The "Messiah in the Room"
YHWH’s prophets say the two houses of Israel (Yehudah and Ephraim), separated since the generation after Solomon’s death, will again become one nation. And today, restoration of the ancient ways is occurring on both sides of the “fence”. The tribes who had let themselves become Gentiles are realizing who they really are—and are getting excited about what they are finding. And Jews, who, for understandable reasons have been wary and suspicious of them for centuries, are actually opening their hearts and hands to their long-lost brothers, and finding themselves not persecuted but actually put on a pedestal and honored.
This occurred once before in history, right around the time of the second Temple’s destruction. But then, as now, there was one big “elephant in the room”--one particular man, on which the two just could not agree. Some sidelined him because they thought another hero could prove to be a better Messiah, while others seemed to be making him larger than life.
As Richard Rubinstein notes, before the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E., when the Roman Emperor mandated that the Messiah must be regarded as deity, “Jews and Christians could talk to each other and argue among themselves about crucial issues…They disagreed strongly about many things, but there was still a closeness between them. They participated in the same moral culture…When Jesus [originally known as Yeshua] became God, that closeness faded.” This idea that he was to be worshipped in the same way as YHWH was struck the Jewish contingent as idolatry--the worship of a different deity, one which neither they nor their fathers had previously known (Devarim/Deuteronomy 13:2).
But if this was the biggest setback in what was already starting to come back together again in the days of Peter, John, and Paul, then couldn’t a right understanding of the issues here be the key to resolving the rest of our differences? Many observant Jews are again viewing Yeshua with respect and even admiration, when seen in his original context—theirs!—and are using their knowledge of the culture in which he was nurtured to add layers and texture to the meanings of what he said and did. Christians are showing an unprecedented willingness to root out many pagan accretions and take another look at what the original faith was really like.
No follower of Yeshua sees himself as an idolater, but do our definitions need some fine-tuning if that is how they come across? After all, we have already jettisoned Roman inventions like Sunday worship and holidays that have nothing to do with Scripture; could this be one more pagan addition that needs to go?
Creeds are meant to simplify the large volume of information culled from many, many Scriptures. But if a creed does not cover ALL that Scripture says, or turns out to say MORE than Scripture, aren’t we responsible to reconsider whether it is worded in the best way possible? After all, no one has even a political obligation anymore to call things what the Romans called them, or see things the way they did. They have no authority to prohibit us from restructuring the way we arrange the available data. Fully half of even Yeshua’s Gentile followers disagreed with the way the Nicene Creed finally came out. Might that not mean that it was an oversimplification, and thus, a doctrine of men—the kind of thing that Yeshua himself opposed? (If he said even his fellow Jews were guilty of this, how much more likely is it for Gentiles, who were separated from the source for so long?) Are we sure we are reading even the New Testament the way it was meant to be read? Are we, two millennia removed, sure we understand the details of his message the same way his original hearers did?
They were Jewish, after all. Might there still be extant any vestiges of a better way to do justice to the data known among the Jews from before we started fighting over this issue? Might we be putting Yeshua into the wrong kind of categorization scheme?
We are called to be “stewards of the mysteries of Elohim” (1 Cor. 4:1), and to be faithful to that calling, we cannot be inextricably tied to any party or denomination or serve any other agenda. We must be true to all of the information YHWH has given us.
Let’s examine the pertinent data and determine if “deity” is the only way it can be taken—or if there might be a more coherent way of taking it that does not run up against YHWH’s prior revelation of Himself, which the Jews are right to defend with everything they have. But many of those defenses do bear the clear marks of a desperate effort to wring out of the text what we want it to say, as surely as the offensive interpretations do.
Neither side should sacrifice truth for the sake of unity. We know Yeshua is the reason our lives have been changed at the core, and we could never imagine “throwing him out with the bathwater”. But could there indeed be a "third way"--a description of Yeshua that fits neither of the polarized views but comes from a hermeneutic that we shared before we diverged, and one that is conducive to both houses of Israel choosing one and the same shepherd, as the prophets say we will? (Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24, alluded to in Yochanan/John 10:16)
We cannot leave out any of the data, and neither side will be able to hold completely to its long-cherished traditions once all the cards are on the table. But I think the difference Scripture actually says Yeshua makes turns out to have even better implications for us, and does justice, not violence, to the data. If we can get over this last big hurdle, we may again be able to reduce our polemics to an honest, shared quest for the whole truth.
Why Did this Idea Take Root?
We need to start by asking what made some people deduce that Yeshua was God. No idea emerges from a vacuum. This one, too, had to be based on something actually said or done, though we recognize that it could have been colored by the worldview of those who heard it.
For example, when Jews saw Yeshua’s miracles, they "glorified Elohim, who had given such power to men". (Mat. 9:8) When Gentiles saw the same kind of miracles done by Yeshua’s messengers, they considered the men themselves to be gods! (Acts 14:11-12) So it is no surprise that they thought the same about their leader. Their own myths of demigods like Hercules (undoubtedly rooted in the bizarre but actual events of Genesis 6:4) predisposed them to take what they heard about Yeshua in this direction. Elijah and Elisha did many of the same miracles Yeshua did (even raising the dead), but did anyone in Israel worship them?
So what was it that they were hearing? Things like, “I and the Father are one” (Yochanan 10:30) or “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Yochanan 14:9) When doubting Thomas finally saw and touched the resurrected Yeshua, he exclaimed, “My master and my Elohim!” (Yochanan 20:28) And, of course, Yochanan’s account of Yeshua’s life starts with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was elohim.” (1:1)
Seems clear enough, doesn’t it? Yet if the trinity is such a crucial doctrine, why is it never explicit in Scripture--even the New Testament? More importantly, the New Testament also refers to YHWH as "the Elohim and Father OF our master, Yeshua the Messiah." (Eph. 1:3, etc.) It says "the head of Messiah is Elohim." (1 Cor. 11:3) He is called "The Lamb OF Elohim" (John 1:29, 36) -- i.e., belonging to Elohim. We are told that "YHWH cannot be tempted by evil..." (James 1:13) Yet Yeshua was tempted even to the point of His smaller blood vessels bursting from the agony of the struggle to make the right choice (Mat. 4:1; Luke 22; Hebrews 4:15)—in another garden just east of Jerusalem, where Eden used to be.
How can these statements be reconciled? That was exactly what they were trying to do in the early fourth century, though this time the Jewish followers of Yeshua were excluded from the Church councils, meaning the expertise of those closest to the perspective the apostles had was not even utilized; how could they possibly think they were getting the whole story? Or were they left out because Constantine knew they would not capitulate? He did not do much theology himself. His primary goal was to have unity in his empire. It came down to two prevailing views: whether the best way to describe Yeshua was as either homo-ousias (of the same substance as YHWH) or homoi-ousias (of like or similar substance).
The view Constantine decided on was the one championed by a personal friend of his, not necessarily the one he thought agreed better with Scripture--and yet that is what successive generations were forced to inherit, even though the data they were working from could be interpreted differently—and, up to that point, had been. (As A.F. Segal writes in Two Powers in Heaven, “Most often what is now called heresy is simply an earlier form of a religion which has now been discredited by an important and powerful group of religious leaders.”)
The Eastern churches, closer in culture to the ancient Israelite and still somewhat familiar with Semitic logic, espoused the latter interpretation--that Yeshua was not deity, though affirming the other tenets that ended up in the creeds, because aside from a very few places where the text was provably tampered with, the New Testament should be included in the reliable data. As we will see, it actually does line up with ancient Jewish thought, if not always with modern Judaism; it is faulty interpretations that have done most to aggravate the rifts between these two peoples, both of whom show strong evidence of being personally involved with and blessed by YHWH.
Idiomatic Uses of “Elohim”
Each of our two eyes does not see exactly the same thing. (Try closing one eye at a time and alternating between them). But when both work together we see with depth perception as well. Likewise, YHWH’s two witnesses may be intended to focus on different things, but when we put both pieces together, the puzzles can be solved. Neither’s perspective is dispensable, and in order to cover all of the facts, we have to phrase things in ways that on first glance seem to conflict, but when aligned with each other, a whole picture emerges to which neither, by itself, can do justice. To fully demonstrate both YHWH’s high standard and the fact that He can also be merciful without sacrificing justice, both perspectives might have had to be seen separately for a time, but now it is time for the two to be brought back together.
The Jews have preserved the Hebrew language and many of the practices ordered by the Torah, and thus can bring us a lot closer to the mindset through which Scriptural ideas were meant to be understood. They would point out that “Son of Elohim” is not to be taken in the sense in which the Greco-Roman gods cohabited with women, but is a special title for the royal descendant of David, conferred on him at his accession to the throne. (Psalm 2) Since he did not have a literal throne at the time of the Romans, the earliest believers in Yeshua (carried on through the Netzorim and Ebionites) considered his “anointing with the holy spirit” at his immersion by Yochanan (John) to be the time when this “adoption” took place in his case.
Yeshua was almost executed for "calling Elohim [his] Father, making [him]self equal with Elohim." (Yochanan 5:18) But this is how some interpreted it; did Yeshua ever said he WAS his Father? He worded things very carefully, so we have to listen to what he did say and what he did not. To be one (united) with Elohim (Yochanan 10:30) is not to BE Elohim, just as my wife and I can be seen as one entity, but not in every sense.
And I don’t think we can build a theology on Thomas’ amazed exclamation of “My Elohim!” when he realized that there had been a resurrection, because it was something obviously accomplished by YHWH. (See Romans 10:9) There are also other uses of the word “elohim” which we must not confuse with the most commonly-used one. As Rashi points out, "...even a mortal man of flesh and blood can merit this divine title (elohim) if he seeks to administer God's justice on earth.” YHWH Himself told Moses, "I have made you (an) elohim to Pharaoh." (Exodus 7:1) Local judges in Israel are called elohim in Ex. 22:8; 24:6. So the word is clearly used in a variety of ways. Yeshua pointed out that human judges were called “elohim” in Psalm 82 because of their high position and power that others did not wield (though emphasizing that they were still mortal), so saying he was the “son of Elohim” was even less radical of a claim. (John 10:35-36)
A similar cause for confusion is that both “Adonai” (“My master/s”) and “YHWH” were rendered as “Kurios” in Greek, which then got translated into English as “Lord”, with no way to tell when it should have been “LORD” (as YHWH is usually rendered from Hebrew) except by context, which then often got cast by the wayside, so that “Yeshua is Lord” (i.e., the one in charge over us) was interpreted as “Yeshua is the LORD”, even though the article was not there, tipping us off to the difference that was meant to be understood.
Getting in Context
The book of Yochanan (John) begins with a statement which, if taken outside the parameters of the rest of Scripture, can appear to lead to the idea that Yeshua is a deity. But the antidote is given right within the same chapter. In case “No one can see Me [YHWH] and survive” (Exodus 33:20, etc.) is not clear enough to assume this precludes Yeshua (whom many saw) from being YHWH, right in the same context comes verse 18: "No one has seen Elohim at any time. The only-begotten Son++… has manifested Him (made Him known). " This succinct summary of how the Renewed Covenant portrays this unique man, Yeshua, is there in the same chapter to show us how NOT to interpret that verse! “The Word was elohim” can’t be taken that far!
The Torah, the part of Scripture with the highest authority (Isaiah 8:20) and the key to interpreting the rest, says, "Elohim is not a man." (Numbers 23:19) No one is ever seen in Scripture to pray to Yeshua, but only to the Father in his name—and we see precedents for that: Abraham’s servant, for example, addresses YHWH as “Elohim of my master Abraham”, who had more spiritual “clout” than he did. (Gen. 24:12) Similarly, "To the only wise Elohim be honor through Messiah Yeshua." (Romans 16:27) There are many more such examples.
In Genesis 16, an angel tells Sarah, “I will greatly increase your offspring…” Is that something anyone but YHWH—even an angel—has the right or ability to do? When the prophets speak for YHWH, they do not always preface it with, “Thus says YHWH” either. So when Yeshua says something that YHWH applied only to Himself before (such as “I am the first and the last”), we need to remember that a prophet can speak for his master in such language.
The ancient Hebrew law of shlikhut—sending or agency—specifies that one’s agent may speak for him and act “as him” in any given situation where he represents “the one who sent him”—a phrase Yeshua applied to YHWH on so many occasions. His own synopsis was, “I can do nothing but what I see the Father doing.” (Yochanan 5:19, 30) He could not act independently, as if he had some innate power in himself; he had to be acting along with what YHWH was already doing (what he saw and heard) if anything he set out to do was to be effective.
To understand how significant this is, we Yeshua’s most frequent way of referring to himself was actually not “Ben Elohim”, but Ben Adam, and he bases it on Daniel 7:9-14:
…One like the Son of Adam approached the Ancient of Days and they brought him near… and there was GIVEN to him dominion, honor, and a kingdom, that every people, nation, and language should serve him…an everlasting dominion…
Note the contrast between YHWH and the Messiah, yet their complete cooperation.
He is called “Ben Adam” because he bore a special similarity to Adam (who is also called the son of Elohim in Luke 3:38). I have treated this subject in great detail elsewhere, but will reiterate the pertinent points here.
Adam was made in the image of Elohim. (Gen. 1:26) But after he and his wife ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, the children they begot were only in Adam’s image. (Gen. 5:3) That is a major change! Many aspects of what Adam had been before his disobedience were lost, and they recognized that something important was missing. (Gen. 3:7-11) It was as if he had come “unplugged” from his source, and was running on stored battery power, which would eventually run out. And this change was passed down to all his descendants. (Psalm 51:5)
Yeshua, on the other hand, could “see” what the Father was doing. He had a better connection to YHWH than any of us today has. He was not “unplugged”, as Adam was.
I work with people who are both mentally and physically handicapped. In them the results of Adam’s fall are more obvious than they are for most of us. Some of them have such slow physiological function that, I imagine, if they were to meet an Einstein, or possibly even a superb athlete, and especially if someone combined both of these attributes, they might be genuinely tempted to worship him as a being of a totally different nature than themselves. But if we had seen the unfallen Adam, we might think along the same lines, because corruption and decay eventually catch up with us all. We don’t often realize just how far superior the original humanity was to what we consider “normal” today. Every man seen since Adam is in a sense sub-human—not “man” in the fullest sense. Now multiply that by many times when Thomas sees the resurrected Yeshua come through a closed door! Is it an surprise that he would call him an elohim? Further along we will see why that was possible, but he did not have this explanation yet.
Adam no longer bore the complete image of Elohim, but the original pattern was held in reserve in the heavenly realm, beyond the reach of earthly corruption, until the day when another man could redeem (buy back) all that Adam had lost.
But if all of us were affected by Adam’s disobedience, how could any man ever be in a position to do that? Psalm 49 tells us that the price of a human soul is too high for another man to pay for, so that he can live forever and not see destruction. Yet the psalmist is confident that Elohim will find a way to redeem his soul.
And Elohim did. Yeshua was ultimately not the savior, but was the means YHWH, the only One who can save (Isaiah 45:21), chose to use—and his blood in particular. He was a man, but not “just a man” in the same sense that you and I are. There is something different about him. Those are red-flag concepts indeed, but let us follow the logic step by step.
The serpent would be crushed by the “seed” of the woman in particular. (Gen. 3:15) Eve thought the first son she bore would already be this solution (Gen. 4:1), but YHWH had much more groundwork to lay first. The stage was set through the creation of Israel, then the Torah, which gave us principles by which we could live out the remnants of good in us and limit the evil in the world. But it also formed the perfect environment for another human being “coming forth from a woman… under the Torah” (Galatians 4:4) to grow up and be able to give the fullest human expression to the attributes Adam had lost. The Torah gave him all the ammunition he needed to overcome the temptation Adam had succumbed to. (Mat. 4:4-10) But to start on the same footing, he had to be born of a virgin.
The term used in Isaiah 7:14 does not exclusively mean a virgin (but can mean any young woman of marriageable age up til the point of bearing her first child); in fact, in Isaiah’s immediate context, it was not referring to a virgin. But it can have that secondary meaning, and the Jewish men who translated Isaiah into Greek (the LXX) well before Yeshua came along did choose to render it that way in this particular case. Prof. Hananel Mak of the Talmud Department of the Israeli University of Bar Ilan, cites Rashi’s Rabbi, Rav Moshe HaDarshan--the mentor of one of the best-loved rabbinic scholars—who deduced from Scripture that the “the redeemer whom I will raise up for you will not have a father of flesh and blood.” (Genesis Rabbah)
Why is that so important? Because it is what made him unique. Dr. M.R. DeHaan explains: “Eve's sin does not affect us, although Eve sinned before Adam did. It was the SIN OF ADAM which brought death upon the whole race because it is ADAM'S SEED. Only [Yeshua] is called the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), because he was born [only] of a woman and thus his blood was without the sin of Adam…”
He thus became known as the “Second man” and the “last Adam”. (1 Corinthians 15:45-47) Dr. Custance, a physicist, showed scientifically that the female egg is "immortal" until fertilized by the male, and thus though all women are born affected by that inclination toward evil, they do not carry it per se:
“The mortogenic poison which entered Adam's body and Eve's body had a similar effect on both of them in depriving them of their potential immortality. But [though] the corruption which finally overwhelms the bodies of men and women alike is introduced to the ovum via the male seed”, it does not affect the eggs, which are all in the mother at the time of her birth. When the female ovum is treated suitably… it is capable… of replicating itself indefinitely, even in the absence of fusion with a spermatozoon… The mammalian ovum can … divide and multiply and grow into a whole animal. … If the seed of the woman could be activated without fertilization by the seed of man, … the result would be the emergence of an individual escaping the mortogenic factor which Adam bequeathed via his seed to all subsequent generations…The seed of the woman is the only remnant that has retained the original immortality possessed by our first parents… Even the seed of the woman is fatally poisoned by fusion with the male seed. However, this poison affects only that portion of the woman's seed which will develop into body cells: the remainder of her seed continues to form the immortal stream of germ plasm.” I.e., the eggs she passes down to her daughters are not affected.
Thus the promised seed was conveyed down through the generations until, at the right time, someone could in fact be born of a virgin. We are not told the mechanics of how—or are we? Yeshua’s mother was only told, “The spirit of holiness will come over you, and the power of Elyon will overshadow you. Therefore that special entity that will be born from you will be called the Son of Elohim.” (Luke 1:35) This sounds very much like, “YHWH Elohim…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7)
Such a person would not have to die (as would also have been the case for Adam if he had chosen differently), because he would not carry the physical effects of that forbidden fruit, but he could be capable of choosing to lay down his life. Why would he want to? Because this genetic defect that rendered the whole human race defiled went deeper than the compensation we each owe for individual sins.
YHWH told Israel, “I have given [blood] to you on the altar as a covering for your souls, because it is blood that makes a covering for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11) Only unblemished animals can be brought to YHWH as offerings, but one-time substitutions, especially from another species, did not eradicate the root problem. (Hebrews 9:23-26) A man’s blood was needed, but no man was in a position to offer blood that was really acceptable to YHWH, as his blood was really no better than that of the one whose sins he might try to substitute for. Moshe wanted to do this, for which he is commendable, but YHWH declined the offer. (Ex. 32:32) Not just any man can pay for another.
YHWH does not require one man to die for another person’s offense (Deut. 24:16; compare Ezekiel 18). Yet the debt of Adam remained and was only compounding with each new birth in this race of now-truncated men, and He promised that in one particular case, a man’s soul could be a voluntary offering for others’ crookedness, and that, if he so chose, this one’s soul could be “poured out [thus exposed] unto death” in order to not just pay for sin but actually make many others righteous. (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 53:10-12)
Leviticus 17:14 literally says, "The soul of the flesh is [contained] in the blood." This way someone’s soul could be "poured out" for others--by the shedding of his blood. But only someone with pure blood, untainted by the poison, could be in a position to buy back the deed to all that Adam lost:
“You were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Kefa/Peter 1:18-19).
Thus, while YHWH is the actual Redeemer (Isaiah 44:6), Yeshua was the means by which He bought us back. Yeshua didn’t have to be “God” to be the solution to our problem; he only had to be fully human in the original sense--born without inheriting the effects of Adam’s sin. He is not an ordinary man, but he is a normal man—the first one seen since Adam before he fell. He is what we all should have been. Now, for the first time since Adam, there was a real man on earth again.
Paul’s synopsis is, "There is one Elohim, and one mediator between Elohim and men, the man Yeshua the Messiah." (1 Timothy 2:5, emphasis mine) For the first time since Adam, a man had both feet on solid ground, and could therefore rescue all of us who were unable to get back to the path Adam left. This gives a new depth of meaning to what YHWH said at that first Passover in Egypt:
“When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the blow [of death] shall not strike you to destroy you…” (Ex. 12:13)
Thus the virgin birth, original sin, and blood atonement are not concepts added later by Gentiles like the trinity was; they are really Hebraic ideas to the core, dating from before, not after the time of Yeshua, and, of course, so is the resurrection of the dead, which is reaffirmed in every synagogue each Sabbath.
Per Dr. DeHaan, “Because he was sinless they could not put him to death [legally execute him] but instead he laid down his life voluntarily… Death had no claim on him except the claim of others' sin”; when that was paid and those beneficiaries were reconciled to YHWH (Colossians 1:22), he could come back to life. But even this he did not do on his own; rather, YHWH accomplished it. (Acts 2:24) If even his sinlessness and ability to take up his life again after death do not imply that he must be deity, what other doctrine does? Why is it a necessity if he has done his job properly, sacrificing himself so our sin could be not just covered up but “put away”? (Hebrews 9:26) He is worthy enough of honor for that reason.
But there is something else that makes many think he is Elohim. Micah described the ruler of Israel who would be born in Beyth Lehem as one “whose goings forth have been from antiquity, from days hidden [far in the past].” (5:2; 5:1 in Hebrew texts) Yochanan the Immerser told those to whom he introduced Yeshua that, although he was the older of the two men, Yeshua “came before me”. (Yochanan 1:15) Wouldn’t that mean he had to be “God”?
An Older Judaism
There is another explanation. Sometimes we have to look back to more ancient Jewish interpretations, because later Judaism downplayed some of the data in overreaction to the abuses of its co-opted brother faith. That is understandable, but it also obscures the very thing that could solve the dilemma! Both Christianity (institutionalized Ephraim) and Judaism (institutionalized Judah), as they now stand, have ignored or at least underemphasized some parts of the “whole counsel of Elohim”, so we need correctives in both directions.
Much of the New Testament (better rendered “Renewed Covenant”) is written in genres common to Jewish writings of the day—mystical, apocalyptic, and wisdom literature. It must therefore be interpreted in light of similar writings from Yeshua’s contemporaries that show how certain terms were used at that time.
One very ancient Jewish form of mysticism is known as Kabbalah (literally, “reception”). Is this some kind of “Gnostic” revelation that those who read the Scripture at face value don’t have? No, kabbalah has been co-opted in a surface, cultic way by modern New Agers, and some aspects of it must lead us to conclude that it was corrupted, but there appears to be an older version of which the extant version retains many vestiges and from which the writers of the New Testament drew—or at least agreed with, having had the same Hebraic literary heritage as it did. So it can help us see how these ideas expressed also in the Renewed Covenant were understood by the original hearers, before they were wrested from their original context by those who had not grown up in a Hebraic context and therefore did not know the idiomatic use of these terms.
This concept states that the Creator, when He was the only one in existence, wanted to share Himself with others. So He created a womb-like vacuum within Himself in which for the first time there was something that was not Him, so He could communicate what He is to someone else. The problem was that He is so infinite and so beyond our comprehension that He had to scale Himself down (or, if you wish, power Himself down several levels as with an electric transformer) to a level that would not destroy everything in which He wanted to initiate contact. Starting with a simple beam of light, He injected a sampling of His characteristics into our finite world so He could be known to some degree.
That first “stepdown” is called, in Jewish wisdom literature, the logos (“Word”)—the beginning of creation. Logos can be further defined as “the substantive idea behind all particulars, which gives the universe coherence; a precise thought ready to be expressed; a speaker's self-revelation and what lies behind his words.” Through this consistent, all-encompassing logic everything else was created.
In Dell Griffin’s words, "God and God's Word were inseparable before creation... This is also mystic Hebraism... [From the light], the rest of creation followed... Modern quantum physicists have discovered that all created particles contain photons or light energy in some state." (I.e., everything comes from light.)
Then the creation began to expand so we could see more clearly what He was like. His self-revelation to His creation is depicted in ten aspects (based partly on 1 Chron. 29:11) called sefirot (emanations or spheres): crown (mind/will), wisdom, understanding, lovingkindness, strength (severity), beauty (honor), endurance (victory), splendor, foundation (bonding), and kingship (dignity).**
The resulting representation of Himself is arranged in the form of a body known as the Adam Qadmon—the ancient or primeval human being—essentially a prototype on which the creation of our ancestor Adam was patterned. One kabbalistic book, the Bahir (p. 95) says:
“The form (image) of G d in which He created man is actually G d’s blueprint form for man. This ‘form’ or ‘blueprint’ consisted of G d’s first thought in creation, and hence the highest level of creation.”
Epstein writes, “His body (Adam’s) is a copy of the Adam Qadmon which represents the Sefirot (attributes of G d) in their totality and unity.” (Jewish Mysticism: The Kabbalah)
Since the image of YHWH includes both masculine and feminine aspects (Gen. 1:27; 5:2), some of these characteristics were placed in each of these categories (“father” and “mother”), then a third category described the result of that union, being labeled “the son” or even more strikingly, “The Son of Yah”. These three categories together were described as the “pillars of the godhead”. (This was the basis for that term as used in the New Testament.) Thus there are indeed elements in Judaism in which you can mystically say there are different "persons" within YHWH's nature, but not literally; they are understood according to a different form of logic than Greek or Western.
Misunderstanding this very Jewish concept, Gentiles heard “three” and reinterpreted it based on existing pagan ideas about trinities. But we could just as well say that the ten sefirot means there are ten "persons" in YHWH. Do the "seven spirits of Elohim" (Isaiah 11:2) mean YHWH is a “septinity”? These are just ways to get our minds to understand a little bit of what is infinite. So when we read of Yeshua, “In him the fullness of the godhead dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9), we must understand it in Hebrew, not Gentile, terms!
What does not come through clearly in translations of John 1:1, which many take as a quintessential proof-text for the deity doctrine, is that when it says “the Word was with Elohim”, the definite article is present (literally, “the Elohim”), denoting a proper title of YHWH; but when it says “the Word was elohim”, it does not, and so must denote “something of Elohim’s nature”. (Some render it “divine”.*) It was, in a sense, from within YHWH, yet distinguishable from Him. Dell Griffin adds, “John…refers to Y’shua not as the Word (if you read the Greek carefully), but as the Light or Manifestation of the Word.“
I think that is what he meant when he said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Yochanan 14:9) As the book of Hebrews opens, “He is the exact representation of His essence”. A representation is not the thing it represents, but he gave a faithful depiction of the One Whom he was representing. Yeshua, we could say, is the interface by which YHWH chose to communicate Himself to the world without destroying those with whom He wanted to communicate since we could not stand His unbuffered presence.
It is in this context that we must read things about Yeshua like "Without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3) or, “…things in heaven and things on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or powers or authorities—all things have been created by means of him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)
In the Aramaic targums (translations), whenever Hebrew Scripture says YHWH appeared to someone, it says His Memra appeared, to explain that it was not YHWH Himself, who could never be seen. The initial m (a personifying prefix) combined with the root e-m-r (“to say”) suggests the idea of a “living word” suggesting that somehow the message “came to life” as a messenger in itself. This communicative aspect of YHWH’s nature “was given a life of its own” as the mediator whenever YHWH needed to appear to men, so that they would not be destroyed by exposure to His full force. (Compare “No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6) When we look at the moonlight, we are really seeing the light of the sun, which is too bright to look at directly. (“He who has seen me has seen the Father”—indirectly.) “The Father”--who is too pure and intense--has “entrusted all judgment to the Son… since he is a son of Adam” (and thus able to understand directly how the forces operating in the physical realm affect us and our decisions,--John 5:24, 27; Hebrews 4:15).
Kabbalah says “the word Torah refers to the entire spiritual blueprint of creation”. So then the Adam Qadmon and Torah are described in the same way. The Torah is YHWH’s Word, of course, so Logos is the term Philo used to describe the “stepped-down” Elohim with which finite men could actually interact. Yochanan (John) 1:2 says the Word (which he later says was fleshed out) was with YHWH at the beginning.
Midrash says “Elohim sought advice from the Torah before He created the universe” (Pirkei Rabbi Eliezer). The Torah is the Word. This may explain why Elohim said "Let us make mankind in our image and after our likeness." (Gen. 1:26) Adam was patterned after this limited (yet extensive) combination of those of YHWH’s attributes which could actually be portrayed in physical form.
Proverbs 8:22 says,
“YHWH brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, before the world began.”
The Bahir says, “In Proverbs 8, it is Wisdom who speaks... The Torah is Wisdom and is therefore the ‘head’ of creation... The Torah was the blueprint of creation and therefore preceded it.” The head is normally the part of a body that is born first.
A 19th-century dictionary by W. Wheeler notes, “The first form to emanate from the Infinite One, was the body of Adam Qadmon. He is the first production of divine energy, or Son of G-d.”
So in solid, traditional Jewish understanding, the image of Elohim (Adam Qadmon), Torah, the Word, the Son of Elohim, and Wisdom are all ways of describing the same thing.
One particular angel, called Metatron in Jewish literature, appears to be so high-ranking, and so holy, that he is authorized to go by YHWH's name and to be treated, regarded, received, and bowed to, as if he were YHWH Himself. The demarcation between YHWH and His messenger (whose name is as his Master) is so fine that the two often appear to be one and the same. The Zohar (another major kabbalistic work) says that when YHWH told Moshe and the elders, "Come up to YHWH" and they “saw the Elohim” yet survived (Ex. 24:1, 11), the rabbis say, He meant "Come up to Metatron, whose name is YHWH" (yet who can, unlike YHWH, be seen). So according to rabbinical interpretation, when people meet Metatron, they are meeting with YHWH, He needs a proxy to accommodate our weakened state. Metatron is thus called both “Master” and “Emissary” and even “the smaller YHWH”! The Zohar also identifies Metatron with the “middle column of the godhead” known as “the Son of Yah”, “who has accomplished peace above”. (Vol. 3., p. 227, Amsterdam Edition)
Doesn’t all of this sound suspiciously similar to the New Testament? When Yeshua said, “I and the Father are one”, he was speaking in the same vein as the Tanya (a kabbalistic work), which says, “The Torah and the Holy One, blessed is He, are entirely one.” (p. 525)
YHWH says He Himself will go out as a shepherd looking for His lost sheep. (Ezekiel 34:11) Yet he speaks of a particular man as being “My shepherd” (Zkh. 13:7) who would do the same. Thus Yeshua said his job was “to search for and rescue what was lost”. (Luke 19:10; cf. John 10:11) Thus the Messiah is given titles like “the arm of YHWH” (Yesh. 53:1). His connection to YHWH is unbroken and complete, but the arm cannot act on its own, but carries out the directives of the Head. This is why the juxtaposition is “YHWH and His Messiah [Anointed]” (Psalm 2:2)—they operate together constantly, and so are “one”, though distinct.
1 Corinthians 1:30 says that “Yeshua…is, by Elohim, made wisdom…for us.” (The “by” here is apo in Greek, which means “the separating off of a part from a whole or coming from a greater source”. Thus the Word came forth from the Father in a unique way, before all else, and participated in creation of everything else, yet was still itself created.) “Made” implies the Father's agency and that he had a beginning, though it was before anyone or anything else’s.
So let’s go back to Micah 5. Where it says, “whose goings forth have been from antiquity”, the last phrase, in Hebrew, is “mi-qedem”, which is also used to describe the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 2:8) As is so often the case, when we see it in Hebrew, we can begin to connect the dots. Qedem is related to the Adam Qadmon (the most ancient man—or the original pattern of humanity). This is why Yeshua could call himself both “the root and offspring of David”. (Rev. 22:16)
His statement, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58) is also explained in Jewish mysticism, which says that the very first point of light that revealed anything about YHWH (i.e., His "Word" or “Expression”, as we saw above) was entitled "I am". The Zohar says, “The ‘spirit of God which hovered over the face of the waters’ is the spirit of the Messiah.” (Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 240a) So Yeshua is later described as
“the image of the invisible Elohim, the firstborn of everything that was created.” (Col. 1:15)
The Book of Hanoch (Enoch), very widely-read by first-century Jews, explains in more detail: “This Ben Adam…Before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were formed, his name was invoked in the presence of YHWH of Hosts. A support shall he be and he shall be the light of the nations. He shall be the hope of all whose hearts are troubled. All who dwell on earth shall fall down and prostrate themselves before him…The Elect and Concealed One existed in His (YHWH’s) presence before the world was created.” (1 Hanokh 48:2-5) “The Elect One stands before YHWH of Hosts, and his importance is eternal, and his power from generation to generation. With him dwells the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of instruction and of power, and the spirit of those who sleep in righteousness; he shall judge secret things.” (48:12-13) [Thus] says Elohim YHWH of Hosts: …you shall behold My Elect One, sitting upon the throne of My authority, and he shall judge…in the Name of YHWH.” (54:5)
Thus a very ancient form of “Judaism” (if we can call it that so early) held that this “one like a Son of Adam”, YHWH’s chosen one, is distinct from YHWH but in full accord with Him and more ancient than humanity. Although Yeshua has thus not existed as long as YHWH has, he, as the Word later embodied in his particular personality (Yoch. 1:14), did come “before all [other] things.” (Col. 1:17) So even before “humbling himself to be a servant” and submitting to a death he did not owe, he had already “stepped down” several notches. He could remember a time when he had possessed a special position with YHWH before the world began. (Yoch. 17:5) Yet when he said this he was praying—which, if he was YHWH, he would not need to do!
Thus, while Adam was made in Elohim’s image; Yeshua IS that image! Is he, then, actually not a second “copy” of Adam, but the Adam Qadmon itself? This may be another reason we are not to make an image for ourselves, because one legitimate image has already been made the only way YHWH ever wants one made. But no image is to be worshipped—although a medieval Rosh haShanah prayer+ speaks of prayers to YHWH being accepted “through Yeshua the Prince of the Face [or Presence].” (Is this the “messenger of His presence” mentioned in Isaiah 63:9?) Z’kharyah 6:11-12 suggests that “the Branch” would have the same name as Y’hoshua the High Priest (written as the Aramaic form, Yeshua, in Ezra 3:2, etc.).
This brings us full circle to the Talmud’s statement, based on Psalm 72:17, that the Messiah’s name was created before the creation of the world. (Nedarim 39b; Pesachim 54a) It even seems that he was that “Memra”—living word—that relayed YHWH’s messages to the prophets so that we have juxtapositions like “They shall look to Me whom they have pierced, and mourn for him as for an only son.” (Zkh. 12:10, emphasis mine)
So when we look back far enough, Jews and believers in Yeshua have much more in common than one would expect. These are only a sampling of many Jewish references to the Messiah's existence before the creation of everything else, as a mediator embodying all of YHWH's nature (revealing exactly what He is like, being the exact representation of His likeness, and in total union with Him as His appointed and authorized agent).
I have to wonder if access to Kabbalah was restricted to only the most mature in Judaism because there are elements in it that sound so much like the New Testament that they were not considered fit for general consumption. But why would Judaism give up such a large part of its heritage, if it were not for the fact that Yeshua came to be worshipped (just like the bronze snake), and the way he was wrongly portrayed as anti-Semitic and anti-Torah? (Where those ideas came from is for another day, but suffice it to say they were how non-Jewish readers, not knowing their original context, interpreted these Jewish writings.) Thank YHWH, that day is ending, so it is time for both Houses of Israel to leave behind our reactionary doctrines and come all the way back to the heritage that we both share.
Raised to the Highest Place
Another reason Yeshua could not be YHWH Himself is that after succeeding where Adam had failed, he was raised even higher than he had been before. Interestingly, it was accomplished by “not considering equality with Elohim a thing to grasp for” (Philippians 2:6)—the very test Adam did not pass! (Compare Isa. 53:10-12.) If he were Elohim and unable to sin, how could he be truly tested? It would be no great feat for a deity to pass a test, but for a man, it was a great accomplishment--a very difficult choice, which is why he was rewarded; why would YHWH deserve a reward if He could do everything?
In Psalm 45:7, YHWH (Who is called the Elohim of another also, one verse earlier, referred to as “elohim”) is said to have anointed him with the oil of joy above his fellows. YHWH has no peers, but as a man, Yeshua did, and could still be promoted to a higher level than other men because he earned it. Yet this honor is "bestowed on him”. That requires there to be Someone else higher than he. The Son is given an inheritance when he is so exalted and crowned (Psalm 2).
Yet now, when someone bows before Yeshua as king, YHWH takes it as glorifying Himself, because He is the One who installed him as king. (Psalm 2:6; Philippians 2:9-11) Remember that “worship” used to be a term that applied to earthly kings in an earlier version of English, so in this sense, to “worship Yeshua” is not idolatry. But to equate him exactly with the Father in the much narrower way we use “worship” today would be.
He was "raised to the Father's right hand" (Acts 5:30) This implies being the subject of the Father's action, not something he already had an innate right to. The "right hand of Elohim" is a place of delegated authority, though it is the highest place to which anyone but the Father can be given. Paul clarifies that when it is said that “all things are put under [Yeshua’s] feet” (Psalm 8:6), the One who puts them under his feet (YHWH) is an obvious exception to that! And his supremacy over everyone else is only until that is fully accomplished. Then, as the stretched-out creation reaches its limit and contracts again, he will again be subordinated, so that YHWH will be the only focus. (1 Cor. 15:24-28; cf. Zech. 14:9)
He is called “the man who is my associate” or “partner” (Zkh. 13:7), for he accomplished the human part of the task exactly as YHWH envisioned it. Every aspect of the Father's nature was present in him, expressed perfectly insofar as it was needed, yet as the Word He was not the Father, but the expression and manifestation of the Father. A bucket full of water taken from the ocean has exactly the same components as the ocean, yet it is not an ocean!
So is Yeshua elohim or isn’t he? So much of this may seem like semantics. But maybe it seems ambiguous because it was not the issue YHWH wanted us to focus on. The point is that Yeshua retained the connection to YHWH that Adam cut off, and thus was able to bring what he saw in the heavenly realms to bear on the earthly scene, and also carry the spiritual significance of his physical actions back up into the heavenly realms to accomplish something truly permanent, because he never came “unplugged” from his Source as the first Adam did.
The Restored Image of Elohim
Though he did not begin a new religion, as many teach, Yeshua did nonetheless bring something truly new—and because he got past the point Adam did, he can indeed bring about an outcome for the world that Adam never got to see the first time around. What he did made it possible for other human beings to get off the trajectory Adam launched, and onto a completely different path.
How the seed of the woman came to fruition is hard to wrap our minds around, but rest assured, it was not by YHWH committing adultery with someone else’s wife! That is the way of the Roman gods. The explanation in Scripture tells us also how additional members of this “restored species” can also be “procreated”—so that the Servant “cut off” without an heir can nonetheless “see his seed and be satisfied.” (Isaiah 53:10)
After his resurrection, Yeshua “breathed on” his followers and said, “Receive the spirit of holiness.” (John/Yochanan 20:22) He had become a “life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45), able to share his soul with the first Adam’s spiritually-dead descendants, animating them in a new way—a firstfruit of the promise through Ezekiel (11:19-20) that YHWH would put a new spirit within us, enabling us to walk in all His ways.
He also intends to be “the firstborn among MANY brothers.” (Heb. 12:23) Though he was unique as the only fully-human being since Adam, he did not intend to remain the only one of his kind, but the first among many who would later be resurrected like him (Hebrews 12:23; Rom. 8:29) and made it possible for them to have the same relationship to Elohim that he has. (John 20:17) “We all… behold the magnificence of YHWH as in a mirror, and we are being changed into that likeness from one degree of glory to another, as by the Spirit of YHWH.” (2 Cor. 3:18) The likeness we reflect now has more to do with characteristics, attributes, or traits that emulate His than a physical appearance. “That which is born of spirit is spirit.” (Yochanan 3:6) James said that when we look into the Torah, it is that mirror that shows us who we really are, because it is the description of what the image of YHWH looks like when fleshed out, as Yeshua did.
So all this is said not to disprove a doctrine or prove another, but to open a window on just what is available to us. We now have the option at each crossroads to “put off the old man, with its ways of doing things, and put on the new [man], which is renewed by knowledge, according to the image of his Creator.” (Colossians 3:9, 10) What we lost through Adam is again available to us!
One of the names by which Messiah is called is “Father of continuity”. (Isaiah 9:6) Because the Second Adam again bore the complete image of YHWH (Colossians 1:15), true humanity can continue rather than being forever lost while YHWH goes on calling, “Adam, where are you?” Instead, a human being is now again the heir to the earth, and he has won back the rule of earth for humankind (to be implemented when all is ready). In the Kingdom, Messiah—and other humans with him, even children--will be the masters over the animal realm just as Adam was supposed to. (Isaiah 11:6)
In this day when parts of truth that were suppressed so that we could maintain a rivalry are coming back to light, we are finding that things that were thought to be Christian inventions are actually very Jewish after all. As the roots of many celebrations now associated with the Church are shown to actually have no relation to Yeshua but the New Testament actually turns out to show the Hebrew festivals as the very framework of his life, it is becoming clear that originally, our outlooks were not so radically different as they seem today.
Daniel Boyarin+++ defines the name Metatron as coming from the Greek words meta-thronos—the ̣ “One Beside the Throne,” or the “The One on the Throne Beside.” As Lieberman points out, in 3 Enoch itself, YHWH says, “I made him a throne next to my throne”. Boyarin shows that this concept of a “second power in heaven” was very widespread across nearly the entire gamut of ancient Judaism, especially based on Daniel 7:9 in which “One Like the Son of Man” is given a throne by the Ancient of Days (YHWH the Father). They were only careful to emphasize (to the point of eventually suppressing the concept altogether within normative rabbinic Judaism) that the two powers were not equal, but that the lesser/”younger” was entirely subject to the Elder and took the throne only at His behest and on His behalf—the very things Yeshua emphasized. “J. Fr. von Meyer, … writing in 1823, ‘thinks that the Jewish conception of Metaṭron forms an exact counterpart of the Christian conception of the Son of God, [and] hence points to Rev. 3:21 as a parallel.’” (Odeberg on 3 Enoch)
Arius, suppressed by Constantine for the opposite reason and ousted at the Council of Nicea, held that “God the Father is a Deity and is divine, whereas the Son of God is not a Deity but divine”, being begotten at a point before the rest of Creation (but instrumental in the creation of all else) and therefore, “the Son has a beginning but … God is without beginning.” (“I, YHWH, am Deity alone.” Isaiah 46:9) This is much closer to what the Bible asserts than the opinion of the “winners who rewrote history”; John 1:1 makes the very same distinction.
In the age to come, Jewish tradition even says this one will be called by YHWH’s name. (Is there any surprise there was confusion among Gentiles without the firm foundation?) In the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 38b, we read: “A certain min (dissident) said to Rav Idi: ‘It is written, “And to Moses he said, come up unto the YHWH [Exod 24:1].” It should have said, “Come up to me”!’ He [Rav Idi] said to him: ‘This was Metaṭron, whose name is like the name ̣ of his master, as it is written, ‘for My name is in him’ [Exod 23:21].’”
Sometimes the middle column of that Adam Qadmon is even called “Elohim” and “YHWH”, but this should be taken in the sense that Jeremiah says, “He shall be called ‘YHWH is our righteousness’.” (23:6) How do we know? Because he says the same thing about Jerusalem (25:29; 33:16)—and do we worship the city? Jeremiah also refers to the Temple (32:34) as “called by My Name”.
But YHWH also refers to His people (the dwelling-place He is really after) as “called by My Name” (2 Chron. 7:14), because that is the intended result of Yeshua’s being called by His Name. Yeshua’s goal is to multiply himself. After his resurrection, he announced, “I am going to My Father and your Father, to My Elohim and your Elohim.” (John 20:17) He was a forerunner (another meaning of the Greek term Metatron, which is used for the “voice of Elohim” and “embodiment of the Sh’kinah”, the word of Elohim.) The “Adam Qadmon” way of viewing Yeshua fits beautifully with Paul's teachings about us being Messiah's "body" (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:23; 5:30) with him as its “Head” (the part born first and the leader and trailblazer for the rest—Hebrews 12:1-2). We are assigned and empowered to finish the work that he started. (Col. 1:24) Yeshua said he was the light of the world, but then said the very same thing about those who follow him. (Mat. 5:14; John 8:12).
“Ben Elohim” is a title conferred upon Yeshua because he had pleased the Father. (Mat. 3:17) But it is also a title that will be conferred on others who overcome in a similar way. (Mat. 5:9; Rev. 21:7)
Yeshua maximized what one body could hold, because his capacity was not diminished by sinfulness as ours was. But we, too, can be “partakers of the divine nature”. (2 Peter 1:4) In other words, when the job is complete, we are meant to become just what he is! If he was actually YHWH, there is no way we could aspire to that. But as the restored prototype of a restored humanity, we most certainly can: “When he appears we will be like him, because we will see him as he is”! (1 Yochanan 3:2) Clearly we will not be YHWH; when we put it in those terms, the audacity of the doctrine of his being deity shows up for what it is. Still, He can live in us and through us as He did through Yeshua as the Holy Spirit enables us to live out YHWH's characteristics. (Galatians 5:22-23) The Word is meant to be fleshed out in us as well. The Torah tells us how.
So the conclusion of our investigation brings challenges to those on both sides of the question. It is not what either Jews or Christians expected, but this is good news--too good to NOT be true!
And, though the Northern Kingdom probably needed it more, all of this was offered “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16). We who did run with it, though long estranged from the Torah, also have something to add, though we are really only offering back to the Jews things that were once theirs as well. Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz says, “Judaism’s fear of blending into Christianity has stolen the Messiah from the Jews.” When understood properly, Yeshua is the glory of Judah, David’s most-favored son (Zekh. 12:10), the “light to the Gentiles” par excellence.
Both sides went to extremes to avoid being confused with the other, but such a polarized approach is no longer necessary, and it is becoming more and more apparent that it is not realistic. If both head toward the center we can not only find the more balanced truth, but also truly meet and embrace one another—a moment Paul described as no less than “life from the dead”! (Romans 11:15)
And none too soon, for a “strong delusion” is not far from being unleashed. The Christ as defined by Christianity rather than by Hebraically-understood Scripture is a perfect setup for the Counterfeit Messiah who will “oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he ‘as God’ sits in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.” (2 Thess. 2:4; compare Daniel 7:24-25) Yeshua would not do that, but told the one who was tempting him to take more than he had been given, “It is written, ‘You must worship YHWH your Elohim , and serve Him alone.’” (Mat. 4:10) Never has this distinction been more crucial for the very survival of the truth, as the blurred version, which places increasingly less value on “It is written” leaves ample room for one who claims to be the Messiah and does miracles to “deceive many” (Mark 13:6, 22; 2 Thess. 2:11) by demanding to be worshipped as if he were YHWH Himself.
None of us has the complete picture as we will when the king himself comes back and explains what is still unclear. Yeshua’s unique nature, probably called into being mainly because of our need for a solution to the gordian knot of sin, remains a “mystery” to which the only proper response at some point, in Michael Card’s words, is to “give up on your pondering and fall down on your knees”.
But do you see now why Yeshua cannot be sidelined—why he is not dispensable in restored Israel?
*Like Philo, the Alexandrian Jew who wrote a generation earlier, John distinguishes between "ho Theos" (the Elohim) Who has no beginning and Who "no man has ever seen" (1.18) and "Theos" (Elohim) whom "the Elohim " brought forth “in beginning” and who later became visible human flesh. [cf Fug. 97; Sacr. AC.9; Som. 1:229-30; Leg. All., II, 86] Dr. Phillip B. Harner of Heidelberg College put it this way: "The verb preceding an anarthrous predicate, would probably mean that the LOGOS was 'a god' or a divine being of some kind, belonging to the general category of THEOS but as a distinct being from HO THEOS ["THE Elohim"]. In the form John actually uses, the word "THEOS" is placed at the beginning for emphasis." Angels are often called "sons of Elohim", and demons are even called "the gods". The Logos could in that sense be called "a created Elohim". This may be exemplified most clearly in Psalm 45: "Of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O Elohim, is forever...You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness [being without Torah]. Therefore Elohim--YOUR ELOHIM--has anointed you ["made you Messiah"] with the oil of joy more than your fellows." This shows that although Yeshua is an " elohim " or "judge" to his fellows (us humans), he himself has an Elohim or judge to which he must answer, and who gives him the position that he holds--like Joseph under Pharaoh, who was still authorized to act as Pharaoh in nearly every way.
+Machzor Rosh Hashanah v’Yom Kippurim k’Minhag Sefarad (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company), prayer translated by Rachmiel Frydland.
++ "Only [begotten] son" [yakhid] is also a term that was used of Isaac, although Abraham did indeed have other sons. And the book of Hebrews (as well as I John and other books) specifically speaks of Elohim through Yeshua "bringing many sons unto glory" and of us as foreordained to become sons of Elohim as well. But the firstborn received a double portion of the inheritance of any other sons, though they were loved equally. Yeshua is "unique" and "special" as the term "only-begotten" also implies, and this verse in Psalm 45 highlights this way in which Yeshua is exalted beyond what any of us will ever be--yet, through Him, we will also "be like Him" at the resurrection, of which He was the firstfruits (incidentally, the same Hebrew term as "firstborn").
** One of these attributes, "wisdom", is itself personified in the book of Proverbs in much the same way that the Holy Spirit (presented in the Hebrew Scriptures as YHWH's power in an individual to accomplish a certain task) is also personified as in Acts 5:3, 9, 32; Rev. 2:7, etc. If we call the Holy Spirit “the third person of the Trinity”, then (because the Father is the first) kabbalistically it must be the “Mother”, but then how did Miryam conceive through “the Mother” rather than “the Father”?
+++Boyarin, Beyond Judaisms: Metaṭron and the Divine ̣Polymorphy of Ancient Judaism