Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Discussion with a “counter-missionary” – Part 1

Part 1:

Miriam Levinson wrote:

My response to a Christian post that their bible proves Jesus is God:

If you interpret "I and the Father are one" as meaning that Jesus is God, what do you do with the PRAYER of Jesus in John 17: 22 "The glory which you have given me, I have given to them, that they may be ONE EVEN AS we are one." The expression "even as" means "in the same way as...." so unless you believe all followers of Jesus are going to be GODS, your interpretation is wrong. It's also absurd for Jesus to be praying this prayer because if he were God, he could watch out for his own disciples from heaven - yet he prays to "Holy Father" because, as he indicated, being in heaven with God means he can't do anything from that location.

Carmen Welker’s Response:

The first thing one must do when trying to decipher any passages in the New Testament, is to remove them from any Christian context. For instance, your challenge against the idea that “Jesus is God,” is not necessarily in error because, as everyone SHOULD realize – GOD can’t be born or die! To keep my response from ending up longer than Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” I’ll just send you to the thorough explanation on my website.

Next – your concerns about “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) can hopefully be assuaged by the following explanation in an AENT appendix entitled, “Unity of Mashiyach.” It says:

The intimate relationship between Father and Son unfolds in Matthew 6:9-13 with the Slotha d'Maran, or Prayer of our Master, and progressive revelation continuing in Matthew 26:39, 42 and so on. Put simply, if Y'shua is YHWH, then is he talking to himself? The answer, of course, is NO! But, in order to understand we must go deep into the Tanakh to the following milestone passages:

1) In Exodus 23:20-22 we find mention of the only Messenger that YHWH sent to Israel who “has My Name in him.” This is key because every other messenger has YHWH's title – EL (MichaEL, RaphaEL, UriEL, etc.) in their names. But Y'shua's name means, “YHWH is salvation” which is tied to prophecy about him in places like Jeremiah 23:5-6, and fulfilled in John 17:11. Mashiyach has a superior name to the other messengers (Hebrews 1:1-5) and a Name in him that is above all other names (Colossians 1:16-19, Philippians 2:9-10). This means that Y'shua and this Messenger, who are one and the same, have the Name Yah rather than El/Eloah/Elohim.

2) The other aspect of Exodus 23:20-22 is that YHWH warns that this Messenger will not forgive Israel if they sin; implying that he had the independent power to do so, but would not on this occasion. Such ability was not ever afforded any other heavenly messenger. To see how this might manifest with Mashiyach’s power and office, please see Matthew 9:5-8.

3) Isaiah 9:6 tells us that one of the names of Mashiyach is “the Everlasting Father,” who is obviously YHWH Himself. Then Isaiah 11:1-2 tells us that Mashiyach as the Root of Jesse will have the Spirit of YHWH rest inside him! Incidentally, the Spirit of YHWH and the Ruach haKodesh are also one and the same, as evidenced by Psalm 51:1-11 and Isaiah 63:1-11.

4) Perhaps the most essential passage is in Zechariah 12:10, where the only begotten Son is killed but YHWH is “pierced.” The Hebrew here, in spite of rabbinic argumentation to the contrary, could not be clearer. The phrase in question is et asher dakaru. The et serves as a direct object pointer; it shows what part of a Hebrew sentence is receiving the action.

So, in Genesis 1:1 we are told et hashamayim v'et ha'aretz, with the et meaning that the heavens and the Earth are receiving the action of being created. On this everyone agrees, but the same rabbis who agree with this usage everywhere else in Tanakh turn a blind eye here. In this passage, it can only read as “to whom pierced they,” and since YHWH is speaking, He is being pierced!

And yet the rest of the passage talks of people mourning for the man as “an only begotten son”! How can this be? The Son whose flesh is pierced contains an occurrence (qnoma in Aramaic) of YHWH's Spirit, so while it is the flesh that is literally pierced and dies, the Spirit of YHWH is pierced too, but of course, cannot die.

5) Finally, Isaiah 53:1: “to whom has the arm of YHWH been revealed?” This is the only acceptable form of “Godhead” in Scripture. Clearly not a Trinity of three separate beings (or persons), because the arm is not a separate entity from the rest of the body and has no independent will. The “arm” moves only with the power and control from the mind. In the same way YHWH’s nature is manifest as an occurrence within the Son that is separate but side-by-side with his human nature.

These two natures then communicate with one another; thus explaining why Y'shua is not talking to himself when he prays to his Father. This fact is also why sometimes Y'shua says things like, “My teaching is not my own” and “I can do nothing without my Father” on the one hand but on the other he says, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” and “I and my Father are one of the same.”

This indicates a 100 percent divine nature that exists in a 100 percent human soul and flesh, where one or the other talks through Y'shua. But the human is subject to the divine (again, “Not my will...”) which is the only way the Scripture cannot be broken. It is not Trinity but neither does this deny the divine aspects in Y'shua himself. It is also the real meaning behind, “No one comes to the Father but by me.” See also John 5:26.
(End of appendix.)

Now, to put the Gospels and Y’shua (NOT the Christianized, Torah-less “Jesus”) back into their proper context, we need to find out what the original Aramaic said about Y’shua, so let’s go to John 1:

1 John 1: 1. In the beginning [1] was the Miltha. [2] And that Miltha was with Elohim. And Elohim was that Miltha. 2. This was with Elohim in the beginning. [3] 3. Everything existed through his hands, and without him, not even one thing existed of the things which have existed. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [4] 5. And that light shines in the darkness, [5] and the darkness did not overtake it. [6] (AENT)


[1] The phrase B’resheet aytohi hwa miltha breaks a most basic rule of Aramaic grammar by combining a feminine noun (miltha) with two masculine verbs for “to be” (aytohi, hwa). This is unheard of in Aramaic literature other than right here in this passage and in 1 John. This shows YHWH has male and female “images/spirits” even though YHWH remains a He. It may also be a midrash on Isaiah 11:1-2, which describes the Spirit of YHWH descending on Mashiyach using both masculine and feminine suffixes. This is not something easily translated, let alone when it occurs within the first four words.

[2] Miltha has no direct English equivalent. It can mean ‘Word’, ‘Manifestation’, ‘Instance’ or ‘Substance’ among other things. In this context, it may best be left untranslated. (Paul Younan)

[3] Literal Aramaic reading; “through his hands” indicates the Word as a creative force, like a sculptor working under the orders of a king. See Psalm 33:6; Isaiah 44:24; 66:1, 2.  Fulfilling Messianic prophecy: Mashiyach (ruler of Israel) to have origins of the ancient past Micah 5:2; Isaiah 48:16. Bear in mind that Micah is referring to the spiritual “Israel of Elohim,” those of the Kingdom of Heaven according to the circumcision of heart.

[4] While Abba YHWH is in sole command of the creation process, the “his hands” refers to the Word from His mouth and that Word will become flesh as His Son. Since this is a form of Y’shua the “him” is in small letters. The same is done for Yochanan 1:10-12. Although in another sense it is also accurate to say that Y’shua is YHWH. See Luke 2:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:3.

[5] Aramaic wordplay. Nohra b’nshokha menhar (light in the darkness that shines) is a deliberate mirror-reversal of menhar-nohra (menorah), which marks the conception of the light of the world at Hanukkah. This puts the birth of Mashiyach nine months from Hanukkah, during the fall feasts; many point to the first day of Feast of Tabernacles for the date of Y’shua’s birth.

[6] Aramaic wordplay. Nohra b’chashokha menhar (light in the darkness that shines) is a deliberate mirror-reversal of menhar-nohra (menorah), which marks the conception of the light of the world at Hanukkah. This puts the birth of Mashiyach nine months from Hanukkah, during the fall feasts; many point to the first day of Feast of Tabernacles for the date of Y’shua’s birth.
You mentioned John 17:22. Let’s take a look at the rest of that passage in its Aramaic context:

John 17:22. And the glory that You have given to me I have given to them that they may be One as we are One. 23. I in them and You in me, that they may be perfected into One and that the world may know that You have sent me, and that You have loved them as also You have loved me. 24. Father, those whom You have given to me, I desire that where I am they might also be with me that they might see my glory that You have given to me because You have loved me from before the foundations of the world. 25. My Just Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You. And these that You know You have sent me. 26. And I have made Your Name known to them. And I will confess it so that the love with which You have loved me might be in them, and I might be in them.

To help explain the passage above, I’ve borrowed the AENT footnote from Matthew 28:19, which says:

Aramaic has “name” – singular – which does not support the traditional trinity theology. Ruach haKodesh is a title for YHWH, see Isaiah 63:1-11; Psalm 51:1-11. The Son has his Father’s Name within him and the Father keeps His people in His Name; John 17:11. As a result, imagine three branches of the same tree rather than three separate trees. Each branch is united by the Name/Title of the One Divine Personality that is YHWH Elohim.

This linkage is established in Shemot/Exodus 23:20-22 where a Messenger, unlike any other “angel” can forgive sin because YHWH says, “for My Name is in Him”. All other “angels” have EL in their name but Y’shua’s Name is above the angels, hence Yah/YHWH is in Y’shua’s name (Matthew 1:21, Hebrews 1:1-5). Nazarenes have from the very beginning taught salvation in the Name of YHWH.

I cordially invite Miriam to respond!  Smile


  1. First, thanks for making the site interactive and inviting me to join. If I may take a moment to let others know something about me, I was raised Roman Catholic (9 years with the nuns) and completely disinterested in religion. As kids, my friends and I got all dressed up for church and headed over to the local coffee shop instead. Showed up again in church to arrange for my wedding. I'll skip the very long story of how I ended up as an Orthodox Jew, except to say that I really did look for true Christianity, sifting through a bunch of churches. It was pretty shocking to discover none of them matched the gospels. In time, I came to love my God and my people Israel. I will die an Orthodox Jew, because everything lines up neatly in what is written and what they do -- obeying the Scribes and the Pharisees who sit upon the seat of Moses :). I'm not a scholar - barely stepped foot in a business college and specialized in secretarial administration - something that is now in the dust bin with the horse and buggy. My qualifications: I've read the bible. The Tanach is my Holy Scripture. The New Testament is not. Goals for my remaining life: help to rid the world of replacement theology and the lie that Jesus is God. There are four billion people in the world who are tied to religions which believe Jesus is the messiah in some sense, and I really don't care who believes in whom as the messiah. It would be great to have more agreement on what the title messiah implies. (See next post)

  2. As for the above post, I was refuting someone who used the referenced verses as "proof" that Jesus is God. Carmen and I decided to get together and examine what we share. I'm not thoroughly familiar with the various groups who identify as messianic, but I know they are diverse, ranging from "Baptists with yarmulkes" to imperceptibly Orthodox. I get the impression that all of those have signed on with the Messianic Jewish Alliance and One for Israel accept either the trinity doctrine or the belief that Jesus is God. That Carmen stands up against them is impressive.

    Let me respond to Carmen's points briefly.

    1) I only accept the long-standing Jewish interpretations of Tanach. I see their interpretation of the prophets as being from the people who heard and spoke directly with these prophets.

    2) The name "Israel" contains one of the names of God. Many ordinary Hebrew names contain another Name of God - the Name "Yah"; names such as Elijah (Eliyahu), Jeremiah (Yermiyahu), the feminine name Basyah, etc. It's more likely Jesus was actually named Yehoshua, and I can provide the source for anyone interested. The name of the Messiah wouldn't be in prophesy, because if it were, every Jewish parent of the tribe of Judah would name their son by that specific name - just in case! One other note about God giving Jesus a "name above every name," it must be understood that Paul was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, and he would have applied Jeremiah 23:6 to him: "This is the name people will call him: 'Hashem Tzedekenu.'" That Paul said this was given to him certainly implies that the bestowal of this name upon the messiah is a gift, something he would not have had from eternity past.

    3) The "Word of God." Oddly enough, this idea shows up in the Qur'an where you would least expect it. I see it as a metaphor specifically referring to the Torah. Both John and Paul use the expression (relative to creation) as being "through it/him." We are taught something along the lines (and I'll leave this for the Rabbis into kabbalah) that the universe was created through Torah. It's like the bracha for a glass of water. The parallels are undeniable, and they relate to Psalm 33:6 and Isaiah 11:2. Basically, the messiah is a fully human being who is to be infused with these spirits; again, we see a similar personification/metaphor in Proverbs 8:12 "ani chochmah." However exalted the pre-existent spirit of the messiah is, it will never make a human being divine.

  3. Miriam - thank you so much for your excellent response! You've definitely come a long way since your Catholic school days! It's interesting to note - although we worship the same God - how much alike we are in some areas. I'm sure we'll have plenty of great discussions. I will respond to the rest of the comments you made on Jason N Lyn's Facebook wall, as soon as I get a chance.