Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hebrew New Testament

Hebrew New Testament?  
The Bible is all one cohesive book, but man divided it into two sections. Christians in general have largely ignored the Old Testament, claiming that it is “done away,” while on the other hand, the Judaizers ignore the New Testament as uninspired, saying that Y’shua was a prophet but not the Mashiyach.
The Jews reject the Mashiyach; the Christians reject the Law. Yet we read in Rev. 12:17 and 14:12 that belief in both is necessary for salvation. Since we believe that, then we are neither Christians nor Jews. The Apostle John wrote in I John 3:4 that sin is the breaking of the Law. If the Law has been “done away,” as they suppose, then there would be no law to break, hence, no sin.
Why such confusion? Could it be because the New Testament is so hard to understand? And if that is so, why should it be so hard to understand? I have come to believe that it is because the New Testament was originally written in the Hebrew tongue, just as the rest of the Scriptures were.
We have all heard the expression, “The original, inspired Greek New Testament.” and we have more or less accepted this, since it emanated from so-called “authorities” and scholars. But we must remember that these are the same authorities and scholars who preach that the law is done away; the same ones who changed the Sabbath to Sunday; the ones who gave us Easter and Christmas and Hallowe’en and other pagan holidays instead of the annual Set Apart Days that the Creator instituted in the beginning and reiterated in Leviticus 23 and other places.
There are other scholars who have researched the origin of the New Testament, and I want to share some of that information with you. It will show you why I think the idea of an “original, inspired Greek New Testament is a huge mistake that has caused millions of people, including most of us, to misunderstand much of the New Testament, to our hurt. Much evidence has come to light within the past 20 years or so that points convincingly in that direction. I would like to share some of this information with you.
YHWH said that in the latter days knowledge would increase. And it has, hasn’t it? We know far more about early-day conditions and customs now than our predecessors did. Remember that the Greeks were pagans and the Jews considered the Greek language an abomination. The Jewish authorities declared that it was worse to learn the Greek language than to eat swine’s flesh! And they forbad the teaching of it.
It is also a difficult language Even Josephus, an educated Jewish historian of that era, wrote in his commentary that the Greek language was so difficult that he never gained much proficiency in it. So why would YHWH choose a pagan, foreign tongue to reveal His New Testament plan? Especially to His own people, only a smattering of whom knew or understood the Greek language, and most of them hated it.
Consider, too His disciples. They didn’t have much education, remember. They had been mostly simple fishermen from Galilee before Y’shua called them to be disciples. The priests, Sadducees, Pharisees, and other Yahudi officials considered them “ignorant and uneducated men,” Acts 4:13. The King James Bible says “unlearned and ignorant men.”
So why would Yahweh inspire them to write His Son’s biography of the greatest life ever lived, and the greatest event since Creation, in a language that the Jews hated, and that the apostles could not have known? Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Well, truth is, He didn’t. So let’s take a look at the evidence that is available. When we do, I believe that you will conclude, as I have, that the New Testament was first written in the Hebrew and/or Aramaic language(s) and later translated into Greek, and then into other languages.
Even E. W. Bullinger, in his Companion Bible, Appendix 94, makes the statement that “while the language is Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew.” Apostle Paul stated that the New Testament Believers “....are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Y’shua the Mashiyach Himself being the chief cornerstone;” (Eph. 2:20 KJV).
Y’shua told His listeners to search the Scriptures in John 5:39, and the only scriptures to search at that time were the Hebrew Old Testament writings. He also said to listen to Moses and the prophets, Luke 16:29. Again this is the Old Testament. And what did the “noble Bereans” use to determine truth? (Acts 17:11). Old Testament, of course, the very same ones that Shaul told Timothy would make one perfect. (2 Tim. 3:16-17); all written in Hebrew.
So let’s look into the New Testament and ask some pointed questions:
First, what about all the Hellenized (Greek) names found in the New Testament? Examples, Hezekiah is “Ezekias” in Mat. 1:9, and Judah (more correctly Yahudah, as “Judas,” Mat. 1:2. Isaiah is “Esias,” Elijah is “Elias” in Matthew 11:14; Yochanan is “John,” Jacob is “James,” and so on.
Second, why are there untranslated Hebrew/Aramaic words in the New Testament? That seems to be a dead give away all by itself. Here are a few. Most are Hebrew, some are Aramaic. Abba (Father), Rabbi (teacher), hosanna (Oh Save! An exclamation of adoration), Amein (Surely, or so be it), Talitha Cumi (Maid arise), ephphatha (be opened), corban (a dedicated gift), Sabbath, Satan, Mammon, raca, cumin, maranatha, Emmanuel, Eli lama sabachthani, and many others.
Third, even more convincing evidence for a Hebrew New Testament is the plain, clear Hebrew word order found throughout the New Testament. Many sentences have the verb-noun reversal that is common in the Hebrew and other Semitic languages, but not in Greek or English. Scholars have long understood that the grammar of the New Testament is not good Greek, but is excellent Hebrew grammar.
Fourth, in addition to all these, and the main focus of this article, are the many, many Hebrew expressions and idioms we find scattered throughout the New Testament. If the originals had been Greek, then they would have been written with Greek form and expression. But they were not, and translated word for word into Greek, they make no sense at all.
We understand hundreds of Afrikaans idioms, but when translated into other tongues, they make no sense at all, and would be unintelligible to them.
Let’s take a few examples of Hebrew idioms that the Saviour used, that are impossible to understand when translated from Hebrew to Greek, then to English, but make perfect sense when translated back to Hebrew, then directly to English:
1). Mat. 5:3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven . They say that “theirs” is a classic mistranslation from the Greek, and is retained in all modern English versions. It should be translated “of these” or “of such as these.” We cannot possess the Kingdom. It does not belong to us. Rather, Y’shua is describing the kind of people who make up that Kingdom. It is the “poor in Spirit,” those who have no righteousness of their own, the meek, those who have overcome their pride and vanity.
2). Luke 23:31, For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? Makes no sense whatever in Greek or English, but makes perfect sense when retranslated into Hebrew.
Y’shua is referring to the “green tree” and the “dry tree” from Ezekiel’s prophecy against Jerusalem and the Temple (Eze. 20:45 to 21:7). The green tree is the righteous and the dry tree is the wicked. All will be burned up because of the intensity of the fire He will kindle.
So Y’shua is saying, If you knew what is coming, you would not mourn for me, you would mourn for yourselves. If they do this to Me (the righteous), what will they do to you (the wicked)? The “in” should be “do to.” This was a reference to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem , and the suffering and killing of many people, which took place in 69-70 CE.
3). Mat. 11:12, From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Have you ever wondered about this seeming contradiction? Why would the meek, the passive, the “poor in spirit,” resort to violence to take the Kingdom, and why would YHWH allow it? This Scripture as written, as we have it, does not agree with the rest of Y’shua’s teachings, does it?
So what is the key to understand this puzzle? Y’shua is making a reference to a well-known rabbinic interpretation of Micah 2:12-13, that reads like this:
12. I will gather all of you, Jacob; I will collect the remnant of Israel. I will put them all together like sheep in a fold, like a flock inside its pen. It will be noisy and crowded with people. 13. The breach-maker (“breaker” in the KJV, poretz in Hebrew) goes through before them. Then they break out, passing through the gate, they leave by it. Their king passes through before them, YHWH at their head.
This is a picture of a shepherd out in the field, penning his sheep up for the night. He makes a sheepfold for them by throwing up a makeshift rock fence against the side of a hill. The next morning, he lets the sheep out by making a “breach” in the fence, and the sheep are eager and impatient to get out after being penned up all night. So they shove and push a bit to get out into the green pasture.
So now we see what Y’shua is saying – the Kingdom of Heaven is breaking forth, NOT suffering violence, and every person in it is breaking forth or breaking out INTO it, NOT “the violent take it by force.”
Let’s compare Luke 16:16, the parallel verse (Luke 16:16 KJV) “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of YHWH is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
The authors say: “Two tremendous things are happening at the same time: the Kingdom is bursting forth into the world like water from a broken dam, and individuals within the Kingdom are finding liberty and freedom.”
4). Luke 12:49-50, “I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am straitened till it be accomplished!”
Many Christians think this refers to the baptism of the “Holy Spirit” on the day of Pentecost. John the Baptist prophesied that the One to come would baptize with the Ruach haKodesh and with fire (Mat. 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Ruach haKodesh, and with fire”:).
They think this happened on Pentecost, that the “tongues like as of fire” fulfilled this prophecy. But John clarified what he meant in the very next verse (Mat 3:12, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”) Malachi 4:1-3 will fulfill this prophecy when it comes to pass, at the end of the age.
And what did Y’shua mean by “…how I am straitened till it be accomplished!”? These verses in Luke are an example of Hebrew poetry, and He meant, “how distressed I am till it is over,” referring to the destruction of the “chaff” by fire. The chaff are those who refuse to repent.
5). Matthew 16:19, Whatsoever thou shalt bind (or loose) on earth shall be bound (or loosed) in heaven. In rabbinic literature, these two words in Hebrew, by Y’shua’s time, had come to mean “forbid” and “permit.” The rabbis were called upon often to interpret Scriptural commands. For example, the Law forbids work on Sabbaths, but does not define “work.” So they were called upon to define what they could or could not do. They “bound” or prohibited certain activities, and “loosed” or allowed other activities. Y’shua was transferring this authority to Peter and His other disciples, to make decisions or judgments about how to keep the law more perfectly, NOT to make laws, or change laws. We find a good example of this being done in Acts 15, where the disciples bound (forbade) certain things, and loosed (permitted) others.
6). Matthew 5:20, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
The Hebrew word for “righteousness” is “tsedakah” and by Y’shua’s time had come to have a secondary meaning, “almsgiving,” or charity. Help to the poor. So Y’shua was saying that if your concern for the poor is not greater than that of the Pharisees, you will not be a disciple of His. Many think this verse belongs just before Mat. 6:1, where Y’shua is talking about giving alms, helping the poor.
7). Matthew 5:17-18, Destroy and fulfill are rabbinic argumentation methods. When one rabbi interpreted a Scripture and another disagreed, he would say, “You are destroying the Law!” Fulfilling the Law was simply interpreting it correctly. Someone had apparently accused Y’shua of misinterpreting a certain Scripture, and He was responding as a rabbi would. No one thought He had come to actually destroy the Law!
8). Luke 6:22, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast your name out as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.” This is a Hebrew idiom that means “defame you” or malign you, or slander you. It is translated in the NRSV as “defame you.”
9). Luke 9:44, “Lay these sayings in your ears” is a Hebrew idiom that means “Listen carefully and remember well, for this is very important.”
10). Luke 9:51, “He set his face to go,” is a Hebrew idiom found in scores of idioms using “face,” such as “Hagar fled from the face of Sarai,” Jacob from the face of Esau, Moses from the face of Pharaoh, Moses hid his face in fear, Yahweh sometimes hides His face in anger, Yahweh sets His face against idolaters, and He can make His face to shine upon us. It simply means to turn in the direction of, or turn away from, take notice of, etc. In the verse cited above, it means “He prepared to leave.”
11). Mat. 6:22-23, Good eye, bad eye – “The light of the body is the eye: therefore if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”
This is a Hebrew idiom that has confused all the translators. It simply means that if you have a “single” or good eye, you are generous; whereas if you have an evil eye, or bad eye, you are stingy.
Notice that several of these idioms that Y’shua used in His teaching, involves giving: alms, charity, helping the less blessed among us. Many say, “Well, with government aid, we don’t need to help – we pay our taxes and that is our charity, our alms.” We had better get over that. YHWH hates stingy people, who have the ability to help others and won’t.
Some more Hebrew Idioms that are not possible in Greek:

Untying another man’s shoes (John1:27): respect and meekness
Salt of the earth (Matt 5:13): The flavour of this world; good conduct.
If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out (Matt 5:29): If you have a habit of envying, Stop it
Cut your hand off. (Matt 5:30): Stop stealing
Take up a serpent (Mark 16:18): Handle an enemy; overcome opposition.
Drink any deadly thing. (Mark 16:18): to be able to withstand any attacks against your character.
Valley filled up (Luke 3:5): Wrongs righted, injustices removed.
Crooked places made straight (Luke 3:5): Crooked teachings replaced by the truth.
Do not know of what spirit you are (Luke 9:55): You don’t realize what kind of temper you have.
I saw thee under the fig tree (John 1:48): I have known you always.
Zeal eaten me up (John 2:17): Made me courageous.
Breaking bread (Acts 2:42): at peace together.
At the young man’s feet (Acts 7:58): Under his care.
Their throat is an open Sepulchre (Rom 3:13): They utter lies, and they are corrupt.
Bruise Satan under your feet (Rom 16:20): Crush evil or error.
You have reigned like Kings (1 Cor 4:8): You are very independent.
Open face (2 Cor 3:18): Without blame; guiltless
Our mouth is open: (2 Cor 6:11): We have told you everything and we have hidden nothing.
For every man shall bear his own burden (Gal 6:5): Let every man solve his own problem.
Have your feet shod (Eph 6:15): Be alert; ready.
Beware of dogs (Phil 3:2): Beware of gossipers and troublemakers.
Mortify your members (Col 3:5): Bring your members under control.
For now we live (1 Thes 3:8): Now we rejoice.
Lay hands on no man (1 Tim 5:22): do not ordain any man. (it also means do not accuse any man falsely).
Snare of the Devil (2 Tim 2:26): Evil, pagan practices
Evil beasts with slow (empty) bellies (Titus 1:12): Vicious men hungry for power; greedy
Put that on mine account (Phil 1:18): Forget it
The fruit of our lips (Heb 13:15): Thanksgiving offered to Elohim through prayer
Beholding face in a glass (James 1:23): Unreality
Wells without water (2 Pet 2:17): False teachers
Golden girdle (Rev 1:13): Kingly power
Fiery eyes (Rev 1:14): Beautiful, attractive and sincere
Take the little book and eat it (Rev 10:9): Remember it by heart; make it a part of you

I could go on and on. If you read the Scripture now, remembering these idioms, it is so beautiful. The Renewed Covenant is full of Hebrew Idioms that is impossible to have if it was originally written in Greek! It was not written in Greek, no matter how old or how many Greek transcripts there are.
So, to sum up, when all factors are considered, the evidence seems overwhelming in favour of the New Testament having been first written in Hebrew/Aramaic, and later translated into Greek, in a word-for-word format. This method of translation would make it extremely difficult to ascertain the correct meaning intended by the speaker or writer. Obviously, later on, the originals were lost, as were the original Greek translations. So all that is left are copies of copies. However, there are at least two Hebrew versions of Matthew’s Gospel, the Shem Tov and the Du Tillet.
This subject is in the process of on-going discovery, and more confirmation may be forthcoming in the future. In the meantime, be very sceptical of claims for an “inspired Greek New Testament.” 

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