We in our local Assemblies accept and believe both
the Old and New Testaments of the Scriptures. Actually the Bible is all one
cohesive book, but man divided it into two sections. Christians in general have
largely ignored the Old Testament, claiming that it is “done away,” while on
the other hand, the Judaizers ignore the New Testament as uninspired, saying
that Yahshua was a false prophet.
Jews reject the Messiah; the Christians reject the Law. Yet we read in Rev.
12:17 and 14:12 that belief in both is necessary for salvation. Since we
believe that, then we are neither Christians nor Jews. The Apostle John wrote in
I John 3:4 that sin is the breaking of the Law. If the Law has been “done
away,” as they suppose, then there would be no law to break, hence, no sin.
such confusion? Could it be because the New Testament is so hard to understand?
And if that is so, why should it be so hard to understand? I have come to
believe that it is because the New Testament was originally written in the
Hebrew tongue, just as the rest of the Scriptures were.
have all heard the expression, “The original, inspired Greek New Testament.”
and we have more or less accepted this, since it emanated from so-called
“authorities” and scholars. But we must remember that these are the same
authorities and scholars who preach that the law is done away; the same ones who
changed the Sabbath to Sunday; the ones who gave us Easter and Christmas and
Hallowe’en and other pagan holidays instead of the annual Holy Days that the
Creator instituted in the beginning and reiterated in Leviticus 23 and other
are other scholars who have researched the origin of the New Testament, and I
want to share some of that information with you. It will show you why I think
the idea of an “original, inspired Greek New Testament is a huge mistake that
has caused millions of people, including most of us, to misunderstand much of
the New Testament, to our hurt. Much evidence has come to light within the past
20 years or so that points convincingly in that direction. I would like to share
some of this information with you.
said that in the latter days knowledge would increase. And it has, hasn’t it?
We know far more about early-day conditions and customs now than our
predecessors did. Remember that the Greeks were pagans and the Jews considered
the Greek language an abomination. The Jewish authorities declared that it was
worse to learn the Greek language than to eat swine’s flesh! And they forbad
the teaching of it.
is also a difficult language Even Josephus, an educated Jewish historian of that
era, wrote in his commentary that the Greek language was so difficult that he
never gained much proficiency in it. So why would Yahweh choose a pagan, foreign
tongue to reveal His New Testament plan? Especially to His own people, only a
smattering of whom knew or understood the Greek language, and most of them hated
too His disciples. They didn’t have much education, remember. They had been
mostly simple fishermen from
why would Yahweh inspire them to write His Son’s biography of
the greatest life ever lived, and the greatest event since Creation, in a
language that the Jews hated, and that the apostles could not have known?
Doesn’t make sense, does it?
truth is, He didn’t. So let’s take a look at the evidence that is available.
When we do, I believe that you will conclude, as I have, that the New Testament
was first written in the Hebrew and/or Aramaic language(s) and later translated
into Greek, and then into other languages.
E. W. Bullinger, in his Companion Bible, Appendix 94, makes the statement that
“while the language is Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew.” Apostle
Paul stated that the New Testament Believers “....are built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yahshua the Messiah
Himself being the chief cornerstone;” (Eph. 2:20 KJV).
told His listeners to search the Scriptures in John 5:39, and the only
scriptures to search at that time were the Hebrew Old Testament writings. He
also said to listen to Moses and the prophets, Luke 16:29. Again this is the Old
Testament. And what did the “noble Bereans” use to determine truth? (Acts
17:11). Old Testament, of course, the very same ones that Paul told Timothy
would make one perfect. (2 Tim. 3:16-17); all written in Hebrew.
let’s look into the New Testament and ask some pointed questions:
all the Hellenized (Greek) names found in the New Testament? Examples, Hezekiah
is “Ezekias” in Mat. 1:9, and Judah (more correctly Yahudah, as “Judas,”
Mat. 1:2. Isaiah is “Esias,” Elijah is “Elias” in Matthew 11:14;
Yahchanan is “John,” Jacob is “James,” and so on.
why are there untranslated Hebrew/Aramaic words in the New Testament? That seems
to be a dead give away all by itself. Here are a few. Most are Hebrew, some are
Aramaic. Abba (Father), Rabbi (teacher), hosanna (Oh Save! An exclamation of
adoration), Amen (Surely, or so be it), Talitha Cumi (Maid arise), ephphatha (be
opened), corban (a dedicated gift), Sabbath, Satan, Mammon, raca, cumin,
maranatha, Emmanuel, Eli lama sabachthani, and many others.
even more convincing evidence for a Hebrew New Testament is the plain, clear
Hebrew word order found throughout the New Testament. Many sentences have the
verb-noun reversal that is common in the Hebrew and other Semitic languages, but
not in Greek or English. Scholars have long understood that the grammar of the
New Testament is not good Greek, but is excellent Hebrew grammar.
to all these, and the main focus of this article, are the many, many Hebrew
expressions and idioms we find scattered throughout the New Testament. If the
originals had been Greek, then they would have been written with Greek form and
expression. But they were not, and translated word for word into Greek, they
make no sense at all.
understand hundreds of American idioms, but when translated into other tongues,
they make no sense at all, and would be unintelligible to them.
take a few examples of Hebrew idioms that the Savior used, that are impossible
to understand when translated from Hebrew to Greek, then to English, but make
perfect sense when translated back to Hebrew, then directly to English:
are from a very good book on this subject, called, “Understanding the
Difficult Words of Jesus, New Insights From a Hebrew Perspective,” by David
Bivin and Roy Blissard, Jr.
Mat. 5:3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
Luke 23:31, For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in
the dry? Makes
no sense whatever in Greek or English, but makes perfect sense when retranslated
is referring to the “green tree” and the “dry tree” from Ezekiel’s
Yahshua is saying, If you knew what is coming, you would not mourn for me, you
would mourn for yourselves. If they do this to Me (the righteous), what
will they do to you (the wicked)? The “in” should be “do to.”
This was a reference to the Roman destruction of
Mat. 11:12, From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven
suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Have you ever wondered about this seeming
contradiction? Why would the meek, the passive, the “poor in spirit,” resort
to violence to take the Kingdom, and why would YHWH allow it? This Scripture as
written, as we have it, does not agree with the rest of Yahshua’s
teachings, does it?
what is the key to understand this puzzle? Yahshua is making a reference to a
well-known rabbinic interpretation of Micah 2:12-13, that reads like this:
I will gather all of you, Jacob; I will collect the remnant of
is a picture of a shepherd out in the field, penning his sheep up for the night.
He makes a sheepfold for them by throwing up a makeshift rock fence against the
side of a hill. The next morning, he lets the sheep out by making a “breach”
in the fence, and the sheep are eager and impatient to get out after being
penned up all night. So they shove and push a bit to get out into the green
now we see what Yahshua is saying – the Kingdom of Heaven is breaking
forth, NOT suffering violence, and every person in it is breaking forth or
breaking out INTO it, NOT “the violent take it by force.”
compare Luke 16:16, the parallel verse (Luke 16:16 KJV) “The law and the
prophets were until John: since that time the
authors say: “Two tremendous things are happening at the same time: the
Kingdom is bursting forth into the world like water from a broken dam, and
individuals within the Kingdom are finding liberty and freedom.”
Luke 12:49-50, “I
am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled?
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am straitened till it be
Christians think this refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of
Pentecost. John the Baptist prophesied that the One to come would baptize with
the Holy Spirit and with fire (Mat. 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water
unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I
am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with
think this happened on Pentecost, that the “tongues like as of fire”
fulfilled this prophecy. But John clarified what he meant in the very next verse
(Mat 3:12, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor,
and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with
unquenchable fire.”) Malachi 4:1-3 will fulfill this prophecy when it comes to
pass, at the end of the age.
what did Yahshua mean by “…how I am straitened till it be accomplished!”?
These verses in Luke are an example of Hebrew poetry, and He meant, “how
distressed I am till it is over,” referring to the destruction of the
“chaff” by fire. The chaff are those who refuse to repent.
Matthew 16:19, Whatsoever thou shalt bind (or loose) on earth shall be
bound (or loosed) in heaven. In rabbinic literature, these two words in Hebrew,
by Yahshua’s time, had come to mean “forbid” and “permit.” The rabbis
were called upon often to interpret Scriptural commands. For example, the Law
forbids work on Sabbaths, but does not define “work.” So they were called
upon to define what they could or could not do. They “bound” or prohibited
certain activities, and “loosed” or allowed other activities. Yahshua was
transferring this authority to Peter and His other disciples, to make decisions
or judgments about how to keep the law more perfectly, NOT to make
laws, or change laws. We find a good example of this being done in Acts
15, where the disciples bound (forbade) certain things, and loosed (permitted)
Matthew 5:20, “For
I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of
the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of
Hebrew word for “righteousness” is “tsedakah” and by Yahshua’s time
had come to have a secondary meaning, “almsgiving,” or charity. Help to the
poor. So Yahshua was saying that if your concern for the poor is not greater
than that of the Pharisees, you will not be a disciple of His. Many think this
verse belongs just before Mat. 6:1, where Yahshua is talking about giving alms,
helping the poor.
Matthew 5:17-18, Destroy
and fulfill are rabbinic argumentation methods. When one rabbi interpreted a
Scripture and another disagreed, he would say, “You are destroying the Law!”
Fulfilling the Law was simply interpreting it correctly. Someone had apparently
accused Yahshua of misinterpreting a certain Scripture, and He was responding as
a rabbi would. No one thought He had come to actually destroy the Law!
Luke 6:22, “Blessed
are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their
company, and shall reproach you, and cast your name out as evil, for the
Son of Man’s sake.” This is a Hebrew idiom that means “defame you” or
malign you, or slander you. It is translated in the NRSV as “defame you.”
Luke 9:44, “Lay
these sayings in your ears” is a Hebrew idiom that means “Listen carefully
and remember well, for this is very important.”
Luke 9:51, “He
set his face to go,” is a Hebrew idiom found in scores of idioms using
“face,” such as “Hagar fled from the face of Sarai,” Jacob from the face
of Esau, Moses from the face of Pharaoh, Moses hid his face in fear, Yahweh
sometimes hides His face in anger, Yahweh sets His face against idolators, and
He can make His face to shine upon us. It simply means to turn in the direction
of, or turn away from, take notice of, etc. In the verse cited above, it means
“He prepared to leave.”
Mat. 6:22-23, Good
eye, bad eye – “The light of the body is the eye: therefore if thine eye be
single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy
whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be
darkness, how great is that darkness!”
is a Hebrew idiom that has confused all the translators. It simply means that if
you have a “single” or good eye, you are generous; whereas if you have an
evil eye, or bad eye, you are stingy.
that several of these idioms that Yahshua used in His teaching, involves giving:
alms, charity, helping the less blessed among us. Many say, “Well, with
government aid, we don’t need to help – we pay our taxes and that is our
charity, our alms.” We had better get over that. YHWH hates stingy people, who
have the ability to help others and won’t.
to sum up, when all factors are considered, the evidence seems overwhelming in
favor of the New Testament having been first written in Hebrew/Aramaic, and
later translated into Greek, in a word-for-word format. This method of
translation would make it extremely difficult to ascertain the correct meaning
intended by the speaker or writer. Obviously, later on, the originals were lost,
as were the original Greek translations. So all that is left are copies of
copies. However, there are at least two Hebrew versions of Matthew’s Gospel,
the Shem Tob and the Du Tillet.
subject is in the process of on-going discovery, and more confirmation may be
forthcoming in the future. In the meantime, be very skeptical of claims for an
“inspired Greek New Testament.” (By
Frank Brown) ~
the Scriptures” Ministry
We of Yahweh's New Covenant Assembly accept both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and generally follow the King James translation because many reference works are based upon that version.
We do not accept, however, the substituted names and common titles of our heavenly Father and His Son. We also object to the Hellenized names give to the Hebrew worthies in the New Testament, such as Hezekiah appearing as "Ezekias" (Mat. 1:9), and Judah (Yahudah) as "Judas" (Mat. 1:2).
Beyond just names, churchianity itself is tainted with Greek thinking, Hellenized creeds, and unscriptural practices derived from Greco-Roman infusions through a Greek-translated New Testament.
Scholarship is increasingly validating the case for a Hebrew original New Testament. We include some of their documentation in this short study.
Examining all the evidence, we conclude that the New Testament was inspired in Hebrew (or Aramaic) and then later translated into Greek. The testimony to this is voluminous and logical. One needs only to consider that the writers were themselves Hebrews, and "while the language is Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew" (Companion Bible, appendix 94).
Beginning on page 5 is a list of scholars and their treatises supporting an original Hebrew New Testament. This list is by no means comprehensive. Other enlightened experts have come to the same realization that the New Testament was originally a collection of Hebrew works. The Bible's Hebrew writers were led by the Holy Spirit to write in their native Hebrew language, just as Paul (Shaul) was spoken to from On High in the Hebrew tongue, Acts 26:14.
The inquiring Bible student soon realizes that the
New Testament is undeniably Hebrew in grammar, idiom, and thinking. This
opens up a whole new understanding of the essence of truth for the New Testament
believer. If the New Testament is rooted in the Hebrew Language, then its
teachings also derive from the Hebrew culture and are embedded in the Hebrew -
and not pagan Greek - view of truth.
Those who would object to this reality must be asked
the question, does arguing for a Greek New Testament bring one closer to the
truth, or take one further from it, knowing that the Old Testament is a
thoroughly Hebrew work? Is the New Testament a complete replacement of Old
Testament teachings, with entirely new truth flavored with Hellenistic thought,
practice, and understanding?
Not according to the Apostle Paul. He wrote that the New Testament is built on the foundation of the Old Testament prophets as well as the apostles, Ephesians 2:20. Yahshua the Messiah gave the directive to "search the Scriptures," John 5:39. The only "scriptures" extant at that time were those of the Old Testament. The New Testament writings were not yet finished and compiled.
In His parable of Lazarus, Yahshua again advised the unknowing to listen to "Moses and the prophets," meaning the Old Testament, Luke 16:29. It was these same Old Testament Scriptures that the "noble Bereans" used to establish truth in Acts 17:11, and the very ones Paul told Timothy would make one perfect, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Aside from approaching truth from the right scriptural foundation, there is another important reason for coming to grips with the original language of the New Testament.
One of the arguments advanced against the verity of the sacred Names is that the Names would appear as "God" (Theos) and "Jesus" in the New Testament Greek text. The logic goes, if such titles and names are in the "original" text, then who are we to change them to something else?
Apart from this argument's erroneous premise ("God" is not the same word as the Greek Theos: "Jesus" is only partly a Greek term), we must ask, is it legitimate to change someone's name simply because you are writing about him in some other language? Names are transliterated, not translated.
If a book about the president of the
the same token, the Father's and Son's Names are the same in every language.
Therefore we must call on them by their names revealed through the Hebrew
tongue. There is no more a Russian equivalent name for "Bill
Clinton" than there is a Greek or English equivalent of the Hebrew
"Yahweh" and "Yahshua." "God",
"Lord", and "Jesus" are not equivalents, they are replacements.
peculiar discrepancy within the New Testament is this: if the New
Testament were originally composed in Greek, why does it contain many
untranslated Hebrew words? Why did the writers go to all the trouble of
preserving Hebrew terms in their Greek writings?
The only valid explanation is that the Greek language had no equivalent words for these uniquely Hebrew terms taken from an original Hebrew text and translated into Greek.
These Hebrew survivals attest to a Hebrew original - and a Greek (and English) translation that brought them across unchanged from the Hebrew.
The following HEBREW words are included in the King James New Testament, as taken from the Greek translation (some are Aramaic).
Abba ("dearest father"); Messiah ("Anointed one"); Rabbi ("my teacher"); hosanna ("Save! We beseech"); Amen (suggests trust, faithfulness); talitha cumi ("maid arise"); ephphatha ("be opened"); corban ("a dedicated gift"); Sabbath ("repose", "desist" from exertion); Satan ("adversary"); mammon ("riches"); raca ("to spit in one's face"); cummin (herb); Maranatha ("Master, I pray you overthrow"); Passover ("pass over"); Emmanuel (title meaning "El with us"); Eli lama Sabachthani ("my El, why have you forsaken me?")
Even more compelling evidence for a New Testament originally composed in Hebrew is found in the clear Hebrew word order extant in the New Testament. Many sentences contain the verb-noun reversal common to Hebrew and Semitic languages.
Scholars also have long recognized that the grammar of the New Testament does not befit good Greek, but does reflect excellent Hebrew grammar.
In addition, many Hebraic idioms and expressions are scattered throughout the New Testament. Had the original been composed in Greek, these sayings would have been put into Greek form and expression.
For example, what did Yahshua and others mean by statements that don't make good sense in Greek (Or English) but are powerful in the Hebrew? Such expressions include: "If your eye is evil" (Matt. 6:23); "let the dead bury the dead" (Matt. 8:22); "for if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry" (Luke 23:31), and "thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head" (Paul in Rom. 12:20).
Numerous examples of Semitic poetry and reverse couplets (chiasmus) are dead giveaways to the original Hebrew of these books. Hebrew is also distinct for its colorful descriptions of simple, common acts.
For example, a beautiful expression in classical Hebrew is found in Luke 16:23: "...he lift up his eyes...and saw..." Other sayings peculiar to Hebrew and found in the Evangels include: "Lay these sayings in your ears," "Cast out your name as evil," "He set his face to go," and "The appearance of his countenance was altered."
Whole sentences or paragraphs in the New Testament can be retranslated word for word back into the Hebrew. Luke 10:5-6 is just one example: "And into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again." This passage is a synthesis of vivid Hebrew idioms unknown in the Greek.
linguists and historians now attest that the Evangels, the Acts, and the Book of
Revelation were composed in Hebrew (see listing of these scholars included
herein). Early "church fathers" validate that the Book of
Matthew was originally written in Hebrew (see Eusebius' Ecclesiastical
History 3:39; Irenaeus' Against Heresies 3:1; Epiphanius' Panarion
20:9:4; Jerome's Lives of Illustrious Men 3 and De Vir. 3:36).
Hebrew was the language of
The eminent first century Jewish historian, priest, and scholar Josephus admitted that he could not speak Greek fluently and that the Jews frowned on any Jew who did.
"I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understanding the elements of the Greek language although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own language, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness: for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations" (Antiquities, 20:11:2).
this illustrious scholar was unable to speak Greek sufficiently, how could the
uneducated disciples write their books in Greek? From what we've learned,
why would they even want to do so?
common perception is that Paul was a Hellenist Jew from
Paul (Heb. "Shaul") was first and foremost a Pharisee - a Jewish sect opposed to Hellenization. He was of the tribe of Benjamin and a "Hebrew of Hebrews," Philippians 3:5. A note in the NIV Study Bible says the expression "Hebrew of Hebrews" means "in language, attitudes and life-style."
Paul was educated at the feet of Gamaliel, a great doctor of Hebrew law, Acts
22:3. Although he was born in
The epistles Paul wrote were to various assemblies of the Dispersion. Each assembly was composed of a nucleus group of Jews and supplementary collections of gentiles (read about the Thessalonian Assembly, Acts 17:1-4, as well as the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 10:1-2). The converted Jews in these assemblies would receive Paul's letters and then teach the gentiles among them. It wasn't the gentiles who were converting Jews to a Grecian-Roman faith with a Greek Savior and doctrines of mystery worship!
Typically Paul went first to the synagogue when he traveled to contact these
and other assemblies (Acts 13:14; 14:1; 17:1; 17:10, 18:4, 19:8). The
language of the second
His letters in Hebrew to these Jews (and gentiles) of the various assemblies would reflect his mission to take the Good News to "the Jew first and then to the Greek," Romans 1:16.
As an example, Paul specifically addressed Jews of the Corinthian assembly: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:1-2).
basic truth is to know that Yahweh chose the Hebrew peoples with whom to make a
Covenant and through whom to bring the truth.
How much of a gentile should the True Worshiper be who is bathing in Scriptures first delivered to Hebrew patriarchs, Hebrew prophets, Hebrew apostles and lived by a Savior from the human lineage of King David? Paul was no champion of the gentile cause. He was the champion of a Hebrew Messiah and scriptures given in a Hebrew Old Testament. These were what he taught in his epistles. Note:
"But this I confess unto you, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets" (Acts 24:14). "Law and prophets" refers to the Old Testament Scriptures.
Which culture, world-view, and mentality should prevail among True Worshipers
today? A Greek-gentile heritage? Or the birthright of those grafted
into the promised of
Paul wrote to the assembly at
If Christianity were honest with itself, it would openly acknowledge that it derives its faith from Hebrew and not Greco-Roman Scriptures. That its salvation comes from a Savior who came as a Hebrew not to establish a new religion but to build on what went before. Yahshua and the Scriptures are Hebrew.
If this one pivotal truth were taught today, real understanding of the Scriptures would break out everywhere, and the Bible would at last be revealed.
is a listing of some linguistic and Biblical authorities who maintain or support
a belief in a Hebrew origin of the New Testament:
Matthew Black, An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts, third edition, entirety.
D. Bivin and R. B. Blizzard, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, entirety.
E. W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, Appendix 95.
Dr. F. C. Burkitt, The Earliest Sources for the Life of Jesus, pp. 25, 29.
Prof. C. F. Burney, The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel, entirety.
Epiphanius, Panarion 29:9:4 on Matthew.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III 24:6 and 39:18; V8:2; VI 25:4.
Edward Gibbon, History of Christianity, two footnotes on p. 185.
Dr. Frederick C. Grant, Roman Hellenism and the New Testament, p. 14.
Dr. George Howard, The Tetragram and the New Testament in Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 96/1 (1977), 63-83. Also, Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, entirety.
Dr. George Lamsa, The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, Introduction, pp. IX-XII.
Dr. Alfred F. Loisy, The Birth of the Christian Religion and the Origin of the New Testament, pp. 66, 68.
Dr. Isaac Rabinowitz, Ephphata...in Journal of Semitic Studies vol. XVI (1971), pp. 151-156.
Ernest Renan, The Life of Jesus, pp. 90, 92.
Hugh J. Schonfield, An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew's Gospel, (1927) p. 7.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, p. 275.
R. B. Y. Scott, The Original Language of the Apocalypse, entirety.
Prof. Charles C. Torrey, Documents of the Primitive Church, entirety. Also, Our Translated Gospels, entirety.
Dr. James Scott Trimm, The Semitic Origin of the New Testament, entirety.
Max Woolcox, The Semitism of Acts (1965), entirety.
F. Zimmerman, The Aramaic Origin of the Four Gospels, entirety.
© 1996 Yahweh’s New