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3. The Man Messiah

The Man Messiah

When I became a Christian in my early teens, the church guided me to accept Jesus as my Savior. Since Jesus died and shed his blood to redeem humanity, I thought that he had to be God with infinite power to save all people universally. I had a distorted view of the Messiah Jesus and his saving work. It never dawned on me that Jesus had to learn obedience and be perfected to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins. I thought Jesus possessed inherent perfection and holiness to conquer sin and death. I had not taken into account that Yahweh God was working behind the scenes throughout the entire process of the redemptive work. Jesus did not raise himself from the dead. Yahweh God raised Jesus from the dead to conquer death. The infinite power is in Yahweh. Yahweh saves humanity through the Messiah Jesus. Could it be that Christians had mixed up the role of Yahweh and the role of the Messiah for our salvation? Most Christians, like me, thought that if Jesus were not God, how could he save us? I have now come to a clear biblical understanding that Jesus had to be the Messiah, and not God, to fulfil God’s redemptive work for mankind.

Does the Messiah need to be a divine being to pay for all the sins of mankind? Would the efficacy of his salvific work be called into question if the Messiah were not God? How should we understand the universal scope of the redemptive work of Yahweh through his appointed Messiah? Is our salvation dependent on having faith in Jesus as God or putting our faith in Jesus as the Messiah? Let’s search the Scripture to discover what God says regarding His appointed Messiah in the redemptive work for mankind.

Faith in Jesus the Messiah

In the New Testament, we are called to have faith in Jesus the Messiah for our salvation.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” (1Jn 5:1)

We are too familiar with the word “Christ” that we have forgotten that “Christ” means Messiah. Instead of the word “Christ”, I put in the word “Messiah” to help us focus on the identity of Jesus. A spiritual birth takes place when we believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus’ identity as the Messiah is the most crucial concept for our salvation. Through faith in the Messiah Jesus, we enter into a new relationship with Yahweh to become His child. If we love the Father, we also love all those born of Yahweh.

“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus the Messiah, so that we also have believed in the Messiah Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in the Messiah and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Gal 2:16)

A person is not justified or made right with God by adherence to the works of the Jewish law, but through faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Our faith is in the sacrificial death and resurrection of the Messiah whom Yahweh raised from the dead. Justification is not achieved through our works of righteousness, but by God’s grace through faith in the Messiah. No matter how good our works are, we cannot earn our salvation through works. It is by the finished work of the Messiah on the cross and his resurrection that we are justified and made right with Yahweh God.

“Therefore, if anyone is in the Messiah, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through the Messiah and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in the Messiah, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (NIV; 2Cor 5:17-19)

In the Messiah Jesus, Yahweh God was reconciling the world to Himself. The entire redemptive work is to bring humanity to reconcile to God. When the Messiah died on the cross, he was not reconciling people to himself but to Yahweh. Therefore, we must grasp what Yahweh requires for his appointed Messiah to fulfill the redemptive work for humanity.

A Prophet like Moses

(1) God clearly stated in the Old Testament that the appointed Messiah would be “a prophet like Moses”.

“Yahweh your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is to him you shall listen.” (Deut 18:15)

And Yahweh said to me, “They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” (Deut 18:17-19)

God will raise up a prophet like Moses to deliver the people of Israel. The future prophet whom God raise up will be a messianic figure, a spokesman for God. He will speak in the name of Yahweh, and God requires everyone to listen to him. He is a man like Moses, a prophet sent by God. Since the prophet will come from “among their brothers”, he must be a Jewish person from one of the 12 tribes. All the people of Israel should listen to this prophet for he will speak only the words commanded by Yahweh.

The Jews were looking for a man, a human being, born from among their families to be their Messiah! Should we then insist that the Messiah must be a divine being? The concept of a God-Messiah stems from the thinking of the polytheistic world of the Gentiles. In various polytheistic religions, it was common to have deities descending to earth to take on human form. The pantheon of gods and goddesses was found in ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies. However, the monotheistic Jews in the Old Testament were all along looking for a man-Messiah like Moses to deliver them.

(2) In the context of the Deuteronomy passage, the Israelites were afraid to have further direct communication from God.

“Just as you desired of Yahweh your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, “Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God or see this great fire anymore, lest I die.” (Deut 18:16)

God understood their fear. God said He would henceforth communicate with them through Moses, and a prophet like Moses. The immediate context of Deuteronomy 18 warns against false prophets speaking in the name of other gods (v.20). Therefore, the way to test whether a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh is to see whether “his word comes to pass” (v.22). Following Moses, a rise in the prophetic movement (led by Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. ) would soon emerge. If the prophet spoke in the name of Yahweh and the word did not come to pass, the prophet had spoken presumptuously, as that was a word that Yahweh had not spoken. Applying this spiritual principle would equip the Israelites to accurately discern the appointed prophet who would be like Moses.

(3) When Jesus came, he spoke only what Yahweh God put in his mouth, exactly as Moses prophesied.

“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his command­ment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (Jn 12:49-50)

We can confidently obey every word that Jesus spoke, for Jesus only said and spoke what his Father had told him.

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe me for he wrote of me.” (Jn 5:46)

Jesus knew he was the one fulfilling the prophecy of the appointed prophet spoken by Yahweh through Moses.

(4) During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he was fully aware that he was fulfilling the prophecies that Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms wrote concerning him.

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Lk 24:27)

What a blessing it was for the two disciples on the Emmaus Road to receive a firsthand explanation from Jesus as he interpreted the Scriptures concerning himself. How I wish I were there too. Throughout the conversation, the two disciples were unaware of Jesus’ identity until the moment when Jesus broke bread with them. Once their eyes were opened, they recalled how their hearts were burning when Jesus opened the Scriptures to them (v.32). Jesus’ interpretation of Scripture was not intellectual, but deeply personal in transforming our hearts to trust in Yahweh and his appointed Messiah. “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets”, Jesus revealed how the Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in his person, life, death, and resurrection. The two disciples “recognized” Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, fulfilling God’s redemptive plan for humanity.

(5) Before Jesus’ ascension, he appeared to the disciples and opened their minds to understand Scriptures. (Lk 24:45)

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Lk 24:44)

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he taught his disciples about the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning himself. He affirmed that everything written about him must be fulfilled. His life, death, and resur­rection were part of God’s plan for people to repent and receive forgive­ness of sins (v.46-47). The disciples who witnessed these events were crucial in testifying Jesus to the nations. He also assured them the Father would clothe them with the power of the Spirit for their mission (v.47-49).

(6) Peter was one of the first witnesses to testify Jesus as the Messiah. In his sermon at Solomon’s Portico, he quoted Moses and identified Jesus as the prophet, the long-promised spokesman God had raised. Everyone should listen to Jesus in all that he says. If any soul does not listen to Jesus, he will be destroyed.

“But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, “The Lord God will raise you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.” (Acts 3:18-23)

Peter goes into further detail regarding the mission of the Messiah. He would first need to suffer as foretold by the mouth of all the prophets (v.18). This marks the fulfillment of the first phase of his Messianic mission. People must now repent so that their “sins may be blotted out” (v.19). The next phase of the mission is “whom heaven must receive” (v.21). This was fulfilled when Jesus was exalted to sit at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly places. Jesus is now continuing the work of the Messiah in heaven. Then comes the final phase of the Messianic mission when God sends His appointed Christ to restore all things that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago (vv. 20, 21). Jesus will return to earth to restore all things when he establishes God’s Kingdom on earth.

“And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.” (Acts 3:24)

Peter continues with his sermon by mentioning that all the prophets, starting with Samuel, also foretold the works of the Messiah. Samuel served as a prophet, priest and judge in Israel. He played a crucial role in anointing the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. From the earliest days of Israel’s monarchy, all the prophets proclaimed about the coming of the Messiah to fulfill God’s promises to Israel. The appointed Messiah will one day bring deliverance and establish an everlasting Kingdom for Israel. The time for the King Messiah to restore all things is still in the future, and will be fulfilled very soon in God’s timetable.

From Among the Brothers

Moses says that the future prophet must come “from among the brothers”, a human descendant from among the Israelite families. The genealogy in Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage through several generations of the Israelites’ families, ultimately leading back to the patriarch Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. Jesus indeed came from among their brothers within the lineage of the Israelite people.

The human descent of the Messiah

“They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen. (RSV; Rom 9:4-5) [1]

Paul draws attention to the fact that Jesus the Messiah came from the Israelite descendants according to the flesh. “According to the flesh” means that Jesus was born as a human being, a descendant from the families of Israel. Jesus was not a deity figure disconnected from humanity, because he was fully human, born into a specific family of Israel. God promised that a Messiah would come and bring salvation to them through the Israelite physical lineage.

The Messiah is David’s offspring

“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.” (Acts 13:22-23)

In Paul’s preaching at Antioch in Pisidia, he gave a brief overview of Israel’s history, beginning with their time in Egypt and leading up to the reign of King David. He shared about how God has been faithful in fulfilling His promises to Israel, particularly the promise of a Savior to deliver them. The Greek word for “offspring” is “σπέρματος” (spermatos), which can be translated as “seed”, a human seed. As the biological descendant of David, Jesus comes from the royal line and has the rights to rule as the king of Israel. Linking Jesus to Daivd’s ancestry establishes Jesus’ rightful place as the anointed Messiah and Savior of Israel.

A Man

“For there is one God, there is one mediator between God and men, a man Messiah Jesus.” (1Tim 2:5)

This verse is one of the most quoted Bible verses, yet one that is misinterpreted due to the oversight of not adhering to the original Greek text. The Chinese CUV version adds an interpretation into the text that completely distorts the biblical meaning of the verse. I will provide a step-by-step explanation to assist you in grasping the truth conveyed in this verse.

(1) Paul makes a sharp contrast between God and Jesus. The one God is Yahweh. The one mediator is a man, the Messiah Jesus. The one God concept is already mentioned in Paul’s introductory greeting to Timothy when he mentions “God the Father” who also is “immortal”, “invisible” and “the only God” (1Tim 1:2, 17).

(2) The Greek word for “a man” is ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) without the article “ὁ” (ho). Most English Bibles render ἄνθρωπος as “the man” (ESV, NIV, KJV, NASB) which is not accurate.

(3) Strictly speaking, ἄνθρωπος without the article should be translated as “a man” as found in the Wycliff Bible.

“For one God and one mediator is of God and of men, a man Christ Jesus.” (WYC)

(4) Anthrōpos (ἄνθρωπος) without the article is used in many places in the New Testament. For example, the centurion said “I am a man (ἄνθρωπος) under authority” (Mt 8:9); “He saw a man (ἄνθρωπος) called Matthew” (Mt 9:9); “There was a man (ἄνθρωπος) sent from God” (Jn 1:6).

(5) The Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) has the meaning of “a man, a human, human kind, one of the human race.” (TDNT) The following English Bibles have the correct translation:

“There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and human beings — a human, the Messiah Jesus.” (ISV)

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus himself human.” (HCSB)

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man— a human being, Christ Jesus.” (MIT)

(6) The Messiah is a man, a human being like all human beings on earth. He belongs to the human race. Paul could have left out the word “anthrōpos” and said “the one mediator is the Messiah Jesus”. Why did Paul specifically add “anthrōpos” into the phrase? He was making a sharp contrast between God and the Messiah being a man.

(7) Paul upholds the Shema and said that there is only one God. (cf. Deut 6:4). Yahweh is the only God who exists.

(8) The veracity of the Messiah as “a man” cannot be brushed aside. The biblical Jesus is truly a man like everyone in the human race. In the mind of the apostle Paul, Jesus is a human being, the man-Messiah. There is no hint whatsoever about a God-Messiah coming into the world to be the mediator.

(9) 1Timothy 2:5 begins with “For”, which means the verse should be understood in the context of the earlier verses: “God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (vv. 3, 4). Salvation depends on a true understanding of “one God” and “one mediator”, a man-Messiah who gave his life a ransom to all (v.6).

(10) The Chinese CUV made a serious error by adding a short phrase into the translation: the Messiah “descended to earth to become man” to give himself as a ransom for all. The original Greek states only “a man”, but the Chinese CUV translation inserted those blatantly unwarranted words into the verse. The translation fails to convey the original Greek text and added an interpretation into the text. The influence of the doctrine of the Trinity on translations can be seen in their choices of words and phrasing. Unless you are a seeker of truth who diligently studies the original text, you may inadvertently be led astray. If you depend solely on translations, you are at their mercy.

(11) The error of the Trinity doctrine lies in its failure to acknowledge Jesus the Messiah as a true man. The trinitarians claim that Jesus is God, and he became flesh assuming a human nature, but he is not a true man. Jesus only took on the human form. The doctrine makes a compromise by inventing a “God-man” concept to explain Jesus’ two natures (fully divine and fully human) working within him when he was on earth. However, a “God-man” being does not exist in the Bible. Jesus is not a dual being as most Christians presume. The bottom line is that the trinitarians do not believe the Messiah Jesus is “a man” but that his identity is “God”. The Bible says God is spirit. How can Jesus be God when, even in his resurrected body, he is physically “flesh and bones” and not “a spirit” (Lk 24:39)?

The One Man

In his exposition in Romans, Paul constantly mentions that the Messiah is the one man God used to secure our salvation.

“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judg­ment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justifica­tion.” (NIV; Rom 5:15-16)

(1) Paul is making a contrast between Adam, the one man’s trespass, and God’s gracious gift through the one man Jesus, the Messiah. There is a big contrast between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift through the man Jesus.

(2) The consequence of sin through the one man Adam brought death and condemnation to many. By contrast, and even greater is God’s wonderful grace and gift of forgiveness through this other man, Jesus. Through this man Messiah, the grace of God overflows to bring life to many.

(3) The result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the consequence of Adam’s sin. Judgment followed Adam’s sin and brought condemnation, but God’s gracious gift leads to forgiveness even though we are guilty of many sins. We are saved totally by God’s gift of grace, therefore it does not depend on whether the Messiah is God or whether we are good. As undeserving sinners as we are, God graciously grants us the opportunity to receive his forgiveness through the one man Messiah Jesus.

(4) Again, the contrast is made between the one man Adam and the one man Messiah Jesus.

“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus the Messiah.” (Rom 5:17)

Paul is making a contrast of the effects of the one man’s sin and the redemptive work of the one man Messiah. By the trespass of this man Adam, death reigned over humanity. However, those who receive the abundance of grace and free gift of righteousness through the one man Messiah will reign in life. The gift of salvation has everything to do with God’s grace and gift of righteousness. To deal with the problem of sin for man’s salvation, God does not require the Messiah to be “God” to save mankind. Rather, the Messiah, as God’s ambassador, must be filled with grace and righteousness.

The Obedience of the Man

Paul continues to give a detailed account as to why the man Messiah was able to secure our salvation.

“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:18-19)

(1) In the trespass of the one man Adam, condemnation resulted for all men. In the righteousness of the one man Messiah, forgiveness of sin and life are given to all.

(2) The contrast is made between the disobedience of the man Adam and the obedience of the man Jesus. The trinitarians like to use God-man to describe the constitution of Jesus, but this is not how the Bible describes him. Paul is making the contrast between “a man and another man,” and not “a man and a God-man.”

(3) Why does Paul keep repeating “the one man” seven times in this passage (Rom 5:15-19)? The crux of the matter lies in the obedience of man. Adam failed because of his disobedience. The good news is that the obedience of the man Messiah has canceled out the disobedience of the man Adam. Jesus was extraordinary in that he completely obeyed God in everything he did.

(4) By this one man’s obedience, we are made righteous. For the Messiah to save us, it has nothing to do with any alleged deity within him. As a man, a human being, he voluntarily made his choices to completely obey God in all things, even to death on the cross.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even to death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8)

Jesus’ resolute obedience to the Father, even to the humiliating death on the cross, qualified him to be the Messiah.

The Man Messiah Made Perfect

The man Jesus was never forced into obedience, but it was a choice he constantly made voluntarily throughout his life. He always sought not to do his own will but the will of the Father to accomplish his work. (Jn 5:30; 6:38). Like us, Jesus had a free will to obey or not to obey. Through this constant choice of obeying God, Jesus was perfected by God.

“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” (Heb 5:8-9)

(1) The Messiah was a son, and not God or a God-man. Obedience was expressed by a son to his Father, not someone who is God obeying another God.

(2) Jesus was the man who had to learn obedience and he walked in the path of total obedience to God.

(3) The path of obedience is paved with much suffering, for obedience is against our human nature. Jesus went through temptations, persecu­tions, hardship, pain, intense agony without sinning. In his obedience, he suffered the hostility of men and ultimately endured the cross, disregarding the shame. In our struggle against sin, we have not even resisted to the point of shedding blood, but Jesus did.

(4) Like us, Jesus was not born with perfection. The only way to grow into perfection is through obedience. As a son to God, the man Messiah had to be perfected through suffering. The Greek verb of “being made perfect” is an aorist participle passive tense. Jesus did not perfect himself. Yahweh was actively working in Jesus’ life to make him perfect each step of the way. Without Jesus’ voluntary obedience, Yahweh would not have been able to perfect him. The path to perfection is through voluntary obedience.

(5) For Jesus to be our Messiah, he had to be made perfect through the suffering of death.

“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it is fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Heb 2:9-10)

The man Messiah went through the suffering of death and tasted death for everyone. After Jesus was arrested, he was nailed to the cross to die. Crucifixion was an excruciating and brutal form of execution used by the Romans, typically reserved for criminals. Nails were driven through his hands and feet, causing excruciating pain and exhaustion to the entire body. The physical suffering during crucifixion was immense. Spiritually, Jesus took upon himself the punishment of sin for mankind. He paid the penalty for sin through his death. His suffering of death conquered the power of sin. In the face of extreme torment on the cross, Jesus endured and persevered to the end. He was made perfect through suffering in his unwavering faith and obedience to God.

“But now you have been reconciled by his physical body (the body of his flesh) through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” (Col 1:22)

For us to be reconciled to God, the physical death of the Messiah is required. How can the Messiah be God as the living God cannot die? God is immortal and does not have a physical body. Whereas the man Messiah had a physical body, the body of flesh, to shed his blood on the cross to make atonement for our sins. God accepted his perfect sacrifice for our salvation. The Messiah is called “the Lamb of God”. The Lamb of God is not God but God’s Lamb, the Paschal Lamb ‘slained’ for man’s salvation. In Exodus, a Passover lamb was sacrificed to protect the Israelites from God’s judgment. Just as the Passover lamb had to be without blemish or defect, Jesus was sinless and perfect and became a perfect sacrifice for our redemption. Through his death, Jesus paid the price for sin for us to receive forgiveness from God. In the Messiah, we have redemption through his blood. (Eph 1:7) Through him, we can now be reconciled to God and walk in the path of holiness and become blameless and above reproach.

A man to make atonement for our sins

The man Messiah proved himself faithful to God, which qualified him to make atonement for the sins of the people.

“Therefore he was obligated to be made like his brothers in all respects, in order that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things relating to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. For in that which he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.” (LEB; Heb 2:17-18)

(1) The man Messiah is made like his brothers in every way. As a human, the Messiah can relate to the struggles, challenges and temptations humanity faces. He is able to empathize with our human weaknesses and identify with all human suffering.

(2) The Messiah is a high priest, and not “God” to make atonement for our sins. If the Messiah were God, he could not be a high priest, for every high priest is chosen from among men (ἀνθρώπων) (Heb 5:1). The Messiah is appointed to act on behalf of men to God to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. A high priest has to be “appointed” by God.

(3) Jesus suffered and was tempted in every way like us, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15) Could Jesus fail? Yes. If the Messiah were God, he could not possibly sin, and it would make the temptation account non-sensible. The man Messiah was tempted and could sin, but he chose not to sin.

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” (1Pet 2:22)

“You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” (1Jn 3:5)

Jesus suffered through many temptations and came out victorious and did not fall into sin.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Cor 5:21)

Jesus knew no sin and bore our sins on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God. He took on the punishment of sins for our sake, or else we would suffer the death penalty for our sins. We can now become the righteousness of God through the conquering of sin by the Messiah Jesus.

(4) How was the man Messiah able to atone for our sins? As a man, he was tempted, but he conquered all temptations and lived a perfect life before God. He must be a perfect sacrifice without blemish to be the Messiah.

“How much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Heb 9:14)

The Messiah as the high priest entered once and for all into the holy places, not by means of blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood to secure our eternal redemption. (v.12) The perfect life of Jesus without blemish qualified him to be the Messiah to atone for our sins. For the forgiveness of sins, blood must be shed. (Heb 9:22)

“Because you know that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your ancestors not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of the Messiah, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. (1Pet 1:18-19)

The precious blood of the Messiah redeems us. For our salvation, it does not depend on whether the Messiah is a deity or not. Rather, what is required is that the Messiah needs to be a perfect sacrifice as a lamb of God, unblemished and spotless to secure our salvation. Jesus lived a perfect life on earth that qualified him to be our Messiah. Today, we can have the confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus. The heavy curtain that separated the Holy of holies in the Temple was torn from top to bottom at the moment of Jesus’ death (Mt 27:51; Mk 15:38; Lk 23:45). Once a year, the high priest entered into the Holy of holies through the veil to sprinkle the sacrificial blood to make atonement for the sins of the people. When Jesus died on the cross, God tore down this heavy veil and removed the barriers between himself and men. There is no more need of an earthly high priest to present sacrifices for our sins. Jesus, the Messiah, through his flesh, opened a new and living way for us to confidently enter the holy places of God (Heb 10:19-22). Thank you Yahweh and thank you Jesus.

Faith in the Messiah

In Christian theology, Jesus’ divinity is considered essential for the salvation of mankind. Is this biblical? Is Christ’s deity required for our salvation? Pastor Eric H.H. Chang in his book, “The Only True God”, explains how faith is required for our salvation:

This also impacts our understanding of NT soteriology, the doctrine of salvation. For if Christ is not wholly and truly man, then we would have no salvation, for it was by one man’s sin that death came into the world and it was by one man’s obedience that we are made righteous (Rom 5:15-19). Since there is hope of salvation for us only if Christ is man, why is trinitarianism always arguing for Christ’s deity when this has no relevance whatever for the salva­tion of mankind? Nowhere in the New Testament is faith in Christ’s deity required for salvation. Yet the trinita­rian church dares, in de­fiance of God’s Word, to declare anyone a heretic who refuses to accept their Christology.

You will recall that as a trinitarian I rationalized the soterio­logical connect­ion between manhood and deity by arguing that if Jesus were only a man, his death could not avail for all mankind, but as God he is infinite, and an infinity can cover any number, no matter how great the number. This argument is not illogical; at least it has a mathematical basis. But the problem is that it is simply an unscript­ural argument, for in Scripture the soteriological logic is not a mathematical one, but functions on a different principle.

For example, when the Israelites sinned grievously in the wild­erness and were perishing because of being bitten by poisonous snakes, God instructed Moses to put a bronze snake on a pole; who­ever looked up to that bronze snake suspended on the pole would live (Num 21:7-9). There was only one bronze snake, yet no matter how many people looked at it, they were saved from death. Clearly, mathematics was not a factor. Obedience to the call to look at the serpent, on the one hand, and the pardoning grace of God, on the other, were the only operating principles. It was to this critical life and death incident in the wilderness that Christ compared his own saving min­istry, and specifically to his being “lifted up” on the cross:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:14,15).

Likewise, the obedience of Christ has cancelled out the disobed­ience of Adam for all who are in Christ. Indeed, it does more than that, in fact “much more” as is reiterated in Rom.5:9,10,15,17. Here again it has nothing to do with the logic of mathem­atics, but has everything to do with the grace and wisdom of God. [2]

Jesus draws a comparison between faith in him and the event in which the Israelites were saved by looking at the bronze serpent. The Israelites were dying from the bites of the poisonous snakes. God instructed Moses to set up a bronze serpent on a pole, so that those who were bitten could look at the bronze serpent and live. Thousands of Israelites were saved by trusting in Yahweh to deliver them. The healing power associated with the bronze serpent had nothing to do with any inherent qualities of the serpent itself. In the same way, Jesus made a parallel of this event to his crucifixion. The redemptive work of salvation is available through faith in him. Just as the Israelites looked at the bronze serpent and lived, we, too, have eternal life by looking to Jesus for our salvation. Salvation is granted solely by God’s grace. The power of God to save does not depend on whether Christ is inherently a divine being. Rather, God saves all humanity in and through Christ, the perfect sacrifice. The death of Christ avails to every person because of Jesus’ total obedience to the Father. Jesus did not raise himself from the dead. He had to exercise faith in his Father to raise him from the dead. The resurrection power is in Yahweh, and the resurrection demonstrated Jesus’ victory over death. As believers in the Messiah, our faith is in God’s saving power in the Messiah which saves us from sin and death. Salvation is entirely God’s work. Just as Jesus’ resurrected body was perfected and free from sin and decay, we can anticipate God to raise us from the dead and grant us the incorruptible and immortal bodies in our future resurrection.


The promised Messiah is a prophet like Moses coming from among his brethren. There is no suggestion whatsoever in the Bible regarding a Messiah as an eternal divine being coming into the world to save us. He is to be born from the families of Israel. Everyone is required to listen to this prophet for he will speak only what Yahweh God puts in his mouth. What qualifies the man to be the Messiah is his total obedience. The man Messiah was perfected through suffering in obedience, all the way to the death of the cross to secure our salvation. Jesus is the propitiation for our sins (1Jn 2.2, 4:10). God accepted the paschal lamb, spotless and unble­mished, to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. As flesh and blood, the Messiah shed his blood on the cross to pay for the sins of the world. As the high priest appointed by God, his death tore the veil and opened a new and living way for everyone to be reconciled to God. The one who came for the salvation of mankind was not the God-Messiah, but rather the man-Messiah Jesus, the one mediator. (1Tim 2:5) The deity of the Messiah is not the critical requirement for achieving the salvation of mankind. Rather, the perfect obedience of the man-Messiah, a lamb without blemish, is stressed throughout the Bible to secure our salvation. A God-Messiah is not the Messiah portrayed in the Bible.

Do you have faith to believe in this man-Messiah Jesus to save you?

Or do you prefer to believe in a fabricated God-Messiah to save you?


From A Pastor’s Heart

For over three decades, I was raised to believe that Jesus is the “God-man”. While I believed Jesus walked around as man on earth, deep down, I thought of Jesus as God. For many Christians, Jesus on earth just “seemed” or “appeared” to be human, but he was God. This belief can be traced back to Docetism, which emerged during the 2nd Century. Many Christians are not freed from this heresy. To counteract this heresy, the early fathers introduced the two natures of Jesus as the God-man.

The term “God-man” first appeared in the writings of Origen. “This substance of a soul, then, being intermediate between God and the flesh – it being impossible for the nature of God to intermingle with a body without an intermediate instrument – the God-man is born, as we have said, that substance being the intermediary to whose nature it was not contrary to assume a body.” [3] Later, the church fathers, Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria used “θεάνθρωπος” (theanthropos), a Greek term for “God-man” to articulate the dual nature of Jesus as fully God and fully man.

At the council in 451 at Chalcedon, the church formulated the “two natures, one person” dogma, which eventually became the official theology of the Roman Catholic Church. The council affirmed the doctrine of the hypostatic union, stating that Jesus is one person in two distinct natures, one divine and one human. As the incarnate God, he is τέλειος Θεός (perfectly God), and τέλειος άνθρωπος (perfectly man).

Anselm of Cantebury, the Benedictine monk, was an influential theologian in the 11th Century. His writings had a lasting impact on the development of Christology. In his treatise, “Cur Deus Homo” (Why God became man), he presented a new perspective on the doctrine of atonement: “If it be necessary, therefore, as it appears, that the heavenly kingdom be made up of men, and this cannot be effected unless the aforesaid satisfaction be made, which none by God can make and none but man ought to make, it is necessary for the God-man to make it.” [4]

The concept of “God-man” is widely acknowledged in Christological doctrines, but the term “God-man” is not in the Bible. In fact, the term “God-man” is anti-God. God is purely God, and cannot be a mixture of God and man at the same time. Yahweh says, “I am God and not a man” (Hos 11:9). God is distinct from man. God is fully God. A God-man is anti-God as it undermines the uniqueness of God. Such a beast does not appear except in the fantasy world of science fiction. These theories emerged because of our reluctance to consider that Jesus is man. Deep down, most evangelical Christians believe Jesus is God, and use the God-man concept to explain his 30+ years walking on earth.

The early Greek fathers were influenced by Greek mythology of gods being half-human and half-god. Some well-known demigods were Hercules, Perseus Asclepius, Achilles, Theseus, and Heracles. With this polytheistic background, it was easy for the Greek fathers to come up with the concept that Jesus was a hybrid, a God-man. To make Jesus look better than the demigods, the Greek fathers declared him as fully God and fully man. Not to mention whether this concept is biblical, but is it even possible for a person to be fully God and fully man simultaneously? Either Jesus is God or he is man. To make him a crossover of both is degrading Jesus.

Due to my long years of indoctrination in the “God-man” concept, I swallowed everything in without critically examining the truth. It took a long time for me to finally accept that the Messiah is a man. Somehow, we are not comfortable with the idea of the Messiah as a man because it seems to downgrade Jesus, but does it? Or would it not be the other way around that we perceive the glory of the Messiah precisely because he is a man whom God worked through to secure our salvation? We have a tendency to deify the Messiah for some reason.

During a recent conversation with a Christian, he expressed that believing in Jesus as God is awe-inspiring, as it makes him feel good that God in heaven would lay down his life for him. It makes Jesus look more admirable. I shared with him that we need not be ashamed that the Messiah is a man, because God highly cares and honors man. Man is crowned a bit lower than God. “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psa 8:4-5) After Jesus accomplished the redemptive work on the cross, God gave him the highest honor and glory with full authority to rule heaven and earth! (Mt 28:18) And the Messiah Jesus wishes to share all this honor with those who follow him.

In this article, I have given you ample evidence in the Bible that the Messiah is a man, a prophet like Moses, coming from among his brethren. It was the man Jesus who was perfected through his obedience to the cross, and finally to death to secure the initial phase of our salvation. Our problem is that we want to make him God, but then, this would make his perfection in obedience unnecessary. If he were God, he would be perfect already.

I recently had a Bible study session with a Christian group, and the brothers and sisters told me frankly that they preferred to think of Jesus as God and not as God-man. What we prefer is one thing, but we must always go back to what God says on these matters. We need to spend time to study the Scripture to come to the right concept of the Messiah for our salvation. There is no God-Messiah in the Bible. The man-Messiah is constantly portrayed by Moses, the prophets, the Psalms and all the New Testament writers. The total obedience of the one man leads many to righteousness. Thus, Jesus is given the title “the second man (Adam)” or “the last man (Adam)”. The stress is always on Jesus as man.

Paul never said Jesus is a “second God” which is again something invented by the early Greek fathers. The Messiah is the “second man” not the “second God”. Salvation is found in Jesus as the “second man” and not in the “second God”.

Which one will you choose? To believe in the biblical Messiah who is the second man? Or to believe in the trinitarian Messiah who is the second God?


[1] Bible scholars have debated the precise interpretation of Rom 9:5. In ancient Greek manuscripts, there were no punctuation marks. So in English, it depends on where you put the comma in the sentence in the translation, as this will determine how you read this text. Most English translators put the comma in such a way that it makes Christ as God. But by putting the comma in another way, the verse distinguishes Christ from God. The footnote of the NIV translation alerts the reader of how Rom 9:5 can be translated: “Or Messiah, who is over all. God be forever praised! Or Messiah. God who is over all be forever praised!” When one looks into the exegetical phrase “he who is blessed forever”, the same phrase is found in 2 Cor 11:31, “The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever.” God is the one who is blessed forever. Yahweh God is always the object of praise in doxology. Rom 1:25, “the Creator, who is blessed forever” points to God. In the context of Paul’s writings, God is the one who is over all be blessed. For this reason, the RSV translation is used.

[2] Chang, Eric H.H., The Only True God: A Study of Biblical Monotheism, Chapter 4 The Trinitarian Deification of Christ, pp. 264-265

[3] Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume IV, Origen De Principiis, Book II, Chapter 6, On The Incarnation of the Christ, No. 3.

[4] Anselm of Cantebury, Cur Deus Homo, Book Two, Chapter VI & VII.


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