Is Jesus the God of Israel? A Response to TenakTalk

This week, I made an appearance on the Jewish anti-missionary YouTube channel, TenakTalk. The hosts were William Hall and Greg McBride, who are both ex-Christians but who nonetheless recognize the God of Israel. Though this was my first time meeting William Hall, I have known Greg McBride for several months and I consider him a friend. Both McBride and Hall are extremely amicable and are pleasant to interact with. Despite our very strong disagreements, I consider Hall and McBride to be sincere, and I am thankful for them inviting me on their program to share some of my expertise, and for their graciously allowing me to promote my organization,, an organization dedicated to privately mentoring doubting Christians and former believers and educating them about the evidence for the faith. 

Since 2014, TenakTalk has played a significant role in promoting the work of Rabbi Tovia Singer, arguably the leading anti-missionary Jewish apologist, whose work I have often criticized. Unfortunately, though Rabbi Singer often seeks out debates with popularists and non-specialists, he has shown much more reluctance to debate scholars who specialize in the area of Messianic prophecy. He has standing invitations to debate the likes of Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Michael Rydelnik, both of whom have written and published extensively on the subject of Messianic prophecy and answering Jewish objections to Jesus, and would thus be obvious candidates to debate Rabbi Singer. I myself have published various critiques of Rabbi Singer’s arguments (see the various articles archived here), and on the argument from Messianic prophecy (and countering Jewish objections to it) more broadly. I have read and thoroughly dissected Rabbi Singer’s two-volume set, Let’s Get Biblical, and am a regular follower of his channel. One might think that this would make me an obvious candidate to debate Rabbi Singer. Last year, I was contacted by Greg McBride to set up a debate with Singer in Indianapolis. Rabbi Singer agreed to participate and the debate was set up. A couple of weeks prior to the scheduled debate, the event had to be postponed due to a problem with the air conditioning at the venue. I was then advised that the debate would be rescheduled following the imminent birth of Singer’s grandson. Subsequently, I was informed that Singer had withdrawn, and that he no longer wishes to participate in a debate with me. The justification provided was that I “lack credentials.” But this is an odd defense for several reasons. First, a formal degree only provides indirect evidence that one knows what one is talking about. But indirect evidence must give way to more direct evidence, i.e. one’s actual published work and public presentations. I think my numerous essays on Biblical scholarship, published on this site and elsewhere, together with my public lectures, adequately demonstrate my competence in handling the relevant scholarship more directly than my possession of a relevant degree. As my colleague Dr. Timothy McGrew has often said, show me you know what you are talking about, and I do not care whether you have a degree; show me that you don’t know what you are talking about, and I do not care whether you have a degree. Second, Singer has expressed interest in debating non-academic popularizers or other scholars who have not done the in-depth study of this subject that I have. Indeed, the reason why my debate with Singer was scheduled in the first place was because another scholar, whom Singer’s team had challenged to participate in a debate, recommended me as more of a specialist in this area. Third, Singer recently debated Rob Solberg on the Messianic identity of Jesus, despite Solberg’s lack of a doctorate degree. Fourth, it is not even true that I have no academic credentials. Indeed, I have taken a dozen graduate-level courses directly related to the field of Biblical studies (including New Testament use of the Old Testament). Rabbi Singer needs to be publicly called out for his persistent avoidance of engaging the strongest critics of his argumentation.

Returning to my interview this week on TenakTalk, the format of the program was that I was to deliver a five to seven minute presentation responding to a question posed by Greg McBride. The question was given to me in advance of the show. Following my five to seven minute address, I was instructed to sign off to provide Hall and McBride an opportunity for an unrebutted response, for the remainder of the program (lasting approximately an hour after I completed my response). It being their show, Hall and McBride are of course free to arrange the format however they see fit. However, I must say that the format is rather peculiar. Can you imagine the response if, for instance, Dr. Michael Brown were to invite Rabbi Tovia Singer or Rabbi Michael Skobac on his show to give a five to seven minute presentation followed by them signing off and Dr. Brown taking an hour to give an unrebutted response in their absence? Despite the unbalanced format, I reasoned that the publicity for and my personal website, where people can follow up and dig in further to the evidence for Christianity and responses I have published to Singer, was worth my participation.

I now turn my attention to the substance of their response to my remarks. My first complaint is the video title, which is rather misleading. The video is titled, “Dr. Jonathan McLatchie Tries to Demonstrate that Jesus IS GOD to the Skeptic 2 Guys Exploring Christianity.” That was not what I was asked to do at all. I was asked to show where the New Testament teaches the deity of Christ. Since my belief in the authority of the New Testament is not a common ground between me and the TenakTalk presenters, I would most definitely not appeal to those texts with a view towards persuading them of Christ’s deity. Their title might have been more appropriate if they had asked me to present on Old Testament Christology, which would have been much more pertinent and interesting. Indeed, much of the response to my initial remarks had to do with objections to Christ’s deity from the Hebrew Bible rather than criticism of my argument that the New Testament teaches Christ’s deity. Such concerns of course warrant a response, but if that was what they preferred to discuss then they should have asked me to present on Old Testament Christology rather than New Testament Christology. In what follows, I address the arguments offered in response to my remarks by McBride and Hall.

On the Septuagint

McBride’s first comment is to note that “the Septuagint is only of the five books of Moses.” It is certainly true that the Pentateuch was the first text of the Hebrew Bible to be translated from Hebrew into Greek, taking place in the third century B.C. (there are even early manuscripts of the Greek Pentateuch that are datable to the second century B.C.). Jewish tradition maintains that the Greek Pharaoh of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, sent seventy-two translators to Alexandria from Jerusalem, and commissioned them to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek for inclusion in his library. This account may be found in Josephus (Antiquities book 12, chapter 2) and Philo of Alexandria (On the Life of Moses book 2, 26–44). The oldest source to contain this account is the Letter of Aristeas to his brother Philocrates, dating to the third or early second century B.C. (Letter of Aristeas 10). The account is also found in Tractate Megillah of the Babylonian Talmud:

There was an incident involving King Ptolemy of Egypt, who assembled seventy-two Elders from the Sages of Israel, and put them into seventy-two separate rooms, and did not reveal to them for what purpose he assembled them, so that they would not coordinate their responses. He entered and approached each and every one, and said to each of them: Write for me a translation of the Torah of Moses your teacher. The Holy One, Blessed be He, placed wisdom in the heart of each and every one, and they all agreed to one common understanding. Not only did they all translate the text correctly, they all introduced the same changes into the translated text.” (Tractate Megillah 9a).


However, there is also evidence of other books being translated from Hebrew into Greek over the ensuing two to three centuries. In particular, the gospels and the early church fathers quote frequently from a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which often contained variances from the Hebrew text. Their extensive use of these Greek translations implies that their readership would be familiar with the text being quoted from. Furthermore, the Greek preface to Sirach, probably dating to the second century B.C., states, 

You are invited, therefore, to read it with goodwill and attention and to be indulgent in cases where we may seem to have rendered some phrases imperfectly, despite our diligent labor in translating. For what was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same effect when translated into another language. Not only this book, but even the Law itself, the Prophets, and the rest of the books differ not a little when read in the original. [emphasis added]


This implies that, prior to this time, the other Scripture, not merely the Law but also “the prophets, and the rest of the books” were translated from Hebrew into Greek.

The term “Septuagint” came to be used in the second century A.D., as an umbrella term for the Christian collections of the Hebrew Scriptures translated into Greek. There is a sense, then, in which is an over-simplification to talk about the “Septuagint” as being a single volume that the apostle Paul, or indeed other New Testament authors, would have consulted. It seems to me fairly certain though that there were Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, beyond the Pentateuch, that were in circulation prior to the first century A.D., and various ancient authors who quote the Old Testament more closely align with what we now call the Septuagint than with the Hebrew text. None of this, however, affects any of my arguments that I presented, from the New Testament, in support of the deity of Christ.

A Lack of Clear, Definite Teaching That Jesus is God?

McBride says, “I was looking for that real definite clear teaching that Jesus is God. A couple of times you said ‘it points towards’… I didn’t hear what I really wanted to.” As a scholar, I prefer to nuance my language to state my case slightly weaker than I believe it in fact is. It is better, in my view, to understate the case and overprovide rather than overstate and underprovide. When I state that one proposition “points towards” another, I simply mean that it has a tendency to confirm the second proposition — that is, it raises the probability of the latter being true. My confidence that the New Testament teaches the deity of Christ — and indeed my confidence in my interpretation of the texts discussed in the interview on TenakTalk — is about as certain as I can be in my reading of any Biblical text.

Why Speak of Only Three?

McBride asks why we assert that there are only three divine persons, given that the Bible asserts the divine status of the Word, the arm of the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord, the angel of the Lord, and Wisdom — “why aren’t there like six or seven members of this godhead?” The Spirit of the Lord is obviously accounted for by the Holy Spirit, one of the three members of the Trinity. I take the Word of the Lord and the Angel of the Lord to be one and the same person. This is the way that the Aramaic Targums saw it. For a fascinating discussion of the influence of the Aramaic Targums on John’s theology of the divine Logos, I refer readers to John Ronning’s excellent book, The Jewish Targums and John’s Logos Theology. [1] Moreover, Philo of Alexandria, in On Flight and Finding 5, identifies the angel of the LORD who found Hagar (Genesis 21:17) as the none other than the divine Word (θεῖος λόγος). The New Testament indicates that the Angel of the Lord is the Messiah. For example, in Jude 5, we read, “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” This recalls Judges 2:1, in which the angel of the Lord declares, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their alters.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done?” It may be objected here that Jude 5 contains a textual variant whereby a minority of manuscripts read κύριος instead of Ἰησοῦς. Both readings have an argument going for them. The majority of manuscripts say Ἰησοῦς, but the author nowhere else uses the name Ἰησοῦς alone but rather Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. It is possible that the Greek copyist accidentally mistook the common abbreviation ΚΣ (κύριος) for ΙΣ (Ἰησοῦς). I am, however, inclined to agree with Bruce Metzger that the most probable original text of Jude 5 is Ἰησοῦς [2]:

Critical principles seem to require the adoption of Ἰησοῦς, which admittedly is the best attested reading among Greek and versional witnesses (see above). Struck by the strange and unparalleled mention of Jesus in a statement about the redemption out of Egypt (yet compare Paul’s reference to Χριστός in 1 Cor 10:4), copyists would have substituted (ὁ) κύριος or ὁ θεός.

Nonetheless, even if we go with κύριος as being the original reading, the previous verse (v. 4) indicates that Jesus Christ is ἡμῶν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον (“our only Savior and Lord”). There is also support for identifying the Messiah with the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament. For instance, Malachi 3:1 identifies the Messiah as “the angel of the covenant,” which again recalls the words of the angel of the Lord recorded in Judges 2:1: “I will never break my covenant with you.” This, then, connects the Messiah with the angel of the Lord. The most common objection to identifying the angel of the Lord as a divine figure is that the text may be understood to be employing the language of agency (such that the angel of the Lord can speak as though he is God, even though he is not). However, a significant challenge to this view is that, on multiple occasions, after the angel of the Lord has been encountered, the witnesses recognize the implications of having seen God face-to-face, which according to Exodus 33:20 is death (c.f. Genesis 32:30; Judges 6:22-23; 13:21-23). This reaction is surprising if these individuals encountered only a subordinate messenger who was not God himself. Moreover, this view fails to account for the parallelism in Jacob’s blessing of the sons of Joseph in Genesis 48:15-16: “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys.” This is a case of Hebrew parallelism, a common device in Hebrew poetry where the same meaning carried by the first line is expressed in different words by the subsequent line. This suggests that “the angel” and “God” are to be taken as the same individual. This is further supported by the fact that, though not reflected in modern English translations, the verb יְבָרֵךְ֮ (‘to bless’) is in the singular, thus suggesting that God and the angel spoken of in this text are to be understood as identical. A similar parallelism exists in Zechariah 12:8, which says, “On that day…the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them,” (Zechariah 12:8). Finally, the angel of the Lord is the recipient of religious worship, which is only appropriately addressed to God (Exod 3:4; Josh 5:15; Judg 13:15-25).

As for the personification of Wisdom in Proverbs 8, the New Testament also asserts Christ to be the very embodiment of Wisdom itself. Indeed, the Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:24, identifies Christ as “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” One might even argue that Jesus self-identifies as the Wisdom of God. In Matthew 23:34, Jesus says, “Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town.” Compare this with Luke 11:49: “Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’” Notice that the Wisdom of God in Luke 11:49 says what Jesus says in Matthew 23:34, again suggesting that Jesus is the Wisdom of God. I will not digress with a discussion of whether Proverbs 8:22-24 implies that Christ is a created being. For a discussion of that, I refer readers to my essay addressing this subject here.

Finally, regarding the arm of the Lord, I take this to be simply an idiomatic expression denoting the power of God.

In summary, then, the individuals identified in Scripture as “the word of the Lord,” “the Spirit of the Lord”, “the angel of the Lord” and Wisdom all collapse into three individuals. It is also worth noting that Isaiah 63 lists three divine persons, namely God who is described as a Father in relation to his people Israel (v. 8), “the angel [or messenger] of his presence” (v. 9) and “his Holy Spirit” (v. 10). Verse 10 indicates that “they [Israel] rebelled and grieve his Holy Spirit,” in the wilderness, which is precisely what is said of the Lord God in Psalm 78:40. This implies the deity and personal identity of the Holy Spirit.

McBride objects that “in Matthew’s narrative the angel of the Lord rolls away the stone so in Christian parlance that would [mean that] Jesus rolled away his own stone.” However, the divine messenger of the Lord is always spoken of using a definite article (in Hebrew, the prefix ה is used to mark nouns as definite). There is no definite article in Matthew 28:2.

McBride also objects that, according to Exodus 23:20, the angel of the Lord is said to be unable to forgive sins. But this is false. The text says, “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.” This does not state that the angel of the Lord cannot forgive sins. Rather, it states that he will not forgive sins, which implies he has authority to impart and withhold forgiveness of sins. Indeed, elsewhere we see the angel of the Lord forgiving sins, for the angel of the Lord says to Joshua the high priest (who represents the nation of Israel), “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments,” (Zechariah 3:4).

In the Beginning Was the Word

McBride addresses my usage of John 1:1 by noting that the text merely says that God created through His Word, but nowhere indicates that this Word is Jesus. But this is absurd. John 1:9-18 reads as follows:

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

In view of this context, it seems very difficult to escape the conclusion that the personal Word who became flesh — and has been with God from all eternity — is, according to John, Jesus Christ.

God is Not a Man

McBride notes that there are a few texts in the Hebrew Bible that assert that God is not a man. His references given, which he stated from memory, are slightly incorrect, but the texts he has in mind are Numbers 23:19, Job 9:32, 1 Samuel 15:29, and Hosea 11:9. Let us consider these in turn.

Numbers 23:19: “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

The purpose of this text is to stress the perfect character of God relative to corrupt mankind. It does not address the question of whether God can become a man. Moreover, on Christian theology, God had not yet become incarnate in the person of Jesus. Numbers 23:19 thus provides no serious objection to the deity of Christ.

Job 9:32: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together.”

For context, notice what Job goes on to say in the next verse: “There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both,” (v. 33). The point being made is that, since God is not a man like Job, Job needs someone to serve as his representative in court, who could mediate between him and God. For Christians, this need ultimately finds its realization in Jesus the Messiah, the perfect God-Man, who “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them,” (Hebrews 7:25). As Hebrews 4:15 says, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

1 Samuel 15:28-29:And Samuel said to him [Saul], ‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”

Again, this is talking about the impassibility of God (that is, God is not subject to experiencing emotional changes or being influenced by external factors). It does not preclude the possibility of God joining to himself a human nature.

Hosea 11:9: “I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.”

As before, this text merely describes the impassibility of God. As Elizabeth Achtemeier writes, “As love, God is sovereign. Israel’s sinfulness cannot overcome or change this. Israel will not and does not repent, but Israel’s attitude and action cannot finally dictate what God will be. He will be what he is, namely sovereign love, that will determine Israel’s destiny beyond the effects of its evil, beyond the results of Assyria’s imperial conquests, beyond all human will and working. God’s holiness, God’s divinity, God’s sovereignty, God’s love rules the history of the world, and nothing in all creation can overcome that divine rule.” [3] As in the previous instances, there is nothing here to preclude God from becoming incarnate in the form of a man.

One may also note that there are in fact several examples in the Hebrew Scriptures of God taking upon himself the form of a man. For example, one of the three men who visited Abraham by the oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:2) is clearly divine based upon the context. Genesis 18:1 explicitly indicates that “the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre,” and Genesis 19:1 states that “the two angels [or, messengers] came to Sodom in the evening,” which implies that the remaining visitor is to be identified with the God with whom Abraham intercedes over the fate of Sodom (Genesis 18:22-33). In Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob wrestles with a man, who is clearly God himself (Genesis 32:30) and who is identified in Hosea 12:4 with the angel of the Lord.

Furthermore, several features of Daniel 7:13-14 clearly indicate that the figure who is described as “one like a son of man” is divine. The first is that it is said of the Son of Man in verse 14 that “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Compare this description with that given of the God of Daniel by King Darius after Daniel is delivered from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:26): “…for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.” But there are yet further clues. It is striking that the Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:14 uses the Greek word λατρεύω when describing the service that is to be rendered to the “Son of Man”. The word λατρεύω denotes the very highest form of worship and religious service, a kind that is to be ascribed only to Yahweh. In the original Aramaic, the term used is פלח (palach), which, when used elsewhere in the book of Daniel, is always used when speaking of service or worship to a deity (Daniel 3:12,14,17-18,28; 6:17,21). This again suggests that the “Son of Man” refers to more than a mere human being. The Son of Man is also portrayed as riding the clouds (Daniel 7:13). Compare this with the following texts concerning the God of Israel:

  • Isaiah 19:1: “Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.” 
  • Deuteronomy 33:26: “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.” 
  • Psalm 68:33: “To him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.” 
  • Psalm 104:3: “He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;” 

In view of these considerations, it is apparent that the Son of Man is to be taken as a divine figure. There is also a connection between the “Son of Man” title and Adam, which implies the humanity of the Son of Man figure. In Daniel 7:14, the one like a son of man is given dominion over “peoples, nations and languages.” The kingdoms of men are portrayed as beasts, which parallels the description in Psalm 8:7 as “beasts of the field” having been put under the “dominion” (v. 6) of Adam (cf. Gen 1:28). In other words, the first son of man, Adam, has dominion over the animals; the second son of man, the Messiah, has dominion over the kingdoms of the earth, which are prophetically and allegorically portrayed as wild animals. Just as Adam received dominion on behalf of the entire human race (and required his offspring to fulfil it), the one like a son of man in Daniel 7:13-14 receives dominion on behalf of His offspring – that is, the saints of the Most High who will “possess the kingdom” (v. 22).

A typical contemporary Jewish interpretation of this text in Daniel is that the Son of Man is actually a personification of the nation of Israel. [4] Jewish scholars draw support for this interpretation from the interpretation of Daniel’s entire vision given in verses 15-22 of the same chapter, and in particular verses 18, 22 and 27. Thus, it is argued, the Son of Man in verses 13-14 actually refers to the “saints of the Most High”, not to the Messiah. The parallel between the Son of Man and the saints of the Most High, however, is not at all surprising if you consider that the Son of Man is an individual who is representative of the nation of Israel, which is seen in other Messianic texts (e.g. Isaiah 49:3 — see my essay here for a discussion). It is commonly observed by Jewish interpreters that the four beasts spoken of in Daniel 7 represent four kingdoms. This is used as support for the notion that the Son of Man likewise is a nation. However, verse 17 tells us that “These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth.” The Septuagint Greek translation does use the word βασιλεία (meaning kingdom) here. However, the original Aramaic uses the word מֶלֶךְ (meaning king). Each of the kingdoms, then, is represented by a king. This sort of corporate representation is also seen in Daniel 2:38, where Nebuchadnezzar is identified as the golden head of the statue in his vision. He thereby represents the entire kingdom of Babylon.

There is also further support for the doctrine of divine incarnation in the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7, in which we read, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” I will not digress into a detailed discussion of Jewish responses to a Messianic interpretation of this text, and to the claim that the titles ascribed to the child confirm his divine status. For a detailed discussion, I refer readers to my previous essay here. For our purposes here, I will simply note that the title “Mighty God” is used of the Lord God in the very next chapter (Isaiah 10:21; c.f. Deuteronomy 10:17; Jeremiah 32:18). The phrase “Wonderful Counsellor” also closely parallels Isaiah 28:29: “This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.”

No Other Deity But the Lord

McBride and Hall bring up a few texts in Isaiah that teach that there is no other deity besides the Lord God. These texts are listed below:

  • Isaiah 42:8: “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”
  • Isaiah 43:10: “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.”
  • Isaiah 44:6: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.'”
  • Isaiah 45:4: “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God…

This, however, presents no problem for the Christian, since we are monotheists just as the Jews are. Nothing in Christian theology teaches that there is more than one god. Moreover, it is important to let our theology be informed by the entire counsel of Scripture. Since Jews and Christians both believe divine revelation to be consistent, our doctrine should take into account the Bible taken as a whole. Consider, for example, this text found in Zechariah 2:6-11:

6 Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the LORD. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the LORD. 7 Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: 9 “Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.

Notice verses 9 and 11, which both state, “Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me.” But the speaker in these verses is the Lord God Himself. The fact that the Lord God has been sent by the Lord God implies that there is more than one divine person associated with God. 

Another example can be found in Genesis 19:24, in which we read that “the Lord [in context, he had assumed the form of a man] rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” This suggests that there are two distinct individual persons who bear the title of Yahweh — there is a Yahweh on earth and a Yahweh in heaven. This is consistent with the messenger of Yahweh Himself being in very essence Yahweh and yet in another sense distinct from Yahweh. The Aramaic Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan (Section IV), an interpretive translation from the Hebrew into Aramaic, puts it as follows: And the Word of the LORD Himself had made to descend upon the people of Sodom and Gomorrah showers of favor, that they might work repentance from their wicked works. But when they saw showers of favor, they said, ‘So, our wicked works are not manifest before Him.’ He [i.e. the Word] turned (then), and caused to descend upon them bitumen and fire from before the LORD of the heavens.” [5]

Didn’t God Show the People of Israel No Form?

McBride cites Deuteronomy 4:12: “Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice.” This is true, but nonetheless, as discussed previously, God does often assume a human form in the Hebrew Scriptures. Upon encountering such theophanies, it is not uncommon for the individual involved to ponder about the fact that their life has been spared despite seeing God face-to-face (Genesis 32:30; Judges 6:22-23; 13:21-23; Isaiah 6:5). Given that this point is repeatedly stressed, it appears to be a deliberate paradox in the Hebrew Bible that is intended to catch our attention. The New Testament resolves this tension. As John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

No-one Helped God Create?

McBride claims that the teaching of John 1:1 is in conflict with the message of the Hebrew Scriptures that no-one helped God to create the world. But this again is to miss the fact that we Christians are monotheists — we believe there is only one God, but that He is comprised of three eternal divine persons. Furthermore, the text of Genesis itself implies a plurality of divine persons involved in creation. For example, in Genesis 1:26, God famously uses the plural inclusive pronoun: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The referent of the pronoun in this verse does not seem to be angelic creatures, since we read in Genesis 5:1 that “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.” And McBride has already conceded that there are no co-creators alongside God. Another popular interpretation is that the language is a majestic plural. But this too has significant problems. The majestic plural is a feature of nouns and adjectives, and certain participles, but never pronouns. As the Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics states [6],

The pluralis majestatis appears most frequently in nouns…, but may also be used with some nominalized adjectives…[and] some participles. There are no undisputed examples of a pronoun or a verb displaying the pluralis majestatis… ‘Let us make man in our image (Gen 1:26), has occasionally been explained as a pluralis majestatis, but comparative Semitic and contextual factors favor other explanations.

As Michael R. Burgos Jr. explains, “The so-called ‘royal we’ is simply not a feature of the Hebrew Bible, and is instead an invention of the 4th century AD.” [7]

Doesn’t Psalm 147:19-20 Preclude God from Revealing Scriptures to the Gentiles?

Another argument presented by McBride is that Psalm 147:19-20 precludes God from revealing Scriptures to the gentiles. Here is the text from Psalm 147:19-20: “He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules.” But notice that the verb (עָ֤שָׂה) is in the perfect tense. The fact that God has not dealt similarly with other nations does not preclude him from doing so in the future. And, in fact, there is abundant evidence that God’s ultimate plan was to make one people out of Jews and Gentiles. For example, in Isaiah 19:24-25, we read, “In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” Everywhere else in Isaiah that the expression “my people” is used, it is employed in reference to the people of Israel (c.f. Isaiah 10:24; 29:23; 43:6, 7; 45:11; 60:21; 64:8; Pss. 100:3; 110:3; 138:8; Jer. 11:4; Hos 1:10; 2:23). This text implies that ultimately God’s plan was to bring gentile nations into the fold as “his people” along with the Jews. Isaiah 49:6 likewise says of the Messiah, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Hall also references Amos 3:7: “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” But of course as Christians we would argue that God has revealed the Messianic age through the prophets, and that Jesus fulfils the Messianic criteria set out by the prophets.

If Jesus is the Fulfilment of Isaiah 40:3-5, Why Haven’t All Peoples Recognized Him?

In my remarks on the broadcast, I had made reference to Isaiah 40:3-5 in connection with the allusion to this text found in John 1:14,23. Hall asks why it is, supposing Jesus to be the Messiah, that all people have not recognized him. This could be understood in one of two ways. Either “all flesh” is being used in a hyperbolic sense to refer to not merely the Jews but also the gentile nations. Or, it could be taken to refer to the Millennial reign of Christ, when all peoples will serve him. Given how much of the Messianic mission has already been fulfilled in Christ (supplying strong evidence for his Messianic identity), the fact that a second coming of the Messiah is at least a plausible interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures renders the fact that there is more to the Messianic mission that is yet to be realized constitutes relatively weak evidence against his Messianic identity. 

Given Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (that may be historically confirmed), the Christian has a justified expectation that the Messiah will indeed return to finish what he has begun. This was the interpretation of Jesus and the apostles (c.f. Mark 13:26-27; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 4:13-18). I would contend that there are also hints to this effect in the Hebrew Bible. There are texts in the Hebrew Bible that prophecy of a suffering Messiah who suffers and dies (c.f. Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Daniel 9:26). On the other hand, there are prophecies that indicate this same “pierced” Messiah will be beheld by his enemies (Zechariah 12:10). The reference to being “pierced” dovetails with Isaiah 53:5, where the servant is said to be “pierced” for our transgressions. Though the Hebrew verb is different (חלל vs דקר), the connotation is the same. Zechariah 12:10 is undoubtedly speaking of the same event as that described in Zechariah 14, when the Lord God himself will descend from heaven to the aid of his people against their enemies. This is apparent from the context, since the verses leading up to 12:10 indicate that “On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them. And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem,” (Zechariah 12:8-9, c.f. Zechariah 14:1-9). Zechariah 14:4 indicates that the Lord’s feet will physically stand on the mount of olives. Verse 9 suggests that the physically descending Lord is none other than the Messianic king of whom we read in Zechariah 9:9-12. If this is so, then the implication is that the one pierced in 12:10 is likewise the Messiah.

God’s Name is One

McBride cites Zechariah 14:9 in which we read, speaking of God’s future deliverance of the people when he establishes global dominion, “the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” Apparently the point we are supposed to glean from this text is that God could never bear the name “Jesus.” This text is somewhat difficult to interpret, but it probably has to do with there ultimately being only one global religion during the final Messianic age. As John Goldengay comments, “On that day… there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. The emphasis on the Lord as one and only is most familiar from Deuteronomy 6:4. The names of the idols will have to be removed (Zech. 13:2), and the peoples of the earth will acknowledge the Lord alone as God.” [8] Moreover, the Hebrew Bible itself ascribes various names and titles to God, including “YHWH,” “I AM”, “Adonai,” “El,” “Elohim,” etc. Thus, I find this argument to be quite weak.

Where Does Jesus Say He is God?

McBride challenged me to show where Jesus himself asserts his own divine status. There are numerous texts that could be adduced here. For the sake of brevity, I will provide a single text and provide commentary. In John 10:22-30, we read,

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

John 10:30 does indeed teach the deity of Christ, but not for the reason that many Christians think. By saying “I and the Father are one”, my personal view (which not all scholars hold) is that Jesus is not talking directly about his ontological unity with the Father. Rather, the context suggests that He is talking about a unity of purpose and will — namely, in bringing about salvation. But could anyone who was not God have said the sorts of things Jesus said in the lead up to verse 30? Let’s take a look at Jesus’ statements in turn.

In verses 26-27, Jesus says, “…but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” This statement of Jesus parallels Psalm 95:6-8:

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness…”

Jesus thus appears to apply this text from Psalm 95 to Himself, thus making Himself out to be Yahweh. Jesus goes on to say, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” This echoes Deuteronomy 32:39: “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” Again, in Isaiah 43:13, God says, “Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?” In John 10:29, Jesus further tells us that no one can snatch out the Father’s hand. He thus presents Himself as being the unique collaborator with the Father in bringing about salvation.

In light of these allusions, it is not difficult to see why the Jews reacted in the way they did in verse 31: “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.” In verse 32, Jesus asks them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” Their response to Jesus’ question is given in verse 33: “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

This would be an ideal opportunity for Jesus, were He not God, to deny the allegation. But what does He say? The answer is given in verses 34-39:

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

It is not uncommon for unitarians to use this text in an attempt to show that Jesus is here in fact denying His deity by showing that, in Psalm 82 (to which he alludes in verses 34-35), rulers are given the title of “god”. In order to understand what Jesus is saying, we need to read the whole Psalm to acquire some context:

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement: 2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

It is certainly true that the title of “God”, as here, can be used in some contexts to refer to earthly rulers. But the point of this Psalm is that the corrupt and evil rulers, whom the one true God has called “gods” are to be destroyed by the one true God as a result of their wickedness (verse 6). Does this sound like Jesus was placing Himself among them, as being like them, as being one of them, a “god” in the same sense that these wicked beings are called “gods”? Of course not. Rather, Jesus’ point is that, since even wicked and corrupt rulers whom God judges and destroys are called “gods”, on what grounds do the Jewish leaders object to him calling himself the Son of God when He does everything the Father does?

Furthermore, notice in verse 35 of John 10 that Jesus says that these “gods” are those to whom the Word of God came. In verse 36, he tells us that he, the Son, was sent into the world by the Father. John, the author of the gospel, has already told us in John 1 that Jesus is the Word, who has come to save those who will believe. Jesus is saying that he is the Word of God who has been sent into the world to judge the world’s wicked rulers and authorities. Thus, Jesus is saying that they are like the “gods” of Psalm 82 who are judged by the Word of God, namely Jesus Himself. This gains further support from by John 5:22 and 9:39-41, in which we are told that it is the Son who judges everyone. In John 9:39, Jesus says, “For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” In John 5:22, he says, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son.” Thus, John 10:30, when properly interpreted through the lens of its surrounding context, is a powerful affirmation to the deity of Christ. This is only one among many in the gospel of John and the other gospels.

Does Jesus Deny His Deity?

McBride brings up a couple of texts in the gospels that he thinks argue against the deity of Christ. I have quoted them below.

  • Mark 10:18: And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
  • John 14:28: “…the Father is greater than I.

On Mark 10:18, this can be interpreted in one of two ways. Either Jesus is denying his goodness and thereby his deity, or he is inviting the rich young man to consider more carefully who he is dealing with. An important hermeneutical principle is that obscure or unclear texts should be interpreted in light of the clear, not the other way round. Given that Mark has a very high Christology, this would suggest that the latter reading ought to be preferred. To take just one example from Mark’s gospel, in 2:27-28, when Jesus is accused by the pharisees of doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath, Jesus replied, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” How could anyone who is not God declare himself to be “Lord even of the Sabbath”? The most popular counter-interpretation of this verse is that the Son of Man is being used here in a general sense for humanity, and that the statement that “the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” is a restatement of what Jesus said in verse 27: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” However, this interpretation seems quite unlikely to me, particularly given the parallel account in Matthew in which Jesus asserts two verses prior to his statement that the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath, “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here,” (Matthew 12:6).

Regarding John 14:28, if one reads the entire verse, rather than just half of it, we read that Jesus said, “You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” Why should the disciples be rejoicing that Jesus is returning to the Father? The reason given is that the Father is greater than He. Why should that be a cause for rejoicing? The answer is given in verses 12-14:

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

The reason, then, that Jesus’ returning to the Father should cause the disciples to rejoice is that the Son is going to reclaim the glory and divine privileges which had rightfully been his along with the Father from eternity past — i.e. that which he voluntarily laid aside at the time of the incarnation (e.g. see Philippians 2:5-11). In fact, Jesus is going to be answering the prayer requests of believers all over the world.

For Jesus to hear the prayer requests of believers all over the world, he must possess the attributes of omnipresence and omniscience. To perform the prayer requests of believers all over the world, Jesus must also be omnipotent. These are exclusive attributes of deity.

Just a couple of chapters after our John 14:28 text, Jesus requests of the Father in John 17:5, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” Is that something that any mere creature could say? Indeed, God Himself declares in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” Thus, the Lord God makes it very clear that He shares His glory with nobody. And yet Jesus, in John 17:5, claims that he has shared the glory along with the Father from eternity past. The conclusion is inescapable that Jesus shares and participates in the glory of the Lord God — and thus he is one in essence with the Father.

Consider, moreover, what John 14:29 says, the verse immediately following the unitarian proof-text: “And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” Compare this to Isaiah 41:21-23:

Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified.

God also says in Isaiah 48:3-5:

The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.

This is very similar to the language Jesus uses in John 14:29. God asserts in Isaiah that only He alone can tell us things before they come to pass. And yet Jesus in John 14:29 claims this prerogative as His own. Jesus also made a similar statement in John 13:19: “I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am.” The language “you may believe that I am” alludes back to the Greek Septuagint translation of Isaiah 43:10 (“you may believe that I am”), which is the voice of the Lord God. Jesus in John 13:19 takes those words of God and makes them His own.

In summary, then, John 14:28, when read in its proper context, in fact teaches the deity of Christ, thus affirming the very opposite of its claimed meaning by those who would deny Jesus’ divine status.

McBride also refers to texts in the gospels where Jesus speaks of having been sent by the Father (e.g. Mark 9:37; John 4:34; John 5:30). McBride asks, how could the Father send himself? But this is to misunderstand the Trinity. We do not believe that the Father, Son and Spirit are all manifestations of the same person (i.e. the heresy of modalism). Rather, the Father, Son and Spirit are three distinct persons. Moreover, there is language that describes the God of Israel being sent by the God of Israel even in the Hebrew Bible. I already referenced Zechariah 2:6-11 previously. For another example, consider Isaiah 48:1-16: 

11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. 12 “Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last. 13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together. 14 Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The LORD loves him; he shall perform his purpose on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans. 15 I, even I, have spoken and called him; I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way. 16 Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.

I think all readers will agree that this whole section records the words of Yahweh. But in verse 16b, this is followed by something very odd: “And now the LORD God has sent me, and his Spirit.” Again, we see that Yahweh has been sent by Yahweh, along with the Spirit of Yahweh.”

My interpretation here is by no means new. Consider the wisdom of several early Christian theologians who saw this text as an allusion to God’s Triune nature, including Origen of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, and Jerome. In reading commentaries of this text, however, I have encountered three alternative interpretations. One is that it is Cyrus of Persia interjecting. However, this seems to be a stretch. Not only would that break up the flow of the text (and verse 17 returns to Yahweh speaking), but such an interpretation seems to stand refuted upon a read of Isaiah 45:1-6 in which Yahweh addresses Cyrus. Pay careful attention once again to the highlighted text:

Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: 2 “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, 3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. 4 For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. 5 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Thus, Isaiah says, Cyrus of Persia, a pagan king, has been anointed and equipped by God to do God’s bidding, even though Cyrus does not know the LORD God. It thus seems unlikely that just a few chapters later Cyrus would announce “And now the LORD God has sent me, and His Spirit.”

The second alternative interpretation that I have encountered of Isaiah 48:16 is that it is the righteous servant that interjects. The very next chapter, after all, Isaiah 49, presents the righteous servant speaking in the first person. However, as I have argued in detail in other articles (and briefly in the present one), the righteous servant is himself a divine person who shares in the very essence of God Himself. Thus, even if that interpretation is correct, I do not believe it would undercut the thrust of the argument that the text communicates divine plurality.

The third alternative interpretation that I have encountered is that it is Isaiah interjecting. This interpretation is possible (although I still think it unnecessarily breaks up the flow of the text, since what comes before and after is clearly Yahweh speaking). It is the only viable interpretation which would seem successful in undermining the case for God’s triunity. However, even in this case, one could still make a case for at least binitarianism, since there is still an allusion to the distinctive personality of the Holy Spirit, who either is sent along with the other individual or cooperates with God in sending him (the text in that respect is rather ambiguous).


To conclude, most of the objections raised by McBride and Hall concern arguments other than those presented in my short remarks at the beginning of their broadcast. Rather than engage with the New Testament texts (that they asked me to present on) and showing that I had misinterpreted them, McBride and Hall chose instead to bring up objections to the deity of Christ based upon Old Testament considerations. As we have seen in this essay, those arguments are in fact quite weak. I would like to thank McBride and Hall for having me on their show, and I hope we can do further, more balanced, dialogues going forward.


1. John Ronning, The Jewish Targums and John’s Logos Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011).

2. Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 657.

3. Elizabeth Achtemeier, Minor Prophets I, ed. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 95.

4. Yisroel C. Blumenthal, “Contra Brown: Answering Dr. Brown’s Objections to Judaism”, accessed April 8 2023,

5. “Targum Jonathan on Genesis 19:24”, Sefaria, accessed April 8 2023,

6. Geoffrey Khan, ed. Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 146.

7. Michael R. Burgos Jr., “Justified: A Proto-Trinitarian Reading of Genesis 1:26-27,” in Our God is Triune: Essays in Biblical Theology, ed. Michael R. Burgos Jr. (Torrington, CT: 2018), 16.

8. John Goldingay and Pamela J. Scalise, Minor Prophets II, ed. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 310–311.

1 thought on “Is Jesus the God of Israel? A Response to TenakTalk”

  1. You go through a lot of scriptural gymnastics to attempt to make the case for Jesus being God, and I give you a lot of credit for your research. Jews consider the New Testament to be heretical, so to cite passages in the NT, attempting to prove Jesus is divine, is a waste of time to a devoted Jew. Christians, on the other hand, see the Hebrew Bible through the NT, whereas Jews cannot look past the Hebrew Bible, since they consider the NT a fraudulent fallacy. Personally, I am exhausted from all the opposing arguments. I have now come to a place where I believe Jesus is the only begotten son of the Father, who died on the cross for my sins, and God rose him from the dead. I believe He is my savior, but not God. The only gospel to imply his divinity is in John, the last of the gospels. From many accounts, this gospel has been modified to promote the idea that Jesus is God. Does Jesus need to be God to be the Messiah? I believe Jesus is the lamb of God, but not God the Father. If all scripture is the inspired word of God, why is the question of the divinity of Christ so complicated?

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