Explaining the Nature of G-d from a Netzari Faith Perspective

Please excuse the depiction on the cross found within this video. I thought that the rest was a decent presentation to start off the article.

January 26th, 2010

DISCLAIMER – The following article is a very critical examination of Christological issues. Although it does not deny the divinity of Yeshua, it may be somewhat confusing for those who have never looked at alternative ways of explaining that divinity outside of mainstream trinitarian theology. For a straightforward introduction to this topic I instead reccomend reading the following article which was designed to introduce this topic without going into too much detail. For those who wish to explore the issue further, you may then continue to read this article. I should mention however that this article represents my elementary understanding of this issue based upon the Netzari teachings of Andrew Gabriel Roth and a few others. My current stance and simplification of the identity of Yeshua can be found here.

Memra and Metatron - In rabbinic literature there is teaching on the "Word" which adds yet another element of exploration to this difficult issue that I encourage readers to reference if you are going to read my elementary work on this subject. The study I reccomend for exploring this can be found here.

NOTE: In this text I most commonly use the term “HaShem” to represent the Divine Name of our Creator, (Y – H – W – H), which I believe is absolutely crucial to understanding this issue. G-d / El-him is a term that is not exclusive for our Heavenly Father and can actually be bestowed upon others, as was done with Moshe (Exodus 7:1). So if Yeshua (Jesus) is a prophet like Moshe (Deuteronomy 18:18), it makes perfect sense that He would be given the same title (as we read in Psalms and Hebrews). Therefore, the question is not whether or not Yeshua is G-d, but rather if Yeshua is HaShem! I hope the following will give you a sufficient enough answer…

The Netzari sect of Judaism was the original faith of the Apostles before Greco-Roman Christianity progressively took over in later centuries. Therefore, the way in which they viewed G-d was prior to the Trinitarian theories that were formulated in some of the later Gentile based Assemblies. The original Apostles viewed Yeshua as their Master and King though, and the revelation that He was the Mashiyach, the Son of G-d had already been given to them (Matthew 16:16). But if that wasn’t enough, it was upon His bodily resurrection and ascension to heaven that they came to the sharp realization that He was certainly not merely a man. No, they were beginning to really see that He was much more, and especially since He had the authority to forgive sin and judge the world, it was all too obvious that He was truly “G-d with them” (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, John 20:28). How did they understand this though? Especially in light of the fact that the Trinitarian theory did not come about until the early third century when Tertullian (c.155-230) coined the term, and then a century later at the council of Nicea (325 AD), when it began to be solidified as an official Church doctrine (and yet still being further refined over the next several centuries with much conflict between east and west). Today though, modern Netzarim Jews and G-d-fearers reject the idea of the Trinity, just like Arianists, Modalists, JW’s, Mormonism, and Unitarians. Unlike most of those other groups though, Netzarim are typically fully aware and recognize that yes, Yeshua is “HaShem come in the flesh” (for example, see this article and this article). The Scriptures are always clear on the matter that Yeshua was not merely a man as we are merely men, and the Aramaic texts of the New Testament (which Netzarim Jews hold as authoritative over the Greek) are actually even more glaringly obvious about this with the indication that MarY-a-h is the Aramaic form of the Divine Name (printed in Scripture quotes as “Master [HaShem]” in this article). With this being the case, the Aramaic is then outwardly proclaiming several times that HaShem is Yeshua, and some form of divinity for Yeshua cannot get any more obvious than that. However, even if one were to reject this definition of the Aramaic MarY-a-h, its 7000+ occurrences in the complete Peshitta always refers to HaShem except in the few passages where it applies to Yeshua. Based on this alone we know that it is trying to say something very special about Yeshua. Now, while the conclusions of groups that say that Mashiyach is merely a man can be rejected, their arguments do still hold a substantial amount of water against proposed Trinitarian theology. How then can Mashiyach’s nature and identity really be explained?

With the vast amount of theories out there regarding the nature of G-d and the unity of Mashiyach, this topic can become one of the most confusing things to try and grasp or wrap your head around. Part of the issue comes from being removed from the cultural context in which the Scriptures were written. Not only that, but we also get confused with idiomatic expressions and Hebraic concepts that we logically misinterpret. As such, everyone has their own way of explaining “Christology”, complete with a list of Scriptures to back up their point of view. This includes both those who support and deny the deity of Yeshua. Looking at each of the arguments out there, it became clear to me that both parties were right to an extent while being wrong on other points (either from direct contradiction or a lack of explanation). Part of this mess comes from the fact that the vast majority of Scriptural interpretation on this subject was done with a Greco-Roman mindset that lacks a certain level of submissiveness the Hebrew mind possesses. What I mean by this is that the Greek mind wishes to understand things in a logical way where it seeks after exact details that have not been revealed within the Scriptures. The Hebrew mind on the other hand is extremely reverent towards the Creator and would not dare go beyond the Scripture. Rather, it is very careful in how it addresses the Creator and is submissive to the point of realizing that not everything has been revealed to us and that’s okay. The Hebrew mind is content not having all the answers and knows that it’s okay to have “loose ends”. To the Hebrew, if something about the nature of G-d or any other particular issue is not apparent in the Scriptures, then it is simply not relevant to our calling as bondservants to Him. To try and figure out things not explicitly revealed would be to expose the nakedness of G-d, which to the Torah Observant mind is unthinkable! A good article to help one begin to grasp this can be found here.

Having that said however, there are details within the Scriptures that may shed some light on what we can figure out, and perhaps provide some clarity regarding the clashes between the Unitarians, Trinitarians, Modalists and others. Now the Netzarim point of view I feel addresses and explains many sides of the spectrum without contradicting itself. One way to not contradict yourself is to adopt the Hebrew mind which, as mentioned, would refuse to go beyond the Scripture and proclaim so strongly statements that were never uttered by Yeshua or His disciples (things like "trinity", "tri-unity", "g-d-man", etc.) Since Hebraic thought does not require one to logically or mathematically have all the answers, we too must understand this considering that Hebrew men wrote all of our Scriptures. Yet, to address the questions and objections of some of my friends who are unfamiliar with Netzarim theology, I have attempted to explain this topic in a bit more detail. The following article represents my attempt at doing this and with a subject like this, it’s amazing that I’ve been able to present a relatively simple, straightforward explanation. But before we begin I'd just like to say that I pray that some of the analogies and expressions I give here will speak to you in such a way that you can grasp the Hebraic form of understanding this issue. As I continue to stress that the Scriptures were written from a Hebraic perspective, please know that this means it is absolutely crucial that we interpret them in this manner. While it may be troubling at first in challenging some of our preconceived notions, at the end you should find comfort in knowing that you have come to a deeper revelation of our Creator and the ways in which He chooses to reveal Himself and carry out His plan of salvation.

To start, the first thing we need to address is the basic statement of faith found in the Tanach ("old testament"),

"Hear, O Yisra’el: [HaShem] our El-him, [HaShem] is one!" (Deuteronomy 6:4, ISR with Name edit)

"Shema Yisra'el, HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem echad." (Transliterated Hebrew)
Jews and Torah Observant believers pray this twice a day, and it emphasizes that HaShem alone is G-d, and He is ONE. Interesting to note though is that "echad" is the plural one (like a bunch of grapes) as opposed to "yachid", a singular one (like a single grape). El-him, the word most commonly translated as G-d is also plural in nature (El–o–ah is the singular form). Considering that and how in Genesis 1 it says "let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness" it is only natural to assume a numerical plural and put the Trinity stamp on G-d. But it is a qualitative (not quantitative) Sovereign (or majestic) plural that reflects dimensions of HaShem that exist both within and outside of time and space. And Genesis 1:26 to the Hebrew mind has always been understood as referring to the ministering angels (see the Aramaic Targums). But what we want to focus on though is how the plural emphasis is representing HaShem’s infinite nature and omnipresence.

Now, based on Deuteronomy 6:4, we understand that HaShem is one spirit. But this is a compound Spirit; that is, a Spirit which has two or more functions, qualities or actions (see Isaiah 11:2). In fact, His functions or actions are infinite because while He connects to us here on earth, He is holding the stars of heaven in their place and ensuring the planets do not bump into one another. So unlike other spirits, such as the devil who can only be in one place at one time (Job 1:7), HaShem can be everywhere (hence, echad instead of yachid). This eternal, omnipresent Spirit of HaShem has been revealed to us in many ways, but three primary roles or contexts in particular stand out for Christian/Messianic Believers, so let us cover those. These are, respectively, the Father (G-d in Heaven), the Son (G-d who came or worked in the flesh), and the Ruach haKodesh (Set-Apart [Holy] Spirit, His presence that dwells in our hearts, transforming us through His guidance and refinement). Understanding these ministrations, the very nature of G-d, and how we fit into the picture can bring what I feel is an unbelievable amount of clarity to the Scriptures. Passages where it seems like G-d is talking to Himself (Genesis 1:26, 11:6-8, 19:24), or when Yeshua prays and talks to the Father (Matthew 26, John 17), or when it says that Yeshua is a man who is a servant sent by G-d (Matthew 12:18, John 17:3, Acts 2:22-24, 1 Timothy 2:5, etc.); I believe very strongly the confusion of these things can all be cleared up through a study of HaShem's nature and How it is revealed.

The first thing we need to do is understand G-d the Father. Yeshua says throughout his ministry that the Father is in heaven (Matthew 6:9). What is heaven that the Father is dwelling there? In Genesis 1:1 we read that,

"In the beginning El-him created the heavens and the earth" (B'resheet [Genesis] 1:1 ISR, emphasis added)
Notice how "heavens" is plural. This is the correct rendering, despite what KJV-Only folks will tell you (the same Hebrew word, shamayim, is used in Genesis 1:1 and 2:1, so compare that). Later we have Rav Shaul (Paul) in his second letter to the Corinthians talking about a third heaven,

"I knew a man in the Mashiyach fourteen years ago - but whether in a body, or whether out of a body, I don't know; El-him knows - who was caught up to the third (region) of heaven." (2 Corinthians 12:2 AENT)
There are several theories that exist about this third heaven (or third region of heaven). Creation Science simplifies the three heavens as the sky, outer space, and where G-d dwells. G-d the Father dwells on a throne, the throne of the "Ancient of Days" spoken of in Daniel where future judgment of the second resurrection will occur. It is the same throne where Mashiyach ascended to the right hand of G-d (Mark 16:19, Ephesians 1:20), meaning that Mashiyach has the same authority and power as HaShem, not that He is literally at a physical right hand. Also see Job 22:12 and Isaiah 14:13 for some clarity regarding this throne and the third heaven. The question we should all have though is: where is this heaven? Well, quite simply, it is outside of time and space. This is how G-d can be omnipresent and omnipotent, as well as eternal (not bound by time; hence nothing was "before" Him as atheists like to argue when asking "who created G-d?"). This eternal omnipresence is expressed in the book of Kings,

"For is it true: El-him dwells on the earth? See, the heavens and the heavens of the heavens are unable to contain You, how much less this House which I have built!" (1 Melakim [Kings] 8:27 ISR, emphasis added)
So the Father exists outside of both time and space, not being bound or restricted in anyway whatsoever by the so called "laws of nature". He is all knowing, all present, and all powerful. How then does G-d exist within time and space? We know that He is not far off and unreachable as some religions suggest in regards to their make-believe deities. No, He connects with us all the time as recorded from Genesis to Revelation and as we experience to this very day. In the Tanach, one way G-d commonly revealed Himself was as "the Messenger (Angel) of HaShem" (Genesis 16:7, 9, 10, 11; 22:11, 15; Exodus 3:2; Numbers 22:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, 34, 35; Judges 2:4; 5:23; 6:12, 21; 13:3, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21; 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Kings 19:7; 2 Kings 1:3, 15; 19:35; 1 Chronicles 21:12, 15, 16, 18, 30; Psalm 34:7; 35:5, 6; 37:36, Isaiah 37:36; Zechariah 1:11, 12; 3:1, 5, 6; 12:8). Though there is a created Messenger there, the occurrence of HaShem's presence was obviously not the literal Messenger, yet we plainly see that HaShem Himself is both there and speaking. So this Messenger then is what we call a "mediator" who is allowing us finite beings to connect with the Infinite One in a very direct, material manner. Scripture sometimes uses the term "arm of HaShem" to symbolize His manifest working presence and I believe that this phrase is one of the single best metaphorical titles for us to understand how G-d works within time and space. His “arm” is what redeems us (Exodus 6:6, Isaiah 44:6) and as we read in Isaiah 53:1 and John 12:38, we know that the “arm of HaShem” is a title applied to Yeshua the Mashiyach! But the arm is not separate from the body and it cannot act by its own will. Rather, it must take orders from the brain and act in accordance with its commands. And so this is why we read Yeshua proclaiming that His teaching is not His own (John 7:16) and that He has come not to do His own will (John 6:38; more on this later). But we also know that Yeshua, who is the arm of HaShem, preexisted as the WORD (John 1:1,14). It’s interesting to note that when reading the Aramaic Targumim (ancient Aramaic paraphrases of the Tanach which give us insight into how the they interpreted Scripture) we see that every time it speaks of HaShem working in a manifest way in our finite world they write that it is the “Word of HaShem” instead of simply saying “HaShem”. This gives us clues into John’s theological background as He was deciphering just who Yeshua truly was. But Targumim aside, even as we search the Scriptures, we can confidently call HaShem’s working presence within time and space the WORD, which we know is what created the heavens and the earth, spoke to the prophets and IS Mashiyach (Genesis 15:1, Ezekiel 1:3 etc. compared with 1 Peter 1:10-11; Psalm 33:6,9 and John 1:1-3, 14). Therefore, it would not be such a far out or baseless statement to say that HaShem’s presence within time and space is the Spirit of Mashiyach, the redeeming arm which was revealed through Yeshua while He was on earth. The stumbling block we come to are the exact details regarding just what the Word of HaShem is in both the physical and spiritual sense, as well as how this relates to Yeshua as a person who was walking as a fully human man here on earth. Scripture simply does not provide details and it is therefore not relevant to our walk here on earth. So while we may be able to draw up theories, we cannot conclusively prove any of them (for example, the theory that the “Angel/Messenger of HaShem” is actually Yeshua as a person, which I believe Hebrews 1:1-2 disproves). But it is for this reason that I strongly feel that these theories should not be widely taught and emphasized to the point that it will cause dissention among brethren; to do so is foolish and a reflection only of our theological pride.

Now let’s think about Spirit of Mashiyach as the arm of HaShem. If the arm of HaShem is the working manifest presence of the Father in time and space, then when HaShem (the brain) wills something, it gets carried out through Mashiyach (His arm). This perhaps may be an alternate explanation to the majestic plural and nature of the dialogue found within Genesis 1:26, 11:6-8, and 19:24 (i.e. the "mind" is instructing the "arm"). This metaphor also explains how only the Father (the brain) and not the Son (the arm) knows the day or hour described in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32. We gain further clarification when we think about HaShem (the master-designer) having ultimate authority over everything in time and space and Yeshua as Mashiyach/the arm revealed in the flesh saying that all authority on heaven and earth has been given to Him (Matthew 11:27, 28:18). But at the same time, there is affirmation that these are not two separate people (remember, the arm is not separate from the body), but two occurrences of a singular divine nature (i.e. HaShem)! One occurrence is inside of time and space where as the other one is outside of time and space. This is exactly what the plurality of "Echad" represents when it comes to HaShem – an omnipresent oneness (as opposed to an absolute singular that can only be in one place at one time). This reality is explicitly expressed in the Aramaic translation (not the Targumic paraphrase) of the Tanach in Genesis 19:24,

"Then [HaShem] rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the presence of [HaShem] out of heaven" (Genesis 19:24, Peshitta Tanach, emphasis added)
The Aramaic version of the Tanach was translated somewhere between 500 BCE and the time of the apostles, and we can clearly see their understanding of G-d’s omnipresence in the way they choose to render this passage. HaShem's presence is both down on earth as well as up in heaven, but just because He is present in both places at the same time does not mean that He is more than one person or deity. No, it just means that He is all present and all knowing. Now this omnipresence or occurrences of HaShem’s presence/nature is also amplified in Isaiah 44:6,

"Thus said [HaShem], Sovereign of Yisra'el, and his Redeemer, [HaShem] of hosts, 'I am the First and I am the Last, besides Me there is no El-him" (Yeshayahu [Isaiah] 44:6 ISR with Name edit)
A literal rendering here very clearly shows two occurrences of a singular divine nature! HaShem’s redeemer is His arm which commands everything within time and space (as such, the host of heaven, or armies). But again, this should not be looked at as "two HaShem's" but two forms of His presence fulfilling different functions or ministrations. We just have a difficult time imagining this since we think in terms of material identity where as HaShem is not made up of created material; such material can only reveal or represent Him. But now, while no other passage is rendered quite like Isaiah 44:6, things like this are still written so that we would have a chance to understand how the Father works within time as space as Mashiyach in order to draw us back to Him. Again, when we notice the title "Redeemer" and take a look at Exodus 6:6 and Isaiah 53:1, we begin to see the connection where it is the outstretched arm of HaShem (Mashiyach) that redeems us, and this arm revealed through Yeshua would therefore also be the "mediator" between us and The Father! And what did Yeshua say again?

"No man comes to the Father except by me." (Yochanan [John] 14:6b AENT)
Let's now look at Mashiyach's nature as the presence of HaShem within time and space in light of some Ketuvim Netzarim (Writings of the Nazarenes, commonly called the "new testament") Scriptures,

"In the beginning was the Miltha. And that Miltha was with El-him. And El-him was that Miltha." (Yochanan [John] 1:1 AENT)
The Greek word in John 1:1 is Logos, which is rendered as “Word” in English, but can also be translated as the divine plan/expression/idea (of HaShem). This divine plan or expression is summarized in the Torah and amplified in the prophets, both of which are called the Word of HaShem (coincidence?). This was of course with G-d at the beginning and since we know G-d by His Word, G-d therefore IS the Word (much like when you act as an ambassador in another country, through representing/revealing your country you are looked upon as that country itself). Now much confusion has been brought about by a lack of understanding the concept of the Logos. Often the Logos is thought of as some separate person from HaShem, but this is not reflective of the concept at all. Rather, it is an attempt to apply Greco-Roman Logic to a Hebraic expression, and that just doesn't work. The Aramaic however broadens the concept even further with the use of the word Miltha. Miltha has no direct English equivalent but could mean "Word", "Manifestation", "Instance", or "Substance". I believe it was meant to imply all of the above! Let's look at each of these individually, Therefore, an instance (or occurrence) of the divine nature within time and space is the manifestation of the substance of HaShem that is the very word that spoke us into existence. This instance of His presence occurred at the very beginning (verse 1:1a), this Word/plan was with G-d (verse 1:1b) and this manifestation/substance was G-d (verse 1:1c). The Word of HaShem (which reveals HaShem) was spoken immediately upon the creation of time and space (Genesis 1), for it WAS what created time and space (Psalm 33:6,9). As mentioned, the Hebraic concept of the Word is also synonymous with the Torah. Quite literally they are the same thing (that's why Messianics refer to Yeshua as the living Torah). Now we know that the Torah was with G-d in the beginning, and as the Torah is a divine revelation of G-d's very character, it therefore IS G-d (once again, we know G-d by His Word, right?). I'm reiterating this in several ways so that there is as much of an opportunity as possible to try and grasp the imagery expressed in the original languages (imagery that is lost in our simplified English translations). Not all of this imagery is necessarily meant to be taken literally, but it’s trying to help us attain at least an elementary understanding of things beyond the finite that we have difficulty even imagining, much less comprehending. One thing I am sure of however is that both Greek and Aramaic are pointing to a divine occurrence or expression that reveals HaShem or describes His workings within the universe. It is NOT pointing to a separate co-equal, co-eternal person which, even if it were true, is not revealed in such exact detail and as such should not be assumed. Indeed, to interpret in this manner would be to read your theology into the text, bringing nothing but confusion. Let's continue on,

"This was with El-him in the beginning. Everything existed through His hands, and without Him, not even one thing existed of the things which have existed." (Yochanan [John] 1:2-3 AENT)
As mentioned, this distinct occurrence of HaShem's presence manifested within time and space while at the same time, G-d continued to be eternally existent outside of time and space. It should be noted that HaShem, who is Spirit, has His presence manifested as the Ruach haKodesh, which therefore would be Mashiyach pre-incarnate. I will explain this all in further detail a little later, but in the meantime, think about this. Ruach is what we commonly translate as Spirit, but it can also mean breathe. So consider for a moment how the Word proceeds out of the mouth with the breathe and you should be able to draw out a picture where it becomes evident how all this imagery is once again connected without having to make distinctions of plural divinities. Now, returning to the original point, "in the beginning" refers to the very beginning of time itself (as we know it); that is, the beginning of creation where things of which we can measure time came into existence by the spoken word of HaShem (Psalm 33:6, 9). As we can then see, this word or manifestation of HaShem’s will is what is responsible for the existence of everything. The literal Aramaic reading is “everything was created through his hands”, an idiomatic expression which Greek renders as “everything was created by it/him” (the Word is an “it” but can also be metaphorically expressed as a “him” since it reveals the character and essence of HaShem; the Greek word autos means both). The Aramaic expression also indicates that HaShem's Spirit/Word/Manifest presence acts as a creative force (crafting everything according to the divine blueprint/expression/word of HaShem that has always included the ultimate glory of Yeshua the Mashiyach from the very beginning [hence, John 17:5]. Rav Shaul also emphasizes this teaching in Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1:14-17). Now, as tempted as I am to do an in-depth study on all of John 1, I am going to refrain from doing so and skip to the most relevant Scripture,

"And the Miltha became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory, the glory as the Only-Begotten who is from the Father who is full of grace and truth." (Yochanan [John] 1:14, emphasis added)
So this occurrence of HaShem's presence, the Word which reveals Him inside of time and space, became flesh. This is a multi-layered statement given the vast expression of thought offered by the Greek word Logos and the Aramaic term Miltha. On one hand G-d’s divine expression/plan (the Word/Torah) became a reality in the form of Yeshua, HaShem’s salvation. At the same time, HaShem took on or became flesh Himself by having an occurrence of His divine presence be revealed in that flesh (once again, the Creator is being revealed by something material in the creation). This is the real point of debate though for every single person who tackles this issue. Some may say that perhaps quantum physics is the only means which we can label such a phenomenon, but the truth is, HaShem revealing Himself in the flesh is no different than when He revealed Himself as the appearance of men to Abraham or as a burning bush to Moshe through Messengers/Angels. These examples in Tanach are there for us to understand that it’s not such a radical idea for HaShem’s manifest presence to be present or revealed through His Son. But if HaShem, who is Spirit, was not literally the bush that burned, nor the Messenger that acted as the mediator, then neither is He literally the flesh and blood that was created in the womb of Mary, which is the most difficult point for Trinitarians to accept. Now the multiple definitions of Miltha and Logos shed light on this heavily debated concept, but so far every theory that wants more exact detail ends up going beyond the text, creating both division and contradiction. While we may not be able to understand the specifics of such a deep concept that goes into the realm of the infinite, a matter should always be confirmed with more than one passage of Scripture. So let’s take a closer look at how the Miltha became flesh and by observing this reality, determine if there is a clearer understanding available to us.

To begin, let's review the Good News according to Luke,

"And in the sixth month, the Messenger Gawriel was sent from the presence of El-him to Galeela to the city whose name is Nasrath, to a virgin who was betrothed to a man whose name was Yosip from the house of Dawid. And the name of the virgin was Maryam. And the Messenger came to her and said to her, "Peace to you full of grace, our Master (Y'shua) is with you (and so you are) blessed among women!" But when she saw him she was disturbed at his saying and wondered, "What is this greeting?" And the Messenger said to her "Do not be afraid, Maryam, for you have found grace with El-him. For behold you will receive conception and bear a son and you will call his name Y'shua. This one will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest, and Master HaShem (your) El-him will give to him the throne of Dawid his father. And he will reign over the house of Ya'akov forever. And there will not be an end to his Kingdom forever." And Maryam said to the Messenger, "How can this be for not a man has known me?" And the Messenger answered and said to her, "The Ruach haKodesh will come and the power of the Highest will rest upon you. Because of this, he who is born of you is Set Apart and will be called the Son of El-him" (Luke 1:26-35 AENT)
First it should be noted that Galeela (Galilee) means "to reveal", and Nasrath (Nazareth) means "City of the Branch". This is important because Mashiyach, in addition to being the arm of HaShem (Isaiah 53:1) is also prophesied as being a "branch". The Hebrew word for branch is NETZER (from where we get Netzarim), which can also mean a shoot or a sprout. If we refer to Isaiah 11:1, 53:2, Jeremiah 23:5, and Zechariah 6:12 we can see these prophecies concerning Mashiyach. The symbolism here is important because the Father, the Son, and the Ruach haKodesh (Set-Apart Spirit) can be looked at as branches of the same tree (literally ministrations of the one Spirit - 1 Corinthians 12:4-5). By extension, we are also branches (Netzarim) of the one whom we serve (John 15:1-2). Also worthy to note in this unfolding of prophecy is that a branch comes from a sprout which comes from a seed (Genesis 3:15). Now Maryam received conception from the Ruach haKodesh. As briefly mentioned earlier, prior to Mashiyach coming to earth as Yeshua, the Spirit of Mashiyach existed as the Ruach haKodesh, which is the very same Spirit of HaShem that is His presence within time and space,

"Create in me a clean heart, O El-him, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Set-Apart Spirit from me." (Tehillim [Psalm] 51:10-11 ISR, emphasis added)
"Let me recount the kindnesses of [HaShem] and the praises of [HaShem], according to all that [HaShem] has done for us, and the great goodness toward the house of Yisra’el, which He has done for them according to His compassion, and according to His many kindnesses. And He said, “They are My people, children who do not act falsely.” And He became their Saviour. In all their distress He was distressed, and the Messenger of His Presence saved them. In His love and in His compassion He redeemed them, and He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Set-Apart Spirit, so He turned against them as an enemy, and He fought against them. (Yeshayahu [Isaiah] 63:7-10 ISR, emphasis added with Name edit)
Mashiyach is their Saviour, HaShem's presence in time and space, who redeems them and is the Set-Apart Spirit (Ruach haKodesh). It should be noted that "Messenger of His Presence" is synonymous with "Messenger of HaShem (Angel of the L-RD)" but more accurately describes that the Heavenly Messenger is revealing HaShem’s presence. His presence within time and space is, as noted earlier, Mashiyach/the Word. You should begin to see now how on the divine side of things, the Spirit is tied to the Father and the Son as being one entity (or one tree), and that it is not a separate “person” united in a “G-dhead”. The heretical idea from Rome that the Spirit is a separate co-equal, co-eternal person is based on two metaphorical passages. The first is where the Spirit is referred to as a "He" in the King James and most subsequent versions of the Scriptures in John 14:16 instead of being translated as the more contextually correct form of "it" for us English speakers (the Greek word autos means both and is actually gender neuter). The second instance is found in Romans 8:16 where Rav Shaul says that the Spirit testifies on our behalf. Again, most translators put their bias into the text by referring to the Spirit as "himself" when it should be correctly translated as "itself". The Concordant Literal New Testament renders both passages correctly though. Despite these instances however, as previously mentioned, a doctrine should be confirmed with other passages in Scripture. The two Tanach passages above coupled with verses such as 1 Corinthians 2:10a, 2 Corinthians 3:17, 5:5, Ephesians 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 4:8, 1 John 3:24, and 1 John 4:12-13 confirm that the Ruach haKodesh is simply HaShem’s Spirit. HaShem’s own Spirit is not a separate person just like my spirit is not a separate person from me and your spirit is not a separate person from you. The linguistics further support this because “person” in Hebrew is nefesh, the word we translate as “soul”. Soul and spirit are not the same but rather a soul has a spirit. We should also make note of how no where in Scripture is HaShem’s Spirit prayed and talked to as a distinct person like Yeshua prays to the Father. Further still, we read that HaShem Himself is Spirit (John 4:24), so what would make HaShem distinct from some other co-equal "spirit person"?

Now, having that established, we can see that it is this Spirit of HaShem that manifested in the womb of Maryam, creating the man we know as Yeshua the Mashiyach. It is important to note that Yeshua's body as it was formed in Maryam's womb was completely original (Hebrews 10:5) and did not carry the physical defects or sin-nature inherited from Adam and Eve, being the "second Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45). Maryam was just the vessel, not the "Mother of G-d" as some worship her as. Now, in Isaiah 42:1 we read,

"See, My Servant whom I uphold, My Chosen One My being has delighted in! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He brings forth right-ruling to the nations." (Isaiah 42:1 ISR, emphasis added)
Here we have one of the many instances where Yeshua (whether it be His first coming as Mashiyach ben Yospeh or His second coming as Mashiyach ben Dawid) is called HaShem’s servant. In line with the Good News account of Luke, HaShem says "I will put My Spirit upon Him". Isaiah 9:6 then tells us that one of the names of Mashiyach is "Everlasting Father" who we know to be HaShem eternally existent. Isaiah 11:1-2 reiterates to us that as the Root of Jesse, Mashiyach will have the Spirit of HaShem rest (Hebrew: nuwach; rest, settle down, remain) upon (i.e. in complete contact with) Him! Paul clarifies this statement in Colossians when he says,
”...the Mashiyach, in whom dwells all the fullness of El-him bodily” (Colossians 2:8b-9 AENT, emphasis added)
So we see that it’s not just a superficial resting upon but rather an indwelling of the Ruach. And so, in John 1:14 when the Scripture states that the Miltha became flesh, this refers to an internal manifestation of the Ruach haKodesh within the human body of Yeshua. See, the humanity created in the womb of Mary was not pre-existent, but the divinity of course most certainly was. The distinction between the two becomes a major stumbling block for Trinitarians, but the truth is that a spirit is spirit and flesh is flesh (Yeshua talks about this in John 3). A spirit cannot become flesh, but it can certainly join flesh in order to reveal itself! This is the key to understanding the dual nature of Yeshua and His distinction from the Father (i.e. the human and divine natures). We may not be able to understand Yeshua’s existence in the heavenlies prior to His coming as once again, this level of clarity is not provided (nor would it be understood by our finite minds anyway). But we can get a better grasp of when He was on earth and should not be afraid to try and understand that. Now let's go back to Luke for some clarity,

And the Messenger said to them, "Do not have fear, for behold I announce hope to you! A great joy which will be to the whole world. For today is born to you in the city of Dawid the Savior, who is Master [HaShem], the Mashiyach." (Luke 2:10-11 AENT with Name edit, emphasis added)
This is one of the most powerful statements in the original Aramaic that was lost in translation to the Greek. As we read in Isaiah 43:3, 43:11, 45:21-25, 49:26, 63:7-10 and Hosea 13:4, it is HaShem who is the Saviour of mankind. This is amplified in the Aramaic where a clear distinction is made between the divine and human natures of Yeshua which, as I hope this article will emphasize, are separate, yet side by side. By this I mean that Yeshua is Yeshua, distinct from HaShem, yet He is also HaShem come in the flesh. This is how the prophetic statement of Zechariah 12:10 is realized for what it is, as it is written,

“And I shall pour on the house of Dawid and on the inhabitants of Yerushalayim a spirit of favour and prayers. And they shall look on Me whom they pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son. And they shall be in bitterness over Him as a bitterness over the first-born." (Zechariah 12:10 ISR, emphasis added)
It is Yeshua who dies, but HaShem who is pierced. If we can understand that the divine and human natures of Yeshua are separate but side by side, we can see how this is possible. Simply stated though, the Son whose flesh is pierced contains an occurrence of HaShem's Spirit, and while it is the flesh that is literally pierced and dies, the Spirit of HaShem is pierced too (yet, cannot die of course for if G-d died everything would have ceased to exist). This is where Trinitarian theology falls short because it views Yeshua and HaShem as two different divine persons who are united in a “G-dhead” with another person who is the "Holy Spirit" (remember that a spirit is not a person; rather, a person has a spirit; which is why Yeshua can be HaShem/G-d come in the flesh, but still be the fully human person that He is at the same time). Andrew Gabriel Roth, the primary translator and author of the Aramaic English New Testament explains this in light of Isaiah 53:1 on page 1000 of the AENT,

Finally Isaiah 53:1: "to whom has the arm of [HaShem] been revealed?" This is the only acceptable form of "G-dhead" in Scripture. Clearly not a Trinity of three separate beings (or persons), because the arm is not a separate entity from the rest of the body and has no independent will. The "arm" moves only with the power and control from the mind. In the same way [HaShem's] nature is manifest as an occurrence within the Son that is separate but side-by-side with his human nature. These two natures then communicate with one another; thus explaining why Y'shua is not talking to himself when he prays to his Father. This fact is also why sometimes Y'shua says things like, "My teaching is not my own" and "I can do nothing without my Father" on the one hand but on the other he says, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father" and "I and my Father are one of the same." This indicates 100 percent divine nature that exists in a 100 percent human soul and flesh, where one or the other talks through Y'shua. But the human is subject to the divine (again, "Not my will...") which is the only way the Scripture cannot be broken. It is not Trinity but neither does this deny the divine aspects in Y'shua himself. It is also the real meaning behind "No one comes to the Father but by me." See also John 5:26.
The soul is what makes Yeshua human where as the Spirit (Ruach HaShem) is what makes Him Divine. Some look at this and grasp the idea that Yeshua was being possessed by HaShem, but this is a very cryptic way of putting it. Yeshua, as the arm of HaShem, was simply the vessel of HaShem just like the burning bush and Messengers of the Tanach (the only difference is that He is a human being with His own freewill). But since a matter is established on account of two or three witnesses, let us visit several Scriptures for affirmation of this,

”These words that I speak, I do not speak of myself but He who dwells in me, my Father does these works.” (Yochanan [John] 14:10 AENT, emphasis added)

“For El-him was in the Mashiyach who has reconciled the world with his majesty...” (2 Corinthians 5:19a AENT, emphasis added)

”...the Mashiyach, in whom dwells all the fullness of El-him bodily” (Colossians 2:8b-9 AENT, emphasis added)
He who has ears, let him hear.

To understand this better, let's now explore the reality and distinction of Yeshua’s humanity and once again relate it to how He is the arm/vessel of HaShem. In Isaiah 53:11 it speaks of the anguish of Yeshua's soul. Matthew 26:38-39 records the fulfillment of this in stating,

"And he said to them, "There is sadness in my soul to the point of death. Remain here and watch with me." And he went a little further and fell upon his face and was praying and said, "My father if it is possible, let this cup pass over me. Nevertheless, not as I will but as you will." (Matthew 26:38-39 AENT)
Clearly, Yeshua is identifying with His mortality, but as we know, G-d is immortal (1 Timothy 1:17). Next, the dual will and nature of Yeshua is demonstrated when Mashiyach says " if it is possible, let this cup pass over me” and “not as I will but as you will.” Here it is shown that His human will (which comes from the mortal soul [or "the flesh"]) desires one thing, but He submits to the will of the Father, the Spirit that abides in Him. When we are born of the Spirit (John 3:5-6) we are all called to do the same thing, but unlike Yeshua, we all fall short of the glory of G-d (Romans 3:23). But Yeshua as the living Word (Torah) represents that glory perfectly (John 1:14).

Now a second example to demonstrate the relationship between the dual natures and will of Yeshua is when He was tempted by haSatan immediately after his anointing (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13). Now, we know that G-d cannot be tempted (James 1:13), so this temptation would have been pointless if Yeshua’s soul was not invested with the power of human choice. This is exactly like the first temptation with Adam and Eve in Gan Eden. The reason however that Yeshua did not submit to the temptation is because HaShem’s Spirit is powerful and it’s presence upon Yeshua helps Him to keep His flesh in complete subjection (like the song some of us sing – “In your pre - sence, that’s where I am strong”). As a result, Yeshua becomes the exact representation of G-d’s Nature (Hebrews 1:3), while at the same time being a human man who has the ability to sin. This is also a stumbling point for many, but Yeshua must of had the ability to sin, otherwise haSatan was chasing his tail. Since G-d cannot sin though, it is only by properly understanding the two natures of Yeshua as being separate, yet side-by-side that we can comprehend this. Now one of the clearest distinctions of these two natures being side by side is made by Peter in Acts 2:36,

“Truly, therefore, let all the house of Israel know that Master [HaShem] has made this Y’shua the Mashiyach whom you executed on a stake both El-him and Mashiyach” (Acts 2:36 AENT, Hebrew Letter Edition with Name edit, emphasis added)
Some interpret “has made” as meaning that from His very birth Yeshua had occurrences of human and divine natures coexisting within Him. The human side’s total subjection and obedience to HaShem was part of what made Him Mashiyach, and the manifestation of the Ruach haKodesh inside of Him (discussed earlier) also establishes Yeshua as the “image of HaShem” (and hence, G-d - with all authority on heaven and earth - Matthew 11:27, 28:18). If this is the correct interpretation though, there must be more to support it, so let’s look at some other Scriptures that highlight this duality, starting with the words of Yeshua upon his resurrection,

“Y'shua said to her, "Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I ascend to my Father and your Father and my El-him and your El-him.” (Yochanan [John] 20:17 AENT, emphasis added)
Here we can see clear proof that it is Mashiyach's resurrected "human side" speaking (that is distinctly separate from the divine) as He refers to G-d as “His G-d” (see also examples such as Ephesians 1:3,17, and Revelation 3:2,12). However, we know that Yeshua is not a mere man,

“For in him all the fullness of G-d was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19 ESV)
“concerning Y'shua who was from Nazrath, that El-him anointed with the Ruach haKodesh and with power. And this is he who traveled around and healed those who were oppressed by evil, because El-him was with him.” (Acts 10:38 AENT, emphasis added)
Above, Paul exclaims once again that G-d manifested ("dwelled") within the flesh of Yeshua (which we established with several other Scriptures earlier on) where as Peter, preaching to the Gentiles, explains where the flesh of Yeshua receives its power from; that is, the manifestation of the Spirit of HaShem (Ruach haKodesh). Without that, the flesh of Yeshua would not have been able to do the perfect will of G-d as it would not have been HaShem come in the flesh. But, being anointed with the Ruach haKodesh, the flesh of Yeshua was dedicated to the service of G-d, especially considering that He came from G-d and was going to return to G-d,

“But because Y'shua had known that the Father had given everything into his hands, and that he came from El-him and he was going to El-him” (Yochanan [John] 13:3 AENT, emphasis added)
Therefore, HaShem, as an occurrence/instance/manifestation within Yeshua worked by and through Him…

“Men, sons of Israel, listen to these words Y'shua the Nazarene, a man, who by El-him was shown to you with miracles and with signs and with acts of power, those that El-him did among you by his hand as you know” (Acts 2:22 AENT, emphasis added)
“but thanks be to El-him, that gives us the victory, through our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach.” (1 Corinthians 15:57 AENT, emphasis added)
“which He shed on us abundantly by Y'shua the Mashiyach our Life-Giver,” (Titus 3:6 AENT, emphasis added)
Hence, as mentioned, the flesh of Yeshua was in total submission to the Spirit of HaShem that existed and dwelt side by side with his human nature and will. This is emphasized below,

“Don't you believe that I am in my Father and my Father is in me? These words that I speak, I do not speak of myself but He who dwells in me, my Father does these works.” (Yochanan [John] 14:10 AENT, emphasis added)
“Y'shua answered and said "My teaching is not mine, rather it is from He who has sent me. He who desires to do His will can comprehend my teaching, if it is from El-him, or if from my own will I speak.” (Yochanan [John] 7:16-17 AENT, emphasis added)
“And I desire that you know that the head of every man is the Mashiyach, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of the Mashiyach is El-him. (1 Corinthians 11:3 AENT, emphasis added)
As Mashiyach ben Yoseph, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, Yeshua was sent into the world by G-d,

“Now this is life that is eternal, that they might know You, that You are the El-him of Truth, and he alone whom You have sent, the Mashiyach Y'shua.” (Yochanan [John] 17:3 AENT, emphasis added)
Notice that HaShem is called the G-d of truth. In the NASB this is rendered as "the only true G-d", a very interesting statement from Yeshua. Compare that to 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a - "worship the living and true G-d while you wait for his Son". Again, we see a clear cut distinction between HaShem and the human formed in the womb of Maryam that absolutely cannot be ignored. Now Yeshua was sent as the promised Messiah whose human nature would conform to the exact image of G-d (by upholding Torah),

“And Y'shua would grow in his stature and in his wisdom and in favor with El-him and man.” (Luke 2:52 AENT)
“Although he was a son, yet, from the fear and the sufferings he endured, he learned obedience.” (Hebrews 5:8 AENT)
“who is the splendor of His glory and the exact image of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3a AENT, emphasis added)
This was for the purpose of being a lamb without blemish (sin) able to redeem mankind working as the “arm of HaShem” revealed (Exodus 6:6, Isaiah 53:1), and as such being the mediator between us and G-d,

“For El-him is one, and the mediator between El-him and men is one; (namely) the man Y'shua the Mashiyach,” (1 Timothy 2:5 AENT, emphasis added)
As you can see above, Rav Shaul makes an extremely clear cut distinction between G-d (HaShem) and the humanity of Mashiyach (Yeshua), and he can do that on the basis of Mashiyach’s human nature and divine nature being separate, but side by side as mentioned earlier. These many examples I am providing should be shedding enough light for you to be able to grasp this concept and see that I'm not just making it up or taking Scripture out of context. Paul makes similar distinctions in all of his letters. Take the following example from Romans,

“And if you will confess with your mouth our Master Y'shua, and will believe with your heart that El-him has raised him from the dead, you will live.” (Romans 10:9 AENT, emphasis added)
Here again Rav Shaul is referencing the humanity of Mashiyach that died (G-d cannot die, remember), while addressing that we must confess our Master as Yeshua (which is different from what the Critical Greek Texts that most modern Bible versions are based on say). But once again if we turn to the prophecy in Zechariah 12:10, we remember that it was Mashiyach’s human body that died where as the Spirit of HaShem remained. That same Spirit is then what resurrected the flesh of Yeshua three days later. The bodily resurrection is proof that we also will be resurrected come the Day of Judgment, and all who wish to be delivered from the second death must, on one knee, confess with their mouth that,

“Wherefore, also, El-him has highly exalted him and given him a name which is more excellent than all names; and that at the name of Y’shua every knee should bow, of (beings) in heaven and on earth and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Master [HaShem] is Y’shua Mashiyach to the glory of El-him the Father (Philippians 2:9-11 AENT, Hebrew Letter Edition with Name edit, emphasis added)
The glory of G-d the Father is manifested and revealed in time and space, on this earth, as Yeshua the Mashiyach who is HaShem come in the flesh. By recognizing this we give glory to Him because we see His work of salvation done. Now you may notice that this powerful statement is quite different from the Greek in several ways. First, unlike the Greek, you may notice that the Aramaic makes a differentiation between a mere Master (Mari) and HaShem (Mar-Y-A which, out of the 7000+ times it occurs within the complete Peshitta, always refers to HaShem with the exception of these few statements applying to Yeshua (leaving no doubt as to what is being indicated). Second, the literal word ordering in the Aramaic is different from the Greek. Instead of saying “Jesus is Lord” as most translations proclaim, we read “HaShem is Yeshua”. From a Hebraic perspective these are two very different statements because a human who walks this earth cannot elevate himself and be deity, but a deity can choose to unite, reveal Himself, or manifest in/as that person (which is exactly what happened with Yeshua!) If this brings offense though then I am sorry to say that you may have fallen into idolatry. But the power of the original Aramaic statement carries even more truth than this. In proclaiming that HaShem is Yeshua the Mashiyach, we effectively realize the depth and importance of believing that Yeshua comes from G-d (i.e. John 16:30). In fact, this proclamation is so important that in the original Aramaic Rav Shaul makes the following statement,

“I therefore explain to you, that there is no man that speaks by the Spirit of El-him, who says that Y’shua is accursed; neither can a man say that Master [HaShem] is Yeshua, except by the Ruach haKodesh”(1 Corinthians 12:3 AENT, Hebrew Letter Edition with Name edit, emphasis added)
Only by the Ruach haKodesh can we confess that HaShem is Yeshua (even if we only understand it to be metaphorical and not literal). But, if this is true, then the opposite must also be true, that if we deny this fact we do not have the Ruach haKodesh. This in essence would be rejection of the very gift of salvation (compare Ephesians 2:8-9 with Acts 2:38) bringing to light why the church has made this such a pertinent subject over the years. But it should be noted though that Rav Shaul then goes on to say immediately after,

“Now there are many forms of gifts; but the Spirit is one. And there are many forms of ministrations; but Master [HaShem] is one.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-5 AENT with Name edit, emphasis added)
Paul is reminding them of the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4, and how the relationship of HaShem and Yeshua is based upon the forms of ministration. Therefore, HaShem is Yeshua because Yeshua is a ministration of HaShem. The same could be said for the role we attribute to the Ruach haKodesh. Yet, despite these different forms of ministration, HaShem remains ONE, not three. Once again, different ministrations are fulfilled by occurrences of HaShem’s presence, not separate persons. The Aramaic makes this clear by using the term qnoma, which represents His singular divine nature (the underlying substance/Miltha). This is all amplified a few chapters earlier,

“Yet to us, on our part, there is one El-him, the Father from whom are all things, and we in him; and one Master [HaShem]-Y’shua, the Mashiyach, by whom are all things and we also by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6 AENT, emphasis added)
As in Isaiah 44:6, this is not referring to two separate divine people (i.e “one G-d, the Father” and “one HaShem-Y’shua, the Mashiyach”) but rather two divine occurrences or presences of the singular divine nature / qnoma (each fulfilling a different ministration). Master HaShem-Yeshua is the full expression of Yeshua’s name and can be clarified as follows. Since HaShem’s name (the Tetragrammaton) means “He who is” (paraphrased as “The Eternal One”) and Yeshua means “Salvation”, the full expression of this statement can be targummed (paraphrased) as saying “there is one path of salvation from the Eternal One, the Mashiyach”. This is such an important statement that you can ONLY find in the original Aramaic manuscripts because in Greek, the terms they use do not carry these same meanings. Now HaShem and Yeshua’s name occur side by side in two other spots with in the Aramaic: Acts 2:38 and Revelation 22:20. In Acts, Peter proclaims that being immersed into the name of HaShem-Yeshua means that you accept “The Eternal One’s-Salvation”; and in Revelation, John proclaims “Yes, let the Eternal Ones Salvation come” in reference to the final redemptive work of Mashiyach at the end of time. But these all point us back to Yeshua being the vessel or arm of the omnipresent Creator of the universe: HaShem!

So what did we just learn? Basically, we just learned the proper Hebraic understanding of the nature of HaShem and how He chooses to reveal Himself to mankind. While you may have additional questions raised, as I keep stressing we must be careful not to go beyond the text, which is exactly what the Trinity theory and others do (and I may myself may be guilty of the same thing in this essay, although I have tried to remain faithful). You may also still be stuck on the 1st Chapter of John, I AM statements, Alef-Tav statements, or have questions about the specifics of Yeshua’s pre-existence and several passages in your bible that point to Yeshua as being the creator. Although details for these things in the precision we desire may not be available from the Scripture, there is more to explore and I will offer two resources. While I cannot endorse all of the material on the following websites (especially their conclusions), I can definitely recommend them for more depth and clarity on these issues which exceed the scope of this article. They do a wonderful job looking at things that Trinitarians tend to ignore. Please see the following, but only study them if you are grounded in your faith and desire to probe this issue further from the basis of textual study,

Who then is this?
Torah of Messiah

I hope you have enjoyed this explanation of the nature of G-d and Mashiyach from the Netzari faith standpoint. As with anything else, I am always open to both feedback and discussion so long as we remember to conduct all our affairs in love (1 Corinthians 16:14), acting in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1), for if we have all the knowledge in the world, but have not love, everything we do is for nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Shalom U’vrachot


Netzarim Scripture taken from the Aramaic English New Testament, Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010. Used by permission of Netzari Press.

Tanach Scripture taken from The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research (ISR), Copyright 1993, 1998, 2009.


For more information on Netzari teachings, I recommend that everyone visit and purchase a copy of the Aramaic English New Testament, the primary translation used in this essay. It is complete with approximately 1700 footnotes and 350 pages of appendices based upon the original Netzari faith from a strict Scriptural basis (not bound or funded by any religious denomination or doctrine; only guided by the Ruach and love of HaShem).