POSTED 02 NOVEMBER, 2017
“And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled. Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’”
When the Patriarch Jacob amasses a great amount of wealth, becoming a threat to his father-in-law Laban, he is directed by the Lord to leave Paddan-aram, and return to Canaan (Genesis 31:1-21). The record includes the statement, “Then the LORD said to Jacob [v’yomer YHWH el-Ya’akov], ‘Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you’” (Genesis 31:3). As Jacob and his two wives look on his flock, as they prepare to return (Genesis 31:4), he reviews the tense situation which has arisen with Laban (Genesis 31:5-6), Laban’s unethical business practices (Genesis 31:7), and their agreement on which of the flock would be Jacob’s, based on their appearance (Genesis 31:8). Jacob indicates how “Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me” (Genesis 31:9).
Jacob recounts how when the flock was mating, he received a dream, apparently to assure him of the future, as he is a descendant of Abraham and carrier of the Abrahamic promise. Jacob received a dream, in which a supernatural figure appears, stating, v’yomer eilai malakh haElohim b’chalom, Ya’akov, “And God’s messenger said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob!’” (Genesis 31:11a, Alter), to which Jacob responded with “Here I am” (Genesis 31:11b). This supernatural figure is labeled in the text as malakh haElohim, a “messenger/angel of God.” Further on, this being is witnessed speaking the first person, recognizing what has become of Jacob: “for I have noted all that Laban has been doing to you” (Genesis 31:12b, NJPS).Genesis_31_10-13_SAL-LINE
In the past, the big issue which has faced the Messianic movement has understandably been the Messiahship of Yeshua of Nazareth, widely connected to the purposes of Jewish evangelism. For the present, the big issue which is staring right at the broad Messianic movement—to which no congregation, fellowship, family, or individual is entirely immune—is how to approach the nature of Yeshua (Jesus). Is Yeshua the Messiah God, or is He a created being? While many affirm Yeshua of Nazareth to be the eternal, uncreated Son of God who is indeed God—there are many others who express various levels of doubt about this, and then others who think that Yeshua is a created being and not God. There are those who will affirm that Yeshua is a supernatural being to be sure—perhaps even the first created being in the cosmic order, pre-existent of our known universe—but nevertheless created and not God.
This publication, Salvation on the Line: The Nature of Yeshua and His Divinity, affirms a high Christology. Not only does it affirm a high Christology of Yeshua being God, it very much defends the view that while understanding all of the intricacies of Yeshua being God is not required for salvation, recognizing Yeshua as the Lord (YHWH/YHVH) of the Tanach Scriptures (Old Testament) most certainly is required for salvation (Romans 10:9, 13; cf. Joel 2:32).
This resource has consulted and engaged with a wide array of resources and perspectives across the Messianic movement, into the more independent sectors of the Hebrew/Hebraic Roots movement, the views expressed by various Christians labeling themselves “Biblical Unitarians,” and even those few theologians of note who hold to a low Christology. This involves an array of articles, books, commentaries, and even a few Bible versions. Most important, would be some of the excellent, thorough, and readable resources defending a high Christology, seen within the realm of broadly evangelical Christian theology.
The considerable bulk of Salvation on the Line, while defending a high Christology, is necessarily spent going to the text of the Holy Scriptures (Genesis-Revelation). This is not only because the Holy Scriptures are to be decisively regarded by God’s people to be the Word of Life, but also because this is the venue where the rise and fall of theological concepts are to be found. None of us wants to be found holding to a view of Yeshua being God simply because of some kind of fundamentalist dogma—where if we hold to a different view our name will somehow end up on a list or in a white paper as being stigmatized as some kind of “cultists.” We want to be found holding to a view of Yeshua being God, precisely because that is where the witness of Scripture directs us, it is the genuine testimony of the Messiah and His early followers, and because it is required for our redemption from sins as fallen human beings. The author firmly believes that such a principled case can be made in going to the text of Scripture, and that those who hold to a low Christology are decisively lacking in many areas.