There are also several external sources, that are outside of Scripture, worth considering that point to Hebrew as the written language of the New Testament (Covenant), as many outstanding scholars have already and most eloquently provided. These sources are as follows:
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd boy in the caves of Qumran, in the Judean wilderness in 1947. It contained a huge treasure of Scripture: some 40,000 fragments of rolls, with 600 partial manuscripts, both scriptural as well as non-scriptural. Of the ten major non-biblical scrolls published to date, only one, the Genesis Apocryphon, is in Aramaic. The most recently published scroll, and the longest to date (28 feet, equivalent to over 80 Old Testament chapters), is the now famous Temple Scroll, also written in Hebrew. If one compares the total number of pages in these ten sectarian scrolls, they would find a nine-to-one ratio of Hebrew to Aramaic (179 pages in the nine Hebrew scrolls to 22 pages of Aramaic in the Genesis Apocryphon)." (Bivin and Blizzard).
In one translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the authors state: “Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the dominant view of the Semitic languages of Palestine in this period was esssentially as follows: Hebrew had died; it was no longer learned at mother´s kneee. It was known only by the educated classes through study, as as educated medieval Europeans knew Latin. Rabbinic Hebrew...was considered a sort of scholarly invention...artificial, not the language of life put to the page. The spoken language of the Jews had in fact become Aramaic..." (ibid.)
“The discovery of the Scrolls swept these linguistic notions into the trash bin...the vast majority of the scrolls were Hebrew texts. Hebrew was manifestly the principal literary language for the Jews of this period. The new discoveries underlined the still living, breathing, even supple character of that language...proving that late Second-Temple Jews used various dialects of Hebrew.” (ibid.)
Another quote: “What was the language of ordinary life of educated native Jews in Jerusalem and Judaea in the period from 400 BCE to 150 CE? The evidence presented by Mishnaic Hebrew and its literature leaves no doubt that that language was Mishnaic Hebrew.” (ibid.)
The Dead Sea Scrolls were so determinant and the evidence so overwhelming that no less an authority than The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, in its first edition, in 1958, stated that “Hebrew had ceased to be a spoken language around the fourth century B.C.” (ibid.)
However, in its third edition, in 1997, it had changed completely to: “Hebrew continued to be used as a spoken and written language...in the New Testament period." (ibid.)
“To the Jewish people, it was Hebrew that was the ‘Holy Tongue’ whereas Aramaic was seen as ‘the language of the Evil Force.’” (ibid.)
The Talmud states: “Four languages are of value: Greek for song, Latin for war, Aramaic for dirges, and Hebrew for speaking”. (ibid.)
Thus, HEBREW WAS FOR SPEAKING, just as the N.T. clearly states in over a dozen verses above.
“A father was to speak to his sons in Hebrew and to teach him the Torah. Not to do so, would be “as if he had buried him.” (ibid.)
“Whoever makes personal requests (in prayer) in Aramaic, the ministering angels pay no attention, since angels do not understand Aramaic.” (ibid.)
The same Rabbi Gamaliel who was spoken of in Maasim ha Shlichim/Acts of the Sent ones/”Acts” 5:34-40, is quoted in the Talmud. When shown an Aramaic translation of Yov/”Job” he told the person who brought it: “bury it under the rubble.” (ibid.)
Such was the low opinion of Jewish scholars of Aramaic vis-a-vis Hebrew.
The Testimony of the Church Fathers.
Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, c. 150 A.D. said: "Matthew put down the words of the Lord in the Hebrew language, and others have translated them, each as best he could." Irenaeus (120-202 A.D.) Bishop of Lions, France. "Matthew, indeed, produced his Gospel written among the Hebrews in their own dialect."
This is corroborated later in the Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 116a), the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbat 15c), as well as the Tosefta (Shabbat 13:5), where debate rages concerning the destruction of the scrolls of the New Testament (Brit Chadashah). The question asked was, "Should they be burned since they contain the divine Name (YHVH)?" This debate clearly documents that the gospels was extant in Hebrew in early church history.
Moreover, Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate (around 400 A.D.) and considered the greatest Hebrew scholar of the late Roman Imperial age, wrote the following in his De Viris Illustribus (Of Illustrious Men):
"Mathew, also called Levi, apostle and aforetimes publican, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library at Caesarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of Syria, who use it. In this it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his own account or in the person of our Lord the Savior quotes the testimony of the Old Testament he does not follow the authority of the tranlators of the Septuagint but the Hebrew. Wherefore, these two forms exist, "Out of Egypt have I called my son," and "for he shall be called a Nazarene."
IRENAEUS must have known the difference between HEBREW AND ARAMAIC, AND/OR GREEK.
225 A.D.) said: "The first Gospel composed in the Hebrew language, was written by Matthew...for those who came to faith from Judaism."
This evidence also reached Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea (c. 325 A.D.) who quoted Papias: "Matthew had first preached to the Hebrews, and when he was about to go to others also, he transmitted his Gospel in writing in his native language" (Ecclesiastical History III 24, 6); "Mathew collected the oracles in the Hebrew language" (Ecclesiastical History, III, 39, 16).
And, also, Ephiphanius, Jerome, translator of the Scripture into Latin, the so-called called Vulgata version, said the same.
Josephus was a witness to the Second Temple period and says that when news of the death of Tiberius is given to Aggrippa, the news is given “in the Hebrew tongue” (glosse te Hebraion (Gr.). (Antiquities 18, 228).
In another place he writes: “Adam...in Hebrew means...” Ant. 1:34) and “Israel...in the Hebrew tongue...” (ibid.)
In conclusion, relative to the external evidence, both the Church Fathers as well as the recently discovered Dead Sea Scrolls state quite clearly and without any equivocation that Hebrew WAS the language spoken and written at the time of the Rab Yahushua Mashiyach.
If this is true, then one may ask, "How did it come about that scholars thought that the New Testament was originally written in Greek or Aramaic?" That is a good question. Let's examine it.
The assumptions and prejudices leading to both the Greek and Aramaic theories.
First of all, the issue of the New Testament being written in Greek or Aramaic was non-existent prior to the Fourth or Fifth Century A.D. It has been a rather modern theory. Thus, the questions are:
1. What basis does the "Aramaic theory" have?
2. What are its external and internal proofs?
The answer is, almost none. There are a few, isolated words in Aramaic present in the New Testament (Covenant), which are far outweighed by Hebrew words. It is like claiming that in the Philippines, the English is the main language, because they say “festival,” and “concert”!
“Aramaisms” were exaggerated and still are, as the noted Jewish lexicographer Moses Segal states: “Aramaic influence on the Mishnaic Hebrew vocabulary has been exaggerated...it has been the fashion among writers on the subject to brand as an Aramaism any infrequent Hebrew word...Most of the ‘Aramaisms’ are as native in Hebrew as they are in Aramaic.” (Segal, 1994).
J. Lee (Lee, 1991) demolished the so-called “Aramaism” in Luke 6:7, maintained by scholars like Black, Fitzmayer and Wilcox to be an “Aramaic construction,” quoting “23 parallel constructions in Greek literature of the period!”, as author Brent Minge tells it. Time and again the Aramaic assumption has turned out to be a lemon, prompting Semitist Kenneth Kitchen to observe that “some ‘Aramaisms’ are actually Hebraisms in Aramaic.”
Brent Minge (Minge, 2001) continues to enlighten us in this way: “What is more, merely because a word does not appear in the Old Testament Hebrew Bible, does not automatically make it a candidate for the Aramaic or Greek club. ‘Hosanna’ and ‘gehenna’ are words not found in that form in the Hebrew Old Testament. Yet both occur in Mishnaic Hebrew, and are found, in identical form, in the modern Hebrew dictionary. Yet they were once claimed to be ‘Aramaic.’”
Finally, the in-famous “”Talitha cumi!” in Mark 5:41. “Kumi” is the imperative form of the Hebrew verb “laakum.” “Talitha” has nothing in itself that makes it “Aramaic”!
The late Professor David Flusser (ibid) says, regarding Aramaic, in David Stern´s commentary on this expression: “On this subject Professor David Flusser, an Orthodox Jewish scholar in Jerusalem, writes:
“Until recently, it was believed by numerous scholars that the language spoken by Jesus’ disciples was Aramaic. It is possible that Jesus did, from time to time, make use of the Aramaic language. But during that period Hebrew was both the daily language and the language of study. The Gospel of Mark contains a few Aramaic words, and this was what misled scholars. Today, after the discovery of the Hebrew Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) [a book of the Apocrypha], of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and of the Bar Kokhba Letters, and in the light of more profound studies of the language of the Jewish Sages, it is accepted that most people were fluent in Hebrew.” (ibid.)
It can even be argued that what Yahushua Mashiyach actually meant by that expression is: “Taalít, Talitha, takumi!” (Get up, Talitha, arise!) in Hebrew in the imperative tense and with a certain sense of humor, which is characteristic of Elohim, for those who know Him up close. (ibid.)
As far as the "Greek theory" is concerned, the only basis one can think of is the fact that the versions that are left are in the Greek language, and that not one single copy remains of its Hebrew originals. But, neither is there one single original copy left of the Greek manuscripts either. However, what is known is that one of the last Hebrew originals (of Matthew) was burned publicly in Tours, France, in the mid-fifteenth century. This alone is also a good enough basis for one to admit that the New Testament was written in Hebrew, even if all that we have said above did not exist, i.e, the above statements by the church fathers, the Hebraisms, the idioms, the discovering from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, etc.
The Catholic Church: A history of anti-semitism
Throughout history, the Catholic Church and her daughters have had a consistent record of being very anti-Semitic most of the time over its 2,000 years of history. For example, the Inquisition, with hundreds of thousands of Jews (and real Christians) tortured and slaughtered simply because of their being Jews. For another example, the anti-Semitic statements by the fathers of the Church, such as Chrysosthom, Eusebius, Origen, Cyril, Hyppolitus, and, yes, even Marthin Luther, the father of the Reform, including a couple of brief paragraphs from the sermons of the Martin Luther that he wrote just four days before he died.
"The Jews deserve the most severe penalties. Their synagogues should be razed to the ground, their homes destroyed. They themselves should be exiled to living in tents, like the gypsies. Their religious writings [the Old Testament and the Talmud] should be taken away from them. The Rabbis should be forbidden to teach the Torah (the Torah). They should be forbidden to do any profession. Only the hardest, most strenous work should be allowed to them. Their fortunes should be confiscated from them..." (Gritsch, ).
"A Jewish heart is as hard as a stick, a stone, as iron, as a devil." (ibid.)
The famous historian, the late William Schirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, on page 294, says, "one of the two factors explaining the behavior of the German Church towards the Jews during the Holocaust is Luther's influence."
Throughout the centuries there has been a Satan-led motion away from anything Jewish. In this spirit, the Church was forbidden to celebrate Passover on the "Jewish", i.e., scriptural dates set for it, and had to do it on any other date EXCEPT the Jewish one. Even today the Church celebrates "Easter," not Passover. Those who insisted on celebrating Pessakh on the correct date were called "quatorcediman" from the fourteenth day of the first month, where Passover was ordained by Elohim to be celebrated. The Jewish sages' wisdom in the many-volumed Talmud, from where the Rab Yahushua drew countless parables and examples was condemned by all within the Church, including Luther, as we just quoted; not merely condemned but burned and their owners with it. A sustained campaign of dejudaization began which continues to this day. Here are some brief highlights:
*The Jews were accused for twenty centuries of kidnapping Christian children and drinking their blood for Passover meals. (The last time this accusation surfaced--would you believe it?-- was in 1992 in the Soviet Union.)
*The appropiate name for the land of Israel was obliterated for the last 2,000 years at the bidding of Emperor Julius Cesar who swore to wipe the name of Judea from the face of the earth-- and he succeeded. Even Christian authors RIGHT TODAY call Israel "Palestine"! Check the maps at the end of your Bible and see for yourself! Go to a Christian or Roman Catholic map inside an enciclopaedia and check whether the name “Israel” or “Judea” exists. IT DOES NOT! It will say—ALMOST UNANIMOUSLY—“PALESTINE”, although that name was imposed by Emperor Hadrian after the year 70 A.M (“after Messiah”), and should, therefore, not be valid for the period when Yahushua was living in Israel and Judea.
*The true name of our Lord was “Yahushua”. According to any Hebrew-English dictionary, “Yahushua” means: “salvation, victory, deliverance.”
What we have is a very Gentile-sounding "Jesus". What does “Jesus” mean? Nothing at all! You will say: “It is a translation.” Then, how does Matitiahu/Mat. 1:21 come to mean anything: “And they will call His name Jesus, because he came for salvation of his people.” THAT VERSE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE, unless you write “Yahushua” there!
*The name of the Rab Yahushua's half-brother was Jacob--apparently too Jewish for them--although there is a Jacob in every known language--so the anti-semites gentilized it to "James", as in the book of "James" [Where in Greek it says quite clearly EPISTOLE IAKOBUS.]
Marcion, a historically recognized heretic within the Church, created two Elohims: A Jewish Elohim, the Elohim of the "Old" Covenant, "Yahweh", aking to a small deity, severe, for the Jews; and a Gentile God, Jesus, the God of Love. (How many Elohim are there? However, the spirit of Marcion lives on the Church to this day.
*There are several references to Yahushua speaking Hebrew in Scripture and Shaul speaking Hebrew. Westcott and Hort, two New Age occultists (See "New Age Versions of the Bible by G.Riplinger, A.V. Publications, 1993.) changed the word *hebraisti* for Aramaic, besides 5000-8000 other alterations on the Greek text from which versions are made.
*Statements by almost all of the Fathers of the Church like Chrysosthom, Hippolytus, Origen, Cyril, Eusebius ("Abraham was a Christian, he was not a Jew".), Bishop Agobard, Luther.
The above shows us the "Aramaic" and "Greek" theories were not isolated mistakes or misconceptions, but very definitely, part of a worldwide, centuries-old dejudaization campaign by the anti-semites within the Church to make it judenrein, despite the fact that Jews adore a Jewish Elohim of Israel and the promised Mashiyach of Israel.
In conclusion, the internal and external proofs shown above clearly articulate that the New Covenant was written in Hebrew in its original and not in Greek or in Aramaic.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
First of all, Scripture itself says the language of the Rab Yahushua and His disciples was Hebrew—not Greek, nor Aramaic/Aramit.
Luke 23:38: “And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
IF Yahushua and the Jews spoke ARAMAIC, as many have been misled to believe, why is not Aramaic listed rather than Hebrew? After all, this sign was written for the vast majority of Israelis, including the common folk. Just this single scriptural proof alone is overwhelmingly compelling, but there is much more.
Yochanan/”John” 5:2: “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.” Notice that the Greek says here, as in every one of the quotations below, “hebraisti,” (obviously), “Hebrew.”
Yochanan/John 19:13: “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Yeshuah forth, and sat down on the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.”
Yochanan/”John” 19:17: “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha.”
Yochanan/”John” 19:20:” Many of the Jews then read this title: for the place where Yeshuah was nailed was near to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.”
Acts 21:40: “And when he had given him permission, Shaul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand to the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying...”
Acts 22:2: “(And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)”
Acts 26:14: “And when we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me, and saying in the Hebrew language, Shaul, Shaul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the goads.”
HEREIN (above) IT SAYS DIRECTLY, WITHOUT ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER THAT YAHUSHUA DID NOT SPEAK GREEK NOR ARAMAIC, BUT HEBREW! Whom should one trust: man, who has attempted to beguile many or scripture (and Yahushua Himself)? And obviously Shaul (later Apostle Paul, in English) understood Hebrew, who was educated at the feet of a Hebrew speaking scholar. All added proofs that Hebrew was very active in Israel during the times of Yahushua and beyond.
Revelation 9:11: “And they had a king over them, who is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew language is Abaddon, but in the Greek language he hath his name Apollyon.”
Revelation 16:16: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Har Meguido (Mount Meguido)/’Armageddon’.”
Other interesting scriptures to consider are John (Yochanan) 1:41 and John (Yochanan) 4:25. Both of these scriptures utilize interesting phrases.
"...we have found the Messiah (Mashiyach) which is, being interpreted, the Christ (Mashiyach)." John (Yochanan) 1:41
"...I know that Messiah (Mashiyach) cometh, which is called Christ (Mashiyach)..." John (Yochanan) 4:25
First, the rendering of the above scriptures are odd. But it does provide two infallible proofs that the Greek usage of Christos (Christ) is a translated (interpreted-methermeneuo) deviation from the proper (Hebrew) word Mashiyach. The Greek translators clearly admit/confirm that Christos is a Greek translation and NOT the original Hebrew word that was used; this is included within the scriptural text itself.
Secondly, the above two scriptures provide an inextricable link to Daniel 9:25 and Daniel 9:26 where the term Mashiyach first appears in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture. And, Yahushua confirmed that he was in fact the Mashiyach (Daniel 9:25-26) of whom Daniel the prophet spoke of and the one about which the woman of Samaria referred to (John 4:26). What is interesting to note is that Yahushua called Daniel a prophet (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14) when the Jewish canonized Bible (Old Testament) did not include/recognize Daniel among the prophets.
Other observations include things like this. What did Yahushua refer to when He said in Matitiahuh/Mat. 5:18: “...not a jot/“yoot” nor a tittle (the little “crown” on top of the yoot) will pass...”? Both refer to the Hebrew alphabet. Why would Yahushua refer to Hebrew with an audience who spoke Aramaic, and thus would not have understood Him? If an English speaking audience was told, that “Yahushua should be “accented” on the “u,” very few people would understand, since accents are almost nonexistent in English, except for a few words like “fiancé”, etc.
Despite this ample scriptural proof, various translations, especially the NIV, have falsified the original “Hebraisti” (which does not require one to be a Greek scholar to understand it says "Hebrew") for "Aramaic." Why? Is it the same reason they have changed the name of Yahushua´s half-brother Yaakov to “Saint James”? Was it perhaps to honor England´s King James, who was about to supply the monies for the translation of the Bible, and finally did not?
In spite of the many scriptural proofs in the New Testament (Covenant) itself, and those from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Talmud and those of Josephus, there are coins and inscriptions from the time of Yahushua that nail "the Aramaic coffin" and the "Greek coffin" shut once and for all, especially for those who are after facts. For example, in the book, by Bivin and Blizzard, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: "The evidence provided by coins is also important in trying to evaluate the linguistic situation in the time of Yahushua Mashiyach. Yaakov Meshorer, curator of the Numismatic Department of the Israel Museum, and its numismatic expert, has listed 215 Jewish coins in his catalogue. Of these 215 Jewish coins, 99 have Hebrew inscriptions, only one has an Aramaic inscription! From the fourth century B.C. (later Persian Period) until the end of the Bar-Cochba Revolt in 135 A.D., the entire history of Jewish coinage, only one Jewish coin, minted during the reign of Alexander Jannaeous (103-76 B.C.) is inscribed in Aramaic." (Bivin and Blizzard, 1988).
"At Masada, Herod`s stronghold overlooking the Dead Sea, archaeologists excavated from 1963 to 1965 under the direction of Professor Yigael Yadin. The epigraphical evidence is staggering: fragments of 14 scrolls, over 4,000 coins, and more than 700 ostraka (inscribed pottery fragments) in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. Here too, the ratio of Hebrew to Aramaic exceeds nine to one." (ibid.)
This is why it is significant that Yahushua asked for a coin (Matthew 22:17-21) when challenged with a tribute (tax) question. When a Roman coin (denarius/dinar) was brought to him, he asked about the inscription and from that he differentiated between what belonged to Rome (Roman coins/currency) as compared to what belonged to Israel, to YHVH (Jewish coins/currency).
It is also interesting to note that there are over 5366 manuscripts of the New Testament in Greek, each differing from the other and containing several hundred variants. However, in each one of these manuscripts there are idioms (Hebraisms) which are almost meaningless in any language-including Greek--except in Hebrew! How can such a thing be explained unless it is because the original New Testament was written in Hebrew by Hebrews (Jews) containing Jewish idioms not easily translated?
There are many of these Hebraisms, one of which, being the most common, is "Son of man". What does "Son of man" mean in English, Spanish, German, in any language? Absolutely nothing--except for Hebrew. The expression "Ben Adam" means literally "son of Adam" and by extension "son of man", and "man", Adam, being, of course, the first man alive. In any street corner in Israel one might hear the idiom, "here comes this Ben Adam", meaning "here comes this man." This example, which occurs no less than 92 times in the Tanakh and 43 times in the New Testament (Cruden's Concordance), is obviously the same Hebrew idiom.
Some have argued that the New Testament (Covenant) was written in Koine Greek, (common Greek), because it is found to be a poor kind of Greek. But when these many Hebraisms are are found within the text, one begins to understand that it is not Koine Greek lying there in the substratum of the text, but a Hebrew original which was almost literally translated into Greek, which makes it sound like poor Greek.
Here is another scriptural (NT) Hebraistic idiom example, "Peace be to you". It appears twelve times in the New Testament (Covenant). What kind of a greeting is "Peace be to you" in French, English, Spanish, or any other language--except in Hebrew? Again, it is meaningless. Only in Hebrew does it make any real sense. This is the most common, everyday greeting in Israel today, the worldwide famous "shalom", literally meaning "peace", but really it is an everyday greeting meaning anything from "Hi", to "How are you?", depending on the intonation and the mood of the speaker.
The third and final scriptural proof of the Hebrew character of the New Testament (Covenant) is the use of two very Jewish ways of speaking, i.e., the repeating of things twice, and the answering of a question with another question. Yahushua did both of these quite often. In Matthew 27:46: "...My Elohim, my Elohim, why hast thou forsaken me?" and in Luke 20:2-3: "And spoke unto him, saying, Tell me, by what authority doest thou these things?" or "Who is he that gave thee this authority?" And he answered and said unto them, "I will also ask you one thing and answer me..." What is important to stress here is that these two characteristics, especially the former, comes with the Hebrew, not something commonly found with other languages. It does not appear in the English, or in any European language, for instance.