Without Faith and Grace

leaving_edenJudaism and Christianity parted company over how to read these few spare chapters in universal history. For the Church, the Garden of Eden became the soil for the doctrine of original sin. In their waywardness, Adam and Eve, and all their descendants, fell hostage to the domain of the devil. The narrative bespoke the immutably depraved condition of human nature. To know the Torah was not sufficient to do it. In the words of Paul, “In my inmost self I delight in the law of God, but I perceive that there is in my bodily members a different law, fighting against the law that my reason approves and making me a prisoner under the law that is in my members, the law of sin.” (Romans 7:22-23) Not human willpower then but divine grace alone in the person of God’s own Son who had died on the cross could hope to break this vicious cycle of human malice.

-Ismar Schorsch
“Teshuvah in Place of Original Sin,” pp 34-35 (October 16, 1999)
Commentary on Torah Portion Noah
from the book Canon Without Closure: Torah Commentaries

I know we’ve already read Torah portion Noah this year, but as I’ve been working through the commentaries in Schorsch’s book each week, I’ve been taking notes of the more compelling articles. For each Torah Portion, there is a small but powerful collection of Schorsch’s writings which he composed over a number of different years. Going over this collection is like opening his mind and listening to Schorsch musing on how he encountered each Parashat across each annual reading cycle over time.

I’m also grateful that this book includes his thoughts on Christianity and comparisons to Judaism, not because I’m trying to “shoot down” Christianity (or necessarily Judaism), but it’s helpful to have an intelligent mind discuss my faith from the “outside.” Like my conversations with my Pastor, it hones my ability to look at my own beliefs, especially when they’re challenged, and discover if I truly know and can explain why I have the faith I possess in Jesus as Messiah.

It’s a steep learning curve sometimes and I can hardly claim to have all of my ducks in a row, so to speak. However, I can say that the ducks are lining up in a somewhat more orderly fashion than they have in past years.

Original sin vs. the Jewish understanding of “the Fall” makes for interesting reading. Judaism in all its different modern streams, is not going to consider the need for a spiritual savior (though Moshiach is considered the redeemer of national Israel in Jewish thought, generally speaking). The Torah is accepted as sufficient, and always has been, to negotiate the Jewish relationship with a perfect God.

That’s hard for me to believe since no man can obey the commandments perfectly, and the Tanakh is a blatant record of that fact. The New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31 starting in verse 27 promises that the covenant once written on stone tablets and scrolls made of animal skin will, in future times, be written on the heart, thus the “disconnect” between the desire for Holiness in man and the imperfection of living out that Holiness will cease to exist. Man and God will have a far more intimate relationship in those days than we enjoy in the present, or at any point in the past.

Gateway to EdenBut for Christianity, Jesus is the arbiter of that covenant, the gatekeeper, the doorway, and only by a profession of faith in him and the resultant transformed life, can man access the New Covenant of God. After that perfect writing of the Torah on a circumcised and human heart of flesh, can man perform the mitzvot with complete fidelity and with true justice and righteousness. Prior to that event, Christian or Jew, no man obeys God in the manner God desires, or for that manner, even in the manner we ourselves would wish.

In my own approach to a closer walk with God, I find myself slowly moving in a direction, but then, the tether that binds me to the habits of the past snaps me back like a rubber band that has been stretched just a little too far…and it stings.

It is not until we come to the late and marginal Book of Jonah that we first confront in full view the idea of teshuvah, repentance, as efficacious. Nor is it an accident that we read all of it in the synagogue on Yom Kippur afternoon, for Jonah encapsulates the essence of the day: that atonement, resolve, and initiative can get us beyond the impediments of our past and ourselves.

-Schorsch, pg 35

For all of the prophets of Israel we see in the Tanakh (Old Testament) who implored that nation of God to abandon her sin (which she regularly failed to do), only the Gentile city of Nineveh heeded a reluctant prophet and turned away God’s “evil decree.” It wasn’t permanent, of course, and later down history’s road, Nineveh sinned and fell, but consider how many times (if you can) that Israel too listened to the words of the prophets and averted disaster.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Matthew 23:37-39 (NASB)

The Master’s commentary on the matter is plain and dismaying. And yet, I heard one person tell me that if Israel had turned away from their sins and returned to Torah and God in the days that Jesus walked the earth, the Messianic Age would have come and flourished even in that very instant.

The world is waiting for Israel’s national repentance, without it, Messiah will not come and both Israel and the nations continue to suffer from our own folly.

Schorsch would say that the story of Jonah and Nineveh tells us that human beings can, in and of ourselves, hear the warnings of God, repent in sincerity, and the result is that God’s promise of destruction will be averted. But without Messiah, how were Nineveh’s sins forgiven? They certainly weren’t Israelites. History doesn’t record that they sent representatives to Jerusalem to offer the appropriate sacrifices for guilt and sin (and we know that the sacrifices of Gentiles were accepted in the Temple, even in the days of Jesus).

Jonah's KikayonOnly God’s grace can explain why Nineveh survived when they repented. God is an “either-or” engine or sorts. “Either you repent and I will spare you, or you keep sinning and I will destroy you.”

This may also explain why, when they were faithful, when they did obey God, when they did perform the mitzvot, however imperfectly, and offered the required sacrifices, that is required by God, in the Temple in atonement for that imperfection, God chose to respond to sacrifices and the blood of goats and bulls, by sparing Israel, forgiving the apple of His eye, cherishing His often wayward bride.

On the basis of this small book, the Rabbis softened their understanding of the divine-human relationship with a large dose of compassion. God stood ready to forgive and humans had the capacity to grow. Thus Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus in the early second century proclaimed:

“Repent one day before your death.” When his students asked him how one might know that day, he replied: “Then repent today for you might die tomorrow.” (Avot DeRabbi Natan, ed. Schechter, page 62)

In other words, each and every day, and not just Yom Kippur, was suitable for repairing one’s ties to God.

-Schorsch, pp 35-36

Such is true of the Christian as well, and more so, since we do not have a traditional day in our religious calendar set aside specifically for repentance and “repairing one’s ties to God.” If anything, we are rather casual about the whole affair, for we are taught that once we were saved at some altar call or camp meeting, our place in Heaven is assured. We can never again fall from God’s hand.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

John 10:27-30 (NASB)

That’s quite a promise, but I still say we should not rest on our laurels so comfortably, for the Master also said this:

“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

Matthew 24:9-13 (NASB)

FallingTo “fall away” means we must have some place to fall from, in this case, from our faith in God (and I didn’t fail to notice that those “falling away” did so during the great tribulation). This does not seem to be the illusion of faith or describing those people who are not among the elect (for the Calvinists among you), but those who were in the Father’s hand at one point, who will fall away because lawlessness increased, their love grew cold, and they listened to false prophets.

We must always be alert and cautious. Like Nineveh, when we see the warning signs and hear the voice of God calling to us to beware lest we perish, we should respond immediately and “don sackcloth and ashes,” so to speak, declare a time of fasting and mourning, even if it is only with our own individual soul, and turn back to God, rather than risk falling from His hand down to the depths of despair.

In short, the rabbinic concept of teshuvah rested on deeds rather than on faith, on the discipline of Torah rather than on divine grace. Its implicit optimism about the correctability of human nature tempered the near fatalism that darkened the original meaning of Genesis.

-Schorsch, pg 36

I couldn’t disagree more.

First of all, Nineveh was redeemed for a specific time, but we have no indication whatsoever that it never returned to sin (and knowing the nature of human beings, I believe it must have returned to that dark place) and was forever redeemed as a city before God. Repentance, teshuvah, is not a single act that once accomplished, is accomplished forever. We have Christ’s warning that we can fall away. True, no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hands, but that doesn’t mean we can’t “bail out” on our own accord. We cannot be dragged unwillingly from the presence of God, but we can wantonly walk out of our own free will, thumbing our nose at the Divine in a suicidal gesture right before our final exit.

Schorsch says that human beings have pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and effectively refrain from sin, but again, the Tanakh is the witness against him (and against us all). Also, if the Covenant of Moses was sufficient forever in an unratified form, why does God promise a New Covenant, with the Torah not written externally, but inscribed internally across the fabric of our hearts (and please keep in mind that the content of the previous covenant remains unchanged, only the “material” upon which it is written does)?

I don’t know if I completely buy the classic Christian interpretation of the events in Eden, but I do believe that no amount of human effort, all by itself, will ever pay the debt we owe to God for our willful rebellion. From Adam in the beginning and down across each generation, we have failed God, and laughed at God, and denied God again and again. Even the best among us falls short, as Paul said (referencing Psalms 14 and 53), there is no one righteous, not even one of us…ever (Romans 3:10-12), apart from the Master himself.

dust-and-ashesWith much respect to Schorsch and his commentaries, which I enjoy very much, we cannot possibly walk the walk without both faith of the heart, and the grace of a most merciful God. Without both faith and grace, our repentance would be a faint and temporary glimmer in the dark, and we would all meet the ultimate fate of historical Nineveh well passed Jonah’s intervention, and the fate of all the “great cities” that have risen and crumbled to dust across the vast corridors of time.

Divine grace is certainly necessary, and no human being can even come close to “meeting God halfway,” so to speak. But we are still required to change directions, to face away from our sin and to turn toward God. Once that’s accomplished, often with God’s insistent “prodding,” then and only then do we have life, and the will to live it in obedience.

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24 thoughts on “Without Faith and Grace”

  1. Hi James. You say “Nineveh was redeemed for a specific time, but we have no indication whatsoever that it never returned to sin (and knowing the nature of human beings, I believe it must have returned to that dark place) and was forever redeemed as a city before God.” As a city, well, it was destroyed. But the people that repented on Jonah’s words, were redeemed. Matthew 12:41

  2. A time of grinding is upon us ,the broken and humbled are grind proof.The proud are dust and powder.
    Before they fall away God’s people lose humility.
    They forget who they are without the atoning blood of Messiah Jesus and gravitate to the first sin,pride which always,always,always destroys.
    They
    There are many proud saint’s who are wise in their own eyes whom the Lord shall humble.
    In this difficult time of tribulation we must be careful not to follow the example of the complainers in the Midbar. In everything give thanks…

    Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
    ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’?
    Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
    Luke 20

  3. Good point, Alfredo. But we also know from history that Nineveh was subsequently destroyed. Are we saying that particular generation in Ninevah was redeemed, that is “saved?” If so, and Matthew 12:41 certainly supports this, then we have a picture of salvation of a city of the Gentiles on a large scale in ancient times.

  4. Hi James. And that (“we have a picture of salvation of a city of the Gentiles “) is somehow very important. Did they have a revelation about Messiah??? The bible does not record such thing… And this issue could be very important to research (maybe in other Jewish texts), because, as far as I’m concerned, Yeshua, as the Messiah, is the only way to our Father. I have always understood that all redeemed people from the Tanakh, in order to be saved, would have had a revelation of Messiah, even though they didn’t know His name (Yeshua)… PL? Do you have any information on how Jewish sages have an interpretation about Nineveh and their Teshuvah at Jonah’s calling to repentance?

  5. I have always understood that all redeemed people from the Tanakh, in order to be saved, would have had a revelation of Messiah, even though they didn’t know His name

    Where did you hear that, Alfredo? There’s nothing in the Tanakh that specifically requires faith in the Messiah. It is faith in God. If Jonah prophesied to Nineveh that they would be destroyed unless they repented of their sins, and then they did repent of their sins, why wouldn’t God withhold his “evil decree” and spare them as He said?

  6. The “salvation” of Ninevah refers to their corporate rescue from the doom that had been pronounced upon the city. It is a physical rescue rather than an eternal spiritual one; and it is not focused on the individuals despite the fact that many individuals’ repentance was necessary for the entire city to be thus spared. Now, having said that, we may infer something of the internal spiritual state of the individuals in the city, because of their sincerely repentant response that presumably was directed toward the G-d that Yonah served (much as the sailors who previously had to throw him overboard had first asked which G-d he had angered to bring on the storm). If these non-Jews were deemed righteous in some sense because of their trust in Yonah’s G-d HaShem, in a pattern similar to Avraham’s trust that was credited to him as righteousness, then presumably they will participate in the first resurrection (cif: Rev.21:5) and will require significant training immediately thereafter to acknowledge fully the benefits of their new king the Messiah. Nonetheless, if they were to be consulted as implied in Matt.12:41, certainly they would be able to refer to their corporate example of repentance as a rebuke to the widespread lack of repentance in Rav Yeshua’s generation. I do not have any specific reference to cite to demonstrate rabbinic views of their “Avrahamic” form of salvation, but I know that rabbinic opinion would focus on their physical salvation/rescue and not on any eternal or “spiritual” ramifications. Some rabbinic opinion would “dismiss” the Yonah writings as instructive midrash rather than historical narrative, and would thus refrain from drawing out of it much more than moral implications.

    Now, considering that pre-Torah “Avrahamic” salvation is exactly what Rav Shaul invoked as a pattern for non-Jews in several of his letters, I think Rav Yeshua’s non-Jewish disciples can rejoice in the effectiveness demonstrated by the repentance of the inhabitants of Ninevah, recognizing that their own salvation must be even greater.

  7. “No one will come to Father except by me” John 14:6 “if what Yeshua said is true, then it must have always been true. No one comes to the Father except through Him, and no one ever came to the Father except through Him. Even men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David entered into communion with the Almighty and their eternal reward only through Yeshua. That does not mean that God imparted to those men a secret revelation about placing faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth.” (Torah Club, Volume 4, Chronicles of the Messiah. Ekev. Page 1224) Now, the thing is, even tough we know that Yeshua is the divine Logos, the Word (“Memra”), it cannot be understood exclusively to the Torah, since Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph did not received Torah “formally”, but clearly, they had True Light shining on them. Somehow, they received revelation about their Redeemer. Of course, not all the details, but a knowledge of times to come… “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56) With all these things in mind, then comes my question… If that is so, then how did Nineveh went to know about Messiah?

  8. Thanks PL. I was writing before reading your comment. I agree on what you wrote. But I still think that somehow, the knowledge or revelation about G-d’s Messiah has to be somewhere… in order to be saved.

  9. “No one will come to Father except by me” John 14:6

    We have a tendency to “retrofit” what we read in the Apostolic Scriptures to earlier times as we see them in the Tanakh, but there’s nothing pointblank in Tanakh that says “…and then they believed in Messiah and lived.”

    If we believe that Messiah is Divine, there may be no disconnect involved. Abraham believed in God and it was counted to him as righteousness. We can only speculate when and how Abraham saw Messiah’s day.

    I admit to having difficulty with the “rules of admission” changing in mid-stream. Prior to Messiah, one could believe in God the Father and be saved, and yet once Messiah is here, we must specifically believe in Him. This seems terribly confusing, especially when we consider much later events in Jewish and Christian history when Jews were tortured and maimed by Christians in order to force conversion (and I’ve written about this before).

    It seems to me that PL’s explanation may be easier to understand, and being less complicated (invoking Occam’s razor), perhaps it is the correct answer.

  10. Well… in any case, I would NEVER EVER consider “Christians” those who tortured anyone (not only Jews… remember? I’m from El Salvador and our ancestors where forced into conversion by the Colonial Spaniards) in order to force conversion.

  11. I don’t have time or space here to develop fully the foundation and justification for what I’m about to offer as an explanation, but I envision that the neshamot of the dead pass beyond time and space at the moment of death (or shortly thereafter), in order to re-enter spacetime at an appropriate point for Judgment, either at the first resurrection of the righteous or the final one of everyone else. Given that scenario, the first opportunity that repentant inhabitants of Ninevah would have to offer a suitable sacrifice that corresponds with their repentance would be after their resurrection. At that time, they would have to be instructed about Rav Yeshua’s permanently effective sacrifice in order to enable them to ratify their own repentance, whether or not they were also to be given opportunity to present a physical sacrifice in the restored Temple as a representation of the eternal one.

  12. @PL. Is this somehow related to this verse “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;” (1Peter 3:19) ??? NOTE: I haven’t read any Messianic Judaism explanation of this verse…

  13. Alfredo, I haven’t heard much about that verse. Is it from Enoch? We don’t know what our ancestors knew, but I will assume everything they needed was revealed to them.

  14. @alfredo & @chaya — There seems to be some correlation in the literary references found in 1Pet.3:18-20 (specifically v.19), 2Pet.2:4,5,9, and Jude 1:6-7, and they do seem to bear some relationship with the Enoch literature, though I do not have a specific reference. However, these references seem to be directed at non-human spirits in the pre-flood period described in Genesis. Thus they would not relate to my prior scenario of human neshamot in transit toward one of two resurrection destinations.

    Now, I should also note in this context that I believe the citations of Enoch literature to be only literary examples for illustration, and not actual historical references. This literature seems to represent a kind of fantasy world, not unlike Pilgrim’s Progress or some of C.S.Lewis’ fiction. Another modern comparison would be references to some event in a StarTrek episode. Given that view, we may well ask in what fashion could Rav Yeshua’s death correspond with “preaching to imprisoned spirits”? We have no particular scriptural basis for thinking that Rav Yeshua spent three days at an ephemeral prison outside of our spacetime giving lectures to spirits who had rebelled against HaShem, in order to induce some number of them to repent and be released, though a theory of that sort has been promoted by various Christian and quasi-Christian thinkers across the ages (along with other theories).

    I have an alternative suggestion, based on a metaphorical view of the notion of “imprisonment”. Intelligent beings can focus so fixedly on certain ideas, or even one idea, that nothing can sway them from it no matter how much evidence is presented that it is an error. I would call this a form of self-imprisonment within the bounds of that idea or viewpoint. This metaphor is a reasonable means to conceptualize or envision the “mental” state that a non-human angelic intelligence might be trapped within if it had joined an ancient rebellion instigated by the angel whom we now call the Adversary or Satan. In 1Pet.1:!2 we see a reference to the heavenly good news announced to humans which angels long to investigate. It implies a curiosity or even envy on the part of angels about such salvation. If, in fact, such non-human messengers are capable of watching human events, then the death of Rav Yeshua would clearly represent a very special object lesson to them, regarding a uniquely obedient neshama (viz:Phil.2:5-11) in contrast to disobedient ones. Hence, even without Rav Yeshua himself doing anything at all during the three days between his death and his resurrection, his example of obedience unto death would present a message to which no amount of sermonizing could ever do justice. If this message was sufficient to break the intellectual hardness of disobedient angels, well and good; and Rav Yeshua may be described as releasing a host of captives from their self-induced imprisonment.

    Incidentally, an object lesson of sufficient power to convince angels to abandon their hardness of heart should also be meaningful to hard-hearted humans, which may explain why such a reference was included in these letters.

  15. In the book of Enoch, there is also an interesting reference to Azazel (Lev 16:8,10,26) (in KJV translated as scapegoat) : “the Lord said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl (God’s Kettle / Crucible / Cauldron), and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin.” I mean that is somehow interesting because it gives some information (right or wrong, I don’t know) about this word (Azazel) that only appears in Lev 16.

    H5799
    עזאזל
    ‛ăzâ’zêl
    az-aw-zale’
    From H5795 and H235; goat of departure; the scapegoat: – scapegoat.

    I think that the book of Enoch is to be read very cautiously but it can give some hints about beliefs that Jewish people had in the first century.

  16. @James. You say “We have a tendency to retrofit what we read in the Apostolic Scriptures to earlier times as we see them in the Tanakh, but there’s nothing pointblank in Tanakh that says …and then they believed in Messiah and lived.” But you can find in the Apostolic Scriptures such understanding in 1 Peter 1:10-12.

  17. As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

    1 Peter 1:10-12 (NASB)

    That’s Peter looking back into history, presumably with the help of the Holy Spirit. It’s as mysterious as anything Paul ever wrote. Where does it say in the Tanakh that the prophets of old had the Spirit of Messiah within them? I’m not doubting Peter’s word, but it would be helpful to find the linkage between what Peter writes here and a direct reference in the Tanakh.

    At some point, I’ll have to devote some time and energy into what you all discussed while I was asleep. In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of other topics in my blogging “pipeline” that are demanding attention.

  18. Here I believe a bit of Hebrew linguistic support may be helpful. What means “the spirit of messiah” as cited by Kefa as an impulse within the prophets? Let’s take these words back to their literal meanings to see what insight they may offer. Since the person of Rav Yeshua did not yet exist when they prophesied, we can dismiss the notion that a pre-incarnate person was possessing them like an invasive demon. Now, “spirit” (“rua’h”) can mean wind or breath on a physical level, though it is more commonly used for ephemeral psycho-spiritual concepts like motivation, inclination, or most particularly: attitude. The term “messiah”, of course, means “anointed”, which is symbolic of being appointed or authorized by HaShem under the auspices of the Levitical authorities whose responsibility it was to apply anointment. Hence a “messiah spirit”, or “spirit of messiah” as we see it in Kefa’s letter, may be simply an incoherent literalistic translation of the Judeo-Greek phrase that reflected Kefa’s internal idiomatic Hebrew though process. It might have been more accurately rendered as “the anointed/authoritative inclination within them”.

  19. On the other hand, Paul establishes that the Spirit of G-d and the Spirit for Messiah is One and the same :
    “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)

  20. Alfredo, PL’s interpretation still could work within the context of Romans 8:9. We have a tendency to think in “either/or” terms. Either “Spirit of Messiah” means the literal Spirit of Messiah or it means “the anointed/authoritative inclination within them/us”.

    It gets complicated if you believe Messiah is the literal incarnation of Hashem in our world. Does Messiah have a separate Spirit from Hashem? How does that work. If we have an all-powerful, all-encompassing, Ein Sof God, then what was the Divine Presence that inhabited the Tabernacle and later Solomon’s Temple? Were they two separate entities with two separate Spirits?

    This is rapidly becoming metaphysical and mystic and therefore, difficult to articulate. From a Christian mindset, which you and I tend to be subject to Alfredo, we may not be able to “see” into the areas where the answers may lie. I find PL’s interpretation of things sometimes sheds light into those areas, filling in the missing portions of the picture, so to speak.

  21. Regarding that question you raised, James, about separateness of spirit, allow me to point to Phil.2:5-11, in which the Messiah Yeshua and the Father are presented as clearly distinct entities, the former of whom did not attempt to grasp at a divine equality with the latter (unlike what we read of the adversary HaSatan), but rather humbled himself only to be exalted by the Father to a most exalted position (reminiscent of Metatron, but higher) in which he becomes a virtual “stand-in” representative for HaShem. This passage supports the argument for godly divinity rather than deity for the Messiah, though I recognize how difficult that position is for Christians. And then there is the perception of the Sh’chinah or Presence of HaShem that is not a separate entity but rather a tangible representation of the Father HaShem — again a monotheistic description that upsets the Trinitarian mindset.

  22. This passage supports the argument for godly divinity rather than deity for the Messiah, though I recognize how difficult that position is for Christians. And then there is the perception of the Sh’chinah or Presence of HaShem that is not a separate entity but rather a tangible representation of the Father HaShem — again a monotheistic description that upsets the Trinitarian mindset.

    I can see how this could turn into a rather “passionate” debate. 😉

  23. I agree that we cannot fully understand how HaShem has chosen to “reveal” Himself to this creation. I can only say that our human minds are limited and constrained to understand the nature of G-d and Yeshua, which somehow has more details in the Tanakh and the Apostolic Scriptures than the Spirit of Hashem, which by the way, does not necessarily conform to a separate entity. Just as in modern science, there are things such as “dark matter”, that is supposedly present in space, but it cannot be considered a “separate entity”, at least not in the way “stars”, “planets”, “comets”, etc.. are considered separate entities.

    On the other hand, I try not to be so harsh to people who believe in the Trinity. I can only say that such definition is also limited, perhaps more limited than other Jewish explanations of the Ein Sof G-d and his emanations, Sh’chinah, Metatron and others.

    I guess, that we will still have to wait for Messiah to come back and explain all these things to us !!!

  24. We all need to remember that Hashem represents a great mystery and how all that stuff works together may indeed be something we will not completely comprehend until our teacher “rains” down upon us again.

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