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Have you considered that Jesus was only a prophet?

Question

Have you considered that Jesus was a prophet of God, a man like Moses, and that worship of this Jewish man is heresy and idolatry? Following what he said is fine, but he called himself a prophet and forbid others to worship him. He taught with authority and was born, like Isaac, as a miracle from God - but does that make him God? No, we are all sons of God, who follow His Commandments.

Reply

“The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24)

Actually, to answer your question directly, I have spent the past 40 years of my life very carefully considering whether Yeshua (or Jesus, as you call him) is HaShem come in the flesh, or whether he was merely “a man like Moses” because where you and I spend eternity depends completely upon the answer to that question.

The Bible declares Him to be both Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David, Israel’s Messiah and Redeemer, and the Son of the Most High. In the following brief discussion I have quoted just the most significant words of the passages in question (to save space on this page), but I have provided a link to the appropriate section of Scripture. The reader is strongly encouraged to read the complete section in context.

He called himself a prophet because the word “prophet” simply means “one who speaks for another.” He claimed to speak for his Father, the Most High.

“I say these things so that you might be saved. … For the things the Father has given me to do, the very things I am doing now, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. … moreover, His word does not stay in you, because you don't trust the one He sent. You keep examining the Tanakh because you think that in it you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to me, but you won't come to me in order to have life! … I do know you people — I know that you have no love for God in you! I have come in my Father's name, … ” (John 5:31-46)

The Jewish leaders of His day understood perfectly that He claimed to be God.

This answer made the Judeans all the more intent on killing him—not only was he breaking Shabbat; but also, by saying that God was his own Father, he was claiming equality with God. (John 5:16-18)

When HaShem revealed Himself to Moshe in the burning bush, Moshe asked for His name, to which HaShem replied:

God said to Moshe, "I AM WHO I AM," and he said, "You shall tell the children of Yisra'el this: "I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:14)

“I AM” is about as near as we can come to a translation of the divine name hwhy (YHWH). Yeshua claimed to be “I AM.”

Then the Yehudim said to him “... Who do you make yourself out to be?” Yeshua answered, “… Your father Avraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.… Most assuredly, I tell you, before Avraham came into existence, I AM.” They took up stones therefore to throw at him [for calling Himself God]… (John 8:51-59)

Only God can forgive sin, but Yeshua forgave sins.

When Yeshua saw their trust, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The Torah-teachers and the P'rushim began thinking, “Who is this fellow that speaks such blasphemies? Who can forgive sin except God?” But Yeshua, knowing what they were thinking, answered, “Why are you turning over such thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier to say? ‘Your sins are forgiven you’? or ‘Get up and walk’? But look! I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” He then said to the paralytic, “I say to you: get up, pick up your mattress and go home!’ Immediately, in front of everyone, he stood up, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home praising God. (Luke 5:20-25)

Yeshua most certainly did not forbid others to worship him. He accepted worship on several occasions.

After Yeshua was born in Beit-Lechem in the land of Y'hudah during the time when Herod was king, Magi from the east came to Yerushalayim and asked, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

“As he was starting on his way, a man ran up, kneeled down in front of him and asked, "Good rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)

A week later his talmidim were once more in the room, and this time T'oma was with them. Although the doors were locked, Yeshua came, stood among them and said, “Shalom aleikhem!” Then he said to T'oma, “Put your finger here, look at my hands, take your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be lacking in trust, but have trust!” T'oma answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Yeshua said to him, “Have you trusted because you have seen me? How blessed are those who do not see, but trust anyway!” (John 20:26-29)

The crowds ahead of him and behind shouted, “Hoshia`na!” [“Yahweh deliver us!”] to the son of David; “Baruch habah b'shem ADONAI!” [“Blessed is he who comes in the name of ADONAI!”] “You in the highest heaven, Hoshia`na [Yahweh deliver us!]” (Matthew 21:9) [The title “Son of David” is the title of Mashiach ben David, the Redeemer of Israel.]

A woman from Kena`an who was living there came to him, pleading, “ADONAI, have pity on me. Son of David! My daughter is cruelly held under the power of demons!” (Matthew 15:22)

Two blind men sitting by the side of the road heard that he was passing by and shouted, “Son of David! Have pity on us!” The crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “ADONAI! Son of David! Have pity on us!” (Matthew 20:30-31)

You said, “We are all sons of God, who follow His Commandments.” But to the Torah-observant Parushim (Pharisees, the most Torah-observant sect of all Israel, who followed the Mitzvot with extreme care) Yeshua said:

“If you are children of Avraham, then do the things Avraham did! … You are doing the things your father does.” … They said to him. “We have only one Father — God!” Yeshua replied to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me; because I came out from God; and now I have arrived here. I did not come on my own; he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I'm saying? Because you can’t bear to listen to my message. You belong to your father, Satan, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. From the start he was a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is speaking in character; because he is a liar — indeed, the inventor of the lie! But as for me, because I tell the truth you don’t believe me.” (John 8:39-45)

One final point of discussion (expanding on a point made briefly above). Yeshua clearly demonstrated His power and authority as ADONAI (hwhy) on the night that He was arrested, as described in John 10:1-8. For a very long time I wondered why those who came to arrest Yeshua that night when He identified Himself to them. When they said they were looking for “Jesus of Nazareth,” he replied “I am he,” and they all fell to the ground. — But look carefully. If you have a very good English translation, the word “he” in the passage is either in italics or within {braces} to indicate that the word does not exist in the original manuscripts, but has been added by the editors to make the text read more smoothly in English.

The Greek New Testament says only ego eimi ego eime, “I AM” — this is how the Septuagint (LXX, the Greek translation of the Tanakh used in the first century) translates the Hebrew word hyh Hayah, ”I AM.”

Moshe had just confronted HaShem in the burning bush and asked Him to reveal His Name. “God said to Moshe, ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],’ and added, ‘Here is what to say to the people of Isra'el: “hyh [Hayah, ”I AM.”] has sent me to you.”’” This is the first time in the Tanakh that HaShem reveals His sacred Name to humanity.

The night that Yeshua was arrested He had a confrontation with those who had come to arrest Him.

After Yeshua had said all this, He went out with his talmidim across the stream that flows in winter through the Vadi Kidron, to a spot where there was a grove of trees; and He and his talmidim went into it. Now Y'hudah, who was betraying Him, also knew the place; because Yeshua had often met there with His talmidim. So Y'hudah went there, taking with him a cohort of Roman soldiers and some Temple guards provided by the head cohanim and the P'rushim; they carried weapons, lanterns and torches. Yeshua, who knew everything that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, “Whom do you want?” “Yeshua from Natzeret,” they answered. He said to them, “I AM” [ego eimi, hyh]. Also standing with them was Y'hudah, the one who was betraying Him. When He said, “I AM” [ego eimi, hyh], they went backward from him and fell to the ground. So He inquired of them once more, “Whom do you want?” and they said, “Yeshua from Natzeret.” “I told you, ‘I AM’” [ego eimi, hyh] answered Yeshua, “so if I'm the one you want, let these others go." … (John 18:1-8)

There were typically 480 men in a Roman cohort. John tells us that a detachment from the Temple Guard plus an entire Roman cohort were dispatched to arrest Him, a “SWAT team” of approximately 500 well-armed and well-trained soldiers. When Yeshua revealed Himself to them using His (HaShem’s) Sacred Name, the power of His Name pinned 500 armed men to the ground, where they remained until Yeshua released them to get up and take Him away.

He left absolutely no doubt in their minds exactly who He is!

It is not enough to merely follow the teachings of Moshe and Yeshua. Yeshua said, “Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see the kingdom of God.” … unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into the kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. …” (John 3:3-8)

Shalom b'Mashiach,
Ari

Page last updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 11:21 AM
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Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)