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A voice crying in the wilderness?

It was the practice of John the Baptist to live in, and preach (call out) in the wilderness that has led us to understand Isaiah 40:3 to be a reference to John and his preaching of repentance, declaring to the people of Israel to “prepare ye a way for the Lord.” Most interpretations understand John himself to be the "voice crying in the wilderness," and that he was preparing something special for (or on behalf of) Yahweh.

Isa 40:3 The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

But, a clear understanding of Hebrew coupled with a fair reading of the Bible indicates otherwise. First of all it is not the voice that cries “in the wilderness.” It is “in the wilderness” that the "way" (or "roadway") should be prepared. Also, the roadway was to be prepared not "for our God," but "to our God."

kOl kovra` - "A cry cries!" bamid'bar panu De…

You are the salt of the earth...

There has been much confusion regarding Matthew 5:13:

You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Many have interpreted this reference by first interpreting the use of the word salt to mean “to season,” explaining that to “loose saltiness” renders salt unable to season. Likewise, some have said that salt is to be understood as meaning “to preserve,” and that salt that can no longer preserve is useless. Both of these interpretations miss the point by interpreting the word “salt” in modern terms rather than ancient Hebrew terms.

To complicate this matter, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding surrounding the ancient meaning of the Hebrew word for salt, melach. Brown defines the term as having derived from the similar word malach (to tear away), and for many reasons, this is quite reasonable. The two words are often confused in the Bible. …

Toss the children's bread to dogs?

You are invited to read: My Grace is Sufficient


Much has been written about the encounter of Yeshua and a Canaanite woman in the region of Sidon and Tyre. Matthew 15:10-28 and Mark 7:25-30 tell this story of a Syrophoenician woman who finds Yeshua at a house in Tyre and begs him to heal her daughter.

In traditional interpretations of the story, he is depicted as brushing her off, saying ""First let the children eat all they want,...for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs,” where, presumably, the children are the children of Israel and the dogs are the Gentiles (represented by the Canaanite woman herself), a metaphor found in other Jewish writing. "'Yes, Lord,' she replied, 'but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.'" As the story goes, he's impressed with her answer and tells her to go home and she returns home to find her daughter healed. Many reconcile this traditional interpretation wi…

Persistent Prayer?

Many translators understand that the Bible teaches the need of persistent prayer. Luke 18:1 - 8 says (KJV):

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
But, an accurate translation of this passage, brings to light a nuanced meaning.

And He also spoke a riddle to them to teach it is al…

About my Father's business?

At, Luke 2:41 through 2:49, the evangelist recounts a curious event in the life of Yeshua (the only event from his youth recounted in the Gospels.)

"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Yeshua tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast …

The Only Begotten?

In an earlier post, I pointed out that, in the Hebrew culture, the inheritance of land, titles and other property as well as the responsibilities for caring for an individual family was channeled along patrilineal lines using a system of modified Primogeniture, or succession by the eldest son. The institution is explicitly promulgated in Deuteronomy 21:15-17. In part, because paternity cannot be certainly known (like maternity), the Hebrews had two "firstborn" traditions. One, the peter, or "opener" of the womb, referring to the firstborn of the mother. The other, was the bekor, ("he bursts forth") referring to the firstborn "or choicest" of the father.

The bekor was also referred to as the yachiyd "the only one." Genesis 22:2 records the fact that Isaac, the second son (but heir) of Abraham was referred to as "your only one whom you love." Matthew 3:17 refers to Yeshua as the primogenitor of Yahweh, saying, "and behold! …

The real hometown of Yeshua?

The traditional town of Nazareth does not meet the description of Nazareth given in the Bible. This document explains why, and then shows photographs of an unexcavated town in Galillee that fits the Bible's description of the real Nazareth. Check it out!

Fled Naked?

As Yeshua was arrested, the gospel of Mark says: "Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked" ( Mark 14:51, 52).

Some believe that was Mark's way of putting himself into the story, showing that he knew the things of which he wrote. Others believe that the young man represented the disciples "fleeing from Yeshua." Still others agreeing that the young man was symbolic, think that he represented the future followers of Yeshua, willing to forsake everything and follow "naked."Of course, an understanding of a Hebrew idiom aids in understanding this verse. The prophet Amos, speaking the words of Yah, said:

Amo 2:11 And I raised up from your sons prophets, and Nazarites from your young men. Is this not even so, O sons of Israel? declares Yahweh. 12 But you gave the Nazarites wine to drink, and you commanded the prophets, s…

The disciple whom Jesus loved

The phrase the disciple whom Jesus loved or Beloved Disciple is used several times in the Gospel of John. It is the Beloved Disciple who asks Yeshua during the Last Supper who it is that will betray him. Later at the crucifixion, Yeshua tells his mother "Woman, here is your son"; that he indicates the Beloved Disciple is the common interpretation. To the Beloved Disciple he says, "Here is your mother." When Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb, she runs to tell the Beloved Disciple and Simon Peter. Since the Beloved Disciple does not appear in any of the other New Testament gospels, it has been traditionally seen as a self-reference to John the Evangelist, and this remains the mainstream identification.

Apart from John, there have been numerous attempts to identify the "Beloved Disciple" using any number of interpretations. However, all fail to recognize and understand a simple semitic idiom which is important in helping to zero in on the correct identi…

Do this as my memorial.

Truth, belief, and knowledge. These three epistemological concepts play an important role in our religion. However, how they interact in modern Christianity is not quite the same as the ancient understanding of their roles and importance. In fact, during the time of Yeshua, the theory of knowledge was well developed. Plato, who, by that time, was an ancient philosopher had profoundly impacted the understanding of this area of study.

What we believe is true and what is, in fact, true are not the same. Further, what we believe is true and what we know to be true represent distinct sets as well. Ancient Hebrews understood "knowledge" (da'ath) to be a subset of our beliefs, namely, those beliefs, which had been vindicated or borne out (shafat) by experiences. Frankly, unlike many modern Christians, ancient Hebrews had little regard for mere beliefs. Their focus was on knowledge.

Unfortunately, while ancient people had adequate means for transmitting their belief's, as …

"Sons" of Shem

Genesis 10:22 sets out the "sons" of Shem as: Elam, and Asshur, and Arpachshad, and Lud, and Aram.

While almost all scholars accept this putative genealogy as a description of the root Semitic cultures known by the Hebrews at the time, there are many, many descriptions of what two of these names mean. Aram, Asshur and Elam are known definitively as the cultures of those respective cities, the Elamites of present-day Southwest Iran, the Assyrians of the upper Tigris river valley, and the Arameans of Northern Syria.

The name Lud is accepted by many scholars to refer to the Lydians of the (now) Manisa region turkey. However, the Lydians were not semitic speakers, but instead spoke an Anatolian language. It is therefore highly unlikely that the Hebrew scholars would have listed them as "sons of Shem" (i.e., Semitic). In fact, Lud more likely represents a corrupted spelling of the city, Lubdi, a city well known from cuneiform script and situated between the upper Tig…

This is my body....

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Luke 22:19 says: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.It is significant that, here, Yeshua said “toutoestintosomamou” (this is my body) rather than, “egoeimihoartos” (I am the bread) as he is recorded saying at another time. It is clear that he did not intend that the emphasis be on him or his own corpse, but rather on the bread itself. Or rather on the “loaf,” which is the correct translation of artos. A closer look at the passage reveals its more likely meaning.The Peshitta states, wnsb lxma wawdy wqca wyhb lhwn wamr hnw pgry del apykwn mtyhb hda hwytwn ebdyn ldwkrnyand he took a loaf and he gave thanks and he broke and he gave them and he said, “this [is] my body for afikoon which [is] given. This you are to prepare for my memorial.”Loafs of bread were significant symbols of the people of Israel.Shewbread (lit. “bread of the face” or “presence bread”) is the name given to …

Blessed is he......

The early portion of the so-called "Sermon on the Mount" has Yeshua delievering the "beatitudes." The word beatitude is from the Latin beatitudo, which means "happiness." Many understand these simples listings to describe the state of mind of a Christian, and some texts translate the first word as "Happy," or "blessed." This is because the Greek word which appears here is makarioi which is normally translated as "they are fortunate," or "they are well off." The blessed nature that these characteristics endow is thought to be psychological. The word traditionally translated into English as "blessed" or "happy" is in the Greek original μακαριος (makarios). A more literal translation into contemporary English of this thought may be "possessing an inward contentedness and joy that is not affected by physical circumstances"

But, makarios was used historically almost exclusively for the gods,…

I am the bread of life

At John 6:48 – 57, the Bible details a controversial issue introduced by Yeshua:

[Yeshua said] “I am that bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat of it, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.“ The Jews therefore wrangled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Then Yeshua said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, always has life; and I will lift him up in the final day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, persists with me, and I with him. As the living Father has sent me, and I live by means …