Several weeks ago, I was having a conversation with another Messianic Jew as to why Jesus and the Father, as well as the Holy Spirit, are one entity – God.
He kept insisting that because they were separate “persons” – that they were somehow not God. Yeshua was Yeshua, YHVH was YHVH, and Ruach Kodesh (Hebrew for the Holy Spirit) , was Ruach Kodesh – period.
I then reminded him of the declarative that Jesus gave, that got Him into all kinds of hot water with the Pharisees – John 10:30:
“I and My Father are one.”
Jesus was declaring His deity here – more than just the “Son of Man” from Daniel, that got the Pharisee’s shorts tied in a knot – He declared Himself God.
It’s what landed Him on the cross!
While it’s true that the Romans technically crucified Jesus, the Jews led Him to slaughter. If they hadn’t advocated for the freedom of Barabbas so forcefully, Jesus would have been spared the Roman cross, and the Sanhedrin would be left to deal with Him.
If He was who He said He was, they didn’t want anything to do with this! So they got the Romans to do their dirty work, so their hands would appear clean.
Deception, it even abounded in Jesus’ day – even in the synagogue and the Sanhedrin.
The Sanhedrin looks a lot like governments around the world. I look at our US Government and see so many similarities.
There are those who talk a good game but have absolutely no real belief, there are those who could care nothing at all about religious liberties, and those on which this nation were founded, and there are those few, like Nicodemus, who have faith, but don’t show it on the floor of the House or Senate, because they are desperate to hold onto some semblance of power.
Anyway you slice it, there’s deception all around us. We don’t know who we can trust.
Getting back to my conversation…
Jesus made a declaration… “I and the Father are one.” It was a one sentence declaration. The godhead is the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, on even footing.
Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
Note the word “us” and “our” – rabbis try to explain this away that God had some counsel during creation, (I was born and raised as a conservative Jew so I know from where I speak here) – this explanation is absolute hogwash when met with John 1:1-18. Jesus spoke everything into existence – the Son. This would equate the Son and the Father, would it not?
To clarify Genesis 1:26, the Hebrew construct of tzelem (image) was a plural, בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ, whereas in 1:27 was a singular construct, בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ.
I and the Father are one. They are, there can be no argument with this.
In the end, there can be no argument. We end prayers, to the Father, “In Jesus’ Name” – why? Because as an equal, He is our advocate, the Father sees those saved through the lens of The Son, Christ. We are saved by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, also an equal, guides, comforts and when necessary, convicts His followers.
Those are the “us” in Genesis 1.
The gentleman had nothing further to say – Why? Because God is a triune God, three separate person which make up a single Godhead … not three separate Gods, as Jews view this.
In other words, this gentleman still had some semblance of Torah law – something the Apostle Paul spoke out about quite vehemently. He may believe in Jesus as his Mashiach – his Messiah- but the godhead was never explained properly.
For example, Jews will never teach or read Isaiah 53 as a Haftorah during Shabbat readings… for obvious reasons. The rabbis have Jews convinced that this chapter refers to the nation of Israel, and their persecution, not Jesus!
This is the primary reasons that Judaism will not teach the deity of the Messiah Jesus – because he claims to be God, God has no “son” and therefore, an entity of a Godhead is foreign to them.
Some Messianics still have a little of the old way ingrained in them.
When describing the Godhead to anyone not familiar, I like to use the analogy of an egg. The analogy isn’t perfect by any means, but it gets the point across.
An egg is a single unit.
There is the shell, the albumen – the white, and the yolk – the yellow part.
All play a part in this one unit, but it’s one unit.
The Godhead is one, single unit.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All have a part, but it’s one unit – the Godhead.
This entire thing is the reason why we need to teach the gospel correctly, and the reason why we need to rightly lead people to the Lord and disciple them correctly.
This entire exchange shows that whoever witnessed to this gentleman, and whoever was the catalyst for him to recognize Jesus as his savior, didn’t dig to see if he really knew his savior.
We’ve had pastors running around getting people to “pray this simple prayer” – without laying the proper foundation. Hey, I was just as guilty of this heresy. I can’t count the number of times I used the ABCs of salvation, not knowing that could be allowing this person to pray themselves right into Hell.
First off, their salvation needs to be of a right heart. After a sermon of hellfire and brimstone – and these sermons are good in their proper setting – the person is ready to accept anything to live. Do you love Jesus? “Of course I do,” they say, not knowing the first thing of what Jesus actually did on that cross two thousand years ago – they just want that fire insurance without paying the premium – full repentance and total surrender to Jesus.
This is the part that’s totally avoided by many preachers – full repentance and total surrender. They think that this would be a deal breaker. “Asking” Jesus into your heart is a whole lot more palatable, since it gives the person control – not the Holy Spirit.
I defy anyone to show me in scripture where it says that a person is saved by praying the simple prayer of asking Jesus into your heart – you won’t find it.
What Jesus did say was to repent.
Just writing your name and date on the first page of your Bible after you prayed that simple prayer, doesn’t cut it, unless there was total surrender and true repentance that went with it.
When asked about their salvation, rarely will you hear a testimony, you’ll hear that were at church when they were young, the pastor gave some sermon that Heaven is full of streets of gold, and you won’t go to hell, then he asked if anyone wanted to be saved – they raised their hands, prayed a prayer, and voila, they’re saved. They won’t tell you about any changes in their lives – the fruit as referenced by Jesus in Matthew 7:15-20:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Here, false prophets are mentioned, but every true believer, every true born again Christian, must bear fruit, to be different and set apart from the world.
Immediately following this passage, Jesus talks about those people who call themselves Christians, but never repented and totally surrendered to Jesus – verses 21-23:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
If you look earlier, just before verse 15, in verses 13-14, we get right back to the narrow gate and the broad gate:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Imagine an expressway (or freeway, if you will) – in Los Angeles, there’s the 405 that runs 6-lanes in each direction. Then imagine a small country road. The truly saved are on that small country road, and the ones who call themselves “saved” but truly aren’t, are with the heathen on the large expressway – the “Highway to Hell” if you will.
I can hear one of the arguments now… but what about the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18? Jesus said in verse 14, that “even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” How could God allow such a thing as the broad road in Matthew 7?
Good question – it’s true, Jesus did go after the one that went astray, however, God will not force Himself on anyone. Everyone must come to salvation willingly.
That doesn’t mean that He won’t try to get your attention.
Have you ever noticed that those who really, and I mean really find salvation in Christ, are at their lowest point? I mean they’ve really been going through some stuff, and the only way to look is up. There are a multitude of testimonies just like that.
Do the tests and trials go away – nope. They are easier to deal with however, when one is truly surrendered to Jesus.
Another thing is that someone may be so steeped in sin, that to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit anymore is futile. They truly repent and surrender their lives to Jesus. Testimonies abound here too.
The prayer these people pray aren’t the words of someone else – they are prayers from the heart, prayers of anguish, prayers of repentance. They have nowhere else to turn. They tried to run and hide from God, but the Holy Spirit convicted them, and they could no longer ignore His prompting.
What do you think Jesus and rest of Heaven does when these people repent and surrender? The preceding verse – verse 13 gives that very answer from Jesus Himself, “… he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.”
God doesn’t want even one of His creations to eternally perish, but man does have free will – they can repent and surrender, or not. If that person rejects Jesus and doesn’t, one day, that person will bow their knee, but it will be too late.
So, to wrap this up, because I could go for hours here – when evangelizing, make very sure that you’re giving an accurate gospel, and that if the Holy Spirit has worked through you to bring this person to Jesus – let them pray their own prayer, let them get on their knees and repent, and above all, let them come to Jesus with their own words, not yours.
It’s the Holy Spirit working on them, convicting them – they’ll know what to ask for.