Hello everyone, It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted. Mostly, I’ve just been focusing on my own studies as well as placing emphasis on studying for a teaching that I usually present each month at our Friday night fellowship. I thought I’d share our discussion from last night. These are my notes and hoping it will cause you to study deep into Tanach and see that God has always wanted us to call Him, Father. It’s not a new thing!
Song (You Are Holy – Joshua Aaron): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWc7VilSOZs&list=PLPU2CTdoFmdS_PZ5WydaYbfZo-r4zFEAT&index=62
Some questions to ponder:
- If people pray today to God, how are they addressing Him in their prayers?
- If people were praying to God in the NT times, how would they address Him and why would they address Him as this?
- Turning the pages back, if Israel was praying to God in the Tanach times, how do you think they would have addressed Him? Why?
Today, we are specifically talking about one term that God is called, “Father”.
- Do you think God is the Father of Christians? Was God the Father of Israel in the past? Is God the Father of Israel today? Is God the Father of the Muslims? Is God the Father of those who are in other religions? Is God the Father of those who don’t acknowledge Him at all?
Mal 2:10 “10 Don’t we all have the same father? Didn’t one God create us all? Then why do we break faith with each other, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?”
So, then who are God’s children according to this verse?
I was taught in Christianity that we are only God’s children and He is only our Father when we accept Jesus, but now seeing this verse in Malachi, it would seem that that teaching was entirely false as we read in Malachi that God is definitely the Father of everyone on earth, even those that are in rebellion towards Him at this time.
Most Christians, who haven’t thoroughly studied the Old Testament much (which was me, and I’m still just learning), believe that calling the Creator of Heaven and Earth, with the title “Father” is only referred to in the New Testament. Some believe and teach that God Almighty was distant to His people in the Old Testament, more like a stranger, but came into a ‘Father-Son’ relationship only after the appearance of Yeshua.
Are these claims true? Was calling God by the title “Father” a new teaching?
Let’s look at the Tanach.
Isaiah 63:16 (JP) it reads: “For You are our father, for Abraham did not know us, neither did Israel recognize us; You, O [YHWH], are our father; our redeemer of old is your name.”
God as Father in the Tanach
- Deu 32:6 “6 You foolish people, so lacking in wisdom, is this how you repay Adonai? He is your father, who made you his! It was he who formed and prepared you!”
- Jer 31:9 “(9) They will come weeping and praying as I bring them back. I will lead them by streams of water on smooth paths, so that they won’t stumble. For I am a father to Isra’el, and Efrayim is my firstborn son.”” CJB
- Isaiah 63:15-16 “Look down from heaven; and see from your holy, glorious dwelling. Where are your zeal and your mighty deeds, your inner concern and compassion? Don’t hold back, 16 for you are our father. Even if Avraham were not to know us, and Isra’el were not to acknowledge us, you, Adonai, are our father, Our Redeemer of Old is your name.”
- Isaiah 64:8 “(8) But now, Adonai, you are our father; we are the clay, you are our potter; and we are all the work of your hands.”
- 1Ch 29:10 “10 as he blessed Adonai before the entire community: “Blessed be you, Adonai, the God of Isra’el our father, forever and ever. “
- Jer 3:19 “19 “‘“I thought that I would like to put you among the sons [with inheritance rights] and give you a pleasant land, the best heritage of all the nations. I thought that you would call me ‘My father’ and never stop following me. 20 But like a faithless woman who betrays her husband, you, house of Isra’el, have betrayed me,” says Adonai.’”
- Mal 1:6 “1: A prophecy, the word of Adonai to Isra’el through Mal’akhi:… 6 “A son honors his father and a servant his master. But if I’m a father, where is the honor due me? and if I’m a master, where is the respect due me? — says Adonai-Tzva’ot to you cohanim who despise my name. You ask, ‘How are we despising your name?’
- Pro 3:11-12 “11 My son, don’t despise Adonai’s discipline or resent his reproof; 12 for Adonai corrects those he loves like a father who delights in his son.
- Psa 103:13 “13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, Adonai has compassion on those who fear him.”
Not only is God Almighty known as the “Father”, He calls His people as “Children”
- Hos 2:1 ““Nevertheless, the people of Isra’el will number as many as the grains of sand by the sea, which cannot be measured or counted; so that the time will come when, instead of being told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said to them, ‘You are the children of the living God.’”
- Isa 1:2 “2 “Hear, heaven! Listen, earth! For Adonai is speaking. “I raised and brought up children, but they rebelled against me.
- Exo 4:22,23 “22 Then you are to tell Pharaoh: ‘Adonai says, “Isra’el is my firstborn son. 23 I have told you to let my son go in order to worship me, but you have refused to let him go. Well, then, I will kill your firstborn son!”’””
- Hos 11:1 ““When Isra’el was a child, I loved him; and out of Egypt I called my son.”
- Psa 82:6 “6 “My decree is: ‘You are elohim [gods, judges], sons of the Most High all of you.”
Is there any records of the Jewish people addressing God as Father in past historical writings?
“Our Father” is common place in the Jewish Extra-biblical writings. Here are just a few.
- Babylonian Talmud written in 3rd to 5th Centuries AD, Ta’anit 25b it says “Our Father, our King, we have no king but you! Our Father, our King, on your own account have mercy on us!”. This prayer was recited on the 10 days of Awe (leading to the Day of Atonement).
- The Mishnah which contains the teachings of the early rabbis, relates that before the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70AD Jews used to pray “Upon whom shall we depend? Upon Our Father who is in heaven”. (Mishnah Sotah 9:15)
- Another Jewish Prayer says “May it be the will of our Father in Heaven” (Midrash Psalms 25:13 – Buber edition Page 214)
- The Jewish sage Ben Sira, 200 years before Yeshua, prayed “O Lord, Father and Master of my life… O Lord, Father and God of my life” (Ben Sira 23:1,4). Also “Lord you are my Father; do not forsake me in the days of trouble, when there is no help against the proud” (Ben Sira 51:10)
- In a fragment of The Dead Sea Scrolls (written hundreds of years before Yeshua) was found the title “Our Father” (4Q511 fragment 127 line 1)
So did the people of the Tanach times call God, Father? Yes, for those who were closest to Him, like Isaiah, for example. But, perhaps, those who felt distant to God, who didn’t try to get to know Him, did not refer to Him as Father. But, God’s ultimate goal was for all people to call Him, Father, and with that, to respect His authority as their Father, which includes all aspects of what a father is: the creator, provider, protector, guider, disciplinarian, caregiver, mentor, and much, much more.
Nope, calling God as “Our Father”, is not a new idea/concept only seen in the New Testament. It is a recurring depiction of the close relationship between the Creator and His chosen people. Yeshua and the New Testament writers did not invent this idea. Rather they built upon the thought of having such a loving Creator, who was willing to call His creation “His Children”. Our Heavenly Father has, and will not change, and His people have also understood their Creator to be a loving Father from ancient times.
Can you call God, “Father” today because of your closeness with Him, or do you need to work on repairing that relationship?