Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The Story of the Pagan "Christian" Logos!
Many of the Saturday-keeping Churches of today teach that prior to the Messiah's earthly ministry there were TWO GODS. They have fallen for the SAME doctrines of ancient PAGANISM which the trinity believing Christians have submitted to! To prove their viewpoint they take the Prologue to the book of John and attempt to show that the Messiah pre-existed prior to his human birth. Unfortunately for them, a unprejudiced study of the Bible shows how far from YEHOVAH's truth these people have wandered!
by John D. Keyser
"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and no created thing came into being without him.
"And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us..." (John 1:1-3, 14).
Few, if any, passages in the Bible have been so influential on "Christian" theology as that of John 1. For it was the Logos (Word) concept, the explicit affirmation of the incarnation of the Logos, and the identification of the Messiah as the incarnate Logos which dominated "Christian" thinking in the second and third centuries after Yeshua the Messiah. On the one hand the idea of the logos was central in early Christianity's attempts to explain itself to its "cultured" contemporaries. As we shall see, the simple opening phrases of the apostle John's prologue to his gospel expose us to a "Christianity" able and eager to speak in a language familiar to the religious and philosophical discourses of the time.
The second-century apologists continued the same dialogue using the same key concepts. At the same time, the central Christian thrust of the prologue ("the Word became flesh" -- v. 14) injected a new and unique element into that dialogue. By holding fast to the idea of the incarnation of the logos in the Messiah, mainstream "Christianity" was able to maintain its distinctive testimony over against all other competing cults and systems.
By the time of the Messiah in first-century Judaea the word logos had already assumed a central significance for speculative thought -- long before its own terminology was more precisely defined. This became even more important at the time when the word was being adopted -- on account of the breadth of its basic meaning -- as a technical term by the various developing sciences in 5th century B.C. Greece: Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric, Psychology, Metaphysics, THEOLOGY, and Mathematics. As a result, it had a different sense, even within the same branch of science.
In early usage the word logos meant: word, discourse, language, account.
The "DOCTRINE" of the logos was a pagan invention originated by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus -- who lived 535-475 before the Messiah was even born. It was by this man that the theory of the logos appeared for the first time. Because he was the first among the Greek philosophers to come up with this concept, Heraclitus was regarded by Justin Martyr (one of the so-called "fathers" of the Catholic Church) as a "Christian before Christ"!
Notes the Encyclopedia Britannica: "From his lonely life, from the extreme profundity of his philosophy and from his contempt for mankind he was called the 'Dark Philosopher' in contrast to Democritus, the 'Laughing Philosopher'...Though much popular theology pervades his ethical teaching, he attacks the ceremonies of popular religion" (1943. Vol. 11, p. 455). I would hardly call this man a "Christian before Christ"!
To Heraclitus logos meant "teaching" and the "common law" -- as well as "speech." With the breadth of meaning of the word logos, Heraclitus had the whole field of meaning in mind in each individual use of the word: the word which contrasts the objects with one another, the relationships which exist simultaneously between the objects, the "law" which underlies these relationships -- a COMMON LAW, in fact, including human beings, and the demand which grows out of the law, common to all men, for appropriate behavior.
The concept of the logos appears in the writings of the Stoics, and it is especially by them -- the pagan philosophers -- that the theory/doctrine of the logos was developed. "God," according to them, "did not make the world as an artisan does his work." But, instead, he made it by wholly penetrating all matter -- that "God is the Demiurge of the universe." According to them the logos is at the same time a force and a law. In line with their reasoning, the Stoics made of the different gods personifications of the logos -- Zeus, and above all, of Hermes.
If we go now to The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology we will learn about the logos and its connection with the mystery religions --
"Among the systems offering an explanation of the world in terms of the logos, there are the MYSTERY RELIGIONS. These cultic communities did not see their task as lying in the communication of knowledge of a scientific nature, but of mysteries to their initiates who strove for purification in the recurrent enactment of sacred actions. The foundation for the cultic actions was Sacred Texts. Among them were the cults of Dionysus, the Pythagoreans, and the Orphic Mysteries. By means of these cults, non-Greek, primarily Egyptian, 'theological speculations' influenced Greek thought, such as in the Isis-Osiris Mysteries, which OSIRIS [Nimrod] -- the logos created by ISIS [Semiramis] -- is the spiritual image of the world.
"Similarly in the cult of Hermes, Hermes informed his son Tat in the Sacred Text belonging to the cult, how, by God's mercy, he became logos, and thus a SON OF GOD. As such, he (Hermes) brought regulation and form into the world, but himself remained a MEDIATING being BETWEEN God and matter, on one side, and God and man on the other. The logos can also, however, appear as the SON OF HERMES, resulting in a triple (trinity) graduation: God (who is 'Zeus'), Son (Hermes), and LOGOS" (Vol. 3, p. 1085, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI 49506).
The Greek word logos is found 331 times in the New Testament; and the definitions of the word, as found in the New Testament, are: statement; utterance; question; command; report; information and rumor; discourse; wording; word of mouth as opposed to the written word; mere words as opposed to action and power; account; warning; motive; proclamation; WORDS OF SCRIPTURE; teaching; instruction; the WORD OF YEHOVAH; the WORD OF YESHUA; the word of promise; the word of truth; the word of life.
For 327 times the word logos has meant all of the above things in the New Testament, then -- arbitrarily -- for FOUR TIMES ONLY the word logos in John 1:1 and John 1:14 suddenly means -- according to the doctrines of the "Christian" Church -- that their savior (Yeshua) was the WORD, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS God! That's quite a step!
A great intellectual interaction took place right after the time of the Messiah. Judahite theology became so all-pervasive that it affected not only Greek thinking but also future "Christian" dogma. Some scholars even maintain that "Christian" dogma was not derived completely from the teachings of the apostle Paul (as previously supposed) but was influenced by the writings of a Judahite philosopher named Philo, who, about 35 to 40 A.D., SYNTHESIZED THE OLD TESTAMENT WITH THE WORKS OF THE GREEK PHILOSOPHER PLATO.
Though little is known of Philo today, by either Jews or Christians, he more than likely played a more crucial role in shaping both Judaism and Christianity than either Rabbi Akiba or Paul. Philo shaped Judaism around a Grecian metaphysical framework so thoroughly that it influenced both Jews and Christians in the creation of their new theologies.
Philo, who was familiar with the Old Testament only in its Greek translation (Septuagint), decided to make it even more acceptable to Greek intellectuals by putting Greek clothing on Israelite revelation. This he did with the aid of allegory and the philosophy of Plato. Though God created the world, argued Philo, God did not influence the world directly, but INDIRECTLY THROUGH LOGOS, that is, THROUGH "THE WORD."
There can be no doubt of the importance of the word logos for Philo -- he uses it more than 1400 times in his extant writings. In a lot of his texts Philo seems to envisage the logos as a wholly independent being who can act as an intermediary between YEHOVAH and man. From The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church we read:
"PHILO JUDAEUS (or Alexandrinus). Jewish [Judahite] writer. Living in the time of Christ, his blending of OT monotheism with Greek philosophy anticipated early Christian thought, notably on the 'Word' in creation...Philisophically he embraced the then fashionable amalgam of Stoicism and Platonism. He combined the abstractness of the philosophers' Supreme Being with the intensely personal, moral Yahweh [YEHOVAH]. Similarly his concept of the divine 'Word' (Logos) unites Hebrew and Greek ideas -- it represents the creative word of Genesis 1, the personalized 'Wisdom' of Proverbs 8, the vehicle of God's activity, the World of Forms (see Platonism), and the immanent principle of natural-cum-moral law which Stoicism also called logos" (p. 777).
Did you notice what is happening here? Here was a man -- a Judahite -- who lived at the exact same time in which the Messiah and the apostle Paul lived, who was COMBINING the Greek philosophies WITH the Hebrew Creator YEHOVAH! But we shouldn't jump too quickly to conclusions. With Philo -- more than any other ancient Judahite writer -- we have to pay special attention to a context of thought which is strange and difficult for those accustomed to 21st century thought. Only when we can understand these passages within the context of Philo's overall thought will we understand them properly.
A key which helps unlock his thought at this point is the meaning of logos itself; for the basic meaning of logos embraces both "thought, reason" and "speech, utterance", as even a cursory study of logos in Philo's writings reveals. The Stoics were accustomed to distinguishing two types of logos -- logos = the unexpressed thought, the thought within the mind, and logos = the uttered thought, the thought expressed in speech. Philo was thoroughly familiar with this distinction and makes considerable use of it.
But what is of particular interest to us is the fact that the two meanings frequently merge into each other, so that it is not always clear whether logos means "thought" or "speech." It follows, then, that the distinction between logos = unuttered thought and logos = uttered thought is in no way firm or fixed. It is the same word, and the two meanings run into each other and blur, so that we have to define logos in Philo not as one or the other, but basically as thought coming to expression in speech. This key begins to solve our problem when we realize that this relation between mind and speech in the individual is also for Philo the relation between, on the one hand, the divine Logos and the world of ideas and, on the other, the material world, the world of sense perception.
The point to be noted here is that it is one and the same logos concerning which all this is said. Not only do we have to say that as the logos in the mind is to the logos of speech, so the intelligible world is to the material world, but we also have to recognize that for Philo the logos which is reason in man is NOT to be distinguished from the DIVINE LOGOS. As he said himself in so many words: "...the reasoning power within us and the divine Word/Reason (logos) above us are INDIVISIBLE" (Heres 233f.). For the divine logos is for Philo, in effect, the thought of YEHOVAH God coming to expression -- first in the world of ideas and then in the world of sense perception.
Further, in his development of the logos theme, Philo used sun and light symbolism to promote the idea that the Logos is to YEHOVAH as the corona is to the sun -- the sun's halo which man can look upon when he cannot look directly at the sun itself. That is not to say that the Logos is YEHOVAH as such, any more than the corona is the sun as such, but the Logos is that alone which may be seen of God (cf Som. I.239; Ebr. 44; Praem. 45; Qu. Ex. II.67). This is, in some ways, akin to the Shekinah Glory -- this we will discuss later. This is probably the best way to express Philo's understanding of the Logos: YEHOVAH in himself, in His aloneness is unknowable; YEHOVAH is knowable in some small degree by means of His creation, more so through the world of intelligible reality, the ideas, and as fully as is possible to man in and as the Logos.
Development of the "Intermediary"
In The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible we read that "the next step, taken by Philo was to make the Word or Logos the intermediary between the transcendent God and the created order. In this Philo carried to its logical conclusion the identification of the OT 'Word' with the Stoic logos" (Vol. 4, p. 870). According to The Encyclopedia Judaica --
"Logos is central to Philo's thought. It is the chief power of God; it unites His strength and His goodness, and hence it is the rational term which connects opposites, another meaning of the Greek word. In this function, logos brings God to man and man to God. It is the representative of the Governor to His subjects...Philo applies the term logos, or the holy logos, to Scripture itself...Philo's identification of Logos with Wisdom and Torah parallels the identification of Torah and Wisdom and the Word of God in rabbinic literature, and conforms to the roles assigned to each in Scripture and rabbinic sources" (Vol. 11, pp. 461-462).
It therefore follows that Philo can speak of the Logos as an INTERMEDIARY between YEHOVAH and creation, between YEHOVAH and man -- simply because for Philo it is in and through the Logos that YEHOVAH reaches out to his creation, and it is by responding to the Logos that man comes as near as he can to YEHOVAH. While using the metaphor of intermediaries Philo has no thought of the Logos as a real being with functions distinct from YEHOVAH -- for Philo YEHOVAH alone is creator.
The Talmudic teachings, as well as Philo NEVER taught that there was more than ONE Supreme Being and Creator! However, BOTH taught that the Torah -- the Law of YEHOVAH God -- PRE-EXISTED with YEHOVAH! Notice the Encyclopedia Judaica again --
"...there is an ancient tradition that the Torah existed in heaven not only before God revealed it to Moses, but even before the world was created. The apocryphal book of The Wisdom of Ben Sira identified the Torah with preexistent personified wisdom...it was said that only the Torah and the throne of glory were actually created...and that the Torah preceded the throne of glory...The concept of the preexistence of the Torah is perhaps implicit in the philosophy of Philo, who wrote of the preexistence and role in creation of the Word of God and identified the Word of God with the Torah" (Vol. 15, p. 1236).
Do you see this? Clearly Philo said that the logos was the LAW of YEHOVAH -- the Torah! Ironically, the prologue in the book of John -- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" -- is now more of a Jewish doctrine than a Christian one. The "Christians" made the "Son of Man" equal to YEHOVAH, whereas it was the Jews who followed John's injunction and made "the Word," that is, the Torah, equal to YEHOVAH. It is to the Jews that "the Word is God."
A Radical Innovation
Then, The Encyclopedia Judaica tells us that the presentation of logos as the pre-existent Messiah is a RADICAL innovation, which means it leaned toward an EXTREME change in its structure! Notice!
"The prologue to the Gospel of John follows biblical and apocryphal sources in portraying the preexistent logos dwelling on earth; but the presentation of logos as an independent agent, and furthermore, as the preexistent messiah is a radical innovation" (Vol. 11, p. 462).
Further, in The Interpreter's Dictionary we read the following:
"So John goes beyond Philo, whose Logos is never more than a personification, to affirm that in Jesus Christ the 'Word' became flesh -- a conception which Philo could not have formed, and would certainly have rejected if he could have heard of it" (Vol. 4, p. 870).
But is this so? Does it really appear that John has taken concepts popularized by Philo and radically applied them to the Messiah? The Encyclopedia Judaica emphasizes that this very concept -- the divine entity of the Logos -- the concept of a SECOND pre-existent God -- was the concept that created an impossible gulf between Judaism and her daughter faith, Christianity:
"The multi-faceted character of the Logos is reflected in the many metaphorical epithets applied to it by Philo: 'divine thought,' 'the image of God,' 'the firstborn son,' 'the archpriest,' 'the paraclete of humanity.' Philo paved the way for later Christian theology. In the prologue to John's Gospel (1:14) this is carried farther, and 'the Word made flesh' is identified with Jesus. Philo's Logos is no more than an 'archangel of many names,' the rational principle in the divine nature, the creative mediator between God -- the One who is all-perfect and all-good -- and the world of matter, which is inherently evil; but the Johannine Logos is a separate divine entity. At this stage the Word created an impossible gulf between Judaism and its daughter faith" (Vol. 16, p. 635).
Did the Apostle John really create "a separate divine entity" in identifying "the Word made flesh" with the Messiah?
YEHOVAH is ONE
YEHOVAH is ONE. And the fact that YEHOVAH is One is THE central teaching of the Bible -- for the Bible simply DOES NOT TEACH that YEHOVAH is two, nor three! Deuteronomy 6:4-5 emphatically proclaims --
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD [YEHOVAH] our God, the LORD is ONE! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might."
YEHOVAH also clearly tells us that He is our Savior -- and there is NONE ELSE! "For I am the LORD [YEHOVAH] your God, the Holy One of Israel, your SAVIOR...I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there IS NO SAVIOR" (Isaiah 43:3, 11). Will you believe these words that YEHOVAH God inspired the prophet Isaiah to say?
No Mediator Before Yeshua
Many of the pagan religions today, such as Catholicism, believe that their "saints-gods" act as intermediaries like lawyers acting on behalf of their clients. In other words (according to these cults) each man has a PERSONAL GOD who acts as his advocate in the council of the gods and pleads his cause before the great gods who are usually too busy to give much attention to individual cases. The Jews, on the other hand, simply DO NOT acknowledge, nor believe, in this PAGAN CONCEPT!
The book of Job which, according to Rabbinic opinions ranges anywhere from the era of the patriarchs to the Persian period, contains a blunt scriptural DENIAL of a "mediator" before the time of the Messiah! Notice!
"If only there was a MEDIATOR between us, who might lay his hands upon us both" (Job 9:33).
In the King James Version we find this rendered --
"Neither is there any DAYSMAN betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."
The word translated "daysman" is word #3198 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, and is the word "yakach" -- meaning reciprocally: to ARGUE; causatively meaning: to decide, JUSTIFY OR CONVICT. In The Anchor Bible, Job, by Marvin H. Pope, we find this verse correctly translated thus:
"33a. umpire. Since his case is prejudiced by God's arbitrary power, Job wishes for an umpire or arbiter (mokiah) who could mediate and decide the dispute with equity; cf. the use of the verb ykh in Gen. xxxi 37; Isa. ii 4. This person would have to be superior in authority to either party, one who could reprove or rebuke either or both contenders. For the expression 'lay hand on,' cf. Ps. cxxxix 5. The translation of the word mokiah by 'umpire' (from Lat. non-par) is thus justified in this context.
"Job's wish, however, is FUTILE for THERE IS NO SUCH PERSON. Accordingly, he introduces his wish with the particle lu which indicates a condition contrary to fact. In ancient Sumerian theology each man had a personal god who acted as his advocate in the council of the gods and pleaded his cause before the great gods who were too busy to give much attention to individual cases. This idea may be in the background of Job's thought, but he rejects it as unreal or unsatisfactory."
Job again says (in Job 16:21) that --
"IF ONLY there was one who would PLEAD FOR A MAN WITH YEHOVAH, as a man pleads for his brother."
The book of Job -- one of the inspired books of the Old Testament -- emphatically and unequivocally tells us that there was NO MEDIATOR between YEHOVAH and man during his time. And this, of course, proves that there was most certainly NO pre-existent god WITH YEHOVAH, who acted as a mediator between Him and man at THAT TIME either.
Further, in Job 23:13, Job again says emphatically -- "But HE IS ALONE, so who can make Him change? What He desires to do, that is what He does." If we read Clarke's Commentary (Vol. 4, p. 108) we find this information on Job 23:13 --
"Verse 13. But he is in one mind. The original is vehu beechad, and is literally, But he is in one: properly rendered by the Vulgate, Ipse enim solus est, But he is alone. And not badly rendered by Coverdale: -- It is he himself alone. He has no partner; his designs are his own, they are formed in his infinite wisdom, and none can turn his determinations aside."
Now will you believe the words of YEHOVAH as recorded in the book of Job?
The "Word" of John
You may be assured that the apostle John DID NOT teach that the word "logos," translated "Word" in the King James Version of the Bible, was any pre-existent Messiah! The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia provides us with the following information --
"Many scholars have argued that the apostle John had this philosophical development in the back of his mind when he wrote the prologue to his Gospel and that he actually tried to impart some of these concepts. For a long time many have contended that the background of the fourth Gospel was essentially Hellenistic rather than Hebraic. In dealing with such as assertion we may note that studies in the Dead Sea scrolls have tended to conform the traditional conservative position that the cultural orientation of the Gospel of John was Hebraic.
"Moreover, we must observe that John was a simple fisherman from Palestine. While he did come to live in the sophisticated city of Ephesus, probably after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, there is no evidence that he imbibed any of that city's Gr. philosophical orientation. If he intended to be philosophical in the first few verses, he certainly was not anywhere else. We may argue that John used the word 'logos,' which was common in the language of the day, in its ordinary meaning and poured into it a spiritual significance."
This "development" of the word LOGOS was clearly a philosophical development -- but it was NOT the apostle John's development! And, as Wycliffe states about the writings of John, "If he intended to be philosophical in the first few verses, he certainly was not anywhere else"! The philosophical development of John 1:1 originated from the philosophical center of the then known world -- the cradle of so-called Christianity: Alexandria, Egypt.
In fact, there is a definite possibility that the book of John was written in Aramaic! Therefore, if this was the case -- and there is considerable evidence for it -- then there would not even be an argument about the meaning of the word LOGOS -- for that Greek word simply would NOT have originally been in that Aramaic scripture!
Everything we know about John indicates that he had a Semitic background and was not heavily influenced by the Hellenistic Greek world of the day. The Anchor Bible, John presents the background sources of John 1:1, and also presents the hypothesis that the word "logos" should be set in the SEMITIC background -- completely compatible with the teachings of YEHOVAH God in the Old Testament. Notice!
"...the parallels between the Prologue and the Hellenistic literature are often on a surface level, e.g., the logos is related to creation. The deep blending in the Prologue of motifs from Gen. i-iii ('In the beginning,' creation, LIGHT, life, darkness against light) and from the Sinai theophany (tent or tabernacle, GLORY, enduring love) suggests that the basic imagery of the hymn comes from the OT. The activity of 'the Word' in creation, in the world, and above all in the history of salvation indicates that this concept is closer to the dynamic implications of Heb. dabar than to the intellectual abstraction implicit in the philosophical usages of the Gr. logos.
"When one reads the hymn of the Prologue and compares it to the Hellenistic parallels suggested above, one realizes the truth of Augustine's remark (Confessions vii 9; CSEL 33:154) that while he had found the equivalent of most of the Christian doctrines in the pagan authors, there was one thing he had never read in them -- that the Word became flesh. The basic theme of the Prologue is strange to the Hellenistic parallels that have been offered; and so let us see if a better background may be found in biblical and Jewish thought" (Appendix II, pps. 519-523).
The NI Dictionary of the Christian Church (p. 601) gives us the DIRECT quotation of Augustine, the "great" Doctor of the Catholic Church, who was also a student of the pagan philosophies: "Augustine, commenting on the statement that the Word was made flesh, declared, 'This I never read of the Logos in the Neoplatonists'" (Confessions 6:9).
YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory
If we continue in The Anchor Bible, John, we come across some interesting points that indicate that the "Word" of YEHOVAH was, in actuality, His Shekinah Glory!
"We have mentioned Heb. dabar. This means MORE THAN 'SPOKEN WORD'; it also means 'thing,' 'affair,' 'event,' 'ACTION.' And because it covers both word and deed, in Hebrew thought dabar had a certain DYNAMIC ENERGY and POWER of its own. When in the prophetic books of the OT we hear that 'the word of the Lord' came to a particular prophet (Hos i 1; Joel i 1), we need not think simply of informative revelation. This word challenged the prophet himself; and when he accepted it, the word impelled him to go forth and give it to others. This was a word that judged men.
"For the Deuteronomist the word is a life-giving factor (Deut. xxxii 46-47), and for the Psalmist (cvii 20) the word of God has the power to heal people. Wis xvi 26 says that the word (rema) of the Lord preserves those who believe in Him, just as the word (logos) of God healed those bitten by the serpents in the desert (xvi 12 -- see John iii 14). We see here many of the functions ascribed to the Word in the Prologue: the OT 'word of the Lord' also came, was accepted, was empowered, and gave life. Moreover, the word of God was also described in the OT as a light for men (Pss cxix 105, 130, xix 8)....
"The 'word of the Lord' also had a creative function in the OT even as has the Word of the Prologue. We saw that the Prologue imitates Gen. i, and there creation takes place when God says, 'Let there be light....' According to Ps. xxxiii 6, 'By the word of the Lord the heavens were established'; and in Wis ix 1 Solomon begins: 'O God of my Fathers...who have made all things by your word.' Thus there is good OT background for the statement of John i 3 that through the Word all things came into being."
After the Babylonian captivity the Judahite doctors combined into one view the theophanies, prophetic revelations and manifestations of YEHOVAH God generally, and united them in one single conception, that of a permanent agent of YEHOVAH God in the sensible world. This they designated by the name Memra (word) of YEHOVAH. The learned Judahites introduced the idea into the Targums or Aramaean paraphrases of the Old Testament, which were publicly read in the synagogues, substituting the name the word of YEHOVAH for that of YEHOVAH, each time that God manifested Himself. Thus, in Genesis 39:91, they paraphrase "The Memra was with Joseph in prison."
The concept of the Shekinah Glory was also used in the Judahite Targums and rabbinic literature whenever the Aramaic/Hebrew text would mention the presence of YEHOVAH God in a way that implied certain human limitations. For example, the Targum Onkelos paraphrases YEHOVAH's declaration in Exodus 25:8 as follows:
"And they shall make before Me a sanctuary and I shall cause My Shekinah to dwell (shakan) among them."
The term Shekinah, as commonly used, describes the VISIBLE MANIFESTATION of YEHOVAH God's presence and glory -- usually in the form of a cloud or bright light. The picture of the Shekinah cloud of glory dwelling in the Temple has a parallel "fulfillment" in the New Testament where the apostle John introduces it in the first chapter of his Gospel. John, of course, would have been familiar with the concept of the Shekinah Glory found in the Tanakh or Old Testament.
Philo clearly had the concept of the Shekinah Glory in mind when he used the sun and light symbolism we mentioned earlier -- "the Logos is to God as the corona is to the sun, the sun's halo which man can look upon when he cannot look directly on the sun itself. That is not to say that the Logos is God as such, any more than the corona is the sun as such, but the Logos is that alone which may be seen of God" (Christology in the Making, James D.G. Dunn. 1989, pps. 226-227).
When you really analyze Philo's writings it is clear that he sees the Logos as the VISIBILITY OF YEHOVAH God -- the highest manifestation of YEHOVAH which is perceivable to man, and that the Logos is nothing other than YEHOVAH Himself in his approach to mankind. It is evident that Philo was using the Platonic conception of a world of ideas to bridge the gulf between YEHOVAH and creation, between YEHOVAH and man. It is a gulf which Philo firmly maintained was ultimately unbridgeable: YEHOVAH is unknowable in Himself. But Philo's Judahite faith, and indeed his own experience of prophetic ecstasy convinced him that YEHOVAH was in fact knowable in some degree, because YEHOVAH had chosen to make Himself known. At the end of the day the Logos seems to be nothing more for Philo than YEHOVAH himself in his approach to man -- YEHOVAH Himself insofar as he may be known by man!
In the first verses of the gospel of John in the New Testament we can find confirmation that the "Word of God" is, in fact, the Shekinah Glory of God. Since the publication of the King James Version of the Bible in 1611 this, and almost all versions that have stemmed from it, have erroneously attached the masculine gender to the Greek concept of the "Logos" to explain the presence of the Shekinah Glory at the Creation. Unfortunately, due to this gender change, and the modern Christian's lack of understanding of the Logos concept in the environment of first-century Greek philosophy, most have blindly taken the "Word" to mean a pre-existence of Yeshua the Messiah! Nothing could be further from the truth.
Any one of the eight English translations of the Bible prior to 1611 (the Tyndale Bible (1535), the Matthew Bible (1535), the Taverner Bible (1539), the Great (Cranmer's) Bible (1539), the Whittingham Bible (1557), the Geneva Bible (1560) and Bishop's Bible (1568)) assign no gender to the "Word" and simply call it "it," such as in John 1:3: "By IT all things were made. Without IT nothing was made." The Coverdale Bible (1550) has "THE SAME" rather than "it." This seems like a strange way of referring to Yeshua the Messiah!
This is further reinforced by the Disciples New Testament (Aramaic) version of the Bible (translated by Victor N. Alexander, 1999) -- where the first verses of the gospel of John leave little doubt that the "Word" refers to YEHOVAH God's Shekinah Glory. Notice!
Verse 1: "In the beginning [of creation] there was the MANIFESTATION; and that MANIFESTATION was with God [YEHOVAH]; and God [YEHOVAH] was [the embodiment of] that MANIFESTATION.
Verse 2: "This [the MANIFESTATION] was in the beginning with God [YEHOVAH].
Verse 3: "Everything was within his [correctly, IT'S] power, [otherwise] nothing would ever exist.
Verse 4: "Through him [it, the MANIFESTATION] was life and life became the spark of humanity.
Verse 5: "And that [ensuing] fire [the MANIFESTATION] lights the darkness and darkness does not overshadow it [the MANIFESTATION]."
It can be shown that the Shekinah Glory was the manifestation of YEHOVAH God the Father (read our article, YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory). If we replace the word "Manifestation" with the words "Shekinah Glory" in these verses of John, then we clearly see that the "Word" of YEHOVAH is none other than YEHOVAH'S Shekinah Glory!
Verse 1: "In the beginning [of creation] there was the SHEKINAH GLORY; and that SHEKINAH GLORY was with God [YEHOVAH]; and God [YEHOVAH] was [the embodiment of] that SHEKINAH GLORY.
Verse 2: "This [the SHEKINAH GLORY] was in the beginning with God [YEHOVAH].
Verse 3: "Everything was within his [it's -- the SHEKINAH GLORY'S] power, [otherwise] nothing would ever exist.
Verse 4: "Through him [it, the SHEKINAH GLORY] was life and life became the spark of humanity.
Verse 5: "And that [ensuing] fire [the SHEKINAH GLORY] lights the darkness and darkness does not overshadow it [the SHEKINAH GLORY]."
Of course, this is not to say that the translation of the book of John in the King James Version -- and all those that are based on it -- are wrong. It just means that we don't understand the idiom of John's day and we get all confused with the Greek concept of the Logos that John used to get his point across. John nowhere indicates that this "Word" or "Logos" is anything else but the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God. John used the "Logos concept" -- which was a popular form of exegesis during his day -- to make his point about YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory.
In John 1:1, as we have proven, the word LOGOS -- the Greek word translated "Word" in the King James Version of the Bible, and preached to be the savior by those groping at the philosophical straws of paganism, trying to prove the PAGAN doctrine of a pre-existent savior -- actually means YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory! In the last four words in John 1:1 -- "the Word was God" -- the word "God" is translated from the Greek theos which is in the POSSESSIVE form and should have been translated as such. With this in mind, the TRUE sense of John 1:1 is as follows:
"In the beginning was the Shekinah Glory, and the Shekinah Glory was with YEHOVAH, and the Shekinah Glory was YEHOVAH's."
John 1:14 is a stumbling block to some people. It would seem that John's Prologue prepares for the dramatic disclosure that the Logos revealed previously in the world as YEHOVAH's manifestation or Shekinah Glory is now revealed as the man Yeshua of Nazareth. Up to this point the Prologue is dealing with the Logos figure of pre-Christian Judaism not as a personal being, but as YEHOVAH's manifestation that reaches out to His creation and interfaces with man. To be sure, verse 14 echoes the idea of Wisdom pitching her tent in Israel (Sir. 24:8), but the central and crucial affirmation seems to be that "the Word became flesh" -- and this has no real parallel in pre-Christian Judahite thought. For Philo it was inconceivable that the Logos should become flesh, as it is inconceivable for Greek thought in general -- as indeed also for Jewish thought today. But this seems to be precisely the claim verse 14 makes -- "the Word became flesh."
This is the point where the logos refers to YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory dwelling among men in the Jerusalem Temple and visibly seen leaving just before the Romans destroyed the city and Temple in 70 A.D. The apostle John would NEVER have thought that YEHOVAH God became a man, because the Bible clearly shows that YEHOVAH God does NOT change (Malachi 3:6). Verse 14 reveals to us the appearance of the logos, NOT the incarnation of the preexistent Son. The text, context, and background all point to the logos being THE SHEKINAH GLORY which was with YEHOVAH God from the beginning. It is never spoken of as a person. Even the Greeks would understand this in light of their culture and background.
So rather than being a sentient person“the word” in John 1:1 was the Shekinah Glory in action. So when John 1:1 speaks of “the word” it was not at that time “dwelling among us” until John 1:14 when “the word became flesh.”
Therefore, the CORRECT translation of John 1:14 is as follows --
"According to (or by) the Shekinah Glory flesh was created; and dwelling among us -- who are flesh -- and we beholding His glory, was the glory of the of the Father, full of honor and truth."
Going Off In a Tangent
From the second century onwards large segments of the church not only accepted the incorrect understanding of the Messiah as pre-existing, but developed it theologically. This was a paradoxical reversal: whereas the Christology of Judahite Christianity, which had been dominant for decades and knew NO pre-existence of the Messiah, was increasingly swept aside and was finally branded heretical, the faulty concepts of a MARGINAL "Christianity" were very soon to become a kind of "normative theology."
We find, at the beginning of the second century, Ignatius of Antioch already saying that the Messiah "was from eternity with the Father and appeared at the end of times." He is, in fact, one of the FIRST post-New Testament theologians to unguardedly identify Yeshua the Messiah and YEHOVAH God. After that it was the Roman philosopher Justin (d. 165) who, FOR THE FIRST TIME, coined a distinctive word for "pre-existence" (Greek prohyparchein), and thus fixed in a word what in the New Testament was still fluid terminology. It is no coincidence that with this man, who liked to think of himself as a philosopher and who was fond of wearing the pallium of the philosopher, new intellectual problems arose which were to be solved in an intellectual way.
The development is truly remarkable. For Justin, "Christianity" had become the "true philosophy." The consequence was that pre-existence was now discussed in the guise of philosophy. The New Testament texts were increasingly DETACHED from their context in the Hebrew Bible and became speculative topoi -- proof texts in the fight for "truth" which, in Justin's case, was above all against the Judahites in the form of the fictitious Judahite theologian Trypho. There is no doubt that after Justin the pre-existence of the Messiah became a philosophical problem which could no longer be banished from theological heads and theological hearts. It would take two hundred years, a great schism in the church, and the rending of Christianity by accusations of heresy and heresy-hunts before, at the Council of Nicaea in 325, the "intellectual problem" raised here was translated into a REGULATION WHICH WAS BINDING ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH FROM THEN ON OUT.
The Corrected Text of John 1:1-4, 14
Verse 1: "In the beginning was the Shekinah Glory, and the Shekinah Glory was with YEHOVAH, and the Shekinah Glory was YEHOVAH's."
Verse 2: "This [the Shekinah Glory] was in the beginning with YEHOVAH God.
Verse 3: "Everything was within its [the Shekinah Glory's] power, [otherwise] nothing would ever exist.
Verse 4: "Through it [the Shekinah Glory] was life and life became the spark of humanity.
Verse 5: "And that [ensuing] fire [the Shekinah Glory] lights the darkness and darkness does not overshadow it [the Shekinah Glory]."
Verse 14: "According to (or by) the Shekinah Glory flesh was created; and dwelling among us -- who are flesh -- and we beholding His glory, was the glory of the of the Father, full of honor and truth."
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Taking the Lead In the Search for Truth!
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