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Nov. 28, 2003

Is Yahshua Yahweh?
by Bryn Hendrickson

(Please see our article which counters this position and shows that Yahweh, The God of the Old Testament, was in fact, Christ, the word of God)

(Comments: For clarity in the article, the term "Yahshua" is the Greek name for Jesus, and "Yahweh" is the name for God the Father. The article addresses the beliefs by some that Christ was the "God" of the Old Testament.)

Among many believers there is a popular doctrine which holds that Yahshua was the "god" (Yahweh) of the Old Testament. This doctrine is supported primarily by the application of two New Testament Scriptures.

The first is John 1:18, which is quoted by most orthodox English translations as: "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."

From this passage it is reasoned that, since Yahweh is the name of the "god" of the Old Testament, any time we read of Yahweh appearing to people such as in Exodus 33:11, this must actually be Yahshua and, since the one appearing is called Yahweh in these passages, He, Yahshua, must also be Yahweh.

The other verse used to support this idea is John 8:58, which says, "Yahshua said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.'"

The meaning commonly associated with this passage is that Yahshua is saying that He was the "I AM" spoken of in the burning-bush passage recorded in Exodus 3:14, since the one who said "I AM" also told Moses: "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'Yahweh, the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, has sent me to you. This (Yahweh) is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.'"

From these passages it is easy to understand how a sincere Bible student can conclude that Yahshua is Yahweh, or at the very least conclude that Yahweh is a family name, but is this the truth? Do we understand these verses correctly? Was Yahshua the "god" or the Elohim of the Old Testament, or was the Father the Elohim of the Old Testament?

Whose name alone is Yahweh!

To form a basis of understanding which will allow us to answer this question, let's take note of a few passages which will shed some light on whether or not Yahshua is Yahweh.

"But Abram said to the king of Sodom, 'I have raised my hand to Yahweh, Elohim Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth' " (Genesis 14:22).

Here we see that Abraham not only knew and used the name Yahweh, but he clearly says that Yahweh is Elohim Most High.

Next let's read Isaiah 64:8: "But now, O Yahweh, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand."

So clearly Yahweh is the Father, and we know from Malachi 2:10 that there is only one Father. Next let's turn to Psalm 83:16-18. "Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your name, O Yahweh. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, that they may know that You, whose name alone is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth."

So we know that the Most High is Yahweh, and that Yahweh is the Father, but now we see it is the Most High whose name alone is Yahweh! Notice how we can confirm this with a few more passages.

"Now therefore, O Yahweh our Elohim, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are Yahweh, You alone" (Isaiah 37:20).

"I am Yahweh, and there is no other; There is no Elohim besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am Yahweh, and there is no other; . . . For thus says Yahweh, Who created the heavens, who is Elohim, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: 'I am Yahweh, and there is no other' " (Isaiah 45:5-6, 18).

From these passages it should be clear that it is the Father whose name alone is Yahweh and that it is He who is the Most High, Creator, and Father of us all.

With these facts in mind, how is it that there are many examples of Yahweh apparently appearing to people through-out the Old Testament, and yet John clearly says that it was the Son who revealed Him? So does this mean that Yahshua is also Yahweh?

The truth is it was Yahshua who did appear to these people, but let's take a look at what we learn from the following passages to understand how it is possible for Yahshua to appear as Yahweh and still not be Yahweh.

Yahweh's image!

Let's take note of what these commonly used and understood Scriptures have to say about Yahshua before He became the Son of Man as the son of Miriam (a.k.a Mary).

"Yahweh, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He (Yahweh) made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the messengers, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Hebrews 1: 1-4).

"He (Yahshua) is the image of the invisible Elohim, the firstborn over all creation" (Colossians 1:15).

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Yahweh, and the Word was Elohim. He was in the beginning with Yahweh. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1-3).

"Yahshua said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?'" (John 14:9).

"He (Yahshua) was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of Yahweh" (Revelation 19:13).

From these verses we see that Yahshua was known as the Word and more specifically the Word of Yahweh. We also learn that He is Elohim like His Father and that He is in fact the express image of the invisible Elohim; in other words, He bears the exact likeness of His Father Yahweh, and to see Him is to see the Father. We also learn that it was through Him Yahweh created all things.

With what we read in John 1:18 combined with these passages, notice these excerpts from 1 Samuel 3.

"Then the boy Samuel ministered to Yahweh before Eli. And the Word of Yahweh was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation . . . (Now Samuel did not yet know Yahweh, nor was the Word of Yahweh yet revealed to him.) . . . Now Yahweh came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel! And Samuel answered, Speak, for Your servant hears. Then Yahweh said to Samuel: Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle . . . Then Yahweh appeared again in Shiloh . . ." (1 Samuel 3: 1, 7, 10-11, 21a).

From these verses it certainly appears that Yahweh is appearing to Samuel, but from what we read in John 1:18 we know that this would have to be Yahshua, and it appears that He would also be called Yahweh - but let's read the rest of verse 21. "For Yahweh revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of Yahweh."

So what does this tell us? When we combine these passages we see that the Father's name alone is Yahweh, but He reveals Himself to mankind through His only begotten Son who is the Word of Yahweh. It is the Word who became flesh and became Yahshua the Son of Man. Yahshua bears the express image of the Father and to see Him is to see the Father.

Also in Judges 13:16-22 we read of the time when the angel, or more accurately, the Messenger, of Yahweh, appeared to the parents of Samson. In this passage we read that Manoah thought that this Messenger was in fact Yahweh and wanted to make an offering to Him, but the Messenger said He should offer it to Yahweh. And later, when the Messenger was asked what His name was, He replied, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?"

When we consider that from Isaiah 9:6 we learn that one of the names of the Messiah is Wonderful, we can see that this Messenger is in fact the Word of Yahweh who became flesh as Yahshua, but He denied that He was Yahweh.

This connection is missed by many since many English Bibles do not always translate the two Hebrew words in these passages as "wonderful." While it is true that there are two different Hebrew words in these passages, (pil'iy, 6383, and pele', 6382) it is also true that they share a common root word (06381, pala'), and they both mean wonderful, incomprehensible, and extraordinary.

(Comment: I would interject here that if you continue reading these scriptures, you will realize that Manoah at first thought this messenger was Yahweh, but was told differently. Then in vs 22, after the messenger ascended to heaven in the flame of the sacrifice to Yahweh, Manoah states...  Judg 13:22 And Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.  Why would he say this when he was just told that this messenger was NOT Yahweh? He knew that this messenger was, indeed, God, but NOT the Father... Yahweh.)

My name is in Him!

While it is true that the Father's name is included in many titles which clearly refer to the one who would become Yahshua, it is a mistake to assume that this means the one who became Yahshua is in fact also Yahweh. One verse that helps clear this up is found in Exodus 23:20-23, in which Yahweh says: "Behold, I send an Angel (Messenger) before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if you shall indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries. For mine Angel (Messenger) shall go before you, and bring you in to the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off."

I know people have a hard time understanding the use of the English word angel in this passage, if indeed this passage refers to Yahshua, but we need to understand that both the Hebrew (mal'ak, 4397) and the Greek (aggelos, 32) simply mean a messenger, and they have no bearing on the nature of the messenger. In other words, Yahshua being a mal'ak or an aggelos does not reduce His nature as Elohim.

With that said, notice what this passage reveals. Yahweh clearly states His name is in His messenger and His messenger was to be obeyed as Yahweh commanded. And that it would be this messenger who would lead them through the wilderness. And as we learned from Isaiah 63:9 it was the angel of His presence who was with Israel. And from 1 Corinthians 10:4 we learn that the rock that was with them in the wilderness was the one who became the Messiah.

So, yes, Yahshua has many titles which include the name Yahweh from the Messenger of Yahweh and the Word of Yahweh to Yahweh our Righteousness, but, if we are to assume that simply bearing the name Yahweh makes one Yahweh, how do we deal with the fact that Abraham called the place where he was to sacrifice Isaac Yahweh Yireh, which means "Yahweh will provide"? Does this mean that this place is Yahweh? Of course not, and simply because Yahshua has the name of the Father in Him does not mean that He is Yahweh. Note that Yahweh said His name was in His messenger. He didn't say His messenger was also Yahweh.

Yahweh of Hosts!

One title that confuses many is the title Yahweh of Hosts. It is argued by some that, since the one who appeared to Joshua in Joshua 5:15 was most certainly the one who became Yahshua and because He is called The Captain of Yahweh's Hosts, Yahweh of Hosts must also be Yahshua. While this argument is thin at best, it is easy to prove to be in error by simply turning to a few passages from Zechariah while keeping in mind that The Word of Yahweh is definitely a title of the one who became Yahshua.

"In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the Word of Yahweh came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, Yahweh has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Yahweh of hosts: Return to Me, says the Yahweh of hosts, and I will return to you, says Yahweh of hosts. Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, 'Thus says Yahweh of hosts: Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not hear nor heed Me, says Yahweh." (Zechariah 1:1-4).

Notice the Word of Yahweh, Yahshua, is delivering a message on behalf of Yahweh of Hosts, so how can He be Yahweh of Hosts if He is speaking for Yahweh of Hosts? Let's read some more and see what we can learn.

"Moreover the Word of Yahweh came to me, saying: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent Me to you" (Zechariah 4:8-9).

Again notice that the Word of Yahweh clearly says that Yahweh of Hosts sent Him, the Word of Yahweh, to Zechariah. Did the Word send Himself?

And finally notice these quick passages from Zechariah 8. "Again the Word of Yahweh of hosts came to me, saying, Thus says Yahweh of hosts . . . And the word of Yahweh of hosts came to me, saying, Thus says Yahweh of hosts . . ." (Zechariah 8:1-2, 18-19). Don't these passages make it pretty clear that Yahshua is the Word of Yahweh of Hosts and not in fact Yahweh of Hosts? If not, who else is there that can be called the Word of Yahweh?

Was Yahshua the "I AM"?

Finally let's take a look at John 8:58. As we read earlier, Yahshua said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."

This certainly appears that Yahshua is claiming to be the "I AM" and as such would be Yahweh, but let's take note of a couple of technical points.

First, the Greek word translated as "was" in the phrase "before Abraham was" is the Greek ginomai (1096), which means to become or come into existence. Next, the word translated as "I" in "I AM" is ego (1473), which simply means the self and is translated as I, me and my.

The "am" in "I AM" is eimi (1510), which means to be, to exist, to happen, to be present. What is important is that using the Greek language anyone can say ego eimi. In fact, the phrase ego eimi appears many times in the New Testament since it is simply the common Greek for I exist or I am and there is nothing special about this phrase as we find it in this verse.

Most people read this passage as "Before Abraham was, I AM," meaning Yahshua was claiming to be the "I AM" of Exodus 3:14, but a more accurate translation of this passage would be, "Before Abraham came to be, I existed." Which is in complete harmony with what we read in John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-16, and Hebrews 1:1-4. Yes, Yahshua did exist before He was born of Miriam, at which time He became the Son of Man, but as we have seen the Father alone is Yahweh and as such only the Father is the "I AM."

For further proof of this, notice what Yahshua has to say about who was there at the incident of the burning bush.

In Mark 12:26-27 we read, "But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how Yahweh spoke to him, saying, 'I am the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob'? He (Yahweh) is not the Elohim of the dead, but the Elohim of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken."

And in Luke 20:37-38 we read, "But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called Yahweh 'the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob.' For He is not the Elohim of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him."

What is interesting about these passages is that Yahshua does not say that it was He who was the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If Yahshua was in fact the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, why didn't He say, "Have you never read what Moses had to say in the burning bush passage where He said I was the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Do you not know that I am Yahweh and I am the Elohim of the living and not the dead"?

Yahshua never claimed to be the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; He claimed to the be the Son of Yahweh, but He never claimed to be Yahweh. If He had in fact ever claimed to be Yahweh, the religious leaders of His day would have been right in charging Him with blasphemy. Let's also consider these words of Yahshua and think about what they mean. Yahshua said, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in Yahweh, believe also in Me" (John 14:1).

If Yahshua was Yahweh the Elohim of the Old Testament, why does He tell these people who already believed in Yahweh to believe also in Him? He didn't say, "As you have believed in Me believe also in the Father."


Scripture clearly says that the Father alone is Yahweh. We know that Yahweh revealed Himself by His Son, the Word of Yahweh. We know the Word became flesh, and we know Him today as Yahshua. We know that Yahshua, The Son, is the express image of the invisible Elohim and that it has always been the Son who has revealed Yahweh, the Father.

In closing, let's consider a few words of Yahshua's concerning the Father's name.

In prayer, Yahshua said to the Father, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word . . . Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are . . . While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled . . . And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:6, 11, 12, 26).

Notice Yahshua said He declared the Father's name. He did not say He declared their name. This is exactly what was prophesied to be done by the Messiah. We read in Psalm 22 (later quoted in Hebrews 2:12), these words of the Messiah speaking to Yahweh, "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You" (Psalms 22:22).

Note the Messiah did not come in His own name or to declare His name; He came in the Father's name and to be about the Father's work and to declare the name of the Father. Yahshua even taught us to pray by saying: "Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Luke 11:2). Notice He did not say Hallowed be Our name.

Let me leave you with one last thought. John 1:18 clearly says that no one has ever seen Yahweh at any time, but because of a mistaken understanding of John 5:37 many people think that no one has even heard His voice.

In John 5:37 we read these words of Yahshua. "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form." What is important to understand is that Yahshua was speaking to a specific group of people and He told them that they had never seen the Father nor heard His voice. He did not say that no one has ever heard His voice.

This means that there probably are times recorded in Scriptures when Yahweh could have spoken to, but not appeared to, individuals - meaning sometimes when we read of Yahweh speaking to people it could have actually been the Father, but any time we read of Yahweh appearing to people it is in fact Yahweh revealing Himself, by His Son, the Word of Yahweh, who became Yahshua, as we read in 1 Samuel 3:21 and John 1:18.

More about the Pre-Existence of Christ and the "I Am."

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