Nazarene Space

The Kingdom is Near at Hand?
James Scott Trimm

There are many cases of ambiguous Hebrew and Aramaic words which the Greek translator seems to have mistranslated. This type of mistranslation is very common and a clear evidence that a document has been translated. The reason this occurs is that a translator often works much like a typist, translating word for word without actually comprehending the context of the words. This often, but not always results in the translator choosing the most common meaning of an ambiguous word despite the fact that another meaning was intended. This problem is compounded when translating from Hebrew and Aramaic which anciently had no vowels, thus increasing the number of ambiguous words.

A good example is found in a proclamation made by Yochanan, then Yeshua and then his Talmidim, throughout the Gospels:

In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
And saying, Repent ye:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(Mt. 3:1-2 KJV)

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say,
Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand
(Mt. 4:17 KJV)

And as ye go, preach, saying,
The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(Mt. 10:7 KJV)

Now after that John was put in prison,
Jesus came into Galilee,
preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
And saying,
The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God is at hand:
repent ye, and believe the gospel.
(Mk:1:14-15 KJV)

In these passage we read a proclamation by Yochanan, Yeshua and the Talmidim that the "Kingdom" is "Near at Hand". Yet it has been 2,000 years and the Kingdom is still not here. Were they all false prophets? Of course not!

The word that appears here for "near at hand" in the Hebrew is KARAVAH which can refer either to something that is "near at hand" or to something that is "offered". Yeshua was not proclaiming that the Kingdom was "near at hand" but that it was being OFFERED!

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Views: 560

Comment by Mikha'ELa on August 18, 2013 at 10:11pm

Hi James, I appreciate that you pinpoint this fact out, and as a translator myself,  I just can tell you that it is sometimes really difficult to hit the meaning ac to what the author was going to say. The problematic really occurs more often when the translator is not native in one of the languages he translates from to. To translate a text out of the Hebrew into another language  would require that the translator is not only firm with Hebrew but native in it so that the meaning of the words doesn't go lost either from the culture and traditional background in the language.

Comment by James Trimm on August 18, 2013 at 11:22pm

That is the point  קרבה can men "come near" or "offer"

Comment by Tzadok Benderech on August 19, 2013 at 10:18am

Great job, James. Let's see the Aramaic.

Mt 4:17 - Hebrew "karavah" = Aramaic (Peshitta) "kerb'at" = come near, offer, given acess.

Comment by Samuel J Caswell on August 19, 2013 at 12:15pm

Brother Trimm, not to be a fly in the ointment, but I often use the HOLY BIBLE From the Ancient Eastern Text. George M. Lamsa's Translation From the Aramaic of the Peshitta. He was a native Assyrian and spoke Aramaic fluently, because it was his native language.. He translates Matt. 3:1+2 as follows. "In those days came John the Baptist; and he was preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Mr. Lamsa translates Matt. 4:17 as follows: "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is coming near." Mr. Lamsa translates Mk. 1:14+15 as follows. "But after John was delivered up, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, saying, "the time has come to an end, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Mr. Lamsa's Aramaic translation isn't the only one I have. Here is how the ARAMAIC ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT translates Matt. 3:1+2 "And in those days came Yochanan the Immerser and he would preach in the desert of Yehuda. And said, Repent (for) near is the kingdom of Heaven." AENT translates Matt. 4:17 as follows: "From then began Y'shua to preach and to say "Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near." & here is the AENT translation of Mark 1:14+15: "But after Yochanan was delivered up, Y'shua came to Galeela and was preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of Elohim. And He said, "The time is complete and the Kingdom of Elohim has arrived." (The use of the words "has arrived" puzzles me)

Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation by Janet M. Magiera, agrees with the Lamsa's reading of Matt. 3:1+2, Matt. 4:17 & with AENT in Mark 1:14+15 These are the Peshittas I have in print The following are electronic copies of the Peshitta James Murdock Translation, e-sword Bible Software agrees basically with Lamsa's translation. John Etheridge's Translation of the Aramaic New Testament agrees basically with Lamsa's Translation. My Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament, by Rev. Glenn David Bauscher agrees with AENT. 

NONE of these Aramaic NT translations that I own, even hint at the wording you suggest. Now I have no understanding of your education in Aramaic (I have none) but, I do know that Mr. Lamsa was Assyrian, and spoke Aramaic fluently. I have been led to believe that Ms. Magiera took great pains to learn Aramaic, as did Rev. Glenn David Bauscher, and I believe that Andrew Gabriel Roth is a Hebrew/Aramaic Scholar These all chose the wording, "near, draws near, comes near, has approached, has arrived."

I think that in your zeal to show that Aramaic is the original language of the New Testament, you may have overlooked some very important, I believe, Hebrew/Aramaic Scholars & their translation of the word KARAVAH. 

Comment by James Trimm on August 19, 2013 at 1:01pm

Lamsa'a work is replete with errors.  I am not looking at anyone's translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic, I am looking at the Hebrew and Aramaic itself.

I actually only mentioned Hebrew in the article above, but as Tzadok Benderech pointed out, the Aramaic has the cognate word, with a parallel ambiguity.  of "come near" or "offer".

Comment by Tzadok Benderech on August 19, 2013 at 3:51pm

Comment by Tzadok Benderech on August 19, 2013 at 3:52pm

Yes, Lamsa's Bible has many errors.

Mt 4:17 in Aramaic (Peshitta):

מן הידין שׁרי ישׁוע למכרזו ולמאמר תובו קרבת לה גיר מלכותא דשׁמיא

Kerb'at = come near, approach, offer, presented, given acess (see William Jennings, Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament, page 197; and J. Payne Smith, A Compendious Syriac Dictionary, page 517).

Comment by Mikha'ELa on August 19, 2013 at 7:45pm


Comment by James Trimm on August 19, 2013 at 7:46pm

What do you Mean... "Kingdom of Heaven"?
By James Trimm

To understand the Kingdom we must first understand the terms "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Kingdom of Elohim". These terms are used interchangeably:

"Happy are the poor of spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Mt. 5:3 HRV)

And he lifted up his eyes to his talmidim and said, Happy are you who are poor because yours is the Kingdom of Eloah.
(Lk. 6:20 HRV)


Go, and cry, saying ‘Turn you, turn you, for the Kingdom of Heaven is offered,’(Mt. 10:7 HRV)

And he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of Eloah and to heal .
(Lk. 9:2 HRV)

Still another parable put he forth to them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is comparable to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed it in his field,
(Mt. 13:31 HRV)

And he said, What is like the Kingdom of Eloah and with what parable can we compare it?
(Mk. 4:30 HRV)


And he answered and said to them, "Because it is given to you to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to these it is not given.
(Mt. 13:11 HRV)

And Yeshua said to them, To you is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of Eloah. But to [those] outside, everything is in parables.
(Mk. 4:11 HRV)


And Yeshua said, "Allow the children, and hinder them not from coming to me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
(Mt. 19:14 HRV)

And Yeshua saw and was offended and said to them, Permit the children [to] come to me and do not hinder them, for because of those who are as these are, the Kingdom of Eloah exists.
Truly I say to you that anyone who does not receive the Kingdom of Eloah like a child will not enter it.
(Mk. 10:14-15 HRV)


And Yeshua said to him, "If you will be whole-hearted, go sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you will have great store in heaven, and come follow me."
But when the young man heard the saying, he went away troubled, for he had great possessions.
Then said Yeshua to his talmidim, "Truly I tell you, that the rich will with difficulty enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
And again I tell you; It is easier to pass a large rope through the eye of the needle, than to bring the rich into the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Mt. 19:21-24 HRV)

And when Yeshua heard these things he said to him, One is lacking to you. Go, sell everything that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and follow me.
But when he heard these things he was sad, for he was very rich.
And when Yeshua saw that he was sad, he said, How difficult [it will be] for those who have possessions to enter the Kingdom of Eloah.
Because it is easier for a large rope that he enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man the kingdom of Eloah.
(Lk. 18:22-25 HRV)

Both terms refer to the Kingdom of Elohim. This is because in Hebrew and Aramaic it is common to substitute the word for "Heaven" for the word Elohim so as not to make to common a use of the word Elohim. Another example of this may be found in 1Enoch 6:1-2 [4QEnoch(b)] = Gen. 6:1-2 where "sons' of God" (Gen. 6:2) has been replaced with "sons' of heaven" (1En. 6:1-2):

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives, whomsoever they chose.
(Gen. 6:1-2)

And it came to pass when the sons of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the sons of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the sons of men and beget us children.’
(1Enoch 6:1-2 [4QEnoch(b)])

While the term "Kingdom of Elohim" does not appear in the Tanak (O.T.) the term "Kingdom of YHWH" appears twice (1Chron. 28:5; 2Chron. 13:8) and there certainly can be no difference between these two Kingdoms. It is important to note that in both of the usages of the term "Kingdom of YHWH" the Kingdom referred to is clearly the literal Kingdom of Israel:

Howbeit YHWH, the Elohim of Yisra’el, chose me out of all the house of my father to be king over Yisra’el for ever; for He has chosen Y’hudah to be prince, and in the House of Y’hudah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Yisra’el; and of all my sons--for YHWH has given me many sons--He has chosen Shlomo my son to sit upon the throne of the Kingdom of YHWH over Yisra’el.
(1Chron. 28:4-5 HRV)

And there were gathered unto him vain men, base fellows that strengthened themselves against Rechav’am the son of Shlomo, when Rechav’am was young and faint-hearted, and could not withstand them. And now you think to withstand the Kingdom of YHWH in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and there are with you the golden calves which Yarov’am made you for gods.
(2Chron. 13:7-8 HRV)

Another passage which makes the identity of the Kingdom of Elohim/Heaven evident is Mt. 5:3 = Lk. 6:20. In this passage the phrase "poor in spirit" is quoted in an abridged form from "poor and contrite in spirit" (Is. 66:2) where the Kingdom which these will inherit is the Kingdom of Israel restored (Is. 66:2, 7-9). Furthermore Mt. 5:3 is part of a Hebrew poem known today as the Beatitudes, this poem exhibits a quality of Hebrew poetry called "synonymous parallelism" in which successive lines repeat the same meaning in different words. In Mt. 5:5 (a passage parallel to Mt. 5:3) we read that the "meek shall inherit the earth" quoting Ps. 37:11. The Hebrew word for earth here is "eretz" which is better translated here as "land" which is how most translations render it in Ps. 37:11. The terms "meek" (from Ps. 37:11) and "poor in spirit" (from Is. 66:2) are almost identical, very closely related Hebrew words. The term Kingdom of Heaven (in Mt. 5:3) is therefore parallel to "land" (in Mt. 5:5 = Ps. 37:11). This means that the Kingdom of Heaven is the Land of Israel being referred to in Ps. 37:11.

The “Kingdom of Heaven” is not “Heaven” at all, but the restored Kingdom of Israel.

Comment by James Trimm on August 19, 2013 at 7:49pm

One of the passages which makes it clear that the Christian Church cannot be the Kingdom spoken of in the New Testament may be found in 1Cor. 15:50-55 which states that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" (1Cor. 15:50) and that as a

result when Messiah returns (1Cor. 15:52; 1Thes. 4:16-17; Mt. 24:30-31) mortals will be made immortal (1Cor. 15:50-55). If this refers to the Christian Church, then no mortal man of flesh and blood can be a part of the Church. This would make no sense at all.


Another passage which makes it clear that the Kingdom cannot be the Church takes place in Acts chapter one immediately after Yeshua's resurrection. In this text we read that the emissaries spent forty days studying "the things pertaining to the Kingdom of Elohim" with Yeshua (Acts 1:3.) After this incredible forty day study the emissaries ask Yeshua "Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6.) After forty days of study with Yeshua on the topic the emissaries still believed that the Kingdom would be a restored Kingdom of Israel, this can only be because this is what they were taught for forty days.


Many scriptures are misused by Replacement theologians in an attempt to prove that the Church is Israel. The following are just a few of  these, followed by a correct understanding of the passage:


* Lk. 17:20 "The Kingdom of Elohim does not come with observation." a reference to the fact that the Kingdom will come in the twinkling of an eye (see 1Cor. 15:50-52).


* Lk. 17:21 "the Kingdom of Elohim is within you." Yeshua is speaking here to a non believing generation of Jews (Lk. 17:20, 25) and NOT to the Assembly. This passage simply refers to the fact that the Kingdom was being offered to this generation and was being rejected (Lk. 17:25).


* Mk. 9:1 "there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the Kingdom of Elohim present with power." This quote seems to support the claim that the Kingdom is the Church, however when we examine the quote in its more complete form in its synoptic passage Mt. 16:27-28 which reads: "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with his angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they

see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom." This appears to be a reference to some of the emissaries having visions of the second coming (such as in the book of Revelation).


* Mt. 16:18-19 "...I will build my church... I will give you the keys of the Kingdom..." Replacement theologians claim that this passage identifies the Church with the Kingdom. It is easier to understand this passage if we first understand its sister passage in Mt. 18:15-18. Both passages discuss a "church" which has the power to "bind" or "loose". Now the terms "bind" and "loose" are Hebrew/Aramaic idiomatic expressions meaning to "permit" or "prohibit" [as in the usage of the Talmud [j.Ber. 5b; 6c; j.San. 28a; b.Ab. Zar. 37a; b.Ned. 62a; b.Yeb. 106a; b.Bets. 2b; 22a; b.Ber. 35a; b.Hag. 3b] and Mt. 18:16 quotes Dt. 19:15 regarding witnesses before the court (Dt. 19:15-21). The topic of Mt. 18 thus appears to be that of the authority to administer courts which permitted or prohibited (as pictured in Acts 15). Now the word "church" here in the Greek is "ekklesia"; in the Hebrew "kahol" and in the Aramaic "edat" all of these words simply mean "assembly" (in fact "ekklesia" is the word used for "assembly" throughout the Septuagint). The word does not always refer to the Body of Messiah, sometimes it refers to a mob (Acts 19:41) sometimes the "assembly" of Israel which is his body (Acts 7:38) and sometimes it can refer to a court (as in Acts 19:39). Since Mt. 18:16 quotes Dt. 19:15 then the assembly spoken of in Mt. 18:17 must be "...the judges who serve in those days." mentioned in Dt. 19:17. Now if the "church" which "binds" and "looses" in Mt. 18:15-18 is a "court" (such as in Acts 7:38) then the same "church" mentioned in Mt. 16:18-19. The "keys of the Kingdom" refers to this legislative authority (See Rev. 3:7 & Is. 22:22).


* Rom. 2:29 "he is a Jew who is one inwardly..." When read in its context this verse simply means that Jews must be circumcised inwardly as well as outwardly. Nothing here states that outward Gentiles are inward Jews.


* Rom. 4:16 (also Gal. 3:7, 29) "Abraham, who is father of us all." This chapter of Romans, taken in context, tells us that Abraham is father of believing Gentiles in that Abraham was a Gentile when he was justified by faith (Rom. 4:3 = Gen. 15:6) long before he was circumcised as the first Jew (Gen. 17; Rom. 4:10-12). This has nothing to do with Gentiles becoming Jews, or the Christian Church becoming Israel.


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