Hebrew Gospel Pearls #8 – Matthew 3:13-17

In Hebrew Gospel Pearls #8 (Matthew 3:13-17), Nehemia and Keith discuss what is missing from the Nicene Creed, the significance of Yeshua's ministry being based in Galilee, and the bizarre accounts of the Infancy Gospels that never made it into the New Testament.

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Hebrew Gospel Pearls #8 - Matthew 3:13-17

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.

Nehemia: And if you look early in his ministry - and we’ll get to this, I’m jumping ahead, I know - but early in his ministry he said, “I’m not here for the Canaanite woman. I’m not going to throw this to the dogs. I’m not going to give the food for the children to the dogs. This is only for Israel.” And then there’s a certain point in his ministry where there’s a shift. And what a great place for there to be a shift in Galilee of the Nations.

Nehemia: Shalom, and welcome to Hebrew Gospel Pearls episode number 8. Today, we will be discussing Hebrew Matthew chapter 3, verses 13 to 17. Keith, I am so excited about today’s episode, because we’re going to get to talk about some things in the Tanakh! I’m very excited.

Keith: [laughing] You know, it’s funny, Nehemia, I was really reflecting, because this is kind of a shift. We’ve done 7, now we’re on 8. There are some things that have happened in-between 7 and 8. There are new people now that are here. Some of these people that are here now have no idea what’s happening, but they’re here because they’ve heard about it. Nehemia, could you just do me one favor? Before you get started, because I know you’re going to go on a tear, can you just do me a favor and explain just one more time why it is that you have been excited about doing the Hebrew Gospel Pearls with me? What is it that’s really driving you right now?

Nehemia: Well, this is something that I came across and that we had interacted on, and it’s something I’ve really been working on, in a way, for nearly 18 or going on more than that, years. And finally, to get into the depths of it and to go through it in a systematic way. I’ve gone through sections, some of those sections systematically, some with you, some by myself. We’ve gone through specific subjects. I remember there was one incident, we were in a hotel somewhere and you wanted to know how many times Yeshua appeared, [laughing] the name Yeshua in the Hebrew version of Matthew, because we had noticed when you look at the different translations and you looked at Jesus, it depended on which translation you had.

And of course, we’re doing this by computer, and you would see the NIV has this number, and the NRSV has this other number, and the NASB has a third number. So you said, “Let’s look how many times Yeshua appears in the Hebrew version.” So we went through, and I’m reading off, I’m doing a search on my computer, and every time I find that I say “Yeshua, Yeshua, Yeshua,” and you’re doing little tick marks, “Yeshua, Yeshua.”

Keith: [laughing] The other reason I’m actually bringing this up is some people don’t know we wrote this book together, A Prayer to Our Father, the Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer, which really started us on a journey. And then the journey sort of stopped for me, but it didn’t stop for you. It stopped for me because we had written a book and we’d toured and done those things, but you were still gathering manuscripts. And I have to tell you, something hit me this morning. I thought about just what you’ve done over the last year. Can you imagine, Nehemia, all of the places you’ve been in the last year, and now with this worldwide pandemic, you couldn’t go to those places this year.

Nehemia: Oh, yeah.

Keith: So like the timing of this is literally kind of…

Nehemia: It’s unbelievable.

Keith: Perfect.

Nehemia: If I tried to do now what I did do last year, it would have been impossible. I mean, I understand a lot of people suffered and I pray for Yehovah to bring healing for all.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: But definitely, the timing here… It could have been that I set out and I get trapped in like Russia or Germany or something, with the pandemic, and instead, I was able to travel to all those places and bring back some information.

Keith: But I want to tell you something. The reason that I brought up that particular issue is that I’ve been thinking about what’s happened in the last few years. And we’ve always discussed this, but like you said, we haven’t been able to go through it systematically. So one of the things that I did four years ago - and this is actually going to be a bonus for us as we go forward for the next who knows how many episodes that we have - we started something called The Red Letter Series, which was an opportunity to just look at the words of Yeshua.

Now, here’s the funny thing. It actually didn’t start until this episode, because this is the first time that Yeshua shows up and He’s going to speak. And so I just took the process of saying, “What are the words that He spoke?” We call it The Red Letter Series. It’s available at bfainternational, free for all.

But what I’ve been waiting for, Nehemia – and I have to tell you this and to the people that are listening – what we did was kind of like an introductory level Bible study, and then in the second phase, we got a chance to use this amazing tool that you gave us access to, which gave us the chance to do an interlinear. But I will tell everyone, I want to tell everyone…

Nehemia: I’m laughing because I just realized, [laughing] you put on a light blue shirt because I’m wearing a light blue shirt. You were wearing a black shirt! I can’t believe you changed your shirt. Why did you do that?

Keith: [laughing] What do you mean? I follow you for everything, Nehemia. You’re kidding me?

Nehemia: [laughing] Oh, my gosh. I’m sorry I interrupted.

Keith: [laughing] It’s okay.

Nehemia: [laughing] So you’ve got the Red Letter Series at BFA. It’s hilarious. Oh, my gosh. You put on my shirt.

Keith: Everything he does, I copy it. No, it’s golden. Anyway, we did the Red Letter Series, free for all. But the thing that you kept saying was, we didn’t have the ability to really do this because there was more information that you needed. And so now the timing has worked perfectly. We got you stuck. You can’t be on trains, planes and automobiles, flying around the world. And so it’s during this time that we’re taking advantage of this. And I just want to say to you again, thank you for your willingness. Folks, this is really a deeper process, so I’m looking forward to getting to this. This is when Yeshua shows up as an adult.

Nehemia: And before we get to that, somebody actually challenged me, a Jewish person. They said, “Why are you doing this? Why are you teaching about Hebrew Matthew from the perspective of a Jew who believes in the Jewish faith?” They might say, “Wait. Are you trying to strengthen the faith of somebody of another faith, and why would you do that?” My position has been all along, certainly for years, my goal is to empower people with information. If you say you believe in something you should know what it is.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: You should know what it is you believe. And look, that brings up here, I think, what for me is maybe the key issue of this episode, Keith, which is that up until now we’ve had the infancy, the narrative. We have the story about Yeshua as a child, and I want to read from the Nicene Creed.

Keith: Excellent.

Nehemia: Someone actually read this to me. We were talking about what I believe, and he was a Christian who was talking about what he believed. And he opened up his Bible, and at the front of his Bible inside the cover page, he had glued onto the cover page the Nicene Creed. I’m not going to read the whole thing, but there’s a section there about the Father and about Jesus and about the Holy Spirit. And the part that interests me - and we’ve talked about this before - it says, “For us and for our…” It’s we believe, right? “For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven…” that is, Jesus came down from Heaven. “He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate.” And it’s profound - somebody pointed this out to me years ago - that what the Nicene Creed doesn’t include is everything from Matthew chapters 2 through 26, Mark chapters 1 through 14, Luke chapters 2 through 22, and John chapters 2 through 17. Meaning everything - so it says, “the virgin birth and made human, He was born.” - everything from when he was born until he was crucified is not part of the creed of Christians for the last 1,700 years, certainly of mainstream Christian denominations for the last 1,700 years.

And I’m excited that we’re going to get to talk about the part that’s missing from the Christian creed, because they say they believe that Jesus is their Messiah - and they do little sermons about it and they do study about it, I’m not saying they don’t - but core beliefs don’t include everything from Matthew chapters 2 through 26. It’s almost like that’s a footnote, right? He did all of those things not for the purpose of doing those things, but so he could get to Matthew 27, right? It’s almost like Matthew chapters 2 through 26 are this nuisance, and if we could just get through them really quick, get to the core which is Matthew chapter 27 and 28, the crucifixion, yet the bulk of the Gospels, I just read you the chapters, are about the things that he did on earth, and I think those are worthy of study. I think they’re worthy of study on the level of, this is an important document, maybe one of the most important documents of Western civilization. That’s number one.

Number two… and that’s for Jews who don’t believe in Jesus, who aren’t Christians. But for Christians for say they believe in him, they should know what it is he did on earth and what he taught.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And many do, but I’ve met people who literally, all they knew – I mean, I shared it years ago about a woman I met on a plane to Tacoma, and she said that her knowledge of Jesus came from the movie, The Passion of the Christ. And she literally had no idea of the stories of the Gospel. She knew, of course, the Christmas story. So it actually parallels quite nicely. She knew the Christmas story and she knew The Passion of the Christ, the movie, and everything in-between she had virtually no idea. “Oh, yeah. I heard something about stoning a woman, right?” And I think those are important to talk about. I think it’s important to understand this information, both, like I said, as a core document of Western civilization, and as the basis of people who say they believe in it, they should know what it says.

And what I’m excited about is that I get to come with my Hebrew background and share about Jesus as a Jew, about Yeshua as a Hebrew, and what that meant in its historical context.

Keith: You know, we’ve done a lot of studying together, we’ve done a lot of traveling together and we’ve come across a lot of different people. And it really is an interesting thing that you just brought up, because people tend to want to talk about the idea of Jesus, Yeshua, the theology, the things we’re supposed to believe. And one of the things that we’ve always said, and what I’ve always appreciated about you bringing the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew to my attention, is that we get to actually look in the language, history and context of what he said. And there are times when what he says goes well beyond the idea of who we’ve been taught that he is.

So that’s what I love about this. I’m excited about this particular episode, because I’ve been waiting for it for 18 years. [laughing] Well, actually it’s only been four years since we started The Red Letter Series. But we started with this verse, so getting your insights, Nehemia, getting your thoughts, getting what you’ve done in terms of study, is just going to take the study to a whole different level, and people are going to study with us. So let’s get into it.

Nehemia: Now that I’m talking about it, I’m realizing there’s actually a really interesting parallel between the way that Christians approach the Gospels, specifically the Gospels, and the way that the Rabbis approach the Torah. There’s a famous statement in Rashi, and other Rabbis have talked about it as well, which is, why did the Torah begin with Genesis 1:1? The Torah means “instruction”, and so it should have begun in Exodus 12 verse 2, “Hachodesh hazeh lachem, rosh chodashim,” “This new moon is for you the beginning of new moons.” And the idea of the question is, if the Torah’s a book of instructions, Genesis 1:1 through Exodus 12:1 are completely irrelevant, because they’re not instruction. So what are they doing in there? They shouldn’t even be there, and then they come up with some answer of why they’re there, some legalistic answer, actually.

The point is that the Torah, meaning “instruction”, isn’t just a book of laws. It isn’t just a book of rules. The stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, those are important in and of themselves. And so I see this interesting parallel. The Rabbis want to jump ahead to Exodus 12:2 and the Christians want to jump from Matthew 1 to Matthew… what is it, 27, the crucifixion? And actually, there’s something in-between, and there’s a reason that’s there.

There’s a reason that Genesis exists, and that the first 12 or 11 chapters of Exodus exist. They have important messages to tell us. We don’t always know what those important messages are. Sometimes, they only become clear when we meet someone who has no background in this, because we take it for granted. We’re like, “Yeah, we know all this story.” Yeah, you know it because you read it. There are people who don’t know it, because they never read it, they never heard it.

So we’re dealing here with the story of what happened, and people are going to get upset. They’ll say, “Nehemia and Keith, get out of the first verse.” I don’t even know that we can get to the first verse this time, because the background is so exciting and important. So we’ve just jumped over from Matthew chapter 2 to Matthew chapter 3. Really, you could say from verses 12 of chapter 3 to verse 13, we’ve jumped over what’s called the “missing years”. The missing years is what happened to Yeshua between the time he was a child and where he shows up for his ministry about the age of 30.

Keith: And we have some documents about these things? Do we know about these? [laughing]

Nehemia: Well, there are people who have claimed that he was India, teaching! And he was some kind of guru teaching in India. To me, what’s more interesting is something called the “Infancy Gospel of Thomas”, which tells about how Yeshua had these supernatural powers as a child, and he would kill children and resurrect children. And he would strike people with blindness. And one of the more famous things he did, according to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, is there was a clay bird which was a toy, and he brought it to life. And this is reported in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which is undoubtedly a Christian work, right? In other words, it’s not part of the New Testament, but Christians were really asking the same question that many people ask, “What happened between Matthew 2 and Matthew 3?” All right, so Luke gives a story in Luke 2 about how he’s 12 years old in the Temple. So we have one incident from the entire time during these missing years. What happened during the rest of the time?

And so whoever wrote Infancy Gospel of Thomas, either they had traditions about what happened – I find that very unlikely – or they were speculating, or they had traditions that had speculated, right? The same story about the clay birds appears in the Koran and it appears in “Toldot Yeshu”, which is the Jewish retelling of the Gospels. Some people call it a “Gospel parody”. Most historians don’t consider it to have any historical value.

But what you can see here is that there’s a tradition about Yeshua taking birds and blowing life into them and them flying off. And it appears in these three very different sources: a Christian source, a Jewish source and a Muslim source. You could say it’s just a fairytale that was made up, right? But they all know the same story. That’s really interesting to me. But now, finally we don’t have to speculate. The missing years are over! He’s arrived on the scene! I’ll read it in Hebrew and then I’ll ask you to read it English.

Keith: I want to say something. Listen, Nehemia and folks that are listening. Listen, I want to tell you something. I really want to slow down just for one second. What we’re about to do is not being done anywhere in the world. What we’re about to do is not being done anywhere in the world, because what we have access to is information with the work that you’ve done, Nehemia. And again, there are a lot of new people right now, Nehemia, and I know some people are saying, “Oh, we’ve heard that already.”

But listen, I want to say this again. I want to say this even to the people that are working on this process. What’s happening right now… and I get excited about this, Nehemia, because this is a culmination of a lot of time and effort, a lot of work, and especially on your part in terms of something you said, I think it was in episode 5. You were looking at one word in episode 5. I was listening to this, and I think you said you decided to look in all 28 manuscripts, and in order to do that it took about 15 minutes for each manuscript that you looked in, and I think you said something like it was six hours just for one little piece.

So when people say, “Hurry up, you guys. Get through this so we can get to Matthew 27.” No, no, no. We’re going to slow down and let this thing… We’re going to enjoy this, because this really is a culmination of a lot of work. So now, go ahead, my friend.

Nehemia: Yeah. “Az bah Yeshua mehaGalil.” “Then Yeshua came from the Galilee.” Can we stop there?

Keith: We’re not going any further. [laughing] Folks, I asked Nehemia a question. We finally got to talk, and I said, “Nehemia, remember what you told me about the Galilee?” He’s like, “Which part?” And again - language, history, context. The Galilee - can we talk about it?

Nehemia: So before we get to the Galilee, I’m real excited about what we’re going to talk about in the Plus episode, because in the Plus episode we’re going to finally get what to me is really exciting, is verses 16 to 17. And verses 16 to 17 are going to bring us from Matthew back to Isaiah and to the Psalms, Psalms chapter 2 verse 7. I’m really excited about talking about Isaiah and Psalms, but okay, we’ve gotta talk about the context here. It’s not just the context of verses 13 to 17. This is really, in a sense, the context of Yeshua’s entire ministry.

And here I’m going to get in trouble with my Jewish brothers and sisters who are going to say, “Nehemia, we don’t even know if Jesus existed,” even though He’s mentioned in the Talmud. So I’m going to get in trouble with some of those people. But just as a thought experiment. God sends His son to earth. Why not send him to China? Send him to the Yellow River Valley, where one in five people alive today, that’s the basket of their civilization. Why not send him to Rome, the center of the empire at that time? Why not send him to Ctesiphon, the center of the Persian Empire at that time? Why send him to a little village in the Galilee?

The Galilee was looked down upon by the Jews. We have the story about how they say, “Nothing good comes out of Nazareth.” How could anything good come out… He’s from Nazareth? Just to put it in modern terms, imagine if someone were to claim today if they were Messiah, and you say, “Where is he from?” “He’s from Cleveland.” No offense to Cleveland. It’s just not what we’re expecting, right? And that’s the analogy here.

Keith: [laughing] He’s from New York City. He’s supposed to be from New York City, or Los Angeles.

Nehemia: He’s supposed to be from New York or LA, one of the great cities of the world. He’s supposed to be from Shanghai or Tokyo or Rome. From Nazareth? It’s not even like saying, “He’s from Cleveland.” It’s like saying, “He’s from Toledo, or I’m from Chicago.” Imagine if someone were to appear in downtown Chicago and proclaim themselves that they should be the President of the United States, and where are they from? They’re from Peoria. What? Or Aurora, right? Like the middle of nowhere. There’s a just a big corn field. And that’s what it is really here, and no offense to the people from Aurora, but you know I’m right.

I’ve actually heard this from tour guides in Israel, who will say that there’s a fifth Gospel. There’s Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the fifth Gospel they say is the Galilee. And what they mean by that is, you go through the Galilee and you get all this insight just from the geography. It’s really an incredible experience, I’ve done it. Keith, can I share a quick story that’s kind of a side point here?

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: When I was 10 years old, I made my first trip to Israel, and my father took us all on a tour, and it was a guided tour, with a tour guide. The tour was put out by Egged, which is Israel’s national bus company. It was an Egged tour, an official tour of a government entity of Israel, and the tour guide is talking about, “And here is where Jesus did this, and here is where Jesus did that, and here’s where Jesus is said to have done this other thing.” And my father went to the tour guide and he said, “We’re Jews. We’re not interested in anything to do with what Jesus had to say or do.” And he was very upset. He said, “Why is the government of Israel talking about where all these different places are in the life of Jesus?”

Whether those are correct or not, he didn’t even ask that question. He wasn’t even thinking in those terms. He was thinking in terms of, “We want to know where King David was and where Saul was.” And I agree with my father - we want to know those things too. But I think this is also part of the geography of Israel. You go to places like Cana of Galilee, Capernaum, Kfar Nachum, and part of the history is what happened there, right? The Horns of Hattin, which we went to together, there’s so much history there. I want to hear about how the Crusaders were defeated there in the 12th century. I want to hear about how that’s the place where Yeshua preached the Sermon on the Mount, and this Rabbi lived there later, and here’s the tomb of Maimonides. I think all of those things are important.

So Galilee, as a character, essentially, we have a character in the New Testament which is called Galilee. And there’s so much charged in Galilee, so much cultural charge, right? You say “Galilee” today, people are like, “Okay, Galilee. Where’s that? Oh, yeah.” People look down on it. It’s like, you know, Chillicothe, Ohio, the middle of nowhere. That’s the association people had. Look up that place, Chillicothe. It really is just a big corn field.

Keith: Can you do me a favor? And this is more because what happened when I was reading this and I stopped at Galilee, I asked myself a question that I haven’t asked any other time that I read Matthew. But because we’re doing this together, I did ask it. I said to myself, “I wonder if Nehemia and I were to answer three questions - the language of Galilee, the history and the context of Galilee - would that help us before we get to the place of…?”

Nehemia: Absolutely. Look, the $64,000 question that a lot of people have asked is what language did Jesus speak? And in a sense, that’s kind of the wrong question. In other words… you know, you and I went to South Africa and we met people who spoke three or four languages.

Keith: And there are 11 official ones. [laughing]

Nehemia: And our assumption… What’s that?

Keith: There are 11 official…

Nehemia: That’s right, 11 official languages. Our perspective, our Eurocentric perspective, is that who learns multiple languages? The common man is off working in factories and in fields, he doesn’t have time to learn languages. The people who learn multiple languages are people who have leisure time. They sit down with their tutor and the tutor recites to them the Latin, and recites to them the Greek and they learn multiple languages. And then they travel through France, and the language of French they learn and they get to practice it. So our assumption, coming from a European cultural background is - and by “us” I mean the United States, right? People in Western civilization - our assumption is that people who have leisure time are the people who learn multiple languages.

When you go to the Third World, you find out that’s not true, and even some countries that aren’t Third World. In China I would meet people who spoke their local language, who spoke fluent Mandarin and usually spoke another language that was used in commerce in the area, from the neighboring village. And all of those would be defined by linguists as mutually unintelligible languages, sometimes dialects, right? But really, mutually unintelligible languages. The local language where I lived in China was more different than Mandarin than Hebrew and Aramaic are. Hebrew and Aramaic are sister languages. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of words that are in common between the two languages, and actually between all Semitic languages, or many Semitic languages.

So for example, the word for child in Hebrew is “yeled”, in Aramaic, it’s “yalad”. And in Arabic it’s “walad”, It’s the same word, same three consonants except for the first consonant in Arabic it becomes a “w” and in Hebrew it’s a “y”. We have the same phenomenon, by the way, happening in Hebrew with the name “Chaya”, or the word “chaya”, which means “life,” and the woman’s name derived from that is “Chava”, which is the Vav. So Vav-Yud interchanges. We have that in the name “Yehovah” by the way, “hayah, hoveh, yihyeh” and the three forms of the verb.

So the point is, you look across Semitic languages and you see hundreds of words, thousands of words in common, and even what’s called the “morphology” of the grammar is very, very similar. So first of all, in the Galilee, no question about it, people spoke Hebrew, they spoke Greek, and they spoke Aramaic. All three languages were spoken in the Galilee.

If you went to Scythopolis, which was the ancient city of Bet Shean, which had been populated and settled by Greeks and became a Greek city, or Greek-speaking people at least, it was settled by Greek-speaking people - they spoke Greek in Bet Shean. If you had Jews out in the villages around Bet Shean they probably spoke Hebrew, and then you had other people who spoke Aramaic. So to ask the question, which language did Yeshua speak is like saying, somebody in the village, or they call them “townships” in South Africa, which of the languages do they speak? Now, you could ask, “Okay, what’s their mother tongue?” Meaning, what language does their mother speak? But their father might speak a different language, right?

And we encounter people like that. There’s this famous statement of Rabbi Judah the Prince, Rabbi Yehudah haNassi. Rabbi Yehudah haNassi is a really interesting figure, and we’re going to get back to him. He lived and died in the Galilee. He spent his whole life in the Galilee. He’s known in Jewish history because sometime between the year 189 and 210 he compiled a great compilation of Jewish teachings, of Rabbinical teachings, which became known as the Mishna. Some people call him the “author of the Mishna”, but he didn’t write the Mishna. He collected these different teachings and sayings which became the Mishna. And then, what the Talmud does it says, “What about this other statement that Rabbi Judah the Prince didn’t include in the Mishna? It says something different, attributed to a similar Rabbi, or a different Rabbi.” So the Talmud is actually hashing out the parts, the teachings that Rabbi Judah the Prince didn’t include in the Mishna. This is in the Babylonian Talmud, Baba Kama 82b. “Rabbi Yehudah haNassi, Rabbi Judah the Prince says, ‘In the Land of Israel, why speak Aramaic? Speak either Hebrew or Greek.’”

And he takes it as a given that you can speak all three languages, right? In his household he says, “We want to speak Greek. We don’t want to speak Aramaic.” Why not Aramaic? Aramaic was understood to be the language of the heathens. There were Jews who spoke Aramaic. The Targum, which is the ancient Aramaic translation of the Torah and then later of the Prophets and Writings, is Aramaic. But there are also people who spoke Greek. They also had the ability to speak Hebrew. The passage in Baba Kama goes on, and they say, “Well, what if you live in Babylonia, what language should you speak? Should you speak Aramaic? Because Aramaic is the native language of Babylonia.” They say, “No, don’t speak Aramaic. Speak either Persian or Hebrew.” Why Persian? because they were living under Persian rule and it was the language of the Persian Empire. “If you can’t speak Hebrew, then speak Persian, but don’t speak the language of the heathens, Aramaic.”

Aramaic was really looked down upon. There were still people who spoke Aramaic, no question about it. Really, we have to think of it in terms of all three languages were spoken. And so the question is, which language did Yeshua speak is the wrong question. He spoke all three languages. He would have spoken different languages in different opportunities.

Keith: Can you help us with something, Nehemia? So one of the things that happened, I remember this, I was in Namibia and I was all excited, because every time I go to a place, I like to learn a little bit of the language that’s there, et cetera. But I was on my way from Namibia to Johannesburg on South African Airlines, and I remember this so clearly. So I had learned a little bit of Afrikaans in Namibia. When I get on the airplane on my way to Johannesburg, I decided to greet the South African flight attendant in Afrikaans. And the response was a bit negative. Now, I wasn’t taking into context why it would be different for the person that’s in Johannesburg to feel differently about me, coming to speak to them in the language of Afrikaans. Now, the reason I’m bringing that as an example, I want to ask a question back to the…

Nehemia: That is a great example, because there’s often an ideological connotation or attachment to specific languages, like famously in South Africa, there were riots and protests because they wanted to teach the Black African population Afrikaans in their schools and not English. And they said, “No, we won’t be able to communicate with the people of the world. English is the international language, and one of the languages of South Africa. Why should we learn Afrikaans?”

Keith: And, by the way, the people that were at that point teaching it to them, also they looked at it from a perspective of oppression. The list goes on and on.

Nehemia: Oh, absolutely.

Keith: So here’s my question…

Nehemia: In other words, it was used specifically to cut them off from the people of the world, and it had an ideological connotation to it.

Keith: So here’s my question, and this is an important one. This is what happened for me, and I thought, “Man, I’m going to ask Nehemia this, because he’ll be able to answer it.” So in the Galilee, what does Aramaic mean, historically? What does Greek mean, historically? And of course, what does Hebrew mean? Now, you don’t have to answer all three of those, but at least with Aramaic, can we just take a minute to ask what would it have meant historically? Like what would be the meaning in terms of its background?

Nehemia: So Aram is the name of a people, one of the peoples who are mentioned in the people’s list in Genesis 10. Aram was a descendant of Ever, meaning from where we get the word “Hebrew”, but he spoke a different language. There were three major Aramean kingdoms in the time of the First Temple period and before, there were three major Aramean kingdoms. There were Aram Damesec, that is, the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, Aram Zobah, which is today Aleppo, that is Aram of the city of Zobah, of Aleppo. And there was Aram Naharayim, Aram between the two rivers, which we call today Iraq, or Mesopotamia.

And so the language… we say that Abraham came from Aram Naharayim, so there’s a question. There’s a question. Did he speak Aramaic or did he speak Hebrew? There’s no question about what Laban spoke. Laban spoke Aramaic. And how do we know Laban spoke Aramaic? Because when he makes a covenant with Jacob, they make a pile of stones, and we’re told that Jacob calls it “gal ed”, which means “a pile as a witness”, and Laban calls it “yegar sahadutha”. “Yegar sahadutha” means “a pile of testimony”, right? It’s not actually even the same name.

And it tells us in Genesis that Laban had a different name for it, because Laban spoke a different language. So by the time of Jacob we can say with complete confidence that people were speaking Hebrew. Whether Abraham spoke Aramaic or Hebrew or both, I guess we don’t really know that. But definitely, by the time of Jacob, Hebrew was the language. And then Hebrew, of course, was the language that was spoken – with different dialects, and we’ll get to that in a second – with different dialects all the way up until around the 9th century.

We quote in our book, A Prayer to Our Father - I believe we quote - from a Rabbi named Rabbi Elijah ben Judah the Nazarite who wrote what’s considered the first grammar of Hebrew. And there, he says, he sits in the public squares and streets or in the markets of Tiberias to listen to the speech of the common folk, so he can fill in some of the blanks in his grammar. Or his grammar is based on the Hebrew of the Bible, but not everything that existed in ancient Hebrew is in the Bible. Meaning, imagine if we didn’t know a word of English and all we had in English was the writings of Shakespeare. So there’s a lot more to English than what’s in Shakespeare. And so he had to hear from the common folk and hear them speak to know what some of the rules were, as late as the 9th century, which is pretty incredible, or maybe even the beginning of the 10th century.

So I want to get to Galilee. Galilee is a character in the New Testament, and that’s why it’s important to talk about… Boy, we’re running out of time. [laughing]

Keith: [laughing] We’re not running out of time.

Nehemia: We didn’t even get to the first verse.

Keith: Keep plugging.

Nehemia: But no, we will get to the part about, you know, the last two verses in the Plus episode. That is my goal. Okay, but I think this is important. Like I said, it’s not just a background of these verses, it’s a background of all four Gospels, in a way. So Galilee is referred to in the Book of Isaiah chapter 9 verse 1, which in English…

Keith: This is what I was waiting to get to. [laughing]

Nehemia: …which in the English is chapter 8 verse 23 as “Galil ha Goyim”, “Galilee of the Gentiles”, or “Galilee of the Nations”. Now, I want to stop here for a second. I’ve had people talk to me, and they think the word “Goyim” is an insult that Jews use to refer to Gentiles. Maybe there are some Jews who use it that way. I haven’t encountered that. I grew up in a community of Jews who - how do I say it – were not politically correct when it came to non-Jews. And they had a slur for non-Jews, and it wasn’t “Goyim”. I won’t even say what it was, because it’s quite offensive. But it wasn’t “Goyim”, it’s something that means “abomination”.

So if a Jew wants to refer to non-Jews in a negative way, he doesn’t say, “Goyim”. “Goyim” just means “the people of the nations”. And Israel’s called a “Goy”, Israel’s called a “Nation”. But here, Galilee of the Nations in Isaiah chapter 8 verse 23 in the English, 9:1 in the Hebrew, raises the question - why is it called “Galilee of the Nations?” And the real answer is, we don’t know 100 percent why, but it probably dates back to 1 Kings chapter 9 verse 11 where Solomon is building the Temple and he needs large cedar trees for the roof and some of the supporting beams. He gets them from King Hiram of Tyre, of Tzur. In Hebrew, the city’s called Tzur. Tyre, to this day is a city on the coast of Lebanon. At the time, it was a Phoenician city. Phoenician is what the Greeks called the Canaanites, so it’s a Canaanite city.

And Solomon, as a payment for all of this wood that he’s given, gives 20 cities in the Galilee to Hiram of Tyre. And so why do we have Galilee of the Gentiles, Galilee of the Nations? Probably because Solomon gave it over to Hiram.

Keith: Do you remember what Hiram said?

Nehemia: Tell me what he said.

Keith: About the quality of those cities?

Nehemia: What does he say?

Keith: [laughing] “These are the cities you’ve given me?”

Nehemia: [laughing] You’re saying he wasn’t very grateful.

Keith: Well, no. He was saying… In other words, I guess when I hear in Isaiah and then also going forward, just geography - Syria, Lebanon, Israel, present day, what was happening there and who was there, it seems like when you ask the question about why would he send him there, beyond the fact that it’s Israel, but this thought from Isaiah that says, when I read Isaiah it said, “Galilee of the Gentiles”. And then when I thought about Yeshua being in the Galilee, I’ve heard a lot of people go on and on about that, but it is kind of cool that that is where he came from, especially in terms of the mission of not just reaching those that were with him, but reaching people beyond.

Nehemia: All right, so now that you drew us into this, here’s something really interesting. So let’s read it. Verse 11 of 1 Kings chapter 9, “King Hiram of Tyre, having supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress, timber and gold, as much as he desired, King Solomon gave to Hiram 20 cities in the land of Galil,” of Galilee. “But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him,” it says, “lo yashru be’einav,” “they were not straight in his eyes.” He didn’t like them. Therefore, he said, “What kind of cities are these that you have given me, achi?” “my brother?” I love that he calls him “achi”. “So they are called ‘the land of Kabul’,” “Kavul” in Hebrew to this day. What does “kavul” mean in Biblical Hebrew? Maybe it means “bound”? It’s not clear, and probably it’s not a Hebrew word. “Kavul” is probably a Canaanite word in the Canaanite language.

And so here we have a word play, which I talk all the time about word plays, which scholars call “paronomasia.” It’s a play on words, word puns, that the name “Jacob” has to do with the word in Hebrew. Here’s a word play with the word “kavul”, which may have been understood at the time of Solomon, but we hear that today and we’re like, “Does it mean bound? Does it mean like baal maybe?” It’s not clear what it means at all. Apparently, it’s something disparaging, right, because he doesn’t like it.

So that was Galilee of the Nations. So think about this. From the time of Hiram, these cities are looked down upon, these cities of the Galilee. Now, this isn’t the entire Galilee - Galilee is a large region, but it was 20 cities in the Galilee.

Now, let’s fast forward to the time of Zerubbabel, who is the leader who brings the Jews back from Babylonia, and we’re given the list of the different people and where they settled, and all of those people are settling in what today we would call Judea. That is, they’re settling in areas that were the Southern Kingdom, the Kingdom of Judah, during the First Temple period. So I thought of as a kid, we’re coming back from Babylon, and I think, “Oh, they’re settling every nook and cranny of Israel.” Not at all. It’s a tiny little province in what today is central Israel. It doesn’t even include some major parts of Israel that we think of. It doesn’t include Samaria, it doesn’t include the Jezreel Valley, it doesn’t include the northern Jordan Valley. I mean, the breadbasket of Israel’s not included. It doesn’t include the Galilee at all.

And what happens is, there are Jews who are living in these areas in southern Israel, and there is the war against the Greeks. The Greeks come and they want to wipe out the Jewish faith. This is the famous story of Chanukah, we’re not going to get into the whole thing. You ask about the connotation of Greek. For a lot of Jews, the connotation of Greek was persecution. Saying “Greek” was almost the same as saying “expunge my Jewish identity.”

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: That was the understanding. To this day, by the way, there are many Jews where you talk about “Hellenize” or you use the word “assimilate”, and those are dirty words. Because assimilate means “give up my Jewish identity”. “Hellenize” means “adopt somebody else’s culture instead of my culture and faith”. So Greek has very negative connotations, even though Rabbi Judah the Prince preferred Greek over Aramaic. As bad as Greek was, Aramaic was considered worse, to him.

Jews who are in southern Israel and are persecuted by the Greeks, and they want to wipe out the Jewish faith, that becomes the Chanukah story. There’s a war with the Maccabees, or actually they’re called the Hasmoneans in Jewish sources. The Hasmoneans, the Chashmonaim, they fight against the Greeks and they have some kind of limited victory. They win, they lose, they win, they lose, it goes back and forth. Finally, some Jews during this period are able to get a foothold in the Galilee.

We don’t hear much about the Galilee until finally we fast forward it until after Isaiah. And by the way, Isaiah 9:1 might be talking about something referred to in 1 Kings 15:29, which is the exile of the Galilee in the time of Tiglath-Pileser III in approximately 732 BC. Isaiah 9 and that whole context is about the Assyrian invasion, that is, King Ahab is about to be attacked by the king of Israel, and the Aramean King of Damascus, and God promises him that the king of Israel will be destroyed. And then in chapter 9 he mentions that Galilee of the Nations, which might be the exile there under Tiglath-Pileser III.

Now, jump forward to around the year 161, 160 BC. It’s during the time of Judah the Maccabee when he is the leader of the Hasmoneans. And we read that there is an emissary that comes from the Galilee. We’re not going to read the whole thing. 1 Maccabees 5:14-23, we hear about how the Galilee of the Nations, and there, “Nations” no doubt means “Gentiles”, absolutely 100 percent. We’re told there that the Galilee of the Nations want to wipe out the Jews in the Galilee. And so they send an army, a military force under Simon, the brother of Judah, Simon the Hasmonean, up to the Galilee, and he defeats this army that’s come to attack the Jews. And then it says in verse 23 of 1 Maccabees 5, “Then Simon took the Jews of Galilee and Arbata with their wives and children and all they possess and led them to Judea with great rejoicing.”

So how many Jews could have possibly been in Galilee [laughing] if he’s able to empty the Galilee and bring these Jews to safety out of Galilee into Judea? Maybe there were 1,000 Jews, 2,000 Jews. I doubt there were that many. In other words, they understood this was part of the Biblical Land of Israel and they wanted to settle the land that God gave them. So they were Jewish settlers, literally Jewish settlers, in Galilee, and at some point, the local population of Galilee, who were called the Itureans - and we’ll talk about that in a minute – they decide, “We’re going to kill all the Jews.” And so they send a military expedition and they bring the Jews out of Galilee back into Judea.

You could say there was a similar thing that happened in modern times, which is that there were 10,000 Jews living in Gaza, which is part of the historical Land of Israel. And the State of Israel, right or wrong, and I think they were wrong, but right or wrong said, “We want to bring these Jews out so they don’t get slaughtered by the Arabs.” So we actually have a modern parallel to what happened. So 1 Maccabees 5:23, Galilee is yudenrien. It is free of Jews. There’s not a single Jew in the Galilee, because they’d be killed if they were living there. And then, fast forward to Josephus Antiquities 13:318, and it’s in the time of Judah Aristobulus. Judah Aristobulus is one of the five sons of John Hyrcanus, and he reigns for a single year, the year that’s approximately 104 to 103 BCE. So we know exactly when he ruled, give or take a year, these numbers are approximate.

It says, “Judah Aristobulus conferred many benefits on his own country,” this is Josephus writing, “and made war against Iturea, and added a great part of it to Judea, and compelled the inhabitants if they would continue in that country to be circumcised and to live according to the Jewish laws.”

So he conquers the Galilee, this area of Iturea. Now, Iturea was a large area which today covers parts of Syria and Lebanon. He didn’t conquer all of that. He only conquered the part that today we would call the Galilee. So he’s conquered this part of Iturea and he says to the people there, “Convert or leave.”

And this is actually unprecedented with one exception in Jewish history. The other exception is John Hyrcanus’ father did the same thing to the Idumeans, that is the people in lived in what today is southern Judea, who had come and occupied southern Judea, the area around Hebron. Famously, Herod is the grandson of a forcibly converted Idumean. So they were forcibly converted to Judaism.

And then Josephus goes on and he quotes Strabo, who was a Greek historian. And Strabo, of course, is writing from the Greek perspective what he knows about Judah Aristobulus’ conquests of the Galilee. He says, “This man was a person of candor and very serviceable to the Jews, for he added a country to them and obtained a part of the nation of the Itureans for them, and bound them to them by the bond of circumcision of their genitals.” [laughing] To Strabo, the Greek historian in Asia Minor, this is some bizarre, exotic ceremony that the Jews say, “If you want to be part of our nation, you have to be circumcised,” where to Josephus it’s just, “Okay, follow the Torah and be circumcised.”

So we have here, the Galilee is free of Jews, there’s not a single Jew living in the Galilee in 1 Maccabees 5:23 around the year 160 BC. And then around 60 years later, a little less than 60 years later, it’s conquered by Judah Aristobulus, and from then begins the Jewish settlement of the Galilee.

And this actually ties in perfectly to what we read in Luke, right? In Luke we hear how there’s this census that the Romans are carrying out, and we’re told, “Well, you have to go back to your ancestral homeland.” Why is this ancestral homeland Judah, Bethlehem of Judea? Why isn’t it Nazareth? Because Nazareth was a Jewish settlement. The Jews came from Judea after the conquest of Judah Aristobulus and they settled in northern Israel including in Nazareth. You could literally say that Yeshua was a Jewish settler, and He was from a family who hadn’t been that long in the Galilee, 100 years, right? What is that, maybe three or four generations? It wasn’t that long in the Galilee to the point where they remembered, “Yeah, we came back from Ephrata, from Bethlehem, from that little village near Jerusalem. And now we’re in the Galilee, in Nazareth.”

And so that’s how Yeshua ends up in the Galilee, and then we later hear about this in Matthew. I’m going to save it for when we get to Matthew, about the different accents and pronunciation, but the people of Galilee were looked down upon, and I just want to read one last thing. We didn’t even get to the verse, we read half a verse, but it was worth it. Go ahead.

Keith: [laughing] The thing that hits me is, I always think about like when you said your family went to the Galilee. Being in the Galilee, the part of it that kind of shakes me up a little bit is just that the geography of it still exists today. So for example, the Sea of Galilee may have been larger, but it was the Sea of Galilee. The hills, the mountains, even, can I go so far, like actually the valley itself and how He would have gotten from the Galilee to where He was going, it’s very possible it would be around the same place like where the road is today.

Nehemia: Oh, the roads are more or less in the same place for a simple reason - that the roads follow natural contours, and somebody comes along and they try to build a new road – this happened near Ein Gedi, where they built… They thought, “Oh, the road is circuitous. Let’s build a straight road.” Well, a flash flood comes once every 10 years and washes the road away. [laughing] There’s a reason the road is where it was. And so the same roads are in the same place for thousands of years because of geographical reasons and strategic reasons, and all kinds of things like that.

Keith: Okay, before we go any further, before we read this verse, I want to just say one other thing about the verse. But do you have anything else to say about this language, history, context of the Galilee? Because I think this is key.

Nehemia: Oh, so here’s one of the most interesting things to me. We said we’d do this thought experiment. God could send His son to anywhere in the world. He doesn’t send him to the cradle of Chinese civilization, or the cradle of Indian civilization, or the cradle of European civilization. He sends him, according to the New Testament and the belief there, He sends him to a little, tiny village in the Galilee which is looked down upon. And one of the reasons it’s looked down upon is the people there are Jewish settlers. They’ve only been there for a few generations. They don’t have long roots in that land. The people of Israel do, but the Jews who came from Judea don’t.

And on top of that, a lot of the people in Galilee are converted Jews. And there were definitely Jews who were obsessed with genealogies - Paul talks about that. And they would say, “Well, okay. I’m a true Jew. Your great, great-grandfather was forcibly converted to Judaism. Are you even really a faithful Jew, or did you do it out of convenience?” And the population who lived there were called the “Itureans”. Now, some people will describe them as “Arabs”. One of the earliest reference to them is from the same Greek historian we heard about before, Strabo, in book 16:2. He says, “The Itureans and the Arabians,” the Arabs are a separate group, “all of whom are freebooters.” I had to look up the word “freebooter”. Freebooter is a pirate on the land. It comes from the Dutch, “all of whom are freebooters, occupy the whole of the mountainous tracts.” Now, he’s talking actually after the conquest and the conversion of the Itureans, so he’s talking about the Itureans who live in Lebanon.

He said, “The husbandmen…” meaning the shepherds, “live in the plains, and when harassed by the freebooters, they require protection of various kinds. And the robbers have strongholds from which they issue forth.” So he describes the Itureans who are not conquered, the ones that Judah Aristobulus couldn’t conquer because maybe they were held up in the mountains, they come down and they harass the people who live in the plains who are raising sheep, and this is their way of life for both the Itureans and the Arabs.

Well, the Itureans in Galilee became Jews. Now, there’s a question about, are these Itureans Semites or not Semites? And I’m now convinced a little bit more than I was in the past that maybe they’re the descendants of Ishmael. Yishmael, we’re told in Genesis 25:15 in 1 Chronicles 1:31, had a son named Yitur, and Itureans could be Yiturim. We’re told in 1 Chronicles 5:18-22, we don’t have time to get to it, how there was a war in Transjordan with a bunch of different nomadic tribes, and one of those are the Yitur, that is the Itureans.

So the Itureans who came into Galilee and Lebanon were ones who earlier had been in Transjordan, and maybe they were all over the place, they were nomadic. So what we have is, we have something really interesting - that Yeshua’s… not place of birth, because according to the New Testament that’s Bethlehem, but the place where Yeshua grows up, to be more accurate, is Nazareth. And why Nazareth? It could have been anywhere. Why Galilee?

And here’s something we’ve talked about in the past, I’m going to let you run with this. Galilee is a place where there are three types of people. There are Jews who are descendant from Jacob and Judah, there are Jews who have joined themselves to the people of Israel and the God of Israel, and I say “forcibly converted”, but they could have left. 90 percent of the Iturean homeland was in what’s today Lebanon and never came under the rule of the Maccabees or the Hasmoneans. It never came under Jewish rule. They could have left.

And then, there were people who were Gentiles, just straight out Gentiles, who spoke Greek and some spoke Aramaic. So you had three types of people in Galilee. So I wonder if this was not one of the reasons that this was chosen, because we have this Galilee of the Nations, Galilee of the Gentiles, and that’s the place where he’s chosen to grow up. What do you think about that, Keith?

Keith: You know, the thing, Nehemia, I don’t only think about that, but I know there’s going to be so much more that we’ll always come back to. But I even think about the fact that we don’t hear about him until this time when Luke says it around age 30. What was he doing there? Who was he interacting with? How was he being prepared to do the very thing he’s about to go and do? I have to wonder if it wasn’t because of all of that diversity. The diversity of people, the diversity of thought, socioeconomic diversity. We didn’t even go into all of that.

But, I mean, you’re talking about a place that’s… can I use the word - I don’t know if this is a good word, melting pot, of people from different places, different languages, different thoughts. And from there is where he was at. And again, we’re going to find out later what he was doing before he gets to John.

Nehemia: So I’m going to summon the Jewish principle I’ve talked about before, which is ma’aseh avot siman lebanim. That is, the actions of the fathers are assigned to the sons. And I have to wonder here if the reason that this was chosen as the place was in a sense foretelling what would happen later for those who followed Yeshua, right? And if you look early in his ministry - and we’ll get to this, I’m jumping ahead, I know - but early in his ministry he says, “I’m not here for the Canaanite woman. I’m not going to throw this to the dogs, this message. I’m not going to give the food for the children to the dogs. This is only for Israel.” And then there’s a certain point in his ministry where there’s a shift. And what a great place for there to be a shift, in Galilee of the Nations.

Keith: Now, here’s the thing. We’re going to read the verse. We actually read the verse. If you listen to the earlier episodes you have an understanding of who John is. You have an understanding of what his ministry was. You have an understanding of where he was. And then Yeshua says, “Okay, now it’s time for me to leave the Galilee to go and meet my cousin, John,” to do what? [laughing]

Nehemia: To be baptized.

Keith: What does that mean, Nehemia? [laughing]

Nehemia: Well, I don’t know that we’re going to have time to get to the whole thing. But here’s what I want to get to in the Plus episode - and maybe we’ll just mention it really briefly - the statement in verse 14 about John having doubts about whether he should even baptize Yeshua. And then, verses 16 to 17, for me that’s the money ball, because that’s a very rich passage. There’s so much to talk about. You could write a book on verses 16 to 17. We’re going to do it in an hour or so.

Guys, if you want to get the rest of the discussion, come over to nehemiaswall.com, where we’ll have Hebrew Gospel Pearls Plus number 8 for those who are members of my Support Team. It’s kind of a thank you for those who support my ministry. And what we decided to do, because there are two ministries involved here, is that on alternating weeks, one week it’ll be on Keith’s website, the Plus episode, the other week it’ll be on my website. I’ve had people complain, they said, “Nehemia, I support your ministry. You should put all of it on your website.” Okay, but there two ministries here that are doing this. You’re doing it together with me, and so we had to find an equitable way of doing this, and this is how we chose to do it.

It’s the bonus. Look, we just talked for an hour. Most people, let’s be honest, aren’t going to listen even to the entire hour, unfortunately. For those who really want to go in depth, they’ll come to the Support Team Study and do the Plus episode.

Keith: You know, I want to give people this. I just want to say this again. I think the Plus, at least up to this point, when we do the Plus episodes, it’s amazing. Nehemia, I just to have to say, it really is amazing. So I really want to encourage people to do that, to go over to nehemiaswall and enjoy Plus. And I’m telling you right now, it’s going to be epic.

But for those of you that don’t want to go any further, you still have opportunities at nehemiaswall, many, many, many things that are there. Free materials at nehemiaswall, bfainternational, free information there. We have the Red Letter Series, which is free. You can get little parts of it, little pieces of what we’re doing, but nothing like the Plus that we’re getting ready to do now. So I hope that people will take advantage of it, because it really has been a game-changer so far.

Nehemia: Keith, would you end with a prayer and then I’ll pray too?

Keith: Absolutely, I will. Father, thank you so much for the information that You’ve provided. Thank you for the inspiration and thank you for the parts that are being revealed to us, even as we study and look at all of this information. The manuscripts, the work that Nehemia has done, the time that he has spent, the resources that have been spent, we don’t take this as a small thing. We thank You for this opportunity to continue studying about this ancient text that we have access to. Thank you so much for Your goodness and Your grace and the people that have been a part of this, so far. We just pray that You continue to encourage them in their faith, in Your name, Amen.

Nehemia: Yehovah, I am so grateful that You have given me the opportunity, little old me, from not a special place in the world, from Chicago, to have the opportunity to empower people with information based on the ancient Hebrew sources of their faith, even if their faith isn’t my faith, even if I don’t understand the same thing as they understand or agree with the same things they agree with. But that they truly want to serve You and walk in Your path and understand what You’ve communicated to mankind. I want them to understand that, based on its history, language and context.

Father, I’m so thankful that I have gotten the chance to walk through the places of history, the places of the Tanakh, places of the New Testament, and places of history that happened after that, of pivotal events in history all on that small, little land, the Land of Israel, in Judah and the Galilee and everything in-between. Yehovah, I feel special that most of my ancestors read about these places and didn’t know where they were, or what they were, they had to speculate about them. I’ve gotten to touch those places and walk through them. I’m so grateful. Yehovah, thank you for giving me access to all of the documents and manuscripts and resources that I have. It’s a great blessing to me, and I hope to bless others who want that information. But I can only do this if it’s according to Your will and with Your help, Yehovah, amen.

Keith: Amen.

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6 thoughts on “Hebrew Gospel Pearls #8 – Matthew 3:13-17

  1. I think perhaps the reason the Nicene creed skips the life of Jesus is because there’s is the religion about rather than the religion of Yashuah.

  2. As I stopped for a snack between Pearls 8 and Pearls 8 Plus, I noticed a phrase from Handel’s Messiah running through my mind, “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and the kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:3). This beautifully ties in with your discussion of Isaiah 9:1-2, “In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” And again from Isaiah 49:6, “”It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” All this from half a verse (Mt. 3:13a)! Can’t wait to hear what Pearls 8 Plus holds in store!!

  3. Ep 8 -This is the first time I have heard of Jesus speaking multiple languages. This fits exactly with my experience in Vanuatu where each person spoke at least the Custom language, Bislama (Pidgin) and English or French (they were then taught French or English) plus they would also have a knowledge of the custom languages of adjacent tribes. The speaking of many languages (and not just knowing Hebrew as a ‘religious’ language) sounds exactly right.

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