Was yeshua immortal?
As scriptures do not use the word immortal in describing Yeshua, thus we can't study the word itself and learn exactly what this aspect of His nature was. But when other evidence is gathered and considered, I'm confident we will see some beautiful truths unfold before us.
Generally speaking when we think of being immortal, we think of one who cannot die, but there is another aspect of immortality. An individual might loose his immortality. Even though he is immortal at one point in his life, it's possible that at a later date, if circumstances change, then he might still be subject to death. I'll explain further as we proceed.
1). Was Yeshua Immortal?
To answer this important question, let's ask another. Was Adam immortal?
- GENESIS 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
So if Adam had not sinned and ate from the forbidden tree, we are to understand that he would not have died. It seems that the passage is pretty clear. GOD was saying, "I have given you life Adam, but if you eat the forbidden fruit you will die. Howbeit, if you are obedient and do not eat from that tree, you will continue living".
Paul further expounded upon this.
- ROMANS 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin....
Thus, because Adam sinned and ate the forbidden fruit, he died. It's only logical then, that if he had not sinned then he would not have died. So what of Yeshua, Whom scripture calls the second Adam? (1 CORINTHIANS 15:45) If Adam was not originally destined to die, and Yeshua was the second Adam, are we to gather that Yeshua was also of the same original constitution as Adam, the same nature? Adam only died because of sin, so if Yeshua was the same as Adam, then He also would not have died unless He too sinned, which He evidently didn't (1 PETER 2:22). I think therefore that it is reasonable to conclude that Yeshua may very well have been immortal, or whatever Adam was originally.
2). So, being immortal, how could Yeshua die? Unlike the first Adam, Yeshua didn't sin so how could He die, if He was indeed immortal? Aside from sin, how can an immortal man die?
Even though Yeshua was immortal, He took the part of man's nature which subjected Him to death.
- HEBREWS 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. . . .
Thus, even though Yeshua was conceived by the Holy Spirit, He also took part of human nature so that He would be able to die when that became necessary.
- HEBREWS 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Evidently angels do not die, but Yeshua was going to need to die, so GOD made Him a little lower than them, thus subjecting Him to death. As such, being made lower than the angels, Yeshua took part of human nature so that He could die. Not that He would, but that He could. Let's consider another interesting passage from HEBREWS.
- HEBREWS 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. . .
Does this not tell us that Yeshua was made an endless life, an immortal life? This truth unfolds for us a wonderful passage which for many is confusing, and to others a basis for rank untruth.
- JOHN 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Trinitarians think that they have found here evidence that Yeshua was GOD because they suppose that He was saying that He was able to raise Himself from the dead. Howbeit, He was not saying anything of the sort. Yeshua was simply saying that He was able to decide whether or not He was going to die. I see no other way to understand His comment unless He was speaking of His immortality. He was saying that he would not die unless He decided to die.
Common sense tells us that after His death, Yeshua didn't raise Himself from the dead for He was dead. It required GOD to raise Him from the dead, which is what we are repeatedly told in scripture. (ACTS 2:24, 32; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33-34; 17:31; ROMANS 4:24; 1 CORINTHIANS 6:14; 2 CORINTHIANS 4:14; GALATIANS 1:1; EPHESIANS 1:20; COLOSSIANS 2:12; 1 THESSALONIANS 1:10; HEBREWS 13:20; 1 PETER 1:21)
3). How does all this relate to Yeshua dieing for our sins?
His sacrifice was above and beyond all other sacrifices, so our question is, Why? Why was His sacrifice better than that of bulls and goats? Because He freely offered Himself. But why was His sacrifice better than that of any other man? Because He was without sin, without spot or blemish (HEBREWS 9:14). So why was His a sacrifice which obtained for the believer eternal redemption (HEBREWS 9:12), perfecting them forever (HEBREWS 10:14)? Perhaps because He was immortal and not destined to die, only choosing to in obedience to GOD.
The following is an interesting summary of this concept from Author Constance.
- Only an immortal creature is free to surrender life voluntarily as an act of self-sacrifice. All other acts of human self-sacrifice made by mortal creatures constitute only a choice of the time of dying, for death must come sooner or later in any case. Every purely human sacrifice is, after all, only a premature death, a shortening of life. Mortals can surrender a few years of expected life, but this is all they can do. Only an immortal can surrender life itself. Jesus did not merely choose the time to die and therefore by how much He would shorten His expected life span. He was in a position to choose whether to die at all. In this, mortal man has no choice whatever.
I don't see anyway around the fact that Yeshua must have been immortal in the sense that it was available for Him to not die, though He chose to set that aside and in faithful obedience to GOD he allowed Himself to be killed. His reward was that He accomplished eternal redemption for all believers and was seated at the right hand of GOD in HIS heavenly kingdom.
- HEBREWS 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for [instead of] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The "joy that was set before him" was His immortality. Setting that aside, laying all of His future hopes upon His Creator, believing the promise that He would be raised from the dead, allowed Himself to be brutally crucified. What a powerful example His life is for us throughout eternity.