God’s Chosen Language
Thursday, February 23, 2017
The Jewish people are unique among all other people. They are also genetically different. Though we do not have DNA samples from Abraham 4,000 years ago in order to compare, there have been plenty of comparative genetic studies on Jews. It appears from these studies that there is a “Jewish” genetic marker that links Jews all over the world, no matter where they now live.
From Abraham and his lineage through Isaac and Jacob, came the Jewish people of today and yesterday. There has been no change.
Initially, according to Genesis, God chose Adam, made him from the earth, and then Eve, after Adam became bored. Eve was the companion; and through her, the population grew. However, the population did not grow in the Garden of Eden, because they betrayed God.
Think about that. Suddenly you come into existence, the first humans in history. Even evolutionists agree there was a first human pair somewhere. There are no other people to mimic, so it would be lonely once the newness of all the animals wore off. Pets are nice, but people want to be with people. Adam was no different.
The life of Adam and Eve must have been quite comfortable: mild climate, crystal-clear water provided by springs, no wild animals that wanted to eat them, all the fruit and lots of veggies you could eat, no disease or death. Apparently, God’s intention was for mankind to live forever in comfort and safety. How great could that be?
What a disappointment it must have been when Adam and Eve broke the only rule that God laid out, and it was a simple rule. Mankind at that time did not know evil, had never seen evil, only good. It is not healthy to disappoint God, especially when you are the first. The punishment (discipline) was swift and severe.
Before they had a chance to have their first child, they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden; and the gate guarding the Tree of Life was sealed forever, guarded by a cherub. The plan was to guard the Tree of Life from man, because man knew evil. The Almighty no longer wanted him to live forever, it seems.
God pretty much let us be for the next 2,000 years. We liked to make our own decisions, so He let us. What a disaster we managed to make of it. After 2,000 years (approximate), Abraham appeared. He and his wife, Sarai, were blessed and God was pleased. He promised to give Abraham many descendants.
God is speaking to Abram:
“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3 NIV
The first time I read the Old Testament, I became convinced that along with a chosen people, He had a chosen language. Hebrew. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob spoke Hebrew and they still do today. God himself carved the Ten Commandments in stone for Moses, in Hebrew.
As I began to study more, I learned that the New Testament was not written in Hebrew according to those in the know. But suppose it was written in Hebrew, the language of the Israelites and Judahites, the language of God.
Though every manuscript discovered of the New Testament, and there are very many, so far are in Greek, none of the manuscripts are originals. The most recent discoveries of the New Testament include a small segment of Mark that was dated to 125-150 AD.
A 1986 article in Bible Archaeology Society says this:
New evidence indicates that the Gospel of Matthew was an original Hebrew composition. Indeed, it is now possible to recover much of this original Hebrew composition from an extant manuscript. But before explaining how this can be done, let me set the stage with a little background. Until now, the four canonical Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—have come down to us only in Greek. The Gospels we use today—in English or in other languages—are translations from old Greek manuscripts. By contrast, what Christians call the Old Testament—the Hebrew Bible—was written in Hebrew, with a few short sections in a sister language called Aramaic.
Though the majority believe that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, there is no evidence. There are no originals. However, Hebrew was not a dead language as scholars like to say, in the 1st century. It has never been dead but did get a shot of adrenaline in 1948.
According to one source, writing of the early Church Fathers indicate that much of the New Testament was written in Hebrew. This includes notables Papias, Irenaeus and Origin.
In Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities, he wrote that Hebrew was the language of Jews in the 1st century AD.
The entire Old Testament was written in Hebrew or Aramaic, a loose form of Hebrew learned while in captivity. The Jews of Judah, it has been claimed, were trilingual: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, in that order. Maybe, but I am doubtful.
Learning three different languages fluently is quite an achievement today; and back in the days of the 1st century, when the authors of the Gospels first wrote their books, why would they write in Greek when they were trying to attract Jews when they wrote. These writings would have later been translated to Greek and Latin. Not all but most multi-language folk still speak and write in their native language. Why would they not?
With all the biblical archaeology going on, I would not be surprised if someone found the original scrolls of the New Testament in the near future. It seems that archaeology in the Promised Land is providing more biblical proof each day.
If we did discover that the Gospels were written originally in Hebrew, would the Hebrew version be the same as the Greek? There is always some loss in translation. Would there be secrets revealed that we do not now know?
Until 1947, just prior to the reinstatement of Israel as a country, Hebrew was considered by most as a lost or dead language. The earliest manuscripts of the Old Testament (Tanakh) dated to 1,000ish AD. There was no proof that Israel spoke Hebrew 2,000 years earlier until the archaeological find of the century. Many centuries. Some kids threw rocks in a Dead Sea cave, heard something break and found a pot of gold: The Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were written mostly in Hebrew and Aramaic with a little Greek.
If Abraham’s family spoke Hebrew; if Moses spoke Hebrew; if the Children of Israel spoke Hebrew; if Jesus spoke Hebrew and God wrote in Hebrew…
What is that saying? If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck- there’s a good chance it’s a duck.
Would it make any difference? Probably not, but it would surely be interesting reading. There is still so much that we do not know.
About J.L. Robb
Last week: Attacking Gideon
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