The Deity of the Messiah

The Incarnation resulted in One who was both man and God.[1] In the last post it was shown that He was a real man, that He had real humanity. The Incarnation did not mean that He gave up any portion of His deity. It was not a lessening of deity, but it was perfect deity taking hold of and adding to Himself a human nature. There are seven evidences of His deity.

First, Jesus had all the divine names. There are seven examples of His divine names. He is called God (Jn. 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8); the Son of God (Mat. 16:16), as well as the Son of Man; Lord (Mat. 22:43‑45; Acts 9:17); the Alpha and the Omega, an expression meaning “the beginning and the end” (Rev. 1:8); the first and the last (Rev. 1:17); the image (Col. 1:15). The Greek word for image means “prototype,” the image in its revealed reality; He is the visible manifestation of the invisible God. And the last divine name is: the very image (Heb. 1:3); He is the exact impress of the divine nature.

Secondly, He has all the attributes of deity. There are ten attributes that prove His deity. First, He has the attribute of eternality (Mic. 5:2; Jn. 1:1;8:58; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:11). Secondly, He has the attribute of immutability; He is unchangeable (Heb. 1:10‑12; 13:8). Thirdly, He has the attribute of self‑existence (Jn. 1:1‑3;5:26). Fourthly, He is life (Jn. 1:4; 14:6; Acts 3:15). Fifthly, He has the fullness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9); everything that was true of God the Father and of the God the Holy Spirit is also true of the Son. Sixth, He has the attribute of holiness (Heb. 7:26). Seventh, He has attribute of sovereignty; He is the sovereign God (Mat. 28:18; Jn. 5:27; 17:2; Acts 2:36; I Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:9‑10; Col. 1:18; I Pet. 3:22; Rev. 19:16). Eighth, He has the attribute of omnipotence; He is all‑powerful (Lk. 8:25; Jn. 10:18; I Cor. 15:25, 28; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:16‑17; I Tim. 1:12; Heb. 1:3;7:25; Jude 24, Rev. 1:8). Ninth, He has the attribute of omniscience; He is all‑knowing (Mat. 11:27; Jn. 1:48; 2:25; 10:15; 13:1, 11; 16:30; 18:4; 19:28; I Cor. 4:5; Col. 2:3; Rev. 2:23). While in His humanity He had limited knowledge, in His deity He is all-knowing. Tenth, He has attribute of omnipresence; He is also everywhere (Mat. 18:20; 28:20; Jn. 3:13;14:18, 20, 23). Thus, He has all the attributes of deity.

Thirdly, He does the works that only God can do. There are six examples of His works. First, He did the work of creation (Jn. 1:3, 10; I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3, 10). Secondly, He does the work of the preservation of the Creation (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). Thirdly, He has the power to forgive sins (Mat. 9:2, 6; Lk. 5:24; 7:47‑48). Fourthly, He is the One who sends the Holy Spirit, something only God can do (Jn. 15:26). Fifth, He is going to raise the dead, both the righteous and unrighteous (Jn. 6:40). Sixth, He is the One who will execute the final judgments (Mat. 25:31‑46; Jn. 5:22‑27; Acts 17:31; II Cor. 5:10; II Tim. 4:1). He does the works of God, which proves His deity.

Fourthly, His deity is seen in that worship was ascribed to Him (Mat. 14:33; Jn. 9:38;20:28; Phil. 2:10; Heb. 1:6).

Fifth, His deity is seen in that He is the One who gives immortality (Jn. 5:28‑29; 6:39‑40; 17:2; Phil. 3:21).

Sixth, His deity is seen in His association with the Trinity. First, He is associated with God the Father (Jn. 10:30;14:23). Secondly, He is associated with both the Father and the Holy Spirit (Mat. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14).

And seventh, His deity is seen in His own divine claims. He made four such divine claims. First, He claimed to enjoy the closest possible relationship to God so that to know the Messiah is to know God (Jn. 8:19; 14:7); to see the Messiah was to see God (Jn. 12:45; 14:9); to receive Him was to receive God (Mk. 9:37); to honor Him was to honor God (Jn. 5:23). He said: I and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30). Secondly, He claimed to be the object of saving faith (Mat. 11:28; Jn. 3:36; 14:1; 17:3). Thirdly, He claimed absolute dominion over His followers, something which only God has the right to expect (Mat. 10:37‑39). Fourthly, He claimed sovereignty over the laws and institutions of God: He claimed to be the Lord of the Temple (Mat. 12:6); lord of the Sabbath (Mat. 12:8); Lord of the Kingdom of God (Mat. 16:19); and sovereignty over the New Covenant (Mat. 26:28). The fact that Yeshua made these divine claims means one of three things: either He was a deceiver or He was self‑deceived or He truly was who He claimed to be. Those who know Him, know Him to indeed be the One He claimed to be: their Messiah, their Savior, and their God.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

Truths About the Incarnation: Part 1

The term “Incarnation” comes from a Latin word that means “in flesh.”[1] It means that God took on human nature. Because it was God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, who became incarnate or in flesh, it is probably more correct and proper to say that it was the Logos or the Word that became flesh, rather than saying that God became a man, though both statements are actually true. The Incarnation means that suddenly there were two natures in one Person. The two natures were always distinct and never mixed within the one Person.

The most extended passage is John 1:1‑14. Notice that in the beginning the Word was with God (v. 1b), the Word was God (v. 1c) – God the Son – and the Word became flesh (v. 14). The Word that was in the beginning with God, that was God, at a certain point in human history took on flesh, became man, and that was the Incarnation.

Two key phrases concerning the Incarnation are found in Romans 1:3-4: according to the flesh (v. 3) and according to the spirit of holiness (v. 4). This is the Incarnation. He became man according to the flesh. It was accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit; therefore, it was according to the Spirit as well.

In Phil 2:6-8 we see that “One” always existed in the form of God (v. 6); for all eternity past, He existed in the form of God, because He was the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son. Secondly, He that existed in the form of God for all eternity, at some point in human history, was made into the likeness of men (v. 7). That is the statement of the Incarnation: He was made into the likeness of sinful men. The use of the term likeness does not mean He was not really a man. The term likeness emphasizes the similarity to sinful men in that, by mere observation, He did not look any different than any other human being. Except, in His case, He did not commit a single sin. He was an absolutely real human being, a real man, but not a sinful man. Thirdly, He was found in fashion as a man (v. 8).

Two other passages are worth mentioning here. In 1 Tim 3:16 Jesus was manifested in the flesh and in Heb 2:14 Jesus partook of flesh and blood, both references to the Incarnation.



[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

Eternal Security: Problem Passages, Part 3

Another area of passages that people use to try to show that one can lose his salvation are Scriptures that speak of mere reformation or outward profession, but not of real salvation.[1]

One such passage is Matthew 7:22‑23. Notice what Yeshua says to those people who even did miracles in His name. Jesus does not say, “I used to know you, but you lost your salvation, so I don’t know you any longer.” Rather, He says: I never knew you. Miracles are possible in the name of a counterfeit Yeshua, because Satan can duplicate many of the miracles of Jesus. Just because these people claimed to have done things in the name of Yeshua does not necessarily make it true. They had outward profession, but Jesus said: I never knew you, and that clearly means they were never saved to begin with.

Another passage that people like to use is Matthew 13:1‑8, which deals with the parable of the four types of soils and four different types of responses. It should be noted that this is a parable and the purpose of a parable is to illustrate a point. One cannot develop doctrine from the parables themselves. In any case, He never once said that those who believed lost their salvation. He pointed out that there are some who believe but are never rooted in the Word of God, so they will never mature. Others believe, but the cares of the world keep them from maturing, so they remain baby believers and lose out on rewards. But in this parable, there is no statement about losing one’s salvation.

Another passage often used is Luke 11:24‑26. “Is this passage speaking of someone who became a believer and then lost his salvation?” People who use this passage do so by claiming that, when the demon left, it meant that the person was saved. The demon’s return showed that he then lost his salvation. But the mere removal of demons is not salvation. A person can have a demon cast out of him, but that does not mean he is automatically saved. He is not saved until he exercises faith. It is entirely possible that a demon can come out of a person without that person himself exercising saving faith. So the removal of a demon does not equal salvation. And in this case, the demon was not even cast out; the demon simply left on his own volition. Of his own free will, he went looking for a better place to live. When he was not able to find one, he came back to the man in whom he was living earlier. But the person himself was never saved to begin with, and mere removal of a demon does not equal salvation.

Another passage that fits into this category is I Corinthians 15:1‑4, where Paul deals with the issue of the gospel and salvation. This passage does not say that the Corinthians were lost. He simply tells the Corinthians that he wants them to know the content of faith, which saves. He is saying that if they truly believe this gospel, then by this gospel they are saved. If they believed something else, then they believed in vain and they do not have salvation. Throughout the Book of I Corinthians, he treats them as truly saved people and, in this passage, he spells out the content of the gospel to let them know clearly, what it is that saved them. It is not their works, nor their gifts, nor their actions, but believing the simple content of the gospel. Paul simply wanted to clarify for them the content of the gospel that saves.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

ARAB STATES IN PROPHECY: THE ANIMOSITY CONTINUES

The hatred and animosities of Ishmael and Esau toward the Jews were instilled in their descendants.[1] There has been a continuous, perpetual hatred of the descendants of Esau and Ishmael against the Jews that is characterized especially by the Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael, and the Edomites, descendants of Esau. An example that shows how early the descendants had this animosity is found in Numbers 20:14‑21.

By the time this passage takes place, it would appear that the tables were indeed reversed; it would appear that the Arabs had all the blessings and the Jews had all the curses. The descendants of Esau had established their nation in the mountains ofMt.Seir; they had king after king and had become a strong and mighty people. But Jacob and his descendants went intoEgyptand eventually became slaves of the Egyptians. NowIsraelhad been rescued and was moving toward her inheritance¾theLandofCanaan. The shortest route to their homeland would be to go by way of thelandofEdom. Again, the Edomites are the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. A request had to be issued, and this is found in Numbers 20:14‑21:

From Kadesh Moses then sent messengers to the king of Edom: “Thus your brother Israel has said, ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us; that our fathers went down to Egypt, and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly. ‘But when we cried out to the LORD, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt; now behold, we are at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. ‘Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard; we will not even drink water from a well. We will go along the king’s highway, not turning to the right or left, until we pass through your territory.'” Edom, however, said to him, “You shall not pass through us, or I will come out with the sword against you.” Again, the sons of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if I and my livestock do drink any of your water, then I will pay its price. Let me only pass through on my feet, nothing else.” But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against him with a heavy force and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.

A simple request is made on the basis of the blood relationship between these two nations. When Moses writes his letter, he says: Thus says your brother Israel. Although this is a simple request only to pass through without doing any damage to the territory, the answer of the Edomites is “no.” Although about four hundred years had passed by this time, the perpetual animosity that had begun with Esau had been instilled in Esau’s descendants against the Jews. To make sure the Jews do not cross their country, the Edomites come out with their army to their border to force the Jews to take a much longer route to their own homeland, even though the Edomites had already settled in theirs.

In the Book of Judges, we often read of Ishmaelites, Edomites, and other descendants of these two men inflicting damage upon Israel. Even afterIsraelsettled in her own Land, we find the animosity still there.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

What has the Church Received from the Jews? Part 2, The Savior

A second thing that the Church has received from the Jews is the Savior, for Yeshua was a Jew.[1] The Jewishness of the Savior is brought out several times in Scripture. For example, in John 4:9, the Samaritan woman clearly recognized Him to be a Jew, and later in Rom 9:5, after stating that the Scriptures are of the Jews (v. 4), Paul adds of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh. Hebrews 7:14 states: For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, meaning He was a member of the Tribe of Judah, and Gal 4:1-7 states that Jesus was born “under the law” in order to redeem Jews that were under the law and so that both Jews and Gentiles might receive the adoption of sons.

Another passage concerning the importance of the Jewishness of Yeshua is Hebrews 2:14‑17. The emphasis in this passage is to show why Jesus had to come as a human being and, more specifically, as a Jewish human being. It distinguishes, first of all, between fallen angels and fallen men. Verse 16 points out that God did not choose to provide salvation for angels and, for that reason, Yeshua never took on “angelanity.” He never became an angel to become a substitutionary atonement for other angels. God provided salvation only for humanity, and so God became human. But because there was a special connection with the work of redemption in connection to Israel under the Law, verse 16 points out that He did not come as just any man; He came specifically as a member of the seed of Abraham. He came as a Jew.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

Death and the Work of the Messiah

Death and the Work of the Messiah

Yesterday we began a discussion about the biblical view/meaning of death.[1] Today we shall look at death with respect to the work of the Messiah. Two things need to be discussed: the two types of resurrections, and the kind of death that Yeshua (Jesus) died.

The Two Types of Resurrections

When the Bible speaks of resurrection from the dead, one must distinguish between two types of resurrections.

1.  Restoration Back to Physical Life

The first type is only a restoration back to natural physical life. What this means is that later the person will die again physically. This restoration-type resurrection occurred twice in the Old Testament (2 Kg. 4:32‑37, 13:20‑21) and at least four times in the New Testament (Mat. 9:18‑26; Mk. 5:21‑24, 35‑43; Lk. 8:40‑42, 49‑56; Lk. 7:11‑17; Jn. 11:1‑44; Mat. 27:52‑53). In all of these resurrections, each person died again later.

2.  True Resurrection Life

The second type of resurrection from the dead is the type that means resurrection life, in which one is no longer subject to death (Rom. 6:9). True resurrection life means a person is no longer capable of dying physically, because there was a change in the nature of the body that has been resurrected. So far, Jesus is the only one who has been resurrected in this way. That is why Yeshua is called the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5). Critics have often felt that this statement is contradictory, for how could Jesus be called the firstfruits of the resurrection since there were others who had been resurrected before Him. But all the others who were resurrected before Yeshua underwent the first type of resurrection, which was merely a restoration back to natural life

The Kinds of Deaths the Messiah Died

What kind of death/s did Yeshua the Messiah die? Two types (see yesterday’s study):

1. Spiritual Death

First, He died a spiritual death. During the second three hours upon the cross when the whole world was enveloped in darkness, those three hours of darkness marked the three hours in which He was separated from God the Father. At that point, the sins of the world were placed upon Yeshua the Messiah, and at that point, God the Father turned away. There was a separation between the Father and the Son, Jesus the perfect man. For three hours, Yeshua was spiritually dead.

We must remember that the Messiah was the God-Man, meaning that He was only one Person, but with two distinct natures: divine and human. As for His divine nature, there was never any separation between the Father and the Son; that is, there was always an unending, uninterrupted fellowship with God the Father. However, as for His human nature, there was a three-hour separation as Jesus died spiritually on the cross. It must be emphasized that this was a separation in His humanity, not in His deity.

2. Physical Death

At the end of those three hours, He cried: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Yeshua died spiritually and was resurrected spiritually (Matt 27:45‑46; Mark 15:33‑34; Luke 23:44) before He died physically (Matt 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30).

Jesus died two types of death on the cross. First of all, He died a spiritual death; and, secondly, a physical death. It is the physical death that was necessary for the Atonement. The spiritual death was not necessary for the Atonement, but it was necessary for Him to become a sympathetic High Priest (Heb. 2:17‑18). Because of the kind of deaths that Yeshua died on the cross, He changed the whole nature of death for the believer.


[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.