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Ask the Rabbi - Why Yeshua is the Living Torah?

Due to this being the final 10 days of my exams to complete Yeshiva (similar to Seminary, but for Rabbis), we are utilizing an excellent teaching from the Hebrew Root website by Rabbi Michael. The topic is Yeshua: The Living Torah

Yeshua: The Living Torah
by Michael Bugg

In the opening verses of his Gospel account, the Apostle Yochanan (John) makes a statement that has been a source of both inspiration and debate for the last twenty centuries:

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. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not suppressed it. . . . The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh'khinah (glory, presence), the Sh'khinah of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14, CJB)

But what exactly does Yochanan mean when he calls Messiah the Word, the Logos (Λογος) of God? The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary hits very close to the mark, saying, "He who is to God what man's word is to himself, the manifestation or expression of himself to those without him." Or as Sha'ul writes in Col. 2:15, "He [Yeshua] is the visible image of the invisible God."


So far so good, but there seems to be a deeper meaning to Yochanan's choice of introductions here. The idea of the Word, or Memra in the Aramaic, of God as an almost independent attribute was known to the rabbis of the Apostolic era and afterwards, and this has long been noted by Christian commentators. Thus, for example, Barnes[1] notes,

This term was in use before the time of John.

(a) It was used in the Aramaic translation of the Old Testament, as, "e. g.," Isa. 45:12; "I have made the earth, and created man upon it." In the Aramaic it is, "I, 'by my word,' have made," etc. Isa. 48:13; "mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth." In the Aramaic, "'By my word' I have founded the earth." And so in many other places.

(b) This term was used by the Jews as applicable to the Messiah. In their writings he was commonly known by the term "Mimra" - that is, "Word;" and no small part of the interpositions of God in defense of the Jewish nation were declared to be by "the Word of God." Thus, in their Targum on Deu. 26:17-18, it is said, "Ye have appointed the word of God a king over you this day, that he may be your God."


Lightfoot[2] concurs, adding other examples from the Targums (Aramaic translations of the Tanakh), including this example from Exo. 19:17, "And Moses brought the people out of the camp לקדמות מימרא ד'' to meet the Word of the Lord." Stern writes that memra was "a technical theological term used by the rabbis in the centuries before and after Yeshua when speaking of God's expression of himself."[3] It seems likely that Yochanan, who being from Galilee, an area where Aramaic rather than Hebrew was the common tongue, would have likely known the Tanakh first of all from the Targums, and that it was from seeing how the Memra (מימרא) was used in the Targums to describe the part of the Eternal One whom the people could "meet," came to understand this Word to be one and the same with the Messiah Immanuel, God-With-Us.

Please read the rest of the article on one of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach Ministries teaching websites: www.hebrewroot.com.


Thanks to Rabbi Micha'el for an excellent article. One of a Rabbi's loftiest goals is to help forge a new generation of Rabbi's who will carry the torch forward. Rabbi Michael is growing into such a torch bearer.

Shalom - Rabbi Gavri'el


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