What does “Son of God” mean?

Apr 25, 2015 | General |

This discussion has not yet been rewritten or presented in the updated multi-part format.  That will occur as God wills to provide me the time and energy to do so.

1 John 4:9,10,14
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. … 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
The New King James Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1982.

In each verses Yeshua is referred to as God’s son. What does that actually mean?

It is impossible to truly comprehend the enormity, glory, wisdom, power, or any other attribute of God. He is beyond full human understanding. The Eternal One presents His Truths and ways in the language of man using terminology common to man’s understanding. Using such common sense terms we can get a basic grasp of the otherwise infinite and eternal way and Truth of God.

I plead with Christians and Messianics to use common sense while considering the issue of Yeshua’s deity, specifically with respect to the term “son of God” and how a “pefected” person was obviously at one time imperfect until such time as his perfection occurred.

First, let us apply common terminology to the meaning of the “son of God”.

There has never been a time in recorded history where a man and his son were one and the same being. It is impossible. I will confidently state that there is no possible way that proof can be provided to show how a man and his son are the same person. Such a thought is the product of a broken or non functioning mind.

Also note in the verses quoted above how distinction is shown by Yeshua being sent by YHVH. Such distinction is present all throughout the New Testament, and I discuss that in greater detail in a separate article.

The Scriptures generally describe all things relative to YHVH using human terms.  This literary technique, called anthropomorphism, is the primary means used in Scripture to lead us into an understanding of YHVH (God).

Anthropomorphism: attribution of human characteristics to nonhumans: the attribution of a human form, human characteristics, or human behavior to nonhuman things such as deities in mythology and animals in children’s stories.

This is commonly done in the Scriptures with reference to YHVH’s “heart”, “hand”, “finger”, etc.  Attributes of personality such as “jealousy”, “will” or “desire”, “hate”, and many other “emotions” are anthropomorphic.  The reason for this technique is so that mankind, who is incapable of truly understanding the infinite Almighty, can grasp the basics of what is actually beyond our ability to understand. A large percentage of RAMBAM’s work, The Guide of the Perplexed, is devoted to how to properly interpret such anthropomorphisms.

The reference to Yeshua as YHVH’s “son” is one of these techniques.  It may surprise most Christians to realize Yeshua is not the only “son of God” mentioned in Scripture.

Solomon was referred to as YHVH’s son:

2 Samuel 7:14
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

Proof of this referring to Solomon is found in 1 Chronicles 28:6

1 Chronicles 28:6 (KJV)
6 And he (God) said unto me (David), Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.

It should be noted that verses regarding Solomon (and many other passages) are sometimes assumed to refer to Messiah.  I agree; however, I feel the correct standard method of interpreting Scripture is to first look for a direct application and then to expand it to encompass other potential meanings since a passage may and often does contain multiple truths. Some verses of Scripture may have a “near – far” dual interpretation.  They have both direct (near) and indirect (far) meanings.

Christianity often spiritualize and allegorize potentially Messianic Tanakh passages to fit their “dispensational” understandings. Judaism, on the other hand, seems to sometimes get too literal and disregard the possible allegorical/spiritual (far) interpretation of Messianic verses, which is very odd since the writings of Jewish Sages are so filled with deeper spiritual interpretations of Scripture (the “sod” or “hidden” meaning).

We must all admit that we are not at a level of spiritual oneness with The Eternal One to know for certain, but I feel – as previously stated – that it is wrong to do as most Christians do, which is to make the Tanakh into an allegorical jumbled mystery from which they devise various beliefs to fit their Torah illiterate bias.  We should also not become too attached to our near-far understandings unless they are implicitly obvious, since they are – by definition – beyond our ability to perfectly understand.

Continuing with the sons of God mentioned in Scripture…  The entire nation of Israel is referred to as God’s sons.

Exodus 4:22
22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

Adam was the “son of God” also.

Luke 3:38
38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

Of course, all true followers of God’s Holy instructions (Torah) are called sons of God.

Therefore it is SCRIPTURALLY accurate to say there is reference to well over 600,000 “sons of God” in the Bible, since Israel is God’s son.  This is something Traditional Christian teachers hate to have revealed.

Exodus 12:37
37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

The fact is, the term “son of God” is always used in an anthropomorphic sense to refer to God’s representative(s) or devotees.  Of course, as the greatest, most obedient, and most exalted of all of The Eternal God’s representatives, Yeshua is indeed a unique “son of God”.

Yeshua is the ultimate tzaddik, or pious and righteous servant and representative of God.  Virtually all Christians believe that Yeshua is called the “son” of God solely because of the virgin birth. If that is so, why are so many others also called God’s “son”? As I show in the virgin birth article, the teaching that Yeshua was conceived of a virgin actually threatens Yeshua’s claim to being the Messiah. Additionally, if being born of a virgin makes him God’s “son”, then he ranks third in the list of miraculous births since neither Adam nor Eve had a mother or father. Adam was born from dirt, and Eve from Adam’s side. That is yet another bit of trivia Christian leaders would prefer Christians to not ponder for too long.

The New Testament actually suggests to us the exact moment that Yeshua was “begotten” of God, and it was not at his birth!  Yes, believe it or not we can know the precise time of the final “begetting” of Messiah Yeshua.

In Acts 13 Paul is speaking to those gathered in a synagogue of Antioch.  In this single chapter the entire gospel is summed up in one of the most concise presentations to be found anywhere in Scripture.  During this sermon Paul reveals the exact moment that Yeshua’s “begotten” status was completed.

Acts 13:33
33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”
The New King James Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1982.

The Psalm to which he refers is:

Psalm 2:7
7 I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”
The New King James Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1982.

Thus, we see the actual day that Yeshua was begotten – the day that according to the New Testament he could fully be called the “son of God”.  It was on the day of his resurrection.  It was not at his birth.  This, also, is how he became the “firstfruits of the resurrection”.  The announcement of the angel Gabriel in Luke’s gospel presents in the future tense the fact that Yeshua “will be called the Son of the Highest.”  This prophecy from Gabriel had it’s fulfillment at Yeshua’s resurrection.

Luke 1:32
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
The New King James Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1982.

As usual, I appeal to common sense.  Someone who is “begotten” is not eternal but has a beginning; therefore, the “begotten one” (Yeshua) cannot be the “Eternal One,” (God).

I would argue that the resurrection is the completion of the process of Yeshua’s becoming God’s son.  He was already His son as defined previously in term’s of being God’s perfect representative, agent, Servant, and Anointed One.  For the reasons I discussed in the virgin birth article previously mentioned, I do not accept the virgin birth and consider it to be an attempt by those lead by the spirit of error (spirit of antichrist) to usurp Yeshua’s rightful claim to be the Messiah of Israel since it eliminates the primary importance of him being of the literal seed of David through the father as Scripture demands.

So, upon his resurrection, Messiah Yeshua became THE Son of the Highest due to the fact that Yeshua was the very first man resurrected to eternal life. Further even which proves Yeshua’s “begotten of God” status occurred at his resurrection and not at his birth is shown below. Likewise, a quote from Luke’s gospel shows Messiah himself implicitly defining “son of God” as being those birthed by resurrection.

Romans 1:3-4 NKJV
3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Luke 20:36 NASB95
36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.