Sermons.love Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - What Does It Mean That God Is One?

Jonathan Bernis - What Does It Mean That God Is One?


Jonathan Bernis - What Does It Mean That God Is One?
TOPICS: Trinity

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom, and welcome to Jewish Voice and thank you for joining me today. I'm Jonathan Bernis, I'm here again with my co-host Ezra Benjamin. And Ezra, Jews believe in one God....

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: ...that's the confession of our people.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Christians also believe in one God, but manifested in three persons. Are they the same or different? To find the answer to the question, we have to go back to the Hebrew and the Old Testament. Ezra probably one of the greatest challenges for Jewish people, is the erroneous belief that Christians believe is the erroneous belief that Christians believe in three Gods. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: We believe what when we go back to the Hebrew?

Ezra Benjamin: Right, we believe in one God, and that's, you know, taken to its extreme. One of the Jewish objections to Jesus, if you will, are the Jewish objections to the idea that belief in Jesus, or the Christian faith could be for Jewish people or even applicable, is this idea that God is one, God's whole relationship with Israel, as I'm taking you out of pagan idolatrous cultures and I want you to worship me and me alone. And the Christians, well, they have whatever they call it. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, they're worshiping three Gods or three persons, three manifestations. We worship one God. And it's like, never the two shall meet. And yet, if we look back at the Hebrew, which we're gonna do in the next few minutes today, we see that the word is both. Is there any middle ground? Totally. Are we saying the same thing when we're talking about the God of Israel, and the God who manifests himself as Father, as Son, and the God who manifests himself as Father, as Son, and as the Ruach it says, in Hebrew, or the Holy Spirit? Absolutely, it has everything to do one with the other.

Jonathan Bernis: So, let's put up a slide here because I think the first thing that we need to suggest, and this is really a correction, and it may sound the same, but it's not really. Is the idea of Trinity. Trinity does convey three.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, three persons, three entities.

Jonathan Bernis: But maybe a more, but a more accurate word would be Tri-Unity. That God isn't a Trinity, he's a Tri-Unity and that's brought out by our confession of faith in Deuteronomy 6:4, we have something called the Shema.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: "Hear, o Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one". But listen to it in Hebrew now. "Shema Israel" - hear, o Israel, "Adonai Eloheinu" - the Lord our God, "Adonai" - the Lord, "Adonai Echad" - the Lord is one. But that word "Echad" is very unique and helps us understand the idea of a Tri-Unity.

Ezra Benjamin: It is. And Jonathan it is two things, to be fair when you're counting in Hebrew, you know, 1,2,3 - "Echad, shtayim, shalosh", you know, Echad does mean the number one, but the root here in Hebrew means more than that. It can also mean in the way that it's applied here in this great confession of the Jewish faith. Deuteronomy 6:4, Echad is unity in perfect oneness, and another use of another form of that word in Hebrew is "Yachad", you know, we know the verse. "How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in perfect unity". And the word there in Hebrew is "Yachad", it's related, it's that same root, one in perfect unity. And so, what God's saying here to Moses and to the people of Israel isn't to Moses and to the people of Israel isn't God is the number one. He's saying, "God exists within himself in perfect unity and he's inseparable".

Jonathan Bernis: A Tri-Unity, we see in scripture.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Now, notice a couple times this is used. Echad is used to describe the union, between man and woman. Their individual, but they're coming together in marriage, and they're becoming one flesh.

Ezra Benjamin: Oneness and perfect unity.

Jonathan Bernis: Echad, oneness and perfect unity, they become Echad, one.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: A bunch of grapes, has many grapes, but it's Echad, it's one bunch, but there's multiple grapes. The idea here is not that there's three Gods, but that there is one God and this is emphasized, I think, in the New Testament as well, but in perfect unity. A Tri-Unity, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Ezra give it, you have another example.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, Isaiah 48. Moving ahead, a few 100 pages in the Old Testament, of the Jewish Bible. Yeah, Isaiah 48:16, says this, "Come near me and listen to this: 'from the first announcement I've not spoken in secret: at the time it happens, I am there.' Now the sovereign Lord has sent me, endowed with his Spirit". The sovereign Lord has sent me endowed with his Spirit. And so, we see these references throughout the Old Testament, Jonathan, where it's referring to the Lord to YHWH in the Hebrew, to the omnipotent one, you know, the omniscient one, the all-powerful one, but then referring to his own Spirit. It's these references and we can skip over them and read it and go, "That's very poetic". But we need to understand here God, if you will, the Father is referring to his own Spirit. Oneness with distinction but oneness with.

Jonathan Bernis: It's a great verse. It's a great verse. You know when you look at the Jewish scriptures, when you look at the Torah. Just look at the creation story, you have God who is everywhere in the one sense, but he is speaking forth creation and it says that "The Spirit of God," that's the Ruach is hovering over this void earth.

Ezra Benjamin: The first few chapters, first few verses in the entire Bible we already see, and the Spirit of God.

Jonathan Bernis: So, you already see bi-unity in the first few verses of the Hebrew scriptures. So, God is one.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: He's one God, he's the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He's the God of Israel, but he's also speaking into existence, the all of creation and the Spirit of God is bringing this to pass as God speaks, the Spirit of God is bringing this to pass. So, you have the bi-unity and then of course, in John 1 that, "In the beginning was the word, that, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was God".

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: So, you have the word then, who was part of creation, nothing was created without him.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: The word was with God, the word was, in fact, God. So not three Gods, not a Trinity, but a Tri-Unity, one God, manifest in Father, Son, and Spirit.

Ezra Benjamin: Jonathan there's so many more examples we could give I'm think of a couple right now in the book of Isaiah where we see this perfect unity represented, if you will multiple persons or multiple manifestations. You know these verses but let me give you the context. This is Isaiah 9 and it's the great, if you will, Messianic prophecy right? Talking about the Messiah who would be born. And it says in verse 6 of chapter 9, "For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders". So, there's this Son who's gonna rule the government and then listen, who's gonna rule the government and then listen, "And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace". Now, wait a minute, I thought it was the Son who's ruling and the government will be on his shoulders. How can he also be called Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace? Because it's that perfect unity represented in these multiple persons, these manifestation of God.

Jonathan Bernis: And I think this is one of these concepts that's so infinite, that we can't fully understand it. You can say water I steam, but that's good but this is an infinite concept, that there's one God, Father, Son and Spirit. They're all one but they're all distinct in character and nature.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: That's mind blowing.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and this really answers, you know, another verse I'm thinking of Jonathan is Isaiah 61, you know this as well because Jesus quotes it when he reads from the Torah, when he reads from the scriptures, the scroll in the synagogue from the scriptures, the scroll in the synagogue in the New Testament. It says, "The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor to bind up the brokenhearted". And it goes on. And Yeshua, Jesus is reading this, the Spirit is on him. Well, the scripture say Jesus himself say, "I and the Father are one". And yet the Spirit of the Lord is on him, empowering him to minister. It's another example that the persons, the complexity of God himself, working together in perfect unity to what only he can do.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. But when you think about this and I know this might be getting Philosophical, but this relationship of a perfect unity within the personhood of God or the God head is emphases the idea of relationship. Right? So, you have this wonderful relationship within this one God. It's again, we're talking about infinite concepts with the finite so, that's not, with the finite so, that's not, I guess it's something that's more understood here.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure, and I think two take aways, Jonathan, even thus far in our time together today is - as you said God is a God of relationship. He's not this distant unknowable force like Islam believes. You can never truly know God, he can't be known, he can't be loved or he can't love you. Our God, the God of Israel and the God of all nations and the God of all who would call upon him is not that way. He's a relational God and despite Jewish objections, we see this Tri-Unity of God represented all through the Old Testament.

Jonathan Bernis: And he's one God. The New Testament does not teach three Gods, it's one God.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: When we come back, we're gonna talk about the distinct person of the Father. I think we know a lot about the Son as believers. We know a lot about the Ruach, the Spirit, but do we really know about the Father? Maybe the Jewish community about the Father? Maybe the Jewish community knows more about the Father, the nature of the Father than we do. I think it's an important thing to talk about. We do have to take a break when we come back, we're gonna continue this conversation but I want our announcer to tell you about some of the outreaches and opportunities that we're making available here at Jewish Voice. You're giving today will support out medical outreaches in Africa, our humanitarian aid around the world to Jewish communities and their neighbors and we believe that God is calling you to partner with us. To fulfill Romans 1:16, that the gospel is to the Jew first. Your funds, your partnership is needed to keep these vital outreaches alive and together we are fulfilling God's call, to the Jewish people and nations of the world. Don't go away Ezra and I and nations of the world. Don't go away Ezra and I will be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: Before we get back into our discussion, I just want to take a moment together with Ezra to say thank you to all of you who support Jewish Voice. We couldn't do the work we do without you and we are so grateful, especially to our monthly partners, you keep us going every month we're able to bring team, to provide medical care, dental care, eye care. We're able to send money to our partner ministries in Israel and Ukraine in particular. Thank you, we're so grateful. In particular. Thank you, we're so grateful. We really are it means so much. Well, Ezra we've been discussing the one true God.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Manifested in three as a triune God. And we were talking about Trinity being misleading, and many Jewish people understand Christians to believe in three Gods. We don't believe in three Gods in the New Testament, we believe in one God.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right and quick, you know, proof text, if you will. If you're talking with a Jewish friend, Jewish colleague, maybe Jewish extended family member and they go you Christians believe in three Gods, we believe in one. Well, the same Old Testament scripture we've been reading from today, Jonathan that says, "Hear, o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one", Echad. Also refers to God as the Father and refers to him as the Spirit and it says, in one place it says, "Do you know the name of his Son? Do you know his name? And do you know the name of his Son"? So, that language of these persons of God, that Tri-Unity is all over the Old Testament. That Tri-Unity is all over the Old Testament.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, that's an Old Testament reference it also, Psalm 2 says, "Embrace the Son".

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: "Lest you perish from the way". The Hebrew scriptures are filled with references to of course, the God of Israel, the Spirit of God and the Mashiach, the Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: Now, moving right along Jonathan, you know, I think, sometimes the danger is we read the Old Testament and say, "That's the Father who's kind of generally angry". And then we read the New Testament and we say, "Well, that's the Son who's generally happy and glad and died for our sins". And yet in the ministry and the words, the red letter if you will: in the words of Yeshua, we constantly see him pointing to the Father.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, we put a great deal of emphasis on the Son.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: As we should be. Every knee will bow, every tongue confess, that he is Lord to the glory of the Father, and we focus on the Son. I think many are very focused on the Holy Spirit, which is not a bad thing, on the Holy Spirit, which is not a bad thing, but what about the Father? The Father is so central, God the Father is so central to the scripture. The New Testament as well that I think there is a lack of understanding about the Father. In fact, this scripture now, "Pray in the name of Yeshua" and Jesus said, "Pray to the Father in my name".

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Do you do that? Do you actually pray to the Father in the name of the Son and in the name of Jesus or Yeshua?

Ezra Benjamin: And you know I'm picturing, you know the dinner table somewhere in Iowa. We love you. If you're watching from Iowa thanks for joining. You know, "Okay, let's pray, 'Dear Jesus...'" and you know, the Lord sees the intention of our heart. I think he's gonna hear us, right? You know, he's looking inward not at the outward appearance or even the words. But when the disciples are asking, "How should we pray"? In Matthew 6, this is Yeshua's answer. He says, "This, then, is how you should pray". This is verse 9 of Matthew 6, "Pray: Our Father in heaven, may your name be glorified and lifted up or hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven". So, Jesus, that God man who's about to die for the sins of Israel, and the sins of all mankind is saying, "This is how you pray, let me teach you, Father, abba, daddy, who art in heaven, may your name be glorified and lifted up". So, this is the Messiah himself saying, "You're praying in my name, on the merit of what I'm about to do for you. Slain since the foundations of the world, but you're praying to the Father".

Jonathan Bernis: It's interesting, you know, he doesn't avoid his true identity. He says, "I and the Father are one".

Ezra Benjamin: Totally.

Jonathan Bernis: He says, "Before Abraham was, I am". He's making it clear who he is, he knows who he is, he's not an ordinary man. He's not a created being, he is part of the triune God.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: But also in another sense, he's subordinate in serving the Father.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: He doesn't say, "Pray to me for your daily bread". He says, "Here's how for your daily bread". He says, "Here's how you should pray to the Father, you're praying to God, give us this day our daily bread".

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: When it talks about the need for laborers, he said, "Pray to the Lord of the harvest".

Ezra Benjamin: Right, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, so pray, it's actually in Hebrew, such an interesting word. Beg, implore the Lord of the harvest, the Father, to thrust forth laborers into his harvest fields.

Jonathan Bernis: There are so many clear references to the Father, and I just, I just think we overlooked them. We have a blind spot.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. Now, Jonathan, one quick thing here is we're running out of time, you know, in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, let me quote two verses here, Exodus 33:20. God speaking with Moses, right, it says, Moses was like a friend to him. And he says, "You cannot see my face and live, for no man has seen my face and lived". This is the Father, if you will, speaking to Moses, saying, "You can't see me, I can't be seen face to face". And then John 1:18, confirms I can't be seen face to face". And then John 1:18, confirms that in the New Testament, for no one has ever seen God. Speaking of the Father, if you will. No one has ever seen the Almighty and yet, Jesus said, "Anyone who's seen me has seen the Father". And so Jesus is not only our mediator as we're praying, but our way to have that closeness to have that restored relationship with the Father. We can't see him yet, one day in eternity I believe we will. But right now, what we can see is the manifest glory of God manifested through the person of Jesus.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. So, when it talks about the Father, he's in shadows.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: There's an image, there's a light, there's the back.

Ezra Benjamin: That cannot be directly seen.

Jonathan Bernis: Moses sees the back, but God the Father, this is the picture of the holy God.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Who, the God who in a Shekhinah

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: In his kavod, in his weight, and in his glory, can't fully be seen.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: But the Son who is the grace and the mercy. These are all attributes of God.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: The attributes of holiness and justice and righteousness are all part of who God is. But then you have Jesus expressing the love, the redemption, the healing, the mercy of God and he's visible to the world. "You've seen me, you've also seen the Father". Not in absolute fullness but in part.

Ezra Benjamin: Jonathan, it's just amazing to kind a meditate on for a minute, right? Moses is so close to God. But God says, "You can't see me. You can only see my back". And then it says that "God made all of his own glory" to pass before Moses and Moses is held in the cleft of the rock, right? And it says, "The Lord though, this is my glory, Moses, I'm going to show you who I am. The Lord the Lord, compassionate and gracious God, forgiving iniquity, pardoning the transgressors even to a thousand generations". And we go, "Well, that's great but that's description of him, and we go, "Well, that's great but that's description of him, I can't see him and yet John and Hebrews: the writer of Hebrews are very clear that Jesus is the expressed manifestation of the glory of God. Jesus is the manifestation of the Lord, the Lord, compassionate and gracious God, pardoning iniquity to a thousand generations.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. It's mind blowing, I just wanna go back and just emphasize the Father, in this revelation of the triune God. First of all, we're praying to him.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: If we wanna get it scripturally, right. We're praying to the Father, through the Son, who's our intercessor, who was our mediary. Right, there's a mediary. There needs to be a mediary but it's God himself who's the mediary. Then the second thing, we haven't seen God face to face, we've seen, we've seen God in the person of Yeshua, but we haven't seen the Father face to face and then also, the Son is leading us to the Father, right? He's the way the truth and life, no one comes to the Father. What's the goal? To come to the Father. And then the final thing, the Father is the one that holds on all knowledge.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Jesus said, "It's not for you to know the times of the seasons. It's not for you to know the hour rather, but only my Father".

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: He holds that truth.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right, it's an incredible thought to know that there's things that even the Son is not aware of only the Father knows it's incredible.

Jonathan Bernis: Get to know the Father. Get to know all aspects of the one truth God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ezra we need to take a short break so we can share some of the information with you about resources we're making available this week. Resources that will help you and then make sure to stay with us, in just a few minutes we'll come back and pray for your needs, the needs of your family, many, many needs have come to us this week, we've prayed for everyone of them. Don't go away we'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: Truly one of the names of God is Adonai Yireh, the Lord will provide. You might know him by the name Jehovah Jireh, but it's Adonai Yireh, the Lord will provide and he will provide for your needs today. We're going to agree with you right now.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Ezra we're gonna join in together, where two or three agreeing on earth is touching anything, it shall be done. Those needs are met. So, Lord, we come before you and we lift up the needs of those who are watching right now, or who have written to us, or send us an email. Adonai Yireh, you're the Lord who provides for every need. Adonai Yireh, you're the Lord who provides for every need. You're the Lord who hears and answers prayer. We speak healing right now, we pray for divine provision for a creative miracle, for healing for those that are fighting cancer, for those who are fighting life threatening illnesses. In the name of Yeshua, in Jesus name, we speak life, life, life we speak provision financially, spiritually, emotionally, we pray for restoration of families. We declare it you are Adonai Yireh, the Lord who provides and we thank you for that, Lord, we thank you for your Tri-Unity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that is truly in relationship, perfect unity as a whole, as one God. Amen.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: If you'd like more information about our ministry, you can log on to our website, jewishvoice.tv and you'll find many helpful resources there. You can send us prayer requests right to the website. You can send us prayer requests right to the website. I want you to know that we care about you and we pray for your needs, most importantly, that God loves you and cares for your needs. I want to thank you for your support of Jewish Voice around the world. And as we close the program today, Ezra and I want to remind you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The Bible says, "They shall prosper who love thee". Ezra thank you for joining me again today and until next week, we want to say to you shalom, and God bless you.
Comment
Are you Human?:*