Hebrew Gospel Pearls #2 – Matthew 1:18-25

In Hebrew Gospel Pearls #2 (Matthew 1:18-25), Nehemia and Keith explain the Hebrew concept of betrothal, consider whether God can violate his own commandments, and tackle the controversy of the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14 and the New Testament.

Be sure to first watch Hebrew Gospel Pearls #1 - Matthew 1:-17!

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Hebrew Gospel Pearls #2 - Matthew 1:18-25

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: I just want to throw something out. This is a curve ball. Please bear with me, Nehemia. I’ve been waiting for this for years.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: Was the Holy Spirit helping to find out the information that she was pregnant, Greek and Hebrew, or – just listen to me – or was the Holy Spirit the instrument from which she was pregnant?

Nehemia: Shalom and welcome to Hebrew Gospel Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Today we are going to be speaking about the second section of Hebrew Matthew, which is Chapter 1 verses 18 to 25 in the Hebrew version. Shalom, Keith.

Keith: Nehemia, “shalom” means “peace”. I’ll tell you something. After what you dropped on us last week in episode 1, and especially in the second part, where you really went into some great depth, I’ve got to get my seatbelt on, because you did a phenomenal job.

Nehemia: Yeah, I’m really excited about it.

Keith: And we’ve got the plans to kind of go deeper. That was excellent.

Nehemia: Well, I’m really excited today. We get to cover the material, and then at some point we’ll be doing the Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus, where we can go even deeper. And look, there are some people who will say, “You know, that regular episode was enough. I don’t need to go Plus.” This is some heavy stuff we’re doing this week, guys. This is not light stuff. This is some pretty intense stuff, so bear with us.

Keith: And Nehemia, one thing I like about it is that this is not a matter of you with an agenda or me with an agenda. I think in the introduction of this, it talks about being able to look at the actual manuscripts of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. And that’s the agenda. That’s what we’re bringing forward. And sometimes, the pearls that come from the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew kind of shake some stuff up, and so hopefully people are going to be able to track with us as we go on, so here we go. [laughing]

Nehemia: Let’s do it.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: All right. So can we start by reading it? I mean, this is a very short passage, I feel like we could actually get away with reading the whole thing. Some of the other ones, you can’t really do it. And for those who are interested, for even more detail, I actually wrote a book about this passage, about the Hebrew text of the passage. The reason I thought it was so important enough to write a book, is Yeshua is given His name here, and there’s a Hebrew word pun that’s intimately tied into the passage. You can’t really fully understand this passage without looking at that Hebrew word pun and understanding it in its original language, history and context. So let’s read it.

Keith: Can I start with English, on the English?

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: Verse 18. Then you can bring in as you see fit. I’m reading from the NASB, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” Now, I don’t think we’re going to get past that verse.

Nehemia: Okay. Well, the first half of that verse, or the first portion of that verse, is actually not documented in Hebrew Matthew, at least in what seemed to be the most primitive versions of the text. There, it starts, “Vayehi ka’asher haytah imo arusah leYosef,” “And it came to pass when his mother was engaged to Joseph.” That’s how it begins. So the introductory words there are missing in the Hebrew, which again, might mean that they were added in the Greek or lost in the Hebrew. It doesn’t really fundamentally change the message. It’s still pretty clear what it’s talking about in the context, but it’s slightly different wording.

And then it says, “kodem sheyada otah,” “before he knew her,” and knew here there is meant in the Biblical sense, right? You have in Genesis where it says, “And Adam knew Eve, and they conceived and bore a son.” I’m paraphrasing here. But there, “know” is to have an intimate, in this case physical, knowledge. She was found pregnant from the Holy Spirit. Now, it’s very interesting, we were talking last week about this commentary written by my cousin…

Keith: And listen, would you do me a favor, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Yes sir.

Keith: Some of you are coming for the first time. This is important enough to give just a little bit about your cousin and the book, because it really is that important.

Nehemia: It was written around 1878, 1879 by Rabbi Elijah Zvi Soloveitchik, who is my second cousin five times removed – even though I only found out about this last week. And he wrote the first known Jewish commentary on the Book of Matthew and on the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark. And what’s controversial about it is that he was an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and up until that point Jews had only written about Matthew or Mark in order to criticize them, and he actually wrote a commentary, which is pretty cool. The first known commentary by a Jew who didn’t convert to Christianity.

Keith: And I think the thing that’s really appropriate for us is that he took the approach of finding common ground. He wasn’t looking for a way to discredit either side, but rather to find the common ground. We’re going to use this as a source, especially this public section, where we’re given this information. We’re going to use this source to kind of help people get some different perspective on the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew.

Nehemia: Now, he makes the statement that itself requires interpretation. So, he writes, “It used to be the custom for the groom to become engaged to the virgin and consecrate her to himself in accordance with the faith of Moses and Israel.” What do you mean, “It used to be the custom?” What, Jews don’t have engagements today, and in the 19th century? Of course, they do. What does he mean here? Let’s read on. “She would then be his wife in every way,” meaning there was this category… Today we say you put a ring on a woman’s finger and you say you’re engaged, but in the Tanakh sense, to be engaged means something different. In fact, I don’t know if we were going to get into this. I want to come back to it, but in Deuteronomy it talks about that if a woman who was engaged has relations with a man who’s not her fiancé, it’s a capital offense!

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: It’s actually adultery. “She would then be his wife in every way until the time of the marriage. He remains in his own house or his father’s house, and she lives in her father’s house.” What? So, it’s this situation where the man lives in his own house, the woman lives in her father’s house, and they’re married, but they’re not fully married. And this is the key point. So, there are two phases of marriage in Jewish culture and in the Tanakh. There’s eruseen and nisueen. Eruseen is engagement and nisueen is marriage,is full marriage. And the difference is with nisueen, the second one, the man is living with the woman together in the same house and having relations. Up until that point, they’re married but they’re not having relations with each other.

And so, today when they perform a Jewish ceremony, a Jewish wedding, there’s a lot going on, and there are actually two completely different ceremonies that take place, the eruseen, the engagement, and the nisueen, the marriage. And they happen almost immediately one after the other, and the reason for that is that according to the Torah, if the woman who is engaged, as we said, has relations outside of her husband, outside of the man she’s engaged to, it’s a great sin. And so to avoid that sin, Jewish tradition combined… they telescoped these two events. So today when a Jewish man puts a ring on the woman’s finger and asks her to marry him, and everybody calls them “engaged”, they’re engaged only in the English sense, not in the Hebrew sense.

Keith: Do me a favor, though. I love what you said, you said, “In the Torah.” Can you tell us where in Deuteronomy?

Nehemia: Let’s look at it in the Torah. And here’s where things get a little bit complicated. Again, the word here is aras. They translate it usually “betrothed” in many translations. Exodus 22 verse 15, or 16 in the English, “When a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married and lays with her, he shall give the bride price for her and make her his wife.” Okay, so if the man has relations with her while being engaged to her, they’re husband and wife. That is, they’re living together, they’re husband and wife. If he has it without being engaged to her, he just seduces her and in the heat of passion she consents and has relations with him, well, then he has a whole different situation. I don’t know if you want to get into this, but he has to pay the bride price to the father, and in Deuteronomy it says he can’t divorce her. He’s actually bound to her, because he didn’t do it right. What he was supposed to do is first, enter into the engagement, and once the engagement was agreed upon by all parties, they could then become husband and wife.

Now, why wait between the two? And the answer is all kinds of reasons. Maybe the woman was too young to have sex, right? If she’s not old enough to be physically married, she could be dedicated to him, which was very common in the ancient world, but she wasn’t ready to have relations, so they would wait. Or maybe the man didn’t have enough money to have his own household, and rather than live with the parents or live with her parents, they’re waiting to raise enough funds to be able to move forward. Does that make sense?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: So, that’s eruseen, or the word aras, to engage, to become engaged.

Keith: Before you move from aras, can I ask you a question, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: This is just a little bit of your expertise here. When you looked at aras in the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew versus what you just read in the Torah, are they spelled differently?

Nehemia: Absolutely, and that’s because in Biblical Hebrew, we have the letter Sin which is the same graphic symbol as Shin, except in Shin the dot’s on the right and in sin the dot’s on the left. So, in later Hebrew, the Sin essentially ceased to be used and it was replaced with Samech, which is another letter that sounds like “S”.

Keith: Now, why did I ask you that question? And folks, I want those who are listening, I want to slow down, Nehemia, before you move any further. The reason I asked you that question is that there are a lot of people listening, that are thinking, “Hebrew, absolutely not. There’s absolutely no way that I’m ever going to be able to deal with it.”

What you just did is you gave us something that people would trip over. They would be looking in the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew and they’d say, “I can’t find this word in the Tanakh.” What you just explained takes a huge… [laughing] And again, this is something that we experience in the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, but people may not see it. They’ll say, “Well, this word doesn’t exist.” And you just gave us a simple explanation…

Nehemia: Yeah. Now to give the complicated explanation, not to go too deep here, but it is assumed… Say, “assumed”.

Keith: Assumed.

Nehemia: It’s assumed that originally each letter in the Hebrew had a different sound. And if that’s true, then Sin and Samech, which today are both pronounced as “S”, had some slight difference in pronunciation. And by Second Temple times, that was definitely not the case. By Second Temple times, Sin and Samech were used interchangeably and essentially, Samech tends to displace Sin, just because it’s easier to distinguish. If you don’t have little dots, I know what a Samech sounds like. If I put the symbol for Shin it could be “Sh” or “S”. Samech was always “S”, so that’s the reason it displaced it. Also, probably under the influence of Aramaic.

Okay, so the other word, [laughing] this is where things get a bit complicated. There isn’t actually a word, meaning in Hebrew, we have a number of different words, which in later Hebrew, it’s “nasa”. It appears sometimes with that meaning in the Tanakh as well, which is literally to “lift up” a wife, to take a wife. Right? So, you have to become engaged to a wife and to take a wife, okay? You have “lehitchaten” as well, which is to marry a wife. But all three of those, to take, to lift up, and to marry are the second phase, whereas to be engaged is the first phase.

Deuteronomy 22:23 is the parallel to Exodus 22:15, and this is really important. You can’t just read the one verse without the other, because you won’t get the full picture. Deuteronomy 22:23 says, “If there is a young woman, a virgin already engaged to be married, and a man meets here in town and lies with her…” and it goes on to say… basically, it comes down here to what is the burden of proof? And what’s interesting – and this is really controversial, maybe I shouldn’t say this – in fact, I think I’m not going to say it. Can I say it?

Keith: Please say it.

Nehemia: So, we recently had an incident in American history where we were taught a new principle. And the principle was, “Always believe the woman, we have to assume she’s right, even without evidence.” And the principle in the Tanakh is, “The woman, we have to assume she’s lying to save herself.” If a man is caught lying with the wife of another man,” this is 22:22, we’re backing up. “Both of them shall die. The man who lay with the woman, as well as the woman, so you shall purge the evil from Israel.”

And then, verse 23 is a new scenario. “If there’s a young woman, a virgin already engaged to be married and a man meets her in the town and lies with her, you shall bring both of them to the gate of the town and stone them to death. The young woman, because she did not cry for help in the town, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife, so you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

Now, wait a minute. What if the woman did cry out?

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: What if she said, “Help, I’m being raped!” Well, that’s verse 25. “But if the man meets the engaged woman in the open country and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man that lay with her shall die. You shall do nothing to the young woman. The young woman has not committed an offense punishable by death, because this case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor.”

Let me read the Hebrew. “Ki k’asher yakum ish al re’eihu,” “For as one who rises up, a man against his fellow,” “uretzacho,” “and murders him,” “retzacho nefesh,” “and murders his life, murders his soul, so is this matter.” So, what are we talking about? This is very controversial, guys, in this world in the 21st century. But this is what the Tanakh is saying.

What it’s saying is that of course the woman’s going to say, “I was raped,” because if not, she’ll be executed. And this is the case where they’re caught having relations. And the scenario, again, is that she’s engaged to another man. Can I use the case of the Gospel of Matthew? She’s engaged to Joseph and she’s caught having relations with a man who’s not Joseph. If she is caught having relations with a man who’s not Joseph, she is to be executed unless she can reasonably say, “Well, he raped me.”

And what we learn here – and this is a very profound statement in the Talmud. It says, “Ha ba lelamed nimtza lamed.” “The one who came to teach, we found that we learned from it.” What does that mean? In Deuteronomy 22:26 it’s telling us that if a woman cries out in the city, well, everybody’s going to hear her - and look, this doesn’t apply to modern cities. This is the ancient city, which was a tiny village with 20 huts. And if somebody rapes a woman and she screams even slightly, everybody’s going to hear it and come running.

Out in the countryside, that’s not the case, and in the modern city, that’s not the case. So, if the woman cries out, she’s a victim. She’s like a murder victim. So, the second half of Deuteronomy 22:26 has come to teach us about rape victims, right? It’s saying a rape victim is like a murder victim. In other words, it’s bringing this parallel, and we actually learn something profound here - that rape is a really serious crime in the Torah. Why would it say it’s like murder? Because you could say, “Wait a minute. No, murder’s worse than rape.” So, in the Torah we have a commandment, and the commandment is talking about kidnapping. Exodus 21:16, “He who steals a man and sells him, or he is found in his possession, he shall surely be put to death.”

Now again, this is controversial. What Deuteronomy 22:26 is essentially telling us is, if a man grabs a woman and rapes her, that is tantamount to murder. And why is it tantamount to murder? We know from Exodus that he’s kidnapped her. He’s held her against her will and done something to her, in this case, and it is equivalent in the eyes of the Torah to murder.

Now, why do I say that the assumption is you don’t trust the woman? Of course, the woman’s going to say she’s raped, because she’ll be executed if she actually committed adultery. That doesn’t mean never believe the woman, but if the woman doesn’t have some reasonable way to explain why she didn’t scream – and it might be that he held a gun to her head or a knife to her neck – then she’s just like a murder victim according to the Torah. Are you with me there, does that make sense?

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: Okay. So, now that we have this second scenario and the third scenario, it says, “Since he found her in the open country, the engaged one may have cried for help but there was none to rescue her.” It doesn’t even say she did cry for help. Even if there’s a possibility, now we have to give the woman the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say she’s in a village and everybody in the village is deaf, or they’re out to work, or they’re asleep. If she says she cried out, in that case you do believe her, right? So, there are situations you believe her, and situations you don’t believe her. The man really has nothing to say for himself. He’s had sex with a woman who’s not his wife, who’s engaged to another man.

Okay, now, third scenario. “If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged,” so this is the parallel to Exodus, what we saw earlier in Exodus about the seduced virgin, okay? “If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, the man who lay with her shall give 50 shekels of silver to the young woman’s father and she shall become his wife because he violated her. He shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.”

Now, some people have read this and said, “This is another case of rape.” This is not a case of rape. When it says, “He seizes her,” that means he seizes hold of her in passion. It’s the same word that it uses in Genesis when it talks about the wife of Potiphar grabbed hold of Joseph. It was a seize of passion. In this moment of passion, they have sex and she’s consensual. How do I know that she’s consensual? Because if she hasn’t consented, we just read, it’s like murder. It’s a capital offense. He shall be put to death for holding her against her will and forcing her, just like the person who’s kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Keith: Now, Nehemia, I want to tell you something. So, for those that like what we call language, history, and context, the context that you’re talking about that’s in the Torah is in the mind. It’s supposed to be in the mind.

Nehemia: Oh, absolutely. When it uses the word “aras” in Matthew, whether it’s in Hebrew or in Greek, the Greek equivalent, they know exactly all these commandments. They’re familiar with everything that’s going on here.

Now, verse 29, “The man who lay with her shall give 50 shekels of silver to the young woman’s father and she shall become his wife.” That’s exactly what we saw in Exodus, he pays the bride price. It doesn’t tell us what it is. Here, it tells us the bride price is 50 shekels of silver. Okay, so we have these different scenarios. We have adultery, they both get executed. Relations outside of engagement – meaning a woman who’s engaged who has relations with a man who’s not her fiancé. And again, this is not maybe fiancé in the modern sense, according to Rabbinical law, at least, it’s fiancé in the Biblical sense that, “Hey, everybody knows what the consequences are. Everybody knows the stakes here. This is adultery if you go ahead and you have relations.” And if the woman has some reasonable case to make to say that she was raped, well, then she’s a victim. If she doesn’t, she’s executed for adultery.

I now want to finish the thought that I had started that I completely forgot what I was talking about, where I was going with this. So, we read the passage where he says, “It used to be the custom for the groom to become engaged to the virgin.” So, it’s really interesting. There, he’s bringing a piece of information – my cousin, in this commentary – that the average Jew reading this is like, “What’s going on? We know eruseen and nisueen take place within a 45-minute span. So how is it that she’s living in somebody else’s house when they’re engaged and even have the opportunity to have this situation take place?” And that’s why we looked at Deuteronomy and Exodus, because there was this custom that it could have been years before, from the time of engagement until they actually entered into the house and became husband and wife, basically, until they lived together and had relations and were known in the community as being married. So, there was a span of time.

Now, let’s jump forward to the story of Joseph. One of the things I’ve been told by a lot of Hebrew Roots folks, Keith, is that God can’t violate His own law. If God makes a law, He’s subject to it. Now, we talked about it in our book Shattering… Oh, no, that was my book, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence. [laughing] We have so many books that we can’t follow. We talked about it in our book, A Prayer to Our Father, I believe, where God talks about not taking revenge. In Leviticus He says, “Do not, lo tikom, do not take revenge and do not bear a grudge.” And then in Deuteronomy He says, “Vengeance is Mine,” and that’s quoted in the New Testament, “Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord,” right? So, vengeance belongs to Yehovah. He’s allowed to violate His own law.

So, if we take everything in the Gospel of Matthew at face value and we believe it, then God, according to His own law, has committed adultery with Miriam, with Mary.

Keith: Now, you’re going to the second part of the verse, which I’m going to slow down a second, because the second part of the verse is talking about what happened. I want to read it in English, and then I want to make one statement from your cousin, permission to slow down just a little bit.

Nehemia: Bevakashah, yeah.

Keith: It says, “His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph. Before they came together, she was…” in English, “…found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” So, you’re talking about what that means…

Nehemia: It says she was found pregnant from the Holy Spirit in Hebrew.

Keith: I’m saying what it says in English. I’m telling you what it says here in English. Now, here’s what I like, and I want to read this if I can, from the book we’re using. Again, we’re using this book, The Bible, the Talmud, and the New Testament by Nehemia’s cousin, and here’s what he says. I want to read this paragraph. “What does it mean from the Holy Spirit?” And by the way, when we get to Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus, we’re going to do something really deep. [laughing] Now, the issue of “from the Holy Spirit”, and this is the part I don’t know if we’re going to be able to finish this or not, but this is really an important phrase. Here’s what he says, “from the Holy Spirit”. “Among our Christian brothers, there are two schools of thought. One group believes in accordance with their writings, namely that Yeshua was born without the strength of a man, for they say, ‘Is anything too wondrous for Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey?’” That’s actually what he puts in the book.

“Those who do not believe this are thought of as children with no faith in them. Those who belong to the second group quote King Solomon and say, ‘There’s nothing new under the sun.’ Therefore, the second group says, ‘We cherish the words of Yeshua and cling to His teaching. However, when it is written that she was found pregnant from the Holy Spirit, there is a hidden meaning.’ They say, ‘Those who believe in the plain meaning of things not only demonstrate their foolishness but blaspheme the living God.’ I, the commentator…” he’s about to give the answer. I’ve got to read this phrase. Here is a guy… what year was it, 18 what?

Nehemia: Around 1878, 1879.

Keith: He knows Hebrew. He’s about to give the answer. Here’s his answer. “I, the commentator, am not worthy to decide between these two opinions.” [laughing]

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: I’m actually glad he said that, because here’s the point. When it says, “From the Holy Spirit,” that’s something, for me, that happens. And I wanted to ask you a tap-tap question. Maybe it’s not a tap-tap question, maybe it’s a manuscript question.

Nehemia: I think before we do that, I want to talk about in your Christian walk, in your walk and whatever you define yourself as today, have you encountered people who had this second opinion? Who say, “Well, be believe in Jesus, we believe in the sacrifice of Jesus, but we don’t literally believe in the miraculous virgin birth.” Have you encountered people like that?

Keith: Absolutely. I have more than two opinions on this matter, more than two thoughts. And this was in the 1880s he had these thoughts. We have other people that think even something different. So, yes of course.

Nehemia: Like what would be some of the other views? I don’t even know what they are.

Keith: Well, here’s what I’d like to do. This is what I’d like to do in the spirit of what we’re doing. The spirit of what we’re doing. I want to let the text speak.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: Okay. And here’s where your expertise is so important. When I’m looking in Matthew 1 and I get to this and it says, “She was found,” I’m asking a question. Was she found by the Holy Spirit to be pregnant from or by? Now, I looked in my Greek Testament [laughing] and it’s using the word ek, like, from. And so, this is an interesting thought, and I want to slow down…

Nehemia: Wait, wait. Let’s look at this in the Greek, because you’re saying there’s a Greek issue here possibly. What does the Greek have? Hold on. What verse are we in?

Keith: We’re in 1…

Nehemia: 1:18. We haven’t gotten out of 1:18, are you kidding me? [laughing]

Keith: No, we’re not going to get out of 1:18. Here’s the point. It says…

Nehemia: I have so much I want to talk about.

Keith: She was found, and in English it says, “to be with child.” That’s not what it says in Greek. It’s like the word for gastro…

Nehemia: Ah, so that’s interesting. So, Greek has “ectumatus hagiu,” “from the Holy Spirit.”

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: And you want to say it’s by, or it’s understood by.

Keith: No, no, no. I don’t want to say that. I want to see what Hebrew Matthew says. What does Hebrew Matthew say? It uses…

Nehemia: It says, “mi Ruach haKodesh.

Keith: Which?

Nehemia:Mi Ruach haKodesh.” “From the Holy Spirit.”

Keith: Okay, now here, slow down. The Greek is from. The Hebrew is from. And I think what it says here in my English Bible is the word “by”, meaning it was by the Holy Spirit. I just want to throw something out. This is a curve ball, please bear with me, Nehemia. I’ve been waiting for this for years. Was the Holy Spirit helping to find out the information that she was pregnant, Greek and Hebrew, or – just listen to me – or was the Holy Spirit the instrument from which she was pregnant? And this is connected to the next word. Would you just look at the Hebrew word for pregnant, and tell me what the root of that word is?

Nehemia: So, the word is “me’uberet”, which is from the root “avar”, Ayin-Bet-Resh, and it means “pregnant”.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: Now, it’s not a word you’ll find in the Tanakh in the meaning of pregnant, not that I’m aware of. However… So, let’s do this - let’s see if we can find that word in the Aramaic translation, I bet you would find it. And this is what happened in the Second Temple times, Hebrew was heavily influenced by the Aramaic language, and my suspicion here is we have an Aramaicism. Let’s see if that’s the case.

Keith: Now, while you’re looking, I want to tell people something. This is not pre-production. We are not like ahead of time. We’re doing what we’ve always done, which is to study, each of us, and you’re getting the fruit of our labor. Right here, you’re finding out, as I can say, the inspiration and the information comes out. And so, this is a question, where does this word come from?

Nehemia: That’s a good question. Okay, by the way, this is the same word that describes a 13-month year, that is, a 13-month year in Second Temple Hebrew is called “Shana me’uberet”, “a pregnant year”.

Keith: A pregnant year.

Nehemia: I’m looking here in the Jastrow Dictionary, which has both the Hebrew of medieval and Second Temple Rabbinic literature, both of Hebrew and Aramaic. That’s the advantage of it. And here, they have the definition of avar which of course, means to pass. He’s suggesting that the literal meaning is to be thick or to swell, and hence to pass over something. And somebody who is me’uberet is literally “she is thickened”, and hence pregnant. That’s interesting. So, in other words, it does come from a Biblical Hebrew word. As far as I know, it’s not used in that sense in the Tanakh, but it does have a basis in the Tanakh.

Keith: This is a small pearl, Nehemia, in that you’re giving us something that we wouldn’t normally have access to. You’ve given us information that wouldn’t normally just… It’s not a simple one. I mean, it took some time. And from there it kind of inspires me. [laughing]

Nehemia: Yeah. Okay. So it’s definitely used in Second Temple Hebrew and early Rabbinical literature as in the sense of pregnancy. Now, let’s see if it’s in the Dead Sea Scrolls, now that you’re bringing up this interesting question. So, this word that appears in the Hebrew Matthew does appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls, not with that exact meaning in the Tanakh, but a related meaning, “to swell up” and hence pass over. It’s from where we get the Hebrew word, “Ivri”, Hebrew, because Abraham passed over the Euphrates.

Keith: So, Miriam in Hebrew, Mary in English, she’s in this process of…

Nehemia: She’s become a Hebrew.

Keith: She’s become a Hebrew. [laughing]

Nehemia: She’s been “Hebrewized.”

Keith: Now, Nehemia, listen.

Nehemia: Can we translate this? We literally could translate this, you’re saying, “She was found Hebrewized from the Holy Spirit. Okay.

Keith: Listen, I mean, [laughing] something changed. So in other words, the Holy Spirit, she was found from the Holy Spirit to be this word. Now, like I said, what I appreciate Nehemia, is just looking at the different dimensions of this – and I know that when we go to Plus, we’re actually going to go into the depth of a number of little pearls. This is just one of a few that I wanted to bring up. Shall we continue?

Nehemia: We shall continue. Now, I think what you’re saying is a little bit radical, and I want to challenge you, or I want to make sure I understand you. What you’re saying is, if we only had Hebrew Matthew and we didn’t know anything else about the birth of Yeshua, that you could potentially say, “She was found pregnant from the Holy Spirit,” not that the Holy Spirit impregnated her, but maybe the Holy Spirit found her pregnant.

Keith: Or that the Holy Spirit revealed her pregnancy.

Nehemia: Can you get that meaning from Luke?

Keith: Yeah, and I’m just throwing this out not because I’m saying that I’m landing it with an answer, but what I love about our process, your cousin, you, me. In fact, when you read that verse, you’re like, “Okay, pregnant. That’s what it means.” Okay, but let me slow down for a second, and here it’s just more information that we can bring a dimension, that possibly could give us a little better understanding.

Nehemia: And this is actually a really important approach. Look, I do this when I read Isaiah. In other words… when I read Micah, when you read the Prophets it’s really important to say, “What does the prophesy mean up to verse 7?” Okay, well, in verse 7 he didn’t say anything about what’s in verse 8, 9 and 10. Now, maybe that’s what it means, right, because 8, 9 and 10 comes along, or maybe it’s a different prophesy. So, it’s really important to say, “Why do I say this is talking about a certain subject? Oh, well. It’s everywhere in the passage.” No, it’s not. It comes at a certain place, and it’s because of that that you believe, or you can interpret it that way. So, that’s actually a really important approach to the Tanakh or to any ancient text.

Keith: I also want to do something else, again, this is a public presentation, so Nehemia, we know that we have an opportunity to do something. So, for example, when you’re looking in Matthew chapter 1, I think you said of the 28 manuscripts, how many of them have this…?

Nehemia: Ah, this section isn’t as many as 1 through 17 or 1 through 16. That was 16 manuscripts. This section, there are two of them I know for sure that don’t have this section. They stop at verse 16. I can’t tell you off the top of my head how many. That will be for season 2 of Hebrew Gospel Pearls, [laughing] perhaps, where we’ll go even more in-depth.

Keith: I don’t want to stop, but I do want to give a little, if I could say, context to the importance of this, again.

Nehemia: Yes sir.

Keith: We are not taking Hebrew Matthew… Folks, this is important to say, this is only the second episode. We are not saying the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is the original from the time that Matthew penned it. Again, for those that are first time listening, this is a witness. And what I love about the process is that we’ve got these 28 manuscripts, some have some sections, some have others. We have our English Bible, we’ve got our Greek, and we get a chance to take a look at and there are some exciting things, by the way, where Greek is exactly like Hebrew, and the English couldn’t do it. But I’ll hold off on that. [laughing]

Nehemia: You know, I want to go back to what my cousin wrote. He talks about these two different Christian approaches. And it’s interesting, his words are almost telling you who he tends towards. In other words, he’s basically telling you, “If I were a Christian, I think these people take the words seriously, and these other people don’t.”

Keith: Exactly, yeah.

Nehemia: I think that’s what he’s saying. He says, “One group believes in accordance with their writings. If you asked the second group would they say, ‘We don’t believe what’s in the writings?’ They would probably say, ‘We do believe in the writings. We just don’t take them literally.’”

I was listening to a podcast a little while back, it’s by this Evangelical guy out in England, and he had on an English bishop, or archbishop, or something, of the Anglican Church. And this guy says in his posh little accent, he’s asked about the virgin birth by the host, who obviously believes in it. He’s Evangelical, the host. And the Anglican says, “Well, we don’t believe in silly things.” Okay. I mean, I believe God took some dirt and made it into a man, so what’s to say… Why is one thing silly and the other isn’t? And here, they’re saying, “Those who believe in the plain meaning of things not only demonstrate their foolishness, but blaspheme the living God.” It’s almost like they’re defensive, the people who don’t believe it. It’s like, “We feel guilty, so we’ve got to lash out at you.”

What I love from my cousin, he’s saying, “Look, I’m the commentator. I’m not worthy to decide between these two opinions. But those guys take it seriously.”

Keith: [laughing] “But if I were…”

Nehemia: We once had an interaction where we were talking with this Methodist Church, and the word came back that, “We can’t have those fundies come into the church.” And I’m like, “Wait a minute.” And I was really shocked, because I assumed all Methodists are like you, right? They’re kind of Evangelical, spirit-filled, and I come to find out that they’re like, “No, we want nothing to do with that fundamentalist Jew or that fundamentalist Christian.” [laughing]

Keith: I want to tell you something, Nehemia. I shared this with my wife last night, in terms of this. And by the way, folks, this is really exciting. Nehemia and I are doing something we’ve been waiting for years to do. But when I was first in the church, I had a Pastor who had been 35 years there. He preached every single Sunday. And one time, I asked him a question about an inconsistency between Mark and Matthew. We were on a bus in Israel, on my first ever trip in 1987…

Nehemia: Really?

Keith: …or 1986. And I said to him, this is the guy, he’s my pastor, and I said to him, “Why is it that Mark says this and Matthew says this?” And he looked at me and he said, “You know, Keith. Those are things for the scholars. Those aren’t things that we can really address.” This is going to a connection. He says, “You know, you’ve just got to have faith.” Well, then, while we were doing A Prayer to Our Father, Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer, we sent this book to…

Nehemia: Was it the same guy?

Keith: No, a different guy, a number of people – and this is really inspiring to me – a number of people to read it. You remember…

Nehemia: I absolutely remember!

Keith: I’m going to let you tell this part of the story in just a second.

Nehemia: Well, you tell it, because you might remind me of parts that I…

Keith: The man that we sent it to was a very well-respected Evangelical, that well-respected person.

Nehemia: He teaches in a seminary, right? He’s not just a pulpit pastor, am I right?

Keith: Nehemia, I want to tell the story. [laughing]

Nehemia: Right? Isn’t he at a seminary or a professor or something?

Keith: This guy’s written books. It’s not so important. What’s really important is that he uses the word “evangelical”. So, evangelical means “inspired word of God” basically, if you ask most people, including the New Testament. We send it to him and he… Actually, you tell the story so much better.

Nehemia: He puts a note and he says, “Stopped reading here.”

Keith: [laughing] Why did he stop reading?

Nehemia: Because we were trying to find the place where Yeshua taught the Sermon on the Mount, and he wrote, “The Sermon on the Mount took place in Matthew’s study.” And he explained that Matthew sat down surrounded by scrolls and books, years after the crucifixion and he said, “Okay, our Lord Jesus taught this on this occasion, and that on this other occasion, and He telescoped them into a single event which became the Sermon on the Mount. But no event ever really took place.”

Keith: And what he did, basically is he’s saying…

Nehemia: And this is what an Evangelical scholar said!

Keith: He says, “You and Nehemia are acting like this actually happened.” [laughing]

Nehemia: Yeah, isn’t that the idea? I’m trying to understand the text. If I don’t take the text seriously, then how can I understand it? You might decide in the end, “Hey, I don’t believe Jesus ever existed. I don’t believe in the virgin birth.” But first, let’s understand what the text says.

Keith: And that, my friends, is what we’re doing and why this is going to be an amazing process. Nehemia, there’s no way. Look, can we transition or no?

Nehemia: Oh, no. I’ve got two more hours of material here. We’ve got to get past verse 1 for the main event.

Keith: These poor people that are listening, I’m just afraid they might not have their hard hats on. But go ahead.

Nehemia: Okay. No, I want to read Luke. We don’t have time to read Luke. Guys, read Luke chapter 1 verses 26 through 38, and the question you have to ask when you read Luke is, what different understanding do I get of Matthew…

Keith: Great homework.

Nehemia: …by reading Matthew by itself, reading Luke by itself, and reading the two together? And that’s a really important exercise. When you read Deuteronomy, you must understand Deuteronomy by itself, Exodus by itself, and then I believe both are the word of the living God. I then take Exodus and Deuteronomy and say, “What do I understand when I take them together?” But I really can’t understand them together until first I understand them independently, what they would mean without the other passage. It’s really an important way of approaching any text, ancient or modern, but especially an ancient text. So, Luke chapter 1 verses 26 to 38 and chapter 2 verses 1 through 7. Read the whole passage, in fact, if you have time.

Okay, I guess we’re not going to get into that, because that talks about the virgin birth. We actually haven’t gotten to the virgin birth in Matthew yet. We just found out she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. “Ve Yosef ish tzadik haya,” verse 19, “And Yosef was a righteous man,” “velo ratza lashevet imah,” or “lashev imah,” “he didn’t want to dwell with her,” meaning to live with her together, “velo legalotah,” “and not to exile her,” “lehavi’ah lebusha,” it could also mean to reveal her, to expose her, to bring her to shame. “Velo lemosrah lamut,” “and not to hand her over for death.” Why would she be handed over for death?

Keith: You gave the context.

Nehemia: We read it in Deuteronomy. She’s an engaged woman who’s had sex with a man who’s not her husband. The evidence for that sex is that she’s pregnant. Therefore, unless she can bring some reasonable case of how she was raped, which she didn’t claim, as far as I know, then she’s to be executed, according to Deuteronomy. “Aval haya rotzeh lekhasot aleha,” he wanted to cover over her.

Now, let’s bring it up. What does him being righteous have to do with him wanting to cover over her? Because you could say, “Wait a minute. If he was really righteous, he’d hand her over to the court to be stoned.” Why didn’t he do that? Let’s read on. He must have known, or he must have believed, according to the account, that she didn’t just commit adultery, right? I mean, that’s implied, I think, in the text here. Whether that was the case or not, historically I have no idea. But I think that’s implied in the text.

Verse 20, “Ubekhoshvo vazeh hadavar libo,” “And when he thought about this thing in his heart,” “vehinei malach nira eilav bacholom.” “and behold, an angel appeared to him in the dream saying,” “le’emor, ‘Yosef ben David,’” “Joseph, the son of David,” “al tirah lakachat ishtecha, Miriam,” “Do not fear to take your wife, Miriam.” And this is the second half of marriage. Remember, we said there’s eruseen and nisueen. Nisueen… another word for nisueen is lakachat, to take. Nisueen means “to take”, as well. “Don’t be afraid to take your wife, Miriam,” “shemeRu’ach haKodesh hee me’uberet,” “for she is pregnant from the Holy Spirit.” Now, could you read verse 18 in light of verse 20, the way you were suggesting before? I don’t know.

Keith: Well, I have to read something from 19, if it would be okay.

Nehemia: Bevakashah.

Keith: And this is just something I thought about. So, in English, what it does it is cleans up – and the Greek also does it – it cleans up the verse of 19 by removing the idea of dying. Now, here’s the beauty of what you did - by giving us in verse 18 that this is what would happen if she, in fact, was caught there would be death, the Greek says, “Hey, we don’t need to get into that.” The English says, “We don’t need to get into that.” But in Hebrew it says, “to die”. Now, why is this important for me?

I am reading this, Nehemia, with two different things in mind. I’m first reading it from when I first got into the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew and what it is that I’m supposed to think. So, right now, I want to be thought police.

Nehemia: What do you mean by “supposed to think”?

Keith: Supposed to think - I’m a brand-new Christian. I’m 14, 15 years old. They hand me the book. This is the Holy Book. I read the Book, and I’m reading the Book and then they say to me… And I kept asking questions about other things. They said, “No, just get through Matthew.” So, I’m reading Matthew chapter 1. I get to the end of the chapter for why we have the Christmas story. I’m just telling you where I was.

When I read in the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, I notice some things. One of the things is that oftentimes, the Greek cleans things up, the English then goes a little bit further, but what the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew does for me when I’m reading is, it doesn’t clean it up. This one phrase, “to die”, absolutely makes me think about something really important. I’m just going to throw it out, and I’d love your comment.

Here’s what I wrote. “The Greek cleaned up the ‘to die’. The connection to all of the four women who experienced death, Tamar with Judah… what did Judah say? ‘You’re going to die.’”

Nehemia: He said, “She’s got to die.”

Keith: Rehab, her whole community - they’re going to die. Ruth, her husband - he died. And then you’ve got Bathsheba - her husband died. All four of them dealt with death. All of these women, we asked the question last week. If you didn’t listen to the first episode, you missed it. Go and listen to the first episode of the Hebrew Gospel Pearls. Go and listen to Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus. We go into depth on this.

But when I read this verse that’s not in Greek and not in English, that he did not hand her over to die, immediately I think about each of those women, all of them dealt with pregnancy.

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: All of them dealt with death.

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: And here, we’ve got a pearl, in my opinion, that jumps off the page in the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, that doesn’t do it anywhere else. I’ll stop right there, Nehemia. I’m getting chills.

Nehemia: I’ll tell you why this is profound. I thought a little bit about this, right? Meaning, to say that there’s some connection between the four women and Mary, that seems kind of… not obvious, but other people have suggested that. You have four women who have some kind of controversial situation, adultery, they’re a foreigner. We mentioned that last time. What you’re tying in here, I think, is really beautiful, is to verse 19, “Yosef ish Tzadik haya,” “Joseph was a righteous man.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And what did Tamar say to Judah, or about Judah? You know, she presented the signs that he had been with her, and he says, “tzadkah mimeni,” “she is more righteous than I.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Wow, okay. So, there’s a tie-in here with this righteousness.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: And maybe the message here is to give people the benefit of the doubt in certain situations – which is what we read about in Deuteronomy – and you give the woman the benefit of the doubt when there’s something to argue in her favor. If you can say she was alone, out in the field, or she’s in the city and nobody hears her for some reasonable reason, you give them the benefit of the doubt.

Keith: Now listen to what we just finished. In this last year, we did a thing called Readers of the Book Club, which basically was to read the entire Tanakh in a year. It took from January until December, and people do this all the time. But there were people that would say, “You know, I never read this particular part of Genesis. I never read this part of Psalms. I never read…” For me, now, thinking about my first experience at 14, 15, my experience now since you’ve challenged me to have to go through this process of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, it’s caused there to be a bit of a thinking challenge, and it’s actually brought forth blessing by making the connection which is exactly what you did with the first verse.

You took us immediately to the Torah to understand the Tanakh to understand Matthew. I mean, this is what we have to do. It’s the process that we’ve got to keep going through. It’s why, for me, it starts to make sense.

Nehemia: Wow. This is heavy. Wow. [laughing] I still think I need to… We didn’t even get to almost anything I wanted to talk about.

Keith: Nehemia, you’ve got this great… Folks, listen.

Nehemia: Can we continue and go deeper? [laughing]

Keith: Listen, I want to ask him to do this. I don’t know if he will. Last week, we did the same thing. It was an idea that he came up with, and I want to challenge you, Nehemia, to see if we can do this for a second week.

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: Last week, we were talking and we got through about an hour and 15 minutes. What we did is, we gave an opportunity for those that want to go a little bit deeper. And you came up with this term, it’s called Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus. Now, I want to do something that’s probably going to get me in trouble, but I really…

Nehemia: What’s that?

Keith: …want to do something. Amazon came to my house in the last 24 hours with 4 packages. Can I tell the story, or not?

Nehemia: Go ahead.

Keith: After the first Hebrew Gospel Pearls, Nehemia very nicely said, “You know, Keith, the production quality of what we’re doing, the sound is not very good. And so, I’d like to help you out,” and he did something that was a gift. What he did was, he sent me a recording device that we could use specifically to up the quality, because he wants the quality of this information to be clear. And I think we both would say this is going to be a really important project, and we want to be excellent in every way, even though we’re at Zoom with our home-made offices, and home-made studios. But there are a lot of resources put in there, and you actually implanted resources from Makor to BFA for us to use to make this better.

So, when we talk about Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus, it’s a very simple thing. Yeah, we’re going to give you more than what we just talked about. We’re going to give you information, inspiration, revelation. We’re going to give you the manuscripts and all that. But also, you are the people that are really helping us continue to push this information out to the world, to give people a chance at whatever level they’re at, to be able to interact with us.

So, what we’re going to do for this episode is, this episode is going to be exclusively available, the Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus of Episode 2, is going to be exclusively available at Makor, at nehemiaswall.com. Nehemia, now can you explain about the Support Team Studies…

Nehemia: Yeah, so each of us has our own ministries. Keith has bfainternational.com. At the bottom of my screen here, you’ll see nehemiaswall.com, which is a publication of Makor Hebrew Foundation, which is my 501(c)(3). Those who support my ministry allow me to continue to put out teachings like this, allow me to buy the equipment that I sent to your house for us to record this, and to buy it for myself as well, so that we can bring it up a notch from what we were doing in previous programs.

And part of my reason for doing that is, maybe now it’s kind of okay, we’re in COVID-19 and we’re struggling here with this crisis. But I want people to be listening to this 20 years from now, 50 years from now, 100 years from now.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: And if we don’t have that level of quality, it’ll be one of those things like listening to those recordings from like the 1920s or something. So we’re in the 2020s now, we’ve got to raise it up a little bit. [laughing]

Keith: Yeah, yeah.

Nehemia: And guys, this is what allows me to do it, it’s what allows me to spend years studying this material that I can now bring it to you, and then going through my notes for many, many days to bring this to you – really weeks. And so, you can do that by making a donation at Makor Hebrew Foundation, which is through nehemiaswall.com, and that will automatically make you a part of what we call the Support Team. The Support Team is for people who support the ministry. 95 percent of what I put out is free to everybody. Anybody who wants it, you don’t have to log in, nothing. You just click on and you get it automatically.

But I do keep some for those who support the ministry, who allow me to share all the rest with everybody else. And so, what we have been saying is that each week we’re going to alternate, and this week, Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus number 2 is going to be on nehemiaswall.com. Number 3, if this all works out, is going to be at bfainternational.com. Number 4 will be at nehemiaswall.com. You get the idea.

And the idea here is that for us to be able to do this, we both need to have the support of the people who want this message to get out to the world, and we can’t do it without you. Guys, you are part of this and we really do appreciate your support and input.

Keith: Let me say this. I want to say something. This is a pilot program. If we can get enough people at BFA International to be Premium, enough people at Nehemia’s Wall to be Support Team members, both of those situations, if we can get enough people, who knows what’ll happen. But right now it’s a pilot program. We’ve done one last week. We’re doing this one this week. Hopefully, we’ll get to number 3, hopefully we’ll get number 4. We don’t know how many we’ll be able to go with. It certainly would help for you guys to be able to be supporters of both ministries, so that we can continue to do what we’re being called to do.

Nehemia: Keith, I’m a little frustrated because there’s so much I want to get to in this section. It’s just a short section, I wrote a whole book about it. It’s called, The Naming of Jesus in Hebrew Matthew. And some people were really upset, “Why did you call it The Naming of Jesus? You should have called it The Naming of Yeshua.” I agree with you 100 percent, but it was deliberate. I want those who don’t know the meaning of the name “Jesus”, which is probably most people, to understand what the origin of that name is, and the origin of that name is right here in this passage. It’s such a powerful passage, we’re going to bring something where my cousin in the 19th century agrees with Origen, the Church Father in the late 2nd, early 3rd century. They say almost the identical thing about this topic, it’s incredible.

We’re going to talk about the whole controversy of the virgin birth. There’s an age-old debate between Jews and Christians about whether or not Isaiah spoke about a virgin. We’re going to talk about that, if you allow me to get into some of that controversy. And I’m going to share something from a 12th century rabbi that I’ve never heard any Christian cite. It’s the type of thing that if I were a Christian missionary trying to defend my position, it’s the first thing I would cite! And I don’t know why nobody’s ever cited it, maybe because they’re not aware of it, or maybe I just missed it.

We’re going to bring all kinds of interesting things like that, the meaning of the name Yeshua, some of these controversies, and I’m really excited about this.

Keith: That’s what we’re going to do.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: We’re going to take a break. We’re going to see you at nehemiaswall.com. Support Team Studies. You’re going to get the second part, which is Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus for Episode number 2. So, meet us there.

Nehemia: Amen. Can we end in prayer?

Keith: Would you please?

Nehemia: Yehovah, Avinu shebashamayim, Yehovah, our Father in Heaven, thank you for giving me the opportunity to come together on common ground with those who love the words that You revealed through Your prophet, Moses, and to the prophets of Israel, the beautiful Tanakh, and find how these words were applied in different situations and different contexts. Yehovah, give us the strength to continue to share the Hebrew background of this book that’s gone around the world, the Gospel of Matthew in its Hebrew edition, as it was preserved by Jews through the Middle Ages.

Father, please give us the support that we can continue to carry this out and open up the hearts of both the Jews and the Christians and those who don’t know what to call themselves, who are hearing these explanations and hearing sometimes things that offend them, sometimes things that upset them, sometimes things that make them angry at me or angry at Keith. Give us all the patience and the wisdom to hear what the other has to say, all for the glory of Your Holy name, Yehovah. Amen.

Keith: Father, thank You very much for this opportunity to be in study with Nehemia. We invite our study partners around the world that are part of Nehemia’s Wall, BFA International, to continue to keep their hand on the plow, to continue to work hard, to continue to stand on the wall with Nehemia, and to be a part of this process of inspiration around the world. Help us as a group to study this deeply, and who knows what the end result will be.

We pray that as this word goes forward, that it would not be turned away. We give You praise and honor for this opportunity, in Your name. Amen.

Nehemia: 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.

We hope the above transcript has proven to be a helpful resource in your study. While much effort has been taken to provide you with this transcript, it should be noted that the text has not been reviewed by the speakers and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you would like to support our efforts to transcribe the teachings on NehemiasWall.com, please visit our support page. All donations are tax-deductible (501c3) and help us empower people around the world with the Hebrew sources of their faith!

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  • Mario Gomes says:

    It is clear that the Messiah is called The Branch by the Prophets Jeremiah, Zechariah and Isaiah all refer to the Messiah as the Netzer. Olive trees reproduce sexually and asexually. The Netzer is a result of asexual reproduction. Does this not prove that the Messiah would come forth as a result of asexual reproduction? It is this not what the verses are saying? A virgin birth? Yes

  • Watchman Bob says:

    Does not your questioning the virgin birth obscure the primary purpose of Matthew 1:18-23 and Luke 1:26-38, which is to highlight the miraculous, supernatural aspect of His birth (cf. especially Luke 1:37)?

  • WatchWomanOntheWall (Ezracha Bat Ephrayim) LaurieJo says:

    Yahshua is called the 2nd Adam bacause he is the 2nd man Yah created from scratch. All other men were the creation of one man and one woman. Our Creator has been compared to a potter. A potter forms the clay and makes the vessel according to his liking, and can smash the vessel id he is not happy with it, or He can fill the vessel and use it for His divine purpose. We read “in English, that Yah “formed” Yahshua in Mariam’s womb. Many ppl may be offended that I claim Yahshua was created, but he was, and if you think Yahshua is the Creator of the universe, you are greatly deceived by your own longing to be as Satan said, “like Elohim.” As a dedicated follower, I make this claim in all sincerity. Yahshua is my brother and my Mediator, between myself and our Father. He was born FLESH. YAH can’t die! Yahshua died, and YAH raised him from the dead and created him to lead us to Himself. YAH is ECHAD! Yahshua worshipped YAH, and so do I.

    • Yvonne Russell says:

      Yeshua was created by the Father I agree. I came to do the will of the Father. A body he has prepared for me. (Heb 1:10:5-7)
      However, Yeshua’s spirit was of the Father. (Deut 18:18). There is only one spirit. The Holy Trinity is wrong. Yeshua never had his own spirit, there is no 3rd spirit. That is paganism. He had his Father’s spirit. Yeshua will rule in place of the Father until he puts all things under his feet. Then his son shall be subdued to the Father. (1Cor 15:24-26).

      I know many people have been taught all wrong. Scripture is clear that the Father and son are separate spirits. Yeshua was the only one with sinless blood that could pay the broken blood covenant at Sinai. Thereafter sinless animal blood was used until the sinless one comes that can pay it. A blood/flesh human had to pay penalty as that’s who broke penalty. This was the sacrificial placeholder system and when Yeshua paid that price there was no longer any need for a temple, sacrifices, priesthood. He reigned saying I have gained the keys of death and hell. (Rev 1-18) He bestowed the Father’s Holy Spirit onto his own brethren. (Acts 1:4-5)

      I agree that Yeshua is our brother: (Matt 12:46-50) and (Matt 28:10). This proves Yeshua said he and the disciples are now part of the same heavenly family and are brothers. Yeshua is the mediator (the high priest transfigured) (Matt 17:2) to the Father between those that follow Christ and his commandments.

      I also don’t believe God is a man. (Isa 55:8-9).
      I believe what Christ said that God is spirit. (Gen 1), (John 4:23-24) It’s difficult for people who have been taught all wrong by religiousness to believe this. (John 4:23-24) After all, the major point of Christ’s ministry was to beware of the false doctrine of the religious people.

  • Bruce says:

    Shalom Y’all,

    Enjoying the study together.

    I am believing it possible that Miriam is “Filled” with the Ruach ha Codesh.
    That Miriam is a (type) of surrogate mother with her being “Filled” with the Holy Spirit and the Ruach Codesh is the “Mother” of Yeshua!

    Mat 1: 18 KJV she was found with child “of the Holy Spirit”.
    Luk 1: 28 YHVH Is with you.
    Luk 1: 35 The Ruach Kodesh upon the.

    Gen 1: 26&27 Let us make man in “Our” image, after “Our” likeness. … In the image of Elhm created He him; male and female created He them.

    Luke 1: 41-43 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

    Mat 3: 16&17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Mat 28: 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    We know the Father is a “male” image, we know the Son is a “male” image. What is missing is the “Motherly” image, this may be given to the Ruach Kodesh.

    Is 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;
    and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

    This is a Great series we are on Mishcopah,
    Shalom Shalom

    Your Brother Bruce here
    What do yous think?

    • Monique White says:

      Brother Bruce, I like your quotes. Below are my thoughts: a “Motherly” image would be consoling, but is Mother Miryam (Mary) not a “Motherly” image? She was a young woman (probably under 16) when the Angel Gabriel announced that she found favor with YHVH and she will be “with child” and bear the Son of the Most High. “The LORD will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end.” Miryam answered: “How will this be… for I have not known a man?” The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) will come upon you, and the power of the MOST HIGH (YHVH) will overshadow you… The HOLY ONE will be called SON of GOD… 1:37: For nothing is impossible with GOD/G-D/YHVH. Her response sealed the deal – v. 38: “I am the LORD’S servant”, Miryam answered.” May it be to me as you have said.” YHVH will never overrule a person’s will, but will give the Ruach HaKodesh to all who earnestly seek HIM and connect through HIS WORD, in Spirit and in Truth, for HE is the Way, the Truth and the Light/Life… (John 14:6) Shalom to JerUSAlem & the World with HIS WRITTEN WORD… From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, nothing concealed but all revealed for mankind to see so very very soon… Amen & Amen & Amen PS: I did have a talk with the LORD because I was deceived by yet another man who came as an “Angel of light” but was not from G-D. Walking with HIM and HIS WORD for 24 lonely, difficult years, I had a hard time to accept that “I was deceived” even so I knew in my heart that something was “not right”. Finally the LORD had enough of my tears streaming down my face because I was deceived and HE said : “You are in GOOD COMPANY!” Then HE revealed that Father Abraham, Father Isaac, Father Jacob, King David, King Solomon etc. right to Peter, Paul, Matthew, Mark, John… etc… Everyone of the “GREAT ONES” in HIS WORD have been “deceived” at one point or other in their lives even those who WALKED WITH YESHUAH. Then HE said : “There is only ONE who NEVER WAS DECEIVED: Mother Mary. HE was crystal clear! Then HE said : “Give up your pity party and move forward. We have work to do!” With that I gave up the pity party and continue to walk with HIM and talk with HIM, HIS path will inspire…www.watchandpray.love lists some of my poems… GOD IS LOVE is the very first one HE gave me on 9.21.1996 ~ Shalom to you Brother Bruce.

    • Jake Wilson says:

      It seems, Elizabeth‘s infilling was an exception (or temporary) because the Spirit was only given after Yeshua’s resurrection (Jn 7:39).

      There is no need for a female role since God’s wife is Israel (and the “Holy Spirit” is just a metonym for Yehovah, not some 3rd person floating around :-).

      Matt 28:19 was inserted by Rome to push the trinity.

      • Jake Wilson says:

        Sorry, I meant the trinitarian baptismal formula in Matt 28:19 was interpolated.

      • Yvonne Russell says:

        Absolutely! Matt 28:19 was inserted by Rome. No where else was that phrase used throughout Scripture and it has the fingerprints of Rome on it.

  • Nina Dixon says:

    Years ago I was reading through some Jewish writings, probably the Talmud, and it named Marys father, but I dont think it called him Joseph, is anyone familiar with that?

    • daniel says:

      Don’t know about that, but I recall Nehemia saying there were a couple Yeshuas named in Talmud, none of whom are the Yeshua of the Gospels.

  • Alison Bond says:

    Where is the link to the teaching Nemehia has on Luke that he spoke about?

  • paulettegray says:

    While it was necessary that we understand the ramifications of the law as it could have been applied to Mary relating to her ‘apparent’ adultery and to the mitigating circumstances I would have appreciated a discussion regarding any obligation that Joseph may have had to report the offence (as the person against whom the offence was committed) and/or the obligation of the priests to chase down possible offenders. (comparing legalism with mercy)
    My expectation is that if Joseph is not prepared to make a charge that the ‘trial’ would not have occurred, because God has as evidenced throughout history forgiven (in the legal sense) the debts of those who have sinned against Him so there was an example to follow.

    • Yvonne Russell says:

      The way I understand it. Mary’s plight had to be adjudicated through the Rabbis. The covenant Mary and Joseph entered is legally binding. It would have to be determined if Mary was raped or went along with the encounter. Joseph didn’t understand how she could have done this and wanted to be private about it. But Gabriel stopped him. Years later, the Pharisees looked up Yeshua’s past and to this day believe that his mother was a harlot. They discovered also that he never had any schooling. (John 7:15) Yeshua didn’t fit the their picture of who and where the Messiah should come from. They were into the oral law and their traditions.

  • Dead2Self says:

    Shalom Shabbat – Bilam tells Balaq that YHWH/YHVH is NOT a man, but Spirit … Ruach HaQodesh is the Spirit Essence of YHWH / YHVH … JN 1:1-14 Speaks of the “Word” was with HaShem before Creation, and that the Word Becomes Flesh, JN14:6 Yashaua says He is the Truth the Way & The Hai / Life. One needs to know the Truth to walk the Way to Rcv Hai. We Know that the TANAKH says that the Torah is the Truth, The Way & The Hai / Blessings and Not accepting Truth then not on the Way / Narrow Path, and Cursing & Death. Psa 119:142 & 160 say the Word and the Torah (Law in English Bibles) both are Truth, only one Truth so Word & Torah are interchangeable We know that the “Word / Torah” is Near. Prophecy that HaShem will walk among us. The Word, Torah, Yashua are One, and were before creation. HaShem made “Skin” for Adam & Eve (nothing about killing/sacrificing an Animal) then HaShem can easily make “Flesh / Skin” within the “Non Sperm” Conception within Miriam the Ghost Writers of YHWH/YHVH (They were told by Ruach HaQodesh what happened since they were not there, many call the Ruach the Holy Ghost, so they are Ghost Writers) As Humans they had no better word than Pregnant. There is NO Transgression of the Torah by the Ruach HaQodesh (Honey I shrunk the Kids but much easier for the Ruach) placing the Flesh, and Yashua in her. .

  • JW Brakebill says:

    Nehemia, IF I understood you correctly, according to the Torah, should not both David and Bathshena been subject to stoning to death? Not saying I would have wanted that to happen, nor is it my right to judge as we have all sinned, but would not stoning have been the legitimate, even expected, response by the people’s Israel? Or as king, did he have special rights making him above the law? (As many leaders today seem to feel they should have)

    Also, I was a little disappointed that you did not continue this podcast through ALL the verses “advertised” 1:18-25 , stopping around 19 or 20 You guys kept getting sidetracked. Planning to go to Nehemia’sWall.com and am truly HOPING you guys picked up on this conversation, so I can continue the rest of the verses … today if possible.

    • Gin May says:

      According to Leviticus 20:10, the punishment of adueltery indeed is death. However, according to Ezekiel 18, if a man repents and turns from his sins, then his sin will be forgiven and will no longer be mentioned by Yehovah. David did repent (see Psalm 51), and so he was given forgiveness.

      • Mark Dunn says:

        2 Samuel 12:13 KJV

        [13] And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

    • Mark Dunn says:

      Deuteronomy 19:15 KJV

      [15] One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

  • Mark Dunn says:

    “The Protoevangelium of James” offers a plausible scenario where Joseph has to take Mary to the Temple High Priest and they both have to drink the “Water of the Ordeal of the LORD”.

    Numbers 5:11-31 KJV

    [11] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
    [12] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,
    [13] And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner ;
    [14] And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
    [15] Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.
    [16] And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD :
    [17] And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:
    [18] And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:
    [19] And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:
    [20] But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:
    [21] Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;
    [22] And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.
    [23] And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:
    [24] And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
    [25] Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar:
    [26] And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.
    [27] And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
    [28] And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
    [29] This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
    [30] Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
    [31] Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

    • Dead2Self says:

      1) The Man does not drink it, it is only the woman for the Man “Suspects” her of Adultery. If nothing happens to her, then the Man is happy.
      2) States Yoseph was not going to do anything about it but a silent divorce writ.
      3) YHWH has a kind of Abba to Yoseph Talk.

      • Mark Dunn says:

        John 21:25 KJV
        [25] And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

  • Gin May says:

    Great program Nehemia (you too Keith 🙂 ). I took up the challenge to look at Matthew and Luke and compared the differences and this is what I found.
    If you were to read Matthew alone you might come to the conclusion that Mary has little knowledge of her pregnancy and that the cause was only revealed to Joseph. There’s no indication that Mary understood what was happening. Luke on the other hand (if read alone) gives us the exact opposite conclusion. In Luke it appears as if the revelation was only given to Mary and Joseph is told by Mary later and that there is no problem between the two as we have in Matthew.
    However, if the two Gospels are read together we see that Matthew is telling the story from Joseph’s circumstances and that Luke is tells the story from Mary’s circumstances. With the two Gospels put together we learn that 1. The revelation of Mary’s pregnancy was revealed to her first, 2. Joseph found out either before or after Mary’s visit with Elizabeth by either Mary telling Joseph or Joseph discovered her pregnant, 3. Joseph plans on not living with her and conceal her pregnancy (Greek Matthew simply says he planned on divorcing her), 4. Joseph gets the revelation, and 5. they come back together.
    Again this was a great show! May Yehovah bless you.

  • Walter Schwenk says:

    Like the good book says, “The secret things belong to Yahweh our elohim; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” We can savor the controversy, as a “still secret” thing that belongs to Yah. If we reach a logical consensus, we can savor it as a gift from Yah. Either way, enjoying the discussion. Hope it continues.