As a Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus) and a Messianic rabbi, one of the most often asked questions I receive is, "If Yeshua was G-D, how did He die? After all, G-D is eternal, isn't He?"
Over the years, I have spent a great deal of time answering this question to both Jewish people (seeking meaningful answers to their deep questions about Yeshua) and also Gentiles, believers and non-believers. This question is extremely complex because it involves the essence and make-up not only of G-D, but also man. While the question is complex, the answer is actually very simple and easy to understand. In fact, most people make answering this question much more difficult than it should be because they are answering the wrong question.
Too often, when asked this question the person answering gets all twisted up describing the nature of G-D and His ability to do anything He wants. After all, He is G-D. They might even attempt to explain the complex issue of the G-dhead by doing their best to explain the roles and functions of each aspect of G-D. The Father "Creator," The Son "Redeemer," the Holy Spirit "The Regenerator" and in doing so make an effort to say how Yeshua died while the Father lived, or some other combination of thoughts related to the unique unity that is our G-D.
As believers, we frequently gravitate to the most difficult and complex answer to questions instead of going to the simplest and most direct answer. In this case, the answer has less to do with the nature and make-up of G-D than it does with the nature and make-up of man.
What is the simple answer you may ask? The simple answer is that Yeshua died exactly the same way every human being has ever died. The flesh He was robed within died. We must begin with the foundational truth that humans are eternal souls or beings dwelling within a temporal body of flesh. When we die, our flesh dies, but our soul lives on forever somewhere. For the believer, that somewhere is in the eternal presence of G-D, and for the unbeliever, that somewhere is eternally separate from G-D. I am not going to get into an explanation on the understanding of those two places—that's for another blog. For this blog, it is important to remember that, as John 1:14 tells us, G-D robed Himself in flesh, and 1 Timothy 3:16 says:
"Without question, great is the mystery of godliness: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).
So in the same way that we are an eternal being robed within a temporary tabernacle of flesh, Yeshua came to this world as an eternal being robed within a temporary tabernacle of flesh. The flesh died on the cross as atonement for all. But, the eternal being within lives on for all eternity. You see, in order to understand how G-D could die, we first have to understand how we die.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry and #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer.
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