Most people do not realize that the Apostle John was actually using terminology familiar to 1st Century Jewish people. It was familiar, because it was language read in the Targums in the Synagogue every week. What John was doing by stating his first sentence in the manner was very similar to the technique used at the time (and today in some Orthodox Jewish sects), whereby one person would recite the first verse of a Psalm, and the students (or members of the Synagogue), would begin to recite the rest of the Psalm.
Jesus did this as is recorded in the New Testament. The hearers should have understood to recite the entirety of Psalm 22 in response, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" Matthew 27:46
Using this technique, John the Apostle, was calling on Jewish familiarity with the Aramaic Tagums and calling them to apply what they learned from the Targums about The Word of the Lord, to Yeshua/Jesus himself.
This study is simply highlighting all of those passages that would have been read in the Synagogue throughout the course of a year in 1st Century Judaism, calling attention to the passages mentioning The Word of the Lord. Jewish theology of the period understood that The Word of the Lord was a "lesser Yahweh". In other words, he was the God who interacted with humanity and creation directly, performing miracles, signs and wonders and simply speaking to humans. The "Greater Yahweh" was understood to exist in the Heaven. The "lesser Yahweh" did the will of and spoke the words of the "Greater Yahweh."
This is the theological and social context of the 1st Century Jewish mind that first encountered the Apostle John's words: John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This work is a side-by-side comparison of passages in the various Targums showing that "The Word of the Lord" was considered an important person of the Godhead in the understanding of Judaism predating 3 AD/CE.
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About the Author
I was Radio Host of "To The Jew First Radio" on Minneapolis based KKMS 980AM, I am also a Speaker, Author, Bible Teacher, Chaplain, Performer and have been a Pastor. Since 1991, I've been active working to help people better understand the nature and person God from a Jewish perspective. My biggest passion is explaining how the Word of God is the "God of Israel" Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), who was later born as Jesus/Yeshua in the New Testament.
I came to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), through the testimony of my parents when I was three years old. This means I am a second generation Jewish believer in Jesus. Although I did have one great aunt named Sophi, who was also a Jewish lady who loved Messiah!
When not writing books and all those other things, I enjoy quiet times at home with his wife, children. He is very active in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Messianic Community. Locally, I am involved directly with the following organizations:
Ministries Director: Gospel Cafe Ministries (Volunteer Teacher)
Board Member: The Humble Cup Coffee Shop (A Ministry Outreach at the University of Minnesota)
Board President: Midwest Hebrew Ministries (Volunteer Director)
Minnesota Representative: Chosen People Ministries, International
Over the last couple decades, I've gotten a reputation for teaching solid Bible foundations and difficult to understand Biblical concepts in a compassionate simple manner that anyone can understand. Most people who have sat through my classes know that I'm not one to shy away difficult and taboo subjects, either.
As often as I can, I guest on radio programs, television shows and speaks at conferences, seminars, in local congregations and other venues.
And finally: I'm always looking to network with new people! Please feel free to connect with me!