Tag Archives: the God of Jacob

Who is the God of Israel?

Israel

By David Cook

Is the God explained by the Jewish Rabbis from the Talmud; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?  What about Chabad-Lubavitch; the Orthodox Hasidic Jews in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.  Do they  have the true wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the God of Israel?  Is the seventh Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson really the promised Moshiach?  Since the Rebbe passed away on June 12, 1994, does this mean the Moshiach will come twice?  How about Kabbalah Judaism; is this Jewish mysticism revealing the hidden mysteries about the God of Israel through their esoteric method, discipline and school of thought?  What about the Messianic Yeshuanikim; do they have revelation of the divine nature of YHVH Elohim from Yeshua the Moshiach?  Other Jews are non-religious, and consider themselves Secular Jews; and range from humanism, agnosticism to atheism, intertwined with various aspects of rationalism.  Many believe that man and all of creation is the result of random change, plus time; over billions of years of evolution.  For the humanist, agnostic or atheist; their only hope for the redemption of Israel will come from the collective intelligence, work and military strength of the Jewish people.  Such diverse theological positions and non-theological positions.

Who is the God of Israel?

The prophet Moses wrote in the Torah about Abraham’s grandson Jacob, the son of Isaac.  We read in the book of Genesis chapter 28;

28 So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.  Genesis 28:1-5 NASB

May El Shaddai bless you and make you fruitful

El Shaddai is the God of Abraham and Isaac.  El Shaddai is the Mighty God who nurtures His people.  El Shaddai is the all-sufficient Mighty God. [1]  El Shaddai was the God of Abraham and Isaac but would Jacob serve the God of His fathers?

Jacob's Dream at Bethel

Jacob’s dream at Bethel, by José de Ribera.

On his journey back to Paddan-aram Jacob had a dream.

“the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac”

10 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”  Genesis 28:10-17 NASB

“the Elohim of your father Abraham and the Elohim of Isaac”

YHVH (Yĕhovah) said He is the Elohim of Abraham and the Elohim of Isaac.  The Hebrew word “Elohim” is a plural masculine noun for God.  Elohim is the plural of El (or possibly of Eloah) it is the first name for God given by Moses in the Tanakh: “In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1 [2]

Yĕhovah the Elohim who created the heavens and the earth is the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac.  Yĕhovah the Elohim of Abraham and Isaac appeared to Jacob in a dream and spoke to him and made promises to him about the future of the land he was sleeping on, multiplying his descendants and that through one of his offspring; all the families of the earth would be blessed.  God made promises to Abraham, and these promise were passed on to his grandson Jacob.  [3]

Bethel

18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”  Genesis 28:18-22 NASB

Bethel means “House of El” or “House of God”.  [4]

“El Shaddai” & “Thy Word” performed by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Moses wrote in Genesis chapter 32 that Jacob wrestled all night with a “man” who later Jacob stated is God (El).  The Person from heaven who looked like a man but turned out to be God changed Jacob’s name to Israel and blessed him.

Who is this “man” who turned out to be “God”?

Jacob Wrestles with God

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.

Genesis 32:24-32 NASB

The prophet Moses wrote that Jacob was left alone, “and a man wrestled with him until daybreak”.  Who was this man that wrestled with Jacob?  Why did Jacob think this man had the authority to bless him?

Who is the God of Israel?

Some believe that Jacob wrestled with an angel.  Yet Moses wrote that Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”  Was Jacob right?  Did Jacob wrestle with God, and see God face to face?  Jacob was so convinced he had a real encounter with God that he named the place Peniel, which means “face of God”.

Jacob’s new name Israel means to “struggle with God” and man and prevail.  Jacob wrestled all night with God, and persevered in faith; to be blessed by God.  Israel is the new name given to Jacob by God.  Some believe the “man” who later is revealed to be “God“, who blessed Jacob and gave him the new name Israel; is the pre-incarnate Moshiach, the Son of the living God.  The prophet Micah wrote that the Moshiach existed long before His incarnation, long before His birth in Bethlehem;

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Too little to be among the clans of Judah,

From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.

His goings forth are from long ago,

From the days of eternity.”

Micah 5:2 NASB

Jacob asked the “man” he wrestled with, “Please tell me your name.” But the “man” who turns out to be God said, “Why is it that you ask my name?”  The God-man eluded Jacob’s question with another question and left His identity obscure.  Jacob has had a real encounter with the God of Abraham and Isaac, yet he does not know His name.

The God of Israel, is the Lord of hosts

The prophet Isaiah wrote that the Lord of hosts, is the God of Israel;

“O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,

who is enthroned above the cherubim,

You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.

You have made heaven and earth.

Isaiah 37:16 NASB

Isaiah had a vision of the Lord of hosts on His throne;

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Isaiah 6:1-3 NASB

 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  

Isaiah 6:8 NASB

Isaiah receives his call as a prophet from the Lord of hosts.  Isaiah responded, “Here am I.  Send me!”  Why does the Yĕhovah refer to Himself both in the singular and in the plural?  “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  (See Genesis 1:26)  The triune Almighty God — Elohim (plural noun for mighty God) who is revealed in the Torah is a unique unified one, therefore the verbs and adjectives used with Elohim are singular.

Yehovah Elohim exists, He causes all things to come into existence.  Yehovah Elohim is the self-existent One.  Yehovah Elohim is the great “I AM”; who is, who was, who is to come.   He is the first cause; Creator of the universe, all that is seen and unseen, all that is visible and invisible.  Yehovah Elohim, the Lord our God is a unique unified one.

El is a Semitic name for God.  The Hebrew word “Elohim” is a plural masculine noun that means the strong supreme One, Almighty God.  Moses also writes in the Torah of our Almighty God (Elohim) in the plural in Genesis 3:22 and Genesis 11:7.

Then the LORD God said,

“Behold, the man has become like one of Us…”

Genesis 3:22 NASB

The prophet Isaiah tells us that the Lord of hosts created the heavens and the earth.

12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called;

I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.

13 “Surely My hand founded the earth,

And My right hand spread out the heavens;

When I call to them, they stand together.

Isaiah 48:12-13 NASB

Isaiah explains more of who was involved in the creation of the heavens and the earth in Isaiah chapter 48, verses 12-16.  The “Me” mentioned in verse 12 is identified as “I am the first, I am also the last” who is the maker of the heavens.  Who is the “I AM the First, I AM the Last” who made the heavens and the earth?  If we look back in Isaiah 48, verse 2 we see the “Me” is identified as “the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts”.  The Lord of hosts is the Commander of heavens armies.

The Lord of hosts, is the First and the Last; who created the heavens and the earth.  In chapter 48, verse 16 we see that the “Lord of hosts”, who is “the First and the Last” maker of the heavens and the earth was sent by the “Lord GOD” (Adonai Yĕhovah in Hebrew).  What is the significance of the fact that the Lord GOD sent the Lord of hosts?  We see that the theology of the Tanach is consistent with the teaching of Yeshua the Moshiach and the New Testament writers.   The belief that Elohim is a unified one Lord is supported by numerous scriptures throughout the Tanach, one being Isaiah 48:16 which includes a reference to three distinct divine Persons.

“And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

Isaiah 48:16 NASB

1. Lord GOD

2. “Me”

3. His Spirit

So who is this “Me’ in verse 16?  The “Me” in verse 16 is the Lord of hosts, the First and the Last who created the heavens and the earth.  If we turn to the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation to find a clue who this mystery Person is.  The apostle John writes, “Fear not, ‘I am the first and the last, and the living one.  I died and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18 John reveals that the one speaking is Yeshua the risen Savior, the promised Moshiach.  Yeshua is the Lord of host; who said, “I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.”

1. Lord GOD = Adonai Yĕhovah

2. “Me” = the Yĕhovah of hosts, who is Adonai Yeshua

3. His Spirit = His Ruach (Spirit of Adonai Yĕhovah) [5]

 

 “And now the Adonai Yĕhovah has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

Isaiah 48:16

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace

In chapter 9, Isaiah wrote a prophecy concerning the Moshiach;

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;

And the government will rest on His shoulders;

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

7 There will be no end to the increase of

His government or of peace,

On the throne of David and over his kingdom,

To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB

 

Michael Card and Sara Groves sing El Shaddai

What is this blessing promised to both Abraham and Jacob that would bless all the families of the earth?

Through Jacob’s family line, the Moshiach was born and He will bring redemption for all the families of the earth; those chosen before the foundation of the world, from every tribe and language and people and nation. [6]

Saul of Tarsus, from the region of Cilicia was the son of a Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin who was schooled under Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem.   Saul in his religious zeal was a persecutor of the early church.  Later, Saul became a believer in Yeshua the Moshiach.  Saul like Jacob was given a new name after his encounter with the Moshiach.  Jacob was given the name Israel, and Saul was given the name Paul when Yeshua appeared to him in a vision on the road to Damascus. [7]

Paul the apostle wrote to Jewish and Gentile believers in Moshiach this commentary on Genesis;

6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.  Galatians 3:6-9 NASB

Yeshua the Moshiach is the blessing promised to Abraham.  So that now, both Jews and Gentiles may receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. [8]  Moshiach is the One who would come and bless all the families of the earth.  The promises were made to Abraham and to his decedent, namely the Moshiach. [9]

Can a Jewish person find eternal redemption by attempting to obey the 613 Laws of Torah?  Can a Gentile person find eternal redemption by attempting to obey the 7 Noahide Laws?  Will both Jew and non-Jew be assured of a place in the World to Come (Olam Haba), the final reward of the righteous; by keeping the Law of God?

Moses wrote in the Torah; that Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. [10]

The Law given through Moses does not nullify the promise God made to Abraham, of righteousness by faith.  The 613 Mosaic Laws were given 430 years after God made the covenant with Abraham, which included among other things; the promise of the Moshiach and righteousness by faith.  The apostle Paul explains; the law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. [11]

Why then, was the law given?

The Law was given because of transgressions until the Moshiach had come. [12]  The Moshiach is the descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who would bless “all the families of the earth”. [13]

13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.  Romans 4:13-15 NASB

The promised Moshiach came at the appointed time, He lived among us and then willingly laid down His life as a sacrificial offering for our many sins.  The sinless Moshiach took all our sins upon Himself, so that we might become God’s righteous people by faith.  The prophet Zechariah wrote about the invasion of Israel and the siege of Jerusalem by many nations just prior to the return of the Moshaich;

2 “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. 3 It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.  Zechariah 12:2-3 NASB

5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the Lord of hosts, their God.’   Zechariah 12:5 NASB

Then one day, the Lord of hosts will return to Jerusalem; and the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will look on the Lord of hosts, “whom they have pierced”; and they will mourn.  We read in Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

The God of Israel is the Lord of hosts.  The Lord of hosts is the One who was pierced for our transgression; Yeshua the promised Moshiach. [14]  In Zechariah chapter 14, we read about the millennial reign of the Moshiach King on earth when He will rule from Jerusalem; 16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.   Zechariah 14:16-17 NASB

Selah.

[1] El Shaddai is the all-sufficient Mighty God.  http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/El/el.html

[2] Elohim a Hebrew word for God is the plural of El (or possibly Eloah).  http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html

[3] A continuation of the promise to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3

[4] Bethel means “House of El” or “House of God”.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethel

[5] His Ruach Adonai Yehovah (see Isaiah 61:1)

[6] If you belong to Moshiach then you are Abram’s descendants, heirs according to promise; Galatians 3:26-29.  People redeemed from every tribe, language, people and nation; Revelation 5:9-10.  The saints (elect believers in the Moshiach) were chosen by God before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4-6 and 1:11-12.

[7] Saul of Tarsus, Acts 21:39.  Saul from the tribe of Benjamin, Romans 11:1.  Saul was schooled by Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem, Acts 22:3. Saul a persecutor of the early church, Acts 8:3.  Yeshua appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:1-31.

[8] In Moshiach the Gentiles receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, Galatians 3:14.

[9] Moshiach would bless all the families of the earth, Galatians 3:16.

[10] Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.  Genesis 15:6 NIVUK.

[11] The 613 Laws given by Moses, do not nullify the promise God made to Abram of righteousness by faith; Galatians 3:17-19 NIVUK.

[12] Why was the Mosaic Law given? Galatians 3:19.

[13] All the families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham’s descendant the Moshiach, Genesis 12:3 and 28:14 and Galatians 3:16.

[14] “But He was pierced through for our transgressions”, Isaiah 53:5.  “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf”, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

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