Often when discussing the Trinity, Christians refer to Genesis Chapter 1, where 'the Father' says 'let there be', while 'the Son' is that word, and 'the Spirit' brings creation into perfection. Sure this seems easy to us with an understand of the trinity in retrospect under the light of the gospel, but my question is did the 'pre-Christian church' ever see this? In particular, I am wondering about the very creation of the world, was this ever though of in connection with the promised Messiah?

Somewhat related question:

Were the Jews expecting the Messiah to suffer at all?

  • there was no "church" until Jesus instituted it :) – warren Jan 28 '13 at 13:39
  • @warren - yes the New Testament church, I am refeering to the body of believers in Christ before his appearing in the flesh, like Abraham who was our father as our faith is like his. The word 'church' is not used in the Old Testament as this is a Greek word, but in Hebrew it is usually translated 'the congregation' or 'assembly'. That is what I refer to the assembly of believers in Christ, before his appearing. – Mike Jan 28 '13 at 14:26
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    I'm tempted to vote to close this, firstly because before Jesus 'the Son' would have been identified as 'the Word' if anything at all. Secondly, because it's not a question about Christianity. If anything, it's a Jewish doctrine and/or history question. – svidgen Jan 29 '13 at 15:43
  • I have a fascination with what Jews thought of Messiah before Christ as it is the cultural context to explain in more depth many passages of the gospels. Also I have an interests in the trinity as understood and developed over time. You can vote to close but I would understand that as short-sited on key historical development of the core doctrines of Christianity. Besides I do not think there will be many tempted to join you. By the way my use of the word Son was also related to Messianic concepts 'Kiss the Son' Psalm 2 - was understood as Messianic by ancient Jews. – Mike Jan 29 '13 at 23:05
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    @Mike I think rewording this question slightly would resolve the contention. – Dan Jan 30 '13 at 19:08

Surprisingly some ancient rabbis did actually draw the connection of the Messiah to the creation of the world. Under this classical Messianic text, a connection was made:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2, ESV)

Accordingly there is an ancient rabbinic reference recorded by the Jewish historian Alfred Edersheim that understands this Spirit, to be the Spirit of the Messiah in the creation of the world.

In Gen. 1:2, the expression, ‘Spirit of God,’ is explained of ‘the Spirit of the King Messiah,’ with reference to Is. 11:2, and the ‘moving on the face of the deep’ of ‘repentance,’ according to Lam. 2:19. So in Ber. R. 2, and in regard to the first point also in Ber. R. 8, in Vayyik. R. 14, and in other places. (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, by Alfred Edersheim)

Although it is found in scripture that Messiah is also God, it was not commonly understood that the Messiah was God by the Jews until it became evident during Christ's life on earth. Yet this does not mean that the Messiah was not believed to be pre-existing before his physical appearance. The idea that he was preexisting and associated with the Spirit of Jehovah was quite commonly understood. Although they did not see things clearly they did see enough to recognize the truth when they finally saw it in Christ manifested in the flesh. Why else do we suppose so many Jews first put their faith in him as their Messiah and God?

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