Showing posts from 2006
Being faithful for his honor
In John (1:12), the writer establishes the quid pro quo of New Testament faith. The KJV says: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Many “literal” translations say, “…believe into his name.” Murdock’s translation of the Aramaic Peshitta renders it, “…believe on his name.” The NET Bible translates it, “…believe in his name.”The Greek version (Textus Receptus) says: “osoideelabonauton,edokenautoisexousianteknatheosgenesthai,toispisteuousineistoonomaautos,”The words that give us trouble, it might be expected, are “pistueousin” and “eis to.” Without belaboring the point, I will simply state that “pistueousin” means “being faithful” and not “believing.”But, perhaps more importantly, the Greek preposition "eis" means "for" and is used to indicate the object, aim, or purpose of an action. (see: From faith to faith)The action in this instance is in the verb "be…
Faith and Hope
The English words faith and hope carry the idea of trust, assurance that what has been told will occur. The word hope means confidence, reliance, trust, belief, and assurance. There is within Scripture a clear connection between the concepts of faith and hope. Hebrews 11:1 teaches that
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In Romans 8:24 we learn that we are saved by hope and yet Ephesians 2:8 teaches that we are saved by grace through faith. We are told to place our faith and hope in God in 1 Peter 1:21.So what does it all mean? What exactly is faith and how does it relate to words like trust, hope, and believe.The KJV states that the unidentified writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote (at 11:1) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”The NLT translates the passage as, "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of thi…
"Turn the other cheek?"

The "good news" exhorts us to not resist evil:

(Mat 5:39) " not resist the evil; but whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also."
This passage has been interpreted by some as a literal injunction that if a person has been slapped in the face by another, he ought not to respond by hitting back. Rather, he ought to move in the other direction, presenting the other cheek (the one that has not been slapped yet) and offer to let that cheek also be slapped.

Another interpretation cites the common conception that people were using Exodus 21:24-25 (the guidelines for a magistrate to punish convicted offenders) as a justification for personal vengeance. In this context, the command to "turn the other cheek" would not be a command to allow someone to beat or rob a person, but a command not to take vengeance.

Both, interpretations above fail to comprehend the subtleties of semitic idiom. The phrases, "…
The Son of Man coming in his kingdom?

The three synoptic gospels all portray a version of the same story in which Yeshua says to a gathering of Pharisees:
Mat 16:28 "....There are some of those standing here who in no way shall taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. "
What exactly could Yeshua have meant by this statement, assuming that it has been handed down to us English speakers correctly? Either Yeshua has returned in his kingdom and did so in the first century AD, or someone among those standing in that crowd has not yet died? Or, perhaps, just possibly, this is a misunderstanding of the Greek words.

The key word is the Greek word "erxomenon," which means "to come" or "to go." The easy expaination is the latter.

A better translation would be: "...There are some of those standing here who in no way shall taste of death until they see the Son of Man going in his kingdom."

Of course, this renders the statemen…
From faith to faith?
Paul, in referring to the good news, wrote in Romans 1:17:
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."
or, at least this is the English language version we have been left with (KJV). But, this translation presents a delima. The phrase, "from faith to faith," is utterly meaningless in our normal way of speaking and therefore is a source of great confusion.
First of all, dump the english words "righteousness" and "faith." "Righteousness" is a "church word" and "faith" has lost its semitic meaning. In place of "righteousness" substitute the word "uprightness" or the word "rectitude." For "faith," substitute the word "faithfulness," or the word "fidelity."
The Greek versions of the phrase which has been translated "from faith to faith" say:
"ek pisteos eis …
"Hearing" is "doing"....literally!

When we are instructed to "hear" by the Bible, it is often assumed (and taught) that this means to "hear," in other words, to perceive via the auditory senses. This mistaken understanding most likely stems from the tri-lingual culture of the Paul and the early Church and points to the fact that many of Paul's early teaching was, in fact, in Aramaic.

The Greek word for "hear" is akoos.
Romans 10:17 ara e pistis ex akoos, e de akoo dia rematos theos.
then faithfulness comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God.
But, the Aramaic says:
mkyl hymnwta mn mshme adna hy wmshme adna mn mlta dalha
therefore, faithfulness is from obedience of the ear, and obedience of the ear from the word of God.The term "obedience of the ear" is idiomatic for "obeying the word." Psalm 18:44 clearly equates the two terms:
(Psa 18:44) l'Shama, `ozeN yiSham',u
"at the o…
YaHuWeH alone is our God!

Or, so says Deuteronomy 6:4.

Sh'ma, yis'ra`al y'hvah `elohaynu y'hvah `eHad
"Heed Israel YaHuWeH [is] our God YaHuWeH alone"

That the Sh'ma says nothing of God's Unity (or Trinity for that matter) is highly debated. However, we can be sure of its meaning from its context. In Deuteronomy 4:35, Moses says:
"It was shown you, so that you might comprehend; YaHuWeH, He [is] God, and none moreover apart from Him."
Likewise, Deuteronomy 32:39 says:
"See now that I, I am He, and there is no other God with Me. I kill, and I keep alive. I wound and I heal, and there is no deliverer from My hand."
The great Sh'ma is not saying that "YaHuWeH is one (integral)" as is commonly understood, or even that YaHuWeH is the only God. It says that "YaHuWeH and no other is our God."