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Articles On the Trinity  Quick Reference Home Page

Why God Took On
A
Human Nature

Page 1, Continued on Pages 2, 3, 4, 5

November 22, 2003

Sub: Why God Took on a Human Nature

Dear John:

Good morning! I apologize for some of the technicality of my writing. It has to do with the English speaking audience I am primarily writing for. "Elohim" is the primary term used for "God" in the Hebrew text and was a universal term for "God" used in Moses day. He used the term when speaking to a general audience. Actually "El" is the more common term for "God" also Used by Moses and other writers of the Old Testament. The reason Why I translate these terms literally has to do with gaining the true meaning of the text. Bible translators translate all terms for "God" in the Hebrew Text "God". The end result is the average person has no idea about what the writer is trying to communicate in the text when using one term or another, and they are never used indiscriminately in the Old Testament Text.

"Elohim" is a compound term: "El" meaning "God" and "him" a Hebrew 3rd person masculine plural suffix meaning "these". Together they mean "These are God." Wow! I really opened a can of worms now haven’t I, LOL! Right in the first verse of the Bible Genesis 1:1 Moses teaches us about the triune nature of God. Moses wrote in Genesis 1:1"In-the-beginning Elohim created the heavens and the-earth." The term "created" is 3rd person singular "barah" and means "He-created". Therefore "Elohim" is a singular plural noun because it is followed by a singular verb and in Hebrew grammar a singular noun is always followed by a singular verb and a plural noun is always followed by a plural verb. In this case "Elohim" is followed by a singular verb thus indicating that God is of one essence, not many God’s, but manifested in three persons: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is why in Deuteronomy 6:4 Moses wrote "Hear Israel! Yehovah our-Elohim, Yehovah is one!" Note in telling us God is one God he uses the term "Elohim", not "El" because Moses right off the bat is educating us on the nature of God. You can see why I translate God’s names phonetically correct rather than just into their English equivalent. This is why in Genesis 1:26-27 Moses tells us Elohim said:

"And Elohim said ‘Let-us-make man in our-image, according-to-our-likeness, and to-rule over-the fish of-the sea and over-the flying-creatures in-the heavens and over-the beast and over all the earth and over every moving-thing that moves upon the earth.’ And Elohim created man in His-image, in the image of Elohim He-created him; male and female He-created them." (Genesis 1:26-27)

Note it says "Let Us Make Man in Our-image." Man is created in God’s image, we also possess a triune nature: spirit, soul and body. Thus Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Moses is talking to a universal audience at this point. As I already shared, we know from archaeological discoveries of the time that "Elohim" was a common term used for God in many cultures referring to the Most-High supreme being, however a culture defined that being. It isn’t until Genesis 2:4 that Moses introduces to His audience which God, which Elohim he is referring to. He wrote,

"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in-the-day that Yehovah-Elohim made the earth and the heavens." (Genesis 2:4)

Now Moses lets us know he is not talking to the surrounding cultures concept of Elohim, but of the Elohim Yehovah! When he says "These are the generations of the Heavens and the earth when they were created" he is referring to everything he has just said previously in Genesis Chapter 1. This is where Genesis Chapter one should have ended at which was characteristic of the way cuneiform tablets were ended in those days. The versification of the Bible as it stands was done in 1551-1553 by a French translator named Estienne 1  who obviously, as you read through the Bible, did not give any forethought as to where the Chapter and Verse breaks should have taken place.

In Genesis 2:4 Moses lets us know what God he is talking about, what God created the Heavens and the earth: Yehovah-God or Yehovah-Elohim. From this point on when he refers to God, he discusses him as Yehovah. When Moses asked God whom shall I say has sent me, God said to him in response recorded in Exodus 3:14-15,

"Then Moses said to Elohim, ‘Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, "The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you." Now they may say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?’ And Elohim said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM;’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, "Yehovah has sent me to you." This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.’"

*Jesus Is Fully God

The term "Yehovah" is the Hebrew verb "I am" repeated twice and means "I Am that I Am." God tells Moses that this will be His name forever. In the Gospels Jesus claimed this title several times for Himself and thus claimed Himself to be Yehovah-Elohim which is why the Jews had Him crucified. To claim to be God was blasphemy and the Law required that He was to be put to death.

"The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father. For which of them are you stoning Me?’ The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’" (John 10:31-33)

They said this because in John 10:30 Jesus said "I and the Father are one." The word "one" in Greek "hen" is neuter and when used in this way means of the same essence. If it meant otherwise, it would have been masculine. Hebrews 1:3 states about Jesus,

"And He is the reflected-brightness of His glory and the exact-image of His essence, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."

The writer here claims that Jesus is of the essence of God, God Himself. Thus in Hebrews 1:8 it tells us "But of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of Your kingdom.’" This is a quote from Psalm 45:6 and is referring to Yehovah and the word used for "God" here is "Elohim;" thus the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is God Moses talked about in Genesis 1:1. Here is a good example of why I choose to translate the terms for God in Hebrew as they are, because only when one does, does one get the true meaning and impact of what is being said in the text as is the case here in Hebrews 1:8. Jesus said in John 5:46-47 "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" Here Jesus claims that the Elohim Moses was writing about was Himself and explains to his listeners that the reason they do not believe His words and claims about Himself is because they were not believing and taking what Moses wrote in the Torah literally either. The Torah being Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the first five books of the Bible.

I will be the first person to confess the difficulty of these concepts about who God is which is beyond our human understanding and comprehension. However, again when someone like Jesus makes these kinds of claims, one’s first reaction is "What is Your proof to Your claims Jesus?" It is not a lack of faith to ask someone for proof. The Bible commands us to examine-test-scrutinize everything carefully (1 Thess 5:21). So what was Jesus’ proof to His claims? Again this is the significance of Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead, it is Jesus proving to us that yes he is Elohim our Creator, for He raised, recreated and healed His own body from the dead. If He is God our Creator than he would have no problem recreating His human physical body healthy and alive and He did. If He had not, Christianity would never have gotten off the ground. The Apostles first preached the Christian message in the Jewish temple in broad daylight out in the open before all the authorities of Jerusalem and the Roman Government. All they would have had to do was provide Jesus’ body to prove these claims were false and everyone would have gone home and Christianity would have died and never gotten off the ground. No one did because there was no body to produce. Jesus ascended to heaven forty days after His physical resurrection in the presence of 120 witnesses and He is still physically alive today in Heaven!

Jesus had been buried with a 2,000 lb stone rolled in front of His grave, a Roman seal placed upon it with a guard who if they fell asleep at their post death was the penalty. If anyone broke a Roman seal, death was the penalty. Nevertheless, Jesus rose from the dead and thousands of people came to saving faith in Christ in one day as a result because they were well aware of these events (Acts 2:41). Eventually Christianity was declared by the Roman Empire as the only true religion.

While many Christians lost their lives at the hands of the previous Roman Emperors, this all came about through total non-violence on the Christians’ part. The truth of the message of Christianity and it’s establishment in the Roman empire did not come about through blood shed or forced allegiance by Christians, but through their own non-violent passive resistance and love of their enemies. As is the case with all established religions and politics, unfortunately this wasn’t always the case down through later history. However, the life and teachings of Jesus and by His own example was passive non resistance. Jesus taught his followers:

"But I say to You who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your cloak [outer garment], do not withhold your tunic [worn next to the body] from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way." (Luke 6:27-31)

Jesus was God and yet in His humanity so much did he desire for us to have a relationship with Him that He did not resist us when man beat him to a pulp and hung him on a cross. Again all Jesus said was, "If You believe that that is me dying on the cross for your sins, I will forgive you and give you eternal life. Jesus put it this way in John 3:13-16, Next Page
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References

1. M.H. Black, "The Printed Bible," The Cambridge History of the Bible. The West from the Reformation to the Present Day (vol. 3; eds. S. L. Greenslade; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 408-75.

Continued on Pages 2, 3, 4, 5

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