Just under a year ago, Apollos and I planned to do a series of articles on the nature of Jesus. Our views diverged at that time about some key elements in our understanding of both his nature and his role. (They still do, though less so.)
We were unaware at the time of the true scope of the task we had set ourselves to—hence the months-long delay in getting this first article out. The breadth, length, height, and depth of the Christ is second in complexity only to that of Jehovah God himself. Our best efforts can only scratch the surface. Still, there can be no better task than striving to know our Lord because though him we can know God.
As time permits, Apollos will also be contributing his thoughtful research on the subject which, I am sure, will provide a fertile ground for much discussion.
No one should think that by these crude attempts we are seeking to establish our thoughts as doctrine. That is not our way. Having freed ourselves from the religious straitjacket of Pharisaical orthodoxy, we have no mind to return to it, nor any desire to constrain others by it. This is not to say we do not accept that there is one truth and one truth only. By definition, there cannot be two or more truths. Nor are we suggesting that understanding the truth is not vital. If we are to find favor with our Father, we must love truth and seek it out because Jehovah is looking for true worshippers who will worship him in spirit and truth. (John 4:23)
It seems that there is something in our very nature that seeks out the approval of one’s parents, in particular, one’s father. For a child orphaned at birth, his lifelong desire is to know what his parents were like. We were all orphans until God called us through Christ to become His children. Now, we want to know all we can about our Father and the way to accomplish that is to know the Son, for “he that has seen me [Jesus] has seen the Father”. – John 14:9; Hebrews 1:3
Unlike the ancient Hebrews, we of the West like to approach things chronologically. Therefore, it seems fitting that we start by looking at Jesus’ origin.[i]
Before we get underway, we need to understand one thing. While we usually refer to God’s Son as Jesus, he has only had this name for a very short period of time. If scientists’ estimates are to believed, then the universe is as least 15 billion years old. God’s Son was named Jesus 2,000 years ago—a mere blink of the eye. If we are to be accurate then in referring to him from his point of origin, we need to use another name. It is interesting that only when the Bible was completed was mankind given this name. The apostle John was inspired to record it at John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (John 1:1)
“and he is clothed with an outer garment stained with blood, and he is called by the name The Word of God.” (Re 19:13)
In our publications we equivocate and refer to this as “the name (or, perhaps, title)” given to Jesus.[ii] Let’s not do that here. John clearly states this was his name “in the beginning”. Of course, we are not speaking Greek and the English translation leaves us with a phrase, “the Word of God”, or as John shortens it in John 1:1, “the Word”. To our modern Western mindset this still seems more like a title than a name. To us, a name is a label and a title qualifies the label. “President Obama” tells us that the human going by the moniker of Obama is a President. We can say, “Obama said…”, but we would not say, “President said…” Instead, we would say, “The President said…”. Clearly a title. “The President” is something that “Obama” became. He is now the President, but one day he won’t be. He will always be “Obama”. Before assuming the name Jesus, he was “the Word of God”. Based on what John tells us, he still is and he will continue to be when he returns. It is his name, and to the Hebrew mind, a name defines the person—his whole character.
I feel it is important for us to get this; to get over your modern mental bias that leans toward the idea that a noun preceded by the definite article when applied to a person can only be a title or modifier. To do this, I propose a time-honored tradition of English speakers. We steal from another tongue. Why not? It has stood us in good stead for centuries and given us the richest vocabulary of any language on earth.
In Greek, “the word”, is ho logos. Let’s drop the definite article, drop the italics that identify a foreign language transliteration, capitalize as we would any other name, and refer to him simply by the name “Logos”. Grammatically, this will allow us to build sentences that describe him by his name without forcing us to do a little mental side-step each time to remind ourselves it is not a title. Slowly, we will try to adopt the Hebrew mindset which will enable us to equate his name with all he was, is, and will be to us. (For an analysis of why this name is not only appropriate but unique to Jesus, see the topic, “What Is the Word According to John?”)[iii]
Was Logos Revealed to the Jews in Pre-Christian Times?
The Hebrew Scriptures say nothing specific about God’s Son, Logos; but there is a hint of him in Ps. 2:7
“. . .Let me refer to the decree of Jehovah; He has said to me: “You are my son; I, today, I have become your father.”
Still, who could be expected to guess at the true nature of Logos from that one passage? It could be easily reasoned that this Messianic prophecy pointed only to a specially selected human of the sons of Adam. After all, the Jews claimed God as their Father in some sense. (John 8:41) It is also a fact that they knew Adam to be God’s Son. They did expect the Messiah to come and liberate them, but they saw him more as another Moses or Elijah. The reality of the Messiah when he became manifest was far beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings. So much so that his true nature was only revealed gradually. In fact, some of the most astonishing facts about him were only disclosed by the apostle John some 70 years after his resurrection. This is quite understandable, for when Jesus tried to give the Jews a glimmer of his true origin, they took him for a blasphemer and tried to kill him.
Some have suggested that Proverbs 8:22-31 represents Logos as the personification of wisdom. A case can be made for that since wisdom has been defined as the practical application of knowledge.[iv] It is knowledge applied—knowledge in action. Jehovah has all the knowledge. He applied it in a practical way and the universe—spiritual and material—came into existence. Given that, Proverbs 8:22-31 makes sense even if we simply consider the personification of wisdom as a master worker to be metaphorical. On the other hand, if Logos is being represented in these verses as the one ‘by whom and through whom’ all things were created, personifying him as God’s Wisdom still fits. (Col. 1:16) He is wisdom because through him alone God’s knowledge was applied and all things came into being. Undisputedly, the creation of the universe must be considered as the greatest practical application of knowledge ever. Nevertheless, it cannot be proven beyond all doubt that these verses refer to Logos as Wisdom Personified.
Be that as it may, and despite whatever conclusion we each might draw, it has to be acknowledged that no pre-Christian servant of God could deduce from those verses the existence and nature of the being John describes. Logos was still unknown to the writer of Proverbs.
Daniel speaks of two angels, Gabriel and Michael. These are the only angelic names revealed in Scripture. (In fact, the angels seem to be somewhat reticent about revealing their names. – Judges 13:18) Some have suggested that the prehuman Jesus was known as Michael. However, Daniel refers to him as “one of the foremost princes”[v] not “the foremost prince”. Based on John’s description of Logos in the first chapter of his gospel—as well as from other evidence presented by other Christian writers—it is clear that Logos’ role is unique. Logos is depicted as one without peer. That simply does not equate with him as “one of” anything. Indeed, how could he be counted as “one of the foremost” angels if he was the one through whom all the angels were created? (John 1:3)
Whatever argument can be made for either side, it again has to be admitted that Daniel’s reference to Michael and Gabriel would not lead the Jews of his time to deduce the existence of such a being as Logos.
The Son of Man
What about the title, “the Son of man”, which Jesus used to refer to himself on numerous occasions? Daniel did record a vision in which he saw “a son of man”.
“I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. 14 And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.” (Da 7:13, 14)
It would seem impossible for us to conclude that Daniel and his contemporaries could have deduced from this one prophetic vision the existence and nature of Logos. After all, God calls his prophet Ezekiel “son of man” over 90 times in that book. All that can be safely deduced from Daniel’s account is that the Messiah would be a man, or like a man, and that he would become a king.
Did Pre-Christian Visions and Divine Encounters Reveal God’s Son?
Likewise, in the visions of heaven that pre-Christian Bible writers were given, no one is depicted that could represent Jesus. In Job’s account, God holds court, but the only two individuals named are Satan and Jehovah. Jehovah is shown addressing Satan directly.[vi] No intermediary or spokesperson is in evidence. We can assume that Logos was there and assume that he was the one actually speaking for God. Spokesperson would seem to tally with one aspect of being Logos—“the Word of God”. Nevertheless, we need to be careful and recognize that these are assumptions. We simply cannot say for sure as Moses wasn’t inspired to give us any indication that Jehovah wasn’t doing the speaking for himself.
What about the encounters Adam had with God prior to the original sin?
We are told that God spoke with him “about the breezy part of the day”. We know that Jehovah did not show himself to Adam, for no man can see God and live. (Ex 33:20) The account says that “they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden”. It later says they “went into hiding from the face of Jehovah God”. Was God accustomed to speaking with Adam as a disembodied voice? (He did this on three occasions that we know of when Christ was present. – Mt. 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28)
The reference in Genesis to the “face of Jehovah God” might be metaphorical, or it might indicate the presence of an angel such as the one who visited Abraham.[vii] Perhaps it was Logos who visited with Adam. It is all conjecture at this point.[viii]
There is no evidence that God’s Son was used as a spokesman or intermediary in the encounters humans had with God in pre-Christian times. If fact, Hebrews 2:2, 3 reveals that Jehovah used angels for such communications, not his Son. Hints and clues to his true nature are sprinkled throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, but they can only have meaning in hindsight. His true nature, in fact, his very existence, could not have been deduced with the information available at that time to God’s pre-Christian servants. Only in retrospect can those Scriptures round out our understanding of Logos.
Logos was only revealed to us when the final books of the Bible were written. His true nature was hidden from us by God prior to his birth as a human, and only fully revealed[ix] years after his resurrection. This was God’s purpose. It was all part of the Sacred Secret. (Mark 4:11)
In the next article on Logos, we will examine what John, and others Christian writers, have revealed about his origin and nature.
[i] We can learn much about God’s Son simply by accepting what is clearly stated in Scripture. However, that will only take us so far. To go beyond that, we will have to engage in some logical deductive reasoning. The Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses—like most organized religions—expects its followers to regard their conclusions as akin to God’s Word. Not so here. In fact, we welcome alternate, respectful viewpoints so that we can improve our understanding of Scripture.
[ii] it-2 Jesus Christ, p. 53, par. 3
[iii] This article was one of my earliest, so you’ll see that I also equivocated between name and title. This is just one small piece of evidence of how the interchange of spiritual insight from many spirit-directed minds and hearts has helped me to a better understanding of God’s inspired Word.
[iv] w84 5/15 p. 11 par. 4
[v] Daniel 10:13
[vi] Job 1:6,7
[vii] Genesis 18:17-33
[viii] Personally, I prefer the thought of a disembodied voice for two reasons. 1) It would mean God was doing the speaking, not some third party. There is, for me, an impersonal element inherent in any dialog relayed by a third party acting as spokesman. This would inhibit the father/son bond in my opinion. 2) The power of visual input is so strong that the face and form of the spokesman would surely come to represent the form of God in the mind of the human. Imagination would be circumvented and the young Adam would have come to see God defined in the form before him.
[ix] I say “fully revealed” in a most subjective sense. In other words, the fullness of the Christ to the extent that Jehovah God wished to reveal him to humans was only made complete through John at the end of the inspired writings. That much more is to be revealed of both Jehovah and Logos is certain and something we can look forward to with eager anticipation.
[…] Word of God” as a title rather than the name it is. (Re 19:13) [iii] The NET Bible [iv] From a comment by Anderestimme: “Here’s an excerpt from the forward to William Dembski’s book “Being as […]
I think people are missing the point here. None of us want to hold to man’s philosophies – but that is my point. Are the views we hold today about the nature of Christ exactly that – philosophies of men? I’m not for one minute advocating Philo as my teacher but how is it that a hybrid of Greek/Hebrew philosophies resemble so closely the views held by the majority on this board? Is that by accident or design? We are quick to point out the failings of those who believe in the Trinity, but could we unwittingly be drawing from… Read more »
This is my last post on the subject as well if the bible has not been translated accurately .the same could be true of any other ancient writings as well .these targums for instance . .i believe its the workings of gods holy spirit that teaches people the truth . Acts 2 v17 john 14 v26
And that’s it in a nutshell kev, Yes there have been alterations in the bible’s NWT’s (and no doubt even earlier ones) .How even a comma inserted in the wrong place could make such a difference to the evildoer who died with Jesus and future bible doctrines. Even a vowel, God or “a” god. So what really is the truth. Certainly not a religion who tamper with the word of God in order to promote their own teachings. But God’s message is still the same. I firmly believe truth is simply this – LOVE and accepting that loving provision of… Read more »
Not only was the teacher wise but he also imparted knowledge to the people .he pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs .the teacher searched to find just the right words and what he wrote was upright and true . The words of the wise are like goads their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails given by one shepherd .be warned my son of anyrhing in addition to them .Of making many books there is no end and much study wearies the body .
Don,t know, I have’nt read any of thier ideas.So hopefuly I can’t be influenced by them!
But I will take your word for it!
Not sure if you are replying to my comment but you said“We must be careful to never allow pagan philosophies a foothold in our faith.
I agree, totally.What I am saying is. Just because someone who is not a christian( lets call them a pagan) has an idea, does not mean they are wrong.That would mean we might reject a true teaching just because it just happens to be similar to the ideas of some pagan guy.
No, not yours, but the idea that Philo and other Greek philosophers should be considered credible when their teachings conflict with God’s inspired word.
2nd Tim 3;16 All scriptures are inspired of God. Now there may be some words changed here and there but the message stays the same. It’s hard for me to accept that Jehovah would allow his word to be altered from the ORIGINAL text. There are recent translations including our NWT( which leaves a lot to be desired) where passages have been “doctored” to back up their own doctrines. But the original text I believe would be written just as Jehovah wanted us to read it.
I’d prefer to have the bible as my foundation rather than mans philosophys.
Hi imjustasking I respect Meleti’s wishes to discuss this topic on another forum but I would like just to make one point if I may. The problem with comparing pagan ideas with biblical doctrine is that you might assume that if an idea promoted by a greek philosopher is similar to a doctrine promoted by a church or christian group, it must be false. For example, JWs believe that the cross is a pagan symbol.This is correct, but that does not mean that Jesus did not die on a cross. “The Restoration Fellowship” led by Anthony Buzzard who promote monotheism… Read more »
On page 185 of New Testament Words by William Barclay, he states: “There came a time when the Jews forgot their Hebrew; their language became Aramaic. These translations are called the Targums. Now in the simplicity of the OT human feelings, actions, reactions, thoughts are ascribed to God. The makers of the Targums felt that this was far too human; and in such cases they used a circumlocution for the name of God. They spoke not of God but of the Word, the memra of God. This is the kind of thing that happened. In Ex. 19.17 the Targums say… Read more »
Kev C – in line with Meleti’s suggestion I won’t discuss that scripture here or the others you mentioned. But they do have a simple explanation and take them at face value at your own peril. But as a clue – when did Jesus die as the lamb? Do some thinking, you don’t have to know anything about Philo and you will have at least an alternative understanding of John 17 vs 5. The others are also very simple to explain. Another point, whether you like it or not, if we are to understand those comments of Jesus in a… Read more »
Sorry im just asking .you seem to be saying those verses are not literal . By the way its not wether i like it or not and i do try my best not to have a biased opinion. Thats why i asked you the question to get your viewpoint. .im trying to have an open mind here .. we dont seem to be on the same wave length here . Kev
Too complicated = human John used a term known in his day just because Philo or the Targums used it as well only means they were all using a well known term or name (for Meleti 😉 known to many in their day. Does the NT make full use of the Targums when quoting the OT? No, I do not believe so…therefore the Targums are not sanctioned in the NT. Does the NT make full use of Philo’s writings? No, therefore his writings are not sanctioned in the NT. If when Jesus comes he says: why did my disciples not… Read more »
Hi guys I guess most reading this thread start with the presupposition that Jesus existed before he came to earth. Why? Personally as I do more reading I have become less convinced that Jesus had a literal pre-existence, which seems to be the basis of the argument presented here and hinted at, for the ones going forward. I have a number of reasons why I’m suspect of holding to a view of a pre-incarnate Jesus, given below (but not in order of importance) Reason 1 – The Targums (like Peter mentioned earlier) These were the scriptures in Aramaic read out… Read more »
This topic has been discussed extensively on http://www.discussthetruth.com under the heading: The Pre-Human Existence of Jesus. You have added a number of new thoughts to the discussion and I would recommend you open a post there as it is more amenable to the give-and-take type of discussion this topic deserves.
I’m just asking, Food for thought there, while considering your point quote ; The Logos which God begat eternally because it is a manifestation of God’s thinking-acting (Prov. 1.7; Sacr. 65; Mos. 1.283), is an agent that unites two powers of the transcendent God. If I understand you (and please correct me here ) do you mean that Jesus had no pre-existance as an individual being but was simply an extension of God, namely God’s word “logos. If that were the case wouldn’t the “word be an intangible asset ie. not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of… Read more »
Dont know about philo and all that im just asking .i just try to look at my bible and when i read the likes of john 17 v5 and now father glorify me in your prescence with the glory i had with you before the world began .i cant see why jesus did not have a pre human existance .also john 1v1and 2 phillipians 2v6 and7 john 3 v31 john 3 v13 kev
You say that Christ has an origin because he was born, but I believe he is eternally begotten. He is born outside of time itself, thus he has a beginning but yet exists eternally without start in reference to time as “Alpha” alongside the Father. In the beginning, he already was, and was with God.
Futureman The bible has a lot to say about Jesus. But,there is no direct teaching in scripture that reveals to us that the identity of Jesus is Michael the archangel. In the bible teach book, the chapter dealing with Jesus never tells us that Jesus is Michael. Its only mentioned in the appendix.Why?Maybe because the idea is inferred from scripture,only a theory. The “Word became flesh” is a direct statement of truth, its a solid foundation to begin exploring the identity of Jesus. If Jesus is Michael, then it can,t be a matter of great importance as there is no… Read more »
Another word for “Great prince” is “Great Chief or Great Ruler” and so Michael could be said to be a Great ruler over God’s people. The word Prince, denotes a Son of a King who rules over the people in behalf of his father the King. I believe that Jesus is Michael because the other reference in the book of Daniel 9:25 in the Jerusalem Bible translation refer to the “coming of the anointed Prince”, who could only be Jesus from my understanding of things and so this would fit in with the theme of Jesus being Michael the anointed… Read more »
I can see where you are coming from future man .but the problem in my mind is how do we explain hebrews chapter 1 and 2 . Which of the angels did he say you are my son i today have become your father .and to which of the angels did he subject the inhabited earth to come . Im not saying your wrong im just interested in your comments on those verses. Thanks kev
Its good to see so many comments that acknowledge that the bible is written in words that can be understood by ordinary men and women.When studying with Jehovahs Witnesses I was taught that we can not understand the bible without the aid of the faithful slave.I was on a road that led me in circles. Over the last few years, I’ve read the bible from a view point that God must of written using familiar and everyday language,so we can grasp at least the fundamentals of truth..Iam not a scholar. Just the average repentant sinner with an average job. I… Read more »
Meleti, upon reading your reference, i.e., “I go into more detail in the article, ‘What Is the Word According to John?’” I also read what one commenter, Pauline Spearing said which I thought was quite notable: With respect… It seems that one of the biggest problems we face with translation is the limitations of English, in relation to Hebrew/Greek… For instance, “YHWH…”… has so many layers to it… It is an, “Action…” word… not just a name… “I AM… ” (…without a beginning or end… cannot be destroyed… Infinite potential… etc…) In fact, Jehovah is ineffable… It is impossible to… Read more »
We must surely find a balance. It is not reasonable to think that God requires us all to becomes 21st century Hebrew scholars in order to grasp his Word. He is the one that confused the languages at Babel. And yet he writes a book for all humankind. Part of my personal faith rests on the idea that God is not playing games with us, but has written his Word in such a way that it can be accessible to all people. And I believe that Dan 12:4 in particular points to a time when knowledge would be within the… Read more »
One of the most difficult things for Christians who seek to understand the Bible is to keep things simple. Jesus taught his disciples in simple terms and they understood but after the early disciples died those who came afterward found it good to write volumes for every word Christ said. No wonder Christianity is in such a muddle.
I agree with Daytona, most of Jesus illustrations were straight forward in fact. You do not need a study of many year to grasp the meaning. There was a time when the church only used Latin to teach the word, giving the impression the bible was not for the ordinary people. It is therefore good to be cautious not to over complicate the things we read in the bible. Even in the JW congregation, I remember many publishers who did not understand most of the explanations of so-called prophecies. By presenting bible topics in a more or less complex manner,… Read more »
And I suppose I should not have said “all” as inclusive of everyone. For this I also concur. But for those who wish to fully define Logos in a scholarly way, the structure of ancient Hebrew cannot be ignored……imho
Menrov,can you imagine non-J.W. Christians who have led very pious lives,faithfully worshiping God &,maybe even Jesus,displaying true & sincere love for all,caring,etc – in short,living by the two greatest commandments,i.e. to love God…..& neighbor.Then,on Judgment Day,find themselves being the “workers of lawlessness”.
Does it make sense?
Our God who is graceful & merciful wouldn’t expect us to fully understand his scriptures/words,would He?
Of course,it wouldn’t hurt to learn as much as possible.This website,thanks to Meleti,is one fantastic way to do it.
Hi Lawrence, not sure why you state that because they are non-JW they would not receive eternal life. The opposite. The bible teaches that faith in the Son will lead to eternal life, not your name tag. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression. Or maybe I misunderstood your comment (I am only human :-)) I agree, it does not make sense at all that only JW’s would be saved (just by being a JW labelled person, not because they lead a wrong life as there are probably also many JW (like non-JW’s) who fit the criteria to be granted… Read more »
Menrov,what I meant was that the J.W.s are taught that Christians of “Christendom” are not true Christians & they’re the “workers of lawlessness” of Matthew chapter 7.They are,therefore,targeted for destruction at Armageddon.Is this what the WTBTS teaches?
I agree with you 🙂
Interesting. Thanks to you and Appollos for the time and effort. Enjoyed the comments too…thanks all. I need to buy out time and enjoy these.
A very interesting primer to the subject. Thanks for your work Meleti. I most certainly do intend to write something on this most important topic. Unfortunately it won’t be possible to follow your format in how you are breaking this down, because my perspective is a little different and it would end up becoming disjointed if I try to present my thoughts shadowing your grouping of ideas. Upon consideration I don’t see any way but to provide a more complete view in a single article. Otherwise inter-splicing my articles with yours will be disjointed and confusing to the readers. This… Read more »
In all probability, if we both come at this topic using two different approaches, it will prove more beneficial to all. I wrestled back and forth for some time on how to broach the subject and finally settled on this, not because it was necessarily the best way, but it just seemed to flow for me.
When Witnesses use the scripture: “the Word of God is alive and excerts power” and apply it to Scripture I cringe a little.
To me, it talks about Jesus who is not dead, but alive, and in a position of authority and power.
At the same time, scripture is the visual proof or manifestation of his very being .. The Word.
I too reached this conclusion on my own quite some time ago, and have mentioned the idea to many since. But mostly I have received blank stares. Jesus is the one who “is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting” (Heb 4:12,13; Compare Matt 9:4; John 5:22; John 12:48; Acts 10:42; Rom 2:16; 2 Cor 5:10; 2 Tim 4:1; Rev 2:23; Rev 19:11). The identity… Read more »
Wow Alex. Having read that scripture a million times without reading its context, I never noticed that. But since verse 14 discusses Jesus’ role as high priest, your conclusion makes a lot more sense than an out-of-left-field reference to scripture.
Wow, like Anderestimme, I never came to that conclusion but it makes so much sense, and clarifies so much. Thanks for sharing.
I also have come to that conclusion alex ive pondered over that one for years its says there is not a creation that is not manifested to HIS sight jesus himself seems to be linked to facets of gods word the bible . Common sense approach that one . Kev
Wow, like Anderestimme, I never came to that conclusion but it makes so much sense, and clarifies so much. Thanks for sharing.
Alex and Apollos could I add one more wow!! Fascinating!!!
Just to add something else to the mix, here’s an excerpt from the foreward to William Dembski’s book “Being as Communion”: “This book extends his earlier work and asks the most basic and challenging question confronting the 21st century, namely, if matter can no longer serve as the fundamental substance of reality, what can? While matter was the only allowable answer of the past century to the question of what is ultimately real (matter’s origin, on its own terms, remaining a mystery), Dembski demonstrates there would be no matter without information, and certainly no life. He thus shows that information… Read more »
Mind you I’m not suggesting that calling Jesus “Information” would be appropriate, as if he were nothing more than an enormous universal encyclopedia. Also, ‘Word’ is not necessarily the best translation of “logos” – certainly not the only one. That most trustworthy of sources, Wikipedia, says:
“The Greek word λόγος or logos is a word with various meanings. It is often translated into English as “Word” but can also mean thought, speech, account, meaning, reason, proportion, principle, standard, or logic, among other things. It has varied use in the fields of philosophy, analytical psychology, rhetoric and religion.”
Something else that came too mind that I had to share here is the words found in 2Cor. 4:4,6 the image there in those words speak volumes. When we see the Messiah’s face we see the glory of God. The same thing happened to moses when he came down from the mount his face was emitting rays of light from his face…that thought made me to recollect of the text found in Hebrews 1: 3 it says = He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact image of his very being,….now if you look very carefully the words… Read more »
Thank you for sharing these thoughts and insights with us Peter. They will help greatly as I work on part 2 of this series. What a blessing our worldwide congregation is.
Peter these thoughts are fascinating!! I’m so overwhelmed by your comments.
It’s a beautiful thing. I think the refinements we received from each other in understanding truth is a testament to the God we serve and the Spirit he uses to teach us and each other.
As I was reading your first part of your post on this subject on the WORD. something else that I would add is the statement on John 1:3 which is reminiscent of Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 8:6 reading those words, comes to mind the words found in Genesis chap 1 as your read you will find statements where it says ” And God SAID. over and over. what comes to my mind in reading the Hebrew text, like Psalm 33:6 it says: By the WORD of Jehovah the heavens were made and by the breath of his MOUTH everything… Read more »
“Hints and clues to his true nature are sprinkled throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, but they can only have meaning in hindsight. His true nature, in fact, his very existence, could not have been deduced with the information available at that time to God’s pre-Christian servants. Only in retrospect can those Scriptures round out our understanding of Logos.” True. When a fetus is within the womb it knows only the warmth, comfort and nourishment provided by its mother within that safe environment. It knows nothing of its father until the day dawns and the seemingly eternal night of the womb gives… Read more »
Adding to my post above:
The divinity of the Son of God is expressed as the Logos in heaven, the divinity of the Son of God is expressed as Jesus the Christ on earth; Immanuel. Both in heaven and on earth the Son speaks what his Father speaks and in so doing the Son is God both in form and Word.
“in so doing, the Son is God both in form and word.”
This is type of statement that needs to be clarified; otherwise, readers will think you are promoting the idea of a Trinity or at least a Duality.
The Son is cast in the mold of the Father he is therefore in the form of the Father; to see the Son is to see the Father. The Son is (a) God but he is not God Almighty.
Thanks Daytona. It seems we are of one mind on this.
Hello , Daytona I’ve missed you and your thoughts dearly on this site. Meleti-This meaty article and the subsequent meaty comments are fascinating! A picture is definitely emerging for me and I feel my view shifting. I could talk about the nature of the logos all day long (your comments about define articles went over my head so I hope “the” is accurate 🙂 ) I can’t wait to dig deeper. I eagerly await Apollos’ article to help me reach a personal conclusion. Btw I can tell that your view has shifted a bit;) As always I find your willingness… Read more »
This is an interesting topic
By this I mean if the word was there in the beginning (referring to Jesus John 1 ;14 the word became flesh) and this is interesting, The word existed before he became flesh what role as the word would he need to play back then before creation, after all there were no humans or angels yet created. We also know that Jesus in the scriptures is referred to as the word of God. Was this a commission “being the word” that Jesus would exercise at a later date. and if so why?
Excellent point. What need was there for the Word of God before there was anyone to speak to in God’s Name? John 1:1 is purposely taking us back to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning…” thus the Word was with God at the “beginning” of creation when as you astutely pointed out there would be a need for the Logos, the Word of God. God is our Creator, our Father, Judge and eternal Life Giver. It is not out of the realm of reasonableness that His Son should also have several titles, titles which reflect the various offices/places of honor he… Read more »
I no longer see it as a title, but his name, his first name, and arguably his foremost name. This is where we go wrong as Jehovah’s Witnesses. We think “the Word” means that Jesus was given the role of God’s spokesman. “Logos” equals “Spokesman”. We amend that to “Chief Spokesman” because others are protrayed in the Bible as God’s spokesmen but none are called his Word. I go into more detail in the article, “What Is the Word According to John?“, but the main point is that using “the Word” to represent Jesus as God’s spokesman is too narrow… Read more »
Meleti: “I no longer see it as a title, but his name, his first name, and arguably his foremost name.” In the Bible names are not just names more often than not they are designations of a man’s legacy and so Abram became Abraham etc. The name Logos reflects the place which God’s Son holds in and before all creation. Is there a higher position in creation than to be the One who stands as the Image of God himself? No. And as that Image the Logos speaks what God speaks and by means of God’s spirit causes God’s Will… Read more »
Agreed, about the way names are viewed in Bible times and in the Bible itself. However, I don’t agree that Father is a name anymore than God is a name.
Meleti: “However, I don’t agree that Father is a name anymore than God is a name.” Neither then is the word “Logos” for in scripture it is stated with the definite article preceding it something which “names” do not have. 😉 Your point on the word “Father” is well taken it is a common noun not a proper noun. Proper nouns are unique so we do not say “the” Jesus or “the” Jehovah but we do say “the” Logos. We may not like it but it is what it is. Logos is not a proper noun. For if it were… Read more »
With respect, I think you’ve missed my point. John says it is a name. For us, a phrase like “the Word of God” cannot be a name. Nevertheless, John under inspiration said it was, so we have to accept that and learn from it. As I said in this and other articles, a name in Hebrew is much more than an appellation or label. It embodies the character of the person. That John chose to apply a phrase like “The Word of God” to Jesus and call this his name “in the beginning” is intended to convey a deeper meaning… Read more »
Meleti: “With respect, I think you’ve missed my point. John says it is a name. For us, a phrase like “the Word of God” cannot be a name. Nevertheless, John under inspiration said it was, so we have to accept that and learn from it.” I guess I have a different perspective on it. For me Logos is a designation, an appointment, an office. We can have a “name” as a member of a particular group such as:”But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,” (Rom 2:17); many Christians view the word… Read more »
I see your point, but in that sense are not all names just designations. Jehovah renamed Abram because he was now going to be the father of a nation. Abraham was his new name or if you like, his new designation, assigned to him by Jehovah. Likewise Jacob was redesignated Israel. Yet, he was still called Jacob even centuries later. We’re now close to the stage of arguing over words. As you point out, name in Hebrew can apply to things our modern mind does not commonly associate with a name, things like “King of Kings”. But in the instances… Read more »
You are getting a lot of response for this topic Meliti and I would like to echo the sentiments you wisely declared at the beginning of this discussion ; Quote – No one should think that by these crude attempts we are seeking to establish our thoughts as doctrine. That is not our way. Having freed ourselves from the religious straitjacket of Pharisaical orthodoxy, I certainly do not want to go back to that ” straitjacket ” of expression so I commend you for giving us the opportunity through this forum to discuss our thoughts so here are my thoughts… Read more »
You make some interesting and valid points. Adding to the equation are these factors: There were millions, or billions, of angels who had lived in light, free of the darkness of sin for eons of time. Eventually one of them sinned. Jehovah didn’t plan that as a way to teach them about darkness, but in the field of probabilities it would be seen as inevitable. After all, if it were impossible for creatures of free will ever to sin, then they wouldn’t have free will. Satan’s sin skewed the results for humans. While myriads of angels had lived for millions… Read more »
One way to view this is that, from the time the ‘plans’ to build a human were first put ‘drawn up’, the possibility that he would use his inherent free will unwisely was already considered and planned for. It could be that before Adam was ever created the Logos was already slated to be the one who would come down and straighten things out. So I don’t believe the first couple’s sin was something that took Jehovah by surprise. It was just, ‘oh, they took option B; put plan B in motion then’.
Thank you Meleti for this fine article. There is a lot of fine thought that went into this. I appreciate your non-dogmatic approach.
Just a quick note. I’ve been working on my dissertation for almost 20 years and it’s still up for revision. 🙂
Moral: The learning curve doesn’t end even when you’ve gone full circle.