What is the One teaching that makes Messianic Christianity Unique?
I have posed the question, What is the one doctrine or teaching that is unique when it comes to an authentic Grace-abounding Messianic Christianity? Especially is this query pertinent when we make a comparison of the central beliefs of Christianity with other world religions. Now some people may object even to the question. In their view Christianity has more than one unique feature that differentiates it from the religions of the world’s present darkness. They might say, “We Christians teach ‘love.’ This is what makes us unique.” But Buddhists may argue that they also have a philosophical worldview that advocates ‘love.’ The Hindu might attempt to proffer that their religion encourages the ‘love’ of even their enemies.
Native American teachings also emphasise ‘love.’ “Very well,” they may continue, “but we have Jesus Christ and he died for our sins and that is the teaching which makes Christianity unique.” Or, they might suggest that their uniqueness incorporates such concepts as “justification,” “the cross,” “miracles, signs and wonders,” “tongue speaking,” the rites and sacrament of “the mass, Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or Communion,” “divine healing,” “revelation,” the idea of “grace,” or the belief that Jesus Christwill rule this earth for a period of 1000 years — which they call the “millennium.”
It will possibly surprise some readers of our material, but all the above claims (and more) can be discovered in the teachings of other religions. None of them are unique to the religion known as Christianity. Not by any means. And, do you realise that even the sacred life of Yeshua the Messiah was presaged and foretold in the lives of other founders of religions, even pagan saviours and redeemers — their own existence lost in the dawn mists of early man?
One only has to think momentarily of Shri Krishna, or the Buddha, Mahavira, Zoroaster, Mithra and Quexalcote — to name but a few — to realise that these men had much more in common with Yeshua the Nazarene than has been readily admitted by the Christian clergy.
Many of these “redeemers” (according to their own Scriptures, which pre-date the NT) were born of a virgin, taught the pre-existence of a “Word,” died on a cross for the sins of others, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Now I think I know what some of our readers — who are allied with a sharply legalistic and current Messianic movement within the outer fringes of Christianity — are going to say!
The prime objection will be: “But these men were all false saviours, and furthermore they were all born on December 25th, died on so-called ‘Good Friday,’ and they were all resuscitated on Easter Sunday morning! Yeshua has nothing in common with them in these matters.”
Certainly, I agree wholeheartedly. Our Lord Yeshua wasn’t born on the pagan birthday of the sun-gods, and we in the IMCF do not hold that he died on a Friday nor raised from among the dead on a Sunday morning. Yet there remain some astonishing similarities between the pagan redeemers and Yeshua the Messiah. To list but a few:
- There were many stories of the miraculous birth of gods among men before the birth of Yeshua.
- There were many cases of gods born of virgin mothers before Yeshua.
- Many of these gods were born on December 25th.
- Their coming into the world was foretold in most cases by prophetic messengers.
- Strange stars were sighted at their birth.
- Stories are told about shepherds, wise men, and rejoicing angels appearing on the night of their birth.
- Many of these saviours were of royal descent, just like Yeshua.
- Some were even called “Christ” by their followers.
- Their lives were all threatened in their infancy by a mad despot or king.
- Several of them gave early proof of their divinity by working miracles.
- They spent time away from the confusion of the world, and fasted in the wilderness.
- Many of them declared, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’
- They all emphasised a spiritual religion.
- Some were baptised in water.
- They were all anointed with oil.
- They were friends with prostitutes, and despised tax agents.
- Some walked on water.
- Some fed thousands with a little bread.
- Some of the sayings of Mashiach, like ‘I am the light of the world,’ were stated by other gods in flesh.
- They had 12 close disciples.
- They all savagely attacked the existing priesthood, religion and Temple.
- In other religions a particular disciple was considered more special than the others and he rested his head on the chest of the betrayed pagan saviour at his last meal.
- Some of them, like Krishna, were crucified for the sins of the world.
- After 3 days they rose from the dead.
- They ascended back into heaven.
- There were the same convulsions of nature at their deaths.
- They were nearly all called “Saviour,” “Redeemer,” “Son of God,” “Christ,” and “Lord.”
Certainly some of these gods in flesh are the templates of the “Jesus” of the historic (Constantinian) Christian tradition more than resembling the authentic (biblical) Yeshua. For example, their adherents claimed these gods to be a second member of a closed trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Also, all these sin-atoning gods taught a theology which included “everlasting punishment,” “original sin,” “the fall of man,” “the atonement,” “the trinity,” “the Word,” “forgiveness,” and “an angry god” who needed to be placated.
Now these are only some of the remarkable similarities between the Jesus of our present-day denominations (which this lecturer would term ‘churchianity’) and the pagan gods of a heathen antiquity. Yet there is something that sets an authentic Christianity apart from all the other religions of the world — without exception (as far as I am aware). Its a teaching that is not found in any of the other religions. In fact, even what we know today as Christianity (which, again, really ought to be more properly called “churchianity” or “Krishna-anity”) has actually forgotten this prime and central teaching of the Bible.
And what is it? We’ll come to that in a little while.
But in this lecture first let us consider what we shall refer to as STAGE 1.
Stage 1: The Forgotten Purpose in Man’s Creation
In Acts the seventeenth chapter we find the record of the apostle Paul’s encounter with the Greek philosophers at Mars (Ares) Hill (which is better known as the Areopagus), the highest court of the land. This Athenian rocky outcrop is located opposite the western end of the well-known Acropolis. In writing his historical narrative, Luke notes that “certain philosophers of the Epicureans and Stoics” brought him up from the valley where he had been “forcibly arguing” with Jews in their synagogue and in the “public forum in the town square,” to this important centre, in order that they might more fully comprehend his teaching.
Such avid attention from the philosophers should not be read necessarily as a sincere show of theological interest by these men toward Messianic Christianity as such, for it was a capital offence in Athens for anyone to introduce new gods to Athenian culture and religion. If Paul had been charged with this crime, and found guilty, he would have been summarily executed. And, of course, Luke alludes to this precarious situation in his notation that the apostle was considered “a proclaimer of foreign gods” (Acts 17.18).
Consider also that the insincere attitude of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers is seen in their reference to Paul as “an ignorant plagiarist and babbler, picking up scraps of information here and there, unrelated in his own thinking and passing them off as a result of his own mature thought” (Acts 17.18 Greek). “Babbler” in the text is from the Greek spermologos — ‘seed-picker’ or ‘chatterer’ — the name of a very small bird (a possible allusion to Paul’s stature) that survives from picking up seeds from the roadside and Luke so records their view of the great emissary (apostle) to the nations. Such was the back-ground to Paul’s address.
Certainly there can be no doubt whatever that, for this reason, Paul utilised enormous psychological skill and cunning by referring first to the philosophers as being “more divinity fearing than the rest of the Greeks” (Acts 17.22 Greek) and then quickly adding that Yeshua was the “unknown god” already being “unconsciously worshiped and adored” (Acts 17.23) by these same Greeks. (Contrast the Greek/English translation given here in this article with the woeful KJV rendering — which some fundamentalist Christian assemblies hold to be the only ‘translation’ worthy of acceptance. The KJV is not even a translation but is a revision of a version of a version of a…..!) According to Paul he was not bringing the Greeks yet another deity but one they already worshiped, albeit “unconsciously.” The highly educated Paul made good use of sound proper psychology when it was needed.
How interesting that it was specifically the Epicureans and the Stoics who compelled the apostle to enter the Areopagus. How symbolic they are of the wide spectrum of media personalities within our own multicultural society today. On the one hand the Epicureans, who (as their name suggests) were the followers of Epicurus (342-279 BCE), did not believe in any gods except by name only. According to Epicurus there were no angels either. These people were out-and-out atheists. The only true god was gratification of the fleshly appetites. The only worthwhile good in life was pleasure.
On the other hand, the Stoics were disciples of a fellow called Zeno (270 BCE) who certainly believed in gods but also held that destiny was governed by fate, and that no good ever came from the worship of the gods. Essentially he was a pantheist. That is, according to him, the world was god and god was the world. We find in Zeno a theological propensity toward ultimate oblivion as man’s spiritual reward, and he seems to have been heavily influenced by Hinduism. Further, man was not to be moved by joy, grief, passion or pain, and he had to overcome all desire.
These two extremes, polarised by the Epicureans and the Stoics, were suddenly united as one front against Rav Shaul and his alien religion. In the Lukan Acts we discover this worldly pagan tendency repeated in frequently variant, contrasting scenarios where Paul is concerned. This also applies to Judaism. It was not a rare occurrence for resurrection-denying Sadducees to unite with immortality-believing Pharisees against Paul and his teaching. But all this is not so much an aside, but a necessary background to the short but concise lecture Paul delivered to these Greeks.
In his beginning utterance Paul introduces the “Unknown God” (Acts 17.23) of Israel as the universal Creator — indeed, the “God that made the ordered universe and all things therein” (Acts 17.24). The word “made” in this section is derived from a Hebrew word (translated into Greek) which is intended to convey the essential idea of a woman giving birth. The Jewish people of the period of the Procuratorships of Judaea believed that God brought forth the ordered universe out of himself, like a woman bringing forth her child from within — a radical Jewish concept at the time reflected in Paul’s Jewish writings (Rom 11.36). The Augustinian view of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing) is utterly absurd and has no place in an authentic Christian theological economy. The first century Jewish people knew nothing of this concept of ex nihilo. God brought forth the ordered universe out of the Creative Void within himself. As Isaiah correctly understood there is only God and nothing else (See Isa 45.5,6,14,18,21,22; 46.9; 47.8,10 Hebrew).
- As there is no existence apart from the Eternal God’s CONSCIOUSNESS (Energy) we are, in other words, dreaming God while He is dreaming us. We are only the thoughtforms, or dreamforms, of Deity’s always creatively fertile imagination.
God’s dreams become our realities. God’s thoughts and our sense of realism are ONE. They cannot be differentiated. Out of God comes that in which He incessantly incarnates. The child is ever there — it has only to be delivered. Mystical Jewish teaching recognises the Child is already there.
After Rav Shaul introduces the “Unknown God” he immediately follows with an important concept upon which he will later theologically build in a major way.
He makes what appear to be outrageous claims from heathen pantheistic mysticism to bolster the Jewish belief (in the hearing of the pagan Greeks) that God gives birth to the ordered universe out of Himself and yet also toward Himself (Rom 11.36 Gk) by quoting Epimenides, “In him [God] we live and move and have our being” (M.D. Gibson, The Commentaries of Isho’dad of Merv., IV in Horae Semiticae, X, 1913, XIIf).
Paul’s choice of poet is astonishing when we consider that Plutarch (Solon 12) and Plato (Laws 1, 642d) and others regarded Epimenides as a prophet of immense honour. But Paul does not hesitate in his argument by bringing in more heathen reinforce-ments in his appeal to “poets” (plural — Acts 17.28). “For we are also His offspring.” He quotes both from Aratus of Cilicia (Phaenomena 5) “whose astronomical poems were so celebrated, that Ovid declares his fame will live “as long as the sun and moon endure” (W.J. Conybeare & J.S. Howson, The Life and Epistles of St Paul, 1976 reprint., 293) and from Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus 4. The Hymn of Cleanthes begins,
“Greetings, most glorious
of the immortals,
Of many names,
Ruler of nature,
You who govern the universe
according to law.”
“For we thine offspring are,
and all created things
that live and move
on earth receive from Thee
the image of the One.”
The hymn concludes,
“Therefore all-giving Zeus,
clouded in darkness,
powerful as lightning,
save men from their
banish it, O Father,
from their souls and
let them acquire reason,
with which you rule all in justice,
that we, so honoured by you,
return to you the honour,
for there is nothing higher for
mortals and for gods than,
as is proper always,
to praise the all-governing law.”
We are God’s natural children, says Paul. And indeed, this teaching remains true to the Jewish thoughtform with which it agrees. After all, it is written in the Torah: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion…” (Gen 1.26). And again, “So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them” (Gen 1.27).
Male and female. That’s what a man is. That’s what a woman is. This is what we all are, as a matter of fact! We are all male and female! Not just as individual sexes, but each one of us happens to be comprised of male and female hormones, chemicals. And it is emphasised that we are in the image of God. The direct image. But God said not just image, but likeness too. Notice the two factors are not identical.
We have here a reference to “image” and a reference to “likeness.” Judaism has always understood the differentiation between “image” and “likeness.” According to Scripture “God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity” (The Wisdom of Solomon 2.23). Man is made in God’s image — man’s character is potentially Divine. And man alone, of all the animals, can guide his actions in accordance with reason as Paul pointed out in his reference to pagan poetry. This is why the Bible doesn’t say, “God created man,” or “God brought forth man.” It states, rather, that “God created man, in his image.”
Now, in the Hebrew of Genesis 1.26 Moses gives reference to the “image” of God as the “shadow” of God. “Image” here in Hebrew is tseh’lem — shadow or shade; a phantom, an illusion. Indeed, the text could be correctly translated as “Let us make man under our shadow” or “Let us make man as our shade.”
The teaching is this: and remember, this is an EASTERN teaching because the Bible is an EASTERN book. It must be understood that way. Its not a western book, its EASTERN. What is this teaching we are preoccupied with here, in this instance?
Our material flesh is part and parcel of the created cosmic order of things (the dream of God) and is therefore an illusion. Not only so, but few realise that the Hebrew pronoun in regards God, standing for sexual gender, is totally neutral and can just as easily mean “he,” “she,” or “it” depending on the context. Jewish scholars also recognise that God revealed Him-self to Moses on eight occasions in the feminine gender. This is one reason why certain rabbis refer to God as the politic-ally correct “she/he” and it is for this reason we associated with the BRI/IMCF honour the Lord (at least to ourselves) as “He/She” more than by the exclusive masculine (and sexist) “He.”
This must be understood as the accepted Hebrew meaning of God within Judaism from the Hebrew text! Some Rabbis explain that even though King David informs his readers that God is “a father to the fatherless” in the masculine form, God is equally “a mother to the motherless” in the feminine form. This is why God speaks of Himself in the Hebrew Scriptures (the so-called “Old Testament”) as a midwife and why Our Lord Yeshua likens Himself in the pages of the equally Hebrew Messianic Script-ures (the so-called “New Testament”) to a hen who would spread her wings to protect her young. God was also visualised by the Jewish people at one time as possessing wings as an eagle (Ps 17.8; 18.10 etc; Ex 19.4; Deut 32.11,12). For the dull of mind this is a female eagle, not a male! The Bible references are to an almost extinct variety of eagle, the female of which casts out her young from the nest, high in the craggy mountain heights, seemingly before they are ready to fly. As they hurtle to earth she swoops beneath them catching every single one on her wings and soars back to the nest. No other eagle in the world is capable of accomplishing such a feat! And God likens Herself to this species of female predator. Astonishing!
But man was also to be made in God’s “likeness.” Now please notice that “likeness” is from the Hebrew d’muwth. It means a “model” or “resemblance.” Also, “make” is the word aw’sawh which has a variety of shades of meaning, including “to bring forth,” “yield” and “produce.” We could therefore translate Genesis 1.26 as “Let us bring forth man as an illusion, but resembling or modelled on our similitude.”
Stage 1 can be assessed as the teaching that God brought forth Man originally as His offspring at the dawn of time but that Man (as part of the created material cosmic order) is an illusion as much as the rest of the “physical” universe is concerned.
- All matter is only energy.
We are all trillions of swirling molecules and atoms held together in form by an unknown gravitational force which quantum physics is now seeking to explore. The real world is the world of spirit where God dwells as absolute being. This world of ours — this created “material” universal order — is just so much illusion. But we are the offspring of God by creation. And that creation is a bringing forth out of God, like a woman giving birth to her own human creation. Already formed, from the womb. We know that Man was originally created androgynous for Eve was separated from Adam at a later date, from his side (Gen 2.21-23). She was not, according to the Hebrew text, created out of some rib, ignorant traditionalists notwith-standing! God separated Eve from Adam’s side where she was actually considered a projected “angular organ” (literal Hebrew rendering). This is why some of the ancient androgynous statuary forms found in India approximate our physical federal head replete with a multiplicity of arms and legs. Man was made male and female. Man was made in the “image” of God (“He/She”).
Most Christians would be — and are — horrified at such notions. And due to the fact that they are grossly unfamiliar with Jewish thoughtform such reticence is entirely understandable. But this is not all. For now we come to Stage II.
Stage II: The Forgotten Purpose in Man’s Re-Creation
Please turn in your Bibles to John 10.22. The scene for this discourse is set in “Jerusalem at the feast of dedication, and it was winter.” The festival of dedication was the feast of Hanukkah, which carries the meaning “consecration” (also called the festival of “Lights” or “Renewal”). Some of my students will recall, from International Internet Yeshiva lectures on the “Antichrist” that the Syrian Antiochus Epiphanes had invaded Judaea and had disallowed the Jewish observance of the law. He forbad circumcision, and the keeping of all Jewish rites and ceremonies that were conducted by the Jewish people under the regulations enunciated by Moses. Temple worship was forbidden, and he sacrificed swine (an unclean animal) on the altar of God in the Holy of holies on December 25th (the birthday of the gods) in honour of Jupiter-Olympus.
This deplorable state of affairs amongst the people of God came to an end with the uprising of the Jewish hero Judah Maccabaeus who overthrew Antiochus and cleansed the Temple. The lights of rededication (the burning oil in the menorah) supernaturally lasted a full 8 days. The Jewish people have kept this celebration as a feast during the Jerusalem winter ever since that time. The feast coincides with Christmas, and that is why you may see religious Jews giving presents to each other. They’re not keeping the pagan Xmas but Hanukkah. Secular Jews, of course, often keep both without any religious significance whatever.
So here in this passage John tells us that the month was December, and the season was winter. Now most commentators have failed to see the significance of this comment. What season follows winter? Why, spring. And what does spring celebrate? New birth, fertility, the release of the life force, sexual energy in nature.
Now bearing this in mind, John records that during this season of winter (the time of the feast of “lights” and remember that God is seen in the NT as the “Father of lights” — Jam 1.17), Our Lord Yeshua enters into dialogue with the religious leaders of the day. Yeshua anticipates, in winter, the real teaching of spring. Most of us should realise that the apostle John uses the feasts of Israel as a tapestry backdrop for all of Yeshua’s discourses and to give us the fullness of Mashiach’s teachings.
In other words, everything of significance as stated by Yeshua John puts against an historical and calendrical background to better illuminate his reader’s theological perceptions. And, here in this passage of Scripture, which relates an incident during which Yeshua declares openly the Sh’ma unity and Oneness which he experienced with God, the Jewish religious leaders accuse him of blasphemy because he dares to claim to be God’s own Son (Jn 10.30,31). In his defence, Yeshua makes the point that we Earthlings are in fact “gods” rather than humans (Jn10.34) and to establish the thrust of his argument he quotes from Psalm 82.6 which Psalm is reflecting on references in the Torah to the Israelite “judges” (really, generals) as “gods” (Ex 21.6; 22.8,28).
To sum up Our Lord’s defence, the apostle John outlines that if Moses could refer to the military generals as “gods” has Yeshua blasphemed by calling himself “a son of God” since the Father consecrated, sanctified and commissioned him on such a special mission (Jn 10.35,36)?
But it is just precisely this wonderful claim that leads us into what is primarily unique in the teachings of an authentic Grace-oriented Messianic Christianity, as opposed to the doctrines of other religions.
Again, are we talking here of a unique Christian doctrine of “Oneness with God”? Are we referring to a unique teaching in Christianity related to ultimate “Unity” with God? Not by or of itself, for this is also taught in other religions. However, the “unity” with God to which Yeshua here refers has to do with God as “the Father of lights” which is pictured by the festival of Hanukkah (the very period during which Yeshua identified human beings as “gods”). Authentic disciples — students — of the Mashiach) are everywhere spoken of in the pages of the Messianic Scriptures as “lights” (Mt 5.14-16; Jn 12.36; Ac 13.47; Rom 13.12; 2 Cor 6.14; Eph 5.8; Phil 2.15; 1 Thes 5.5; Jam 1.17) and that for a reason!
John, so passionately consumed with the hidden meanings of Mashiach’s discourses, has yet more to disclose to the Messianic believer about this “Oneness with God.” After taking pains to emphasise the oneness and unity of the Father and the Son throughout the first two chapters of the first epistle — readers please examine the contents thoroughly — he states: “Behold! What manner of love [Gk. “what exotic love”] the Father has permanently bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons [Gk “children”] of God! And such we are!….Divinely loved ones, NOW are we the SONS [Gk children] OF GOD and it is not yet made visible or manifest what we shall be: but we know absolutely that, when he [Yeshua] shall appear [at His second Advent] we shall be LIKE him for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3.1,2 Greek).
READ IT AGAIN, and again, until it has sunk right in. The early, primitive Messianic Community believed in, and taught, that we were literally the sons and daughters of God. Literally, not metaphorically. Literally, not symbolically. Not even allegorically. Paul also taught this doctrine, and recognised that God was reproducing Himself in selected human beings (made in His “Image” and to be made also in His “Likeness”) — new creations, or creatures (2 Cor 5.17 Gk; Rom 8.19) united to the Lord as ONE SPIRIT (1 Cor 6.17) comprising both sexes (2 Cor 6.16b-7.1).
Further, in the case of a converted husband and wife, the apostle Kefa (Peter) categorically announces that eternity awaits them in their sexually differentiated form (1 Pet 3.7).
The Deception of the Apostles’ Creed
It did not take long before God’s truth (grounded in the Jewish thoughtform of the people who originally wrote the Book) was unceremoniously replaced by fables, ultra-mystical Babylonian doctrines, and outright lies. The Lord Yeshua had been uprooted from his Jewish roots already by the early second century, just a few years after the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple (Karl-Josef Kuschel, Born Before All Time? The Dispute Over Christ’s Origin, 1992, 43 John Bowden tr).
By the mid-4th century the Christian church in the West was in the grip of a major apostasy. It was no longer the unblemished authentic spiritual Community of God. It was Constantinian, through and through. The unbound Word of God (2 Tim 2.9 Gk) had become shackled in man’s earthly, sensuous creeds.
One of these creeds — the Apostles’ Creed, or the Apostolic Tradition — originated long after the days of the Apostles and the immediate “Fathers” of the early church (the inheritors of the apostolic mantle). In fact, modern scholars are beginning to recognise a rather late date indeed for the formulation of this particular attempt to define basic church doctrine (Gerald Bray, Creeds, Councils and Christ, 1984, 19,94,212). But what makes this creed of special interest to us is the emphasis on Yeshua the Messiah (not as God’s uniquely begotten Son) but as God’s only Son.
Most of my Yeshiva students could recite the creed by rote. It begins,
“I believe in God
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ
his only Son
But the Bible does not say that Yeshua Messiah is God’s only Son. Certainly he was the uniquely begotten Son through Miriam’s virginal conception. Certainly none of us have ever experienced such a thing! My mother, though saintly beyond measure, was decidedly not a virgin when she conceived me. I had three older sisters before I accidentally and unexpectedly came along. And my father was most certainly not God! I can assure you all of that. But John tells us (as we have already seen) that authentic Christians are all God’s children — His sons and daughters (1 Jn 3.1,2) — by virtue of a new birth or new begettal (Jn 3.3; 1 Jn 2.29; 3.9; 4.7; 5.1,4; also Peter in 1 Pet 1.22,23; 2.2) — literally!
And do you know what that will make us? We are already “gods” by virtue of being physically created in the “Image” of the Creative Intelligence which brought forth Man and Woman at the very beginning. But now being made in the “likeness” of God we shall bear the very likeness — in character and ability as well as in appearance — of DEITY (Rom 6.5).
That this is the prime teaching of the “NT corpus” as reflected in the following texts cannot be questioned! (See, as examples Heb 2.10-13,17; 12.7,8; Phil 2.13-15; Gal 4.4-7; Eph 1.4,5; 2 Cor 6.16-18; Rom 8.7-17,18-23,29; Jn 1.12).
The Major Problem With the Doctrine of the Trinity
Yet this knowledge has been ignored for centuries! I say “ignored” rather than “misunderstood” because the King James revisionists of 1611 did not approve of this teaching due to the fact it contested the idea of a closed Trinity. Deity in a closed Triad could not reproduce Himself/Herself — what a tragedy these “scholars” could not, and would not, substitute the view of “Tri-unity” for “Trinity.” A triune Deity can and has begotten other children. Not as Yeshua, who was uniquely conceived. But we Christians, if we are authentic disciples, have been impregnated by the seed of God nevertheless!
- What an ASTONISHING REVELATION is this utterly WONDERFUL, yet STAGGERING truth! For, if you truly possess the Spirit of God (the very holy Spirit of new birth or begettal) then you are [a] potential GOD and ONE with the UNITY of DEITY ITSELF!
Now the words of Our Lord can make better sense when he says in his heartfelt prayer to the Father, “Holy Father, keep through your own name [we carry God’s name just as any son or daughter carries their father’s family name] those whom you have given me, that THEY MAY BE ONE as we are…that THEY MAY BE ONE as you Father are in me, and I in you, that THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US…and the glory which you gave me I have given them that THEY MAY BE ONE even as we are ONE – I in them and you in me that THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE” (Jn 17.11,21-23).
So hostile were the KJV revisionists toward the truth of God that they changed the idea of an intimate “Sonship” to an aloof, legal “adoption.” This was because they realised that Yeshua would “only” be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters and therefore, because Yeshua was his “only” Son, God could “only” ever adopt other children (See KJV Rom 8. 15,23; Gal 4.5; Eph 1.5; N.B. The NASV and Darby also follow the KJV in this regard).
According to the established church we Messianic believers could be His children, but only legally, by adoption. But this flies in the face of the biblical revelation.
Why We Should Thank God That He is Our Father
We have just seen the evidence that the primitive Jewish (and Gentile) Messianic Community taught that we believers had become literal children of God, and that by the indwelling of the holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) united with our own spirits. The holy SPIRIT is spirit. And our spirit needs to experience the salvation of God. We are decidedly not pure spirits trapped inside of foul, fleshly bodies (1 Cor 5.5; 2 Cor 7.1).
God’s Spirit unites with our spirit, and begins a purifying process that will ultimately usher forth in a totally liberated, free Spirit at ONE with the God who brought it forth as a Woman gives birth to a Child — fully formed at the due time of delivery.
Our recreation as the royal Children of the Kingdom — the King’s Kids — grants us the privilege by right of begettal or birth to bear the name of Deity, the Father’s Name. This is one of the major reasons why I feel a personal urgency to get back to basics about God, our heavenly Father. We must get back to foundational basics about the teaching of God, about God. If God is our Father, and if we have the right to refer to Him as our Father, then we need to rediscover as much about Him as is humanly possible.
Many of us have unfortunately suffered as a result of the errors of our human fathers. Some fathers deserted us when we were little ones. I well recall one dear lady telling my wife (the Rebbetzin) and I about her father taking her to town when she was very young, and telling her to stay on a street corner, and to wait there for him to come back. She stayed there for a long time, but he never returned for her. As a result of this cruel, heartless act, she suffers from terrible depression, and a distorted personality. I even knew a man whose father left him when he was a child and he sought love in the darkness of a homosexual lust for a great deal of his life, all the time seeking in a perverse way his lost father’s love. (We are decidedly not condemning homosexuals here, but rather lust. Lust should be condemned no matter what form it takes!) The only women he can equate with seem to be butch types. He cannot properly love children — even his own immediate descendants. How tragic. Some fathers were savage in reprimanding us. Still others ignored us and our basic needs. None of us as fathers are anywhere near perfect.
Nevertheless, it is written that an end time Work will arise, in the Spirit and Power of the ancient prophet Elijah, and there will be a concentration of effort in “turning the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children, lest [God] come and smite the earth with utter destruction” (Mal 4.5,6 Heb).
A number of Gentile organisations have claimed to be such a work! But one thing is for certain. We colour our view of God, by what we understand of the term “father.” But we are told God is our Father, and that we are His children, so there is an imperative need that we find out about God, and then (having come to understand more about Him) we need to let Him dwell fully in our hearts so that the Scripture may begin to be fulfilled that states, “For now we see through a glass obscurely; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor 13.12).
When we know God the light of God penetrates our spirits, and sets them free. As the children of God, we are lights in this world for God is Light, and God indwells each of us. John the apostle said of Messiah, that he is the true Light of men (Jn
1.4). We are indeed presently lights shining in the darkness — lights reflecting the Father. Yet one day all men, women and children shall share equally in the Light. For, Messiah is the “Light of the World” and he promises to light every human being that has ever drawn breath, for it is written: “[Messiah] was the true Light, who lights every man that comes into the world” (Jn 1.9 Gk).
Sonship, as linked directly to God’s salvation drama, takes a direct, divine miracle of Deity. The uniting of God’s Spirit with our human spirit in conception or new birth occurred when we confessed the Messiah, when we believed the Messiah, and believed IN Yeshua the Messiah as Lord and Saviour (and even that confession took a divine miracle in the process of a gracious salvation).
What is the teaching that sets apart an authentic Messianic Christianity as unique, and which is not taught in any other religion on earth? It is that God is reproducing Himself in us — that we are literally His kids — the very thoughtforms of God made manifest at present in human form. We are not human beings having a spiritual experience! Not at all!
- We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
God is your Father. Messiah is your brother — your older brother, in fact. God has other children (sons and daughters) apart from the uniquely begotten firstborn Son, Yeshua. We are truly “gods” — bearing the Father’s likeness and we have the right to carry the Father’s name.