Jew teaches Christians about Jesus
Yeshua's conflicts with Pharisees put in fascinating new light by Nehemia Gordon
Posted: November 25, 2010
9:50 pm Eastern
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
A Jewish Hebrew scholar, a self-described "former Pharisee," is providing Christians with some startling new revelations about their faith.
Nehemia Gordon, a Semitic-language expert and one of the Dead Sea Scrolls translators, is currently in the United States, lecturing in churches and Christian Bible studies on the person he calls "the real Yeshua," Jesus' actual Hebrew name, which means "salvation."
He is the author of "The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus," a book and DVD teachingseries that is causing a sensation among the Christians all over the world who are rediscovering the Hebrew roots of their faith, recognizing that Jesus was, indeed, a very Torah-observant Jew, not a Gentile who came to do away with the law.
Some of Gordon's most important discoveries came in his translation of what he believes to be the original Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew.
The King James translation of Matthew 23:2-4 has befuddled Christians for hundreds of years. While Jesus indicted the Pharisees, calling them "vipers" and worse, He seems to suggest doing what they say to do in this verse: "Saying the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
But, according to Gordon's translation of the recently discovered Hebrew text of Matthew, there is a slight, but important, mistranslation of the verse – probably a result of an original error in the Greek. Some scholars believe Matthew originally wrote his gospel in Hebrew.
What it actually says, according to Gordon, is for followers to do what Moses says, not the Pharisees. When the Pharisees would sit in Moses' seat, they would read from the first five books of the Bible – the words of Moses. Jesus, or Yeshua, was telling His disciples to heed the scriptural text and disregard the man-made teachings of the Pharisees, explains Gordon.
Gordon's research reveals that the more "modern" Greek text of Matthew, from which the Western world's versions were translated, depicts "another Jesus" from the Yeshua portrayed in the ancient Hebrew version of Matthew. Gordonexplains the life-and-death conflict Yeshua had with the Pharisees as they schemed to grab the reins of Judaism in the first century, and brings that conflict into perspective for both Jew and Christian alike.
Ok, not going to like this, I know alredy...
I am a Morah, in Hebrew teacher, and Yeshua is not Hebrew it is Aramaic, and Aramaic and Hebrew remain hotly debated. So I will try to avoid the issue...Jesus is Greek not Hebrew nor is it Aramaic
Hebrew/Aramaic Origin of the New Testament Textual analysis and scholarship supporting an original Hebrew New Testament
The Remnant of YHWH accepts both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and generally follow the King James translation because many reference works are based upon that version. We do not accept, however, the substituted names and common titles of our heavenly Father and His Son. We also object to the Hellenized names give to the Hebrew worthies in the New Testament, such Hezekiah appearing as "Ezekias" (Mat. 1:9), and Judah (Yahudah) as "Judas" (Mat. 1:2).
Beyond just names, churchianity itself is tained with Greek thinking, Hellenized creeds, and unscriptural practices derived from Greco-Roman infusions through a Greek-translated New Testament. Scholarship is increasingly validating the case for a Hebrew original New Testament. We include some of their documentation in this short study.
Examining all the evidence, we conclude that the New Testament was inspired in Hebrew (or Aramaic) and then later translated into Greek. The testimony to this is voluminous and logical. One needs only to consider that the writers were themselves Hebrews, and "while the language is Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew" (Companion Bible, appendix 94).
Beginning on page 7 is a list of scholars and their treatises supporting an original Hebrew New Testament. This list is by no means comprehensive. Other enlightened experts have come to the same realization that the New Testament was originally a collection of Hebrew works. The Bible's Hebrew writers were led by the YHWH’s Spirit to write in their native Hebrew language, just as Shaul (Shaul) was spoken to in the Hebrew tongue, Acts 26:14.
New Testament Founded on “Old Testament”
The inquiring Bible student soon realizes that the New Testament is undeniably Hebrew in grammar, idiom, and thinking. This opens up a whole new understanding of the essence of truth for the new Testament believer. If the New Testament is rooted in the Hebrew Language, then its teachings also derive from the Hebrew culture and are embedded in the Hebrew - and not pagan Greek - view of truth.
Those who would object to this reality must be asked the question, does arguing for a Greek New Testament bring one closer to the truth, or take one further from it, knowing that the Old Testament is a thoroughly Hebrew work? Is the New Testament a complete replacement of Old Testament teachings, with entirely new truth flavored with Hellenistic thought, practice, and understanding?
Not according to the Apostle Shaul. He wrote that the New Testament is built on the foundation of the Old Testament prophets as well as the apostles, Ephesians 2:20. Yahsha the Messiah gave the directive to "search the Scriptures," John 5:39. The only "scriptures" extant at that time were those of the Old Testament. The New Testament writings were not yet finished and compiled.
In His parable of Lazarus, Yahsha again advised the unknowing to listen to "Moses and the prophets," meaning the Old Testament, Luke 16:29. It was these same Old Testament Scriptures that the "noble Bereans" used to establish truth in Acts 17:11, and the very ones Shaul told Timothy would make one perfect, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Aside from approaching truth from the right scriptural foundation, there is another important reason for coming to grips with the original language of the New Testament.
One of the arguments advanced against the verity of the sacred Names is that the Names would appear as "God" (Theos) and "Jesus" in the New Testament Greek text. The logic goes, if such titles and names are in the "original" text, then who are we to change them to something else?
Apart from this argument's erroneous premise ("God" is not the same word as the Greek Theos: "Jesus" is only partly a Greek term), we must ask, is it legitimate to change someone's name simply because you are writing about him in some other language? Names are transliterated, not translated.
I f a book about the president of the United States were written in or translated into Russian, would the author or translators look for a Russian equivalent name for "Bill Clinton"? Of course not. His name would still appear as Bill Clinton.
By the same token, the Father's and Son's Names are the same in every language. Therefore we must call on them by their names revealed through the Hebrew tongue. There is no more a Russian equivalent name for "Bill Clinton" than there is a Greek or English equivalent of the Hebrew "Yahweh" and "Yahshua.".
"God", "Lord", and "Jesus" are not equivalents, they are replacements – frauds!
Hebrew Words Out of Place?
A peculiar discrepancy within the New Testament is this: if the New Testament were originally composed in Greek, why does it contain many untranslated Hebrew words? Why did the writers go to all the trouble of preserving Hebrew terms in their Greek writings?
The only valid explanation is that the Greek language had no equivalent words for these uniquely Hebrew terms taken from an original Hebrew text and translated into Greek.
These Hebrew survivals attest to a Hebrew original - and a Greek (and English) translation that brought them across unchanged from the Hebrew.
The following HEBREW words are included in the King James New Testament, as taken from the Greek translation (some are Aramaic).
Abba ("dearest father"); Messiah ("Anointed one"); Rabbi ("my teacher"); hosanna ("Save! We beseech"); Amen (suggests trust, faithfulness); talitha cumi ("maid arise"); ephphatha ("be opened"); corban ("a dedicated gift"); Sabbath ("repose", "desist" from exertion); Satan ("adversary"); mammon ("riches"); raca ("to spit in one's face"); cummin (herb); Maranatha ("Master, I pray you overthrow"); Passover ("pass over"); Emmanuel (title meaning "El with us"); Eli lama Sabachthani ("my El, why have you forsaken me?")
Even more compelling evidence for a New Testament originally composed in Hebrew is found in the clear Hebrew word order extant in the New Testament. Many sentences contain the verb-noun reversal common to Hebrew and Semitic languages.
Scholars also have long recognized that the grammar of the New Testament does not befit good Greek, but does reflect excellent Hebrew grammar.
In addition, many Hebraic idioms and expressions are scattered throughout the New Testament. Had the original been composed in Greek, these sayings would have been put into Greek form and expression.
For example, what did Yahsha and others mean by statements that don't make good sense in Greek (Or English) but are powerful in the Hebrew? Such expressions include: "If your eye is evil" (Matt. 6:23); "let the dead bury the dead" (Matt. 8:22); "for if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry" (Luke 23:31), and "thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head" (Shaul in Rom. 12:20).
Numerous examples of Semitic poetry and reverse couplets (chiasmus) are dead giveaways to the original Hebrew of these books. Hebrew is also distinct for its colorful descriptions of simple, common acts.
For example, a beautiful expression in classical Hebrew is found in Luke 16:23: "...he lift up his eyes...and saw..." Other sayings peculiar to Hebrew and found in the Evangels include: "Lay these sayings in your years," "Cast out your name as evil," "He set his face to go," and "The appearance of his countenance was altered."
Whole sentences or paragraphs in the New Testament can be retranslated word for word back into the Hebrew. Luke 10:5-6 is just one example: "And into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again." This passage is a synthesis of vivid Hebrew idioms unknown in the Greek.
Greek Unpopular in Palestine
Many linguists and historians now attest that the Evangels, the Acts, and the Book of Revelation were composed in Hebrew (see listing of these scholars included herein). Early "church fathers" validate that the Book of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew (see Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History 3:39; Irenaeus' Against Heresies 3:1; Epiphanius' Panarion 20:9:4; Jerome's Lives of Illustrious Men 3 and De Vir. 3:36).
Hebrew was the language of Judah and Galilee in the first century. Its sister language, Aramaic, remained the secondary tongue and the language of commerce. Jews in this area were not Greek-speaking. Their revulsion to the Greeks and the Greek language derives from the fact that the Maccabees had just defeated the Greeks and driven them and their pagan defilement from the Temple and Palestine.
The eminent first century Jewish historian, priest, and scholar Josephus admitted that he could not speak Greek fluently and that the Jews frowned on any Jew who did.
"I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understanding the elements of the Greek language although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own language, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness: for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations" (Antiquities, 20:11:2).
If this illustrious scholar was unable to speak Greek sufficiently, how could the uneducated disciples write their books in Greek? From what we've learned, why would they even want to do so?
A Hebrew Writing to Hebrews
The common perception is that Shaul was a Hellenist Jew from Tarsus who wrote his letters to Greek-speaking assemblies in Asia minor, Rome and Greece.
Shaul was first and foremost a Pharisee - a Jewish sect opposed to Hellenization. He was of the tribe of Benjamin and a "Hebrew of Hebrews," Philippians 3:5. A note in the NIV Study Bible says the expression "Hebrew of Hebrews" means "in language, attitudes and life-style."
Shaul was educated at the feet of Gamaliel, a great doctor of Hebrew law, Acts 22:3. Although he was born in Tarsus (a city speaking mainly Aramaic), Shaul grew up in Jerusalem, the center of Pharisaic Judaism, Acts 22:3.
The epistles Shaul wrote were to various assembliesof the Dispersion. Each assembly was composed of a nucleus group of Jews and supplementary collections of gentiles (read about the Thessalonia Assembly, Acts 17:1-4, as well as the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 10:1-2). The converted Jews in these assemblies would receive Shaul's letters and then teach the gentiles among them. It wasn't the gentiles who were converting Jews to a Grecian-Roman faith with a Greek Savior and doctrines of mystery worship!
Typically Shaul went first to the synagogue when he traveled to contact these and other assemblies (Acts 13:14; 14:1; 17:1; 17:10, 18:4, 19:8). The language of the second Temple and synagogues at this time was Hebrew and Aramaic, not Greek.
His letters in Hebrew to these Jews (and gentiles) of the various assemblies would reflect his mission to take the message of the Kingdom of YHWH to "the Jew first and then to the Greek," Romans 1:16.
As an example, Shaul specifically addressed Jews of the Corinthian assembly: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:1-2).
Truth from Greek or Hebrew?
Understanding basic truth is to know that Yahweh chose the Hebrew peoples with whom to make a Covenant and through whom to bring the truth.
How much of a gentile should the True Worshiper be who is bathing in Scriptures first delivered to Hebrew patriarchs, Hebrew prophets, Hebrew apostles and lived by a Savior from the human lineage of King David? Shaul was no champion of the gentile cause. He was the champion of a Hebrew Messiah and scriptures given in a Hebrew Old Testament. These were what he taught in his epistles. Note:
"But this I confess unto you, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the YHWH of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets" (Acts 24:14). "Law and prophets" refers to the Old Testament Scriptures.
Which culture, world-view, and mentality should prevail among True Worshipers today? A Greek-gentile heritage? Or the birthright of those grafted into the promised of Israel established by the Heavenly Father Yahweh Himself?
Shaul wrote to the assembly at Rome, "Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of YHWH, and the promises" (Romans 9:4).
If Christianity were honest with itself, it would openly acknowledge that it derives its faith from Hebrew and not Greco-Roman Scriptures. That its salvation comes from a Savior who came as a Hebrew not to establish a new religion but to build on what went before. Yahsha and the Scriptures are Hebrew.
This one pivotal truth is being taught today, and real understanding of the Scriptures is breaking out everywhere! The true Hebrew Covenant of YHWH – everlasting life through His Hebrew named Son Yahsha ha’Meshiyakh is at last being revealed.
“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” – Dan. 12:9-10
The Remnant of YHWH has been given an open door. Step through it with us!
Scholars Who Support A Hebrew Original New Testament
Following is a listing of some linguistic and Biblical authorities who maintain or support a belief in a Hebrew origin of the New Testament:
Matthew Black, An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts, third edition, entirety.
D. Bivin and R. B. Blizzard, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, entirety.
E. W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, Appendix 95.
Dr. F. C. Burkitt, The Earliest Sources for the Life of Jesus, pp. 25, 29.
Prof. C. F. Burney, The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel, entirety.
Epiphanius, Panarion 29:9:4 on Matthew.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III 24:6 and 39:18; V8:2; VI 25:4.
Edward Gibbon, History of Christianity, two footnotes on p. 185.
Dr. Frederick C. Grant, Roman Hellenism and the New Testament, p. 14.
Dr. George Howard, The Tetragram and the New Testament in Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 96/1 (1977), 63-83. Also, Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, entirety.
Dr. George Lamsa, The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, Introduction, pp. IX-XII.
Dr. Alfred F. Loisy, The Birth of the Christian Religion and the Origin of the New Testament, pp. 66, 68.
Dr. Isaac Rabinowitz, Ephphata...in Journal of Semitic Studies vol. XVI (1971), pp. 151-156.
Ernest Renan, The Life of Jesus, pp. 90, 92.
Hugh J. Schonfield, An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew's Gospel, (1927) p. 7.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, p. 275.
R. B. Y. Scott, The Original Language of the Apocalypse, entirety.
Prof. Charles C. Torrey, Documents of the Primitive Church, entirety. Also, Our Translated Gospels, entirety.
Dr. James Scott Trimm, The semitic Origin of the New Testament, entirety.
Max Wiolcox, The Semitism of Acts (1965), entirety.
F. Zimmerman, The Aramaic Origin of the Four Gospels, entirety.
“...only a Remnant will be saved.” Romans 9:27
The Remnant of YHWH
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Abilene, Texas 79604
Wow, Morah Nitza, that is a lot to absorb! (Do your fingers ache? haha.) I guess I'm most surprised that the idea of a Hebrew New Testament is a radical one. I either was taught or just assumed that, since the New Testament was written mostly by Jews, that it must have originally been Hebrew, but we only had Greek copies left from antiquity. It made sense to me... I guess I was just ahead of the curve.
I just have one question: When you say that The Remnant of YHWH does not accept/objects to Hellenized names, how far does that go? To be more clear, is it simply a matter of practice or is use of the Hellenized names considered "bad" (i.e. detrimental) in some way? I'd like to understand that better and I know very little about The Remnant of YHWH.
Many names were adapted to Greek, reinforced by the translation of the Tanakh in the Septuagint with Hellenized names.
Hi Dawn,people may hypothesise all the want about what may or may not have happened back then,some seek to portrait Yeshua/Jesus as something other than a witness unto the words spoken between Moses AND God,there is soo much more to it,yetafter thousands of years some people still refuse to engage their own minds into it,we can all admitt ours is a loving God,from that perspective,would our loving God send someone to argue with Pharisees,someone to rebuke all they stood for,or would he be more inclined to send somebody to restate what had drifted away from original intent and bring people the Truth once again.
I mean not to discredit any of these teachers,fore most were giving information and had to interpret it for the people,so that may understand,of course people spoke in different languages and there was good reason for that also,so word and descrepancies are gauraunteed over time.We can go back prior to Jethro,prior to Noah it serves no productive function in doing so,we are of the same God,and despite all things that have happened,he still loves us,we must keep that in mind,the True battle is between good and evil,Jesus giving as a witness unto the people and to cover some sins of the mind that we may be in God`s grace.
I find several troubling issues with regard to the "Hebrew" NT and also the naming of names notion.
Luke wrote and spoke Greek. The reason we can know this is that his gospel and book of history, which is called Acts, is the best Greek of the NT and approaches the quality of classical Greek. Since Luke was Gentile and wrote his letter to his benefactor Theophilos, there is no logical reason to make a claim otherwise. Mark is terrible Greek, so bad that it is barely a school child's writing. While we can conclude that Mark did not speak Greek, there are no other obvious qualities to make claims about what language he was most comfortable with; it was not Greek. Now, Luke and Matthew contain all of Mark. So Luke and Matthew may have had Mark in front of them as they wrote their letters. Matthew, unlike Luke, contains a many Hebraeisms, which are Arimaic/Hebrew sayings using Greek. Matthew may have spoken a different language other than Greek, but he clearly wrote in Greek or we could not account for the Hebraeisms. A translation would not contain such things. John wrote simplistic Greek, but it was decent enough in expression, unlike Mark's terrible Greek. Finally, Paul knew Greek, wrote it, but clearly used it as a foreigner may have expressed with it. Again, there is no way to conclude that we read a Greek translation of any writer.
Alexander brought Greek to the East and Eastern Mediterrainean. In jesus' day, everyone spoke their local language and also knew the common tongue, koine Greek. If one wished to communicate beyond one's own tribe, one used koine Greek. (Latin was the West.) Let me be clear: the NT writers may have used a different language other than Greek in their daily conversations; but they all knew Greek and there is no reason to think that they wrote and then translated.
The names thing is interesting. Greek nouns are declined, that is, they change form (endingd) according to their usage in a sentance. Nouns that were imported directly from another language frequently had no declinable forms. In modern languages, the word "computer" is the same word in English or German, but it is pronounced in a German way. Likewise, in ancient Greek, words were pronounced according to the language, even when sopunds were made with a different combination of letters. the iota eta combination in Greek approaches the Hebrew yaw in its sound. The names were not trying to be changed, but were being adapted to the target language, just like today.
Finally, there is a Greek version of YHWH in the NT. It occurs in John's Revelation, and reads (in Greek) Him-who-is-and-who-was-and-is-to-come. John, a Hebrew, is writing a Greek tranlation for God's name. No, it was not forbidden to be pronounced in John's day.