Looking for Messiah in Genesis – Mimra, Devar
My focus this Torah year is to look for Messiah in the Tanakh/Old Testament. I am looking for either His actual presence, references to Him or for what are called “types” or “shadows”. Types and shadows refers to events and/or people who, in some way, parallel Yeshua or things Yeshua did or does now. One quick example is Yosef/Joseph who feed the people during the famine from the stores collected in Egypt. Yeshua fed the multitudes several times. This is a parallel and there are many other ways that Yosef is a type/shadow of Messiah. But let’s start at the beginning of the bible.
B’resheet — in the beginning (or more accurately translated…in “a” beginning, but that is for another post).
I find it interesting that most lists of scriptures referencing Messiah in the bible start with B’resheet/Genesis 3:15 where it talks about the seed of the woman. Now, there are some fascinating things about that word “seed”, but I will save that for later. You see, I think he is there earlier than that and the sages agree! In Genesis Rabbah 1:2 (a commentary on Genesis by the sages), it says that the rabbis understood the Spirit hovering over the water to be the Spirit of Messiah. This was not their only thought on who was hovering, but it is definitely included.
In addition, there are two terms used interchangeably, the Aramaic Mimra and the Hebrew Devar. Both mean “word”. Mimra is also sometimes used interchangeably as God. In John 1, Yeshua is referred to as the Word, which would be Mimra or Devar. Daniel Boyarin in Jewish Annotated New Testament, 546-550, wrote “…historical investigation suggests that in the first two centuries CE, the Mimra was not a mere name, but an actual divine entity functioning as a mediator.”
Yeshua was called by the Greek term “Logos”. There are several examples in the Targumim that suggest that the Mimra has many of the same roles as the Logos. Two examples from the Targumim that come before B’resheet 3:15 are 1:3, where the Mimra creates and 3:8 where the Mimra speaks to humans.
So, this is where I believe we see the first reference or hint of Messiah in the scriptures. These are just my thoughts. I am not a scholar or theologian, merely a seeker and studier (when I can).
I want to thank Rabbi Itzhak Shapira, whose book The Return of the Kosher Pig is a wealth of information. He has studied the sages and the scriptures in depth. He has translated works that are still only in Hebrew and quoted the sages and Jewish works extensively in the book. “Part Two: Identification” starts on page 55 of the book. It is from there that I have drawn much of this information. I have heard him speak and highly recommend giving him a listen if you get the chance.
Over time, I hope to keep working on this. I don’t know how far I will get for the scriptures are like a deep well that is always full and never seems to have a bottom. Plus, not being a scholar and having challenges of my own, my studies are sometimes somewhat scattered. So, I will learn what I can and I will share what I can of what I learn.
I hope you will go looking with me and share your thoughts, too!
I have added another resource to the previous post about finding Prophecies about Messiah, https://ourbeitshalom.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/messiahchrist-prophecies-and-fulfillments/