Thursday, May 26, 2011

What language was the “New Testament” originally written in?

There have been many arguments on what language the “New Testament” or better translated “Renewed Covenant” was written in. The majority of theologians believe that it was written in Greek and Latin. This, however, could not be further from the truth! It was written in the same language as the rest of the Scriptures, which was in Hebrew. I will prove that without a shadow of a doubt here.

Firstly, let us get a basic understanding of what Scripture says about the Word of the Almighty (YHWH).

In the beginning, there was only one language in the world (Gen 11:1). This is of course Hebrew. Now many people claim that Hebrew was not the original language, but if you look at the time before the tower of Babel where all the other languages where added, all the people before that had Hebrew names. This clearly proves that the Original language was Hebrew (Lashon Qodesh)

It is also written that in the end, there will be a clean language restored (Zephaniah 3:9) so that the people can call upon the Name of YHWH (Which is a Hebrew Name), any guesses to what that language will be? Hebrew of course!

That creates a problem if the Renewed Covenant was written in any other language other than Hebrew. Let me explain. Many Christians believe that the “New Testament” was written in Greek and Latin, not the Lashon qodesh. The Scriptures say that the Word of YHWH will never be destroyed. Now if the “Word of God” is in Greek and/or Latin, and those languages will come to an end, then it is very clear that, either the “New Testament” is not the “Word of God” or that it definitely was not written in Greek and/or Latin!

Another factor to consider is that the Greek language is riddled with the names of pagan deities. Even many normal common words originate from the names of their deities. Exodus 23:13 tells us that we are not even to let the names of these pagan deities be heard out of our lips. Why would the Almighty allow the testimony of His Son the Mashiyach be written in this pagan language? The Jewish people of that error hated the Greek language, and those who wrote the Renewed Covenant where part of those who hated it and were not very versed in it. Why then would they use this language that was so disliked by them, to tell of the most righteous person to ever walk the Earth?

Yes, the only surviving translations of the Renewed Covenant are in Greek, but the fact that the "New Testament" texts we have are in Greek, makes them no more "Greek documents" than the Septuagint (Greek) version of the Old Testament, which the rabbis wrote into Greek 200 years before Yeshua. The rabbis did this (as did someone at some point with the "New Testament" letters), for the benefit of the non-Jewish world so that they could also learn of the Elohim and faith of Israel.

Thus, the "New Testament" documents remain Hebrew texts written in a Hebrew mindset, and must be studied that way, if we are to determine what the authors' meanings are. And until we learn the true original meaning, discussing "what the verse means to us" (as is done in many so called "studies") is an exercise in futility and leads to error.

Having said that, there is overwhelming evidence, both historical and linguistic that shows that the texts were originally written in Hebrew, and also that Hebrew was not a "dead language" (as was thought of for quite some time). A good source of information on the latter is "Biblical Archaeology Review" (BAR) magazine. BAR has had articles in the past few years on digs that have unearthed documents from around the first century written in Hebrew, including legal documents and one woman's personal diary.
Other sources testifying to Hebrew being the language of 1st century Jews and a Hebrew origin of the "New Testament" documents include:
1. Recent Qumran findings (Dead Sea Scrolls) shows secular documents written at that time concerning "current events" (i.e., not just copies of old religious texts.) indicating Hebrew was a "living" language.
2. Jewish coins found from that era are minted with Hebrew text on them.
3. A study of the writings of the Christian "Church Fathers" shows that much of the "New Testament" was written in Hebrew. This includes direct statements made by; Papias, Ireneus, Origin, Eusubius, Epiphaneus, Jerome and Clement of Alexandria.
4. The prominent first century historian Josephus wrote in both his books, Antiquities and Wars, that Hebrew was the language of first century Jews and that they did not know Greek. (In fact there is a Jewish tradition saying it is better to eat swine than learn Greek.)
5. Modern linguistics (thanks to the input of cognizant Messianic Jewish and gentile scholars) shows that the text themselves don't lend to an "original Greek" translation.

An example of a proof for an original Hebrew text, is Matthew 6:19-24:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore 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! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve Elohim and mammon."
In these verses we have Yeshua speaking about money, and not making it more important than Elohim. Note that He begins speaking about money, then says something about "an evil eye," then finishes His statement about money. If this were penned in Greek originally, you would have to ask, "Why this odd verse about an "evil eye" in the midst of a money topic?" It makes no sense. However, if you happen to know that having an "evil eye" is a Hebrew idiom of that time for "being stingy with your money," then, a) the passage makes sense, and b) you realize it HAD to be written in Hebrew first, then whoever translated it into Greek, (unaware of the idiom), simply took it word-for-word from Hebrew into the Greek.
There are many "New Testament" verses that are very hard, if not impossible, to understand without knowledge of the deeper teachings of the Judaism of that day. There are also many places where Yeshua and Paul quote from Jewish literature
It is important to note who these letters were originally meant to be read by "leaders" in the Messianic assemblies (most likely Jews), who were well versed in the Judaism of the first century and its understanding of Torah.. (Note Peter's concerns about Paul's letters being hard to understand and often twisted about by "lawless" people -- "lawless" meaning not knowing or respecting Torah, the "Law.")
Nothing in the "New Testament" was ever meant to be read out of context, by people from another culture ignorant of the Hebrew meaning to the words and the concepts behind them, and replacing this with their own personal meaning. Nor were any of the "New Testament" documents ever meant to stand on their own, apart from being interpreted in the context of the Torah (YHWH’s direct revelation/instruction), which of course came first.

Another thing to remember, the person who is mostly accused of writing his letters in Greek is Shaul (Paul), who wrote most of the “New Testament”. One who is ignorant in the Hebrew language, will not recognize the style of Shaul’s writings. Many times it is hard to understand what he is writing as he does not use the most obvious words. This is because it was translated word for word into Greek and then into the other languages. If you translate it back into Hebrew (word for word), any Hebrew person will recognize the beautiful poetry by which he wrote. If he originally wrote it in Greek, he would not have written like that as it would not make sense.

One last ridiculous argument that I have recently heard was, “why would Jewish Hebrew speaking synagogues copy MSS in Greek and not in English?” the person who argued this is clearly ignorant of History. The fact of the matter is that English was not a spoken language of that time and it would be ridiculous to think that it should have been translated into English instead of Greek. English was only made popular by Shakespeare and the falsified King James Version.

There is so much more evidence that the Renewed Covenant was originally written in Hebrew that I will need to write a book just to cover all the evidence.
Anyone who tells you that the “New Testament” was not originally written in Hebrew, is either ignorant, delusional, or refuses to accept the truth.

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