Greek vs Hebrew in the Scriptures
Greek vs Hebrew
An Expose of Origin and Essential ElementsLanguage is nothing more than a means to express or convey thought. It has no power in and of itself, other than its ability to represent ideas or truths either concrete (things real, tangible, part of the created realm) or abstract (intangible ideas, complex principles, emotional or logical feelings or philosophies; often related to the heavenly realm). For this reason the value of a language rests in its ability to express truth.
What language does Yahweh speak? Is there only one language to which He will listen? To even suggest that Yahweh is limited in expression to one language, or for that matter speech it'self is ludicrous. Yahweh is neither limited to nor by His creation. He sits as sovereign over all creation. If therefore He chose to express Himself to any portion of His realm, He could do so in a way tailor made to that specific part of creation. He gave modes of expression and parameters of thought to each of His living creatures. He set these bounds, so could easily express himself to any of these beings in a way each could understand perfectly.
Often His mode of expression would be that of the thoughts of that being. The reasoning of each individual is first rooted in the genetic tendencies and programming established for generations prior to his or her birth. (We're not referring to what you may be thinking, but rather how you process what you are thinking.) Next each individual's perceptions are interpreted from birth according to the environment in which that being lives and grows. Often thoughts are processed according to feeling or related to words. Language expresses thought, but often thought is based upon language. Accordingly different groups of beings have modes of expression created exclusively for the mental facilities and environment in which that group lives. This plan is flawless and has kept creation operating in perfect harmony for thousands of years.
This is perfect for the terrestrial world, but what about Yahweh's Celestial family? Those whose root is created matter have languages and thought processes suited to their history as well as their destiny. What about those whose root is in Yahweh Himself? What about those who came from heaven, and are destined to return to heaven? If Yahweh made a perfect language through which dogs, cattle, insects, and even earthworms and blue green algae could communicate within their kind, a special "language" suited to their abilities and purpose, doesn't it also follow that Adam and his children should have a special language suited to only them? (One given by Yahweh to aid them in understanding their history, purpose, and destiny). Yahweh gave the tribes of the Himalayas a special language designed only for them. The Bushmen of Africa received the special gift of speech from Yahweh so that they might better relate to each other, their environment and even Him in a way no other race, tribe or people might. Adam and his children therefore received the gift of speech and the written word from Yahweh. This Adamic tongue was a gift to Adam's race so that they might more efficiently, perform their duties, and better relate to their root; Yahweh.
This language given to Adam was technical enough for him to relate to the physical world in a detailed fashion. "...and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." Gen. 2:19 Thus the language of Adam appears to have the taxonomic capabilities of later languages.
The Adamic tongue also possessed the capacity of direct communication with Yahweh. For this reason we can assume that in addition to expressing concrete ideas it could also express abstract concepts such as shame, morality, faithfulness, compassion, even logic, deception, subtlety, love, devotion . . . etc. This all from Genesis 2 and 3. In Gen. 4:26 we see that even after the "fall" Adam-kind still possessed the ability to address Yahweh and relate to Him via words. As part of this a great importance was placed upon the name of their Maker, "Yahweh".
As time progressed the household of Adam grew larger and wicked, until there was only one Man, Yahweh viewed as upright, and true of genealogy, Noah. Following the flood it was said of Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, "These are the sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over-spread." Gen. 9:19 The word "over-spread" might be more accurately translated "fragmented or divided". Following the flood the ruler-ship of the non-Adamic people remaining and the lands they occupied were divided among Noah's three sons.
Based upon the concept that all people, and thus all language, came from these three sons, the theory was devised that all European, Western Asian, and North African languages could be divided into three divisions: Semitic, Hamitic, and Indo-European. According to this theory all European languages come from the Indo-European (or Japhetic) branch. This theory fit nicely with the established idea that all European peoples belonged racially to the Aryan or Indo-European racial group, and were thus descendants of Japheth.
Linguists who adhere to these ideas will admit that while the Hamitic, Semitic, and Indo-European branches came from the same origin the resultant languages of today bear little if any resemblance, and other than isolated similarities to ancient far eastern Sanskrit the parent language has been lost.
Noah Webster held a different view. ("Author’s Preface" Web 1849) He observed that many "modern" English and European words not only resemble but possibly even were descendant from the Semitic branch of the language tree. He went so far as to make a comparison of 20 different languages, both classical and modern, and detailed the way in which a north Semitic word progressed from its country of origin through Old German, Scandinavian, French, Gaelic, or Celtic and became the modern English word. His work was rejected by many "experts" of his day. These same experts also ridiculed his dictionary as grossly inadequate, and a work that would fail in ineptitude. So much for the experts!
Webster's philosophy of language did not agree with the established religious idea of the descent of all bipeds from Noah's three sons. It fits perfectly with the historical evidence showing the migrations of Israel and Yahudah from the Fertile Crescent, literally passing among the original Japhetic tribes of Europe, and eventually becoming the dominant race of the West. The Japhetic people became the Slavs and Turko-Finnish tribes, even some of the population of India and Iran, and Semites replaced them to a vast extent throughout Europe. Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, German, French, and all other nations of Israelite descent therefore are NOT Aryan, but Semitic. Aryan is synonymous with Japhetic.
Many authorities on the subject will agree that indeed many of the classical languages were related and in fact evolved from or into one another. They will admit that the Ancient Greek language was intimately related to Phoenician. This is not theory, but fact traceable through stone inscriptions left by each of these cultures. A dating system has even been devised, which can date an inscription merely by it's style and vocabulary. It can determine whether the writing might be more toward the "Greek" end of the evolution or more relative to Phoenician. It can even be deduced what other peoples and languages may have come in contact with or might have influenced the writer. This is not allegation, but established scientific fact.
It is interesting that while early Greek appears to be related to Phoenician, Phoenician is said to be almost identical to a language called Paleo-Hebrew. This is the language recognized to have been spoken by everyone from Adam through David's time, and even during the life of Yahshua. While a connection between Greece and Phoenicia may be acceptable to modern scholars one between the Hebrews and Greeks is not commonly accepted.
The lines between Hebrew and Greek scholars have been drawn for centuries. The Greek school of thought is primarily that of New Testament Christians. They say the only value of the Old Testament is to give us allegories to illustrate the New. Sure, they will admit that most of that represented in the Old Testament really happened, but because of the primitive antiquity of its authorship, society and philosophy the things contained within the Hebrew part of the Bible simply don't have an application in today's progressive world. Most Greek scholars will remind us that Adam himself was little more than a neolithic caveman, so the ideas of his children took at least three thousand years to reach any form of modern value. Most New Testament Greek scholars show themselves to be largely progressive or transitional in philosophy, accordingly, old is decaying and archaic, new is better. Transitionalism is nothing more than evolution applied to philosophy. Each generation is an improvement upon that which preceded it. They willfully ignore Ecclesiastes 1:9, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."
The Hebrew school of thought is diametrically opposed to that of the Greeks. Modern Hebrew philosophy is Yahudi. The Jews are the so-called experts on the Hebrew Scriptures, or so they claim. Oddly enough their philosophy relies more on the Talmud and Kabbalah than the Old Testament. The traditions handed down for generations are the basis of Yahudi thought. To the Jews old is better. Unfortunately many who begin to look into the Hebrew portion of Scripture as a valid reference for today often become intombed in a sarcophagus of Yahudi Tradition that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Word of Yahweh. Most of these poor souls missed what Yahshua said concerning the ancestors of those who today claim to be Hebrews, "For had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if ye believed not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" Jn 6:46-47 Also John the Beloved wrote, "Whosoever denieth the son, the same hath not the father." I Jn 2:23 And again in Luke 24:5 we read, "...why seek ye the living among the dead?" It is not enough to be a Messianic Jew. "Ye must be born from above."
Paleo-Hebrew is the parent tongue to the classical Hebrew with which most of us are familiar. Classical Hebrew is the language and character shapes used nearly exclusively to represent ancient Hebrew manuscripts reproduced today. It is called classical, but it bears note that it's antiquity only stretches to 600-900 AD! Classical Hebrew is in truth a late-comer compared with most "classical" languages. It was not until after the Babylonian exile that the change in character shape was devised and not until 900 AD that it was fully implemented. Coins minted in Yahud from the time of Yahshua and even decades after utilize Paleo-Hebrew characters; not classical Hebrew, not Aramaic. Even the greatest paleo-graphic discovery of our time related to scripture (the Dead Sea Scrolls, written or preserved from around the time of Yahshua) was not totally devoted to "Classical Hebrew". None of the documents preserved within the collection used the vowel pointing system which is an integral part of Classical Hebrew. Every book but one of our modern Bible was found within them. Numerous of these documents were written in Paleo-Hebrew. Those of scriptural text that did not utilize Paleo-Hebrew characters extant, did use them when writing the name "Yahweh".
If then we are to speak of the language and philosophy in and from which the Old Testament was written we need to look at Paleo-Hebrew, or North Semitic as it is often called, and not to Classical Hebrew. In this there is one set back; most of the Hebrew scriptural text we have readily available today is written in the Post-Babylonian square Classical Hebrew characters. What good does it do us to know the language in which scripture was originally written, if it is no longer available? To understand and properly address this question we must look at the essential elements of both the Classical Hebrew, and Paleo-Hebrew languages.
In truth the two languages are quite similar in form, the major difference being in the way the letters are written and in the philosophy behind them. As languages evolve it is a common occurrence for the later scribes to embellish the form of previous characters. The transition from simple characters to cursive is represented in many languages, but in Hebrew we see a dramatic alteration. Both Paleo and Classical Hebrew contain twenty-two characters, (the vowel points of classical Hebrew excluded, as they are not true "characters" but in reality only pronunciation marks) each with the same name. After the Babylonian exile, however, the idea was put forth to alter entirely the way the characters were written. In Hebrew the shape of the characters are of profound importance.
In Paleo-Hebrew each letter was a simple picture of something in reality, a pictograph. Accompanying this simple picture were also many of the essential qualities of that picture. The first letter,) ( aleph), is the simple picture of the head of a bull (turned on its side), it therefore represents a bull or one of the ox-kind (to the Hebrews the term "ox" referred to the bovine species in general and not simply to a castrated male). Aleph also carried with it the essential qualities of the bull, hence it also could represent leadership, authority, instructorship, pre-eminence, or father-hood in general.
Paleo-Hebrew differs from other pictographic languages in that it is also phonetic. However when the letters are combined to form words, in addition to representing phonetic sounds, the inherent meanings of the letters can be combined to help define the word they construct. The combination of aleph ()) and the second letter "beyth" (b) make the word AB(b)), or father. beyth represents the outline of a house. Combine aleph (meaning head, leader, or instructor) with beyth (meaning house) and the result is "the head of a house" or a father. This simple system was one of checks and balances in which the meanings of words could be secured from the corruption of time and society. It was a fail-safe.
After the Babylonian exile the shape and meaning of most letters were replaced with symbols and concepts from the Kabbalah. Each new letter became an extension of the letter "yod" (i) whose meaning (power or strength) they retained. It was the belief of these Kabbalists that by arranging these letters in a certain way that power could be released to them. By this they would construct spells, and conjure blessings or curses. These men were nothing other than the witches of their time and only wanted power.
Another side benefit of the alteration for these wicked men was that the people began to become dependent upon them. All official documents were written in it, and education in its use was reserved to a minority. This is opposed to Paleo-Hebrew which was in common knowledge, and possibly even a necessity of citizenship. The Elite now had a "code" that all documents could be hidden within, thus making it difficult for the masses to understand or suspect their plans.
Another result of the alteration of the letters came in the definition of words. The first letter, aleph ()), was written as;a; a percent sign (%) rather than the head of a bull. The percent sign was an ancient Kaballist symbol but it is known best to represent the usury system upon which all evil economics is based. The beginning of the alphabet was now usury, instead of the strong instructive leadership of a father (or Yahweh Himself). Also the very definition of the word "father" (AB) would be changed. The meaning of beyth was retained. As a result now instead of being the "head of the house" the father was now made "a percentage of the house". Without the father as the leader/protector of his family the void was filled by the corrupt Kaballist priest-hood. The main restrictive force to a corrupt priest-hood was there by neutralized.
This is the importance to the shape of the characters of the Hebrew language.With this understanding we can now reverse what the wicked scribes did in the past. We can use the text they have provided, written in Classical Hebrew, and apply the understanding of the meanings of the letters in Paleo-Hebrew to return to the original intent. This is a laborious task, but one well worth the undertaking! The power contained within the word is not a mystical force, but rather the real meaning, thing, thought or idea the word was created to convey. This is the power of Paleo-Hebrew; to convey thought on different levels (multi-dimensionally if you will) in one easily understandable, naturally definable way. For this reason from now on when we refer to; Hebrew; we are speaking of Paleo-Hebrew, the true language of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not the Babylonian counterfeit of the Pharisees and their like.
What then of the relationship of Greek and Paleo-Hebrew?
In the eighth and ninth centuries B.C. a wave of Semitic influence swept over the Grecian peninsula. Greece had fallen into a state of chaos and turmoil. The culture and refinement it had represented since the time of Noah (3,000 B.C.) was now only found in Phoenicia, Palestine, Syria, and Cyprus. During this time Carthage was being established in North Africa and Solomon reigned in Israel, still actively engaged in his ties with Hiram, King of Tyre (Phoenicia). The Phoenician language (a.k.a. North Semitic or Paleo-Hebrew) has been hailed as the most articulate of its time.
The Semitic influence upon Greece was principally precipitated through colonization by Phoenicia and Israel during this time extensive ties were established between the new settlers and the natives of Greece. Before long the influx of Semitic influence began a renaissance in Greece. Many Greek alphabets existed, but slowly the one most resembling Phoenician arose to prominence.
It must be mentioned that prior to this time there is no indication of any Semitic influence in Greece. The earliest inhabitants of Greece were more than likely Japhetic, and while they possessed great culture they were also in contact with many other races and peoples of the time, often isolated from Mesopotamia. So while Shem and Japheth more that likely spoke the same language, it is understandable that the passage of two millennia and untold foreign invasions and foreign influences upon Greece should leave their descendants speaking languages quite different from one another. (For a concise account of this period please see the Encyclopedia Britannica copyright 1967 volume 10, "Greece" Section III "History" B, 1-2).
The evolution of the Grecian language during this period was more than likely quite like that of Britain. Each new wave of settlers brought with them new expressions, and added to the already existent vocabulary. The result was then a "melting pot" of international linguistics, derived from cultures for the most part untraceable, except for their influence upon the language of the Hellenes. The most notable influence remaining would be that of the Phoenicians and other Semitic colonists.
During this period not only did Semitic language influence Greece, but so did Semitic philosophy and government. Not long after the influx of Semitic influence Biblical, law-based, representative, government began to organize throughout Greece. It started small in isolated villages and spread. Education abounded. Poetry and the arts flourished. Prosperity filled Greece so totally that it to began colonizing. Now, however, each new Grecian colony remained separate from the local inhabitants, and flourished doing so. A standardized system of weights and measures and even a fractionalized currency based on silver and gold was established.
Things went quite well until usury was allowed, and interaction with foreign nations and cultures encouraged. Before long Greece was in trouble again and headed for international war and imperialism. This description hardly does justice to the many centuries it covers, but we can see the influence it must have had upon Greece and it's language. By the time of the writing of the New Testament the Greek language was so full of foreign thoughts and ideas that the early Phoenician settlers would hardly have recognized it. Even Greek philosophers lamented the fact that the language of their day had become so corrupt with the worship of many deities as to barely resemble its root.
What then is the link between Greek and today's world?
Greek is often recognized as a scientific language, one of education. This has it's root in the dark ages of Europe. We must keep in mind that during the period called the "Dark Ages" all of Europe was under the heel of the Catholic Church. The masses were kept illiterate because, "...an ill informed populace is easily controlled...". The people were taught that any attempt to circumvent Church control could endanger one's immortal soul. Scientific ideas and advances not recognized by Rome were viewed as heresy or witchcraft. As a result Europe wallowed in the mire of ignorance presided over by the ever-watchful eye of the local church representative.
The military might of the church was the armies of the nations over which she bore rule. The ties that bound the military leaders to the church were those of faith. As long as the kings, emperors, barons, knights, etc. believed in the church, they did as they were told. This allowed the church to use them to amass great fortunes and defend them inviolate. As time went on some of these kings and barons, especially those of Germany began to lose faith in the church, and covet the wealth it had gathered. Soon local barons, and even kings were seizing church land and property for themselves. This trend spread throughout Europe, and before long Rome itself had been taken, and the pope exiled. The only way to counter this offensive was to re-establish faith in the Catholic Church. How could this be done?
We need to place ourselves in the time period. During the close of the eleventh century A.D. Spain was still fighting Moorish invaders, European kings only supported the papacy when it suited them. In the east the agreeable Saracens had been deposed of their prominence within the Islamic Empire and replaced by the militant Seljuk Turks. These Turks had seized the city of Jerusalem and all of the "Holy sites" to which thousands of Catholic, Yahudi, and Islamic pilgrims ventured every year. During this period these areas were like Disneyland to the church and merchants. To the reality of these sites had been added the hype of commercialism. They represented a great source of income to the Church and merchants. With Jerusalem in the hands of the Turks that revenue was gone. Add to the above the petition of Alexius Comnenus the Emperor of Constantinople for help in defense against the invading Turks, and his promise to yield control of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire to Rome in repayment. The papacy had to do something about the Turks!
The crusades were the answer to all of Rome's problems, and stood to give the merchants immeasurable wealth. On November 27, 1095 Pope Urban II gave his powerful speech calling for all Christians to come to the aid of their brothers in danger from the Evil Turk! Defend the faith! Remove the infidel from the Holy City! Save Constantinople! Sell all you have to the merchants and send the choicest of your young men to die like dogs all the while restoring faith in the Mother Church and re-establishing Her authority in your nations! It worked like a charm, with only one hitch... The first stop was Constantinople. This was the first "Holy City" to save, and save it they did. Now we must remember that all of the scientific wealth of pre-Catholic times had been
gathered by the Greeks. Even Scripture says of the Athenians "For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or hear some new thing." Acts 17:21 This knowledge they retained in vast libraries, the greatest was in Alexandria, and the next was Constantinople. In the West access to such knowledge was regulated by the church. In the war-stressed city of Constantinople this was not the case. More than one young European prince marveled at the wealth of the city, a few recognized the true wealth of the knowledge contained within it. All of this knowledge was written in Greek, the language of the city in which it rested.
As the crusaders marched on and later came in contact with the southern Saracens they found that the followers of Mohammed also were in possession of similar knowledge, not of their own research, but through conquest of the Greek libraries throughout Northern Africa. When a few of these crusaders returned home they brought with them this knowledge, that had been up to that point retained only by the church. They also brought home books, technology, and tools, even thoughts, which up to that point were beyond the reach of any layman. Europe was in economic and social ruin as a result of the first and subsequent crusades, but the very few of her sons that returned brought with them the keys of knowledge that would in time unlock the reformation in Europe. That is another story, but the key that we must recognize is the knowledge brought back from the crusades was encoded in the Greek language.
From this arises the myth that Greek was the most technical and scientifically advanced language of the Old World. It was in truth only a fragment left to the common man of the colossus of knowledge available to most prior to the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. We must keep in mind that the renaissance was a re-birth, simply a return to knowledge and technology present during the time of the Messiah. If we look at this time period we see that Greece was far from being the culmination of technology of the time, but they were philosophers, they loved thought and "new things" almost to the point of idolizing them, they were however primitive enough to lack the moral, social and economic maturity to establish and freely implement the knowledge they gathered. For all of their great knowledge they still had not advanced to the point of monotheism. They still viewed women as slightly higher in value than a cow and a good horse might be of more worth. The common man was a thing, disposable if necessary, and all things were the result of the whims of the gods, thus the lines between science and superstition were not clearly drawn. These same "technical" Greeks believed that by sacrificing a pig to the appropriate god he might insure a bountiful harvest.
Did (Does) Greek have value? Is it a technical language?
The value of a language rests in its ability to convey truth. Can Greek do this? Yes, the student must however be mindful of the primitive heathen elements contained within it. We must keep in mind that the language has many non-Adamic elements, and is in fact based upon pagan Polytheism. Greek, in form and philosophy, centers itself on the idea of three (trinitarianism). Three tenses, three genders, the trinity of man, etc. The linguistic form is descended from the philosophy of the people. In striving to understand man, and his composition the Greeks hypothesized man to be composed of three parts. First there was the mechanical, physical - the body. Next there was the emotional and logical - the soul. The third component of man was the ethereal - the spirit. These three components were each related to the three principal deities of all pagan polytheistic cultures, Horus, Isis, Osiris (Father, Son, Mother) or Siva, Vishnu, and the Lord Brahma (perhaps more on this later).
The Greek composition of man, though highly "mystical", was surprisingly earth-bound. The body is of course material, i.e. solid. The soul however was more volatile, less predictable, always in motion, remaining long after the demise of the body, like water or liquid. The spirit was the least fantastic of all it was "air", nothing more. Anything of a gaseous state was "spiritual". To a Greek of the apostle Paul’s day a modern pneumatic tool would have possessed life, through the action of the "spirit" within it. Though in their modern forms at least two of these parts are viewed as highly metaphysical, the origin was thoroughly earth-bound. This, I suggest, was/is Greek's greatest flaw; though it is capable of expressing abstract ideas, because of the heavy influence of earth-bound pagan peoples and philosophies Greek is Earth-bound, three dimensional.
How does Paleo-Hebrew compare?
Hebrew seems to be obsessed with "two". In this way it can be very black and white. Things are either male or female, no neuter. They are either complete (finished) actions, or incomplete (unfinished). This list goes on. This compulsion in Hebrew is linked to its perception of the composition of man as well. The basic Hebrew philosophy divided man in two parts; the Celestial or eternal and the Terrestrial or the temporal. As a result it is an absolute language. There are no gray areas, things are black or white. Boundaries are clearly marked. This does not mean however that it lacks the ability to express subtle nuances. Because Hebrew uses as a basic premise the contrast of the Heavenly and the Earthly, it is not bound either in philosophy or style to earthly concepts.
Hebrew can easily express three-dimensional ideas. First of all, at face value its vocabulary is as adequate to express concrete ideas as any other and superior to many. Second, nearly every word can be reduced to a three-letter root. Each of these letters could be used as a coordinate to map a three dimensional geometric figure. In this way a mathematical system to express not only complex physical ideas superior to the mental abilities of most modern people, but also multi-dimensional physics existed built into the language as well.
Three-dimensional physics is common and ancient in use. It is evidenced in Greek, Hindu, and Egyptian architecture and learning. Relating to the physical world in more than three dimensions is something, according to leading scientists, is new to the twentieth century. Modern cutting edge physicists are learning that anomalies often said to have "violated the laws of physics", in truth often operate perfectly within those laws when they are looked upon in more than three dimensions. The physical world is composed of only three perceivable dimensions (height, width, and depth), but experts agree that countless more are intricately interwoven into the physical world in which we live. Some have mistakenly called these other dimensions the "heavenly" realms, but authorities insist multi-dimensional physics deals with the physic-al world, It therefore cannot be the heavenly. These other dimensions are simply a part of the Terrestrial world, we have yet to understand.
Hebrew has the ability to map up to twenty-two dimensional relationships, and that could be increased to twenty-two to the twenty-second power. When dealing with higher mathematics Hebrew could actually operate in a system of base 22 instead of within base ten or two as conventional and modern computer systems now function. These things are beyond most of us, but the important thing to understand is the oldest language known to Adam's family has the ability to not only express past and present science and mathematics, but is capable of meeting the cutting-edge needs of tomorrow and beyond.
How then can Hebrew illustrate heavenly ideas?
Because Hebrew operates upon the Celestial/Terrestrial philosophy it can express both at the same time. As shown before the words will define themselves. This self-defining process often gives a deeper, or higher meaning than the word may have at face value. This can be shown using the previous example of the Hebrew word for "father", AB. While the role of the progenitor of the household is seen plainly, also the role of a father as instructor, protector, friend and associate is included. The idea that the family, or house, is an extension of the father is shown. This is good in understanding the role of an earthly father, but when all this is applied to our Heavenly Father the significance is evident. Yahweh is not only the progenitor of the house of Adam, but also his personal teacher, protector, comforter and friend. Where Yahweh's people go Yahweh goes. You cannot separate the two.
"All this Hebrew stuff is fine," you might say, "but one third of the Bible was still written in Greek, and we are in a New Testament age now. So what good does a knowledge of Old Testament Hebrew do for my understanding of the New Testament?" The premise that Greek is the root of the New Testament is flawed. In fact to view scripture as a book divided is flawed. There should be no "New Testament" and "Old Testament". We should look at the entire collection as a continuous revelation of the character and plan of our loving Heavenly Father.
There are a few scholars who insist that Greek was the language of Yahud and Galilee during the time of the Savior. This idea is so preposterous that true scholars scoff at it. Josephus himself testifies that the Yahudim despised the Greeks, and would have nothing to do with their culture. This was partially due to the forced Hellenization and slaughter of many Israelites during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. This Greek influence was fiercely rooted out by the Maccabees. Several Yahudi writings of the time express disgust with Greek in general and condemn the Septuagint as a work of blasphemy. Their case is not un-founded Ex 23;13 says, "And in all that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other Elohym, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth."
Poly-theism, or mentioning the names of other deities is very hard to avoid when using the Greek language. Simple words like the Greek word for "air" were actually the names of Greek gods. This trend was repeated to an unbelievable degree. While I cannot advocate the line of reasoning which suggests the wholesale abandonment of the Greek language itself, we must be on guard for the polytheistic elements contained within it.
The idea that one third of Scripture was written in Greek also needs to be reconsidered.
If the gospels are scrutinized it is seen that indeed only Luke possesses a truly Greek style either in vocabulary, sentence structure or philosophy. Reputable sources including the contributors to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Hastings Bible Dictionary, Smith's Bible dictionary, The Jerusalem Bible, Lamsa Bible and too many others to list, insist at least Matthew, Mark, and John were written originally in Aramaic or Hebrew (thus Paleo-Hebrew or North Semitic) and later translated into Greek as the church spread into Greek culture. Hebrew was the language of Yahshua and all twelve disciples, as well as Paul and all of the earliest members of the church. As they spread the glorious news of the risen Savior, repentance and re-application of Yahweh's law they used whatever language those of the lost sheep of the house of Israel spoke, but their philosophy remained distinctively Hebrew.
It is also needful to mention the oldest existent manuscripts of the "New Testament" are written in Aramaic, not Greek. Aramaic was as common in the days of the early church as Greek. Greek was used in the area immediately surrounding the Mediterranean, while Aramaic was used throughout the Middle East, much of Egypt and even in use as far north as the Caspian and Black Seas. It was much easier to be a Christian in the Aramaic speaking countries for decades. While Rome persecuted the church in the West, throughout the Middle East faith in Yahweh prospered. It was not until the rise of Islam that Christianity began to receive persecution in the East, but once it started it was furious. Any believers were forced into exile in harsh and inhospitable mountain regions and were largely forgotten until the early part of the twentieth century. These isolated communities preserved inviolate the writings of Paul, John, Peter, in short the bulk of the New Testament; written not in Greek, but Aramaic (a close relative of Hebrew). The earliest of these documents date to around 300 A.D. It bears note that in Greek any trace of a reverence for or use of the true name of Yahweh and his son Yahshua is replaced by generic terms or flat out changed to the name of pagan deities, while in the Aramaic versions, both the Savior's name and His Father's are used throughout. In addition the term "Elohym" is used in contrast to "Yahweh" in the Peshitta just as in the Hebrew scriptures.
The oldest complete Greek manuscripts date to 1100 A.D. There are several differing versions, and most have been altered and amended as time wore on. All of the Greek versions have been in the hands of pagans including the Catholic Church for centuries.
In contrast, because of the vicious Islamic persecution of the Eastern Christians their Aramaic version was not even seen by outsiders for 1600 years. The Aramaic New Testament is now called the Peshitta. It was discovered during the First World War, and determined at the time to both be authentic, and in fact more ancient than any complete Greek manuscripts. The earliest Greek fragments, though not complete, do bear similarities to the Peshitta. Included among these are the use of the Holy Names, and quotations from the Old Testament being from the Early Hebrew text rather than the Septuagint. There is one draw back to the Peshitta. It has been at the mercy of evil men for nearly a century, so some tampering has occurred, but none that I believe cannot be overcome.
I believe any true student of scripture must make use of all available relevant information. I then believe that the various Greek texts, and the Septuagint should be compared with the Massoretic text (the earliest text of the Hebrew Old Testament available) and the Peshitta. If we expect to "find" we must first "seek". If our beliefs are true the evidence will only validate them, if they are false; we should want to see them as such. We are to 'study to show ourselves approved'. "But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself and not in another." How much is Sovereignty worth to you? "It is the glory of Elohym to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter."
The language of Adam, whether you chose to call it Paleo-Hebrew, North Semitic, Phoenician, or something else entirely, is a gift from Yahweh to his family; the house of Adam. It was given as a tool to aid us in our role within Yahweh's perfect plan. If we are wise we can use it to understand our past and apply it to pressing into our destiny. It is not magic, but as with all of Yahweh's gifts carries with it the sense of the divine. Hebrew was tailor made for Hebrews. It doesn't mean Hebrews should not understand, use and even appreciate other languages, but above all they should not forsake the tool given only to them. It, just like them, is a peculiar treasure.
This information contained within this article is intended to be a help to an individual’s personal study. While Many resources have been utilized a short-list follows of the most readily available. Inclusion in this list does not necessarily indicate consent of this author with all ideas expressed by them.
An American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster copyright 1849
A Dictionary of the Bible 5 volume set edited by James Hastings
"Text of the Old Testament"
"Text of the New Testament"
Encyclopedia Britannica copyright 1967gives a concise overview
of the following subjects:
For origin and evolution of our modern alphabet from Semitic roots
please see the heading before each individual letter
The Holy Bible from Ancient Manuscripts by George Lamsa copyright 1957
The Holy Bible King James Version
The New Covenant Aramaic Peshitta Text...The Bible Society...1986
Smith’s Bible Dictionary revised and printed by the A. J. Holman Company
"History of the Books of the Bible"
Smith’s Bible Dictionary copyright 1987 Barbour Books
This list is offered as an aid and is not intended to be an exhaustive bibliography. Care should be exercised when researching "Kaballah", because of its ties to Satanism, witchcraft, Tarot, and Magic. Please do be careful! It is indeed a snare to catch the would-be student from the Truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Presented for aletheia, by the Assembly of YAHWEH, Cascade