Many Jewish people today believe that Gentiles made up the idea that God has a Son. Why would God need to have a Son? This concept seems foreign, pagan, and even idolatrous. It is seen as claim unique to the New Testament with no place in Jewish thought, like some sort of “goyisha boobe-myseh” (Gentile fable).
In spite of this popular view, the truth is that the notion of God having a Son was imbedded in Jewish thought a thousand years before Yeshua (Jesus) came to earth. It was so imbedded, that it was included in the Jewish Bible (Tanakh, also known as the Old Testament). Psalm 2 twice speaks of God having a Son and says much about Him.
Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Messiah: “Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron. You will shatter them like earthenware.’ ”
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
Here we are told that God has a Son, the King, who will rule the nations from Mount Zion. The Psalm ends by warning the kings of the earth to worship the Lord with reverence, and to do homage to the Son. It says that the kings of the earth who do not do homage to the Son will perish, and all who take refuge in the Son will be blessed.
The idea of God having a Son, who would be the Messiah, was not invented by Christians. It was a Jewish concept embraced by first century Jews. Numerous traditional Jewish sources state that, based on Psalm 2 and other passages, the Messiah is the Son of God. Some of these rabbinic sources are quoted below.
Our Rabbis taught, the Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David, (May He reveal Himself speedily in our days), “Ask of Me anything, and I will give to You”, as it is said (Psalm 2:7-8): “I will tell of the decree: The Lord has said to me, ‘You are my Son: this day have I begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance’ ” (emphasis added).
Midrash Rabbah (to Exodus 19:6, 7)
Just as I have made Jacob a firstborn, for it says, “Israel is My firstborn (Exodus 4:22), so will I make the King Messiah firstborn, as it says, “I also will make him firstborn” (Psalm 89:27).
Midrash T’hillim (to Psalm 2:7)
In the decree of the writings it is written: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool” (Psalm 110:1), and it is also written, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto the son of man. And he came even to the Ancient of Days, and he was brought near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all the people, nations, and languages should serve him.” (Daniel 7:13-14). In another comment, the verse is read, “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said unto me: You are My son…Ask of Me and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession.” (Psalm 2:7-8). R. Yudan said: “All these goodly promises are in the decree of the king, the King of Kings, who will fulfil them for the Lord Messiah” (emphasis added).
Yes, God has a Son, and His Son is the Messiah. The only remaining question concerning the Son was first asked in Proverbs 30:4 in the Jewish Bible (Tanakh or Old Testament) nearly a thousand years before Yeshua came to earth:
Who has ascended into heaven, and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His son’s name? Surely you know! (emphasis added)
According to the Jewish Bible, the issue has never been about whether God has a Son. The issue then and now is the identity of God’s Son, the Messiah of Israel. Psalm 2:12 says that we need to embrace Him, but we cannot embrace Him unless we know who He is. May the Lord reveal His Messiah Yeshua to all people.*Written by: Jonathan Sacks Sacks Messianic Ministries P.O. Box 51764 Bowling Green, KY 42102-6764
* Many of the qualifications of the Messiah, as depicted in the Hebrew Bible, are described in detail in the section of this website, entitled, “Messianic Prophecies.”