Gospel According to God

“There are recurring themes in scripture that seem unexplained such as sowing (picture of planting in ground as death or scattering seed which splits in two and then growth/life resurrection comes from this death) and reaping, sticks/trees (etz)/bones (etzam–share same root word) separating then coming together as one and putting on (one) flesh (basar) Good News/Gospel (basarah).   A picture of this is the cross two joined sticks in the shape of the sign of the covenant an x or t.  Natural firstborns are said to be the recipients of birthrights and inheritances however in repeated practice secondary sons (Second Adam is Jesus, Isaac, Joseph, etc.) are given these honors due to their heart of carrying on the heart and destiny of the father into the family legacy.  An only child of promise is conceived miraculously or with some obstacle overcome and becomes a prophet or a king/ruler, dies with some allusion to wood or a tree or bones and is raised or nearly dies or is nearly sacrificed and is miraculously raised, saved or there is an allusion of death but not a certainty…(Abraham and Isaac nearly sacrificed carried his own wood, Elijah raised the widow’s son stretching out like a cross, Jephthah’s daughter an olah to the Lord, Absalom hung in a tree, Ishmael nearly died sitting by a tree, etc.) …variations on a theme” –Dee Stover from Jesus in the Old Testament

 

Act 15:14  SimeonG4826 hath declaredG1834 howG2531 GodG2316 at the firstG4412 did visitG1980 the Gentiles,G1484 to takeG2983 out ofG1537 them a peopleG2992 forG1909 hisG848 name.G3686

Act 15:15  AndG2532 to thisG5129 agreeG4856 theG3588 wordsG3056 of theG3588 prophets;G4396 asG2531 it is written,G1125

Act 15:16  AfterG3326 thisG5023 I will return,G390 andG2532 will build againG456 theG3588 tabernacleG4633 of David,G1138 which is fallen down;G4098 andG2532 I will build againG456 theG3588 ruinsG2679 thereof,G846 andG2532 I will set it up:G461 G846

Act 15:17  ThatG3704 theG3588 residueG2645 of menG444 might seek afterG1567 G302 theG3588 Lord,G2962 andG2532 allG3956 theG3588 Gentiles,G1484 uponG1909 whomG3739 myG3450 nameG3686 is called,G1941 saith(G3004 G846) the Lord,G2962 who doethG4160 allG3956 these things.G5023

Act 15:18  KnownG1110 unto GodG2316 areG2076 allG3956 hisG848 worksG2041 fromG575 the beginning of the world.G165 

 

Let us see if we can find where God tells us his plan in creation—-

 

Gen 2:23  And AdamH121 said,H559 ThisH2063 is nowH6471 boneH6106 of my bones,H4480 H6106 and fleshH1320 of my flesh:H4480 H1320 sheH2063 shall be calledH7121 Woman,H802 becauseH3588 sheH2063 was takenH3947 out of Man.H4480 H376

Gen 2:24  ThereforeH5921 H3651 shall a manH376 leaveH5800 (H853) his fatherH1 and his mother,H517 and shall cleaveH1692 unto his wife:H802 and they shall beH1961 oneH259 flesh.H1320

H6106

עֶצֶם

‛etsem

eh’-tsem

From H6105; a bone (as strong); by extension the body; figuratively the substance, that is, (as pronoun) selfsame: – body, bone, X life, (self-) same, strength, X very.

 

H1320

בָּשָׂר

bâśâr

baw-sawr’

From H1319; flesh (from its freshness); by extension body, person; also (by euphemism) the pudenda of a man: – body, [fat, lean] flesh [-ed], kin, [man-] kind, + nakedness, self, skin.

 

Where do we find the word for Gospel (good news) in the Old Testament?

In fact, we find besar and besorah in the same verse here.

2Sa 18:20  And JoabH3097 saidH559 unto him, ThouH859 shalt notH3808 bear

tidingsH376 H1309 thisH2088 day,H3117 but thou shalt bear tidingsH1319 anotherH312 day:H3117 but thisH2088 dayH3117 thou shalt bear no tidings,H1319 H3808 becauseH3588 H5921 the king’sH4428 sonH1121 is dead.H4191

H1309

בְּשׂרָה    בְּשׂוֹרָה

beśôrâh    beśôrâh

bes-o-raw’, bes-o-raw’

Feminine from H1319; glad tidings; by implication reward for good news: – reward for tidings.

 

Eze 37:5  ThusH3541 saithH559 the LordH136 GODH3069 unto theseH428 bones;H6106 Behold,H2009 IH589 will cause breathH7307 to enterH935 into you, and ye shall live:H2421

Eze 37:6  And I will layH5414 sinewsH1517 uponH5921 you, and will bring upH5927 fleshH1320 uponH5921 you, and coverH7159 H5921 you with skin,H5785 and putH5414 breathH7307 in you, and ye shall live;H2421 and ye shall knowH3045 thatH3588 IH589 am the LORD.H3068

Eze 37:9  Then saidH559 he untoH413 me, ProphesyH5012 untoH413 the wind,H7307 prophesy,H5012 sonH1121 of man,H120 and sayH559 toH413 the wind,H7307 ThusH3541 saithH559 the LordH136 GOD;H3069 ComeH935 from the fourH4480 H702 winds,H7307 O breath,H7307 and breatheH5301 upon theseH428 slain,H2026 that they may live.H2421

Eze 37:10  So I prophesiedH5012 asH834 he commandedH6680 me, and the breathH7307 cameH935 into them, and they lived,H2421 and stood upH5975 uponH5921 their feet,H7272 an exceedingH3966 H3966 greatH1419 army.H2428

Eze 37:11  Then he saidH559 untoH413 me, SonH1121 of man,H120 theseH428 bonesH6106 are the wholeH3605 houseH1004 of Israel:H3478 behold,H2009 they say,H559 Our bonesH6106 are dried,H3001 and our hopeH8615 is lost:H6 we are cut offH1504 for our parts.

Eze 37:12  ThereforeH3651 prophesyH5012 and sayH559 untoH413 them, ThusH3541 saithH559 the LordH136 GOD;H3069 Behold,H2009 O my people,H5971 IH589 will openH6605 (H853) your graves,H6913 and cause you to come upH5927 out of your graves,H4480 H6913 and bringH935 you intoH413 the landH127 of Israel.H3478

Eze 37:13  And ye shall knowH3045 thatH3588 IH589 am the LORD,H3068 when I have openedH6605 (H853) your graves,H6913 O my people,H5971 and brought you upH5927 (H853) out of your graves,H4480 H6913

Eze 37:14  And shall putH5414 my spiritH7307 in you, and ye shall live,H2421 and I shall placeH5117 you inH5921 your own land:H127 then shall ye knowH3045 thatH3588 IH589 the LORDH3068 have spokenH1696 it, and performedH6213 it, saithH5002 the LORD.H3068

I Will Be Their God, They Shall Be My People

Eze 37:15  The wordH1697 of the LORDH3068 cameH1961 again untoH413 me, saying,H559

Eze 37:16  Moreover, thouH859 sonH1121 of man,H120 takeH3947 thee oneH259 stick,H6086 and writeH3789 uponH5921 it, For Judah,H3063 and for the childrenH1121 of IsraelH3478 his companions:H2270 then takeH3947 anotherH259 stick,H6086 and writeH3789 uponH5921 it, For Joseph,H3130 the stickH6086 of Ephraim,H669 and for allH3605 the houseH1004 of IsraelH3478 his companions:H2270

Eze 37:17  And joinH7126 them oneH259 toH413 anotherH259 into oneH259 stick;H6086 and they shall becomeH1961 oneH259 in thine hand.H3027

Eze 37:18  And whenH834 the childrenH1121 of thy peopleH5971 shall speakH559 untoH413 thee, saying,H559 Wilt thou notH3808 shewH5046 us whatH4100 thou meanest by these?H428

Eze 37:19  SayH1696 untoH413 them, ThusH3541 saithH559 the LordH136 GOD;H3069 Behold,H2009 IH589 will takeH3947 (H853) the stickH6086 of Joseph,H3130 whichH834 is in the handH3027 of Ephraim,H669 and the tribesH7626 of IsraelH3478 his fellows,H2270 and will putH5414 them withH5921 him, even withH854 the stickH6086 of Judah,H3063 and makeH6213 them oneH259 stick,H6086 and they shall beH1961 oneH259 in mine hand.H3027

Eze 37:20  And the sticksH6086 whereonH834 H5921 thou writestH3789 shall beH1961 in thine handH3027 before their eyes.H5869

Eze 37:21  And sayH1696 untoH413 them, ThusH3541 saithH559 the LordH136 GOD;H3069 Behold,H2009 IH589 will takeH3947 (H853) the childrenH1121 of IsraelH3478 from amongH4480 H996 the heathen,H1471 whitherH834 H8033 they be gone,H1980 and will gatherH6908 them on every side,H4480 H5439 and bringH935 them intoH413 their own land:H127

Eze 37:22  And I will makeH6213 them oneH259 nationH1471 in the landH776 upon the mountainsH2022 of Israel;H3478 and oneH259 kingH4428 shall beH1961 kingH4428 to them all:H3605 and they shall beH1961 noH3808 moreH5750 twoH8147 nations,H1471 neitherH3808 shall they be dividedH2673 into twoH8147 kingdomsH4467 any more at all:H5750 H5750

Eze 37:23  NeitherH3808 shall they defileH2930 themselves any moreH5750 with their idols,H1544 nor with their detestable things,H8251 nor with anyH3605 of their transgressions:H6588 but I will saveH3467 them out of allH4480 H3605 their dwelling places,H4186 whereinH834 they have sinned,H2398 and will cleanseH2891 them: so shall they beH1961 my people,H5971 and IH589 will beH1961 their God.H430

Eze 37:24  And DavidH1732 my servantH5650 shall be kingH4428 overH5921 them; and they allH3605 shall haveH1961 oneH259 shepherd:H7462 they shall also walkH1980 in my judgments,H4941 and observeH8104 my statutes,H2708 and doH6213 them.

Eze 37:25  And they shall dwellH3427 inH5921 the landH776 thatH834 I have givenH5414 unto JacobH3290 my servant,H5650 whereinH834 your fathersH1 have dwelt;H3427 and they shall dwellH3427 therein,H5921 even they,H1992 and their children,H1121 and their children’sH1121 childrenH1121 for ever:H5769 and my servantH5650 DavidH1732 shall be their princeH5387 for ever.H5769

Eze 37:26  Moreover I will makeH3772 a covenantH1285 of peaceH7965 with them; it shall beH1961 an everlastingH5769 covenantH1285 withH854 them: and I will placeH5414 them, and multiplyH7235 them, and will setH5414 my sanctuaryH4720 in the midstH8432 of them for evermore.H5769

Eze 37:27  My tabernacleH4908 also shall beH1961 withH5921 them: yea, I will beH1961 their God,H430 and theyH1992 shall beH1961 my people.H5971

Eze 37:28  And the heathenH1471 shall knowH3045 thatH3588 IH589 the LORDH3068 do sanctifyH6942 (H853) Israel,H3478 when my sanctuaryH4720 shall beH1961 in the midstH8432 of them for evermore.H5769

H6086

עֵץ

‛êts

ates

From H6095; a tree (from its firmness); hence wood (plural sticks): –    + carpenter, gallows, helve, + pine, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree, wood.

 

H4908

מִשְׁכָּן

mishkân

mish-kawn’

From H7931; a residence (including a shepherd’s hut, the lair of animals, figuratively the grave; also the Temple); specifically the Tabernacle (properly its wooden walls): – dwelleth, dwelling (place), habitation, tabernacle, tent.

 

 

Amo 9:9  For,H3588 lo,H2009 IH595 will command,H6680 and I will siftH5128 (H853) the houseH1004 of IsraelH3478 among allH3605 nations,H1471 like asH834 corn is siftedH5128 in a sieve,H3531 yet shall notH3808 the least grainH6872 fallH5307 upon the earth.H776

Amo 9:10  AllH3605 the sinnersH2400 of my peopleH5971 shall dieH4191 by the sword,H2719 which say,H559 The evilH7451 shall notH3808 overtakeH5066 nor preventH6923 H1157 us.

 

The Restoration of Israel

Amo 9:11  In thatH1931 dayH3117 will I raise upH6965 (H853) the tabernacleH5521 of DavidH1732 that is fallen,H5307 and close upH1443 (H853) the breachesH6556 thereof; and I will raise upH6965 his ruins,H2034 and I will buildH1129 it as in the daysH3117 of old:H5769

Amo 9:12  ThatH4616 they may possessH3423 (H853) the remnantH7611 of Edom,H123 and of allH3605 the heathen,H1471 whichH834 are called byH7121 H5921 my name,H8034 saithH5002 the LORDH3068 that doethH6213 this.H2063

Amo 9:13  Behold,H2009 the daysH3117 come,H935 saithH5002 the LORD,H3068 that the plowmanH2790 shall overtakeH5066 the reaper,H7114 and the treaderH1869 of grapesH6025 him that sowethH4900 seed;H2233 and the mountainsH2022 shall dropH5197 sweet wine,H6071 and allH3605 the hillsH1389 shall melt.H4127

Amo 9:14  And I will bring againH7725 (H853) the captivityH7622 of my peopleH5971 of Israel,H3478 and they shall buildH1129 the wasteH8074 cities,H5892 and inhabitH3427 them; and they shall plantH5193 vineyards,H3754 and drinkH8354 (H853) the wineH3196 thereof; they shall also makeH6213 gardens,H1593 and eatH398 (H853) the fruitH6529 of them.

Amo 9:15  And I will plantH5193 them uponH5921 their land,H127 and they shall noH3808 moreH5750 be pulled upH5428 out ofH4480 H5921 their landH127 whichH834 I have givenH5414 them, saithH559 the LORDH3068 thy God.H430

H5521

סֻכָּה

sûkkâh

sook-kaw’

Feminine of H5520; a hut or lair: – booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent.

 

H5307

נָפַל

nâphal

naw-fal’

A primitive root; to fall, in a great variety of applications (intransitively or causatively, literally or figuratively): – be accepted, cast (down, self, [lots], out), cease, die, divide (by lot), (let) fail, (cause to, let, make, ready to) fall (away, down, -en, -ing), fell (-ing), fugitive, have [inheritamce], inferior, be judged [by mistake for H6419], lay (along), (cause to) lie down, light (down), be (X hast) lost, lying, overthrow, overwhelm, perish, present (-ed, -ing), (make to) rot, slay, smite out, X surely, throw down.

 

H2034

הֲרִיסָה

hărı̂ysâh

har-ee-saw’

From H2040; something demolished: – ruin.

 

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Article “Lingering Elements of a Hebrew Matthew?”

I found an interesting article to share about reasons to believe Matthew was originally written in Hebrew found here.

http://www.datingthenewtestament.com/Matthew.htm

“Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, and according to ancient church tradition, it was the first of the four gospels to be written. However, when we endeavour to date the time of writing of the New Testament books, we believe the reader may be best served to first read the article on Luke and Acts. There we date Luke between 60-62 A.D., and can use that as a reference to discuss the date of writing for Matthew.

Matthew, Mark and Luke together are called the synoptic (“same eye”) gospels. This is due to the close relationship between the three, as all three tell many of the same stories, often in the same way and with the same words. Of the 661 verses in Mark, Matthew reproduces 606 of them and Luke reproduces 320 of them. Of the 55 verses in Mark but not Matthew, 31 are present in Luke.[William Barclay, The Gospel of Mark, pp. 2-3] One clear example of the connection between the gospels is the story of the man who was sick of the palsy (Mark 2:1-12, Matt 9:1-8 and Luke 5:17-26). The accounts are so similar that even a little parenthesis -“he said top the paralytic”- occurs in all three accounts in exactly the same place.

An additional point to make about the relationship between Mark and Matthew is that the connection between the two books is a written connection rather than an oral connection. In other words, the connection is not due to an account passed down by word of mouth, but rather, one book used a written copy of the other. This can be shown by comparing Mark 13:14, which says: “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains” with Matt 24:15-16: “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” Here both books interrupt a speech by Jesus in the same place, to make the same side note to the reader – “let the reader understand.” This is a “reader”, implying a written book.

Early Christian witnesses indicate that Matthew was the first gospel written, and that it was originally written in Hebrew. Papias (ca. 70-155 A.D.), bishop of Hierapolis, wrote that “Matthew collected the oracles in the Hebrew language, and each interpreted them as best he could.” This witness by Papias has been treated quite roughly, as modern writers first have assumed he meant Aramaic when he said Hebrew, and then rejected his comment anyway. There are multiple reasons for this, but one primary reason is that a Hebrew Matthew is inconsistent with the modern two-source theory, the predominant theory of the origin of Matthew. (The two-source theory stipulates that Matthew and Luke drew from the gospel of Mark and a second source of Jesus sayings, usually designated as “Q”). Nevertheless, other church fathers repeated and expanded on the comments of Papias. Irenaeus wrote: “Matthew also issued a written gospel among the Hebrews in their own language.” Origen, quoted by Eusebius wrote: “Matthew…composed as it was in the Hebrew language.” Finally, Jerome wrote: “Matthew, who wrote in the Hebrew language…” (Epist 20.5). Jerome was a formidable scholar who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, and he certainly knew the difference between Hebrew and Aramaic.

I believe that Matthew (and Mark) are gospels which had what could be called a complex origin, and this is the reason for the complexities modern in comparisons of Matthew, Mark and Luke. By a complex origin, I mean that both Matthew and Mark were originally written close in time to the life of Christ, perhaps within a year or two of the crucifixion. These gospels were nurtured, revised, and extended by the early church until they came into the form we have today. In the case of Matthew, the modern form of the gospel is in Greek, but I believe the first version was written in Hebrew.

The Original Language of Matthew

Before we address the date of writing for Matthew, I believe we do need to address the language in which it was written. The best source for Matthew as we have it today is, like the rest of the New Testament, the common Greek version, of which there are numerous ancient manuscripts or manuscript fragments. Still, it would not be surprising in principle to learn that Matthew, Mark or any other early Jewish Christian wrote a gospel in Hebrew; Hebrew was the language used in the synagogue, and Christians initially tried to witness within the synagogues. First century Jews would be accustomed to dealing with religious texts written in Hebrew. If Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, this would imply that the Greek Matthew we have today is a translation from the Hebrew.

Most modern scholars deny that Matthew was written in Hebrew originally, but the question is actually very complex. It is nearly certain that the dialogue between characters in the gospels was originally almost entirely in Hebrew or Aramaic. Therefore, any verse that quotes someone speaking is necessarily a translation – the only question is whether the translation occurred from a spoken Hebrew/Aramaic into written Greek, or from a written Hebrew/Aramaic into written Greek. For example, Matthew 1:21 says “You shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” This verse, though very familiar, doesn’t actually make sense in Greek (or English). It is only when one reads the text in Hebrew, and realizes that the name “Jesus” (Yeshua) is derived from the word “save” (Yoshia) that the sentence makes sense. There are numerous cases like this, and they are not limited to just Matthew.
Still, there are reasons to believe that beyond just transcribing spoken Hebrew/Aramaic into written Greek, Matthew may have originally been written in Hebrew. The genealogy of Matthew 1:1-16 uses the identical wording pattern as many of the Hebrew Old Testament geneologies (X begat Y, Y begat Z, etc.). This could be just coincidental, but by comparison the genealogy in Luke 3:23-38 uses wording unlike any Old Testament genealogy (Luke being originally written in Greek). Furthermore, Matthew ends his genealogy with the comment that there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 generations from the exile to Christ. Hebrew letters double as numbers, and as a result, every Hebrew word has a number associated with it, the number usually being calculated by summing the individual letters. David’s name has a very low number – 14. This would have been common knowledge to Jewish Hebrew language readers, and Matthew is perhaps using the three 14’s to further point to Jesus being the Son of David, the Messiah. This interesting point of course makes sense only in Hebrew and is obliterated in any translation. Matt 1:25 says Joseph did not “know” his wife before Jesus was born, using a familiar Hebrew (but not Greek) euphimism for sexual relations between a husband and wife. Note that the examples we have offered so far are all limited to just the first chapter of Matthew. We could offer more, but for purposes of brevity, will stop at this point.

It has been much observed that the New Testament writers quote more from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, than they do from the Masoretic Text, the most common Hebrew Text. Now often it is impossible to tell which Old Testament version is being used, since the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text are frequently essentially identical. Still, when there are differences, the New Testament writers usually draw from the Septuagint. This is understandable, since the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Septuagint was a readily available Greek translation of the Old Testament. Also, in a Greek speaking congregation, the Septuagint would be the Bible used by the people, providing the apostles all the more reason to quote from it. However, Matthew (along with the letter to the Hebrews) goes against the trend. In places where the Hebrew Old Testament Masoretic Text differs from the Septuagint, Matthew’s quotes usually (not always) more closely match the Masoretic Text. An example of this can be seen in Matt 2:15: “Out of Egypt I called My Son”. This is a case where the Hebrew Text and the Septuagint are substantially different, as the Septuagint of Hosea 11:1 says “Out of Egypt I called his children” and misses the point of the prophecy. Matthew’s quote exactly matches the Hebrew of Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

At this point, we will introduce an unusual piece of evidence in the discussion of the original language of Matthew. A complete Hebrew text of Matthew appears in a 14th century text entitled Even Bohan. This book was written in Aragon, Spain by a Jewish man named Shem-Tov ben-Isaac ben Shaprut. This is a lengthy text written in opposition to Christianity, so Shem Tov uses his Gospel of Matthew in a hostile fashion, to attack it. It is beyond the purpose of this book to deal with the Shem Tov Matthew in great detail. For this, the reader is directed to George Howard’s Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. However, there are still some useful points that can be made.

Some fringe organizations have seized on the Shem Tov Matthew as being a significant text, but mainstream scholarship has largely set it aside. The weaknesses of the Shem Tov Matthew are very apparent:

There are numerous Greek texts of Matthew much older than the 14th century
The book shows signs of significant tampering in important theological areas. All references to the need to spread the gospel to gentiles (as in Matt 28:19-20) have been struck or reworded out. Narrative references to Jesus as Christ have also been changed, though the characters in the story are still allowed to call Him Christ. Also, passages dealing with John the Baptist have been altered to give him a somewhat more elevated status than appears in the canonical gospels.
The book looks as if the Hebrew has been updated from what it would have been in the first century A.D. In some cases, this has wiped out Hebraisms that actually remain in the Greek text of the book. For example, the Greek New Testament always says “amen” (A Hebraism) for “truly”, as in Matt 5:20, while the Shem Tov Matthew says “in truth” (b’emeth).
In a few places, it looks like the book was modified to conform to the Vulgate, which was the primary Christian Bible used in the Middle Ages.
Finally, the only witness for this gospel of Matthew comes from Shem Tov, not an individual who loved the book and wanted to preserve it, but rather an individual who was writing a polemical treatise against it.
I believe these weaknesses render the Shem Tov Matthew essentially useless for any religious purpose, and it also should not be trusted as a primary source in any textual criticism study of Matthew. However, there are two things about the book that seem instructive:

The Shem Tov Matthew has many examples of puns, alliteration and word connections, far more than in the Greek text of Matthew or even modern Hebrew texts that were translated from the Greek. These types of literary devices are common in Biblical Hebrew, but it is unlikely that Shem Tov created them, as he was opposed to the Christian message and would not want to make the text more literary than it really was. It is also unlikely that this text was translated from Greek, as modern Hebrew translations of Matthew do not have many of these literary devices. The literary nature of the book indicates that its ancestral text, its original, may not have been a translation at all, but rather may have been originally written in Hebrew. In one example of word-play, the Hebrew of Matt 10:36 says the “enemies” (oyevim) are to be “loved ones” (ohuvim). There are too many such examples to list. There is one very prominent play on words in the Greek text of Matthew, and it occurs in 16:18, where Jesus says to Peter, “you are Peter (Petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church.” Interestingly, the Hebrew text of that verse contains a different play on words. Jesus says, “You are a stone (Eben), and upon you I will build (Ebenah) my house of prayer.”
In the canonical New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is a single long message spoken by Jesus, without any narrative interruption. However, in the Shem Tov Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount is interrupted 16 times by the introductory phrase “Again Jesus said to His disciples”, or something similar. These interruptions occur in Matt 5:13, 5:17, 5:20, 5:25, 5:27, 5:31, 5:43, 6:2, 6:5, 6:16, 6:19, 6:24, 7:6, 7:13, 7:15 and 7:24. The location of the interruptions is significant when placed in parallel with Luke’s usage of the same verses. Every time the Hebrew has an interruption, Luke either jumps to a different place in his gospel, or Luke does not have those verses. This curious fact may suggest that a common source or sources for the sayings of Jesus stand behind both Matthew and Luke. In a way, these interruptions could be considered fingerprints of the famous Q source. But if so, it would point to a Hebrew language Q. A similar thing happens in the Olivet discourse of Matthew 24-25. The Shem Tov version of Matt 24:27 interrupts Jesus’ talk with the narrative “Again Jesus said to His disciples.” This ends a section that appears also in Mark, while the following passage (Matt 24:27) does not appear in Mark. Interruptions also in Matt 24:37 (Luke diff spot, Mark doesn’t have it), 24:42 (Mark has it, diff spot, Luke does not), 25:1 (not in Mark or Luke), 25:14, 25:31 (not in Mark or Luke).
Bases on the testimony of the Early Church Fathers, the characteristics of the Shem Tov Matthew, and the internal evidence of Matthew itself, I would conclude that the earliest version of the Gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew. Furthermore, the differences between the Shem Tov Matthew and the canonical Matthew give evidence that various significantly different renditions of Matthew once existed. Our canonical Greek Matthew would necessarily be the final, most polished rendition. Luke would have had access to an earlier rendition of Matthew (one which still retained the sermon interruptions found in the Shem Tov Matthew but not the canonical Matthew) and also an early rendition of Mark, along with other sources. I believe this is the best explanation for the similarities and the differences between the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

This would mean the first Hebrew rendition of Matthew was written close in time to Christ’s earthly ministry – probably not more than a year or two after the founding of the church. The earliest rendition was refined, perhaps in multiple stages, and eventually translated into Greek for use in the larger church.

When then, would Matthew have reached its final canonical form? There are clues to the answer in the passages dealing with Matthew’s attitude toward Jewish institutions. In Matt 17:24-27, Peter is challenged as to whether or not Jesus pays the two-drachma tax. This was a tax collected to maintain the temple. The short account ends with Jesus and Peter both paying it. The most immediate application of the story seems to address Jewish Christian readers, to inform them that they ought to continue to pay this tax. Needless to say, this points to a date of writing before 70. Matthew also has a good deal to say about the Sadducees, a sect controlling the priesthood and dependent on Roman favor. The Sadducees essentially disappeared after 70. Matt 12:6 quotes Hosea 6:6, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” This Old Testament passage may have been chosen instead of other similar passages, in order to negate the requirement for sacrifices for Jewish Christians.

So overall, the culture behind the book of Matthew seems to indicate an audience of Jewish Christians, who still have a connection to the Jewish faith and ought to continue paying the temple tax, but who are beginning to separate themselves from non-Christian Jews in other ways, such as the practice of animal sacrifice. The Jewish Christians abandoned Jerusalem some time after 62 A.D., but either before the Roman Jewish war or shorty after its start in 66 A.D. This would have been a major step in the breach between Christians and Jews. The gospel of Matthew was likely completed before such a permanent breach was in sight. A date around 60 A.D. would seem reasonable.”

Have You Sevened Yourself?

Have You Sevened Yourself?

Safar is the Hebrew word meaning to count, to document,to inscribe, to allow, also learned man, muster officer, scribe, rehearse. The paleo Hebrew word pictures spell samek-pey-resh so think of a thorn..mouth..head of a man.  So you are inscribing yourself … Continue reading

Los Lunas, NM Paleo Hebrew Decalogue by Stephen M. Collins

Los Lunas, NM Paleo Hebrew Decalogue by Stephen M. Collins

The 10 Commandments carved in a script like Moses, David and Daniel would have used was known to exist in New Mexico USA since at least 1880 BCE.  Hebrews would likely have come during the reign of King Solomon who had a fleet of ships for extended voyages and an insatiable thirst for knowledge of what the world had to offer.  He was known for amassing much wealth from far away places. 

Lost Identity?

When you want to change a people, change their language. They will lose touch with their identity.

The Bible alphabet was changed during Daniel’s time (Babylonian captivity of Judah).  Recall Daniel was instructed to ‘seal up the book until the time of the end’.  Was this laying aside of the Paleo Hebrew the mechanism to accomplish this?  It is becoming open to us now…are we in the time of the end?

Frank Houtz on How to Understand the Aleph Tavs in Scripture…

“People who study Hebrew without studying linguistics will make horrible mistakes. This is one of the things I plead about often when speaking to people within this movement. We all need to go back to school and study linguistics. MP is light years ahead of a fluent Hebrew speaker even though he feels quite inadequate with the language. One can be fluent, think in Hebrew, dream in Hebrew and have no clue about grammatical nuances and how these things fit when translating into other languages. I know many people who are fluent in both English and Hebrew, that would make numerous errors in their analysis of a Hebrew text because they do not understand linguistics. He has done a great job in explaining how the term is used.

Now for an additional piece of information that will make a non-Hebrew speaking individual find stand alone ets. The Aleph and the Tav together as a word has several meanings in addition to being and indicator of the direct object. First is the word “you.” Masculine singular is the word atah which does not look like the et only because it adds a hey on the end. The feminine form has no hey, so it looks exactly like the direct object indicator in an unpointed text. When someone doesn’t know Hebrew very well, they will often say that the pointing is a rabbinic tradition, therefore invalid. Well, I guess you can have that opinion if you want, but when it is based totally on, I want it to read this way, then I suspect there will not be any truth in their findings. So the female word for you, pronounced “at” (a as in car) rather than “et” is one way an aleph and tav will be together and not be indicating a direct object. It may appear unneeded in the text since the verb will also be in second person feminine singular doing double duty for the word you. That is done often in Hebrew and can be found in all forms of the word you.

On another note, the word et (the vowel pronounced “eh” as in head) or eit (the vowel pronounced “a” as in hate) can both be a sign of the direct object or the word “with.” When used as with, it will appear to have no relationship to the direct object since it has no relationship to the direct object other than it has two nouns tied together rather than a verb tied with a noun. Example: John et Mary ran (John ran with Mary) rather than John chased et Mary (John chased Mary) In the first sentence the noun John is connected to a second noun with et while in the second sentence the verb “chased” is connected to the second noun “Mary.” Context clarifies meaning. Since not many people study Hebrew grammar to that degree, there is a lot of confusion when they merely look at the text and pick out a word formed by an aleph and a tav.

Now there is another idea that is being missed here. First you can find many Rabbis who have suggested similar reasons for the et. Many of them famous. While they are not necessarily claiming that the et refers to messiah, there have be other allegoric interpretations. One must fully understand what they are doing or it will lead to discussions like this. First they are taking the literal reading of the text and saying the et is an indicator of the direct object. This is called the pashat meaning. Then they expound upon the text making a drash (allegoric meaning). So in their homily, they explain that the et has other meanings. That is somewhat different from what you are understanding these messianic teachers to be doing. They seem to be saying that the et literally means Messiah. That is what Maggid, Tonga and MP are protesting. No, this is a grammatical term and it does not literally mean Messiah. Now allegorically, it might mean that, and could be argued by the revelation passage which is making an allegorical usage of the Alpha and Omega. There is a basis from the Prophets to form this conclusion, but that alone is insufficient to prove that God intended to sneak in the et to always stand for Messiah. I must add my vote with Maggid, Tonga, and MP stating that this is stretching things quite a bit.”

Frank Houtz on the Aleph Tav…not literal (p’shat), but per John’s Revelation and John 1 take the hint (remez) and we can midrash (drash) about it and come up with an esoteric (sod) idea from it.

Pastor, I Took You a Little Too Seriously

An answer to a blog from a former pastor of mine…

You should be proud…when I learned as a young SBC child and teen and continued to hear from you in later years how the Baptist tradition is to emulate the era of the disciples…I took you a little too seriously. I really believe that I am to do as Jesus and the disciples did. I believe I should not be swayed by the latter decisions of Constantine and the popes, but that I ought to take the reformers ideals to heart so much that I do the Leviticus 23 Feasts and Sabbath.

When one just picks up a Bible and reads and does not have someone to sway them into traditions that came up later, one will just research and live that way. That is who I want to be. I want to understand the Hebrew and the Greek as it was intended from the Hebraic cultural point of view. I want to look at the Paleo Hebrew pictographs in regard to a Hebrew word and ask God ‘what did this particular word mean to Moses when he shared it with Your people?’ That is possible now.

The resurrection of the Hebrew language to modern usage is also a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy: “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of YHWH”(Zephaniah 3:9)
Every letter of the Hebrew alephbet is in the preceding verse which indicates to me we are to take notice of the entire alephbet and know something important is being communicated through it.

The Hebrew word for “letter of the alephbet” is owt (aleph-vav-tav pronounced ‘oat’), which can also mean “sign” or “wonder.” When the Creator spoke the world into existence this means he used a divine language to do it…one which transcends time and space. Messiah is ‘devar elohim’, the Word of God made flesh according to the Gospel of John. Acrostics are embedded in the book of Esther which spell God’s name several time, but weren’t we all taught God’s name was not there?

The Paleo Hebrew alephbet was set aside during or just after the time Daniel and Ezra and of the Babylonian captivity.   Recall the instruction in Daniel 12:4: “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”

Link to Ancient Hebrew Chart:

 

So God hid/planted the seed/word of God until the time of the end/harvest!  Too cool!

This time has come. The pure language is there for us to find. Interestingly, an elephant is spelled in pictures as ‘staff which is both mouth and hand’, eretz /earth is spelled strong head with fishhook (gravity)! An example of how this works is the root word ‘ab-’ meaning father and spelled aleph (ox/strong leader), bet (tent/house/family). So the meaning is the spelling. Mother is spelled ‘im-’ aleph (strong), mem (flow, womb, river). This works on so many levels…she births, she cries, she is often the flow of emotions. This is the root for amen (add a nun for seed the continuance of the strong flow, emet (truth….add a tav for the sign of the strong flow…aleph is the first letter of the alephbet, mem the middle, tav the last…so truth is the first last and all in between!!!), emunah (faith…is amen plus the letter hey [window,see, behold] which implies behold the strong flow is continuing into the future with an heir)!!! Every Hebrew word works this way. Your Bible will open up to you in exciting ways you never imagined.

A child (of Western Language heritage) can recognize the letters (upside down or sideways) to pronounce it and the letters are pictures which form the agri-biological meanings that inspired the words.

And there are other ways to study like chiastic structures (a-b-c-d-c’-b’-a’) comparisons, etc. Various scriptures have the same structures if you look in the Hebrew for what verbs are used in the stories. This was a mnemonic device for oral recall, however God also ordained these so we will see patterns he wants us to notice. Look at all the ‘say you are my sister’ stories…and compare the variations and consider how they relate to messianic prophecy. Look at all the stories where a child dies, almost dies, possibly dies (Jephthah’s daughter, Ishmael, Shunamite’s son, Isaac, etc.) and is resurrected/yet lives/is delivered…or in the case of Jephthah’s daughter the olah is generally considered a whole burnt offering that goes ‘up’ but there is a possibility that the meaning of the word doesn’t necessarily mean she was killed but set apart to go ‘up’ to mountain and serve God for her whole life as a virgin. The important part is not to decide which happened but to notice there is a sense of death and yet raising ‘up’!

Jeremiah 6:16 in the NIV just for you, Pastor :
This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’