By Walid Shoebat
TO BE MESSIANIC IS TO BE CATHOLIC. Does this turn you off? Explain then, why early Jews, prior to Christianity, including even the first Jews who became Christian, these two groups resemble very little from what we see in the modern Messianic movements of today? It is here where none in the Hebrew Roots Movement or even the Messianic Evangelicals can connect to the true Hebrew Roots. Here, lets walk together through an amazing journey to understand the wealth and the treasures of God and see how to become as wise as serpents.
Rabbi Jonathan ben Uzziel, a disciple of Hillel understood Messianism. Paul who met Jesus at the Road to Damascus was a pupil of Gamaliel the grandson of Hillel, who taught between 22-55 AD. Uzziel, Hillel’s disciple understood Isaiah 53 as referring to ancient commentators which he understood differently than post Temple rabbis who switched the subject of Isaiah 53 to being about “Israel”. Uzziel explains it completely as Christians today understand the Messiah:
“Our ancient commentators with one accord noted that the context clearly speaks of God’s Anointed One, the Messiah. The Aramaic translation of this chapter, ascribed to c.e., begins with the simple and worthy words:
‘Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men (Targum Jonathan on Isaiah 53, ad locum).'”
“Our ancient commentators with one accord”? This would mean that they all understood Israel’s rejection of the Messiah. We also find the same interpretation in the much older Talmud, the Babylonian Talmud: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Sanhedrin 98b) and similarly, in an explanation of Ruth 2:14 in the Midrash Rabbah:
He is speaking of the King Messiah: “Come hither” draw near to the throne “and dip thy morsel in the vinegar,” this refers to the chastisements, as it is said, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.”
What is amazing is that the sages of Judaism extracted all this from linking other prophecies to Ruth 2:14. Yet all what Ruth 2:14 speaks about is a dinner (at the Shepherds Fields which my family owned much of that land) between Boaz and Ruth:
And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. (2:14)
On a side note, I am touched by Ruth and Boaz. My grandmother Hilweh (meaning beautiful) was a gleaner, and how she married my grandfather who was a major land owner was similar to how Ruth married Boaz. What is profound is how a simple story about a dinner is so mystically interpreted. A simple invitation to dinner signifies the calling of the people to the Kingdom of the Messiah; a mere dipping of bread into vinegar is meant to foretell the suffering of Christ.
The modern reads such a verse and says, “They are just having dinner.” But the orthodox would read this, and see God. This way of reading Scripture is not exactly how Evangelicals read Scripture, it is the same as that of Catholic Church Fathers, who saw God in the simplest of events. For example, St. Bernard read the story of St. Peter coming to Christ with two swords, and saw one sword representing the temporal authority, and the other representing the spiritual authority, of the Church. Today’s modern evangelical theologian would read the story about Peter’s two swords, and say, “Peter had two swords,” so what?
It is this type of review of Scripture that makes all the difference. The Church Father would read “the two swords of Peter” and make the most profound observations, observations that would move nations and rile up armies just as Abraham, Moses and Joshua did before them. It is this connect between Old Testament and New Testament that has been lost through the reformers who in reality were no reformers at all. The Zohar, in its interpretation of Isaiah 53, points to the Messiah as well: “as it is written, ‘Surely our sicknesses he has carried.'” (Zohar II, 212a)
The early sages expected a Messiah to fulfill the Isaiah prophecy including being a “healer” “savior” and even “the Son of God,” which the Jews denied only later on, and just as Luther did, they entirely removed the Book of Wisdom from their “inspired” books. This is no minor issue. In Wisdom, Messiah is being delivered into the hands of his enemies to be killed. And while Isaiah 53 speaks of the suffering servant, this prophecy written way prior to the New Testament in Wisdom has the “Son of God” including His Passion all in a one-lump within the same context:
“For if the just one be the Son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us [the Jews] condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”— Wisdom 2:12-20
So besides a reference to a suffering servant in Isaiah 53, whom we debate constantly about with the Jew who then clings to the post Temple era interpretation, that the suffering servant was an allegory for “Israel,” here we have this suffering Messiah being “the Son of God” who will be tortured and killed.
No one, be it post-Temple rabbis to Luther, can deny or refute the essential need that we understand why God chose the Greek Septuagint which included Wisdom.
With Luther, Wisdom departed.
It was this manuscript that included what the Jews later denied that the “Messiah” was no mere man, but “the Son of God” Who can be found sacrificed only in the Book of Wisdom. Now we understand who truly protected the meaning of “All Scripture” including the only Old Testament reference where in one solid verse, “the Son of God” is “condemned to death”.
Therefore, it must be conceded that it was not Luther who protected the Bible, and unlike the post-Temple Jews who also removed these crucial seven books, The God of the Jews, Who neither sleeps nor slumbers, reserved all this through His Church: the Catholic Church. This is why Eastern Orthodox and Catholics have these seven additional books, which were transmitted from the Jewish mindset that existed before the Temple was destroyed etching this theology into the wonderful Septuagint.
Do we then undermine all this for the sake of Luther and our denominational prejudices? God forbid, for I’d rather be a humble Uzziel than an Akiva who announced the wrong Messiah as a result of his pride.
And for a few cutting-edge examples, let us demonstrate this issue more closely. In Matthew 1:23, the pivotal prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 in the Septuagint it says that the “virgin” will conceive a child while in the Hebrew Masoretic text it is a “maiden”. The Septuagint therefore leaves no arguments open regarding the virgin birth. Jews prior to the Hebrew Masoretic text clearly understood that a virgin is to give birth to the Messiah of Israel who is the “Son of God”. It is these types of strange prophecies that show that God is sovereign. Imagine if the disciples used Luther’s favorite, the Hebrew Masoretic text, presuming that it was at hand in that time, and only had one verse in which it says “a maiden” gave birth, we could have a splinter cult that instead of having a Catholic-Protestant divide arguing over Mary’s sinlessness or her assumption to heaven, they would argue the central theme that Christ came as a result of a natural birth from a sexual union between Joseph and Mary.
This would be utter blasphemy. It is for this reason why when the Orthodox reference single words or single verses that a mountain of theology is rightfully extracted. So Mary being “full of grace” or that she will be “blessed throughout all generations,” that such phrases have monumental meanings.
Even the healing ministry of Christ and His message including the Gospel going to the Gentiles, it was the Greek Old Testament that set the runway which the Catholics used and the Protestants later rejected. For one example out of many, in Luke 4:18, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to preach the gospel to the poor …” adding “recovering of sight to the blind,” which the Hebrew Masoretic text did not include in their text. Just this verse alone is monumental and since even the Protestant does not deny, that such short phrases are major, why then deny the Catholic and the Orthodox on their elaborate understanding regarding single verses?
As to insuring the Gentiles entry into the Kingdom, a very crucial aspect of Christian theology, in Acts 15:16-18, James the brother of Jesus quotes Amos 9:11-12 from the Jewish Septuagint, stating that other nations than Israel may seek the Lord, while the Masoretic Hebrew text says that the house of David (Israel), making it Israel centric, will possess the nations, entirely robbing the text of the meaning which James quoted.
In Romans 9:33, Paul quotes Isaiah 28:16 of the Jewish Septuagint calling Jesus the foundation stone which God lays in Zion, then, “whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” In contrast, Luther’s favorite, the Hebrew Masoretic text rendered the stone as a promise from God followed with, “one who trusts will not panic.”
The important lesson is this: Translation is interpretation. Therefore, the Septuagint is to that extent the earliest surviving witness of how Hellenistic Judaism understood Scripture; and therefore, it is a foundational text for studying the Judaism from which early Christianity arose. It is from here that the Messianic of today should bolt running from the Hebrew Roots Movement and look back to the blasphemers who deny Paul, the Trinity, and the use of the Greek. As Robert Hanhart notes, “the Septuagint cannot be bypassed if we want to conjure the Judaism from which Christianity grew.”
In Romans 10:15 Paul quotes Isaiah 52:7 of the Jewish Septuagint in which a messenger announces “the gospel” or “good news,” literally using the word “evangelion” while in the Masoretic it is simply “peace”.
“Evangelion,” or The Good News is the central issue of the faith as it was for the early Jews. Later in Romans 10:20, Paul returns to the Jewish Septuagint of Isaiah 65:1-2 where God is found by people who did not look for Him, the Gentiles, while the Hebrew Masoretic text only indicates God is ready for “Israel” to find Him. In Romans 15:11, Paul quotes the Jewish Septuagint of Deuteronomy 32:43:
“Be glad, O nations [none-Jews] with His people [the Jews], and let all the angels of God prevail for Him”.
The Hebrew Masoretic text, which Luther favored, completely omitted this sentence altogether. Even in the very next verse where Paul quotes the Jewish Septuagint from Isaiah 11:10 “the One who rises to rule” (The Messiah) is not in the Masoretic Hebrew Text.
In Romans 9:33 where Paul cites Isaiah 28:16, it speaks of God laying in Zion (Jerusalem) a precious cornerstone who is Christ the Messiah providing salvation to those who trust in him, and that the stone will also be a stumbling block that many will trip over (he uses the same ideas in Rom 11:9-12 and 1 Cor 1:23).
Even the first epistle of Peter, it had more Old Testament references per verse more than any other New Testament writing. When Peter emphasized on Psalm 33, not one of his references reflect the Hebrew Masoretic text, why?
I only quoted a few examples here of the mislabeling as “original” the later version of the Old Testament. Truth is, it was what the Catholics used was the closest to the original. It is crucial therefore, to note that the Septuagint Greek (which is Jewish) predates the other Jewish Masoretic Text (MT) by approximately one millennia. This is really old and is closest to the originals. While attempting to find the oldest texts is a good endeavor, the search for an “original text,” on which to ground one’s faith, is a distinctively modern worry and is in fact a major error to use as the prism from within which we decide theology. Jews compiled the Masoretic text several hundred years after they rejected Jesus. Regardless to what scholars argue (and they argue a lot), in contrast, Jews compiled the Septuagint prior to the arrival of Jesus, therefore bearing no bias against the prophecies concerning Him. And so now you understand, from ancient godly Rabbis to the true use of Scripture, the haters of truth wanted to coverup the truth to keep you blind.
And we ask yet another Jesus style question: “Did God know” or “did God not know” what He was doing when He penned the New Testament through the early church as He protected the Old Testament from the textual corruption by Jesus haters? The question then is: why do so many in both the Protestant and the Messianic circles disagree with the original Church?
All this means that the Greek (not Hebrew) Septuagint either reveals an older version of the Old Testament or a clearer explanation of how we ought to understand the message which the New Testament Greek set the record straight.
Therefore, a pursuit of the “original text” or an “exact text” is therefore not necessary since such pursuit is the futility of Muslims and not Christians. We do not worship a text and it is God Who directs His Body (the Church,) the very body of Christ that wrote the Bible by the Church, for the Church, and not vise versa. Let me remind what God (not what man) ordained, that it was the “Church” that decided on:
“how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church [not the text] of the living God is the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).
And as it was, as Jesus clarified, that the Sabbath was designed for man, and not man for Sabbath, the Bible is designed by the Church, for the Church, and not the Church for the Bible. Therefore, it is the original Church that designs how the building fits the blueprint which is the Bible, while the building on that blueprint is Christ’s body which directed the hands of men. Period.
While many will argue this point ad nauseam, one needs to think of Calvin’s Systematic Theology and ask: which is the blueprint, the Bible or Calvin’s flowcharts on Systematic Theology? Therefore, we must understand that we must view history correctly and differentiate true Jews from the synagogue of Satan who wanted nothing more than to coverup the truth. In the book of Revelation, Christ refers to the unbelieving Jews of the time as the ‘synagogue of Satan’ on account of their lies and coverups:
“I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9, NKJV).
While Jesus was addressing current events of His time, this is also prophetic. Such are the adherents of the Hebrew Roots Movement. One must ask: was Jesus anti-Semitic for calling such Jews a “synagogue of Satan”? This is also confirmed in Revelation 3:8-9 where He says:
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie–indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:8-9, NKJV).
And what do we see today come out of the Hebrew Roots Movement? Millions today say that using the English name “Jesus” is “improper”. They suggest you use Yeshua instead. For Christians to call the Savior Yeshua including the use of the Hebrew version of the Old Testament is absolutely wrong (which we will also cover in more detail later).
Surprised? Don’t be. Fact is, that by the time you read the name Yeshua, as you are doing here using English letters, you have 100% already mispronounced the name of the Savior. Unless one speaks ancient Hebrew, the Hebrew name ישוע can never be pronounced as Yeshua (Ya-shu-wah) which sounds more like Chinese, not Hebrew.
These who swallowed the bait, hook line and sinker, do not know that the use of Yeshua as a name for the Savior is an evolved pronunciation that came from English speaking Messianic followers who miserably failed to properly pronounce Hebrew. First of all, the ending in the name Yeshua (what sounds like “ua” or “oowah”) is an American attempt that mispronounce the last Hebrew letter in the name. The last letter is aiyn (ע), a rough, guttural sound not found in Greek or English.
Millions of poor souls are duping themselves. They do not even realize that the Hebrew letter aiyn does not even exist in English and is never pronounced with the “oowah” sounding. In the ancient Hebrew world the letter aiyn just as the Semitic letters Khaf and Cheit are extremely difficult for westerners to pronounce.
Most people (including even Jews) only pronounce the Hebrew letter ayin as a glottal stop if at all, but when ayin is pronounced properly in some Hebrew accents (i.e. Mizrachi, Sephardic) the consonant is pronounced equally no matter where it occurs in the word. In ancient Hebrew it was indeed pronounced more “heavily” while modern Hebrew has slowly rejected this pronunciation (because they simply could not do it) and evolved when the European immigrants who revived Hebrew used sounds they knew from German or Russian, so they didn’t vocalize the Hebrew letter aiyn since they too, like the English speaking world could not do it.
I should know this subject on how to pronounce the Hebrew since it was Eliezer Ben-Yehuda who was the renovator of the Hebrew language for the state of Israel and his grandson, Rabbi Eliezer Ben Yehuda is a friend of mine. His grandfather came from the West. Eliezer and I had such discussions on the pronunciation of David, which most do not even know, should be more correctly pronounced as Dāwīḏ as we said it in Bethlehem. Anyone could consult these sages of the Hebrew language and see that we are correct.
Originally the aiyn was pronounced more like the other Semitic languages. In fact all cases of Hebrew phonemes ended up as allophones which wasn’t the case in ancient Hebrew. Ask most Jews and they will tell you that a lot of these traditions of Hebrew pronunciation are disappearing or have already disappeared because most Jews now learn and use modern Israeli pronunciation even in religious contexts.
Another fact is the predominance of Arabic as the spoken language that influenced and helped preserve the sound of ayin among Mizrahi Jews who correctly insist that it is European influence that resulted in its loss.
While everything I wrote so far about pronouncing Yeshua is an issue of semantics and nothing more, the question then is: why then object on semantics when English speaking folk say “Jesus” while the Messianic persist on the wrong pronunciation Ya-shu-whaa? The “oowah” sound is nothing like the sound of “aiyn” just as much as the sound of “Je” is unlike the sound of “Ya”.
Why all this hair-splitting gymnastics when even in the Septuagint and other Greek-language Jewish texts, such as the writings of Josephus and Philo of Alexandria use the Greek Ἰησοῦς Iēsoûs which was the standard Koine Greek form used to translate both of the Hebrew names: Yehoshua and Yeshua?
Greek Ἰησοῦς or Iēsoûs is also used to represent the name of Joshua son of Nun in the New Testament passages Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8. (It was even used in the Septuagint to translate the name Hoshea in one of the three verses where this referred to Joshua the son of Nun—Deut. 32:44.) So if the Almighty cared so much about how we pronounce a name, why is it that two of these men (Joshua the son of Nun and Joshua the High Priest) are mentioned in other books of the Hebrew Bible where they are instead called Yehoshua?
So to use Yehoshua, Yeshua or the Aramaic Eashoa’ M’sheekha or the Arabic Yesu‘ or the Spanish Jesus which is pronounced Hesus or the English Jesus … is all the same to God who never once said that the “saved” can only enter through the gate of “proper pronunciation”.
So it is okay to use Yeshua, but stop insisting that everyone else do the same.
Folks in the U.S. pronounce my name in their accent as Wha-leed when it is the lighter Wleed, but so what? Walid in Hebrew is Yeleed comes from Isaiah 9:6 which was a reference to the Messiah. Yeleed which means “a child” which Isaiah announces “is born unto us”. My Mother said that she simply wanted to relay a message to me as to remind me later why she was always a Christian even though she had to adhere to Muslim culture. It is the meaning of the name that counted whether in Arabic or in Hebrew and not the pronunciation of the name. It is crucial to understand that God never cared about name pronunciations. Using the name of Jesus implies an understanding of what it means: the authority of the Savior. So when one gets baptized in the name of Jesus, it is this authority of what Jesus stands for. Making the issue of the Savior’s name an issue of pronunciation instead of what this name stands for is the trick of the devil. When the Bible says “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached …” (2 Corinthians 11:4) would this mean that the impostor must also have the name “Jesus”? In other words, what the Scriptures are saying is that if someone preaches a different savior …
Keep in mind, that the name of Jesus includes an authority to carry out God’s will in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. While the Hebrew Roots focus on pronouncing a name, they ignore the serious issue: that 80% of Messianic synagogues swallow the levin of denying the Trinity (also see the entire Oneness Pentecostals movement). For example, these argue that the early church apparently baptised in “the name of Jesus only” quoting Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48 and Acts 19:5 which according to them these verses reveal that early Christians baptized in “the name of Jesus” only. All such controversies were solved during the early church era since “the name of Jesus” was simply to mean “in the authority of Jesus”. The New Testament revealed what such authority entails that when Jesus said, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” that the other verses meant the same thing. So now the devil entered this flock, used Yeshua as a name and millions damned themselves straight to hell. All this because these did not follow a simple instruction: be as wise as serpents.
The problem even goes beyond this. Martin Luther went against what the original church did: he used the wrong Jewish Bible. Most Messianic Hebrew Roots do not even know they follow Luther’s error.
WHAT ABOUT USING THE HEBREW BIBLE?
I will not end here since I intend on killing this nonsensical issue once and for all, including the persistence on using the Hebrew Masoretic text, and all this hoopla on the persistence of non-Jews on worshipping in Hebrew. Hebrew is the language of the Jews. Period.
Let me first clarify that I am by no means saying that we should not learn Hebrew to examine our Christian heritage and how it links to ancient Israel. Heavens no. Having converted from Islam to Christianity, I have had the opportunity in meeting and dialoguing with many major figures in both Messianic and Evangelical circles, and during these two decades I slowly began to decipher the good, the bad from the plain ugly.
I recall the days when I would get together with the departed Messianic teacher named Zola Levitt who did a fantastic job connecting Christianity with ancient Jewish tradition. What was perhaps amazing to me is that such tradition even adds more credence for the ancient Catholic view on Christianity where tradition was important in understanding matters of theology. What is not known by the Messianic is that the Orthodox also speak of Hebrew roots and do a much better job than the Hebrew Roots Movement without the dangers of disconnecting from historic Christianity where the Hebrew Roots make-believe that Christians, by practicing their faith in purely Hebrew are now transmitting back to the original faith as it was practiced by Jesus and the apostles. This is far from the truth.
The major, one million-drachma question to ask is this: if divine authority is linked to Hebrew, why is it that the Almighty saw no sufficient reasons for Christ or any of His apostles to write the New Testament in Hebrew to even choose the Greek pronunciation in calling the Savior the way the Greeks do: “Iēsoûs”?
Who of the detractors can answer this Jesus style question? None.
When Christianity spread outside the borders of Israel, it was apparently the Greek Septuagint from which the Apostles, especially St Paul, preached Christ. This is a tremendously crucial issue. As a result, there was an evolution in Judaism soon after when Jesus departed and the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., where Judaism devolved from its ancient historical roots which by no means was identical to the later splinter into Orthodox, Reform and Conservative. Likewise is what happened in the Church after fifteen centuries when the so-called reformers showed up, the splits continued and still do now where Messianic Judaism of today is not even the same as it was just a couple decades ago from the times of my departed friend Zola Levitt who would not dare teach that denying Paul and that denying The Trinity as Orthodox.
But besides Levitt, I had the honor to become friends with the brilliant Messianic Jew: the Harvard Professor Roy Schoeman. But Schoeman was Catholic. The Shoebat-Schooman fellowship ended me up speaking at the Ave Maria Catholic University explaining from Scripture why the Catholic Church can never be the Harlot of Babylon. I was so shocked that few in my audience even knew that such libel “Whore of Babylon” was leveled on the Catholic and chiseled for centuries in the Westminster Confession of Faith announcing every Pope as “the Antichrist”:
…the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God
Centuries of slander, not one was the Antichrist, and without apology, the slander continues where the Bible never once cursed Rome in any literal fashion. While the Protestant condemns the Catholic for issuing anathemas, I confess, I have never shared my Shoebat-Schoeman encounter, fearing the anathemas and excommunications from evangelicals and modern Hebrew Roots. The university pays a token fee for speakers which covers a fraction of the air travel which had to come out of my own pocket. The big-money was in the Trinity Broadcasting Network (I knew them too) and the Benny Hinn (knew him personally too and his mother) and all the signs and wonders movement. Had it been “money” as most falsely accuse, I would not be writing all this here. I loved Catholics as I loved Jews, and here was a Catholic Messianic Jew who perhaps has the same blood running through my veins and his, and they tell me that this Jew is now of the Harlot and Antichrist. They say all this without a morsel of shame.
The brilliant Schoeman is Messianic, but unlike the Hebrew Roots Movement, Schoeman was no Hebrew Roots Michael Rood heretic. He refuses to be swayed from the true first century heritage where both Christians and Jews used the Greek Bible.
Many do not learn history. It was because the Jews after Jesus interpreted the Greek Bible differently from the early Church that this became the main reason why the Greek Septuagint fell out of use in Judaism and is why the Jews embarked on new translations of the Hebrew text. So instead of using the Septuagint, Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer went backwards and used what the Jews who denied Jesus constructed: the Hebrew Masoretic text.
So from Calvinism to the Hebrew Roots Movement, which seeks to produce anti-Trinitarian converts and Paul-hating judaizers, the demonic attempts never stopped. Calvinists constructed Calvin’s “absolute pre-destination,” which is Islam’s Al-Aqada Wal-Qadar (fatalism) all with Calvin’s systematic theology. Calvinism demanded that the Bible fit a complex view that is presented by sophists who use technical lingo that is meant to impress and deceive.
It is here that we need to follow Christ’s wisdom to be as wise as serpents in understanding how heretics inject their venom by using hair-splitting jargon. For example, the complex structure of Systematic Theology intended to undermine the simple instructions in Scripture from being the blueprint. Calvinism forced the simpletons to walk through a man-made maze where the Christian is converted into a mouse chasing and hunting for the simple truth by using pre-destination. This new structure uses a network of paths and hedges filled with complex jargon making it difficult to find the way. From Calvin’s tyrannical desire to establish Dominionism to all the talk of complex theological phrases like “Imputed righteousness,” “Imparted Righteousness,” “Infused Righteousness,” “Total Depravity,” “Unconditional Election,” “Limited Atonement,” “Irresistible Grace,” “The Five Points of Calvinism,” “doctrine of perspicuity,” “Covenant theology,” “God’s transcendence,” “substitutionary atonement” … and all the other ad nauseam jargon, the faithful is now forced to find truth from a structured theological flowchart.
And so it is with certain proponents of heresies, who insist we deal their bone of contention when in reality, they are manufacturing another schism intended to sway Christians from the first century faith. The Hebrew Roots, while they persist we track our roots to the first century, they are in reality cunningly insisting on using the Hebrew, not in order to use the language Jesus and the apostles spoke, but for the simple reason to make-believe that everything you practice now is in the purist sense from the first century. The original faithful used Septuagint Greek and not the Hebrew Masoretic text. It was the Greek, and not the Hebrew, which was a central component of the New Testament and the early Church.
This is the fact that they are not telling you.
It is this question “why the Greek?” that no multitude of scholars could answer when it comes to defending the use of Hebrew. To these who promote such heresies the question that is impossible to answer without resorting to twisting of the truth is this: why is it that from the reformation to the Messianic Movements of today, so many insist on using the Hebrew text of the Bible, when Jesus and the apostles used the Greek Old Testament? If their arguments are true, that God desires we all use the Hebrew Old Testament, why then did The Holy Spirit Himself inspire the New Testament authors to use the Greek Septuagint and then to write the entire New Testament in Greek? Some insist that we had Matthew in Hebrew, why then did God allow such a manuscript to be lost?
The use of the Old Testament Greek manuscript is chiseled so deep in Christian history that to identify hair-splitters, the divisive, the heretic and the authors of confusion one must always weigh not their hair-splitting arguments, complex jargon or textual criticism, but must ask: why they reject what was instituted by the Church which was established from above, in the beginning of the Church, and not way later when Calvin, Luther, and even way later when the Hebrew Roots movement appeared out of nowhere?
Even Evangelical missionaries do not teach Hebrew to any tribe they send the Gospel to; instead they translate the Word of God to that specific tongue. It was obvious that to God, a focus on one language on earth is the work of Babel, which God cursed and opted for a multi-lingual world. The argument for a one-language is the argument of the Muslim who insists the entire world worship and speak Semitic Arabic. For the apostles to insist that Christian converts learn to recite anything in Hebrew is as ridiculous as insisting on circumcision for Christians, Kosher food, or to only use the King James as the only translation for the English-speaking world.
One must heed to the warning which Jesus made to be as wise as serpents. Therefore, to attack the use of Greek and in order to insert all the hair-splitting theologies, the devil, like the Muslim does, must attack the Greek Septuagint as a “corrupt, non-original fake”. Why? It is because the Septuagint relays how Jews understood Scriptures prior to the coming of the Messiah and not how they reconstructed it after the Temple was destroyed where Judaism began to devolve. It was for this reason that a Masoretic text was made, which undermined the way Jews viewed the Messiah, stripping away the seven Duetrocanonical books including other crucial text.
IN DEFENSE OF THE GREEK SEPTUAGINT
Such attacks from the demonic realm also began as critics attacked the story when one of the world’s greatest libraries wanted the Torah of the Hebrews and the king of Alexandria also badly wanted it. His orders to his librarian essentially amounted to: “spare no expense in getting it”.
So begins the epic story of the Greek Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into ancient Greek. Would God object that the Hellenists Greek speaking world see His light?
Yet this is one of the most attacked records from the ancient history (mainly by proponents of the Hebrew text) that is The Letter of Aristeas calling it a work of fiction. In the letter, the royal court official wrote to his brother and two centuries later, the Christian Church arose in Jerusalem among Jews who recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ, the ‘Anointed One’ and who found in the sacred scriptures of Judaism of their day the meaning of His death and resurrection.
While I will avoid addressing the hair-splitting attacks on the Letter of Aristeas, since it has no relevance in our argument, to insist on an exclusively Hebrew Bible (the proto-Masoretic) as ‘the’ canonical text of the Old Testament at the time of Our Lord is a serious charge. This would mean that the authors of the New Testament failed to quote the Old Testament correctly, because usually they quoted from the Greek Septuagint, not the Hebrew, a fact that is what the hair-splitters will always attack.
It is crucial for the faithful to understand wisdom-101, that instead of focusing on critics, it is better to address the strength of an argument. Take any court case, one would always find both arguments that are meant to sway the jury, the bottom line is that once the right side wins the court case, it is the strength of the case and not the opposing arguments that count. Of the 80% where some disagreement occurs between the Septuagint and the Hebrew Text, fewer than 5% agree with the Hebrew against the Septuagint (1). This leaves 95% of the references agree with the Greek. These figures show just how heavily the New Testament writers used the Greek version of the Old Testament and how significant the Septuagint was for the emerging Christian Church.
Christians need to contemplate this very carefully. Therefore, we have two choices, either God busts our bubbles or we try to bust God’s anvil. In the end, the losers are the bubbles that keep trying to land onto the tip of the needle.
So regardless if the Letter of Aristeas, being authentic or a work of fiction, is completely irrelevant. Careful study reveals that the Septuagint was likely translated from an earlier version of the Hebrew Bible which brings us to an important issue especially for those interested in Protestant Christian history. The Reformers, in focusing on the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, were not really going back to the oldest sources as they thought. This became especially true after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls where no one could call the Septuagint translators crazy anymore. At the Dead Sea Qumran caves, there they found variant forms of the Hebrew Scriptures circulating before the time of Jesus. The Hebrew Bible that Jerome and the Reformers took to be more “authentic” and “original” was nothing of the sort. It was a later, heavily edited version of a diverse back history of the Hebrew Old Testament, which the Septuagint provides an earlier glimpse into that history.
The issue of using the Hebrew Masoretic text by the Jews who rejected Christ is that very stumbling over the Corner Stone, Jesus Christ. Such distinctions are crucial since the Septuagint relays how Jews understood Scriptures prior to the coming of the Messiah who they (in the time of the Masoretic text) denied.
In other words, in ancient Israel, it was not “scripture alone” or that each individual was “free to interpret” as the modus operandi of the day, but that there has always been a body of anointed scribes, Levites and Rabbinic interpreters who understood meticulously what was intended with these verses and they dictated how the Scriptures are to be understood, that there will be a “suffering Messiah” who will redeem “the Gentiles” (the none-Jewish nations). Theology and practice was understood and so if the Jews expressed their prayers through incense and so this too was passed down by tradition to the Church, which none of the Messianic movements exercise today. So worshipping in Greek and with incense, which resemble our prayers to God, the Orthodox would be practicing the Jewish faith more accurately than the Messianic Hebrew Roots.
Therefore, it was the Greek Old Testament, not the Hebrew, together with the Greek New Testament that was the Bible for the Christian church. This was accepted until the sixteenth century when Luther objected, calling the Septuagint “foolish and ignorant” and its translators, “inexperienced and awkward.” So we ask: who is Luther and who is Hebrew Roots Movement that we may serve them over Christ? God apparently did not feel constraint to speak in Hebrew only; God spoke in Greek when He gave His word to the Christian church and also spoke Aramaic at times when Israel was in exile. The persistence on a one language is the efforts of Babel and not the Holy Spirit.
The reason for all this attack on the Greek Old Testament Septuagint is because these have a correspondingly important place in Eastern Orthodoxy as well as in Roman Catholicism and is why Protestant scholars, and particularly evangelical scholars, either dismiss the Septuagint completely or consider it an “inferior version” that has little or no exegetical and theological value.
If this was true, where then is the Bible that was in use by the “true believers,” “the Church,” that Christ established in the first century in which He said regarding it: “I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)?
Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism considered the Books of James, Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation as well as the Septuagint including Esther and the Deuterocanonicals, which the Catholic Church preserved, calling them “irrelevant”. Augustine however considered the use of the Hebrew Masoretic text as “irrelevant”. Augustine trusted Jesus and the Apostles who quoted from the Greek Septuagint as authoritative, even where it disagrees with the Hebrew text, yet Luther out of hate trusted his own wit. Today no serious Christian can deny the wisdom of Augustine and the foolishness of Luther. Augustine corrected Jerome when he was about to embark on the same folly as Luther and use the Hebrew texts:
I beseech you not to devote your labour to the work of translating into Latin the sacred canonical books, unless you follow the method in which you have translated Job, viz. with the addition of notes, to let it be seen plainly what differences there are between this version of yours and that of the Septuagint, whose authority is worthy of highest esteem. For my own part, I cannot sufficiently express my wonder that anything should at this date be found in the Hebrew manuscripts which escaped so many translators perfectly acquainted with the language. I say nothing of the Seventy, regarding whose harmony in mind and spirit, surpassing that which is found in even one man, I dare not in any way pronounce a decided opinion, except that in my judgment, beyond question, very high authority must in this work of translation be conceded to them. I am more perplexed by those translators who, though enjoying the advantage of labouring after the Seventy had completed their work, and although well acquainted, as it is reported, with the force of Hebrew words and phrases, and with Hebrew syntax, have not only failed to agree among themselves, but have left many things which, even after so long a time, still remain to be discovered and brought to light. Now these things were either obscure or plain: if they were obscure, it is believed that you are as likely to have been mistaken as the others; if they were plain, it is not believed that they [the Seventy] could possibly have been mistaken …
So to accept the detractors arguments, we must ask: for fifteen centuries was the Church led astray, until, that is, Martin Luther showed up and that we should accept Luther’s choice who insists we use the Hebrew, all the while he hated the Hebrews and wanted to make Moses and the prophets “German” and even wrote his evil tract titled “The Jews and Their Lies”?
WHAT ALL SLANDERERS HAVE IN COMMON
Remember that Jesus rebuked slanderers and in fact He was the most slandered figure in history. This is also the type of suffering His followers will experience. I have been more slandered by so-called Christians way more than I have ever been slandered by Muslims and if in doubt, a quick view of my comment section will reveal much vitriol. The strange thing is that even my defense of what I believe as the truth is considered an “attack” and “plain rude” to even send messages wishing I “never converted to Christianity” and that I was better off “remaining as a “Muslim terrorist” where I am “a better fit”.
Many of Catholic-scoffing notables who even supported me against CNN’s slander have turned on me while other even stood with CNN. This including other types of Christians who turned on me while they act sycophantic towards the sodomite and the Muslim to quickly apologizing for the Crusades. When one finds true faith, one finds himself writing letters of similar suffering where so many left and abandoned Paul betraying him. Today the majority of the Hebrew Roots have also abandoned Paul. Nothing has changed.
And who today is persecuting Hyper-Calvinists and Hebrew Roots? In fact, all of these do follow Luther unaware. They do so even despite how much they denounce the man. All one needs to do is to examine their belief in the “sola” this and the “sola” that, and of their admiration of the Hebrew and their denouncing the Greek and their chastisement of Church fathers from Polykarp all the way to when Constantine victoriously, as a type of Moses, emerged to end Christian persecution. Constantine haters have no incense, no war victories, no remarkable art, just bare-naked walls …
Speaking positively of Constantine is also an anathema since they, just like the Muslim, are quick to slander and accuse, that Constantine supposedly “corrupted the true original faith” including even “using the wrong Bible”. Likewise with the Septuagint. These do their faulty analysis in the typical fashion. They begin to critique the Septuagint, questioning its authenticity since we do not know who translated the Hebrew to Greek. So they begin to add more speculations, that the Septuagint is worthless!
Such method is like questioning the book of Hebrews since there has been many “theories” of “when” this book was written, and “who” wrote it. Some say a Gentile wrote it while others say it was a Jew. Some claim Paul wrote it while others say by Luke, Barnabas, Silas, and Apollos. Some claim it was written in the early 60’s AD while others in the late 90’s AD. Such are the authors of confusion.
One scoffer with a “Th.D.” and “Ph.D.” is quick to even slander. He writes that Origen, Eusebius and many “other of the so-called early Church Fathers” “were merely religious Gnostics steeped in pagan Greek philosophy” and that “the Apocrypha has always been “part and parcel” of the Septuagint”. Fact is they were appended to the Septuagint and added for historical purposes just as it was appended to the original 1611 King James Version. This same scoffer says that the “Arian heresy resulted from Origen’s editing the Greek manuscripts”, when Origen was quoted and referred to when the Fathers of the Church was combatting Arianism. Such slanderous and wicked generation.
Again, the quest to find an “original text” and to degrade what we have, becomes a case of what cults do. Muslims when they challenge Christians they insist “produce the original Bible”. Although no Muslim was able to produce the “original Quran” such is the quest of the scoffers. Why then do so many from the seminary graduates are mimicking Muslims?
It is the mind of God that we should seek and not the strict way that certain scholars observe textual criticism. What is true however is that it is Protestant theologians and not Orthodox who look more into such textual critical issues. They would rather trust the liberal over the Orthodox. It is why the Protestants always feel it necessary to debate with textual critics like Bart Ehrman who finds it a breeze to do a ring around the rosy spinning the Protestant scholar by using textual criticism.
The Orthodox responds to all this and says: so what, our faith does not depend on a specific manuscript but includes a wealth of Church history with traditions that were passed down from time immemorial. Some of the Church Fathers understood inerrancy (2) different from many modern Evangelicals while the Orthodox see the Bible and churchly tradition as one flowing stream in which the Gospel message remains truthfully conveyed through the work of the Spirit.
Folks like Ehrman would only debate textual criticism. While the Bible was inspired by God and written by the weak mind and the hand of man, the issue of the Bible then is simple; who can refute the miracles of God; Israel’s exile and return to the land, the Jew observing Passover promised forever, Christ’s Church with the gates of hell not prevailing against it, archeology unearthing biblical history, saints moving and shaking the mountains and twelve disciples who changed the world? Who is then Luther and Ehrman that we may serve the devil?
The case for God is to prove the brave from the coward. It would take me a few seconds to prove that Ehrman uses exactly the method Muslims do which finds the sola-scripturist crowd as an easy-picking to deceive in order to have them denounce the deity of Christ. Such are the cowards and the heretics who use freedom-of-speech to only critique Christianity. Such freedom they use as the protector mother-bear while they love to do the sola-scripturists a ‘ring around the rosy’ because they know that such standards are the weakness of Islam and is why Ehrman would never apply the same textual criticism to Allah and the Quran because these are simply cowards. The “cowards” God says “will never inherit the Kingdom of God” (Revelation 21:8). The issue to ask is how did Ehrman fulfill what God promised regarding scoffers: they are cowards.
If the issue is the issue of truth, why not attack the Quran? While the secularist identifies with the world, he could never recognize the spiritual battle and is the reason for his downfall. It is crucial to know that the history of the Christian church did not start with Luther or Calvin or with the Hebraic Roots Movement or with the sola-scripturists. The Church was using virtually and exclusively the Greek, and not the Hebrew Bible. It was from the Greek translations that the Church derived everything and there is no need to read in the Hebrew language at Messianic synagogues or to insist on the Masoretic text, which throughout Christian history has never been enforced until Luther. So to link divine authority with Hebrew must answer as to why that the Almighty saw no sufficient reasons for the New Testament authors to write the gospels in Hebrew or even to use the Hebrew Masoretic Text for that matter?
Again, for the apostles to insist that Christian converts learn to recite anything in Hebrew is as ridiculous as insisting on circumcision for Christians. Christianity came to give the Gospel to all: Jew and Greek, black and white, man and woman, Aborigines and English. Equally ridiculous is to insist on using the Hebrew Masoretic Text, a text that came much later and was finalized centuries after the advent of Christianity and after the formation of the church itself. This especially when we also consider that the removal of deuterocanonical books, came form Rabbi Akiva who appointed the false-Messiah named Bar-Kochba over Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the very covenant on which that text was based.
Bar Kochba’s lineage in fact still exists in my old neck of the woods in Judea. While they live as “Palestinians” they themselves will tell you that they are Hebraic Roots (see 11:00):
These Muslim-Jews as well as modern Judaism’s following Jews all need Jesus Christ. Bar Kochba’s real name was Bar Kawkaba “son of the star” who was the one who made all this mess. Kochba or Qahhbeh, is also the word for “whore” in the collequal Arabic of that land. The Jews even at times call him Bar-Kozeiba (see video 11:00). Kozeiba is another Semitic word, which mean “a Lie” (3). To all who desire Hebraic roots I ask: must we believe The Lie instead of Jesus who was the Way, the Truth and the Life? Therefore, calling Him in the Greek Yesus, or in the Arabic Yasou’a or on the English Jesus or in the Hebrew ישוע, is not the significant issue here, the real issue here is that you — the Hebrew Roots advocate — do not yet know how to be as wise as serpents.
(1) A nineteenth century study of 275 New Testament passages by D. M. Turpie: concluded that the New Testament, the Septuagint and the Hebrew text all agree in only about 20% of the quotations. Of the 80% where some disagreement occurs between the Septuagint and the Hebrew Text that fewer than 5% agree with the Hebrew against the Septuagint.
(2) Tertullian (AD 200) said, “Never mind if there does occur some variation in the order of the [gospel] narratives. What matters is that there is agreement in the essential doctrine of the Faith” (, IV:2). St. John Chrysostom (AD 390) was even bolder to suggest that contradictions in the gospels actually strengthen the conviction that Christianity is true. If the gospel authors agreed in every small detail, then it was obvious that the stories were forgeries by a group of dishonest early Christians in collusion with one another. He even says, “the discord which seems to be present in little matters shields [the authors] from every suspicion and vindicates the character of the writers” (, I:6).
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) emphasizes that inerrancy only applies to the original autograph copy as written in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek:
“For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it.”
(3) See the standard lexicon of rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic is Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, The Talmud Babli and Yershalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (New York/Berlin: Verlag Choreb and London: Shapiro Valentine & Co. 1926). The only meaning given for the Aramaic word Kazab in Jastrow is “falsehood”, and all examples cited by Jastrow from rabbinic literature have the meaning of lie, deception, or falsehood. In modern Hebrew, the usual meaning of kazab is “lie”, although it can also take the meaning of “disappointment.” But any attempt to translate “bar Kozeba” as “son of the disappointment” would be forcing a meaning from a modern language onto a similar word in a different language and from a different millennium.