Distinct? Or, United? (God in a box.)

In a recent online conversation, several Christian pastors were trying to force me to subscribe to their particular understanding of the nature of Yeshua and how they believe the Godhead fits together.  Predictably, because I didn’t use or agree with their particular choice of words, they define me a ‘heretic.’  (Can’t you just feel the love?)

The sticking point was the word ‘distinct.’  They desperately wanted me to declare unequivocally that there is a strong ‘distinction’ between Yahweh and Yeshua.  Frankly, there was a time I could do that…  then I started to read the Scriptures a little god-in-a-boxmore carefully and a different picture began to emerge….  A picture that normative/historical Christianity doesn’t care for, because it undermines some of their cherished doctrines/traditions.

If you want to view the conversation firsthand, it starts in the mid-170s, and is a bit like riding a merry-go-round.  Just be careful not to ride the shark or the wolf.  😉

A specific quote of mine from #185,

As I explained before, my reticence is that I believe the Mystery is greater than the box we try to put Him in. I also believe that historic Christianity, particularly under the influence of Roman Catholicism has dwelt mightily on the distinctions of the Person (TriUnity) to the detriment of the Unity. [Much of that goes back to the very bad habit of the RCC to syncretize the local paganism to its own benefit. Pagan godheads have been in existence since Nimrod/Semiramis/Tammuz.]

What I want to do is let the Scriptures speak.  Does Yeshua say/do something separate and distinct from the Father, or does He ONLY speak the words of the Father?

Here is a great example, among many, of Scripture declaring that Yahweh delivered Israel from Egypt, and that they are to ‘walk in My ways,’ and ‘obey My voice,’

“Hear, O My people, and I will [f]admonish you;
O Israel, if you would listen to Me!
“Let there be no strange god among you;
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
10 I, YAHWEH, am your God,
Who brought you up from the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

11 “But My people did not listen to My voice,
And Israel did not [g]obey Me.
12 “So I gave [h]them over to the stubbornness of their heart,
To walk in their own devices.
13 “Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!

Clearly, the One speaking is assuming the position of Lawgiver and Redeemer.

Dozens of other similar examples emerge with a quick search,

The sons of Ephraim [e]were archers equipped with bows,
Yet they turned back in the day of battle.
10 They did not keep the covenant of God
And refused to walk in His torah;….

35 And they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer….

52 But He led forth His own people like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;…

56 Yet they [ac]tempted and rebelled against the Most High God
And did not keep His testimonies,…

You get the point.

Well, two weeks ago I posted What did Moses see in the ‘Burning Bush?’  In that entry, we looked at Scripture and established that in the Tanak (Old Testament) appearances of the Angel of the Lord are ‘Christophanies,’ to use modern theological lingo.  Basically, the physical manifestations of Yahweh are pre-incarnate appearances of Yeshua haMashiach.

In Judges 2:1-5 we have an amazing appearance of Yeshua/the Angel of the Lord who declares several significant things…

Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not [a]obeyed Me; what is this you have done? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will [b]become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’” When the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. So they named that place [c]Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the Lord.

Clearly, the Angel of the Lord, here, claims the very things we previously saw ascribed to the Father.

In fact, there are multiple such occurrences in the Torah where the Angle of the Lord, the visible revelation of God, does or claims things otherwise only possible for God.  Claims like, ‘I will greatly multiply your descendents,’ or ‘you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me!’

We shouldn’t be surprised to see it so plainly in Scripture when we stop and really hear what Yeshua is saying when He states,

30 I and the Father are [a]one.

Or,

He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; (from John 14)

Or,

My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

The point is, Yeshua and the Father are on the same page.  Yeshua says and does NOTHING apart from the will of the Father.  They are in perfect unity.  There is no distinction in their actions, thoughts, sayings, etc.  Therefore, Yeshua doesn’t undo, change, alter, anull, abolish, abrogate, _______, etc, the Torah.  He ONLY ever affirms it.  See Deuteronomy 18:15-19 and 12:32-13:11!  (***For clarity, the focus of this post is the exact unity of work/mind/action/etc that we see in Yahweh and Yeshua.  I am not saying they are the same Person.  In the referenced thread, I did acknowledge agreement to the Athanasian Creed.  Interestingly, post number 248 or so has links concerning the Deity of Yeshua on a website I have visited before and a teacher I do respect, Avram Yehoshua.  Recall, I reviewed a book by him on Acts 15 a while back.  VERY scholarly work!  He has some good YouTube teachings up.)

Yeshua is the ‘exact representation of,’ or ‘image of the invisible‘ Divine Echad.

This is a great Mystery that we cannot parse into ‘distinctions.’  We cannot put God in a box so as to set the parties against each other.

Much more could be written, but I want to save the Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel et.al. references concerning the Holy One of Israel, Redeemer, Rock, Alef-Tav for later.  They only confirm what is written here.

On another topic, though, God puts Himself in a box…  for our benefit.  That ‘box’ is called ‘covenant.’  But we won’t open that one right now.  Suffice it to say, through His ancient Covenants, we know EXACTLY what He will do, how He will act and what He expects.  That Covenant our fathers broke, was renewed through the blood of Messiah Yeshua.  We will discuss ‘covenant’ in the not too distant future.

Shalom!!

______

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About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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5 Responses to Distinct? Or, United? (God in a box.)

  1. Connie E says:

    Thank you Pete. I’ve read most of Avi teaching. Need to digest. Maybe I’ll be better able to understand and articulate.

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  2. I think I prefer to think of “The Trinity” in the more Jewish perspective, that Yeshua is a facet of YHWH. The idea of the trinity has long bothered me, because it doesn’t make sense that there are three distinct persons. And although there are scripture that implies the threeness of Father, Son, and Spirit, and especially the relationship between Father and Son, but I’d rather not even separate them. Too often people refer to each as separate, which doesn’t seem right to me. And yes, I know that referring to Him as ONLY one is also incorrect, but I feel it gives me a bigger idea of who Yah is, rather than a smaller idea. With the trinity, we can say “The father does this, and Jesus does this…” and divide Him. I’d rather leave it a mystery, and focus on manifestations of on Elohim Yahweh, rather than the specific parts.

    I’m not arguing with you, I definitely agree that God is united. I’m just hesitant about focusing on the difference between “persons” at all. That’s all. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Pete Rambo says:

      I’m with you. Have definitely been moving in that direction. Rabbi Itzhak Shapira, in his defense of Yeshua’s divinity, refers to the mystery of Yeshua/the Angel of Yahweh/the Memra as a ‘manifestation’ of YHVH. Even Shapira would agree with echad (unified one) but avoid ‘yachid’ (singular one).

      Good to see you.

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      • Yes! Echad, not Yachid, I found a good study one time about echad, though I’m not sure where it is, I’ll have to look at it. But the writer explains the unity of echad, for example with Adam and Eve. They became echad, but not two as one. They were always one, because Eve came from Adam. Thus, together they are a united one, echad, and not distinct.

        Good to be back.

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