Preexistence of Yeshua (Jesus)?
As always, in this article I will use Messiah’s actual God-given name by which he was called during his earthly life. That name is Yeshua (Yay’-shoo-ah or Yay-Shoo’-ah). The name “Jesus” was a change made later by “the church” to conceal his true name. I discuss this change in a separate article.
I wish to point out two basic facts that are essential to a proper understanding of Scripture, particularly the gospel of John. Indeed, they are essential to properly understand the entire New Testament. The almost universal failure to acknowledge these two facts can be traced to the general and intentional anti-Hebraic approach Christian leaders take in their study of the New Testament and to the ignorance of Hebraic things among sincere Christians. It is likely at least one of these two facts will be something you did not realize; however, I am convinced many of the leaders of Christianity do realize it but purposely conceal it because of the damage it would cause to their Trinitarian teachings as well as many other orthodox dogmas of Christianity.
Discussion of these two facts are presented below. I am going to merely touch the fringes of the subjects. Entire books and chapters of books could and have been written on these two subjects alone. Far more detailed discussion can be found in numerous publications among which is the book, The Doctrine of the Trinity – Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, by Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting. I differ with the author of that book on other matters, but on this this issue he and I are in agreement. Now to the 2 basic facts.
- The Hebraic understanding of “preexistence” does not necessarily imply a literal, physical preexistence.
- The term logos has other renderings that are much more logical, understandable, and accurate than the common mystical and very biased rendering of “Word”.
Preexistence in the Hebraic Mind
I wish I could convey the enormous importance of this topic. There is perhaps no other issue in which the need to understand scripture from the Hebraic context is more vitally underscored.
Please pause and truly consider as you read how crucial it is for us to understand what was written in the Bible from the context of those who wrote it.
It is really simple common sense; however, unfortunately practice of this obvious concept is virtually absent within Christianity and – I should also add – often falsified within most Messianic groups. Please recognize the irrefutable fact that all the authors were Israelites who thought, lived, and wrote entirely within a Hebraic framework. As you continue reading this remember it is critical to interpret Scripture in the proper context and that task is just as relevant to the preexistence issue as it is to anything else.
For Christians, the preexistence topic is especially applicable to the gospel of John; however, it finds application throughout the entire New Testament. There is no better example of the tragic breakdown in communicating Hebraic writings to the Westernized world than has occurred with the concept of “preexistence.” The typical understanding of John’s writings is the result of a failure (I believe premeditated misrepresentation) to properly describe the Hebraic concept of this crucial issue. The common Christianized concept of the preexistence of Messiah, in particular, has been divorced from the purely Hebraic mind set of the New Testament authors.
Two of the many catastrophic outcomes of abandoning this Hebraic/Judaic context are the Trinity and the belief that Yeshua is God. I distinguish them as two separate outcomes because in fact they are, since many reject the Trinity yet still cling to the belief that Yeshua is “God in the flesh” because of confusion over the question of preexistence. At the very least the gospel of John has been seriously misinterpreted because of the failure to apply the proper context to it’s interpretation. I need only reference a single Hebraic source to explain the issue, though there are numerous sources in which this issue is clarified. The clarity of the reference leaves no misunderstanding and removes the veil of deceit so long used by the church to conceal truth.
Below is a quote from Everyman’s Talmud – The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages, by Abraham Cohen. Everyman’s Talmud is an excellent little book (if you call almost 400 pages little) that summarizes many of Judaism’s primary teachings and basics of Hebraic thought. It should be realized this is the general, standard Hebraic understanding of this issue. The following quote is on page 347 and is taken from the section which discusses the Messiah in the chapter on the Hereafter.
“… The belief was general that the sending of the Messiah was part of the Creator’s plan at the inception of the Universe. “Seven things were created before the world was created: Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden (i.e.Paradise), Gehinnom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah” (Pes. 54a). In a later work there is the observation: “From the beginning of the creation of the world king Messiah was born, for he entered the mind (of God) before even the world was created” (Pesikta Rab. 152b) …”
So, here we see how the “preexistence” of Messiah (Christ) is generally understood by the Hebraic mind. Remember that all the authors of the Bible were Hebraic/Judaic. Messiah was “born” in the mind (thought, motive, plan) of God before creation but did not literally exist. The concept of a physical literal preexistence is arrived at by Christianity only because in the early centuries it completely abandoned the Hebraic concept and replaced it with a pagan, sun-god cult, Greco-Roman mentality.
I must press the correct understanding of this extremely important issue. It must be noted how the preexistence of the Messiah is defined in terms of his (Messiah’s) existence in the mind of God since before Creation. There is absolutely no literal preexistence implied at all if the correct Hebraic understanding is applied!
You see, the Hebraic mind is so overwhelmed and awed by the magnificence, power, splendor, and infinite nature of The Eternal Creator that it assumes to “exist” whatever is in The Eternal Creator’s mind long before His “thought” actually physically manifests itself. The certainty of The Most High’s plan (thought) makes it as though the “thought” had already happened. The Eternal Creator’s intent or thought or motive or plan is so certain that it is said to “exist” despite its absence in the physical world. In fact, in Judaic material you will find discussion of how even our eternal life – our “saved” afterlife to use Christian lingo – is already set and fixed and – yes – even considered as present since The Eternal One has it already planned.
Basically, the certainty of God’s will or plan makes it as though it has already happened and is present in the here-and-now even though it has not yet literally been manifested in the present age. Obviously, since the “intent” or “plan” or “motive” of The Eternal Creator has always included the coming Messiah, the Hebraic mind assumes him (Messiah) to have “existed” (in the Mind of The Most High God) since before creation.
However, this “preexistence” was not considered literal or physical.
This concept is witnessed from the New Testament. In Paul’s epistle to the Messianic community in Rome we find the following:
- Romans 4:17 (NASB)
- 17 (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you” ) in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
The phrase, “calls into being that which does not exist.” has as its literal rendering, shown in the center column reference of the NASB, “calls the things which do not exist as existing”. The New King James Version renders this phrase as, “calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” These phrases present precisely the same idea as the Hebraic concept just discussed, and no wonder since Paul was a “Hebrew of Hebrews.”
So, in his epistle Paul provides strong evidence that supports the traditional Hebraic meaning of preexistence in his description of God as a “God who … calls those things which do not exist as though they did.“ Therefore, for those who scoff at “Hebraic” or “Judaic” and wish proof from the New Testament, you now have it! Better yet, it comes from the very epistle and the very apostle Christianity most exalts! For those of you that prefer the King James Version, it is even more clearly stated as:
- Romans 4:17 (KJV)
- 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
For additional contributions to the New Testament evidence I present regarding the fact that preexistence is not literal, consider the following verses:
- 1 Peter 1:19-20 NKJV
- 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained (foreknown, destined) before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
- Revelation 13:8 (KJV)
- 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
If we apply the logic of those promoting a literal preexistence of Messiah to this verse from Revelation it becomes nonsensical because we would have to conclude that Messiah was slain upon the execution stake long before Creation. Obviously, the Lamb (Yeshua Messiah) was not slain until long after “the foundation of the world.” Trinitarians and others promoting a God-incarnate Messiah prefer to ignore this verse because of the damage it causes to their incorrect preexistence doctrine.
So, we see in Revelation yet another verse from the New Testament which confirms my argument that preexistence in the Hebraic scriptural context is not a literal preexistence. Instead it is to be understood as the state of existence in the mind, thought, plan, or motive of God. God’s Divine Plan included the Lamb (Messiah) before the foundation of the world; however, that Lamb did not literally exist until it/he was manifested at his appointed time.
Finally, Hebraic tradition has the understanding that all souls are preexistent and await the time when they will be placed within physical bodies. With this in mind, all of us could be said to be “preexistent,” which would of course include the man, Yeshua. However, even within this belief the literal, physical preexistence is not present and Yeshua’s “preexistence” would not be unique. The notion is that every soul that will ever live was created in the beginning and, upon their appointed time, enters into the physical body. It is more of a “spiritual” form of preexistence.
Why do most Messianic “rabbis” choose to conceal this Hebraic concept of preexistence as they supposedly attempt to educate others regarding Hebraic roots? Could it be for the same reason as Christian theologians? Could it be their death-grip on the Trinity or other man-God Messiah concepts will not allow them to accept Truth? Could it be they will promote only those Hebraic foundations that support their biased orthodox Christian foundational beliefs, often with their “unkosher” distorted flavor of Kabbalah? The answer to all those questions is a resounding YES!
As I said in my Kabbalah article:
“… Unfortunately, as previously suggested, most “Messianic” groups are little more than traditional evangelical organizations dressed in Judaic garb and promoting a little Torah. Most people do not realize that the majority of Messianics are simply traditional Christians who decided to add Jewish liturgy to their services and who embrace – to varying degrees – Torah. Besides that, they are generally no different than Traditional Christians; therefore, the man-God Messiah doctrines as well as other false teachings are carried over into their Messianic organizations. Many of these groups are composed of people who have a cult-like attraction to “Jewishness” more than to Truth and who claim a sort of Jewishness even though their fundamental beliefs differ little from traditional Christianity. Every time I read in Revelation the verse that mentions “those that say they are Jews but are not,” I think of the standard counterfeit Messianic group. More often than not, their beliefs do not originate from Judaic roots, but instead actually originate from the Christian organizations from which they came. The Pope can parade around with a Torah scroll and wear a tallit, but he is still the Pope! These “Messianic” believers have never left Babylon. They’ve simply changed neighborhoods; one a bit more liturgically “Jewish” but still well within the city! …”
The use of the correct “preexistence” understanding just discussed should be obvious in the gospel of John, but it is implied elsewhere in the New Testament.
The Relationship of the Greek word “Logos” to the Preexistence Issue
Interestingly, the term logos dovetails perfectly with the previous discussion. Why do I say this? Well, if the translators had not been so biased in passages such as the famous ones of John chapter 1 where they render the term as “Word,” it would be obvious; however, since they were I will explain. The translators even expanded upon their bias in John 1 by rendering the term “Word” with a capital “W” – a totally unsubstantiated and blatant show of bias.
Let’s look at the possible Greek meanings of the term logos. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible defines among the various meanings the following:
- mental faculty
- Divine Expression
What is really illuminating is the fact that, according to the Strong’s Concordance I referenced, a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used the term logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. Thus, we have a historic precedent which shows the proper understanding of “logos” is as the “Divine Plan, thought, or motive” of the Almighty Creator.
When this corrected rendering is applied to John 1:1-3 the term logos can be shown to not be referring specifically to Messiah (much less some mysterious “Word-man”), but instead refers to the Divine Plan from (or through) which the Almighty Creator created all things, which included Messiah as the crowning achievement. As a side note, the use of the personal pronouns “he” and “him” in John 1 are not necessarily correct. Early versions of Scripture, such as Tyndale’s original translation, more correctly use the term “it.” The article entitled, “What does John 1:3-4 REALLY Say?” discusses this in more detail.
Therefore, with logos correctly translated, the first few chapters of the gospel of John may be more accurately rendered as:
- John 1:1-3
- In the beginning was the Divine plan/motive/thought, and the Divine plan/motive/thought was with God, and the Divine plan/motive/thought was God. The same (Plan) was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it and without it was not any thing made that was made.
This makes perfect sense! In the beginning God had a Divine Plan. This Divine Plan was, of course, with God since it was His master plan conceived in His Divine Mind. The only information mankind has available to understand God is His Torah (instructions) – His Divine Plan.
You see, Hebraic thought teaches that The Eternal Creator is beyond human comprehension. Anyone who thinks they completely understand God is an arrogant fool. It is impossible for created beings to grasp the essence of the Creator, and it is through His attributes and actions that we come to know him to the limited level we can. Since His Plan is the summary of His eternal actions, through study of that Plan we can grasp the basic aspects of God. There is nothing else available with which the characteristics of The Eternal God can be understood. Therefore, His Divine Plan – being the very manifestation of The Creator’s Divine thought and Mind – is itself God from our perspective as created beings!
Yeshua the Messiah, as the perfect servant and emissary of God, revealed much about the character and attributes of God; however, everything he did and preached was accomplished within the sphere of God’s Plan. Thus, the Plan of God is still the only way we have of understanding God. Of course, since the essence of God is beyond human comprehension, the use of terms such as “mind” are anthropomorphic so that we can grasp basic concepts.
Anthropomorphism: attribution of human characteristics to non-humans: the attribution of a human form, human characteristics, or human behavior to nonhuman things such as deities in mythology and animals in children’s stories.
The concept that the Torah or Mind (thought, Plan) of The Creator is inseparable from Him is a long standing, traditional Hebraic understanding of the Creator! It is comparable to you and your mind (mental faculty, reasoning) being inseparable. It can be said that you are your mind; thus, you are your “logos” (thought, mind).
So, just as a human can be said to be his/her mind, God can anthropomorphically be said to be His mind (logos). Later verses could be correctly construed to interject the sublime and ultimate ingredient of His Plan, which is Messiah. However, this “Plan” or intent for a future Messiah was only in the Mind of The Creator before His creative adventure and did not physically and literally get “begotten” until Yeshua the Messiah physically appeared upon earth about 2000 years ago.
There is no argument that “word” is one possible rendering of the Greek term “logos;” however, why would the translators choose the most nebulous possible rendering of the term logos in areas such as John 1? The rendering of “word” is completely illogical in the first chapter of John unless one is already predisposed to belief in a man-God Messiah and intentionally biases the translation to support a mysterious “word-man” inner meaning. The historic precedent from Heraclitus mentioned earlier and the more clear rendering for logos as Divine “plan” or “motive” or “thought” or “intent” makes far more sense and removes all mystery. Additional support for the opinion that “intent” or “motive” or “thought” is the better rendering of logos in John 1 is its clear agreement with the standard Hebraic understanding of the preexistence of the Messiah which we covered earlier.
Basically, what we have in crucial verses of the New Testament is an intentionally ambiguous and biased translation done in such a way so as to hide the far clearer translation of the Greek word logos.
John (Yochanan) was a Hebrew – a Jew – a man with a Hebraic/Judaic mind who thought and wrote from a thoroughly Hebraic mind set. In order to believe the common rendering of logos as “word” and that the common notion of the literal preexistence of Messiah are correct one must totally abandon the basic Hebraic foundation of all the writings of the Scripture. Unfortunately, since Christianity was corrupted in the 4th century to do that very thing we now have a typical orthodox Christian understanding of extremely critical passages that is completely wrong and that violates basic Hebraic concepts. And might I add, the same error exists in most counterfeit “Messianic Judaism” organizations, most of whom are simply standard Christian organizations with “Jewishness” painted over their underlying “Christian” template.
Without doubt, Messiah was in the mind of The Eternal Creator before Creation and this “thought” or “intention” was “manifested in the flesh” much later when the “Plan” for Messiah materialized. The logos was indeed “manifested in the flesh” just as John chapter 1 states; however, when properly translated what we see is that the plan or intent of the Creator was manifested in the flesh only when Messiah was born into this world.
So, in summary, the doctrine of the Trinity and the Deity of Messiah rides largely upon a grossly incorrect understanding of “preexistence” and an intentionally ambiguous and “mysterious” mistranslation of the Greek term logos.
The facts I’ve presented are clear regardless of your acceptance of them. At the very least they render as completely inconclusive the often and fiercely promoted traditional understanding of the alleged “proof” passages from the first chapter of John used by Trinitarians and other man-God promoters.
There are other biases shown in the first few verses of John. I also present another article from another site that touches on other issues. Even the terms such as “by” and “for” and “through” are selected by translators to further their biased beliefs. May I suggest you look up the many possible renderings of the Greek word dia – Strong’s number 1223. This tiny, seemingly harmless word, if improperly translated, can completely change the meaning of a passage.
The ramifications of a biased rendering of such words are present throughout the entire New Testament since it is such a commonly used Greek word within the Greek manuscripts. I leave that for further inquiry, but I hope you check it out yourself. The New Testament is filled with verses whose interpretation hinges on this – and other – innocuous little words.
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