Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Changes To the Commentary

My commentary on John's Gospel from the Aramaic Peshitta seems to be the main attraction to the blog, or it was when I first started at least! Originally I was going to use James Murdock's translation of the Aramaic Peshitta but I have decided recently to use my own English grammar version of Paul Younan's masterful Interlinear of the Peshitta Gospels. The Younan Interlinear is quite possibly the best translation of the Gospels from the original Aramaic text, so I am using it. It follows the Eastern Peshitta, while James Murdock's translation mostly follows the Western Peshitto. At the time of writing this, I have updated the commentary on John chapter 1 to follow the Younan Interlinear. This translation transliterates a lot of Aramaic names for people and places (like "Yeshua" is used instead of "Jesus", "Urishlim" is used instead of "Jerusalem"), but they will be explained in the commentary. Lawrence Sheets has also made an English grammar version of the Younan Interlinear Gospels, and Andrew Gabriel Roth's Aramaic English New Testament utilizes an edited version of the Younan Interlinear from Matthew 1 to Acts 15. The Younan Interlinear will only be used for the Gospels, as only the four Gospels are completely translated. Paul Younan's Interlinear is in the public domain, so it can be quoted anywhere and in any form.

Read the Younan Interlinear online:

Read Lawrence Sheets's English-grammar version of the Younan Interlinear (see "English-only portions"):

Purchase a copy of the Younan Interlinear here:


The True Meaning of Christmas

Over 2,000 years ago during the time in which the Roman empire was the world super power, the one God named Yahweh sent an angel named Gabriel to a small Galilean town called Nazareth to visit a young Jewish virgin of the Davidic line named Mary. She was promised that she would miraculously give birth to a son who would reign on David's throne and would be the Son of God: the Messiah. The angel told her to name Him "Jesus", which means "Yahweh saves" because He would save the humanity from their sins and give them eternal life. The little baby that was born to the Virgin Mary was no ordinary baby, this child was Emmanuel ("God with us") and the Word made flesh. This child lived a perfect life and literally never sinned, at His baptism by his relative John he was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with the power of God and he went about healing all of those who were oppressed by the devil. He showed us God's love and mercy, as well as how to please God and to walk in righteousness. This Jesus was rejected by the religious establishment who were expecting a political Messiah and was crucified under the authority of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Jesus did not die for His own sins, as He had no sins to die for. Jesus died, as prophesied, for our sins and became sin for us. God laid upon Him all of our sins and transgressions. This isn't the end of the story. After three days in the grave, Jesus came back from the dead and proved every claim He made. This Jesus ascended to the right hand of God and is interceding for us sinners as our everlasting High Priest and lives to this day, never to die again. He will give you eternal life if you will place your faith in Him and He will send His Spirit to live in you. This Christmas day, let us remember that all of the material gift that our families give us are nothing in comparison to the gift that God gave us by sending His Son into the world to die for our sins.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Aramaic Vocabulary: Cities and Countries

Urishlem (Oo-reesh-lehm)- Jerusalem

Natzrat (Nahtz-raht)- Nazareth

Yehuda/Yehud (Yay-hood-ah/Yay-hood)- Judah/Judea

Israel (Ees-rah-el)- Israel

Galila (Gah-lee-lah)- Galilee

Capurnakhum (Cah-poor-nah-khoom)- Capernaum

Beit-Anya (Bayt-ahn-yah)- Bethany

Beit-Tzaida (Bayt-tzah-eedah)- Bethsaida

Antiokia (Ahn-tee-oh-kee-ah)- Antioch

Surya (Soor-yah)- Syria

Ephesos (Eh-phay-sohs)- Ephesus

Galatia (Gah-lah-tee-ah)- Galatia

Roma (Roh-mah)- Rome

Italia (Ee-tahl-ee-ah)- Italy

Yawan/Helas (Yah-wahn/Heh-lahs)- Greece

Yordanan (Yohr-dah-nahn)- Jordan River

Aenyon (Ehn-yohn)- Aenon

Babil (Bah-beel)- Babylon

Tarsos (Tahr-sohs)- Tarsus

Qorinthios (Qor-een-tee-yohs)- Corinth

Pilipos (Pee-lee-pohs)- Philippi

Maqedonia (Mahq-eh-dohn-ee-ah)- Macedonia

Qiliqia (Qee-lee-qee-ah)- Cilicia

Tzor (Tzoor)- Tyre

Tzidon (Tzee-dohn)- Sidon

Sadom (Sah-dohm)- Sodom

Amorrah (Ah-moh-rah)- Amorrah*

Qolosos (Qoh-loh-sohs)- Colosse

Tesaloniqa (Tehs-oh-loh-nee-qah)- Thessalonica

*The English transliteration of Amorrah as Gomorrah is incorrect. George Lamsa theorized that it came from misreading ayin (ܥ) as gamal (ܓ). As you can see, the Aramaic letters could easily be confused. This could not have arose from the Hebrew Square script:

Ayin- ע
Gamal- ג


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Opinion on Homosexuality

Just read that A&E suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson from filming Duck Dynasty due to comments he made concerning homosexuality. He said, “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” This is what sickens me about liberalism. They are all for "tolerance" until you disagree with them, after that they assault you're reputation and you are a person. The Bible clearly testifies that homosexuality is a sin:

"For this cause, God gave them up to vile passions: for their females changed the use of their natures, and employed that which is unnatural.And so also their males forsook the use of females, which is natural, and burned with lust toward one another; and, male with male, they did what is shameful, and received in themselves the just recompense of their error."- Romans 1:26-27

"Or do ye not know, that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God ? Do not mistake; neither whoremongers, nor idol-worshippers, nor adulterers, nor debauchers, nor liers with males, nor the avaricious, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God."- I Corinthians 6:9-10

Under the Old Covenant, God ordered that those who slept with people of the same sex be stoned (Leviticus 20:13) and declares homosexuality to be an abomination (Leviticus 18:22). God established marriage to be between a man and a woman. Genesis 1:24 says, " For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

I have homosexual and bisexual friends and I love them as much as my heterosexual friends, but they should know where I stand on the issue. I am not homophobic; I have no fear or hatred of homosexuals. I just know that like us all, they are sinners in need of salvation. Our Lord Jesus hung out with people that the religious institutions would not even touch. Matthew 9:10-13 says, "And as they were reclining in a house, many publicans an sinners came and reclined with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw [it] they said to his disciples, Why doth your Rabbi eat with publicans and sinners? And as Jesus heard [it], he said to them: They who are in health have no need of a physician, but they that are very sick. Go and learn what that is: I require compassion, and not a sacrifice! For I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinful."

Nature itself testifies that homosexuality is not natural. The purpose of sexual intercourse is not pleasure, but for procreation. Homosexuals cannot naturally procreate. If all people were gay, the human race would be driven to extinction. Even the atheistic theory of evolution would say that they would be evolutionary dead ends.

Just like I would a drunkard, an adulterer, or even a murderer, I will minister to their needs and show them the love and mercy of God and pray for them. We all have "that one thing" that we struggle with. I believe with these people, homosexual desires are their "one thing". I don't know that God will always miraculously break the bondage of homosexuality in their life, but I know for sure that God will give them grace to resist that sin if they will repent and turn to God for salvation. Grace is not merely unmerited favor, but that divine power in your life that guides you into righteousness. Paul tells us in Titus 2:11-14, "For the all-vivifying grace of God, is revealed to all men; and it teacheth us, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live in this world in sobriety, and in uprightness, and in the fear of God, looking for the blessed hope, and the manifestation of the glory of the great God, and our Life-giver, Jesus the Messiah; who gave himself for us, that he might recover us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a new people, who are zealous in good works."

Quite frankly, I don't care if you are angry with me for what I say. I'm speaking the Word of God and I'm not going to bring myself into judgment for holding back. God will hold me accountable if I do not speak His Word. I will not bow down to the world and call homosexuality a "beautiful" thing. There is no beauty sin and rebellion against God and His created order. Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"

People all around the world are being persecuted for standing for what is righteous. Churches are losing tax-exempt status, businesses are being sued and shut down, and people are quite frankly being attacked on all sides by those who stand for wickedness. If you make friendship with the world by claiming that homosexuality and other sins are okay, then you are setting yourself as an ENEMY to God (James 4:4). You fools who say that I am being intolerant and judgmental, how about you take your own medicine and allow me to have my own opinion and don't judge me? Even if "Christians" stop speaking God's Word, the rocks would cry out and condemn this wicked generation!


Websites That I Recommend

I spend quite a bit of time reading on the Internet. Thankfully, the people of God know how to use the technology that man has created using the tools given him by God in order to bring glory to the Creator. I read a lot of theology and apologetics, as well as Biblical scholarship. All of these are important topics about which Christians should have an understanding and knowledge.

http://www.carm.org- A very helpful Apologetics website. They follow a rather Calvanistic theology and I disagree with them on several areas, including in the area of Calvanism. Their apologetics articles on Bible difficulties and articles on other religious movements are very helpful and have been used by God to strengthen me in my walk.

http://www.gotquestions.org- A great site that answers various questions about the Bible, theology, and apologetics. Like CARM, I've found this site to be very helpful.

http://www.answersingenesis.org- This is probably the greatest website I've seen on Creationism. They have many articles on the Evolution vs. Creation debate that rages in society. These are not the only things they write about in their apologetics either. They follow a Young Earth view on Creatonism.

http://godandscience.org/- This is another very useful Creationism website that also discusses Bible difficulties and other difficult questions. They follow an Old Earth view on Creationism.

http://onenesspentecostal.com- This is quite possibly my favorite theological website. This is a defense of not only Apostolic Pentecostalism, but also Christianity in general. God has given me a lot of revelation from this site. I use a lot of their ideas in my writing.

http://theosophical.wordpress.com/- Apostolic theologian Jason Dulle's blog. I read him more than any other theologian and find him to have great insights into God's Word. He also writes on onenesspentecostal.com.

http://www.peshitta.org/- This website is ran by Assyrian scholar and native Aramaic speaker Paul Younan. This website has his Interlinear translation of the Aramaic Peshitta (which is incomplete, but goes all the way to Acts 16) and a forum that discusses the topic of Aramaic primacy (the belief that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic). I post on here quite frequently. If you don't use it for anything else, use it to read and study Paul Younan's Interlinear.

http://aramaicnttruth.org/- Netzari Jewish scholar Andrew Gabriel Roth's website. This also contains articles on Aramaic primacy and Messianic theology. I disagree with him on quite a few things, but I find him to be a brilliant scholar. He is also the translator of the Aramaic English New Testament, which is definitely my favorite complete translation of the Peshitta that has been done in the last few years.

http://aramaicnt.com/- Reverend Glenn David Bauscher's website. Bauscher is the translator of The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English, The Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament, and The Aramaic-English Interlinear Peshitta Old Testament (The Torah). I can definitely say that as a scholar, Dave Bauscher is top notch. As usual, I disagree with some of his theology, but find him to be one of the most intelligent people involved with the Aramaic Primacy movement. He has several articles which detail his evidence and findings that point towards Aramaic as being the original language of the New Testament writings.

http://aramaicnt.org/- Steve Caruso's website. He is an Aramaic linguist who is trying to reconstruct the Galilean Aramaic dialect of Jesus, which differs slightly from the Eastern Aramaic (Syriac) of the Peshitta. He has several articles giving details on the Galilean dialect and also teaches it on this website (for a fee). I disagree with him on the origin of the Peshitta, but find his information to be quite edifying.

http://aramaicpeshitta.com/- This website is ran by former Aramaic primacist Raphael Lataster, who is now a Greek primacist and an Atheist. He still keeps this website up for those who believe in Peshitta primacy. This has many interesting articles giving evidence for the originality of the Peshitta. My favorite feature though, is that you can read various Peshitta translations online here. The translations done by James Murdock, John Wesley Etheridge, George M. Lamsa, and Paul Younan are available for your viewing pleasure here.

http://dukhrana.com/- This is the best website to use for studying the Aramaic Peshitta itself and comparing the various translations and different ancient texts to what the Aramaic itself says. This website is ran by Lars Lindgren and Stephen Silver. You can use several different Aramaic-English Lexicons on here, do in-depth analysis of the Aramaic text. You can also download Peshitta and other important Aramaic New Testament manuscripts, including the Khabouris and Crawford codexes.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Way International's Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament

Native Aramaic speaker and controversial Bible translator George M. Lamsa traveled all around the United States of America, lecturing about the Aramaic Peshitta text, its originality, and the importance of studying the Aramaic language. The people he spoke to had beliefs that ranged from Orthodox and Evangelical beliefs to heretical and occultist. One of these controversial groups was The Way International, founded by Victor Paul Wierwille (who allowed Lamsa to stay in his house while he was proofreading his Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text).

The Way International's translation is simply titled Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament (3 volumes: 1 includes Matthew-John, 2 includes Acts-Philemon, and 3 includes Hebrews-Revelation). I don't exactly know who the team consisted of. I've heard some say that it was a team of American scholars, including Janet M. Magiera (who translated the Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation and the Aramaic Peshitta New Testament: Vertical Interlinear) and I've also heard that it was a group of Assyrian scholars and that the work was edited by members of the Way. The Interlinear is a companion piece to The Concordance of the Peshitta Version of the Aramaic New Testament, The Aramaic New Testament, Estrangela Script, and English Dictionary Supplement to the Concordance to the Peshitta Version of the Aramaic New Testament.

I consider the Way International to be a cult. This group denies the deity of Jesus, which is clearly affirmed in the New Testament writings (John 1:1-14, 20:28; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9). They also teach that the Holy Spirit and what they call the gift of "holy spirit" are distinct and that the gift is something other than the Spirit of God coming to indwell in believers (Romans 8:9-11; I Corinthians 3:16; Galatians 4:6). 

The format of the Interlinear is great. When you open it up, on the left page the King James Version of the New Testament (to the left) and the Way International's Word-For-Word translation of the Aramaic text (to the right) are on it. On the page to the right, the Interlinear can be seen. It includes the Aramaic text, with a direct English translation of it, word for word, underneath it without changing the grammar. There are numbers by the words to tell you how to read it in proper English grammar (or you could just use the Word-For-Word Translation). Above each Aramaic word is a number that can be looked up in The Concordance to the Peshitta Version of the Aramaic New Testament, which shows the Aramaic word, a definition of it, and times in which it is used in the Peshitta text. The text itself is a mixture of Eastern and Western Peshitta readings, but mostly Western. This makes the translation mostly a translation of the Western Peshitto, rather than the Eastern Peshitta.

Amazingly, the Way International's translation of the Aramaic New Testament places accuracy and non-partiality in translation over their theological beliefs. The translation accurately translates every verse that shows the deity of Christ:

"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and God was the word."- John 1:1

Here is the Interlinear reading (read right to left):

1761      747   749a    112          135            135     1562   749a    112          1761     747    1761     749a    112           3012
ܒܪܫܝܬ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܡܠܬܐ ܘܗܘ ܡܠܬܐ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܠܘܬ ܐܠܗܐ ܘܐܠܗܐ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܗܘ ܡܠܬܐ
the                      was      and        God  with        was         the    and   the           was        In the
word                              God                                            word  <it> word                      beginning

"And Thomas answered and said to him, My lord and my God."- John 20:28

Here is the Interlinear reading:

        135       1854   1510    172a          3311                  2387a
ܘܥܢܐ ܬܐܘܡܐ ܘܐܡܪ ܠܗ ܡܪܝ ܘܐܠܗܝ
and                 My      to        and             Thomas             And 
my God         lord     him     said                                       answered

"...and the fathers and from whom the Messiah was seen in the flesh. He who is God who is over all, to him be our praises and our blessings forever and ever. Amen."- Romans 9:5

Here is the Interlinear reading:
   166      2359        2359    343            3448   1510 1425 2347    135          112              408       1909         959b           1170        2  
 ܘܐܒܗܬܐ ܘܡܢܗܘܢ ܐܬܚܙܝ ܡܫܝܚܐ ܒܒܣܪ ܕܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܐܠܗܐ ܕܥܠ ܟܠ ܕܠܗ ܬܫܒܚܢ ܘܒܘܪܟܢ ܠܥܠܡ ܥܠܡܝܢ ܐܡܝܢ
Amen.          forever           and our    [be] our  to him all, who is   God        He who         in the       the         was          and from       and the
                 and ever          blessings    praises                  over                     is                flesh     Messiah    seen            whom         fathers

The Way's translation however, is not completely free of theological bias. Their theology on the gift of the Holy Spirit comes through in some places (I'm going to skip giving the Interlinear reading:

"I baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who comes after me is stronger than me, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with holy spirit and with fire..."- Matthew 3:11

"Simon said to them, Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of the lord Jesus for the remission of sins, that you might receive the gift of holy spirit."- Acts 2:38

The Aramaic word that is translated here as "holy spirit" is Rukha d'Qudsha (ܪܘܚܐ ܕܩܘܕܫܐ). The letter alef (ܐ) at the end of both words shows that this word is in the emphatic state, therefore it should be translated as "the Holy Spirit" or more literally as "the Spirit of Holiness". While it is subtle bias, it is bias nonetheless. 

The Way International's translation of the New Testament from the Peshitta is very accurate and reliable. This small amount of bias does not keep its readers from getting the truth of the Word of God out there. The fact that they limited their "interpretiveness" even to the extent of contradicting their religious teachings. I do highly recommend purchasing this and the companion volumes that I mentioned earlier in the article. In order to purchase this translation, call 419-753-1018 from Monday-Friday during the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Eastern time). 


The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53: The Messiah or Not?

Even before Christianity had its inception, devout Jews believed that the Suffering Servant seen by the Prophet Isaiah was the Messiah, making atonement for the people's sins. After Jesus came and was rejected by the Jewish religious authorities, the Rabbinical commentators began to move from this interpretation. Now, modern Judaism usually interprets the prophecy of Isaiah 53 to be referring to either Israel or Isaiah himself. In this article, we will see why Isaiah 53 is a prophecy of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. This article will be a verse-by-verse commentary on the prophecy:

Who, believed what we have heard? And, the arm of Yahweh, to whom was it revealed?

"What we have heard" refers to the Gospel message about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Many people rejected the message of Christ and did not accept the testimony the Father bore of His Son, nor the testimony that the apostles bore when they spread the Gospel. John 12:37-38 says, "And though he did all these miracles before them, they did not believe in him. That the word would be fulfilled of Eshaya the prophet who said, My Lord, who will believe our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" The identity of the Messiah is not something you can discover through the fleshly, but only by revelation from the Father's Holy Spirit. Matthew 16:13-17 says, "And when Yeshua came to the region of Caesarea of Philippi, he was asking his disciples, "What do men say concerning men? That I am [merely] a son of man? And they said, Some say Yokhanan the baptizer but others Elia and others Aramiya or one of the prophets. And he said to them, "But you, who do you say that I am? Shimon Keepa answered and said,  You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Yeshua answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Shimon, the son of Yona; because flesh and blood has not revealed [this] to you, but my Father who is in heaven."

The "arm of Yahweh" refers to the Messiah. The Messiah is not a separate Person from Yahweh, but is Yahweh Himself in the flesh. Andrew Gabriel Roth, a Messianic scholar, brings out that the arm moves under the direction of the brain, so does the Messiah move under the direction of His Father. Jesus is essentially equal with God. John 5:17-18 says, "And because of this, all the more were the Yehudeans seeking to kill him. Not only because he [Jesus] had broken the sabbath, but also that concerning God he would say that he is his Father, and was equating himself with God." Jesus did however, humble Himself and function as a genuine human being, therefore operated in subjection to God. Verse 19 says, "But Yeshua answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you: that the Son is not able to do anything by his desire, but what he sees the the things that he, the Father, does, for that the Father does, these things also the Son likewise does."

When he came up as a sapling before him, And as a root-sprout out of dry ground, He had neither beauty nor majesty,—When we beheld him, there was nothing to behold, that we should desire him;

This is clearly referring to an individual, not the corporate state of Israel. "We" is referring to Israel. Jesus did not look like much, He did not look like the king that they expected. In Isaiah 42:1-4 (which is quoted in Matthew 12:17-21), the prophet says concerning Yahweh's servant: "Lo! my Servant, I will uphold him, My chosen, well-pleased, is my soul,—I have put my spirit upon him, Justice—to the nations, will he bring forth: he will not cry out, nor will he speak loud,—Nor cause to be heard, in the street, his voice: cane that is crushed, will he not break, And wick that is fading, will he not quench,—Faithfully, will he bring forth justice: he will not fade, nor will he be crushed, Until he establish, in the earth, justice, And, for his instruction, Coastlands, wait."

This Servant was not going to even seek His own glory. In John 8:39 Jesus says, "And I do not seek my own glory. There is He who seeks and judges." All Jesus cared about was doing God's will and bringing glory to His name. This is speaking about how the Messiah humbled Himself, He did not come in the glory of a king, but in humility; He also was not born in a palace, but in a stable. Jesus did not look like a king apparently and he did not come with a military force like the Jewish people wanted Him to in order to overthrow the Romans.

When the Word became flesh (John 1:14), He could have become whatever He desired and whoever He desired. God, however, did not lay hold of His divine privileges and became like one of us (Philippians 2:6-8). He chose to be born in a stable in Bethlehem and was lying in a manger. He did not bow down to the devil in order to receive and earthly kingdom (Matthew 4:8-10), because His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). 

Despised was he, and forsaken of men, Man of pains, and familiar with sickness,—Yea, like one from whom the face is hidden, Despised, and we esteemed him not.

The Servant of God is not a popular man. He was hated of all men and endured much persecution. The Gospels record several instances in which the people attempted to stone Him and accused Him of blasphemy for revealing who He truly was. Jesus was truly hated by the religious establishment, even his brothers did not believe in Him (John 7:3-5). Jesus was betrayed and forsaken even by most of His closest followers.

Yet surely, our sicknesses, he, carried, And, as for our pains, he bare the burden of them,—But, we, accounted him stricken, Smitten of God, and humbled.

Jesus bore our spiritual illness of sin and healed us of our physical illnesses. This is quoted in Matthew 8:17 after Jesus works miracles of healing and deliverance in the Galilean town of Capernaum. In John 16:2-3, Jesus said, "They will drive you out from their assemblies and a time will come that all who kill you will think that they offer an offering to God. And these things they will do because they do know neither my Father nor myself."

Those who had Jesus crucified were in ignorance and believed that they were doing the work of God. John 18:29-30 says, "And Peelatos went outside to them and said to them, What accusation do you have against this man? They answered and said to him, If [he] was not a doer of evil, not even to you we would have delivered him." Peter confirms that they had Jesus crucified in ignorance: "The God of Awraham, and of Iskhaq, and of Yaqub, the God of our forefathers, has glorified His Son Yeshua; He whom you delivered up and whom denied before the face of Peelatos after he saw it fitting to let him go. But you denied the Just and the Holy, and you requested for yourselves a murderous man to be given to you. And that Prince of Life you killed, whom God raised from the dead, and we, all of us, are his witnesses. And in the faith of His name, this man that you see and you know, He has strengthened and healed and the faith that is in him has given him this wholeness before all of you. But now, our brethren, I know that in ignorance you did this, as did your leaders. And according to God, that beforehand He preached by the the mouths of all the prophets that His Messiah would suffer, in this manner has fulfilled [it]."

Yet, he, was pierced for transgressions that were ours, was crushed for iniquities that were ours,—The chastisement for our well-being, was upon him, And, by his stripes, there is healing for us.

This is one of three verses in the Tanakh that speak of the Messiah being pierced. Here are the other two:

"For dogs have surrounded me,—An assembly of evil doers, have encircled me, They have pierced my hands and my feet..."- Psalm 22:16

"But I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitant of Jerusalem, the spirit of favour, and of supplications, and they will look unto me, whom they have pierced,—and will wail over him, as one waileth over an only son, and will make bitter outcry over him, as one maketh bitter outcry over a firstborn."- Zechariah 12:10

The Messiah was not slain for His own sins, but for our own. Jesus is declared to have died for our sins in the New Testament. Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:3-4, "For I delivered to you from the first, according as I had received: That the Meshiha died for our sins, as it is written; and that he was buried, and arose the third day, as it is written." In another Epistle, Paul tells the Corinthian church that God made Jesus, who knew no sin, into sin for our sake (II Corinthians 5:21). Notice also how Isaiah distinguishes himself from the Servant of Yahweh.

Notice that this verses says that the Servant was pierced and chastised, resulting in stripes on His body. This perfectly fits in with the Roman punishment of crucifixion, which was the means of Jesus's death. Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, and John 19:1 all tells us that Jesus was flogged under the authority of Pilate. All four of the Gospels record Jesus's death by crucifixion (Matthew 27:35-50, Mark 15:25-37, Luke 23:33-46, John 19:23-30). 

We all, like sheep, had gone astray, Every man—to his way, had we burned,—And, Yahweh! caused to light upon him, The guilt of, us all!

Jesus is not recorded to have been physically crushed, as this would have resulted in a bone being broken and nullified the Word of God (John 19:31-36). Jesus was crushed with the weight of our sins and wickedness. The real pain of the crucifixion was not only physical, but spiritual. The sinless Messiah had all of the sins of the world laid upon Him as the Lamb of God.

Hard pressed—yet, he, humbled himself, Nor opened his mouth—As, a lamb, to the slaughter, is led, And, as a sheep, before her shearers, is dumb—Nor opened his mouth.

Jesus did not speak in lengthy discourse to defend Himself before the Jewish authorities, or Pilate while the Jewish authorities were making their accusations. All he said were the words, "You have said it." Pilate is said to have been amazed by Jesus's silence (Mark 15:5). Jesus did speak some, but not as much as I would if I was about to be crucified. In order to make Jesus speak at His trial before the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas had to command Him by the name of God (Matthew 26:63). Jesus did answer questions from Pilate when he took him to question him (John 18:33-38, 19:9-12) but still did not make a legal defense, He just stated the truth. He also did not directly answer the questions of Annas, merely telling him to ask His disciples what He taught (John 19:19-21). When one of Annas's servants hit Him, He merely ask them why they hit Him (John 19:22-23).

By constraint and by sentence, was he taken away, And, of his age, who considered, That he was cut off out of the land of the living, For my people's transgression, did the stroke fall on him?

This Servant seems to be a young man with no physical descendants. Again, this is referring to an individual who experiences death ("cut off out of the land of the living") and not to the nation of Israel. When the nation of Israel was punished by God, it was punished for its own sins. This Servant however, is punished for the sins of others.

And, appointed with lawless men, was his grave, And, with the wicked, his tomb,—Though, no violence, had he done, Nor was guile in his mouth.

The Servant was regarded as a criminal. Jesus is emphatically stated to have been viewed as an evildoer by the Jewish authorities (John 18:29-30). He was also crucified in between two thieves (Mark 15:27). Israel clearly did do wrong in its long history, but this Servant had done no wrong to deserve the punishment that He received.

Yet, Yahweh, purposed to bruise him, He laid on him sickness:—If his soul become an offering for guilt, He shall see a seed, He shall prolong his days,—And, the purpose of Yahweh, in his hand, shall prosper:

It says that Yahweh did this thing to Him with the purpose of sin offering. Yet it says that this one who has died without descendants shall see His seed! Jesus's descendants are those who believe in His name. Therefore, this is not talking about descendants according to the flesh. This Servant who died is also said to prolong His days. Jesus prolonged His days by rising from the dead! For His suffering, Yahweh blesses His Servant. I believe Jesus was blessed by being given the name above every other name. Paul says in Philippians 2:5-11, "And feel this in yourselves, which Jeshu the Meshiha (did) also: who, when he was in the form of Aloha, considered this not to be robbery, (this, namely,) that he was the co-equal of Aloha: yet emptied he himself, and took the form of a servant, and was made in the form of men; and in fashion was found as a man, and humbled himself, and was obedient unto death, but the death of the cross. Wherefore also Aloha greatly exalted him, and gave him a name that is more excellent than all names, that at the name of Jeshu every knee should kneel, of those in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jeshu the Meshiha is the Lord, to the glory of Aloha his Father." Jesus, who laid aside His divine prerogatives and privileges, and obeyed God even to the point of dying on a cross, is exalted above all else for His obedience.   

Of the travail of his soul, shall he see, He shall be satisfied with his knowledge, A setting right, when set right himself, shall my Servant win for the Many, Since, of their iniquities, he, taketh the burden.

The Servant's suffering is not in vain and He will know it. Many people will be blessed by the Servant's suffering for their sins. This is clearly talking about the salvation that comes by way of Jesus's death and resurrection.

Therefore, will I give him a portion in the great, And, the strong, shall he apportion as spoil, Because he poured out, to death, his own soul, And, with transgressors, let himself be numbered,—Yea, he, the sin of Many, bare, And, for transgressors, interposeth.

Because of this Servant's unwavering obedience to Yahweh, He is blessed and exalted. He bore the sins of all mankind and makes intercession for sinners. Jesus is exalted by God for what He did on the cross. Even on the cross He prayed for His enemies. Luke 23:34 says, "And Yeshua was saying, Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Even today, Jesus sits at the right hand of the power of God and acts as our everlasting High Priest and as the sole Mediator between God and man. Hebrew 4:14-16 says, "Therefore having such a great High Priest, Jeshu Meshiha, the Son of Aloha, who hath ascended to heaven, let us persevere in the confession of him. For we have not an high priest who cannot suffer along with our infirmity, but (one) who, [having been] tempted in every thing as we, (was) separate from sin. Let us therefore approach with confidence to the throne of his grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for help in the time of affliction." The Apostle Paul writes in I Timothy 2:5, "For one is Aloha, and one is the Mediator of Aloha and of men; the man Jeshu Meshiha..."

Surely now it must be apparent that Isaiah 53 is talking about none other than Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Messiah and the Son of God who is prophesied of in not only this passage, but all throughout the Tanakh. The Scriptures bear witness to Jesus being the Messiah. Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 5:39-40, "Search hte scriptures, because in them you think you have life that is eternal, and they testify concerning me. And you are not desiring to come to me, that you may have life that is eternal." 

The only thing keeping you from Jesus is you. If you search the Scriptures with an open heart, you will see that Jesus is exactly who He said He was. He is the Messiah, the Son of God, the living God, Yahweh, made flesh. He came to die for not only my sins, but yours also. If you accept this revelation that God is trying to give you, then you will be blessed in a greater fashion than you could ever imagine!

All Scripture quotations are taken from:

Rotherham's Emphasized Bible by Joseph Bryant Rotherham
Peshitta.org Aramaic-English Interlinear Gospels by Paul D. Younan
A Literal Translation of the New Testament From the Peschito by John Wesley Etheridge


Monday, December 16, 2013

James Murdock's The Syriac New Testament

This classic New Testament translation is translated from the Aramaic (Syriac) Western Peshitto text. It is an Aramaic text written in the a dialect of Aramaic closely related to the language of Jesus (Western Aramaic). The New Testament was most likely mostly written originally in the Koine (Common) Greek language, which was the lingua franca of the Roman empire at the time of Christ and His apostles. The Syriac Peshitto and it's older counterpart the Eastern Peshitta (virtually the same, but doesn't have II Peter, II & III John, Jude, and Revelation, or "the Western Five").

This is one of the first translations from the Aramaic New Testament to English, done around the same as John Wesley Etheridge's more literal translation of the Peshitto (A Literal Translation of the New Testament From the Peschito Syriac) and way before Dr. George Mamishishu Lamsa commenced his famous (but flawed) translation of the Peshitta: The Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. James Murdock was very faithful to the Peshitto text he used, as was Etheridge, making the translations very useful for study. I would say that this is one of the most reliable translations of the Syriac New Testament into the English language.

One advantage Murdock's New Testament has over the Etheridge and some of the other English translations of the Aramaic (Peshitta or Peshitto) is that it employs use of more familiar terminology. Instead of Murdock transliterating "Mar Eshoa Meshikha" and "Shimon Keefa" into English, he translated them into the more familiar "Lord Jesus Messiah" (the Greek based word "Christ" appears nowhere in Murdock's translation) and "Simon Cephas" (using the hellenized version of Keefa, which appears in the Greek New Testament, rather than using "Peter" from the Greek "Petros" ).

If you read the King James Version, you won't notice much difference and it will feel very familiar, because the Murdock New Testament uses the same, more archaic language as the KJV. On the other hand, this could make the translation harder to read. Another fun-fact about this is that this was one of the base texts used by Andrew Gabriel Roth for his Aramaic-English New Testament (with the Younan Interlinear for Matthew 1-Acts 15 and Murdock's New Testament from Acts 15-Revelation 22).

Unlike most translations of the Peshitto/Peshitta, Murdock stands with Etheridge and David Bauscher (The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English, The Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament), he translates the cry of dereliction (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34), "Elohi, Elohi, lemana shabakthani?" more correctly by translating "shabakthani" (which can be translated several different ways) as "forsaken" rather than "spared" (like Lamsa, Andrew Gabriel Roth, and Paul Younan did). Another difference between this and the more famous Lamsa Bible is that Murdock stands with most New Testament translations in translating Matthew 19:24 with "camel" instead of "rope" (the Aramaic words for "camel" and "rope" are spelled the same). He also translates the Aramiac word for "apostle" as "legate", which is a word I've honestly never encountered before.

The only real flaw with the Murdock translation that I see (that also appears in the Lamsa and Etheridge translations) is that it fails to make an important distinction between two key Aramic terms applied to our Lord Jesus: Mar (Lord, human or divine) and MarYah (Lord Yah or Lord YHWH, only applied to Alaha, or God), by translating both as Lord (making it unclear whether or not the deity of Christ is being referred when He is called "Lord") . To sum it all up, the Murdock Peshitto translation is very accurate and trustworthy. I personally prefer reading Etheridge's translation (for it's literalness and use of Semitic terminology) over this, but I still use both quite a bit. I have access to several translations of the Peshitto and Peshitta and I have found these to be some of the most reliable translations of the Peshitto. I highly recommend purchasing The Syriac New Testament for your Bible collection!
 Here are some sample verses:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but should have life eternal.- John 3:16

In many ways, and many forms, God anciently conversed with our fathers, by the prophets: but in these latter days, he hath conversed with us, by his Son; whom he hath constituted heir of all things, and by whom he made the worlds;who is the splendor of his glory, and the image of himself, and upholdeth all by the energy of his word; and by himself he made a purgation of sins, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.- Hebrews 1:1-3

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all our sins. And if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all our iniquity.If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not with us.- I John 1:7-10


John Wesley Etheridge's A Literal Translation of the Peshito

John Wesley Etheridge's translation of the Peshitta was done slightly before that of James Murdock. He originally published the Gospels in his book The Syrian Churches and later published the rest of the New Testament in a separate volume. The Etheridge translation is arguably one of the most literal translations of the Peshitta New Testament, sometimes resulting in the English not flowing very well (but not making it any less beautiful to read). Etheridge also transliterates Aramaic words (Jesus Christ is "Jeshu Meshicha", God is "Aloha"), which is helpful if you are seeking to learn Aramaic.

This translation follows the Eastern Peshitta readings in almost every place where the Western Peshitto differs. It only goes with the Western reading three times. Until Andrew Gabriel Roth completed his Aramaic English New Testament, the Etheridge translation was the closest representative we had of the Eastern Peshitta text. 

Another thing that makes the Etheridge translation valuable is the lack of theological bias from the translator. Most translations of the Peshitta tend to be swayed in some ways by the beliefs of the translator, but John Wesley Etheridge was a very thorough and honest translator. He, as much as possible, translates in a very accurate fashion. The only real negative thing about the Etheridge translation is that he does not make the important distinction between the Aramaic words Mar (Lord) and MarYa (Lord Yahweh). I have to say that I believe the Etheridge translation to be the best translation of the Peshitta besides the AENT. Here are some sample verses from the Etheridge translation:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word himself was with Aloha, and Aloha was the Word himself.- John 1:1

For so loved Aloha the world, as his Son, the Only-begotten, he would give, that every one who believeth in him might not perish, but have the life which is eternal.- John 3:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of Aloha for the salvation of all who believe in him, whether of the Jihudoyee first, or of the Aramoyee: for the righteousness of Aloha in it is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, The righteous by faith shall live.- Romans 1:16-17


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Aramaic Vocabulary: Apostles

The Aramaic word for "Apostles" is Shlikhe (Shlee-khay). The singular form is Shlikha (Shlee-khah).

Shimon Keepa bar Yonah (Shee-mohn-Kee-pah-bahr-Yoh-nah)- Simon Peter son of Jonah, Simon Cephas son of Jonah, Simon the Rock son of Jonah. Also Petros (Peh-trohs).

Yochanan bar Zawdee (Yoh-khah-nahn-bahr-Zow-dee)- John son of Zebedee

Yaqob bar Zawdee (Yah-qohb-bahr-Zow-dee)- Jacob son of Zebedee*

Mattai Lewi (Mah-tai-Lee-wee)- Matthew Levi

Yehuda bar Shimon Skaryota (Yay-hoo-dah-bahr-Shee-mohn-Skahr-yoh-tah)- Judas son of Simon Iscariot

Natanael bar Tolmay (Nah-tahn-a-el-bahr-Tohl-may)- Nathaniel Bartholomew

Andreos bar Yonah (An-dreh-ohs-bahr-Yoh-nah)- Andreos son of Jonah

Pileepos (Pee-lee-pohs)- Phillip

Toma Taama (Toh-mah-Tah-mah)- Thomas the Twin

Yaqob bar Khalpai (Yah-qohb-bahr-Khal-pai)- Jacob son of Alphaeus

Shimon Qananaya (Shee-mohn-Qah-nahn-ah-yah)- Simon the Zealot or Simon the Canaanite.

Yehuda Lewi Taddai (Yay-hoo-dah-Lee-wee-Tah-dai)- Judas Lebbeus Thaddeus.

Yaqob bar Yosip (Yah-qohb-bahr-Yoh-seep)- Jacob son of Joseph

Yehuda bar Yosip (Yay-hoo-dah-bahr-Yosip)- Jude son of Joseph

Yosip Barnaba (Yoh-seep-Bahr-nah-bah)- Joseph Barnabas

Sha'ul (Shah-ool)- Saul

Paulos (Pahl-ohs)- Paul

*Yaqob is not "James", but "Jacob".


Aramaic Vocabulary: Jewish Patriarchs

Adam (Ah-dahm)- Adam
Zeth (Zeht)- Zeth
Nukh (Nookh)- Noah
Shem (Shehm)- Shem
Awraham (Oh-wrah-hahm)- Abraham
Iskhak (Eesk-hahk)- Isaac
Yaqob (Yah-qohb)- Jacob
Yisrael (Yees-rah-el)- Israel
Yehuda (Yay-hoo-dah)- Judah
Dan (Dahn)- Dan
Gad (Gahd)- Gad
Benyamin (Ben-yah-meen)- Benjamin
Asher (Ah-shehr)- Asher
Lewi (Lee-wee)- Levi
Rubel (Roob-eel)- Ruben
Zewulon (Zeh-woo-lohn)- Zebulon
Naptali (Nahp-tahl-ee)- Naphtali
Shimon (Shee-mohn)- Simeon
Isakar (Ee-sah-kahr)- Issachar
Yosip (Yoh-seep)- Joseph
Ephraim (Eh-phrah-eem)- Ephraim
Mannasheh (Mah-nah-sheh)- Manasseh


Aramaic Vocabulary: Deity

While I do not speak Aramaic yet, I know a little bit of grammar and some vocabulary. I thought I would share some of what I know. We will start with Aramaic names and titles for God:

Mar (Mahr)- Lord
Mara (Mahr-ah)- The Lord
Mari (Mar-ee)- My Lord
Maran (Mahr-ahn)- Our Lord
MarYa (Mahr-Yah)- Lord Yah/Lord Yahweh/Lord YHWH/Lord Jehovah
Alaha (Ah-lah-ha)- God
Alah (Ahl-ah)- A god
Alahi (Ahl-ah-hee)- My God
Alahan (Ahl-ah-hahn)- Our God
Amanuil (Ah-mahn-oo-il)- Our God is with us
Miltha (Meel-tah)- Word, manifestation, instance, substance
Qadisha (Qah-deesh-ah)- Holy one
Rukha d'Qudsha (Roo-khah-dah-qood-shah)- The Holy Spirit
Rukha d'MarYa (Roo-khah-dah-Mahr-Yah)- The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh
Rukha d'Alaha (Roo-khah-dah-Ahl-ah-hah)- The Spirit of God
Abba (Ah-bah)- Father
Abbi (Ah-bee)- My father
Abun (Ah-boon)- Our father
Yeshua (Yay-shoo-ah)- "Jesus" or "Joshua".*
Meshikha (Meh-shee-khah)- Anointed One, Messiah, Christ
Rukha d'Eshoa/Yeshua (Roo-khah-dah-Ee-shoh/Yay-shoo-ah)- The Spirit of Jesus
Rukha d'Meshikha (Roo-khah-dah-Meh-shee-khah)- The Spirit of the Anointed One, the Spirit of the Messiah, the Spirit of Christ

*This is the most ancient pronunciation of the name of the Messiah in Aramaic. Over time, the Assyrians began to pronounce it as "Eshoa" (Ee-show) or "Eshoo" (Ee-shoo).


Friday, December 13, 2013

Vine of David's The Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels (DHE)

In the year 1877, German Lutheran scholar and Hebraist Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890), translated the Greek New Testament into the Hebrew language because of his love for the Jewish people. He did this translation as a "reconstruction" of what he believed the Lord Jesus Christ (haAdon Yeshua haMashiyach) would have said if He spoke in Hebrew. Unlike most scholars, Delitzsch believed that the Palestinian Jews of the 1st century spoke Hebrew. In order to maintain continuity between the Old and New Covenants, Delitzsch used Biblical Hebrew and (if necessary) Mishnaic Hebrew. To this day, the Delitzsch Hebrew New Testament is the standard for Hebrew translations of the New Testament.

In 2011, a Messianic Jewish ministry called Vine of David completed a translation of Delitzsch's Hebrew Gospels into English. This translation is a monumental work and a valuable study tool to those who wish to understand Jewish culture, which is the culture in which Messiah made His first coming. It is a literal translation, even maintaining and explaining some Hebrew idioms and words. In the back of the translation, a glossary of transliterated Hebrew terms (like tzedakah/righteousness/charity) and a list of the idioms of the Hebrew language used in the translation, giving detailed explanations of both. For example, see what they say about the Hebrew davar ("word"):

'A message; report; statement; saying; prophecy.

The Aramaic term meimar meaning "word" is inserted by the Targums (Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Scriptures) to provide distance in passages that imply anthropomorphism or other objectionable conceptions of God. As a result, the "word of God" is personified and associated with God's interaction with the world. In Rabbinic literature, a similar concept is expressed by the Hebrew term dibbur, which has the sense of "utterance."

The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo spoke of the logos in comparable terms as an emanation of God that interacts with the world.'

The Hebrew text of Delitzsch's translation is also used in the publication. So you can compare Delitzsch's translation with Vine of David's English translation of the text. Both are definitely worthwhile. I have read through the translation and have been blessed by it tremendously. Seeing the words of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua haNotzri (Jesus the Nazarene) in a Jewish context is very enlightening and allows us to see Him through the eyes of those who heard Him speak with their ears and saw Him with their own eyes. Here is my transliterated form of Delitzsch's text and their translation of John 1:1:

B'reshit haya haDavar v'haDavar hya et haElohim v'Elohim haya haDavar.
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God."

In this translation, many Hebrew terms (like Shabbat for "Sabbath") and names (like Yeshua for Jesus) are transliterated. The name of God (YHWH) is translated with a circumlocution: HaShem (Hebrew for "The Name"). For the benefit of those who are not familiar with this terminology, they are explained. I find the Hebrew terminology beautiful. If they did not transliterate these terms, it would be easy to disconnect Jesus from His 1st century Jewish context.

The introduction to the translation includes a lot of fascinating material. They explain, in detail, the process in which they did the translation and why they translated certain passages like they did. They also discuss some flaws in Delitzsch's translation and also why his translation is important today. Each of the Gospels have their own introduction written by Messianic Jewish Rabbi Yechiel Tzvi Lichtenstein, who wrote a commentary on the New Testament using the Delitzsch Hebrew translation.

All in all, this translation comes highly recommended. I can hardly stand not taking it with me wherever I go. If you love Jewish culture, or if you are a Jew wanting to view the Messiah as the 1st century Jewish Rabbi that He is, then you definitely should purchase this translation.

http://vineofdavid.org/ - This is Vine of David's website, where you can purchase The Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Most Important Doctrines of Christianity

There are many groups in the world that believe the Bible and that Jesus is the Messiah. Many of these groups however, deny basic foundations of the Christian faith. Without these doctrines being true, Christendom would have major problems. At the least, I will use two or three Scriptures to support each of these doctrines (II Corinthians 13:1), but sometimes just two or three do not fully express the doctrine. In those cases, I will use several. These doctrines are not put in any particular order.

1. Monotheism- The belief that there is one God. This one God is named Yahweh. Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; Mark 12:29.

2. The deity of Christ- The belief that Jesus is the very God of Israel made flesh. John 1:1, 14, 20:28; Colossians 2:9.

3. The humanity of Christ- The belief that Jesus is also a genuine human being. Luke 2:52; Matthew 26:39; I John 4:2.

4. The physical resurrection of Christ- The belief in the literal and physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21; I Corinthians 15:1-14

5. The resurrection of the dead- The belief that the dead will rise, both the saved and lost.  Daniel 12:2; Matthew 22:23-32; I Corinthians 15:20-57

6. The afterlife- The belief that the spirit of man is still conscious after death in heaven and hell. I Samuel 28; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Matthew 24:41; II Corinthians 5:6-8; II Thessalonians 1:9.

7. The substitutionary death of Christ- The belief that Jesus died for our sins. Isaiah 53; Romans 4:25; I John 2:2.

8. The perfection of Christ- The belief that Jesus, unlike us, is without sin. II Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22.

9. Christ's return- The belief that Jesus will return to earth in a literal fashion to reign on earth. Matthew 24:37-51; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 1:11; Revelation 20:2-7, 22:20.

10. The judgment of mankind- The belief that the Lord Jesus Christ will judge mankind. Matthew 12:36; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:11-15.

11. The sinful state of man- The belief that mankind is sinful and in need of Jesus Christ's saving power. Psalm 51:5; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23.

12. The inspiration of the Bible- The belief that the Bible is inerrant and is the word of God. Matthew 5:17-18, 24: 35; Luke 16:17; John 10:35; I Corinthians 14:37; II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21, 3:16.

13. Salvation through faith- The belief that salvation is obtained by faith in Christ. We cannot earn our salvation through good deeds and living righteously. John 3:16; Romans 3:28-30, 11:6; Ephesians 2:8.

14. The New Covenant- The belief that Christians are no longer under the Old Covenant of the Torah, but under the New Covenant of Grace by Jesus the Messiah, who fulfilled the requirements of the Torah. Romans 6:7-8, 6:14; Galatians 3:24-25; Hebrews 4:4-10, 7:12.

15. The deity of the Holy Spirit- The belief that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God Himself and is not an impersonal force. Matthew 10:20; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 8:26-27; I Corinthians 2:10-11.

16. The existence of angels and demons- The belief that there are non-human spirits that are good or evil. This includes Satan. Isaiah 6; Daniel 8:15-27, 10:13; Job 6:1-12; Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 1:11-22, 26-38; Hebrews 1:4-14; Revelation 12:7.


Is "Jesus" A Pagan Name?

Many people who are Messianic Jews or followers of the Sacred Name Movement refuse to refer to the Messiah as "Jesus". Their contention is that the Messiah should be referred to by His Hebrew name. Some say that the Hebrew name of Messiah is Yeshua or Yahshua, and some say Yehoshua or Yahoshua (the "Yah" forms go against Hebrew grammar). Either way, they say that Jesus=Je-zeus.

The name "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew and Aramaic name Yeshua ( יֵשׁוּעַ ܝܫܘܥ). In Greek it looks like this: ιησου (Iesous). This name means "Yah saves". Zeus, the chief Greek deity, is the one whom some people say that "Jesus" is derived from. Zeus in Greek is this: Ζεύς. This looks nothing like Iesous. These words are only related in their sounds. Yehoshua ( יְהוֹשֻׁעַthe long form of Yeshua that is primarily used of Joshua) is also spelled as Iesous in the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. Interestingly enough, both the Peshitta Old Testament and New Testament refer to Joshua as Yeshua. Yeshua is also used instead of Yehoshua in Nehemiah 8:17 when describing Moses's successor. Joshua's name was originally Hoshea ("Hosea" הושע). Moses changed Joshua's name by adding a yod, which made the name not mean just "Saves" but "Yah[weh] saves" (Numbers 3:16) and changed the pronunciation to Yehoshua. Later on, the name was shortened by removing the heh, resulting in Yeshua. Jesus most likely did not pronounce His own name as "Yay-shoo-ah", as in the Galilean dialect, the letter shin (Sh) was pronounced like the letter semkath (s), the ayin pronunciation was also softened. This results in Jesus probably pronouncing His name as "Yeshu" (Yay-shoo) because of His accent, while others pronounced it in a way closer to Yeshua. So how did Yeshua become Iesous?

Hebrew and Aramaic are about as removed from Greek as Chinese is from English and Spanish. Many letters and sounds that were in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages could not be reproduced in the Greek language. The yod and "eh" sound ("Ye") could be transliterated into Greek as "Ie" (Ee-ay) but would not make the same sound. Shin ("Sh") could not be reproduced, since Greek does not have an "Sh" sound. The closest Greek could come with shin was the letter sigma (equivalent to the English s). The letter vav (waw in the ancient pronunciation) functions as the "oo" sound, so it could be reproduced with the letter omega. The final letter in the Messiah's Hebrew/Aramaic name is ayin, which is virtually unpronounceable (closest you can come is an "Ah" sound) and as such, could not be reproduced in Greek. Since Yeshua is a male name, the final sigma was added to the Greek transliteration. This results in the Iesous pronunciation, which later evolved into the modern English word "Jesus". 

As you can see, "Jesus" does come from Yeshua. There is no common descent between "Zeus" and "Jesus", and those who say so know nothing about the Greek language. I am an Aramaic primacist (so I believe that the name of the Messiah is rendered as Yeshua), but the English language pronunciation of the Messiah's name still means the same thing as Yeshua: "Yah saves". This name tells us who Jesus is and what He came to do: He is God in the flesh, coming to save us from our sins. Someone once said something that makes a great place to end this article: "Sounds don't have meanings, meanings have sounds."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Lord, Teach Us How To Pray!"

Prayer is one of the most important things to a Christian and should be a priority. Prayer is how Christians build a relationship with God. You do not get close to someone by reading about them, but by communicating with them. God is a good Father, and as such, He desires to speak with His children. The Old Testament and the New Testament both place strong emphasis on prayer. I Chronicles 16:11 says, "Search out Yahweh, and his power, Seek diligently his face, at all times." In I Thessalonians 5:17, the Apostle Paul tells us to pray without ceasing.

Prayer has great power if prayed in faith by a righteous person. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He prayed to His Father. John 11:41 says, "...And Jeshu lifted his eye upward, and said, Father, I give thanks to thee that thou hast heard me; and I know that at all times thou hearest me: yet, because of this assembly which standeth, I say these (words), that they may believe that thou hast sent me." James 5:13-18 also tells us of the power of prayer: "And if any of you be in affliction, let him pray; and if he rejoice, let him sing; and if he be sick, let him call for the presbyters of the church, and they will pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of our Lord. And the prayer of faith shall make whole him who was sick, and our Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. But confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. For great is the power of that prayer which the righteous prayeth. Elia also was a man of suffering, as we; and he prayed that the rain should not fall upon the earth, and it fell not (for) three years and six months. And again he prayed, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth gave her fruits."

God is moved by the earnest requests of a believer. John 11:33 mentions Jesus (God in the flesh) being moved by the mourners of Lazarus. Like every good father, God will give you your every need. Matthew 7:9-11 says, "Or what man from among you, who if his son shall ask bread, will reach forth a stone to him ? Or if a fish he shall ask of him, a serpent will he reach forth to him ? If, therefore, you who are evil know to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?"

In order for God to answer your sincere prayers, He wants these things of you:

1. Faith- "But in the early morn, as he returned to the city, he hungered: and he saw a certain fig-tree in the way, and came to it, but found nothing thereon but leaves only; and he said, Let there be no fruit upon thee again for ever. And immediately that fig-tree withered. And the disciples saw, and were astonished, saying, How in a moment is the fig-tree withered ! Jeshu answered and said to them, Amen I say to you, that if faith were in you, and you did not hesitate, you should not only do (as) to this fig-tree, but also were you to say to this mountain, Be thou lifted up and fall into the sea, it should be done. And whatsoever you shall ask in prayer and shall believe, you shall obtain." (Matthew 21:18-22)

2. Holy Lifestyle- "Far off is Yahweh, from the lawless, but, the prayer of the righteous, will he hear." (Proverbs 15:29)

How should we pray? In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus tells us how to pray:

"Thus pray: Our Father who art in the heavens! be sanctified thy Name. Come thy kingdom. Be done thy will, as in heaven, also in earth. Give to us the bread of our need to-day; and forgive us our debts, as also we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory to the age of ages."

In the historical context, Jesus was telling the disciples what to pray after the corporate Jewish prayer in the synagogue. Rabbi's gave their disciples prayers in order to identify them as being disciples of that certain Rabbi. This doesn't mean that we have to pray using these exact words, but there is nothing wrong with praying these words as long as you are sincere. Here is an analysis of how Jesus prays in this verse:

"Our Father who art in the heavens!"- Jesus begins by acknowledging the Fatherhood of God to His children. This also makes it clear that you are praying to the one true God: Yahweh.

"Be sanctified thy name."- Praise God for His holiness.

"Come thy kingdom. Be done thy will, as in heaven, also in earth."- Surrender all things to God and pray for His will to have free course in your life.

"Give to us the bread of our need to-day."- Bring your request before God.

"And forgive us our debts, as also we forgive our debtors."- Pray for God to forgive you of any sin that you have committed and to give you grace to forgive those who have done you wrongly.

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil."- "Temptation" comes from the Aramaic word nesyona, which is better translated as "trial". God does not tempt us with sin (James 1:13), but God does try us and allow us to be tried (Genesis 22:1) for our own good. The Aramaic phrase here can also be translated as, "Do not let us enter temptation." Pray for God to keep you from trials and to keep you from sin, and when you do enter into a trial or a temptation to sin, pray that God will bring you out of it.

"For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory to the age of ages."- Worship God and acknowledge His authority, power, and glory. This also helps you to remember that God holds all power and authority, and that His will is for your own good whether you like it or not.

This is not all that Jesus taught concerning how our attitude should be when we pray. Matthew 6:5-6 says, " And when thou prayest, be not as the face-takers, who love to stand in the assemblies and at the corners of the streets to pray, that they may be seen of men; and truly I say to you that they receive their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy secret chamber, and shut thy door, and pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee in openness." This means that we should not pray in order to show people how "holy" and "spiritual" we are. We should be humble and pray for the glory of God. Here are some other things that Jesus says about those who seek their own glory and about His own attitude:

 "He who from the will of his (own) mind speaketh, the glory of himself seeketh; but he who the glory of him who hath sent him seeketh, is true, and no iniquity is in him."- John 7:18

"Jeshu said to them, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing: it is my Father who glorifieth me; he, of whom you say that he is your God."- John 8:54

In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus goes on to say, "And when thou art praying, be not wordy, like the profane; for they think that in much speaking they are heard. Be you not like them, for your Father knoweth what is needful for you before that you ask him." You can pray for one hour and not accomplish anything because of you thinking that fancy prayers matter or because of a lack of sincerity. God is not ignorant of anything, He knows what you need already. Be humble, direct, and sincere when praying to God.

Persistence is also important in prayer. In Luke 18:2-8 Jesus gives this beautiful parable: 

"There was a judge in a certain city who of Aloha was not afraid, and of men was not regardful. But a certain widow was in that city, who came to him, saying, Avenge me of my adversary. And he was not willing long time; but afterward he said within himself, If of Aloha I am not afraid, and of men am not regardful, yet, because this widow wearies me, I will avenge her, that in all time she come not molesting me. And our Lord said, Hear what saith the unrighteous judge. But shall not Aloha do vengeance for his chosen, who cry to him by day and by night, and prolong his spirit towards them? I tell you he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man shall come, will he find faith upon the earth?"

The Amplified Bible translates the Greek version of Matthew 7:7-8 like this: "Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened."

Jesus's teachings on prayer can be summarized like this:

1. Pray in sincerity and not in order to make yourself look good.

2. Do not think that how long or how eloquent you are when you pray matters. God just wants to have dialogue with us and us with him.

3. Keep on praying and do not lose faith.