by Asher Intrater, , Revive Ministries
The historical events of the Tanakh (Old Testament) end with the book of Nehemiah around 440 BC. The last book of the Tanakh to be written and edited was Chronicles. In I Chronicles 3 there is a genealogical list that continues some 10 generations after Zerubavel, which would date it to approximately 350 BC. In 333 BC Alexander the Great conquered the Middle East, and imposed Greek culture and language on the people living there.
Between 280 and 130 BC, Greek-speaking rabbinic scholars translated the Tanakh into Greek, known as the Septuagint. This became a very popular translation among diaspora Jews, and is the version most often quoted in the New Covenant. In the Holy Land a dynamic tension developed between the international Greek culture and the local Hebrew-Aramaic culture. This tension at times worked for good and at times for bad.
The Maccabean revolt started in 166 BC and the Hashmonean Empire in Judea lasted until the area was conquered by Rome under Pompey in 63 BC. By the time Yeshua was born, the Holy Land was ruled by Herod (an Idomean-Greek Jewish convert), who was appointed under the auspices of the Roman Empire.
The apostle Paul (Saul) was educated in both Jewish and Greek studies. He used the name Saul in the Israelite Hebraic culture and the name Paul as part of his commission to take the gospel to the Greek international community. The authoritative text of the full Bible is written in Hebrew in the Tanakh and Greek in the New Covenant.
The tension between Hebrew and Greek was apparent in the early community of faith in Jerusalem. On Pentecost morning, the 120 Hebrew-speaking disciples preached the gospel to a crowd of 3,000 people of primarily international background (Acts 2:9-11). The number of disciples grew among both Hebrew and Greek speakers.
"As the number of disciples grew, the Greek-speaking Jews began to complain against the Hebrew speakers, because their widows were being neglected" (Acts 6:1).
The clash of the two culture groups caused problems in communication, finances and administration. A committee was appointed from among the Greek speakers to make sure the logistics were being handled properly (Acts 6:5). The identity issues continued with the development of the international church (ecclesia). The order of the gospel is to the Jew first, then the Greek (Romans 1:16, 2:10); and yet Jews and Greeks have the same spiritual standing before God (Galatians 3:28).
We experience similar tensions in the body of Messiah in Israel, as we are a Hebrew-speaking nation, yet the number of non-Hebrew speaking new immigrants and international guests is larger than the Hebrew-speaking core. There is a perfect balance between the universal international aspects of the faith and the Israelite covenantal aspects of the faith.
About the time the Tanakh was translated into Greek, the Jewish people stopped pronouncing the name of YHVH. Ultimately the pronunciation was forgotten and forbidden. Instead of YHVH, the term "Adonai" began to be used, which is the plural form of the word "lord." In the Septuagint, the name YHVH was translated to the term "Kurios," which also means "lord."
So at approximately the same period in history, the name YHVH stopped being used and was replaced by Adonai in Hebrew and Kurios in Greek. By the time of Yeshua, there is no YHVH in use, but only Adonai and Kurios. All of the citations of YHVH in the Septuagint and New Covenant translate YHVH to Kurios. Kurios means Adonai and YHVH.
Amazingly, in the New Covenant, Yeshua is referred to as Kurios. This is more than to call Him, "Lord". This is to call Him Adonai. It is a bold and unavoidable declaration of His divinity. Yeshua is Kurios-Adonai. This declaration of faith was shocking both to Hebrew speakers and to Greek. To call Yeshua Lord-Kurios-Adonai was a monumental explosion in the history of faith, religion and revelation.
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Ministries
Ariel Blumenthal has a vision for the Far East. He came to the Lord in Japan and has spent extensive time in Japan, Korea and China. He speaks fluent Japanese and is studying for a masters' degree in Chinese at Hebrew University. This past summer he and his wife Vered and daughter Achinoam had the opportunity to minister in China. Here is a brief report.
During our recent visit to China, Vered and I taught Hebrew and Bible to a group of young Chinese believers enrolled in a full-time, yearlong program to learn both biblical and modern Hebrew as well as New Testament Greek. The classes were taught in Hebrew with Chinese translation, perhaps a historic first! The founders, J & B, are a European couple that has been working in China for many years. J has written the book, in Chinese, for learning Hebrew this way, and has himself learned modern Hebrew through intense personal study and time spent in Israel. He was my translator for the Bible classes. B specializes in biblical Greek. They are an amazing couple, and a great gift to the Chinese Church.
One weekend, the group sponsored a city wide Christian gathering to let the students "show off" their language skills, and to pray for Israel. They sang both traditional, liturgical and modern, Messianic songs. They read and proclaimed Scripture verses in Hebrew and Greek. Afterwards, I brought a message to the group. In a nondescript meeting room in a corner of a Chinese city were gathered 100+ believers, Jew & Gentile, Israeli and Chinese, and a few from other nations. A group of young Chinese led us in singing the "Sh'ma " and then “Ki ko ahav" (John 3:16)! Jew & Gentile, many peoples together singing one song, one anthem, one victory - the victory of the Lamb of God over sin and death. It was a picture of the Kingdom, much like the multi-national, multi-ethnic company as depicted in Revelation 7:9-10, or 15:2-4.
Truly, there is no other way to unite the world in loving unity, one that both celebrates our national and ethnic distinctions, while honoring the Jewish roots of biblical truth and faith. It is only possible through Yeshua, Son of God and Son of David.
|Praying for Ariel and Vered||Baby Achinoam with her new friends|
I had to repent again - from becoming too self-focused.
At the time, it felt spiritual. I was talking to the Lord about my own inadequacies for the task to which He has called me/us. It even felt like humility. But it was nonetheless self-focus, and self-focus is always a trap.
There is no scripture calling us to "Keep your eyes fixed on your own inadequacies or failures, and talk to the Lord about them". There is also no scripture encouraging us to bask in our own gifting or abilities.
Rather we are continually called to "keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:1). He is the One Who began this work in us and He is the One Who will bring it to completion.
The Apostle Paul said "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent" (2 Corinthians 3:5).
Keep looking at Jesus and take the next step.
Don Finto, a dear friend of Revive Israel, is the founder and director of Caleb Company. To learn more about Don and the work of Caleb Company, visitwww.calebcompany.org.
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