Nazarene Space

Who or What is The Word?
By
James Scott Trimm

In the Beginning...

Yochanan (John) writes:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him,
And without him was not any thing made that was made…
And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-3, 14 KJV)

And in Revelation he writes:

And he was clothed with a vesture,
dipped in blood: and his name is called
The Word of God.
(Rev. 19:13 KJV)

These statements MEANT something in context of Second Temple Judaism. And they meant something very significant. The concept of the “Word” (Greek: LOGOS; Aramaic: MEMRA; Hebrew: DAVAR) already had a very special and unique meaning in the Second Temple Era. The LOGOS/MEMRA was a very important concept in the Second Temple Era, and if we are to understand what Yochanan (John) is saying, we must understand this concept.

Philo of Alexandria

Philo was an Alexandrian Jew who was born nearly 20 years before Yeshua and died around 20 years after his death. Philo was a “Hellenist Jew”. Not like the Hellenists of the Maccabean period who abandoned Torah for Paganism, but like Stephen (Acts 7) and the Hellenists in Acts 6. These Hellenists were Greek speaking Jews who remained Torah Observant (at least in there own understanding) while accepting Greek culture.


Josephus’ comments about Philo are so brief that we can quote them here in full:


“There was now a tumult arisen at Alexandria, between the Jewish inhabitants and the Greeks; and three ambassadors were chosen out of each party that were at variance, who came to Gaius. Now one of these ambassadors from the people of Alexandria was Apion, who uttered many blasphemies against the Jews; and, among other things that he said, he charged them with neglecting the honors that belonged to Caesar; for that while all who were subject to the Roman empire built altars and temples to Gaius, and in other regards universally received him as they received the gods, these Jews alone thought it a dishonorable thing for them to erect statues in honor of him, as well as to swear by his name. Many of these severe things were said by Apion, by which he hoped to provoke Gaius to anger at the Jews, as he was likely to be. But Philo, the principal of the Jewish embassage, a man eminent on all accounts, brother to Alexander the alabarch, and one not unskillful in philosophy, was ready to betake himself to make his defense against those accusations; but Gaius prohibited him, and bid him begone; he was also in such a rage, that it openly appeared he was about to do them some very great mischief. So Philo being thus affronted, went out, and said to those Jews who were about him, that they should be of good courage, since Gaius’s words indeed showed anger at them, but in reality had already set God against himself.” (Antiquities of the Jews, xviii.8, 1)

Rabbinic Judaism has forgotten Philo. He is never mentioned or cited in the Rabbinic literature which makes no great mention of any Alexandrian Jews.

The Logos

Philo is very important to us because he writes much about the Second Temple Era Jewish concept of the “Word” (Greek: LOGOS). We should not seek to understand John 1:1-3, 15 1and Jn. 19:13 in a vacuum. Remember, Philo lived and wrote at the same time as the “New Testament” events were taking place. However Philo was far away in Alexandria Egypt, and apparently unaware of the budding Nazarene movement which had not yet come to Alexandria.

In order to understand Philo’s concept of the Word, we must understand Philo’s concept of Elohim. Philo saw a conflict within Elohim. On the one hand, he saw Elohim as beyond man and far removed from the finiteness of this universe. He refers to this concept in Greek as TO ON (that which exists) and TO ONTOS ON “that which alone truly exists”. This concept of Elohim is conceived as virtually outside this universe with no real contact with it. This unknowable Elohim appeared from Ex. 20:21. In Rabbinic Judaism (i.e. Kabbalah) this unknowable Elohim is called in Hebrew EIN SOF (without end/border; The Infinite One).

For Philo the Word (Logos) was a sort of bridge between the unknowable remote Elohim and the universe. The Word was a manifestation of the unknowable Elohim in this universe, an intermediary or mediator between man and Elohim. One can immediately see that Philo’s Word parallels Rabbinic Judaism’s (Kabbalah’s) SEFIROT.

Philo writes much about the concept of the “Word” (Greek: Logos)

…So that the Word (Logos) is, as it were, the charioteer of the powers,…
(On Flight and Finding XIX 101)

This is very important, as we have a first century Jew revealing to us the mystery of the throne-chariot.

The Mishna tells us:

They do not expound upon…
Ma’aseh Bereshit before [more than] two, or Ma’aseh Merkavah before [more than] one unless he was a sage and understands of his own knowledge.
(m.Hagigah 2:1)

In the Mishnah the Ma’aseh Merkavah (account of the throne-chariot) was a secret. But Philo tells us all about the secret, he tells us that the charioteer is the Word (Logos). It is generally accepted that the mysteries of the Ma’aseh Merkavah (account of the chariot – i.e. Ezek. 1-2) and Ma’aseh Bereshit (account of creation) were the material that later came to be referred to as “Kabbalah”. Philo tells us that the big secret of the chariot is that the charioteer is the Word.

Philo says:

…Every man in regard of his intellect is connected with Logos (Word),
being an impression of, or a fragment or emanation of that blessed
nature…
(Philo; On Creation LI (146))

Philo gave a very detailed description to the Word (Logos). To Philo the Word was the creator:

As therefore the city, when previously shadowed out in
the mind of architectural skill had no external place, but
was stamped solely in the mind of the workman, so in
the same manner neither can the world which existed in
ideas have had any other local position except the
Logos (Word) which made them…
(Philo; On Creation V (20))

Philo taught that the Word (Logos) was the shadow of God and was the instrument of creation.

…But the shadow of God is his Logos (Word),
which he used like an instrument when he was
making the world.
(Philo; Allegorical Interpretation III XXXI (96))

The Memra

Not only does Philo speak of this “Word” but the ancient Targums do so as well. The Targums were Aramaic paraphrases of the books of the Tanak. Throughout the Targums we read of this entity called the “Word” (Aramaic: MEMRA). On many occasions the Targums paraphrase YHWH with the phase “Word of YHWH” and on some occasions the Word (MEMRA) is mentioned in the paraphrase where YHWH is not mentioned. The term is applied to YHWH in Targum Onkelos 179 times, the Jerusalem Targum 99 times and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan 321 times.

This “Word of YHWH” was, according to Targum Jonathan, the Creator:

And the Word [Memra] of YHWH created man in his likeness,
in the likeness of YHWH, YHWH created,
male and female created He them.
(Targ. Jonathan Gen. 1:27)

This idea is also put forward in the Jerusalem Targum:

And the Word [Memra] of YHWH said to Moses:
“I am He who said unto the world ‘Be!’ and it was:
and who in the future shall say to it ‘Be!’
and it shall be.” And He said: “Thus you shall say
to the children of Israel: ‘I Am’ has sent me to you.”
(Jerusalem Targum Ex. 3:14)

The Fragmentary Targum of the Torah also expresses that the Word of YHWH was the Creator:

The first night, when the “Word of YHWH”
was revealed to the world in order to create it,
the world was desolate and void,
and darkness spread over the face of the abyss
and the “Word of the Lord” was bright and illuminating
and He called it the first night.
(Fragmentary Targum Ex. 12:42)

That the Word of YHWH was the Creator can also be seen in the Tanak itself:

By the Word (DAVAR) of YHWH were the heavens made,
and all the hosts of them by the Spirit of His mouth.
(Ps. 33:6)

Whenever the Targums come to passages where YHWH is anthropomorphisised or seen, or where two or more YHWHs are indicated by the text, the Targums will substitute “The Word [Memra] of YHWH” for YHWH. For example in Gen. 19:24 the Tanak has:

And YHVH rained brimstone and fire upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, from YHVH, from the heavens.
(Original Bible Project preliminary edition)

The Hebrew grammar here indicates that one YHWH rains fire from another YHWH. But Targum Jonathan substitutes “The Word of YHWH/the L-RD” for the first of the two YHWHs as follows:

And the Word of the YHWH caused to descend upon the peoples of Sodom and Gommorah, brimstone and fire from the YHWH in heaven.

In another example the Torah has:

Ex. 24:1a (YHWH is the speaker, see Ex. 20:1-2)
Now He [YHWH] said to Moses, “come up to YHWH…”

But Targum Jonathan paraphrases the speaker in Ex. 20:1 with the substitution “the Word [Memra] of YHWH” in place of “YHWH.”

“And the Word of the Lord spoke all these glorious words…”

So it would seem that one of these entities called “YHWH” in these Torah passages was actually understood by the Targumists as being the “Word of YHWH.”

Moreover Abraham prayed in the name of the Word of YHWH:

And Abraham worshipped and prayed
in the name of the Word [Memra] of YHWH,
and said, “You are YHWH who does see,
but You cannot be seen.”
(Jerusalem Targum Gen. 22:14)

Note that here Abraham prays “in the name of the Word of YHWH” to the YHWH who “cannot be seen.” Here two YHWH’s are very apparent. Abraham is praying in the name of the Word of YHWH but is praying to the YHWH who cannot be seen. This idea is reinforced elsewhere as follows:

And Hagar praised and prayed in the name of the Word [Memra] Of YHWH who had revealed Himself to her…
(Jerusalem Targum Gen. 16:3)

Of this very incident Philo writes:

But Hagar flees out of shame. And a proof of this is, that the angel, that is the WORD of God, met her, with the intent to recommend her what she ought to do, and to guide her in her return to her mistress’s house. For he encouraged her, and said unto her: “The Lord has heard the cry of thy humiliation,” which you uttered, not out of fear, nor yet out of hatred. For the one is the feeling of an ignoble soul, and the other of one which loves contention, but under the influence of that copy of temperance and modesty, shame.
(On Flight and Finding (5))

It was this Word of YHWH that Jacob also trusted in:

And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, “If the Word [Memra] of YHWH will be my support, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Word [Memra]of YHWH be my Elohim.
(Targum Onkelos on Gen. 28:20-21)

 

The Middle Pillar

In order to understand Philo’s concept of the Word (Logos) it is important to understand Philo’s concept of Elohim. Philo says:

“The primal existence is God, and second the God-Word”
(Allegorical Interpretation II, 86)

“The Creator of the world sends out His powers
from an eternal and invisible place”
(Q&A on Genesis, II, 48)

Philo raises the question

“…regarding its Creator, asking of what sort this Being is so difficult to see, so difficult to conjecture. Is He a body or incorporeal or something exalted above these? Is He a single nature… Or a composite Being?…and seeing that this is a problem hard to pursue, hard to take in by thought, he prays that he may learn from God Himself what God is.”
(Flight and Finding, 164)

Philo doesn’t answer this question here, but he does answer these questions elsewhere. In On the Confusion of Tongues, 62, He calls God “incorporeal” and in a later section, he describes God as a “Triad” (Trinity). He refers to God as “…the Lord God of three natures…”(Philo; On the Change of Names II, 11). He also says:

…it is reasonable for one to be three and for three to be one, for they were one by a higher principle… …in the place of one, He makes the appearance of a triad [trinity]… He cannot be seen in his oneness without something [else], the chief Powers that that exist immediately with him… the Creative, which is called “Elohim” and the Kingly, which is called “Lord”… he begins to see the sovereign, holy, and divine vision in such a way that a single appearance appears as a triad [trinity], and the triad [trinity] as a unity.
(Philo; Questions on Genesis, IV, 2)

According to Philo God appears as a Triad — himself and his two Powers: Creative and Ruling. To the “purified soul,” however, God appears as One.

… the Father of the universe, who in the sacred scripture is called by his proper name,
‘I am that I am’; and the beings on each side are those most ancient powers which are always close to the living God, one of which is called his Creative Power, and the other his Royal Power. And the Creative Power is God, for it is by this that he made and arranged the universe; and the Royal Power is the Lord, for it is fitting that the Creator should lord it over and govern the creature. Therefore, the middle person of the three, being attended by each of his powers as by body-guard, presents to the mind, which is endowed with the faculty of sight, a vision at one time of one being, and at another time of three; …
(Abr. 119-123).

The reconciliation of these two opposing “powers”, the central power is the Word (Logos):

…the Divine Word (Logos)…fills all things and becomes a mediator and arbitrator for the two sides….from the Divine Word (Logos), as from a spring, there divide and break forth two powers. One is the creative through which the Artificer placed and ordered all things. This is named “God”. And the royal, since through it the Creator rules over created things. This is called “Lord” And from these two powers have grown the others. For by the side of the creative power there grows the propitious of which is named “beneficial” while (besides) the royal the legislative, of which is aptly named “punitive”. And below these and beside them is the ark.”
(Philo on Q&A on Exodus, II.68)

As we stated earlier Philo’s “Word” (Logos) parallels Kabbalah’s SEFIROT.

According to the Sefer Yetzirah there are ten sefirot:

Ten Sefirot of Nothingness ten and not nine ten and not eleven…
(Sefer Yetzirah 1:4)

The ten sefirot are arranged on a chart known as the “Tree of Life” under three columns known as the “three pillars of the Godhead”.

As we read in the Bahir:

Why are they called Sephirot?
Because it is written (Psalm 19:2),
“The heavens declare (me-SaPRim) the glory of God.”
And what are they?
They are three. Among them are three troops and three dominions.
(Bahir 125-126)

The Zohar describes the three pillars of the Godhead as follows:

Concerning this, too, it is written: “Let there be light, and there was light” (Gen. I, 3). Why, it may be asked, was it necessary to repeat the word “light” in this verse? The answer is that the first “light” refers to the primordial light which is of the Right Hand, and is destined for the “end of days”; while the second “light” refers to the Left Hand, which issues from the Right. The next words, “And God saw the light that it was good” (Gen. 1, 4), refer to the pillar which, standing midway between them, unites both sides, and therefore when the unity of the three, right, left, and middle, was complete, “it was good”, since there could be no completion until the third had appeared to remove the strife between Right and Left, as it is written, “And Elohim separated between the light and between the darkness” (Ibid.).
(Zohar 2:167a)

This is the Middle Pillar: Ki Tob (that it was good) threw light above and below and on all other sides, in virtue of Tetragrammaton, the name which embraces all sides.
(Zohar 1:16b)

The Son of YAH and Metatron

Philo Writes of the Word (Logos):

For there are, as it seems, two temples belonging to God; one being this world, in which the high priest is the divine word, his own firstborn son. The other is the rational soul, the priest of which is the real true man,
(On Dreams 215)

And if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, neverthless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his Firstborn Word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for He is called, “the Authority”, and “the Name of God”, and “the Word”, and “man according to God’s image”, and “He who sees Israel”. . . For even if we are not yet suitable to be called the sons of God, still we may deserve to be called the children of his eternal image, of his most sacred Word; for the image of God is his most ancient word.
( On the Confusion of Tongues XXVIII:146-147)

Thus, indeed, being a shepherd is a good thing, so that it is justly attributed, not only to kings, and to wise men, and to souls who are perfectly purified, but also to God, the ruler of all things; and he who confirms this is not any ordinary person, but a prophet, whom it is good to believe, he namely who wrote the psalms; for he speaks thus, “The Lord is my shepherd, and he shall cause me to lack Nothing;” (Ps. 23:1.) and let every one in his turn say the same thing, for it is very becoming to every man who loves God to study such a song as this, but above all this world should sing it. For God, like a shepherd and a king, governs (as if they were a flock of sheep) the earth, and the water, and the air, and the fire, and all the plants, and living creatures that are in them, whether mortal or divine; and he regulates the nature of the heaven, and the periodical revolutions of the sun and moon, and the variations and harmonious movements of the other stars, ruling them according to law and justice; appointing, as their immediate superintendent, his own right reason, his first-born son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred company, as the lieutenant of the great king; for it is said somewhere, “Behold, I am he! I will send my messenger before thy face, who shall keep thee in the Road.”(Ex. 23:20.)
(On Husbandry 50-51)

According to the Zohar, the Middle Pillar of the Godhead is also known as the “Son of Yah”:

Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother far off.
This neighbor is the Middle Pillar in the godhead,
which is the Son of Yah.
(Zohar 2:115)

The Middle Pillar is also known as “Metatron”:

The Middle Pillar [of the godhead] is Metatron,
Who has accomplished peace above,
According to the glorious state there.
(Zohar 3:227)

And in the Zohar we are also told that Metatron is “the firstborn” and the “ruler of all He has” and “committed to Him the government over all His hosts”:

“And Abraham said to his oldest servant of his house…” (Gen. 24:2) Who is this of whom it said “his servant?” In what sense must this be understood? Who is this servant? R. Nehori answered:
“It is in no other sense to be understood than expressed in the word “His servant,”
His servant, the servant of Elohim, the chief to His service. And who is he? Metatron, as said. He is appointed to glorify the bodies which are in the grave. This is the meaning of the words “Abraham said to His servant” that is to the servant of Elohim. The servant is Metatron, the eldest of His [YHWH's] House, who is the firstborn of all creatures of Elohim, who is the ruler of all He has; because Elohim has committed to Him the government over all His hosts.
(Zohar 1:129b)

This recalls, not only what Philo has said about the “Word” (Logos) but also a statement by Paul in his letter to the Colossians:

Who is the image of Eloah, which is invisible, and the Firstborn of all creation. And by him was created everything that is in heaven and on earth, all that is seen and all that is not seen, whether thrones or sovereignties or principalities or authorities. Everything through him and by him was created. He was from before, and all and everything by him was established. And he is the head of the Assembly, because He is the head, And the Firstborn from among the dead, that he might be first in all.
(Col. 1:15-18)

The True High Priest

Philo makes a very interesting comment concerning the Torah command of the cities of refuge (Num. 35:6-28; Josh. 20:1-9). The Torah says:

And the assembly shall deliver the manslayer, out of the hand of the avenger of
blood, and the assembly shall restore him to his city of refuge, where he was fled. And he
shall dwell therein until the death of the High Priest, who was anointed with the Set-
Apart oil.
(Numbers 35:25)

Philo makes an interesting observation on this passage, he writes:

The fourth and last of the points which we proposed to discuss, is the appointing as a period for the return of the fugitives the death of the high priest, which, if taken in the literal sense, causes me great perplexity; for a very unequal punishment is imposed by this enactment on those who have done the very same things, since some will be in banishment for a longer time, and others for a shorter time; for some of the high priests live to a very old age, and others die very early, and some are appointed while young men, and others not until they are old. And again of those who are convicted of unintentional homicide, some have been banished at the beginning of the high priest’s entrance into office, and some when the high priest has been at the very point of death. So that some are deprived of their country for a very long time, and others suffer the same infliction only for a day, if it chance to be so; after which they lift up their heads, and exult, and so return among those whose nearest relations have been slain by them. This difficult and scarcely explicable perplexity we may escape if we adopt the inner and allegorical explanation in accordance with natural philosophy. For we say that the high priest is not a man, but is the Word (Logos) of God, who has not only no participation in intentional errors, but none even in those which are involuntary.
(On Flight 106-108)

Elsewhere he writes:

XXVI. (82) But Melchisedek shall bring forward wine instead of water, and shall give your souls to drink, and shall cheer them with unmixed wine, in order that they may be wholly occupied with a divine intoxication, more sober than sobriety itself. For the Word is a priest, having, as its inheritance the true God, and entertaining lofty and sublime and magnificent ideas about him, “for he is the priest of the most high God.”{38}{Genesis 14:18.} Not that there is any other God who is not the most high; for God being one, is in the heaven above, and in the earth beneath, and there is no other besides Him.”{39}{Deuteronomy 4:39.} But he sets in motion the notion of the Most High, from his conceiving of God not in a low and grovelling spirit, but in one of exceeding greatness, and exceeding sublimity, apart from any conceptions of matter.
(“De Allegoriis Legum,” iii. 26).

Philo thus concludes that the true High Priest is the Word (Logos). If we follow Philo’s logic through, then through the death of the Word, these exiles are set free.

Melchizadek

Philo’s true “High Priest” (The Word) ties in well with a document found among the Dead Sea Scrolls known as The Melchizadek Document (11Q13). 11Q13 speaks of this Messiah as a figure called “Melchizedek.” In this document Is. 61:2 is quoted with “Melchizedek” substituted for YHWH. Furthermore the terms EL and ELOHIM are in 11Q13 applied to the Melchizedek/Messiah figure.

11Q13 Col. 4-9 quotes Is. 61:1-2 but substitutes “the year of Melchizedek’s favor” for “the year of YHWH’s favor” thus identifying the Melchizedek figure with YHWH in this passage. 11Q13 goes on to say:

…as it is written about him [Melchizedek] in the Songs of David,
“ELOHIM has taken his place in the council of EL;
in the midst of the ELOHIM he holds judgment”
(Ps. 82:1) Scripture also says about him [Melchizedek],
“Over it take your seat in the highest heaven;
EL will judge the peoples” (Ps. 7:7-8)
(11Q13 Col. 10-11)

The text of 11Q13 goes on to apply the passage “Your ELOHIM reigns” (Is. 52:7) to Melchizedek finally concluding:

“Your ELOHIM” (Is. 52:7) is Melchizedek, who will deliver them from the power of Belial.
(11Q13 Col. 24-25)

The Melchizadek figure of 11Q13 would free the captives (Is. 61:1-2) and through the Day of Atonement will “atone for all the Sons of Light”.

In Hebrews 4:14-7:28 Paul argues that Messiah Yeshua (The Word of Jn. 1:1-3, 14) is the true High Priest and true Melchizadek making atonement for us in the heavenly Temple by his blood.


The Paraklita

Philo also describes the Word (Logos) not only as the “Son” of the “Father” but as a PARACLETE who is “perfect in all virtue” and procures “forgiveness of sins” as well as a “supply of unlimited blessings”:

…the twelve stones arranged on the breast in four rows of three stones each, namely the logeum, being also an emblem of that reason (Logos, Word) which holds together and regulates the universe. For it was indispensable that the man who was consecrated to the Father of the world, should have as a paraclete, his son, the being most perfect in all virtue, to procure forgiveness of sins, and a supply of unlimited blessings;
(Life of Moses II, 133-134)

This Greek word (paraclete) is also a Hebrew and Aramaic word also appears in the Mishna:

He who does even a single religious duty
gets himself a good advocate (or comforter Hebrew: paraklita)
he who does even a single transgression
gets himself a prosecutor.
(m.Avot 4:11a)

And in the Talmud it is used to refer to the sin offering::

R. Simeon said: For what purpose does a sin-offering come? —
[You ask,] ‘for what purpose does a sin-offering come?’
Surely in order to make atonement! —
Rather, [the question is:]
Why does it come before the burnt-offering?
[Because it is] like an intercessor (paraklita) who enters
[to appease the King]: When the intercessor (paraklita)
has appeased [him], the gift follows.
(b.Zev. 7b)

The Jewish Dictionary states:

…The sin offering is like the parclete (paraklita) before God,
it interceded for man and is followed by another…
a thank offering for the pardon obtained…
the two daily burnt offerings are called ‘the two parcletes’…
(Jewish Dictionary pp. 514-515)

Now Yochanan, who identifies the Messiah as the Word (logos) in Jn. 1:1-3, 14 and Rev. 19:13 also says of Messiah:

1 My sons, I write these [things] to you, that you do not sin: and if someone should sin, we have an advocate (paraklita) with the Father, Yeshua the Messiah, the just [One].
2 For He is the propitiation for our sins, and not on behalf of ours only, but also on behalf of [the sins of] the whole world.
(1st Yochanan (John) 2:1)

Our Savior

With all of this in mind, it is no surprise that the Targums tell us that the Word (Aramaic: Memra) is the source of our salvation. Jacob called upon the Word for his salvation:

Our father Jacob said: “My soul does not wait for salvation such as that wrought by Gideon, the son of Joash, for that was but temporal; neither for a salvation like that of Samson, which was only transitory; but for that salvation which You have promised to come, through Your Word unto Your people, the children of Israel; for your salvation my soul hopes.”
(Targum Jonathan Gen. 49:18)

That the Word of YHWH is the savior is expressed elsewhere in the Targums:

But Israel shall be saved by the Word of YHWH with an everlasting
salvation… By the Word of YHWH shall all the seed of Israel be justified…
(Targum Jonathan Is. 45:17, 25)

But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Word of YHWH, their Elohim.
(Targum Jonathan Hosea 1:7)

It was, according to Targum Onkelos, this Word of YHWH that Abraham trusted in, by which he was justified:

And Abraham trusted in the Word [Memra] of YHWH, and He counted it to him for righteousness.
(Targum Onkelos Gen. 15:6)

Philo writes of Genesis 15:6:

“It is best, therefore, to trust in God, and not in uncertain reasoning, or unsure conjectures. "Abraham trusted in the Lord, and it was counted to him for Righteousness” (Gen. 15:6) And Moses governed the people, being testified to that he was faithful with his whole house. But if we distrust our own reason (LOGOS, Word), we shall prepare and build ourselves a city of the mind which will destroy the truth.”
(Philo of Alexandria; Allegorical Interpretation, III, 228)

Likewise Paul quotes Gen. 15:6 in Romans 4:3 and Galatians 3:6 to prove his point that we are justified by faith in the Messiah.


The Messiah

Now here is perhaps the most amazing thing, Philo believed “Word” (Logos) and the Messiah to be one and the same:

“The head of all things is the eternal Word (Logos) of the eternal God, under which, as if it were his feet or other limbs, is placed the whole world, over which He passes and firmly stands. Now it is not because Messiah is Lord that He passes and sits over the whole world, for His seat with His Father and God but because for its perfect fullness the world is in need of the care and superintendence of the best ordered dispensation, and for its own complete piety, of the Divine Word (Logos), just as living creatures (need) a head, without which it is impossible to live.”
(Q&A on Exodus, II, 117)

And this was revealed in the Targums as well:

1 Behold, my servant, the Messiah, whom I bring,
my chosen in whom one delights:
as for my Word [MEMRA], I will put my Holy Spirit upon Him;
He shall reveal my judgment unto the nations.
2 He shall not cry aloud, nor raise a clamor,
 and He shall not lift up His voice in the street.
3 The meek who are like a bruised reed He shall not break,
and the poor who are as a glimmering wick with Him, He will not quench:
He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 He shall not faint nor be weary,
till He have established judgment in the earth;
and the isles shall wait for His Torah.
(Targum Jonathan to Isaiah 42:1-4)


And with all of this in mind, we should not be surprised to read in the Zohar concerning Messiah:

“In the Garden of Eden there is a hall that is called the “hall of the afflicted.” Now it is into this hall that the Messiah goes and summons all the afflictions and pains and sufferings of Israel to come upon him. And so they all come upon him. And had he not eased the children of Israel of their sorrows, and taken their burden upon himself, there would be none who could endure the suffering of Israel in the penalty of neglecting the Torah. Thus it is written: “Surely our diseases he did bear and our pains he carried.” (Is. 53:5) As long as the children of Israel dwelt in the Holy Land, they averted all afflictions and sufferings from the world by the service of the sanctuary and by sacrifice. But now it is the Messiah who is averting them from the habitants of the world,”
(Zohar 2:212a)

So there you have it. I have a few times failed to resist the temptation to crack open the “New Testament” simply for the purpose of showing a clear parallel, but using the works of Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Rabbinic literature I have laid out the concept of the Word as I believe it existed in the first century.

The Word is:

* The Image of Elohim from which we were created
* The Middle Pillar of the Three Pillars of the Godhead, reconciling to opposing “powers” or “pillars” and thus encompassing all three.
* The Firstborn Son of Yah
* The true High Priest, Melchizadek, redeeming us through his death.
* The Paraklete procuring forgiveness for our sins.
* Our Savior
* The Messiah

All of these concepts about the “Word” existed in the Second Temple Era and were all packed into this concept of the “Word” (Logos/Memra). Maybe you thought you knew what Yochanan meant when he said:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him,
And without him was not any thing made that was made…
And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-3, 14 KJV)

And:

And he was clothed with a vesture,
dipped in blood: and his name is called
The Word of God.
(Rev. 19:13 KJV)

But now you really know what that meant in terms of Second Temple Era Judaism.

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