Love This Middle Eastern Book We Call The Bible
Viewing anything through our own lens can put a slant on our interpretation. Just ask any two people to tell their side of a dispute, it’s amazing how uniquely we perceive what we believe to be true.
Lets take the Bible for example. A Middle Eastern book packed with ancient Hebrew idioms, each letter expressing a concrete meaning, (which means using only the five senses to describe the unseen) and each word having multidimensional depth. When did our Western abstract way of thinking begin, (our ability to describe the unseen with concepts like; love, anger and compassion)?
A little reminder of our history may be all we need to understand why we believe what we believe to be true.
One of the biggest changes to the ancient Hebrew alphabet occurred around 612 BC, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Kingdom had conquered the Assyrian Empire.
It was during this time period Jeremiah’s prophesy Jeremiah 25:10-12 came to fruition. The Babylonians conquered Judah, taking captives such as Daniel, who acknowledged the 70 year exile in Daniel 9:2:4. Scholars find the first Aramaic influence on the ancient Hebrew alphabet. Changes from the picture shapes morphed into a more square Aramaic shape.
In 538 BC, Cyrus of Persia ruled over the Babylonians. He was the one Isaiah prophesied would free the Jews to return to their land and rebuilt their temple, Isaiah 45:12-14. This ended their 70 year captivity, this is recorded in the book of Daniel.
The next notable changes to these ancient Hebrew writings came after the reign of Alexander the Great, 323 BC. It was during the reign of King Ptlolmy, when millions of Koine Greek speaking Jews were living in Egypt. Ptolomy wanted to build a library containing every great book in the world. He summoned seventy two translators from Jerusalem, six from every tribe, to Alexandria in order to get the best translation from the Hebrew. This translation was later called the Septuagint, meaning seventy, in Latin. (During the time period of the Seleucids of Syria, the Hasmonean Dynasty and the Roman Empire.)
It was during this Graeco-Roman era, 332 BC- 395 AD, that the Greeks had completely dominated ancient Hebrew culture. The entire collection of ancient Hebrew writings had long since been translated into Koine Greek, known as the Septuagint. In the 4th century St. Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate primarily from the Septuagint because most of the ancient Hebrew scrolls had been destroyed with the second temple in 70 AD.
This was the same time period Emperor Constantine gave rise to “imperial Christianity.” A much different Christianity than that of the followers of Jesus/Y’shuah who continued observing the festivals and Sabbaths. These disciples understood that these feasts represented specific dates and times, the first four being fulfilled by Y’shuah’s death/ resurrection and the giving of His Spirit at Pentecost.
Constantine persecuted those who didn’t conform to his changes, even blending pagan customs into his religion which went directly against God’s teachings;
“Be watchful that you are not ensnared into following them, (pagan customs), after they have been destroyed before you and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? We will do likewise.” Deuteronomy 12:30
One of the most disturbing changes Constantine made was officially changing the seventh day Sabbath, (to cease, to rest from work ) to the first day of the week, March 7th 321 AD.
Genesis 2:3 “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
Elaborate “church” buildings were built because he didn’t understanding that the word “church” referred to “the people” and not a building. The Greek word ekklesia and the Hebrew word qahal both translate “assembly or congregation,” not the building.
Although Constantine died in 337 AD, the Christian religion has still not been able to cleanse the roots of it’s corruption.
Jumping ahead now to the year 1620. Small groups from England, calling themselves “Pilgrims,” “Puritans and “Separatists”” gave everything they had to keep God’s Word pure. The United States of America was founded on their sacrifice for this freedom. Freedom from celebrating pagan holidays and the dictates of everything else they were learning was not found within the pages of their newly acquired English Bibles.
Today, it’s been only a few hundred years and our own history is being revised and quickly forgotten. So what happens if we don’t remember our own history let alone the history of this Middle Eastern Book we call our Bible?
——–“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana(1863-1952).——-
God’s Eternal Word remains incorruptible but the interpretations and translations of people have caused many divisions, Galatians 5:20. Even though it’s clear that His Word teaches us “God is One”. Unity continues to evade us, even with our clear Western translation; “accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Colossians 3:13-15 and Ephesians 2:14,15 Y’shuah is our Peace, He has made both Jewish and Non-Jewish into One new man, establishing Peace.
“Love” is the perfect bond of unity! “God is “Love”. 1 John 4:7-9 Not just the Western definition of love but the Hebrew word, “Ahava.” It’s meaning is much deeper and more of an action word of doing and giving unconditional, unfailing love that is not based on feelings.
“Love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:26-28
Other teachings about “hell” also have pagan roots, please study the history of this topic. The English word, “Hell” has been substituted for the Hebrew word, “Sheol” meaning “Grave,” and the Greek equivalent, “Hades.” In addition, “Gehenna” and “Tartarus” are mistranslated by the same word, “Hell.” This originates from Jeromes 4th century Latin Vulgate translation. A blending of Greek Mythology, Hades-the god of the underworld and the unseen, hidden and unknown original meaning of “the grave.” The Truth About Hell
Some other eye openers I’ve discovered, as I attempt to learn more about history and Ancient Hebrew thinking, is that Y’shuah most likely didn’t speak with any “I” statements. This was a culture aware of the need to rid themselves of “ego,” “self” and “pride.”
Learning this has helped me understand some previously controversial verses, such as Jesus’/Y’shuah’s words in John 14:6 “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
The meaning becomes quite clear knowing that Y’shuah wasn’t the “I.” On the contrary, whenever Y’shuah spoke He was speaking the teachings of God. He was the Word/Teachings of God in the flesh.
John 1:1 reads, “In the beginning was the Word/Teaching, and the Word/Teaching was with God, and the Word/Teaching was God.”
In the beginning God “spoke” us into existence, He entrusted Moses with His “Teachings.”
The Hebrew word “Torah” means “Teachings or Instruction” of God…vs.14 And the Word/”Teaching” was made flesh, and dwelt among us…John 1:13-15
Y’shuah was the “Torah/Teaching” of God in the flesh.
The prophet Isaiah even foretold of His birth in 740 BC Isaiah 7:13-15 God’s Word walked among us in the flesh, He was Immanuel, God with us and the meaning of His Hebrew Name is Y’shuah our Salvation.
Our Salvation is to know God. John 17:2-4
“I/(Your Teachings) have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and I/(Your Teachings) will continue to make [You] known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them and that I/(Your Teachings) may be in them.” John 17:26
He gave us the Words of Eternal Life and “doing” His Teaching is our Salvation. John 6:67-69
“His Truth endures to all generations!” Psalm 100:4-5
Thankfully we have a promise that we will find Him when we search for Him with ALL our heart. Jeremiah 29:12-14 . Because of the Covenant He made with His own blood, His Word/Teaching has now been implanted on our hearts. James 1:20-22
I’n conclusion, I’m still not sure why Western translators decided to change the original names; Ya’aqov to James, Y’shuah to Jesus and YHWH or El to Lord and God? I just like knowing that they did. Because a name is only a title in Middle Eastern thinking and the “Names” of God reveal His “Character/Attributes” and God’s Character is unchanging. James 1:16-18
He is everything Good, Generous and True, He is Love, He is All Knowing, All Powerful, Pure Loving Kindness, Full of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness, Faithful and Impartial, He will never leave or forsake us and He can be trusted!!
Humbly we receive His implanted Word/Teaching that is our salvation. James 1:20-22