My response to a Muslim friend:
For my dear sweet Arab daughter. I am so blessed to have met you. I thank God He brought you into my life. I have learned so much from you and your sunshine smile. While you were at my house you asked a question in the form of a statement. I want to answer your question because I believe you deserve an answer. I will not answer with a simple response because I think you deserve a wise and intelligent explanation.
In order to answer your question properly, I did a little research into Islam and the prophets. I am going to use the prophets: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Ezekiel, Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist), and Yeshua. I will use Hebrew Scripture verses whenever I quote from the Bible because I believe the Hebrew Scriptures are the only authentic source for knowing these prophets because it was written long before modern times. Over the centuries many different religious leaders have added to or taken away from the Hebrew Scriptures and today they do not line up with what was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is wrong for man to change or modify the Bible for their own purpose, so I do not use their teachings, their discussions, or their ideas.
If you question something I’ve written, get a Bible and read it for yourself. That is what I did, what I do, and what I’ve taught my children. Since you are my ‘adopted daughter’, you can do the same thing.
Your question: Why did Yeshua have to die?
Adam. Bereshit. In the beginning.
In the beginning, God created two people: Adam and Eve. They were put in a garden and given a choice. They could eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil OR they could eat the fruit from the Tree of Life. God said that if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die. They disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and suffered the consequences.
First, they died. This could not have been a physical death because we know that Adam lived 900 more years and had many children with Eve. It must have been a different kind of death – a spiritual death or separation from a personal relationship with their Creator.
Second, they realized they were naked. This is where something extraordinary happens. Though they try to hide their nakedness with fig leaves, God provides a better covering. God kills an animal and gives them the skins to wear (Genesis 3:21). Because of their disobedience called sin, something had to die – blood had to be shed. In this instance, it was an animal because if God killed Adam for his sin, we wouldn’t be here.
Third, they are kicked out of Gan Eden. If they had eaten from the Tree of Life, they would have stayed in Gan Eden/Paradise forever in an eternal place of separation from God. Because they chose ‘good and evil’, they were sent out.
Fourth, they there were individual punishments. Adam and all men would have to work by the sweat of their brow. The earth from which they were created would become the place where they would have to toil to provide their own food. Eve and all women would experience pain in childbirth, but through childbirth would be redeemed. The serpent would be cursed to crawl on its belly. Yet, something interesting was also prophesied.
“And I will put enmity (hatred) between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
What is sin? According to the Bereshit account, sin is disobeying God’s commands. There was only one command in Gan Eden. It had to do with food choice. Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree, disobeyed, died spiritually, God shed blood, and they were kicked out of eternal life with their Creator. How could they return?
The answer is in the ‘offspring of the woman’.
Abraham – Our father of faith.
Abraham was called a ‘friend of God’ and knew the Creator as El Shaddai or God Almighty. We both know that Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. You probably know Ishmael’s life history so I’m going to share with you Isaac’s life. Please note that there is nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures that suggests that Isaac or his offspring were homosexual (lesbians). If this was the case there would have been no children and there were many children or there would be no Jewish people today.
Bereshit chapter 22. Some people believe Isaac was a boy when this event occurred; others a man, but it makes no difference. Abraham obeyed El Shaddai and took Isaac to Mt. Moriah (modern day Temple mount). He put him on an altar as a sacrifice. This is a horrible thing for both Abraham and Isaac, I’m sure. I cannot imagine putting Jesse or Jacob on an altar in order to sacrifice them, but Abraham is not known as the ‘father of faith’ for no reason. As he is about to kill his son, he sees a ram (a male lamb) caught in some thickets. Instead of his son, he kills the animal.
In a strange way, Abraham experienced the resurrection of the dead with his son, Isaac. He never expected to return home with his son. Yet, he does tell Isaac that “God Himself would provide a sacrifice.” God provided a lamb, a male lamb, an animal, a substitute just like he did for Adam.
“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together” (Genesis 22:7-8).
Who or what could possibly a substitute sacrifice or a person?
Moses – The prophet who taught God’s teachings and instructions (Torah).
Moses was a great prophet. There is no doubt about that. He was given the personal name of God – יהוה – Yahweh. He spoke face to face with Yahweh. When the people did not want to hear the voice of Yahweh because it was too frightening, Moses became their mediator or intercessor. When the Israelites fell into sin and idolatry, Moses offered his own life for the people – even telling God to remove his name from the Book of Life. It is one amazing prophet who is willing to give his life for sinful people.
“So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Exodus 32:31-32).
However, Moses speaks about a greater prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18-29: “יהוה
“Your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from you, from your brothers. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of יהוה your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of יהוה my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’
“And יהוה said to me: ‘… I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brothers, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. ‘And it shall be [that] whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will call him to account.”
Who will be like Moses? Whoever it is must coming from the brothers of Israel. He must only speak the words of Yahweh. He must be willing to lay down his life for sinful people?
I love the prophet Ezekiel. He talks about something that amazes me. It’s in Ezekiel 36:25-26 where he talks about idolatry in the lives of the Israelites (as well as everyone else).
What is idolatry? Whenever we put something or some person, man or woman, before Yahweh we are in idolatry. Everyone needs to be set free from idolatry as it is breaking the first of the 10 Commandments given to Moses by God.
Ezekiel prophesies, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my commands.”
What does Ezekiel mean? He is saying that because our hearts are hard like rock, we sin and rebel against God. Everyone sins and breaks יהוה commandments. We all have hearts of stone that are not willing to listen to the voice and words of Yahweh and obey. We all have idols in our lives – sex, money, education, careers, ideologies, marriage, children, dreams. What יהוה promises is a new heart of flesh. He will put His Spirit in us and He will move our new hearts to follow His commands.
How will Yahweh change our hearts from stone to flesh?
Yochanan the Immerser
Yochanan is another prophet of יהוה. Yeshua came to him at the Jordan river to be immersed. When Yochanan sees Yeshua he says, “Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
This is a huge statement. First, Yochanan calls Yeshua a lamb. What do we know about animals, especially lambs and rams? They are substitutes for people’s sins. They die.
The animal that God killed in order to make coverings for Adam and Eve was a lamb. We also know that a ram was killed instead of Isaac. Now, Yeshua is called a lamb.
In the Temple worship system, there was an altar of sacrifice. On this altar, people offered lambs as a sacrifice. The blood was poured out as a ‘covering’ or atonement for their sin and disobedience.
Now, a human being is being called a lamb. He’s not called just any lamb, but the Lamb that God has sent. He is called ‘the lamb that would take away the sins of the world.’
This is a high calling for a mere man. A human whose death would take away – not just cover over – the sins of the world. John did not say ‘the sins of the Jews or the sins of Israel, but the sins of the world (olam). The death of the Lamb of God, Yeshua, takes away sins: mine, yours and everyone else’s. It’s his blood that is needed on that altar of sacrifice.
This is the reason Yeshua had to die: He was our substitute sacrifice for sin. His blood takes away our sins.
Adam and Eve had blood shed for them through an animal and they were covered. Isaac had a lamb’s substitution. Moses offered himself as a sacrifice, but he wasn’t the ‘lamb of God’, another person was promised to come and that person is Yeshua.
Good Works or Faith
All major world religions teach that we have to do good works to make up for our sins – rebellion, idolatry, lies, murder, adultery, etc. Some teach we have to get to nirvanha or there is karma or they have have to become missionaries and make converts or they have to do whatever they can. They make all sorts of rules and lists of good works so people feel good and hope that they pacified a mean, ruthless God.
I have always wondered who actually determines what these good works are and and who determines when a person has done enough good works to qualify for heaven or to stay out of hell. What about people who don’t do any works? There are religions that say even they get ‘to go’. What about people who work their lives away doing everything they think is good and right, but it falls short? It seems that human lives are full of work, worry, wonder, work some more, worry, and then we wonder if it’s enough to keep us from hell or take us to heaven. Yahweh says that no works are good enough to make up for our disobedience.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
There was nothing Adam could have done to correct his huge sin of eating the wrong fruit. He tried by covering himself with leaves, but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t the requirement of death.
So, Yahweh took the issue of working for heaven, eternity, salvation, paradise, out of our hands and put it on the promised seed of the woman.
“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:1-3).
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Yeshua and Sin
Yeshua was sinless. This means that he never broke any of God’s commands – ever. As the only sinless man to ever live, his death and his blood sacrifice was enough to make atonement for our sins and to save us from ‘eternal spiritual death’ and ‘eternal separation from God’ that some people call ‘hell’. In reality it is a separation from Gan Eden or Paradise.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
How can it be that Yeshua is SINLESS?
“He is the visible image of the invisible God; the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
The Holy Scriptures teach that God is spirit. No one can see ‘spirit’. In fact, spirit in Hebrew is Ruach and means ‘breath’. We cannot see anyone’s breath unless it’s freezing outside and we breathe and you see steam. 🙂
What if God wanted us to see Him for real? What if he wanted to know us personally? What would we see? How would he look? Like a rabbit? Like a bird? Like a dinosaur? Because God made us in His image (body, soul and spirit), He would come to us as a man with a body, soul, and His Spirit.
The Holy Scriptures teach that Yeshua is the visible image of the invisible God. This means that when God as Spirit wanted us to see him and know Him personally, He became flesh and blood through the seed of the woman.
This does not mean that there are two gods. This just means that Yahweh made a way for us to see him, know him, touch him, and learn about him in a PERSONAL way. The name of that person is Yeshua.
Yeshua is the visible representation of God so we can know God personally.
The Word of God – The Scriptures
“The Word became flesh and lived among us for a time. We have seen the glory, the glory of the Echad and only who came from the Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light.” From the burning bush, God spoke to Moses, “Remove your shoes for you are standing on holy ground”. From the Mount Sinai, God wanted to speak to the Israelites, but His voice caused them to fear so Moses spoke in His place.
Israel and anyone who was a god-fearer could always ‘hear’ God’s voice through the prophets, but they could not see him. What if God wanted them to see His Words? What if He wanted His Words to be more than just Words and to become real life Living Words? What if He wanted His words to become something humanity could see, hear, feel, and touch? What if He wanted His Words to penetrate their HEARTS?
With Yeshua, the Words that Israel had been hearing for thousands of years, became a person. Yet, they did not all recognize him because he didn’t look like what they expected. That happens all the time to us. We talk to someone on the phone, but when we physically meet them, we think, “Wow, they don’t look like what I expected!” Nevertheless, Yeshua became the Word revealed in flesh and blood.
Yeshua is the spoken Words of God in a physical body called the Living Word.
Prophet or Son of God
“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!” (Proverbs 30:4).
Let me state emphatically again, I do not believe in three gods or even two gods. Yahweh is ECHAD. Yet, I do believe Yeshua is God’s Son.
Here’s my question: Why can’t God have a Son? Why can’t the divine nature of God , the Creator, be put inside a man? That doesn’t mean that there are two gods, but that God put His divine character and nature a physical body. He’s God, Yahweh, the Creator, can’t He do that?
Yeshua did not believe he was ‘another god‘ which is why I don’t believe there are more than One God. Read what Yeshua says about himself:
Yeshua says, “I and the Father are ECHAD” (John 10:30).
In this statement, Yeshua makes it pretty clear about himself. He is not ANOTHER GOD; he is ‘echad’ with the Father.
Yeshua says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. The only way to the Father is through me” (John 14:10).
Think about how you personally met my husband, John. You met him through Jacob. You would have never met John if he never had a son named Jacob. Through meeting and becoming friends with the son of John, Jacob, you were brought into our home and our lives. This is the same way with God’s son, Yeshua. He is the way for us to meet God and enter His home and become part of His family.
“Yeshua answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9).
Yeshua never states that he is a different god, but only wants us to know his Father, Yahweh.
“But after he Yosef had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef son of David, do not be afraid to take Miriam home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
The Hebrew Scriptures say that Yeshua was conceived in his mother by the Ruach haKodesh. This means that Yeshua is a human, flesh and blood expression of Yahweh’s living, breathing, Spirit. As יהוה reached down His right arm to work salvation (yeshua) for us, we see that salvation in the person of Yeshua. Just as I cannot separate an arm from a body; I cannot separate Yeshua from Yahweh. Just as I do not worship someone’s arm, I do not worship Yeshua. I worship Yahweh Elohim because Yeshua showed me the way to do it.
“Sing to YHVH a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him” (Psalm 98:1).
What does God Himself say about Yeshua being a ‘son’?
Twice in the Scriptures God speaks audibly about Yeshua so the people hear his voice and understand who Yeshua is. Yahweh also states that He is pleased with His Son and that the people are to listen to him.
“As soon as Yeshua was immersed (in the Jordan), he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened,and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).
“While he (Cephas) was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5).
Yeshua is the flesh and blood offspring of God’s Spirit and the seed of a woman – a son.
The Love of God – Yeshua
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Yeshua died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Yeshua is not just any normal prophet. He is a visible image of God. He is the very Words of God in the flesh. He is the flesh and blood offspring of a woman and of God’s Spirit.
As the lamb of God, Yeshua dies. How often is someone willing to die for us? In this world people are more willing to kill innocent people to make a point rather than die themselves so someone innocent doesn’t have to die. Most, if not all prophets are self-serving and demand obedience to them and their Words and not the Word of the Creator. I don’t know one man other than Moses who ever offered to die for a nation of sinful people.
“This is how we know what love is: Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).
Yeshua is so full of His Father’s love, that even though he was perfect and we’re all rebellious sinners, he was willing to lay down his life to be the sin sacrifice for us. He was willing to pour out his blood so we might enter a new covenant relationship with God.
“In the same way, after the Passover seder he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).
Through His blood we all have forgiveness of sins.
“In fact, according to Torah, there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood” (Hebrews 9:8).
Through His life and death we, too, can have the Spirit of God living in us, changing our hearts from stone to flesh as prophesied by Ezekiel. We become children of Abraham by faith and children of the Living God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
So, Yeshua dies for us and now he’s dead. According to Islam and what you said, it wasn’t Yeshua who died, it was Judas. So, I guess that’s the end of the story of Yeshua. However, if you believe this then you cannot believe that Yeshua was a prophet or even a good man. You have seen that Yeshua says too many things about Himself, His Father, and His purpose that if you don’t believe him, then he is really a liar, not a good person and definitely not a prophet of God. It’s a choice we all have to make – is he or isn’t he the salvation of the world.
Yeshua is the ultimate expression God’s love for us as His created people.
The Heart of God
Ezekiel promised a new heart of flesh that would be able to hear God. It was on this heart that God would write His commands and we would obey Him. Yet, what is Ezekiel talking about.
Here are some words of Yeshua from Matthew chapter 5 that discuss sin and the heart. I think these will help you understand the heart condition of men and why it needs to be changed from stone to flesh. In each instance Yeshua speaks about what the people have ‘heard’ as part of the commandments, but he makes each issue a heart issue and takes the command to a deeper spiritual level. For example, when he talks about murder, he says it begins as anger in the heart. In the case of adultery, the deeper heart issue is lust. In the case of revenge, Yeshua says to turn the other cheek rather than fight back. When it comes to our enemies, we are to love them and pray for them.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborand hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
With a hard heart, we are always going to think of ourselves first and how we can fix things. Ultimately, we disobey God’s commands. With a new heart of flesh, our sin is removed because the root of the sin is taken from our heart. This is incredibly ‘good news’!! With the new heart of flesh through the Spirit, we will experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Who doesn’t want these things in their own personal lives?
Yeshua is the perfect man who lived and taught the instructions of God with a spiritual heart of flesh.
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
Let’s go back to Abraham’s faith – the faith he had when he was going to kill his own son. There was a substitution for Isaac so he could live.
I believe that lamb/ram was a symbol of Yeshua who died on the cross in my place, in your place, even in Isaac’s place. Yeshua made way into paradise and a personal relationship with the Creator for everyone. His way, by faith in his life, death and resurrection, frees us from our own works so we can know we have eternal life. When we put our faith in Yeshua’s works then we are free to truly experience life with peace, joy, and hope.
Yeshua is the testimony that we can have eternal life with God.
My Expression of Faith in Yeshua
Because I do put my faith in Yeshua, I also believe he was born to show us how to live for God. I believe that the Scriptures say that Yeshua was born as a man to teach us the ways of יהוה in their correct interpretation.
This is why, for example, we don’t go to church on Sunday. Yeshua said, he is Lord of the Sabbath and that is the seventh day according to creation. This is one reason why Jewish people do not believe in the “Christian Jesus”. They are looking for a Jewish Messiah and not a European one.
“Then Yeshua said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5).
We also only eat a kosher or diet as Moses outlined in Torah – Leviticus 11. Christians believe they can eat everything since “Jesus died”, but nothing changed with the animals when he died. This is another reason why Jewish people do not believe Yeshua is the Messiah.
We also do not celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas or Easter. These traditions come from the nations and have traditions that nullify the commands of God. Yeshua said that using these traditions of men is vain or pointless worship.
“They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:7-9).
Yeshua, contrary to how he looks in the Christian faith, was not a Christian nor did he bring a new religion to the world. Yes, it seems so, but that is not the Truth. What he did was live a perfect life so he could be the perfect atonement for our sins – the sins of the world. Then, he died on the cross.
The good news is that Yeshua is alive. Three days after He died he came back to life. I think the better question is why did he have to come back to life?
He came back to life to give us hope that we, through faith in his work, can and will live eternally with Yahweh forever in a restored Gan Eden.
Your friends who said that if you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re going to hell. That is a terrible judgment call on their part. You see, Yeshua made the way from death to eternal life. You have a choice to accept that or not. If you choose to accept it, then you begin eternal life the moment you accept it. If you do not accept it, then you have to put your faith in yourself, your works and what other people determine is best for you. I have chosen to put my faith in Yeshua because I know I sure can’t work hard enough for unconditional love and acceptance.
Yahweh, as the Creator of heaven and earth and all of us, is our Father. His Son is the visible image of the invisible One who is Spirit. The Ruach haKodesh or breath of God makes Yahweh Elohim a Living God. Yahweh Elohim put His Sprit into a flesh and blood person so we could see Him and know Him personally. This person has a name, Yeshua.
Yeshua never claimed to be God nor wanted to retain the glory of God that could have been his just because Yahweh is his Father. Instead, he humbled himself and became a man, and lived a life just like you and me. He was tempted to sin, but did not. To redeem us from death and make a way for us to have eternal life with our Creator in Gan Eden, he had to die, pour out his blood, and then come back to life. This show us that there is a resurrection of the dead and it is possible for us through Yeshua. He showed us that if we choose to be born again by by faith, the Ruach and will give each of us a new heart like Ezekiel promised. All of our idols and false belief systems will be washed away and we can live and follow the example and teachings of Yeshua:
… the visible representation of God.
… the spoken Words of God in a physical body called the Living Word.
… the flesh and blood offspring of God and the seed of a woman – a son.
… the ultimate expression God’s love for us.
… the perfect man who lived and taught the instructions of God with a spiritual heart of flesh.
… the testimony that we can have eternal life with God.
©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.