Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So you say you follow the Torah

There has been a growth in the amount of people who claim to be Torah followers among the gentile nations lately. Many groups and organizations, like Hebrew Roots and Messianics etc, all claim to be turning back to the Torah and its ways. But is this what is really happening? One passage in the Scriptures comes to mind when I think about this, “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name? And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!” (Mat 7:22-23)

The Messiah was speaking of those who call him Master and even do many things in his name. So it is clear that he is not speaking of the worldly people and those from other religions, but rather of those who profess his name. This idea should get everyone who does profess his name to evaluate themselves and make sure that they do not fall under this category of lawlessness who the Messiah will say, “depart from me” in the end of days, which is a very scary idea.

Every single one of us, who profess to follow the Torah, has the duty to ourselves to test and make sure that we really are following the Torah. Many people claim to do so, but there actions make it very clear that they do not.

The message of the Torah is a life of selflessness and loving the Almighty and one another. Every single command in the Torah teaches us how to love. We cannot rely on our own understanding of love, but must do as the Torah teaches us, which is the instruction for true love. The Torah teaches us not to murder, steal, commit adultery, curse or harm our parents etc which are all destructive and it also teaches us to respect our fellow humans. But do we really do this? Or do we only do this when it suites us to do it? The Torah requires it all the time.

Being a Torah follower, we are supposed to be a light to the world and live by example. If we do not, then how can the non-believers ever see anything good that might convince them to seek something better? If we look like and do what the world does and looks like, then there is no difference and there cannot be any good in the world, and as such, we are not following the instructions of the Almighty.

Let us look at a few examples of things that are not always thought of as transgressions of the Torah, but are clear transgressions.

Do not steal, which is one of the Ten Commandments, but do you really keep this commandment? Now we really have to start being honest with ourselves as we are not going to answer to one another, but rather to the Almighty who knows what you have done or not.

Do you have DVD’s that are not originals, or movies that have been downloaded or copied but have copyright protection? If so, then you are a thief and have transgressed the Torah.

Do you have music that you have not bought, including MP3’s and copies that are protected by copyright laws etc? And do you freely share any copyrighted music with your friends? If so, then you are a thief. (this does not include any freeware music which is perfectly fine to give out).

Do you have any software (which is not freeware) installed on your computer that you use that has not been bought, or for which you do not have a working license for? If so, then you are stealing.

One might justify that the authors and owners of the software, music and movies are all rich and that the few things that you have does not make any difference to these people, or some other similar excuse. But is that what you are going to say to the Almighty when you stand in front of Him and He asks you why you broke the Commandment of, “do not steal?” Will your excuse be acceptable to the Almighty?

If we do such things, then we are supporting theft and are not living as an example to the nations. If we support criminal activities, then we are no different to the world and, in fact, contribute to the destruction that is caused by stealing.

This is a very wide field and can be applied in all situations of our lives. I am going to use a few examples that should stimulate your thought process and understanding in other situations too.

Do you obey the rules of the road as set by your local government? If not, then you are transgressing the Torah. Let me explain further. The rules of the road were set in place to protect the people and keep them as safe as possible. If everyone on the roads kept to all the rules of the road, then it would almost totally prevent any deaths and losses on the roads, but this is unfortunately not the case and many thousands of lives are lost annually because of people not obeying the rules of the road. Are you contributing to this destruction or are you being an example of righteousness?

Do you keep to the speed limits of the roads? If not, then you do not respect any of the other people around you as you are creating a dangerous situation for them that could result in damages and even loss of life.

Do you quickly speed around another car that is keeping to the speed limit just to gain one cars position and get to your destination a fraction quicker? If so, then you are stealing… you are breaking the law and causing the person who you pushed in front of to lose money in the form of using more petrol, waiting for you, and also wear and tear such as break pads from having to break harder for you. It is a very selfish and destructive action. You are supposed to be an example to the world and keep to the laws of the land.

Do you stop at a stop street and at the traffic light as required (even if there are no other cars around), or do you just slow down at the stop street or quickly jump over a traffic light that has just turned red when you could have stopped? If so, then you are transgressing the Torah and putting lives in danger and even stealing from others. I have found that the person who does not intend to stop at a stop sign but rather just slow down, approaches it at a high speed usually jumps in front of the law abiding citizen who does stop and causes loss of petrol, and might even cause an accident in the process, just so that you can jump in front of one car and be king of the road. This is a clear violation of the Torah.

Here are some other examples of ways people transgress the Torah.

Do you smoke? If so, then you are transgressing the Torah. I am speaking more along the lines of smoking in public or around other people, but not limited to that alone. All people are allergic to smoke as it always has a negative effect on your body. Second hand smoke is destructive and is known to kill non-smokers too. If you smoke in front of anyone else, you are causing harm to that person and could even contribute to the death of that person and even yourself.

Are you honest concerning paying your taxes? If not, then you are transgressing the Torah by lying and stealing.

Do you pay your employees of time? If not, then you are transgressing the Torah.

I could mention many more things, but think that you get the idea and can reason within yourself what other activities are not acceptable to the Almighty.

We are to be a light to the world and live by example in righteousness. We are to love one another and not take away from each other. We are to put others before ourselves and not be selfish.

If we cannot submit to local authorities, whom the Almighty has put above us, then how can we submit to the ultimate authority who is YHWH the Almighty.

So are you one of those who do many mighty works in the name of the Messiah, but yet live a lawless life by transgressing the Torah? This is something you need to ask yourself and be honest about too.

May we all submit to the Torah and all that it commands so that we all learn to love each other with the love of the Almighty.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nehemia Gordon and the Name of Yehovah

We are living in the information age, with the internet giving the opportunity to anyone and everyone who desires, to post whatever information they want to, whether it be written articles, audio teachings or even video teachings. The problem that arises, is that many people post so many 'things' on the internet that are not factual,things which are even downright lies and falsehood. There is not really any control over this, this situation is beyond control. Also, many people, who call themselves scholars, have the opportunity to teach their own personal doctrines, topics and opinions,as if the absolute truth, and that without any restraint at all. Two such people who have taken advantage of the wide audience of the internet is Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson who claim to teach the only correct pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty, even make lots of money by doing so.

This article has been written to test the so called “proofs” of Nehemia and Keith, and see if it is in fact true or not (factual or opinionated). This article is in no way an attack on Nehemia or Keith and I certainly do not want to speak any bad things about them. It is written purely to bring the truth to the light and to hopefully encourage others to test everything that they hear, no matter who they hear it from. This article is also not intended to diminish anyone’s faith and I am certainly not trying to make anyone believe what they do not wish to believe. Everyone has a right to do and believe whatever they want to. All I will be doing is to provide evidence and facts on this topic, and then it is up to the reader to do with it whatever they like.

The topic of this article is to see whether the pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty is “Yehovah,” as Nehemia and Keith proclaim it is, or not. Keith Johnson has written a book trying to “prove” or justify this pronunciation and the book is endorsed by Nehemia who taught Keith that the Name if pronounced is “Yehovah.” Both Keith and Nehemia influence thousands of people by touring the world and speaking, through their books and even through internet radio and other forms of communication, and try to convince them all that this is the only correct pronunciation and that the other people are all wrong. They do this, all while making a lot of money in the process. That is why I am writing this article, to give an objective look at their theory for other people to see the whole truth and not just a snippet taken out of context, which Nehemia has done as we will see below.

Now, to get to the explanations…

While listening to a recording that Nehemia and Keith did on an internet radio station, called Truth2u with Jono Vandor, about the Torah portion, “Beshalach – Exodus 13:17-17:16”. Nehemia explained in short why he teaches that the Name is to be pronounced as “Yehovah.” His explanation might sound clever and impressive to anyone who does not know any Hebrew grammar rules. But to anyone who has a good understanding of the Hebrew grammar rules, will see that Nehemia contradicted himself and actually rendered his theory to be false, as will be explained in detail below.

I am attaching a short MP3 file of Nehemia explaining it, for you to listen to it and analyze it for yourself. (It is attached below). I will be analyzing what Nehemia says and compare it according to the facts and grammar rules to see if he is telling the truth or not. I suggest that you listen to the audio MP3 (less than 3 min) before you carry on reading this article. Then after reading the rest of this article, you can listen to it as many times as you want and compare it to the facts for yourself.

(Listen to audio below before you carry on reading).

In order to download the MP3, right click the play button and then choose the first option, "download document".

Okay, now let us break it down and tackle what Nehemia said piece by piece. I have transcribed the audio to text and will now analize it piece by piece. I am also going to color code it for ease of reading and understanding. Keith’s words will be the color of  green, Nehemia’s words will be in the color of blue and the reply will be in the color of red.

Keith: The second issue I want to bring up, is for all of my brothers and sisters out there that say, “well now Keith, you should change your pronunciation. Here it clearly says, Nehemia Gordon, the great Hebrew scholar, just said, the way you pronounce this two letter name, is what Nehemia… how do you pronounce it?

Reply: Here Keith admits that many people have challenged him about the Name of the Almighty. He also sees Nehemia Gordon as “Great” Hebrew scholar. The fact of the matter is that Nehemia is more than competent in the Hebrew language, but there are many people who are far more advanced in the knowledge of the Hebrew language than Nehemia is.

Nehemia: Yah

Reply: Regarding the name, “Yah” one does not need a Hebrew expert to know that it is written and spelled as Yah and cannot be anything else. There is absolutely no dispute about this word at all.

Keith: Yah, so that’s why we should call Him Yahweh. And I am not going to move from this until you can help us understand, Nehemia, What is this YAH…

Nehemia: … Well, I mean, so look, the poetic form, if you can call it that, of the name Jacob in some languages is James. Does that mean…..

Reply: I do not want to argue this statement too much, but James is not a poetic form of Jacob. It is merely a result of the confusion of a language (English) which is made up of mixed multitude of other languages. This often results in many words, often totally different from one another, having the same or similar meaning. This is what has happened with James and Jacob… the one is not a poetic form of the other.

Nehemia: Lets take the example of Michael (which in Hebrew is Micha’el, where the English name is Michael), but what’s the nickname for Michael, Its Mickey. Does that mean that really… lets say that I didn’t have the vowels of the word Michael but I knew it was Mickey, would I then call him Michal? I guess I would call him Michal, Michi’el.

Reply: Here Nehemia did not say anything that has anything to do with his case. Theoretically, the statement he just made is more proof of the opposite of what he is trying to teach. But this is not where the problem is. We will see, when we get to the Hebrew grammar, where Nehemia makes his errors.

Nehemia: So that’s the type of logic that they’re implying when they say that YAH as the poetic form, therefore, it means that the full form is Yahweh, um, I mean there’s absolutely no connection there.

Reply: Firstly, I am not saying that the pronunciation of, “Yahweh” is perfectly correct. This article is about testing the pronunciation of Yehovah. So I am not going to get into why Yahweh is not perfectly correct.

To say that “Yah” has absolutely no connection to the pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty is not true at all. We will see this below when we get into the grammar rules.

Nehemia: Its, uh, you know, YAH… and actually the significance of YAH is that it almost always appears at the end of a word, like HalleluYAH. That’s the form you will normally find.

And even in Ex 15:2 (
g¡I Z¡X¥N¦F¥E I¦i¡R – Ozi v’zimrat Yah) and that word Yah is attached toward zimrat which is called smuchut, or the construct case. Its attached to the previous word.

Reply: The question is, is the short form of the Name of the Almighty, “Yah” (spelled yud hey) ever pronounced differently when it is not attached to another word? No it is not, it does not ever have to be attached toward another word for it to be pronounced as Yah. (Ex 15:2; 17:16; Ps 68:4 & 18; 76:11; 89:8;)

Nehemia: And that’s very similar to what we would find when we have, “Yud hey vav”, the three letters of the full name in a larger name, as a compound name, for example, Isaiah, is YeshaYAHU, Elijah is, EliYAHU. So we always have YAHU, which is exactly what we find with YAH, the poetic form.

Reply: The Hebrew grammar rule teaches us that, in a “compound” word (as Nehemia calls it) the suffix (end part of the word) ALWAYS keeps its original form and pronunciation of the word it is using as the suffix, where the prefix (beginning of the word) ALWAYS shortens its syllables whenever possible. Nehemia and Keith so conveniently “forget” to quote the whole grammar rule and only part of it to try and justify their theories.
Nehemia: Now here’s the thing, whenever Yud Hey Vav appears at the beginning of a word its never YAHU, or YAH, its always Yeho, Yehoshua, Yehonatan, Yehonadav.

Reply: Remember that what the Hebrew grammar rule says, the prefix (beginning) always shortens its original syllables whenever possible. Let us look at a simple example. (Please note that this is also true according to ALL Hebrew grammar books. You can look it up for yourself)

Lets use the “Compound” name of Yehonatan (which is Jonathan in the English). It is constructed by joining two words together. The two words are Yahu (from the Name of the Almighty) + natan (give)

Yahu + natan = Yehonathan

Now lets join these two words together but in the opposite order, namely, natan + Yahu. If we do so, then we get the following:

Natan + Yahu = Netanyahu (Nethaniah in the KJV)
Notice how 'natan' shortened its 'vowels' and became 'netan' when used as a prefix.

(found in 2 Kings 25:23, 2 Kings 25:25, 1 Chr 25:2, 1 Chr 25:12, 2 Chr 17:8, Jer 36:14, Jer 40:8, Jer 40:14-15 (2), Jer 41:1-2 (2), Jer 41:6-7 (2), Jer 41:9-12 (4), Jer 41:15-16 (2), Jer 41:18)

As you can see, according to the Hebrew grammar rule, the suffix (end of the compound word) always keeps its original form and pronunciation of the word used for the prefix and that the prefix (beginning part) always shortens its syllables whenever possible.

Let us look at another example quick:

Yasha (to save, be saved, be delivered) + Yahu (from the Name of the Almighty) = Yeshayahu (Isaiah in the KJV)

Notice once again that the prefix shortened its syllable and that the suffix keeps its original pronunciation.

So if the prefix shortens and the suffix keeps its original form and pronunciation, then …yahu at the end of a word is the original form and pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty.

Nehemia: Now here’s the question you have to ask, In the Father’s Name (yud hey vav hey) are those three letters at the beginning of the Name, like in Yehoshua, Yehonatan, Yehonadav, Yehochanan, etc. Or are they at the end of the Name, like in, YeshaYAHU, EliYAHU etc. Obviously they’re at the beginning of the Name.

Reply: This is Nehemia’s explanation on why the Name must be “Yehovah”. As you can see by the above Hebrew grammar rules concerning “compound” words (two words joined to create one word/name), that the Name of the Almighty cannot be Yehovah as Nehemia professes to be true (the Almighty's Name is not a compound word). Now ask yourself, is Nehemia ignorant concerning Hebrew grammar, or is he purposely hiding this rule from you in order to promote his theory (which would be an outright lie)? (Remember that the Almighty's Name is not a compound word).

Once again, the Hebrew grammar rule proves that the original form of yud hey vav, the three letters of the Name of the Almighty, is Yahu and NOT Yeho

But it does not end here, there are a couple more problems with the pronunciation of Yehovah and also with what Nehemia said about it. He really does like to contradict himself a lot, which is the result of not standing by the truth.

Now, Nehemiah said above, that because the three letters, yud hey vav, are at the beginning of the Name, like that of Yehoshua, Yehonatan, Yehonadav etc. proves that it must be pronounced as Yehovah. But there is a very obvious problem with his statement. All the other names that Nehemia compared it to are all “compound names” (as Nehemia called them). The question you need to ask is, is Yud hey vav hey (the full Name of the Almighty) a “compound word”? And if it is, then from what word does the final “hey” come from and what is its meaning?

The fact of the matter is that the Name of the Almighty is NOT a “compound” word comprised of two or more words (as I mentioned above). Therefore, the grammar rule that Nehemia twists to try justify his pronunciation does not and cannot apply to the Name of the Almighty.

Now let us look at another Hebrew grammar rule that does not apply to “compound” words. In Hebrew, the general rule is that the accent falls on the final syllable. The syllable that is accented always keeps its original form and so does the syllable that directly precedes the accented syllable. So, the general rule is that the last two syllables of a word keep their original form (when the accent falls on the final syllable).

In Nehemia’s pronunciation of Yehovah, the accent falls on the final syllable. That means that the last two syllables must keep its original form. This is NOT the case in the pronunciation of Yehovah. Once again, it has failed to meet the Hebrew grammar rules.

Let us look at such an example of a similar type of word and see what the result is.

The Name Y’hudah is a “compound” word which is a combination of the two words, Yahu and yadah. Leah named her son Y’hudah because she, “gratefully praised YHVH” (Gen 29:35).

The accent falls on the last syllable of the name of Y’hudah. That means that the final syllable retains its original form and so does the syllable directly before it. That is why the name is Y’hUdah and not Y’hodah.

Now we have to apply this grammar rule to the Name of the Almighty too. If the accent falls on the final syllable, then the syllable directly before it has to keep its original form as it does in Y’hudah. Therefore, if Nehemia is correct, then the Name should be Yehuvah and cannot be Yehovah.

So once again we have proved the pronunciation of Yehovah to be false.
But we can even go a step further. And this is a clincher.

Nehemia outrightly admitted that the first three letters of the Name of the Almighty, when in the beginning of a word, is “Yeho...” Now if this is the case, all we are left with is the single letter, “hey”. Now the question that you have to ask yourself, once again, is, “is it ever possible to get the pronunciation of “…vah” from a single hey?”

The fact of the matter is that it is never possible and that what Nehemia teaches is false and has been proven to be a lie.

We once again need to ask ourselves the question, is Nehemia Gordon ignorant of these Hebrew grammar rules? Or is he outrightly lying to thousands, if not millions, of people? If he is lying, what is his reason for doing so?

The problem that Nehemia has gotten himself into is that his only audience, and the only people who buy his books and support him are the Christians and Messy-anics. Nehemia does not have any Hebrew following at all. For that reason, he is seen as a leader and makes a very pretty penny on the book sales and support from such people.

After realizing how Nehemia so blatantly lies about such an important topic, how then can he be trusted with anything else? Yes, many of the things that Nehemia teaches is truth, but the problem is that he mixes a lot of falsehood in-between. Everyone has the duty to test everything that they hear.

Every time that I have asked Nehemia about all this, He simply ignores me and has even deleted me as a friend on Facebook. If someone makes such a declaration, like he does, then is it not fair to give explanations and answer questions? Maybe he is unable to answer them without contradicting himself?

I posted a comment on the website where this teaching of Nehemia comes from. Jono Vandor, the owner of the website, has still not moderated my comment for others to see. It seems as if Jono is very biased and does not like anyone to speak against the doctrines of Nehemia, even if he speaks falsehood.

The comment I left was on 27 Jan 2012 and Jono has still not approved it as a comment.

I will post that comment in the comments section below for you to read for yourself.

May the Almighty open all our eyes to the truth of His Word.