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“Messiah Belongs to God”

by Paul Sumner

  To come to know the real Messiah — Yeshua of Nazareth — we must rightly understand his relation to God, while he lived here, on earth.

The Gospels depict Yeshua as a dependent, willing and loving servant. Though he was the son of the king who owned the Vineyard named Israel (Matthew 21:33-43), he withheld full exercise of his privileges and power during his life.

God anointed him to be co-regent lord to rule all nations on earth and all supernatural powers in the universe. But he wore the garb of a Galilean carpenter. He did not have the “form or majesty” of a world king (Acts 2:36; 10:38; Daniel 7:13-14; 1 Peter 3:22; Phil. 2:7; Isaiah 53:2).

The prophet Isaiah foresaw an even more tragic future for the Messiah. Among his own people, Israel, he will be the “Despised One [bezoh nefesh]...the one Abominated by the Nation” [limtae‘v goy] (Isaiah 49:7a).

This prophecy is still true. Most of “Israel” abominates Yeshua, though they don't know why.

Isaiah also said the Messiah would be “the Servant of rulers” (eved moshlim) among the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:7b).

But “in a favorable time,” all will be reversed. One day, in the presence of Messiah Yeshua, kings will rise up in honor: to him princes will bow down in reverence. One day, on “a day of salvation” (yom yeshuah), he will restore the remnant of Israel (Isaiah 49:8, 6).


Thus so, Yeshua awaits that day, in hope. He’s confident because “the LORD God helps me...he who vindicates me is near” (Isaiah 50:9, 8).

In fulfillment of these prophetic themes, we discern in Yeshua’s preaching his submissive reliance on God, his Father. “The Son can do nothing on his own; I can do nothing on my own initiative; I am not alone; he who sent me is with me; the Father [is] abiding in me” (John 5:19, 30; 8:16, 29; 14:10).

Contra traditional ecclesiastical opinion, there is hierarchy in Heaven. And Yeshua submitted to it.

God is the head of Messiah.
(1 Corinthian 11:3)

This hierarchy is at the core of the Brit Hadashah, the New Covenant ratified by the blood of Messiah and offered to Jews and non-Jews alike. Autonomy does not exist within the Messianic Kingdom. Neither for the Messiah nor any of us.

Since he took his seat at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3; 8:1;12:2), Yeshua has been aggressively serving as God’s subduing warrior-king and lord, with the goal of making all human and supernal authorities subject to God.

The other goal is to “abolish death ... the last enemy” of humanity (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).


In time, every knee of every creature will bow before God's Messiah. Every tongue will confess that Yeshua, the humble servant, is God's universal Lord. And those acclamations will rise “to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11).

Once he finishes his work of restoring Creation by bringing it into obedience to the one, true God, Yeshua himself will bow the knee and turn over the Kingdom to the trustworthy, loving, and just person of his Father and God, “that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Yeshua’s followers, Jew and non-Jew, are commanded to be subject “to God,” who is “the Father of spirits” (Jacob 4:7; Hebrews 12:9).

A natural consequence of their submission is that they also be “subject to one another in the fear of Messiah(Ephesians 5:21).

The Greek verb for “subject” (hupotasso) means to put or be under influence of, or subordinate to, or submissive to. The Hebrew NT translations of Salkinson, Delitzsch, and the Israel Bible Society all render hupotasso by the verb kana‘, which in the Tanakh means to humble or subdue.


If Yeshua’s lived life of subjection and humility to God is a model for us, we cannot “lord it over” one another, like pagans do (Matthew 20:25). We cannot act in any way other than like Messiah himself. His Father did not abuse, mistreat, or humiliate him. Nor can we do that to others.

Note the extraordinary full equation in 1 Corinthians 3:23:

You belong to Messiah, and Messiah belongs to God.

Put hierarchically:



Messianic Believers [male and female]

If we enter into covenant with Yeshua, we must lay down our powers, preferences, and loyalties to all others, just as he did. Though he was endowed with riches, he became “poor” for the sake of us all. Therefore, for his sake, we must decide to give up ownership over living our lives as we’d prefer.

You are not your own. You have been bought with a price.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Our Master bought us — not with silver or gold, but “with precious blood” [Heb NT's: dam yaqar]: the very “blood of Messiah” (2 Peter 2:1; 1 Peter 1:18, 19). We were slaves, whose freedom he purchased. We can now be free.


If we believe this and live as though we belong to Messiah in covenant submission to him, to God, and to fellow disciples, we participate in Yeshua’s campaign of subduing the universe to himself.

How is that?

If we can provoke other humans to bow their knee before God’s Lord, we rob the dark “angels, authorities, and powers” of their earthly servants through whom they incarnate evil (Philippians 2:10-11; 1 Peter 3:22).

That also enlarges the name list of the great Congregation of those who praise God and the Messiah:

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power and riches and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing.

To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,
be blessing and honor and glory and dominion
forever and ever.

(Revelation 5:12, 13)



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