Hebrew Voices #37 – How the New Testament Interprets the Tanakh (Rebroadcast)

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, How the New Testament Interprets the Tanakh, Nehemia Gordon discusses with Methodist Pastor A.J. Bernard, whether Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled in the New Testament. Dawn wrote: “Amazing, as always, WOW... Going on the third time listening to this!!!!”

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Hebrew Voices #37 - How the New Testament Interprets the Tanakh

Nehemia: Shalom, this is Nehemia Gordon, and welcome to Hebrew Voices. Today I’m speaking with Pastor A.J. Bernard about how the New Testament interprets the Tanakh.

A.J. Bernard: My name is A.J. Bernard. I’m a Pastor in Jackson, Ohio at Victory Chapel United Methodists, and I am a big fan of Nehemia’s work, and I’ve been following him for years. I’m really excited to be on the program today, this is an incredible honor, and thank you very much, Nehemia.

Nehemia: I was on the phone last week with A.J. Bernard and we were talking. He asked me a question, a very innocent, simple question. I had spoken over in his town, or his village – I call it a village, because there’s no Starbucks. I was speaking over in Jackson, Ohio, and we were on the phone last week as a follow-up, and he asked me a question, and we ended up speaking for about 45 minutes. I said, “Wow, we need to share this with the people.” [laughing]

A.J. Bernard: It was an excellent conversation.

Nehemia: The topic, I call it, How the New Testament Uses the Prophets, and it really came up with A.J. asking me what was a very innocent question; it had to do, I believe, with the verse in Isaiah where Jesus… A.J. are you comfortable with Jesus, or Yeshua? What term do you prefer?

A.J. Bernard: I use both on a regular basis. I prefer Yeshua, but my culture uses Jesus.

Nehemia: Okay. I’m going to call him Yeshua, because I’m Jewish and was a distant cousin of mine. The Greeks would have called him Yesus, it’s true, but my Jewish brothers and sisters would have mostly called him Yeshua – maybe other things, but the respectful reference to him. I mean, there were some issues going on there and they had some criticisms, but when they were being respectful, they would have called him by his name, Yeshua, or Yehoshua.

So A.J., tell me about your question. It had to do with the verse - and I think it’s the verse from Hosea which is quoted in the New Testament, according to which - the way it’s usually understood - Yeshua was fulfilling a prophesy from the Book of Hosea through some of the things in his life. Tell me about that.

A.J. Bernard: The verse in Hosea is Chapter 11 verse 1, which reads in the English Standard Version, “When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My Son.” Now, Matthew quotes that in Chapter 2. Matthew spends the first couple of chapters of his book working very hard to establish the Messiahship of Yeshua. So if you go through the first few chapters of Matthew, you’ll find these odd quotes, and the verse in Matthew that I’ve been looking at is Matthew chapter 2 verses 14 and 15 is the sentence. “And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’”

Nehemia: Wow. So if you only read these two verses, if you were a modern-day Christian in a church, and you were just reading verses 14 to 15 while the Pastor was preaching and you were bored and you were flipping through your Bible. I’m actually sharing from my own experience, because when I was in synagogue I’d be flipping through my Bible while the Rabbi was reciting prayers.

If you’re in the church though, and you’re flipping through your Bible while the Pastor’s reciting some prayers or whatever, and you came across these two verses, I guess your point when you called me was if you were just looking at these two verses you would think, “Okay, there was a prophesy about the Messiah in some Old Testament Book,” he doesn’t say where it says “through the Prophet”, and that prophesy was that God would one day call His son the Messiah out of Egypt. Would you say that’s fair? That’s the impression that I think modern Christians have.

A.J. Bernard: Yeah, that was my understanding for a very long time, because I didn’t bother to go back to Hosea and look.

Nehemia: Right. So what did you find when you went back to Hosea?

A.J. Bernard: I found that the verse is ostensibly talking about Israel itself, and that Hosea is calling Israel “God’s Son”.

Nehemia: And how did you come to that wild conclusion? [laughing]

A.J. Bernard: By reading the verse.

Nehemia: So read the verse once again in Hosea.

A.J. Bernard: Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Nehemia: And you called me up, and I think you were vexed that you have this verse here, and you were vexed because it doesn’t fit… I was talking to somebody just the other day and we had an interesting conversation. I won’t go into the whole thing, but basically, she was telling me why she believes in Jesus. Her answer was, “Because of the hundreds of prophesies that he has fulfilled,” and it was examples like this.

Well, okay - lots of people maybe were called out of Egypt. How many of them were the Son of God? And if you line all of them up, it’s got to be Jesus. That was her point. Your point was, when you look in the context, what’s going on here, it’s talking about Israel. If we get down to it, what the real point is, if you read Hosea you don’t get the impression that this is a prophesy about any Messiah, whatever his name is, you get the impression that this is about Israel as a people. And I guess your question was, what’s going on here?

Now, I could have done the anti-missionary thing, and I could have said, “A.J., it’s time for you to join our team. You have been let in on the secret. The Gospel of Matthew was trying to trick you. It was hoping you wouldn’t check the sources, and now it’s time for you to deny Yeshua. Will you deny him, please?” That’s what I could have done.

The reason I didn’t do that is because I know that’s not what Matthew meant. This is complicated, but we’re going to get to it, it’s going to make sense. Please listen, people. This isn’t a session on why you should deny Yeshua, that’s not what it’s about. Of course, I’m Jewish, I’m a Karaite, this isn’t a session about why you should believe in Yeshua. This is a session about, from my perspective, how did the New Testament use the Tanakh? This isn’t maybe every instance, but it’s a common trend, let’s put it that way.

The way I see that the New Testament used the Tanakh isn’t the way that modern Christians expect, and that’s where things get confusing. Then counter-missionaries jump on that and they say, “You see, Methodist pastor? It’s not using it the way you think, and therefore, you need to deny your beliefs.” I think it all comes down to how is the New Testament using the Tanakh, the Old Testament? And it actually tells us, that’s the amazing thing. We’ve talked about this, but we’re going to share it with the people. The New Testament tells us how it’s using the Tanakh.

Before we get to that, I want to look at a prophecy in the Tanakh. The reason I want to look at this is that this could be our paradigm, this could be our example of how prophecy works. It could be, but it may not be. It’s the prophesy about King Josiah.

It starts in 1 Kings chapter 13 verse 2. If you remember in the history, the kingdoms were split between Jeroboam and Rehoboam, Rehoboam was the son of Solomon. Jeroboam sets up an altar at Dan and Bethel, and it’s an altar with a golden calf next to it at both Dan and Bethel. He tells the people, “Don’t go to Jerusalem. Come and worship at my golden calf.” Then we’re told in 1 Kings 13:1…

A.J. Bernard: “And behold a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. And the man cried against the altar by the word of Yehovah and said, ‘Oh, altar, altar, thus says the Lord. Thus says Yehovah. And behold, a son shall be born to the House of David, Josiah by name. And he shall sacrifice on you, the priests of the high places, who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you. And he gave a sign that same day saying, This is the sign that Yehovah has spoken. Behold, the altar shall be torn down and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’”

Nehemia: This is a prophesy, and it’s a prophesy about a specific person who’s going to be born. He’s going to have a certain lineage. He’s going to be a Messiah, and Messiah, remember, means “anointed one”, and every king of Israel was anointed with oil, every legitimate king. So he’s going to be a Messiah and his name will be Josiah, and he’s going to do certain things. He’s going to kill the priests of Bethel and he’s going to destroy the altar, basically, and desecrate the altar of Bethel, the false altar. This prophesy is then fulfilled. It is fulfilled in 2 Kings 23.

A.J. Bernard: 2 Kings 23:15.

Nehemia: Now bear in mind, this is something like 300 years later. Jeroboam was sometime in the 920s BCE, and this is in the 620s. This is 300 years later.

A.J. Bernard: “Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam, the Son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the Asherah. And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount and he set and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the word of Yehovah, that the man of God proclaimed, who had predicted these things. Then he said, ‘What is the monument that I see?’ and the men of the city told him, ‘It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel.’”

Nehemia: Wow. So there’s a prophesy in the 900s BCE by this man, and he’s buried there afterwards, and he has some kind of big tomb or something, or nice tomb. Meanwhile, for 300 years, people are burning sacrifices to the idol at Bethel, and then Josiah comes, fulfills the prophesy to the T, and then the people tell him, “You’ve fulfilled this prophesy.” And the Scripture says he fulfilled the prophesy. And this is what, when people read the New Testament and they see a statement like we read in Matthew, “fulfilling the word of the Prophet,” they’re assuming it’s this sort of fulfilment. Would you agree with that? Meaning, this is what the expectation is.

A.J. Bernard: Right, yeah.

Nehemia: And I think the point that we’re going to get to, if I get to it, [laughing] is that that’s not how the New Testament, by and large, uses the Tanakh. And that’s where people get confused, and that’s where people will swoop in and say, “Okay, now you’ve got to deny it, because it’s not working according to the Josiah paradigm.” I’ve got to say the Josiah example is one of two examples I know of in the Tanakh. You could argue there’s a third. The second example would be King Cyrus, Isaiah 45 and some other chapters, where Cyrus is mentioned by name. It’s mentioned by name that this will happen, and it happens. And of course, there are a lot of examples where somebody has a prophesy and he says something that’s going to happen, but that’s generally something that’s going to happen imminently.

Like Jeremiah coming along and saying, “Jerusalem’s going to be destroyed and we’re going to be taken into exile.” That’s something that happened within a short number of years, maybe a decade. What I’m talking about is long-term prophesies. So we’ve got the Josiah prophesy that was fulfilled, we have the Cyrus prophesy that was fulfilled, and those two are prophesies that were fulfilled after, in the case of Josiah 300 years, and Cyrus it’s about 150 years, maybe 170. Then you’ve got the 70-year prophesy of Jeremiah, who says the exile will be 70 years, and lo and behold, its 70 years.

That’s really unusual in the Tanakh. Most prophesies aren’t like that. Most prophesies are either very short-term or they’re very long-term, and when they’re long-term, they’re not always so clear. Go ahead, A.J.

A.J. Bernard: The 70-year prophesy, I just wanted to point out, was important because it would be important to Daniel in order to do what Daniel did.

Nehemia: Also, I just wanted to bring up Daniel. Daniel, we’re told, is looking at the Book of Jeremiah trying to figure out, what is he talking about? And why is there any question? Because it’s not so clear when the 70 years end. It’s not even clear when the 70 years begin! What do I mean by that? If you read in Kings and in Chronicles and in Jeremiah, there were three waves of exile. There were three different waves of Babylonian invasion, and each time they invaded they took a bunch of Jews as exiles.

So when does the 70 years begin? And based on that, when does it end? Does it begin in 597 with King Jeconiah? Does it begin in 586? Of course, they didn’t have the number 586, they had such-and-such year of King Zedekiah. If it begins in 586 with Zedekiah, and when does it end? Does it end with Cyrus, this Decree of Cyrus? Or does it end with the second year of Darius, where they actually rebuilt the Temple? So this isn’t as clear as the Josiah prophesy or the Cyrus prophesy, where you’re given the name of somebody.

And so Daniel is sitting there and he’s struggling, it’s actually really interesting, because it’s talking about Daniel - this is in the Book of Daniel - and it’s mentioning that he’s trying to figure out what does Jeremiah mean? He ends up fasting and praying, there’s a whole scene there.

A.J. Bernard: Daniel 9, beginning of verse 1. “In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede who was made King of the realm of the Chaldeans in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel perceived in the books the number of years that according to the word of Yehovah to Jeremiah the Prophet must come to pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely 70 years.”

Nehemia: In other words, we very casually say the 70 years of exile – at least in my tradition – we very casually say that they were fulfilled, no question. But for Daniel it was, “Okay, yeah, they were fulfilled, but how do we count the 70 years? [laughing] It’s important for him, because based on how you count them, there are certain things that are going to be expected to happen or not happen. Guys, read Daniel 9 in this context. This isn’t a prophesy he’s invented out of thin air; this is a prophesy that had been around for decades, and it’s the 70 years of the exile that Jeremiah predicted. There are different ways of counting it, that was the point. Anyway, it’s a fascinating chapter there, Daniel 9. The way I read Daniel 9 is it continues all the way to 12, but whatever.

Let’s get back to the New Testament. So now when we look at this prophesy - maybe I could say “alleged” prophesy - but what’s presented as a prophesy in Matthew 2:14 to 15, it says, “This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord to the Prophet, ‘out of Egypt, I have called My Son.’” This will be in the list of prophesies that Jesus fulfilled for the Christians, and for the counter-missionaries it will be in the list of prophesies that the New Testament mis-quotes. That’s how it’ll be presented.

Look, I understand both perspectives, but I think if we truly want to be intellectually honest, we have to ask the question, how did the Gospel of Matthew intend to use the prophesy? That’s the question.

It leaves you two options. One option is, the author of Matthew was sitting there and his scribe and he was thinking, “Oh, man. I really hope nobody checks this, because if they check it, I’m toast. [laughing] I’m done. They’re going to know that I’m lying.” This is the way it’s presented in the counter-missionary argument. I don’t know- are you familiar with those arguments, have you seen those discussions?

A.J. Bernard: I’ve watched plenty of lectures, and from my perspective, I don’t have the problems with the text that he does. He raises some interesting points, but I think it’s largely a matter of world view.

Nehemia: I agree with that, and I think the New Testament says that! [laughing] That’s what I want to get to. So let’s look at Luke 24, this is one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. I just want to remind people, if you’ve never listened to this program before, I am not a Christian. I am not a Messianic Jew. I’m a Karaite Jew. I am looking at the Gospels as ancient books written by Jewish people. I am not what you would call a believer in Jesus. You might think, “Okay, so here he’s going to try to convince us not to believe in Jesus.” That’s not what I’m trying to do.

I want to understand the text. That’s what I am - I’m a textual scholar, and I want to come with what I call “intellectual honesty” to the text. It would be really easy for me to do the counter-missionary thing and say, “See? He misquoted Isaiah. He didn’t even know what the quote was!” But that’s not what the New Testament says it’s doing.

Let’s look at Luke 24, it’s the road to Emmaus, and I’m going to encourage people to read Luke 24 themselves. I’m not going to read the whole thing. But it’s a fascinating passage, and maybe I’ll do one time a whole session just on Luke 24. It’s the story where the Disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus, and Jesus, according to the Gospel, shows up. They don’t know who he is. He asks them why they’re upset. I love this. Verse 36, “While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” I love that, “Shalom aleichem.” That’s to this day how you greet somebody in Judaism.

Actually, it was the verse before that I wanted to get to. It’s verse 13, “Now on that same day, two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.” Remember, this is the third day after the crucifixion. “While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near them and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’” By the way, I’m reading from the NRSV. If you read the other translations they might be slightly different, but it’s the basic gist. “They stood still, looking sad.”

Now, I’ve encountered a lot of Christians who come to me and say… In fact, last night I was sitting with this family of Palestinians. They were from Palestine, Texas, but I call them “Palestinians”. [laughing] One of the people, she said to me, “What do you need to believe in Jesus? I don’t understand. You know the New Testament so well. What are you waiting for? There are hundreds of prophecies that he fulfilled. What don’t you see?” And I don’t remember if I talked to her about the road to Emmaus, but this is my response.

My response is, “You’ve got the hundreds of prophesies…” And it’s funny, because I then prodded her and asked her, “So why do you really believe?” She said, “Well, it’s 100 prophesies, 350 prophesies. Who else could it be?” As we talked more and more, it turned out that’s not why she believes in Jesus. The real reason she believes in Jesus, she admitted – and I don’t know why she was hesitant, some people would lead with this – was because she’d had these spiritual experiences. And the prophesies confirmed what she had with her own experience. But it’s not that she believes in Jesus just because of the prophecies. Rather, she had a personal encounter with Jesus, according to her, and then these prophecies, “Oh, that’s what happened to me.” They contextualize it. Does that make any sense?

A.J. Bernard: Absolutely, yeah.

Nehemia: I think that’s exactly what it’s saying here in Luke. Let’s read it. So, they were looking sad. Why are they sad? Because they didn’t know what every Christian missionary knows, or at least what every Christian missionary tells the Jews. Which is, Jesus fulfilled all these prophesies. He died and was resurrected. It’s now the third day, and the tomb is empty, and they would have been shouting, “Woo, the tomb is empty. Halleluyah! Praise God, the tomb is empty.” Instead, the tomb is empty and they’re upset about it.

Verse 18. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas answered him – meaning Jesus, who they didn’t know who he was – it says, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” Jesus asked, “What things?” He’s playing, pretending he didn’t know. Kind of like God in the Garden, “Where are you?” [laughing] What, you don’t know? You made the whole Garden. They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.” I love that, because that really strikes authentic. There are no theological declarations here that you find in the later centuries.

A.J. Bernard: Yeah, they’re not declaring him to be the Messiah, they said, “He was a mighty prophet.”

Nehemia: And maybe they believe him to be the Messiah, but if you’re talking to another Jew you don’t lead with, “The Messiah was killed.” You definitely don’t lead with that. What you lead with is, there was this prophet that everybody recognized as this amazing prophet before God and the people… meaning what they’re leading with is what probably what no Jew in that period up until that time might have disputed. Or if they would have disputed it, there would have a major dispute. It wouldn’t have been, “Oh, no. That’s not possible.”

Okay, he was acting like a prophet, certainly. He goes on in verse 20, “And how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.” This is like they used to say in that television show, “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” No theology, no doctrine. Verse 21, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” That hope was the hope of the Disciples. They thought he was going to redeem Israel, and for a Jew what that means, to simplify it, it’s three main things. He’s going to defeat the enemies of Israel, gather in the exiles, and bring world peace. This is what they were expecting, even on the third day. “Besides all this, it was now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us.” They astounded us, because we didn’t read the tract of the missionaries about the 350 prophecies, right? They were astounded. “They were at the tomb earlier this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.” They’re upset about this. Bear in mind, they’re not saying, “Woo! He’s alive! It’s the fulfillment of what we thought.”

Verse 24, “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him. Then Jesus said to them…” Let’s stop there for a minute, verse 24. The Disciples on the road to Emmaus…

A.J. Bernard: They knew the tomb was empty.

Nehemia: They’re not expecting the resurrect... The tomb’s empty and they’re not shouting for joy. They’re upset, because it seems to them that the body is stolen, people are telling crazy stories that he’s alive. It’s insult to injury. And that means when they read Isiah 53, they didn’t know he was going to die and be resurrected. They didn’t know that. Verse 25, “Then he said to them…” Now, here’s where Jesus is saying – and I hate to use this term – but we’re going to now enter into a new dispensation. [laughing] I don’t mean it the way that you were taught in seminary.

I think he’s saying, “Okay, now let me explain things you didn’t understand.” The things that the Christian missionary tells me are supposed to be so obvious, the 12 Disciples didn’t know, these other two Disciples didn’t know. And the only reason they knew these things is because Jesus explained it to them. Now, before we get to verse 25, can we back up and look at an amazing part earlier in the chapter? Can you read me Verse 1 and on?

A.J. Bernard: “But on the first day of the week at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared, and they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. But when they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen.” That makes me shout. Woo!

Nehemia: But why weren’t they shouting? That’s the question. [laughing] Let’s read on. Because they should have been shouting. And this is the point of Luke! I’ll share this with people, and people will get upset with me. They’re saying, “You’re denying Yeshua. Why are you telling us this?” I’m like, “This is in your Gospel.” And it’s not a side point- this is the central message of the Gospel of Luke that isn’t preached in most churches, as far as I know. But anyway, go on.

A.J. Bernard: “Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men to be crucified and to rise on the third day.”

Nehemia: We’ve got to stop there, verse 7. Remember now, the Disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus and they’re upset. It’s not like they haven’t heard. According to Luke, they heard it in Galilee. They’ve now been reminded by two angels the tomb is actually empty, and according to the Gospel, there are angels who are saying he’s alive. Read now verses 8, 9 and 10.

A.J. Bernard: “And they remembered His words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the 11 and to the rest. Now, it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the Apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”

Nehemia: [laughing] That’s amazing. So the tomb is empty, they’ve been told in Galilee these things are going to happen. And I’m sure when they heard these things they said, “We know the Messiah isn’t going to be killed. What are you talking about? That’s some metaphor. That’s some symbolism. He obviously doesn’t mean that literally, because we know any day now, we’re going to rise up and defeat the Roman legions. Otherwise, what are we doing here?”

If you believe the Gospels, if you believe the stories, he walked on water and he was feeding 5,000 people. It was only a matter of time until he goes thermonuclear on the Romans, right? What is this all about, otherwise? So when they heard the prophesy according to Luke, they heard this is Galilee. It’s idle tale. Now they’re hearing it again. Come on, guys. We know that’s not what it means.

A.J. Bernard: Yeah, even at his ascension after the resurrection, after they’ve seen all these miracles and He’s come back from the dead, the last thing they ask him is, “Are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” It’s like they understood what the Messiah was supposed to be, and he wasn’t fulfilling their expectations. There’s a lot of speculation about why Judas did what he did. Some people think that Judas did it in an attempt to force Yeshua’s hand. Because if the Romans are coming to take Yeshua by force, and Judas knows that the Messiah’s not going to be killed, then Yeshua will have no choice but to just wipe the Romans off the face of the earth.

Nehemia: Now let’s jump ahead to verse 25 and see what is, I would argue, and I think many Christian scholars would argue, the central message of Luke, or a central message, maybe not the most. “Then he said to them…” this is Jesus speaking, according to Luke. He said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared. Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things then to enter into its glory?”

And they’re walking along and thinking, “What is he talking about? Of course not. The Messiah’s going to defeat the enemies of Israel. It’s Isaiah 2 and Isaiah 11. Even in Isaiah 53:12, He’s dividing the spoils among the many. That’s a military victory. What are you talking about?” Verse 27, “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophesy, interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures.”

I’ll be honest with you, I’m a Jew in the 21st century, and I’m reading this and I’m genuinely wondering, which prophesies? I know what the Christians will say. They’ll say it’s Isaiah 53 and it’s Zechariah, the pierced verse, and all those. I know the verses. But for me as a Jew, I hear this and I say, “What is Luke really saying here?” And I think it’s very clear what Luke is really saying here. Let’s read on, verse 28. Can you read verse 28?

A.J. Bernard: “They drew near the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going to go further, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So, he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them, and their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight. And they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?’”

Nehemia: Wow! So what it’s saying is – and you correct me if you understand this differently – but what I’m hearing here is, there were these prophesies, according to Luke, that referred to events in the life of Jesus, or Yeshua, that nobody understood until it was explained to them, and when it was explained to them, there was some kind of experience they had during that explanation that made them realize this is referring… In other words, if I read the verse in Hosea by myself – which I have – there’s no way I would think that had anything to do with Jesus. It has to do with Israel. But because this was revealed in some sort of Divine revelation, or messianic revelation by Jesus himself or by God, or whoever, or the Holy Spirit, they felt something in their heart and they realized yes, this is referring to Jesus. Is that what you’re hearing here? Is that what you’re getting?

A.J. Bernard: Yeah, yeah. A Christian would say that the burning within them is the Holy Spirit. We spoke on the phone about the ruach hakodesh.

Nehemia: Right. Absolutely, meaning in the Jewish tradition… it’s funny, what we had talked about on the phone is I was telling you how I grew up with this concept in Judaism that people are doing things with ruach hakodesh. Literally, ruach is spirit and kodesh is holy. So, ruach hakodesh is the Holy Spirit. But it was never translated that way, and if you would have said to anybody in my Orthodox Jewish upbringing, “Oh, so you’re saying that Rashi had the Holy Spirit,” or this rabbi had the Holy Spirit, they’d say, “Oh, no. That’s a Christian concept. He had ruach hakodesh”. [laughing]

I think there is a difference in that, when Christians tend to say “Holy Spirit”, that comes out as part of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, and for Jews, Holy Spirit maybe isn’t defined as clearly or as definitively when people say, “It’s part of it that Godhead.” No, it’s God. It’s not a separate thing from God. It’s how we experience God. I think that’s how Jews would describe ruach hakodesh. And I don’t know that Christians would dispute it, except they’ve got the doctrines that they’ve got to espouse.

A.J. Bernard: Right. We would say that the Holy Spirit is God. It is Divine. It is a Divine being and there is only One God. It’s the doctrine of the Trinity which is…

Nehemia: Let’s not get into the doctrine of the Trinity. [laughing]

A.J. Bernard: …confusing to everybody. [laughing]

Nehemia: Are there three chairs or one? That’s the question. But I think both Jews and Christians would agree, and throughout the Tanakh you have the Spirit of God. In Genesis you’ve got “ruach Yehovah”, and in many places you have the Spirit of Yehovah coming over a person, or even going inside of a person and putting them on like a garment, in some verses. So there’s definitely this Divine Spirit, the Spirit of Yehovah.

So basically what we’re saying is, and I tell this to Christians and they say, “You’re trying to destroy our faith.” What I think Luke is saying is that if you believe in Jesus, then you can look back. If you believe in Yeshua, you can look back retrospectively and see how there were these prophesies that predicted he would do these things. But first you need to believe in Jesus and it needs to be revealed to you. That’s what Luke seems to be saying. This is why Jews and Christians had these dialogs and both sides get so frustrated. The Christian is saying, “How is that you don’t see that?” And the Jew says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I read Isaiah 53 and I just don’t see it. I understand what you say it means. There’s no way I would read that passage by myself and come to that conclusion. The reason that you see it according to Luke is because it was revealed to you.”

So when I was talking to the Palestinian woman last night, and she’s telling me that she believes because of the 350 prophesies, but then when we have a longer conversation, well, she had a spiritual experience and those prophesies confirmed what she believes, that’s straight out of the Gospel of Luke. That’s proper Christian doctrine. That’s what’s being explained in Luke 24, and not the other way around.

A.J. Bernard: Now. A brief defense of Matthew’s use of Hosea 11:1 – and you’re welcome to disagree with me – but the chapter divisions are arbitrary, for the most part.

Nehemia: Absolutely.

A.J. Bernard: For the most part. So if we skip back one verse to Hosea 10:15 it says, “Thus it shall be done to you, oh Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.” And then it says, “When Israel was a child, I loved Him, and out of Egypt I called My Son.” So is it possible – and I don’t know, this is a sincere question – is it possible that the word “Israel” could be taken as the sovereign figurehead rather than the title of a nation?

If we said “England today went to,” or “England today released a…” We would be talking about the Queen, or maybe the Prime Minister. But is it possible that’s how Matthew is using Hosea?

Nehemia: Let’s back up. We had talked about this on the phone. And I understand what you’re trying to do. What you’re trying to do is say, “Okay, we could explain how after all in the context it could mean this.” And I guess you could be right. In other words, what you want to say is, Hoshea 11:2 is a new prophesy, and Hosea 11:1 is part of the old prophesy. Is that what you’re saying?

A.J. Bernard: Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t read through 2. [laughing]

Nehemia: If you read 2 it’s talking about how He called them from Egypt and they went to worship idols. Is that Yeshua worshipping idols? [laughing] I mean, of course not.

A.J. Bernard: Oh, no.

Nehemia: All right, I hear what you’re saying. That’s a really good point, and it’s going to tie into what we’ll talk about in a minute, and what we talked about on the phone, and what I want to share with people.

So there was this concept in ancient Judaism, and it still exists in modern Judaism, that there are two ways of interpreting Scripture. One of them is called “Peshat”, which I’ve talked about in other programs. Peshat is plain meaning. People say, “Oh, you mean the literal meaning?” Not necessarily. Peshat is the meaning based on the language and the context using reason. Usually, that’s the literal meaning, but not always. The example I like to give is, if God says, “Judah is a lion”, the literal meaning is that Judah’s actually a lion. The plain meaning is no, that’s a metaphor and Judah’s not actually a lion, he’s very strong and has the attributes of a lion.

So Peshat is the plain meaning, which is often literal but not always. Then there’s “drash”, I talk about this in the Hebrew Yeshua vs the Greek Jesus. Drash is this concept that the Rabbis use all the time, especially the Rabbis, but not only. The idea of drash is that the language and the context are sometimes things that can be suspended, especially in prophesy, to find what they would call a “deeper meaning”, And as a Karaite, I’m definitely a Peshat person, don’t get me wrong. But I think it’s important to understand the historical and cultural context of how the New Testament is using the Old Testament.

So I think on a drash level, what we would call the “juxtaposition”, or the “smichut parshiot”, that’s a concept in drash, that the fact that verse 15 of Hosea 10 is just before verse 11:1 and talks about the king of Israel being cut off, whoever that king of Israel – meaning we could pick through Hosea 10 and say, “Oh, no. This king of Israel’s referring to Jeroboam II, or something which it may be, actually. But for the purposes of drash, that’s not important. For the purposes of drash – and by the way, I’ve heard in the Hebrew Roots world they’ll often talk about “We’re going to Midrash together.” It’s the same word, “midrash” or “drash”. That’s not the meaning we’re talking about, of Midrash.

Midrash actually means “to seek”. And so studying Scripture can be called “to drash ” or “to Midrash”, I’m using the word “Midrash” in this Rabbinical sense of where the language and the context is important, and the language and the context always stands, but if we suspend the language or the context then we could have a deeper meaning or another meaning.

In other words, the fact that verse 15 talks about “a king of Israel being cut off”, or literally “being silenced” is what it says here, that almost certainly played into how Matthew used Hosea 11:1. In other words, I think you hit upon something absolutely correct. I don’t think it’s the Peshat, I don’t think that’s the plain meaning. In other words, in the days of Hosea, I don’t think they said, “Oh, the king of Israel’s going to be killed, and then he’ll have to flee to Egypt at some point.”

Because even think about it - in verse 15 he’s cut off and in verse 11 he’s being called from Egypt. These are two different times in the life of Jesus. But for the Christian who’s looking back retrospectively – meaning the Christian is saying this in the 1st century, or the Jewish believe in Yeshua is saying, “I know he’s the Messiah, he appeared to my friends, he appeared to 500 people,” like it talks about in 1 Corinthians 15. “And we know he’s there, now we’ve got to go find him, and the only way we’ll see that he’s actually in there is if it’s revealed to us.”

I could just imagine them sitting down with their scrolls, maybe standing with their scrolls, and praying saying the prayer of David, “Uncover my eyes that I may see the wonderful hidden things of your Torah.” Psalm 119:18…

A.J. Bernard: Amen.

Nehemia: …and thinking, “Okay, if I just look at this as a Jew who doesn’t believe in Yeshua, I’ll never see this. But I know he’s in here, so now I’ve got to find him.” That might sound like a far-fetched idea to a modern person, but I mentioned to you when we had our first conversation that I actually wrote my master’s thesis on a man named Daniel al-Kumisi, who was a Karaite Bible scholar in the 9th century CE. He came to Jerusalem around the year 880 and he wrote his commentaries shortly after that. He does this sort of thing, not relating to Jesus or Yeshua, he does this thing, and he bases it on a verse in Amos. The verse in Amos – I believe it’s in 5, where God says, “I don’t do anything without revealing it to My servants, the prophets.”

And Daniel al-Kumisi is sitting there in Jerusalem in the 9th century CE, or AD, and he’s living under the rule of the Muslims. There are two major super-powers at the time, the Islamic Empire and the Christian Empire - the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was still around in the form of the Byzantine Empire, and it’s a Christian empire at this time. He’s thinking, “How is it possible? I read Scripture every day and I don’t see references to the Islamic Empire or the Christian Empire? It’s not possible. It’s got to be in there. God says, ‘I don’t do anything without revealing it to my servants, the prophets.’”

Remember, in the 9th century, both Karaites and Rabbinical Jews, it was a given to them that prophesy had ended. That’s actually a central concept for most Jews, that prophesy doesn’t exist anymore – meaning prophesy is written, but there won’t be prophesy again until the end time when the Messiah comes.

So if there are no prophets today who are describing the Islamic or Christian empires, then it’s got to be back in the Tanakh. Then he uses this method – this is what my master’s thesis was about – where he goes and he reads a verse, and it might be talking about Edom, the Edomites, and he’ll say, “Well, the Edomites we know refers to Rome.” That was something the Rabbis agreed with, meaning it was a given to the Rabbis that whenever it talks about the Edomites, it’s actually referring to the Roman Empire.

And you could understand why, if you were a Rabbi living under the Roman Empire and there’s a whole book, the Book of Ovadia, talking about the destruction of the Edomites, Edom, you think, “God wasted a whole book on the Edomites? Who cares about them? Our big problem isn’t the Edomites, it’s the Romans. When it says Edom it must be Rome.”

And what they did is straight Midrashic interpretation. What they did is, they took the letter Daled of Edom and Daled and Reish, those two letters in Hebrew are almost identical. It’s a tiny little bump on the Daled that distinguishes it from the Reish.

They said, “Okay, we’re not going to change Scripture, we wouldn’t dare do that. But for the purposes of interpretation, we can read that Daled as a Reish, and we can read Edom as Rome.” In Hebrew that’s really easy to do. In fact, it’s easy to make a mistake and misread it. I’ve talked about that in some of the Prophet Pearls and Torah Pearls, that there are scribal errors in the Tanakh that happened out of a Daled and a Reish. I’ll just give a quick example.

There’s a nation mentioned in Genesis called Dodanim, or Dedanim, and they’re called Rodanim in Chronicles, when the passage is repeated. And you could really come to no other conclusion other than one of those was originally a Daled and one was originally a Reish, and something happened. I’ll call it a “scribal error”, but something happened. So the rabbi’s reading “Edom”, there’s no problem if you want to read it as “Rome”. They wouldn’t dare change it, because that would be tampering with the text. But for the purpose of interpretation, “Oh, yeah. Obviously, this is talking about Rome.”

Now, for Daniel al-Kumisi, what he said is, “Well, this was talking about the Edomites thousands of years ago, but it’s also talking about the Romans today,” which for him was the Byzantine Romans. When it talks about something in Daniel, a figure who will rise up and change times and seasons, he’ll say, “Okay, that is talking about an evil figure in the future, or maybe Nebuchadnezzar in the past, but it’s also talking about a prophet of a nation that I’m being ruled by right now.” I won’t say the name of that prophet, but I think you know who I’m talking about.

And he actually didn’t say the name either, but it was obvious in the context who he was talking about. So basically, there’s this Karaite in the 9th century, what he’s saying is that these major events in our lives, they’ve got to be somewhere in the Bible. There’s no prophesy like Josiah that says, “There will be a man name Emperor Heraclius who will arise, or Hadrian who will arise, and he will kill us.” And there could have been, meaning the Tanakh could have said, there could have been a prophet in biblical times that says, “There will be a man named Vespasian and he will come from a far-off land across the sea. He will burn the Temple,” or “and his son Titus will burn the Temple.” But we don’t have prophesies like that.

So Daniel al-Kumisi looks back and he says, “I know these things happened. They’re history, and they’ve got to be in the Prophets. Something so important in history must be in the Prophets. If it doesn’t say ‘Titus and Vespasian’, then it must be in there somewhere, and there must be a symbolic explanation of some verse. So when there’s a verse that talks about the great and terrible day of the Lord, or Yehovah, and the destruction of the Babylonians by Nebuchadnezzar, it did happen under Nebuchadnezzar. That was the ancient understanding of it. But in the history of our people, it also refers to the destruction of Titus and Vespasian.” That’s how he read it.

What’s fascinating to me, and what my thesis was about, is yes, we expect the Rabbis to do this because they have their drash method. They could take any verse and make it mean anything they want. But a Karaite doesn’t do that. The Karaites only do the Peshat, and that was what my thesis was about at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, showing that yeah, a Karaite does that too. And why does he do it? He’s got to do it, because it says in Amos 3 verse 7, “The Lord Yehovah does not do any matter except He reveals His sod.” That’s interesting – his “counsel”, but it also can mean “secret”, “To his servants, the prophets.”

And the point was, this counsel, these secrets, it’s got to be revealed somewhere. And sod, technically, is what Yehovah says to the angels, and that is revealed to the prophets. In other words, a prophet gets to listen in on what Yehovah is saying to the angels. He brought these emperors, Titus and Vespasian, to destroy the Temple in 70 CE, AD. It’s got to be somewhere in the Prophesies. It’s got to be.

Some people will refer to this as a “retrospective prognostic interpretation”. Prognostic means telling the future, but it’s retrospective. In other words, we’re looking back and we don’t find a Josiah-type prophesy or a Cyrus-type prophesy. Not even a 70-years of Jeremiah-type prophesy. But it’s got to be in there somewhere. And to somebody like Daniel al-Kumisi, this doesn’t seem far-fetched. It has to be in there. And I think that Luke is doing a similar sort of thing. He’s saying that they didn’t see it themselves. They couldn’t see it themselves! But Jesus came along, according to Luke, and said, “Okay, here it is. I’m in there, and here are the things that refer to me.”

Then when we read those in the Gospels, the counter-missionary comes along and says, “But that’s not the context! He’s talking about Israel. Yeah, there’s a king cut off, but even that doesn’t fit, because that was at the end of Jesus’ life, and this is the beginning of his life.” There’s no way that I could read this as a Jew who doesn’t believe in Jesus, as one of the 12 Disciples who even believed in Jesus. But this wasn’t revealed to him. Imagine that, that the 12 Disciples on the third day couldn’t see these things. That’s what Luke is saying.

The point here is that there’s a lot of confusion and frustration, I think, between Jews and Christians, because I as a Jew read these prophesies, and my Jewish brothers and sisters say, “They’re twisting our Scripture. That’s not what it says.” And the Christians read it and they say, “Why don’t you see it? It’s so obvious.”

I think both of us are missing the point. The point is, that’s not how the New Testament is using it. The New Testament, I think, is using - and maybe not in every case, but in many Old Testament prophesies – is using it the way that the Rabbis used many prophesies. They said, “Edom, it can’t be Edom. It’s got to be something relevant today. We know Rome is a super-power. It’s got to be referring to that.” And the way Daniel al-Kumisi used many of the prophesies…

This didn’t seem far-fetched to the Rabbis or Daniel. Now, here’s where things get a little confusing. If you came to Daniel al-Kumisi or to the Rabbis and said, “You guys are living on a desert island and you don’t know what’s going on in the world, but I can prove to you there’s an empire called Rome. How can I prove to you there’s an Empire called Rome? Because there’s this prophesy about Edom.” [laughing] They’d say, “What are you talking about? That’s crazy. If I don’t already know about Rome, then I’m not going to tie that prophesy to Edom.” This is where a lot of Christians will come to the Jew and say, “How do you not believe in this? It’s so obvious.” The point of Luke is, first you’ve got to believe in it, and then you can see how it applies to Yeshua, if it’s revealed to you. That’s how I’m reading it. If you have a different understanding, I can accept that and affirm that. What’s your take on it, A.J.?

A.J. Bernard: Like I said earlier, it comes down to world view. If you start with Jesus, then when you look in Genesis chapter 3 you see the seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent. Well, where does that happen? On Skull Hill, where the serpent’s head is crushed when the serpent strikes at Jesus’ heel, driving a nail into the cross. But if you don’t start with the crucifixion, if you don’t start with Jesus, if you just start with Genesis 3, then you say, “Oh, that’s interesting,” and you move on.

Nehemia: Or you say, “What are you talking about?” [laughing]

A.J. Bernard: Right, yeah.

Nehemia: Really, I’ve heard this from a lot of my Jewish brothers and sisters, “These guys are making stuff up. Where are they getting this?” And I think both sides are missing the point. As far as I know, this is mainstream Christian doctrine, or understanding of interpretation. In other words, it’s not like you read Matthew, where he’s quoting Hoshea, and you’re the first one to realize that and say, “Uh-oh, we caught him in a mistake.” It’s my understanding that many Christian scholars say that, and I think they use the word “retrospectively”, that after the crucifixion, the Disciples went back and said, “Okay, this is the most important event in history, from our perspective. It’s got to be in the prophesies. Where is it?” And they found it.

If you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t already believe in it, then he’s going to look at you like you’re talking about ancient aliens. Like, “What do you mean?” Does that make any sense?

A.J. Bernard: Oh, absolutely. Modern Christian scholars do the same thing, and a lot of them make the news because they come off as absolute kooks.

Nehemia: What are you referring to? I don’t know what you’re referring to.

A.J. Bernard: Harold Camping. Are you familiar with the name?

Nehemia: No.

A.J. Bernard: Harold Camping made some prophesies. He went into the Scriptures, he said, and did some math, he said – although I don’t know if he ever revealed his math. He determined that Jesus was returning, that the second coming of Christ would be in October of 1988.

Nehemia: Really - was it?

A.J. Bernard: Harold was wrong on that one, but somehow, he survived and he rebuilt his multi-million dollar teaching empire.

Nehemia: I’m shocked. [laughing]

A.J. Bernard: Yes, me too. Then a few years later, a few years ago, actually – it was like 2006 – Harold comes out and says, “Jesus will return in 2008.”

Nehemia: Was this the May 21, 2012 guy?

A.J. Bernard: That might have been it, yeah.

Nehemia: Or is that a different? I remember that happening, yeah. So now let’s get some perspective. When you say he sounds like a kook… see, that’s different because he’s predicting the future, and what we’re talking about here is finding past events in Scripture. I’ve got to bring this, and it’s just one example. We could do a whole session just on this, and I probably will.

So for example, in the Dead Sea Scrolls there is something called “Pesher Habakkuk”. And Pesher, that’s a really important word. Pesher basically means the interpretation of a dream.

For example, when Joseph interprets the dreams of the men they say, “Wow.” That’s maybe the word “pitaron”. But pesher often means “the interpretation of a dream.” So Pesher Habakkuk is an explanation of Habakkuk, who was one of the minor prophets, minor not meaning he’s unimportant, but that he is from a small book. There were 12 small books that they put together in one Scroll, they were called the “12 Minor Prophets”.

So the Pesher Habakkuk was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Dead Sea Scrolls had a teacher or a leader whose name we don’t know. He’s referred to as “moreh tzedek”, the Teacher of Righteousness. He’s believed by modern scholars to be the founder of the Essene movement, or of the Qumran movement, depending how you define it. But he’s referred to throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls repeatedly. His arch enemy was called “HaKohen Harasha”, “The Wicked Priest”. There were these two figures in history whose names we don’t know, it’s amazing. One was the founder of this movement, and one was the enemy of the movement.

People tried to identify the Wicked priest as maybe Alexander Jannaeus, or John Hyrcanus, or somebody like that, one of the Hasmonean High Priests who was also a king. There were all these events in the history of this movement of the Essenes, who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, and they looked back at the Prophets and they said, “This is when history changed. When the Teacher of Righteousness rose up and he founded our movement and the Wicked Priest tried to stop him, this is when history changed and the redemption began. Surely, the prophets spoke of this.”

What they did is, they set out to find him in the Prophets. For example, in Pesher Habakkuk, it’s a famous passage, and there are numerous passages like this. Habakkuk 2:15, can you read Habakkuk 2:15, can you pull that up?

A.J. Bernard: Yes. “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink. You pour out your wrath and make them drunk in order to gaze at their nakedness.”

Nehemia: So what’s it talking about, in the time of Habakkuk? It’s talking about people who were probably quite literally, getting people drunk in order for some sort of licentiousness, some sexual sin, or to humiliate people. But they looked at that and they said, “Come on. The Teacher of Righteousness and the Wicked Priest are the most important figures in history. They’ve got to be there in the Prophets.” They found it in that verse that you just read, which is unbelievable.

So here’s how they quote it - even how they quote the verse goes into this whole Midrashic method of interpretation. This is probably where a Karaite might slightly differ. A Karaite wouldn’t go this far, or at least Daniel al-Kumisi didn’t go this far, but it was definitely part of the cultural milieu of ancient, 1st century Israel.

This is column 11 line 2, you guys can look this up. It’s in Pesher Habakkuk from the Dead Sea Scrolls. “Woe to the one who gets his friend drunk, pouring out his anger, making him drink just to get a look at their holy days.”

A.J. Bernard: Holy days?

Nehemia: Holy days. How did he get from nakedness to holy days?

A.J. Bernard: [laughing]

Nehemia: What’s the word for nakedness in that verse? It’s “ma’or”, Mem-Ayin-Vav-Reish, and if you change the Reish to a Daled

A.J. Bernard: It sounds like me’od, yes.

Nehemia: It sounds like mo’ed.

A.J. Bernard: Mo’ed. Yes, I’m sorry.

Nehemia: It’s very close to mo’ed, if you change the Reish to the Daled, which we talked about with Rome and Edom, and that Kumisi would be okay with, as a Karaite. Who is this talking about? They got somebody drunk to look at his holy days? Well, it’s not literally drunk, it’s spiritually. “This refers to the Wicked Priest” - this is in the Dead Sea Scrolls – “who pursued the Teacher of Righteousness to destroy him in the heat of his anger at his place of exile. At the time set aside for the repose,” or the rest, “of the Day of Atonement, he appeared to them to destroy them and to bring them to ruin on the fast day, the Sabbath intended for their rest.”

So they read the verse we just read, which is talking about people who get each other drunk to have sex with them, or to humiliate them with nakedness, and they said, “Of course it’s the Wicked Priest attacking the Teacher of Righteousness on Yom Kippur! Who else could it be?” Okay, one of these prophies may be. But there are hundreds of prophesies that refer to the Wicked Priest and the Teacher of Righteousness. Yes, in the context it doesn’t mean that, but that’s because you don’t have eyes to see.

They actually talk about this in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and scholars call this “illuminational exegesis”. Exegesis means “interpretation”. You have to have this divine illumination to see what they’re seeing. But to them, they didn’t understand - how it is that you don’t accept the Teacher of Righteousness and denounce the Wicked Priest? To the rest of Israel, the Wicked Priest was the Righteous Priest. If he was Alexander Jannaeus or John Hyrcanus or one of those guys, he was the High Priest. He was a holy man. But to the Essenes, the people who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, he was the Wicked Priest who attacked their leader, their founder, the Teacher of Righteousness. They didn’t understand how you don’t see it. Clearly, this refers to him! Who else could it be? There are 350 prophesies… and there was a lot more than that. There are whole books where every verse was referring to the Teacher of Righteousness. We could go on, and on, and just about every verse is understood as something in the life of the Teacher of Righteousness.

From their perspective, you’d come to them as the non-believing Jew - meaning you don’t believe in the Teacher of Righteousness who founded these themes – and you’d say, “You guys are just making this up. What are you talking about?” And the two sides are talking past each other, because what their point was, “We believe in the Teacher of Righteousness, it’s been revealed to us by God that he is the true teacher. It’s not possible, God wouldn’t do something without revealing it to his servants, the prophets.” That’s what Amos says. “So he must be in here somewhere. We find him on every page! He’s on every word on every page!”

I’ll read you another one, and this is at the end of column 11. I’m just randomly choosing something. “For the crimes perpetuated against Lebanon he will bury you, for the robbery of beasts He will smite you…” this is the verse. “Because of murder and injustice in the land, he will destroy the city and all who live in it.” And Habakkuk is clearly talking about the sinners of his day, who were about to be invaded by the Babylonians and destroyed. That’s the context of Habakkuk.

Then they say, “The passage refers to the Wicked Priest, that he will be paid back for what he did to the poor.” “For Lebanon doesn’t mean Lebanon. Lebanon refers to the party of the Yachad.” The Yachad is what the Essenes called themselves. “And beast refers to the simple-hearted of Judah who obey the Torah.” In other words, Lebanon in the verse isn’t Lebanon like everybody thought in the time of Habakkuk - maybe it’s also that - but we know it refers to something in the history of our movement, which is the Dead Sea Scroll people, the Essenes. Lebanon refers to the Yachad, and “beasts are the Jews who support us but they’re not part of our group.”

It goes on, “God will condemn him…” the Wicked Priest, “to utter destruction, just as he planned to destroy the poor.” And it goes on, and on, and on, everything here is about the Wicked Priest and the Teacher of Righteousness. Again, if you would go to an Essene.... Imagine there would be the counter-missionary standing up to the Essenes saying, “You Essenes have taken it out of context!” And they’d be looking at him and saying, “What is this guy talking about? He’s come here to destroy our faith. We know it’s referring to the Teacher of Righteousness!”

Here’s my criticism of the counter-missionary. He’s an Orthodox Jew, and when he interprets the Torah for very practical purposes, he uses this non-Peshat method, what I call “drash”, or what he calls “drash”. An example is, it says, “don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” What does that mean to him? It means have separate dishes for milk and meat. It means after he eats a hamburger, he’s got to wait six hours before he can eat cheese. Literally. It means you can’t obviously cook meat and milk together. I read that and I say, “What are you talking about? That’s not what it means in the context.” So he’ll take it out of context and ignore the language for the purposes of very practical application of the Torah.

But when it comes to the Messianic prophesies, he says to the Christians, “You can’t take that out of context, it’s talking about Israel in Hosea 11:1. It’s not talking about the Messiah. It’s not talking about Jesus. Read the context.” Well, wait a minute - you don’t read the context when you apply the Torah. The point is that Rabbinical Jews will interpret contrary to the language and the context for the purpose of applying how to keep the Torah. But when it comes to the Messianic prophesies, all of a sudden, they’ve discovered the Peshat, the plain meaning based on the language and the context. And all of a sudden that’s the only way to interpret. Does that make sense? Do you understand what I’m saying?

A.J. Bernard: Yeah, absolutely.

Nehemia: Look, I’m a Karaite, so I tend to interpret everything according to the Peshat. But the point, I think, of Luke, isn’t Peshat or drash. The point is, if you believe and it’s revealed to you, then you’ll see how these prophesies refer to Yeshua, and if you don’t, you won’t. I think that’s what it’s saying.

A.J. Bernard: Sure. Absolutely.

Nehemia: And so when Christians come to me, I sense their frustration. “Why don’t you see this, Nehemia?” The answer is in your Gospel. Why are you accusing me? What I say is, if God wants me to know this, He’ll let me know it. Up until now, I hear what you’re saying, and I understand intellectually how you get to what you’re saying, but it’s not been revealed to me.

A.J. Bernard: Yeah, and I understand as well from the Christian perspective, when I talk to Jewish people and I say, “Look, right here, it’s right there. It’s very plain. Can’t you see this?” I get frustrated. I know exactly what you mean. From my perspective, and I’ve grown quite a bit, since I got serious about the Scriptures, since I got serious about being one of the foreigners who joins himself to Yehovah, what I’ve decided is that Yehovah is truth, and I am seeking Him and I’m going to seek Him as He has revealed Himself. And what He has revealed in the Torah is truth, and what He has revealed in the Tanakh is truth. But what I find in the New Testament is not what a lot of Christians find. A lot of Christians want to say, “The Torah is evil. That’s the law of sin and death,” Paul calls it.

Nehemia: Wait, stop A.J. You’re a Methodist Pastor. The Torah is done away with, right?

A.J. Bernard: No, the Torah is absolutely the word of God, because our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Nehemia: Come on with that! Preach it!

A.J. Bernard: He didn’t change His mind…

Nehemia: Amen.

A.J. Bernard: … when Yeshua was born, folks. It’s the same God.

Nehemia: No, He changed His mind at the crucifixion, when the law was nailed to the cross, right?

A.J. Bernard: No! [laughing]

Nehemia: That’s the standard Methodist explanation, isn’t it? I’m not making stuff… I don’t know if Methodist, but Christian.

A.J. Bernard: Yeah, the standard Christian explanation is that the law was fulfilled and done away with. Well, portions of the law were fulfilled, but that doesn’t mean it’s done away with. Yeshua himself preaches this when he says, “Not one jot or one tittle should be done away with the law until all will be fulfilled.” And what does the Torah speak of? The Torah speaks of all of human history. So when all of human history is fulfilled, then maybe we can re-address this. But the Torah is still absolutely valid and essential today.

Nehemia: Amen. I want to say one last thing. I want to say why I really do think counter-missionaries have a place and they have a purpose. I think they fulfill an important function, even though that’s not my calling. But I appreciate what they do, and what I appreciate is they’re saying, “Okay, you’re saying there are 350 prophesies. What do those prophesies say in their context?”

And I think Christians should be grateful for the counter-missionary, because I think he can get them back to Luke 24. And not just Luke 24, we just brought that one passage, there are quite a number of verses in the New Testament that talk about the only way that you can know this is if it was revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. I’m referencing there… what is that, Mark…? The scene where he asks him, “And who do you say that I am?”

A.J. Bernard: Mark 8.

Nehemia: Right. Yeshua doesn’t respond to Peter and say, “Oh, you have studied the prophesies and you know they refer to me. You have good doctrine, and you’ve memorized the verse.” He says, “No, this was revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.” [laughing] So I think Christians out there should thank the counter-missionary and the literature that he’s basing himself on in Jewish history, because what it’s doing is saying, “What do these verses mean in their context?” And there is a principle even in Rabbinical Judaism which says the Peshat never is lost. What that means is, they’ll say, “Yeah, you can’t eat milk and meat together, but you also can’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” Meaning that for the application they’ll say, “We’re going to change the language and the context,” and what they’ll say is they have a tradition that allows them to do that. That their tradition gives them the authority, and the Rabbis have the authority.

In other words, it’s not like we just caught them in some mistake. If you ask most counter-missionaries, why is it that when you interpret the Torah for practical purposes for halacha, that you’re not bound by the language and the context, but then when you come to the Messianic prophesies, all of a sudden you can only interpret by the language and the context?”

The answer is very clear. There’s no question about it. Our Rabbis interpreted the first thing this way, and the other thing that way, and we’re guided by their traditional interpretation. That would be his response.

A.J. Bernard: Boy, doesn’t that sound Christian, though? We’re wrapped up, we’re tied around our traditions…

Nehemia: You’re preaching to a Karaite [laughing] who says tradition is a wonderful, beautiful thing, but I’m going to be led by the Spirit of Yehovah…

A.J. Bernard: Amen.

Nehemia: … as I read Scripture. A.J. would you end with a prayer?

A.J. Bernard: I sure would. And before I do, please let me just say, thank you so much. This in an incredible honor to be asked to do this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Nehemia: I really did, too.

A.J. Bernard: Avinu shebashayim, yitkadesh shimcha, our Father in Heaven, may your Holy Name be sanctified. We thank You so much for Your Holy Scriptures. We thank You so much for the truth that You have revealed in them. We thank You so much that You have called us to be Your people, that You desire a relationship with us. Blessed Father, thank You. Blessed Father, please help us to draw closer to You, to bring glory to Your Holy Name. In the name of Yehovah we pray, Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

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Hosea 11:1
Matthew 2:14-15
1 Kings 13:1
2 Kings 23:15
Daniel 9:1-2
Isaiah 53
Luke 24
Psalm 119:18
Amos 3:7

Related Posts:
Pesher in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Hebrew Gospel Pearls
Torah and Prophet Pearls
Hebrew Voices Episodes
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Nehemia Gordon's Teachings on the Name of God

  • James hewett says:

    Have you ever read something and you have that light bulb moment. It still happens to me every now and then when I study the scriptures.

  • donald murphy says:

    i don’t care how the Roman religion interprets the tanakh. it’s a false religion that u need to stay away from.

  • Nunya Biz says:

    Weaned, don’t cook a kid unweaned or still ‘in it’s mother’s milk’…otherwise ur perfect unblemished lamb can be freshborn. Besides, all 3 times it’s written “Don’t cook a kid in it’s mother’s milk” is at the end of a feast synopsis n each next verse is a huge change of topic…js

  • Carl Mathias says:

    I just became a member. From a Previous Independent Baptist Pastor, Bible College and Seminary Student, I want to say HalleluJAH! What a Savior in YeHoVaH.

    This has done two things.
    1. Strengthen my Faith
    2. Stirs me to go
    Deeper with my Walk with our Creator and Savior.

    My Yehovah bless you!!!!!

  • sandy yerger says:

    So appreciate this study. It was enlightening to see that the rabbis’ do the same with regard to identifying a prophecy after the fact, using the new knowledge to understand or complete an understanding that Yehovah wants us to have about His ways or plans.

    But another recent post in this thread mentions that no feasts can currently be kept outside of the land, something to do with the lunar calendar. Does this have any validity?

    I will keep listening

  • Matt says:

    Has anyone heard of the Two Messiah Teaching? In a nutshell, one Messiah was to be the Suffering Servant and one was to be the Conquering King. This is why John the Baptist sent his two disciples to Yeshua. John wanted to know if Yeshua was both, and Yeshua was. This would help explain why the disciples of Yeshua didn’t quite get it at first. If they thought Yeshua was the Conquering King then they thought he would set up the Kingdom on Earth. This could explain why Judas went along with betraying Yeshua because Judas thought Yeshua was the Conquering also. Therefore Yeshua wouldn’t have been taken to be staked. If Judas thought Yeshua wasn’t the Conquering King then Judas might have thought he sent an “innocent” man to the stake.

  • Luke is really saying that Yeshua stated that the truth of HIs death/resurrection is in the prophet’s words and they (we) are slow and foolish for not having recognized it. How should THEY have recognized it? Certainly not through those with a preconceived agenda like the oral law teaching rabbis. Certainly not through the pharisees who did not obey Torah themselves, but instead, obeyed their traditions with a stern warning about this (matt 23). And certainly not through those who are more comfortable resting in what man says instead of what God says. They should have recognized those prophesies by HIs own words and Him actually acting out those words. Daniel said this would happen “in the time of those kings” so their timeframe would have been the parameter.

    Now…..how should WE have recognized this all in hindsight and not be foolish and slow ourselves? Well, Yehovah responds to those who lay down their worship of man, denying all acts of disobedience to His law (repentance) and humbly searching for truth. You cannot claim to humbly search for truth while living a life that continues in sin. Sin is defined as transgressing or breaking the instructions of Yehovah.

    Thinking about all the ways Judaism, Christianity and Hebrew roots disobey. The lunar calendar is the first that comes to mind. No tribe other than Levites, was given authority to declare the lunar calendar for Israel and even then, only Aaronic priests. (Num 10) It would be sin to deny this and usurp their authority. In fact, it would be making up your own authority and instructions and declaring yourself to be a new priest who gets to make this declaration.

    Likewise, attempted or declared feast keeping is another continued sin. Without the lunar calendar, no feasts can be kept nor are they to be kept in captivity. (Hosea 2:11 & chap 9). Feasts were instructed ONLY after Israel crossed over into the land (Ex 12 & 13) and then, only at the Temple where the priests accept the instructed sacrifices (Deuteronomy 12). To declare feasts for God’s people in the United States or anywhere else (without Temple/Levitical priests) is no different than Jeroboam setting up his own high place for the people. A high place is where a false worshipper would go to worship or supposedly obey or give homage to their god. Anytime we change what Yehovah says and do it our own way, declaring the lunar calendar ourselves, gathering for made up feasts anywhere else, denying Yehovah telling us these things CEASE outside of the land because they were not to be done outside of the land EVER, we are setting up our own high places and priests.

    THIS is the very reason blindness continues today as Deut 28:28 says. Sin is sin. Disobeying Yehovah by being a thief is no different than disobeying Yehovah by being a supposed feast keeper (which is impossible). The heart of a truly surrendered person who comes back to Torah, does not make up their own commands to do outside of the land, encouraging whole groups of people to disobey God as well.

    • Carl Mathias says:

      Then are you saying that if the people couldn’t make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem during 3 of the feasts, they didn’t recognize them at all!

  • In Hosea, not only is the subject “Israel” but the actual person named Israel (Jacob) could also be the correct interpretation/fulfillment. So Matthew, who believes Hosea, is just making a connection like anyone else could be making a connection. Yehovah could be talking about the nation of Israel, Jacob or even a future promised One. Who are we to say any of those are wrong if Yehovah meant all of them?

  • Gloria Benson says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

  • Richard Myers says:

    which tanakh with hebrew and english is most accurate?
    If availible can you recommend a book that has as it as called the new testament from Matthew to Revelation in accurate Hebrew to english?

  • paul behm says:

    I too have had a spiritual experience that made it clear that the New Testament is also part of the Word of GOD. The 12 disciples on Pentecost also had a spiritual experience so did the people that were pricked in there heart , also Saul on his way to Damascus maybe the question is what Christian hasn’t. As a side issue, I do not accept the trinity as truth and am not a jw. and can teach both points of view but only accept only one.
    Is it possible it is that we can only see when we believe, after all there are many non practicing Jews that don’t even believe the Old Testament, to say nothing about the unbelievers.
    So what causes believing.

  • Nebiyu says:

    So what does it say on Hebrew Matthew?

  • Kim Meijer says:

    Nehemia, I read a lot of your material. And I really love your knowledge and explanation about the things you’ve discovered. I’m only curious what the difference is between your findings and what Jehovah Witnesses teach.
    Cause I see a lot of similarities. Have you ever discussed material with them and what are the differences between what you discover and what they teach?

    They teach the name of God Yehovah since the late 19 century. And they don’t teach trinity either. They preach over the whole world, cause Jezus (Yehoshua) told his disciples to make disciples of all man. (Matthew 28:19,20) And teach people about his kingdom. “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

    As mentioned, I love your work, and especially your hard work to teach others about Yehovah. But I’m very curious about what you think of Jehovah Witnesses and what they teach (just because it similar in so many ways).

    • The official Jehovah’s Witnesses organization does not accept the evidence that the true pronunciation of the Name is Yehovah. In fact, they state that “nobody knows for sure how the name of God was originally pronounced” and they warn against getting “sidetracked by trying to determine what that pronunciation was“. They only use Jehovah “because it’s widely recognized in English”, not because they believe the Hebrew Yehovah to be the original pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton.

      • Vivian says:

        I’ve studied with a Jehovah Witness person for several years and based on my understanding of of The Word of Yehovah, I believe there are many things the Jehovah Witnesses have right AND there are many things they misunderstand if what this person teaches. Probably the most serious one might be that they believe they are Spiritual Israel and from their fold will be the 144,000 of Revelation 14 and that Jehovah has washed His Hands of the covenant He made with His people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  • Owen Murphy says:

    Great study – The ‘Christian’ concept Nehemia touched on “The Law nailed to the Cross”, so the law is abrogated – Yeshua and the Sabbath- Matthew 12:8 Consider – If one is Lord of the manor, does that abrogate the manor ? If Yeshua is Lord of the Sabbath, does that abrogate the Sabbath ?

  • Daniel Eligio says:

    Luke 24 changed my life. I had the privilege to hear Nehemiah speak in person in houston/Katy Texas about Pesher. You made us promise to read Luke 24 “road to Ammaus”, I read it that night as promised, and I have made it my personal mission to find as much scriptures about Yeshua in the Tenach. These are just a few. Gen1:3 Then God said “let their be light”; and their was light. (1st day) Gen.1:14 then God said let their be lights/luminaries in the expanse… (4th day) Question: What or Who was that light on the first day? I believe this answers it. John 1:2-5 he was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has came into being. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overpower it. Psalms 72:17 His name endure forever, His name was their before the SUN and men shall be blessed… still looking for Jesus in the Tenach. Question: who was speaking in the burning bush? Exodus 3:2 the Angel of the Lord appeared to him… vs4 when YHVH saw that he turned aside to look YHVH called to him from the midst of the bush… Who is this Angel that is speaking? Judges 2:1 Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim and said,” I brought you out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers…[again angel] Gen.48:15-16 vs16 The angel who has redeemed me from all evil bless the lads;… [what angel can redeem?] I will stop hear because i can on, this can be pretty lengthy, but after reading Luke 24 it changed me. I enjoy your teaching as always, hoping to get your perspective on these few scriptures in search to find that sermon Jesus taught vs.44″… all the things which are written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms…” Shalom!

  • Yvonne says:


    That was wonderful. You taught me a lot. I enjoyed hearing about your thesis and all your points.

    I disagree with the interpretation of the “Trinity” though. I believe the “Trinity” doctrine came from the Catholic church. Three persons in one. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. I believe this is false.

    Here’s what I believe from Scripture. Yeshua was accused by the Pharisees of having a demon. He admonished them that to Blaspheme the Holy Spirit is unforgivable in this world and the next. Because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Matt 12:32

    Remember Yeshua was baptised by John the Baptist overseen by the his Father and bestowed with the Holy Spirit. So he was doing miracles on the strength of the Holy Spirit.

    Yeshua prayed to his Father to send another comforter, that he may abide with the apostles forever. This “comforter” is the Spirit of Truth. Remember, Yeshua is the Truth. John 14:16-18 Yeshua said the “Comforter” is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in MY Name and will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, (what he taught his diciples) whatsoever I have said to you. I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. John 14:18 He had to go away in order for the Comforter to take over. That Comforter was the same Spirit as himself and his Father. And the Comforter would only know what Yeshua and his Father would tell him. So it doesn’t sound like the Holy Spirit was on his own but functioning through God the Father and the Son.

    So the Comforter/Holy Spirit is not a separate entity but the spirit that is sent by Yeshua and God the Father. If the Holy Spirit was a separate entity he would be credited with being God. He is not.

    Proof: Ex. Luke 1:34-35 Gabriel tells Mary she’ll have child. She doesn’t understand how that can be done. Gabriel tells her the Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the POWER OF THE HIGHEST SHALL OVERSHADOW YOU. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.

    Very enjoyable Nehemia. Thank you.

  • Scott says:

    Yeshua contradicted OT prophesies, the followers of Yeshua called the apostles or disciples, contradict OT prophesies. The resurrection stories in all 4 gospels contradict each other, the time frame of his death contradict each other, Yeshua told his disciples he would return in their time, Revelations says behold I come quickly & its been over 200yrs now. What more proof do we need?

    My answer is this! Trust ADONAI keep TORAH & wait for the TRUE DELIVERANCE which Hashem promised by the Nevi’im(Prophets) Shalom!

  • Jeffrey says:

    Very good rapport. Very engaging. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you.

  • Daniel says:

    Ecclesiastes 1:9
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    That which has been is what will be,
    That which is done is what will be done,
    And there is nothing new under the sun.

    Just as Yeshua became the Passover Lamb delivering all who believe in HIM from the Angle of Death through sin just as the original lamb delivered Israel from the original Angle of Death in Egypt, what is recorded in ancient days in Yahovah’s dealing with Israel has all been fulfilled in Messiah. This was Yahovah’s plan from the beginning when HE introduced HIS plan for salvation through the coming Messiah

    Genesis 3:15
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    And I will put enmity
    Between you and the woman,
    And between your seed and her Seed;
    He shall bruise your head,
    And you shall bruise His heel.”

    Although this passage was to dealing with the fall of man in the garden, we all recognize it for what it is – the promise of the Messiah.

  • Stanton Felder~ says:

    Excellent! I am still blessed by your humble and honest love for YeHoVaH.

  • Charles Atkinson says:

    How about this as an example of “finding” history in the prophets: concerning 9-11 & the twin towers… “Oh how the towers have fallen, but we will rebuild.” Isa. 9:10
    The question though is, Does ones’ experience validate their interpretation of scripture? or does Pesher still have to stand up to contextual analysis?

  • Claude Marceau says:

    After hearing your good Hebrew Voice message, this question came to mind which I have been pondering about all week long. It is in regards to the connection between John 5:46 (where Yeshua says that Moses wrote about him) and in Exodus 23:20-22 (where Yehovah will send a messenger carrying His title). Here is the Ancient Hebrew translation of Ex. 23:20-22 AHRC-RMT “look, I am sending a messenger you to safeguard you in the road, and to [bring] you to the area which I prepared, (21) be safeguarded from his face, and hear his voice, you will not [provoke] him, given that he will not lift up your transgression, given that my title is within him, (22) you will :surely: hear his voice, and you will do all which I will speak, (then) I will attack your attackers, and I will smack your oppressors,”

  • Elissa says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it very useful. Thanks to you both!

  • UKJ says:

    Interesting topic, thank you for raising the issue.

    It does become apparent that honesty has to be the number one priority when dealing with the word of God, as has been pointed out so eloquently.

    The trouble is , we humans come with different barrages or different backgrounds which often clouds our views and understandings.
    Peaceful discussions are definitely the way forward. Thank you both for demonstrating that this can be done!

    No one can possibly have all the answers.
    At the end of it all, it is still a matter of faith, which is personal, and should be build on right and honest foundation’s.

    I should say, this is the reason we discuss here..thank you!

  • Mike McCully says:

    Thank you, Nehemiah and Pastor Bernard. That was an engaging and enjoyable discussion. It reminded me of your closing comment after speaking to the Raellian. Shalom

  • Charles Mickelson says:

    Our knowledge of good and evil is always threatened by our inclination to rationalize them. Rationalization is the cleverest of creatures, often subtlety leading us away from God’s law. We know about justifying evil. But justifying good? We enhance, amplify, augment and build fences to protect scripture in the name of piety and the search for meaning and resolution. Great study.

  • Joy Mathew says:

    In Yohanan 6 : 44 it says No one can come to me unless YHWH draws him to Yahushua .
    YHVH deals each person separately and this Revelation comes at different times to different people .
    In 1974 I was an atheist and a leftist but then Yahushua was a leftist as he went to the temple with whip cord and overthrew business . In those days I had told people that if Yahshua comes in our days He would come with an AK 47 to destroy captilism .
    Six years later due to a parapsychological experience I became a believer of Yahushua.
    Three years back I came to the realisation that keeping the commandments is as essential as believing in Yahushua .
    But these realisations are the grace of YHVH : we have to pray that others have the same realisation but need not condemn anybody for not having them .

  • plonesr says:

    Amen & Amen
    We are TAUGHT to see.
    We are TRAINED to perceive.
    Therefore we can only perceive what we have been taught!
    PS 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down,
    Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
    7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture
    and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice,
    8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
    As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
    9 “When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
    10 “For forty years I loathed [that] generation,
    And said they are a people who ERR IN THEIR HEART (uncircumcised),
    And they do NOT KNOW My ways.
    11 “Therefore I swore in My anger,
    Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”
    The phrases that reminds me constantly when I read the Torah is:
    If you will do, If you will obey, I you will know my ways….
    Some Replace His Words for their own,
    Some Remove His Word for their own,
    Some will READ His Word on their own!

  • Frank Shrum says:

    Here is what I posted to th about this:

    This is such a great program! You’ll learn a lot about how redundant it is to try to convince anyone to believe your gospel! It is Yah who draws His people to Him, not us humans!

  • Ben Guptill says:

    At about the 29 minute mark, the question is asked if the term “Israel” in Hosea 11:1 could refer to a figure head. I had a similar question — often I see prophecies refer to “Judah” and “Israel” separately, but in the same verses. For example:

    Psa 22:23
    You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

    Jer 31:31
    “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
    32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
    33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

    Is it possible that when the Bible talks about “Jacob” or “Judah” it is talking about those who are physically, ethnically Jewish, and when it talks about “Israel” it is talking about those who are of the same faith in the gospel as Abraham – the Christians?

    • Jake says:

      Ben Guptill, please read and meditate on Gal 6:16. It is the only verse in all of Scripture that contains that peculiar phrase at the end. Perhaps that will answer your question?

      Yara shalam

  • Thank you so much! It seems like the Jews are removing the false teaching just as the believers in Yeshua are removing false teachings. It’s time we get all cleaned up and I think we will be embracing each other. I so appreciate the knowledge of the life and history of the Jewish perspective. The Christian church has left so much out of Yahova’s truths…it’s had to even find the meat under all that fluff and lies.

    • Jake says:

      Darlene DeSilva, you say “it’s ha(r)d to even find the meat under all that fluff and lies.”. Yes, the Word of our Creator has been covered over by layer upon layer of tortuously twisted perversions. As was written in Jer 8:8, so it was done and continued to be done after our Deliverer ascended. But, the Word of our Creator is being restored uncut stone by uncut stone.

  • Benyahmeen says:

    Nehemiah, I appreciate your honesty and sincerity. I want to address those that believe in Yshua to look at Romans 9:6 “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”, this passage uses both the plural form and singular form of Israel that is to say the nation ” plural” of Israel to the later part of the verse that states, ” which are of Israel” now using the more singular form and real definition of the word Israel, meaning prince or princes with God, Isra being Hebrew root, sar or sarah “prince” with el, eloheem, God. Further Jacob was a singular entity later called Israel “prince with God” and by no means is it a stretch or a break of continuity of scriptures to see Israel as singular or plural, on the contrary the Bible uses both forms readily.

    Shalom Alechem!

  • Benyahmeen says:

    Thanks Guys for the special edition! Something must be said about Matthew quoting Hosea which neither one of you addressed, “When Isarael was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son”, the Peshat in Matthew is exactly this when looking at the word meaning of Israel, Isra= (Hebrew Sarah) a prince or leader of El= God; the the literal obvious interpretation of this singular verse is talking about a person not a nation. In Matthew it says this was the fulfillment of this passage where Israel was the start and the Messiah is the end or fulfillment of this passage. It is the same with all the Moedim they are all rehearsals with a beginning and an ending fulfillment such as Yshua being our Passover Lamb, Waving of Firstfrits, Unleavened Bread and Shavuot.. have fulfillment with Messiah just as Fall festival rehearsals will be. Shalom Alechem!

  • Hiltona Castleberry says:

    Proverbs 27:17 …. 17Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. 18He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, And he who cares for his master will be honored.… This is a great discussion! I always gain not only knowledge but wisdom when listening to how Scripture is discussed. I love your approach and consideration when bringing New Testament to light. Thank you Nehemia.

  • Joy Mathew says:

    Shabbat shallom

    Thanks be to YHWH for leading me to Micheal Rood and you for you both have openabled me to understand scripture and the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven . Todays message showed me that unless Yohanan 6 : 44 is experienced everything else becomes irrelvant.
    Thanks May YHWH bless

  • Kyla Presnell says:

    Shabbat shalom aleichem from Israel! This was a true midrash seeking Yehovah’s words of truth. I would truly enjoy hearing more of Nehemia and A.J. Bernard doing midrashic teaching! Nehemia has proven over the years of staying grounded in Scripture and not swayed by traditional interpretations, It sounds as though A.J. Bernard is also grounded in this manner as per his traditions. When we, as brothers, can come together to seek Yehovah’s face; His truths and ways, it blesses Him and testifies of Him to others, fulfilling His purpose for our lives being His!! 🙂

  • Barbra says:

    What a wonderful broadcast! Psalm 78:1-2 comes to mind. If YeHovah doesn’t reveal anything to us, we will NEVER see it! Revelation is his alone to give, not man’s. I don’t believe he gives his pearls to pigs either, because pigs don’t know hat to do with pearls!

  • Sarah Yocheved says:

    Please have A.J. Bernard back often. I enjoyed the serious, informative discussion, covering things I’ve never even thought about.

  • Pari says:

    We enjoyed this teaching for three reasons: it was a nice ‘change’ from the usual PP presentations; you and AJ didn’t speak over each other as often happens with you and Keith; and it presented some unique perspectives on these passages. YES, have AJ back. Wow…I can’t believe he is a Methodist pastor!

    • AJ Bernard says:

      You are very kind. =) Thank you! I have a considerable amount of respect for both Nehemia and Keith, and it was quite an honor to be included in Prophet Pearls!

      Like Nehemia, the Karaite, and Keith (who is also a Methodist) I want to find Truth. There is truth expressed through the Christian church, but there is also error, and my allegiance is to the God of Israel, rather than to a church or a sect. Nehemia and Keith are the same way, and they attract to themselves people who also desire Truth and a relationship with Yehovah! Shalom!

    • Totally agree!!! Good partnering of personalities and viewpoints!

  • Eusebio Preciado says:

    Great listening to this explanation of First Century Biblical Interpretation. I knew all about Pardes and how some of the “prophecies” that are quoted by Christian missionaries came about. I sought this answer last year when I was researching Christian beliefs in an attempt to discern if what was being spoken of in the New Testament was truth.

    It’s also nice to hear from a Jew, how the Rabbinical Jews cannot be consistent in their interpretations and objections to the New Testament. Everytime I talk with anyone Jewish and they start talking about Jesus (and it’s always them that brings it up for some reason), and I challenge them to be consistent in the way they read the Old Testament and apply that same consistency to the New Testament, they cannot do it.

    To me it is simple, and a fact. If you cannot be consistent and have to use special pleading to support your position, and won’t do it for your opposition, then you’ve already lost the argument.

    Thanks Nehemia for what you do, and thanks for talking about these topics and trying to bring Jews and Christians together in understanding, for it is something that we sorely lack in this world.

  • Margaret Hatcher says:

    As always it was interesting and I like it. I will be listening to it a couple of more times because you can never get everything in one shot. Thank you

  • Kevin and Brenda Paulson says:

    We will add our Amen’s to the long list of accolades for this teaching. It is good to hear questions honestly answered and discussed with out the “left foot of fellowship” being applied to the questioner’s behind or being accused of rebellion against the authority of ……..(you fill in the blank). MORE, MORE, MORE like this as we struggle to “perfect, or grow up” our salvation with fear and trembling. Moving on down the smorgasbord of the word from milk to meat!

    Thank you Nehemia and Pastor Bernard for your honesty and open dialogue.

  • Job says:

    The two men on the road were not shouting for joy because they didn’t believe what Yeshua had said to them, that He would rise on the third day. Re: the women whom they also didn’t believe: One woman having a vision is a spiritual experience. Two women having the same vision is a witness.

  • Angela says:

    Enlightening and honest…

  • Alex says:

    Prophet Pearl! Prophet Pearl! Yes, the Holy Spirit reveals to whom he will and the Torah is Essential!!! I love this. Thank you.

  • Lisa Queen says:

    Fantastic show! Thanks Nehemiah! You helped me understand something that was actually right in front of me but you put it into words for me. The explanation of the passage in Luke just clicked for me. I have been told many times I can’t possibly understand because I don’t have Jesus and first I must believe in Jesus and then the Holy Spirit will enlighten me.
    p.s. Hope you pass thru Tennessee again sometime soon, we’d love to see you again!

  • Yvonne says:

    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your time. Funny, I had actually read this article from this link before. The word in the title drew me because it is the nickname for my husband when I am angry with him. Let’s just say he married his match.

    I am not a Christian, I am not a Jew. However, my first love is Yehovah and keeping the terms of his covenant. My people are your people and my God is your God.

    The good book as I re read my post (with slight embarrassment now) should be the Tanach. I tell my children that Yehovah does not require belief to make him real, he requires faithfulness. Anything that requires belief to make it real, isn’t real. So my journey continues.

    May Yehovah continue to bless you in your way to do his will.

    • Job says:

      The Greeks added the feeling part to ‘belief’. In the Hebrew it is just ‘amen’.

      • Yvonne says:

        I do not think we can blame the Greeks for the feelings part in the understanding of “belief”. It is human nature. Didn’t Isaiah speak about people worshiping their gods and their gods were no more than stone and wood. What about Nimrod and the paganism movement? It makes us come to a decision in our lives. I praise Yehovah for his wisdom in letting us explore these concepts. Does Yehovah really need to know if we are going to be loyal to him? No. He knows everything. He created everything. The Good , Bad and Ugly. Every potential choice we could make, he knows it. Perhaps, it is us who need to know if we will be loyal to Yehovah and if not, then make changes so that we are.

        • Sharon Fahey says:

          Thank you Yvonne

          Its seems the Christians are over emotional to the point of reckless abandonment and the Jews are void of emotion almost stoic, ice cold. I have been in prayer, overcome with emotion from the reality that Yehovah, in all His greatness and justice, would actually care to hear my prayers, consider my situations or answer my prayers in ways I never humanly expected or even asked. David was overcome with emotion, as well as Abraham, Jacob, Moses and let’s not forget the “Weeping Prophet” Jeremiah. Yehovah, while creating us, obviously created emotion, how we chose to follow those emotions is our responsibility. Anger, love, hate, jealousy, fear, joy, grief, etc all have two paths, one of righteousness and one of destruction. If we are humble and repentant, we can overcome our destructive choices, make things right to those we’ve hurt and return to Yehovah, what an emotional journey for all involved. When I realized, as a christian, things were not lining up, what I was being told from the pulpit was not lining up with what Yehovah already said in the bible, now the Torah for me. I remember being so disillusioned and angry that I had been lied to and worse that I believed it. I cried out to Him and asked Him to forgive me, to teach me the truth and expose even my own experiences if they were false. He has been very generous considering my reluctance to let go of some things without actual proof because my information was tainted by so called Torah teachers of the Hebrew roots or messianic movements. He is real, His word and commands are unchangeable and life. I love Him with all my heart and He is my greatest teacher or I wouldn’t be on this path today. Sorry, but again, emotions are good, its how we choose to follow them is the question we need to answer.

  • Yvonne says:

    Nehemia, Is there a good book that you can recommend that defines from a scriptural based view as to why you say Yeshua is not the Messiah? I just want the facts. I was in a church for 30 years that required belief and trusting my leaders and not using intellectual reasoning or even the scriptures themselves. I am not willing to go down a path based on “feelings” any more. The only leap, I am willing to make is that Torah is from Yehovah because of physical exterior experiences that I can not explain nor the witnesses with me other than it was Yehovah’s hand. This then leads me to this point. If someone contradicts the Torah and tells me to follow after other God’s even if they work exterior miracles, then I know they are not from Yehovah but if they do not contradict Torah and do not lead me away from Yehovah, then I feel obligated to listen to what they say. I need to know if Yeshua is who he claims with his own words (not Paul’s assumptions, early church fathers or even what my parents say but from scripture) because if Yeshua is who he claims, then Yehovah will not be pleased with me if I choose to turn away from his servant. Can you help?

  • stevesking says:

    That was awesome! Yes! Both sides are missing the point and is so very obvious that Nehemia and pastor Bernard desire to aid in reducing the gap. I continue praying for eyes to see and ears to hear for myself and all those seeking.

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    “Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:17-18‬

  • Great discussion, I loved it.

    I grew up a Saturday going Christian. After stepping away from church, eventually I started going back to church on Sunday. To make a long story short, I didn’t do that for long, and came to the basic statement that, if the Greek writing is true, if Yashua is the Messiah Isra’el has been waiting for, I will see it in the Hebrew text.

    Well, today, I can only see that the Christian doctrine, and the Greek text, twists meanings compounded by taking things out of context.

    HOWEVER, this discussion opened up, not that I think that Christianity is correct and that I only need Yashua to reveal it to me, but that the gospel writers were taking a common practice and in telling the story they had, went back and said, “we have found that here”.

    So in other words, being concerned that the gospel writings were written for malice, they could have been written with good intention in the practice of trying to support the believe in a very important event in those living in Yashua’s time.

    I hope that makes sense.

  • Seydel says:

    This teaching was fantastic…I really loved hearing the two perspectives. I believe these kinds of discussions are so important because they help us to see Scripture from another point of view. Hopefully this will lead to respect and love for our fellow believers in Yehovah. Thank you so much for this wonderful teaching. It truly was a blessing to me.

    • AJ Bernard says:

      Thank you so much! It is important to remember that even though Nehemia and I disagree on some things, that we both desire to be servants of Yehovah, and that we can come to the table with that common ground between us and have wonderful edifying discussions like this one. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!

  • Sharon Fahey says:

    Let’s look at this another way. As a believer I want truth and truth can be proven through context not just a bunch of goose bumps or dreams. First, as I asked Yahovah to please teach me the truth, destroy false notions, experiences or whatever has kept me from His truth. My eyes were opened, Torah came to life for me, truth began to come of who He is and how to truly worship Him. My eyes were opened to the commands of Yehovah and I have never felt more free.
    Here is something I can not reconcile with the christian beliefs I once held. Yahovah said, “I, only I, am God and there is no other.” How can Yahovah, who is not a god that can die nor a son of man that will wither, be killed on a cross or anything else? I do see Yeshua as a messiah like Moses, a chosen one, to save his people. To save I’m referring to leading them back to their Creator and Father, Yahovah. Teaching them the difference between mixing and the true worship through obedience to Yahovah. I can not wipe out what Yahovah said to make something else fit anymore. I hear a lot of side swiping the so card elephant in the room.
    Since studying Torah, I have been blown away by how blind I was when the truth was right in front of me, all because I couldn’t make God fit into what I thought was truth all my life.
    Where, in the Tanach or Torah does it say the Messiah, the one who will restore all things forever, will die, have to die and when he comes again, that will happen…other than the New Testament? The way I see it, the New Testament has to fit in the Torah or it has to be thrown out, not in its entirty, but those passages that change Torah. Yahovah was here before it all and He laid it all out.
    We were told not to worship anyone or anything else but Yahovah alone, and yet today Yeshua is worshiped, given the title of God and creator, yet Yeshua never wanted to be worshiped or even have His name held above that of Yahovah. I just don’t understand how we can reconcile any of that.

    • Reyes Nava says:

      I Totally agree.
      The woman from Palestine, Texas should look in the
      mirror and ask herself “What is it going to take for me
      to wake up and realize that I am among the gentiles
      who have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein
      there is no profit.” as referenced in Ezekiel 16:19
      making gods unto themselves that are not gods.

      If someone is going to base their relationship with God
      on a “spiritual expierence” (1 Samuel 10:6-12.) just
      keep in mind that the other Saul (King Saul) also had
      a spiritual expierence and look how that turned out.

      • Reyes Nava says:

        Something to think about regarding
        Ezekiel 16:19
        “Yehovah, my strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of distress, unto thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and they shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited falsehood [and] vanity; and in these things there is no profit.

        The Hebrew word for “distress” is “Tsarah” and can be translated as “rival wife”. Yehovah refers to Israel as His “wife”, whereas the new testament refers to Christians as the “bride” of Christ. Which is the true wife?

    • Yasmin Coats says:

      You just expressed very similar thoughts to what I did when I tried to explain to my family why I was not joining them in church anymore.

      I came across a very interesting copy of the new testament called the Jewish Annotated new testament. It’s basically the NIV version but all the comments and thoughts are from Jews. Jill Levine is one but I can’t remember without my book in hand the name of the other. It wasn’t intended to be anything anti but rather its intro says it’s intention is to encourage both Christians and jews to look at it in a new way. Christians: to see it through Jewish eyes and knowledge of the time period. Jews: to see it for its historical value, and perhaps to understand Christians a little better.

      What it did for me was to make sense out of some portions such as why on earth Matthew chopped off four names from the geneology, which 1 chron ch 1-3 clearly lists? The commentary was that he was attempting to make a point through Jewish numerology, by which the names were organized into 3 groups of 14 generations. 14 being a number for King David through the numerical values of the three letters dalet, vav, dalet. The only thing is Matthew made an error and the three groups he says are 14+14+14 =42 is, when you count them, actually 14+14+13=41. I haven’t learned more about the value of numbers with the Hebrew alphabet but I’m sure 42 has something Matthew was trying to express as well. But before I learned this it didn’t make any sense to me why he did that with the names.

      Over all I agree with you. Torah comes to life when you read it as its meant to be read. I cannot reconcile the modern Christian faith with what I’m seeing in tanach. But I’ve also wondered if what we have now hasn’t been changed from what it was when it began. I see no evidence that the disciples thought Jesus was God. He never said he was, but what he said could have been a declaration that he is an emissary of God. Son of God has been used in several places, in reference to Solomon, the angels, etc. Just as elohim means God pluralized but it also means judges who represent Torah law which is God’s law, Jesus most likely meant he’s speaking with God’s permission and blessing. And gentiles who didn’t know better misunderstood it just as in one portion of the NT they nearly mistook Paul and his companion for God’s and attempted to offer sacrifices for them until he tore his clothes in frustration and straightened them out. I see a long history of misunderstandings because people have not read the words the way they were meant to be read, but instead read them through their own way of looking at things.

      • Charles Atkinson says:

        There is one God – YHVH. And Jesus is not God. Jesus’s spirit is divine – just as Adam’s spirit/breath was divine. The concept of the trinity has made Christianity a “Samaritan” religion.

        • Karen says:

          I agree with you Charles. Jesus is not YHVH. He is YHVH’s firstborn, his first creation, through whom he created all things. Jesus left his heavenly home, took the form of a man and walked among us not to do his own will, but the will of YHVH who sent him.

          • This is one of many places that Christianity differs from the Torah and the rest of the Tanakh, Yehovah (יְהֹוָה) clearly points out that Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל – the people) is his firstborn.

            Exodus 4:22-23 (NASB) Please note that I added the Hebrew (where it actually appears in the original Hebrew).

            22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord (יְהֹוָה), “Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל) is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’”

            When I was Christian, I found myself retro fitting the New Testament into the Old Testament. I put on my Yeshua glasses and looked back into the scriptures.

            However, something interesting happened along the way, I took off the glasses and read the scriptures in context, without trying to fit anyone into the pieces or expecting to see any particular figure or doctrine or theology in place.

            It was the most liberating experience. This is where I can now see that everything is about Yehovah (יְהֹוָה) and him alone. I was finally free to worship Yehovah (יְהֹוָה) directly. No middle man!

            Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NASB)

            4 “Hear, O Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל)! The Lord (יְהֹוָה) is our God, the Lord (יְהֹוָה) is one! 5 You shall love the Lord (יְהֹוָה) your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

            Praise be to Yehovah (יְהֹוָה)! And him alone!

            See also Isaiah 43:10-13. When Yehovah (יְהֹוָה) was speaking to Israel

            10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord (יְהֹוָה),
            “And My servant whom I have chosen,
            So that you may know and believe Me
            And understand that I am He.
            Before Me there was no God formed,
            And there will be none after Me.
            11 “I, even I, am the Lord (יְהֹוָה),
            And there is no savior besides Me.
            12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
            And there was no strange god among you;
            So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord (יְהֹוָה),
            “And I am God. 13 “Even [b]from eternity I am He,
            And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
            I act and who can reverse it?”

            For me, Yehovah (יְהֹוָה) is my one(אֶחָד) and only God!

  • Daniel Marten says:

    Thank you, Nehemia. Yes, I like this format, and I like A.J. I like any format where you get to do more of the talking. Actually, I like any format where there is less discussion about why searching the scripture is amazing and fantastic, and more discussion of the scripture. I truly appreciate your “intellectual honesty”. I place that in quotes because, in reality, “intellectual honesty” is merely a willingness to be wrong coupled with an active desire, and effort, to correct ones own error. Dogma drives me nuts. I define the term expert as “educated idiot”. I mainly do so because “experts” are typically people that think they have the answers. They will often look down their noses at their predecessors for all “they just didn’t know as we know today”, while ignoring the fact that their successors will be looking down their noses at them. You never do that. You regularly present a potential solution to a problem, without suggesting it’s the only solution to the problem. You then give the references that start us on our own trek for truth.

    Anyway, I could ramble on for a good while. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I love you with the love of YeHoVaH.

  • kris says:

    Several unrelated (to each other) comments…

    1 Corinthians 12:3
    Therefore, I want to make it clear to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, “Yeshua is cursed!” and no one can say, “Yeshua is Lord,” except by the Ruach HaKodesh.


    I have no desire to thank Jewish counter-missionaries, such as Tovia Singer (whom you mentioned), because in my opinion, at best, they are still at a place in their lives (in their thinking, not actions) that Paul was before Damascus. Though I’m sure I lived worse before I repented of my own life.

    So…pray for them maybe, but thank them – not I.

    What I think about the counter-missionaries’ supposed debunking efforts can be summed up in the following statement (which is also related to the drash versus peshat conversation)…

    Can it be stated with absolute certainty that a Psalm which has a literal meaning throughout, could not possibly also have a hidden meaning that applies at the beginning but not at the end? For if all were obvious, how hidden would anything be? It is written, “The glory of God is to conceal a thing”, and I for one choose not to limit how God could and could not hide a thing.


    Well, not that y’all were comparing the two, but nonetheless I can’t help but think that the Essenes are presumed to have been wiped out but the Christians are still going strong:)


    John 12:6
    “Now he said this not out of concern for the poor, but because he was a thief- he was in charge of the common purse and used to steal from it.”

    Personally, I think that Judas did what he did to Yeshua out of purely selfish reasons.


    My comment about the trinity can be found elsewhere on this site.


    YES! I TOTALLY agree with the woman in Texas. I, too, personally believe because of a spiritual experience and personal encounter with Jesus. Sometimes I wonder why it took so much for me to believe – or why I had the experience I had because I was the lowest of the least worthy. And I was also more doubtful than Thomas, I guess…but I’m SO thankful for all God’s undeserved kindnesses and blessings that He continually provides. Thanks be to Him.

    • Thank you for that sharing…p.s. I can through geneology trace my family to the Essenes or at least, that is my family name can be.

      • kris says:

        Dear yzwisey62yolanda,

        Oh, I had no idea – I thought Essenes were presumed to have been wiped out. My sincere apology! I hope that I have not offended you! And thank for correcting and informing me!


  • Mimi E says:

    I like. As children of the same Father, walking together the journey of life; some have and ohers have not, as yet(?), met the Son (been revealed to them). Why argue about it? Thank you Nehemia and Pastor A.J. Bernard, I enjoyed this.

  • Janice says:

    So, it’s good to hear how different people interpret scripture, what Christians say, what Jews say. Yeshua himself addressed the same things, he ask his inner 3 who do people say I am? Some said, this, this and that. He said but what do you say? The most important thing to look at is not what others say, but what did Yeshua say of Himself, and what did he do? What hermenutic method did He most use? It is important to notice when (chagim?), the georgraphic location He speaks in, and the people to whom He spoke and what was their understanding. His words were His Father’s words, not words of the Rabbis or the Pastors. Not what the crowds say, but what He said and did.

  • Alan & Kathryn Rowlands says:

    Brilliant, one of your best discussions yet! Definitely would like to hear more in this vein and more from Nehemiah & AJ. The thread of the discussion was much easier to follow than is often the case when there are a lot of side-tracks…
    Passing this one on to some TFF’s (Torah Following Friends) who are somewhat more rabbinically-minded; it will stimulate some great discussion between us and illuminate all our lives.
    Our Blessed Father is indeed generous giver of gifts!

    • kris says:

      I sincerely thank Mr. Gordon and Mr. Bernard for their time and for this “pirated” episode. This discussion really did make my whole day. I’m like a new and refreshed person after hearing it! Thanks for joining, Mr. Bernard! And thanks always, Mr. Gordon!

      At the same time, I have to admit that I missed Mr. Johnson’s voice – and I missed the immense joy that I’m blessed to receive from hearing the Biblical brotherly love that shines through so loud and clear in the friendship, laughter, and discussions of Mr. Johnson and Mr. Gordon – and, yes, especially their side-tracks, too!!!

      At any rate, what a blessing to my week and life y’all are! May God bless you all three, you and yours!

  • UKJ says:


    How interesting — Jn 18:38 Pilate says unto Jeshua, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and says unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

    2Chr 9:23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.

    Eccl 1:2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

    What is truth? How do we know?
    Jn 17:17 Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.

  • Vicki says:

    Wow . Chewing this teaching . My journey started a long time ago with the verse from the NT ” Ask and you shall receive , seek and you shall find…” My First belief was there is a God , and I wanted Him in relationship . Fast forward with fits and starts I put the NT down because I wanted to place myself in the context and mindset of a first century Jew. I only knew what I had been taught about Jews with their burden of the law. So I started reading Torah at the beginning . Finding Nehemia and Keith and Jono was a blessing as people who were seeking on common ground of first believing in one God and Abraham’s belief in One God and accepting Torah as truth but coming from different traditions . So I come away from this teaching today with 1. Plain meaning 2. Symbolism and “if God wants me to know it he will .” 3. AJ’s statement , ” When I got serious…Yehovah is truth . I am seeking Him . Him as He has revealed Himself.” 4. “Tradition is a wonderful thing but I’m going to lead by the spirit.” 5. ” lead by the Spirit of Yehovah as I read the scripture.” 6. Open my eyes…”

    • kris says:

      Wow! How wonderful that you love to study God’s Word and seek Him. Take care that you don’t leave your first love. Shalom!

      • Vicki says:

        My first love was my mother. I was involved in their ” love ” for something to worship by going to church either Baptist or RC . I “internalized ” that love by teachings , traditions and examples from my family. I also ” internalized “by observing creation and beauty and “knew” there was something greater than me . I have not discarded the NT , but wanted to know who these “Jews ” were and not just what I was taught . Jesus said ,” God is spirit, and we will worship in spirit and truth.” As the teachers in this section said , ” intellectual honesty .” I can choose to set aside, discard , and internalize. I do not believe in coincidence. I am thankful that I found Nehemia’s Wall and BFA and thankful for people who seek . Yehovah knows us . He knows our heart. One day we will stand before him and answer for our choices . He will say ” Vicki , you got that right, you got that wrong.” And I will say , ” Yes”, high five in joy , or “I’m sorry,” in humbleness and heart pain, and then I’ll say , in wide eyed childlike wonder, ” I love you,Thank you, teach me.”

        • Ilse says:

          “You will know them by their fruits”…
          The fruits of Yehovah’s spirit, the fruits that He develops in us as individuals. HIS fruits listed in Gal. 5:22-23.
          Each in his own order, humility and thankfulness bring peace & joy! Vicki do you live anywhere near North Georgia?

  • dotco8 says:

    More of these, please! Just a little thought regarding verses applying to Israel or Y’shua. I see no reason why they cannot apply to both, with no contradictions.

  • Gomez Cooley says:

    “Many Christians are genuinely perplexed at why Jews don’t immediately convert when presented with a long list of such verses…”

    The answer is simple. It’s because Christianity is syncretized full of paganism and idolatry. Read the book, “Exposing Lucifer” available at Amazon which will give you deep insight into this issue.

    Jewish believers in Yeshua did not refer to themselves as “Kristianay”. That was a phrase used by Gentile believers. Constantine never converted to “Christianity”; he made Christianity convert to Hellenism. Christians really need to investigate the history of their beliefs, and how they were syncretized with paganism, then many of them would stop believing half the ridiculous things they espouse and find true faith.

    • Gomez Cooley says:

      By the way, Nehemia, shoot me an email with your mailing address and I will send you a copy of “Exposing Lucifer”.

    • kaylened says:

      I want to thank you Gomez, I bought “Exposing Lucifer” on my Kindle last night after reading your comment and I couldn’t put it down. I fell asleep for a few hours and got up early this morning so I could read more. It has answered every question I have been confused about and given me a stable foundation in YHVH’s Word.
      I pray it becomes required reading in seminary soon!

    • Pekka says:

      It is so true what you say. But we should remember that when reading the Gospels, not every single Jew or even Levite priest, sage or rabbi of Yeshua’s time followed Him as the Messiah of Israel even if they saw Him teaching the Torah and the Prophets fully (Matt. 5:16-19) by making the difference between God’s commandments and man’s commandments, and teaching others too to do the same, fulfiling the Priestly / Suffering Servant Messiah-prophecies etc. Without speaking about Mashiach’s miracles, healing wonders, and signs which confirmed that Yeshua was The Promised Prophet like unto Moses. Still some of the Jews refused to follow Yeshua even if they heard and saw Mashiach in the front of their eyes teaching and living. Not many raises up this point so I wanted to raise it up now.

      So, there’s no need for centuries of “Christianized” paganism if it is about Jews refusing to believe and obey Yeshua as the Messiah. Examples in the Gospel records proofs that it is not about a lack of evidence nor signs or anything, but simply human pride, fear, social pressure or some sort in a form or another. Fear of men and pride is the root of all evil. We should and should want to fear Yehovah if we love Him. We cannot fear and obey the Torah by not believing in and obeying The Prophet like unto Moses which Yehovah has sent.

      I will always believe in and obey Yehovah and Yeshua! No Christian, no Jew, no Messianic, no Hebrew roots believer, no atheist, no agnostic or anyone could not turn me away from Yehovah and Yeshua!

      • Sharon Fahey says:

        The root of why Jews don’t believe or accept yeshua is in what you said. You will always only WORSHIP Yehovah AND yeshua. Can you see it in the light of Torah? There is only one God, Yehovah. He commands worship of Him alone. He doesn’t even say to worship the messiah, whoever that may be. He is the only One True God and there is no other. He didn’t even tell us to worship His Spirit like so many do. Pride, arrogance can be found among many, especially those who are so determined to strip Israels inheritance by laying claim to a messiah that lines up with the Tanach more than the Torah. To dismiss what God Himself said out of fear of going to hell or fear that we were groomed to believe with little evidence but lots of faith is insane. Who is the blind in this case? Yahovah came before everything, 5 books lay everything in order so if something in the new testament or even some of the Tanach don’t fit then we have to lay it aside. Believing in Yeshua was not a command from Abba, listening and obeying Yahovah is a command to those He chose and anyone who wants to join themselves to them. The Jews have to change but not to worship yeshua, its all in the Torah and its between them and Yahovah. The light of truth will shine again so all the nations will k ow that Yahovah is the One True God and all the Jews, in the land and the Diaspora, are His chosen people.

        • Charles Atkinson says:

          Could it be that the idea of worship is being overlooked? To worship the king – to bow before King David and be obedient to his commands, for instance is not the same as serving YHVH alone and having no other gods before Him. To worship the Messiah and obey his commands does not place the Messiah in the same position as YHVH, but to honor the one whom YHVH sent is to honor YHVH himself.

  • Evelin Carr says:

    Another Methodist like Keith – HalleluYah!!!
    It would be great to have the THREE of you doing those portions together. I think that would be wonderful. Please think about this and A.J. Bernard – please come back!!!!

  • Yasmin Coats says:

    I’ve read your book “As it is written” twice. And you pointed out that as a Kariate you rejected the oral tradition because you believed the scripture should be interpreted ‘as it was written’ and that the interpretations of the oral Torah were rejected by Karites and why.

    To me it sounds like you accept Tanach as it is written, yet you encourage Christians and Jews both to read the new testament with the mind set of looking for dual meaning. Because if you’re not looking at the new testament the way it’s written but rather interpreting as the writers meant it to be understood, then I fail to see why oral tradition should be rejected. Since my understanding of the oral Torah is that it’s an interpretation of understanding that goes deeper into the meaning, and Rabbis disagree because they’re giving you more than one interpretation. Perhaps they go too far on its importance compared to the Torah, and shouldnt.

    Honestly, I rejected the interpretations of the New Testament when I was 12 for the same reasons you say you rejected the oral Torah. Years later when I was reintroduced to the Christian faith, after a few short years of feeling depressed I rejected it again for the same reasons, only with much greater insight into why. And I see how there are numerous denominations split apart who argue and debate over interpretations of the bible, to the point where historically some have started wars over it. All for the sake of saying this is how it’s written but here is how you should actually read it.

    I apreciate what you’re trying to do, I really do. I yearn for peace between people as well. But when you go away from the written form and delve into how you think it was meant to be read, you open up the floor to all forms of interpretation. In which case you then agree silently that the belief of Jesus as messiah is correct “if” you look at it this way, but it’s also incorrect “if” you look at it that way.

    In this logic I respectfully disagree as both theories cannot be correct at the same time. Oil and water becomes vinaigrette but it’s a temporary state that reverts by nature back to what it was before because while it works for a time, it’s incompatible in a permanent state.

    • I am not encouraging people to look for “deeper” meaning. On the contrary, I am showing what people are already doing and brought four examples from history: the Dead Sea Scrolls (1QpesherHab), Early Christianity (Luke 24), Rabbinical Judaism, and the Karaite Jew Daniel al-Kumisi. The Rabbis claim to have extra-biblical information that they bring to the table when they read the Tanakh, namely, the Oral Law, which they believe was revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. The ancient Rabbis readily admitted that their interpretations were contrary to the language and context of the Tanakh. In fact, they explicitly make the distinction between peshat (plain meaning based on language and context) and d’rash (non-contextual, non-linguistic interpretation). The only reason to accept d’rash is because you already believe that God revealed the Oral Law to Moses. The Oral Law includes many d’rash interpretations and more importantly grants the rabbis the authority to use the d’rash method. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you believe God revealed the Oral Law to Moses. If God were to reveal to me that He gave the Oral Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, then no matter how far-fetched and forced its interpretations seemed, I would still believe it because it would be revealing the true intent of the Author. As it stands, God has not revealed this to me and the seeming absurdity of Rabbinical interpretation confirms what I already don’t believe. I encourage people to be honest with themselves about why they believe what they believe rather than just blindly accepting what others have told them.

      • Yasmin Coats says:

        Perhaps you didn’t mean to encourage deeper understanding, but that is exactly what most Christians I know are encouraged to do when someone presents a point, lesson or comment on the bible to them. If I misunderstood your intentions, I apologize.

        As for D’rash, you just described how our minister presented the NT. To believe in the veracity of the NT, I would have to believe that the writers were infused with the spirit of God, and spoke with his voice and authority, and that the NT is the infallible word of God. In spite of the way it seems to contradict both the Tanach and itself.

        If YHWH were to reveal to me that the NT was in fact His word revealed through man, I would then question whether it was YHWH or hasatan testing me before I would believe it.

        Simply put, I believe what I believe because I asked YHWH to see with clear eyes what was true and what was not.

  • Julie says:


  • Karen Powell says:

    Yeshua/Jesus is practicing with these disciples (if) He is seeing if they would witnesses of him. How better to do it?Disguised or unseen by his own students.While hearing their testimony out of their own mouths.They recounted about Yeshua’s life when the opportunity was given to them.When people die many times, people will stop talking about a decease friend,or relative, or turn against God due to the loss.Especially, IF the person who lost someone is in pain,angry,disappointed, or feel let down from the loss.(They will just stop talking) Yeshua dying by Crucifixtion without the hoped for/or the immediate coming of a kingdom would have put the Disciples in the position of being associated with a criminal, or someone who is mentally ill. This alone could leave them questioning their own sanity and safety as they could have been viewed as in treason to the Roman government of their time.Yeshua and YHVH is Always,Always,Always instructing and practicing with students! Whether it is Abraham,Moses,and up to the Disciples, and into our current students/followers times.When the Lord speaks it is much like an onion. Lots of layers.People may be thinking on a concrete level without the spirit. YHVH is usually speaking on multiple layers all at one time. Anti-missionaries may be acting as “testers” of those who say they believe.Will they actually hold, or will they be easily be carried away?But, then again maybe anti-missionaries should not offend the little ones who come to Yeshua. Less they be like ones with millstones tied about their necks and cast into the sea.

  • Janice says:

    Nehemia thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and insights with us. I have noticed that often if the Greek form of debate is used, Tovia is often in debate; that debate is usually about defending one’s position, an oratory competition as to who can present their case best. This means they will always be in opposition. Whereas the true midrash are people searching for truth; there’s a big difference.

    Isaiah 53; the two opinions are my son can only mean Israel, and the other side my son means Jesus; and quite actually it can refer to both which is a more Hebraic way of looking at things. IMost Christians aren’t aware of that from being taught “doctrine” and a thing can only mean one thing. Tovia should know better.

  • Pamella says:

    Shalom Nehemia,
    I REALLY enjoyed this prophet pearls.
    I wanted to direct you a second witness to your idea that you must believe in order for it to be revealed. Consider the passage surrounding John 14:21
    Shalom Shalom

  • Rick says:

    How long have I waited to hear from someone who is knowledgeable of the language, culture and history of the time teach on the stories of the life of Yeshua? How long have I prayed for his? I have always read the Gospels through the eyes of a western Christian because I had no other choice. I knew there were things going on that I could not understand, but I had no way of discovering the real human beings in the narrative. What a joy it is to listen to Nehemia explain these stories.

  • wordslea says:

    re: prophet pearls bonus. I begin to get your drift — a glimpse through the glass a little less darkly. Believing again Eph 2:11-3:13

  • Gemma says:

    Thankyou Nehemiah this truly was a wonderful well rounded explanation and thoroughly enjoyed both views Thankyou Pastor Bernard for being honest in your journey.


    • AJ Bernard says:

      Thank you Gemma for your kind words. Yehovah is truth, and He is indeed drawing us to Himself. We must worship Him as He is, not as we would make Him to be.


  • Debra Forsman aka Victor and Devora says:

    Just wow! I am sharing!

    • Cecilia says:

      Another one that I think is pertinent to the coming out of Egypt is Deuteronomy 18:13-22; vs 15 in interest of personage vs tribal traits “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me (Moses) from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.”

      Hosea 11:1 points to Israel, Deuteronomy points to the Israelite man in likeness of authority to Moses.

  • Luke says:

    Respectfully I disagree with Nehemia about Matthew 2:15 being quoted from Hosea 11:1. I happen to be one who agrees this verse” out Egypt I have called my son” is quoted from Numbers 24:8 from the Septuagint.

    Numbers 24:7-8 Septuagint
    ” There shall come a MAN out his seed(Israel), and he shall rule over many nations; and the kingdom of Gog shall be exalted, and his kingdom shall be increased. 8. GOD LED HIM OUT OF EGYPT; he was as it were the glory of a unicorn: he shall consume the nations of his enemies, and he shall drain their marrow, and with his darts he shall shoot through the enemy.”

    Noticed the above passage is not speaking about Israel coming out of Egypt but it is referring to a ”Man” that God led HIM out of Egypt. The early Christians consider this man to be the Messiah Jesus. Matthew 2:15 is quoting from Numbers 24:8 and not Hosea 11:1. Shalom

    • Andrew Allender says:

      How do you know “the early christians consider this man to be the messiah”?

      • AJ Bernard says:

        Two ways: Matthew calls Him “the Christ,” which is from the Greek word for “Annointed one,” which is what the Hebrew word “Moshiach” means, and also because Paul, whose writings predate Matthew’s, also teaches of Him as a fulfillment of Jewish prophecy. Since Matthew was writing no more than 30 years after Yeshua’s death, and Paul was writing before that, that is as early as it gets.

        • Andrew Allender says:

          AJ Thank you for responding but I believe you are answering a question I didn’t ask, that’s okay. I was asking Luke that commented above, how he knows the early christians regarded yeshua as the “man” mentioned in the septuagint version of numbers 24. I know well why Yeshua as generally regarded as the messiah, but again, thank you for responding. Shalom!

    • Yasmin Coats says:

      My study bible gives Hosea 11:1 as the reference verse. I have a Thompson chain reference NKJV. Looking at Num 24, I don’t see how it even fits, as it’s showing when Balaam refused to curse Israel, so blessed her instead ending with ‘blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.

    • Nicholas Mansfield says:

      Amen, also Jer.31:16-22; …out of the land of the enemy…

    • Agree that linking Hosea 11:1 to Matthew 2:15 doesn’t make sense. Reading Hosea in context it seems to be refering to Efrayim and Israel. Numbers 24:8 however, seems a more accurate reference to Yeshua, but in context this verse seems to be more in character of his second coming as the Lion, than as the first coming Lamb.

  • Sharon Hogeda says:

    What can be more glorious, than Scripture being opened up to us, as Rev. Bernard and Nehemiah do, during this session of Prophet Pearls! My dogmatic perspective of scripture, doesn’t even begin to remove the scales, the tradition cemented over “the eyes of my understanding.” Hodu le YHVH ki tov, ki l’olam chasdo! He alone, “opens my eyes that I may see the wonders of His Torah,”and He does it through His Karaite Jew with Rev. Bernard, “stranger who has joined himself to YHVH!” I need and savor every moment of your instruction that guides me as to the “echad” of scripture pre-Matthew with scripture post-Matthew!

  • Brandon says:

    I left you a message on FB (Branellie James) asking about learning Hebrew, you might not of seen it, so I will pose it here. What would you suggest being the simplest and fastest way of learning Hebrew?

    Thanks Nehemia

  • Ray says:

    Nehemia, this study is absolutely wonderfully done and so needed to both the jew and the gentiles who levite themselves to Yisrael. Toda raba be ad yahol Ray

  • Regarding the Trinity (referred to very briefly in this audioblog), it was not official church doctrine until the First Council of Constantinople in 381AD. And nowhere in the Scriptures (OT or NT) is there more than one throne in heaven. 😉

  • Andrew Allender says:

    Wow, the anticipation was worth it! This teaching was absolutely amazing! Please, please do some more teachings of this nature. Thanks so much for always blessing us with your honest and humble approach to the Word of Yehovah! Shalom!