Archive for the 'Creator' Category

06 16th, 2016

One Yahweh

A common teaching throughout Christianity and Messianic Judaism is that Messiah Yeshua preexisted as the “Yahweh” (YHWH) of the Old Testament. This teaching takes two forms. To some, Yeshua is the one and only “Yahweh”. To others, he is a second “Yahweh” (his Father being the other “Yahweh”). The latter concept is known as the “greater and lesser YHWH”. Can either of these concepts be true?

This study will seek to address the issue of whether or not the Son was called “Yahweh” in the Old Testament. I say, “Old Testament” because it is quite possible that Yeshua will bear the name “Yahweh” in some sense, either now, or in the future. This study will not address the concept of Yeshua being the “one and only Yahweh” (Oneness). That is a separate issue that is addressed on this website.

To begin with, let’s reference several verses that are united in their message that there was only one being known as “Yahweh” at that time.

1. “Now therefore, O Yahweh our Mighty One, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art Yahweh Elohim, even thou only” (II Kings 19:19 )

2. “Thou, even thou art Yahweh alone; . . .” ( Nehemiah 9:6 )

3. “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Yahweh, art the most high over all the earth” ( Psalm 83:18 )

4. ” . . .that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art Yahweh, even thou only” (Isaiah 37:20 )

5. “I am Yahweh, and there is none else . . .” (Isaiah 45:5 )

6. “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am Yahweh, and there is none else” ( Isaiah 45:6 )

7. “For thus saith Yahweh that created the heavens; . . .I am Yahweh; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18 )

8. “And Yahweh shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Yahweh, and His name one” ( Zechariah  14:9 )

9. “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Mighty One, Yahweh is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Each of the verses above are didactic, that is, they clearly instruct us. From these verses, we are to learn that, at the time the verses were spoken/written, there was no other being in the universe that bore the name “Yahweh” except the subject addressed. Hezekiah, Nehemiah, Asaph, Isaiah, Zechariah, Moses, and Yahweh Himself understood this crucial fact.

How does this fact relate to the teaching that Yeshua is a second Yahweh? Its simple. If Yeshua existed in Old Testament times as “Yahweh”, then his Father could not be “Yahweh” as well. If the Father existed as “Yahweh” in Old Testament times, then Yeshua could not be “Yahweh” as well. These are undeniable facts of logic. If they are wrong, then all the above authors have taught us falsely.

Proponents of this theory that Yeshua is a second Yahweh or lesser YHWH conclude such by misunderstanding the following verses which seem to apply the name “Yahweh” to the Son. When rightly understood, however, those same verses teach no such thing. If they did, then how can they be harmonized with the didactic verses listed above?

Genesis 19:24

“Then Yahweh rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven;”

At first glance there appear to be two Yahwehs, one in heaven and one somewhere near Sodom and Gomorrah. This is merely a figure of speech peculiar to the Hebrew language, an idiom. Similar idioms are seen in Ezekiel 11:24 (two Spirits), Zechariah 10:12 ( two Yahwehs), Genesis 17:23 (two Abrahams), and 1 Kings 8:1 (two Solomons).

Deuteronomy 6:4

“Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Mighty One, Yahweh is one.”

It is believed by many that the word “echad,” translated “one,” means “a united one” or a “compound unity,” not singularity. The scriptures prove this belief to be false. Note Numbers 7:13-82 where “echad” is translated “one” 84 times and each time it means one as in the number one, singularity. Consider also Genesis 2:1 – one rib and Daniel 9:27 – one week.

Historic Judaism does not give echad the meaning of compound unity or plurality as is seen in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 14, p.1373: “Perhaps from earliest times, but certainly from later, the word echad (one) was understood also to mean unique. God is not only one and not many, but He is totally other than what paganism means by gods.” Note also The Jewish Commentary, Soncino Edition, p.770: “He is one because there is no other Elohim than He; but He is also one, because He is wholly unlike anything else in existence. He is therefore not only one, but the Sole and Unique, Elohim.”

Perhaps the most conclusive evidence that the word echad has the meaning of alone or unique comes to us from the Messiah himself in Mark 12:28-34. When asked which commandment was the most important, Yeshua responded by quoting the Shema. In response to his answer the teacher replied, “You are right in saying that [Yahweh] is one and there is no other but Him.” Although Yeshua did not specifically say “there is no other but Him” the teacher understood that meaning to be implied in the word echad or one. Yeshua acknowledged that the teacher answered wisely thereby confirming the teacher’s correct understanding of the meaning of the Shema.

It is true that echad was used in verses such as Genesis 2:24 and Genesis 41:25. There we see two people becoming one flesh and two dreams having one meaning. The key here is that two become one. In the Shema, we only see one individual, Yahweh, proclaimed to be one! It doesn’t say, “And the two Yahweh’s became one.” In the two verses in Genesis, we don’t see one becoming two. But that is what people are trying to do with the Shema. They say one means two and therefore, there must be two Yahweh’s. What utter nonsense!

Isaiah 6:5 with John 12:41

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips for mine eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5 )

“These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him”

A superficial reading leads one to believe that the “his” and “him” of verse 41 refers to Yeshua and ties in with verse 37. For the sake of clarity these verses will be printed out with [brackets] designating the speaker. John 12:37,38;

“But though he [Yeshua] had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him [Yeshua]: That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he [Isaiah] spoke, Lord, ‘who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Yahweh been revealed?’ “

(The underlined is a quote from Isaiah 53:1. The “arm of Yahweh” is Isaiah’s reference to the Messiah). The passage continues with verses 39-41;

“Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, ‘He [Yahweh] hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I [Yahweh] should heal them.’ These things said Isaiah, when he [Isaiah] saw his [Yahweh’s] glory, and spoke of him [Yahweh].”

Verse 40 (underlined) is a quote from Is.6:10. John is quoting a second passage from Isaiah to show why they could not believe on Yeshua; because Yahweh blinded them. Verse 41 therefore, is referring to Isaiah 6:10, not Isaiah 53:1. In Isaiah 6:1-3 Yahweh is seen in all His glory. That is the glory referred to in verse 41. It was not Yeshua’s glory and Yeshua was not being called “Yahweh”.

Isaiah 8:14 with 1 Peter 2:8

“And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” ( Isaiah 8:14 )

“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: where unto also they were appointed” ( 1 Peter 2:8 )

Peter is here applying a part of Isiah 8:14 to Messiah. It is to be understood in the sense that, since Yeshua is Yahweh’s representative or agent (Hebrew – Shaliach), whatever Yeshua does is credited to Yahweh or is as though Yahweh did it. Isaiah says Yahweh will be a stumbling stone. Yahweh then causes Israel to stumble over Yeshua which makes them both stumbling stones. “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is Yahweh’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:22,23).

Isaiah 40:3 with Matthew 3:3

Since John the Baptist preceded Yeshua, Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3 are often used to prove Yeshua is called Yahweh. Isaiah 40:3 reads,

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim.”

Of all the N.T. verses that quote Isaiah, Luke 3:4-6 aids our understanding because it includes Isaiah 40:4 & 5. It says,

“As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of Yahweh.”

“Prepare ye the way of Yahweh” does not mean, “Move out of the way because Yahweh is coming.” And so when Yeshua comes they believe he is Yahweh.

How was “the way” to be prepared? By filling valleys, leveling mountains, straightening paths, etc. This work is not to be understood literally, but spiritually through the humbling of those in exalted positions and the restoration of truth. Who was to do that work? John 4:34 says,

“Yeshua saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish his work.”

Almighty Yahweh appointed His Son Yeshua to finish His work. Yeshua was Yahweh’s instrument in the accomplishment of His great plan. Yeshua is the “Messenger of the Covenant,” “the servant of Yahweh,” and “the salvation of Yahweh.” John 14:6 calls Yeshua “the way.” He is “the way of Yahweh;” the means through which Yahweh will finish His work. Yeshua is not being called “Yahweh” in these verses.

Isaiah 45:23 with Philippians 2:10,11

“. . .That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely shall one say, in Yahweh have I righteousness and strength: . . .” ( Isaiah 45:23,24 )

“That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that Yeshua Messiah is Master, to the glory of Elohim the Father” ( Philippians 2:10,11 )

Paul does apply portions of Isaiah 45:23 to Yeshua in Philippians 2:10,11. That does not mean he is also applying the Name “Yahweh” to him as well. John 5:23 helps us to understand this. If you don’t honor the Son, by extension, you don’t honor the Father. And John 15:23; if you hate the Son, by extension, you hate the Father. If you bow your knees to the Son, by extension, you bow your knees to the Father. Notice that what is sworn in Isaiah 45:23,24 is not what is sworn in Philippians 2:11. (every tongue shall confess or swear that Yeshua is “Master” [kurios]). That same word (kurios) was applied to men in several other verses such as John 12:21. It is only a reference to Yahweh when it is a direct quote of an Old Testament verse containing the Tetragrammaton which Isaiah 45:23 does not.

Jeremiah 23:5,6

“In his [Yeshua’s] days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his [Yeshua’s] name whereby he [Yeshua] shall be called, YAHWEH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” [Brackets mine]

Here Yeshua is called “Yahweh Our Righteousness. In Jeremiah 33:16, Jerusalem is also called “Yahweh our righteousness”. It reads,

“In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, Yahweh our righteousness.”

Notice the deceptive use of capitals in the KJV when it refers to Yeshua, but not for Jerusalem. I do not deny that Yeshua will bear this name in the future. However, at the time Jeremiah spoke this, Yeshua did NOT bear this name. When will he bear it? When Judah is saved and Israel dwells safely! Has that been fulfilled yet? No. Therefore, Yeshua does not bear this name yet.

Joel 2:32 with Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of Yahweh shall be delivered; . . .” ( Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21 )

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Master shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 )

Of all the verses that seem to call Yeshua “Yahweh”, this would be the most convincing. Yet, we must keep in mind the nine verses that clearly teach only one being had that name in Old Testament times.

With Acts 2:21, we know with certainty that it is a quote from Joel 2:32 based on the context. With Romans 10:13, it is assumed to be a quote of Joel 2:32. Paul, however, may have written or intended “Master” to be understood rather than “Yahweh”.

Yeshua is Yahweh’s chosen means of salvation. When we call upon the name “Yeshua”, we are actually saying “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh’s salvation”, which is what “Yeshua” means.

Consider Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:2;

“Unto the church of Elohim which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Messiah Yeshua, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Yeshua Messiah our Master, both theirs and ours:”

To use the phrase, “call upon the name of the Master,” was not new to Paul (First Corinthians was written before the Epistle to the Romans). So when he was addressing the Roman’s concerning salvation, he simply added the phrase “shall be saved”.

This understanding would harmonize perfectly with the nine didactic verses mentioned previously. However, to insist Paul was quoting Joel in Romans 10:13 would create tremendous friction between those verses. I would venture to say, a friction and lack of harmony that could not be resolved.

Zechariah 12:10 with John 19:37

“And I [Yahweh] will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

The word “me” obviously does not harmonize with the pronouns “him” and “his” that follow. The same verse is quoted in John 19:37;

“And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”

John gives us the correct understanding of this verse if, in fact, he is quoting rather than paraphrasing Zechariah. If, however, Zechariah 12:10 is translated correctly, then we need to seek an interpretation that would harmonize with our nine didactic verses.

Yeshua said,

“For I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink:. . . Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me” ( Matthew 25:40

How much more could Yahweh say this concerning the piercing of His only begotten Son; “Inasmuch as you pierced my Son, you have done it unto me.”

Conclusion

There are probably other questionable verses that are not covered in this study, but as you can see, there are viable interpretations of such verses that harmonize perfectly with the teaching of the didactic verses previously mentioned. We should not seek to build doctrines on questionable verses, but on verses that have a clear, concise teaching.

1. “Now therefore, O Yahweh our Mighty One, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art Yahweh Elohim, even thou only” (II Kings 19:19 )

2. “Thou, even thou art Yahweh alone; . . .” ( Nehemiah 9:6 )

3. “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Yahweh, art the most high over all the earth” ( Psalm 83:18 )

4. ” . . .that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art Yahweh, even thou only” (Isaiah 37:20 )

5. “I am Yahweh, and there is none else . . .” (Isaiah 45:5 )

6. “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am Yahweh, and there is none else” ( Isaiah 45:6 )

7. “For thus saith Yahweh that created the heavens; . . .I am Yahweh; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18 )

8. “And Yahweh shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Yahweh, and His name one” ( Zechariah 14:9 )

9. “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Mighty One, Yahweh is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

There was only one “Yahweh” in Old Testament times. A pre-existent Son could not have borne that name as well.