John 1:1 reads, “In the beginning was the Word (logos; λόγος), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word, says John, existed “in the beginning” and, eventually, “became flesh and dwelt among us” in the Messiah (1:14). Yet the Gospel writer also notes that this Word “in the world” (en to kosmo; ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ) prior to Jesus (1:10), and those who “received” the Word before the Incarnation were called “children of God” (1:12). So when did the Word of God come into the world before the advent of the Messiah, and who received this Word according to Israel’s Scriptures?
God’s initial interaction with the prophet Samuel is a good example of the Word in the Hebrew Bible. As the young Samuel serves as an apprentice under Eli the priest at the Temple in Shiloh, the Lord calls to him several times. At first, Samuel thinks that Eli is calling him, but the priest tells him that it’s actually the voice of God (see 1 Sam 3:4-9). After three divine calls, God appeared physically to Samuel when “the Lord came (bo’; בוא), and stood (yatsav; יצב)” before the boy (1 Sam 3:10).
Just a few verses later, we learn that God makes these kinds of physical appearances through the Word: “The Lord continued to appear (l’heraoh; להראה) at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself (niglah; נגלה) to Samuel at Shiloh by the Word (bi’devar; בדבר) of the Lord” (1 Sam 3:21). Thus, the meetings between God and Samuel support John’s claim that the Word came into the world of ancient Israel and that Israelites like Samuel received the Word. For John, it would be this same Word who would one day become flesh in Yeshua the Messiah.
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I am so pleased to see this write-up. The Creator, who is outside of creation, needs to communicate to His creatures, and the interaction comes seemingly exclusively in two ways. 1. By Word (tangible/visible/physical acts and appearances in the physical dimension) 2. By Spirit for we are spirit beings - made in His image (The Spirit came upon/to e.g. Saul when he prophesied, the Spirit brooded upon). Often God will interact by Word and Spirit simultaneously (The Spirit came upon believers at Pentecost-tongues of fire, and upon Jesus - dove). John wrote to Jewish Christians. Hi to all, mine is a question; if the word come firstly to Samuel, then what about Adam, Cain, Abram "Abraham", Moses etc..? Not by doubt, but just want to know please. Thanks for your question, Matthew. It's not that "the Word" appeared *first* to Samuel, only that Samuel provides us with one of the clearest examples of the Word's visible appearance. God appears to Adam, Cain, Abram in embodied form -- see Gen 3:8; 4:15-16; 18:1-8 -- but these texts don't state that these manifestations were God's "Word," as does First Samuel. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given"(Isaiah 9:6). Would this not be a reference to (John 1:14) "The Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us". Thanks for your question, Ken. Isa 9:6 is tricky, since the New Testament writers never cite the verse with reference to Jesus. John cites Isaiah quite a bit with reference to Jesus and his preexistent glory (e.g., Jn 12:36-41), but doesn't mention Isa 9:6. Thus, it's tough to say whether or not the writer of John's Gospel would have understood Isa 9:6 as the Word dwelling among us. We are glad that you are finding our articles enlightening. You’ve already started your path into Scripture, but there’s so much more that awaits you! Consider enrolling in our immersive online courses: The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. We guarantee that they will deepen your understanding of Scripture and enrich your faith experience. A strong case for the plurality of God. Could you help me with the meanings of those words 'by' and 'through' and other such words we see like 'in' e.g. 'in' the Spirit, 'in Christ' etc. Thank You! :) Can we discuss the context?
True, Neville. Is your question, "Why does John say 'his own did not receive him' when Samuel did, in fact, receive him"? Is that the context you're wanting to discuss? We are glad that you are finding our articles enlightening. You’ve already started your path into Scripture, but there’s so much more that awaits you! Consider enrolling in our immersive online courses: The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. We guarantee that they will deepen your understanding of Scripture and enrich your faith experience. In the beginnig,does that mean the start of creation? If the word was the beginning and with God and was God, Does that mean Yeshua(Jesus) is God that made everything through Yeshua(Jesus) so Gods first appearance was in The Garden of Eden,or was it Yeshua(Jesus).? Good question, Christian. According to Genesis, the one walking in Eden was God (i.e., the Father). Jesus doesn't appear on the scene until the Word of God is enfleshed in the first century CE/AD. Prior to that, God's embodied Word made appearances on earth. About the "beginning?".... I've always been fascinated that the first verse of the Hebrew scripture "bereshet Elohim"... I believe translates to in the beginning God. In Hebrew, the word "Elohim" in describing God is plural? Were God the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit there in the beginning? Thanks for your question, Wes. Yes, "Elohim" is a plural word (or a "dual" word), but it would be over-reading to extrapolate trinitarian theology based on this word alone. We are glad that you are finding our articles enlightening. You’ve already started your path into Scripture, but there’s so much more that awaits you! Consider enrolling in our immersive online courses: The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. We guarantee that they will deepen your understanding of Scripture and enrich your faith experience. Truly enjoy these articles & comments! Want to testify here that our living, loving Ancient Father God still calls out from heaven & sends His visible Word! January 2, 2006, the Majestic Holy One whom I knew as Father & Truth appeared & took me Spiritually up into the heavens! I am always amased why people can not understand the trinity of god. Is not your father, your mother and you a trinity? Why do some have a problem with AVIYHa My FATHERYHa, BeNo YHaShUA His Son VeRUaGYHa and His Spirit? Are you not mind in matter with emotion? And the column of fire and smoke, the burning bush, and the many other manifestations of God in the OT & NT were what? Father, Son, and Spirit are but 3 of the many manifestations of an infinite God. I'd even say the primary manifestations. But not the only ones. The encounter of Adam,Noah,Abraham,Isaac,Jacob,Moses,Eli with Almighty God can be described as what? Were those encounter not by the word of God, I just want to know? Thanks for your question, Obazi. If the text states that the "word" (דבר; davar) appeared to these people, then the encounter was by means of the word of God. Sometimes divine encounters lack reference to God's "word" -- e.g., the encounter with Abraham in Genesis 18 -- in which case, we needn't read an appearance of the "word" into the divine encounter. Short answer: it's best to approach each divine encounter on a case-by-case basis.
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"11) He came to His own, and His own DID NOT RECEIVE HIM. 12) But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God"
Samuel recognized and received Him.
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Thank you and God bless.
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