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For those who believe that Jesus was being put to death by crucifixion because he had committed blashphemy by claiming to be of divine nature, how does that hold at a theological level?

If Jesus is divine (God), then he is also the God of Moses and as a result the one who legislated the Law of blasphemy.

How would it be even theologically possible or Just to knowingly send someone to a people (the Jews) who had been taught very clearly that there is only One God and that there is no likeness to him, to then have Jesus being a man claiming to be God? (And then to be crucified which again was a proof to them that he was not a Prophet and was cursed).

So to summarize, how is this theologically plausible or Just:

  1. God (who Christians say is Jesus) sends a Law to Moses saying there is only 1 God and to not make any likeness to him
  2. God then sends Jesus teaching the opposite to the core belief system
  3. Jesus (who is God) dies for your sins (Jews don't believe God can die)

Note:

Please don't get confused when you read the word 'JUST' and then start explaining on how we can't live up to the commandments and thus Jesus died for our sins. I'm referring to the fact that God sent Moses with a Law, the Law says there is One, Unique God and even went to to say there is none like him, don't make images, He is not a Man.
Then to have Jesus come and commit blasphemy before them. How is this Just? Is this not confusion and trickery?

I think most people miss this point because they don't put themselves in the shoes of the followers of Moses and his Law.

closed as off-topic by bruised reed, Affable Geek, fredsbend, Dan, David Stratton Sep 30 '14 at 3:43

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    Interesting question. I'm not sure answers can be more than primarily opinion based, though. – fredsbend Sep 29 '14 at 18:20
  • @fredsbend I would think you would need some sort of proof, it is kind of a big deal :) Or he wasn't put to trail for claiming blasphemy but rather for saying he was the Messiah and some people didn't like that -- but that's another story and not relevant to this question. – public static Sep 29 '14 at 18:22
  • Yes, the question deserves an answer, indeed, but the answers I would expect would be primarily opinion based. Essentially, you are asking why God did something. We can't tell you that with anything more than our opinions. We can, however, tell you what other theologians have said, so I think you would need to scope this to something a little more specific. I'm not sure how to do that, but maybe see question types that the community finds acceptable and try to imitate one of those types. – fredsbend Sep 29 '14 at 18:26
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    There are hundreds of proof texts for the deity of Christ - they are sufficient rebuttal for an argument the relies on twisting the meaning of one particular phrase. – bruised reed Sep 29 '14 at 19:11
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    No doubt there are, but why be restricted to that - the Torah, Psalms and Prophets have plenty to say about the matter. You need to understand that this is not a debating forum, if you want to debate, go to chat - define your question properly, don't keep changing it. If you have a new question, then ask that as a separate question. – bruised reed Sep 29 '14 at 19:26
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Firstly, if Jesus is God, it is of course impossible for Him to blaspheme against His own law.

Secondly, Jesus did not overtly claim to be God directly and consequently inevitably stumble the lost sheep of Israel that He was sent to. He answered the question:

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” - Matthew 26:63 NIV

with:

“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” - Matthew 26:64 NIV

Which was not a direct claim to be God, so the response:

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.” - Matthew 26:65 NIV

Was an error in law and resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

In that conext, there is a sense that you're right (just not the way you mean it), it is definitely not 'Just' that Jesus died in this way, it's actually the very epitome of Grace.

Grace is God acting in a way that transcends the principles of justice and Christianity just doesn't make sense without understanding that.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:6-8 NIV

EDIT in response to OP EDIT:

Why this is not 'trickery', is that it was prophesied before-hand and for those who earnestly desired to look into these things, they could search the scriptures and find them out. Nicodemus as a member of the ruling council would have been challenged by the things Jesus said, but ultimately, he was not offended - instead he placed his faith in Jesus as the Christ and refused to vote in condemnation with the other council members. Although Jesus was a stumbling-block to the Jews (no Christian denies this!) - the choice between being broken on him (and receiving salvation through repentence and faith) or being crushed by him (judged and excluded from the house of God because of a rejection of the Son - whoever rejects the Son, rejects the Father also) is a real one.

The suffering Messiah is typified throughout scripture from the death of righteous Abel to the death of Zechariah the son of Berakiah - all the Prophets and the Law speak to it.

In the same way that God used the (real) injustice of Jesus' death to work the salvation of all mankind; he also used the (imagined) injustice of the Jews stumbling over Jesus as the Christ to further His purposes also - the rejection by (most of) the Jews opened the way for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles (as was prophesied also).

To characterise God's plan in these respects as 'Unjust' is a category error - it is only possible to view God as unjust from man's perspective, but justice is not applied from man to God, but from God to man. Men might feel that God acts unfairly towards them, but they are wrong if they assert that those feelings are an accurate reflection of reality.

  • No I think you misunderstood what I am asking. If previous scripture is crystal clear on the fact that there is no Other God, don't make anything like me, God is not a man. And then for Jesus to commit blasphemy (according to majority Christian belief), I mean what do you expect them to belief? I hope you understand what I mean when I use the term Just, Just as in you changed the very core of the belief system and tricked them. Get it? I'm not talking about Dying for sins and how good that is for everyone. – public static Sep 29 '14 at 18:10
  • You're missing the point that He is not an other God, He is the same God. – bruised reed Sep 29 '14 at 18:12
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    That IS my point. How could the same God say it is blasphemy and then proclaim it to be truth? The Jews put the charge of blasphemy based on GOD'S LAW. – public static Sep 29 '14 at 18:14
  • Because it is not ACTUALLY blasphemy for God to say that He is God, even if it APPEARS that it so to the unbelieving. – bruised reed Sep 29 '14 at 18:23
  • @bruisedreed You are still missing the point of the question I think. God tells the Jew thousands of years before Christ that God is one and is not a man. Then Jesus comes and starts telling the Jews he is that God. The question assumes this is all true and that Jesus was truthful about His claims. The problem is that it seems like God was dishonest and set up the Jews to reject the Christ. That is what the question is about. – fredsbend Sep 29 '14 at 18:29
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Jesus did not blaspheme his own law.

  1. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:" The context of "likeness" refers to idol worship.
  2. Jesus' coming to earth was a fulfillment of prophecy, not a contradiction to the 10 commandments. God did not send Jesus as a "likeness" of God, Jesus was God.
  3. I don't know where your third point comes from, Isaiah clearly prophesied that the Messiah would suffer death.

The charge of blasphemy had everything to do with the political situation in Jerusalem:

The Roman Republic had conquered Jerusalem in 63BC. While captive to Rome, it became popularly accepted amongst the Jews that the prophecy in Isaiah 61 foretold of their liberation from their occupiers. They anxiously awaited the arrival of the Messiah, the one that would, "proclaim libery to the captives", just as Moses had liberated the Hebrews from Pharaoh. They were waiting for God to come down and bring plagues upon the Romans and free Jerusalem from their occupation. When Jesus proclaimed that he was the Messiah, and that the "captives" were in fact the souls of men, and that their liberty was Christ atoning for their sins, freeing them from hell, the Jews were outraged, they refused to accept what Christ had said was what the prophecy had meant, and therefore refused to believe that Christ was God.


Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1–2 to the people of Nazareth in their synagogue.

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

When He had finished, “the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him” (Luke 4:20). He then said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (v. 21; see vv. 16–19). These verses in Isaiah relate to Jesus as does the rest of Isaiah 61—to Him and to the building of His Zion in the latter days. He it is who is appointed of the Father to preach the gospel unto men, to heal or provide forgiveness to the wounded soul, to preach deliverance to those captives in the spirit prison (see 1 Peter 3:18–19). Jesus Himself cited this passage as evidence of His divinity (see Matthew 11:2–5; Luke 7:19–22).

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God is not a Man

It seems that the impetus for the question relies on the meaning of Numbers 23:19

Numbers 23:19 (NASB) (emphasis added)
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good.

What is God attempting to communicate? The context of this statement is God rebuking Balak (and the prophet Balaam) for thinking that God could be controlled or manipulated into cursing the nation of Israel. God had decided to bless Israel. He had made promises to Abraham and his descendents regarding these blessings. To do anything other than he had already purposed and stated would be to lie or change his mind. God says that he is not like a man in that he neither lies nor changes his mind.

I do not think it sensible to read this statement as even attempting to say that God could not/would not become incarnate. God isn’t even attempting to address such a question. To read this as something other than God asserting his dissimilarity to sinful man, who lies and equivocates, is an imposition on the text.

[EDIT]
If God could not be a man, how do you understand Genesis 18, when God visits Abraham in the form of a man? If you intend to be rigid about about the words of Nu 23:19, it only seems sensible to be as rigid about Ge 18. Jesus was not merely a man. He was more than a man. In Nu 23, God is saying he is not deceitful or unreliable like men are. Nowhere in that context does he attempt to describe his nature or any limitations that he places on himself beyond what he says: God doesn't lie or change his mind.

The Image of God

The second commandment is an injunction against the manufacture and worship of idols. This is not an injunction against manufacturing people (to worship) because that doesn’t make sense. It’s not an explicit injunction against worshiping people. That idea is covered by the first commandment and elsewhere (e.g. De 6:13). The only thing in existence that could be "made" in the image of God (Ge 1:27) is a human, and a human is something only God can make.

You would have to provide a lot more reasoning as to why the injunction against making/worshiping idols would apply to worshiping Jesus as God. If Jesus were actually God in the flesh, then worshiping him would not violate either of these commandments (and would fulfill the first).

Blasphemy

The “blasphemy” that the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of was due only to their misunderstanding of God and his plan. Just because Jesus didn’t demand that people treat him like an earthly king or a god-king (like the Egyptians and others would do) doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve such treatment or that it would have been wrong for someone to want to treat him that way. The Jewish leaders didn’t want to believe Jesus.

John 5:39-40 (NASB)
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

If Jesus’ message was offensive to the Jewish people of his time, it was because they never conceived of what God had planned to do and the immeasurable depth of his love and mercy toward his creation. Jesus provided ample evidence (miracles) that his testimony was endorsed by God. The Jewish leaders of his time knew precisely that he was making himself equal with God because they believed he was committing blasphemy. They correctly understood what he was saying, they just didn’t believe it.

If God “violates” his own law, he is allowed to do so because the law doesn’t actually apply to him. (e.g. Mt 17:24-27) The law is for sinful men.

  • The law is for sinful men clearly relates to certain aspects that relates to what to do when someone sins, not all Law. Anyhow, the point was if God makes a statement that I am not a man, then He is not a man, it won't change. It's not really a law then a statement of fact. – public static Sep 30 '14 at 14:00
  • @publicstatic I edited my answer. – mojo Sep 30 '14 at 14:33
  • It says "God is not a man", it doesn't say "God is not LIKE a man.." Get it? – public static Sep 30 '14 at 15:22
  • @publicstatic And your reading of Genesis 18 is...? – mojo Sep 30 '14 at 16:06
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This is a very good question.

How could God justifiably do the following:

  • Tell the Jews (via Moses) to stone anyone claiming to be God
  • Send a man (Jesus) to the Jews claiming to be God
  • Condemn the Jews for stoning the man claiming to be God.

Here's the justification: Jesus shouldn't have been crucified because he actually was God, not a man claiming to be God, and should have therefore been given the right to claim to be God without repercussion from the Mosaic law.

The logical response to that is "Well how were the Jews supposed to know that? He was just another guy?"

But he wasn't just another guy. Jesus didn't merely walk around and say "I'm God! Worship me!" He performed real miracles that only God could have done. He healed people of blindness and paralysis. He fed 5000 people with a basket of food. Things only God could have done. Jesus performed miracles to prove to people that he was God, his most amazing miracle of all being rising from the dead.

John 10:31-39 ESV The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

That's why many Christians believe even today; the supernatural account of Jesus' resurrection. Jesus' miracles prove his God status.

  • "Things only God could have done." I'm not sure about that. Some of the OT Prophets did some pretty amazing stuff. – fredsbend Sep 29 '14 at 18:35
  • Sorry but that verse you quote indicates he wasn't claiming to be God :) And the bold letters you put is clearly explained here: biblehub.com/john/17-21.htm that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. => One is purpose, unless you think there are 13 Gods now. – public static Sep 29 '14 at 18:38
  • Anyways, that is still going against his own Law and its a trickery. Listen and read carefully: If the Law says 'God is not like Man', and then God comes as Man, that is theologically impossible. I can give you biblical examples of Miracles that are very similiar in nature, it doesn't make the person God especially when Jesus gives credit to 'The Father'. – public static Sep 29 '14 at 18:40
  • @publicstatic I wouldn't say theologically impossible, but I would say dishonest. Essentially, God wasn't giving the whole truth. Perhaps you should ask a different question on the hermeneutics site "What does God is One mean in this verse?" – fredsbend Sep 29 '14 at 18:45
  • Theologically speaking God cannot be dishonest, there is no doubt about that. Note: This is all based on some Christians beliefs which if wrong make this a non-discussion. – public static Sep 29 '14 at 18:48

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