Hebrew Voices #40 – Hebrew Manuscript of the Book of Revelation: Part 2

door nails as descried in the Book of RevelationIn Hebrew Voices, The Hebrew Manuscript of the Book of Revelation: Part 2, Nehemia Gordon, AJ Bernard, and T-Bone, unlock the original meaning of the "keys of death", and reveal a message for the 10 Lost Tribes that was lost in translation. Make sure you first listen to  Part 1 of The Hebrew Manuscript of the Book of Revelation

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Hebrew Voices #40 – Hebrew Manuscript of the Book of Revelation: Part 2

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Benjamin Netanyahu: Le ma’an Zion lo ekhesheh, ulema’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot. (For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. Isaiah 62:1)

Nehemia: Shalom, this is Nehemia Gordon, and welcome back to Hebrew Voices, discussing the Hebrew manuscript of the Book of Revelation that was recently discovered. This is part 2 of our discussion. We went so long in the discussion that we decided that have to break this into two parts. This is so exciting. This is not the final word on this text, this is the beginning of study and exploration, and that’s one of the things that excites me about this text, is that it can be the basis for beginning a discussion. I am beginning exploration of this text and I’m very excited about this. And I’m here today once again with AJ Bernard and my friend, T-Bone. Shalom, guys.

AJ Bernard: Shalom.

T-Bone: Shalom.

Nehemia: So, we are back discussing the Hebrew version of the Book of Revelation, which can be found in the British Library. In fact, they have it on their website. It’s manuscript Sloane 273, and I want to get to verse 18, because verse 18 is the second most exciting verse in the whole section, for me.

AJ Bernard: Sure.

Nehemia: Maybe it’s the third, I don’t know. All right, verse 18 - and do you have my translation in front of you, AJ?

AJ Bernard: I do. I’ve got both of them, yeah.

Nehemia: Okay, I’m going to read the Hebrew. I’m going to let you read the English to verse 18. “Ve hachai vehayiti met, vehinei chai ani l’olmei olamim, amen. Veyesh li et hamasmerim hamavet vehaSheol.”

AJ Bernard: “And the one who lives and I was dead, and behold, I live forever and ever, amen. And I have the nails of death and Sheol.”

Nehemia: The “nails of death”. And in the Greek it doesn’t say “nails”, in the Greek it says, “the keys of death and hades”. Hades presumably is a Greek concept that’s parallel to Sheol except obviously, it’s somewhat different. But if you’re translating it into Greek, I don’t know how else you’d translate it. So, “nails”. So if this is translated from Greek, which it might be, where did they get the nails from? And the word “nails” is masmerim and keys are maftechot. So they both have a Mem in them, but many Hebrew nouns begin with a Mem. They don’t sound similar at all, so what’s going on here?

AJ Bernard: I don’t know. The Greek word here is “kleis” or “klace” which means alternatively, “key” and “to shut”. And so there is, if not a linguistic similarity, at least a functional similarity between a key and a nail, because they both shut things.

Nehemia: That sounds like you’re… [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Is it? Okay.

Nehemia: I mean, that sounds like you’re grasping at nails there. I mean, “They both shut things.” So, if he said, “I have here the chair of the Sheol and hades,” you could say, “Well, you put a chair up against the door to shut it, right?”

AJ Bernard: [laughing] That may be going a little far.

Nehemia: Right. Now, where you could say they’re similar is that a key is made of usually iron in ancient times, and it has more or less the shape of a nail, and that actually is not a coincidence. I looked into this, and I’m like, “Wow, this is probably the most significant difference from the Greek text.” And I couldn’t find any Greek text from what I was able to check, or even Aramaic. I looked everywhere. I couldn’t find anybody who has anything other than “key”, that has “nails”.

So, I looked at this word “nails”. It appears four times in the Tanakh, and it’s often related to doors. Actually, we have this expression in English, “dead as a doornail”. So, what is a doornail? So originally, a door was made of a series of planks, and you’d have a crossbar that would hold them together with nails. And then in later doors, the nail just became a decoration. In fact, I Googled “doornail” and I found modern doornails that are used as decorations. Like apparently, this is still a thing - a doornail. So, I think that’s interesting, that he’s talking about keys in the Greek, and in every other version and in Hebrew there’s a nail, and a nail can be associated with the door. But it doesn’t end there. So, in the Tanakh it’s related to doors.

The really interesting thing is, when I looked up “masmer” in Jastrow, that’s the dictionary of post-Biblical Hebrew, he has two fascinating references. What Jastrow does is he doesn’t just tell you what it means, he says, “Well, here are the texts the word is used in.” And that’s how we know what it means. We’re not telling the text what it means, we’re deriving the meaning from these Jewish texts.

So, the first text is the Mishna, and the Mishna in the tractate of Shabbat, it’s talking about Rabbinical law, you’re not allowed to carry something outside on the Sabbath. It’s considered work by the Mishna to carry something outside on the Sabbath, and they say, “Well, what about carrying the nail of a crucifixion victim?” I mean, isn’t it incredible? They’re talking in the Mishna that this was a thing! [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Wow.

Nehemia: People walked around carrying the nail of a crucifixion victim. The assumption by most people who read this is that it imparted them with some kind of protection or luck. But maybe these were Jews who believed in Yeshua, because we’re talking in the 2nd century, you know how many Christians would walk around wearing a cross? Maybe they walked around carrying a crucifixion nail in their pocket, because they believed in Yeshua. I don’t know. Isn’t that incredible?

AJ Bernard: Awesome. That’s awesome.

Nehemia: Yeah.

AJ Bernard: Now, there’s also the verse in Isaiah 22:23, “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open and none shall shut. He shall shut and none shall open.”

Nehemia: Okay.

AJ Bernard: And that was linked from Matthew 16:18 and 19. “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Nehemia: So, this can’t be a coincidence. We have a passage here where Yeshua’s talking about keys, and it’s immediately after talking about the gates of hell. It’s the keys of the kingdom and the gates of hell, and those keys open up a door that lets you into the kingdom, presumably. So, that connection to the gates of hell is very interesting, and I think it ties into Revelation, where he says, “I have the keys of death and Sheol.” So, maybe those are, at least from the Greek, the keys that maybe get you out of Sheol and death? No, I’m not trying to be funny, like isn’t that what it means in the Greek?

AJ Bernard: Yeah, I think so.

Nehemia: Like that’s the contextual, literal meaning of the Greek. You’re going to be in Sheol, which is the place in the Tanakh where you sleep after you’re dead, and I’ve got keys that you can get out of there. I think that’s what it’s saying in the Greek. And here in the Hebrew it’s the nails. So what’s your immediate association when you hear a figure that presumably is Yeshua, he says, “I was dead and now I’m alive,” and he has nails; what’s the immediate association, without overthinking this?

AJ Bernard: The cross, the nails of the cross.

Nehemia: The nails of the crucifixion. In fact, I looked up the word “nails” in the New Testament, and I believe the only passage it appears is in John, at least in the plural. Actually, can you read it, John 20:25, AJ?

AJ Bernard: “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails and place my finger in the marks of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’” This is Thomas speaking.

Nehemia: Right, and the word there is “eilon”. We have a related word in Colossians 2:14, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” And the word there is “proseluses,” which is the verb form of nail, just like in the English. So, we have those two references to nails in the New Testament and they’re both related to the cross, and here, all of a sudden in a third place in Revelation, in Hebrew we have Yeshua showing up and saying, “Hey, I’ve got the nails to death and Sheol.”

But how do you get from nails to key or from keys to nail? I didn’t know until I was looking in Jastrow. So check this out - another reference he brings is to a passage in the Tosefta, which is around the same period as the Mishna, meaning around 200 AD, and it talks about various laws of ritual purity, and one of the questions the Rabbis discuss there is they say, “Well, what about a nail that’s bent to open and lock doors?” [laughing] Meaning a nail that’s turned into a key.

AJ Bernard: Oh, wow!

Nehemia: Like, that was a think in this period. So, you have Jews walking around carrying nails from a crucifixion victim, and then you have nails that are used as keys. This can’t be a coincidence. There are too many cultural connections going on here.

AJ Bernard: That’s awesome.

Nehemia: Something is going on here. This is fascinating. Yeshua shows up with the nails of death and Sheol in the Hebrew, and in the Greek it’s the keys, and nails are turned into keys, and Jews are walking around carrying nails. I mean, this is pretty cool stuff. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this, but this is huge. There’s something going on here.

T-Bone: I find this very fascinating, the nails. That’s one of the things that struck me on this manuscript. And I’ve been thinking about it for the last two days, trying to figure out what it could mean. I think what you’re saying there really brings it to light. And whoever translated this, if this was translated from Greek into Hebrew, they had to know the culture and have a deep understanding, I would think, to put nails in there.

Nehemia: Right. And here’s another possibility. There’s a man named William Darby, and he actually wrote a study on the Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew, Shem-Tov’s Hebrew Matthew. I wrote about that in my book, The Hebrew Yeshua Versus the Greek Jesus and A Prayer to Our Father, and I’m convinced that is a Hebrew original text, not a translation from Greek. But Darby, he of course is coming from the Greek perspective, and he says, “We all know it can’t be an original Hebrew text, because we learned that in Seminary.”

So, how do we explain that there are things in Hebrew Matthew that clearly go back to an early period of the Church? This is Darby, and I’m paraphrasing, of course. And he says, “Well, it must have been translated from a now lost early Latin text that preserved things from an earlier Greek text than what we have.” So, this is like a mainstream New Testament scholar. This is actually in the international critical commentary on Matthew. Like, I see that’s a big deal, that’s like mainstream academic university scholarship saying, “Well, we can’t deny that there are these early readings in the Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew of Shem-Tov, but we can’t accept that it’s an original Greek text - or an original Hebrew text - so maybe it’s translated from some early version that somehow got into Spain in 1380.” And maybe that’s what’s going on here. Maybe this is translated from some lost Latin or Greek text which goes back to an earlier Greek that had the word “nails”. I don’t know.

All I know is that I looked and I couldn’t find nails in any other text. If somebody has it out there, please come to the page on nehemiaswall.com and share that manuscript. There could be a manuscript out there in Greek or Latin that has the word “nails”, and I’d love to know that, because there are too many connections here for this just to be a colossal coincidence.

AJ Bernard: Yeah, absolutely.

Nehemia: And let’s state the obvious. Yeshua comes and He says, “I have the nails of death and Sheol.” And you have Jews walking around with nails from a crucifixion. This is cool. [laughing] This is very cool! All now, people - because I could see somebody out there listening to this and saying, “I’m going to get rid of my cross. I’m going to start walking around with a nail.” Please don’t bring it past the TSA. That could end badly. Okay, there I said my piece.

All right, verse 19. I’m going to read to the end of the chapter, 19:20. “Lachen ktov she ra’ita veshehena veshutzrach la’asot acharei zot. Ha sod hashiv’a cochavim she’ra’ita beyad yemini vasheva menorot hazahav hashiva cochavim malachim. Hashiva makelim heima, vehasheva menorot shera’ita shiva makelim hena.” In English, “Therefore, write that which you saw and that are here, and that which is necessary to do after this. The secret of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lamps, the seven stars are angels of the seven congregations and the seven lamps that you saw are the seven congregations.”

And by the way, I’m reading here my translation. Normally, what happens in scholarship is we’ll discover a text like this and we’ll work on it for 10 years, and then we’ll release the official authoritative translation and text. And I knew about the text 14 years ago, but I saw this text for the first time 3 days ago. So please - what I’m reading is not the last word. This is the beginning of study and research, and I’m hoping people will go to this text and they’ll do research and they’ll say, “Nehemia was wrong. Here’s this other information that within three days he didn’t pick up on,” which is entirely possible. I mean, I think this text is worthy of study. Do you guys have any thoughts on these last two verses of chapter 1?

AJ Bernard: There’s the issue of the angels of these churches, and does that refer to the divine heavenly beings, or does “angel” simply refer to messenger? Could it be the pastor or a prophetic figure?

Nehemia: And what is the word in Greek?

AJ Bernard: Angelos.

Nehemia: So, “angelos” means “messenger”, and it’s just as ambiguous as Hebrew. In other words, in the Tanakh, “mal’ach” can be both a human or a spirit messenger, and there’s no way to know except the context. And in Greek as well, “angelos” is just “messenger”. So a human messenger is also called “angelos” in Greek. So it’s ambiguous – meaning, whenever you see the word “angel”, know that word can be a human messenger as well. And that’s in the Tanakh, that’s in the New Testament, that’s everywhere that both Hebrew and Greek have this word that has this ambiguity.

In fact, “malachai” means “my messenger, my angel”. It’s “malachi”, “my main angel”. And he’s referred as his “mal’achut”, his messengership, meaning referring to malachi. And then the King Balak sends messengers, which are also called angel, “malach”. So, it’s only from the context you could know whether it’s angel or messenger. It’s the same in Hebrew and Greek.

AJ Bernard: Okay. And does that share the root with “melech” meaning “king?”

Nehemia: No, absolutely not. Melech, the root is Mem-Lamed-Khaf. Noun, adjective and verb in the Hebrew language is based on a three-letter root. This is the most basic concept - literally, the most basic concept. It’s the root concept, no pun intended – or maybe pun intended – of the Hebrew language, that every word has a three-letter root. It doesn’t apply to prepositions and things, but every adjective, noun and verb has a three-letter root. And the root of “melech”, king is Mem-Lamed-Khaf. The root of angel, “mal’ach,” is Lamed-Aleph-Kaf. And “la’achah” means “to send, to send somebody to do something.” So, mal’ach is “the one who is sent”, that’s the literal translation.

Okay, chapter 2:1, “Lemal’ach hamakel ve’Efesus ktov hena. Omer she’okhez hashiva hakochavim beyad yemino sheholech betoch hasheva menorot hazahav.” “To the angel of the congregation of Ephesus write here. The one who is holding the seven stars in his right hand and that walks in the middle of the seven golden lamps says,” “Yode’a ani hamal’achotecha vaheyagi’ah ve’ha’erech apecha. Vekhilo tuchal laset ra’im u’bechantaha. Omrim lihiyotam meshulachim ve lo hema, umetzatam kozvim.” “I know your labors and toil and abundant patience that you are not able to bear evil ones. And you tested it, those who say that they are sent and they are not. And you found them to be liars.”

Verse 3, “Venatalta u’lecha erech apayim ba’avur shmi, velo chalita.” “And you took and you have abundant patience for my namesake and you have not perished.” “Ki’im li me’um alecha ki azavta ha’avcha harishon.” “But I have something against you. You left your first love.” “Uzechor me’ayin nirbateta, vehinachem ve’aseh harishonim ma’asim. Ve’im lo avor lecha pitom peta, ve’azua hamenora mimkomo lulei tinachem.” “And remember from where you were thrown down and repent and do the first deeds. And if not, I will come to you as a sudden surprise and I will shake your lamp from its place if you do not repent.” “Ki im lecha zot ki sotem atah hama’aseh nikola’itim shehsotem gam ani.” “But you have this that you hate the deeds of Nicolaitans that I also hate.” “Ve’asher ozen yishma ma haru’ach omeret lemakelim.” “He who has an ear will hear what the spirit says to the congregations.”

AJ Bernard: I love that phrase.

Nehemia: Let me just finish this verse. “Lamenatze’ach eten le’echol min ha’etz hachayim asher betoch hapardes haElohi.” “I will let the victorious eat of the tree of life which is in the Divine orchard.” Wow, that’s a lot! I don’t know if we can cover all of it, but what are the key things in these seven verses? And by the way, the Hebrew has verse numbers, but they’re slightly different than the Greek and the English. Of course, verse numbers were added much later.

T-Bone: I’m really interested in the divine orchard portion.

Nehemia: Oh, yeah. That’s awesome. So, the word there is “pardes”, and in the Greek I believe it says “paradise” or “paradisos”, which is simply a transliteration of the word “pardes”. Now, scholars say the word “pardes” is not a Hebrew word originally, that originally it is the Persian word for an orchard. Whether that is true or not is an interesting question. That’s beyond the scope of this discussion. But we do have the word “pardes” in the Tanakh. It appears three times, and each time it is referring to a literal area where fruit trees are planted, meaning an orchard.

So, for example, Ecclesiastes 2:5, “I made me gardens and orchards and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits.” And the word is “pardesim”, orchards. Of course, the word “paradise” in English implies not just any orchard, but the Garden of Eden, meaning it’s a specific orchard, a holy orchard. And here it says, “pardes haElohi”, the Divine orchard. What’s interesting is we have a reference in the Talmud to four men who entered the pardes, and it’s this mystical orchard. Let me just pull this up and read it, because it’s quite interesting, the reference to pardes in the Rabbinical text. And this is a very famous story, it’s Arba Nichnesu Lepardes, the Four Who Entered the Orchard.

So, it’s in Chagiga 14:B, which is in the Talmud, but it’s quoting an earlier Mishnaic period source called a Baraita. It says, “Four entered the pardes, and these are they: Ben Aza and Ben Zoma, one they call Acher,” the other one, they won’t even say his name, “and Rabbi Akiva.” It’s a fascinating story. And basically, what comes out of this story is that one of the guys who went into the pardes died. Another one went crazy. And the third one became an apostate, and that’s why they call him Acher, they won’t even say his name. And of the four that entered, only Rabbi Akiva came out unscathed.

So, what is this pardes that they’re talking about, this mystical orchard, and what happened in the pardes? Now is that connected here to what Revelation is talking about, both in the Greek and the Hebrew, because they have the same word? I don’t know, but presumably it’s connected to this idea of the Garden of Elohim, the Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden, which was an orchard, right? It had at least two fruit trees in it, perhaps more. I guess it had lots of fruit trees, because they ate from it.

So, we think of it as the “Garden of Eden”, but actually, it’s the “Orchard of Eden”. It doesn’t sound as poetic in English. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Oh, cool.

Nehemia: But it’s the pardes of Eden. And by the way, we do know the name of the man who became an apostate. His name was Elisha ben Abuyah, but he’s usually referred to as Acher, the other one, who entered the pardes and became a heretic.” [laughing] I wonder what he saw there.

AJ Bernard: The one thing I really wanted to hit on was the word “Nicolaitans”.

Nehemia: Okay.

AJ Bernard: Nicolaitans, because it comes from the Greek, it’s a transliteration of the Greek. I looked in the Hebrew text, and it had the transliteration there. The Greek word - a couple of ideas of where it may come from: One, a conjugation of “nicai’o” which means “to rule over” from the Greek god Nike, and the word that becomes “laity”.

Nehemia: Oh, so it’s to Nike over laity, to be victorious over the laity.

AJ Bernard: Right.

Nehemia: Oh, wow.

AJ Bernard: Yeah, to rule over the people. And I’ve heard people say that this talks about the idea of the clergy, the professional clergy, lording their religion over the people.

Nehemia: Wait, so in your church that you meet on Sunday, they’re under your authority. You’re their covering and they have to obey you, right?

AJ Bernard: Well, only when I want coffee, or slippers, or something.

Nehemia: [laughing] Okay.

AJ Bernard: No, actually because of this verse and a few other places, I don’t have my congregants call me “Pastor AJ”.

Nehemia: Oh, really?

AJ Bernard: I don’t want titles.

Nehemia: Oh, wow.

AJ Bernard: I’m AJ. And a famous Pastor, John McArthur, the Reverend Dr. John McArthur, who was the President of the Master’s Seminary, does the same thing. His congregants call him “John”.

Nehemia: Oh, very cool. That’s very cool.

AJ Bernard: And I think that’s a fantastic way of going about it.

Nehemia: Right, and that kind of ties into Matthew 23, “Call no man Rabbi, call no man father.” That’s way off track, but yeah. It is interesting that you have a Greek word here in the Hebrew. I should point out that in this period, when Hebrew was heavily influenced by both Greek and Aramaic, for example, there are two key concepts in Rabbinical literature from this period, one will be probably very well-known to many members of the audience, it’s the word “gematria.” Gematria is simply the Greek word for “mathematics”, but it appears all over Hebrew literature, both Hebrew and Aramaic literature of Jewish sources.

Gematria is where you take words and you turn them into numbers, and then find other words that have the same number. And that is actually a Greek concept, that they would take Alpha, Beta and Gamma and turn them into numbers. It actually came from the Greek schools of Alexandria.

And then the other word you have, which probably isn’t going to be too familiar to anybody but Hebrew scholars, is the word “notarikon”, which is another Greek word that you find all over Rabbinical literature in Hebrew and in Aramaic. And it’s another method of interpretation that comes out of the Greek schools of Alexandria. Notarikon actually makes a lot more sense in Greek than it does in Hebrew, because it’s identifying compound words. Hebrew doesn’t really have so many compound words, it’s quite rare. But in Greek, “Nicolaitans” is an example of a compound word. It’s the word “nicao”, victory and laity, right? So, compound words are much more natural in Greek.

So, you do have Greek words in Hebrew of this period. You have Aramaic words. We just saw a Persian word that goes back to the time of King Solomon, right, because he’s writing in Ecclesiastes, assuming he wrote Ecclesiastes. So, you do have foreign loaned words occasionally. They tend to be rare, depending on your period you might have more. So yeah, you have all kinds of Greek words in Hebrew sources of this period. You have “famalia” which is the word “family”, but it actually means an “entourage” or a “royal entourage”. You have “palatin” which is a word that appears all over the Rabbinical writings in Hebrew of this period. “Palatin” is the word “palatine” and it means “palace”. It’s actually the source of the word “palace”.

In other words, the original Hebrew, whether this is the original Hebrew or not I don’t know, but it’s very possible the original Hebrew did have the word “Nicolaitim” or something like it, Nicolaitans. It’s very possible.

AJ Bernard: All right. There was another theory that it refers to the heresy of someone named “Nicholas”, but I couldn’t find anything beyond that.

Nehemia: Yeah. And what you’re really saying is that Greek scholars aren’t exactly sure what it means.

AJ Bernard: Right, absolutely.

Nehemia: Meaning, you have this deed of the Nicolaitans, or I think they often talk about the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. Is that what it says in the Greek there?

AJ Bernard: Yes.

Nehemia: So, we don’t exactly know what that is, but the Greek is a good place to start, that’s for sure.

T-Bone: I’ve seen some people connect the Nicolaitans back to the same meaning as “Balaam”.

AJ Bernard: Yeah, I’ve heard that as well.

Nehemia: And tell me about that, what’s the connection with Balaam?

AJ Bernard: I don’t have it in front of me, but it says like the “conqueror of the people.” I’d have to look it up.

Nehemia: Okay, interesting. I think it’s interesting, this word the “victorious”. Is there something different in the Greek there? “I will let the victorious eat of the tree of life.” Just the tree of life is an amazing concept. We just talked about a pardes, a holy orchard, and in that orchard there are two trees, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. And we were never forbidden from eating of the tree of life, we were only forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If we had only just not eaten from the tree we were forbidden to eat from, and eaten from the tree where we were allowed to eat from, we would have had eternal life, but because we disobeyed God, that was taken away from us.

And then you have this concept, especially in Proverbs, “Eitz chaim hi lemachazikim ba.” “The Torah is a tree of life for those who grab hold of it.” The Tanakh concept is that through the Torah, we get a second crack at eating of the tree of life, the one that we gave up that opportunity when we ate of the tree of knowledge. Now we have a second chance to eat of that tree of life, and get eternal life…

AJ Bernard: Hallelujah.

Nehemia: …in the terms of the Tanakh. So, that’s pretty cool. I do think it’s interesting the victorious, because the words “lamenatze’ach” could also mean “the conductor”, that is, the conductor of a choir. And remember, I mentioned that “makelim”, which is congregations, could also be translated as “choir”. I just realized that. Maybe there’s some kind of play on words there, I don’t know.

AJ Bernard: And then, the Greek word “victorious” here gets translated in English as “conquers”, is actually “nikamti”, which comes Nike.

Nehemia: Wow!

AJ Bernard: Yes.

Nehemia: So, we may have a word pun in the Greek connecting Nicolaitans with the victorious.

T-Bone: The conquerors who oppose them, yes.

Nehemia: Wow. So there are the ones who conquer the laity, “We don’t like that. We hate that,” meaning whoever’s speaking here, but for the ones who are victorious in something else, maybe victorious in the Spirit, because the Spirit is talking? I don’t know. That’s theology that I’m not sure we want to get into.

But there’s this other group that are victorious without being victorious over the laity, victorious in the word, victorious in the Torah or whatever it is, they’re going to get to eat of the tree of life. That’s pretty cool.

AJ Bernard: That’s awesome.

Nehemia: That’s cool. And look, that might be an argument for a Greek original, at least, of that passage. I don’t know. That’s interesting. It’s hard to deny that there’s a connection there in the Greek. But maybe the Greek translator from the original Hebrew wove that in. Maybe there was something in the Hebrew that’s not lost. In other words, maybe the original Hebrew said something like, “I hate the actions of the menatzchei ha’am, the ones victorious over the people.” But lamenatze’ach, the conductor of the choir, the one who is victorious in Torah, he’s going to get to eat of the tree of life. Here I’m speculating, I don’t know. I don’t have that text, right? We have a copy of a copy of a copy, possibly a translation.

Now we’re going to get to one of the most exciting verses in the whole thing. I’m going to read to the end, but then we’ll go back and discuss it. So, verse 9, “U’chtov lemal’ach hamakel beSmyrna, veheina omer harishon veha’acharon shehaya met vechaya.” Can you read my English translation of that, AJ?

AJ Bernard: Sure. “And right for the angel of the congregation of Smyrna and hear say the first and the last that was dead and lives.”

Nehemia: And who’s that referring to?

AJ Bernard: Well, that’s obviously Yeshua.

Nehemia: Somebody who is dead and is now… That’s pretty cool. And again, I’m not a Christian. I’m not Messianic. I’m reading this text saying, “What does it say?” I’m just a simple Jew who believes in the Tanakh, but let’s understand what the text says in its own terms. He goes on, “Yode’ah ani hamasecha vehatzara vehadalah ki’im kaved ata. Vehanatzat hamedabrim Yehudi’im lihiyot, ve’lo hema, ki im knesset hasatan…”

And there’s a lot to discuss here. Here’s the English translation: “I know your deeds and the suffering and the poverty, but you are rich, and the despising of those who speak to be Judaic, and they are not, but rather the Synagogue of Satan.” Wow. [laughing] This is interesting.

So first of all, talk to me in verse 8 about this phrase, “the first and the last that was dead and now lives,” because in chapter 1:8 we said, “Well, it’s ambiguous. When he says the Aleph and the Tav, that could be Yehovah speaking.” Actually, it says, “omer Yehovah”, it has to be Yehovah speaking, but here I don’t think anybody can dispute that presumably, Yehovah has never been dead. So presumably this is not Him speaking. So, what does Yeshua mean when He says, “I am the first and the last?”

AJ Bernard: Well, according to Christian theology, the name “Yehovah” applies to the entirety of the Godhead.

Nehemia: Oh.

AJ Bernard: It’s not just the Father, but it’s also the Son and the Spirit.

Nehemia: So, there are three Yehovahs?

AJ Bernard: No, no. It’s a very difficult concept and beyond the scope of this conversation. But…

Nehemia: I’m so confused, AJ. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: I’m so sorry Nehemia, I love you.

Nehemia: All right, so when I say, “Yehovah” I mean what Christians call “the Father”. So, Yehovah Elohim, the Elohim is speaking in 1:8, we all agree on that, because it says, “Yehovah Elohim”, at least in the Hebrew. And let’s go back to 1:8 really quick. Okay, so you’re saying it could be that Yeshua’s speaking even in 1:8?

AJ Bernard: Yeah.

Nehemia: And Yehoshua’s calling Himself “Yehovah”. Oh, okay. So, there’s Father Yehovah and there’s Son Yehovah?

AJ Bernard: And Spirit Yehovah, yeah. There’s only one God.

Nehemia: And that’s not three?

AJ Bernard: There’s only the one God, but He’s expressed in three persons.

Nehemia: Ooh. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Yeah.

Nehemia: All right, let’s go back to the text. So, who is clearly speaking in chapter 2:8?

AJ Bernard: Oh, that would be clearly Yeshua, because he was dead and is now alive.

Nehemia: And I think we all agree that the Father, Yehovah, has never been dead.

AJ Bernard: Right, absolutely.

Nehemia: Okay, and He’s calling Himself “the first and the last”. I’ll let Christian theologians hash out what that means, that’s interesting. Verse 9 is really much more interesting to me, because it talks about the “despising of those who speak to the Yehudi’im”. Read me what it says in the English for that passage.

AJ Bernard: Okay. From the Greek, “I know your tribulation, your poverty, but you are rich.” There’s a parenthetical remark there. “And the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not but are a Synagogue of Satan.”

Nehemia: Wow, “those who say they are Jews but they are not,” and so that would be in Hebrew, “Yehudim”. But instead of Yehudim it has “Yehudi’im”, which is the adjective form. You could almost translate it as “Jewish-like”, or I translated here as “Judaic”. It’s not the same as Jew or Jews. And I looked this up because I thought, “Okay, so what is the difference between Jews and Judaic? Isn’t that the same thing?” And I found this amazing text, Genesis Rabbah section 97. And there, it’s speaking about how Judah, back in the time of the forefathers, was able to keep the tribes from sinning by killing Joseph. Unfortunately, [laughing] it didn’t turn out so well for Joseph, but at least he wasn’t killed.

And then they say here, “Also in this world, you will be honored that all the tribes will call themselves Yehudi’im just as you are called Yehudah.” And the semantic distinction that’s created here in Genesis Rabbah 97 is between Jews and those who are of the tribes and call themselves “Yehudi’im” rather than “Yehudim”. And Yehudi’im are people basically from the 10 lost tribes who will be called “Yehudi’im”. That’s an incredible concept here. Where are these Ten Tribes?

And so, if that’s the meaning - and I don’t know if it is – but if that’s the meaning, if either the translator or the writer was familiar with that semantic distinction, the explanation of Revelation 2:9 from this Hebrew text is that there are people who are going to call themselves “Yehudi’im”, meaning they’re going to be from the Ten Tribes and they’re going to say, “Look, we’re not Jews but we’re Judaic,” and they’re not Judaic, they’re a Synagogue of Satan. I mean, whoa! [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Yeah.

Nehemia: Wow. So, give me your Methodist take on that.

AJ Bernard: Well, Yeshua teaches in a couple of parables about corruption within the Church, and that the Church is going to grow into something that it shouldn’t, that it’s a perverted version of what He wants it to be. I don’t know if that’s the meaning here.

Nehemia: I don’t know. We’ve established what the text says, now the interpretation is less clear.

AJ Bernard: Sure.

T-Bone: I would like if you’d explain Genesis Rabbah a little bit, where it’s from, what it is, that sort of thing.

Nehemia: Okay, so Genesis Rabbah is a Midrash, and it dates to around the year 500, but it contains much earlier material. That’s actually something you’ll often hear in early Rabbinical literature, “It’s from the year 200 but it contains much earlier material,” and it’s true. So, for example, other people who are much greater experts in Genesis Rabbah than I am have pointed out that there are three clear connections between the Epistles of Paul and Genesis Rabbah. For example, where he talks about the Torah being a teacher, that is based on a sermon in Genesis Rabbah, in this Midrash.

And what this Midrash does is, it’s basically a series of interpretations of the Book of Genesis and other books when there’s some association, that are in the Midrashic method – which means, they’re not necessarily saying, “Okay, if we read this text, what meaning will we derive from it?” But there’s an association we can create from this text, and if we want to give a sermon in the synagogue, we could build it around this text. And that’s called the “Midrashic method of interpretation”, it’s sometimes described as reading meaning into the text instead of deriving meaning from the text, but often the Rabbis have a certain concept and they want to teach that concept, so they hang it on some verse from which you’d never get it from that verse alone, but they already have the concept and they want to teach it.

And there are three very clear connections between the Epistles of Paul and Genesis Rabbah which show you that that material goes back to the time when Paul, according to his description, was sitting under Gamaliel and teaching. So, even though it was written down in 500, it contains much, much earlier material that goes back to the 1st century, and probably earlier than that.

So when there’s this teaching that there’ll be people from the Ten Tribes - I guess, 11 Tribes – who will call themselves “Yehudi’im”, that could be from 500, it could be from 500 BC. We don’t know. Probably not from 500 BC, right? But it probably does go back to Second Temple times. Is this a reference to that here, that there are people who claim to be from the Ten Tribes and to be Judaic and they’re not? They’re the Synagogue of Satan? I mean, what on earth…? I mean, the first thought I had is, this is a reference to replacement theology, where the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church say that they are the new Israel. The old Israel’s done away with. They are the new Jews. The old Jews are done away with. I don’t know if that’s what this is talking about. I’m going to leave that for the listeners to search it out for yourself and pray about it, because it’s a very fascinating passage.

AJ Bernard: Yeah, it makes sense to me. I’ve always thought of replacement theology as heretical.

Nehemia: Uh-oh.

AJ Bernard: It’s really, really bad.

Nehemia: Uh-oh. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Yeah.

Nehemia: Anything else, T-Bone?

T-Bone: Yeah, I agree with that about the dispensation. The other thing, I’d kind of like to explore the Synagogue of Satan. I notice that you capitalized Satan there…

Nehemia: Yeah.

T-Bone: …and I’d kind of like a deep understanding of what a synagogue is. Is it a system, is it a congregation? That sort of thing.

Nehemia: So, it literally says, “Knesset haSatan”, which if we want to be technical is “the knesset of the Satan”. [laughing] That’s without translating it. And the word for synagogue is beit knesset, the house of the gathering. And knesset is gathering, so it’s the gathering of the Satan. Satan really shouldn’t have a capital S. In fact, let’s change it right now and make it “the satan” with a small S, because if you say “the” in Hebrew, then it’s not a name. Then again, this is kind of a strange text where he adds “the” to almost everything, so maybe it is a name here. But normally in Hebrew if you have a “the” in front of a word it’s “the satan, the elohim.” Elohim then isn’t a name.

So, this is a big concept. What is the “knesset of the satan”? Is it necessarily a synagogue? So, for example, Israel’s parliament is called “the Knesset” and where that comes from is not the word “synagogue” but an earlier concept that there’s something called “the men of the Great Assembly, haKnesset haGdola, the Great Knesset”. And that dates back to around 400 BC. Supposedly Chaggai, Zecharia and Malachi or Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were members of the Knesset haGdola.

So, knesset without the word “beit” in front of it, arguably is not synagogue. It could be some kind of what I think the call in Greek a “synod”, that is a counsel. And it’s interesting, because we have the word “congregation” here and it’s makelim, But with this word “synagogue”, so basically it’s the “counsel of the satan”, I mean, satan means “enemy”, but where you see about “hasatan” in the Tanakh it’s a type of angel, or perhaps a single angel, that’s arguable. So, we have this “counsel of the satan”. I don’t know, what is that? Thoughts?

AJ Bernard: The Greek does use a capital letter.

Nehemia: Yeah, but the original Greek doesn’t have capital letters. That’s your modern Greek.

AJ Bernard: Really?

Nehemia: Yeah. Well, to be more specific, the earliest Greek texts are written in all caps with no spaces between the words. So, whenever you see a capital in your modern Greek text, that’s the interpretation of some modern printer.

AJ Bernard: Very cool. Thank you.

Nehemia: So, read us the Greek, that phrase.

AJ Bernard:Synagogue tau Satana”.

Nehemia: Okay, which is just “the Synagogue of…”

AJ Bernard: Of Satan.

Nehemia: Satan. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: It doesn’t have the direct article, though. It doesn’t have the ha, the “the”.

Nehemia: Actually it does. Read it again.

AJ Bernard: Oh, “hoSatan.”

Nehemia: Yeah, so it’s “of the satan,” so it actually does.

AJ Bernard: The satan, yeah. Good.

Nehemia: So, it’s the “counsel of the satan, gathering of the satan”. I don’t know what that is. Maybe it’s some counsel that took place in the 1st century that John of Patmos is saying, “This counsel, that’s the side of a certain thing. They’re way off.” I have no idea. Or maybe it’s an enemy counsel, I don’t know. Presumably then, it would be a counsel that’s in Smyrna, which is what we were talking about. I don’t know.

AJ Bernard: Right, and those that are of the Synagogue of Satan are the Yehudi’im. They’re the ones who claim to be Jews but they’re not.

Nehemia: In fact, they claim to be Judaic.

AJ Bernard: Right.

Nehemia: They’re from the Ten Tribes and claim to be Judaic, but they’re not. And it’s not clear, are they not from the Ten Tribes, or are they from the Ten Tribes but not really Judaic? Maybe they’re from the Ten Tribes and they claim to be Judaic but they don’t follow the Torah and therefore they’re not. I mean, I don’t know. We’re trying to figure out what a text said both in Greek and in Hebrew. Yeah, I don’t know. I think whole books have been written about this.

AJ Bernard: Sure.

Nehemia: All right. To me, this is one of the three big pearls in this passage, one of the three golden nuggets. You’ve got Yehovah with the vowels in chapter 1 verse 8, you’ve got the nails, and you have this reference to Yehudi’im versus Yehudim. This is some cool stuff. And again, I don’t know if this is a translation from some lost Greek or Latin version, or if it is just the original Hebrew, I have no idea. But there’s something really fascinating about this text. Let’s read on.

Verse 10, “Al tira shehutzrach unot vehinei ha’avadon yiten mikem el beit hasohar lenasotchem. Velachem tzara asar yamim. Heyeh ne’eman ad mavet venatati lecha ateret hachayim.” “Do not be afraid for suffering was necessary. And behold destruction…” which is Avadon, or Abaddon, “will give some of you to the prison to test you. And you will have suffering for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” That’s pretty cool. What’s the crown of life? It sounds like a good thing, whatever it is. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Yeah, it could be a reference to a victor’s crown from the Greek games.

Nehemia: So, we’re back to the victors, like in the earlier verse.

AJ Bernard: Right.

Nehemia: Okay, nice. Nice.

AJ Bernard: Now, the word “smyrna”, am I correct in saying that this comes Hebrew “myrrh”?

Nehemia: Oh, I assumed it was a Greek word, because it’s the name of a Greek city.

AJ Bernard: But myrrh is a plant that you crush…

Nehemia: Absolutely.

AJ Bernard: …and it releases a beautiful smelling oil. It’s also used in embalming fluid.

Nehemia: So, why does it have a Samach in the front of it?

AJ Bernard: Maybe just because of the corruption of the Greek or…

Nehemia: Yeah, I’m not buying it. I’m not buying it, but I guess it’s possible.

AJ Bernard: I get it, the similarities, it’s just that this Church has a lot of bad things happen to them. They get crushed, they get beaten up, that sort of thing.

Nehemia: Okay, like myrrh, huh? But they smell good.

AJ Bernard: Yeah.

Nehemia: All right. So, that’s a nice little midrash. It’s a good thing to share as a homily. I don’t know that’s what it… And look, it’s actually possible that Smyrna means something in Greek, because the word “myrhh” or “mor” in Hebrew, is the name of this plant, and it had that plant in probably many, many languages. So, in Greek it is called “myrrh” or something like that. So, maybe Smyrna is related to that. I don’t know, it’s possible. Or maybe it’s not even a Greek name, right? Greeks lived in that city, but maybe some other tribe lived there before and gave it the name. I just don’t know enough about it.

AJ Bernard: It says, “And behold destruction, Abaddon, will give some of you to the prison.” The word “Abaddon”, couldn’t that be construed as an adversary in that point?

Nehemia: Well, it’s not good. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: No, it’s not good.

Nehemia: Meaning, “avadon” is destruction. It certainly is not a pleasant experience, whatever it is. And of course, in the Book of Revelation in 9:11, do you want to read it?

AJ Bernard: Yeah, Revelation 9:11, “They have as king over the them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abadbon, and in Greek he is called ‘Apollyon.’”

Nehemia: And I think that’s really interesting. This is one of the signs that at least this has Hebrew sources, and his name is “Avadon”, “Destruction” and in the Greek the “v” becomes a “b”, Abadon. There’s no “v” in Greek. So, Avadon, Destruction is mentioned again, but you wouldn’t know that from the Greek of Revelation 2:10, but in the Hebrew here it’s “Avadon is going to give you over to the prison.” So, just real quick, what do we have in the Greek there?

AJ Bernard: Diabolos.

Nehemia: Wow!

AJ Bernard: Yeah.

Nehemia: So, there’s “Diabolos”, which is “the Devil”. You don’t even need to speak Spanish to know Diabolos is the devil, meaning something like Satan or maybe it’s “a diabolos”, “a devil”. Wow, so that’s interesting. So, there’s another thing where you have to say, “Why on earth, if he’s translating this from Greek, why would he translate “Diabolos” as “Avadon?” And you could make the argument, “Well, he read later in Revelation.” I wish we had Revelation 9 of this Hebrew text.

AJ Bernard: Yeah, no doubt.

Nehemia: That’s interesting. All right, let’s read verse 11. “L’asher ozen yishma mah haruach omeret lamakelim hagover lo yenugam min hamavet hasheini.” “He who has an ear will hear what the Spirit says to the congregations, the one who overcomes will not be smitten by the second death.” Okay, AJ. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: [laughing] The common Christian interpretation of this is simply that the first death is the death of the body. The second death is the eternal death in hell.

Nehemia: So, Jews, I think, have the same understanding, and that comes from Daniel 12 verse 2, where it talks about “Many of those sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, some for eternal life and some for eternal derision and shame.” And the understanding there is that “eternal derision and shame” is, if you’re not judged for eternal life you just die, and it’s a permanent death. That’s a common Jewish understanding. But that this is something that’ll happen at the time of the resurrection, at least based on Daniel 12:2, and Isaiah 66 also has a discussion about that. Is that a similar concept to what you understand?

AJ Bernard: Yeah, absolutely.

Nehemia: Okay, cool. I mean, in the Tanakh it’s never called the “second death”, but it’s understood. So okay, interesting. Let’s do verse 12 and 13, “Velamal’ach hamakel bePergamos ktov heina omer, ‘la’asher hakerev pipiyot, yodea ani et ma’asecha ve’eifo yoshev eh hamoshav haSatan.” “And to the angel of the congregation of Pergamos write here saying, ‘He who has the double-edged cherub, I know your deeds and where he is sitting, where the seat of Satan is.’” And by the way, that’s the end of the manuscript, or I should say, it’s the end of the text - the manuscript goes on for another 20 or so pages. And that’s the middle of verse 13, right? So, it ends in the middle of the verse, and presumably, the source this was based on was just a fragment, and when he copied it there was nothing more to copy. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Yeah.

Nehemia: Which is amazing. Talk to me about the “double-edged sword” which here is “cherub”. So, the Hebrew word for cherub here is “kerev”, which I would expect to be “kroov”, and so therefore, it’s very possible that this is a scribal error for “cherev”.

AJ Bernard: Right, that’s what I was going to say, as well.

Nehemia: Right.

AJ Bernard: It’s the difference between the Chet and the Hey.

Nehemia: Well, the Chet and the Kaf, actually.

AJ Bernard: Oh yeah, yeah.

Nehemia: So, it’s a difference between the Chet and the Kaf. So, “cherev” and “kerev”. But let’s deal with the text as we have it, meaning the original probably said, “double-edged sword”. But what would a double-edged cherub be?

AJ Bernard: Two-sided angel? I don’t know.

Nehemia: I don’t know. Well, on top of the Ark there were two cherubs facing each other.

AJ Bernard: Wow.

T-Bone: Could it be translated as “double cherub”? On the edge of the seat, of the seat of mercy?

Nehemia: You know what? That is the translation, “double-edged cherub”. So, maybe it’s a double cherub. I mean, you could literally translate it as a cherub with two mouths.

AJ Bernard: Okay.

Nehemia: Because really, when you say a “double-edged sword” it’s a sword with two mouths, because a sword is described in Hebrew as “devouring”, and a double-edged sword is actually a two-mouthed sword, technically speaking.

So, what comes to mind for me is Genesis 3:24, “So he drove out the man and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword which turns every way to keep the way of the tree of life.” Interesting.

AJ Bernard: Okay.

Nehemia: We have a sword that turns every way, or cherubs with these multi-faceted swords. And here is a double-edged cherub. I don’t know. It could just be a scribal error, who knows.

AJ Bernard: Now, the Greek word “Pergamos” comes from “gami”, meaning marriage. The Church at Pergamum is the Church that marries the world. So, this is one of the seven letters about which there’s nothing good said.

Nehemia: Okay. You probably didn’t want to receive one of these letters, is what you’re trying to tell me.

AJ Bernard: No, no, no. You didn’t want to be at Pergamos if you did.

Nehemia: Okay.

AJ Bernard: Yeah, because the rest of the letter is just condemnation after condemnation for the Church of Pergamos.

Nehemia: Can I be really controversial now?

AJ Bernard: Sure.

Nehemia: So, I know there are some Christians who have the concept of “once saved, always saved”. So, if I’m in Pergamos and I’m once saved, always saved because I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and that’s an if, that’s not me – hypothetical, right? What do I care that I get this letter? I’m already saved. I’m in heaven. I know I’m going to heaven. I said the Sinners’ Prayer, I know I’m going to heaven. What do I care? Why would I even bother with this letter?

AJ Bernard: Right, yeah. It’s a difficult concept. Okay, so the idea of once saved, always saved, sounds strong academically, but when you find someone in such a situation who says that he was saved and then 20 years later he’s a murderer on death row and convicted of multiple homicides or something, you’d have to say he was never saved in the first place.

Nehemia: Okay, so I guess it’s a pretty flexible concept. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: Yeah, it doesn’t want to be, but it ends up practically that it is.

Nehemia: So would you have to say that the people of Pergamos if you’re once saved, always saved, that they were never saved, and hence they’re getting this letter? Or maybe this letter is in effect their salvation, just Satan sitting among their congregation, but they’re still saved?

AJ Bernard: Yeah, it’s tough. If you were going to take the once saved, always saved hard line, you’d have to say they were never saved.

Nehemia: Well, I wish we had more of this text, but so far that’s all we’ve discovered, unless T-Bone can dig up more. T-Bone, can you find us the rest of verse 13 and the rest of Revelation?

T-Bone: I think we can.

Nehemia: Wow, I’m excited. [laughing]

AJ Bernard: That would be awesome.

T-Bone: It’ll cost money, though.

Nehemia: Guys, I just want to tell you something about T-Bone. He has seen the name “Yehovah” in more places in more Hebrew manuscripts probably than any other living human being, including me.

AJ Bernard: Wow.

Nehemia: And that’s because he’s looked through thousands of pages by now of, I think about…Well, we’ve found it in 21 manuscripts, but we’ve looked in more than 21. We didn’t find it in all of them. But I’ve looked through hundreds and hundreds of pages, but just for the Aleppo Codex alone he has me beat. That’s 593 pages. I didn’t read every page of the Aleppo Codex in the Codex. Wow, so if it’s out there, he can find it. And we’re going to work on that, and he just said it costs money. I just got an email from him this morning where they’re talking about, “Yeah, you want a photo of this? It’s going to cost you. We’ve got to have a team come and photograph this manuscript for you to know what’s in it.” And I think we’re going to pursue that. I think we have to. So, this is exciting.

We’ve had two amazing discussions here. We’ve gone on for over two hours between the two discussions. I’m going to end with a prayer. I’m so excited by finding this text. Look, I’m not a Christian. I’m not a Messianic. I want to make that really clear. I’m finding an ancient Hebrew text and I’m excited by what it has to say. How can you not be excited? I literally shouted when I saw this.

AJ Bernard: Absolutely, yeah.

Nehemia: And seeing the name “Yehovah” with the full vowels, that was so exciting to me, whether this is the Book of Revelation or any other Hebrew book that is testifying to this name with the vowels, that excites me. I don’t know how you can not be excited by that. That’s just who I am.

AJ Bernard: Amen.

Nehemia: Yehovah, Avinu shebashamayim, Yehovah our Father in Heaven, Yehovah, I look forward to seeing the bar enosh, the son of man, coming on the clouds, the one described in the Book of Daniel chapter 7. The one who will come and he’ll have victory over all the nations and he’ll conquer. He’ll appear before Your throne in victory and everybody will see Him. And He will bring peace to this world. Yehovah, You are the one that haya, that was and always has been. You are the one that hoveh, that is, and You are the one that yihyeh, the one that will always be. You are haya, hovey, yihyeh. You are one, Yehovah, and Your name is one.

AJ Bernard: Yes.

Nehemia: And so many things are being revealed in this time, Yehovah. I’m so blessed. We are all so blessed to live in this period of time where so much information about Your name and who You are is being revealed to mankind. And I thank you for this wonderful gift of Your name and the knowledge to be able to read these ancient Hebrew texts and the drive, the calling that You’ve given me and AJ and T-Bone to share this with people. This is a gift that I do not discount, that I know is a precious gift. It’s this burning inside me that I can’t explain. It doesn’t come from me - I know it comes from You.

AJ Bernard: Yes.

Nehemia: And I ask you to continue to reveal whatever truth You have for me soon in our days, Amen.

AJ Bernard: Amen. Gal einai ve’abita nifla’ot miToratecha.

Nehemia: Amen. Uncover my eyes that I may see the wonderful hidden things of Your Torah. Amen.

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  • Ørjan Myhre says:

    Shalom qodeshim chavarim,
    Just as the two disiples on the road to Emmaus, i burn in my heart when i listen to these teachings i spent all weekend on this wall. Did not even go to church to day.
    Also a BFA’er and a Roodawek’er
    beliver in Yeshua and a Watchman ezek 33.2-3
    From Norway

    Jer.3.15 I will give you sheperds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

  • Lance says:

    since Malachi means one who is sent and apostolos in greek means the same thing is it possible that angelos is a greek translation of the hebrew word for sent one? if so then apostle of a particular ekklesia would be an appropriat person to address a letter to since it was the apostolic office that appointed elders and deacons. perhaps the letters are addressed not to the angel but rather to the sent one which would be an apostle.

  • Gregory Irby says:

    Interesting, two faced cherub? 2 Cherubim? Ezekiel 1:6 / 4 Cherubim w/4 faces! Ezekiel 10:14 (different faces) face 1 / that of a Cherub – face 2 / that of a man. GARDEN OF EDEN was guarded by 2 Cherubim. One of which fell from grace because of greed and was cast to the Earth and became the original King of Tyre? Ezekiel 17 I think, not positive. One might say the fallen Cherub was 2 faced I don’t think that is what is intended here though. I don’t believe in unconditional Salvation. The soul that sins will die! Jesus and his Apostles taught; you must repent or you will die in your sins! Today’s churches just preach to people what they want to hear. Eschatology is exciting stuff! Are there any more Hebrew Revelation manuscripts? I found it interesting the reference to “shaking the church out of its place” verses the Greek ” removed from its place. Interestingly, none of those churches survived, because they didn’t repent? And lost their chance to receive Eternal Life? You’ll have to look at Ezekiel again, in Hebrew. Cherubim, different places, different faces! What does it mean? I look at Ezekiel’s writings and realize the churches are about to be shaken out of their place! Last days prophecies are like the Last Supper. We feed on these things until The Messiah comes! Blessed is Yehova! ✡️ Our God & Saviour!

    • Gregory Irby says:

      Also look at Ezekiel 9:6. The judgment of God begins with the house of God! 9 is the # for judgment and the Wrath of God. 6 is the # for humans. Concerning the year of the Destruction of the Temple, it was most likely 69 AD.

  • amatzyahu habatzael says:

    if the nicolaissim are “those who are victorious (nike/controlling) over the common (layity)” then perhaps the play on words is that מְנַצֵחַ (victorious/conductor) is that those who lead/conduct their community without abusing them will be victorious and rewarded with the tree of life.

  • Jeremy Hula says:

    Rev 2:9 is talking about modern day pharisees.

  • Jeremy Hula says:

    The reason He said I Am the Aleph and the Tav has to do with the beginning of the Gospel of John where it say in the beginning was the word, the word with God and the word was God. Without the Hebrew alphabet we would not have The Word of Yehovah. It has to do with the beginning and the end as well.

    • UKJ says:


      This is a great comment! Thank you!

    • UKJ says:

      Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      Jn 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.

      This to me says ‘The Word’ to have had a beginning …

      Jn 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

      I have a problem with this saying, as it would make more sense to have made all things ‘FOR The Word’ of Yehovah to be fulfilled! As Yehovah is the Creator!

      Mt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

      Lk 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled….

      Again, I have a problem with this saying,
      Jn 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
      … as Yehovah is the Creator!
      Isa 40:28 Have you not known? have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

  • Samson OCHE says:

    Shalom to you Nehemiah,

    May Adonai bless you really good for the great work you’re doing especially on the New Testament with AJ Bernard and “T-Bone”.

    I did enjoy the exposes on the Book of Revelation using the Hebrew manuscript from the 17th century. Though I would love to have other discussions with you for now I will stay on the Revelation Topic.

    AJ made a statement about the Father, Son and Ruach that got you spinning – yes you’re right to be in that state. Even while agreeing that it is a very difficult concept to explain. But the words 3 persons in one God is very misleading. I believe it should be 3 personalities in one God. This is my explanation:
    You’re a teacher of the Torah: so let’s call you a Rabbi for the this analogy. Then same you married and called a husband by your wife. It’s still same you your children call Father, sometimes your childhood friends call you by one name and other people know you by other names….

    Truly the concept is three persons in one God is very misleading and goes against the most important commandment in the Torah – The Shema! Mark 12:28-31.

    The concept of trinity was never a biblical concept. It was made popular by a Christian hymn – Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! The last line of the first stanza climax with this sentence – God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity! Reginald Heber (1783-1826)


  • Carlos says:

    Was any more of this book ever found ?

  • jenny says:

    I always hear nicolaitans as conquering laity or lording it over the people. But what about ‘victorious laity’ pointing to self-appointed lay leaders teaching false doctrines not grounded in scripture. I see so many home churches that function this way. This would contrast with the victorious eating from the tree of life–torah. Torah being the truth and the nicolaitans being false teachers/interpreters.

  • Michael Tom says:

    “Council of satan”….could that not be referring to the Catholic councils first convened to destroy the Hebrew/Jewish roots of the Messianic – now called “Christian” – faith? They changed everything and even changed the dates of the celebrations to the same days to worship false gods (e.g. changing the public recognition of Yeshua’s death to easter from its proper time, Passover).