The Word of Wisdom – A Jewish Perspective

The Word of Wisdom – A Jewish Perspective
By
James Scott Trimm

Paul writes:

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each man, as it is profitable for him.
There is a word of wisdom that is given for it by the Spirit: and for another, a word of knowledge by the same Spirit.
(1Cor. 12:7-8 HRV)

Now this term “Word of Wisdom” appears only here is the Scriptures and in no other passage. Neither does the term appear in the Talmud or Midrashim. The phrase “Word of Wisdom” does however appear in the Zohar on several occasions. Just as Paul tells us that the “Word of Wisdom” is a “manifestation of the Spirit”, the Zohar tells us that the “Word of Wisdom” is a “manifestation of the Shekinah”:

Said R. Jose to R. Hiya: ‘Did I not say, perhaps he is a great man?’ Then he applied to him the words, “Blessed be the man that finds wisdom and the man that gets understanding” (Prov. 3:13), saying: ‘Such are we who found you and acquired from you a Word of Wisdom and were inspired with understanding to wait for you! We are of those for whom the Holy One prepares a present when they are journeying, to wit, the manifestation of the Shekinah, as it says: “The path of the righteous is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18).’
(Zohar 2:50a)

The Zohar also gives a good definition of the “Word of Wisdom”:

IN THE BEGINNING. R. Simeon opened his discourse with the text: And I put my words in your mouth (Isaiah 51:16). He said: ‘How greatly is it incumbent on a man to study the Torah day and night! For the Holy One, blessed be He, is attentive to the voice of those who occupy themselves with the Torah, and through each fresh discovery made by them in the Torah a new heaven is created. Our teachers have told us that at the moment when a man expounds something new in the Torah, his utterance ascends before the Holy One, blessed be He, and He takes it up and kisses it and crowns it with seventy crowns of graven and inscribed letters. When a new idea is formulated in the field of the esoteric wisdom, it ascends and rests on the head of the “Tzaddik, the life of the universe”, and then it flies off and traverses seventy thousand worlds until it ascends to the “Ancient of Days”. And inasmuch as all the words of the “Ancient of Days” are Words of Wisdom comprising sublime and hidden mysteries, that hidden Word of Wisdom that was discovered here when it ascends is joined to the words of the “Ancient of Days”, and becomes an integral part of them, and enters into the eighteen mystical worlds, concerning which we read “No eye has seen beside You, O Elohim” (Isaiah 64:3). From there they issue and fly to and fro, until finally arriving, perfected and completed, before the “Ancient of Days”. At that moment the “Ancient of Days” savors that Word of Wisdom, and finds satisfaction therein above all else. He takes that word and crowns it with three hundred and seventy thousand crowns, and it flies up and down until it is made into a sky. And so each word of wisdom is made into a sky, which presents itself fully formed before the “Ancient of Days”, who calls them “new heavens”, that is, heavens created out of the mystic ideas of the sublime wisdom.
(Zohar 1:4b)

Notice the Zohar here quotes the Prophet Isaiah where he writes:

And whereof from of old men have not heard,
nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen
an Elohim beside You, who works for him that
waits for Him.
(Is. 64:3(4))

There is a Baraita on this verse that appears twice in the Talmud once in the Midrash Rabbah and four times in the Zohar.

The following is the Baraita as it appears in the Talmud:

What is the meaning of “Eye has not seen” (Is. 64:3)
Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said:
This is the wine that has been kept
in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.
(b.Berakot 34b; b.Sanhedrin 99a)

The phrase “wine that has been kept” in the Hebrew is Yayin HaMeshumar “wine of keeping”. The tradition of the Yayin HaMeshumar runs deep in traditional Judaism. It is the wine that will be served at the Messianic Feast when the Messiah re-establishes the Kingdom of Israel on earth.

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul also quotes, or perhaps we should better say paraphrases Is. 64:3(4) as follows:

But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:9 HRV)

Note that Paul’s citation is influenced by the Baraita as the actual text of Isaiah says that “eye has not seen… an Elohim beside you” but Paul says “Eye has not seen… that which Eloah has prepared for those who love Him.” And the Baraita has “Eye has not seen… the wine which has been kept…”.

Now lets look at Paul’s quote in context:

But we speak the wisdom of Eloah
in a mystery that was hidden
And [that] Eloah had before separated
from before the ages for our glory.
That not one of the authorities of this world knew,
for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Adon of glory.
But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:7-9 HRV)

When we look at Paul’s context we see an even greater influence from the Baraita of the Yayin HaMeshumar “…a mystery that was hidden and that Eloah had before separated from before the ages… eye has not seen… that which Eloah has prepared for those who love Him.”

It is clear that Paul here must be referring to the Yayin HaMeshumar as his audience is, no doubt, familiar with this Baraita to Is. 64:3.

It is the Yayin HaMeshumar that Yeshua refers to when we read:

And afterwards he took the cup, and blessed,
and gave to them, saying,
“Drink you all of it,
for this is my blood of the New Covenant,
which is shed for many to atone for sinners,
And I tell you, hereafter I will not drink of the fruit of the vine,
until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom
of my Father which is in heaven.”
(Mt. 26:27-29)

The Yayin HaMeshumar is the blood of the New Covenant. At the Passover Sader the wine represents the blood of the lamb. Note that we read in Revelation that Messiah is the lamb slain “before the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8) his blood is the wine kept in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.

In the Apocryphal Gospel of Thomas Yeshua is quoted as saying:

Yeshua said, “I shall give you what no eye has seen
and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched
and what has never occurred to the mind of man.
(Gospel of Thomas 17)

Note that in 1Cor. 1:18-20 the same “wisdom” of which we are later told is “…in the mystery that was hidden … before separates from before the ages… which Eloah had prepared for those who love him.” (1Cor. 2:7-9) is also the “wisdom” which “takes away the wisdom of the wise” in 1Cor. 1:19 quoting Isaiah 29:14. In Isaiah 29:15 this wisdom is the contents of the sealed book (Is. 29:11-12, 14, 18). In Revelation this book is opened by the “lamb as if it was slain” (Rev. 5:6) a lamb slain “before the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).

This is the wine that will be served at the “marriage supper of the lamb” (Rev. 19:7) the great Messianic Banquet and Passover Sader.

In 1Corinthians, Paul has brought up the Yayin HaMeshumar at the beginning of his letter because he will be addressing this wine throughout his letter. In 1Cor. 5 he will discuss the recent Passover Sader at Corinth. In 1Cor. 11:23-34 he addresses the significance of the Passover and especially being worthy to drink the wine which is the Yayin Hameshumar.

In 1Cor. 15:54 he cites Isaiah 25:8 a passage of Isaiah which immediately follows the description of the Messianic Banquet in Isaiah 25:6-7:

6 And in this mountain shall YHWH of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
8: He will swallow up death in victory; and the Adonai YHWH will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for YHWH has spoken it.

Notice that the Yayin HaMeshumar is something which “from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen” (Is. 64:3) elsewhere Isaiah writes:

So shall he sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths
because of him, for that which had not been told them shall they see
and that which they have not heard shall they perceive.
(Is. 52:15)

Thus the “suffering servant” song of Isaiah 53 is the message that “eye has not seen”, it is the Yayin HaMeshumar.

The Midrash Rabbah to Num. 13:2 (500) says:

Because hr bared his soul unto death (Is. 53:12)
and bruised themselveswith the Torah which is sweeter than honey,
the Holy One, blessed be He, will hereafter give them to drink
of the wine kept in its grapes since the six days in the beginning….
(Midrash Rabbah to Numbers 13:2 (500))

Thus Paul writes:

But we speak the wisdom of Eloah
in a mystery that was hidden
And [that] Eloah had before separated
from before the ages for our glory.
That not one of the authorities of this world knew,
for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Adon of glory.
But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:7-9 HRV)

Not only is the Yayin HaMeshumar the blood of the Messiah, but it is more. It is the “mystery” of which the blood of Messiah is only part:

The Zohar says:

The Tzadik (The Righteous) is the Yesod (foundation) in Yah,
the mystery (SOD) which is the wine which has been kept
in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.
(Zohar; Roeh M’haimna on Pinchas)

There is a clear connection here because SOD (“mystery”) has a gematria (numerical value) of 70 which is also the gematria of YAYIN (“wine”). Just as the Zohar identifies the “mystery” with the Yayin HaMeshumar, so does Paul in 1Corinthians.

For Paul goes on to further identify the Yayin HaMeshumar as follows:

10 But Eloah has revealed [it] to us by his spirit, for the spirit searches into everything, even the deep things of Eloah.
11 For who is the son of man who knows what is in a son of man except the spirit of the son of man that [is] in him? So also, that which is in Eloah, no man knows except the Spirit of Eloah.
12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from Eloah, so that we might know the gifts that were given to us from Eloah;
13 Which also we speak, not in the teaching of words of the wisdom of sons of men, but in the teaching of the spirit, and to spiritual men we compare spiritual things.
14 For the son of man who is in the nefesh does not receive spiritual things, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know that which is judged spiritually.
15 Now the spiritual man judges all things, and is not judged from man.
16 For who knows the mind of YHWH that he might instruct him? (Is. 40:13) But we have the mind of the Messiah.
(1Cor. 2:10-16)

Paul identifies the Yayin HaMeshumar with the “words of wisdom” (2:13) as well as the “mind of YHWH” or the “mind of Messiah” (1Cor. 2:16) and with the spiritual “gifts” (1Cor. 2:10-16) which he will elaborate upon later in the letter (1Cor. 12-14).

So both Paul and the Zohar identify the Word of Wisdom as a “manifestation” of the Ruach/Shekinah and as that which the “eye has not seen” referenced in Isaiah 54:3 which both the Zohar and Paul say “has been kept” since the time of Creation.

Please read below: This has been an especially difficult month! Please donate if you can!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

Extreme Emergency Update!

We still must raise $815 by the end of the day Today or our account will go negative .

Please read below: This has been an especially difficult month! Please donate if you can!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

Extreme Emergency Alert!

We must raise $976 by the end of the day Monday or our account will go negative (We only have $16 in the account).

Please read below: This has been an especially difficult month! Please donate if you can!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

Was Messiah the “Final Sacrifice”?

Was Messiah the “Final Sacrifice”?
By
James Scott Trimm


There is a popular teaching in Christendom that “Jesus” was the “final sacrifice.”  Often this premise is then carried forward to the conclusion that since the sacrifices and offerings have been abolished, the Torah, or at least large portions of the Torah, have been abolished.  However the fact is that the Scriptures do not teach that Yeshua was the “final sacrifice” at all. 


The Torah warns us about subtracting from it’s commandments:


You shall not add to the word which I command you,
neither shall you subtract a thing from it,
that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your Elohim which I command you.
(Deuteronomy 4:2)


Whatever thing I command you, observe to do it:
you shall not add thereto, nor subtract from it.
(Deuteronomy 13:1(12:32))


Moreover the Torah tells us repeatedly that its commandments are for all your generations forever:
“…it shall be a statute forever to their generations…” (Exodus 27:21)


“…it shall be a statute forever to him and his seed after him.” (Exodus 28:43)


“…a statute forever…” (Exodus 29:28)


“…it shall be a statute forever to them, to him and to his seed throughout their generations.” (Exodus 30:21)


“It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever.” (Exodus 31:17)


There is no shortage of passages in the Torah which specify that the Torah will not be abolished but will be for all generations forever. (For more see: Leviticus 6:18, 22; 7:34, 36; 10:9, 15; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 41; 24:3; Numbers 10:8; 15:15; 18:8, 11, 19, 23; 19:10 and Deuteronomy 5:29)


Several of the references above are speaking specifically in context of commandments pertaining to the sacrificial offerings!

Yeshua was the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the earth (Rev. 13:8) his death had an effect from the beginning of time and not just from around 32 CE forward.

Paul writes:

1  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
(Heb. 10:1-3 KJV)

Often when I share with Christians that the Torah is everlasting, for all generations, they respond by saying, “But the law was only a shadow.” By this they allude to Colossians 2:16-17 and Hebrews 10:1, two passages which have been very misunderstood. 

Lets begin by looking at Col. 2:16-17 as it reads in the KJV:

Let no man therefore judge you
in meat, or in drink,
or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon,
or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come;
but the body is of Christ.
(Col. 2:16-17 KJV)

There are three issues we must look at here:

First the passage speaks not only of “meat” but of “drink” so it cannot be speaking about the kosher laws which deal with food not drink.  Paul’s opponent here has differing views regarding “meat”; “drink”; “holydays”; “new moons” and “sabbaths”.  Clearly his opponent here are the Essene influence within the movement which later re-emerged as the Ebionites.  These Essene-Proto-Ebionites were vegetarians, they all took the Nazarite Vow (and thus abstained from wine) and they used a Solar Calendar.  Thus they differed with Paul on issues of “meat”; “drink”; “holydays”; “new moons” and “sabbaths”. SO Paul is not speaking here about the validity of Torah, but of his opponents positions on these issues.

Secondly there is the “shadow” issue.  Now we know that Passover was a shadow which Messiah fulfilled, yet rather than abolish the observance of Passover as a result, Paul says “therefore let us keep the feast” (1Cor. 5:7-8). 

Lastly we must once again look at the KJV’s use of italic here.  The italics in the KJV indicate words that are not really there in the Greek, but which the KJV has added to the text.  This is supposed to be to help the text make sense in English, but in some cases like this one the italics have been used to completely and radically change the meaning of the text.  If we remove the italicized word “is” from the phrase “body is of Christ” we see the familiar phrase “body of Christ” which appears over and over in the New Testament.  Why would one disrupt the common phrase “body of Christ” by inserting the word “is”?  If we reread the KJV without this word something interesting happens:

Let no man therefore judge you
in meat, or in drink,
or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon,
or of the sabbath:
Which are a shadow of things to come;
but the body of Christ.
(Col. 2:16-17 KJV without itallics)

Suddenly the passage is no longer contesting “shadow” with “body” it is contrasting “man” with the “body of Christ” or “body of Messiah”!  The passage is now saying that no individual man has authority to judge in these matters, only the collective Body of Messiah has this authority.
Many Christians teach a false doctrine that since the commandments of the Torah are symbolic of certain deep truths concerning Messiah, and since the Torah is a tutor leading us to Messiah and since the Messiah “fulfilled” the Torah, we no longer need to actually observe the commandments once we have come to the truth of Messiah.
Interestingly Philo of Alexandria encountered a similar false teaching.  Philo was an Alexandrian Jew who was born nearly 20 years before Yeshua and died around 20 years after his death. Philo was a “Hellenist Jew”. Not like the Hellenists of the Maccabean period who abandoned Torah for Paganism, but like Stephen (Acts 7) and the Hellenists in Acts 6. These Hellenists were Greek speaking Jews who remained Torah Observant (at least in there own understanding) while accepting Greek culture.

Philo wrote commentary, primarily on the Torah, which was highly midrashic.  Philo interpreted the texts in an allegorical manner, finding in them philosophic symbolism.  Philo saw the commandments of the Torah as pregnant with deep symbolic truths which he sought to express in his commentaries.


But Philo had encountered others in his day who taught that observing the actual commandments was not necessary at all, that all that was really important was to understand the deep truths which they, through symbolism and allegory, teach us. Philo responded to this false teaching as follows:


(89) For there are some men, who, looking upon written laws as symbols of things appreciable by the intellect, have studied some things with superfluous accuracy, and have treated others with neglectful indifference; whom I should blame for their levity; for they ought to attend to both classes of things, applying themselves both to an accurate investigation of invisible things, and also to an irreproachable observance of those laws which are notorious. (90) But now men living solitarily by themselves as if they were in a desert, or else as if they were mere souls unconnected with the body, and as if they had no knowledge of any city, or village, or house, or in short of any company of men whatever, overlook what appears to the many to be true, and seek for plain naked truth by itself, whom the sacred scripture teaches not to neglect a good reputation, and not to break through any established customs which divine men of greater wisdom than any in our time have enacted or established. (91) For although the seventh day is a lesson to teach us the power which exists in the uncreated God, and also that the creature is entitled to rest from his labours, it does not follow that on that account we may abrogate the laws which are established respecting it, so as to light a fire, or till land, or carry burdens, or bring accusations, or conduct suits at law, or demand a restoration of a deposit, or exact the repayment of a debt, or do any other of the things which are usually permitted at times which are not days of festival. (92) Nor does it follow, because the feast is the symbol of the joy of the soul and of its gratitude towards God, that we are to repudiate the assemblies ordained at the periodical seasons of the year; nor because the rite of circumcision is an emblem of the excision of pleasures and of all the passions, and of the destruction of that impious opinion, according to which the mind has imagined itself to be by itself competent to produce offspring, does it follow that we are to annul the law which has been enacted about circumcision. Since we shall neglect the laws about the due observance of the ceremonies in the temple, and numbers of others too, if we exclude all figurative interpretation and attend only to those things which are expressly ordained in plain words. (93) But it is right to think that this class of things resembles the body, and the other class the soul; therefore, just as we take care of the body because it is the abode of the soul, so also must we take care of the laws that are enacted in plain terms: for while they are regarded, those other things also will be more clearly understood, of which these laws are the symbols, and in the same way one will escape blame and accusation from men in general.
(Philo; On the Migration of Abraham)


Philo pointed out that the literal meaning of the commandments was like a body and the symbolic meaning was like a soul.  Since the soul inhabits the body, the soul depends upon the care of the body.  Likewise the symbolic truths of the Torah depend upon the observance of the commandments to have any real meaning. 


For example the Passover was a shadow which Messiah fulfilled, yet rather than abolish the observance of Passover as a result, Paul says “therefore let us keep the feast” (1Cor. 5:7-8).

Now lets look at Hebrews 10:1 as it appears in the KJV:

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
(Heb. 10:1 KJV)

It should also be noted that while most manuscripts of Hebrews do read in this verse “not the very substance” the oldest copy of Hebrews (p46) reads:

For the law having a shadow of good things to come,
and the very image of the things.
(Hebrews 10:1 from p46, the oldest copy of Hebrews)

The Hebrew text of Hebrews which Sabastian Munster obtained “from among the Jews” and published in the 16th Century has a conflation in this verse reading “and not the very substance”.  Only Munster and p46 have the word “and” in this verse (the word “and” is in the KJV here, but is in italics, meaning that it was not in the Greek). The presence of the word “and” in the Munster Hebrew text could be seen as supporting the reading of p46 and the word “not” could have been added to the Hebrew text later to bring it into conformity with the majority of Greek manuscripts.  In any case, it is ill advised to create an entire theology around a word in the text for which the evidence is divided as to whether that word even appeared in the original.  And even if we accept that the word “not” belongs in the text, this still does not indicate that the Torah should no longer be kept.  Paul here is referring in context to the fact that the earthly tabernacle is a shadow of the heavenly one (see Heb. 8:5; 9:11). This passage does not teach a doctrine that the Torah should not be kept because it is only a shadow, in fact the Torah has always been a shadow of good things to come, even in the days of Moses when the Tabernacle stood and was being used.

Yes the Torah is in fact a shadow of many good things.  The tabernacle in the Torah is a shadow of the heavenly tabernacle.  The holydays, the new moon and the sabbath day in the Torah are also shadows of things to come.  For example the Passover was a shadow which Messiah fulfilled, yet rather than abolish the observance of Passover as a result, Paul says “therefore let us keep the feast” (1Cor. 5:7-8).  In fact these elements of Torahs have always been “shadows of things to come” even when Moses was stoning people to death for violating the Sabbath.  We should ask ourselves this:  When Moses was stoning people to death for violating Sabbath why did they not timidly lift a finger and say “Excuse me Moses, but the Sabbath is just a shadow…”?  Clearly then the fact that it is a “shadow” does not mean that it should not be observed, in fact the scripture indicates that the fact that it is a shadow is all the more reason to observe it.  Note especially that in Paul’s day these things were still shadows of things to come, there were also still elements of Torah which had not then seen their allegorical prophetic parallels, and in fact many of these parallels still lay in the future, in the last days, the second coming of Messiah and the Millennial Kingdom. 

In fact Paul took the Nazarite vow:

18  And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
(Acts 18:18 KJV)

Which would have required him to make several animal sacrifices:

13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
14 And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,
15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.
16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:
17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.
18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.
19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:
20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.
21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.
(Num. 6:13-21 KJV)

In fact, should there be any question about whether or not Paul made such offerings after Yeshua’s death, they are settled later in the book of Acts.   When Paul visited Jerusalem, he went to the Temple and completed the Nazarite vow with them. “that an offering should be made for every one of them”:

17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
18  And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
19  And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
22  What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
23  Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
24  Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
25  As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
26  Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purifcation, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
(Acts 21:17-26 KJV)

And as we have stated, making a Nazarite vow requires making animal sacrifices (see Numbers 6:13-21).

Paul describes these events himself later in the book of Acts saying:

17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.
(Acts 24:17-18 KJV)

In fact we know Yeshua was not the final sacrifice because sacrifices and offerings will be made during the Millennial Kingdom.  In Ezekiel 40:1-48:35 we are given a detailed account of the Millennial Temple and its services.  Here we read:

18 And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.
19 And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering.
20 And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.
21 Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary.
22 And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock.
23 When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish.
24 And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
25 Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish.
26 Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves.
27 And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.
(Ezekiel 43:18-27 KJV)

There are many other passages in this section which describe such sacrifices and offerings being made at the Millennial Temple during the Millennial Kingdom.

Yeshua was not the “final sacrifice” because the sacrifices continued year after year as a remembrance.  The Messiah is the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the earth.  Before his physical death, the sacrifices and offerings were a shadow looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, and after the Messiah’s physical death they continued each year as a remembrance looking back at the death of Messiah.  The Messiah was not the final sacrifice because Paul performed sacrifices in the Temple after Yeshua’s death, and sacrifices and offerings will yet be offered even after the Messiah’s return, in the Millennial Temple during the Millennial Kingdom.

The sacrifices and offerings are not performed today, not because Yeshua was the final sacrifice, but because the sacrifices and offerings must be performed at the Temple, and the Temple is no longer standing.  However when the Temple is rebuilt (may it be done swiftly and in our day) they will be and should be restored so that they may serve as a remembrance year after year of the death of Messiah. Do not give heed to those who would subtract from the Torah!

Messiah, is our Passover offering, therefore let us keep the feast (1Cor. 5:7-8)  not only the feast of Passover, but all of the feasts, and all of the Torah!


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The Tetragrammaton: An Appeal for a Final Resolution – Chris. J. Koster

The Tetragrammaton: An Appeal for a Final Resolution
by
Chris. J. Koster



We were prompted to do this study because of the disturbing remark we read in Grote Winkler Prins Encyclopedie1 (Dutch),that the uncertainty as to the true pronunciation of the Name constantly causes embarrassment to Bible translators. But this uncertainty causes much perplexity as well as embarrassment to all believers. Although not always admitted, we firmly believe that this uncertainty has been a major reason for us to be satisfied with, and rather accept and use the surrogate of the Tetragram, up to this day.

Surely, the prophetic promise of the revelation of His Name has been given to us, and must be fulfilled:

1. “Therefore My People shall know My Name”, Isa. 52:6.

2. “and they shall know that My Name is YHWH”, Jer. 16:21.

3. “For then will I turn to the people a pure language (lip), that they may all call upon the Name of YHWH”, Zeph. 3:9.

4. “and we will walk in the Name of YHWH our Elohim for ever and ever”, Micah 4:5.

5. “And ye shall … praise the Name of YHWH your Elohim”, Joel 2:26.

6. “they shall call on My Name, and I will hear them”, Zech. 13:9.

7. “they shall walk up and down in His Name, saith YHWH”, Zech. 10:12.

8. “So I will make My holy Name known in the midst of My People Israel”, Eze. 39:7.

9. “and I have made Thy Name known to them, and will make it known”, John 17:26
NASB. This is a fulfillment of the prophetic promise of Ps. 22:22 which is also repeated in Heb. 2:12. But John 17:26b clearly promises a further fulfillment, for us too.

Before we proceed, we would like to warn against placing undue emphasis on the Name and neglecting the most important, i.e. emphasis ‘due to the Person Himself. This can be prevented if we realize that shem in Hebrew means much more than name in English. Shem in Hebrew, as we find it in the Scriptures, is not a mere label of identification. It is an expression of the essential nature of the bearer. Very often it speaks foremost of the authority of the person e.g. Ex. 23:21, John 5:43. A person’s name reveals his character and often it is the person that is revealed. It also comprises that person’s stability, his faithfulness and his justice; and even the remembrance of that person. To reiterate, in Hebrew ha shem identifies the person and his character; and his personality identifies his name. The person, his authority and his name are one, in Hebrew. We should be extremely careful not to detach the Name from His Person. But let us be assured: an unseen person cannot be identified by our visual perception. An unseen person can only be identified by his name. Likewise, our Heavenly Father must also be identified by His Name.

We will now continue this study under five headings:

1. “What is His Name?” Prov. 30:4.

2. Was it used in pre-exilic and post-exilic Israel?

3. The present substitution (and disguising) of the Name.

4. How is it pronounced -or transliterated?

5. Conclusion and appeal.

1. “What is His Name?” Proverbs 30:4

This question, as well as the admonition of Ps. 83:16-18, should prompt us to search for His Name. Let us search the Scriptures to find whether He Himself did declare His Name:

(1) In reply to Moses’ question as to His Name, He declared in Ex. 3:152 “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, YHWH Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My Name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations”.

(2) “I am YHWH: that is My Name”, Isa. 42:8.

(3) “But I am YHWH thy Elohim… YHWH of hosts is His Name”, Isa. 51:15.

(4) “and they shall know that My Name is YHWH.” Jer. 16:21.
Let us further search the Scriptures to see the prophets revealing His Name:

1) “YHWH is His Name”, Ex. 15:3.

2) “YHWH of hosts is His Name”, Isa. 47:4.

3) “YHWH of hosts is His Name”, Isa. 54:5.

4) “YHWH of hosts is His Name”, Jer. 10:16.

5) “YHWH of hosts is His Name”, Jer. 31:35.

6) “YHWH is His Name”, Jer. 33:2.

7) “saith the King, whose Name is YHWH of hosts”, Jer. 51:57.

8) “YHWH is His memorial” (name -RSV and NASB) -Hos. 12:5.

9) “YHWH the Elohim of hosts, is His Name”, Amos 4:13.

10) “YHWH is His Name”, Amos 5:8.

11) “saith YHWH, the Elohim of hosts, is His Name”, Amos 5:27 according to the Hebrew Text (the incorrect rendering in most translations, which have followed the incorrect placing of the comma in translations of the Septuagint, creates a single apparent discrepancy, which should not exist).

12) “YHWH is His Name”, Amos 9:6.

We do not find any other O.T. Scripture which reveals another name for our Heavenly Father. There is none other to be found. Therefore, The New Bible Dictionary on p. 478 is quite correct in stating that “Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only name…” G. von Rad, Old Testament Theology, 1, translated by D.M.G. Stalker, p. 186, n. 26, says: “Jahweh had only one name”. In fact, in every Scripture where it speaks about His Name, the singular form of shem (singular: name) is used. Nowhere do we read of His
“Names” (plural).

Elohim (and El) cannot be called His Name, His proper Name, because of the following three reasons:

(1) Because the article the precedes the word Elohim in numerous places. This practice is inconceivable in the case of a proper name such as YHWH.

(2) The Scriptures do not state anywhere, not by YHWH Himself, nor by His prophets, that His Name is: Elohim.

(3) Common people are called elohim in the Scriptures, e.g.

a. “and you (Moses) shall be for him (Aaron) an elohim”, Ex. 4:16 according to the Hebrew Text. (See Green’s Interlinear Bible and Luther’s German Bible).

b. Again in Ex. 7:1 YHWH; appoints Moses to be an elohim to Pharaoh “I have made you (Moses) an elohim to Pharaoh” according to the Hebrew Text. (See Green’s Interlinear Bible and Luther’s German Bible).

c. The word elohim has also been translated in the A.V. as judges in Ex. 21:6, Ex. 22:8 and 9 ordinary human beings thus.

d. Compare Ps. 82:1 in the various translations. The Hebrew text reads “Elohim standeth in the congregation of the el. He judgeth among the elohim”. We can only conclude that elohim and el are titles, given to YHWH, or to His Son, or to human beings.

e. Ps. 97:7c reads elohim and infers to judges, rulers or even idols (as the A.V. does).
Therefore we must conclude that the word elohim is not a proper name, but only a common name or a title. Any Hebrew lexicon will confirm that it means mighty or mighty one, or mighty ones if used in a plural sense.

2. Was it used in pre-exilic and post-exilic Israel?

The O.T. Scriptures give ample proof of the common, although reverential use of the Name in Israel before the time of captivity and in the immediate post-exilic period -6823 times. Indeed, the frequency of its use exceeds by far the use of any other person’s name.


“And …Eve… said, I have gotten a man from YHWH,” Gen. 4:1.

“Then men began to call upon the Name of YHWH”, Gen. 4:26.

“And he (Noah) said, Blessed be YHWH Elohim of Shem”, Gen. 9:26.

“And there he (Abram) builded an altar unto YHWH, and called upon the Name of YHWH,” Gen. 12:8.

“And there Abram called-upon the Name of YHWH,´Gen. 13:4.

“And He said unto him (Abram), I am YHWH that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees”, Gen. 15:7.

“And Abraham … called there on the Name of YHWH, the everlasting El,” Gen. 21:33.

“And Abraham called the name of that place, YHWH–Yireh,” Gen. 22 : 14 .

“And Isaac intreated YHWH for his wife”, Gen. 25:21.

“And he (Isaac) … called upon the name YHWH,” Gen. 26:25.


“And behold , YHWH stood above it, and said, I am YHWH Elohim of Abraham thy father”, Gen. 28: 13.

“And Jacob … said, Surely YHWH is in this place”, Gen. 28: 16.

“And Moses built an altar and called the name of it YHWH -nissi”, Ex. 17:15.

“As he called. upon the Name of YHWH,” Ex. 34:5 NASB.

“And YHWH spoke unto Moses, saying, … On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, YHWH bless thee and keep thee; YHWH make his face shine upon thee … YHWH lift up his countenance upon thee…” Numbers 6:22-26.

“Because I will publish the Name of YHWH,” Deut. 32:3.

“Then Gideon built an altar there unto YHWH, and called it YHWH-shalom”, Judges 6:24.

“And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said unto the reapers, YHWH be with you. And they answered him, YHWH bless thee”, Ruth 2:4.

After the return from the captivity, Nehemiah still used the Name as we read in Neh. 1:5 and 11, 3 in Neh. 8:6 and 10, and in Neh. 9:7.


Ezra also still used it, as we read in Neh. 8:6 and 10. At that time the Levites also used it -Neh. 9:4, 5, 6 and 7.


In Psalms we find numerous referrals to the positive use of the Name, e.g. Ps. 9:10, Ps. 20:1 and 7, Ps. 22:22, Ps. 29:2, Ps. 33:21, Ps. 34:3, Ps. 45:17, Ps. 68:4 (the short form ) Ps. 69:30 and 36, Ps. 72:17-19, Ps. 74:18, Ps. 79:6, Ps. 83:16-18, Ps. 89:16, Ps. 91:34, Ps. 96:5, Ps. 99:6, Ps. 102:15 and 21, Ps. 115:1, Ps. 116:4 and 13 and 17, Ps. 135:13, Ps. 138:2, Ps. 140:13, Ps. 145:2.1.


All the prophetical books use the Tetragram freely, and as we have shown at the beginning of this study, almost all of them prophesied about the restoration of the Name.


3. The present substitution (and disguising) of the Name according to Jer. 23:27 ancient Israel also forgot the Name (including His authority, His character, His holiness -all of Him) and accepted an idol’s name instead. But at the time applicable to Jeremiah’s
prophecy this was again the case. However, the removal of the surrogate names is promised, and has not been fulfilled yet, of which we read, in Hosea 2:16-17, Zeph. 3:9, Zech. 13:9, Isa. 52:6, Jer. 16:21, Joel 2:26, Eze. 39:7 etc.

The present-suppression started + 2300 years ago, and the process is commonly described as follows:

At least until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. the Name, the Tetragram, was freely used, 4 as we have also proved from the Scriptures quoted previously. But at least by the third century B.C.E. the pronunciation of the Name YHWH was avoided and Adonai was substituted for it. 4 But why was this done? Nehemiah and Ezra led the People to a reformation. But what happened after that? According to rabbinic tradition, the period following the reformation was characterized by the rule of the Men of the Great Synagogue. The identity of these legendary figures cannot be certain, but it seems
likely that they were scribes or leaders of the people drawn from the scribes. 5 Later on we read of a “synagogue of the scribes” at the time of the Seleucid Hellenizing of Israel. Sometime in the Greek period an influential group of “lay scribes” succeeded in forming a popular, democratic political party; they came to be known as the Pharisees. These “lay scribes” belonged mainly to the party of the Pharisees, but as a body were distinct from them. 6 These Men of the Synagogue, up to many years later, continually endeavored to interpret the Law and the Scriptures, thereby adding to the law their own traditions, which our Saviour objected against in the N.T. These man-made laws, traditions,
interpretations, became known as the Oral Law. This Oral Law is contained in the Mishna.

But what did these scribes (sopherim) do about the Tetragram? Firstly, they graphically substituted the Name with Adonai in 134 places. The complete list is given in Massorah (55 107-115, Ginsburg’s edition). This was done out of extreme, but mistaken reverence for the Name. 7 The Sopherim also emended the Scripture in 18 places, as is admitted by them. 8 Later, the Talmud ordered the reader to refrain from pronouncing the Name and to say Adonai instead, 24 in the remaining almost 7000 places where the Tetragram was still retained in the copying of the Scriptures. “This is My Name, to be hidden”, is their oral command, allegedly given by the Almighty, and became the written teaching in
the Talmud. 9 Again we read their command that the Name is “to be kept secret”. 10

The Name was thus suppressed, although it was retained in most of the places in the copied Scriptures. And then we also read an interesting passage in the Mishnaic Text of Tamid vii.2 (= Sota vii. 6): “In the sanctuary they (the priests) were accustomed to pronounce the Name as it is written; in the town, by disguising it.” 11 This reveals to us that the Name was still pronounced, but only in the Temple (at Jerusalem), and that the Name was disguised in other places or synagogues. We will return to this question of disguising later on in this study, under heading 4.

On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest regularly called out the Tetragram, but after the death of Simeon the Just in + 290 B.C.E., they ceased to do it, or perhaps they substituted it. 12 With the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. the Tetragram finally and completely ceased in the Temple.

At first, YHWH was substituted with Adonai, orally, as well as in non-Scriptural writings. But subsequently even Adonai became “verboten”, and Ha-Shem was read. And in many places in the Targum YHWH was written in the place where YHWH stood in the Scriptures. We all know that this was done for the Jews’ fear of profanation of the Name. The incidence in Lev. 24:10-16 is also cited at times as a reason for the suppression of the Name. However, this Scripture clearly tells us that this son of an Israelite woman was stoned because he “blasphemed and cursed the Name”. Using the Name in
reverence and calling on the Name is absolutely Scriptural, because we have the reverential example of Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David (see above), and indeed, we are instructed to do so -Joel 2:32, Zeph. 3:12, Zech. 13:9 -all of these texts having a special eschatological application.

Further, the Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680, says of this substitution “The avoidance of pronouncing the name YHWH is generally ascribed to a sense of reverence. More precisely it was caused by Commandment is very interesting, because it is confirmed by the Syriac Peshitta text, the Targum Jerusalem, the Targum of Onkelos, the Rotherham Version, the 1917 Version of the Jewish Publication Society of America, and the New Jewish Version (recently released), and is also the primary interpretation of most rabbinical commentators. Here in South Africa in 1972, both Prof. Wouter C. van Wyk, professor of Hebrew at the University of Pretoria, as well as Prof. A. van Selms,
emeritus professor of Hebrew at the same university, expressed their preference for the rendering of the Third Commandment to be “You shall not swear falsely by the Name This is also substantiated by the following fact: all the commandments of the Decalogue are repeated in the rest of the O.T. as well as in the N.T., except for the Third Commandment as it has been commonly rendered, such as in the

A.V. The incorrect rendering of the A.V. in Ps. 139:20 and Prov. 30:9 is not a repetition of the Third Commandment. Nevertheless, even the common rendering does not prohibit the reverential use of the Name, neither does Scripture permit the substitution of the Name. In fact, the Scriptures clearly prohibit its substitution Deut. 4:2, Deut. 12:4 and 32, Prov. 30:5 and.6.


Returning to the history of the suppression, we see that the early copies of the Septuagint did retain the Tetragram. In his article The Tetragram and the New Testament in J.B.L. 96 (1977) 63-83, George Howard presents the fact that Pap. Fuad 266, which dates to the first or second century B.C.E., clearly retains the Tetragram in Aramaic letters within the Creek text itself. Also, that in 1952 fragments of a scroll of the Twelve Prophets were found in Nahal Hever in the Judean Desert. D. Barthelemy published his analysis in 1963, which stated that the Tetragram was retained in the Greek text, but
differed from Pap. Fuad. 266 in that it had the Tetragram in paleo-Hebrew letters. In 1962 B. Lifshitz published nine fragments of a Greek Scroll of which the Tetragram was preserved in Jonah 3:3. Howard continues and quotes Skehan’s findings of Greek Bible fragments found in the Qumran caves which use IAO and not Kurios. In the same article Howard states that in the post New Testament period, Greek versions of the Hebrew Bible retained the Hebrew Tetragram. 13 Again, in 1897 F.C. Burkitt published fragments of Aquila where the Hebrew Tetragram was retained by Aquila. He also
mentions Theodoret of Cyrus 14 using the form AIA, also in the post-New Testament period. We will discuss the form AIA, as well as the other transliterated forms IAOUE (of Clement) and IAWOUHE (of the Greek Papyri), under heading 4.

Howard continues “But by the time we reach the Christian codices of the LXX, the Tetragram is not to be found. Instead, the words Kurios, and occasionally theos, stand for the divine name”. He concludes that this surrogation of the Tetragram in the Christian LXX probably started by the beginning of the second century, and labels it the work of Gentile Christians who took over from the originally Hebrew Christians. Arnold, in his excellent article in J.B.L. vol. XXIV (1905), p. 136-137, quotes Origen 15 and Jerome 16 , both pointing out that old Greek manuscripts exhibited the Hebrew form of the Name.

Except for the Hebrew O.T. which still retains the Tetragram, translations of the O.T. today do not have the Tetragram, even in its transliterated form, except for a few translations that have appeared in the last 150 years. A few of these are available in English. 19


4. How is it pronounced or transliterated?

The Tetragram’s transliteration remained surrogated by the Greek Kurios, the Latin Dominus, and our modern Lord etc., for almost 1400 years, without any challenge, as far as we know. Then the form Jehovah started to appear. This is generally ascribed to the work of Peter Galatin in the year 1516. This pronunciation Jehovah was contested by Le Mercier, J. Drusius, and L. Capellus, as against grammatical and historical propriety. 17 Genebrardus in the year 1567, was the first to suggest the pronunciation Jahve, 18 largely on the strength of Theodoret’s assertion that the Samaritans used the pronunciation Iabe. However, most scholars today will not accept this form of the Samaritans. In 1815
Gesenius, in his Lexicon, used the transliteration Jahweh.

Subsequently, there followed a few German O.T. translations with the Name Yahweh (German: Jahiwe) appearing as the transliteration of YHWH, three Dutch O.T. translations with Jahwe or Jahweh, and five in English, 19 till this day. The advocates of the form Yahweh contested the form Jehovah for

the following reasons:

(1) Because of the Talmud’s instruction that Adonai must be read where YHWH written, they postulated or assumed that the vowel pointing was to remind the reader eoa to say Adonai. This will be discussed later.

(2) The Massoretes gave a double pointing to the VAV (W) in the Name, an o-pointing as well as a w-pointing. This is difficult to explain.

(3) The shortened form of the Name with its vowel points reads Yah, its is found forty-nine times in the O.T. This differs from Jeho-vah.

(4) Yahwistic names, ending with part of the Name, is vowel pointed -yah or -yahu. This also differs from Jeho-vah. We will elaborate on this further on.

(5) Some objected to the presence of consonants in the form Jehovah because of Josephus’ clear statement in Wars of the Jews, book V, chapter V, 7, that “the sacred name consists of four vowels” -in spite of the popular-held belief that the Name consists of four consonants, and notwithstanding the common rule of Hebrew-grammar that vowels must be interrupted by consonants.

(6) C.R. Driver The Original Form of the Name Yahweh: Evidence and Conclusions 20 says there are indications that a HEY (H) following a YUD (Y) determines the reading to be Yah.

(7) Clement of Alexandria 21 transliterates the Name as IAOUE which differs totally from Jehovah.

(8) All Greek transliterations of the Name – IAOUE (Clement), IAWOUHE (Greek Papyri), IAW (Theodoret), IAW and IABE (Epiphanius), IAH (Origin), as well as the Latin form Jaho by Jerome in 400 C.E., 22 all clearly indicate that the Name starts with Ya-and not Ye-.


The evidence against the form Jehovah is so convincing that the Jehovah’s witnesses themselves admit that Jehovah is a “wrong spelling” and then offers arguments in favour of Yahweh as “the correct and original pronunciation”.23 But they persist with Jehovah “because of people’s familiarity with it since the 14th century”, as they state.

So the form Yahweh became generally accepted. However, we began to feel uneasy about it for the following reasons:

(1) The uncertainty of Grote Winkler Prins Encyclopedie as mentioned at the beginning of this article, is shared by most honest Hebrew scholars and students of the Scriptures.

(2) The pronunciation of the form Yahweh differs considerably, and none of them sound well, especially if the emphasis is on the last syllable, because in Hebrew it should not be on the first syllable.

(3) It is difficult to understand why the Yahwistic names contained tile shortened form -yahu, while the form Yahweh has a w instead of a u.

(4) Because of the clear statement by Josephus that the Name consists of four vowels, it was difficult to accept the w in Yahweh.

(5) Because the form Yahweh started from Genebrardus’ form Jahve which he deducted from Theodoret’s assertion of the Samaritan’s rendering: Iabe. As mentioned before, the form Iabe is not reliable. Dr. M. Reisel regards the form Iabe “as of no value”. We therefore propose that the form Jahve (and subsequently Yahweh), started from an erroneous basis.

We all know of the hellenization of Old Testament Israel. Realizing also that the Greeks hellenized the N.T. faith, which faith originated amongst the Hebrews, our search condensed to the following conflict: Did the Greeks deceive us with the form IAOUE, the apparent full form of the Name, as used by Clement and others, or did the Massorite Jews deceive us with the form Jehovah? Who was telling the truth? Have we slavishly
accepted the form Yahweh?

First of all, we discovered the following: we have been taught that the Talmud instructed the Jews to say Adonai where YHWH is written. 24 This is quite correct. But we have also been taught that the Massoretes added the vowel points eoa under the Name in order to remind the people to read Adonai instead. We became unhappy with this theory for the following reasons:

(1) The Qere (“to be read”) does not appear in connection with the Tetragram in the margin or in the footnotes. The application of Qere Perpetuum in this case is only an inference, especially if reasons 2 and 3 are considered.

(2) In order to attempt to reconcile the vowel points eoa with the vowels “a o ai” of Adonai, explanations have been put forth, but they are not quite convincing.

(3) If the Jews tried to remind us to say Adonai instead of the Tetragram by adding eoa to the Name, why did they also add the eo to the Yahwistic. names of people whose names started with Y-H-, such as Jehoshaphat? We were unable to find any explanation offered for this. Apparently no one has even attempted to comment on this. Surely, it is just logical to believe that the reason for adding the eoa should be the same as the reason for adding eo to Yahwistic. names.

So, for a while, we were at a loss as to the reason for the addition of eo a, unless it really was for the sole purpose of preserving the pronunciation. But, as previously stated, this latter proposition was contrary to the Hebrew rules of grammar, as was reasoned by the supporters of the form Yahweh.

Our earnest search compelled us to go right back to the well known passage in Ex. 3:13-15. In verse 13 Moses asks Elohim what he should tell Israel, what is His Name? in verse 14 Elohim gives the etymology of His Name: ehyeh asher ehyeh, and then continues “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ehyeh hath sent me unto you”. In verse 15 Elohim finally gives tile answer “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, YHWH Elohim of your fathers hath sent me unto you: this is My Name for ever, and this is My memorial (memorial name) unto all generations”. It is obvious that the final answer was given in verse 15. But verse 14 has confused many scholars, because of the apparent contradiction between 14b and 15, some even accusing 25 the copyist of substituting the Tetragram with ehyeh in 14b, and others even accusing verse 14 to be a later addition. 26 Our belief that verse 14 gives the etymology of the Tetragram, is supported by

Dr. M. Reisel in The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H., p. 26. Nevertheless, the ambiguous meaning of 14b caused many scholars to think that ehyeh (eyeh) could have been His Name at some stage. Perhaps the earliest example of this was the fact that Jerome in one of his letters to Marcella (Migne, xxii, 429) cited ESER IEIE from Ex. 3:14 as one of the ten names of the Father. This thought, that ehyeh could have been the Name, is an important clue in our search, because we afterwards find quite a few eminent scholars
linking ehyeh with the frequent transliteration of the “Name” in Greek translations and writings, viz. AIA. Gesenius 27 also thought it reproduced the ehyeh of Ex. 3:14. Obermann, in his article YHWH In Recent Discovertes 28 felt inclined to agree. Dr. M. Reisel 29 also agreed to this possibility. Theodoret in his Haeret. fabul. refers to the Hebrew Names of Elohim, among others the word AIA “which is often interpreted as
ehyeh” -according to G.J. Thierry. 30 How is it possible that ehyeh in Hebrew could have been transliterated into Greek as AIA? Then we remembered the most interesting rendering of Ex. 3:14 in the Lamsa Bible (Aramaic), where the word AHIAH is twice used in this verse. Is it then possible that the Jews changed this word from ahyah into ehyeh by adding the vowel points of e? These eminent scholars’ suspicion was thus
enhanced by the Aramaic Bible’s rendering of Ex. 3:14. Our theory was further supported by the fact that the Murasu 31 texts revealed Yahwistic names starting with Yahu -instead of the Massoretic vowel-pointed Yeho-. For instance it renders Yahuzabad instead of the Jehozabad of the Massoretic Text.

Another example is Yahunatanu instead of the Massoretic Yehonathan. (The Massoretic Text usually renders it as Yehonathan and less frequently as Yonathan). This was thus further evidence of the proposition we make, viz. that the Massoretes added the vowel points eoa in order to hide the Name by disguising it.

In summary, we have the documented evidence of the Sopherim’s deliberate substitution of the Name in 134 places (see heading 3). Secondly we have the well known oral substitution of the Name as instructed by the Talmudic rabbis. And thirdly, on the grounds of the above mentioned evidence, we can see the Jews, in their determination to hide the Name, how they added the wrong vowel points to YHWH, and to the AHYH of Ex. 3:14, thereby succeeding in disguising the Name, as they did admit in Sota vii. 6. 32 (The word translated disguising, is the Hebrew word kinoi, which has the meaning of disguise, or byname, or nickname, or substitute word. It comes from the verb kanah which usually means to modify, such as Meg. iv:9 “he who modifies in translating the laws of incest”).

Previously we had been sceptic about the reliability of the form IAOUE, but now that we came to realize that the Greeks were not specifically motivated, as the Jews were, to disguise the Name, we turned to this transliteration to thoroughly consider it. The information we found made all the pieces fall into their places and a clear picture started emerging. Apart from Clement’s IAOUE, another similar form, IAWOUHE frequently
occurred in papyri. 33 Dr. Reisel, especially, paid much attention to this frequent form of the transliteration in the papyri, as this confirms the form of the Name as mentioned by Clement. Dr. Reisel then reminds us, as all agree, that the Greek diphthong OU is a vowel, pronounced “oo” (u), as in “through,” especially when it appears in the middle of a word. This similarity between the Greek OU and the Hebrew VAV, is mentioned by
Field in his Introduction to the Hexapla, p. LXXII-LXXIV. 34 Therefore, the form IAOUE can only be pronounced I-a-oo- h. This is clearly supported by Josephus’ statement (vide supra) that the Name consists of four vowels, YHWH, thus transliterated into Greek as I-A-OU-E, and in English as Y-ah-oo-eh, Yahoo-eh, Yahueh. Dr. M. Reisel then quoted35 the publication by R. Basset, in 1896, of the proposed form Yahoue (in French) because of this form of the Name that has been preserved for us in the Ethiopian Apocrypha. (The French ou is also pronounced oo).

Another evidence as to the importance of hu in the Name, is the following: In G.H. Parke-Taylor’s book Yahweh: The Divine Name In The Bible, pp. 70-78, the author discusses the almost mysterious clue of the term ani Hu (I am He) that is found in Isa. 41:4; Isa. 43:10, 13, 25; Isa. 46:4 and Isa. 48:12. He quotes S. Mowinckel who commented on this: “It can scarcely be denied that hu is here very close to a sort of divine
name”. After discussing other scholars’ remarks, Parke-Taylor states: “The personal pronoun hu is virtually a surrogate for the divine Name”. He twice mentions the proposition that ani Hu is an abbreviate of ani YHWH (I am YHWH), which we so often find in the prophets. This might even challenge knowledgeable Hebrew scholars to explain the Tetragram even more clearly. Suffice it to say, at this stage, that this serves as further evidence as to the importance of the retention of hu in the Name. It should not be omitted or substituted, as has been done in the past. We may even compare it to the importance of a keystone (an apex stone) of an arch or doorway! We came to the conclusion that not only has the Name been suppressed, but also the u has been suppressed. This fact struck us when, some time ago, we read the O.T. Scriptures in Hebrew and found that in approximately 70% of the appearances of the Yahwistic names ending with -yah, the names actually end with -yahu! This fact has been hidden from all Bible readers, except from those who read the Hebrew O.T. Further, A.E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the 5th Century B.C.E. (1923) p. xviii, gave the Name as
Ja’u. The Name Yahu, called the Trigrammaton, also appears in the Elephantine Papyri as well as in the Lachish Letters. And the final two witnesses as to the full form of the Name, the Tetragrammaton (Tetragram), were found in:

(1) Grande Encyclopedie (French) on Jehovah: “the pronunciation of Yahveh is probably more exactly reproduced by writing Yahouéh”. (The French ou pronounced oo).

(2) The Oxford English Dictionary on Jehovah: “It is now held that the original name was IaHUeH”. Unfortunately it then attempts to reconcile it with the better known form Jahveh or Yahweh. Two linguistic factors also were to blame for the confusion. up to now:

(1) The VAV (W) in Hebrew is either a vowel (o or u) or else a consonant (w). The sephardic Jews preserved the W-sound but the Ashkanazic Jews picked up the harsh V-sound from the Germans and other Eastern European nations. This could have been contributory to the incorrect form Jahve.

(2) The Latin u and v were used interchangeably for many centuries. Only since the 17th century have they begun to reserve the u as a vowel and the v as a consonant. Apparently this confusion contributed to the apparently perplexed conclusion which The Oxford English Dictionary makes (vide supra).

5. Conclusion and appeal

The prophecies as to the revelation of the Name must be fulfilled. Apart from the short form Y-H (Yah) and the intermediate form Y-H_W (the Trigrammaton, Yahu), the Heavenly Father has only one full Memorial Name or Covenant Name. We have searched for the correct rendering of this Name. His Name cannot have many forms, for the eschatological text of Zech. 14:9 says that His Name will be one. Considering all the evidence, we can only conclude that His Name must be rendered YAHúEH.
We feel that the emphasis must be on the second syllable because of the emphasis on the second syllable of the Yahwistic. names Yehóadah, Yehóaddan, Yehóahaz, Yehóash, Yehóiada, Yehóiakin, Yehóiakim, Yehóiarib, Yeliónadab, Yehónatan, Yehóshaphat, Yehóram etc. Therefore we propose the acceptance of the pronunciation to be: YAHúEH.

If we have received more Light, let us walk therein, as we read in 1 John 1:5-7, then we will have “fellowship one with another”. Our Saviour prayed for us in John 17. He prayed for unity and love amongst us. He said, in prayer, in verse 26 that the making known of His Father’s Name will cause us to have the same love in us that His, Father had for Him. We need this “fellowship one with another” so badly. If the “making known” of His Father’s Name is going to bring the unity and the love that we read of in this wonderful prayer -chapter, John 17, amongst the body of believers, dare we ignore it?

Finally, I appeal to all of you, learned in the Scriptures, intelligent and wise men, to whom millions are looking up to for guidance and sound teaching: consider, and be challenged by the appeal of Micah 6:9 “Wisdom shall see Thy Name”, Hebrew text. The A.V. reads “The man of wisdom shall see Thy Name”.

NOTES

1. Under the title Jahweh.


2. We agree with Thierry Oudtestamentische Studien Part V (1948) pp. 38-39, and do not regard v. 14 as the reply to Moses’ question in v. 13. Rather, we regard v. 14 as the etymological explanation of His Name. This is often done in Scripture, although this is mostly done afterwards and not beforehand.

3. In v. 11 it was later on substituted with Adonai -one of the 134 acknowledged substitutions.

4. Encyclopaedia Judaica vol. 7 p. 680.

5. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible vol. 4, p. 247.

6. The New Bible Dictionary p. 1151, and Acts 23:9, Mk. 2:16.

7. Dr. E.W. Bullinger The Companion Bible appx. 30 and 32.

8. ibid. appx. 33.

9. Pesahim 50a.

10. Kiddushin 71 a.

11. Arnold The Divine Name in Exodus 3:14 J.B.L. vol. 24 (1905) p. 144.

12. ibid. pp. 66 and 71.

13. Jerome Ep. 25 (ad Marcellam), Giovanni Card. Mercati Bib. 22(1941)pp.340-342,N.F. Marcos Sefarad 35 (1975) pp. 91-106.

14. Bib. 30 (1949) pp. 520-523.

15.On Psalm 2, Migne’s Patrologia Graeca xii, 1104.

16.Prologus galeatus, and in his letters to Marcella (Migne xxii, 429).

17.Oxford Gesenius p. 218.

18. Genebrardus Chronologia (1567), ed. Paris, 1600, pp. 79f.

19. Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, The Anchor Bible, The Jerusalem Bible, The Holy Name Bible, The Sacred Scriptures.

20. Z.A.W. (1928) pp. 20-21.

21. Stromata, edited by 0. Stählin (Leipzig 1906).

22. Comment. in Ps. VIII.

23. Let Your Name Be Sanctified pp. 16 and 20. See also their New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures p. 25 of the foreword.

24. Jerusalem Talmud Megilla 71d.

25. Arnold The Divine Name in Exodus 3:14 J.B.L. vol. 24 p. 133.

26. Werner H. Schmidt Biblischer Kommentar Altes Testament 112, P.131.

27. Thesaurus p. 577.

28. J.B.L. vol. 68 (1949) p. 323.

29. The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H.p. 57.

30. The Pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, Oudtestamentische Studiën, Part V (1948) p. 33.

31. (a) G.R. Driver The Oriqinal Form of the Name Yahweh: Evidence and Conclusions Z.A.W. XUI (1928) p. 12.
(b) M.W. Stolper American Schools of Oriental Research Bulletin (1976).
(c) Dr. M. Reisel The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H. p. 43.
(d) M.D. Coogan West Semitic Personal Names in Muraš.
Documents, pp. 1-62.

32. Arnold The Divine Name in Exodus 3:14, J.B.L. vol. 24, p. 144.

33. (a) B. Alfrink Jehova O.T.S., Part V (1948) pp. 45-46.
(b) Dr. M. Reisel The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H. pp. 36-37.

34. ibid. pp. 38 and 103.

35. ibid. pp. 38, 40 and 74.

Please read below: This has been an especially difficult month! Please donate if you can!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
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Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

The Betrayal of Judas: The Untold Story

The Betrayal of Judas: The Untold Story
By
James Scott Trimm




We read in Matthew:

19 And the talmidim did as Yeshua commanded them, and prepared the Pesach.
20 And when it was evening, He sat down at the table with His twelve talmidim.
21 And as they did eat, He said: Amen, I tell you, that one of you will betray Me.
22 And their anger was kindled exceedingly. And each one began saying, Am I he, my Master>
23 But He answered and said: He that dips the hand with Me in the dish, the same will betray Me.
24 And surely the Son of Man goes, as it is written of Him: but woe to that man by whose hand the Son of Man will be betrayed. It [would] have been good for that man, if he had not been born.
(Matthew 26:19-24 HRV See also Mk. 14:21)

But what did Yeshua mean when he said: “It [would] have been good for that man, if he had not been born.” (Matt. 26:24 & Mk. 14:21)?

You may not have known this, but Yeshua was actually quoting the Book of Enoch:

And when the Righteous One shall appear before the eyes of the righteous, whose chosen works hang upon YHWH Tzva’ot, And light shall appear to the righteous and the chosen who dwell on the earth, Where then will be the dwelling of the sinners, and where the resting-place of those who have denied YHWH Tzva’ot? It had been good for them if they had not been born.   
(1Enoch 38:2)

This passage in Enoch foreshadows a later verse:

And on the day of their affliction there shall be rest on the earth, and before them they shall fall and not rise again: and there shall be no one to take them with his hands and raise them: for they have denied YHWH Tzva’ot and His Messiah. The name of YHWH Tzva’ot be blessed.
(1Enoch 48:10)  

The Book of Enoch says that those who deny the Messiah have denied YHWH Tzva’ot (YHWH of Hosts) and that it would be better for them had they not been born.  By invoking these words from the Book of Enoch, Yeshua was plainly identifying himself as the Messiah.

Please read below: This has been an especially difficult month! Please donate if you can!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

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PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network


Red Alert!

Please read below: This has been an especially difficult month! Please donate if you can! We must raise at least $130 by the end of the day to keep our account from going into the negative tonight!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

Emergency Alert!

Please read below: Bills are due and we don’t have it! Please donate if you can!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

The Jewish Origin of the Septuagint

The Jewish Origin of the Septuagint
By
James Scott Trimm

The origin of the Septuagint is well known. Flavious Josephus records that Ptolemy Philadelphus (around 250 B.C.E.), entered into negotiations with the Jewish High Priest, to obtain a Greek translation of the Torah for the Library of Alexandria.  Ptolemy agreed to release many Jewish prisoners in exchange for the book. The Jewish authorities chose seventy-two translators, to produce a Greek translator of the Torah. (Josephus; Antiquities 12:2).

Although the Greek Septuagint (named after the Greek for “seventy”) was initially only a translation of the Torah, by no later than 150 B.C.E. the rest of the Tanak had been included as well, since at that time the grandson of Ben Sirach, in his prologue to his Greek translation of his grandfather’s “Wisdom of Ben Sirach”, briefly compares the Hebrew and Greek versions of “the law itself, the prophecies, and the rest of the books”.

The Greek Septuagint is actually very important because it is the earliest known translation of the Tanak into another language, and preserves a Greek translation of a Hebrew text of the Tanak, that existed in the third century C.E. (in the case of the Torah; the second century in the case of the Prophets and the Writings).  It was not composed by Christians.

While Singer generally accuses Christians of having created the Septuagint in order to alter the text and imbed altered verses to support their arguments into it, in fact exactly the opposite is true.

The Septuagint was the standard Tanak to the large Jewish Community that was thriving in Egypt well before the first Century.

The Tanak records that a large Jewish population took refuge in Egypt after the destruction of Judah in 597 BCE, and the subsequent assassination of the Jewish governor, Gedaliah. (2 Kings 25:22-24, Jeremiah 40:6-8) The Jewish population had fled to Moab, Ammon, Edom and in other countries but returned to Judah upon the appointment of Gedaliah as a Jewish governer. (Jeremiah 40:11-12) However, before long Gedaliah was assassinated, and many sought refuge in Egypt. (2 Kings 25:26, Jeremiah 43:5-7).

According to Josephus, when Alexander was dead and his government had been divided among his generals, Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, by treachery seized Jerusalem, and took away many Jewish captives to Egypt and settled them there. (Josephus, Ant. 12:1:1)

His successor, Ptolemy Philadelphus, restored to freedom 120,000 Jews who had been kept in slavery at the instance of Aristeus, one of his most intimate friends. He also dedicated many gifts to the Jewish God, and showed great friendship to the Jews in his reign. (Josephus, Ant. 12:2:1-15).

The center of the Jewish community in Egypt was the great center of Alexandria, and this became one of the largest Jewish communities of the world during the Second Temple Era.  It is this community whom the letters prefacing 2nd Maccabees is addressed.

The Jewish community at Alexandria had a grand synagogue, which is described in the Talmud as one of the great glories of the Jewish people:

It has been taught, R. Judah stated, He who has not seen the double colonnade of Alexandria in Egypt has never seen the glory of Israel. It was said that it was like a huge basilica, one colonnade within the other, and it sometimes held twice the number of people that went forth from Egypt. There were in it seventy-one cathedras of gold, corresponding to the seventy-one members of the Great Sanhedrin, not one of them containing less than twenty-one talents of gold, and a wooden platform in the middle upon which the attendant of the Synagogue stood with a scarf in his hand. When the time came to answer Amen, he waved his scarf and all the congregation duly responded. They moreover did not occupy their seats promiscuously, but goldsmiths sat separately, silversmiths separately, blacksmiths separately, metalworkers separately and weavers separately, so that when a poor man entered the place he recognized the members of his craft and on applying to that quarter obtained a livelihood for himself and for the members of his family.
(b.Sukkot 51b)

Relations between the community in Alexandria and the community in Judea were very good.  The Talmud records that the sages of Judea once consulted with experts from Alexandria on the baking of showbread and on the making of incense for the Temple (b.Yoma 38a).

The Alexandrian Jewish Community was Hellenistic and used the Greek Septuagint as their primary text of the Scriptures.   These were not like the Hellenists of the Maccabean period who abandoned Torah for Paganism, but like Stephen (Acts 7) and the Hellenists in Acts 6. These Hellenists were Greek speaking Jews who remained Torah Observant (at least in there own understanding) while accepting Greek culture.  They were very much like American Jews today who embrace American culture, use English Scriptures as their primary texts and write commentaries in English, but retain their Jewish identity.

With the exception of a a few fragments from others, the writings of only one Alexandrian scholar have survived, those of Philo.  Philo was an Alexandrian Jew who was born nearly 20 years before Yeshua and died around 20 years after his death. Philo wrote commentary, primarily on the Torah, which was highly midrashic.  Philo interpreted the texts in an allegorical manner, finding in them philosophic symbolism.  Philo saw the commandments of the Torah as pregnant with deep symbolic truths, which he sought to express in his commentaries.  However Philo was very clear that the Torah still retains its literal meaning and he emphasized the importance of Torah observance.

Sadly, the grand Jewish community of Alexandria was completely annihilated by Trajan in the wake of the Jewish uprising in 116 CE.   But it is important to remember that in the Second Temple Era the Jewish Community of Alexandria was as important as the Jewish communities in Judea and in Babylon, and their tradition survives in the writings of Philo of Alexandria, their primary spokesman of the first century and the Septuagint was their standard Tanak.

At one time differences between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint were taken to be the result of bad translation.  However since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the new approach has been to recognize that the Septuagint often represents an alternate underlying Hebrew text that differed from the Masoretic Text.   Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are many biblical manuscripts dating back to a time prior to the first century. These manuscripts give us a sample of the wide variety of textual readings from the pre-Masoretic period. The Dead Sea Scroll biblical manuscripts vary widely, as to text-type. For example two copies of Isaiah found in cave one, agree very closely with the Masoretic Text, while a Hebrew copy of 1Samuel found in cave four has many important agreements with the Greek LXX (Septuagint), against the Masoretic Text.

The Septuagin was the Standard Jewish Greek text of the Tanak that came to be adopted by Christians, and it is Rabbinic Judaism that created its own Greek text in the second Cenury.  As we read in Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction, By Ellis R Brotzman:

“In time the Septuagint came to be adopted by the Christian churches.  Since it was often used in debates between Christians and Jews, it came to be viewed with suspicion by the latter.  This led, in the course of the second century A.D., to the production of three rival Greek versions that each bore a different relationship to the original Septuagint.”
(Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction, By Ellis R Brotzman; pp. 74-75)

So while the anti-missionaries accuse believers in Yeshua as Messiah of having altered the text and fabricated the Septuagint as a Greek text made to agree with their claims, the truth is much to the contrary.  It was in fact Rabbinic Jews who fabricated revised Greek versions intentionally revised to counter Septuagint based arguments being made by believers in Yeshua in their ongoing debates with them.

Please read below: Bills are due and we don’t have it! Please donate if you can!

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

The Jewish Origin of the Peshitta Tanak

The Jewish Origin of the Peshitta Tanak
By
James Scott Trimm

The Aramaic Peshitta Tanak is an important, and under-recognized witness to the text of the Tanak. The exact origin of the Peshitta Tanak is unknown. The “Syriac” version of the Tanak, is mentioned by Melito of Sardis as early as the second century C.E. One tradition has it that Hiram, King of Tyre in the days of Solomon, commissioned this Aramaic translation of the Tanak. Another tradition assigns the Peshitta translation as having been commissioned by the King of Assyria, who dispatched Assa the Priest to Samarir (see 2Kn. 17:27-28). According to the Aramaic “Church Father” Bar Hebraeus, the Peshitta Tanak originated when Abgar, king of Edessa, Syria, dispatched scholars to Israel to produce an Aramaic translation of the Tanak (Bar Hebraeus; Comm. To Ps. 10). Wichelshaus suggested that this king was the same as King Izates II of Adiabene. This king, along with his family, converted to Judaism as recorded by Josephus (Ant. 20:69-71). This king had dispatched his five sons to Israel in order for them to study Hebrew and Judaism. Burkitt maintained that the Peshitta Tanak originated not long after the first century C.E., as the product of the Jewish community of Edessa, in Syria.   (Early Eastern Christianity; Burkitt; p. 71ff)

There is certainly a good deal of evidence, to support the Jewish origin of the Peshitta Tanak. The Babylonian Talmud alludes to the Aramaic text of the Peshitta with the phrase “We translate”:


 ‘A greeting of ‘Peace’ is not permissible there’. This supports the following dictum of R. Haninuna on ‘Ulla’s authority: A man may not extend a greeting of ‘Peace’ to his neighbour in the baths, because it is said, And he called it, The Lord is peace. (Judges 6:24) If so, let it also be forbidden to mention, By faith! in a privy, for it is written, the faithful God? (Deut. 7:9) And should you answer, that indeed is so: but R. Hama b. Goria said in Rab’s name, By faith! may be mentioned in a privy?-There the Name itself is not so designated, as we translate it, God is faithful (Quoting the Peshitta); but here the Name itself is designated ‘Peace,’ as it is written, and he called it, The Lord is Peace.
(b.Shabbat 10b)

THE LENGTH OF THE TERU’AH IS EQUAL TO THE LENGTH OF THREE YEBABOTH. But it has been taught, ‘The length of the teru’ah is equal to three shebarim’? — Abaye said: Here there is really a difference of opinion. It is written, It shall be a day of teru’ah unto you, (Num. 29:1) and we translate, a day of yebaba (quoting the Peshitta), and it is written of the mother of Sisera, Through the window she looked forth, (Judges 5:28) [wa-teyabab]. One authority thought that this means drawing a long sigh, and the other that it means uttering short piercing cries.
(b.Rosh Hashanna 33b)

R. Samuel b. Nahmani introduced his discourse on this section with the following text: Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle: (Is. 55:13) ‘Instead of the thorn’: instead of the wicked Haman who put himself up as an object of worship, as it is written, and upon all thorns and upon all brambles (Is. 7:19) ‘shall come up the cypress’: this is Mordecai who was called the chief of all spices, as it is said, And do thou take to thee the chief spices, flowing myrrh, (Ex. 30:23) which [last words] we translate [in Aramaic], mar deki. (quoting the Peshitta) ‘Instead of the brier’: instead of the wicked Vashti, the daughter of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar who burnt the ceiling of the house of the Lord; as it is written, its top was gold, (Song 3:10) ‘the myrtle shall come up’: this is the virtuous Esther who is called Hadassah, as it is said, And he brought up Hadassah. (Esther 11:7) ‘And it shall be to the Lord for a name’: this is the reading of the Megillah; ‘and for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off’: these are the days of Purim.
(b.Megilah 10b)

The books of Ezekiel and Proverbs in the Aramaic Peshitta, read very similarly to the Aramaic Targums of those same books.  The Peshitta Tanak has many Jewish liturgical divisions. For example, the Psalms are divided into five sections as in Jewish copies, and the Torah is divided according to the triennial Torah reading cycle, and festival readings are also indicated (for example Lev. 23:1; see b. Meg. 30b). Moreover the Peshitta Torah also contains many headings which are likely of Jewish origin. For example the ten commandments have the heading עםרא פתגם “The Ten Commandments” just above Ex. 20:1 and just above Leviticus 17, the Peshitta has the heading ומוסא דקורבנא ודדבחא “The Torah of Offerings and Sacrifices”, (compare with the Talmud b. Meg. 30b).

The text of the Aramaic Peshitta was originally written in Hebrew letters, until this was forbidden by Ephraim Syrus in the fourth century C.E., and contains many Judeo-Aramaisms. (Encylopedia Judaica; Article “Bible”)  Finally, many readings in the Peshitta Aramaic Tanak read Jewish halacha into the text. Many of these are noted in the footnotes of the HRV translation

The Aramaic Peshitta translation is a literal Aramaic translation, made directly from a Hebrew text which closely resembled the current Masoretic Text.

For example we read in Exodus 22:30 (31):

And you shall be set-apart men unto Me. Therefore,
you shall not eat any flesh that is torn of beasts
in the field: you shall cast it to the dogs.
(Ex. 22:30 (22:31) HRV)

Where we read “flesh that is torn of beasts in the field” the Hebrew reads ובשר בשדה טרפה  The Aramaic Peshitta has for this phrase ובסרא דנתיש מן חיותא חיתא  “And flesh which is torn from a living beast”. The Peshitta here alludes to the concept also found in the Talmud which applies the meaning of this text to eating flesh torn from an animal while it is still alive:

R. Johanan said: The verse: Thou salt not eat the life with the flesh,(Deut. 12:23) refers to a limb [severed] from a living creature; and the verse: Ye shall not eat any flesh in the field, that is trefah [torn of beasts],(Ex. 22:30) refers to flesh [severed] from a living creature and also to flesh of a trefah animal.
(b.Hullin 102b)

Another example is found in Leviticus where we read:

And he shall take the two goats,
and set them before YHWH at the
door of the tent of meeting.
(Lev. 16:7)

The Peshitta Aramaic has here “set them alive before YHWH” in agreement with the tradition recorded in the Talmud that the goats are both alike, and therefore both alive at the time they are presented together at the altar:

R. Aha b. Jacob said: It is derived from the case of the Scapegoat. The Divine Law says. And he shall take the two goats, which implies that the two shall be alike in all respects,
(b.Hullin 11a)

Another example in Leviticus reads:

21 And you shall not let any of your seed pass to Molekh,
neither shall you profane the Name of your Elohim: I am YHWH.
(Lev. 18:21)


Where the Hebrew gas “Molekh” the Peshitta Aramaic has “alien” (נוכריתא). This follows the tradition recorded in the Talmud that the use of “Molekh” in this passage is a euphemism for a “heathen” (b.Meg. 25a; m.Meg. 4:9).  According to the Mishna this passage is a euphemism meaning “you shall not let any of your seed pass to an Arameaness (בארמיותא)” (m.Meg. 4:9) the Gemara to this Mishna passage relates a tradition from the school of Rabbi Yishma’el which understands this to refer to “an Yisra’elite who has intercourse with a Cutheaness (הכותית) and begets from her a son to idolatry (בן לעבודה)” (b.Meg. 25a).

Again in Leviticus we read:

8 Shabbat Day by Shabbat Day he shall set
it in order before YHWH continually: it is
from the children of Yisra’el; an everlasting
covenant.
(Lev. 24:8)

Where we read “Shabbat day by Shabbat day” the Hebrew has: ביום השבת ביום השבת The Aramaic Peshitta has instead ביומא דשתא “on the sixth day”. And the Greek LXX has “on the Shabbat”. The Peshitta may reflect a tradition recorded in the Talmud (b.Men. 97a) that while the work was done “Shabbat by Shabbat” it was actually done on the evening of the sixth day just before the Shabbat began.  However it may also be possible that the Aramaic reading  “of דשתא six” is a scribal error for דשבתא “of the Shabbat”.

The Peshitta Tanak is clearly of Jewish rather than Christian origin.  This is evident from the parallels with many Jewish Targums, the use of Jewish literary divisions, the various citations of the Peshitta as a Jewish translation in the Talmud and the influence of the Talmudic traditions on passages in the Peshitta Tanak.  Because the Jewish origin of the Peshitta has been largely overlooked, a valuable and important resource to Tanak understanding and textual criticism has been greatly under utilized.

The rent is due and we don’t have it! Please donate if you can!

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network