Deception in the Church
Israel & Middle East
Jesus the Messiah
One World System
One World Religion
Science & Evolution
We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching
the Bible and understanding our time in
the light of Bible prophecy
Messiah - a great man or a divine person?
If Jesus was much more than a simple Jew, does that mean he was God? I was
discussing this question with an Orthodox Jewish friend. He said that such
an idea is completely impossible for Jewish people to accept. So I asked
him, What is your idea of the Messiah?
He said that the Messiah is a great man, not a divine person, who brings
peace to the world.
I responded that for any man to bring peace to the world is an enormous task
beyond the ability of any mere human. And besides there is one logical
problem. If he is just a great man, what happens when he dies? His answer
was that the Messiah will set up a system which people will fit into because
of his teaching. I said that the problem of human beings is that they don’t
fit into systems.
Rabbi Kaplan in his book The Real Messiah? which is an attack on the view
that Jesus is Messiah states something similar: The Jewish concept of the
Messiah is that which is clearly developed by the prophets of the Bible. He
is a leader of the Jews, strong in wisdom, power and spirit. It is he who
will bring complete redemption to the Jewish people, both spiritually and
physically. Along with this he will bring eternal peace, love, prosperity,
and moral perfection to the entire world. The Jewish Messiah is truly human
in origin. He is born of ordinary human parents, and is of flesh and blood
like all mortals.
So a mortal is going to bring eternal peace and perfection? The essence of
being mortal is that one is going to die someday. In the early 1990s some
members of the Lubavitch movement began to believe that their leader, Rabbi
Menachem Schneerson, was the King Messiah. Then he had a stroke and later
died. Unable to cope with the idea that the old man in his nineties had come
to the end of his natural life, supporters of the Messianic tendency in
Lubavitch have come up with the idea that he will rise from the dead! Of
course if he is more than just an old man dying and really is the Messiah,
then there is a certain logic in believing he will rise from the dead.
However this belief has been pronounced heretical by mainstream Judaism and
for a rather obvious reason. In his book denouncing the Messianic tendency
in Lubavitch, Rabbi David Berger wrote: There is no possibility whatsoever
that the Rebbe would emerge from the dead to be the Messiah. That could be
possible in the Christian faith but not in Judaism. The very suggestion is
repugnant to everything Judaism represents. (The Rebbe, the Messiah and
the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference page 14).
We would agree that there is no possibility that the Rebbe could emerge from
the dead to be the Messiah. However the real Messiah does need to have power
over death if he is to deal permanently with the problems which afflict the
human race. In fact he has to have an endless life and to be an eternal
person himself. He has got to be on hand all the time, for all the people of
the world to deal with their problems. All of which makes him anything but a
normal man born of ordinary human parents of flesh and blood.
The Tenach indicates that the Messiah will be more than a normal man. A
number of scriptures point to his supernatural origin, even to his divine
nature. In the prophecy of Micah 5 we read of one who is to be Ruler in
Israel (Messiah): But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among
the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One who is
to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
The one who is to come out of Bethlehem in Judea will have an origin which
is from everlasting (me yemei olamei from the days of eternity in
Hebrew). Whose origins are from the days of eternity? Only God. Therefore
this prophecy indicates the divine nature of the one to born in Bethlehem.
In Isaiah 9.6 we read of one who is to born a child and yet who is El Gibbor
(the Mighty God) and Av Olamee Everlasting Father / Father of Eternity at
the same time:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government
shall be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful
Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase
of his government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David
and over his kingdom to order it and establish it with judgment and justice
from that time forward even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will
How can someone be a son and the Everlasting Father at the same time? If he
is a mortal reigning on David’s throne how can he establish it with judgment
and justice forever? Why is he called the Mighty God? One rabbinic
explanation of these verses is that they refer to the godly King Hezekiah,
but this does not make sense. The one spoken of being born as a male child
has to be at the same time an eternal person. In fact he has to be God.
In Jeremiah 23.5 we read of the descendant of David who is clearly
identified as the King Messiah. In the next verse we read: In his days
Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell safely: Now this is the name by
which he will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. This name given to the
Messiah contains the divine name YHVH, a clear indication that the Messiah
is to be a divine being.
But how can the Messiah be a divine person if there is one God who is
indivisible and rules in heaven? God cannot leave ruling all creation to
come to the earth can he? God never appeared in human form in the Tenach did he?
I once heard a talk given by a Jewish lady called Sharon Allen, who had been
raised in a very Orthodox Jewish home. Her marriage to an Orthodox Jew in
New York had failed and she moved with her daughter to the west coast of
America. There she married a Gentile businessman, who loved Jewish ways and
actually helped to build a new synagogue which they attended as a family
together. After a while Sharon said to her husband, You’re so Jewish. Why
don’t you convert to Judaism? He agreed and was told that there were three
things he had to do.
Jewish people. No problem.
he had believed in before. Problem.
To Sharon’s amazement he said he could not renounce Jesus. As he had never
been a vocal Christian or attended church during their marriage this came a
shock to her. But then she thought, No problem. Everything that God wants
us to know about the Messiah is in the Jewish Bible. I’ll read the Bible and
prove to my husband that Jesus cannot be the Messiah.
She then prayed to God to show her the truth about the Messiah and began
reading the Jewish Bible in Hebrew (which she was fluent in) from Genesis 1
to the end. She never opened the New Testament, but as she read the Tenach
she could not believe what she was reading and the conclusion she was coming
to. Everywhere she found references to Jesus. The miracles he did, the death
he would die, the fact that he would be received by the Gentiles.
Apart from the prophecies which speak about the Messiah, she could not come
to terms with the person described in the Bible as the Angel of the Lord,
Malach Adonai. People react to him as though they are seeing God. They are
afraid they are going to die as a result. He gives the word of God, he has
the power to forgive sins. Who is he?
She began to read commentaries, the Artscroll series, Rashis commentary,
whatever she could find to give a reason why Jesus could not be the Messiah.
Finding no convincing answer she spoke to her rabbi, who put her on to the
leading anti-missionary rabbis in the USA. Finally she went to a lecture by
Rabbi Immanuel Shochet at her daughters school on why Jewish people should
not believe in Jesus.
The Rabbi said that no Jewish person who had been raised in a kosher Jewish
home and kept all the traditions could believe in that man (Jesus). During
the question time after his talk, Sharon raised her hand and told him that
she had done just that but the more she studied the Jewish Bible the more
she came to see that Jesus fitted with the Jewish expectation of the
Messiah. The major theological problem she presented to the rabbi was the
question of the appearances of the Lord in the Jewish Bible. The logical
conclusion she was coming to was that if God could appear in human form to
the Patriarchs, why was it considered impossible for God to appear in human
form in the person of the Messiah? If this is so, then one of the major
theological objections from Judaism to Jesus being the Messiah is removed.
The rabbi, considered the expert in the field of refuting the claim that
Jesus is Messiah could not answer her questions, so she decided to read the
New Testament for herself and came to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
So does the Jewish Bible point to God being a plural unity, which is vital
to the view that Jesus is the Messiah, or that God is an absolute
indivisible unity, which is vital the view that he is not? Did God appear in
human form in the Jewish Bible?
In the very first verse of the Bible we read, In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1.1). The word for God (Elohim) is a
masculine plural noun. The word for created (bara) is a singular verb. The
very first sentence in the Bible, with a plural noun and a singular verb,
opens up the possibility of God being a plural unity. In verse 26 of the
creation account God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our
likeness. Why not Let me make man in my image? It cannot be that God is
speaking to the angels, because man is not made in the image of angels. The
rabbinic explanation, that it is the plural of majesty, does not add up
either since there is no example in the Bible of Kings addressing themselves
in the plural. The likely explanation for this and other occasions where God
speaks in the plural of himself, Genesis 11.7, Isaiah 6.8, is that God is a
The Bible, especially the Torah, has frequent examples of some physical
manifestation of God appearing to people. In Genesis 3.8 we read that Adam
and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool
of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the
Lord God among the trees of the garden. This shows a physical presence,
someone walking in the garden from whom Adam and Eve thought they could hide.
In Genesis 15.18-20 we read of a mysterious figure called Melchizedek (means
King of Righteousness) who is King of Salem (King of Peace) who meets
Abraham and offers him bread and wine. In Psalm 110 which speaks of the
Messiah we read that Messiah will be a priest forever after the order of
Melchizedek. So who was Melchizedek? A pre-incarnate appearance of the
Messiah, an eternal priest offering bread and wine who is King of
Righteousness and King of Peace? To make this person even more intriguing
Psalm 110 begins with the verse, The Lord said to my Lord. So how can the
Lord speak to the Lord? Jesus took the symbols of bread and wine from the
Jewish Passover and applied them to his body and blood offered as a
sacrifice for the sins of the world (Luke 22.19-20).
In Genesis 17 the Lord appeared to Abraham and made the covenant with him,
promising him multitudes of descendants and giving him the title deeds of
the Promised Land.
In Genesis 18 we read: Then the Lord appeared to him (Abraham) by the
terebinth trees of Mamre. Then Abraham sees three men, who receive food
from Abraham (6-8), which interestingly breaks the rules of rabbinical
kashrut by mixing milk and meat: So he took butter and milk and the calf
which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under
the tree as they ate.
The Lord then tells Abraham he is going to have a child by Sarah (9-15).
Then the men depart for Sodom (16). Although the text does not tell us
that two men depart, when we get to chapter 19 verse 1 the text does tell us
that two angels arrive in Sodom. After the men (angels) have departed in
verse 16, the Lord then tells Abraham what he is going to do in the coming
destruction of Sodom (17-32). After the Lord has heard out Abraham’s plea
for mercy for Sodom the text reads: So the Lord went his way as soon as he
had finished speaking with Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.
(18.33). The implication of all this is that the three men Abraham sees at
the beginning of chapter 18 are two angels who go on to bring Lot and his
family out of Sodom plus the Lord who appears along with these two angels in
physical form as a man and eats food with Abraham. The two angels and the
Lord part company in the course of the narrative.
In Genesis 32 we have an encounter which Jacob had as he was about to cross
over into the Promised Land, returning after 20 years hard labour for Laban
the Syrian for his wives and flocks. He prayed to God, terrified that his
brother Esau will get his revenge and kill him for taking his birthright and
his fathers blessing (Genesis 27). To appease Esau, he sent him gifts and
divided his family and flocks into companies in the hope that this might
give them more protection if they were attacked.
Then Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking
of the day. Now when he saw that he did not prevail against him he touched
the socket of his hip: and the socket of Jacobs hip was out of joint as He
wrestled with him. Genesis 32.24-25. To prove that this was not just a
figment of his imagination Jacob then walked with a permanent limp (31).
You cant get much more physical than an all night wrestling match. The
person you are wrestling with obviously must have a body. So who was this
mysterious man? The next few verses point to the answer:
And He (the man) said, Let me go for the day breaks.'
But he (Jacob) said, I will not let you go unless you bless me.
So He said to him, What is your name?
He said, Jacob.
And He said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel (means
prince with God); for you have wrestled with God and with men and have
Then Jacob asked, saying, Tell me what is your name, I pray.
And He said, Why is it that you ask about my name? And He blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel (means face of God): For I have seen God
face to face and my life is preserved. Genesis 32.26-30.
The only conclusion one can come to from these verses is that Jacob
identified the man he had wrestled with as being God.
So from these verses we see that humans had contact with a being they
identified in human form, but who was also God. He walked in a garden, he
ate food and he wrestled, all very physical activities.
In the book of Exodus we read that the Lord came down onto the mountain at
Sinai (Exodus 19.20) and that he wrote the 10 Commandments on tablets of
stone (Exodus 32.15-16). Writing is another physical activity.
We also read in Exodus of the Angel of the Lord (Malach Adonai) who would go
before the Israelites to bring them into the Promised Land and to fight
against their enemies. At the moment of the exodus, God says, The
Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honour for
myself over Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen. And the Angel of God
who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the
pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. Exodus
14.18-19. In verse 25, after the Egyptians have pursued the Israelites into
the sea, they say, Let us flee from the face of Israel for the Lord fights
for them against the Egyptians. The Lord then goes before the Israelites
in the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day.
Concerning this Angel, the Lord says, Beware of Him and obey His voice; do
not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is
in Him. Exodus 23.21. This sounds like the authority of God is delegated to
Him and His words are as Gods words. He has Gods name in Him and the name
implies His nature. He also has power to pardon or not pardon
transgressions, something which only God can do.
In the book of Judges the Angel of the Lord appears to Manoah and his wife
telling them that they would bear a son who should be a Nazirite (dedicated
to God). This son would be Samson. They ask his name and he replies, Why do
you ask my name seeing it is wonderful? (Judges 13.18). Then when they
offer a burnt offering to the Lord, the Angel of the Lord ascends to heaven
in the flame of the altar. Manoah’s response to this is to say to his wife,
We shall surely die, because we have seen God. Judges 13.22. In other
words they recognise that the Angel of the Lord is equal with God.
A major Messianic prophecy is Zechariah 14 which speaks of the Lord coming
to rescue Israel from the nations which gather against Jerusalem in the last
days of this age. The text says: Then the Lord will go forth and fight
against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day
His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the
east. Zechariah 14.3-4. The word used for the Lord is again the Hebrew name
for God, YHVH. This passage is believed by Orthodox Jews to be about the
Messiah and today the Mount of Olives is covered in gravestones. It is the
most prestigious place to be buried, because it is believed that the Messiah
will come and blow the trumpet for the resurrection of the dead from the
Mount of Olives and then those who are buried there will be the first to be
resurrected. The theological problem this raises for Orthodox Jews is that
if we agree that Zechariah 14 is about the Messiah (and we do!) then the
Messiah is called God. Not only this but he will also apparently have feet
and stand on the Mount of Olives. If he has feet presumably he will have the
rest of a body as well!
We also read that God has a Son in the Jewish Bible. In a parallel passage
to Zechariah 14, Psalm 2, we read of the Lord dealing with the nations in
turmoil and rebellion against him. In response God says, Yet I have set my
King on my holy hill of Zion. Psalm 2.6. He goes on to say of this one:
You are my Son. Today I have begotten you. Ask of Me and I will give you
the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your
possession. Concerning this person we are told Kiss the Son, lest He be
angry, and you perish in the way when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. So this Son will have
authority over the nations. The word for kiss implies worship, so if you
do not worship him you will perish because of his anger, but if you put your
trust in him you will be blessed.
In Proverbs 30.4 there are a series of questions: Who has ascended into
heaven? Who has gathered the wind into his fists? Who has bound the waters
in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? The expected
answer to all these questions is God. But the final question is What is His
name and what is His Sons name, if you know? Good question!
The encounters between God and people in the Jewish Bible referred to here
imply that God appeared in some recognisable form to humans. Quite often he
appeared as a man. Sometimes he is called the Angel of the Lord, sometimes
not. Often the Hebrew word used in these scriptures contains the divine name
YHVH which Judaism considers to be so holy that it cannot even be
pronounced. Significant prophesies about the coming Messiah imply that he
will have a divine, not merely a human nature.
But surely the basic statement of faith of Judaism, the Shema, rules this
out? In Deuteronomy 6.4 we read: Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord
is one. God is one so he cant be three!
Certainly there can’t be three gods, but the Shema does not rule out the
possibility that God can be a plural unity or three in one. Interestingly it
contains the name of God given three times twice as YHVH and pronounced
Adonai when spoken by Jewish people and once as Eloheinu. This is a form
of Elohim, the name of God given in Genesis 1.1 with the suffix -enu which
is the Hebrew way to say our God. The basic word however is the plural
word for God, Elohim.
The word for one used in Deuteronomy 6.4 is the word echad which means
one, but can mean one in the sense of a unity of more than one. For example
in Genesis 2.24 we read, Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. The Hebrew for
one flesh is basar echad. They become one echad through sexual union,
but they remain two people. We read of Israel standing up as one man ish
echad before the Lord. They are united as one people, but they are also
many individual people.
There is another word for one, yachid which is used in Genesis 22.2 when
God tells Abraham to take your only son and offer him as a sacrifice. The
word used for Isaac points to him being one in an absolute indivisible
sense. If the text in Deuteronomy 6.4 had used the word yachid for God we
would have to admit that Judaism, Islam and even the Jehovahs Witnesses are
right and that God is an indivisible unity. We would have to acknowledge
that the view that God is a tri-unity and that the Messiah is a divine
person is impossible. But it does not. It uses the word echad which leaves
open the possibility that God is a plural unity. It does not prove that He
is, but the important point here is that equally it does not prove that He is not.
A fascinating (though somewhat difficult) book on this subject in The Great
Mystery by Rabbi Tzvi Nassi. Written in the 19th century this book quotes
extensively from Jewish writings to show that Jewish scholars have long
wrestled with the problem of the unity of God as revealed in the Hebrew
Bible. He quotes some astonishing writings which point to a view of God as a
plural unity, in which The Middle Pillar is known as the Memra (Word)
through whom the world was made and the Metatron, the Angel of the
Covenant who reveals God to mankind.
He writes of a commentary on the Shema (Deuteronomy 6.4) concerning the
threefold mention of Gods name mentioned above (Sohar, Gen p 15, versa,
Amsterdam Edition): Thus my teacher, Rabbi Simeon ben Yocchai, instructed
me (Sohar, vol 3, p 26) that these three steps in God are three Spirits,
each existing of itself, yet united in One. His words are these: Thus are
three Spirits united in one. The Spirit which is downwards (that is,
counting three) who is called the Holy Spirit; the Spirit which is the
Middle Pillar, who is called the Spirit of Wisdom and of Understanding, who
is also called the Spirit below. The upper Spirit is hidden and in secret.
In Him are existing all the holy Spirits (the holy Spirit and the Middle
Pillar) and all that is light. (Great Mystery page 27-8).
He goes on to show how the ancient paraphrase of the Bible by Jonathan ben
Uziel teaches that it was through the Word (or Memra) who is uncreated and
self existing that God created all things: That this Word is the essential
and uncreated Word, one of the Three Heads which are one is evident from His
being the Creator of man, as the Jerusalem Paraphrase of Jonathan ben Uziel
(Genesis 1.27) faithfully teaches me, saying: And the Word of Jehovah
created man in his likeness, in the likeness of Jehovah, Jehovah created,
male and female created He them. (page 32)
He gives a number of references from Rabbinic writings to the Divine nature
of the Angel of the Covenant or the Angel of God who appeared to the
Patriarchs and led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness.
Commenting on Genesis 31.11 (And the angel of God spoke unto me in a dream
) he quotes Rabbi Moses ben Nachman who says According to the truth this
Angel promised here, the Angel, the Redeemer in whom is the great name; for
in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, the Rock of Ages. He is the
same who has said; I am the God of Bethel (Genesis 31.13). The scriptures
have called him Malach (Angel / Ambassador), because through this
designation of an Ambassador we learn that the world is governed through
Him. (page 56)
He quotes extensively from a commentary by Rabbi Bechai on Exodus 23.21
about the Angel of the Lord, mentioned above: This Angel is not one of
those created intelligences which can sin … This Angel is one of the
Inherent Ones. For He will not pardon your transgressions. Because he
belongs to the class of Beings which cannot sin; yea He is Metatron, the
Prince of Gods countenance and therefore it is said: to keep thee in the way.
He goes on to say that this Angel is the one by whom God is made known in
the world, who must be obeyed as God must be obeyed and whose power to
forgive (or not forgive) sins is not delivered to any of the created
intelligences. So if he is uncreated, who is he? This commentary clearly
distinguishes between created angels who do have the power to sin and this
Angel who is apparently different in nature from any created being. (page 58-60)
Developing this theme, he goes on to show how the Memra (word) is not only
described as the Angel of God, but also as Metatron in Rabbinic writings.
Concerning this mysterious figure he quotes Rabbi Simeon be Yochai in Zohar
volume 3 page 227, Amsterdam edition: The Middle Pillar is the Metatron who
has accomplished peace above according to the glorious state there. (page 61).
Rabbi Bechai (Zohar page 114 column 1 Amsterdam edition) says of Metatron:
God said to Moses, Come up unto the Lord; this is Metatron. He is called by
this name Metatron because in this name are implied two significations,
which indicate his character. He is Lord and Messenger. There is also a
third idea implied in the name Metatron: it signifies a Keeper; for in the
Chaldee language, a keeper (or watchman) is called Matherath: and because
He is the keeper (preserver of the world), He is called (Psalm 121.4) The
keeper of Israel. From the signification of his name we learn that he is
the Lord over all which is below; because all the hosts of heaven and all
things upon earth are put under his power and might. (page 61).
Commenting on Psalm 2 Thou are my Son; this day I have begotten thee he
quotes Tikunei Ha Zohar cap.67, page 130: 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 (from
God); yea, He, Metatron is Jehovah; of Him it cannot be said, He is created,
formed or made; but He is the Emanation from God. (page 70).
A man, who is an Angel and who is Jehovah? If Rabbis can reach this
conclusion about the mysterious being we are looking at who appears all over
the Hebrew Bible, why should it be considered so impossible that the final
revelation of this one should come in Him being born in human form and
dwelling amongst us? Is the Memra (Word) whom the Rabbis speak of as being
active in creation the same one as the Logos (Word) revealed in John
Chapter 1, the Word who was made flesh, the one through whom the worlds were
made appearing in human form? And since John was a Jewish disciple of Jesus,
not a Greek philosopher is it not much more likely that he was thinking of
the Rabbinic concept of the Memra as he wrote his Gospel, not the Greek
philosopher Plato’s concept of the Logos?
Let us leave the last word on this subject with that Gospel:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was
God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him;
and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life and the
life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the
darkness comprehended it not. … And the Word was made flesh and we beheld
his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace
and truth. John 1.1-5, 14.