when he was finished speaking.
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”“Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Analysis: Here we have a man who is not strong enough to overpower Jacob yet dislocates Jacob’s hip socket by touching him. Jacob is obviously tenacious. Jacob seems to sense this is no normal man when he requests a blessing. This same man changes Jacob’s name and then immediately identifies Himself with being the Lord. Jacob then confesses that this man was the Lord. This epiphany is of the Lord [Adonai], the pre-incarnate Son in human form. This is different than the epiphany of the LORD in Gen 18.
15 Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my fathers’ Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm—may he bless these boys.
Analysis: The Scripture above is important because it speaks of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God who is a shepherd and also who is the Angel who is a deliverer. This Scripture gives insight into other instances in the Torah where the Angel in human form is equated with being the Lord.
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Analysis: In this instance the Lord is using human terminology to describe His glorified state. In this state He is not taking on flesh and blood yet the Scripture states He has a face, a hand and a back. God the Father, the LORD, YHVH, who is without form, can still use analogies to human features to explain to Moses [and other inspired writers] what He is doing. There is an additional difficulty here, because when Moses went up onto Mt. Sinai to receive the Law before the LORD, Scripture tells us he DID speak to the LORD “face-to-face.” [read Ex 33:11; Num 12:8, 14:14; Deu 5:4, 34:10]. What Moses asked for in Ex 33 was to see the LORD’s glory. THAT is too brilliant, powerful, and pure for anyone in flesh to see and continue in the flesh.
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” 14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[e] have for his servant?” 15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Analysis: All the references in the Torah were meant to point towards the eventual coming of the LORD’s Messiah. In the Torah God chooses to reveal himself in human form and in the following books describes certain characteristics attributed to the coming Anointed One. The man with the drawn sword claims to be for neither side in the conflict. Why? This proves that the man in not an Israelite and obviously not the enemy. When Joshua went facedown in reverence he was not scolded as John was in Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9. When the commander of the Lord’s army stated the land in his proximity is holy then the Commander of the Lord’s army is the same entity that spoke to Moses at the burning bush…The Great I AM.
6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’” 8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” 9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!” 11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said. 12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?” 13 The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.” 15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” 16 The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.) 17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” 18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”
Analysis: Initially the man who appeared was perceived to be more than just a good man. The Angel (Messenger) of the Lord made a prediction and Manoah prayed to God. This resulted in the angel of the Lord coming again. The angel of the Lord once again identifies Himself as I AM just like the angel of the Lord at the Burning Bush speaking to Moses. The Angel of the Lord then gives commands that must be obeyed. The Angel of the Lord sought to fulfill the Torah in asking that a burnt offering be prepared. When inquiring of HIS name He states that it is beyond understanding. Only the Lord God would give that reply. What are we to make of “the Lord did an amazing thing” and “the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame”? The scripture then once again equates the angel of the Lord with God.
To be fair many Biblical scholars believe this is an angelic visit. Here is a sampling of that reasoning. This is not YHVH Himself nor the Son of God. This angel does not ask for sacrifice to himself, but, properly, sacrifice to the LORD. The angel does not give his name — “it is beyond understanding” (NIV84). YHVH has given us to know Him by name as Adonai Elohanu [God Almighty], as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and as YHVH. [He can pronounce that Name, though believing Israelites felt it was too holy for unclean people to pronounce, so use Adonai or B’rukh HaShem — The Blessed Name].
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break[b] them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Analysis: In this segment a distinction is made between the Lord and His Anointed [mashiakh]. Those who rule the earth want nothing to do with the Lord. In verse 6 the Lord speaks from heaven and states I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” The King is the Lord’s Anointed. Then the Lord speaks of one He has begotten stating “You are my son”. This cannot apply to King David because next it states the nations and ends of the earth will be given to one called “my son”. The Anointed son will break them with a rod of iron.
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
Analysis: Until Messiah rules in Jerusalem, all people die. Eventually ALL the sons and daughters of Adam decay and return to dust. King David wrote these words. He died like all men. He also decayed. So this is not about him. The “faithful one” or holy one also could not be David because he was not always faithful or holy. The one he is speaking about would not stay dead. This same one who died was not abandoned to the realm of the dead or would ever see decay. Only God who became man could make this come to pass.
The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” 3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb. 4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. 7 He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.
Analysis: Through this Davidic prophesy the LORD [YHVH] is speaking to the Lord, Adonai, the Moshiakh ben David, the Son whose ancestor in the flesh bows down to Him. The LORD acknowledges that the Lord has enemies who in time will be brought low. The LORD states that the Lord is the Messiah and also a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He will not only mediate as a priest would but also crush kings at a future time. The Lord is the judge who will triumph.
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!
Analysis: Continuing in the Writings the Lord continues to give hints through those who are inspired by His Spirit. A series of questions are asked. These questions are cleared asked about the Lord. The first question proves that the writer knew the Lord had already come to earth as a human and returned to heaven. The following questions dealt with the Lord who controls the elements and the vastness of this world. “Surely you know” who the Great I AM is, and that has a son. Why would anyone ask these rhetorical questions if they did not already know that the answer was obvious based upon the Torah, earliest “history” books, and Psalms.
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15
Analysis: The Prophets then weighed in with the same theme. A promise is made where the Lord God will give [the Jewish people] a sign. Yes I know the word “beulah” used in the Hebrew Bible means “young girl.” However, the 72 Jewish rabbis, who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek [the Septuagint] used the Greek word for virgin. In this translation they used the word for virgin because they knew a young woman having a child could never be a sign. When a young virgin has a child then this miracle can only lead to one conclusion. That conclusion is that Immanuel [God with us] will one day walk with us. This is the same son that Agur asked about and David wrote about.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Analysis: How will the Lord God come to his people? He will be born among his people. His destiny is to rule. The Lord of Israel is a Wonderful Counselor [Holy Spirit], Mighty God [The Godhead]}, Everlasting Father [God the Father] and Prince of Peace, a title attributed to Yeshua. There will be no end to His reign when He sits on David’s throne. From the time He sits on that throne it will last forever.