Yeshua: The Eternal Memra

By Raymond L. Gannon, Ph.D
‹ Back to Blog Home
Posted in Featured ArticlesUncategorized, Zealous Magazine, on September 12, 2014

It has always been easily recognized by Spirit-quickened believers that Yeshua is the Eternal Word of God, Ever-Present with the Father, and that He is the Agency for divine actions past, present, and future. But this truth, after many centuries, is now being rediscovered in Jewish academic circles as well.

Christian students of Scripture have long acknowledged “theophanies” in the Hebrew Bible, occasions upon which the supernatural Eternal Master of the Universe would manifest or appear in the natural realm for a divinely assessed purpose. Recall “Then ADONAI appeared to him by Mamre’s large trees” (Gen 18:1; all passages taken from the “Tree of Life Bible” -TLV). Or remember the LORD’s (ADONAI’S) appearance to Gideon as the Eternal “sat under the pistachio tree” while the youth engaged in “threshing wheat in the winepress” (Judges 6:11,14).

The LORD has come other times as the “Captain of the LORD’s Hosts” or “Commander of ADONAI’S Army” in Joshua 5:13-15. We witness the Divine Messenger of the Covenant coming to “His Temple” who is linked with ADONAI-TZVA’OT (Malachi 3:1). These and other events are only some of the occasions when the Eternal Spirit of God entered the natural or physical realm as the Memra or Logos (“The Word”) to relay divine objectives to those functioning within and subject to the created order.

During the Second Temple period and prior to Yeshua’s own divine manifestation in biblical Israel, many classical Jewish convictions formed regarding the One called the Memra, a mediating and divine entity. The Messiah’s Name, (e.g., “Wonderful,” Judges 13:18) as the Jewish religious authorities decreed, was created before the foundation of the world. A Jewish recognition of “two powers in Heaven,” a kind of binitarianism, in contrast to trinitarianism, was common among the Jewish people for multiple centuries after Yeshua’s manifestation of God.

The active pre-existent Creator of the world would miraculously come into Israel’s midst to judge, purify, and redeem Israel. According to Jewish conviction both before and subsequent to Yeshua’s sojourn on earth, the Memra is identified linguistically with the Logos or “Word” in other Jewish writings of the era, including the Gospel of John. The Logos represents a specific continuity between classical Second Temple Jewish religion and Messianic Jewish faith. The appearing Logos is considered a better Teacher than the written Torah as perfect truth is both declared and exhibited in the Logos.

Jewish thought suggested that the Logos (Word, Light) was God-created to Himself, then became the creative Agent of all things and the declared Revelation of God. Philo, the great Jewish philosopher of Alexandria, oscillated whether the Logos was a separate entity as God’s Son or whether the Logos was simply incorporated into the Godhead. With the diversified forms of Jewish religion that strongly characterized the Jewish world until early second millennium Crusades, freedom of thought enabled Jewish multitudes to retain Second Temple classical thought relative to the Logos. The controlling rabbinical metanarrative would not dominate Jewish thinking until the Middle Ages.

So, in Jewish thought in the Second Temple era and for a thousand years beyond among traditionalists and free-thinkers, the Memra or Logos was broadly considered as “above the angels,” the Sustainer of nature, the Personification of the Torah, the means to God’s Self-Revelation, and a divine Person in His own right.

The Memra HaShem amazingly corresponds to the Logos or Theos Logos (Word of God) as depicted as divinely active in John 1. In Torah (Moses’ writings), the Memra is creating, speaking to humans, revealing God, punishing the wicked, and saving and redeeming. Yeshua is seen in the Gospels and Epistles as in eternal relationship with the Father. He is the Logos, the Only Begotten, the Exact Image, the eternal, immutable, omnipotent One. Yeshua is the Creator and Preserver of the universe, the Agent of forgiveness of sin, and the Source of resurrection life. He is the Judge of Israel, the saints, all mankind, the spiritual forces, and the Executioner at the Great White Throne judgment.

The events of the Fourth Century were highly impactful in terms of Gospel presentation to the Jewish world. To counter the influence of Roman Replacement Theology upon the Jewish masses, the rabbis did two critical things:

First, they invented the myth and incorporated into the Jewish metanarrative the concept that the Oral Law (more widely known as the Mishnah) was divinely issued to Moses at Sinai along with the Written Law. Therefore, the Oral Law was to be as binding as the Written Law upon Jewish people. Although the Jewish masses were not entirely subservient to the rabbinic authorities for centuries to come, the Oral Law given at Sinai myth was circulated through the ages until most believed it.

Secondly, and consistently, the rabbis in the Fourth Century attempted to systematically root out of the classical Jewish story or metanarrative anything that would lend support to Jewish faith in Yeshua. Thus, the Memra or Logos teachings that had been entirely common in the Second Temple period (including Yeshua’s own time and for centuries to come) were broadly repudiated by the rabbis, stripped from the Jewish metanarrative, and made to appear a Christian theological invention and, therefore, pagan in its origin.

It is imperative that MJBI helps bring Yeshua back into the forefront of Jewish thought. He is no mere rabbi or religious philosopher, no limited prophet with overrated teaching skills. Yeshua is the Memra, the Logos, the Creator of the universe, the Judge of every human being. He is the Manifestation of God, the Exhibitor of the Father’s holy character, the sole means of reconciliation to God, and the divinely-appointed Anointed One of Israel to lead her into her God-decreed destiny.

We must declare Yeshua as Lord of Israel and Lord of All. Of absolute certainty it is true: Yeshua is Israel’s Only Hope.

By Raymond L. Gannon, Ph.D.
MJBI Vice-President for Academic Affairs