Y'Shua is YHWH Part 1
by Rabbi Ian K. Michaels
Y'shua is YHWH
This is going to be a lengthy series in which I will attempt to address one or two points at a time. It is my hope that in this way, some who are still confused on this topic (or completely convinced otherwise) will be able to digest the information given in small bites. Some have already addressed this topic in the past and done such a good job that I will borrow from there works directly giving credit to the authors. Anyone who has been in this movement for awhile knows that there is quite a diversity of beliefs and practices among those who call themselves “Messianic.” Those who have come out of Christianity have awakened to a renewed understanding of Torah (the Law). They have learned that the Christian world was wrong about the Law. This leads them to believe that perhaps the Christian world was wrong about everything else, including the doctrine that “Jesus is God.” It’s good that people are thinking for themselves and it is right to examine doctrines, but lest we be guilty of throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water, we need to rightly divide the word of truth with a sensible approach, apart from emotions, to see what Scripture clearly reveals on its own.
With this in mind, let us consider this age-old theological controversy: Who is Y’shua the Messiah? Is He Elohim – or is He just a human man? [The following is reprinted word for word. I have not changed the author’s use of the terms “Lord” and “God.”] Why does the Messiah have to be Divine? (by J.K. McKee) The question of whether or not Yeshua the Messiah is Divine, God in the flesh, has been a cause of considerable debate since His ascension into Heaven. There are those who strongly believe that Yeshua must be God, and that any diversion from believing that He is not God must be viewed as theological heresy. There are those who strongly believe that Yeshua was just a human man, and He had some kind of special relationship with God and was quite possibly even empowered by God, but never God in the flesh. There are those who are confused and don’t know what to believe. While we cannot fully understand our Creator, nor can we fully understand His ways as mortal human beings, the Scriptures do tell us some important things about the Lord. God Himself tells us, “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:3a). He follows up this statement with, “I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior besides me” (Isaiah 43:11). He challenges the “fugitives of the nations” (Isaiah 45:20), “I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, and they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; and all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:26). These verses from the Tanach (Old Testament) attest to the fact that the Lord, God Himself, is our only Savior and Redeemer.
The process of being redeemed and being saved are unmistakably connected together, and they are directly related to our Creator Himself. The key in properly dealing with the Divinity of Messiah issue is directly related to how we become “saved.” The Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) tell us some things about our salvation as well. The angels proclaimed at Yeshua’s birth, “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.” Paul also writes about “the redemption which is in Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 3:24).We are told, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Yeshua the Messiah is the One, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14). Four times in the epistle of 2 Peter, Yeshua is called “our Lord and Savior” (1:11,2:20,3:2,18). This seems to be a contradiction. If the LORD God is our only Savior and Redeemer, then why is Yeshua referred to as the One saving us and redeeming us? Is not this something that can be done by only God alone? The truth of the matter is that one being saved, forgiven of his or her sins, and being spiritually regenerated, is directly connected to whether or not Yeshua the Messiah is Divine. Consider the Scriptures from the Tanach that clearly tell us that God Himself is our only Savior and Redeemer. Consider the Scriptures which tell us that Yeshua is the only One in whom we have salvation and redemption. What is being communicated here? Is there a Divine connection between the Father and Son? Yes! [end of reprint from J.K.McKee]
Anyone who has studied the Passover knows that it is the prophetic foreshadowing of a greater deliverance. Serving as a type and shadow, Passover represents our exodus as Believers from slavery to sin. At the crossing of the sea and the drowning of the Egyptian army, the children of Israel sang a song of praise. They sang, “YHWH is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation” (Exodus 15:2). The Hebrew text says Yah v’yehi li l’yeshuah, literally translated, “Yah has become our Yeshuah.” This concept of Yah becoming our Yeshuah (salvation) is found in other places of the Scriptures as well. One is Isaiah 12:2 where it states, “Behold, Elohim is my Yeshuah. Another is Psalm 98:3 that says, “….all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our El.” This verse tells us that the world has seen yeshuat Eloheinu.
These verses speak of a very important Biblical fact: Elohim is the only One who can save us from our sins. Elohim was the salvation of Ancient Israel out of their slavery in Egypt , being their salvation or “Yeshua.” If we are born again Believers, Elohim has had to become “Yeshua” or salvation for us. A strong conviction that Y’shua the Messiah must be Divine and Elohim in the flesh is deeply rooted in where the Source of our salvation lies. The Source of our salvation is YHWH Himself. YHWH Himself is the only One who can save us and redeem us from our sins. This is a foundational point: No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to Elohim a ransom for him…. but Elohim will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me. Selah. [Psalm 49:7 & 15] So, this fact is established; if Y’shua was only a mere man, then He could not have possibly delivered us from Sheol. There is therefore, no possible way that He could be our Savior. The Scriptures are extremely adamant about YHWH Elohim being our only Savior, and if Y’shua is not YHWH Elohim, then who or what is He? How can He be the source of our salvation if He is not YHWH? Do we have to believe that Y’shua is YHWH? I mean is this a salvation issue? Yes! We may not fully understand the complexities of Y’shua’s Divinity, but we must have a Divine Redeemer in order to be forgiven of our sins and be saved from eternal punishment. If we have a concept of Y’shua that is not Scriptural, then we have a different “Jesus.” A Savior of our own making is no Savior at all! Not honoring the Son (as He truly is) is to not honor the Father (as He truly is) [John 5:23]. “If you believe not that I AM *, you shall die in your sins.” [John 8:24b] “…no man can say that Y’shua is Maryah**, but by the Set-apart Spirit.” [1 Corinthians 12:3b]
- *I AM has an italicized “he” following it in English translations in an attempt to make sense of the “I am” that stands alone. The Greek translators chose the phrase “ego eime” meaning, “I AM THE BEING.” This same phrase was also used in the Septuagint for the account of the burning bush when YHWH told Moses “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). In the Aramaic Peshitta (the original New Testament), the phrase here is “Ena Na” which is a phrase of Divine speech throughout the Tanach. It is rendered by many Aramaic translators as “I AM THE LIVING ELOHIM.”
- ** Maryah (literally “Master YHWH”) is the Aramaic equivalent to the Hebrew Sacred Name. No where in any literature is it ever used for anyone but YHWH Himself. The writers of the New Testament use it over 30 times in direct reference to Y’shua the Messiah, including here in 1 Corinthians 12:3b. This is in fact a lithmus test Scripture to know who is truly a born again Believer among us.