“In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with God, and the Word [Logos] was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).

I recently heard a podcast by a popular rabbi claiming that the church made up this idolatrous doctrine about a divine entity called the “Word,” who is with God and also God. I'm honestly not sure how this rabbi reached this conclusion, for nowhere does the New Testament look more Jewish (and it's Jewish everywhere else as well!) than in the prologue to John's Gospel.

One place where the Jewishness of the Word is obvious is in the Targum Onkelos, an Aramaic translation of the Torah whose primary purpose was to promote the beliefs and traditions of post-Second Temple Judaism. Consider, for example, the translation of Deuteronomy 9, verses 3 and 8, where the original Hebrew promises that the LORD will go ahead of Israel into the Promised Land to prepare the way. “Adonoy, your God, He [His word/Memra] is crossing before you, He will destroy these nations before you and you will inherit them. Yehoshua, he is crossing before you as Adonoy has stated… And Adonoy is the One Who is going ahead of you, He [His word/Memra] will be with you [your support], will not enfeeble you and will not abandon [distance] you; do not fear and do not quake” (Deut 31:3, 8; Onkelos, Metsudah Publications, 2009). And consider another translation of Genesis 1:3 into Aramaic: “The Memra of the Lord said, ‘Let there be light,' and there was light, according to the decree of His Memra” (Gen 1:3; Targum Neofiti).

In these very Jewish translations of the Torah, the “Memra” (the Word) is a person (personified) who is with the LORD and functions as the LORD's perfect representative.

Let us not be fooled by those who insist that the New Testament is a non-Jewish byproduct of Hellenistic Christianity. Whenever we try to understand the New Testament by removing it from its native habitat, its message will always be misunderstood and the real Yeshua of history will be completely distorted. Try as this rabbi may, there is nothing more Jewish in the world than to believe in the Word who become flesh to reveal God's glory to the world!

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.”‘ For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14-18).

Show the world you are One for Israel!

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