נעשׂה אדם בצלמנו כדמותנו וירדו בדגת הים ובעוף השׁמים ובבהמה ובכל־הארץ ובכל־הרמשׂ הרמשׂ על־הארץ׃
ויברא אלהים את־האדם בצלמו בצלם אלהים ברא אתו זכר ונקבה ברא אתם׃
Then God said,
"Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves; and let them rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the earth." So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
(Gen 1:26-27 CJB)
The sages often wondered about that passage. "What is the 'Image' of HaShem ..." they ask, seeing as He is incorporeal?. This led to the idea of the Adam Kadmon, the original 'blue print' that Hashem created for man. The sages referred to this blue print as the 'First Adam' which is alluded to in:
... On it, above it, was what appeared to be a person. (Eze 1:26 CJB)
as well as in,
But he exclaimed, "Look! I see four men, not tied up, walking around there in the flames, unhurt; and the fourth looks like one of the gods!"
(Dan 3:25 CJB)
Paul the emissary also referred to this idea in,
...Adam, the first man, became a living human being; but the last "Adam" has become a life-giving Spirit.
(1Co 15:45 CJB)
Paul was familiar with the Biblical idea of, 'As it is below, so it is above", that the reality below is a representation of the heavenly reality. It is in those terms that Moshe was required to build the Tabernacle. As such, we see the same basic representation of the Temple model when we read what prophets such as Ezekiel, and John saw when 'invited' to the Throne Room It goes therefore to say that when HaShem created man, He must have used the model of a 'Heavenly Blue-Print', a created Blue-print who is His perfect 'Image'. In those terms, Paul says of created man,
For a man indeed should not have his head veiled, because he is the
image and glory of God
and of woman taken from within man,
, and the woman is the glory of man.
1Co: 11:7 CJB
But this 'man' Adam has become corrupt through sin and disobedience. As such, he lost the glory that he was created with and all of humanity has borne the consequences of it,
... and just as we have borne the image of the man of dust,...
1Co: 15:49 CJB
But because He was victorious against all tests and temptations, Yeshua ...
... himself suffered death when he was put to the test,
he is able to help those who are being tested now.
Heb: 2:18 CJB
Even though he was the Son, he learned obedience through his sufferings.
(Heb 5:8 CJB)
So that He became
... the visible image of the invisible God. Col_1:15
... the radiance of the Sh'khinah, the very expression of God's essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word; and after he had, through himself, made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of HaG'dulah BaM'romim. (Heb 1:3 CJB)
Paul, Yeshua's emmissary challenges us who have inherited the infection of Adam's sin to now also take the nature of the Heavenly Adam ...
... and just as we have borne the image of the man of dust so also we will bear the image of the man from heaven.
1Co: 15:49 CJB
... albeit, like Yeshua Himself, we also learn through the agency of suffering. So Paul teaches not to chaff against our present suffering, but whether the suffering is legitimate or not, to accept it as the means by which HaShem transforms us into His Image. We always must look at ourselves with the eyes of the thief on His side at Mount Golgotha, the one who said,
Ours (suffering) is only fair; we're getting what we deserve for what we did. But this man did nothing wrong."
(Luk 23:41 CJB)
We must also remember Paul who unjustly suffered at the hand of both the Romans authorities and that of his Jewish brethren when he says,
I don't think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future.......
we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose; because those whom he knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers; and those whom he thus determined in advance, he also called; and those whom he called, he also caused to be considered righteous; and those whom he caused to be considered righteous he also glorified!
(Rom 8:18-30 CJB)
Ya'akov the earthly brother of the Master concurs with Paul saying,
Regard it all as joy, my brothers, when you face various kinds of temptations; for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance. But let perseverance do its complete work; so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing.
(Jas 1:2-4 CJB)
Judaism actually teaches that HaShem, having foreseen the eventual rebellion and downfall of mankind, created Messiah as the antidote for sin, as the way to repentance, even before creation....
"Adonai made me as the beginning of his way, the first of his ancient works. I was appointed before the world, before the start, before the earth's beginnings. When I was brought forth, there were no ocean depths, no springs brimming with water. I was brought forth before the hills, before the mountains had settled in place; he had not yet made the earth, the fields, or even the earth's first grains of dust. When he established the heavens, I was there. When he drew the horizon's circle on the deep, when he set the skies above in place, when the fountains of the deep poured forth, when he prescribed boundaries for the sea, so that its water would not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, I was with him as someone he could trust. For me, every day was pure delight, as I played in his presence all the time, playing everywhere on his earth, and delighting to be with humankind.
(Pro 8:22-31 CJB)
Something which John agreed with,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being.
(Joh 1:1-3 CJB)
John even taught the Jewish idea that the 'lamb' was slained before the foundation of the world,
Everyone living on earth will worship it except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded.
(Rev 13:8 CJB)
* * * * * * *
This Image of HaShem that we are meant to recapture is not a physical appearance nor something only having to do with clothing, culture, and lifestyles. Humanity (or 'adam-ity') obviously comprises many different races, and cultures, and even physical differences such as morphology and gender. But in spite of all these differences, all of us are made in the Image of HaShem, and we, like Yeshua does, should learn to see the Image of HaShem in each and every individual that we meet no matter what He looks like. It is easy to imagine the 'Image of HaShem' in someone that looks and lives like us, but less natural in someone who belongs to another race, social group, religion, culture, and even sometime the other political party.
The way we apply this idea of seeing everyone as made in the Image of Hashem is to do acts of chesed חסד kindness. The Chofetz Chayim says that, "The very survival of humanity is dependent on chesed/kindness. Every person, without exception [at some time or another] needs the help of his fellow man." How do we show chesed? By, without respect to social, religious, ethnic, or political groups being willing to:
- lend money,
- provide a way to get an income,
- rejoice with those who rejoice,
- mourn with those who mourn,
- comfort also those who mourn,
- help those who carry a heavy load,
- practice hospitality,
- care for the sick,
- bury the dead.
These are some of the things which help us practice respecting man as the Image of HaShem. Teaching along the same lines Yeshua says,
I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!'
(Mat 25:40 CJB)
Yeshua says that to love HaShem and our neighbor, which is done by showing chesed, was the greatest commandment of the Torah, even those upon which the whole rest of the Torah balances. When defining the concept of these commandments, He gave a story. It was the parable of the Good Samaritan, a man who at his own risks and expenses stopped to rescue another man, a man who actually hated him and considered him the scum of the earth because he was a Samaritan. Yeshua used that concept to teach us about HaShem's love for us. Why? Because we ourselves were at one time in enmity with HaShem because of our sinful nature, but He ...
... demonstrates his own love for us in that the Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners [enemies].
(Rom 5:8 CJB)
Yeshua also teaches about that perfect heavenly 'Image of HaShem' we all long to return to; our perfect heavenly nature; and one day we will. But what does returning to that perfect nature looks like? yehsua teaches about it. He says,
"You have heard that our fathers were told, 'Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too! If someone wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well! And if a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile, carry it for two! When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something from you, lend it to him. "You have heard that our fathers were told, 'Love your neighbor -- and hate your enemy.' [ACTUALLY NOWHERE IN THE TORAH DOES IT SAY TO HATE YOUR ENEMY. IT ONLY SAYS TO HATE EVIL]But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. What reward do you get if you love only those who love you? Why, even tax-collectors do that! And if you are friendly only to your friends, are you doing anything out of the ordinary? Even the Goyim do that!
Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
(Mat 5:38-48 CJB)
The Chofetz Chayim taught that the survival of humanity depended on us being able to act towards people remembering that they are created in HaShem's image. I personally believe that the survival of HaShem's congregation depends on it. If we don't learn this, we are not special at all; we are exactly like the rest of the world. This idea is what makes us fifferent; holy and set apart. It represents the difference between being 'common', or 'holy'. Common is being like the rest of the world; holy/kadosh/קדוש is to be separated by being different in our lifestyles.
What reward do you get if you love only those who love you?
Why, even tax-collectors do that!
And if you are friendly only to your friends,
are you doing anything out of the ordinary?
Even the Goyim do that!
Mat 5:46-48 CJB
MAY WE LEARN TO BE HOLY BY BEING DIFFERENT,
BY LIVING BY HASHEM'S STANDARD OF PERFECTNESS,
BY SEEING EACH AND EVERYONE AS CREATED IN HIS IMAGE ...
AND ACT LIKE IT!