Interesting Information for our Days from Around the Web!

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THE KNOCKOUT GAME IS JUST A PREVIEW OF THE CHAOS THAT IS COMING TO THE STREETS OF AMERICA

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-knockout-game-is-just-a-preview-of-the-chaos-that-is-coming-to-the-streets-of-america

 GOD WILL SAVE ANYONE BUT NOT EVERYONE (Excerpt)

The Christian Post – Sep. 25, 2013 — There is a reason why Jesus is called “the Savior of the world,” and not merely “the mentor” or “the example.” Jesus Christ literally saves people from their sins. But not everyone. Only anyone.

Many don’t want to be “saved.” They don’t think they need “salvation.” It’s not that God doesn’t want to save them. It’s that they don’t want God in that way. Instead, they just want Him around in case they need to ask for something else.

Personal salvation is a free gift, but there are many who decide to turn away from this gift. They honestly don’t see the importance of this offer of grace. It’s like a person who has a deadly disease, but is unaware of his condition. He thinks everything is just fine. If he only knew.

Sin goes deep within man. It is a violation of God’s perfect standard. And it deserves punishment from a Holy God. All of that just seems to “fly over the heads” of those who “don’t feel too sinful.” They assume their feelings can be trusted, and that the Bible should be looked at with suspicion rather than with faith.

It would be like that man with a disease who is told about his terminal illness, but he doesn’t trust the diagnosis. Therefore, he continues to live life as though everything is OK. If he only knew.

God will save anyone, but not everyone. Many will spend eternity apart from God and His heavenly kingdom. And what a kingdom it will be! If man only knew what he is missing. By rejecting the love and mercy of Jesus, man says “no” to the only Person who can save his soul for eternity. Of course, those who say “no” to Jesus don’t think they are going to miss out on anything. If they did, they would likely accept Christ’s free gift. If they only knew.

Can anyone come to Christ and be saved? Yes indeed. Anyone can approach Christ in faith. Anyone that is who sees His need and sees the solution. It’s like this: Your soul is sick, as is mine. We are sinners. We cannot wash away our sin, but Jesus can. His blood can do it, and this occurs when a person trusts Christ to forgive Him. You bring Jesus your sin in sincerity and truth, and He cleanses your soul and makes you acceptable to the Father. Without Jesus, you are in no condition to approach the Father. You are unclean, and so am I. Only Jesus makes us clean before God.

God will save anyone, but not everyone. That’s just the way God designed His plan of salvation. And you get to design your approach to life, and to death. You can live and die with Jesus, or you can live and die without Him. You can trust Christ and follow Him, or you can ignore Him and say “no” to His offer of grace. God won’t force you to be in His family if you are determined to live life outside of it.

So the ball is in your court. God has done everything necessary for you to be offered this gracious gift of eternal life in heaven. Will you combine this Gospel message with faith, or instead, continue on in unbelief? The door is open. Salvation has been provided. While it may seem to you like “everyone” has heard this message before, here’s the real question for you today: Is “anyone” listening?

IDF SOLDIERS WARNED AGAINST CONTACT WITH MESSIANIC JEWS

Weekend News Today – Dec. 16, 2013 — citizens of Israel woke up this week to a special early morning announcement by the Israeli Army on news broadcasts all across the country: The Ministry of Defense has ordered that all soldiers staying in Jerusalem over the Sabbath are not allowed to have any contact with members of the sect of Jews who preach faith in Yeshua (Jesus).

Is faith in Yeshua such a threat to our national security that one of the most effective military organizations in the world feels the need to “protect” its soldiers from this “sect of Jews”?

It all started when a small group of Messianic Jews visited a hostel for lone soldiers in Jerusalem over the Sabbath. The army provides the hostel for soldiers who have no family in Israel. On the weekends, when they are off base, they can stay at “Beit Hachayal,” or Soldiers’ House. A group of Messianic Israelis were visiting soldiers at this particular Beit Hachayal on the Sabbath and talking about their New Testament faith.

Many soldiers enjoyed these visits, and some began reading the New Testament and other Messianic literature regularly. Soldiers were invited to visit with Messianics in their homes, where they were introduced to Messianic faith during Sabbath meals and Bible teachings.

The Jewish believers had built up many friendships with management and staff of the hostel, who appreciated the positive impact the visits had on the lone soldiers. One of the soldiers even came to faith in the Yeshua. No one at the hostel, or in the IDF, were bothered one bit by this, not until an “anti-missionary” organization stirred up trouble.

The so-called “anti-missionaries” became aware that a soldier had come to faith in Yeshua most likely from reading one of the many Messianic or Christian newsletters and websites they follow. So they reported to the Ministry of Defense and IDF authorities that “the cult of Jews who preach Christianity are running missionary activities at Beit Hachayal.”

The ultra-Orthodox authorities to which the anti-missionaries are attached carry a lot of political weight and can cause a lot of problems. So, without investigating the facts on the ground, the Ministry of Defense and IDF immediately put out the public warning against association with Messianic.

Messianic Jews also received a letter from the Ministry of Defense forbidding them from entering “Beit Hachayal without explicit permission including a description of intended activities.”

Years ago, Messianic Jews were considered something of a security risk by the IDF. Many were not allowed to serve in elite or sensitive units. Today, however, Messianics are highly regarded by military authorities, and are even sought out to serve as commanders and officers in every branch of the Israeli military, including Military Intelligence, which requires the highest security clearance.

One Messianic Jewish Sabra (native-Israeli born), a sergeant in the Israel Air Force, recently asked his commander if he could include the New Testament together with the Hebrew Bible in his pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel. “Yes you may,” returned the officer without blinking an eye. And so this young man joined the growing numbers of hundreds of openly Messianic Jewish soldiers proudly serving in the IDF.

So why is the Ministry of Defense now publicly opposing Messianic activity in Jerusalem? According to one combat soldier, who is not Messianic, it all has to do with politics. “The government passed a law recently to recruit religious (ultra-Orthodox) Jews, but most refuse to serve,” he explained. “The army is trying to appease the Orthodox community in Jerusalem by making this absurd announcement against Messianic faith. We are all here to serve our country and the army should not be involved in telling people which path of faith to follow.”

WHY IS ISLAM GROWING IN THE WEST?

Christian Headline News – Nov. 6, 2013 — The global Muslim population will grow by 35 percent over the next 20 years, from 1.6 billion to 2.2 billion by 2030.  “Why are Westerners drawn to Islam?”  “What is the contrast between salvation by grace vs. works in Islam? And what is a true comparison between Islam and the Bible?” How should Christians respond?

Let’s take the second question first. “Islam” is typically translated “submission,” in this case to the will and laws of Allah (the Arabic word for “God”). These laws are often summarized as the “five pillars of Islam.”

First is the “witness” (shahadah), declaring that “there is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet.” Second are the prayers (salat), five times a day facing Mecca. Third is hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. Fourth is fasting (sawm) during Ramadan, the month when the first revelation of the Qur’an was given to Muhammad in AD 610. Fifth is alms-giving (zakat), at least 2.5 percent of one’s goods to the poor.

Here’s the point: no Muslim can know if he or she has kept these laws well enough to be granted a place in paradise. By contrast, the Bible teaches: “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). In religion, we try to climb up to God. In Christianity, God climbs down to us.

Why would a works-based religion be popular in Western culture today? Actually, the vast majority of “new” Muslims in Europe and America are immigrants or children of Muslims. Only 20,000 Americans convert to Islam each year, a number smaller than one of several megachurches in the Dallas area. Since the Muslim birthrate in Europe is three times higher than non-Muslims, it’s easy to see why Islam is growing on the Continent. But its works-righteousness is not the primary reason why.

What about Islam and the Bible? Muslims are taught that God revealed himself in the Old and New Testaments, but Jews and then Christians corrupted his revelation; so he revealed himself a final time in the Qur’an, which is his “pure” revelation to mankind. Actually, textual scholars are convinced that the Old and New Testaments we have today are almost identically the same as the original manuscripts. However, not long after Muhammad’s death, so many different versions of the Qur’an existed that Caliph Uthman ordered all but one version destroyed. As a result, no Muslim can really know if the Qur’an he or she reads today is consistent with the original.

Let’s close with my favorite story regarding the grace of Christianity. An elderly professor of world religions surprised his colleagues by declaring his commitment to Christ. He explained: “It was as if I had fallen into a deep, abandoned well. Muhammad came by and told me it was the will of Allah that I be in this well, then he left. The Buddha came by and told me if I would cease desire I would cease to suffer in the well, then he left. A Hindu teacher came by and told me if I was faithful in the well I would escape through reincarnation, then he left. Confucius came by and told me if I’d not tripped I would not be in the well, then he left. Jesus came by, saw me, and got into the well with me. That is why I am a Christian.”

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GROWING UP WITHOUT A FATHER TRANSFORMS CHILDREN’S BRAINS

Christian Headline News – Dec. 12, 2013 — A new study shows that growing up without a father not only affects behavior – it transforms children’s brain structure.

That’s the verdict reached by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center and recently published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

Researchers studied the behavior and brains of Californian mice who, like humans, are monogamous and raise their children as a unit.

Mice separated from their fathers showed greater aggression, anti-social behavior, and “abnormal social interactions” than those raised with both parents.

“The behavioral deficits we observed are consistent with human studies of children raised without a father,” said Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, the report’s lead author.

However, more groundbreaking was their finding that the behavior was not the only thing affected by the lack of a father. Mice raised by one parent had a misshapen prefrontal cortex, the portion of the brain associated with behavior, decision-making, and problem solving.

“This is the first time research findings have shown that paternal deprivation during development affects the neurobiology of the offspring,” Gobbi said.

The report states, “Our results emphasize the importance of the father during critical neurodevelopmental periods, and that father absence induces impairments in social behavior that persist to adulthood.”

The absence of a father has been associated with a string of poor behavior and life outcomes, including higher rates of substance abuse and criminality.

A report published by the Center for Social Justice found that half of all children in Britain are living in a single-parent home, more than 1 million British children in all.

By contrast, the presence of fathers – even uncommunicative ones – raises the levels of positive outcomes for children.

In 2011, researchers at the University of Melbourne found that delinquent behavior was reduced by 7.6 percent among boys who lived with their biological fathers, and five percent points for those living with non-biological fathers only, especially violent and gang-related crime.

U.S. PLAN GIVES JERUSALEM HOLY SITES TO VATICAN (Excerpt)

International mandate to control sections of Israel’s capital

WND – Dec. 16, 2013 — Secretary of State John Kerry quietly presented a U.S. plan for eastern Jerusalem that calls for an international administrative mandate to control holy sites in the area, according to informed Palestinian and Israeli diplomatic sources.

The exact composition of the international mandate is up for discussion, the sources said, but Kerry’s plan recommended a coalition that includes the Vatican, together with a group of Muslim countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The international arrangement is being proposed as a temporary solution for about two to three years while security arrangements in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians are finalized, said the sources.

Israel, the sources said, was not receptive to the particulars of Kerry’s plan, especially the concept of Turkish participation in Jerusalem.

A POTPOURRI OF BLESSINGS

Hebrews 6:7  “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God….”

Creation Moments – Nov. 15, 2013 — Many people like to have a nice perfume around the house. They brew a potpourri of mint, citronella, lavender and similar fragrant plants to make home smell more like home. But humans aren’t the only creatures that appreciate a nice smell around their house.

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During field studies, scientists have found that a small bird called the Corsican Blue Tit also likes to have a pleasant-smelling nest. This was an unexpected discovery, made quite accidentally when one researcher discovered various sprigs of aromatic plants in dozens of nests. When she starts to lay her eggs, the female bird will begin keeping her nest stocked with fresh, fragrant herbs until all the eggs hatch. The birds prefer yarrow, citronella, mint and lavender. When researchers secretly removed these herbs from the nests that they were observing, the parent birds were quick to replace the fragrant sprigs with others.  It also turns out that these herbs also have disinfectant and anti-pest characteristics. They inhibit bacteria and fungi and act as mosquito repellents. Rather than simply beautifying their nests or adding a nice perfume, the birds are also protecting their offspring from diseases and pests. You might wonder, Who taught them to do this?

As the Bible says, herbs are a blessing from God. They are not just a blessing to man, but also to many of God’s creatures.

HOW GOD SEES THE UNBELIEVER

Ephesians 2:1-5

God’s Word is always true but not always popular. When it runs counter to cultural preferences, the message of the gospel can be uncomfortable to hear and may lead to challenge and confrontation. We need to know biblical truth, including the fact that God sees unbelievers as . . .

• Dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). As newborn babies, we are physically alive but spiritually dead. Spiritual death came to all generations through the first Adam (Rom. 5:12); spiritual life comes only through Jesus, the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45).

• Unable to grasp spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). Those who are spiritually dead can’t perceive the things of God. Divine truth can’t penetrate because their “receiver,” or spirit, is dead within them.

• Not part of God’s family (John 1:12). Spiritually, there are only two families in the world: God’s and Satan’s (John 8:44). A person is born into God’s family—or “born again”—by trusting in Christ’s sacrifice and receiving Him as Savior.

• Under wrath (Eph. 2:3). Unbelievers, even kind and loving ones, are under judgment. A sin debt is owed (Rom. 6:23), and it can’t be paid by kind or loving acts of service. Jesus paid on our behalf, and only by trusting in His substitutionary sacrifice can we escape God’s wrath.

Unbelievers are in grave danger, but most do not realize it. The good news is that God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ is still available. Have you reached out for the hand of your Rescuer? If your answer is yes, are you pointing others to the One who wants to rescue them?

In Touch Ministry

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Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus.  Amen. (1 Pet. 5:14)….dave

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theWord Bible Software Version 4 Just Released!

theWord Bible Software is the exclusive software I use to prepare my Bible studies and I just can’t recommend it enough. Download it today. It is powerful, easy, and free! I will be offering a CD with over 500 ad-on modules in the very near future as a bonus with every order made at the douglashamp.com store. Tutorial videos are available on douglashamp.com

On Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 9:50 AM, theWord News <newsletter@theword.gr> wrote:

theWord Newsletter – November 30, 2012

theWord 4 is Out!

Simpler, faster, better than ever.
The best free Bible software now offers much more at the same price,        which is free!

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Enjoy reading the Bible from a set of predefined and extensible list of Bible Reading plans, or create your own Bible Reading plan according to your own needs. theWord offers the most versatile setup options that allow you to tailor your plan to your personal style and pace like no other application.

Organize your Daily Readings

Now there is a single place to organize and follow your daily readings! Follow one or more reading plans, meditate on one or more devotionals each day, and keep track of all your readings in a single place. theWord will remind you every day (or whenever you want) of your plan and help you catch-up with your planned readings. It has never been easier to monitor your reading progress.

Integrated Module Installer

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Use theWord as Your Personal Ministry Tool

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Make your work easier with the new version of theWord.

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  • Reworked skin and graphics to make your desktop less cluttered
  • … and much more: read the complete list of new features

 

 

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Help theWord – Get theWord toGo

theWord toGo

theWord is the result of a great, ongoing effort!

It is interesting to know that about 0.3% of the people that download theWord make a donation. Although this number is small, it does help keep theWord really free for the remaining 99.7% of its users.If you can really afford it, and you think that theWord is a worthy ministry you mayconsider a donation. By doing so you are truly helping provide this high-quality Bible study software, free of charge to everyone.

 

Get theWord toGo with a donation of at least $35

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theWord toGo is a pre-configured flash drive, preloaded with theWord Bible Software and more than 200 Books & Bibles!

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Are the Thousand Years in Revelation 20 Literal?

The question regarding the last years of earth’s history is, in a sense, very similar to that regarding earth’s first days: what do numbers and units of time in the Bible actually mean?  Are they merely figurative or are they to be taken literally? The interpretation of the days in Genesis 1 and the meaning of the thousand years in Revelation 20 are related due to the use of numbers and measurements of time in the Bible.

In Revelation 20 verses 2-7, six times we are told that Satan will be bound and that Christ will reign for a thousand years.  Understanding this to be a literal period of one thousand years or an allegory of an indefinite period of time has been an issue that has, generally speaking, created two camps of believers.  When we look at the ancient interpretations of both the creation account and Revelation 20, we will see that before the time of Augustine (354 to 430 A.D) both were interpreted literally.  Those holding to a literal interpretation are historically called millenialists (although today they are called premillenialists) and believe that the Great Tribulation will occur before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom for a literal period of a thousand years in which He will reign physically from Jerusalem.  Justin Martyr, a church father from the early second century A.D. declared emphatically in his Dialogue with Trypho,

But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.  (The FathersDialogue with Trypho Chapter 80)

Clearly, Justin Martyr took the literal interpretation rather than a figurative or typological approach as Augustine, who is the father of the amillenial position, would later do. [i] The amillenialists purport that the thousand years in Revelation should be taken figuratively and that, in fact, there will not be an actual, literal, physical reign of Christ nor a binding of Satan for a literal, thousand years.  Again, we are faced with the question of whose view is right.  Is it really a matter of theological preference as to which view one holds?  Or is there some key to unlock this enigma?  Rather than looking to the Church Fathers for validation, let’s first look at the passage and allow Scripture to interpret itself.  I believe that we will find that, as with Genesis 1, only one of the two approaches is acceptable.

There are in essence two words that we need to study in order to determine the duration of time in Revelation 20.  We will first of all look at years to appreciate how the word is used in the Bible.  Once we have recognized what is the normal meaning, we will explore what writers meant when stating one thousand.  Does the number have just a simple meaning of thousand?  Or if as the amillenialists state, should it be understood as an indefinite period of time similar to the days of creation as purported by evolution supporters?

Years in the Bible

The word year (ete ἔτη) appears a total of 29 times in the New Testament.  In every occurrence the meaning of year (or years) is simply that of a real, literal period of a year whenever a number precedes it.  For example, we read in Mark 5:25, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years.”  The text treats this as a real number of real years — and why shouldn’t it?  What else could years mean?  In Luke, we read of the prophetess Anna, “and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years…” (Luke 2:37).  In John 2:20, the Jewish leaders reply to Jesus’ claim, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”  Furthermore, in Acts 13:20 we read, “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”  In all of the examples, the word years (ete ἔτη) is referring to a real (specific) amount of time and is used in its literal sense.  The 450 years of the time of the judges is considered to be a real amount of time.  The fact is that year, when preceded by a cardinal number, is never used in any other way.  Years always refers to what we understand to be a year – that is, the completion of twelve months (with the exception of an occasional 13th month added every several years to balance out the Jewish calendar), once around the sun.  Similarly to day in the Old Testament, which when preceded by a cardinal number means only a real day, so too when the words years and years are preceded by a cardinal number, they always and only signify a definite period of time.

The Number Thousand

Since year (and years) has only a literal and absolute meaning when preceded by a cardinal number, our next undertaking is to try to correctly understand “thousand.”  Is there something in the word which would lead us to conclude that thousand could mean something other than its literal and plain meaning?

Thousand (chilia χίλια) occurs in the New Testament eleven times, six of those being in the twentieth chapter of Revelation.  Twice it occurs in 2 Peter 3:8, “…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  The other three occurrences are in the book of Revelation as well.  The number of verses with which we can compare the word thousand in the New Testament in order to correctly determine the meaning is somewhat limited since six of the eleven examples occur in Revelation 20.  Thus, we need to turn to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament translated from the Hebrew in approximately 270 B.C.

The word thousand appears 504 times in the Septuagint where it is translated from the Hebrew word אלף elef, which simply means thousand.  It never refers to any kind of imaginary number, nor does it signify an indefinite quantity.  The Septuagint merely translates that word literally and carries the same meaning.  There are cases where a text will say thousands in the plural and of course, that by definition is indefinite.  But whenever a text refers to one thousand it is speaking in a literal sense.

So, you might ask, why doesn’t the word one appear before the word thousand?  Quite simply, Greek does not require the word “one” to appear before thousand for it to be understood that it means one thousand.  Many languages are parallel to Greek in this respect.  For example, in Hebrew, there is no need to say one before thousand.  In fact, it is impossible to say that and to do so would sound very foreign; so too in Greek.  When it is only one thousand, then no other word is necessary to qualify the number.  Only when it is two thousand plus does a number come in front of it.

The Definite Article

The phrase thousand years appears six times in the passage of Revelation 20:2-7.

He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.  Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.  (emphasis mine)

Three times in the passage the author, John, states “…bound him [Satan] for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2); “…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4); and “…and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).  In all three of these passages, the literal rendering of the text is that Satan is bound and the saints reign one thousand years (one is included in the word thousand in Greek).  The other three occurrences “…till the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:3); “again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5); and “…when the thousand years have expired…” (Revelation 20:7) all refer to a specific time indicated by the use of the definite article the.  The word the is a limiter or a definer.  It tells us that something specific is indicated.  Therefore, the time frame is not something undefined but in fact it is very defined.  “The thousand years…” reinforces the fact that a literal amount of time is indicated since it points back to “a thousand years” already mentioned in verse 2.

Summary of Years

In conclusion, we have seen that years and numbers (just like days) in both the Old and New Testaments are taken as literal.  Years always refers to a literal amount of time.  Year, when used with a number, is never used to refer to anything more than once around the sun.  When the writer wished to indicate a longer period, then the exact number of years was mentioned.  We also saw that the number thousand is treated just like the other numbers in both Testaments.  The references to years in the New Testament are numerous and all of them are treated as real years, including the one of 450 years.  Furthermore, the Greek word chilia χίλια, meaning “one thousand,” is used hundreds of times in the Greek Septuagint and every time has a simple meaning of a literal number, that is one thousand!  And finally, we noted that the grammar in Revelation, by the use of the definite article, limits the use of what one thousand can mean.  It is not an indefinite period of time, but rather is very definite.

Thus we are left with the conclusion that the thousand years of Revelation should be understood to mean precisely that – one thousand, literal years.  Having used Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that any other interpretation is both inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible and grammatically unsound.


[i] Augustine formulated this eschatology primarily in response to the Donatists’s drunken feasts in their “cult of the dead” ceremonies honoring the martyred brothers.  Augustine also reacted to the millenialists’ anticipation as the year 500 approached since they thought that to be the culmination of the 6000 years since creation. (Anderson 2002: 4)

The Language of Jesus: Hebrew or Aramaic? (Video)

As a Bible student, you have probably noticed that in some translations in Acts Paul is said to have spoken Hebrew while speaking to the crowd in the Temple and later Jesus is recorded as speaking Hebrew to Paul. However, in other translations the word Aramaic appears. Which version is correct, why the discrepancies and most importantly, which language did Jesus and his disciples speak?
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Eloi, Eloi Lama Sabachthani

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Mark 15:34 records some of the last words of Jesus as he was on the cross.  They have been used to support the claim that Jesus spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew.  “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” These words closely parallel the words in Psalm 22:1 in both the original Hebrew and in the Aramaic Targumim, though His words, as recorded in Mark 15:34 match neither exactly.  Many scholars have glossed over this utterance as Aramaic without even really taking the time to see if it indeed is.

The table below lists Jesus’ phrase according to Mark and Matthew and then gives the text from Psalm 22:1 in the Hebrew original, the Targum (Aramaic) and then the Christian Syriac version (Syriac and Aramaic are basically the same).  Notice that none of the aforementioned texts is exactly the same.  Matthew’s version is exactly the same for the first three words: Eli Eli, lama but then differs with sabachthani.  The Targum of Ps 22:1 has shabachtani like in Mark and Matthew but then differs on the following: Eli Elahi instead of Eli Eli, and metul ma instead of lama.  While these are similar in meaning, it must be conceded that they are significantly different to merit investigation.  The Syriac version is the closest but again, it is not an exact match since lama is written lamna.  It must not be overlooked, however, that the Syriac version was written as a translation to the New Testament and thus cannot be used conclusively to prove one way or the other the exact words of Jesus.  The rest of the table lists the different ways of saying God in Hebrew and Aramaic (Syriac).

Table 3 Eloi, Eloi Lama Sabaktani

Mark 15:34 ᾿Ελωΐ, ᾿Ελωΐ λαμὰ σαβαχθανι Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani
Matthew 27:46 ἠλι ἠλι, λαμὰ σαβαχθανί Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani
Psalm 22:1 Hebrew (original) אלי אלי למה עזבתני Eli eli lama azavtani
Psalm 22:1 Aramaic (Targum Psalms) אלי׳אלהי מטול מה שבקתני Eli elahi metul ma shabaktani
Syriac (Aramaic) Mark 15:34 ܐܠܗܝ ܐܠܗܝ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ Elahi elahi, lamna shabaktani
Syriac (Aramaic) Matthew 27:46 ܐܠܝ ܐܠܝ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ Eli eli, lamna shabaktani
Hebrew God אלהים /אלוה / אל Elohim / Eloah / El
Aramaic God אלה / אל Elah / El
Hebrew/Aramaic My God אלי Eli
Hebrew (only) My God אלהי elohai
Aramaic (only) My God אלהי Elahi
Septuagint Judges 5:5 my God Ελωι Eloi

Eloi

We have some interesting evidence in the New Testament given that the original words of Jesus have been recorded by two of his disciples – Matthew and Mark (according to early church tradition, Mark received his Gospel from the testimony of Peter).  It is interesting to note that Matthew’s version is slightly different from Mark’s.  Matthew records, in 27:46 that Jesus said Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (resembling Psalm 22:1 in Hebrew eli, eli lama azavtani) while Mark’s account says Eloi Eloi.  I believe that we can safely assume that Jesus did not say it one way for Matthew and another for the writer of Mark while on the cross.  Matthew’s version – Eli Eli is what we would expect in Hebrew or even in Aramaic.  Eloi, however, is a mystery. Which way he said it has to do with the issue of transliteration and will be answered in the course of our search.

We know what Eloi means, due to the convenient translation in the text, that is my God.  The question of course, is whether it is Hebrew or Aramaic.  The truth is, as such, it is neither Hebrew nor Aramaic.  While it is close to the Hebrew form of אלהים elohim, it falls short.  Its form is not found even once in the Hebrew Bible and since elohim is such a common word, not finding it there forces us to conclude that it is not Hebrew. However, it is not Aramaic either.  If Eloi were Aramaic, as is assumed, then why don’t we see at least one example of its use in the OT since in both Daniel 4:5, and 6:22, which were plainly written in Aramaic, the words “my God” are not Eloi but אלהי elahi.  The form spoken by Jesus as recorded in Mark is conspicuously absent!  Furthermore, the Targumim translate my God as elahi just as the Aramaic does from the time of Daniel.  Targum Psalm 22:1, has אלי אלהי eli elahi (Targum Psalms). Moreover, the Syriac (Aramaic) version of the New Testament (written about 200 AD) actually translates the Greek text of Mark 15:34 (my God) ὁ Θεός μου  (ho Theos mou) as elahi and not Eloi!  Apparently the Aramaic speakers didn’t consider it to be Aramaic either since they wrote Elahi.  Considering that this text was written after the time of Jesus just further serves to demonstrate that Eloi is not Aramaic.

If Eloi is neither Hebrew nor Aramaic, then what is it?  There are three ways to say God in Hebrew:אלהים  Elohim (2605 times) only in Hebrew, used most often to refer to the God of Israel,  אל El (242 times), both Hebrew and Aramaic, more often used of foreign gods, though nevertheless, used in reference to the true God of Israel, and אלוה Eloah (56 times) used only in Hebrew texts (primarily in Job).  All of them have a general meaning of mighty one – really just a title, which can theoretically, be applied to any one who “is mighty”. [1] Elohim, unlike el and Eloah, is the plural form meaning gods.  Whenever used of the one true God of Israel, however, the verb related to it is always singular. [2] To say my God with el simply requires that one add the letter yud to the end of the word.  Thus, El becomes Eli.  To add my to plural masculine nouns like Elohim, however, basically requires adding the vowel a and dropping the mem (mem makes a masculine noun plural).  Elohim therefore, becomes Elohai.  To make the first person possessive of Eloah is similar, though, unfortunately, the first person singular my is not found in the pages of the Bible.  There is, however, one passage in Habbakuk 1:11 which does have the possessive pronoun suffix his אלהו – Eloho.  Thus, according to the conventions of Hebrew grammar, the way to say my God would be Elohi.  (Gallagher, personal correspondence)   Aramaic has two ways to say God, El, which is exactly the same as the Hebrew counterpart and the other way is אלה Elah. To say my God is Eli and Elahi similar to the Hebrew forms.

Thus in either Hebrew or Aramaic, we should see one of four forms: Elohai or Elohi (only Hebrew), Eli (both Hebrew and Aramaic) or Elahi (only Aramaic).  There are no other possibilities and Eloi is simply not one of the options.  In order to discover which language Jesus spoke, we will limit our discussion to Mark’s Eloi since Eli could be either Hebrew or Aramaic.  We will essentially address two questions:

  1. What happened to the letter he in the middle of the word (equivalent to the letter H)?
  2. Are there any occurrences of Eloi in the Septuagint?

Without Eli we have limited our focus to three candidates for the mysterious Eloi, the two Hebrew words Elohai, Elohi and the Aramaic Elahi.  We don’t have the actual Hebrew or Aramaic word written in the Hebrew/Aramaic [3] script but the Greek transliteration, which can sometimes be tricky.  Some languages don’t have the rough breathing sound that the letter H makes.  English, for example, can make the sound at the beginning and middle of words but not at the end (this seems normal to us; however, Hebrew can do all three!).  Greek is able to produce the H sound at the beginning of words, but not in the middle or end. [4] So, how would one transliterate any of the three from either Hebrew or Aramaic to Greek?  There is, in fact, no way to transliterate the words other than by transliterating them without the rough breathing sound, which would yield three different options: Eloai, Eloi and Elai.

To prove the theory, we will select words which we know have the letter ה (letter H) in the middle and then compare them to the Greek transliterations (in the Septuagint) where, if the theory is correct, there should be the absence of a rough breathing mark (like the letter H).  For example, Abraham in the Septuagint is Αβραάμ (Abraam).

Table 4 Loss of the ה(H) Sound in Greek

Verse Hebrew Bible Transliteration of Hebrew Septuagint Transliteration of Greek
Genesis 17:5 אברהם Abraham Αβραάμ Abraam
Exodus 4:14 אהרן Aharon Ααρων Aaron
Judges 3:15 אהוד Ehud Αωδ Aod
I Sam 1:1 אליהוא Elihu Ηλιου Eliu
II Sam 8:16 יהושׁפט Jehoshaphat Ιωσαφατ Josaphat
I Kings 16:1 יהוא Jehu Ιου You
II Kings 23:34 יהויקים Jehoiakim Ιωακιμ Yoakim

Notice from the table that the Hebrew words lose the H in the Greek (and English transliteration).  As expected, the Greek version cannot reproduce the H and so it was left out in the transliteration.  Therefore, the word Eloi is not necessarily Aramaic simply based on the lack of the letter H. However it is too early to conclude that it is Hebrew.  Clearly, the Hebrew letter he or H was lost due to transliteration, but was the original Hebrew or Aramaic?  The loss of the letter he in the Greek transliteration leaves us with the following three possibilities: Eloai, Eloi, and Elai.

Clearly Eloi fits perfectly what Mark recorded and fortunately we have an example of this in the Septuagint.  Judges 5:5 “The mountains gushed before the LORD, this Sinai before the LORD God of Israel” κυρίου Ελωι, τοῦτο Σινα ἀπὸ προσώπου κυρίου θεοῦ Ισραηλ (kuriou Eloi touto Sina apo prosopou kuriou theou Israel).  Notice that they translated the word LORD (YHWH in Hebrew) into Greek as kuriou (Lord) and then added the word Eloi (my God), which is not in the Hebrew text.  There are two things that must not be missed here.  First of all, the mysterious word in Mark is attested in the Septuagint with exactly the same spelling.  Secondly, the Septuagint was translated into Greek from Hebrew and not Aramaic.  Thus when looking at Mark 15:34 we have solid evidence of how Elohi was transliterated from Hebrew (not Aramaic!) in to Greek.  If Mark had been transliterating from Aramaic, he would probably not have written Eloi ᾿Ελωΐ [5] with the letter omega (ω) since the Aramaic is distinctly elahi and would have better transliterated it as ᾿Ελaΐ with the letter alpha.

In summary, we see that there is no way to actually write the Hebrew Elohai, Elohi, or the Aramaic Elahi except by dropping the letter he.  Of the three, Elohi fits perfectly and is attested once in the Septuagint – ᾿Ελωΐ Eloi – the exact same spelling and meaning as what is in Mark 15:34.  Furthermore, if Mark had been transliterating Aramaic, it most likely would have appeared as Elai and not Eloi. Our findings may explain the difference between Matthew and Mark since Matthew records Eli, Eli – which has the same meaning but does not present any problems of transliteration. Perhaps knowing this, we might conclude that Matthew simply wrote Eli Eli and not Eloi knowing that Greek letters could not reproduce the word Elohi and since Eli, Eli is how the Hebrew text of Psalm 22:1 reads. And it would seem that Mark opted to write the specific literal words, even though they could not be written exactly in Greek.

Lama

Lama למה, meaning why, is an extremely common word and is used least 145 times in the Hebrew OT in almost every book. It is seen in every phase in Hebrew – from proto Hebrew to Standard Biblical Hebrew to Late Biblical Hebrew and numerous times in the Mishnah.  So, we should not be surprised to see it here in Jesus’ day as well.  The root letters lamed, mem and he are also found in Aramaic, though it should be noted that the vocalization (the vowels) are slightly different than what is recorded in Mark 15:34.  The Aramaic word is lema. [6] It is possible that Mark was transliterating the Aramaic lema as λαμα (lama) – although we cannot be dogmatic about the issue, he could have more accurately written it with the Greek letter epsilon (λεμα) if that were the case. [7] However, as the historical sources indicate, it would seem that Mark was simply writing in Hebrew. Moreover, the word lama does not appear in the (Aramaic) Targum of Psalm 22:1.  Even though lema exists in Aramaic, the translators of this Targum used two words metul ma, also meaning why.  Thus, not only does the Hebrew lama fit better than the Aramaic lema but even the Targum doesn’t use the word.  Only the Hebrew text has the word that Jesus used while enduring our sins on the cross.

Shabachtani

Shabachtani[8] שׁבקתני appears to be a word of Aramaic origin.  It means to leave, leave alone, entrust, bequeath, divorce, permit, forgive, abandon and forsake.  It is used a total of five times in the Old Testament, all of which are found in the Aramaic portions of Daniel and Ezra.  However, given that there was a limited amount of Aramaic influence exerted on the Hebrew language after the return from the Babylonian captivity, we later see the root shabak [9] שׁבק attested in Jewish writings such as the Jerusalem Talmud, which is where the Mishna is found.

Of the seven occurrences of shabak in the Mishnah, four are clearly couched in Hebrew prose.  A passage from the Jerusalem Talmud (31:5:1), is an especially good example of the words surrounding shabak. The text contains certain grammatical structures and vocabulary which occur only in Hebrew and not Aramaic.  A few examples are the use of the letter ה he found at the beginning of words which means the (Aramaic has א – aleph at the end of words).  Also the word שׁ Shay, that, (used only Hebrew) versus די di [10] (used only in Aramaic).  Thus the word shabak, which Jesus spoke on the cross, we find situated in the midst of Mishnaic Hebrew words and grammar, and therefore, we can safely conclude that while this was originally a loan word from Aramaic, by Jesus’ day, it had become common place in the Hebrew language.  We should actually expect there to be some loan words in the language.

Consider for example, if you live in France and you hear someone say that he intends to do “le jogging” you should not conclude that he is actually speaking English!  Likewise, consider the dramatic influence French had on English – we use without any thought words such as pork and beef not knowing that these words are not originally English.  This does not lead us to the conclusion that Americans are speaking French, though it does imply that there was some French influence upon the English language.  In fact, pork and beef have become so common that we are often surprised to learn that they are French.  Nevertheless, though pork and beef are clearly French, the way they are spelled (vs. porc and boeuf) shows that they have been completely assimilated into the English language. [11] And so it is with Shabaktani – the word seems to have come originally from Aramaic but was completely assimilated into (Mishnaic) Hebrew as attested by its usage in the writings of the Mishnah, which as pointed out already, was the final stage of ancient Hebrew before its demise around 200 AD [12].  Also, the ending of the word “ta+ni” is exactly what we would expect in Biblical Hebrew [13] viz. shabakta=you forsook +ni=me.


[1] Jesus makes reference to this word in John 10:34 of the leaders and judges of Israel.

[2] A beautiful example of the Trinity in the Old Testament (first occurring in Genesis 1:26).

[3] Both Hebrew and Aramaic were written in what was known as Aramaic script just like how English is written using Latin letters.

[4] My lovely wife, Anna, pointed this out to me!

[5] Mark includes the breathing marks and accents making it even clearer that it is to be pronounced Elo-i demonstrating that the Hebrew letter he has been dropped.

[6] The e is written with a shewa which is a very short sound.

[7] Some manuscripts do contain the variants λεμα lema, λιμα lima, –  see The Robinson/Pierpont Byzantine Greek New Testament.  However, the Textus Receptus and the Vulgate have λαμμα lamma or λαμα lama respectively.

[8] The Aramaic word is actually Shabachtani – Greek does not have the “sh” sound which is why the NT text has transliterated it as Sabachtani.

[9] The last root letter is like the letter K as in kite.  Again this is a matter of transliteration.

[10] The other uses are: זאת zot, בן ben, אני ani, את et – these words are specifically Hebrew.  The Aramaic counterpart is different enough so that we can conclude that these words are Hebrew and not Aramaic.  Ben and bar (in a later chapter), however, are often interchangeable.

[11] Perhaps even more surprising is discovering that the word sack is in fact a Hebrew word – it is found 17 times in the Old Testament.  It has been so completely assimilated that few people ever give it a second thought.  It is indeed English, but was originally (and still is!) Hebrew.

[12] Hebrew essentially died as a spoken language but was still in use in Jewish life up until the establishment of Modern Hebrew.

[13] The form, though, is the same in Aramaic.


Mammon

Discovering the Language of Jesus: Hebrew or Aramaic?

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24 see also Luke 16:9,11,13)

The word mammon[1] has long been assumed to be Aramaic.  In fact, every Greek lexicon I checked said unambiguously that it is of Aramaic origin.[2] Many lexicons simply relegate the word to Aramaic a priori based on the fact that it is not Greek.  The word, in fact, comes from an old Hebrew root המון hamon meaning a number of different things making it somewhat difficult to translate.  But essentially, it means many, a lot.  Among the meanings [3] are riches and abundance.  It might seem to be somewhat of a stretch to say that hamon could become mammon.  However, considering that it was quite common for the letter mem to be added to the front of words to make them into other classes of words, it is not a stretch at all.  Consider the following examples:

  • targum (translation), becomes translator by adding the letter mem to the front of the word – meturgeman
  • melech (king), becomes kingdom by adding a mem to the beginning – mamlacha,
  • zamar (to sing) becomes melody, psalmmizmor
  • yesha (salvation) – (from which comes the name Yeshua – Jesus) becomes with the memsavior moshia
  • hamon (a lot) becomes (money) mammon

Equally important is the fact that the word mammon is actually attested outside of the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament.  We find it nine times in the Mishna.  The passages in which mammon is found are in Hebrew (not Aramaic!) and are in reference to money and terms of payment.  One says, “If they give you a lot of money [mammon], you will enter…” Seder Nizikin 3:4 [4].  Another says, that if certain services are not performed, then a fine of money [mammon] will be paid (Seder Nizikin 4:8 [5]. And lastly, Seder Nashim Ktuvot 3:2 says in unambiguous terms that if so and so undertakes or commits to do something and then doesn’t pay then he will be fined as it says in Exodus 21:22:

  • (Mishna Nashim Ktuvot 3:2)וכל המתחייב בנפשו–אינו משלם ממון, שנאמר “ולא יהיה, אסון–ענוש ייענש (שמות כא,כב) …Vkol hamitchayev benafsho – eino meshalem mammon, sheneamar velo yihiye, ason – yenosh yeanash (shmot 21:22).
  • (Hebrew Bible, Exodus 21:22) – וכי־ינצו אנשׁים ונגפו אשׁה הרה ויצאו ילדיה ולא יהיה אסון ענושׁ יענשׁ כאשׁר ישׁית עליו בעל האשׁה ונתן בפללים) – …he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

There are two things in this text that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that mamon is a Hebrew word for money.  First of all, the Hebrew word “pay” (meshalem) appears before mammon (money) and secondly is the reference given to Exodus 21:22b which says “yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay (natan, literally give) as the judges determine.”  We see that the Mishnaic text actually uses some of the same words but updates pay (natan in Exodus 21:22b) with the up-to-date term pay money (meshalem mammon).  Since they use it in conjunction with that verse, which we know means pay and then update it with meshalem mammon, which, by the way, are in a 100% Hebrew context, we can definitively conclude that mammon was Hebrew.  While we cannot say that this was not an Aramaic word, it is worth noting that Targum Onkelos translates the word in the Exodus passage, which is related to the above Mishnaic passage, as natangive. Moreover in places where the Hebrew Bible writes money as kesef (literally silver), Targum Onkelos follows suite with כַספָא kaspa.  If mammon were such a common Aramaic word then why is it not used in this of all verses when the Mishna does use it?


[1] The Textus Receptus has the spelling mamon, which agrees with Luke in every manuscript.  However, for sake of the accepted convention mammon will be used in this book.

[2] See in situ Thayers Greek Lexicon, Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Lexicon, Friberg Green Lexicon, UBS Greek Dictionary and Louw-Nida Lexicon

[3] The meaning of hamon: cry aloud, mourn, rage, roar, sound; make noise, tumult; be clamorous, disquieted, loud, moved, troubled, in an uproarAbundance, company, many, multitude, noise, riches, rumbling, sounding, store, tumult.  (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament hamon entry).

[4] Seder Nizikin 3:4 (im notnin lecha mammon harbe, ata niknas) אם נותנין לך ממון הרבה, אתה נכנס

[5] Seder Nizikin 4:8 (she-ein chayavin ela al tviat mammon kfiqudin)שאין חייבין אלא על תביעת ממון כפיקדון

Discovering the Language of Jesus

language of jesus

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For the last 150 years, both popular and academic views have asserted that Jesus spoke Aramaic as his primary language of communication since supposedly Hebrew died out after the children of Israel were taken into Babylonian captivity. This view, however, is not based on the testimony of the Old Testament, the New Testament, historical sources, or Jesus’ actual words. Just which language did Jesus and his disciples speak?

As a Bible student, you have probably noticed that in some translations in Acts Paul is said to have spoken Hebrew while speaking to the crowd in the Temple and later Jesus is recorded as speaking Hebrew to Paul. However, in other translations the word Aramaic appears. Which version is correct, why the discrepancies and most importantly, which language did Jesus and his disciples speak?


 

 Pastor and teacher Douglas Hamp takes you on a journey through history, Scripture and linguistics to solve the puzzle. By Discovering the Language of Jesus, you will gain a deeper understanding of Jesus’ words and culture and will be fully convinced that every detail in God’s Word is accurate, reliable and worthy of your trust.”

Calvary Chapel Magazine Book Review Fall 2005

A persuasive book that presents compelling evidence that Hebrew, not Aramaic, was the primary language of Jesus and the disciples. In light of the inerrancy of the Scriptures, this is an issue that every Bible student should consider.”

Chuck Smith, Senior Pastor Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa

I am convinced that the language of Jesus and the apostles was indeed Hebrew rather than Aramaic.”

Brian Brodersen, Associate Pastor Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa

A mind-changing book. The serious Bible student, wanting to teach accurately, should weigh Doug Hamp’s evidence, rather than parroting tradition.”

Carl Westerlund, Th.M, Director Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa School of Ministry and Graduate School

…this is a great work that challenges many incorrect assumptions about the use of Hebrew in the time of Yeshua. Definitely check it out.”

Albert Cerussi, Congregational Coleader of Ben David Messianic Congregation