Only the Jews understood God
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman,
“You worship what you do not know, we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).
In this statement, Jesus brought us two truths:
- only the Jews had the proper understanding of God, and
- our salvation requires a proper understanding of God.
In the fourth Century, the Gentiles created a model, or image of God, that they themselves could not even understand.
Explaining the Trinity doctrine they had created, Jerome wrote,
“The true profession of the mystery of the Trinity is to own that we do not comprehend it.”1
And Gregory of Narzianzus said,
“When I think of any of the three I think of him as the whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me.” 2
Jesus told us that our salvation requires a proper understanding of God.
We are going to find out, that this is indeed the Bible’s teaching.
There are many who are not going to be saved, because they do not have the correct belief about God.
So what was the understanding of God that was held by the Jews?
The Jews understood that God was nameless in the Old Testament
The Jews understood that God was nameless in the Old Testament. In 150 AD, Justin Martyr wrote: “And all the Jews even now teach that the nameless God spoke to Moses.” 3
Three centuries later, Bishop Theodoret of Cyrus wrote: “The Jews call it AIA (I WILL BE) while the Samaritans call it YABE.” 4
I WILL BE was the name God gave Himself at the burning bush, and He WILL BE was the name God gave His Messenger.
I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE, therefore, you shall say to the children of Israel, “I WILL BE has sent me to you.” Moreover…you shall say to the children of Israel, “He WILL BE, the ELOHIM of your fathers…has sent me to you.”Exodus 3:14-15
He WILL BE is the name that the Jewish people refused to speak, so that today, no one is even certain of its real Hebrew pronunciation. Because the Hebrew language is written without vowels.
In the 12th Century, Jewish scribes, who rejected Christ as their Messiah, added vowel markings to the consonants of the name He WILL BE, to create the name Jehovah.
In the 19th Century, the Hebrew scholar William Gesenius realized this pronunciation could not be supported by the verb “to be,” and he created a theory of the name YAHWEH, using YABE, the name used by the Samaritans.
But today, even the supporters of the name YAHWEH have realized that this pronunciation was impossible in Moses’ time.
And most importantly, as Jesus explained, the Samaritans worshiped that which they did not know. In Jesus’ day, all the Jews taught that “the nameless God spoke to Moses.”
The Jews knew that men have only seen God’s Messenger, “the Word”
To this day, the Jewish people believe that no one has seen God at any time. Men have only seen God’s Messenger, who was “the Word.” In 30 AD, the Jewish theologian Philo described the Word, saying:
“His firstborn Word, the eldest of His angels, as the great Archangel of many names; for He is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God’s image…” 5
In Exodus Chapters 6 and 7, the Messenger of God, the Word, told Moses that He appeared to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty. Then He explained the meaning of the plural word ELOHIM, as one God who spoke for another.
The Greek text of John 1:1 reads:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and God was the Word.
The Apostle John’s message was that ELOHIM, in Genesis 1:1, was Jesus Christ.
Jesus Himself described the meaning of “the Word” when He said: “No one knows the Father but the Son” (Matthew 11:27); “You have neither heard His voice nor seen His form at any time” (John 5:37).
The Word was the visible God, who spoke on behalf of the invisible God, in the Old Testament.
We worship Christ as our Lord
God expressed His plan towards us in the first Chapter of the Bible, saying, “let Us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26).
On the cross, Jesus Christ proved Himself to be the perfect image of the invisible God.
God is love. (1 John 4:8)
Because He was obedient, even unto death, God highly exalted Him, and made Him our Lord, so that every knee would bow down, and worship Him (Philippians 2:8-10).