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Lesson for Jesus from the deposed King of Tyre

August 11, 2014

jesus1That a new budding religion of Christianity has turned a dead first century Jewish man into a god and worshiped him may sound strange today, but in the ancient world such a thing was actually extremely common. It was not at all unusual for a leader, a monarch, who was usually an absolute ruler of a nation, to exalt himself to the status of deity and then demand that his subjects worship him. Many ancient rulers were also deified after their death, including those who reigned during Jesus’ own lifetime, as was the case with the Roman emperors.

The king of Tyre was one such god-king. He too thought very highly of himself, imagining himself to be a god filled with a supernatural wisdom that men should seek and admire. However, the G-d of Israel tells us (Isaiah 42:8) that He is not about to share His glory with another. No mortal man can claim deity and continue to stand before his Maker. And because the G-d of Israel doesn’t tolerate idols in His Presence, He had Ezekiel issue the following prophecy about the king of Tyre:

“Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the L-rd G-d: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god—you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you;…. therefore thus says the L-rd G-d: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god, therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They shall thrust you down into the pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’ in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but a man, and no god, in the hands of those who slay you? You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the L-rd G-d.” (Ezekiel 28)

The similarities to the deified Jesus of Christianity are startling. The New Testament elevates Jesus to the status of G-d Himself, and like the king of Tyre, even sitting him in the “seat of the gods” – G-d’s own throne. However, just like the fallen king of Tyre, Jesus too was “but a man, and no god”, even though his followers proclaimed and worshiped him as such, focusing their attention on the exalted man. G-d tolerates no usurpation of His glory and authority.

In the end, the G-d of Israel mocks and asks the king of Tyre, a mortal man like all other men: “Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’ in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but a man, and no god, in the hands of those who slay you?”

Jesus was no god either in the hands of those who slew him. Being a mere mortal who was exalted to deity like the king of Tyre, Jesus also met his death in a very similar fashion – the death “of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners“. For the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will not be mocked.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce permalink
    August 11, 2014 2:43 pm

    Gene, could it have been that Yeshua is Messiah ben Yosef?

    ………..

    How’s life in Israel for you? You don’t blog to much about your life there.

  2. August 11, 2014 3:01 pm

    “Gene, could it have been that Yeshua is Messiah ben Yosef?”

    Bruce, he couldn’t have been for many reasons. For one, there’s nothing explicit about this person in the Hebrew Bible – it’s later minority midrashic tradition. Besides the fact that the Jewish tradition is quite vague about who that person is or even if he’s real, ben Yosef specifically means from one of the tribes of Joseph, the biblical patriarch. Jesus claimed to be the son of David and NT claims a Davidic lineage for him.

    Also, in Judaism “messiah” simply means anointed, not necessarily “THE Messiah”, since there were MANY “anointed” in the Bible, including leaders, priests, prophets, etc. Christians sometimes purposely selectively translate the Hebrew scriptures as “anointed” or as “messiah”, even though it’s one and the same word.

    “How’s life in Israel for you? You don’t blog to much about your life there.”

    Bruce, although I have many close family members in Israel (my grandparents, uncles and cousins) and I’ve been to Israel a number of times, I live in the good ‘ol USA.

  3. Bruce permalink
    August 11, 2014 3:51 pm

    I didn’t know about you living in the USA, I thought you made Aliyah and was fortunate enough to be able to stay and not leave like so many who do.

    If some christians and Messianic Jews & gentiles are obeying Torah why attack them? Not all believe that Yeshua is G-d His gospels and His words indicated that He was a servant of G-d and due to his obedience to the Torah G-d exalted Him to a Status never before declared to a individual.

    I just read a old blog post documenting your return back to Judaism[ I didn’t know you were so deep involved with these major groups of the MJ movement.

    http://orthodoxmessianic.blogspot.com/2013/10/gene-shlomovich-umjc-trained-ffoz.html

    You know true Messianic Judaism is Judaism but with the acknowledgement the rabbi Yeshua was a suffering servant for not G-d and His suffering elevated Him to the right hand of G-d.

  4. August 11, 2014 4:26 pm

    “I didn’t know about you living in the USA, I thought you made Aliyah and was fortunate enough to be able to stay and not leave like so many who do.”

    Most in fact stay – Israel is now home to the majority of world’s Jews. None of my friends or family has gone back. Thanks be to G-d!

    “If some christians and Messianic Jews & gentiles are obeying Torah why attack them?”

    I don’t attack individuals (look at my posts) but idolatry of worshiping a human being as a god. At the same time, how can one “obey Torah” while participating in idolatry? It’s the opposite of obeying Torah!

    “Not all believe that Yeshua is G-d”

    Most do. And those who say they don’t, still worship Jesus in some capacity AND freely associate with those who do.

    “His words indicated that He was a servant of G-d”

    Why capitalize “His” if you don’t believe him to be G-d? In the Western tradition only G-d deserves capitalization.

    “I just read a old blog post documenting your return back to Judaism[ I didn’t know you were so deep involved with these major groups of the MJ movement.”

    Yep, quite deep indeed.

    “You know true Messianic Judaism is Judaism but with the acknowledgement the rabbi Yeshua was a suffering servant for not G-d and His suffering elevated Him to the right hand of G-d.”

    G-d will not share His glory with anyone. There’s nobody sitting next to G-d, especially Jesus. Jesus is proclaimed as the savior alongside G-d. But what does G-d think about such an arrangement:

    “But I have been the L-RD your G-d ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no G-d but me, no Savior except me.” (Hosea 13:4)

    Besides, how many MJ’s do not subscribe to JC’s divinity? Judging from my experience I can probably gather them all in one average-sized room. At the same time, most of those I have met worship in MJ congregations where Jesus is worshiped as G-d

  5. David permalink
    August 11, 2014 5:55 pm

    Hi Gene.

    Could you comment on the importance of the alleged resurrection of JC to both the Christian movement in the beginning as well as to you personally when you were Messianic?

    I ask, because, as I have been considering this issue, and have been reading and commenting on this blog, it seems to me that, regardless of the “inspiration” of the NT, or even for that matter, it’s seeming error, the veracity of JC as a messianic figure rides on the fact or fiction of this event.

    I should mention that I am not asking here about similarities to pagan resurrection myths, which quite naturally could have evolved around JC over time, but rather I mean the Jewish/biblical notion of techiyas hameisim.

    I would appreciate your thoughts.

  6. Bruce permalink
    August 12, 2014 12:23 pm

    True Gene I did capitalize. I Just realized that according to Jewish interpretation Yeshua is not the Messiah [puzzling at the moment].

    But I must ask, as now outside looking in, in all honesty, whats Your view of Messianic judaism and its focus etc… You were one of the many voices in the Movement at the time Advocating BE.

    Now that your out of the MJ movement and have returned to Judaism, what’s your take on MJ?

    The movement is slowly maturing the Messianic publish arm Vine of David has contributed A Well put together Sabbath Siddur which respects the Jewish traditions. So slowly resources are becoming available to the Movement, but anyway like I said earlier I must ask, as now outside looking in, in all honesty, whats your view of messianic judaism and its focus etc… You were one of the many voices in the movement at the time advocating BE do you still think thats a valid concept?

    – Bruce

  7. August 12, 2014 12:46 pm

    @David…

    “Could you comment on the importance of the alleged resurrection of JC to both the Christian movement in the beginning as well as to you personally when you were Messianic?”

    I think that Christianity placed paramount importance on the resurrection event for the following reasons:

    1. It allowed Christians to proclaim Jesus as still living, as G-d and with G-d, as a divine figure that can be prayed to and worshiped. (Note: with the proliferation of venerated and prayed-to “alive with Jesus” saints within Orthodox Christianity Jesus’ BODILY resurrection vs. a spiritual ascension doesn’t seem as so important practical a distinction for Orthodox Christians).

    2. It’s not at all certain that the earliest Christians believed that Jesus was BODILY resurrected. The earliest gospel we have in our possession, Mark, doesn’t end with anyone seeing the resurrected Jesus at all, physical or as a spirit. Later church scribes, no doubt troubled by this, added their own (and quite ridiculous) ending of Jesus’ resurrected appearance as can be seen in all NIV versions.

    Other synoptic gospels (Matthew and Luke) have Jesus behaving like a spirit. He appears out of nowhere and not even recognizable. Matthew 28:17 claims that some of those who saw the “resurrected” Jesus doubted it was him.

    Paul was seeing visions of Jesus (since the physical Jesus had already ascended to the heavens by then according to the NT) but Paul STILL claimed in 1 Corinthians 15 to have “seen Jesus” just like the Apostles did.

    He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.

    This brings into question how exactly Jesus appeared to the apostles to begin with!

    Only the so called “spiritual” gospel of John (the one that disagrees with the synoptic gospels in most factual and historical details), written at the end of the first or at the beginning of second century has Jesus with a physical body that can be touched, complete with wounds, eating food and preparing breakfast.

    3. The claimed bodily resurrection of Jesus served to the later Christians as confirmation and approval of his authority from G-d Himself. I mean can there be miraculous healing and resurrection without G-d approving of the person? According to the Book of Revelation the answer is yes! In Revelation:13:2-3 even the Devil has the power to heal and resuscitate! (I know, I know… it’s just a weird apocalyptic vision, but still…).

    As for me personally, of course when I was a Christian/MJ i believed that Jesus was resurrected. It was important to me for the same reasons I outlined above. After all, I believed Paul who said that if Jesus didn’t get resurrected, the religion he propagated was hopeless.

    “Jewish/biblical notion of techiyas hameisim”

    As you know, we already have a few examples of a few miraculously resurrected dead in the Tanakh, so Jesus was not a pioneer in this area. Prophet Elijah resurrected the son of a widow. A dead man who touched the bones of Elisha also sprung back to life. We even have some people going up into heaven before Jesus and in a superior way to him – even without dying – Enoch and Elijah. However, as far as Jews are concerned the great and permanent Resurrection will happen at the End. That Jesus according to Christianity and without any evidence to confirm it got there first is meaningless to Jews – what good does it do to those who have been awaiting their turn for thousands of year and will not be resurrected any faster or better?

  8. August 12, 2014 1:06 pm

    @Bruce

    “Now that your out of the MJ movement and have returned to Judaism, what’s your take on MJ?”

    First of all, demographically speaking, as a so-called “Judaism” the Messianic Movement is dying from the lack of Jews. Most of its Jewish growth came in the 60’s and 70’s during the Jesus Movement when hippie Jews (along with everyone else in that generation) were looking for a spiritual outlet. Ever since then most of its growth came from Gentile Evangelicals filling in the ranks. I would say that from my experience there are no more than 10% to 15% of members who are Jewish according to Jewish law. This is speaking of movement as a whole – some congregations may have more or fewer Jews on their rosters.

    This means that there are very few actual Messianic Jews below ages of 60 and 50. Many so called MJ congregations have no Jews at all. It’s becoming another Evangelical denomination, in minor key. I lamented this fact during my MJ days, and I wasn’t the only one. However, the lack of Jews is not why I returned to Judaism. I was willing to endure this “for G-d”. What led me back is being confronted with facts.

    “You were one of the many voices in the movement at the time advocating BE do you still think thats a valid concept?”

    It’s no more valid than the sum of MJ parts, that is Messianic Judaism as a whole. That the “Church of Christ” has two wings, Gentile and Jewish one, is not relevant to the Jewish people. However, the so called “BE” idea that Jews and Gentiles have their own unique ways to serve G-d – THAT is a Jewish idea.

    However, the negative attitude of some Messianic Gentiles toward the BE (and Messianic Jews who advocate it) as a movement of Jews and for Jews actually betrays their under-the-surface attitude toward Judaism and the Jewish people.

  9. David permalink
    August 15, 2014 12:26 pm

    Gene,

    Thank you for your response to resurrection question.

    Also, I agree completely with you regarding both BE and many MG’s hatred for it.

    While still in MJ, (but seriously questioning everything they were saying) I realized that both the book of Acts (chapter 15, and 21) as well as Jewish tradition (sheva mitzvos) make it clear that non-Jews were not required/obligated to keep all of the commandments given to Israel.

    When I began to try and explain to others that there was an obvious difference in roles between Israel and the nations, I could not believe the anger that resulted as well as the ridiculous arguments and outright hatred for Rabbinic tradition, especially among the so-called “One-Law” groups.

    Additionally, MJ’s I knew and who were loving and sincere, often talked about obeying Torah, but had no real interest in really doing so, or had no knowledge as to how to actually do it.

    I can’t emphasize enough how all of my experiences have shown me how important halacha, is.

  10. Marleen permalink
    August 18, 2014 2:17 pm

    Gene,

    Hi. I appreciate your site. I have a question. How do you, OR DO you, compare, contrast or relate the passage of Ezekiel 28 above with the Psalm that says something about Israeli (men, I suppose) Jews being referred to as gods — and then dying nevertheless as men?

  11. August 18, 2014 2:32 pm

    Marleen… welcome to the blog.

    I understand it as G-d calling Israelites “godlike”, by virtue of all of them being G-d’s sons (which is exactly what the Psalm notes). Indeed, this is exactly how this Hebrew translation translates it: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2682.htm

    In Ezekiel 28, the king of Tyre exalted himself to the status of god, to the throne of god. He called himself god, where’s in Psalms, it is G-d Himself who refers to the Israelites as “godlike” (the word “elohim” could also mean judges and exalted beings, e.g. angels, other than G-d) BECAUSE they are all His sons (His own statement, not merely a claim made by Israelites themselves).

  12. Marleen permalink
    August 18, 2014 5:30 pm

    Does it make sense to you that Jesus/J’shua/Y’shua was/is (or could be properly seen as) godlike in the sense of judging properly (as contrasted with whoever wasn’t doing so)?

  13. August 18, 2014 5:43 pm

    In a sense that ANY Jew has a spark of G-d within him or her, yes. But not because JC was judging properly, if the accounts of him we have in the NT are to be believed. He was a false prophet who prophecied many falsehoods about his return, he demanded that his followers love him above all else, he equated himself with G-d and didn’t rebuke those who called him “G-d”, and did many other things like this that I already touched upon on my blog. He diverted the worship of the True G-d onto himself.

  14. Marleen permalink
    August 18, 2014 6:53 pm

    A question out of curiosity: As I am not anything of a Hebrew expert, I have wondered if it could have been David (or whoever wrote that Psalm as I have heard he didn’t write all the Psalms) who referred to the sons of Israel as godlike.

    And I’m new here. Thank you for the welcoming. Would you please list or give me links or a link to these places where JC equated himself, didn’t rebuke, prophesied falsely and diverted worship to himself, and did so above all else?

  15. August 18, 2014 6:56 pm

    No, it was G-d Himself who was being quoted in the Psalms (and yes, not all of which were written by David)

  16. August 18, 2014 7:08 pm

    As for the rest, if you know your NT you will easily find what I am talking about (and again, if you look through my blog, I have already went into great detail about JC’s exploits.)

  17. Marleen permalink
    August 18, 2014 8:43 pm

    Actually, people have mostly had to claim that Jewish idioms or whatever else make it clear, not that it’s obvious from simply reading. One example would be that Psalm.

  18. August 18, 2014 11:24 pm

    Well, Marleen, the church scribes who penned the NT got a lot of Hebrew wrong, chiefly because they were ignorant of it, and instead worked from various Greek translations, many of which were of poor quality.

  19. Marleen permalink
    August 19, 2014 9:19 am

    Most specifically, have you “already touched upon” (in the sense of explaining) Jesus claiming to be God or equating himself? Since this Psalm doesn’t hold up as exemplary, and I noticed that previously when looking at it in context after people have said being a son of God would be equality… this is what I mean. Links to your work would seem easy to do.

  20. August 19, 2014 10:49 am

    Marleen, I am at this moment vacationing with my family, so my time interacting is quite limited. When I am able, I will post links and other info for you.

    I do have a question for you – in the Hebrew scriptures, who is G-d’s firstborn son?

  21. Marleen permalink
    August 19, 2014 3:14 pm

    In the Exodus, God referred to Israel as “firstborn son” — while this is clearly different from the “firstborn” son forwarded as fairly comparable when God said Pharaoh would lose his. I also can see it as possible there could be other meanings or applications (but I don’t know if that is blatantly demonstrated already in Hebrew scripture but do think it’s probable there were “sons” — plural, or at least one, further showing the designation as a concept denoting importance and not necessarily a single possessor in all of history) before in time. I already said I’m not an expert in Hebrew, so I’m not sure why you ask me this; please be most specific to the idea of J’shua claiming to be God or the equivalent. I’m answering your question to some degree, but I ask that you not treat this as initiated by me.

  22. August 19, 2014 3:48 pm

    Can there be a more than one “firstborn son” by its very definition, Marleen? I am asking you because JC, Christianity claims, is the “firstborn son of G-d” uniquely. The Jewish people, the very nation that wrote the Bible, see this as an attempt to supercede them via an idolatrous demigod.

  23. Marleen permalink
    August 19, 2014 11:37 pm

    I thought you were going to get sidetracked with that like I brought it up, which I didn’t.

  24. Marleen permalink
    August 19, 2014 11:54 pm

    I hoped you wouldn’t. Oh well. It’s your site, but in good faith I thought maybe you’d have a better reason to ask than smoke and mirrors. I really don’t care if the result of a look into the topic would yield what you are aiming at; if that were the subject matter and I spent lots of time looking into whether there was ever a “son” before that moment in time or whether the phrase was used again in Hebrew scripture, then that would be something to address (and I’d face it honestly). But if you just want to spin a person around and tell them they’re stupid and not to waste time asking you direct questions , have fun.

  25. August 20, 2014 12:13 am

    I ask to see where you currenly stand and where you may wish to remain standing.

  26. David permalink
    August 20, 2014 12:50 am

    Marlene,

    Sorry to butt in here, but I think Gene’s point is fairly clear and free of any sidetracking or manipulation.

    I obviously don’t speak for anyone on this site, but I think the point/his point is that Israel and JC can’t both be G-d’s “first born son” as that would be a contradiction in terms.

    In the Tanakh, promises are made to a nation, Israel, who is G-d’s firstborn son among the nations (his other children so to speak) and as His firstborn, the nation of Israel has both additional responsibilities and promises/inheritance.

    Basically, with perhaps a few exceptions, in the NT, the fulfillment of these promises are no longer to Israel, but to JC, “the Son” and “heir” and therefore the promises now go to his “body” the church.

    So the ultimate issue is Christian replacement of Israel by JC and, by extension, the replacement of Israel by the church (those “one with him”)

  27. Marleen permalink
    August 21, 2014 2:15 pm

    The “ultimate issue” amongst Messianics/ex-Messianics is always (or should be to a great extent) replacement and the clarity that this should not have happened and should not be supported. But if distinct topics can’t be addressed and we only have a new person and following emerging to play around with people as religious leaders tend to do, there is lacking a serious point to the activity. As Gene himself has pointed out that being a Jew [and, obviously, being a Christian] doesn’t necessarily mean something truthful and genuine is going on, Gene doesn’t get a pass (although, as I said, it’s his site and he can do pretty much what he wants — and anyone else can decide whether it’s worth their time and focus, or lack of fruitful focus). I have, and likely others do, enough experience with religious people who are impressed with themselves where I see (we can see) through it. Somehow, it really seems reasonable that the evidence/examples of the topic of the heading here, even when a reader asks for it, is dependent and withheld because of something about me the reader? Presumably, Gene has already done the work upholding what he chose to post on? Or no?

  28. August 21, 2014 2:29 pm

    Marleen, as I noted in one of my comments, I was away for a few days (vacationing with my family) and had only limited time to reply to comments on my blog. I will attempt to answer your questions as soon as I can get to them.

  29. Marleen permalink
    August 21, 2014 10:15 pm

    I’m not impatient. A family vacation is important.

    But I won’t be posting a resume or dissertation.

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