YESHUA BAR ELOHIM: THE ENIGMA OF JESUS AS SON

JESUS AS SON: PART 3 “JESUS AS EMBODIED ISRAEL”

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols” (vv. 1–2).

– Hosea 11:1–7

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Another aspect tied to the title of Son of God, is that of the identity of the nation of Israel. As Hosea points out in the verse, Yahweh actually refers to Israel as his own beloved child, and as his son. Although it should be noted that Moses is the first to point this out in Exodus, but he isn’t permitted by God to speak of it. This particular identity is historic in nature; implying that it is tied to the Jacob, the father of the 12 sons of Israel. Now, what’s even peculiar about this is that Jacob who was given a new name by a divine stranger was called ‘Prince with God’. This identity ties well with the identity of the Messiah as Prince of Shalom (as the true Prince/Ruler with God).

Jesus exercises his authority as the ultimate Patriarch that will redefine the world by selecting the 12. Now, if this isn’t made clear enough, Jacob’s name literally meant liar; Jesus intentionally revealed his name as ‘The Truth’. There’s not only that revelation but the continued allusion to his very being as the ‘Vine’ and his followers as the ‘branches’ as seen in John 15. This identity is essential to Jesus’s teachings as he anchors his church to his identity as the sole source of teaching. This is how God’s working in the messiah manifests its weight; God has revealed that he redeems by redefining and replacing the old in a manner that only he could.

The kingdom of God is unlikely to be formed unless Jesus lived the life that Israel was to live in all its history, and that is a righteous, devoted life to Yahweh alone; this is based off Deuteronomy 6:6. So, the theory goes, that when Jesus lived the perfect sinless life, his very life was made capable of enveloping all who were going to fall under the umbrella of his name as Son. It is in this very belief that the generational gap that stretched over for centuries is now reduced because Israel Incarnate has truly become Immanuel. He is our direct connection to God the Father as he is also now our Elder Brother as the book of Hebrews tells us.

So, you see, there’s quite a lot going on here with Jesus’ title of ‘Son of God’. Each of these implications are reflected in Jesus’ teachings as well as the doctrines surrounding him in the entire New Testament. What then does all this mean for us today? I have 3 main ideas:

a. Jesus identity as Israel gives us direct access to God and as such we can approach him directly (not relying on traditions as the Pharisees did).

b. We are assured of a genuine cover of our lives when we submit to him; Jesus is capable of understanding us “at all our points of weakness” because he himself was tested but yet without sin as the book of Hebrews tells us.

c. Jesus has given his followers a new identity as the members of the divine city, we have become, in him true Israel; if we remain in him we continue to be true Israel according to John 15.

And, to make things even more interesting. The New Testament would paint Jesus’s life in the same way as the Israelite journey, especially Jesus’s Flee to Egypt, his Baptism, His Period in the Wilderness for 40 days, His Temptation, His Passion and the eschatological aspect of Israel; His Resurrection. The Resurrection is blanketed over mankind and over all creation for those who believe in him. This is why John 1 would tell us, “those who believed in him he gave the power to become sons of God”. Paul the Apostle on the same note would say, “As he is, so also shall we be”.

“Do not fear, I have overcome…behold I was alive, and was dead and now I am alive forever more”

-Jesus to John

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BORED-TESTAMENT: WHY THE TANAKH/OT IS EXTRAORDINARY

“Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad!”

-Debrayim 6:6

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The Old Testament is a fascinating library of books. A common misconception categorizes the Old Testament/Tanakh as a single book which-as many bible scholars world over, from both Jewish and Christian traditions would say, is a gross error. Although it is tackled as a unified whole, it was not compiled during a single period of time, but over several centuries, as the Gideons’ Bibles would rightly put it at the preface, “[The Bible] was put together by people from diverse backgrounds, places and time periods” (my summary). It is this single point that is vital to understanding the Bible as a library in and of itself. And although it does impact the world today after so many years of being in existence, it still wasn’t written to the world as the immediate audience.

Mystery still lies behind this phenomenon as it has shown that the Bible, in spite of its diverse authorship is still able to communicate to people living in our day and age. This is what is known as the divine inspiration of the text. Inspiration implying, in theological terms, that God was able to speak his words and communicate to his people over time through the words of the writers of the books. Troublesome as this might seem, it has helped many people over history to learn something about the divine. Not only has this feat been accomplished, it has also helped unravel the nature of YHWH/Ha-Shem (The Name) to men.

This nature of God is that of justice. Oftentimes, we see his justice play out in a manner that seems odd and not so contemporary to what we already know and see today in our legal systems. This too should not be an area of concern for as peculiar as it might be, people living thousands of years before us had specific concerns and expectations regarding their deities. These desires often manifested as the need for the deity to show his/her might in certain situations. Sometimes, this would mean that the gods would truly be seen as powerful if they reigned over more elemental forces. This seems to be a common thought in most world mythologies, of which Egypt had Re the Sun God. And in an interesting turn of events was fused with Amun to become even greater, Amun Re!

Now here’s where the Old Testament gets real interesting. Although many are familiar with the Biblical story of creation, we often get entangled in finding the meaning behind the message of the narrative. Although the pursuit is in itself noble, it is important to note that Genesis 1 for instance, is said to not merely talk about creation from the scientific point of view but from a theological perspective. It is said that the manner in which it is written is similar to that of a craftsman [living at that time] building a temple, with the last day of creation being the day when he constructed images/likenesses of the god/gods to dwell in the inner sanctuary of his/her presence. For Christian theologians, it might be even more interesting to suggest that perhaps God’s creation of Adam and Eve and letting them dwell in his presence in the Garden of Eden is a clear reflection of God’s original intent for mankind; to be right by his side always.

Back to the point though, Adam and Eve are those images in whom now the God of the Bible breathes his spirit into and they become, not clay/stone puppets, but living breathing beings like their Maker. This creation in his image and likeness, demonstrating the life-giving power of YHWH is the treasure carried by his worshipers. This explains YHWH’s ‘jealousy’ when his people pursued ‘lifeless no-gods (lo elohim)’. And that’s where the tragedy is made clear that God is trying to restore man into his (God’s) image in the world. This takes place through the most interesting drama ever to be witnessed; rape, murder, coups, prophetic messages, adultery, incest and lies just to name a few.

How bad do we really think we are? Isn’t God able to make us a part of his story today?

Shalom!

“God: Why do you eat of the fruit of the tree that I forbade you to eat?”

Adam: The woman YOU gave me to eat and I ate it”

-God’s good character first denied by man to his Maker in the first cosmic trial to ever be held