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Re-enthroning God, the Father

“Yeshua said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.’”
(Matthew 11:25)

by Paul Sumner


 

av

Avfather — consists of the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet (alef, beit) and is the first word in a Hebrew Bible dictionary.

One might say that all things — in heaven and on earth — begin with Av. This is so in the stories and messages in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.

Is He not your Father who formed you?
He has made you and established you.
Remember the days of old.

(Deuteronomy 32:6b-7a)

Time, space, human history all begin with Av. They will also end with him — and with the One whom he sent. For in the end of Old-Earth time, the Son will remit his rule over heaven and earth back "to God, even the Father," in order that the Father "may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:24, 28).

This future retransfer of lordship from Son to Father is not what we would expect. Usually, it's a father who remits his inheritance to the son (John 3:35; 13:3).

But if readers of the NT take seriously this end-time reversed investiture, they will perceive a central biblical teaching about Yeshua's identity. For while the NT focuses on him as Lord and Messiah, it never forgets that Yeshua "belongs" to Av.

Scripture does not relegate the Father to a wing of the Jerusalem Museum of Theological Antiquities that houses relics of faith once adored by pre-Christian Jews.

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As Scripture says,

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Hear him! (Matthew 17:5)

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. (Luke 1:35)

And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. (Rev 21:22)

In the last passage, the phrase "Lord God, the Almighty" is equivalent to "YHVH Elohim Tzeva'ot" in Hebrew or the "LORD God of Hosts" (Isa 11:2; 61:1). In the NT this title is not attributed to Yeshua. Instead, he is "the Lord Yeshua (the) Messiah." He is the Son of "the LORD God Tzeva'ot," who is Yeshua's "God" (John 20:17; Rev 3:12).

The NT throughout distinguishes between the Son and God.


1 John 2:22
"The antichirst [is] the one who denies the Father and the Son."
It portrays Yeshua as seated at the right hand of God (Heb 1:3; 10:12; 12:2). We are told the angels currently worship "Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb" (Rev 5:13). And one day, "the water of life" will flow "from the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev 22:1).

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Is Messiah our Father?
Some Christians refer to Yeshua as "Father." Some call him "Abba Father."

They cite the prophetic text in Isaiah 9:6 as validation for this practice: "His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." Since the Messiah is here called both "God" and "Father," it seems logical to simply join the two: Jesus is "God the Father."

But this is not biblical truth.

In the NT, "Abba" refers only to Yeshua's Father:
Mark 14:36: "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will but what you will." Rom 8:15: "...you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" Gal 4:6: "God has sent forth the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"

"Abba" is Aramaic, not Hebrew, though it is related to the Hebrew Av. In the NT, the word is transliterated exactly into Greek.

   

See the studies Yeshua bar Abba and Is Yeshua Abba the Father?

In the ancient world it was customary to call a king the "father" of his nation. In Israel, the founder or head of a tribe was the physical progenitor and father-head of the whole family. Other men of authority were considered fathers too.

In Egypt, Joseph said God had made him "a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt" (Gen 45:8).

Job said he was a "father [i.e., provider, protector] to the needy" (Job 29:16). Even a priest could be called a father (Judges 17:10; 18:19).

When Elijah ascended into heaven in the divine whirlwind, his protégé Elishah called out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen" (2 Kings 2:12).

King Joash followed this expression of respect for a prophet of God and addressed Elishah himself as "My father" (2 Kings 6:21). And the servants of Na'aman, the Syrian king, addressed their master as "father" (2 Kings 5:13).

If kings, patriarchs, counselors, prophets and priests were "father" to their people, how much more can be it said that Messiah is "father" to his people.

John 14:8
"Lord, show us the Father."
And yet — that is not the whole story. Yeshua taught his disciples to pray to their Father in heaven: to God His Father. Note his words to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection:

Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brethren and say to them, "I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God." (John 20:17)

Yeshua's Prayer to His Father in John 17 would seem to silence the idea that Jesus is God the Father. But even his own words do not have sufficient authority to change some people's belief systems.

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God, the Father of Many Children
The NT says Yeshua is "the first-born among many brethren" (Grk, adelphoi, Rom 8:29). In fact, these people "are from one Father" (Heb 2:11).

Yeshua's "brothers" (a term that often includes females) are those to whom "he gave the right to become children of God" (tekna theou, John 1:12). His believing followers come from the same Father as he. They, however, are adopted and their re-birthing is contrary to nature.

In contrast, Yeshua was not adopted: he is "the one and only" or "unique" son of his father (monogenes, John 3:16, 18).

Though he was the Unique Son (John 1:14, 18), Yeshua "learned obedience from the things he suffered" (Heb 5:8), for ""he had to made like [homoiothenai] his brethren" (Heb 2:17). He too submitted himself to the discipline of "the Father of spirits" (Heb 12:9).

John 14:6
"No one comes to
the Father,
but through me."
In the gospel accounts, Yeshua refers to "Father" some 180 times; 112 in John alone. The focus of his work, ministry, and redemptive purpose is to bring all people to the Father, to bring Israel back to the Father of their fathers.

What is clear in the gospels is that Yeshua doesn't talk as though he were God the Father, as though he alone is the supreme deity. In his teaching and prayers, he always, eventually, includes his Father in all that he does and say. This is particularly true in John.

He who sent me is with me. (John 8:29)

I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (John 16:32)

Holy Father, keep them...that they may be one, even as we are."
(John 17:11, 6)

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Notice the direct address from another of Yeshua's prayers:

I praise you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth. (Matt 11:25)

His words should have more meaning for his people. If we call Yeshua "Father," are we not making him a ventriloquist who talks to himself?

Let us be certain that the apostles did not try to mislead us. "Messiah also died for sins once for all...in order that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). For "through" Messiah "you...are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God" (1 Peter 1:21).

Note the later apostolic warning: "The antichrist...denies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22).

In contrast to these NT texts, some theologians, teachers, and TV preachers are so caught up in stressing the deity of the Son that they create a "Christ-Unitarianism," where he eclipses God the Father — bordering on Deicide. This isn't biblical theology at all.

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Human history reveals the shattering effects of eclipsed, absent, or dead fathers.

Following the Sho'ah, the German pastor and theologian Helmut Thieleke wrote of "the dreadful lawlessness of a fatherless world" that he witnessed in the demonic rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis (Silence of God, p. 6).

Historian Paul Vitz tracks the consequences of fatherlessness in the lives of destructive atheists such as Hitler, as well as Friedrich Nietsche, Bertrand Russell, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong (Faith of the Fatherless, 1999). We could also cite the Muslim and Communist despots of our time.

In his book Father and Son (1992, p. 6), Gordon Dalbey notes:

Every male child—now as always—longs to be one with his father, like Jesus with His Father God, and thus receive fatherly protection, affirmation, encouragement, affection, provision, guidance and strength.

Contempt for fathers often lies in the heart of secular Liberalism. Radical feminists, within both Judaism and Christianity, promote a similar disdain for dominant male figures, including male children. For them, the best examples of spiritual leaders are independent women and emasculated, effeminate men.

In Middle Eastern Islamic cultures, sons learn an ethos of conquering their fathers to achieve preeminence in a family. This produces cultures of simmering hatred and violence for male authority, which is often redirected toward historical Muslim scapegoats: Jews and Christians. Wafa Sultan, a Syrian writer, bluntly describes the Islamic deity as "A God Who Hates."

In the United States, the absence of strong, nurturing, godly fathers in many Black families has devastating effects. Young Black males are killing each other—not their fathers—at epidemic rates. And rising Black rage against White authority portends predictable, demonic deconstruction of civilization.

"Fatherless" Muslim and Black males share a common destiny, unless they establish bonds with the loving God through his unique Son, Yeshua, who learned himself to trust his Father then witness to all:

"I love the Father." (John 14:31)

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Within conservative forms of Christianity (Catholic or Protestant) disregard of God the Father of Jesus can also exist.

This neglect seems to be the result of pious but unexamined theology that seeks to exalt and defend the Son against attacks from his enemies. Leaders are adamant about promoting Christ's deity above all, almost as though the Father needs no defending. Yet he is still absent from much of their preaching.

Note the comment by the American evangelical Chuck Swindoll:

An authentically Christian ministry must have Christ as the sole object of worship and devotion. (emphasis added; Acts [2012], on Acts 8:6-8)

Christ is the sole object of worship and devotion? Not in Scripture. Note what the divine occupants of heaven actually declare in their worship:

Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. (Rev 7:10)

To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever. (Rev 5:13)

Now the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of Messiah have come. (Rev 12:10)

Why do Christian leaders not mention these texts? They're Scripture.

Is it their zealous desire to protect Jesus by proclaiming a "Christ-(only)-centered" faith? Whatever the motive or habit of mind, it eventually has a corrosive effect. For when God the Av disappears behind the Son's exalted status — expressed in such phrases as "Jesus is God" or "God is Jesus" — an avalanche of doctrinal consequences begins...ending in the sweeping away of biblical faith.

Ironically, it is a Catholic historian who informs us:

"Roman Catholicism...has tended increasingly to favour belief in Christ over belief in God.... Belief in God is viturally hidden... [Some within Catholicism] have come to talk of a 'Christianity without God'." [Jean Milet, God or Christ: The Excesses of Christocentricity (1999), pp. 2-3]

To be blunt: ignoring the Av is theological Patricide or Deicide — eliminating him, killing him off — an act that will inevitably lead to expulsion and denial of the Son himself. Political history tells us that assassins of a king always also go after his prince.

The Scriptures depict another Ending. After God through Yeshua puts down the final rebellion and attempted coup by demonic and unbelieving human forces...

The kingdom of this world has become
the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah.

(Revelation 11:15)

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