Sunday, September 27, 2015

What the First Golah Community Forgot About Sukkot

In the fifth century B.C.E., when a small group of Southern Kingdom exiles returned to Israel, they had mostly forgotten about the Torah.  They had survived a great trampling, like grain on a threshing floor, but they had returned bruised and beaten and on the verge of cultural extinction.  Like wheat separated from chaff, they had remained distinct up until that point.  But now, having forgotten about the Torah, they had also forgotten about who they were.  And so they had begun to intermarry with non-Jews at an alarming rate.  It seemed as though the returnees from the Southern Kingdom (i.e. the Jewish People) would be annihilated via assimilation just as the Northern Kingdom had been:
"Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney," Hosea 13:3
But G-d, abounding in mercy and love for His People, raised up Ezra (pictured above).

Ezra knew the cure for cultural amnesia:  Sukkot--also known as a festival of ingathering (Exodus 23.14-16) which was appropriate given that G-d had "ingathered" the exiles like wheat from the threshing floor.  

And Ezra recalled what Moshe said regarding the purpose of Sukkot:
"Moses wrote down this Teaching and gave it to the priests, sons of Levi, who carried the Ark of the Lord's Covenant, and to the elders of Israel.
     And Moses instructed them as follows:  Every seventh year, the year set for remission, at the Feast of Sukkot, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He will choose, you shall read this Teaching aloud in the presence of all Israel.  Gather the people--men, women, children, and the strangers in your communities--that they may hear and so learn to revere the Lord your God and to observe faithfully every word of the Teaching.  Their children, too, who have not had the experience, shall hear and learn to revere the Lord your God as long as they live in the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to occupy."  Deuteronomy 31.9-13.
So Ezra read the Torah.  And, wouldn't you know, just as Moshe had prophesied, Am Yisrael heard the words and decided to recommit to observing the Torah faithfully:
"And he [Ezra] read from it [the Torah] facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law....They [the Levites] read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading," Nehemiah 8:3,8
"[Israel then entered] into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes," Nehemiah 10:29
And so G-d saved the Southern Kingdom (i.e. the Jewish People).  But He also hadn't forgotten about the Northern Kingdom:
"And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles [sukkot], as in the days of the solemn feast," Hosea 12:9
He promised that the Northern Kingdom would once again dwell in Sukkot as in the days of old.  They would remember their Exodus from Egypt, the 40 years in the wilderness, and they would once again hear the words of Torah being read.

But how was this to come about?  After all, hadn't the Northern Kingdom been completely annihilated via assimilation?  

Perhaps not entirely annihilated as some might have supposed.  G-d promised to thresh the Northern Kingdom but He also promised that not a single grain would fall to the ground:
"...Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt?...For behold, I am commanding, And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a kernel will fall to the ground..In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old," Amos 9:7,9, 1 
I'm so excited as I'm writing this!!!  Dear Reader, do you see where I'm going with this?  Check this out:

Where do we see this Amos passage in the Apostolic Writings (aka New Testament)?  Do you recall?  We see it in the famous Jerusalem Council decision of Acts 15:
"After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent [sukkah] of David that has fallen..." Acts 15:16
And what is the purpose of this Sukkot for these ingathered Gentiles?  Yes!  To hear the words of Torah being read:
"For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues," Acts 15:21
And we know that there is a sukkah which will cover ALL of Am Yisrael because it is written:
"And in that day....there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain," Isaiah 4:1, 6 
The day of "hearing the Torah" is also the same day as the "threshing", a threshing that some nations will not survive:
"And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of theLord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem....But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor," Micah 4:2, 12
"And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil....And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions....and the moon [shall be turned] into blood..." Joel 2:28, 31
And, yes, Dear Reader, tonight is Sukkot and it is also, apparently, a significant blood moon.  But I am not a prophet and do not understand such things.  At any rate, this should be a season of joy for us, that G-d has called us back to hear the words of His Torah and to dwell in the shade of His sukkah.

May the lips of the faithful be opened to proclaim this Good News!  And may He shut the lips of those who preach that Gentiles have no place in David's Sukkah!

Shalom and Blessings to the Faithful Brothers and Sisters,


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Calling in a Favor

So I tend to be a very private person and I certainly don't like to ask for anything.  But I would like to ask a favor of all my readers out there:  if you could pray for my job situation I would very much appreciate it.  Thank you in advance!

Blessings and Shalom,


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Inseparability Thesis: Why There Cannot be a Separation Between Divine Law and Morality

Given that there are some teachers in the Messianic movement who, by holding to the Christian notion that Divine Law can be separated into moral and non-moral laws (note 1), have actually persuaded Messianics to only pursue a limited number of mitzvot--only the commandments your conscience tells you to keep (a position which leads to apostasy), I think it's now time that the One Law movement provided a theory of morality to explain the relationship between morality and Divine Law.  So, without further ado, I give you my Inseparability Thesis:

It should first be noted that there is a definitional issue with regard to morality.  While many people cavalierly refer to "moral law" as if there is a universal understanding of morality as a law, the value system undergirding it, its epistemology, the reality is that there are so many different approaches to morality that the term has become ambiguous.

Now, I'm not arguing that man doesn't have a conscience that informs him of a "higher" value system.  Indeed, there is an innate, natural "fear of G-d" that most people possess (with certain exceptions such as the Amalekites, Deut. 25:18) coupled with some inkling of understanding of what G-d considers beneficial and what G-d considers harmful.  But this feeling about right and wrong is not enough on its own.  We've seen in our own country, the United States, that the Supreme Court has taken that great instructor of morality, civil "law", and used it to preach that homosexual marriage is good, that murdering babies is a right protected in the "penumbra" of the Constitution.  I place human law in quotations because we, as Judaists, believe that human law is not law unless it conforms to the Divine Will.  It is merely prima facie law.

So if morality cannot be subjective but must be based upon objective, Divine values, then what is the purpose of conscience?  Martin Sicker explains eloquently:
"The question that begs an answer concerns the character of the relationship between natural morality and biblical teaching.  Is natural morality entirely subjective or is it discoverable objectively through human reason?  The traditional Judaic response to the first part of the question rejects the notion of subjective morality and insists that a valid system of ethics must be based on the explicit as well as the implicit teachings of the Torah.  Thus, natural morality or the prompting of human conscience cannot be pitted against the ethical norms specified in the Torah.  As Wurzburger put it:  'The Will of God represents the supreme authority to which all other considerations must be subordinated.  Conscience is merely complementary to the explicitly revealed provisions of the Law; it supplements but does not supersede them.  The role of conscience is limited (1) to discern the Will of God for situations that do not come within the purview of explicit legal norms and (2) to function as a hermeneutical principle to be employed to help ascertain the meaning and range of applicability of laws when their formulation contains an element of ambiguity,'" Martin Sicker, The Moral Philosophy of Judaism:  A Study of Fundamentals

"In considering how Judaic ethics differed from secular ethics, Byron L. Sherwin wrote that the essential difference is that it rejects the 'claim that ethics can be based upon individual subjective human criteria alone...The limited wisdom and experience of an individual who must make an ethical decision in a particular situation cannot vie with the cumulative wisdom and experience of a long-standing tradition in deciding what course of action is ethical.'  Thus, 'by providing both a subjective and an objective basis (revelation and tradition) for ethics, Jewish ethics maintains a kind of system of checks and balances upon the approaches characteristic of secular ethics and the problems they entail.'  At the same time, Judaic ethical thought and literature 'encourages the exercise of the individual intellect, intuition, and insight and the incorporation of sources of wisdom imparted from other traditions into the process of moral decision,'" Martin Sicker, The Moral Philosophy of Judaism:  A Study of Fundamentals
So to return to the definitional question, is there a moral law as some sort of second law to Scriptural Law?  Not according to Scripture.  Scripture informs us that the Torah contains the perfect revelation of the will of G-d and, as such, conveys ALL of the "higher" values:
"A moral decision is one that the man or woman making it makes in the light of what he or she believes is right or wrong...A moral decision might also be made in conformity with a rule or law; after all, the rule or law itself might express moral values....A decision doesn't stop being moral just because it is made in the light of 'divinely revealed law'.  On the contrary, since it is a self-evident moral duty to do what God wants, and since he would only want us to do what is good, then if there really is a known 'divine law', obviously we ought to follow it.  Traditional Jewish belief is that the the authentic record of God's self-revelation....When Jews speak of the Torah as 'God's law', what they mean is that it expresses what God wants us to do; it is how God himself formulated the 'moral law'--'the Torah of the Lord is perfect' (Psalm 19:8).  It is not law as opposed to morality, but law which is morality," Themes and Issues in Judaism
So the Torah represents the concretization of morality--the perfect expression of all the values of G-d.
Now, one last thing...

If the Torah of Israel contains the full expression of the moral values of G-d and no other nation has such laws:
"He issues His commands to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel.  He did not do so for any other nation; of such rules they know nothing.  Hallelujah" Psalms 147:19-20
"What nation is so great that they have such righteous rules and laws, like this entire Torah that I am presenting before you today? [Umi goy gadol asher-lo chukim umishpatim tsadikim kechol hatorah hazot asher anochi noten lifneychem hayom]," Deuteronomy 4:8

Then that means EVERYONE, out of yirat Hashem (fear of the L-rd), should adopt the Torah of Israel!



"Two kinds of old-covenant stipulations have clearly not been renewed in the new covenant...the portion of laws from the Pentateuch that no longer apply to Christians can be grouped conveniently into two categories: (1) the Israelite civil laws and (2) the Israelite ritual laws....some aspects of the Old Testament ethical law are actually restated in the New Testament as applicable to Christians....No other specific Old Testament laws can be proved to be strictly binding on Christians, valuable as it is for Christians to know all of the laws," pgs. 167-169 of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart

"We must therefore distinguish three kinds of precept in the Old Law; viz. ‘moral’ precepts, which are dictated by the natural law; ‘ceremonial’ precepts, which are determinations of the Divine worship; and ‘judicial’ precepts, which are determinations of the justice to be maintained among men," (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 2a, Question 99, Article 4)

"We must attend to the well-known division which distributes the whole law of God, as promulgated by Moses, into the moral, the ceremonial, and the judicial law," (Calvin, J, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Henry Beveridge, James Clark & Co., 1962, Volume 2, Book 4, Chapter 20, Section 14, page 663)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

UMJC Still Employs Derek Leman's Moral Law vs. Non-Moral Law Distinction

In David Rudolph's position paper entitled "Gentiles and Torah", he says that Torah may be classified according to ethnic laws, incumbent upon Israel, and ethical laws, incumbent upon mankind.  He cites to Derek Leman, who was, until very recently, a UMJC rabbi, the Chair of the UMJC's Education Committee, a member of the UMJC's rabbinical council, etc.  Now, Derek Leman is the only one from the UMJC that has written extensively on this so-called ethnic vs. ethical distinction in Torah.  So I thought I'd give a brief review of Derek's writings on the subject since it appears that the UMJC bases this ethnic/ethical distinction largely on the writings of Derek Leman.

Derek Leman bases the so-called ethnic-ethical distinction on the theory that some laws in the Bible are moral and some laws are not moral.  No, seriously, that's what he says.  For example:

"The blood prohibition is not a moral law. It is a priestly law," from: (cached)
By the way, just for the record, something is considered "moral" if it is "good."  The opposite of moral is therefore something that is "bad."

So, according to Derek's view, once a Gentile distinguishes between Biblical laws which are moral (and therefore universal) and Biblical laws which are immoral (and therefore intended only for Israel), then a Gentile is able to live his calling as a righteous Gentile. 

Does that sound like a good guideline to follow?  Or does this sound like the kind of thinking that might lead someone astray?

But, as of 9/16/2015, the UMJC apparently thinks that Derek Leman's analysis is correct because this is the teacher to whom they cite in their position papers (e.g. "Gentiles and Torah").

Shalom and Blessings to the True Brothers and Sisters in Messiah Yeshua,


Monday, September 14, 2015

Yom Teruah with My Wonderful Family!

I was truly blessed for Yom Teruah.  My amazing wife cooked a lovely dinner and then we all had apples and honey and pomegranate and a round loaf of bread with lots of butter on each slice.  It's surely an act of grace that G-d should bless me with such a woman!  And to also have a daughter that loves Yeshua and serves Him with her whole heart--I am a very blessed man!

May all of my Messianic brothers and sisters out there be inscribed in the book of life and may you all have a very sweet year!

Shalom and Blessings,


Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Hebrew Language: The DNA of Creation

Here's a mind-blowing video about how G-d's Instructions (Torah) for mankind can be found in the letters of Hebrew words:



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Stop the Press! Mainline Christian Scholars Beginning to Promote the Torah of Moses

"I am keenly aware that in proposing [that the Torah of Moses is valid for Christians] I have guaranteed for myself a limited hearing," Daniel I. Block, opening line from his essay entitled "Preaching Old Testament Law to New Testament Christians" found in the book "The Gospel According to Moses:  Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Book of Deuteronomy"
What follows are my notes on Daniel I. Block's essay entitled "Preaching Old Testament Law to New Testament Christians."  I just read this today and was astounded that a Christian would be promoting the Torah of Moses to fellow Christians.  And not just any Christian but he happens to be a professor of the Old Testament at Wheaton College.  Friends, this is G-d at work in Christendom, changing it into something new.  Enjoy:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Censoring the Face of the Messiah: Why the Jewish Publication Society Purposefully Blurred Out the Messiah in Zechariah 12:10

"And I 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 mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn," Zechariah 12:10

Non-Messianic Jews, when they read Zechariah 12:10, are faced with a problem:  here is a passage where G-d is the speaker and He seems to be saying that He was rejected and pierced by His own People.

So here's how Jews have historically censored this passage.


The Talmud says that the "mourning" refers to the Messiah (Sukkah 52a).  Rashi said the "mourning" referred to a Messiah, specifically the Moshiach ben Yoseph.  Rabbi Moses Alshech explains:
"‘They shall look unto Me, for they shall lift up their eyes unto Me in perfect repentance, when they see Him whom they have pierced, that is Messiah, the Son of Joseph; for our Rabbis, of blessed memory, have said that He will take upon Himself all the guilt of Israel, and shall then be slain in the war to make atonement in such manner that it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced Him, for on account of their sin He has died; and, therefore, in order that it may be reckoned to them as perfect atonement, they will repent and look to the blessed One, saying that there is none beside Him to forgive those that mourn on account of Him who died for their sin; this is the meaning of ‘They shall look upon Me.'"
Notice that the Rabbis understood the grammar "look unto Me".  They couldn't get around the Hebrew grammar!  So they used an interpretation that ignores the problematic grammar suggesting a Divine Messiah--ignored it altogether--and they proposed that there are 2 Messiahs, a Messiah ben Yoseph who came to die for our sins, and a Messiah ben David who came to bring peace.

Only one problem with that though...the passage doesn't seem to be talking about 2 different people.  It indicates that "they" (i.e. Israel) pierced the Messiah and now they are accepting the one they previously had rejected.  And this context matches the rejected Messiah of Isaiah 53:
"...we held him in low esteem.  Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.  But He was crushed for our iniquities...He was oppressed and afflicted..."

Furthermore, Zech. 12:10 says that they will look unto "me"---the one who was [previously, at some other time] slain.  The passage literally says they will accept the Messiah that they had previously rejected!  It's talking not about 2 different Messiahs but about a single Messiah!


 As we previously mentioned, the Rabbis never even attempted to get around the Hebrew grammar of Zechariah 12:10.  But the guys at the Jewish Publication Society didn't have any problem with violating Hebrew grammar when they wrote their new English translation.  Now, you might say, Peter, you poor fool, of course the Christians will claim that the JPS translation is wrong.  But what do they know anyway?  Jews are the only ones who know how to translate this passage correctly.

Actually, Jewish authors admit that the JPS translation is wrong (more on that in a moment).

So here's the JPS version:
"But I will fill the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem with a spirit of pity and compassion;  and they shall lament to Me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born," Zech 12:10, JPS (1988)
And here's Gerald Sigal admitting that this translation is completely in error:
"...the translation 'look to Me whom they have pierced' is correct.  The relative clause 'whom they have pierced' in in apposition to 'Me,' the spokesman of the passage.  'Et, the Hebrew word introducing the clause marks it as the object of the verb 'look to'; the Hebrew word 'asher is always a relative pronoun in that context, and never the conjunction 'because.'  It should also be noted that in the Hebrew clause 'they have pierced' lacks the pronominal suffix 'him,'" Gerald Sigal, Trinity Doctrine Error:  A Jewish Analysis.

It is inescapable.  The Messiah had to be rejected and killed.  But now--and I'm speaking especially to my Jewish brothers and sisters--NOW is the time to accept Yeshua, the Divine Messiah who came to take away your sins!  If you read this far then it's because G-d is working in your heart.  Now you must consult Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 12 for yourself and allow G-d to continue to speak to you!  You must make the choice while it is still today.  You are not guaranteed another day on this earth.  Tomorrow you may have to go before the Throne of the Living G-d and give an account for your life!

Choose salvation!

Choose Yeshua!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Did the Creator Have Help?

"Our rabbis taught:  Adam was created on the eve of the Sabbath.  And why?  So that the heretics could not say:  The Holy One, blessed be He, had a partner in his work [of creation]," T. Sanh. 8:7
When most people think of G-d, they think "all powerful" or "all knowing" or "all encompassing."  But there's another aspect of G-d that is unique:  He's the only Creator and Sustainer.  In other words, He didn't have any help creating the universe.  He did it all by Himself, alone:
"Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself," Isaiah 44:24

Yet, even though the Tanak says that Adonai alone made the universe, the Apostolic Writings affirm that Yeshua is this same Creator of the universe:
"But for us there is one God, the Father by whom all things were created and for whom we live.  And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live," 1 Corinthians 8:6
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made," John 1:3
Now why should this matter?  Must we believe that Yeshua is the Creator?

To call upon the name of a mere man is not the same thing as to call upon the Name of the L-rd:
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance..." Joel 2:32
"(9)That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved....(13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," Romans 10:9,13 
 To believe in Yeshua as a mere man is to have constructed a theological sand castle; the entire structure of such a belief system will eventually collapse and be replaced with a competing belief system.  The only way to have a sure faith and sure salvation is to acknowledge Yeshua as the One L-rd of Israel, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the object of ALL our praise and worship.

Anyone who denies the unique Divinity of Yeshua is not fit to be called Messianic.  We cannot fellowship with such people.  They not only have forfeited all credibility but they represent a threat to our Messianic Family.  Beware of any religion or cult that denies the Divinity of Yeshua!



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Whenever Someone Says the Iranian Deal is Good, Show Them This Video...

Video with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei addressing the Iranian public 4 days after the nuclear deal, calling for the death of Israel and the United States, with Ali Larijani, chairman of the Iranian parliament, Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, Vice President and Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency--all sitting in the audience listening approvingly.  Then everyone chants "Death to Israel!" and "Death to America!"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Responding to Lee Miller from House of David

This post is intended for Lee Miller of the House of David Fellowship in Richmond, Virginia.  Lee, I hope you'll take the time to read all of this carefully.

Recently, I visited House of David Fellowship in Richmond and felt quite out of place because they teach there that Yeshua is not the G-d of Israel.  Now think about the implications of this doctrinal position for a moment:

If a congregation teaches that Yeshua is not the G-d of Israel then that means that anyone who worships Yeshua as G-d, in the eyes of that community, is a heretic, unfit to be called an elder and probably a candidate for being kicked out of the community.

So for that reason alone, the question of the Divinity of Yeshua is a big deal.  But it's also a big deal because the Bible claims that Yeshua is the G-d of Israel and so if He's not then we've got a big problem.

So yesterday Mr. Miller recommended Skip Moen's writings (LINK) on the topic of the Trinity.  I say he recommended them because he said Skip had some insights on this topic.  So I reviewed some of Skip's blog posts.


If I had to briefly summarize Skip's writings, he basically says that Trinitarians violate the "plain meaning rule" of exegesis when they interpret passages such as John 5:19 and especially Matthew 24:36.  He focuses particularly on Matthew 24:36 because it seems to indicate, at face value, that Yeshua has no knowledge of a particular upcoming date.  Lastly, Skip asserts that the concept of the Trinity (i.e. that Yeshua is the G-d of Israel) arose through the Council of Nicaea and that "Jewish sages and rabbis never came to this conclusion."


First, the plain meaning rule doesn't apply when the context indicates that the meaning is not plain.  For example, if one applies the plain meaning rule in an exegesis of Peter's Dream where the sheet comes down from heaven or if one applies the plain meaning rule to various passages in Revelation then one will arrive at absurd conclusions.  In the same way, given that any passage referring to aspects of the Deity must be considered mystical.  There is no "surface" meaning when the entire passage deals exclusively with a deep, mystical subject.

Okay, now for the fun part.  Skip asserted that Second Temple era Jews would never have accepted Yeshua as the G-d of Israel because this idea only arose in the fourth century or thereabouts.  So the following excerpt provides a rather lengthy table of references that show Paul the Apostle had no problems whatsoever with identifying Yeshua with the unique Divinity of the G-d of Israel:

Richard Baukham, Paul's Christology of Divine Identity

"...the monotheism of Second Temple Judaism was indeed 'strict.'  Most Jews in this period were highly self-consciously monotheistic, and had certain very familiar and well-defined ideas as to how the uniqueness of the one God should be understood.  In other words, they drew the line of distinction between the one God and all other reality clearly, and were in the habit of distinguishing God from all other reality by means of certain clearly articulated criteria."

"In my view high Christology was possible within a Jewish monotheistic context, not by applying to Jesus a Jewish category of semi-divine intermediary status, but by identifying Jesus directly with the one God of Israel, including Jesus in the unique identity of this one God.  I use the term 'unique identity' as the best way of speaking of the uniqueness of God as generally conceived in early Judaism."

"The one God of Second Temple Jewish belief was identifiable as unique by two kinds of identifying features.  The first concerns his covenant relationship with Israel.  He is the God of Israel, known from the recital of his acts in Israel's history and from the revelation of his character to Israel (Exod 34:6).  He has revealed to Israel his name [Adonai], which was of great importance to Jews of the Second Temple period because it names precisely the unique identity of their God."

"...this God was also characterized as unique by his relationships to the whole of reality:  especially that he is the only Creator of all things and that he is the sole sovereign Ruler of all things.  Such identifications of [Adonai] are extremely common in Second Temple Jewish literature.  Such identifications of [Adonai] are extremely common in Second Temple Jewish literature.  They were the simplest and clearest way of answering the question:  What distinguishes [Adonai], the only true God, from all other reality?  In what does his uniqueness consist?  These characteristics make a clear and absolute distinction between the true God and all other reality.  God alone created all things;  all other things, including beings worshipped as gods by Gentiles, are created by him....However diverse Judaism may have been in many other respects, this was common:  only the God of Israel is worthy of worship because he is the sole Creator of all things and sole Ruler of all things.  Other beings who might otherwise be thought divine are by these criteria God's creatures and subjects.  (Thus so-called intermediary figures either belong to the unique identity of God or else were created by and remain subject to the one God, as his worshippers and servants, however exalted.)"

"My purpose in the rest of the present paper is to examine some of the evidence for this kind of Christology of divine identity in the letters of Paul."

"(1) [Adonai] texts with Jesus Christ as referent:

(1a) Five quotations including kurio
Rom 10:13-----Joel 2:32
1 Cor 1:31------Jer 9:24
1 Cor 2:16------Isa 40:13
1 Cor 10:26----Ps 23(24):1
2 Cor 10:17----Jer 9:24

(1b)  One quotation to which Paul adds legei kurio
Rom 14:11----Isa 45:23

(1c) One quotation not including kurio
Rom 9:33----Isa 8:14

(1d) Nine allusions including kurio
1 Cor 8:6----Deut 6:4
1 Cor 10:22----Deut 32:21
2 Cor 8:21----Prov 3:4
Phil 2:10-11----Isa 45:23
1 Thes 3:13----Zech 14:5
2 Thes 1:7----Isa 66:15
2 Thes 1:9----Isa 2:10, 19, 21
2 Thes 1:12----Isa 66:5
2 Thes 3:16----Num 6:26

(1e) Six stereotyped OT phrases including kurio

'to call on the name of the Lord'

1 Cor 1:2 (cf. Rom 10:13)----Joel 2:23; Zeph 3:9; Zech 13:9; Jer 10:25 etc.

'the day of the Lord'

1 Cor 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thes 5:2; 2 Thes 2:2 Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18; Isa 13:6, 9 etc.

'to serve the Lord' Rom 12:11; 16:18 1 Kdms 12:20; Pss 2:11; 99(100):2; 101(102):22 etc.

'the word of the Lord' 1 Thes 1:8; 2 Thes 3:1 Isa 2:3 etc.

'the Lord be with you' 2 Thes 3:16 Ruth 2:4; 1 Kdms 17:37; 20:13 etc.

'the fear of the Lord' 2 Cor 5:11 Isa 2:10, 19, 21 etc.

(2) YHWH texts with God as referent:

(2a) Nine quotations including kurio"
Rom 4:7-8----Ps 31(32):1-2
Rom 9:27-28----Hos 2:1 + Isa 10:22-2316
Rom 9:29----Isa 1:9 (kuvrio" sabawvq)
Rom 10:16----Isa 53:1 (kuvrio" in LXX, no equivalent in MT)17 Rom 11:3 3----Kdms 19:10 (kuvrio" not in LXX, no equivalent in MT)
Rom 11:34----Isa 40:13
Rom 15:11----Ps 116(117):1
1 Cor 3:20----Ps 93(94):11
2 Cor 6:18 2----Kdms 7:14, 8 (kuvrio" pantokravtwr)

(2b) Three quotations to which Paul adds legei kurio"
Rom 12:1919----Deut 32:35
1 Cor 14:21----Isa 28:11-12
2 Cor 6:17----Isa 52:11 + Ezek 20:34

(2c) Twelve quotations in which the speaker ('I') is identified as YHWH in the OT context

Rom 4:17----Gen 17:5
Rom 9:9----Gen 18:14
Rom 9:13----Mal 1:2-3
Rom 9:14----Exod 33:19
Rom 9:17-----Exod 9:16
Rom 9:25----Hos 2:25
Rom 9:33-----Isa 28:16
Rom 10:19-----Deut 32:2120
Rom 10:20-----Isa 65:1
Rom 10:21-----Isa 65:2
Rom 11:26-27----Isa 59:20-21
2 Cor 6:2----- Isa 49:8"


As you can see, Paul had no problem identifying Yeshua with the G-d of Israel.  This blows Skip Moen's case out of the water---and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to evidence on the Divinity of Yeshua.  But this can be an ongoing thing.  I'd especially like to address the passage where Yeshua refers to Himself as "I AM" without even an implied predicate (see notes below).  But the purpose of this particular post is to thoroughly and unequivocally destabilize Skip's assertion that the idea of Yeshua's Divinity is something that happened only after the fourth century C.E.




"In its predicative form...'I am' is a grammatically normal enough statement...When 'I am' lacks even an implied predicate, however, it becomes unintelligible except as an allusion to God's name..." Keener, The Gospel of John, pgs. 769-770

"Jesus uses the ego eimi formula in three different ways in the Fourth Gospel: (1) With a predicate....(2) With an implied predicate....(3) As an absolute...certainly in 8:58: 'before Abraham was born, I am!' The last of these uses needs furhter comment, for in this case ego eimi represents the divine name. In Exodus 3:14 God says to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' The 'I AM WHO I AM' is translated as ego eimi ho on in the LXX. In Isaiah 43:25; 51:12 ego eimi on its own functions as the divine name. Thus when Jesus said to 'the Jews', 'before Abraham was born, I am', he was identifying himself with God. He was not only pronouncing the name of God...he was claiming to be God," Colin Kruse, The Gospel According to John, pg. 138