What is your purpose?
What did Jesus do at Creation?
The question we need to be asking is this. What has the modern Western Church mostly got wrong about Jesus? It’s a fair question as there must be some fallout from the 1900 years of Greek thinking in the established Church. The unavoidable fact has to be that the identity and full context of our Saviour had been clouded and hidden from Christians ever since the Roman State Church took a chainsaw to the Olive Tree (Romans 11) and massacred the lower branches and root.
So, in this series of articles you receive a whistle-stop tour of the Life and Times of Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ), from Creation to New Creation. Because there’s nothing to be gained from re-inventing the wheel, what will follow is a summary narrative from my early book, Jesus, Man of Many Names, which adequately (that’s me being modest!) deals with the very same subject.
We begin at the real beginning.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3)
At the time of Jesus, in synagogues, after readings were made from the Hebrew (Old Testament) Scriptures, an official would also recite an Aramaic paraphrase of those readings. These paraphrases were known as Targumim and, for a long time, had to be committed to memory, so that it could be clear that they didn’t have the authority of written Hebrew Scripture. Eventually they were written down and a number of them became very popular, as they provided not only a translation of Scripture but also a commentary on them by learned teachers of the day.
It starts to become interesting when we look at a Targum that was used to paraphrase the first Chapter of Genesis. Let us first look at the creation of man in verse 27.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
In Targum Jonathan, we read the following rendition of verse 27:
"And the Memra of God created man in his likeness, in the likeness of God, God created, male and female created He them."
Spot the odd word out. It’s not a misprint, it’s an Aramaic word, memra and it means … word. This memra represents a missing link between Jewish and Christian theology. This will hit home when we consider that memra, when translated into the Greek, becomes the word logos, which brings us back to John 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Let’s read it again, substituting the Greek word for “Word”, if you follow me.
“In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.”
And again, this time using the Aramaic word.
“In the beginning was the Memra, and the Memra was with God, and the Memra was God.”
Where has that brought us? Well, as we know from this passage in John, the person being referred to as the Word is Jesus himself.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
This becomes interesting when we return to our Targum paraphrase of Genesis 1:27 and replace the word Memra with Jesus.
"And (the) Jesus (of God) created man in his likeness, in the likeness of God, God created, male and female created He them."
This becomes very interesting as it shows us that the concept of the Word of God as Creator was already familiar to Jewish minds when Jesus arrived on the scene. This hits home further when we also discover that the word memra appears over 500 times in Targums and that its usual meaning is to convey an aspect of God that relates to the physical world, particularly in situations where God appears or speaks to mankind. The memra was seen as both an individual and yet a part of God and was also the instrument of creation.
Now who does that remind us of?
Yes, this is Jesus at the point of Creation, making sense of the familiar Scripture:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17)
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp