Friday, June 19, 2015

Trinity Question: Reflecting on the Works of the Late Bryan Huie (Author of "Here a Little, There a Little" Site)



Not too long ago I visited a Messianic congregation and felt the strangest feeling.  There was a public discussion on a certain matter--I don't recall the topic--and I made reference to the concept of the Trinity (the concept that Yeshua is co-equal with G-d the Father, sharing those exclusive divine traits of eternality, omnipotence, etc).

Oops.

There was immediate resistance which I hadn't anticipated.

I was caught off guard that I would be the sole defender of the Divinity of Yeshua in a roomful of Messianics--at least that's what it felt like.

So I immediately consulted semi-privately with one of the elders there.  And I quickly discovered that my views upset him greatly.  I felt the urge to flee, glancing toward the door.  But I stayed for praise and worship, tears streaming down my face the whole time--which is natural for me whenever I praise and worship.  Afterward, the elder apologized.  And let me say there is no ill will whatsoever on my end.  That said, I feel the need to explore the underlying theological divide that causes such strong emotions.

Now, I don't know how widespread the teachings of Brian Huie became.  Perhaps he's not the source of these ideas.  But I sense that Huie's teachings describe those held by a lot of Messianics--the view that Yeshua is merely the head of the divine council, one of the many bnei elohim.  You can see Bryan's position here: LINK.

I'd like for folks to share their thoughts.  Does Huie's position have any merit?  Are there any flaws in his reasoning?  He teaches that Yeshua is NOT co-equal with the Father.  But are there verses which contradict this assertion?

Discussion time for the brave.  : )

22 comments:

  1. The issue of the nature of the Messiah, or Christology, is going to be the make-it or break-it point for the Messianic movement in the long term. The following page has put together a variety of works on this subject, all of which I personally own. The number of Messianic materials is substantially lacking; I am going to start working on a massive project later this year, which can hopefully shift things in the right direction.

    http://tnnonline.net/resources/nature-of-messiah.html

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    1. Great list of resources. And very much looking forward to your forthcoming book on the subject! Thanks for all your hard work!

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    2. UPDATE: the above link can now be found at:
      http://messianicapologetics.net/resources/nature-of-messiah.html

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  2. This shouldn't be an issue within the messianic community. It's not a salvational issue. Yet, many are making it one. My position on this blog has been stated before; however, at no point would I state to my brethren that they have no entry into the world to come. Lastly, many have come from Christianity. Yet, they haven't detox themselves of that doctrine. Example: Many Christians have concluded that there understanding that they were accustom to was in error. Nevertheless, when they're making the transition they'll still distant themselves from the sages or rabbinical writings. This is because they are carrying there theology with them. If you remove the sages & rabbinical writings how do you come up with a messiah? The concept itself is Rabbinical. This way of thinking has become problematic. Nevertheless, we must work to help each other.

    Shalom

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    1. In my own experience, I remember feeling like an outsider for believing that Yeshua is G-d. I felt like other Messianics might be judging me as an idolater for worshiping Yeshua as G-d.

      Plus, it's very possible it's a salvation issue because Scripture makes salvation contingent on acknowledging Yeshua as "Lord":

      "If you declare with your mouth, "Yeshua is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," Romans 10:9



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  3. Hi Peter,
    I am so thankful to G-d that you experience this! Because, I experience somewhat similar experience at Derek Leman's congregation. Very painful experience, several years ago. Something about they don't teach the Nicene Creed. I was confuse, I wouldn't think they would since his congregation is not Catholic. Very weird.

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  4. Peter, we can't use the word "kurious" Lord as in saying the Almighty. That same word was given to men in the book of Luke. That word don't substantiate your thought. Kurious just means one superior.

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    1. Gifted,

      First, the case for Yeshua's divinity spans the entire Bible--it certainly does not depend on a single word.

      Here's an example of one of the many pieces of evidence for Yeshua's divinity:

      "Yesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). They immediately picked up stones to stone Him. Why did they want to stone Him for saying that? Did they merely disapprove of the grammar? Or was there another reason?

      I'll await your response.

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    2. Agreed with Peter, here. The case for Yeshua's Divinity spans all of Scripture.

      The Angel of the Lord, the Memra, the clear connections as the Living Word (Way, Truth, Life), the direct statements in Colossians, Hebrews, etc... It is undeniable\, both from Scripture and segments of Judaic literature. The real issue has more to do with defining the 'echad' nature of Yeshua-Yehovah. Often, I think, the reason Messianics stray away from Yeshua is the focus on 'echad' and an attempt to make Yehovah 'yachid' / singular 'one' an error seen in Judaism.

      Our King is a complexity beyond human understanding. We can catch glimpses and can formulate some general understanding, but if we do not take all of the known pieces and weave them together, we quickly fall into error. Some of the known pieces clearly demonstrate that Yeshua is fully Elohim. We cannot discard these in coming to our conclusions.

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  5. Peter,

    Within Judaic thought as you may already know there were pre ordained before the foundation of the world. The messiah is one of them. “His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed” (Tehillim/Psalms 72:17).” Justin like the Garden of Eden. “And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden from aforetime” (B’raysheet/Genesis 2:8).” When the passage was read he saying before Abraham was I am he. The preordained messiah.

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    1. "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

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  6. Excuse my grammar today. I was on the move texting.

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  7. "The case for Yeshua's Divinity spans all of Scripture." The same could be said for the case of Yeshua's dismissal of Torah. However we have come to believe exactly the opposite, How? A carefull study of said passages that tend to form this "overall" picture;
    The same could be done on the investigation of the trinity issue. J. Dunn's "Christology in the making" show's, in my opinion with very solid ground, that the case for Yeshua's pre-existece as a person only really stands on the gospel of John. Although I do agree with him that Trinity doctrines do not find clear ground on the rest of the New Testament, I find it hard to agree on the Johaninne issue. Two great books by John A.T. Robinson (The Priority of John and "The human face of God") make the case that John does not really mean that Jesus was a pre-existent person before becoming a man. Other great books on the issue are Dunn's "Did the first Christians worship Jesus" and James McGrath's "The one true God". I would also recommend McGrath's "John's Apologetic Christology", although I have not read it completly.

    Of course Jesus is the Memra, the Word, etc., but does that has to mean the memra was a person before becoming a Human being? Does that has to mean that it was God himself? Or is the Memra a way of talking about God's self expression?
    Traditional Judaism also says the Messiah is somehow preexistent, but it does not preach a God-Messiah, or one that pre existed/pre exists as a personal divine being before his coming.
    John Ronning's "The Jewish Targums and John's Logos Theology" is a book that, although in a vein very contrary to what I believe, being a trinitarian, show's the clear identification for the Apostle between the Messiah and the Memra. However, maybe a better understandment of the Memra and the Messiah would have led him to a different approach where this identification is not a support for the trinity, but show's the real importance of the Messiah.
    As for the unity of God, we can't distort what was explicitly said in the Bible base d on what was said not so clearly. That's my take on the whole PaulxTorah issue. As much as his reasoning sometimes seem's to mean Torah is abolished, that cannot be so, since he expressly says "do we annul Torah, no we stablish it" and "the Law is good and the commandment is Holy".
    The same goes about God's unity, if sometimes the text seem's to say otherwise, we have to stick to what it says clearly, and understand the obcure on it's light, not the other way arround. And the following is pretty much clear to me:
    "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." Dt. 6:4
    "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
    who formed you from the womb:
    “I am the Lord, who made all things,
    who stretched out the heavens alone,
    who spread out the earth—Who was with me?—" Isaiah 44:24
    "And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone." Mark 10:17-18
    "And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." John 17:3
    Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” John 20:17
    "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" 1 Timothy 2:5

    It could not be more clear. I don't deny the passages that seem to say otherwise, but they are not as clear as those I've brought.

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    1. Matheus,

      First, the Memra of G-d and the "humanity" of Yeshua serve as metaphors. G-d doesn't separate into Father, Son (Memra/Word, etc), Spirit--but these are merely metaphors to help us understand Him. I discussed this idea behind 1 Timothy 2:5 here: http://orthodoxmessianic.blogspot.com/2015/02/messiah-as-divine-metaphor.html


      I'd like to start going through the evidence for Yeshua's divinity with you as well. Before we look at the Tanak, I'd like to hear your take on the John 8:58 passage (see my comment to "Gifted" above). How do you interpret that passage?

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    2. Peter, I think the following link has a good enough take on the verse.
      http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/videos/john-8-58b#2

      The following links have something to say about pre-existence in jewish thought as well, so I'd recommend reading them as well:
      http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12339-preexistence
      http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10729-messiah

      In a short note, since I believe the case to be well made in the first link above, my take is that the greek does not mean "I am" as the name of God, but, rather, the usual "I am he". What Jesus meant is that he is the one before Abraham, that is, the Messiah is before Abraham on God's mind and plan. This however does not mean real pre-existence, but ideal pre-existence, just like his death on the cross from "before the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8) does not mean he was actually slain before creation.

      On a side note, I believe the "G-dliness revealed" section on the following article shows a good enough example of an understanding that could fit to the passage in question as well as to the whole New Testament "evidence" for the divinity of the Messiah. Please, note that, even though the text obviously does not engage with New Testament material, the texts it does engage could just as easily be read to mean a Messiah in trinitarian models.

      http://www.chabadworld.net/page.asp?pageID=7C97AA3A-DD13-45E9-851A-1F10657D8996&moshHdr=1

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  8. Peter,

    Why hold so much of your thoughts on Yochanan ego eimi statement? Are you aware of the many other occurrences the phrase is used? Saying "I AM" doesn't make one Elohim. Recall when Shaul said, "I wish that all men were as I am?" Does the ego eimi implies he's Elohim? No sir! Most of the time the Greek use of "Ego eimi" is to say, I am he." Examples: Luquas 21:8, Markos 13:6, Yochanan 18:5 & more. You then used the Septuagint as a point of reference. It states, ego eimi ha on" not "ego eimi! What's clearly being stated here is that in the mind "anthropomorphism" of the Almighty, Yeshua existed in his redemptive plan before Moshe. A careful look at the text will show this is speaking to the "foreknowledge" of the Almighty plan. He then says Moshe rejoiced to see his day. How? Through Faith my brethren not pre-existence. Lastly, did Yeshua have a Elohim Peter?

    By the way Peter I've never mention to you that website is great. I"lol continue tell other messianic believers about your site. Great job.

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    1. Gifted,

      First, my sincere appreciation for your support of this site. I'm glad you see the value in having an open forum free of censorship for discussing Messianic issues.

      And I'm also glad we can discuss this emotionally-charged issue of the divinity of Yeshua in a civilized manner. So thank you for that as well.

      Regarding your question about John 8:58, I am aware that simply saying "ego eimi" does not necessarily refer to the Divine Name. And, note that the LXX uses "ego eimi" on its own to refer to the Divine Name in Isaiah 43:25 and 51:12. The point is that Jews in 1st century Judea would've been careful about HOW they used the expression for "I am" since they understood that IN CERTAIN CONTEXTS this expression on its own would refer to the Divine Name.

      So which context--which type of usage--would be off limits for a human? Anything that would indicate it's not being used in the ordinary sense that a human being might use it.

      So what do we have with the passage in question? We have an example of a very unusual sense in which it does not make sense for a human to use it. Thus, the audience picked up stones because THE CONTEXT indicated He was not using ego eimi in any ordinary sense. To them, that just left the Divine sense.

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  9. Yehoshua(not YAHSHUA/YHVH of Isaiah 12) means HE(as in YHVH) shall save.

    1samuel2:35 tells us that YHVH will raise up a high priest HIMSELF(from zadok, elis line taken out by Solomon).
    This son of Aaron(only line that can bring a high priest) is to walk FOREVER before the anointed(descendants of david) of YHVH.
    Abraham sees the vision of the donkey ride of zach9/ex.13:13 on Moriah at time of isaacs sacrifice.
    Daniel 9 tells us that this priest will die,so since he is to walk forever , we can safely assume he will resurrect.
    Isaiah 53 shows this lamb(as a seh to the slaughter) bears iniquity just as aaron was supposed to do.
    Psalms 118 speaks of the cornerstone of Isaiah 28 and is about the house of Aaron.
    A firstborn daughter of Aaron thru Phineas-zadok(see Ezekiel 40 -48) that would have no brothers to raise up seed to the father(daughters of zelophad) who had to be a virgin as required by the laws for a successive high priest to continue his fathers line and of Aarons kin is the profile of Yehoshuas mothers. lukes gospel lines up some of this.

    In Daniel 9 and 11:22 he is called a nagid(used in another verse to describe a high priest by a different name) not melek.

    In Micah 5(here is the real game -changer) he is described as a mashal(not ruler, but a speaker of parables) whose sayings go back to old, everlasting.
    This lines up with Mathew 13:35 and psalms 78.

    This also lines up with jermiah 3 in that the addir(king davids line-branch) is a separate person from the mashal(parable giver). It is this MASHAL that is brought to YHVH in this verse.
    This is psalms 110;1.

    as far as the gross error of Hebrews melchizedeks expalanation; it is MALchizedek not MEL. Malak not Melek.priest not king.
    He is Shem and he is passing the ordination to Abram just as Noah passed it to him.
    ALL of YHVHs priests including Yehoshua descend from shem.

    Psalms 110-YHVH has sworn and will not relent- you are a kohen forever after the utterance of malkizedek.
    Where did YHVH swear this?? IN1 Samuel 2:35.

    The second fopah of Hebrews is it saying that abram gave tithes of all to malchizedek.
    wrong: Malkizedek brought out the bread and wine - inaugurated Abram and then GAVE ABRAM the due tithe of the bread and wine.
    The king of Sodom(not to be outdone) wanted to give Abram all the spoils(you can guess why he wanted the men) and abram refused. There was no tithes of all for abram to give Malchizedek because he refused even a shoelace from the king of Sodom.

    Yehoshua is a man, he will return (malachi) with the resurrected to purify levi, after the mount of zion has raised up,after the sanctuary of david and the alter has been raised up- amos 9/Isaiah 16). After the retribution by YHVH has been accomplished(chaff of the image).
    Isaih 53 seems to support the idea of him even raising his own children.

    Zecharaih shows he and his great-great nephew of davids line together in the sanctuary /thron room having a harmonious understanding(new JPS tanakh)

    YHVH and YHVH only shall we worship, glory, and in this name petition.
    YHVH will not give HIS glory to another, including Yehoshua, a man created by YHVH.

    YHVH used Miriam to produce yehoshua and then used joseph and Miriam to produce a number of lines of david
    (zech 7 pipes/2 anointed ones aaron/david in the 7 tribes of the signet ring of zerrubabel of zechariah/the stone of joseph)
    and from two of these lines, in our time, this decendant will emerge.
    complete with the attributes of Isaiah 11.

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    1. Correction:typo; jeremiah 30 not jeremiah 3

      shalom,Anthony

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  10. AS to the idea of a devine council(psalm 48-50): this is not related to yehoshua but to YHVH.

    A 14 billion year old universe is compatable with a 6000 year old earth when you understand that the mighty ones were long ago created by YHVH and are connected to the planets and the stars, as well as mans issues on earth.
    unfortunately they have not done righteously and will die like men in the judgement.

    The psalms has a dozen references to these beings and Isaiah 14 shows the day- star as the son of perdition of the iron kingdom.

    This is where the nephillim came from and this is who YHVH is speaking to when HE says" Let US create man in our image"

    anthony

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  11. I'm not jumping into this fray at the moment - I have enough online debates in flight right now, and only so much time in the day, but Peter, take heart! Vociferous web pundits will surely tell you otherwise, but the balance of both scripture and scholarship, as well as the best among Messianic congregations, support Yeshua's divinity. As Sam Stern said, "I don't know how it works, but the [scriptural] data are clear."

    I would go into an explanation/defense, but as I said, my point at the moment is simply to encourage. Chazak!

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  12. Psalms 16:.....as to the holy and mighty ones.....their bloody libations will not pass my lips.New JPS Tanakh.

    Constantines power to dictate the position of the messiah of Aaron(refer to dead sea scrolls for pre and post septuagent thoughts on two messiahs) was absolute.

    Rome had already known of a davidic messiah that still was to comes. The emporer Domitian pulled the grandchildren of Jude,brother of Yehoshua, into rome because of the rumour of them being the royal family that would take over the kingdom(eusebius ecclesiastical history circa 350 ad/decline and fall of roman empire/olyphant smith circa 1700s both have this story).
    Domitian let them go ,laughing at the calouses on their hands, finding it ridiculous that such could supplant one like himself.
    The teachings of peter and paul were in rome.
    ERGO, constantine needed to re-direct christianity to the point of moving the capitol to Turkey.
    There he had the freedom moreso to manipulate the council of nicea.
    only 25% of the organized churches were represented and no jews.
    Only the writings of that day, some three hundred years after the fact, that supported a divine messiah who was god, high priest AND the ftrure prophesied king made the new testament.
    He was not about to have writings that said rome would displaced by a kingdom of Jacobs children lead by a King of Davids line.
    A devine messiah in the heavens was no threat to his earthly kingdom.From this position he could easily justify HIS(constantines) position as gods representative on earth.
    Just as the papacy that developed from this.

    Shalom
    Anthony

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