Shabbat (Saturday) Mornings

9:30 AM

Men's Shacharit Prayer

10:00 AM

Torah Service

Congregation Beth Simcha 

Messianic Synagogue

of Lufkin, Texas

All visitors are welcome.

The Nature of Messiah

Messiah Yeshua, or Jesus as our Christian brothers and sisters call him, is God. Most people who have their faith in Messiah Yeshua call him the Son of God. Yet, aren't we all sons (or daughters) of God? The answer is yes. We are His creation and made in His image: sons and daughters. Yeshua called himself the Son of Man. Now THAT makes a huge difference. However, that is not the topic here. Messiah is God: make no mistake about it.

The best place to begin explaining is really two places: Genesis 1 and Yochanan (John) 1.

Genesis 1:1 is commonly translated into English as, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." But often, when a translation is made from one language to another, difficulties arise. This is the case when translating Hebrew to English (or Greek, or Russian, etc...). Hebrew is a verb based language, one in which action, doing things instead of focusing on a state of being, is primary. So, when it seems that a passage in the English Bible is difficult to make sense of, it's because something doesn't translate very well. There are some words in Hebrew that have no English equivalent. A case in point comes from the flood account.

Genesis 7:13

13 In the selfsame day (selfsame day?) entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;

Back to Genesis 1:1: the Hebrew reads as follows:  בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ     In the beginning of God's creation of the heavens and the earth...

Saying it this way demonstrates God's existence before the creation instead of leaving open the idea that God had a beginning. Infinite has no beginning or end. And being that God is infinite, it means that all creation had no "room" to exist. Before creation there was nothing but God. Infinite. God had to make space for creation. And so, He reduced Himself. This is what the sages of Israel and great rabbis call "tzim-tzum". While this may seem impossible, consider a few instances of God's appearing.

Adam and Eve in the Garden were in the presence of God. Moses encountered God in the burning bush. Israel encountered God at Mount Sinai. And there are more. Why would God have to reduce Himself to appear to humanity? Because the creation is finite. The fullness of God into time and space would obliterate creation. As Solomon said, all creation can't contain Him. Thus there is the reduction of God, a portion of Himself that can inhabit what He created. 

The Jewish New Covenant

Yochanan (John) 1 describes the same.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being.

There are two words for "word" in Hebrew. They are "devar" and "milah". The Aramaic language, the common language spoken during biblical days in Israel, is closely related to Hebrew. They are both Semitic languages, and are verb based and not noun based, like English is. So the thought process expresses itself differently. And this brings up some difficulties for English speakers.

As everybody knows, the New Testament (New Covenant is preferable) was widely spread in Greek. However, the majority of the writings of the New Covenant were written in Aramaic or Hebrew since the audience was not Greek, with the exceptions of the letters to Gentiles by Rav Shaul, or Paul. The accounts of the life of Yeshua were written to Jewish audiences in the language they understood. Greek wasn't it.

Back to Yochanan (John) 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being.

Yochanan, who was extremely well educated, with deep understanding of the mysteries locked up in the Hebrew/Aramaic scriptures and teachings, demonstrates his great understanding. Before continuing, the book of Yochanan is different from the synoptic Gospels which give a synopsis of the life of Yeshua. The book of Yochanan (John) is about the nature of Messiah. And concerning that nature, the scripture above details the Divine nature of Messiah Yeshua. The key is in the Aramaic, and not the Greek.

Where the English translations say, "In the beginning was the Word..." the Greek says "logos" for word. However, the Aramaic uses the word "milta". This makes a world of difference. Logos in Greek means word, surely enough, but the meaning doesn't really fit. There is an alternative in Greek to word, and that is rhema. But again, the Bible is not a Greek document, so when people tell me that something is a "rhema" word, I don't understand what they mean.

But milta (sometimes spelled miltha) carries with it a very special connotation. Milta (one of the words for "word") is translated into Hebrew as milah. And when the word brit (or bris for the Ashkenazim) is placed before milah, you get the words "covenant of circumcision". So the question becomes, what does circumcision have to do with creation? It goes back to Genesis 1.   בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ   In the beginning of God's creation of the heavens and the earth...

The Eternal One has no beginning or end. He was there before creation, and there was nothing else. So He made room for creation. Before creation, there was nothing but God and he took up all the space ( better way to say that something beyond time and space was all there was). So to make room, there was a circumcision. Of course, this is not the same as human circumcision; again, this indicates a reduction, a tzimtzum.

This instance is, as simply as I can put it, making room to hold creation. Since all of creation can't hold God, as Solomon said, then God made room for it and He remains outside of it. But if that's the case, how, then, can one say that Yeshua is God? If Yeshua is God, then isn't God within time and space? This is where it gets to the Hebrew term tzimtzum, which means that God humbled, or reduced himself in order to fit within creation. And that tzimtzum, that reduction, or milah, is Yeshua, who is the Creator of all things and who came to inhabit time and space. His is Jacob's Ladder, from Heaven to Earth, come to make the way for us to be redeemed and reconciled.