Thursday, June 05, 2008

Is Yeshua Divine? - Clearing up confusion.

Is Yeshua Divine? - Clearing up confusion.

During some preparatory teachings prior to Mikha'el's recent debate on the Divinity of Yeshua, I made a statement that was misunderstood by several people. For this I would like to apologize; while I believed I said it correctly, it is the communicator's responsibility to make their message clear; this I apparently failed to do.

What we Teach and Believe about Yeshua

We believe that:

* Yeshua is the Messiah and is the Shekhinah of G-D and that His Spiritual nature is of the Divine essence (part of G-D).
* That Yeshua existed as the Shekhinah from the beginning and was not created but is part of G-D.
* His human body was miraculously conceived by G-D in the womb of the virgin Mariam.
* He lived a sinless life.
* He died as a sacrifice to redeem us from sin.
* He bodily was resurrected as proof the sacrifice was accepted.
* He ascended into Heaven.
* He will return to reclaim the Earth for Adonai.
* True faith in Him redeems a person from sin.

The root of the misunderstanding

Apparently where I failed to communicate properly was in explaining our belief that Scripture does not explicitly state a person must believe Messiah is Divine to be redeemed.

Several times in Scripture it says that we must believe that Yeshua was sent by G-D, died for our sins and was resurrected. Nowhere does the Tanakh or Brit Chadasha state we must believe He is part of G-D. It does say "sent by G-d" and "came from G-d."

What does it mean

We believe it is critical that a person understands the relationship of Yeshua to G-D, that His Spirit is the Shekhinah of G-D (part of G-D, the visible Presence of G-D) and that His body was born of woman and is human (though born without the sin nature). This is important because a man, no matter how perfect, could not by himself pay for all the sins of fallen humanity. That is where His divine nature comes in to play. By the fact of His Spirit and rightful honor being infinite, He was able to take all the shame for sin that we deserve.

Where we must be careful is that we do not add to G-D's Word when it comes to what is required for Redemption. Where Scripture does not explicitly state something is required for Salvation, I do not think we should add to it. Some examples:

* Is keeping Shabbat a requirement for Redemption? Scripture says a person who violates Shabbat is to be stoned and is cut-off from Israel.
* Is keeping Kosher? A person who eats pig and shrimp is unclean, does that mean they are not redeemed?
* What about drinking wine? Some denominations treat it as a serious sin.
* Smoking? We have had Christians tell people who smoke they could not be redeemed.
* Is a person who is sprinkled saved, when Scripture says to be immersed?

Only drinking & smoking are not explicitly discussed in scripture. Each of the others is clearly stated as required. Yet I know few who believe in Messiah who believe the person is not redeemed if they do (or don't do) those things. Even more telling are smoking and drinking, which clearly were man-made additions to what G-d calls sin. I do not know one serious student of Scripture that would say a person cannot be Redeemed because they drink or smoke--yet some people are spreading these falsehoods.

In the above examples we do not believe that Scripture teaches they are required for redemption (see Acts 15:13-21). Similarly we believe it would be improper to present them as required. Just as those examples above are not required for Redemption, we think it is unwise to add belief that Messiah is Divine to the requirement for Redemption when Scripture does not clearly state it is required.

In Summary

I hope from the above examples you can see why we stated we could not judge a person's salvation based on whether they believe Messiah is divine. Our Synagogue teaches, and leadership believes fully, He is of the Divine Essence (part of G-D). What I was trying to communicate (and failed to do clearly) is that we cannot say a person is not Redeemed if they do not believe Messiah is Divine. We too should neither add or take away from Scripture.

What we can and should do is lovingly try and help see the importance of Him being of the Divine Essence. I think Mikha'el did just that in the debates.

Rabbi Gavri'el