Do Christians worship three Gods?
by Rabbi Leopold Cohn D.D.
Published: OCTOBER 4, 2012
Article from Messianic Good News
By permission of Sar Shalom Publications, 236 West 72nd Street, New York, U.S.A.
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one."
There has been an impression among the Jews, with few exceptions, that Christians believe in three different gods. This impression has been created by the fact that Christians believe in the Trinity. This article therefore is sent forth on its mission with a view of showing that not only is such a belief in the Trinity not foreign to the Jew who knows and understands and believes in the Old Testament Scriptures, but that it is the very warp and woof of the writings of Moses and the prophets.
THE TEACHING OF MAIMONIDES
The reason that the Jews have become estranged from the doctrine of a Triune God is found in the teachings of Moses Maimonides. He compiled thirteen articles of faith which the Jews accepted and incorporated into their liturgy. One of them is: "I believe with a perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is an absolute one" (Hebrew "yachid"). This has been repeated daily by the Jews in their prayers, ever since the twelfth century, when Moses Maimonides lived.
This expression of "an absolute one" is diametrically opposed to the Word of God which teaches with great emphasis that God is not a "Yachid," which means an only one or an absolute one, but "achad," which means a united one. In Deuteronomy 6:4 God laid down for His people a principle of faith, which is certainly superior to that of Moses Maimonides, inasmuch as it comes from God himself. We read there, "Hear 0 Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is ONE," stressing the sense of the phrase "one" by using not "yachid," which Moses Maimonides did, but "achad," which means a united one.
"YACHID" AND "ACHAD"
We want now to trace where these two words, "yachid" and "achad," occur in the Old Testament and in what connection and sense they are used, and thus ascertain their true meaning. In Genesis 1 we read, "And there was evening and there was morning, one day." Here the word "achad" is used, which implies that the evening and the morning—two separate objects—are called one, thus showing plainly that the word "achad" does not mean an absolute one, but a united one. Then in Genesis 2:24 we read, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh." Here too, the word "achad" is used, furnishing another proof that it means a united one, referring, as it does in this case, to two separate persons.
"YACHID" IN THE WORD
Now let us see in the Word of God where that expression "yachid"– an absolute one, is found. In Genesis 22:2 God says to Abraham, "take now thy son, thine only son." Here we read the word "yachid." The same identical word, "yachid," is repeated in the 12th verse of the same chapter. In Psalm 25:16 it is again applied to a single person as also in Jeremiah 6:26, where we read, "Make thee mourning as for an only son." The word "only" is expressed by the Hebrew word "yachid." The same word, conveying the sense of a one only, occurs in Zechariah 12:10, "And they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son."
Thus we see that Moses Maimonides, with all his great wisdom and learning, made a serious mistake in prescribing for the Jews that confession of faith in which it is stated that God is a "yachid," a statement which is absolutely opposed to the Word of God. And the Jewish people, in blindly following that so called "second Moses" have once more given evidence of their old proclivities of perverting the Word of the living God. The Holy Spirit made that serious complaint against them through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "For ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of hosts our God" (Jer. 23:36).
THE CHRISTIAN’S POSITION
This is therefore the belief of the true Christian. He does not have three gods, but "one," a scriptural one, which is in Hebrew "achad" and which consists of three personal revelations of God as we shall see in the following Scriptures. In the very first verse of the Bible we find two manifestations of the Godhead. "In the beginning God created . . . and the Spirit of God moved." Here we see plainly that God taught us to believe that He is the Creator of all things and that His Spirit is moving upon the world of ours to lead, guide and instruct us in the way He wants us to walk. So here in the first chapter of the Bible are two manifestations of God.
WHAT THE SACRED JEWISH ZOHAR SAYS
It will interest the reader to know that the most sacred Jewish book, the Zohar, comments on Deuteronomy 6:4 — "Hear O Israel, Jehovah our God, Jehovah is one," saying, "Why is there need of mentioning the name of God three times in this verse?" Then follows the answer. "The first Jehovah is the Father above. The second is the stem of Jesse, the Messiah who is to come from the family of Jesse through David. And the third one is the way which is below (meaning the Holy Spirit who shows us the way) and these three are one." According to the Zohar the Messiah is not only called Jehovah but is a very part of the triune Jehovah. This teaching of the Zohar is based upon the Word of God through Jeremiah 23:6, where in giving the promise of Israel’s safety through the Messiah, it is added, "And this is His name whereby He shall be called, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
DEUTERONOMY 6:4 — A SUMMARY
The teaching of Deuteronomy 6:4 with regard to the Triune God being united and including the person of the Messiah, is a very brief summary of a large number of scriptural passages throughout the Bible, and as we have seen the manifestations of the Father and the Holy Spirit we want now to trace the third manifestation of the Godhead in the person of the Messiah to whom Deuteronomy 6:4 refers. Because of the frailty of our eyesight God does not let the sun rise suddenly in the morning but it appears gradually in order not to blind us by a sudden flash of such glorious light. In a similar way God did not manifest Himself in the wonderful personality of the Messiah, the Son of Righteousness, by a sudden presentation of Him in the Scriptures, but He unfolded it line upon line, introducing Him to us gradually until our understanding is well prepared to comprehend the entire revelation.
WAS MELCHIZEDEK THE MESSIAH?
We read in Genesis 14:18-21 that a person by the name of Melchizedek, the King of Salem, met our father Abraham. That He was greater than Abraham is proved by the fact that Abraham paid Him tithes and needed His blessing. There have been various opinions among the wise men in Israel as to who Melchizedek was. Some have thought that He was Shem, Noah’s son, others that He was the King of Jerusalem. However, there is no scriptural foundation for either, for the following reasons:
First, the two Hebrew words, "Melchi-zedek" mean, "My righteous king," showing that someone higher is in possession of this great king. Who then can it be? In Psalm 2:6, God speaking through David refers to the king Messiah as His own King, "Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion." Therefore, taking this point into consideration we must conclude that this mysterious person Melchizedek is none other than King Messiah. And by the title "righteous" we can also easily identify Him, for Isaiah 32:1 says, "Behold a King shall reign in righteousness," describing the beginning of Messiah’s kingdom. In Jeremiah 23:5 He is also called David’s "Righteous Branch." We are again justified in inferring that if the first title Melchi-zedek is not a person’s name, but only an adjective of the person, so also the second title is not a proper name but only an adjective, namely, the king of peace, not the king of Salem. Of this we also find confirming Scriptures, one of which is Isaiah 9:6, "His name shall be called . . . the Prince of Peace."
Second, Genesis 14:18 also says that Melchizedek was the priest of the most high God. How can we understand the priesthood invested in somebody other than the family of Aaron, which order was given in later generations, if Melchizedek does not represent to us the person of the Messiah? But if we see in Him the person of the King Messiah then the priesthood allotted to Him is just according to the Scripture. Psalm 110 tells us that "the Lord hath sworn . . . thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Yes, the Messiah is the original and true priest. Aaron and his progeny in the priesthood had as their chief function to mediate between God and the sinner, to sprinkle the blood upon the altar and to effect pardon for the transgressors. But all that was only a shadow of the real priest in heaven. You remember when God commanded Moses to build the sanctuary. He warned him several times to make everything exactly after the pattern he was shown in the Mount (Exod. 25:40; 27:8). Thus there is in heaven a sanctuary, an altar and the great priest, that is, the King Messiah who is from ever to ever, the priest who through His own precious blood secures pardon for our sins if we believe and accept His sacrifice. Therefore in this light we see that in the mysterious person of Melchizedek the Bible gives us the first gleam of the marvellous light of the blessed Saviour, the Messiah who is to come again and reign in righteousness and bring to the world peace. This King Messiah, long before He was born of a woman, revealed Himself unto Abraham after that great battle, in order to comfort and strengthen him. And has He not told us, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58)?
Looking further in the Word of God as to the second person of the Trinity, we read in Genesis 16:7-14 that the Angel of Jehovah appeared to Hagar, commanding her to return and promising to multiply her seed exceedingly. Now a created angel would not have had the authority to make such promises in his own name, so we are face to face with God Himself under a different manifestation. And Hagar realizing this great truth, called His name "Thou God seest me." We must therefore identify this wonderful being with the same one we saw under the name of Melchizedek.
THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH AND ABRAHAM
We read further in Genesis 22:12 of the same personality under the same name—the angel of Jehovah—commanding Abraham, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad." How can a created angel retract or nullify the command of God, who said unto Abraham in verse two, "Take thy son . . . and offer him there for a burnt offering"? In the 15th verse the Angel of Jehovah swears by Himself and says that He is Jehovah. Thus we have another instance of God manifesting Himself in that mysterious person first called Melchizedek and then the Angel of Jehovah.
ABRAHAM AND THE TRINITY
A most wonderful revelation of God as man appears in Genesis 18 for there we see plainly the idea of the Trinity, that is, God manifested in three different personalities. In the first verse we read "And Jehovah appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre, but when Abraham looked, lo, three men stood by him," and although they were men, that is, three persons, yet he addressed them in the singular, and said, "My Lord (not lords) if now I have found favour in Thy sight" (v. 3). Thus we see Jehovah appearing unto Abraham in three persons. In other words, the Jehovah who appeared unto Abraham and the three men that Abraham saw when he looked up were one and the same.
JACOB AND HIS HEAVENLY WRESTLER
In Genesis 32:25-32 we read that a mysterious person wrestled with Jacob, who asked for His blessing. And Jacob called the name of that place Peniel, which means, the face of God, "for I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved." We see that Jacob called that mysterious person "God." We find the same idea still more plainly declared by Jacob in Genesis 48:15-17. Jacob, before his death, blesses Joseph and his two sons. He begins with the God of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac, then he calls upon "The God who shepherdized me all my life." Then Jacob appeals to "the Angel who redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." Jacob referred to the mysterious person who wrestled with him and redeemed him from Esau; yet he identifies that Angel with the God of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac; thus the three different definitions of God in this passage cannot mean anything else than the blessed Trinity.
THE VOICE FROM THE BURNING BUSH
Continuing our study we come to Exodus 3:2-7, "And the Angel of Jehovah appeared unto him in a flame of fire and when Moses turned aside to see, God called.. . . Moses, Moses . . . 'I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob’." Here we have again the appearance of God under the name and person of the Angel of Jehovah.
THE ANGEL WHO COULD PARDON SIN
In Exodus 23:20 God warns His people through Moses to beware of that angel whom He was going to send to keep them in the way, to obey His voice and not to provoke Him, "for He will not pardon your transgressions, for My name is in Him." Here we see the angel vested with greater power than was given that mysterious person mentioned in the preceding chapters. The fact that He has power to forgive sins identifies Him with Jehovah Himself, for Psalm 130:4 expressly teaches us that only Jehovah can forgive sins so that He may be feared. If therefore we find the same power and authority in Yeshua the Messiah, we can easily understand that all those passages we have quoted so far, beginning with Melchizedek and ending with the angel, mean no one other than the Messiah who has power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:2).
But without this explanation the puzzling question is, Who can this mysterious personality be? These salient qualities described in the Word of God cannot be found in any other person than in our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. In each different presentation thus far, God has given us some startling glimpses of the extraordinary characteristics of that Holy Saviour. He wanted to make our finite minds more familiar with the infinite power and wisdom vested in Yeshua the Messiah in order to know Him by those qualities and to render our rejection of Him without excuse. God wanted us to become familiar with those descriptions of Yeshua the Messiah in the disguise of these mysterious persons, so that we shall recognize Him at once by comparing those descriptions with His works, and, accepting Him, receive forgiveness for our sins. Alas, the people were so blind as not only to fail in identifying Him, but also to entirely reject Him.
THE PROPHET FROM AMONG HIS BRETHREN
Again we read in Deuteronomy 18:18, "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee and will put My words in His mouth and He shall speak unto them . . . and whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He will speak in My name, I will require it of him." Every Jewish scholar will admit that there has not been any prophet like unto Moses outside of the Lord Yeshua, who was even greater than Moses. That this promised future Prophet is identical with the angel in Exodus 23:21 is proved by God’s command to obey him. In addition to all those previous names and characteristics God calls Him here "Prophet" and tells us that He will be born of a woman and be like one of our brethren. Notice, please, the peculiar punishment for disobeying this wonderful person. "I will require it of him." That means that in case of Israel’s disobedience to the Messiah, God is going to punish continually until they will repent and obey.
THE MAN WITH A DRAWN SWORD
We come to Joshua 5:13-15. A mysterious man with sword drawn in his hand stood before Joshua who encamped around Jericho. He said that He was the Captain of the host of Jehovah, and commanded Joshua, saying, "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot for the place whereon thou standest is holy." This identifies this Captain with Jehovah who required the same performance of Moses (Exodus 3). This Captain caused the walls of Jericho to fall flat, for He was the mighty God Jehovah in disguise. Who else could He be?
GIDEON AND HIS VISITOR
We trace him farther in Judges 6:12-25. He appeared unto Gideon. From His conversation we learn that He is Jehovah Himself. Gideon feared that he would die because he had seen God, and the Lord said unto him, "Peace be unto thee, fear not." Gideon then built an altar unto the Lord and called it Jehovah Shalom. It means "God of Peace." This name makes Him one with Melchizedek whose name is also "King of Peace."
In Judges 13:3-19 we read that the Angel of Jehovah came to Manoah and confirmed His promise concerning a Son. Upon Manoah’s question as to what the Angel’s name was, the answer came,"Why dost thou ask My name, seeing that it is Wonderful?" As before, the Angel of Jehovah is here called Jehovah Himself, but in the name "Wonderful" we can plainly see the connection with Isaiah 9, "His name shall be called Wonderful." One of the striking features which that name includes is this: God said, "For there shall no man see Me and live" (Exodus 33:20), yet in the coming of Yeshua the Messiah God opened a new way so man could see Him and not die, for men could see Messiah and by doing so they could see Jehovah in Him and yet live: This secret He revealed unto Manoah who was greatly agitated, being afraid that he would die since he had seen God.
Then it was revealed unto him that he would not die because this is the "Wonderful" One. God so loved the world that He condescended to come down and take flesh upon Himself and not only reveal Himself unto mankind in these various manifestations, beginning with Melchizedek and ending with Yeshua the Messiah, but also to give His life when in the flesh of the Lord Yeshua for the sins of everyone who will accept Him. It is sad to read God’s complaint concerning the treatment Israel has given Him in this respect. And He said, "Surely they are My people, children that will not lie, so he became their Saviour." The Hebrew word for Saviour is cognate with the name Yeshua.
Then the Word of God continues, "In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and the Angel of His face (literal) saved them, in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; . . but they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy and He fought against them" (Isa. 63:8-10). In this passage of Scripture we find a confirmation of three points, which were brought out so clearly before this: First, that God out of His love took upon Himself flesh and appeared to us in the body of our Lord and Messiah Yeshua, "and He became their Saviour." Second, that in this manifestation men could see His face and live. Third, Yeshua the Messiah gave His life as an atonement for the sins of every one who believes and accepts Him. For it says, "In all their afflictions He was afflicted . . . in His pity He redeemed them." The sad phase of this picture is expressed in the complaint of the living God, "but they rebelled and vexed His Holy Spirit."
We see here also set forth the blessed Trinity. First, God the Father is speaking. "Surely they are My people." Then "And He became their Saviour," that is, a second personality. Then comes, "And they vexed His Holy Spirit," which brings before us a third personality. This name, "Angel of His face," sheds a light upon the words of Yeshua our Messiah in John 14:9, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
JEWS CONFESS HIS DEITY
It is remarkable that the Jews in their most solemn prayers on Rosh Hashonah (New Year) mention this doctrine. On that day they blow the trumpets to fulfil the command of God given them in Leviticus 23:24. After the blowing of the trumpet they offer the following prayer, "May it be Thy will, 0 Lord our God, that our blowing of the trumpet shall be accepted before Thee for the sake of Yoshua, the Prince of the Face." How great is the blindness of those who utter that prayer and do not know to whom they pray and for whose sake they pray!
THE JEWS’ ROCK, THE MESSIAH SAVIOUR
There are other passages in the Pentateuch which refer to these wonderful revelations concerning Yeshua the Messiah. For instance, in Exodus 33 Moses pleads with God to show him His face. The answer came, "Thou canst not see My face, for there shall no man see Me and live." Then in the succeeding verse we read that God says, "Behold there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon the Rock." The word rock in the Hebrew is used in connection with the redemption and salvation of the Jewish people. The daily prayer of the Jew is, "Rock of Israel, rise up to help Israel."
The word "place" is also used in the Jewish liturgy in a prayer for all the scattered Jewish brethren, saying "The Place shall have mercy upon them." It seems, therefore, that the word rock stands for Jehovah in Yeshua as the Redeemer and Saviour of Israel. We are therefore justified in seeing in the Word of God to Moses, "There is a Place by Me, thou shalt stand upon the Rock," the wonderful revelation of the indwelling of the Godhead bodily in Yeshua the Messiah, who is the place or locality in which the fulness of the Godhead dwelt and at the same time the Rock of salvation. It was an indication to Moses that some day he would be allowed to see the face of God in that place which means the Messiah Yeshua, and in that Rock. Thus we find Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. There he could see the Face of God (Matthew 17). Elijah was specially privileged to accompany Moses to see that glorious Face.
So well did Moses understand this, that when he foresaw the Jews’ rejection of Yeshua the Messiah he refers to Him by the word rock. In his last speech—Deuteronomy 32:15,16—he says, "He (Jeshurun which means the Jews) will wax fat and will kick…. he will forsake the God who made him and will esteem lightly the Rock of his salvation." The Hebrew construction of the word "his salvation" is such that allows the interpretation "his Yeshua." Thus it reads, "they will lightly esteem the Rock, who is their Yeshua." But God gave us the assuring message through Isaiah 12 that the Jew will not abide in that blindness forever, but will accept Yeshua the Messiah, "and in that day thou shalt say… Behold, God is my Salvation." According to the interpretation of the word salvation in Deuteronomy 32:15, this would read "Behold God is my Yeshua."
PREPARATION FOR A FULLER MANIFESTATION
To return to our subject, we have seen so far that the Bible is referring to some wonderful person who is called under many different names, but we have not yet seen plainly who that person is. The Lord foretold through Moses in Deuteronomy 31:17-18, "Hiding, I will hide My face" (a double expression in the Hebrew) which refers in part to His way of hiding Himself under three different appearances, such as "Melchizedek," "Angel of Jehovah," "Prophet like Moses," "Rock of his salvation," "Captain of Jehovah’s host," "Wonderful," etc. It is because we are not worthy of His direct and sudden manifestation of His glory, He wants us to study His Word in order to find out these wonderful manifestations. This is in accordance with God’s Word through Hosea 5:15: "I will go and return to My place till they acknowledge their offence and seek My Face."
THE ROYAL SON PROMISED TO DAVID
We will now read 2 Samuel 7:12-17. Here we find an additional name given to that mysterious personality in whom God is hiding Himself and by this name the identification of the Messiah, the Lord Yeshua, will be complete. God gave to David the promise to "set up thy seed after thee . . . and I will establish the throne of His kingdom for ever. I will be His Father and He shall be My Son." There is here given the new name, "My Son," to that mysterious person. Now this name cannot refer exclusively to Solomon, for two reasons. First, we do not find anywhere in the Scriptures that Solomon is called God’s Son. Second, that definite expression "forever" in connection with that Son’s kingdom cannot apply to any of the kings of Israel who have long ago ceased. But evidently, without a doubt it does refer to the seed of David, the promised Messiah, and of Him God says, "He will be My Son." He, the Lord Yeshua, is the everlasting King. He is seated now at the right hand of God. In Psalm 110:1 we find that He is to come the second time and reign visibly over all the world.
We find a number of instances in the Bible where the Word of God has a twofold meaning, one referring to the immediate present, and the other to the distant future. In this way we understand God spoke to David concerning His son Solomon, but at the same time He also spoke of the One who was greater than Solomon, even the Son of God, Yeshua the Messiah. David having been taught of God that this wonderful Son of God would be born through his seed, imparted it to Solomon and his other children. Therefore we read in the writings of Solomon through the Holy Spirit the following question, "What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, that thou shouldst know" (Prov. 30:4)? It is the urging of the Holy Spirit upon every one to take time and apply oneself to the searching of the Scriptures to find out what is the name of that Son.
We who believe in Yeshua the Messiah can answer that question, "What is His Son’s name?" Why, it is Yeshua. And how do we know that the Son’s name is none other than Yeshua the Messiah? First, He Himself told us that He was the Son of God. Second, His mother, a pious Jewish woman, a descendant of the family of David, told us so. Third, Elizabeth, the wife of the high priest, who was a prophetess, witnessed to the same fact (Luke 1:40 46). Fourth, God Himself said it plainly, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased . . . hear ye Him" (Mt.3:17; Lk 9:35), and hundreds of learned and pious Jews heard and testified to it.
Another proof that the sonship cannot be applied to either Solomon or David or any person outside of the Son of God, the Lord Yeshua, our promised Messiah, is rendered in the second Psalm. There we read, "The Lord said unto Me, Thou art My Son… ask of Me and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." It is self evident that we cannot apply this to either David or Solomon because neither of them had the uttermost parts of the earth in their possession.
And again, the last verse of that Psalm is, "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." No one who knows the Bible will ever dare to think that the Holy Spirit would utter through David words of this kind, for it would contradict the Word of God through Jeremiah 17:5-7: "Thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, . . . blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord." If therefore the sonship pointed out in the second Psalm applied to a man, God would not tell us that we would be blessed if we trust in him, whether David or Solomon. But it is as clear as the light that it applies to the Messiah, the Lord Yeshua, who is called in the second verse "His Messiah," meaning His Anointed. To Him God has given not only the nations and the uttermost parts of the earth, but "all power in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). We are therefore told here to trust in Him which is equivalent to what we read in Deuteronomy where God said we are to listen to Him and obey Him.
Daniel 7:13-14, referring to the Messiah who will come to rule this world reads, "And there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
The same expression — "the uttermost parts of the earth" — used in Psalm 2 is also found in Zechariah 9:9-10. The Holy Spirit is speaking through Zechariah to Jerusalem, to rejoice over the coming of the King Messiah, the one who is salvation, and is meek and is lowly. And then it says, "And His dominion shall be from sea even unto sea, and from river even unto the utmost parts of the earth." Certainly no one could think of applying this to David or Solomon who lived about six hundred years before Zechariah. The word Son in the second Psalm must apply, therefore, to Yeshua the Messiah, who will come the second time and rule and reign over the "utmost parts of the earth."
THE PREDICTED FORM OF THE MESSIAH
Thus far we have seen the foretelling of the Messiah’s sonship in the abstract only. We cannot ascertain from these passages of Scripture a definite indication as to the personality of the Messiah. Is He a spirit, or is He to be a man, or is He to come from the heavens? In short, how will the coming of the Messiah as the Son of God come to pass? We will now search in the Scriptures to find the positive person and the way in which He was to appear for the first time upon this earth. We read in Isaiah 7:14, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel," which means, "God with us." Here we have it plainly set forth that the one who will be called "God with us," which is simply another expression for "God manifested in the flesh," must be born from a virgin, alone, without a man.
The Hebrew word for virgin used there is Alma, which means an absolutely pure virgin, as we shall prove presently from other places in the Scripture. So we are here taught definitely that the Son of God to whom the Psalm refers is not an abstract matter, but a real person to be born of a woman like other men, but not in the same natural way, for He is to be the Word of God that became flesh; therefore He is to be called Immanuel, "God with us."
THE MEANING OF THE WORD 'ALMA’
Referring again to the Hebrew word Alma, which was mentioned above as meaning a virgin, we will now more fully prove our assertion from the Word of God. Let the reader study and examine all the other passages of Scripture wherein the word Alma occurs. The word is mentioned in six other parts of the Bible only. Let us see in what sense the word Alma is used in those six passages and then we will be in a position to see what the word Alma means in Isaiah 7:14. First, we read in Genesis 24:43 where the word Alma, virgin, is applied to Rebecca, who is described in verse 16 very emphatically as being a virgin. Second, we find the word Alma in Exodus 2:8 referring to Miriam, Moses’ sister, who was not married at that time. Third, in Psalm 68:5 we read, "Among them were the virgins playing with timbrels."
Here is the word Alma in its plural form. It is well known that no married women were allowed to play or sing in public at a Jewish service, especially in the temple, but as the custom was then, they had a large choir consisting exclusively of very young girls who were playing on timbrels. Fourth, in the Song of Solomon 1:3, it is said, "Therefore do the virgins love thee." This certainly cannot mean married women. Fifth, in the same Book, chapter 6, "And virgins without number." This cannot have any reference to married women. Sixth, see Proverbs 30:18,19. In connection with the expressions here used the word Alma does absolutely not allow any other meaning than that of virgin.
Even the great Jewish Commentator Rashi, who tries hard to twist the word Alma into meaning a young woman in general, writes at last, "Some interpret the word Alma to mean a young virgin who is not capable of bearing." Only in that light can we understand the word sign in connection with that prophecy. God spoke through the prophet to King Ahaz, saying, "The Lord Himself will give you a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son." If the word Alma meant a young married woman, there is no sense in the word sign, which means a miracle, a supernatural thing. Thus it is as clear as the day that it referred to Yeshua the Messiah who was born in a supernatural way from the Virgin Mary. Therefore He is the Son of God.
PRESERVED UNTIL THE BIRTH
In this sense we can also understand that puzzling prophecy in Micah 5:3, "Therefore will He give them up until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth." It means that God assured the Jewish people through the prophet that He would not allow the enemy to destroy them until the Son of God would be born from that appointed virgin who would travail. The Jewish temple had to exist and the pedigree of the royal family of the house of David, which pedigree was kept in it, had to be watched and duly recorded, so that it could be proved that the Lord Yeshua is the descendant of David and that He is the One concerning whom God spoke through the prophets.
But after Yeshua the Messiah was born and fulfilled His mission, there was no more use in the upkeeping of the pedigree and therefore He permitted the temple to be destroyed, the people scattered all over the world so that no one Jew in the world is sure of any tribal descent. This fact is weighed down with tremendous significance. Yeshua the Messiah was Jehovah manifest in the flesh. The same Jehovah who spoke to Moses from the bush, the same had to be clothed with human flesh and form in order that God should in this way reveal Himself to, and be with us.
GOD’S CONCEPTION OF THE MESSIAH
In Jeremiah 23:5-6, the Word of God, in referring to the Messiah, the Saviour of Judah and Israel, says, "And this is His name whereby He shall be called, Jehovah our righteousness." Now this is God’s conception of the person of the Messiah. This is the reason why the followers of Yeshua the Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile, worship Him. They believe that the Word of God is true and since the Word calls Him "Jehovah our righteousness," He must be worshipped, not as flesh and blood, but as the God of Israel who revealed Himself unto us in that form. It is one of the great wonders that the Jews, who ought to know their Bible, are so ignorant of the Word of God as to follow blindly those of old who told them all sorts of falsehoods about Yeshua the Messiah.
It is dangerous to pay more attention to man’s theories than to the Word of God. We have God’s complaint against such people in Ezekiel 23:35, "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, because thou hast forgotten Me and cast Me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdness and thy whoredom."
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE
While this article is instructive and very helpful to everyone who believes in the Deity of Messiah, yet it has been written chiefly for the purpose of showing our Jewish brethren the scriptural truth concerning the Trinity and the Deity of the Messiah. Therefore we have made only few allusions to the New Testament. In that way we have shown that all the various appearances in the Old Testament Scriptures, from Melchizedek to the Angel of Jehovah, were made by Yeshua the Messiah before the incarnation, that is, God appeared under those different forms in order to communicate with the people on earth. This is the way that God expressed and showed His love for mankind until finally He came and dwelt among us until He gave up His human life as a sacrifice for our sins.
OUR CLOSING APPEAL
We therefore appeal to our Jewish brethren who will read this to heed the Word of God in listening to His only begotten Son, Yeshua the Messiah, who is our Lord and Saviour. When a Jew repeats three times a day, "Hear O Israel, Jehovah (1), our God (2), Jehovah (3), is one," he testifies that there is a trinity in the Godhead. But alas, it is only with the lips that he so testifies, there is no response in the heart. Why should Jewish people deceive themselves by repeating words which they do not understand? May we hope that the reader of this message will take it to heart, and start studying the Word of God in the Old Testament. If you read Isaiah 48:16 in the Hebrew, you will find there the Triune God very plainly set forth. It says, "And now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent Me." Here then, is, as you must perceive: First, "the Lord God." Second, "His Spirit." Third, the "sent Me," which refers to the Messiah.
Think over these Scripture passages and pray that the Lord will teach you and that the Holy Spirit will guide you into this truth and you will find that God is ready to answer the prayers of all those who call upon Him in truth.
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1. "The seed of the woman," refers to the Messiah, who would not be the progeny of sinful man but would be conceived by the virgin through the Holy Spirit. Implicit in this prophecy is both his suffering (bruising) as well as his triumph over the evil one.
2. 'To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7).
3. God's revelation to Moses – the 13 attributes of God, MGN 4th Quarter 2006 p.10