The Words of Elohiym
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Perhaps the greatest difficulty I am personally confronted with in teaching the Hebraic perspective is terminology. It seems that no matter what educational background a person has, it is words that get in the way. Communication is the most important thing we do. Think about it! Where would we be if YHVH did not communicate with us through His word? What a wonderful way to let us know who He is. What a wonderful way to reveal to us how to be reconciled back to Him. He could have chosen other ways to speak to us. Sometimes He does. Sometimes He just "speaks" to us. But, for reasons that to many of us are obvious, He chose to communicate through people. Not just any people, but people that He knew in His omniscience would faithfully preserve His words through their culture. The Hebrew people. His view of the world became their view of the world. Or, you might say that their view of the world conformed to His view of the world.
So, life would be sin free and we would all be basking in paradise if it were not for one significant, unfortunate detail. The devil. haSatan, as he is called. The problem is that he knows all too well how important communication is. He knows what the Scriptures say. He misquotes them frequently, but he knows what they say. He knows that "... faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of ’Elohiym (God)." He knows that faith in the Word of ‘Elohiym (God) and obedience to that faith changes lives. He knows the power of ‘Elohiym (God)'s word. He knows that societies prosper and flourish when they obey ‘Elohiym (God)'s word. He knows that people do not need to be healed when they are already healthy. He knows that nations, communities, and families do not need to be restored when obedient to the Word of ‘Elohiym (God). He knows that when people keep the words of ‘Elohiym (God), that they win and he loses! So, he commits himself to pervert the words of ‘Elohiym (God)
Christians for centuries have known that the enemy perverts church doctrine. Christians have argued among themselves over doctrinal issues since the book of Acts, but to no avail. Why? Because we are swatting at the branches and not getting to the tree, much less the root. I will cut to the chase (idiom). Hasatan simply redefines the words, slowly, a little at a time. He spreads this calculated scheme over a long period of time. He uses evolution. He causes ‘Elohiym (God)'s words to evolve over time. He uses the most elementary technique, the translating of one language to another. I am going to concentrate the next several lessons on words, scriptural words. Words that over time have changed. Words of the New Testament that have become almost second nature to us. I hope to show that there has been a tremendous paradigm shift.
The terms that we read in the New Testament were not created in a vacuum. Virtually every word or words that you read have their beginning and defining in the Tanakh. When Yeshua‘ or any of the writers wrote their words, they did so with full confidence that the readers were already familiar with the words they chose to convey ‘Elohiym (God)'s ways. When Yeshua‘ said, "Be not afraid, only believe", He used a term already well established in the Tanakh as to its meaning. The word 'believe' did not pop up from nowhere in the New Testament! He assumed a previous knowledge of this word. When He uses the terms; kingdom, life, light, righteousness, way, truth, receive, bind, loose, come together, or worship, for example, He assumes we know what these things mean from our knowledge of His previous words. But we take the meaning of these common words for granted. So, I'll shut up. Let's get on with the lesson.
Let's begin with a few very common New Testament terms and trace them back to their meanings, keeping in mind that how a word starts out is how it is meant to be understood. Is that not logical? I would like to begin with the word, WORD!
Yochanan (John) 1:1
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and God was the Word.
Yochanan (John) 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...
Now, didn't Yochanan (John) just tell us that the Word is from the beginning? So, it did not begin here in the New Testament. Therefore, defining the word in the Greek is not going to tell us what the word word means. We have to go back to where it (HE) began.
The main Hebrew word used to translate this word "word" is dabar. Dabar is a spoken thing. It is speech. Whether by Mosheh (Moses), David, Sha’ul (Paul), Mattityahu (Matthew), kings, peasants, slaves, you, me, or YHVH, it is things that are spoken. When Mosheh speaks, it is the dabar of Mosheh. When the king speaks it is the dabar of the king. Whether uplifting words or slanderous words, it is dabar. So, when the Scriptures say, "The WORD of the Lord said to Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) ..." you know that it is the dabar of ‘Elohiym (God). It is His words, Holy words, Righteous words. When He speaks, you know it is not man's words, but His words, His commandments, ordinances, precepts, and ways. Let me give you a few examples of His words, to help us define what His word is.
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 32:46
And he said unto them, set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe and to do, all the words of this law.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 2:3
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of YHVH, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of YHVH from Jerusalem.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 1:10
Hear the word of YHVH, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Master of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Mizemor (Psalm) 78:1
Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
Zekareyah (Zechariah) 7:12
Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the word which the Master of hosts hath sent in his Spirit by the former prophets: ...
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 18:18
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee (Mosheh) and will put my word in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
Mizemor (Psalm) 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Here are just a few examples of how YHVH sees His word. They are laws and commandments for man to light his path. His word teaches us His ways, and how to walk in His paths. This is what the Word of ‘Elohiym (God) is. Now, Yochanan teaches us that this Word became flesh and dwelt among us. His Word, properly defined, was not a pre-existing thing or entity. It was not a concept housed in outer space waiting to become flesh. It was His teachings and His ways that became flesh. Now put this back into context in the New Testament.
And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he [i.e. the Word of ‘Elohiym (God)] stood by the lake of Gennesaret.
And the apostles and brethren that were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. (c.p. Yochanan 1:12)
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Who is the seed of the woman in Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 3:15?)
And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Master, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. See also 2 Corinthians 4:5
Next time, we are going to compare the scriptural teaching of the Dabar of ‘Elohiym (God) with the Greek version of the logos (Greek word for word is logos) of ‘Elohiym (God). This has been one of the fundamental reasons for the swift change from faith being validated by obedience, to faith being validated by creeds.
See you next time.