Hebrew Gospel Pearls #10 – Matthew 4:12-16

In Hebrew Gospel Pearls #10 (Matthew 4:12-16), Nehemia and Keith discuss how Yeshua retraced the journey of the ancient Israelites, how the disgrace of Egypt was removed, and the confusion of the Herods.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Hebrew Gospel Pearls #10 - Matthew 4:12-16

You are listening to Hebrew Gospel Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Keith: Here’s the exciting part. Here’s the pearl, folks. Hebrew Matthew says, “Gilgal”. If I’m reading in English, I can’t even pull that out under any circumstance. I mean, to me, that’s… Wow.

Nehemia: Shalom, and welcome to Episode 10 of Hebrew Gospel Pearls. Keith, this might the last episode. [laughing]

Keith: It’s finally the one you’ve been waiting for, the end of the pilot? Like, if we make it past this, are we at the end of the pilot episodes?

Nehemia: If we can make it through this episode, that is the pilot series. We’ll then do a retrospective, where we look back over this and we say, “Can we afford to keep doing this? Is the message getting out?”

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Are we doing a good job? Really, for me that’s the most important thing. Are we doing a good job of getting into the sources and teaching this information?

Keith: A question for you, would you be willing at the end of the episode today, could we just have a little conversation about inviting people to make some comments? Tell them that what they could do?

Nehemia: We can do that, absolutely.

Keith: Okay, awesome.

Nehemia: Yeah. So today, we’re doing section 10 of Hebrew Matthew. And Hebrew Matthew section 10, it’s a really short section. So this is verses 12 through 16, and verses 14 through 16 are one of these statements to fulfill it was through the prophet Isaiah. And then, the verses from Isaiah, or paraphrases of the verses from Isaiah are, “There really isn’t a lot to talk about here.” But there is, because the background here is extremely complicated.

Keith: And it’s amazing. It’s amazing.

Nehemia: Yeah, it’s very complicated. Let’s start with… I’m going to read the verses, just five verses. “Vayehi bayamim hahem vayishma Yeshua ki nimtza Yochanan bemasar vayelech el haGilgal.” “And it came to pass in those days, and Yeshua heard that John was delivered into imprisonment and he went to Gilgal.” “Veyavo el Nazarel, vayishkon beKfar Nahum Ramata, bala’az Maritma, biktseh eretz Zevulun.” “And he passed through Nazarel…” Oh, wow. We’ve got to talk about that. “And he dwelt in Kfar Nahum,” Copernum, “Ramata”, “in the foreign tongue, “Maritma”, “at the edge of the land of Zebulun,” or Zvulun, “lekayem ma she’amar Yeshayahu haNavi,” “to fulfil what was spoken by Isaiah the Prophet,” “artzah Zevulun ve’artzah Naftali derech hayam, avar et haYarden, Galil haGoyim. Ha’am ha holchim bechoshech ra’u ohr gadol. Yoshvei b’eretz zalmavet ohr naga aleikhem.

Literally, you would translate it, I suppose, “to the land of Zebulun, to the land of Naftali, by the way of the sea, he passed the Jordan, the Galilee of the Nations. The people who are walking in darkness saw a great light. Those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, a light shined upon them,” or “shone upon them,” I never get that right in English. “A great light shone upon them, shined upon them.”

So can we jump to… I don’t know where you want to start here. There are so many pieces to attack.

Keith: I want to start with what caught my attention in the beginning, okay? And I just thought about this this morning again, just in practicality. In practicality, we’ve already talked about John. We’ve talked about Yeshua. We’ve talked about them being cousins. We’ve talked about the message of John. We talked about Yeshua going to be baptized. And then, out of the blue we hear this statement which I normally would pass by, that says in English, this: “Now, when he heard that John had been taken into custody he withdrew into Galilee.”

Now, I know we could wait to talk about this later, but this has to be talked about right now.

Nehemia: Well, I want to focus on that phrase, “He withdrew into Galilee.” Can we start with that?

Keith: We’re not going to first talk about the fact that he heard a rumour? It wasn’t on the internet. They had no CNN. They had no Fox News. He must have been amongst the people and there was a conversation. Here’s what caught me, excuse my excitement.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: What caught me was, if we were to go back and talk about the popularity of John, and then we hear this statement, that means that this must have been really big news, that John had been taken into custody. Big enough news that Yeshua, after He had been tempted, after He had been baptized, maybe it was a family conversation - I don’t think so, I think it was bigger than that - that John had been put into prison, it caught His attention. At least for Matthew to say, “We need to make mention of what was happening. This rumor, this statement, this thing that’s happening that John goes to prison, are we not going to at least talk about that a little bit? I mean, that’s a pretty significant thing.”

Nehemia: So we’re going to have to jump ahead to Matthew 14.

Keith: Well, we can go to the parallel in Mark 6 if you want to do a little synoptic work here, we can do that.

Nehemia: We can do some synoptic. There’s some serious synoptic stuff going on here. I’d like to start in Matthew, because we’re in Matthew. I’m going to read that.

Keith: Beseder. It’s no problem.

Nehemia: I’m going to read it from the NRSV, and later, when we get to Matthew 14, by the will of God, then we can look at the Hebrew Matthew and see how there are some differences there. “But at that time, Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus.” Okay, Herod the ruler. Who is Herod the ruler?

Keith: Now, can we talk about that? [laughing] So this is not the first Herod, right? This is the second Herod.

Nehemia: Oh, there are a bunch of Herods. But let’s keep reading. “And he said to his servants, ‘This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead, and for this reason, these powers are at work in Him.’ For Herod had arrested John…” So here it’s what we call a flashback. This isn’t when it’s happening, he’s remembering. “For Herod had arrested John…” That’s what’s called the “pluperfect” or the “past of the past”, “Herod had arrested John, bound him and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother, Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd because they regarded him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came…” in the flashback, right? This happened a long time ago, “the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised it on oath to grant her whatever she might ask.”

And of course, this raises parallels to, of course, in Esther, where he says, “Ask me half the kingdom.” “Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.’” The King was grieved, yet out of regard for his oath and for the guests, he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.”

Okay, so that is the version that appears in Matthew 14. Now, I’m going to let you read the parallel in Mark.

Keith: Okay. Mark 6:14, “And King Herod heard of it, for his name had become well-known and people were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work with him.’ But others were saying, ‘He is Elijah,’ and others were saying, ‘He is a prophet like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has risen.’ For Herod himself…”

Nehemia: Right, so they’re talking about Yeshua and saying, “How is there another person out there doing these things in the wilderness?”

Keith: Exactly. Exactly.

Nehemia: So they say, “Didn’t we get rid of John the Baptist?”

Keith: Exactly. So it says here, “For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother, Philip, because he had married her.” Can I just stop there for a second?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: When I was reading in Mark, that one verse takes me to… before we get to the beheading, before we get to Herodias, before we get to the dancing and all of that thing, there was one issue for sure that parallels this. Why was John put in prison? And it says clearly, “He had sent and had him arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother, Philip, because he had married her.” So then, what I was saying was, looking at this, I have to ask a simple question in the first verse. It says, “Why was John put in prison?” Before we go to the end of the story, for one reason. It says, “Because of the situation with Herodias.” In other words, that was the reason that he decided to get her. So she was saying, “This guy’s talking bad about us,” I guess, and the rest of the story lets me know that that was true, because she’s the one who said, “Listen, not only do I want him in prison, I want his head.” [laughing]

Nehemia: Right. And I think we’ll have to come back to that in the Plus episodes, because there’s some information we want to share about this whole issue of Herod, this one particular Herod, who we haven’t identified really who he is, because there’s a bunch of people named “Herod” here. There are all these people named Herod, and it’s extremely confusing. It’s so confusing, that there are scholars that claim that the New Testament made a mistake, because they identify this brother as “Philip”, and really there’s another brother named Philip and other people are, “No, the New Testament got it right. These other sources made the mistake.” There’s legitimate confusion here. There are at least five people right here in this story named Herod. And then, the wife is called Herodias.

Keith: So let me ask you one question. Just from the verse in Matthew, what can we say is worth at least commenting on? Is it worth commenting on?

Nehemia: I just want to really quickly read the rest of that Mark 6:18, “For John said unto Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’” And then, Luke 3:19, “But Herod the Tetrarch…” and now he’s called “Herod the Tetrarch,” “being reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife and for all the evil which Herod had done, added this also to them, also that he shut up John in prison.”

So John is thrown in prison, and so here’s the question I’m asking, because we’re going to talk about what Herod did wrong, at least from John’s perspective, that caused John to rebuke him and say it wasn’t a legitimate marriage, to marry his brother’s wife. I want to save that for the Plus episode, but I want to talk about why Yeshua’s going into the Galilee, right? So Yeshua is returning to Galilee, is the way you read it, is that right?

Keith: Yes. So what he’s saying here is, “When He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee,” is what is says in the English.

Nehemia: So he went from some other place to Galilee. So what is that other place? And when I first read this, I said, “Wait a minute. I don’t…” at least in the English translation of the Greek, I should say, the Hebrew is a bit different. When I read this in English and in the Greek, I even looked in the Greek here, I said, “Something here doesn’t make sense.” I even looked up the Greek word, “to withdraw”. What does it mean that he “withdrew?” And in some places, or in some translations I should say, in the dictionaries, they explain that this Greek word can mean, “to return”, to go back somewhere. So, you could translate this, “He withdrew to Galilee”, or “He went back to Galilee.” From where? Where did he go back to Galilee from?

And I want to leave that question hanging for a minute. So here’s how I originally read the passage. I think I was wrong, okay? “Now, when Yeshua heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea in the territory of Zebulun and Naftali.” And when I first read that I said, “Wait. The New Testament is confused,” because it sounds like the New Testament is saying, he was in some undefined place and then went from there back to Galilee, and that place back to Galilee is going from Nazareth to Capernaum. And I know that’s not right, because Nazareth is in Galilee. So you can’t say he left Nazareth and then returned to Galilee from Nazareth, because both Nazareth and Capernaum are in different parts of Galilee. So that’s where I had some confusion. And what I realized is, what does it talk about in verse 11? Where is he there?

Keith: So here’s how I read it…

Nehemia: He’s in the wilderness, near the Jordan River.

Keith: Right. I read it that this is after his testing, which we talked about in Episode 9. And then, after that at some point, he hears about what’s going on with John, which is interesting to me, where he was at from the baptismal point to the place of testing. Maybe he came out of the wilderness and passed by that same area where people were waiting to be baptized. When he said, “Where’s John?” “He was put in prison.”

Nehemia: He’s been arrested, exactly.

Keith: Exactly. [laughing]

Nehemia: Okay, so I asked this question - why did he go to Capernaum? In other words, is there some relation between what’s stated in verse 13, “He left Nazareth and his home in Capernaum,” and what’s stated in verse 12, that he withdrew to Galilee because John was arrested? And there could be a connection. In other words, he’s in the wilderness, which is near today, what’s Jericho, the Judean Desert. He’s somewhere in that area of the southern section of the Jordan River, and John is baptizing - he actually might be in Transjordan, it sounds like, from the description earlier, that he’s on the other side of the river, although you could literally swim across that river in 60 seconds. I’ve actually had conversations where I was standing on the Israeli side, the western side of the Jordan…

Keith: Hebrew Voices, man. You did it for Hebrew Voices number one.

Nehemia: I did it in Hebrew Voices. I was on the western side of the Jordan River and I literally had a conversation interviewing someone on the eastern side. And we weren’t even really shouting. We were having a conversation. [laughing] But John is based in that area around the Jordan River. He gets arrested. And now, when it says, “Yeshua withdrew to Galilee”, meaning he withdrew from either the Judean Desert or the Jordan River, which is really kind the same area, and he goes back up to Galilee. But why go to Galilee from there? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

And so I think there is some connection between 12 and 13. In other words, he hears John’s been arrested. He’s now left the area around the Jordan and now is in Galilee. And he says, “John is arrested.” And now we’ve got to go into who rules over Galilee. And here’s where we get into some confusion, okay?

So Herod had four different sons named Herod. Not a joke. Herod’s heir was a man named Herod II. He’s also called by some scholars, Herod Philip I. He’s the son of Mariamne, the daughter of Boethus, who was a High Priest. And Herod II aka Herod Philip I is the father of Salome. Who is Salome? We’ll get back to her in the Plus episode. Salome is the daughter of Herodias, [laughing] Herodias was the first wife of Herod II. Imagine this. It’s Herod II and his wife, Herodias and their father’s name is Herod. They have a brother named Herod Antipas, also called Herod the Tetrarch, another brother named Herod Archelaus, another brother named Herod Philip II. So this guy’s name is Herod Philip, and he has another brother named Herod Philip. That is according to some scholars. Other scholars will say, “No, no, no. The sources that refer to these two different Philips, they’re confusing the different the sons of Herod, and that’s how we end up manufacturing two different Herods.”

Let’s just say for argument’s sake here, there are two different Herods. That means there’s Herod Philip I, who’s married to this woman, Herodias, and he has a daughter named Salome, and he is supposed to be Herod’s heir. He doesn’t actually end up ruling over anything. Herod Antipas, also called Herod the Tetrarch, ends up ruling over the Galilee and Peraea. Peraea is an area in Transjordan, and that is the area… If John was on the other side of the Jordan from what today is Israel - meaning the eastern side of the Jordan - if he is over there, he’s in the territory of Peraea. And then, John is actually executed in Machaerus, which is in Peraea. So John is probably actually in Transjordan, doing his activities, and he gets arrested, taken to this fortress where he’s then executed later.

Yeshua may have been there with John and his disciples, and he says, “Boy, it’s time to get out of Dodge.” He’s in the area of Herod Antipas, or Herod the Tetrarch, and he wants to flee. That’s one explanation. The problem with that explanation is, he goes to Nazareth, and the other area that Herod Antipas, or Herod the Tetrarch, ruled was the Galilee, and that included Nazareth. So then he goes to Capernaum. Well, Capernaum is still in the territory of Herod Antipas.

So my first explanation that I’m offering here, that there’s a causal relationship between Matthew 4:13 and Matthew 4:12, I think, is wrong. I don’t think you can really say that he fled from Herod Antipas in Peraea and then went to the Galilee, because the same Herod Antipas rules the Galilee. I know this is confusing, there are a lot of names here. I want to recommend people, Google the phrase, “Herod Family Tree” [laughing] and you’ll see there’s a man named Herod Antipas, also called Herod the Tetrarch, he rules the Galilee and Peraea.

There’s another brother called Herod Archelaus. Herod Archelaus ruled over Judea. He is the full brother to Herod Antipas, or Herod the Tetrarch, that is, they’re both the sons of a woman named Malthus the Samaritan. Herod II, in contrast, we said was the son of Mariamne. Herod Philip II aka Herod or Philip the Tetrarch, he is the son of a woman named Cleopatra of Jerusalem, not to be confused with Cleopatra of Egypt, right? There are a lot of different names here. He rules over what’s called in the Tanakh, Bashan; today the Golan Heights and parts of Syria and Jordan.

So we’ve got three different Herods: Herod Antipas, Herod Archelaus and Herod Philip II, who are ruling different parts of Israel at the same time, and Yeshua goes from part of the territory of Herod Antipas to another part of his territory.

And then later, when he’s in Jerusalem and he stands before Pontius Pilate, Pontius Pilate says, “Oh, he’s from the Galilee? Let’s have Herod Antipas deal with Him. Herod Antipas is the one who rules the Galilee.” So we’ve got a lot of things… it’s very confusing here. We have a lot of different people named Herod here, and then a woman named Herodias.

So my first explanation, I think, is incorrect, that Matthew 4:12 has a causal relationship with 4:13, that Yeshua was fleeing from arrest. I mean, it does sound like that, doesn’t it? Didn’t it sound that way to you, Keith?

Keith: It absolutely did. Actually, I thought about it this way, Nehemia, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you think is the second way. I kind of put it to modern times. I thought, “What if Herod runs it like the Mafia? If he’s anything like his father, he hates threats.” So he finds out about John. We’re going to get to that later, what John did that got him in prison. He knows about Yeshua, who’s his cousin. Yeshua knows that he knows about him, and obviously, because it just later says, “Is this John raised from the dead?” and that Yeshua thinks, “You know, if I go back to Nazareth, that’s where the family is, they’re probably going to be looking there first. I don’t want to spend my time in Nazareth, so I’m going to move on to be with more of the other people and kind of mix in with the crowd.”

I didn’t know, but I thought that maybe it was the kind of situation where it wasn’t that he was fleeing as much as, “Look, I’m not going to go back to the hometown. I’m going to move on to Capernaum,” which we’re going to talk about, what that might signify.

Nehemia: Well, so that’s really important that you said that, right? Because the way it sounds, when I read it at least, is he’s like, “Well, okay. I’m leaving Nazareth and going to Capernaum,” and that is withdrawing to Galilee, but that’s not right. In other words, he has three different locations here. Location A, which is isn’t identified, but from the context we can say it’s somewhere around the Jordan or the Judean Desert, location B, which is Nazareth, and then location C, which is Capernaum, which I can’t wait to talk about Capernaum, because that’s the exciting place.

So the second explanation, which I think is the correct one, is that John is arrested, so there’s no reason for him to stick around in Jericho anymore, or Peraea and that area. There’s no reason for him to stay where he is, in the area of the Judean Desert. He had been there while John had his ministry, and now that he hears John’s been arrested, “Okay, I’m going back home.” And so he leaves the area around the Jordan and he goes up to Nazareth, right? So there are three locations here, and that’s what’s not so clear when you read it in English. It’s clearer in Hebrew.

Here’s the cool thing in Hebrew. So it says, “And it came to pass in those days, and Yeshua heard that John was turned over into imprisonment. And He went to Gilgal…” Where’s Gilgal? Gilgal is a little village not far from where he had been ministering. So John is just across the Jordan River, baptizing people and doing his ministry. And so Yeshua crosses the Jordan River, goes to Gilgal which is a couple of miles from there, and then from there he passes Nazareth. And then in a third stage, he dwells in Kfar Nachum. A lot of things going on here. Let’s talk about Nazareth.

Keith: Wait. Before you do that, Nehemia, I think this is an opportunity. To me, what you just said is why Hebrew Matthew is so amazing, and I think Gilgal is a pearl. Can you just open up the tap-tap to let people know the significance of the Gilgal, potentially, that he may have gone to? In other words, we’re dealing with geography here, and what happened there. If it’s after the test, it kind of would make sense. I mean, it could be something worth looking at.

Nehemia: Let me jump back. Gilgal is a village not far from Jericho. It’s mentioned in the Tanakh, we’ll talk about it in a second. The Galilee is a whole region in Northern Israel, a mountainous region north of the Jezreel Valley and the Bet Shean Valley. So one’s a village and one’s a city. The difference in Hebrew between Gilgal and Galilee, Galilee is “Galil” Gimmel-Lamed-Yud-Lamed, and “Gilgal” is Gimmel-Lamed-Gimmel-Lamed. So the difference between Galilee and Gilgal is whether there’s a Yud or a Gimmel, right? So it’s maybe two strokes to the pen, really one longer stroke and a second stroke. It’s almost identical, graphically. And there’s no question whatsoever that either Gilgal is a corruption of “Galil”, Galilee, or “Galil”, Galilee, is a corruption of Gilgal. One of the two is definitely the case.

We actually have one manuscript of Hebrew Matthew where somebody said, “Oh, no. This is supposed to be Galilee. How do I know it’s supposed to be Galilee? Because it’s Galilee in the Greek.” And they changed Gilgal to Galil.

Keith: Wait a minute! You found that? [laughing]

Nehemia: Oh, yeah. Well, Howard even brings it in his notes, there’s no question. This is a known thing. So Gilgal and Galil, one is a scribal error, or maybe an intentional scribal change for the other. In other words, what could have happened? Let’s say, for argument’s sake that Gilgal is the original reading. And so the scribe is copying it and he says, “Gilgal? We know He went to Galilee,” so he changes it and Galilee appears all over the New Testament. Gilgal is hardly… I don’t know that it’s ever mentioned in the New Testament. It’s definitely not an important place. It’s in the Tanakh, even in a few places, pretty rare in the Tanakh.

So this is what we call a “scribal error”, when a rare term gets replaced with a common term. It’s very common as a scribal error. For example, there’s a stream in Israel called “Yarmut”. Never heard of Yarmut, but Yarmuk is a very common term in the Middle East. It’s a very important place. And so the inhabitants there eventually started calling Yarmut “Yarmuk” after the more common, the better-known place. It’s a very common thing that happens. The Rabbis actually do this explicitly. They’ll take some figure who’s unknown, for example it’ll say, “The servant of Abraham,” and they’ll say, “Who’s the servant of Abraham?” Well, it doesn’t say. We don’t know. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s Eliezer of Damascus.” Why? Because he’s mentioned in a different chapter. And so you have an unknown place being replaced with a better-known place, and here it’s a little-known place with a better-known place. So that’s the explanation of how we got from Gilgal to Galil.

The other explanation, if it went the other direction – and I can’t say for sure, right? Maybe the Greek has the original. I mean, in each case really, we can’t say for sure. We’re presenting possibilities. If we say the Greek is original and then originally it said, “Galil”, the Hebrew then is somebody copying Galil and replacing it with “Gilgal”, which is odd because he then quotes a verse about Galil, about Galilee, right? So it would be more understandable how Galil, Galilee, would end up in that verse. Because the verse in Isaiah a couple of verses later mentions Galil, whereas Gilgal, what does that have to do with it? But geographically, Gilgal makes a lot more sense to me.

In other words, back to what we were saying - he’s somewhere in Transjordan in the area of Peraea. He then crosses over the Jordan a couple of miles to Gilgal, and then, from Gilgal he passes over to Nazareth. And then from Nazareth, he eventually dwells in Kfar Nachum.

Keith: And so here’s what I want you just to do, one thing. Just in case people don’t know, can you go to the tap-tap just for one second? Folks, if you don’t know about the tap-tap, Nehemia’s a wizard at this. Can you just let us know what happened in Gilgal for Israel? In other words, there was a conversation earlier talking about Yeshua’s life paralleling what was happening in the desert, et cetera.

Nehemia: Now you’re going to get spiritual on me, Keith. Can we get spiritual here, of what the spiritual significance…?

Keith: I’m only suggesting, first you give us the information…

Nehemia: Could be, according to the author here.

Keith: …and then let’s see if we can get spiritual.

Nehemia: Okay, all right. So this is beautiful. Joshua 5:9 is really the part we want here. This is where Gilgal gets its name, right? So he refers to Gilgal in Joshua 4, but it actually hasn’t been called “Gilgal” yet. He might be writing this years later. “And Yehovah said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.’”

Keith: Yessir.

Nehemia:Galoti et cherpat Mitzrayim,” “I have rolled away.” “Galoti” is “I have rolled away.” So that place was called “Gilgal” as it still is. So how did he roll away the disgrace of Egypt? In verse 2 it says, of Joshua 5, “At that time, Yehovah said to Yehoshua, ‘Make flint knives and proceed with the second circumcision of the Israelites,’” meaning they hadn’t been circumcised for years. “So Yehoshua had flint knives made, and the Israelites were circumcised at Givat Ha’aralot,” which means “the hill of the foreskins”. “This is the reason why Joshua had the circumcision performed. All the people had come out of Egypt, all the males of military age had died during the desert wandering after leaving Egypt. Now, whereas all the people who came out of Egypt had been circumcised, none of the people born after the exodus during the desert wanderings had been circumcised. For the Israelites had travelled in the wilderness 40 years until the entire nation, the men of military age who had left Egypt, had perished because they had not obeyed Yehovah and Yehovah had sworn never to let them see the land that Yehovah had sworn unto their fathers to assign us a land flowing with milk and honey. But He raised up their sons in their stead, and it was these that Yehoshua circumcised, for they were uncircumcised, not even circumcised on the way. After circumcising of the whole nation was completed, they remained where they were in the camp until they recovered.”

So there’s actually a little bit of a play on words here, right? “Then Yehovah said, ‘I have rolled away the disgrace of Egypt.’” What’s the disgrace of Egypt? So throughout the wandering in the desert for 40 years, everybody who was born in the desert was uncircumcised.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And this was the place where they were circumcised, and Gilgal represents the rolling away of the disgrace, passing from an uncircumcised state into a circumcised state. There’s also a play on words here, perhaps, because it sounds like they threw all the foreskins into a big pile and it made a mound. And then Gilgal also can be from the word “gal” which means “mound”. So there are two different words, to roll away disgrace, and also the mound of the foreskins.

So that’s interesting. In other words, you’re saying…?

Keith: Well, let me tell you what I’m saying. So you and I have had experiences over the years where we’ll go to a place that has a Tanakh significance, and there have even been times, Nehemia, where there have been places that weren’t even Tanakh significant, but had a spiritual significance in my mind, that you’ve even agreed to go with me to. For example, when you agreed to go with me into Egypt to go to Mount Sinai. There was a spiritual significance to what had happened at that place. Is it possible that Yeshua also was thinking about… this is the process that’s going on, he’s just come from His temptation, which he had also been before that, his baptism at the Jordan, and would he want to stop first at the place that Israel stopped at first, after they crossed the Jordan?

Maybe he’s thinking about what took place, both physically and spiritually, a rolling away, a circumcision, maybe, of the heart. Who knows what happens? But could it be possible that he was thinking about geography also? “Before we go to the Galilee to start my ministry, John’s ministry’s dispensation is now over. He’s in prison. I’m not going to take over John’s baptism ministry. I’m going to go to Gilgal for a while, spend some time there before we get to the exciting part about what’s going to happen next?” I’m just throwing it out.

Nehemia: So I think what we could definitely say here is that he is retracing the steps of the Israelites as they’re entering the land. He’s gone into the Jordan River, come up out of the Jordan River. You have to cross the Jordan to get to Gilgal or Galilee.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: He crosses the Jordan River and then he goes to the first place that the Israelites go when they enter the land, which is Gilgal. So he’s gone from baptism to circumcision. That would be the spiritual interpretation of it.

Keith: He crosses over, he goes to Massah, he goes to the test on the other side. He then crosses over… this is like perfect. But here’s the exciting part. Here’s the pearl, folks. Hebrew Matthew says, “Gilgal”. If I’m reading in English, I can’t even pull that out under any circumstance. I mean, to me that’s a… Wow.

Nehemia: Does Howard have “Gilgal,” or does he write “Galilee” there? I didn’t even check.

Keith: Of course he has “Gilgal”.

Nehemia: Oh, he does? Okay.

Keith: But I’m just saying, I’m looking at the English, I would never know anything about Gilgal or anything about the circumcision. I mean, this… Wow.

Nehemia: So I had offered the text critical explanation that one is a scribal error for another. But you’re saying there actually could be here some spiritual significance of why Matthew wrote “Gilgal”, or maybe some scribe in the Middle Ages… Here, it would be hard to say this was a Rabbi, right? You’d have to say this was some Jewish believer in Yeshua who’s saying that when Yeshua entered the land, surely the first place he went is the first place the Israelites entered the land, which is Gilgal. Or maybe, that’s what Matthew wrote originally.

There’s definitely a spiritual application here, that he’s now, essentially, followed the footsteps of the Israelites. They had the test in the desert, which the Israelites failed but Yeshua’s passed. He then crosses over the Jordan just like they do, and he goes to Gilgal. Then he goes to Nazareth, except in Hebrew Matthew and every manuscript I’ve been able to find - I didn’t look in all the manuscripts here, because it would have taken forever, but I looked at many manuscripts - and all the ones I looked at, at least, instead of “Nazareth” have “Nazarel”. And it’s hard to argue that that’s anything but something very intentional, which is Nazareth would be “Natzeret”, and “Nazarel” would be the “Nazareth of God”.

So that’s interesting. So he passed by the Nazarel of God. I don’t know if you want to say something about that, Keith…

Keith: Yeah. Here’s what I say. There’s much in Scripture that says, “Whether you turn to the left or to the right, you’ll hear the voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” There’s the idea of your footsteps being ordered. I believe that from the time that Yeshua met his cousin at the Jordan until the time we’re going to get to him finally speaking about what his ministry is, every place he went had significance.

Nehemia: All right. So it says, “He passed by the Nazareth of God”, and that’s actually the name, “Nazarel”, “and he dwelt in Kfar Nachum,” and then it says, “Ramata”, which in the foreign tongue is “Maritima”, or “Maritma”. Now, “Ramata” would mean “of the heights”, which is a bit strange because it’s not very high up. So I have to wonder there if that’s what we call a doublet. In other words, the word “Ramata”, maybe that is part of the gloss. The gloss could be, “Maritima” means “by the sea,” right? And it’s the Sea of Galilee.

Just a quick note on the Sea of Galilee, which I think we’ll talk about more in future episodes, when he gets in the boat and stuff like that, right? But just a quick note to state the Sea of Galilee isn’t a sea, it’s a lake. It’s a very significant lake. It is the source of Israel’s water. In fact, the Six Day War, the direct reason for the Six Day War – or maybe you could say the indirect reason for the Six Day War – is that the Syrians were trying to cut off the water that Israel takes from the Sea of Galilee, and Israel would have died as a nation. We would have died of thirst, all our agriculture would have shut down, and that was the reason for the Six Day War.

It was also the reason for the first Lebanon War, that they were trying to steal the water. There’s one of the sources of the Jordan that feeds into the Sea of Galilee in Lebanon, and that was one of the things that triggered the first Lebanon War. So this is a very significant body of water. It is the lifeblood of Israel, the Sea of Galilee, to this day, and was, certainly, in that period. Israel has a lot of very arid or semi-arid regions, and then you come to the Sea of Galilee and it’s very humid and full of water.

And so he’s dwelling at Kfar Nachum. Kfar Nachum means the “City of Comfort”. We’ve got to talk about Kfar Nachum. I think in the Plus episode we’ll get to the quote from Isaiah, and the reason John was in prison. We have a reveal. This is really cool I just can’t wait to share, something I actually can’t share here in the public episode, I won’t even say why I can’t. But there’s something I’m only allowed to share in the Plus episode, not because Keith won’t let me, but for certain other reasons I’m not going to go into. But it’s really exciting!

Keith: I want to give a chance for us to talk a little bit, Nehemia, because literally… And let’s just be really serious and honest about this. We prayed, folks, to get up to 10, is that fair, Nehemia?

Nehemia: That was definitely my prayer and my objective.

Keith: And as result of getting to 10, we will actually have recorded 20 different episodes, 10 of them for public. I’m not trying to transition, but I just want to say this. Ten of them were public for those of you that are listening all over Facebook, YouTube, podcasts, everywhere else. And then, there are these other 10 that we’ve done the Plus.

Now, without getting into what you’re about to do, Nehemia, or what you’re potentially going to do during the Plus, I think that this is where this is ingenious in terms of the ability to just go deeper into things that even as we studied, we didn’t know, no idea that these things were going to pop to the surface. Am I fair? Is that fair to say?

Nehemia: Absolutely. Oh, I literally called you up while I was preparing for this and said, “Keith, we’ve got to do 10, 11, 12. There’s nothing to talk about here.” And you’re vindicated. You’ve been vindicated now, because we haven’t really gotten through the entire section, [laughing] and we have a lot more to talk about.

Keith: Truthfully, without even going into this significant thing that you’re going to share in the Plus for a second, Nehemia, is it okay just to talk a little bit about Capernaum, or are we going to…?

Nehemia: You share what you want to share, and then we’ll get to Capernaum.

Keith: Okay. All right. I want to say again, for me, that why this is significant for me is I read past these verses, and I’ve obviously been studying before these verses. And what’s happening for me is, there’s like this beautiful… what’s that word called when they do the sewing of the…?

Nehemia: Weaving?

Keith: No, when they put together the beautiful…

Nehemia: Tapestry.

Keith: What are they called?

Nehemia: Tapestry.

Keith: Yeah, the tapestry, meaning that each of these squares, each of these little sections that we’ve done over these last 10 episodes are each like one little spot. But then, when you pull them together, it just becomes like… For me, I’m really, really, really excited about getting to the point of him actually starting his ministry. But up until this point, there was so much that I didn’t even think about, didn’t even consider. This situation that we just looked at, Gilgal versus Galilee, I mean, like what? [laughing] What are you talking about? It’s a mistake. No, what if it’s a part of the purpose? What if that’s something that’s happening?

So again, we’re going to keep plugging right now, or we could take a few minutes to talk a little bit about review over these last 10. What would you like to do?

Nehemia: So before we get to that, I just want to bring a couple of things here. And we’re not going to get to this today, but it says in verse 13 and in the Hebrew, it says, “He passed Nazarel, the Nazareth of God.” And then in the Greek, Matthew 4:13, “He left Nazareth.” So those are three words in the English. In the Hebrew, they’re three words. I haven’t looked at the Greek actually, to see how many words there are. Here, let’s see in the Greek. Yeah, so it’s more than three words in the Greek. But it’s a few words there. What may be bound up in those three words or so is an entire story. He left Nazareth. Why did He leave Nazareth? We talked about why he left from Gilgal, or the area around the Jordan passing through Gilgal. But why did he leave Nazareth? And that’s an account that we get later on about what happened in the Synagogue of Nazareth, where he’s almost, according to the account there, he’s almost killed. That’s in Matthew 13:53-58, Mark 6:1-6, and Luke 4:16-30.

So God willing, when we get to Matthew 13, we’re going to come back to this verse and say, “Hey, guys. Remember when we said he left Nazareth? There was a whole story there of what happened at Nazareth, that you wouldn’t even know happened.” You might think, “Oh, he’d stopped for gas in Nazareth. He stopped to feed his camel or his donkey on the way from the Jordan to Nazareth, to Capernaum.” But actually, there’s an entire story there that’s bound up… And this is actually a really important principle here. You know, there are people who, for 2,000 years actually, or 1,900 years, have been trying to create what they call “Gospel harmonies”. And why do they want to create a Gospel harmony? Because the different Gospels are not necessarily in chronological order. In some cases, they are. It’ll say, “And after this.” Well, when after this, a day, a year, three weeks? But at least it’s chronologically related. One thing happens after the other. But this is a principle we actually have in the Torah. In Hebrew we say, “Ein mukdam ume’ukhar baTorah.” “There is no chronological sequence in the Torah of the events.”

And we talked about this in Torah Pearls, but the classic example of this is we get to Numbers chapter 1 verse 1 and it says, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting.” And it says, “be’echad lekhodesh hasheni,” “in the first of the second month,” “bashana hashenit letzetam mi’eretz Mitzrayim” “in the second year of them going out Egypt.” So what’s the date? The date is the first day of the second month, okay?

And then we go to Numbers chapter 9, and what do we find? We say, “Yehovah spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the second year of them going out of Egypt in the first month.” So Numbers 9 takes place one month before Numbers chapter 1. How can this be? Because the Torah is not in chronological order. Sometimes it is - Deuteronomy is pretty much in chronological order, and there are parts that are in chronological order - but overall, you cannot say that the Torah is always in chronological order, and the same thing here applies to the Gospels.

So when we read that Yeshua in Matthew chapter 13 verses 53 to 58 is in the Synagogue of Nazareth and has this whole encounter, it’s very possible that that actually happens in Matthew 4:13, and that the chronology isn’t based on the sequence of events as they are described, but there’s actually an external chronology of how these events took place. Our friend, Michael Rood, wrote an entire book called The Chronological Gospels, where he tries to take all of the different events in the Gospels and put them in very precise chronological order. This is what’s called a Gospel harmony, but a chronologically focused Gospel harmony.

There was a Gospel harmony written in the 2nd century by a man named Tatian, who may have written it in Aramaic, or he may have written it in Greek, there’s a debate about that. He wrote a book called The Diatessaron. Diatessaron means “through the four”. In other words, he took Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the four Gospels, and he laid them out in what he believed was chronological order, to harmonize the four Gospels.

When we get to Matthew 13, we’ll talk a little bit about how this compares to Mark and Luke, which is fascinating in and of itself. But those three words, “He left Nazareth,” have an entire story in them that Matthew at this point is not interested in sharing with us, because he wants to get to Capernaum.

Keith: You know what’s really interesting about this, Nehemia, is that if we’re able to get to those sections, it’s going to be so beautiful that we’ve done the hard work of background up to this point, so that when we do get there, we can go back and tie it all together. So the if is, will we continue? That’s the question.

Nehemia: Well, I’m excited, because in the Plus episode, which I’m going to save everything else for the Plus and let you share what you want to share, but in the Plus episode we’re going to talk about the significance of the name “Capernaum”. We’re going to talk about something in verse 13 which is a major textual problem that most people don’t even realize, but they open up in certain sources and it says, “Well, the New Testament just didn’t know geography and they got it wrong.” But when you actually understand it in a Hebrew context, it makes perfect sense. It’s typical Hebrew syntax. We’re going to talk about the prophesy of Isaiah, and most excitingly, we’re going to talk about John the Baptist and how that ties in… One of the most important Hebrew manuscripts in the world actually ties into what John the Baptist criticized Herod Antipas for. So I’m really excited about that, especially.

Keith: If you only choose to do Plus one time, do it for episode 10 at nehemiaswall. If you only do it one time, Nehemia, without going into detail, you’re going to invite people to Plus. Do you want to take a few minutes?

Nehemia: So the way we decided to do this from the beginning was that we said, “Hey, we have a lot we want to share. And look, one of the ways we could have done this, is say Matthew has 28 chapters, we’re going to spend 45 minutes on each chapter, and no more.” We decided, “Hey, you know what? We’re not limited by the format of television and the format of broadcast radio.” What is it, 28…?

Keith: 28-30, man. [laughing]

Nehemia: 28-30. If you can’t say it in 28-30, you’re done, right? But one of the beautiful things that we can do in a podcast is I could talk for hours and there are people who do that. There are people who have three-hour long podcasts. What we decided is that three hours is kind of a lot for this very intense subject. The people who do three hours, it’s generally kind of light. What we decided to do is we’re going to break every episode into two. The first part of each episode is going to be for the public, the second part is going to be for people who want to go in deeper. The only reason we can do the public episodes is because there are people who are supporting the Plus episodes.

And so we have two different ministries, I have Makor Hebrew Foundation, you have BFA International. What we decided we would do is we would alternate - one week the Plus episode would be for the people who support your ministry, one week it would be for people who support my ministry, and hopefully people will decide to support both ministries and get access to both sets of information. But if they don’t, there’s a lot of information. We have now not even completed Matthew 4 and we’re coming to the end of 20 hours of programming.

Keith: More than 20. 20 episodes, sometimes over an hour. [laughing] It’s more than 20 hours!

Nehemia: Fair enough. I’m calling it roughly 20 hours of programming plus or minus, “plus minus”, we say in Hebrew. So we decided to structure it that way. Look, I’ve had people who say, “Nehemia, I’ve been supporting your ministry for years. It’s not fair that half the Plus episodes are on Keith’s website.” Well, if I did the program all by myself, all of it would be on my website and not Keith’s. But I wouldn’t do the program all by myself. Keith brings something to the program I don’t have. And I bring something to the program Keith doesn’t have. And there’s a beautiful English word which is the word “synergy”, and synergy is roughly defined as, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

And we have a synergy. We’ve had a synergy for years. People have said this to us, and I feel it. We’re on this program, and I get excited in a way when I’m interacting with you, and I love that you’re coming at this text as the believer and I’m coming as the textual scholar, and we’re creating this synergy, this three-dimensional image. We’re seeing it in full color, and I love that we’re doing that. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could do this program myself, but it wouldn’t be Hebrew Gospel Pearls, it would be something very different that I’m not sure most people would want to listen to, because it might be boring. [laughing] I don’t know. Some people might like it. But we definitely have a synergy, and I love that we’re doing it together, and the consequence of doing it together is that we’re sharing the Plus episodes between our two ministries.

This week is a Nehemia episode, a Plus episode on nehemiaswall.com. So if you want to join my Support Team, those are people who support my ministry, nehemiaswall.com. If you can’t support the ministry financially, contact us and there are other ways to support the ministry, that we invite people who genuinely, with sincerity, come to us and say, “I live in a Third World country, I can’t afford it. I’m on fixed income, I can’t afford anything.” Contact us and we’ll find another way for you to support the ministry. But this Plus episode is really exciting stuff.

I had one person who wrote to me and he said, “I don’t even listen to the public episode. I only listen to the Plus.” Have you had that too? [laughing]

Keith: I’ve had the same thing happen! Like when we said in Plus, he said, “I didn’t listen to that one.” But no, you’ve got to listen to both. [laughing]

Nehemia: Yeah, you’ve got to listen to the Plus as well. Or sorry, you’ve got to listen to the main episode and the Plus. They’re both important.

Keith: Well, Nehemia. I will say this, folks. We are still in a place of prayer and discernment, not to go too far, but this has been a lot more time, energy and resource. I think you told me just a couple of days ago, if you went to a year ago, you’ve had double the expense this year.

Nehemia: Oh, literally. Literally, my ministry’s expense has doubled during one month of this production, as compared to last year. And I’m like, “Wow, I don’t know if this is sustainable!” [laughing] But hey, let’s get to 10. I don’t know that we’re going to get to 10. We recorded this… It is my sincere prayer before Yehovah that this gets edited, because right now, I don’t know that that’s going to happen. Because really, we’ve outstripped our production capacity in a number of ways, and people, we need your prayers and we need your financial support. That’s just how it is.

Look, I’ll tell you, for my ministry it’s more than just doubled the capacity of what we’re producing, because the episodes I used to do with Hebrew Voices started out as audio. And then we went from audio to video. And now, we’re going to video to double. I was putting out one audio episode every two weeks. Now, I’m putting out two video episodes every two weeks, which is on average, one a week. That’s kind of quadrupled or quintupled the production capacity, and the system is buckling under that weight. And there are ways to solve that, but they cost money.

So I do appreciate everybody out there who supports the ministry, my ministry, Keith’s ministry. I know your ministry is going through a whole upgrade with your infrastructure, which is buckling also under the weight of just new people coming and interacting with the information, and it just requires more resources.

Keith: And I want to say this, Nehemia, what you’ve really done… And we’re still in prayer how episode 11 will happen, through prayer, discernment and support of people. But let me just say something. Your approach and your editor’s approach have been so absolutely amazing. The group of people that have put their hands to this, if you’ve noticed behind me, you see this beautiful image, we’ve gone through two different green screens, how many different cameras, all sorts of possibilities. [laughing] And your editors have found a way to do it each time. So I want to say thank you to them. I want to say thank you to our Plus people. And it’s my understanding as we get to episode 10, we’re way past the amount of people we thought we would reach.

Nehemia: Oh, yeah.

Keith: All of this stuff that’s going on is still an invitation for people to go to nehemiaswall.com and bfainternational.com. There are plenty of free things on both sites for you to enjoy, but I will say, these Plus episodes and what we’re about to go to in 10, like I said earlier, I’m going to say it again, if you only choose to test one, please test episode 10’s Plus. Nehemia’s got something that’s a game-changer.

Nehemia: It’s pretty cool. Can I just read something here?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Genesis 49:13, you ask, what does this have to do with anything? So it talks about Zebulun, which we’re going to get to next time. But I just want to make this… it’s something that the Rabbis teach, and I never understood until I was preparing this passage, why the Rabbis teach this. I thought, “Oh, that’s just some silly thing they say.” And I saw the reason, I’m like, “Wow, okay. I was not aware of that,” you know, because often they’ll have some teaching, and they don’t explain why they’re making a statement, and you’re left wondering, “Okay, did they just make that up?” Frankly, sometimes they do make it up. But other times, they have actually some good reason for why they’re saying what they’re saying.

And it’s a teaching about Zebulun and Issachar, or Zevulun and Issachar. It says, Deuteronomy 33:18, “And of Zevulun he said…” and I bring this because it talks about the tribe of Zevulun here in Matthew, referring also to the prophesy in Isaiah. So it’s in verses 13 and 15, it talks about the land of Zevulun and the tribe of Zevulun. Zevulun of course, was one of the sons of Jacob. “Of Zevulun he said, ‘Rejoice, Zevulun, in your going out, and Issachar in your tents.” Okay, and the Rabbis have an interpretation of that that never made sense to me, until I prepared this passage.

What they said is, Zevulun is going out. He’s going out to work, and Issachar is dwelling in tents, which means he’s studying Torah.” And what the Rabbis explained is that - and we talked about that I’m sure, in Torah Pearls when we covered this - their explanation is that Zevulun worked out in the world, and Issachar was one who studied Torah. And the name “Issachar” means “yesh skhar”, that’s actually correct, right? Meaning, we’re told that it means, “there is reward”. And, of course, Leah gives a reason for that. The Rabbinical explanation of the name “Yissachar is that the reward that was given was given to Zevulun. Zevulun did the work out in the world, and Issachar, Yissachar, he was studying Torah. There weren’t enough resources for both of them to spend all their time studying Torah and working out in the fields, or working out in the world. And so Zevulun sacrificed his ability to study Torah - on a full-time basis at least, he studied it part-time - so that Issachar could do that.

And the Rabbis say, “This is a picture of people who dedicate their lives to ministry.” They don’t use the word “ministry”, but that’s what they mean. People who dedicate their lives to ministry have a relationship with those who support those ministries. The people who support those ministries, those people are Zebulun, they’re Zevulun. They’re out there in the world, they’re out there in the marketplace, and their work makes it so that Issachar, that people like you and me, Keith, that we can study the word, that we can do the research that needs to be done, that we can do the ministry that needs to be done. And Zevulun gets the reward, as well.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: That’s the relationship of Zevulun and Issachar. I always thought it was a beautiful thing, but I never fully understood it until I was preparing this passage and I saw there’s some question about the borders of Zevulun, which we’ll talk about in the Plus episode. But it comes from Genesis 49:13, “Zevulun dwells upon the shores of the sea. He shall be a haven for ships and his borders shall be at Sidon.”

And then we read in the Book of Joshua, the borders of Zevulun, and he’s in the heart of Galilee. And so the Rabbis ask what’s a valid question, “What is Jacob talking about? Zevulun’s nowhere near the sea. He’s on the heart of Galilee, he’s landlocked. What on earth is going on here?” And this is where the Rabbis derive the relationship between Issachar and Zevulun. Issachar’s territory was on the sea, on the Mediterranean Sea. But Issachar, who dedicated his life to ministry, wasn’t going out on boats to collect the fish and do all the merchant activity that Zevulun was doing. It was Zebulun who went into the territory of Issachar, activated the boats, went out to collect the fish and engage in trade, while Issachar, the one who’s name means “there is reward”, was out there, was dwelling in the tents, studying Torah, while Zebulun was out in the marketplace, interacting with the Phoenicians and trading, and gathering fish from the sea.

So I want to invite people to enter in that relationship with me and my ministry. I’m Issachar. What I do is I sit in the tent and I study the word of God to the best of my ability, and I share that with people, and you can be part of that, Issachar. I do believe that if you support that ministry, you get the blessing and the reward of that ministry by partnering the way that Issachar and Zebulun partnered. It really is a partnership.

Keith: That’s beautiful, Nehemia.

Nehemia: So that’s what I have.

Keith: Let me just say, one of the things that has been really, if I can say, surprising, during this Coronavirus worldwide pandemic, this was not on our schedule production-wise at BFA International. This was not something we were going to do. We had more than enough we were going to be doing in 2020, and we’ve shifted. We’ve shifted because it seems that the Father has opened the door to a whole bunch of fish, [laughing] a whole bunch of people that are interested in this work, this study, this process.

And I just told my wife, Andrea, this. I said, “You know, I’m having to do something, and it’s called shift. I’m having to make a shift, because that’s where the call is. And the call has been to go deeper into the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew.” Of all the other things we have at BFA International, Hebrew Gospel Pearls is becoming the star of the show, Nehemia. I think the reason is the great amount of work that you’ve done for the last decade plus, that you could now share this information with us to bring it forward. So I hope that people will go and be supporters at nehemiaswall.com and be a part of the Plus episode.

I did it for myself. I got a sneak peek. In fact, I think I helped force the sneak peak, [laughing] and now I’m really excited to go to the Plus episode. So hopefully folks will continue to partner with us. And if this is the last episode for our public, folks, thank you for listening. If it’s not, you keep praying for us and we’ll try to keep on working. Amen.

Nehemia: Amen. All right, would you pray and then I’ll pray after you?

Keith: Father, thank you so much for the surprises. Thank you so much for the unplanned things. Thank you so much for the call and the challenge. Thank you so much for the vision and the provision. Thank you for this, as Nehemia’s called it, this pilot series that we’ve done. And Father, we are going to take the approach that we look for You to open the doors; give us the opportunities for You to bring the people so that we can continue to do the work.

Thank you so much for everything that’s happened thus far, and we don’t take it as a small thing. It wasn’t on our schedule, but it was on Yours, I believe, and You’ve given us the grace to do it. So blessings to this process and to all that are listening. Father, we give You praise, glory and honor, in Your Name, Amen.

Nehemia: Yehovah, Avinu Shebashamayim, Yehovah, our Father in Heaven, I am so grateful for You, that I’ve had the opportunity to dwell in the tent like Issachar. And Yehovah, I ask You to put Your blessing upon all the people who have chosen to partner with what I’m doing the way Zebulun partnered with Issachar. Yehovah, all those Zebulun partners, they are out there, pounding the pavement and going about their jobs and their businesses, and I’m sure they’d love nothing more than to sit as Issachar in the tent and study Your word all day.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: I am so grateful I have that opportunity. Grant them blessing and may they have me’ah she’arim, may they have a 100-fold reaping of the produce the way Jacob did. I ask this in Your Holy Name, Yehovah, Amen.

Keith: Amen.

You have been listening to Hebrew Gospel Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

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Watch Hebrew Gospel Pearls PLUS #10!

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  • Kathy says:

    Please continue Hebrew gospel pearls! I support both ministries even without wifi at home. I learn so much from you and listen to the studies repeatedly to understand more deeply and follow Yehovah more faithfully. Thank you for letting Yehovah use your unique talents in this way!

  • Per-Stian Bye says:

    Dear Nehemia and Keith! Please keep on going.
    I find this so exciting and challenging.

    Best wishes from Norway

  • Ben says:

    Please keep doing these. Invaluable resource for us! There is nobody else anywhere doing what you’re doing.

  • Von Arney says:

    I want more, more, more Hebrew Gospels Pearls and HG Plus.
    I signing up donate in hope that ya’ll don’t stop the HB Pearls.

  • Jennifer says:

    I love to hear the absolute gems that are only in the Hebrew text! Gilgal was such a place of importance- when Husha (Joshua)!crossed the Yardan and did the second circumcision there, I see that as a renewal of the covenant which Yehovah began with Avraham. So the covenant was renewed in Gilgal. Then in the days of Shemu’el, it was one of the places he would stop to judge the people. Also, it is the place where King Sha’ul gathered the people to renew the kingdom before Yehovah. Of course, Sha’ul had a problem following instructions and instead here he lost the kingdom. With Yeshua seeming to follow in the steps of the people as they came up from Mitsrayim, could his stop in Gilgal have had significance also regarding a renewal of covenant?

    I thank you both for the amazing insight and the opportunity to hear the original words of the gospel!

  • Hugh says:

    Have you covered the meaning of the “of hosts” so often attached to the name YHWH? Where could I find those comments?

    • LG says:

      Hey Hugh, you can find a discussion on this topic in Prophet Pearls #2 – Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5) here on the site.

  • Aron says:

    One clarification for Nehemia and Keith:
    To receive (as ministers–sitting in tents) from the labor and effort of us (as workers–in the fields) in no way elevates one over the other. From the ‘tents’ of NG and KJ, there is tremendous work, effort, time, and money being expended to bring this content to the world…and those of us Plus-ers. Let’s keep a good thing thing going. Their synergy is ‘food’ for us, so let’s keep them fed. We supply the ingredients; they make the meals.

    For it is written in the law of Moses [Deu 25:4], Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
    If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? (1 Cor 9:9,11)

    Many thanks to both of you.

  • Frank LeTullier says:

    Please, even if you cannot keep doing videos that’s okay ~ please do the podcasts ~ it’s the message not the video that’s important.
    Thank You.

  • Anonymous says:

    I had lost my thirst for the Word. I have felt so disconnected in my relationship with The Father. I was raised in non-denominational protestant churches and then was baptized in a book of Mormon church at the age of 13. It was a study of the old testament by my husband that revealed to us that we were not where we were supposed to be. Since that I time it seems we have been wandering in the desert. I feel blessed that a family member introduced me to your and Keith’s ministries. I have never financially supported a ministry online. I am currently supporting Makor Hebrew Foundation and BFA International. Learning the language, history, and context of the scriptures has increased my faith and revived my thirst. I wait with anticipation for the notification that a new episode is ready. I pray that it will be His will for you to continue going through the Hebrew Gospels. I plan to purchase a book from each of you in hopes that it will help make it possible for you to continue.

  • Michael Mauro says:

    I look forward to Shabbat every Friday because I will get to hear another episode of Hebrew Gospel Pearls. May Yehovah bless you both and may his Will be for you to continue with the Hebrew Gospel Texts.

  • Rich Morris says:

    Gilgal is mentioned more than thirty times, Once Joshua crossed the Jordan River he erected an alter at Mt. Ebal of uncut stones and wrote all the Commandments in the limestone plaster covering the alter where half the children of Israel recited all the Curses and across the valley at Mt. Gerizim the other half the Blessings before YeHOVaH. Each location where the Tabernacle was erected and the Tent of Meeting set up, first at Mt. Ebal and later at Shiloh, they built a monumental stone enclosure, the largest over two hundred twenty feet wide and eight hundred feet in length with an external pavement in the shape of a sandaled foot (Gilgal) to declare ownership of the land as they displaced seven greater nations. Joshua’s alter with its access ramp still stands on Mt. Ebal to this day! (Dr. Adam Zertal, Manasseh Survey) (Joshua 5: 10-15)

    I LOVE what You and Keith are doing, Ezekiel 37:19

    • UKJ says:

      It is fascinating to note how everything seems to tie together at the Jordan river!
      Josh 4:18 Josh 8:33 Josh 19:51 Mt 4:17 Lk 24:44

  • James and Loretta Muecke says:

    Well, you have gone and done it again! I started reading the Bible in ’68. May I remind you that was not last week. I have even spent a few months in Israel. But I never imagined what you just taught. Never. So, you have opened my eyes to a whole new ream of prophetic imagery “walked out” by Jesus. I just hope you two are tickled with yourselves right now. Real tickled!