Some Jews WERE expecting the Messiah to be Divine

Jesus As God

One of the common misconceptions about Jesus is that He never claimed to be God, and that the Jews never believed the Messiah would be “God”.  The reality is neither of those assumptions are true.

The part about Jesus claiming to be God is easy to demonstrate from the Scripture, since Jesus took the name of God for Himself, made Himself “equal with God” in the eyes of the Jews, accepted worship as only God was allowed, and forgave sins as only God could.  In the eyes of the people around Him, Jesus clearly made Himself out to be God, and they specifically tried to kill Him for it a few times.

However, I’ve always believed (because I heard a rabbi say this once) that the Jews never looked for the Messiah to be Divine.

Turns out that isn’t exactly accurate either. The Essenes were expecting it.  And here is a link I found describing it.  (Take note the reference to Melchizedek, corresponds to the teaching about Jesus in the New Testament book of Hebrews).

Here’s the link.  It’s a short read.  

Here’s a more detailed look with more evidence.

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14 thoughts on “Some Jews WERE expecting the Messiah to be Divine

  1. Cool, Pastor Brian.
    That’s interesting–I’d like to pass this on to my Catholic Bible Study group for thought. Thanks for the post. Merry Christmas!

  2. Good morning Brian

    I had to read through your item a few times to try and understood the point you are making. I think you are saying that Jesus always claimed to be God and to be fully equal to him, is that true? You also say that Jesus’ attitude of being equal to his Father is easy to demonstrate from the Holy Bible.

    As far as I can tell from my study of God’s Word the Bible, Jesus always claimed to be the Son of God and never God himself. He had a consistently subservient attitude and never even taught his own thoughts on a matter, Jesus did perfectly respresent his Father, he is the “image” of, and at “one” with his Father but is not the same person and in context never claimed to be.

    (John 7:16, 17) . . .Jesus, in turn, answered them and said: “What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me. 17 If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from God or I speak of my own originality.

    (John 5:19) 19 Therefore, in answer, Jesus went on to say to them: “Most truly I say to YOU, The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

    Can you please show me some scripture, in context, that show Jesus claiming to be fully equal to his Father?

    (John 20:17) . . .‘I am ascending to my Father and YOUR Father and to my God and YOUR God.’. . .

    If I have misunderstood you then please forgive me.

    Thank you Brian

    With Kind Christian Regards

    Tony

  3. Yes, I said Jesus always claimed to be God and to be fully equal to Him. Let me give you some Scriptures before I say too much that makes you disagree too quickly. Even if we ignore what the New Testament says about Jesus, we can see it from Jesus Himself:

    Jesus gave Himself one of the names of God (a famous one for the Jews) in John 8:57-59, and they tried to kill Him for it because they understood what He had just said. It’s the name God gave Himself to Moses at the burning bush.

    In Matthew 22:41-46, Jesus proves from Scripture to the Pharisees that the Messiah was not merely a man, but “Lord”

    In Mark 2:5-11 Jesus explains He has the power to both heal and forgive sins. When He forgave sins, the Pharisees reaction was telling. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

    In the passage you quoted in John 5, Jesus goes on to say that just as the Father gives life, so also the Son gives life. Then Jesus says the Father, who has authority to judge, has given “all judgment to the Son.” So the “Son” has the authority of the Father, and the power over life as God does. And then He explains the Son will command the resurrection of the dead. Definitely, God-like qualities, and God-like authority.

    And Jesus told Philip in John 14 that “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”

    In John 10:30-38… the Jews, who understood the meanings behind many of the things Jesus said, specifically accused Jesus of claiming to be God. Jesus then answered them by showing them they shouldn’t be surprised or upset by the use of the word “God” or that He called Himself “the Son of God,” BUT then He repeated the same thing He had said before, that He and the Father were “one.” And they tried to kill Him again after He said that.

    At the very least, the Jews in Jesus day certainly thought He had claimed Divinity. That was the impression He gave them at various times.

    So at some point you have to question… what then is “the Son” if not God? Obviously the Son is not the Father, but together along with the Holy Spirit, are they three manifestations of one God?

    Jesus sometimes claimed to be the “Son” of God, and at other times He used the Messanic title “Son of Man”, and at other times He would say things like “I and the Father are one.” etc… He could use all of these titles because He WAS the Messiah (as promised in the Old Testament), and He WAS the Son of God (which is what He was by birth -just as Adam was called the “son of God” in Luke 3:38) and Jesus could say He and the Father were one because of His Divinity.

    I would not say, and the Bible does not teach, that Jesus was all-there-was to God. In very simple terms you might say Jesus was a part of God. In religious terms you would say He was the Second Person of the Trinity. And just as your body is part of you, yet could be said to follow the will of your soul or spirit, so too Christ in His human form, can be part of God and yet follow the will of the Father. It’s one reason why Jesus can say that no one has ever seen God, and yet Abraham spoke to God face to face before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Because Jesus was talking about the Father, and Abraham spoke to the part of God we now call… “the Son.” The part of God that John calls “The Word.”

    But the idea that Jesus claimed Divinity is unavoidable in my opinion. The deeper you go, the more unavoidable it is.

    The fact the Essenes were looking for that type of Messiah, is amazing.

  4. I use mostly the ASV, the NIV, the HCSB, the KJV, and the ESV. Which I prefer depends on when you ask, and what exactly I’m doing. If I’m studying I like using the ASV and KJV as a reference while reading the others. If I’m just reading, I like the HCSB the most probably, but the ESV is growing on me.

  5. Hi Brian

    Thanks, that is a great selection of Bibles and I agree about looking to various translations to get a better understanding of the text.

    We know that the personal name of the Son of God is Jesus of course and we use it routinely and respectfully don’t we, but what is the personal name of the Father in the Bible?

  6. Hello Brian
    I am sure that you and I would agree and say that we love God wouldn’t we?
    When we really love someone though; we know his name, we freely use his name, we defend his name at every opportunity don’t we?
    If we really hate someone, then we never mention his name at all. In fact, if we hate someone enough, and we are powerful, we deny that he even existed and persuade others of the same, and if we can, we will even remove any record of his name.

    According to both John and Jesus Christ himself, this world is currently under Satan’s control.

    (1 John 5:19) 19 We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the [power of the] wicked one.

    (John 14:30, 31) 30 I shall not speak much with YOU anymore, for the ruler of the world is coming. And he has no hold on me, 31 but, in order for the world to know that I love the Father, even as the Father has given me commandment [to do], so I am doing.

    As you know, this wicked one, Satan the Devil, hates God and certainly does not want us to love him and use his personal name. He has even arranged for God’s personal name to be completely erased from some translations of the Bible and replaced with Titles like LORD. As Jesus Christ is also referred to with the title Lord, this sounds like the same person.

    The devil loves to mislead us by using “doctrines of men”, like the Trinity doctrine.
    (Matthew 15:9) 9 It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’. . .
    Therefore, Jesus said that some people would believe that they are worshipping God but sadly they are being misled and actually worshipping in vain! Misled by whom?

    (Revelation 12:9) . . .the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; . . .

    The Bible says that Satan is the most persuasive and effective Conman ever and he really hates God doesn’t he Brian!

    Who else could so effectively mislead the vast majority of people on Earth?

    In your copy of the King James Bible, what is God’s personal name please?

  7. Hello Brian

    Even though the divine name appears roughly 7,000 times in the Old Testament, as you know it has been removed and replaced by LORD in all but four places in the main text of the original King James Version:

    Exodus 6:3
    Psalms 83:18
    Isaiah 12:12
    Isaiah 26:4

    The translators of the “Revised” or “New” King James have gone even further, they have removed God’s personal name completely, as they have in the New International Version that we both have.

    What do you think about this blatant attempt to completely eradicate the most important name in the Holy Bible?

    Incidentally, your more faithfully translated American Standard Version has God’s personal name appearing over 6,800 times!

    As a man who loves God, do you use God’s personal name in your church Brian?

    With Christian love

  8. bigtp… Closest thing to God’s “personal name” is Yahweh. Spelled YHVH in Hebrew. It was considered so holy that the Jews did not usually say it or write it. The Masoretes added vowels very similar to Adonai, and later… medieval Christian Biblical scholars mistook this vowel substitution for the actual spelling of YHVH, and invented a new name: Jehovah. That’s the one you are probably very familiar with. 🙂 Personally, I do like that name, and enjoy the ASV Bible which uses it.

    However, here’s where I am on names of God:

    Romans 8 says “we cry Abba Father” which literally means “daddy.” It’s very informal.

    So according to the Scripture, God does not require you use a formal name bigtp. He calls you as a Father to His child.

  9. Hi Brian

    Did Jesus freely preach and teach using his Father’s personal name Jehovah? How important was this to Jesus?

    In John 17:26: “[Jesus prayed to his Father:] I have made your name known to them [his followers] and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.”

    So knowing and using God’s personal name was key to loving him and even to being in union with his Son Jesus!

    Whenever Jesus spoke he always listed things in order of importance. In the Lord’s prayer, the very first thing he taught us to pray for is that his Fathers personal name be “hallowed” or sanctified,
    (Matthew 6:9) . . .Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.

    Did Jesus think his Fathers personal name was important?

    I am sure that you would agree Brian, rather than adhering to men’s traditions, we should consider being with Jesus Christ on this one.

    With Christian Love
    Tony

  10. Tony, if you’ll look through the Bible you’ll see that when the Jews spoke about making God’s name known, it didn’t mean they were talking specifically about the actual name of God. It was a phrase they used to talk about making God known in general. (Exodus 9:16, Psalm 76:1, Psalm 106:8, Isaiah 64:2, Ezekiel 39:7) A figure of speech. In fact, you don’t have the market cornered on the name of God. God Himself, gave Himself several names in the Bible. If knowing His actual name was the important key, then God was purposefully misleading people.

    Take note of Acts 9:15, God says he chose Paul to take His “name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites.” But now look at what Paul actually did. Not one time did Paul ever focus his preaching on knowing the actual proper name of God. Instead Paul preached ABOUT God through the work and message of Jesus. Paul specifically told the Corinthians he came to them preaching nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. If God had really chosen Paul to preach to them that they should call God “Jehovah” or anything of the sort, he would have been doing that. But he did not. You can tell by Paul’s actions what it meant to take the “name” of God to the world. It meant to make God Himself known.

    In fact, the apostles never spent any time in the Bible claiming that “knowing and using God’s personal name was key to loving him and even to being in union with his Son Jesus.” You also won’t find this teaching in the early church at all.

    You’re holding on to some recent traditions of men, brother.

  11. I’m with you, Brian.
    My favorite meditation on God’s Name connects the commandment, “You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God,” with His Own Name as told to Moses at the burning bush.

    Adopted through Jesus’ Blood into the family of God, my new surname is I AM. I believe that God does not want us misusing this name with the old identity-lies satan kept whispering into our ears all those years before God got ahold of us…leading us to say things to ourselves such as “I AM no good like dad always said I’d be.” “I AM a thief.’ “I AM a pervert.” “I AM an alcoholic.” “I AM a hypocrit.” “I AM a fill-in-the-blank.”

    I teach this principle in prison ministry, and I think it is perfectly scriptural, and know it is helpful in freeing believers to be new creations in Christ.

    The name-games you hear about are usually those of religious leaders looking for converts to keep under their thumbs. There are those who teach you can’t be saved saying “Jesus”…it has to be “Yeshua” or must be pronounced with all the mid-east throat-clearing noise you can make.

    Cut me a break.

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