Some thoughts from Neaseno

In all the things we experience these days I am reminded of what it was like growing up as simple a lifestyle as we lived. For example, we grew most of our own vegetables, picked and canned a lot of fruits and veggies, hunted and fished a lot, and even canned a lot of wild game we took in. We lived simply, sunup to sundown, one day to the next, prayed a lot as well. Most of our daily living centered around prayer, in fact, one might say our lives were a whole series of ceremonies, from the time the sun arose, to the time it went down again, and the next day it would start all over again. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no clocks to rule the day, and plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

The one thing I am cognizant of is that we did not seem to place a great importance on the days of the week. This Stay at Home business has brought that back to my memory in a big way. The other day my wife asked me what day it was, and I could not remember. We both had a good laugh over it, and then I told her a little of what it was like growing up the way I did.

There was no concept of days of the week. It was not until we started school that everyone really became conscious of the days of the week. Those that worked in town were aware of those time factors, but we often were not, those of us remaining at home. Time was meaningless, inasmuch as labeling it, micro-managing it. It was good to just be.

We had no concept of time, as we have come to know it today. Most people are governed by their day, from the moment they arise, till they lie down again. This time period we are all experiencing has returned us to the simple ways of the lives of our forefathers.

A word on freedom……..

“What is freedom?” an enlightened teacher asked her class.

“It’s when you can leave home and go wherever you want, and do whatever you

want, and your parents can’t tell you what to do,” a child replied.

“But what if you get hungry?

Are you now free to starve?”

“I would go home,” the child says.

We are not free. Nor have we ever been. Perfect freedom demands a perfect vision of reality, one too painful for the healthy to endure. It requires that we be alive, alert and exquisitely aware of our raw being. Faced with the pain of freedom, man begs for his shackles. Afraid of death, he seeks the stultifying boundaries of religion. Afraid of loneliness, he imprisons himself in relationships. Afraid of want, he accepts the bondage of employment. Afraid of rejection, he conforms to the commands of society. If our knowledge of freedom were perfect, we would not choose it. Pure freedom is pure terror.

Perhaps these folks who are protesting about being quarantined too long are afraid of this freedom. Is that why they need guns when they protest?

These moments of time have brought me much freedom. Freedom from being shackled to a schedule, and other things that ate up the days for me. I am enjoying the liberty of being free in Christ also, free to worship him the way my mom and dad did, in the beginning days of their conversion to Christianity. I am free to literally bathe in the Holy Ghost, not being mindful of religious labels, and just be free as Christ wants me to be.

It is liberating, this freedom and the way it exhilarates the senses. Folks, we are free, in spite of the corona virus. We are free to live and be alive. That is a wonderful thing, to be free in Him…..Christ and the Holy Ghost are not religion.

Iw enajmoyan

Nin se Neaseno.

Worthy of a read

A Hebrew New Testament?

Article by Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

It is my opinion that the entire original text of the document we have come to know as the New Testament was written by Christ-following Jews (in the ancient sense of the word) in a language that can be best described not simply as Koine or Common Greek, but as “Koine Judeo-Greek”. Some authors who could afford a very good, professional scribe (like was the case with Paul and, possibly with Luke as well) had an excellent command of the language, while others like the authors of Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation naturally wrote on a much simpler level. Just like in English someone can write in an elegant style or express their thoughts in the same language, but in a much simpler fashion (much like myself).

But first of all what is Koine Greek?

Koine Greek (which is different from Classical Greek) was the common multi-regional form of Greek spoken and written during Hellenistic and Roman antiquity. New Testament collection was authored during this historic period.

Now… I do not think that the kind of Greek we see in the New Testament can be best described ONLY as Koine Greek. There is another component to this Koine Greek – a significant Jewish and Hebrew connection. For this reason I prefer to call it – Koine Judeo-Greek.

What in the world is Judeo-Greek?

Well… Judeo Greek, like the well-known Judeo-German (Yiddish), Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) and the less familiar Judeo-Farsi, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Italian, and Judean-Georgian languages, is simply a form of Greek used by Jews to communicate. This language retained many words, phrases, grammatical structures, and patterns of thought characteristic of the Hebrew language.

So is Judeo-Greek really Greek? Yes, it is, but it is Greek that inherited the patterns of Semitic thought and expression. In this way, it is different from the types of Greek used by other people groups.

So, I disagree that the New Testament was first written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek. Instead, I think it was written in Greek by people that thought Jewishly and what is, perhaps, more important multi-lingually. You see… the speakers of variety of languages manage to also think in variety of languages. When they do speak, however, they always import into one language something that comes from another. It is never a question of “if”, but only of “how much”.

The main point made by Christians who believe that parts of the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew is that the New Testament is full of Hebraisms. (Hebraism is a characteristic feature of Hebrew occurring in another language.)

Actually, this is a very important point. It shows that serious students of the New Testament must not limit themselves to the study of Greek. They must also study Hebrew. With knowledge of Biblical Hebrew they would be able to read the Koine Judeo-Greek text of the New Testament much more accurately.

So, I suggest, that one does not need to imagine a Hebrew textual base of the New Testament to explain the presence of the Hebraisms in the text. Though possible, this theory simply lacks additional and desperately-needed support.

Think with me on this a little further. Other than a multilingual competency of the New Testament authors their most trusted (and rightly so) source for the Hebrew Bible quotations was the Septuagint (LXX).

Now… we must remember that the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek by leading Jewish scholars of the day. Legend has it that the 70 individual Jewish sages made separate translations of the Hebrew Bible and when they were done, all of it matched perfectly. As I said “it is a legend”. The number 70 is likely symbolic of the 70 nations of the world in ancient Judaism. This translation was not only meant for Greek-speaking Jews, but also for non-Jews so that they too could have access to the Hebrew Bible. You can imagine how many Hebraic words, phrases, and patterns of thoughts are present on every page of the Septuagint. (Click here to see the oldest version of the LXX).

So, other than the authors of the New Testament thinking Jewishly and Hebraicly, we also have the main source of their Old Testament quotations coming from another Jewish-authored document – the Septuagint. So is it surprising that New Testament is full of Hebraic forms expressed in Greek?!

As a side note, the use of the Septuagint by New Testament writers is actually a very exciting concept.

The Jewish text of the Hebrew Bible used today is the Masoretic Text (MT for short). When the Dead Sea Scrolls were finally examined, it turned out that there was not one, but three different families of Biblical traditions in the time of Jesus. One of them closely matched the Masoretic Text, one closely matched the Septuagint and one seems to have connections with the Samaritan Torah.

Among other things, this of course shows that the Septuagint quoted by the New Testament has great value since it was based upon a Hebrew text that was at least as old as the base Hebrew text of what will one day become – the Masoretic Text.

As I already stated, I believe that the entire New Testament was written in Koine Judeo-Greek. Please allow me to address one very important point.  In several places in the writings of the early church fathers, there is mention of a gospel in Hebrew.

The most important and earliest reference is that of the early Christian writer, Papias of Hierapolis (125 CE-150 CE). He wrote: “Matthew collected the oracles in the Hebrew dialect and interpreted each one of them as best he could.” So… we do have a very early Christian testimony about Matthew’s document in Hebrew.

Was this a reference to the Gospel of Matthew in its Hebrew original? Perhaps. Was it a reference to a document that Matthew composed, but that is different from the Gospel of Mathew? Possibly.

This whole discussion is complicated by the fact that all the Gospels are anonymous and do not contain unequivocal references to a particular author (though some are attested very early). The Gospel of Mathew is no exception. We do not know if Mathew (the disciple of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels) was in fact the author of the gospel that we call the “The Gospel according to Matthew.”

Moreover, the phraseology, “he interpreted each one of them as best he could,” used by Papias of Hierapolis is far less than inspiring. One does not leave with a feeling that the majestic Gospel of Matthew that features such key texts as the Sermon on the Mount and the Great Commission is in fact in view. It is possible that Papias was referring to something less grandiose. Namely, that he had heard that Mathew had collected Jesus’ sayings in Hebrew, piecing them together as best he could. There is no reason to deny that such a document once existed, but neither is there particularly strong reason to identify it with the Gospel of Matthew.

Later Church Fathers also mention that Matthew wrote the Gospel in Hebrew dialect, but their information is

most-likely based on Papias’ statement and
guided by Christian theology to show that Jews were witnessed to sufficiently.
Archeological discoveries have shown that Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and even Latin were all used by the people of the Holy Land during the first century of the Common Era. But the New Testament itself, as best we can tell, was in fact written by Christ-following Jews in Koine Judeo-Greek. This is the simplest and most factually accurate possibility. This view readily explains the amount of underlying Hebraic patterns of thought, reasoning, grammar, and vocabulary that make the New Testament a thoroughly Jewish collection.

Reconstructing history is a little bit like putting a puzzle with many missing pieces together. The more pieces of the puzzle you have, the better you can see the contours of the image! The more you know about the historical background of the New Testament and the more familiar you are with the languages intricately connected with it (especially Hebrew and Greek); the better you are able to interpret it accurately for yourself and others.

Neaseno’s afterthoughts….

Having lived in the Holy Lands for a while, I witnessed a bit of this which is still evident, to a small degree. It is the manner I go about studying the New Testament and certainly the Old Testament.

Washed in the blood.

I joked with a fellow once some years ago when asked if I was saved. I told him I was washed so clean in the blood of the Lamb, and filled so full of the Holy Ghost, that when mosquitoes bit me, they went flying off singing, “Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb”?

The truth….

Love is a Principle of Life that includes all the obligations which are universally required of man, and it includes all the obligations and duties which are based upon particular relationships and specific situations of individuals. Man’s fulfilling of the Law, however, is not a condition of his Salvation. People were saved in the Old Testament Dispensation by the Grace of God, through faith in the type of His future Blood Atonement. They brought their blood offerings for sin, and they touched God’s Divine Mercy and Grace, which wrought forgiveness and forgetfulness of their sins. Their blood offerings were offered in anticipation of the Coming of Christ, Who by His Blood Atonement brought Salvation to the whole world.  Likewise, man in the New Testament Dispensation is saved by the Grace of God, through faith in Christ Jesus’ Eternal Blood Offering, which has touched the Divine Mercy and Grace of the Heavenly Father to forgive and forget sin. After man has been saved by Grace, through faith in the shed Blood of Christ Jesus, he still has mental and moral weaknesses which need to be corrected and which, therefore, make him continually dependent on Christ Jesus for His Divine Mercy-Blood for cleansing. The Moral Law continues to reveal man’s spots, blemishes, defects, and fleshly weaknesses of the old heart. The Moral Law is God’s Holy Standard for all Holy Living. The more the believer grows in the Truth, the Word of the LORD, the greater he knows the depth, height, length, and breadth of God’s Eternal Moral Law. It is important for believers to understand God’s Holy Moral Law, for then they can understand the great necessity for Blood Sacrifice in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  This chapter has noted three reasons for man’s need of the Redemptive Blood of Jesus Christ. Because man is a sinner by birth and by deed, he needs the Blood of Christ, first, to cleanse him from sin. Then, he needs

Christ’s Blood to help him grow to maturity in the Spiritual Stature of the LORD Jesus Christ. Finally, he needs Christ’s Blood because it is the “Ink” which God uses to write His Moral Law in repentant man’s cleansed heart.