6. The "Son of G-D" MYTH
The words of Agur, the son of Jakeh; the burden. The man says to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal: "Surely I am too stupid to be a man, I have not learned wisdom, that I should have the knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know?"
Agur is simply stating that for someone to understand the infinite ways of G-d, he would have to be a god himself, capable of supernatural feats.
If his friend would claim to know such a man, Agur then asks for his name and-for further identification-his son's name.
Agur could not have been referring to G-d, for then the question "What is his name?" would undoubtedly be absurd. Does any adult not know the Creator's Name in his own language? However, even if one insists that G-d is indeed the subject, then there are several candidates for the position of "son" :
I Chronicles 22:9--10
Behold, a son shall be born to you [David],...his name shall be Solomon....He shall build a house for My Name; he shall be a son to Me, and I will be a Father to him, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.
Now there was a day when the sons of G-d came to present themselves before the L-rd, and Satan also came among them.
I [David] will tell of the decree of the L-rd: He said to me, "You are My son; today I have begotten you."
And you shall say to Pharaoh: Thus says the L-rd: "Israel is My son, My firstborn."
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
None of the above is a "son of G-d" in the familial sense. Each merely enjoyed a special relationship to G-d, like those called "sons" in the New Testament:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of G-d.
...the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of G-d.
This was also the original intention of calling Jesus the "son of G-d." However, the fathers of Christianity soon resorted to a literal interpretation of this term in order to compete with the other "god--men" religions of the time (see chapter 2). The following incident reflects the original connotation of the phrase:
When Jesus was twelve years old, he was missing for three days. When his parents finally found him in the Temple, he asked them:
..."How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's House?" And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.
If angels had really informed Mary and Joseph that a "son of G-d" would be born to them-as we are told in Luke 1:26--35 and Matthew 1:20--21-why did they not understand his question?
"Behold, the days are coming," says the L-rd, "when I will raise up for David a righteous branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell safely, and this is the name by which he will be called: `The L-rd is our righteousness.' "
In the previous chapter, we saw that G-d's Name is conferred upon angels. It is also incorporated in the names of people:
And the angel of the L-rd said to [Hagar]: "Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Ishmael, [literally, "G-d hears"] because the L-rd has heard your affliction."
And [the angel] said: "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel [literally, "he who strives with G-d"], for you have striven with G-d and with men, and have prevailed."
II Kings 24:17
And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah [literally, "gift of the L-rd"], his father's brother, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah [literally, "my righteousness is the L-rd"].
And Abraham called the name of that place: "The L-rd sees"....
And Moses built an altar and called the name of it: "The L-rd is my banner."
The circumference [of Jerusalem] shall be eighteen thousand cubits, and the name of the city shall henceforth be: "The L-rd is there."
Whenever G-d's Name is conferred upon someone or something, it is to remind one of its particular significance. Thus, the Messiah's title, "The L-rd is our righteousness," reminds us that all the justice and piety of the Messianic Era will emanate from G-d. This message is so important that Jerusalem will bear the same name:
In those days and at that time, I will cause an offshoot of righteousness to spring forth for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell safely, and this is the name by which it will be called: "The L-rd is our righteousness."
Missionaries claim that the verse under discussion is referring to Jesus, whom they say is "The L-rd." Yet Jesus was not a king "executing justice and righteousness," nor did he save the tribe of Judah from Roman persecution; in fact, he himself was a victim:
And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.
For to us a child has been born, to us a son has been given, and the government is upon his shoulder, and he called his name "Wonderful in Counsel, Mighty G-d, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." That the government may be increased and that there be no end to the peace upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to establish and uphold it through justice and righteousness from now and forever-may the zeal of the L-rd of hosts perform this.
This child was Hezekiah, who inherited the throne from his father, King Ahaz. Hence, the verse states that "the government is upon his shoulder," in the present, not that it "will be" in the future. Likewise, his reign extends "from now and forever," with the Hebrew word olam (forever) not to be taken literally (see pp. 139--140). "No end to the peace" is also to be understood figuratively, as it is used elsewhere:
...and there is no end to all his toil....
Their land is full of silver and gold-there is no end to their treasures; their land is full of horses-there is no end to their chariots.
Hezekiah and his kingdom of Judah were threatened with imminent invasion by the Assyrian army:
Now therefore, behold, the L-rd is bringing up against them the waters of the river, mighty and many-[namely] the king of Assyria and all his glory-and it will rise over all its channels and overflow all its banks. And it will sweep on into Judah....
When the Assyrians were encamped outside the gates of Jerusalem, G-d intervened:
And the angel of the L-rd went forth and killed 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians, and when the men arose early in the morning, behold, [Assyria was] all dead corpses.
The effect of this miracle is spoken of earlier:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined.
In the verse under discussion, the Divine attributes contained within Hezekiah's name allude to G-d and to this awesome miracle:
"Wonderful in Counsel"-G-d's counsel to Hezekiah was reassuring and prophetic:
...thus says the L-rd: "Be not afraid of the words you have heard, that the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."
"Mighty G-d"-G-d's might prevailed against the massive Assyrian army.
"Everlasting Father"-G-d prolonged Hezekiah's life:
Then the word of the L-rd came to Isaiah, saying: "Go and say to Hezekiah: Thus says the L-rd, the G-d of David, your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life."
Indeed, it is written "and he called his name," not "and he called his names," for only "Prince of Peace" applied to Hezekiah, symbolizing the peace enjoyed by the nation after the destruction of the Assyrian army, as Hezekiah anticipated110:
Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah: "The word of the L-rd that you have spoken is good," for he thought, "There will be peace and truth in my days."
Isaiah chapter 7 focuses on Hezekiah's father, King Ahaz; Isaiah chapter 8 speaks about the imminent Assyrian invasion; and Isaiah chapter 9 about the miraculous rescue of Hezekiah and his kingdom from the Assyrian army.
Missionaries claim that the child in the verse under discussion is Jesus and the Divine attributes are describing him. However, the original Hebrew uses the past perfect tense ("to us a child has been born, to us a son has been given"), the past ("and he called his name"), and, as pointed out, the present, whereas if Jesus, who lived seven hundred years later, was this child, then the future tense would have been used.
It is also interesting to note that Jesus never proclaimed himself Divine, nor did he instruct his followers to worship him. It is obvious that he knew himself to be nothing more than a mere mortal being:
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
And as [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him: "Why do you call me good? No one is good but G-d alone."
...but to sit at my [Jesus'] right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.
And [Jesus] said: "Abba, Father, all things are possible to You; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what You will."
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice: "E--li, E--li, lama sabachthani?" which means "My G-d, my G-d, why have You forsaken me?"
"Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall clear the way before Me; and the L-rd, Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His Temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in, behold, he is coming," says the L-rd of hosts.
This "messenger of the covenant" was Elijah the prophet, as Malachi continues:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the L-rd. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers unto their children, and the heart of the children unto their fathers....
Elijah is destined to usher in the Messianic Era, at which time the Third Temple will be the center of religious worship, as alluded to in this verse:
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant to the L-rd, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.
The New Testament claims that this messenger was Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, who was reincarnated as Elijah to prepare the way for him:
Matthew 11:7, 10
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John...."This is he of whom it is written: `Behold, I send My messenger before your face, who shall prepare your way before you.' "
When asked, however, John denied being Elijah:
And they asked him: "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said: "I am not," "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No."
Moreover, nowhere in the New Testament does John even attempt to reunite fathers and children. Like Jesus, he was convicted of conspiring against the Roman state and executed as a common criminal:
And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl [Herodias]; and the girl gave it to her mother.
...the L-rd says to my lord: "Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."
Here David is repeating G-d's promise concerning Abraham's victory over the four kingdoms (Genesis chapter 14). After this war, Melchizedek hailed the returning hero and blessed him:
And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine; and he was a priest of the Supreme G-d. And he blessed him, and said: "Blessed be Abram by the Supreme G-d, Maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be the Supreme G-d, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand."
David alludes to this blessing later in the Psalm under discussion:
The L-rd has sworn, and will not recant: "You [Abraham] are a priest forever, after the manner of Melchizedek."
Referring specifically to Abraham's miraculous victory, he declares:
The L-rd is at your right hand, He has shattered kings on the day of His wrath111.
To make it appear as if G-d is here promising that Jesus' enemies will be conquered, the authors of the New Testament boldly misquoted our verse under discussion to:
The L-rd said to my Lord....
Thus, giving the impression that one Divine Being (G-d) is here promising another "divine" being (Jesus) that his enemies will be conquered!
In Hebrew, unlike in English, there are two separate words for "L-rd" and "lord": A--noy and adoni (literally, "my lord"). The latter appears in the following verses:
Hear us, my lord [Abraham]; you are a mighty prince among us....
I Kings 1:2
Therefore his servants said to [David]: "Let there be sought for my lord, the king, a young virgin...."
I Kings 1:17
And she said to [David]: "My lord, you swore by the L-rd, your G-d, to your handmaid: `Surely Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.' "
On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
In context, this verse refers to spiritual deafness and blindness:
Stupefy yourselves and be stupefied; blind yourselves and be blind; be drunk but not with wine; stagger but not with strong drink! For the L-rd has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, the prophets, and covered your heads, the seers. And the vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed book....
...for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.
And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.
Isaiah speaks in a similar fashion elsewhere:
Hear, O deaf, and look, O blind, that you may see. Who is blind but My servant, or as deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is as blind as he who is perfect, or as blind as the servant of the L-rd? He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.
Obviously, the verse under discussion is not a prophecy of Jesus's alleged healing powers, as missionaries assert.