What is the name of God?

The Name “God”

The word God is applied to the whole Trinity. Language is vital. The object of faith is expressed in statements that should be measured. In his study of the vocabulary of faith, St. Thomas Aquinas said this name God points out the godly essence as in Him who has it; the name God signifies Him who has divine nature. This explanation came from St. John Damascene, who condensed the results of the Eastern patristic reflection. It is that the name God in virtue of what it signifies can be applied to the Father, or to the Son, or to the Holy Spirit, or designate the three together.

What is the name of God?

When Hebrew scribes wrote the texts which were combined to form the Bible, they only
wrote consonants like the Modern Hebrew or Arabic languages with consonantal
alphabets. The proper name of the God in the Book of Genesis chapter 2 and succeeding passages is written הוהי or YHWH and the four letters are termed the “tetragrammaton.” Between the 5th and 10th centuries of the Christian era, educated Jews or “Masoretes” added vocalization to ensure correct pronunciation of the sacred texts. One system created by the family of Ben Asher established itself as the standard. Hence, scribes acquired the system allowing them to put in suitable vowels to words in a given text. Only the consonants were initially written. Early Judaism ordered the name would no longer be pronounced. The Masoretes faced a serious problem in writing the divine name. They could not change the consonants, YHWH because the consonantal text was sacred and unchangeable. To correct the consonantal text, they distinguished between Ketiv (“what is written”) and Qere (“what is to be read”). According to Jewish Tradition, there is a restriction in reading YHWH. That is why Adonai was used instead of YHWH. There is a dominant tradition among Jews about Tetragrammaton and this should be read as Adonai. Toward the end of the Second Temple period, the Jews held the divine name sacred and not to be pronounced. So when the text had “YHWH” they pronounced it as Adonai. The medieval Masoretes vocalized the divine name as though it were “Lord/Adonai”—look at YHWH, the first word of the Masoretic Text of that verse.
In Judaism, there is another replacement in addition to Adonai known as hashem (“the Name”). It was also used by Samaritans. Certain scholars suggested that vowels used to create the substitute for YHWH came from the Aramaean šĕmā (“the name”). Jewish tradition mentions seven holy names of God which cannot be erased. It should be written with special focus. Due to the sanctity of said names, they restrict use to prayer. Other than liturgical context, those names can read as Hashem or “the name.” They use instead certain sounds to modify pronunciation of a name like replacing the ‘h’ with a ‘k’ in God such as ‘kel’ and ‘elokim’.

What can we say about the claim of other people that Yahuah is the right way of pronouncing YHWH and not Yahweh?

I have read in social media that a group of people introduces itself as experts in Hebrew language. They insist that the correct way to pronounce YHWH is Yahuah.

The belief of many scholars is this was originally pronounced as “Yahweh” from the verb “to be” (hwh) which indicates hiphil imperfect 3ms verb meaning “he causes to be” or “he creates” as divine epithet and later became proper divine name.

This claim for the “correct” vocalization of the divine name YHWH as Yahuah goes beyond the concrete evidence.

Everything is imaginary. The issue concerns the degree of certainty. Anyone who claims the only “correct” articulation pushes too hard.

The name of the deity called Yhw who was mentioned in the Elephantine papyri and worshipped by the Shasu ( = Midianites).

Other scholars started from the “a” in the prefix of the word “Yahweh.” According to Hebrew grammar, it indicates a causative form: 24 “he who causes to be,” and “he who creates.”

Is it True His Name is Jehovah?

“Jehovah” is based on the form in the medieval vocalized Masoretic Text: the consonants of YHWH and the vowels of Adonai (AdOnAi) reduced A-vowel (“e”), long O, and long A). The first “a” in adonai is a shewah.

“Jehovah” is not a name or a Hebrew word. It is a conflation of YHWH and Adonai.

It is the (uneducated) combination of “the consonants of YHVH with the vowels of AdOnAi.”

“Jehovah” is not a word; it is an erroneous mix of two different words by people who know Elementary Hebrew but not much else and see that combination in the vocalized Masoretic Text and presume that the form with those consonants and those vowels is the correct name but is simply is not.

Jehovah is incorrect; it is a mixture of qere (aDONAI) & kethiv (YHWH): the consonants of YHVH with the vowels of AdOnAi (the MT vocalizes the four consonants as if “adonai” to keep one from pronouncing the name).

 

 

Is it True that the King James Version has the Most Accurate Translation for Zechariah 13:6?

Someone asked if the English translation of KJV for Zechariah 13:6 is the most accurate since a KJV supporter posted about this and we can see the screenshot below.

Zechariah 13-6

We will notice the supporter gave details about the other versions but he concluded that the correct one is the King James Version.

Literally, it is “wounds between your arms”. And the New Revised Standard Version does have a textual note (not an Annotation) which says: “Heb wound between your hands”. The Hebrew is not בידיך “in your hands” (King James Version), but בין ידיך “between your arms”. Hebrew “yad” is not “hand” in the English sense (from wrist to tips of fingers, that is “pas” Daniel 5:5), but “forearm” (from elbows to tips of fingers).

Context: Zechariah 13:3 says “their fathers … shall pierce them through.” So if they are “pierced through”, that normally means “pierced through the chest” ( = the main part of the body). The “chest” is “between the arms,” and clearly that is what an artist would draw if picturing “pierced between the arms.”

Does Revelation 22:18 Dispute the Deuterocanonical Books?

The bible versions used by Protestants only have 66 books while the Catholics church has 73 books. According to Protestants, the deuterocanonical books used by Catholics were just invented and added by the Catholic Church to support their doctrines.The bible versions used by Protestants only have 66 books while the Catholics church has 73 books.

According to Protestants, the deuterocanonical books used by Catholics were just invented and added by the Catholic Church to support their doctrines.
No knowledgeable bible scholars (Catholics and Protestants) particularly those who studied the original texts say the Catholic Church invented those books.

Sirach, Tobit and 1 and 2 Maccabees are all Jewish compositions which PRE-DATE the Jewish/Christian split. RABBINIC Judaism did not include them in the Hebrew Bible, but the Jews who followed Jesus did.

One of the best New Testament scholars who gave value to this statement is Dr. Bruce Metzger. 

Let us read his commentary in his book, Breaking the Code – Understanding the Book of Revelation, in page 106:

“When books were copied by hand, scribes would occasionally add comments of their own or leave out words they thought were unsuitable. John therefore includes at the end of his book a solemn warning (similar to that found in Deut. 4:2; 12:32) declaring that nothing should be added or deleted, for the very good reason that it is a revelation from God (22:18-19).”

In John 1:18, there are bible versions with the translation, “The Only Begotten Son (ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός)”.

Here is what Dr. Daniel B. Wallace said in Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament, page 74:“The alternate argument is that μονογενὴς θεὸς was original and that a scribe changed it to ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός because it fits well with Johannine style.”

Another one is in Hebrews 2:9. 

According to page 697 (New Testament Text and Translation Commentary) of Philip W. Comfort:It is possible that the variant arose due to a transcriptional error. Some scribe may have mistaken χαριτι (“by grace”) for χωρις  (“apart from”), or some scribe may have been mistakenly corrected the text of 2:9 in light of a marginal gloss in 2.8 explaining that “God” was excluded (χωρις) from everything that had been subjected to Jesus (see Bruce 1992, 28).

The Protestants like the King James Version with additional text written in 1 John 5:7-8 which is not in the ancient Greek manuscripts.

Do Protestant Bible Scholars agree with the interpretation of some Protestants and Pastors about Revelation 22:18 for the deuterocanonical books? 

According to a respected and New Testament scholar, Dr. Darell Bock, “This is just about adding to the book of Revelation.”

Here is what another New Testament scholar Dr. David deSilva, author of An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation said, ”I read those verses as pertaining to John’s intense desire for the textual integrity of Revelation, not the whole canon (whether the Protestant or Catholic canon). One can well understand, moreover, why John would be concerned.”

In another Exegetical Commentary of the Book of Revelation written by New Testament scholar Grant R. Osborne, we can read this:“The formula here is probably based on Deut. 4:2 (“Do not add to what I command you, and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you”) and perhaps 12:32 (“See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it”). There the formula indicated that the Torah came directly from Yahweh and must not be “supplemented or reduced” (Craigie 1976: 130). In other words, it must be accepted and obeyed in its entirety. This is the key to the meaning of ἐπιθῇ /ἀϕέλῃ (epithē/aphelē, adds/takes away) here. As in Deuteronomy, Christ is warning against false teachers who distort the meaning of the prophecies by adding their own teaching to it or removing the meaning that God intended.” (Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Grant R. Osborne)

We will notice in this commentary, “Christ is warning against false teachers who distort the meaning of the prophecies by adding their own teaching to it or removing the meaning that God intended.”

Many religions in the Philippines misinterpret the meaning of prophecies written in the Bible like Isaiah 46:11 which most scholars say refer to King Cyrus. Yet, there are false teachers claiming it means another person.

Was Jesus a Copy of Horus, Mithras and other pagan gods?

I often read blog posts saying Jesus copied Pagan gods like Horus and Mithras. 

The bottom line is that the similarities between those “myths” and Jesus are often trivial.

Many atheists, neo-pagans, and other skeptics of Christianity maintain the story of Jesus Christ was borrowed from previous mythologies.

Is Jesus Based on the Ancient Egyptian god Horus?

These are the arguments of these who oppose Christianity:

* Horus was born of the virgin Isis inside a cave on December 25.
* A star in the east announced his birth. He was visited by 3 wise men.
* He had a human father named Seb which means Joseph.
* He was baptized by Anup the Baptist.
* He had 12 disciples.
* He performed miracles like walking on water.
* He raised El-Osiris from the dead.
* He gave a sermon on the mountain.
* He was crucified between two thieves.
* He was buried for three days and resurrected.
* He was called various names like the Anointed One, the way, the truth and light,  messiah, and son of man.

Their arguments are a big lie!

The mother of Horus is Isis who is not a real virgin. Isis is married to the father of Horus, Osiris. The Egyptologists do not claim this. There is no historical evidence showing Horus was born in a cave.

Sir James George Frazer, Scottish social anthropologist influential during initial stages of modern studies of mythology and comparative religion explained that “Horus was born in a swamp.”

There is no evidence that “A star in the east announced his birth and 3 wise men visited him.”

The Book, traditional festivals a multicultural encyclopedia in Page 223 pointed out Horus was born in November.

Seb became the earthly father of Horus.

Seb was the Egyptian earth god. There is no linguistic connection to Joseph.

No Egyptian scholar ever heard about Anup the baptizer.

There is no such character as Anup the Baptizer in ancient Egyptian folklore. This is the fabrication of 19th-century English poet and amateur Egyptologist, Gerald Massey. He wrote several books on the subject of Egyptology. Professional Egyptologists ignored his work. His writing is ignored in archaeological circles which is difficult to verify in respectable modern publications. Horus was not “baptized.” There is a tale that Horus was torn to pieces by a crocodile god.

Horus does not have 12 disciples. According to accounts, Horus has 4 followers (The Gods of Egypt, Page 61).

In different Horus myths, there were allegedly four “Sons of Horus,” (six semi-gods) who followed him. At times, he had several human followers but there were no 12 disciples. It was only Massey who said there were 12 by referencing the mural with no Horus on it.
There is no evidence Horus walked on top of water. It was not true that Horus raised Osiris from the dead. This is based on the book Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt, Page 233.

“He stayed in the underworld to serve as god of the dead.”  There’s no proof he gave a sermon on the mount.  There’s also no proof he was crucified between two thieves and resurrected like Jesus Christ.

We have big evidence from extra-biblical sources that the Romans during the time of Christ used crucifixion as form of capital punishment. There are actual eyewitness accounts in the Bible of Jesus crucifixion. There is no historical evidence suggesting ancient Egyptians used this punishment. There is no report of Horus buried for three days.

He was never called the Anointed One, the way, the truth and light, messiah and son of man. Horus is not a “savior” at all. He never died for anyone.

Is Jesus Simply a Copy Cat of Mithras?

There is no proof Mithraism looked like Christianity. It may have been adopted from the Church instead of the other way around because the Church predated Mithraism, according to epigraphic evidence. Essentially, Mithraism remains a pagan form of worship based on superstitious beliefs worldwide. It does not show he was a great teacher with 12 disciples.

Mithras was crucified and he was dead for three days and resurrected?

In Mithraism, Mithras never dies. There is no historical mention of crucifixion, burial or resurrection in any artwork or text.

We can present historical evidence and manuscripts that Jesus existed.

Tacitus described the great fire that swept through Rome in AD64 and mentioned Nero blamed it on Christians.

“To dispel the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and treated with most extreme punishments, some people popularly known as Christians whose disgraceful lives (he claimed) were notorious. The source of their name, Christus, has been executed when Tiberius was emperor by order of the procurator Pontius Pilate. (Annals 15:44)”

Lucian talks about Christ in his attack on Christianity. He reported accurately facts about 2nd Century Christianity. He knows Christians worshiped a god who was a man and was crucified in Palestine. (Page 60, Jesus outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence)

The oldest copy of our New Testament manuscript (P52) proves there was a Pontius Pilate and Jesus who was brought before him for judgment.

P52 from CSNMT

Here is what Papyrus 52 contains:
ΟΙ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΟΙ ΗΜΕIΝ ΟΥΚ ΕΞΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΠΟΚΤΕΙΝΑΙ
OYΔΕΝΑ ΙΝΑ Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΠΛΗΡΩΘΗ ΟΝ ΕΙ-
ΠΕΝ ΣHΜΑΙΝΩΝ ΠΟΙΩ ΘΑΝΑΤΩ ΗΜΕΛΛΕΝ ΑΠΟ-
ΘΝHΣΚΕΙΝ ΙΣΗΛΘΕΝ ΟΥΝ ΠΑΛΙΝ ΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΠΡΑΙΤΩ-
ΡΙΟΝ Ο ΠIΛΑΤΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΦΩΝΗΣΕΝ ΤΟΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΝ
ΚΑΙ ΕΙΠΕΝ ΑΥΤΩ ΣΥ ΕΙ O ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥ-
ΔAΙΩN

This is what is written in English.

the Jews, “For us it is not permitted to kill anyone,” so that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke signifying what kind of death he was going to
die. Entered therefore again into the Praeto- rium Pilate and summoned Jesus
and said to him, “Thou art king of the
Jews?”

Mithras did not resurrect bodily. One myth revealed he was taken to paradise in a chariot alive after finishing his earthly mission. No early writings exist regarding the cult of Mithras. Most of this is based on artwork (as opposed to Jesus Christ with thousands of ancient manuscripts describing His life, death and resurrection extensively). According to historians, Mithras was born from a rock, not from a virgin or person.

There are HUGE differences that are extremely important. No one else dies for the sins of the world and then resurrects to defeat death.


1.) Jesus outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence
2.) Annals 15:44
3.) The New Testament in Antiquity
4.) Traditional Festivals: A Multicultural Encyclopedia
5.) Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt
6.) http://csntm.org/manuscript/View/GA_P52
7.) http://jdstone.org/cr/files/mithraschristianity.html
8.) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rylands_Library_Papyrus_P52

Is it true the Vedas of Hinduism is older than the Bible?

 

 

If we evaluate thoroughly the Chronology section of this information from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas

The earliest Vedic material appears to date to around 1700 BCE, but nothing written survives because they passed the Vedas down through oral tradition. The earliest written Sumerian material dates to around 3400 BCE, and the earliest Akkadian literature dates to around 2250 BCE. The Akkadians had a sophisticated written tradition with systems of law, science, religion, etc. by the time of the Code of Hammurabi (1792 BCE), and that written system found its way into the Bible (laws, creation story, etc.), which began it written history around the eighth and seventh centuries BCE in Jerusalem.

We will notice in the Code of Hammurabi that it is one of the Archaeological Evidences to the Old Testament.

archaeological-evidences

The table above shows the book written by an expert in the ancient languages and bible scholar, Gleason Archer in his book, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, in Page 148.

 

My Conversation with my Former Jewish Biblical Hebrew Teacher about Isaiah 9:6

One of my early teachers in Biblical Hebrew is a Jewish and Grammatical Hebrew Coordinator and professor for all levels of Biblical and Modern Hebrew. I was the only Filipino when I was still studying Hebrew online but we never discussed the Catholic Church and Judaism or other religions. There was an instance when we talked about Isaiah 9:6  that Christians and Jews argued about. The Jews believed this “Child”  was Hezekiah while Christians said this was Jesus.

Later on, we discussed the verbs and grammar in Isaiah 9:6 and this was followed by numerous talks. Many Jewish people were in the forum where I used to study Hebrew. There were many Rabbis. I was interested to find out their views about this verse. I want to share this perspective that the verse did not refer to Hezekiah.

Here are our conversations:


Me:  Can we discuss again the grammar of Isaiah 9:6?

You discussed the Isaiah 9:6 and you said:

By looking at the Hebrew text to examine the “tenses” which you wish to do, is a very difficult thing to do, because Biblical Hebrew is not “tense” oriented. Nevertheless, we can look at the verbs altogether:

כִּי־יֶ֣לֶד יֻלַּד־לָ֗נוּ בֵּ֚ן נִתַּן־לָ֔נוּ וַתְּהִ֥י הַמִּשְׂרָ֖ה עַל־שִׁכְמ֑וֹ וַיִּקְרָ֙א שְׁמ֜וֹ פֶּ֠לֶא יוֹעֵץ֙ אֵ֣ל גִּבּ֔וֹר אֲבִיעַ֖ד שַׂר־שָׁלֽוֹם׃

there are 3 verbs:

יֻלַּד

וַתְּהִ֥י

וַיִּקְרָ֙א

all of them are past tense verbs . The two with the vav are Wayyiqtol – common narrative past tense verbs- and the first one – which you were asking about – and I understand why – is Qatal – a different nuance of a past tense.

Here’s my comment and please let me know if you do not agree.

Now, It is true that the suffixed conjugation (aka qatal or perfect) is normally (almost always) used to refer to past-time action when appearing in prose/narrative. However, when used in reported speech within narrative (that is, indirect speech) or in prophetic oracles (which are a form of direct speech) or in many forms of Hebrew poetry (which is a poetic version of direct speech), the suffixed conjugation is not restricted to past-time action?

Her: Here is Morauka dealing with the exact verse –

Qatal
In prophecies a future event is sometimes regarded as having already been accomplished, hence the use of qatal.

This prophetic perfect is not a special grammatical perfect, but a rhetorical device. Examples: Is 9.1 “the people who walked in darkness will see War” a great light”; 9.5 “a child will be born יֻלַּד for us, a son will be given !”; 10.28(24).

Duane, btw – you can download (for free) Gesenius.

Me: In Ruth 1:11-13a, Naomi addresses her two daughters-in-law and poses a series of hypothetical questions in order to dissuade them from returning to Judah with her. In her speech, she uses five (5) suffixed conjugation verbs—none of which refer to conventional past action. In fact, they are all used of hypothetical future action:

But Naomi replied, “Go back, my daughters! Why would you want to come with me? Am I still capable of having sons that they might become (וְהָי֥וּ) your husbands? Go back, my daughters! Go! For I am too old (זָקַ֖נְתִּי) to get married again. Suppose I were to say (אָמַ֙רְתִּי֙), ‘I have hope!’ Suppose I were to acquire (הָיִ֤יתִי) a husband this very night and gave birth (יָלַ֥דְתִּי) to sons—would you wait until they were grown? Would you remain unmarried all that time? No, my daughters, you must not come with me!” (NET Bible )

Let’s look at how the suffixed conjugation is sometimes used in Hebrew poetry. For example, in Psalm 3:7 [Heb 8], the psalmist pleas that Yahweh deliver him from his enemies (A and B lines), then expresses his confidence that God will indeed answer his prayer by destroying these very foes (C and D lines):

Rise up, LORD!
Deliver me, my God!
Yes, you will strike (הִכִּ֣יתָ) all my enemies on the jaw;
you will break (שִׁבַּֽרְתָּ) the teeth of the wicked. (Psalm 3:7, NET Bible )

Psalm 11:2 provides a nice example in which the prefixed conjugation (yiqtol, imperfect) and the suffixed conjugation (qatal-perfect) are used in synonymous parallelism, both conveying some kind of present progressive or customary gnomic sense:

Her:  This is great Duane, but I think here we are looking at conditional clauses, which again the Yiqtol would appear many times.

Me: All too often, introductory Hebrew grammars give the faulty impression that the suffix conjugation (perfect) is typically past time … because most introductory Hebrew grammars use narrative/prose for most of their examples.

However, once you get out of the genre of narrative (and by this, I mean reported action) and into the genre of indirect/direct speech (reported speech within narrative, direct speech in prophetic oracles, direct speech in Hebrew poetry), the suffixed conjugation can function in all sorts of ways.

(2) Since Isaiah 9:6 is direct speech in a prophetic oracle, we are not confined therefore to past-time action.

When we look carefully at Isaiah 9:6-7, we notice there is a verbal chain: (1) perfect יֶ֣לֶד (2) followed by waw + preterite וַתְּהִ֥י ” (3) followed by (3) waw + preterite ar:וַיִּקְ “. Since the waw + preterite verbs (as you know) continue the temporal aspect of the introductory verb in this chain, the question is what is the time-frame of the introductory verb יֶ֣לֶד?

But since that is the heart of this issue, anyone would beg the question either way. Therefore, we have to attack this question from the second verb (rather than the front-end) in this verbal chain since all three verbs carry the same temporal force due to the use of the waw consecutives. So the real question becomes, “What kind of time frame is conveyed by the second verbal expression: וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה, עַל-שִׁכְמו?

My sense is that this must be a future-time hope and expectation since the following verse describes his reign as everlasting: “His dominion will be vast … He will rule on David’s throne … from this time forward and forevermore.” Granted, one could argue that the expression “from this time forward …” means that he has already taken the throne; however, this expression could also be part of the future oriented vision as a whole, in which Isaiah contemplates what will happen once this royal son takes the throne.

Her: There cannot be 100% certainty. Im bringing here some opinions. Isaiah describes liberation from some form of adversity (perhaps the Assyrian conquests of Israelite territory described in the previous vv., or Syro-Ephraimite pressures on Judah). The verbs are in the past tense. Some interpreters view them as examples of the “prophetic past,” which predicts future events using the past tense because they are as good as done. Thus it is not clear whether the Davidic king whose birth and rule are described (vv. 5-6) has already been born (if the verbs are a regular past tense) or will be born in the future (prophetic past). If the former, the v. probably refers to Ahaz’s son Hezekiah, as many modern and rabbinic commentators believe (though other possibilities exist depending on the date of the passage). Most later readers (both Jewish and Christian) understood the passage to describe an ideal future ruler, i.e., the Messiah. 

TNK Isaiah 9:5 For a child has been born to us, A son has been given us. And authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named “The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler” —

KJV Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

ESV Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

NAS Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Some say that the verbs needs to be treated as a prophecies a future event which is sometimes regarded as having already been accomplished, hence the use of qatal: For a child a child will be born..so they see the Wayyiqtol which normally In the sphere of the future, wayyiqtol is rare, but here needs to be translated as future like the NAS
NAS Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6 NAS).

Some say that the verbs needs to be treated as a prophecies a future event which is sometimes regarded as having already been accomplished, hence the use of qatal: For a child a child will be born..so they see the Wayyiqtol which normally In the sphere of the future, wayyiqtol is rare, but here needs to be translated as future like the NAS. 

NAS Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6 NAS).

Me: Here’s my analysis, if that child was probably refers to Ahaz’s son Hezekiah, then how do you explain the following maam?

1. Isaiah 9:1-2 reflects the geo-political situation of the Galilee following its subjugation by Tiglath-pilieser III in 735 BC, but prior to the destruction of Samaria by Shalmaneser V in 722 BC. Therefore, the oracle of Isaiah in 9:1-7 was likely composed/delivered sometime between 735-722 BC.

2, The chronological information relating to Hezekiah is complicated, but he was likely born sometime shortly after 734 BC, but did not begin to reign until around 715 BC (cf. 2 Kings 18:13). This means that Isaiah composed 9:1-7 before (!) Hezekiah ascended the throne.

3. In any case, the failure of Hezekiah in his debacle with the Babylonian king Merodach-Baldan (Isa 39:1-8) would have disqualified Hezekiah from ever living up to the prophetic expectations of the ideal Davidic king described by Isaiah in 9:1-7.


Let us look at the hermeneutical/theological framework. This prologue is necessary due to many previous discussions about this very issue.

1.) One of the key features of these kinds of texts is the interplay between the divine and human authors. From certain New Testament texts, one gets the impression that God often had more in mind than the original human author (and his original audience) understood at the time. With the progress of revelation, later Hebrew prophets and writers understood more than the earlier Hebrew prophets and writers. There is also some indication that sometimes a human prophet/speaker/writer could have one thing in mind while God had something even greater in mind in the ultimate sense (e.g., see the Caiphas “prophecy” in John 11:49-52, which I think is instructive in this sense).

2.) Some interpreters suggest (and rightfully so, I think) that God can have something more ultimately in mind that goes beyond what the inspired prophet/writer might have understood, yet without comprising the stability of shared meaning. In this regard, linguists sometimes discuss the distinction/relationship between various levels/kinds of meaning: (1) sense and reference, (2) genus and differentia, (3) type and token, (4) etc etc. This kind of helpful insight into hermeneutics allows for “both/and” kind of meanings rather than more narrow “either/or” approaches to meaning.

3.) In the light of the progress of revelation (something that we as evangelicals affirm as the way to counter the non-conservative criticism that there is historical development in the theology of Scripture), we must also distinguish between (1) the original historical contextual meaning of an early Old Testament passage, (2) its later canonical meaning that gets teased out and developed throughout the progress of revelation throughout the Old Testament (note on this: often the themes in an earlier Old Testament passage will be developed more fully in a later OT passage—thus, in the same way we can talk about the use of the OT in the NT, we can also talk about the use of earlier Old Testament passages in later Old Testament passages), and (3) its ultimate Christological (or Christotelic, the Greek term “telos” can mean “goal”) meaning/sense that gets teased out in the New Testament. To be sure, the original historical contextual meaning is important, but that is not the end of the story. The rest of the biblical canon will develop and build upon earlier biblical passages, progressing building to a crescendo, if you will, as time goes on until that particular theme reaches its goal in Christ. But if we treat the original historical contextual meaning as the only meaning, we are in danger of making that sense static, rather than recognizing the dynamic of how progressive revelation can build upon that in later texts. In other words, it is not an “either/or” dichotomy between the original historical contextual meaning and the ultimate Messianic sense, but a “both/end” relationship.

4.) Another feature that comes into play is God’s use of typological templates and trajectories that draw upon the past as a way to prefigure and point to the future. So while there was an historical Moses, there would be an eschatological Moses. While there was a first exodus, there would be a greater Second Exodus. While there was an historical David, there would be a New David. While there was a first Solomon and a first Temple, there would be a greater eschatological Son of David and a greater eschatological Temple. While there was an old covenant, there would be a New Covenant. While there was a first heaven and earth, there would be a New Heaven and Earth. You get the point. Likewise, while there would be an historical Hezekiah, in whom the nation at the time was hoping would restore the former glories of David (but he clearly failed), there would be One to Come one day who would realize all that God had called Hezekiah to do (but he failed), but even more so.

5.) Even so, when God began to reveal these greater glories to come, it is not clear how much detail and specificity the original Hebrew prophets fully grasped. For example, God revealed to His inspired prophets that He would one day raise up an ideal New David who restore the throne of David and inaugurate an eternal kingdom; that God would one day inaugurate the New Covenant through a faithful Servant of Yahweh who would suffer; that God would one day raise up a New Solomon who would build a New Temple. But did all the Hebrew prophets realize that this New Moses, this New David, this New Solomon would be one and the same? Did they realize that the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 52-53 would be one and the same as the Royal Davidic King of Isaiah 9 and 11? Added to this is the revelation of the “One Like A Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14, who was heavenly in origin but human in appearance, and to whom the Most High God would bestow the eternal kingdom. Who exactly would this mysterious figure be? This “One Like A Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14 was something of a sui generis (one of a kind) in the sense that he was described in a way that seemed completely different than the New David, for example. For instance, there is nothing in Daniel 7 that suggests that this mysterious figure was a Davidic descendant. So if the future kingdom was promised to the New David, how does this fit with the kingdom being given to this heavenly figure? Moreover, while Zechariah 3:10 promised that God would one day raise up the royal “Branch” (a patently Davidic term; cf. Jer 23:5-6; also Isaiah 11:1, 10), Zechariah 9-14 also promised Israel that “your King will come” in clearly Davidic terms (Zech 9:9), but then went on to proclaim that in the future kingdom it would be Yahweh alone who would be king (Zech 14:9, 16-17). Since God had promised to raise up the Davidic “Branch” to rule over the kingdom, who would that fit with Yahweh alone ruling as King? Of course, as Christians, we realize that all of these different eschatological expectations and figures were realized in Jesus the Son of God as the God-Man. But with the divinely revealed emphasis on absolute monotheism (One God), it was difficult for any orthodox Israelite in putting all these pieces together by concluding that God was one in essence, but two persons (if not three persons). Remember, while all the pieces were already there in Scripture, it even took the church fathers a bit of time to not only affirm that Jesus was not just the Son of God, but God Himself, as well as that the Spirit was God (as you know, the formal articulation of our orthodox doctrine of the Trinity did not fully come together until Nicea).

With this in mind, let’s think about Isaiah 9:

1. As you well note, Hebrew verbs are not primarily time-oriented, but aspect-oriented. The precise time-frame must be teased out of the context, which itself is not always completely clear. In the case of verse 6, כִּי־יֶ֣לֶד יֻלַּד־לָ֗נוּ בֵּ֚ן נִתַּן־לָ֔נוּ, one could legitimately understand this in several ways: (a) recent past: “A child has just been born to us, a son has just been given to us,” (b) present progressive: “A child is being born to us, a son is being given to us,” or (c) undefined future: “A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us.” To be sure, this kind of expression, when used elsewhere, is normally recent past (e.g., Ruth 4:17, “A son has been born to Naomi!”). However, this statement appears in a prophetic oracle. As you may know, the perfect conjugation is often used of future events to convey a sense of certain expectation or certain future fulfillment (e.g., Waltke-O’Connor, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, §30.5.1.e = pp. 489-490) (e.g., Gen 17:20; 30:13; Num 24:17; Isa 8:23-9:1). By the way, the so-called “prophetic perfect” was originally recognized and described by medieval Jewish grammarians (e.g., David Kimchi: “The matter is as clear as though it had already passed”) and Jewish rabbis (e.g., Rabbi Isaac ben Yedaiah: “[The rabbis] of blessed memory followed, in these words of theirs, in the paths of the prophets who speak of something which will happen in the future in the language of the past. Since they saw in prophetic vision that which was to occur in the future, they spoke about it in the past tense and testified firmly that it had happened, to teach the certainty of his [God’s] words — may he be blessed — and his positive promise that can never change and his beneficent message that will not be altered.”). All this to say, all three options are legitimate options. The question, however, is which one fits best with the context? But now we have to ask the question: which context? The original historical context or the ultimate canonical and Christotelic context? If we are asking about the original historical context, Isaiah 9 would fit nicely against the historical background of the recent birth of Hezekiah and his later succession to the throne. However, if we are asking about the ultimate canonical/Christotelic context, then it would have to be someone beyond Hezekiah—the eschatological Messiah.

2. Note that the immediate literary context of Isaiah 9:1-7 [Heb 8:23-9:6] points to an historical background sometime after the Galilee had been subjugated by the Assyrians in 735 BC. The three geographical regions in 9:1 [Heb 8:23] indicate this. Since Hezekiah was born right around this time (Note: details in the biblical chronology related to Hezekiah make it very difficult to pin down the precise date of his birth, even if we adopt Edwin Thiele’s approach to the chronology of the kings of Judah), it is difficult to deny that Isaiah might have originally hoped that the birth of Hezekiah and his imminent ascent to the throne would reverse the dark days of the rule of his predecessor Ahaz (the wicked Davidic king in the background of Isaiah 7-8). So it is possible that Isaiah was quoting or giving voice to the hopes and expectations of the faithful Jerusalemites that the birth of Hezekiah (note the prophecy in Isaiah 7-8 about a royal birth that would precede the coming of the Assyrian king [Sennacherib] in 701 BC, 7:17). Perhaps the people and prophet as well hoped that Hezekiah would the Davidic king who would rescue Jerusalem/Judah from the oppressive yoke of the Assyrians. Indeed, Hezekiah did eventually deliver Jerusalem from the siege of Sennacherib in 701 BC, when he turned to Yahweh (see Isaiah 36-37). However, Hezekiah eventually failed to procure lasting deliverance from Assyria when he made a treaty with the Babylonian king Merodach-Baladan (ch. 39), which Isaiah condemned. In fact, Isaiah announced that Hezekiah’s sin of relying upon the Babylonians for protection from the Assyrians would be punished by God using the Babylonians to one day send Jerusalem/Judah into exile. So while Isaiah might have initially hoped that Hezekiah would be the Davidic son who would fulfill the expectations of the divine oracle of Isaiah 9:1-7, it certainly became clear to Isaiah by this point (the events with Merodach-Baladan) that Hezekiah would not in fact be that Davidic king to usher in the new age of lasting peace. So by the end of his prophetic career and at the time when all of his oracles were likely being assembled to form the Book of Isaiah, Isaiah himself would have realized that whatever had been his original hopes for Hezekiah, Hezekiah would not be the one to fulfill the oracle possibly uttered at the celebration of his birth. Understood in this sense (its final canonical sense rather than its original historical sense), the prophetic oracle of Isaiah 9:1-7 pointed to someone greater than Hezekiah. And not only greater than Hezekiah, but someone whom God would raise up to bring about the great Second Exodus that the return from Babylon in 539 BC would foreshadow. That points us to the New David of Isaiah 11:1-9, 10-20, who is pictured as an eschatological King who would lead the Second Exodus. And the theme of the Second Exodus takes us directly to Isaiah 40-55, where we find the Suffering Servant whom God would raise up to inaugurate the New Covenant and create the New People of God. This brings us back to the question about the interpretation of the verbs in v. 6a, by the way. When viewed historically, they could be taken as Hezekiah’s original celebration over the recent birth of Hezekiah and all the hopes bound up in that royal birth. However, by the time the Book of Isaiah was compiled, Isaiah would have understood that those words ultimately pointed to a future birth of someone greater than Hezekiah whom God would raise up in the future. Here is an example of divinely designed linguistic openness, which exploited the syntactical range of options for these verbs (Note: This kind of divinely designed linguistic openness characterizes lots of passages in the Old Testament that were originally referring to an historical Davidic king, but ultimately also have reference to the eschatological Messiah. Again, it is not a matter of “either/or” thinking, but “both/and” dynamics by divine design).

3. The words of praise concerning the royal birth in v. 6a (originally uttered at the birth of Hezekiah, but ultimately recalibrated to foreshadow the New David who would be greater than Hezekiah) led naturally into the prophetic declaration of the future enthronement of this Davidic king in vv. 6b-7. One of the important features of v. 6b is the fourfold throne name bestowed upon this Davidic king. In the ancient Near East, it was customary for a crown prince to be given a birth name that was later supplemented by a multiple throne name (e.g., whether a fourfold, fivefold, or sometime sixfold throne name, whether in Egypt, Ugarit, Hittite, or Mesopotamian royal protocol). However, in ancient Near Eastern royal enthronement ceremonies, the original birth name was always stated and then the multiple throne name was then announced. I find it telling that the royal throne name is given in v. 6b, but not the original birth name. If—for the sake of argument—Isaiah had hoped that Hezekiah would be the one in whom this divinely inspired oracle would be fulfilled, we would have expected to him both his original birth name (Hezekiah) as well as the fourfold throne name (which in that case would have been: “Extraordinary Strategist-Mighty Warrior-Perpetual Suzerain-Prince of [Political/Military] Peace”). This throne name would have been the equivalent of his divine calling to plan a brilliant strategy to conquer the Assyrians and drive them out of Judah to inaugurate a period of perpetual peace for Judah. However, rather than depending upon Yahweh to accomplish this (as v. 7 directs), Hezekiah depended upon his own human machinations by turning to Merodach-Baladan rather than depending upon Yahweh for deliverance (not unlike what Ahaz did in Isaiah 7 by turning to the Assyrians rather than depending upon Yahweh). As a result, Hezekiah failed to live up to his historical throne name and royal calling by God. Although Isaiah might have hoped in 735 BC that the youthful Hezekiah would one day become this royal deliverer, by the time of 700 BC (the time of his alliance with Merodach-Baladan), Isaiah would have realized that Hezekiah had failed to live up to his throne name and calling, which was originally epitomized by the fourfold name in v. 6b. So by the end of his career, when Isaiah would have begun to put his earlier oracles into the current canonical form of the Book of Isaiah, the prophet would have realized that God would one day raise up someone greater than Hezekiah and that this coming New David (or Second Hezekiah, if you will) would be the one who would ultimately fulfill this fourfold throne name and become the agent of Yahweh to establish the everlasting kingdom. Viewed canonically, this Second Hezekiah/New David must be none other than the eschatological Messiah. For the Christian, we not only see in Jesus this eschatological Messiah, but we also see the divinely designed full meaning of the fourfold throne name which we can legitimately translate as “Wonderful Counselor-Mighty God-Everlasting Father/Suzerain-Prince of Peace.” We also realize that the deliverance from “darkness” in 9:1 [Heb 8:23] is not just deliverance from the dark days of gloom brought on by subjugation by the Assyrians, but ultimately deliverance from the darkness of sin and rebellion which was what led to Judah’s discipline by God to begin with. Hence, Matthew legitimately saw in Jesus the inauguration of the kingship of Jesus when he ministered in the Galilee and provided the “light” for those sitting in “darkness,” not the darkness of mere political and military oppression under the Assyrians, but deliverance from the darkness and gloom of sin (Matt 4:12-17).

Some orthodox rabbinic interpreters acknowledge that Isaiah 9 is ultimately pointing to the eschatological Messiah. But due to their absolute monotheism, they reject the fourfold throne name in v. 6b as pointing to a divine Davidic king, and of course, they are not willing to see in Jesus the fulfillment of this oracle. But since we accept the resurrection and ascension of Jesus as historical, that means that God must have vindicated his claims and that Jesus must be central to God’s program of redemption.

Here is the Hebrew of Isaiah 9:5 (Masoretic Text) followed by transliteration:

isaiah9-5mt

Ki-yeled yoolad-lanoo ben nitan-lanoo vathi hamisra al-scichmo vayikra sh’mo Pele Yoetz El Gibor Avi-Ad Sar-Shalom

Here’s the location of Isaiah 9:6 of the Great Isaiah Scroll and how it is pronounced.

ISAIAH96-DSS-corrected

The Masoretic Text and the Isaiah scroll have a couple of minor spelling differences, but they are trivial and do not involve any change in meaning or translation.

The pronunciation of the main Isaiah scroll would be the same as the MT, except for one word: veqara in the scroll versus vayiqra in the Masoretic Text. The meaning is virtually the same.

“va-yiqra” is the copula plus the imperfect aspect (“yiqra”). This is what 4QIsa-c has also.

“ve-qara” is the copula plus the perfect aspect (“qara”). This is what 1QIsa-a has.

Hebrew had no vocalization marked until about the 4th or 5th century, so when we vocalize, it is based on the Masoretes’ vocalization (6th century or later) as seen in both Leningradensis and Aleppo (both have the same “vayiqra”).

All vocalization of DSS is based on the general system in Leningrad codex, not necessarily on the vocalization of a particular word in Leningrad.

The Hebrew part in the scroll can be called late Biblical Hebrew. The Hebrew in the Masoretic Text is Tiberian Hebrew (ca. 4th century, A.D.).

The question is why is the verse in Isaiah 9:5 for some bibles while others have it at Isaiah 9:6?

The difference between 9:6 and 9:5 is due to the paragraph division between the MT (which has “the people who walked in darkness” at chapter 9, verse 1) and the Septuagint (which numbers that verse as 9:2). Our English translations are numbered according to the Septuagint.

Why do we affirm that the “Child” mentioned in this verse is Messiah?

The Greek Septuagint (produced by Jewish translators) translates the fourfold name of the Davidic king in 9:5-6 in terms of a heavenly angel, most likely identifying him as the Angelic Melchizedek. The Aramaic Targums (produced by Aramaic speaking Jewish scholars) explicitly identify the Davidic king in 9:5-6 as the Messiah. Due to the link provided by the Greek Septuagint translation of this ideal Davidic king as an angelic figure, 1 Enoch identified him with the One Like A Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14, due to his angelic like associations, but they identify him as the future eschatological Davidic king.

I just want to quote the comment of a highly respected Jewish Scholar, Rashi.
1And you Bethlehem Ephrathah . . . you should have been the lowest of the clans of Judah . . . from you shall emerge for Me the Messiah, son of David, and so Scripture says (Ps. 118: 22): “The stone the builders had rejected became a cornerstone.” and his origin is from of old –”Before the sun his name is Yinnon.” (Ps. 72:17)

How interesting! Rashi teaches that this verse points to the eternal origin of the Messiah, and he even quotes the same psalm verse Yeshua applies to himself!

Did they realize that the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 52-53 would be one and the same as the Royal Davidic King of Isaiah 9 and 11? Added to this is the revelation of the “One Like A Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14, who was heavenly in origin but human in appearance, and to whom the Most High God would bestow the eternal kingdom. Who exactly would this mysterious figure be? This “One Like A Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14 was something of a sui generis (one of a kind) in the sense that he was described in a way that seemed completely different than the New David, for example. For instance, there is nothing in Daniel 7 that suggests that this mysterious figure was a Davidic descendant. So if the future kingdom was promised to the New David, how does this fit with the kingdom being given to this heavenly figure? Moreover, while Zechariah 3:10 promised that God would one day raise up the royal “Branch” (a patently Davidic term; cf. Jer 23:5-6; also Isaiah 11:1, 10), Zechariah 9-14 also promised Israel that “your King will come” in clearly Davidic terms (Zech 9:9), but then went on to proclaim that in the future kingdom it would be Yahweh alone who would be king (Zech 14:9, 16-17). Since God had promised to raise up the Davidic “Branch” to rule over the kingdom, who would that fit with Yahweh alone ruling as King? Of course, as Christians, we realize that all of these different eschatological expectations and figures were realized in Jesus the Son of God as the God-Man.

Let us find out what renowned Bible scholar say about Isaiah 9:6.

This is what Gleason L. Archer Jr. said in his book, the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties in page 268.

Isaiah 9:6 says of the coming Savior, the God-man Jesus Christ, “His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. At least, this is the way it is usually translated. But the basis for so doing is very dubious, since the Hebrew reads avi ad, which literally means “Father of Eternity.” It is true that both ad and ‘olam are often used as constructs in an adjectival sense and might be so construed here, were it not for the context. The preceding potion of the verse stresses His sonship in terms suggestive of His incarnation, in such a way as to make an assertion of His paternity or paternal status within the Godhead seem quite incongruous. For this reason we should understand this phrase in the most literal way, that He is the father of (that is, the author of of) ‘ad, a term meaning “perpetuity,” used at least nineteen times in connection with ‘olam (“age,” “eternity”). It usually points to the indefinitely continuing future and I often used to imply “eternal” or “everlasting,” in much the same way as ‘olam is. In other words, ‘ad and ‘olam seem to be nearly synonymous and may even be substituted for each other without any change in meaning. In view of the above, it seems reasonable to understand the phrase avi ad as “Father of Eternity” in the sense of “Author of Eternity”—not in the sense beginningless and endless eternity (such as would be predicated of God), but in the sense of all the stretch of time between the beginning of creation and its ultimate termination. In other words, this title points to Christ as the Creator of the world—the world viewed as a time continuum—the fullest statement of which is found in John 1:1 (“All things came into being through Him….”).

Why do we insist that it is not Hezekiah being referred to in Isaiah 9:6?

1. Isaiah 9:1-2 reflects the geo-political situation of the Galilee following its subjugation by Tiglath-pilieser III in 735 BC, but prior to the destruction of Samaria by Shalmaneser V in 722 BC. Therefore, the oracle of Isaiah in 9:1-7 was likely composed/delivered sometime between 735-722 BC.

2. The chronological information relating to Hezekiah is complicated, but he was likely born sometime shortly after 734 BC, but did not begin to reign until around 715 BC (cf. 2 Kings 18:13). This means that Isaiah composed 9:1-7 before (!) Hezekiah ascended the throne.

3. Consequently, the description of the birth and ascension of the ideal Davidic king in 9:1-7 could not have been Hezekiah, since Isaiah describes the reign of this ideal king as something that would begin in the future.

4. In any case, the failure of Hezekiah in his debacle with the Babylonian king Merodach-Baldan (Isa 39:1-8) would have disqualified Hezekiah from ever living up to the prophetic expectations of the ideal Davidic king described by Isaiah in 9:1-7.

5. Without question, the ideal Davidic king in 9:1-7 must be identified with the ideal Davidic king in 11:1-9 and 11:10-16. Since the ideal Davidic king in 11:10-16 would function as the “banner” around whom the Jewish exiles would rally, following the great Second Exodus (cf. chs. 40-66), this could not have been Hezekiah.

6. While Isaiah announced that Hezekiah’s sin would lead to the future exile of Jerusalem to Babylon (Isa 39:1-8), Isaiah also predicted that a greater Davidic king to come would be the one who would restore the exiles from Babylon and bring them back to Jerusalem (11:10-16).

7. If Isaiah had intended that Hezekiah was the king in view in 9:5-6, it is remarkable that he did not provide his birth name: “Hezekiah.” The absence of the birth name of the ideal future Davidic king is a patent allusion to the fact that Isaiah himself did not know the precise identity of this future ideal Davidic king; therefore, he was not Hezekiah.


  1. New English Translation
  2. New Revised Standard Version
  3. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax By Bruce K. Waltke and M. O’Connor
  4. New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties By Gleason L. Archer Jr.

 

 

 

 

A Critical Analysis of Deuteronomy 5:8 and Exodus 20:4

Many Christians use Deuteronomy 5:8 and Exodus 20:4 to conclude that all images are idols.

Personally, I am not in favor of treating images as god since this is idolatry. Yet, we will find out that not all images can be called idols if we study the Bible well.

Here is one of the oldest manuscripts of Deuteronomy and if we study closely verse 7.

4QDeuteronomy-withcredit

The Hebrew word “Elohim Acherim” refers to other gods.

Normal word order in Hebrew is for adjective to follow verb, like often in Greek, the opposite of English. Thus, “other gods” is the proper English way to translate Elohim Acherim.

The Hebrew word “Pesel” is in Verse 8 and refers to idols.

These are the verses used by our brothers about “IDOLS” so we can read the Hebrew Word Pesel.

pesel-verses

In Deuteronomy 5: 9, there is the Hebrew word, “Tishtachave” and here is the meaning of the related word in Hebrew word which is Tishtachave.

He will bow down to worship – yishtachave
I will bow down to worship – ‘eshtachave
You will bow down to worship – tishtachavoo
They will bow down to worship – yishtachavoo
Bow Down to Worship (command, singular) – hishtachavi
Bow Down to Worship (command, plural) – hishtachavoo

She (3f sing.) will bow down to worship ” tishtachave” is the same form as You (2m sing.) will bow down to worship. Also, the context is the ten commandments: you/thou shall not.

We will discover not all images are idols.

Let us find out what can be seen inside Solomon’s temple.

King Solomon built the temple in the Bible in 960 BC. To understand its purpose, we must know that God made the world and created the rules. It was destroyed by Babylonians in 586 BC.

The temple was located on the eastern hill. It is north of the City of David where we can find the Dome of the Rock today. The temple mount was significantly smaller. Solomon made it bigger. Herod also added to the present size of the platform. It is known as Haram esh-Sharif. This is “the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite”. (2 Samuel 24:18), “Mouth Moriah” (2 Chronicles 3:1), and possibly the “Zion of the Psalms. The term belonged to the city of David.

The Temple was envisioned as the tabernacle rectangular, with a porch or vestibule facing east, a nave an inner sanctuary or Holy of Holies.

Here is the image of Solomon’s temple. We can see the images clearly.

DSCF5521

The holiest place housed the Ark of the Covenant and two winged figures (cherubim). These were made from olive wood coated with gold stretching from wall to wall. Similar doors separated the nave from the covered entrance. Only priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place every day.

The Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) was God’s throne room which is the meeting place. This was between the two cherubim on the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant. The high priest sprinkled blood on the mercy seat on the day of atonement for the sins of the people.

We can also see the illustration in the Bible clearly.

“for the altar of incense made of refined gold, and its weight; also his plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord.All this, in writing at the Lord’s direction, he made clear to me—the plan of all the works.”(1 Chronicles 28:18-19, NRSV)

We can read The Ark of the Covenant in Exodus 25:18-20.

“You shall make two cherubim of gold; you shall make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other; of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They shall face one to another; the faces of the cherubim shall be turned toward the mercy seat.”(Exodus 25:18-20, NRSV)

The Ark of the Covenant was the place where God talked to Moses Exodus 25:22. It was made from acacia wood and covered with gold.

ark

The tabernacle (the “tent of meeting”) housed the Ark. The ark was the first furniture built after God ordered Moses to build the tabernacle Exodus 25:10-22.

The ark was to be the main focus of the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle as well as the temple Exodus 40:1-21.

The Ark was placed in the most holy place and separated by a thick veil Exodus 26:31-33.

According to scholars, when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem (586 BC) and plundered the temple, the ark could have been taken by Nebuchadnezzar and destroyed, or hidden by Levites.

The tabernacle was a transferable “tent of meeting” that God commanded Moses to build Exodus 25:1-2, 25:8-9. God wanted to live with the Israelites. He had fellowship with them and communicated with them.

tabernacle

The tabernacle was the place that God dwelt with his people for 4000 years. This was from the exodus until the time of King Solomon when the temple was constructed.

The tabernacle was at the heart of the Israelite camp. The 12 tribes of Israel encamped around it. The figures in the boxes refer to the number of males (20 years and above) in each tribe numbers 1-3.

Scholars pointed at the illustration of Herod’s temple.

image013

Here is the illustration of Herod’s temple and other details when Jesus was still on Earth.

herodstemple

It is different from Solomon’s Temple.

It started in 20 BC. Herod’s new structure was 15 stories high and followed floor dimensions of the former temples in the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

According to the Book written by Bruce Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible in page 308.

Within this holy place, there were increasingly sacred areas; the court of the women at the east, the court of the priest, then the temple (naos). This area was separated from the women’s court, being 15 steps higher, and could be entered through the nicanor gate. Only the priests could enter the temple, and only the high priest could enter the holy of holies, and that only on the day of atonement.

The whole structure was destroyed by the Romans in Ad 70.

Are there images in Herod’s temple like what we see in Solomon’s Temple?

According to the Babylonian Talmud.

“There were no cherubim in the temple of Herod, but the walls were painted with figures of them (Babylonian Talmud Yoma 54a).”

For our information, the Talmud is the anthology of the historic rabbis “discussing” or “debating” what the Torah means. The Talmud’s two elements are Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה, c. 200 CE), which is a written account of Rabbinic Judaism’s Oral Torah (Talmud means “instruction” in Hebrew)

Are There Images in the Synagogue?

Synagogue comes from the Greek term that means “house of assembly.” In Hebrew, the word used is “beit k’nesset.” It means house of assembly. English-speaking people do not translate it or use the Hebrew. They use an anglicized Greek word, synagogue.
According to a respected and famous Jewish scholar, Professor Lawrence Schiffman (leading scholar of ancient Judaism):

“Some synagogues have two lions above the ark and one of the interpretations of this imagery is that it represents the cherubim. There are certainly no sculpted images in synagogues.”

We can see inside the synagogue two images of lions in the upper part.

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Professor Schiffman also said:

“This is similar and look at the section above the ark curtain, where two lions face each other with a crown symbolizing the Torah between them.”

If Deuteronomy 5:8 and Exodus 20:4 really forbid keeping images, even the Jews failed to obey this since they put images of lions inside their synagogue. Yet, they know the meaning of the Hebrew words: Elohim Acherim, Pesel and Tishtachave which we can read in Deuteronomy 5:7-9 and Exodus 20:3-5.

As a Christian, is my analysis correct that not all images are idols?

In our studies, it is very clear that some non-Catholic pastors and their followers who were not able to study the Scriptures very well say all images are idols.

If we study closely, 2 noted scholars proved that not all images are idols.

1. Gleason Archer

Who is Gleason Archer?

Gleason Leonard Archer Jr. (May 22, 1916 – April 27, 2004) was a biblical scholar, theologian, educator and author. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleason_Archer_Jr.)

He is not a Catholic.

Gleason Archer wrote this in his book.

bdbyarchercover

This is what Gleason Archer said in his book.

bdbyarcher

2. Norman Geisler

Who is Norman Geisler?

Norman L. Geisler is an evangelical scholar, Christian apologist, and the author/coauthor of over fifty Christian books defending the Christian faith by means of logic, evidence, and philosophy. He has also authored many scholarly articles on a wide range of theological and philosophical topics (https://www.theopedia.com/norman-geisler)

Norman Geisler is not a Catholic.

bdbynormangeislercover

This is what Norman Geisler said in his book.

bdbynormangeisler

 


1.) New Revised Standard Version
2.) The Oxford Guide to People & Places of the Bible By Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan
3.) Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines
4.) New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties By Gleason Archer
5.) The Big Book of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation By Norman L. Geisler and Thomas – Howe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Critical Study of the Translation of “Theos” in John 1:1c

The 3rd clause in John 1:1, “Kai Theos en ho logos” or “and the word was God” is confused by some people since there is no article in “Theos”. It does function as adjective so it must be translated to “divine” and not “God”. Others say it is not the true God because there is no definite article. These opinions lack strong proof and simply opinions supported by wrong doctrines

Is it true that if “theos” has no Article, it functions as an adjective and translated to “divine” and not “God”?

If a definite predicative noun precedes the finite verb “to be” it never has an article.

If we see John 8:54 in Greek, we will read, “Apekrithei Yeisous, Ean ego doxazo emauton, ‘ei dox mou oden estin. estin ‘o pateir mou ‘o doxazon me, ‘on ‘umeis legete ‘oti theos ‘eimon estin.”

In English, we can read the following:

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God (john 8:54)”

And, we will read “Theos heimon estin“ without any article before the Greek word, “Theos”.

By the way, here are the definite articles:definite-articles
 

 

 

If we notice “theos” in John 8:54 comes before the verb and lacks the article. The Greek word “Estin” is the verb.

Is it correct to translate the Greek word, “THEOS” into “Divine” since it has no definite article?

According to a New Testament scholar in his book, “The Gospel According to John” in page 117:

“A long string of writers has argued that because theos, ‘God’, here has no article, John is not referring to God as a specific being, but to mere qualities of ‘God-ness’. The Word, they say, able word in Greek for ‘divine’ (namely theios). “

According to an expert in Biblical Greek, this is what is written in his book:

“On the one hand, Carson’s critique is correct in that “divine” is too weak.”(The Greek Article (A functional Grammar of o-items in the Greek New Testament with Special Emphasis on the Greek Article, Page 239).

In Greek, God means “Theos” while Divine is “Theios”.

“EI” in Theios is a diphthong: note the circumflex accent over “I”. The “I” is with the vowel “E” as a unit, both part of the first syllable. “OS” is the ending, the second syllable.

What about the logic that “the word was God” should be “the logos was divine” like: “the time is gold” wherein time is not really gold but simply being compared to gold as time is precious?

This argument is not acceptable: Gold here is not an adjective. It is a noun used metaphorically.

According to a New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce in his book, The Gospel of John in page 31:

“The structure of the third clause in verse 1, theos en ho logos, demands the translation ‘The Word was God’. Since logos has the article preceding it, it is marked out as the subject. The fact that theos is the first word after the conjunction kai (‘and’) shows that the main emphasis of the clause lies on it.”

Let us ask Dr. Daniel Wallace about the word “Theos” translated as divine.

We can read this in his grammar textbook.

“In this second translation, “divine” is acceptable only if it is a term that can be applied only to true deity.”(Greek Grammar beyond the Basics, Page 269)

We can read in John 1:6 the Greek word, “theou” which has no article but it was not translated to “divine”. We can read in John 20:17 “theon mou” which has no article. Yet, we will see it was not translated to “divine”. If we follow the logic of others that it has no “article”, God the Father in this verse is not a “true God”. And because of this logic, it only proves Jesus is God since in John 20:28, there is a definite article: “ho theos mou”.

How about Genesis 23:6 where the Hebrew word, “NSI ELOHIM” functions as adjective if translated to English?

In the Hebrew bible (Genesis 23:6), we can read “NSI ELOHIM” and translated into the English bible like New King James Version and it became “Mighty Prince”.

“Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.”(Genesis 23:6, New King James Version)

This is our answer.

John 1:1 is Greek, while Genesis 23:6 is Hebrew; so the rules of syntax are somewhat different. Greek syntax works different than Hebrew syntax.

1. Greek and Hebrew are in two different families of languages and their grammars do not match.
2. Hebrew has no tenses, just “aspects.” Greek does.
3. Hebrew has no neuter gender. Greek does.
4. Hebrew has construct chains. Greek does not but uses more elaborate case system.

The anti-Trinitarians are trying to confuse the issue by appealing to Hebrew syntax as a way to refute a point of Greek syntax.

That would be like suggesting a point in Spanish syntax could illumine an issue in French syntax—mixing apples and oranges.

The question about the syntax in John 1:1 is Greek, so the only kind of syntactical parallels that will count must be in Greek.

If the issue for you is John 1:1, you will need to find a parallel example in Greek to help you.

If we look at the English translation of Septuagint, it is different from the translation of NKJV.

“but hear us; thou art in the midst of us a king from God; bury thy dead in our choice sepulchres, for not one of us will by any means withhold his sepulchre from thee, so that thou shouldest not bury thy dead there.” (Genesis 23:6, English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible)

We can see the difference because of the word “God” and the Septuagint is written in Greek like the original text of the New Testament.

How about the statement of Robert Strachan in his book, The Fourth Gospel, Its Significance and Environment?

“The closing words of v.1 should be translated, ‘the Logos was divine’. Here the word theos has no article, thus giving it the significance of an adjective.”(The Fourth Gospel, Its Significance and Environment, Page 99).

In the book of scholar Murray J. Harris (The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus), this is what is written:

“Strachan is not, of course, suggesting that an author’s choice not to use the article with a noun virtually converts that noun into an adjective. But it remains doubtful whether even an adjectival significance may attach to an anarthrous substantive. Especially where there exists and adjective corresponding to the substantive, the anarthrous noun should not be deemed adjectival. “(The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus by Murray J. Harris, Page 63-64)

Does Strachan believe Christ is God?

We can read this in one edition of his book in page 232.

“My Lord and My God. This expression of the Divinity of Jesus is the fruit of experience, and not a mere expression of intellectual assent. What is it here that so deepens Thomas’s experience and produces such faith?” (The Fourth Gospel: Its Significance and Environment, Page 232)

So, even Strachan believes Christ is God. Other people just misquote his book to support wrong teachings.

What if we study Aramaic Peshitta in John 1:1? Will it function as adjective like the word, “alaha” without an article?

The peshitta word for God is “Alaha”.

If “Alaha” has no article, can we translate this to Divine?

If we read from the right going to the left, this is how it is:

“breesheeth eethawhy hwa miltha, whoo miltha, eethawhy hwa lwath alaha, walaha eethawhy hwa hoo miltha”

We can read from here the word, “Walaha” which means “and God”(The conjunction we- means and.)

Is this an adjective as what other ministers preach?

Alaha is a noun.

To translate it as an adjective is motivated by theological concerns.

What if there is no definite article in “Alaha” of Aramaic peshitta? Will this be a noun?

Alaha is a noun, whether used in the absolute state or in the determined state.

What about the basis of some ministers that the translation of the 3rd clause should not be God but Divine?

The Aramaic word for divine is “Alahaya”.

How about the translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, “and the word was a god”? Is it correct to put an “a” and transform this into a small letter, “g” in the word, God?

Remember there is no indefinite article in Greek so this cannot be, “and the word was a god”.

Here is what we can read in the Biblical Exegesis of New Testament Greek: James by Craig Price, in page 1:

“Greek has no indefinite article.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses insists the small letter “g” was used in “god” since there is small “theos” and big “Theos”.

Is there a difference?

Capital vs. small letter is an ignorant (i.e., they don’t know [Greek]) argument There is nothing correct about that argument. There are, however, Greek uncials (capitals) and minuscules (lower case), but any manuscript would be written totally in uncials (in the early centuries) or totally in minuscules (after about the ninth century), but never mixed. So the argument is ignorant.

There is no indefinite article in Greek, but nor were “God” and “god” distinguished by use/non-use of a capital letter. The only way to distinguish in Greek between “the Word was God” and “God was the Word” was to write God without an article if the meaning were “the Word was God.”

Julius Mantey, a noted New Testament scholar wrote to the Jehovah’s Witnesses since they quoted his book, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament to justify their translation of John 1:1.Julis-mantey

Does John 1:1b Prove Christ is not God since “Ton Theon” refers to God The Father?

According to anti-Trinitarians, John 1:1 proves logos do not mean God because the verse mentions “TON THEON”.

It means the Father and there could not be two Gods.

However, this analysis is wrong since anti-Trinitarians do not understand the Greek syntax.

According to the Greek Grammar Text Book of Dana and Mantey in Page 140:

“Pros ton theon points to Christ’s fellowship with the person of the Father; Theos hen ho logos emphasizes Christ’s participation in the essence of the divine nature.” (A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament by Dana and Mantey, Page 140)

The analysis of others about “Theon” is it is the true God in John 1:1 and not “Theos”.

The difference in the ending is simply a matter of grammar: theon is accusative because of the preposition; theos is nominative because of the verb “to be.” Theos means the same thing in both cases.

God here (theon) is not a direct object, but God here is the object of a preposition.
The greek, ton theon-the God, with the definite article implying that John has a specific person in mind.

John’s uses of the preposition pros ‘with’ is significant. It implies that the Father and the Son had an intimate as well as eternal relationship.

This is the analysis of a noted New Testament scholar, F.F. Bruce:
“Moreover, the Word shares the very nature of God, for ‘the Word was God’”(F.F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, Page 31)

According to Philip Comfort, another NT scholar:

“This is explicitly asserted in several passages, many of which are found in John’s writings it is john who tells us that “the Word was God.” Not only was the Word with God from eternity, he was himself God from eternity.”(Encountering the Manuscripts, Page 226)

 

What Bible Versions can you Suggest that I Read in Studying the Catholic Faith and Why?

I suggest the New Revised Standard Version or New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition as well as the New American Bible: Revised Edition.

The NRSVCE and NABRE use the Dead Sea Scrolls in their modified translations.

Scholars choose the New Revised Standard Version as the overall best translation. It was translated by excellent Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic scholars under the aegis of the (USA) National Council of Churches, and, if you want, there is a NRSV Catholic Edition — the translation is identical, but it has the deuterocanonical books within the Old Testament in their Catholic order (as opposed to many editions of the NRSV which indeed include the “Apocrypha” but in a section separate from the Old Testament). Another good translation is the Catholic New American Bible: Revised Edition, the recent (2011) translation by the Catholic Biblical Association of America.

Many Catholics know that our official bible is the Douay Rheims Bible. The Catholic Church endorses the NRSVCE as a translation of the faithful in original text.

Both the USA and Canadian bishop conferences officially endorsed the NRSVCE as the Catholic Bible and for use in the Liturgy. The D-R translation is from the Latin Vulgate, which in the 17th century was the official Catholic Bible. But by mid-twentieth century everyone, including Catholic bishops, knew that the translation should be from the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek.

What is the difference between NRSV and RSV?

The RSV (1952) was a revised English translation of the OT and NT in the line of the KJB of 1611. In 1977 an expanded edition of RSV included the Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha, and was endorsed by Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox churches.

The NRSV was a revision of the RSV with revisions of better-known lexical words (from inscriptions), Qumran and LXX preferable textual variants, and gender-neutral language. There were Catholics and one Jew on the revision committee, and it was accepted by the Catholic Church. The NRSVCE was issued—identical with the NRSV except that the books were arranged in the Catholic order.

The NEW RSV (1989) is a more up-to-date (after the DSS) revision of the RSV (1953). The same group of translators a generation later (me included) did the revision, using advances in knowledge of inscriptions, DSS, and archaeology since 1953. Use the NRSV.

Can We Trust the Jerusalem Bible version?

The Jerusalem Bible was originally done in French by a group of eminent Dominican Biblical scholars, and was meant to use all the discoveries of modern historical criticism to produce a version of the Bible that was up to date. The English version was produced in the 1960s by a committee of Catholic scholars, based on the French. It aimed at being readable in English, so it often paraphrases the original text rather than just translating it – but the footnotes are good! 

If you are serious in studying the Bible, there is no problem if you consider various versions. However, I wish to encourage the original language of the Old Testament which is in Hebrew and the original language of the New Testament in Greek. Through this approach, you can compare each account carefully and determine which one presents the most factual and what is written in that version.

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