Israel has been waiting for thousands of years for Messiah to come to earth to deliver them. Many passages in the Old Testament refer to this coming One.
When Jesus was born, He fulfilled every prophecy about Himself, but the Jews rejected Him as Messiah.
Did they just expect an ordinary man? Jesus came as a perfect Son of Man and Son of God. Instead of recognizing their long-prophesied Messiah, Israel rejected Him as a blasphemer and a fraud, refusing to believe in His many miracles, which alone testified of His deity.
The Mystery of the Trinity
Let’s explore this great mystery by first asking a question. Is the Christian God three-headed? Old Testament Scripture teaches in Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord (KJV). Therefore, the concept of the Trinity makes no sense to Jewish understanding. God is clearly One, not Three.
Where did Jesus stand on this issue? In a conversation with the scribes two thousand years ago, He makes it plain.
And one of the scribes came, and … asked him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment’ ~ Mark 12:29-30, KJV.
Jesus agreed that God is One, but the sticking point came when Jesus claimed that God is His Father and that He and the Father are One. Here’s an example of Christ telling them plainly who He is:
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one ~ John 10:24-30, KJV.
Christians worship God as the Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. How can God be One and yet be three persons? For the Jews, this question is a stumbling-block.
Let me attempt to explain this mystery by asking you if you are one person? Of course, you say. But do you recognize that you have three parts? Your physical body, your soul (the mind, will, and emotions), and your eternal spirit. You are three-in-one, but people view you as one person.
We agree with the Scripture that the Lord Our God is One, and we are made in God’s image. But listen to how God describes Himself in the plural in Genesis:
Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them ~ Genesis 1:26-27, NASB.
This proves that the Trinity existed from the beginning. Another way of looking at it, to satisfy our human understanding, is through the institution of marriage. When a man and a woman are joined together in holy matrimony, they become one flesh. Although they begin as two separate people, their vows before God unite them in marriage. However, every couple operates as two separate physical bodies, even after their union.
God has one physical image, as do we, but He is composed of three persons.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. ~ 1 John 5:7-8, KJV.
So Jesus is actually God’s Word that separated from God to become flesh and live among men–still completely God in a man’s body, the Son of God; still the Son of Man, the new Adam.
A Great Mystery
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. ~ John 1:14; 17-18, NASB.
Jesus was rejected by the very ones who had been looking for His coming because Israel didn’t recognize her Messiah when He did arrive. So instead, the light of the gospel was extended to and accepted by the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul.
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God ~ John 1:9-13, NASB.
What a joyful day in the near future when scales will fall from Jewish eyes, and they will finally see the truth– Jesus is their Jewish Messiah. But when they realize that we Gentiles have been enjoying Israel’s inheritance along with all the blessings and benefits originally sent only to them, they will have an explosive emotional reaction. Jealousy will bring Israel back to their Jewish Messiah, and the root of David will be forever restored.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek ~ Romans 1:16, KJV.
We, the Gentiles, are the grafted-in branches, forever grateful. Together, Jews and Gentiles will make one tree in God, perfect and complete.
Hallelujah! I can’t wait until that glorious day! Many already believe, but may the rest of our Jewish brothers and sisters come to Messiah even now, today. The prophecy of bringing Israel back to her land and the Jewish people back to God is told in Ezekiel 37:1-14:
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. (KJV)
In the next post about the Lamb of God, I’ll discuss another intriguing mystery:
How could Jesus the Lamb of God be born with sinless blood?
Where is the Lamb in Revelation and how is that significant today?
Until then…be blessed!