The Son of God problem for the Jews
by Robert Randle 9/30/2009 / Bible Studies
The Jewish religion from its inception was monotheistic, at least in belief and practice, with the unique distinction separating it from those of their Canaanite and Mesopotamian neighbors is mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4, which says: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!." Any idea that the Lord (YHVH) God of Israel could have a Son is totally inconceivable. One of the characteristics of nearly all divine pantheons of the gods is that of having a consort and offspring, so the idea of Jesus as being born the Son of God, and taking this a step further: to accept the divinity known as God, Whose very nature is transcendent, immortal, invisible, incorporeal, dwelling in unapproachable light, infinite in power, and existing on a spiritual dimension far beyond human comprehension could condescend [empty Himself] to be involved in this physical substance called "matter" to undergo a physical birth by surrendering, or setting aside the prerogatives of Godhood, takes a great leap of faith, indeed!
The Old Testament writings prophesy that God would send a Mighty Deliver, Messiah, or Ruler and descendant from the House of David, who would redeemn His people Israel and destroy her enemies, as this is certainly what the contemporary Jews in Jesus' day were looking forward to (Matthew 2: 6;Luke 1: 68-75; 3: 15; John 1: 19-27). Even Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 18: 15, 18-19: The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from among your brethren. Him shall you hear. I will raise up from them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, 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 require it of him [he shall be destroyed from among the people].
Jesus' earthly and public ministry commenced with His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, the anointing by the Spirit of God like the form of a dove which sat upon Him, and the voice from heaven which said, "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3: 13-17). The narrative does not say if anyone else heard the voice besides Jesus and possibly John. Outside of Satan knowing who Jesus really was (Matthew 4: 6) and demons (Matthew 8: 28-29), Jesus referred to Himself by the enigmatic title, "Son of Man." When the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph regarding Mary's pregnancy, he said that she would bring forth a Son and you [Joseph] shall call His name Jesus (Matthew 1: 18-21). In the book of Isaiah 7: 14, the Son is to be named Immanuel.
The multitudes thought Jesus was the Son of David (Matthew 12: 23b) and Herod the tetrarch thought Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead (Matthew 14: 1-11). Although Jesus alluded to His divinity in private with His disciples, it was apparent that they didn't fully grasp the concept as recorded in Matthew 16: 13-17 because the rumor mill had it that Jesus was thought to be [a resurrected] John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets; until God finally revealed to Peter Who Jesus is. When Jesus entered Jerusalem the multitudes hailed Him as the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee (Matthew 21: 11). The Pharisees, disciples of the Herodians, and Sadducees saw in Jesus a great teacher (Matthew 2: 15-16, 23-24, 33). Also, the Pharisees thought the "Christ" was the Son of David (Matthew 22: 41-42).
When Jesus appeared before the 'Sanhedrin' (Jewish Supreme Court), they put Him under an oath before the living God to testify, or rather admit to being the Son of God; His reply was, "It is as you say [if you say so]." Jesus did quote Daniel 7: 13, so in a way He did answer their question; for which He was accused of blasphemy. Although this was a kangaroo Court and an insult to the very rule of Law, juris-prudence, and legal precedent, still the deeply entrenched theological and psychological ram-ifications cannot be so easily ignored by the truth of this revelation.
If God can have a Son or become One, then what does that mean about the 'Oneness' of God, and not only that, but what about the implication of possibly a feminine aspect of deity (Divine Consort, Mother, Wife, or Goddess)? Since the children received God's Law at Mount Sinai through Moses and written by the "finger of God," the Jewish people have been warned about worshipping other gods and Asherah/Asherim. In the book of Jeremiah (44: 15-19) the people were quite obstinate and rebellious, refusing to listen to the word of the Lord as they continued offering incense, making cakes and pouring out drink offerings to the "Queen of Heaven."
Now, as Jesus was delivered before Pontius Pilate, He was accused of being King of the Jews; posing a rather embarrassing problem for the political machinations of Rome in the region since Caesar had already appointed a King [an 'Edomite'] over the Jews. Ironically, Jesus was not accused by the Jewish authorities of being the Son of God before the Governor of Judea, which might have been interesting to see if Pilate would have been more cautious in his dealings with Jesus. The immemorial words of Jesus which was spoken from the Cross of His Crucifixion, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, My God, My God," why have You forsaken Me?" [recorded in MATTHEW and MARK] was lost in translation by the people in Judea who spoke Hebrew, and they thought He was calling for Elijah instead upon God His Father (Matthew 27; 45-47); that is because Jesus was from Galilee and spoke in Aramaic.