One of the biggest objections to Jesus (Yeshua) and also the most important question that a traditional Jew and a Jewish follower Yeshua can discuss is the question of the Deity of Yeshua. We are told in (Num. 23:19a) that “God is not a man who lies”[1] and then again in (Deut. 4:12) “The sound of words you heard, but a form you did not see—only a voice.” But let me ask a question. Which famous Jew made the statement, “No one has ever seen God”? That’s right John the beloved Talmidim of Yeshua wrote this about 20 years after the destruction of the 2nd temple. Today’s Torah portion we will actually read one of the clearest examples in Scripture of someone “seeing God,” but before I do I want to state explicitly what we believe about Yeshua.

“We believe that the eternally pre-existent Son of God, through whom the universe was made, came forth from God his Gather and was clothed with human flesh, making himself known to us as Yeshua the Messiah. He lived on this earth, died, rose from the dead, and returned to his Father. He now sits enthroned in heaven next to God. We understand that Jesus, the Son of God, is the very image of God, the one in whom God caused his fullness to dwell, the one through whom he revealed himself completely to mankind. Since the Son came forth from the Father and shares his divine nature, in one sense it is quite correct to say that Jesus is God (or divine or deity), always bearing in mind that the overwhelming testimony of the New Testament writings is that Jesus is the Son of God. I can show you from the Hebrew Scriptures that there is absolutely nothing idolatrous about what we believe. God has always revealed himself to his people. He did it most permanently and most fully through Jesus his Son.”[2]

(For more Scriptures on this see Heb. 1:1-3, Col. 1:15-19, 2:9)

[Read Gen. 18-19:1]

To gain some context for this passage let’s look at [Gen 17:27]. From this passage and from (17:21 & 18:10) we can see that not much time has passed between chapters 17 & 18. According to the Talmud (b. Bava Mesia 86b), verses 1-2 show God himself paying Abraham a personal sick call after the ordeal of circumcision. “Now here we have a biblical text that indisputably says that the Lord – Hebrew YHVH – appeared to Abraham, and the Talmud even relates in story form how Abraham actually saw “the Holy One, blessed be He,” addressing him as Lord. Yet, just a few words later, this very same biblical text says that Abraham looked up and saw three men, the Talmud giving the impression that God himself appeared to Abraham, only to be replaced by these men.” [3] So who are these three men?

Some Christians have mistakenly said that it is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but this has several theological problems.

  1. This would mean that Abraham saw God the Father, a concept that is directly contrary to Scripture. Remember (John 1:18) from before.
  2. Nowhere in all of Scripture is God revealed as three separate people.
  3. Only one of the men is addressed as Lord.

The Talmud says that these three “men” are the angels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and that each angel was sent with a specific task. But there are also textual problems with this view.

  1. Nowhere in the text does it say that the angels replaces or represented Adonai. Abraham only calls one of them Adonai (lord) and YHVH (LORD).
  2. The context clearly shows that 2 of them went on to Sodom (18:22, 19:1) where they are identified as angels, and Abraham has an extended conversation with the third “man” and refers to him as YHVH.

So to be faithful to the Scriptural text we must say that Abraham met with Adonai and two angels who all appeared as human beings, talked and ate “butter and milk and the young ox” (vs. 8) with Abraham and Sarah.

While vs. 3 could have Abraham simply addressing one of the men as the leader “lord,” later in the text it explicitly shows that one of the men is YHVH. Reading on from vs. 9-15 we see in this conversation going back and forth, that one of the men is identified as YHVH. If this was not enough vs. 16, 22 and 19:1 show that Abraham continued his conversation with Adonai, one of the men.

“The awesome and exciting thing about this text is that it explicitly tells us that Abraham and Sarah talked with the Lord, that he appeared in human form to them, dusty feet and all (see Gen. 18:4), and that he even sat down and ate their food. Yet all the while he remained God in heaven! . . . .The fact is, Genesis 18 clearly and indisputably teaches that God can come to earth in human form for a period of time if he so desires. And if he could do this for a few hours, in temporary human form, he could do this for a few years, in permanent human form. This is what theologians call the incarnation, God coming down to earth as a man in the person of his Son. And it is only when we recognize the Son – the exact representation of God, and yet God himself- that we can explain how God remained the Lord in heaven while also appearing as the Lord on earth in Genesis 18. Even if you study all the Rabbinic commentaries you want, you won’t find another explanation that works.”[4]

This is what Yeshua says in (Jn. 20:17), “Yeshua says to [Miriam], “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet gone up to the Father. Go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am going up to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’” And then only a couple of verses later the Talmid Thomas exclaims, “My Lord and my God!” (vs. 20)

To close this teaching we will read one more Scripture from [Phil. 2:5-11] and see if we can answer a few questions. So based upon this passage:

  1. Where did Yeshua come from? – From God
  2. Is he divine? – Yes, because he is the Son of God.
  3. Is he also human? – Yes, because he took on human nature and became the mediator between God and Man.
  4. What will happen when Yeshua is revealed to the world? – “Every knee [will] bow . . . and every tongue [will] profess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord – to the glory of God the Father.”

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[2] Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objection to Jesus, Vol 3, (Baker Books, 2003), 15.

[3] Brown, Answering, 31-32.

[4] Brown, Answering, 34-35.