The Pursuit of God

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Applying Hebrews 2: Confusion About Christ

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 1: Exposing the Lies.

In our previous lesson, we walked through Hebrews 1 line by line and caught our author (who we’ve nicknamed Rabbi) blatantly lying to us about what the Old Testament actually says. That didn’t sit very well.  Spiritual leaders have no business lying to the flock, mangling the meaning of Scripture, and intentionally leading people astray about what God said. If Rabbi were to read the Old Testament more closely, he’d discover that Yahweh has some very nasty things to say about spiritual leaders who abuse their positions of influence as Rabbi is doing.

Now as we get into Chapter 2, Rabbi delivers some threats that are meant to strike fear into the hearts of his Jewish audience.

So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message Yahweh delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus Himself and then delivered to us by those who heard Him speak? And Yahweh confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever He chose. (Heb. 2:1-4)

As we learned in our previous lesson, the great crisis at hand is that Yahweh has changed His Covenant with humans. If Jews who were raised under the Old Covenant try to continue in that system, they are going to end up in Hell. When God changes the dance, we must change with Him or we’ll suffer terrifying consequences. Now that Jesus has been introduced, Yahweh demands that His followers reverentially submit to this new, second God. This is the same Yahweh who insisted He was the only God in existence for thousands of years. This is a very difficult theological hurdle for Old Covenant Jews to overcome.

And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. For in one place the Scriptures say:

“What are mere mortals that You should think about them, or a son of man that You should care for him? Yet You made them only a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them authority over all things.” [Ps. 8:4-6]

When Yahweh put everything under people’s control, there was nothing left that they did not rule. Still, we do not yet see them ruling over everything. But we see Jesus, who for a short time was made “lower than the angels”. And now He is wearing a crown of glory and honor because He suffered and died. Yes, by Yahweh’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. Yahweh is the One who made all things, and all things are for His glory. He wanted to have many children share His glory, so He made Jesus–the One who leads people to salvation–perfect through suffering. (Heb. 2:5-10)

Rabbi says that after Jesus was reduced in rank to be equivalent to that of us humans, He earned major points with Yahweh by dying on a cross, and that obedient act then earned Him back a crown of glory. He even goes so far as to suggest that Jesus had to be perfected through suffering–that He was lacking in some way when He first showed up on earth. This is total hogwash.

In the first place, Jesus did not reduce, lower, or abase Himself in any way when He came here in the form of a human being. Jesus is equal to Yahweh. We’re good at saying this, but then we don’t stop to think about what it really means. Yahweh is everywhere at once. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. So is Jesus. So when Jesus was walking among us in human form, He was also in Heaven.  He was present everywhere in this entire universe and in every other universe He helped create, and He was doing His God thing. But Rabbi says that Jesus took some kind of vacation from being supreme so that He could do His tour through earth. No, He certainly did not. By the time Rabbi reduces Jesus to a limited, lacking mortal who needs to do some painful maturing, he is presenting Jesus as less than fully Divine.

Jesus was never demoted by Yahweh and forced to climb back up the ladder of Divinity. Rabbi is leading us massively astray by exalting Jesus one minute, then reducing Him the next. Psalm 8 has nothing to do with Christ.  In Genesis, Yahweh granted humans dominion over the earth.  Our egos like the sound of this, but in practice, we’ve discovered our dominion is sorely lacking.  We can’t command the sun not to burn us if we forget to put on sunscreen.  We can’t stop lions from eating us or command a swarm of bees to leave us alone.  So let’s get real about our dominion: it’s non-existent.  Yahweh’s point was that He considers humans to be the superior element of this Creation–we’re the only ones He’s going to keep for all of eternity.

So now Jesus and the ones He makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters. For Jesus said to Yahweh: “I will proclaim Your Name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise You among Your assembled people.” [Ps. 22:22] (Heb. 2:11)

There are major problems with this language. First, we need to realize that the titles of Father and Son which Jesus and Yahweh used with the Jews were merely a means of helping the Jews accept the shocking notion of a second God. Because Yahweh made such a federal issue out of idolatry, it was vital that the Jews be convinced that Yahweh was alright with them worshiping this new Deity. After all, what if Jesus was some loony who only thought He was God? What if He was a false prophet? The Jews needed to hear Yahweh Himself backing up Jesus’ outrageous claim to be a second God who was equal to Yahweh in every way. And Yahweh did back Jesus up—He called down from the sky at least three times to confirm that He did indeed approve of Jesus. That was good—but then the Jews needed to understand more about who Jesus was—that He was equal to Yahweh in every way. What could Yahweh and Jesus do to quickly get everyone up to speed about Their sameness? Using the titles of Father and Son was a great system.

In this world, when humans procreate, they always end up with more humans. Humans don’t give birth to rocks, fish, or trees. We can only produce more of our own kind. It’s understood that human children have the same nature as their parents. So when Yahweh calls Jesus His “Son”, He’s saying that Jesus has His same Nature—that He’s the same kind of Divine Being as Yahweh is. Father and Son were metaphorical titles which were intended to help the Jews grasp Jesus’ Divinity. When Jesus said in John 3:16 that Yahweh “so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son,” the imagery He’s using is of Yahweh procreating another Being of His own kind. Now of course Yahweh didn’t “birth” Jesus—it’s metaphorical language. We should think of Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit like a trio of Best Friends instead of like some strange family unit. Our Gods aren’t human. They don’t beget, They create.

Now once we understand that Jesus is using the Father title figuratively and not literally, we can see problems with Rabbi’s language in this passage:

So now Jesus and the ones He makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters. (Heb. 2:11)

No, we really don’t have the same Father as Jesus because Jesus doesn’t have a parent—He has two Peer Creators: Yahweh and the Holy Spirit. Once we start calling Jesus our “Brother”, it’s very easy to lose sight of the fact that He is God Almighty, not some strange God-human hybrid.  We need to keep a grip on the fact that there is no sense of equality between us and Jesus. He is in an entirely different class.

We learned in our last lesson what a butcher job Rabbi does with the psalms. Let’s now check out Psalm 22 and see if we can verify that this is really Jesus talking to Yahweh.

Psalm 22 is written by David when he is seriously down in the dumps. It opens with that famous line:

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. (Ps. 22:1-2)

David is feeling abandoned by Yahweh and he’s crying out in frustrated despair. Because Jesus cries out “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” on the cross, many try to say He’s quoting this Psalm, and then they rush to turn the whole thing into a Messianic passage. Well, David doesn’t own the phrase “My God, my God, why have Your forsaken me.” Plenty of us have cried these same words in our own valley periods and we weren’t thinking of David at the time, we were simply expressing our own grief.

After accusing Yahweh of abandoning him in his hour of need, David then pauses to reflect on how faithful Yahweh has been to his ancestors. Then he delves into a grim description of his plight which sounds like some kind of captivity situation. In Bible times, kings went out with their armies in battle. David was a very able warrior who spent a lot of his life on the battlefield, both before and after he was crowned king of Israel. Nasty things happen on the battlefield, and if you get temporarily taken captive when you’re a high ranking officer, you’re in hot soup. The grim situation David describes makes it sound like he is being held hostage by evil men. He talks about his enemies surrounding him. He talks about being physically exhausted and stripped of his clothes. He uses many negative metaphors for his enemies: lions, dogs, and bulls. Here is another famous line which some try to say is a prophetic description of Christ on the cross:

…a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they have pierced my hands and my feet. (Ps. 22:16)

We read the word “pierced” and say, “Aha! It’s a reference to the cross.” But this word could also be translated “bitten” which makes a lot more sense when we read the whole verse:

For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they have bitten my hands and my feet. (Ps. 22:16)

Dogs bite. The imagery here is of David’s evil-hearted enemies closing in on him and doing him bodily harm. Later on he says:

Deliver my life from the sword, my only life from the power of these dogs. (Ps. 22:20)

Jesus was crucified, not chopped down by a sword. And if this is supposed to be a prophecy about Christ, the following verses really don’t work:

I will give praise in the great congregation because of You; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. (Ps. 22:25)

Here David is bargaining—he’s saying that if Yahweh will help him, he’ll praise Yahweh before a large crowd of people and he’ll fulfill personal vows that he’s made to God. It’s very common to hear Old Covenant Jews talk about their vows to Yahweh when they’re in some kind of crisis. In Jonah 2:9, we find Jonah promising to fulfill vows that he made to Yahweh from inside the fish after Yahweh has rescued him. Such bribery language isn’t a match for Jesus at all. Jesus didn’t stand in some throng of people going on about how terrific Yahweh was to bring Him back from the dead, and He certainly doesn’t make vows to Yahweh as a means of trying to earn His favor. In fact, instead of crediting Yahweh for bringing Him back to life, Jesus took all the glory for that miracle Himself by saying things like:

“Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.” (John 2:19)

“The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17-18)

While we can certainly make some comparisons between David’s misery in Psalm 22 and Christ’s suffering at the hands of His human assailants, we can hardly say that Psalm 22 is being spoken by Christ—that’s definitely taking things too far. In this psalm, it’s human David who is groaning about his miserable lot and trying to bargain with Yahweh to save him. So when Rabbi says that it’s really Jesus who is promising to publicly praise Yahweh in this psalm, he’s just slinging more baloney. And when he then tries to use David’s reference to “my brothers” to try and say that Christ was calling us His brothers and sisters way back in David’s day—good grief, this is just ridiculous. Yet as ludicrous as Rabbi is being, he seems quite confident that no one in his audience will have caught on to him yet, because he now continues with more quotations:

Jesus also said: “I will put my trust in Him,” [Isa. 8:17] that is, “I and the children Yahweh has given Me.” [Isa. 8:18] (Heb. 2:13)

Here is more insanity. This time Rabbi is ripping off the words of the prophet Isaiah. The irony is that this is one of the few passages in which Isaiah isn’t prophesying for Yahweh—he’s just speaking his own thoughts.

In Church you’ll be taught that one of Jesus’ many titles is “Immanuel” which means “God with us.” You’ll also be taught that back in the Old Testament, Yahweh prophesied that a virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be called Immanuel. You’ll be told that this is a Messianic prophecy. What a crock. This is so not a Messianic prophecy, yet today Christians are convinced it is. Why? Because everyone’s believing the Gospel writer Matthew. When it comes to applying Old Testament passages to Jesus, Matthew is as accurate as Rabbi is (see Messianic Passages According to Matthew). We can cut Matthew a lot more slack for just not knowing better because, after all, he was only a tax collector. He wouldn’t have had the extensive education in Scriptures.  Matthew seems to mislead us out of bumbling ignorance, whereas Rabbi comes across as a lot more conniving.

Matthew is completely delusional to try and say that Jesus is a fulfillment of the Immanuel prophecy. In the first place, Jesus was named Yeshua, not Immanuel. In the second place, the Immanuel prophecy was fulfilled in the book of Isaiah a chapter after Yahweh gave it. Yahweh says a young woman will conceive in Isaiah 7.  Translators lead us a stray be translating “young woman” as “virgin”.  Then in Isaiah 8, that young woman does conceive, and it turns out she is Isaiah’s wife, who we’re told is a prophetess. Immanuel is a son of Isaiah, and he is a sign to the people of Judah that Yahweh will cause certain military events to happen. The Immanuel prophecy has noting to do with a future Messiah or a New Covenant. He has everything to do with Judah’s current military crisis (for the full story, see The Real Immanuel). But because we’re all blindly accepting what men like Matthew and Rabbi say, no one is looking up these passages for themselves and no one is catching the absurdity of trying to link so many phrases in the Old Testament to Jesus. Soon we’ve written whole songs like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” about Jesus when the Immanuel prophecy had nothing to do with Jesus. No one in the Old Testament was waiting for Immanuel to come because they all knew he’d come and gone 700 years before Christ.  It’s only us Christians who sit around singing such silly hymns at Christmastime and imagining the ancient Jews pining for Immanuel to show up.

Now when you’re God’s prophet, He likes to get in your personal business. Sometimes He makes prophetic symbols out of your family members. The prophet Hosea had to marry a wife who was a symbol of faithless Israel. The prophet Ezekiel had to lose his wife in a sudden death as a symbol of Judah’s coming destruction. The prophet Hosea and his symbolic wife had several children who received weird symbolic names that prophesied Yahweh’s future punishment and restoration of Israel. The prophet Isaiah also had children who were given symbolic names. The idea was that when someone saw a prophet’s kid running around, they’d think of some prophecy that Yahweh had made.

We aren’t given the background story on all of Isaiah’s kids, but we do know that Isaiah is living in a time when there’s a lot of strife in his homeland. When Isaiah makes the statement that Rabbi is quoting in Hebrews, he’s living during the reign of a wicked king and during a time when Yahweh is fed up with Judah. Gathering his prophetically named children around him, Isaiah is expressing his determination to stay faithful and trust Yahweh as he says:

“I will wait for Yahweh, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him. Here I am with the children Yahweh has given me to be signs and wonders in Israel from Yahweh Almighty who dwells on Mount Zion.” (Isa. 8:17-18)

Who is saying he will stand faithfully by Yahweh in these hard times? The prophet Isaiah. Whose children is he referring to? His own. Who were these children signs to? The people of Judah who lived in Isaiah’s day—that’s about 700 years before Christ was even born. Yet look at how Rabbi completely mangles this passage.

Jesus also said: “I will put my trust in Him,” that is, “I and the children Yahweh has given Me.” (Heb. 2:13)

Is it right for a pastor to abuse people’s trust like this? Is it okay that Rabbi is lying his face off about what the Old Testament actually says? Certainly not!

Now what many Christians don’t realize is that Jewish teachers fiercely disagreed about which Scriptures were legitimate. Pharisees like Paul viewed the entire Old Testament as Divinely inspired. But the Sadducees who ran the Temple and taught with priestly authority said that only the Torah was valid. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible—the books that Moses wrote. The Pharisees were much more popular among common Jews than the Sadducees were, and that meant most Jews agreed that all of the Old Testament was Divinely inspired, because that’s what the Pharisees had taught them to think. Rabbi sees a huge advantage in the fact that the Jews are blindly trusting in this set of historical documents—now if he can just find a way to make those documents say what he needs them to say.

What Rabbi really needs are Old Testament passages in which Yahweh and Jesus are dialoging with Each Other about Jesus’ Divinity. His problem is that there aren’t any examples of this. Jesus simply isn’t talking in the Old Testament, and the few times that Yahweh does speak about Jesus, His comments are very limited and vague. Since this is the case, why doesn’t Rabbi just tell people to really seek God’s wisdom on the subject? Why make up a bunch of baloney about what the Old Testament says?  Doesn’t Rabbi believe that Yahweh is capable of educating people about the tenants of His New Covenant without the aid of written documents? No, he doesn’t. Just as we Christians today think that no one can possibly understand the Good News about Christ unless we put a Bible in their hands or quote portions of Scripture at them, Rabbi thinks he’ll never be able to get the Jews saved unless he can convince them that their Scriptures say certain things. In short, we’re all just insulting our Gods’ abilities. We’re making the Holy Spirit out to be an impotent Teacher unless He has the aid of a physical book. Is this a reverent way to speak of God? Not hardly. Is the Holy Spirit thoroughly annoyed by the way we cling to our Bibles like they are our spiritual lifelines? Oh yes.

Today you’re taught to depend on the Bible instead of your Gods. Today you’re taught to test everything with a book instead of with the Holy Spirit. Today you’re told that “If it contradicts God’s Word, it can’t be right.” Really?? So when Yahweh told Ezekiel to cook his meal over a fire fueled with poop and when He told Isaiah to walk around butt naked for three years and when He told Peter to eat unclean meats—where was their litmus test? In each of these scenarios, Yahweh was grossly contradicting His own written commands. All three of these men could have turned to the Bibles of their day and said, “Whoa, Yahweh, stop right there! It says right here in the Torah that these things are sins, so You must be the devil in disguise! No way am I going to believe that my God would ever change His mind! No sir! God is the same today, yesterday and forever. He doesn’t lie and He doesn’t change His mind. He never goes against His own commands, so You can just forget it if You think I’m going to do what You’re telling me to do!” How do you think Yahweh would have responded to such attitudes? Do you think He would have commended these men for elevating written documents as a higher authority than Himself?

Believing something just because you read it in a book is a really dumb thing to do. If we’re all going to blindly trust in sacred books, why not pick the Quran? Why not pick the Book of Mormon or The Pearl of Great Price? How can you possibly argue that the Christian Bible is the right book if your faith is merely resting in paper and ink? Because you think the Bible is Divinely inspired? According to the Mormons, so is the Book of Mormon. According to Muslims, so is the Quran. Many people have a sacred text. Many people have prophetic documents. You cannot possibly argue that the Bible you read is superior in any way unless you are asking God Himself. But you don’t, do you? You just take Paul’s word for it because Paul told Timothy that “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). Paul—the same guy who rejects the Divinity of Christ and totally insults Yahweh–is the guy who you are blindly believing about the Divine Authority of the Bible (see The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ). Does this sound smart? No, it’s stupid. It’s also bad for your spiritual health.

You can’t just blindly accept what some random guy wrote to a bunch of other people 2,000 years ago. This kind of brainless, blind trust in the words of strangers and in musty old documents is how satanic cults get launched. Some guy gets up and makes some authoritative comments and everyone checks their brains at the door and just goes along with his program until he has them all committing suicide or killing people in the name of some holy war. No one is going to be around in eternity to save your soul from the consequences of you putting your faith in lies. You have to think for yourself. You have to go directly to God for wisdom and you have to wait for the Holy Spirit to confirm something to you personally before you put your faith in it. We cannot believe that Jesus is God simply because of what it says in some book. If this is all you’re doing, then you’re not saved and you’re on your way to Hell. Getting right with your Gods requires a personal connection between you and Them. You can’t just go along with some religious group and their timeworn traditions. Simply going to church and memorizing verses and bobbing your head at whatever some guy behind a pulpit tells you does not get you saved.  If your relationship with God is not personal, then it’s non-existent.

If you’re going to really find truth, you need to question everything you’ve ever been taught and seek the Holy Spirit’s confirmation about it all. Refuse to just sit there like some open dumpster for anyone to unload their delusions about God into. It’s your soul that’s on the line here, so you’d better be darn sure that you actually have a relationship with the real Gods. And once you have a relationship with Them, it shouldn’t matter at all if someone takes your Bible away from you.

Because Yahweh’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Heb. 2:14-15)

Rabbi writes with such authority, and yet if we really listen to what he’s saying, he’s talking like such a fool. He says that Jesus had to become flesh and blood because we’re flesh and blood. Really?? Since when does God have to morph into a human being in order to save us from His own wrath?  Our Gods work as one, and They’ve been saving us for thousands of years without the aid of a human. So no, Jesus didn’t “have” to do anything. The cross wasn’t about Yahweh and Jesus desperately scrambling to find some way to forgive us. No one made Yahweh change Covenants.  Our Gods are free agents–They do what They want do just because They want to.

To hear Rabbi tell it, God is always getting forced into things or backed into some corner by created beings. First Jesus “had” to come in human form. Then Jesus “had” to die, because “only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” There’s that Jewish idolatry of the devil rearing its ugly head. No, the devil most certainly does not have the power of death. All created things are powerless flecks in the eyes of our Creators, so to suggest that Jesus had to go through some great ordeal to overcome some dot of a demon who He Himself created is utterly irreverent.

Satan is a demon who has already been condemned by God to burn forever in Hell. Satan doesn’t control anything. Satan doesn’t control when people die or where they end up in eternity—God does. Rabbi is utterly delusional with his theory that Christ had to “break the power of the devil.” There’s never been anything to break. And as for this fear of dying—if the Jews had been more faithful to Yahweh, they wouldn’t have had to fear death so much. It’s not like no one had ever seen Heaven until Christ came. Elijah was swept up to Heaven in a whirlwind. Enoch also got a direct flight there. Moses and Elijah were chitchatting with Jesus during the Transfiguration, not stuck in some netherworld in the bowels of the earth. The Jews were the ones who chose to cling to the ridiculous theory of Hades and Sheol and pretend that the dead all end up stuck in the bowels of the earth.  When we insist on believing in our own fantasies instead of seeking the wisdom of God, fear is our rightful reward.

We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; He came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He Himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested. (Heb. 2:16-18)

How small and limited Christ becomes when Rabbi starts preaching. Notice how it is Rabbi who decides that Christ was our clone. In reality, Christ merely took the form of a human being—He didn’t actually become a human being. Christ was, is, and always will be God Almighty. A God is not a human. Don’t let Rabbi’s limited imagination lead you astray. Nowhere does Christ claim to be human through and through. On the contrary, Christ constantly insisted that He and Yahweh shared the same Divine Nature, which was the same as saying that He was not just another human being. And this absolute rot that Rabbi puts out about Christ being able to help us because He has gone through suffering on earth—really?? Christ is God Almighty.  His power is unlimited.  He didn’t need to suffer before He could be “able to help us.”  There is nothing that God can’t do.

Rabbi’s terrible wording of this passage leads us to draw all sorts of dangerous conclusions. We get the feeling that we’re down here as independent beings who are going through random trials that come out of nowhere. Good thing Jesus knows what it’s like to be human, because before He walked on earth we had no one useful to help us in our struggles.  If our Gods can only help us after They live on this earth with us for a while and suffer alongside of us, what does this say about Yahweh? He never came to earth and lived as a man for thirty-three years. So is Rabbi suggesting that Yahweh is useless to us and utterly impotent to help us because He hasn’t suffered like we have? And how can Rabbi possibly think that God Almighty was truly taxed by the silly things which bother frail creatures like us? If Jesus can’t handle some forty day fast in the desert, what kind of God is He? If the God who created the universe is really overwhelmed by crucifixion, then He’s clearly no more powerful than we are. But no, the differences between us and Divine Beings are infinite. We cannot possibly compare Christ to humans and say, “Look, He suffered like we do.” Christ is GOD. After trying so hard to elevate Christ as higher than the angels in Chapter 1, Rabbi now degrades Him into some struggling human being who was hopelessly overwhelmed by the power of that mighty devil. You see, according to Rabbi, the only way Jesus could gain supremacy over Satan was to volunteer to be crucified. This man is delusional. But unfortunately for us, we’ve still got eleven more chapters to slog through in this troublesome little book.

UP NEXT: Applying Hebrews 3: Yahweh’s Rest

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