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The Mimra Concept Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

The Gospel of John was written primarily to the Jews. He devoted most of his writings to proclaiming the deity of Yeshua (Jesus). In order to do that, John makes reference throughout his gospel to the traditions of the Jewish people concerning their beliefs about the coming Messiah and demonstrates how Yeshua fulfilled each one. John ‘introduced’ his gospel by addressing their tradition concerning the Mimra, the Word of God, that was commonly understood among the Israelites of the first century. 

The Hebrew sages taught that the Mimra existed before creation and has the attributes of a person, i.e. intellect, emotion and will. It was taught and believed that the Messiah would have all the attributes of the Mimra ––sometimes the same as God, sometimes distinct. He would be the Agent of creation, the Agent of salvation, the Agent of the theophany (the visible presence of God on earth), the Agent of the covenant signing, and the Agent of Revelation. The Mimra concept is from the Aramaic Old Testament expository known as Targum Onquelos. 

The Aramaic word "mimra" is an exact counterpart of the Greek word, logos, a masculine noun meaning “the word as the expression of intelligence”. It is “God’s reason or intelligence expressed in human speech”. The Hebrew equivalent, dabar, “…contains thought. It makes a thing known, so that to grasp the word is to grasp the thought…It is filled with a power, which is felt by those who receive it.” “Coming from God, it is the effectual force which epitomizes all true prophecy.” It embodies all revelation.

In his book, “The Messiah in the New Testament”, author Risto Santala uses the Targum’s explanation of Deuteronomy 33:27 as one example of the sages’ interpretation of the Mimra: “The everlasting God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”. The Targum explains, “These ‘everlasting arms’ are the Mimra, through whom the world was created.” The Mimra is also identified with God, Himself. 

The Scriptures are filled with examples of the Word of the Lord coming to or appearing to the prophets, which is believed to be a physical manifestation of the Mimra:

In Genesis 15:1, Abraham states that the word of the Lord came to him in a vision. In this vision, God comes to him and cuts an unconditional blood covenant for the Land of Israel and He came again in Genesis 15:4. The word of the Lord appeared to Elijah (1 Kings 17:2, 8; 18:1; 19:9; 21:17, 28), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 24:15; 33:1), and to Isaiah (2 Kings 20:4, Isaiah 38:4) and to Jeremiah many times (Jer. 1:2, 4, 11, 13; 2:1; 13:3, 8; 16:1; 18:5; 24:4; 28:12, etc.) and to Samuel (1 Samuel 15:10) and to Nathan (2 Samuel 7:4) and to Solomon (1 Kings 6:11) and to Jehu (1 Kings 16:1, 7) and to many other prophets of the Lord.

John then describes Yeshua as Truth. This was a very profound statement to the Jewish people because the word Truth in Hebrew is emmet, spelled with the Hebrew letters ‘aleph–mem–tav’.  Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and tav is the last letter, alluding to their belief that truth is the Beginning and the End. The Lord called Himself the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The ”mem” in the middle symbolizes water (mayim in Hebrew), a fluid state that denotes the transition between the past and the future (i.e. that which is currently being born). Baptism (immersion in the mikvah waters) symbolizes the process of new birth, and the mikvah waters the womb, the womb of the knowledge of God. Baptism is equivalent to being immersed into the mikvah waters’ spiritual counterpart––the Word of God. Accordingly, John concludes the introduction to his gospel with the baptism of John (son of Zecharias). 

The sages teach that the Israelites had to be immersed in water prior to receiving the Law [the Torah] at Mt. Sinai in order to reestablish a relationship with God; they had to be cleansed in the “Womb of the knowledge of God”, the spiritual counterpart to the water. Therefore, it is believed that water is the link to a restored relationship with God (Jer.17:13). In this, John was saying that Yeshua, whom he had just identified as the Word of God (the Mimra), would spiritually cleanse them. 

John, in his gospel, addresses all the attributes of the Mimra as it pertained to the Messiah, Yeshua.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [distinct from God], and the Word was God [the same as God]. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” [the Agent of creation]. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…” [the Agent of the theophany]. “For the law was given through Moses [Old Covenant], but grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah” [Agent of the New Covenant – Isaiah 42:6; 49:8, Heb. 10:16]. Yeshua is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” [the Agent of Revelation]. 

Barukh HaShem (Blessed is the Name of the Lord)

 

 
 
 
 
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