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What has Jesus to do with Sodom and Gomorrah?
We continue our journey back to the beginning and the activity of the memra (aka Jesus). Once he had created the Universe, he just didn’t sit back on his laurels, biding his time until the incarnation. The memra of God still had plenty to do. Do you remember the definition in an earlier article - an aspect of God that relates to the physical world, particularly in situations where God appears or speaks to mankind? Since Creation there have been plenty of occasions where God has had to communicate with us, the Old Testament is full of these episodes. Let’s have a look at a few now. We will read the Bible verses, followed by the paraphrase in the Aramaic Jewish writings, the targums.
“Then the LORD rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.” (Genesis 19:24)
“And the Word (memra) of the LORD caused to descend upon the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the LORD in heaven.” (Targum Jonathan)
This targum identifies the memra as the Agent of destruction.
“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
“And Abraham trusted in the Word (memra) of the LORD, and He counted it to him for righteousness.” (Targum Onkelos)
This was Abram’s great declaration of faith.
“So God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.’" (Genesis 9:17)
“And the LORD said to Noah, ‘this is the token of the covenant which I have established between My Word (memra) and between all flesh that is upon the earth.'” (Targum Onkelos)
As you can see, according to the targums, it is through the memra that God makes covenants with His people. We can see another example of that.
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” (Genesis 17:7)
"And I will establish my covenant between My Word [memra] and between you." (Targum Onkelos)
And then, most exciting of all …
“But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.” (Isaiah 45:17)
"But Israel shall be saved by the Word (memra) of the LORD with an everlasting salvation. (Targum Jonathan)
So the memra is the means of salvation and the Old Testament tells us so. This is Jesus in the Old Testament, with his function clearly indicated.
More of this next week.