YAHSHUA: DID HE PRE-EXIST? (Pt. 2)
Did the Messiah pre-exist in some form before he was conceived of Mary, the [Hebrew] woman? Many people believe he did, while many believe he did not. Most if not all of these people seem to rely on the same source of information - the Bible, so why isn't there complete agreement, since all read from the same source? There are several reasons for non-conformity, some of which are as follows:
1. Background. A person whose church teaches the pre-existence is not likely to question whether this is true or false. Instead, it is accepted as fact. This is true of most religious views. Generally, it is only those doctrines which seem to be "new" which are examined to determine if they are true or false.
2. Bias. A preference for or against a doctrine can sometimes prevent a correct analysis of Scripture. This can be caused by a person's background, or by some other consideration.
3. Failure. Failure, for whatever reason, to understand the message of Scripture.
4. Translation. There is the possibility, in some cases, that the religious views of the translators have influenced their translation.
There are a number of Scriptures which seem to promote the pre-existence of the Messiah. Surely the most powerful of these is Hebrews 1:2.
In many and various ways [Yahweh] spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (RSV)
This indicates the heavenly Father is supreme. Also:
1. As most English versions read, he authorized the Son, Yahshua, to do the actual work in creating the heavens and the earth and all things in them.
2. Many believe that Yahshua, in a pre-existent state, was Yahweh's spokesman; a Son who spoke for him, and did Yahweh's work for him, such as, creating the world.
If either of these statements are indeed true - if Yahshua spoke the world into existence - then certainly the Messiah existed before the world existed. Let us now examine Hebrews 1:1-2.
What is a spokesman? "One who speaks in the name and behalf of another or others." (Readers Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1975)
Reviewing Hebrews 1:1 we see [that] Yahshua was not Yahweh's spokesman. Instead, the prophets were his spokesmen. Yahweh "spoke to our fathers by the prophets." Therefore, even if Yahshua pre-existed, he was not the spokesman who contacted "our fathers." It was, evidently, only in "these last days" that Yahweh "spoke to us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:1; 1 Peter 1:20).
Yahshua the Heir
...but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed HEIR OF ALL THINGS... (Hebrews 1:2)
What does this say? Yahweh appointed his Son (Yahshua) to be his heir - to inherit "all things." Please keep in mind: A son does not inherit property which he, himself, has worked for. No. He owns that already. Instead, he inherits (becomes an heir of) his father's property. This indicates Yahshua did not, after all, create the world, since he is the heir to his Father's property. Does this agree with other Scriptures? Indeed, yes. Please note the following evidence.
Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into a far country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. AFTERWARD he SENT HIS SON to them, saying, They will respect my son. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, This is the HEIR; come, let us kill him and have his INHERITANCE. And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the OWNER of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? (Matthew 21:33-40; Mark 12:1-7; Luke 20:9-16)
The following points are clear:
1. The Father (Yahweh) was the householder.
2. The Father (Yahweh) planted the vineyard.
3. The Father (Yahweh) set the hedge, built the tower, and dug the wine press.
4. The Father (Yahweh) made the contract with the tenants; that is, Israel (Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:8-19)
5. The Father (Yahweh) sent his servants (the prophets).
6. The Father (Yahweh) sent his Son (Yahshua).
7. The Son (Yahshua) was the heir of his Father's property (the vineyard with all its improvements).
8. The Son (Yahshua) was cast out and killed.
Obviously, Yahshua is both the Son and the Heir; not the owner, nor the householder. True, this is a parable, but in order to teach truth, a parable must agree with prevailing conditions. Other Scriptures - Scriptures which are not parables - agree with Hebrews 1:2 that Yahshua is the heir of Father Yahweh's property.
For all who are led by the spirit of [Yahweh] are sons of [Yahweh]... and if children, then heirs, heirs of Yahweh and fellow HEIRS WITH the Messiah... (Romans 8:14,17)
We inherit the promises made to Abraham: the kingdom (the world, the vineyard), and everlasting life, because Yahshua is the chief heir. By baptism into his name we, and the ancients, become "fellow heirs" with the Messiah (Galatians 3:16-19; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 11:7-10; Acts 20:32; 7:5-6; Romans 4:13; Ephesians 1:3-23; 1 Peter 1:3-4; Revelation 21:5-7).
Remember the mother of James and John? She asked the Savior to grant that her two sons will sit, one on Yahshua's right and one on his left in the kingdom of Yahweh. Yahshua's reply: This is not for me to grant, but my Father only. Why? Because Yahweh (the heavenly Father), being the Creator, is owner of all, while Yahshua (his Son) is the heir. [rf. Matthew 20:20-23]
I will tell of the decrees of Yahweh: He said to me, 'You are my son, today I (Yahweh) have begotten you. Ask of me and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.' (Psalm 2:7-9; Hebrews 5:5)
Again, this shows Yahweh as both Father and Creator, and Yahshua as both the Son and the Heir. Ephesians 1:3-23 also shows Yahweh to be the Creator, the Father, and the owner of the inheritance. One day Yahshua will receive this inheritance, and make us (the saints, [Judahite] and Gentile) joint heirs with himself. Again, the following quotation reveals Yahweh as the provider and owner of the inheritance. Yahshua extends to us a share as joint heirs.
For every house is builded by someone; but he that built all things is Yahweh. (Hebrews 3:4, Bethel Edition)
These Scriptures are more than enough to confirm Yahweh as Creator, and Yahshua - his Son - will one day inherit his Father's property - his Father's creation.
By Whom He Made the Worlds
Hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, BY WHOM also he made the worlds... (Hebrews 1:2 KJV, the RSV reads "through whom he created the world.")
This very clearly states the world was created by the Son of Yahweh. This Son is Yahshua, of course. However, Scriptural evidence noted above indicates Yahweh did the creating, not Yahshua. Are we to believe the Apostles and the Gospel writers wrote two ways, sometimes reporting that Yahweh is Creator, and at other times reporting that his Son is Creator? Indeed no.
More than 100 Scriptures state clearly that Yahweh is Creator and Maker of heaven and earth (Exodus 20:11). Some of these indicate no other deity exists (Isaiah 44:6). No other deity helped him in his creating acts (Nehemiah 9:6). Except for the angels, he was alone in the creation (Isaiah 45:5-18). These are stated clearly - as clearly as Hebrews 1:2 states that Yahshua "made the world."
What shall we do? Do we cancel (erase, throw out) more than 100 Scriptures so that we can accept Hebrews 1:2 instead? Since this Scripture does not in most English versions agree with the 100, we should carefully examine Hebrews 1:2 and, hopefully, discover why it does not agree.
He would over-hear someone discussing a topic one meeting, and then the next meeting he'd be there to hand that someone a study paper he had written - on that same topic. It was his kind way of sharing with you what he believed.
Voy Wilks has fallen asleep in death now, but in the last 17 years I have acquired many of his study papers, most of which cannot be found online. So, I'm setting out to slowly but surely post many of his studies online; studies that have helped me.
Many of these studies concern the person of Christ, or answer the question "Who is Yeshua?" Since this has been a topic of utmost interest and concern for me in my journey, Voy's papers have helped tremendously. They bring a complex subject down to the level of simplicity, without being un-intellectual. I like that.
No, I don't agree with Voy on everything, but I've yet to meet two people who agree on everything. I hope you enjoy reading "The Wilks Papers."
Based upon the text in John 2:19 I have been told many times that Yeshua raised himself from the dead. I take issue with such an interpretation of John 2:19 in light of the overwhelming evidence in the New Testament which teaches that "God" (YHWH) raised Yeshua from the dead.
1. The Greek text does not literally say “I will” but simply uses the Greek word egiro, meaning basically “to raise up." The text could just as easily be translated, "Destroy this temple, and in three days it will be raised."
2. Another understanding (taking the traditional KJV rendering) is that Yeshua had a vital part in his resurrection, seeing he lived perfectly before the Father. Yeshua could guarantee his resurrection by living a sinless life. Thus he says, “I will raise it up." (Compare this to where Peter told Jews “Ye have crucified him” in Acts 5:30. The Romans were actually the ones who crucified Yeshua, but the Jews were the ones who called for or demanded his crucifixion.)
3. Yeshua died. (Mt. 27:50; Lk. 23:46). He could not literally raise himself. In Scripture, death means death; unconsciousness (Ecclesiastes 9:2-6; Psalm 6:4-5; 30:9; 88:10; Isaiah 38:18).
Have you ever wondered how you could really be obedient to the instruction of Yeshua the Messiah in Matthew 5:48? In case your wondering, Yeshua says here, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." This seems like a task that is impossible, especially if you truly realize the awesome holiness of the Creator. When the prophet Isaiah was in the presence of Yahweh he said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips... (Isaiah 6:5)" Isaiah recognized that compared to Yahweh he was ruined, he was a creature in need of divine help from his Creator.
So how can we be perfect as our Father in heaven? Well, if you believe Yeshua's statement means that we are supposed to be exactly like our Father in heaven (completely holy, sinless, immortal, all knowing, etc.) then it truly is an impossible task for a human such as you and I. However, when we understand Yeshua's statement in the context He said it, the meaning of the instruction becomes quite clear. It is always important to read Bible verses in context, else we will make the mistake of interpreting them to have a meaning which was foreign to the original author and the original audience.
Yeshua, previous to Matthew 5:48, spoke of the need for us to not only love our neighbor but to also love our enemy. He said to pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44). This is not what we see going on in many Christian communities today. People who profess Christ are constantly trying to "get back at" others and gossip about those who are enemies of them. Even something as simple as someone else blowing the horn at us often causes us to "fly off the handle" and we want to do the exact same thing to them or even worse. In cases like this we are to instead act kindly to those who wrong us. Yeshua here echoes His Father Yahweh. Notice these Scriptures from the book of Exodus.
Exodus 23:4-5 "If you come across your enemy's stray ox or donkey, you must return it to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, and you want to refrain from helping it, you must help with it."
Here, Yahweh teaches us to do good to our enemies. It's not as though Yahweh is only speaking about this specific situation that may arise in the Israelite community. It's not like an Israelite could see his enemies "cow" and think, "Oh! But it's not his donkey so I don't have to help him!" Yahweh is teaching Israel a principle. The principle is that they are to be kind and seek to help those who would not desire to help them; those who may be downright hateful towards them. This law applies still applies to us today.
In this vein Yeshua tells us (Matthew 5:45) that in loving our enemy we are being like our Father in heaven for even Yahweh makes His sun to rise on those that not only do good, but also upon those that do evil. Yahweh's rain pours out on the righteous and the unrighteous. He is explaining that Yahweh shows common grace to all people in the world, giving them sunlight for their health, warmth, etc. as well as rain; both are necessities of life. If we want to be children of our Father in heaven, then we need to do our best to imitate what He does here.
This is what Yeshua means when He says to be perfect even as Yahweh is perfect. The word perfect often carries the meaning of "complete." Being perfect or complete here means not just loving the ones who love us, but loving the ones who do not love us. If we love only those who love us we are imperfect or incomplete. If we love those who we consider to be our enemy we are exhibiting a complete love.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.