Wednesday 6 April 2016

Is there a Trinity or Functional Godhead? Response to Menashe Walsh 2

There was an article I had looked at a while back by Menashe Walsh.

I have done an article commenting on part of it but there was more that needed to be looked at in context and it is long overdue.

First, take a look at Menashe's blog first:

Here's my article which responds to part of it:

"A typical position taken by ‘Jewish’ (?) Adventists is given below:
Adventism does not embrace a plurality of deities, rather a single Deity who has chosen different means of inter-personally communication and relating with His greatest creation, hence the term Persons. We must remember that man’s dimension is not G-d’s dimension. Depending on who you ask, man lives in 3 or 4 dimensions – Height, Width, Depth and “Time”. G-d resides in neither of these nor is He bound by them. It was not until His corporeal manifestation (Jesus), that He was “literally” able to walk with man (unlike the terms “and G-d walked with Enoch” which was not literal), “literally” speak face to face (unlike the term “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, ” which was not literal). It was not until that unexplainable mystery of godliness, that G-d was able to be pierced through and bare our iniquities. – Zech. 12:10 (from a ‘Jewish’ Adventist discussion board, Feb 2011) (Permission to quote the above quote from the Facebook page “Jewish Adventist Friendship Center” is granted by the owners of said Facebook page. The quote may be found in the second of the two links:, these links have been re-hashed from the original discussion thread (original feedback comments have been removed).
According to ‘Jewish’ Adventists, Zachariah 12 gives an example of the necessary functional nature of the ‘godhead’. The example insists on a physical/ divine ‘Messiah’ (Jesus) fulfilling the necessary role/ purpose of being pierced [2] and killed for people’s sins so as to bring about a substitutionary atonement. The argument for the necessary functional nature of the substitutionary atonement comes about as a result of a spiritual being (god) not having a physical body to be pierced. So the ‘godhead’ taking on a human form, which is described as a unique and ‘unexplainable mystery of godliness’, allows for this necessary functional nature of the ‘god head’. A problem with the use of Zechariah 12 is that contextually; Zechariah does not match up to Jesus and his crucifixion."

We'll get to Zechariah 12 momentarily.

"The 12th Chapter in the Book of Zechariah describes a war of nations against Jerusalem, in which Judeans fought on the side of the enemy for a while and, when they realized that G-d was with the people of Jerusalem, they “turned around” and joined the battle against the enemy, which led to the deliverance of Jerusalem and the restoration of its status. The victory will, however, be followed by grievous mourning over those who fell in the battle. The passage Zechariah 12:8-14, when read in the original Hebrew text, or in a correct translation thereof, clearly shows that the prophet could not possibly have spoken of Jesus. For example, the prophet makes the promise that Jerusalem and its inhabitants will be protected:
Zechariah 12:7, 8 — (7) And the Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the splendor of the House of David and the splendor of the inhabitants of Jerusalem should not overwhelm Judah. (8) On that day, the lord shall protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and it shall come to pass on that day that even the weakest among them shall be like David: and the House of David shall be as angels, like an angel of the Lord before them.
The historical record testifies that, less than 40 years after Jesus died, Jerusalem was torched and destroyed by the Romans, and its people were expelled and exiled. So, this is yet another prophecy that Jesus did not fulfill. "

Naturally, a Christian, including myself would acknowledge a second coming, but in any case, I will not dispute that the chapter does refer to the protection of Jerusalem and God joining Israel in the battle to turn the tide against the Gentiles who are attacking them.

The point is, what the passage referring to? Does it refer to a battle that took place after the writing of Zechariah a little while afterward, or is it a future event that is going to happen? It would be a possible reference to both.

But putting that aside, considering the events taking place to this day in Israel and the Jews receiving the protection, it is plausible that they have that protection from God now despite belief or unbelief. But does Zechariah 12 refer to the destruction of Jerusalem 40 years after Jesus came? I'll agree it doesn't.

A question I would ask the Jews, regarding the ones or one who are pierced, When were they or when was he pierced? Was it during a battle or before a battle someone had been pierced? One way to look at the passage is that all the events transpire in Zechariah 12 in the end of days, then finally the
Jews see Jesus face to face and mourn because they pierced him, the very one who can offer redemption and protection. In other words the piercing had already taken place before a major battle itself.

Would it be possible that Jesus' death is actually a catalyst for these events in Zechariah 12 and then the Jews coming to grips with what they did to the Messiah are possibly reconciled to him? I'll leave you the reader to decide.

"The prophet also foretells the destruction of those nations that attacked Jerusalem:
Zechariah 12:9 — And it shall come to pass on that day, [that] I will seek to destroy all the nations that have come upon Jerusalem.
However, according to the historical record, none of these nations were destroyed in the days of Jesus. This, too, remains a prophecy not yet fulfilled.

On Judgement Day, The nations that have treated Israel cruelly will be judged and destroyed and even today before that day, many nations have suffered destruction or are crippled for their attack on Israel. It will happen in the future at the second coming, which would only occur if the resurrection is true, because the claims of Jesus will be validated.

See the following papers:
Moreover, another problem is the Torah specifically forbidding human sacrifice. The nature of the necessary substitutionary divine/ human atonement (Jesus) says by the New Testament:
Romans 8:3(KJV) – For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [See also 1 Tm 3:1-6; 1 Jo 4:2.]
18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 1 Peter 3:18 (New International Version)
Characterizing the death of Jesus on the cross as any kind of sacrifice would render it to be a human sacrifice and a clear violation of Torah. Heathen Semitic worship was cruel, often requiring human victims. In absolute contrast, the Torah forbids human sacrifice:
Leviticus 18:21 – And you shall not give any of your offspring to pass through the fire for Molech, and shall not profane the name of your G-d; I am the L-rd. [See also Deut 18:10, Jer 7:31, Ezek 23:37-39.]
Deuteronomy 24:16 – Fathers shall not be put to death because of children, nor shall children be put to death for fathers; each person shall be put to death for his own sin. [See also Exod 32:31-33; Num 35:33.]
2 Kings 14:6 – And the sons of the assassins he did not execute, as it is written in the book of the Torah of Moses, which the L-rd commanded saying: “Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor shall sons be put to death for fathers, but each man shall be put to death for his own sin.” [See also Jer 31:29{30 in Christian Bibles}; Ezek 18:4, 20; Ps 49:7-8.]"

Exodus 32:31-33, Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18 are easy to address. They do not refer to vicarious atonement. The latter two simply point out that we are responsible to God for our own sins. I touch upon Exodus briefly in my response to Eli Cohen:

Although not mentioned in my article, Jeremiah 31:29 follows the same principle, as does Ezekiel 18:4.
As for Psalm 49, let's read it.
"Psalm 49:1 Hear this, all you peoples;
    listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
    rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
    with the harp I will expound my riddle:
5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
    when wicked deceivers surround me—
6 those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of their great riches?
7 No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them—
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough—
9 so that they should live on forever
    and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
    that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
    leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever,
    their dwellings for endless generations,
    though they had[c] named lands after themselves."

The subject of the ransom here in the initial context is in reference to wealth, rather than dealing with the subject of vicarious atonement, However if it were to do with a man ransoming another by his death, the Psalm would not pose a problem. Psalm 47:9 shows that one is incapable of ransoming another, I can't and Menashe can't. Yet Jesus claims to be able to ransom MANY lives, because if he is righteous, which I am convinced he is, then he is able to redeem us because he is the God-Man.

Also, In what way would Jesus' death would be considered a pagan sacrifice much like the heathen nations? This was something that both the Father and the Son agreed to in eternity past. I don't have time here to go into the nitty gritty however but Jesus' death would not be a violation of the Torah.

"Analyzing the necessary functional nature of the ‘godhead’ further, is an example using a typology. The typology used by Messianics and Christians, attempts to create a correlation between the “Binding of Isaac” (Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac) and God’s sacrifice of Jesus. Unfortunately the correlation breaks down practically before it ever begins. The typology says that God sacrificed His own son just as Abraham would have sacrificed his own son, had God allowed the act to be completed. However, Abraham was sacrificing his son to God, which showed Abraham loved God more than he loved his son Isaac, something that even God acknowledges in the text:
“He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” (Gen 22:2)
So who did God sacrifice Jesus to? Did God sacrifice Jesus to mankind in order to show mankind that He loved mankind more than he loved Jesus? Is mankind God’s god? God needs mankind’s approval in order to be God? Does this make sense?"

The reason why Christians makes the connection to Isaac's sacrifice and Jesus' sacrifice is this, God will provide a substitute in the future to deal with our sin. Isaac is about to be sacrificed and God stops him, providing instead a ram for him to be sacrificed in Isaac's place.

Jesus is provided in the place of the lamb and our own lives are not required. People who have repented and turned to Jesus, have him as the substitute.

The death of Jesus appeased the wrath of the Father, as the Father poured out his wrath on his Son when Jesus took our sins upon himself. I am not sure if any Christian (grounded in their faith) would say "God sacrifice Jesus to mankind in order to show mankind that He loved mankind more than he loved Jesus". It's a very strange explanation.

"A puzzling feature of the binding of Issac is the opening statement that God tested Abraham, as if the purpose were to provide God with information about Abraham’s trust He did not previously possess. Nachmanides (also known as the Ramban, a 13th century Spanish rabbi), states that God did indeed know beforehand how Abraham would behave but, from Abraham’s point of view, the test was real since he had to be rewarded not only for his potential willingness to obey the divine command but for actually complying with it. The implications of the binding of Issac are that, despite what appears to be a contradiction, divine foreknowledge is compatible with human free will."

"Another puzzling feature of the binding of Issac are the previous statements of the Jewish scriptures which forbid human sacrifice. According to a mistaken understanding of Gen 26:5; Abraham was aware of “and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” and so one might ask why didn’t Abraham just turn around and say to God that the Torah forbids human sacrifice? Rashi on Gen 26:5 points to “Abraham obeyed My voice”, which refers to the test (binding of Issac) Hashem gave to Abraham, since the test was a direct command from Hashem, as opposed to laws of the Torah, which were not directly commanded to Abraham but Abraham followed the laws of the Torah anyway."

"Yet another aspect of the binding of Issac, is the Talmud’s reference to Jeremiah. The Talmud (Ta’anit 4a)3 quotes Jeremiah 19:5 (see also Jer 32:35), in which God is reported as saying of child-sacrifice ‘which I have not commanded, nor spoken, nor did it enter My mind’. The Talmud links each of the three expressions, ‘not commanded’, ‘nor spoken’ and ‘nor did it enter My mind’ to a different biblical episode involving or apparently involving child-sacrifice, and explicitly applies the third phrase to ‘Isaac, son of Abraham’. Rashi (ad loc., s.v. ukhetiv asher lo tziviti) explains: ‘That is to say, even though I commanded him, it never entered my mind that he should slaughter his son’. In this passage, then, the Talmud explicitly morally neutralizes God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac."

There isn't too much for me to say on the subject of the binding of Isaac being a test of Abraham's loyalty, There is no need for me to be contentious on that particular point. Interesting points from the Rabbis though. But how this refutes the Christian typological usage of the binding of Isaac I do not really get. It appears to miss the point that Christians make about the passage in the first place.

Answering Judaism.