Lost in Translation Part 1
Lost in Translation Part 1
Since the World in General or the Christian World has approached Scripture in a purely Babylonian- Roman- Greek perspective so typical of most Bible Students who without question use a system of “Greek Hermeneutics,” much misunderstanding has occurred.
Also since converted Greek Philosophers had developed assumptions based on their methods of working on Mythological texts they applied them to the Hebrew texts of the Tanak (Old Testament) & the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) with the false assumption that 75% was creative imagination and only 25% truth giving them much room to interject with their own Bias.
Hebrew Hermeneutics requires the interpreter to agree to a moral standard of unbiased translation. This is the result of recognizing that Scripture is 100% true, exactly as written & operates on all four levels simultaneously such as:
- P’shat- direct.
- Remez- hinting.
- Darash- comparison.
- Sod- deep or hidden.
As Netzarim we may have the tenancy to use our own sources to witness about the truths we have discovered while the best proofs when dealing for example with Christians is by far highly respected Christian writers so that is what I will do.
We know that there is a great need to understand the Hebrew Culture, context and language when dealing with Scripture but the best quote I found was by David Bivin & Roy Blizzard Jr PhD from their Book “Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus.”
We (Christians) tend to forget that the Old Testament comprises 78% of the Biblical Text with the New Testament only 22%. When we add the highly Hebraic portions of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts) approximately 43% of the New Testament the Hebrew rises to 88% or 87% omitting the Aramaic portions of Daniel & Ezra then only 12% was in Greek. From the 12% we can also subtract the 176 quotations from the Old Testament with the result that over 90% of the Bible was originally composed in Hebrew.
With this in mind we will begin to look at various aspects of Scripture that will help us in our understanding and in our defence of the truth that we know to be true. The first and the most highly important subject is that of Covenant or as we will see Covenants in the plural when it comes to Scripture since Covenant could be seen as the overarching theme of all Scripture.
Since Covenant appears in almost every Civilization and flows through all of Scripture it is imperative that we understand it. Many however confuse Covenant with Testament.
A last will & testament is a document that someone makes to detail his wishes for the disposal of his property after his death. Therefore the most recent testament holds more weight. A New will always supersedes an older will. We could say a “Will or Testament” is made between parties that do not trust each other therefore a legal document needs to be drawn up.
Sadly it was Greek philosophers who translated scriptures conveying that the Old was superseded by the New. Whether that was part of a plan to see a totally new belief system emerge is not the question here but understanding how confusion could arise is!
A Covenant however defines an ongoing relationship with no appointed end. We could say a Covenant is made between Parties that completely trust each other & remain committed to the Covenant even if the other party Dies. An example of Covenant is that with King (Melek) David & Jonathan since after the death of Jonathan David applies the Covenant to Mephibosheth Jonathan’s son (2 Samuel 9). To summarize a more accurate title for the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) would be “The Renewed Relationship or Covenant.”
Basically there are fundamentally four Covenant types which are progressive which means they increase in the depth of relationship. On a human level Parents model the same types of Covenants with their children as they grow in relationship. This process is clearly shown through these basic Hebrew Covenants as well. The four basic covenant types are the Blood Covenant, the Salt Covenant, the Sandal Covenant and the Betrothal Covenant. These I will endeavour to explain in more detail as these pertain in their correct sequence to the ordained way that YAHWEH desires to bring us back into relationship with him thus finally bringing all his people back into the Marriage relationship he desired from the very beginning.
The Blood Covenant:
This relationship level is best understood as “entering into a relationship of Servanthood” requiring the shedding of blood by sacrifice even being renewed daily.
To better understand the blood covenant, it is likened to each person having a war within himself with his two inclinations what Rabbi’s call the Yetzer Tov the good inclination & the Yetzer Hara the evil inclination.
Adam & Chavah in effect were in a marriage Covenant but when they disobeyed YAHWEH they handed him a writ of divorce. YAHWEH sought however to restore the relationship step by step. Animal sacrifice as defined by Ancient Biblical Hebrew Culture was a symbol of restoration & purity.
The Covenant that Elohim established between Adam and Noah was a blood or servanthood Covenant typified by obedience the first step on the pathway to restoration. When the flood waters receded we see Noah making a Sacrifice:
Bereshith (Genesis) 8: 20- 22 And Noacḥ built an altar to YAHWEH and took of every clean beast and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And YAHWEH smelled a soothing fragrance and YAHWEH said in His heart, “Never again shall I curse the ground because of man, although the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth and
never again shall I smite all living creatures, as I have done, 22 as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest and cold and heat and winter and summer and day and night shall not cease.”
Therefore by asking us to enter into a servant relationship with Himself YAHWEH Elohim of all creation is asking us to serve and obey him the first step in restoring relationship.
Rabbi Silus (Luke) demonstrates what a good servant is like who desires a deeper relationship:
Luke 17:7-10 which of you, having a servant ploughing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.10 So also you, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty to do.’
The Truth that Yahshua is teaching is that to be a good servant is to go far beyond what is expected. Yoseph demonstrated that sort of attitude when he served his master Potiphar prospering him greatly knowing that his true master was YAHWEH.
It’s worth noting that wine is an acceptable Hebrew alternative for the shedding of blood as it is considered the blood of the Grape.
The Salt Covenant:
To understand the depth of this Covenant we need to look at its Ancient practice.
Each Hebrew person carried a small pouch of Salt. When two men wished to enter into this type of relationship they would mix their salt in a common bowl, break bread and dip it into the bowl and eat it. Not being able to separate the salt again they took half and returned it to their pouch. This was therefore Symbolic of an eternal Friendship Covenant that could not change.
We see this type of Covenant established with Abraham:
Bereshith (Genesis) 18:2 So he lifted his eyes and looked and saw three men standing opposite him. And when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, “Master (YAHWEH), if I have now found favour in Your eyes, please do not pass Your servant by. 4“Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. 5“And let me bring a piece of bread and refresh your hearts and then go on, for this is why you have come to your servant.” And they said, “Do as you have said.”
Up until this point Abraham was the servant of YAHWEH the Lord but now all things changed as YAHWEH reveals those things he is about to do, something that is told only to a most intimate friend:
Bereshith (Genesis) 18:17 And YAHWEH said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham is certainly going to become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19“For I have known him, so that he commands his children and his household after him, to guard the way of YAHWEH, to do righteousness and right ruling, so that YAHWEH brings to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
What is interesting is that in Bereshith (Genesis) 12 YAHWEH promises to bless, protect and make Abram great. This echoes promises that a good master would make to a most faithful servant but we notice that it is not until Bereshith (Genesis) 17 when Abram has shown himself to be faithful after separating himself from Lot his nephew that YAHWEH referring to himself as El Shaddai the Almighty changes his name and ratifies the Servant Covenant with Abraham through asking him & his whole household to be circumcised. Directly after that YAHWEH comes to initiate the next level of Covenant being the Friendship Covenant as we just observed. Following this next step of intimacy we see the result of this relationship being the long awaited promised son Yitschaq (Isaac) who would inherit the promise first given to Abraham. What we discover is that the entering into the different Covenant levels leads to increased relationship and increased blessing.
It has even been suggested that Lot was rescued from Sodom not just by Abraham interceding for him but more by him responding to the Malakim (Angels) and taking them into his house and entering into the Friendship Covenant to the point of so protecting the Malakim that he offered the men of the City his daughters. This begins to show us how important & deep is this level of Covenant.
Ya’acob (James) 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed Elohim, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of Elohim.
Seeing that this depth of Covenant is far more intimate we can understand what Yahshua was speaking of in the following:
Yahuchanan (John) 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
What is interesting is that Yahshua made this statement after he had been betrayed by Yahudah (Judas) of Qerioth knowing that these he chose would finally remain faithful though not initially.
From the significance of this Covenant being a Covenant of Friendship consolidated by dipping bread into the Salt dish helps us understand the severity of breaking this depth of relationship.
YAHUchanan (John) 13:26 Yahshua answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Yahuḏah (Judas)
Iyish (man) of Qerioth, son of Shim‛on.
Yahshua being fully aware of the words of the Prophet David understood that the breaking of this deeper Covenant was foretold but that did not make it any less painful since we know that this same Yahudah (Judas) also went out with the disciples and healed the sick and delivered the demon oppressed since he was counted among the twelve but yet the scriptures had to be fulfilled which said it must be so:
Tehillim (Psalms) 41:9 Even my own friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
Slide 12Yahweh Initiates the Covenant
When we look to Covenant since each level of Covenant expresses a deeper level in relationship it is always YAHWEH who takes the initiative. When we look to Abraham we see that the Covenants are being initiated by YAHWEH as he first came to Abraham in Bereshith (Genesis)12 to initiate the Servant Covenant with all its promises by a Command given to Abraham to go from his Father’s house which he did not fulfil completely until later after which the Covenant was ratified with Circumcision. Also YAHWEH initiates the next level of Covenant when he comes with his two Malakim (Angels) Bereshith (Genesis) 18 and ratifies it with the Covenant meal.
Yahshua reveals the same theme too in his expression:
YAHUchanan (John) 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask
the Father in My Name He might give you.
If we are to walk into deeper relationship with YAHWEH the Father and YAHshua his son we need to allow him to draw us into deeper levels of relationship.
The Sandal Covenant:
This Covenant is also called the Covenant of inheritance.
We find with Abraham that after he proves himself to be obedient fulfilling the servant Covenant and then demonstrating that he would put nothing even his son above his love for YAHWEH symbolic of the friendship covenant YAHWEH then presents to him the inheritance Covenant as in:
Bereshith (Genesis) 22:17 I (YAHWEH) shall certainly bless you & I shall certainly increase your seed as the stars of the Heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore & let your seed possess the gates of their enemies.
This helps us see how the various levels of Covenant bring us into deeper relationship & blessing but also shows that YAHWEH is always the initiator.
This Covenant is found in Ancient Yisra’el where people would use worn Sandals to mark the boundaries of their property.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 19:14 Do not remove your neighbour’s boundary, which those in the past have set, in your inheritance which you inherit in the land that YAHWEH your
Elohim is giving you to possess.
On a more humorous note if a honeymoon extended through the Shabbat the bride & groom tied their sandals onto the back of their donkey thus giving them moveable boundaries in order not to break the traditions of the Elder about travel on Shabbat.
The sandal Covenant became a picture of the relationship of sons and daughters with their parents. Along with the Privilege of inheritance came responsibility. In Ancient Hebrew households during the day you could not tell the Sons & Daughters from the hired help but at dinner time the difference was obvious as they sat with their parents. This teaches that the former relationship of the servant must be maintained even though the Sons and Daughters were to inherit all.
From this understanding the following controversial verses can be better understood:
Galatians 3: 24-25 Therefore the Torah became our trainer unto Messiah, in order to be declared right by faith. 25 And after faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer.
Rather than implying what many have suggested that Torah is unnecessary, Sha’ul (Paul) is suggesting that when faith comes or maturity comes the letter of the Torah which was the rod of discipline is replaced by the Spirit of the Torah or the maturity that faith brings that causes one to love Torah because of the promised inheritance and deep relationship with YAHWEH with a promise at the end of the day or the age of man to sit at the Table with our King and Father. At the present time we appear to be no different than servants maintaining the servant Covenant as well, until Supper is served in His Kingdom which is our inheritance.
This also helps us understand the significance with Mosheh of the removal of his sandals at Mount Sinai, the sandals representing his man-made Earthly inheritance to receive from YAHWEH Elohim of all creation a new inheritance of Holiness. Shemoth (Exodus) 3:5)
In Matthew 19:16-29 there is the story of the rich young ruler who was invited by Yahshua into a deeper relationship. He had kept the commandments but was not ready to trade his earthly inheritance for an increased share in the heavenly Kingdom. His poor decision prevented him from entering into a deeper relationship limiting him to the Servant & Friendship Covenant. This does not suggest his Salvation was in question but that he failed to walk closer as many believers today fail to walk closer when the Master calls.
This same teaching is represented in the Parable of the sower where the Word finds no roots because of Worldly attachments something that especially today is very relevant.
Colour is also part of Elohim's grand scheme. YAHWEH gave his colour format to Noach through the Rainbow being the seven colours. YAHWEH's colours are the primary colours and Man's are the secondary.
Each Covenant reflects a primary colour. The Blood Covenant is Red, the raw salt Covenant is yellow and the Inheritance Covenant is Blue. The colour of the ultimate Covenant the Betrothal is white. White is a combination of all the previous colours of the spectrum just as the Betrothal Covenant represents a combining of all previous Covenants.
There is yet one more Covenant to look at but that will be addressed in Part 2.
Slide 18, 19 & 20
Table of the Covenants
The Servant Covenant
The Friendship Covenant
The Inheritance Covenant