Prophet Pearls #1 – Bereshit (Isaiah 42:5-43:10)

Prophet Pearls Bereshit (Isaiah 42:5-43:10)In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Bereshit covering Isaiah 42:5-43:10. After a quick tutorial on the origin of the Haftarah, we learn that the Prophets aren't the golden oldies; their writings are as relevant as ever and more current than our news feeds. Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson explore the original context in which this portion was written, followed by the context in 168 BCE when this passage was first read aloud in the synagogue, and finally the context in September 2014 when Netanyahu spoke the holy words of Isaiah to the United Nations. In addition to parsing key words from the portion, Gordon and Johnson answer the following: What service did the Jews provide to the ancient Roman Empire? And since the Creator refers to himself in so many wonderful ways, would he really name himself, “Lord”? In closing, Gordon and Johnson remind us that while God’s one and only name may have been lost for generations, he did not lose ours—he calls every one of his covenant people by name.

"Thus says the Mighty One Yehovah, who created the heavens and stretched
them out..." (Isaiah 42:5)

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Transcript

Prophet Pearls #1– Bereshit (Isaiah 42:5-43:10)

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

Keith: Can you believe it? We just had an introduction for a program that we’re actually doing right now. This is Keith Johnson, I’m here with Nehemia Gordon. This is the first of, prayerfully, an entire year of a program we’re calling Prophet Pearls. Nehemia, can you believe it?

Nehemia: I’m excited Keith. I’m really excited that we’re finally doing this. Yeah, this is awesome. Talking about the Prophets, the Word of God.

Keith: Oh man. Talking about the Prophets. I want to say something. You know, we went back and forth. Folks, you’re listening to this right now. I think it’s the weekend of the eighth day for Sukkot. Is that right? You’re going to be hearing this and, but let’s just say it right now - we’re actually recording this the day after Yom Kippur. Can we just let people know about that? This important seventh month we’ve got a chance to be together for Yom Taruah. Actually, we weren’t together, but we were together on film because we did the special Right on Time, first episode, and then of course Yom Kippur. But we’re here now for this special program, and I want to just say something. Nehemia, you know, as we’re here, we have been talking about this particular program for about two years. Am I right?

Nehemia: Let me understand - when you say “here”, you’re in Charlotte and I am in Israel, right?

Keith: Nope. This time we’re together.

Nehemia: Or I’m in China and you’re in…

Keith: Uzbekistan. We’re literally together. We’re physically together. It won’t always be this way, but for this first one, I think it’s really significant that we’re actually together recording this, and before we get too far into Prophet Pearls, we’re not going to be spending a long time with Prophet Pearls like we did with Torah Pearls. For those who don’t know. Could you tell them a little bit about what Torah Pearls was?

Nehemia: Torah Pearls was a program that we did over the course of a year, and there’s this traditional reading of the Torah cycle where the Torah is broken up into 54 sections and you read one section each week, and you say 54, but there’s 52 weeks - that has to do with the Hebrew leap year. So we did 54 episodes, breaking up the Torah into those 54 sections. And originally when we started doing that, it was together with Jono Vandor and the two of us, and the plan was to do an hour each episode. I think the longest we ever did before editing was probably about three hours, and Jono hopefully edited that down to something shorter.

[laughter]

Keith: He definitely did, yeah.

Nehemia: So the really cool thing about this Torah cycle is that there was a period when the Jews were forbidden to read the Torah - it was punishable by death to read it publicly in the synagogue. And the way they circumvented that prohibition, the way they continued to maintain that proclaiming the Word of God in public, was that instead of reading the Torah they would read a section from the Prophets.

And that’s actually the real meaning of the word Haftarah. We say “Haftorah” and some people think it’s “Half Torah”. It’s not the Half Torah, it’s a completely different word. Haftarah in Hebrew means when you have an obligation and you are relieved of your duty, and the way we’re being relieved of this duty to proclaim the Word of God, since we can’t read the Torah - it’s punishable by death - is by reading the words of God’s holy prophets. That goes back to the time of the Greek persecutions in 168 BC or thereabouts, and even after the Greeks were defeated by the Maccabees, this tradition continued of reading the Haftarah. So now we get to do both. We do both the Torah and the Haftarah, which is the Prophet’s portion.

Keith: We did the Torah Pearls, which was the entire year. We were able to get that up. I think it’s going on its fourth cycle. Am I right?

Nehemia: Yeah, that’s right.

Keith: This is the fourth cycle that’s actually taking place. So literally, on your website Nehemiaswall.com, and BFAInternational.com, we have the Torah Pearls there where you could listen to them, and what we want to do now is to take the Haftorah, the Prophet sections that are connected to the Torah sections, and actually do some digging, some exploring, some revelation, everything that we can. And we’re going to do this not in two and a half hours, not in an hour and a half. In fact, did we not say together that we’re going to try to limit to this…?

Nehemia: He told me that I can keep talking and he’s stopping the recording.

[laughter]

Keith: I’m stopping the recording at 45 minutes. Well, here’s why: I think that we want people to continue to go through the Torah portions, that really is an amazing thing. We think it was, you know, lots and lots of people love that. That’s going to be available, even connected to this. But with this particular thing, I want to talk a little bit before we get started, Nehemia, about why I feel led to do this. I actually made a phone call to you a couple of weeks ago and you said you had been praying about it.

Nehemia: I was literally praying for quite a long time as we were… The traditional cycle of reading the Torah and the Haftarah begins on the eighth day of Sukkot. And so as we were approaching the seventh month, I was in prayer that Keith would be led to reignite this project of doing the Prophet portions, the Prophet Pearls.

Keith: And what’s interesting is you never said a word to me, never mentioned it. You didn’t… Now you prayed.

Nehemia: I did like the servant of Abraham. I said, “If he comes to me, then that’s the sign that we’re supposed to do this.”

Keith: You’re kidding me. That’s what you did. Well, can I bring in…

Nehemia: And so I didn’t bring it to you - you contacted me and I said, “Okay, this is…”

Keith: This is it. Yeah. And as soon as you told me you had prayed about it, and I’m not going to go into great detail, because as we go through the Prophet Pearls I’m going to share some things. But I can I just share one thing that was a confirmation for me why I think it’s so important, Nehemia, that you and I come together and actually open up the Prophets and read the Prophets and try to understand the Prophets in their language, history, and context? In fact, we talked about what the subtitle was going to be for Prophet Pearls. And we went back and forth on this and we came up with… I’m gonna let you tell the people what we came up as the subtitle for Prophet Pearls.

Nehemia: Yeah. So, to me it was very clear. We’re exploring biblical prophecy for yesterday, today and tomorrow. And what that says is, God doesn’t change. Yehovah, our heavenly Father, His name actually means Haya Hoveh Yihiyeh – that’s three forms the Hebrew verb He who was, He who is and He who will be. And He is throughout all of time. He always is, always was and always will be. And His prophecy doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And so if we could engage the prophecy that way, I think it’s so powerful - there are so many people who try to engage the prophecy for one particular theological paradigm, and I think they miss the greater, beautiful context of this living prophecy.

Keith: Amen. And I think that’s what I want to share with you folks about the final thing that came to me that just let me know that I really need to do this. I was doing some research, and by the time you listen to this, it will have been about a month ago or so ago, before Yom Kippur. Benjamin Netanyahu was at the United Nations again. And that’s a time that when he’s there, he’s very, very strong about what he thinks the world needs to understand about Israel. I like to hear what he has to say. I’ve always got one eye on my Scripture, I’ve got an eye on what’s happening in Israel, and so when you talk about prophecy, there are a lot of people who focus on only the future and maybe the past. But what I loved about something he did… and I want to actually bring this to the people. This won’t be something we normally do, but I want the people to hear what I heard that Benjamin Netanyahu did at the United Nations. So here’s what we’re going to do - I’m going to let the folks listen to that, and then I would like you to tell me when I told you about this, what your response was. It was perfect for why I believe that that Prophet Pearls really is right on time. So let’s listen to what Benjamin Netanyahu said at the United Nations.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu at United Nations: “Isaiah, a great prophet of peace, taught us nearly 3,000 years ago in Jerusalem to speak truth to power. “Lema’an Tzion lo ehcheshe ulema’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot ad yetzeh kanoga tzidka veyeshuata kelapid yivar.” “For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still. Until her justice shines bright and her salvation glows like a flaming torch.” Ladies and gentlemen, let us light a torch of truth and justice to safeguard our common future.”

Keith: There you have it. Can you believe it Nehemia? He’s speaking about the prophet of peace and then you’re expecting him to explain it, and what does he do? He opens his mouth - I get the chills, even the way I got the chills when I heard this - he’s speaking the words of the prophet Isaiah at the United Nations. I was, I was... I didn’t even know what I said. I said Nehemia, “You’ve got to hear this. You got to hear this for Prophet Pearls.” And you, in your little quiet way - and folks, if you don’t know the setup here, I’ve gotten my bibles here, I’ve got my Hebrew Bible, I’ve got my Old and New Testament, my Methodist Bible, and Nehemia - he’s got, and I don’t know what we’re going to end up calling this, but this thing is amazing. So I tell Nehemia about what happens with Netanyahu, and he quietly does something that I’m going to let him explain. When you heard those words…

Nehemia: Well so here he is, he’s standing at the United Nations on September 29th, 2014, and Netanyahu quotes the prophet Isaiah in Hebrew, Chapter 62 verse 1, and I asked what for me was a very natural question: Why did Netanyahu quote that verse? There were other verses he could have quoted that really would’ve expressed pretty similar ideas. And I had a sneaking suspicion, and I looked it up and I was right.

Keith: Well before you tell them, can I just say before you tell them - he was right. [laughing] Folks, I’ve got to give you the picture now. Here comes the Methodist, all excited about Netanyahu preaching salvation at the United Nations. Did he not preach salvation…?

Nehemia: He preached yeshuah - salvation.

Keith:yeshuah, at the United Nations. And I know a lot of folks are going to get excited and frustrated about this, but what I loved about it is when I heard it, Nehemia, I went and opened my Hebrew Bible and went word by word by word. And again, I got so excited. Now, I missed a really obvious thing. Why I’m excited about doing this? I missed a really obvious thing. And what was the obvious thing that I missed?

Nehemia: The obvious thing to me is, like I said, it was a sneaking suspicion. Why did he quote this verse of all verses? And I did a quick check on my little computer and it immediately came up that that was from the section of the Haftarah that was read in the synagogue the week before. So imagine this image: Netanyahu is sitting in the synagogue - or maybe it’s a speechwriter, I don’t know - they’re sitting in the synagogue and they’re thinking, “What are we going to go and tell the United Nations? How are we going to express our anguish over the lies that are being spoken by the enemies of God’s people?”

And he’s sitting there in the synagogue and he hears the Torah portion, and after the Torah portion of Nitzavim, and then immediately after the Torah portion of Nitzavim in Deuteronomy he hears the Haftarah portion, which is Isaiah 61:10 through 63:9. And it comes upon the verse, Isaiah 62:1 which literally in Hebrew says, “For the sake of Zion, I will not be quiet, and for the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be silent until her righteousness comes forth like a bright star,” or “like brightness. And her yeshuata, and her yeshuah like a burning torch.”

And Netanyahu is sitting there in the synagogue and they’re telling these horrible lies about these atrocities we did that we didn’t do - no army in the world takes the precautions that we do to protect the civilians. And he hears this in the synagogue and he says, “This is what I have to proclaim to the United Nations!”

Now every Jew who heard the speech, who had been in synagogue said, “Wait a minute, I’ve heard that! Oh, right. That was in the Haftarah.” Whereas, you know, probably the people at the UN say, “Oh, Isaiah.”

Keith: Isaiah. And again, what caught my attention was he was speaking Hebrew right away from the beginning, and then he did the translation. When you brought the fact that that was the week’s portion before I thought, “Okay, that’s it. It’s over. We’re going to do Prophet Pearls.”

Nehemia: And we always talk about how we want to read the Prophet in their history, language, and context. So here’s an example where the prime minister of Israel gets in front of the United Nations and he quotes Isaiah. And if you don’t understand Netanyahu’s history and language and context, you just think he plucks some random verse out of thin air. But actually, he’s repeating a verse he heard in the synagogue as part of this ancient tradition that goes back to the persecution of the Jews in the time of the Greeks. And now you can go back and look at the Prophet and say, “What did he hear in his…” maybe they didn’t have synagogues, “…what did he hear in the town square when he proclaimed these words? What was going on in that context?” And we get this whole vibrant picture that otherwise just would be missed.

Keith: And again, folks, those who are listening, I know there are people who have questions. They wonder how it is that this Methodist and this Jew, the gentile and the Karaite, whatever you want to say - that so many differences that we have, Nehemia, but one of the things that I know that you and I are really, really strong about, is to try to find out what does Scripture mean then? What does Scripture mean now? And what is Scripture calling us to?

Nehemia: Amen. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Keith: So here we are. We’re going to do this folks, and we’re going to get right into this. We’re going to open up the portion. Nehemia, I want you to know what’s going to be happening here. So I’ve got my Bible, and I could tell you a story about why I don’t have my computer, but I’m not going to get into that. But we’re here right now. We’re going to record this. And every once in a while, I’m going to ask Nehemia to go to one of the amazing tools that we have. You’ll hear the tapping. If you hear the tapping, that is Nehemia looking at a powerful, powerful program that we can get some information that if we were just sitting here, and we’re not scribes, of course, it’s all just memorized, we have the ability to do this. We’re going to let you experience what we experience.

Nehemia: It’s memorized on my hard drive. [laughing]

Keith: Yeah when we study, Nehemia, isn’t that how it works? For as many years as we’ve been together, when we study the Bible, isn’t that the time we probably have the most fun? When we open up the Scriptures and look at them?

Nehemia: And in preparing this, that’s the one of the things we talked about. We said you know, “Should we take copious notes and have this scripted?” And we both decided that we want to do this in the ancient Jewish tradition of two people of faith studying together and working out what it says. And that’s what they call chevruta, which comes from the word chaver - friend. When people are in fellowship and friendship and they study the Scripture together and things are revealed through that process that could never be revealed just sitting and reading at home alone. So I think that’s a really powerful thing.

Keith: So here’s the other thing, and I want to say this, this is a little quick, quick housekeeping: You know, what we’ve decided is that know that we have people from different traditions that come at the Scriptures in different ways, but we’ve always tried to ask the question, “Where’s their common ground?” So if you’re interested in finding out what Isaiah meant, and Jeremiah meant, and the people heard back then and how it affects us today and what it means today and what we believe it’s speaking for the future, this program is for them.

So let’s get right in. What is the portion for this week?

Nehemia: Well, this week is the beginning of the Torah cycle which is Bereshit, Genesis chapter 1, verse 1, and the parallel section in the Prophets, by the tradition, of course, is Isaiah 42 verse 5 through 43:10. Now, why did the tradition choose that section? Well, that’s pretty obvious from the verse. Can I read the first verse?

Keith: Please do that.

Nehemia: It says, I’m reading from the Hebrew, “Ko amar ha’El Yehovah,” “Thus says the mighty One,” or, “God, Yehovah”, “boreh hashamayim venotehem,” “the Creator of the heavens and He who stretches them out,” “roka ha’aretz vetze’ehtza’eha,” “He who beats out the earth and her inhabitants,” meaning beats it out like… it’s actually like a metalsmith who’s beating out a piece of iron or copper. “Noten neshama la’am alehah”, “he gives the soul to the people who are upon it,” “veruach laholchim bah,” “and the spirit to those who walk in it.”

And so why is this section chosen? And there could have been other sections of course that speak about creation, but this was a natural section, especially at a time when the Jews were forbidden to read the Torah and they’re being persecuted by the Greeks. And somebody comes along and sees this and says, “There’s a connection here between God’s creation of the universe and His covenant commitment to His people,” and that we get in the next verse. I think that’s why they chose this passage.

Keith: And what was so interesting, Nehemia, when I was looking at this verse also as we were preparing to study, I love when these titles come up. And one of the titles that comes up, one of the descriptions for Yehovah is “Yehovah Boreh.” And I think it is - and you can check real quick just to double check me on this - I believe that that title, “Yehovah Boreh” shows up five times. All of those times are in Isaiah.

Nehemia: Let’s see.

Keith: And I believe four times Yehovah calls himself by that description. So basically, what I loved about that was I was thinking, “Wow. So here they’re talking about creation, who’s the One who created it?” And then He says, “Just in case there’s any confusion, I’m the one who created. And just if you’re confused about that, I call myself Yehovah Boreh.”

Nehemia: And not only is it in Isaiah, and this is I think maybe a bigger context point, so Isaiah has different sections and there are very clear units of Isaiah’s prophecy, and some people have described this as the rebuke, the punishment, and the consolation. What we’re reading now is the last sections of the prophecy of the book, which is the Consolation - Chapters 40 through 66. Specifically, 40 through 55 are a subunit. Chapters 40 through 55 are a section. All five of those Yehovah Boreh, Yehovah the Creator, appear in those sections - in 40 through 55. Specifically, 40:28, 42:5, 43:1, 45:8, 45:18. So we’ve got five of them in this small little unit of 40 through 55. The Consolation. Yehovah’s warned us, we didn’t listen to the warning and we got punished, and now this is what’s called the Consolation – “There will be hope for you” - that’s what the message is of 40 through 66.

Keith: Wow. And folks, what I’m going to try to do again, there’s so much that we could do. I mean, I’ve got notes and you’ve got notes, but what we try to do is we look at it ahead of time, we talk about it ahead of time and then we try to figure out where the pearl is. And I just think that’s one of the pearls. I think one of the pearls being that Yehovah calls himself Yehovah Boreh - that He is the One who creates. There’s no confusion. There’s no issue, who is the One…

Nehemia: Actually, I would argue that there is confusion, that’s why He’s saying it.

Keith: I’m saying so from his perspective.

Nehemia: Right, right. So one of the things that happens in Chapter 45, which is kind of the tell, it’s the giveaway of what’s going on here, is Isaiah directly addresses King Cyrus in a future prophecy. Cyrus hasn’t even been born yet when Isaiah is speaking, and he says to Cyrus, this message about, “I’m the one who creates both light and darkness, good and evil,” because Cyrus and the entire Persian Empire, which came after Isaiah, believed in two gods: a good god and a bad god. If you were a righteous person, you worshiped the good god. If you’re a bad person, you worshiped the bad god. But nobody denied in the Persian Empire if you were one of their believers, a Zoroastrian, that there were two gods, and that’s one of the key messages of Isaiah 40 through 55 specifically - that there is only one God. And that’s something he quotes in the very next verse, if you want to… can you read that Keith?

Keith: Sure. And what I’m going to try to do folks, and I always encourage people to do this, to have a couple of translations with them. We’re in a really small space, and actually, I’m glad that we’re starting out together, but I’m not thinking we’re going to be doing this. [laughing] I’m going to be at my place having my stuff spread out.

But anyway, let me read 42:5, “Thus this God Yehovah, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people and spirit to those who walk in it. I am,” and of course in your English Bible, it’s going to say, “I am the LORD. I have called you in righteousness. I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people.” And I have to tell you, Nehemia, the next phrase, this is what it says in English.

Nehemia: Whaaat?

Keith: Yes. “As a covenant…”

Nehemia: Which translation is that?

Keith: This is the NASB.

Nehemia: You’re kidding.

Keith: I’m going to let you respond to that, and then the phrase after that is the part that I can just say really ignited me. So you go ahead and address this issue in 42:6 regarding, He says, “I will appoint you.” And then He says, and of course in my English Bible it says, “I will appoint you as a covenant to the people.” When you hear that, what’s your response?

Nehemia: Well, that’s not what it says in Hebrew. Let me read the JPS - Jewish Publication Society. It says, “I am the LORD.” Of course in Hebrew it’s Yehovah, capital L-O-R-D, “I am the LORD, in my grace have summoned you and I have grasped you by the hand. I created you and appointed you a covenant people, a light of nations.”

And many Jews are familiar with the phrase in English, “A light unto the nations”. That’s this exact phrase that appears here in Isaiah 42:6 and one other passage if I’m not mistaken, and He’s speaking here, and maybe this is the controversy, who is He speaking about? Certainly, the Jewish understanding, historically, is that he was speaking to Israel. And certainly, in the time of Isaiah, that’s what they understood. Isaiah is addressing Israel, and that’s why he says in the next verse, in verse 8, “I am Yehovah. That is My name. I will not yield My glory to another nor my I renown to idols.”

So this is a time when there are many idols around, and there are people who say, “Yeah, we worship Yehovah but we also worship Baal and other gods, and there’s the good god and evil god.” And He’s saying, I’m the only one. This is something that’s emphasized throughout the passage. But the phrase here is brit am. Brit is covenant and am is people, it means “covenant people”. So He’s saying, “I have made you a place to have given you as a covenant people as a light for the nations,” and what that means is Israel’s role in God’s plan is to be a light to the nations.

Keith: And what’s interesting, Nehemia, and I know when you heard the English translation, that got a response out of you. But the next phrase is what caught me - what does it mean when it says, “as a light to the nations”? I’m not asking the question, I mean, that’s what hit me. And when I thought about that, I thought… and then the next verse, if you keep reading, the next verse kind of lets us know about that. But being a light to the nations, meaning that the nations need that light, that the nations are in darkness, that the nations... And I’ve got to say something back to what Netanyahu did in the United Nations. He said something along the lines of, “You know, we’ve gotta be able to speak truth to power.” And he said, “Especially here,” and I don’t know why he said, “especially here at the United Nations,” but I look at this verse and I think about those nations and there’s a lot of blindness. There’s a lot of darkness. Someone has to be the light, and when I read this verse, I hear the idea that God’s covenant people are to be that light. And I want to say again what happened on that day in the United Nations - I saw a light.

Nehemia: What was your light?

Keith: I saw light. Isaiah! When he brought Isaiah into that chamber, I felt like that was a picture of what it means, partially, to be a light to the nations. Bring truth, bring the Word of God, bring perspective. So that’s what caught me in that verse.

Nehemia: Can I jump to the end? Would you mind if I really quickly bring the last verse of the section, which is Isaiah 43:10?

Keith: No, no problem.

Nehemia: Because that answers the question, “How could Israel, this sinful nation, be a light to the nations?” And he says in Isaiah 43:10, “‘You are My witnesses,’ says Yehovah, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before me no God was formed nor shall there be any after Me.’” And again, this is the context when there are many gods, and especially in the Zoroastrian context that would come very soon after there were especially two main gods. And He’s saying, there’s no God Before me. There’s No God after Me. I am the one and only God and you’re the witnesses that I’m the God.

Now, some people may look at this, and I think… can I say this… I think especially in a Christian context and say, “Oh no, the servant in Isaiah it has to always be Jesus. But here obviously it’s in the plural. “You are My witnesses,” not witness. And “my servant” is referring to Israel. I don’t think anybody disputes that in this passage.

And if you look early in the passage, He’s talking about how the servant is sinful, and even though he’s sinful, he still has a purpose and he’ll repent. Let me just read that real quick. Can I read that real quick? Let’s see. 42:19, which is part of the same prophecy. It says, “Who is blind but My servant, or deaf like my messenger, whom I sent?” I hope nobody thinks that… the Christians don’t think that’s Jesus. Obviously, that’s Israel who is the messenger – mal’ach, which could actually be an angel.

So the messenger, the angel that God is going to send, is actually blind and deaf! Because Israel is sinful. And even though Israel is sinful, there’s going to be this historical process, and you can read it throughout the passage, where Israel will be punished and Israel be gathered back in, and God is telling us in advance that that will happen. And that is how Israel will testify to the nations and they will know through their very experience and relationship with God that God is true.

And here’s what this reminds me of, actually in Christian history. So something really interesting happened in, I want to say the history of your people, but it’s really in the Roman Empire. I’m not sure your people, your ancestors were involved at that time. But what happened is the Roman Empire became a Christian Empire and there was officially one religion you were allowed to have. The problem was, most of the empire was not Christian. They were still what they call today Pagan. Now today, pagan is a bad word, but back then Pagan just meant that you followed the ancient Roman gods. And in the context of the Roman Empire, Pagan was a good thing. It was traditional, it was old time religion, whereas this new religion came up and it was this upstart religion, and to many Romans it looked like a cult.

So they would come to these farmers in the outback and, you know, in the countryside and say, “You’ve got to adopt this new religion.” They’d be like, “You guys… what are you talking about? We’ve been worshiping these gods for a thousand years, since Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus.”

And so here’s an interesting thing. There was discussion at the same time about whether or not they should wipe out the Jews. Did you know that Keith? The Romans said, “Look, these Jews - they’re Christ killers, they need to all die. We need to kill them. Now we have the power. For hundreds of years we were persecuted just like they were, but now we have the power to stamp them out and kill every last one.” And the argument for not killing them was something they called Jewish service. Later, that came to mean Jewish servitude, meaning slavery. But originally the idea of Jewish service in the Roman Empire meant the Jews serve a purpose. And what’s the purpose of the Jews? Everyone in the Roman Empire knew that Jews were this ancient nation. They would go to the Pagan farmers and say, “Look, our religion is the true religion. And the proof it’s true is the fulfillment of all these ancient prophecies.” And the farmers, the ancient Roman Pagans would say, “What prophecies? Maybe you just made that prophecy up last week and now you’re saying your savior fulfilled it.” And they’d say, “No, go ask the Jews. They’ll testify to you. They will be the witness that these are ancient prophecies that existed hundreds of years before the Christian savior was born.” And so actually the Jews, quite literally, from the Roman perspective, fulfilled this verse. You’re talking about yesterday, today and tomorrow. 43:10, “‘You are My witnesses,’ says Yehovah, ‘My servant whom I have chosen so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am he.’” So they actually served… the very existence of the Jews, for the Romans to spread Christianity, were the witness.

Now I obviously as a Jew from a Jewish perspective say… You know, people will say to me, “So why do you believe in the God of Israel?” And I say, “Look at the history of my people. It’s a fulfillment of these prophecies. It’s a testimony that Yehovah is the one true God.”

Keith: It is. And you know, I think one of the tensions - and Nehemia we’re going to have this tension as we go through Prophet Pearls - is that there’s a certain perspective that I’ve always had in growing up in my background, and there’s a perspective you always had in your background, and again, we’re trying to find this common ground. And I know there are a lot of people that will say, “Well look, when you’re going to this verse, you got to see how that fits, where it fits and how it fits,” and all that. What I want to do, and I really want to do this in truth and in the most honest way that I can, I want to be able to bring my perspective and ask how it fits. So can I go back? I know you went to the end, but can I go back just a little bit?

Nehemia: Please. Go ahead.

Keith: …and go to 42:13, hold on. No, 7. Now, this is one of the things that I do get excited about when I heard about this, and when I’m reading Isaiah 42. He’s talking about appointing them as a covenant people, as a light to the nations, and what are they meant…? It says, “to do what”? “To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” That verse in verse 7, for me, whenever I see that happening - people, whether it be physical blindness or spiritual blindness, where there’s a light that comes on and they begin to see - I’m actually reminded, and I’m sure even in the New Testament, the idea was, where does the idea come from? It would come back to this.

Nehemia: Absolutely.

Keith: That they’re supposed to be a light. So again, in sensitivity to the people that are going to be listening. You know what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to tell you where we’re wrong. We want to try to find out what the Scripture says. And again, what I love, Nehemia, was the idea of us exploring past, present, and future. Verse 8, “I am Yehovah. That is My name.”

Nehemia: “Ani Yehovah, hu shmi.”

Keith: “Who shmi.” “And I will not give my glory to another nor my praise to graven images.” And again, stop me as we need to, but what we’re going to try to do, tell me if I’m wrong, we’re going to try to find the pearls. We’re going to try to at least read the section. Folks, hopefully, you’re going to go with your bibles and you’re going to read through what… We’ll have to skip through this first one because we’re not going to be here for an hour and a half, [laughing] but He says, “Behold the former things have come to pass.” Feel free to read it in Hebrew. We can switch back and forth if you’d like.

Verse 9. “Now I declare new things before they spring forth; I proclaimed them to you.” And if I can just say something about verse 10 - He says, “Sing to Yehovah a new song, sing His praise from the end of the earth. You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it. You islands and those who dwell on them. Let the wilderness and it’s cities lift up.” And then, of course, they add, ‘towards their voices,’ “the settlements where Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Selah sing aloud. Let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Yehovah and declare His praise in the coastlands.” Can I make a quick little commercial?

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: People will say, “But it doesn’t say Yehovah here.”

Nehemia: In verse 12?

Keith: It says, “the LORD”. That’s what it says in my English Bible. So folks are going to hear this. We’re not just coming up out of the blue, slinging this around. If this is your first time hearing Nehemia or myself, we’ve taken very seriously the idea of trying to find out what does it mean when He says, “This is my name” and of all the times we see that title, LORD, why have we made that an important issue? Because He does say, “This is my name”. So for us, as we found information, Nehemia, you’ve been phenomenal with this as we’ve been able to dig in and try to find out where we could find out what His name is in the oldest Hebrew manuscripts that we have to be able to see that in those manuscripts...

Nehemia: So now that you bring it up. Can we real quick just go back to verse 8 and read it again in Hebrew? The first half says, “Ani Yehovah hu shmi,” I am Yehovah, that is My name. What does your Bible say, your NASB?

Keith: It says here, “I am the LORD,” capitalized. “that is My name.”

Nehemia: So isn’t that just dishonest? I mean, come on! It says, “I am Yehovah, that is My name.” And you read there, “I am the LORD. That is My name.” Well, okay, if you read the introduction to your Bible, I’m sure it says LORD in caps, but come on. You know, wasn’t the point of King James that even like the guy behind the plow, the boy pulling the plow or leading the plow whatever, that he’d be able to read the Bible. He’s going to be reading the introduction. Come on, guys.

Keith: Okay, let me ask you this question.

Nehemia: This bothers me.

Keith: So this is a sensitivity, but let’s also for sharing - what does the JPS say? The Jewish Publication Society.

Nehemia: Oh, same thing, “LORD”.

Keith: Really?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: So you mean even the Jews…

Nehemia: Especially the Jews, that’s where the Christians got it from. I’m not blaming the Christians here. I’m saying, somebody is falsifying… this tradition and it’s so misleading. And JPS - here, let’s actually read that because, I don’t know. Let’s look. The 1985 New JPS, “I am the LORD. That is My name. I will not yield My glory to another. Nor My renown to idols.” So by their very translation, they’ve given His glory to another, to the LORD, or at least they’ve obscured it. Now if I read it in Hebrew in the JPS it’s not a problem because it says Yud Hey Vav Hey. So even if I say Adonai, which means Lord, I can see it with my own eyes, but in English, I might not know that.

Keith: Yeah. Well it’s interesting, and we’re going to try to do this, but in verse 13 can I just give one little pearl? And I want you to open up your computer on this, Nehemia, you’re going to do this for us. And I actually did a little checking ahead of time. I hope you can find it. It says, “Yehovah will go forth like a warrior. He will arouse his zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout. Yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.” And when I saw that, I was reminded of the first time I ever noticed this idea of Him being called, I believe it is off the top of my head, “Ish milchama,” “Man of Battle”, in I think Exodus 15, and when I saw this… first time I ever saw this in the Hebrew Bible, it’s like some years ago, and it said “Ish milchama,” “a man of battle”. And I’m thinking, wow.

Nehemia: Can I read that verse? Exodus 15:3 says, “Yehova ish milchama,” “Yehovah is a man of war.” “Yehovah shemo,” “Yehovah is His name.” So powerful.

Keith: It’s a powerful thing. But again, what is happening is Moses is singing. If I’m right, they’re singing. What I wanted to say though, it’s interesting, there are other people in the Bible that are also called “Ish milchama” or men of battle. One Manessa, Manessa’s firstborn. David is called a man of battle, and there’s another person called the man of battle. And who’s that? Goliath. And so when I see that, I think you know, for the Creator... Now, the reason I love the image is that sometimes our Father, he fights!

Nehemia: Can I just read that? 1 Samuel 17:33, “And Saul said to David,” I’m reading from Hebrew, “you will not prevail to go against this Philistine, to war against him, to battle against him, for you are a boy and he is an ish milchama from his youth. He is a man of war from his youth.” You’re just this little kid. That’s awesome.

Keith: So anyway, and then if we can go on, the blindness of the people, Nehemia, it’s like a section. Maybe you can do a little bit of reading there or translate for us in Isaiah Chapter 42 verse 14.

Nehemia: “Hechesheti me’olam acharish etapek keyoleda epheh eshom ve’eshaf yachad.” Wow, that’s so powerful.

Keith: It is very powerful.

Nehemia: Let me read the JPS here. “I’ve kept silent for far too long, kept still and restrained myself.” And really in the Hebrew, it doesn’t say “far too long”. It says me’olam, since eternity. “I’ve always kept silent. I have held back and been silent. Now I will scream like a woman in labor. I will pant and I will gasp.” That’s so powerful. “Achariv harim ugvaot vechol esbam ohvish vesamti neharot le’iyim va’agamim ohvish.” “Hills and heights I will scorch, cause all their green to whither. I will turn rivers into isles and dry the marshes up.” “Veholachti ivrim baderech lo yada’u.” Wow, this is so powerful. “Bintivot lo yadu adrichem asim machshach liphneihem la’or uma’akashim lemishor, elah hadvarim aseetem velo azavtim.” So there’s an image here which actually comes from the exodus. He’s… He’s drying up rivers.

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: So this is an image of the Exodus. “I would lead the blind by a road they did not know and I will make them walk by paths they never knew.” So talking about yesterday, today and tomorrow, this is the consolation. This is talking to the people. He’s warned them, “You’re going to be punished,” they get punished, and He says, “And now that you’re punished, there will be this redemption. Just like there was an exodus from Egypt. I’m the one who created the universe. I have this covenant with you because I’m the one who created this universe, I can make a covenant with the people who I’ve chosen and I can take you out from a land just like I took you out of Egypt.” That’s the image here. This is a second exodus image. What a beautiful…

Keith: It is beautiful. And you know it’s interesting, Nehemia, as we go through, there’s a really interesting thing, and I have to say I have an agenda even in doing this Prophet Pearls, because I have so many people who start at the end of the story and then they work their way backwards. And when I read things, I like to read in context. I used to be what’s called… I was a bible memory guy, I mean verses…

Nehemia: Were you a cherry picker?

Keith: No, I mean I could, I had so many verses memorized, my wife would be like, “Man, how do you memorize those verses?” And then I did something really radical. I said, “I’m going to memorize a chapter.” I memorized a chapter and then I said, “I’m going to memorize a book.” And you know what changed my whole...?

Nehemia: Was it Ovadiah?

[laughter]

Keith: No it was the book of James. Short one. But I want to go to verse 18, because I want to show you something.

Nehemia: Wait, I’ve got to read the last words.

Keith: Of 17? Where are you?

Nehemia: Of 16. He says, “Ela hadvarim aseeteem velo azavtim.” “These things I do to them, and I will not forsake them.” So He’s saying, “I’m making this promise. It’s going to be kept.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Wow. That’s powerful.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: What a message of hope. Imagine you’re one of these Israelites...

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: …and you’ve been taken into exile by the Babylonians, your kingdom’s been destroyed and you remember the words of the Prophet Isaiah from a hundred years ago, and this is what comforts you and you realize, “There is hope for me.”

Keith: And here’s what I want to do. I want to go on thin ice here, and I want you to be sensitive with me. I want to go on thin ice here. So one of the reasons, as I mentioned, that I wanted to do this and didn’t… I’ll be honest... Can I confess? One of the reasons I didn’t want to do this is just because of all of the controversy that constantly is surrounding this whole issue of whether a Jew and Gentile together, different people from different backgrounds, there’s anti movements, there’s all sorts of things that are going on, but one of the things that’s been very, very touchy is that I always learned that whenever you talk about the servant, anytime you talk about the servant, that servant is speaking of Yeshua, Jesus. And I’m reading in Isaiah 42, and I want to read this verse and ask you what you think about this verse and how you think for me it would challenge maybe my perspective that immediately I’m taking his words or the interpretation of him in the New Testament and placing them in 42. It says this, verse 19 Ready?

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: Assume for a minute that he’s the servant. Here’s what it says.

Nehemia: Start in 18.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: And then you’ll really get confused.

Keith: Okay. All right, 18. “Hear you deaf and look you blind that you may see who is blind but My servant, or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace,” and then, of course, it asks in English, it says, “with Me? Or so blind as the servant of Yehovah?” Now before I go any further, when I read that in English, is there anything that pops up when I read that verse?

Nehemia: Are you telling me there are Christians who say this refers to Jesus?

Keith: Well, no, no. I mean… and I want to be sensitive about that. If you could take a passage or you could take a verse in a part of the chapter and pull it out and say, “Okay, that it does.” But if you look at the full context, I think people that are listening, even the most conservative, Evangelical person would look at that and say, “Okay, that’s an example where certainly he’s not blind, he’s not deaf…”

Nehemia: Well and we could do a whole session, and I think we probably will at some point, on the word “Eved”, servant.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Especially in Isaiah, where sometimes “servant” is explicitly by name identified as Israel. In this passage, I don’t think anyone, even Christians, I don’t think, would dispute that this refers to Israel, who was blinded, and even though God has sent them for this purpose to be a covenant nation, to be a light to the people, and instead, they’re the ones who are blind and deaf.

Keith: And that’s why even how we say what we say, and I’m trying to be extremely, can I say this word? Extremely sensitive to the many, many people that are from different backgrounds that are going to be listening to us. I want them to get the pearl, I want them to get the information. I want them to be able to ask the question: “Context, what does it mean?” Like I got to go back to how we started - when Netanyahu is preaching salvation at the United Nations, how does he see it? How did he hear it? And how does he understand it? And I want to know how he sees it and understands it. How I see it in how I understand it. And ultimately, I want to know how Isaiah meant it, how Yehovah spoke through Isaiah and meant it for them today and tomorrow.

Nehemia: Let me quickly read two verses, 42:25 and 43:1, which have been so easily separated by these chapters. And remember, the chapters aren’t an original part of the text. So we’re talking about the servant, who’s Israel, who’s blind, who’s deaf, who’s sinful. “So he poured out wrath upon them…”

Keith: Tell me what verse you’re at right now?

Nehemia: 42:25 in the Hebrew.

Keith: Yep.

Nehemia: “So he poured out wrath upon them. His anger and fury of war. It blazed upon them all about, but they heeded not. It burned among them, but they gave it no thought. ‘But now,’ thus says Yehovah, 43:1, ‘who created you, O Jacob? Who formed you, O Israel?’” Now there’s no question this servant is Israel, Jacob.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: “Fear not for I will redeem you. I have singled you out by name. You are Mine.” This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. God is saying to Israel, “I’ve chosen you and called you by name. So even though you were sinful and My wrath was poured out and I came as a man of war against you to punish you, even though all that happened, it did for your sins. I will redeem you.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And I love the term “redeem”. We’ll probably have to save this for…

Keith: Oh we have to talk about redeem, yes, yes.

Nehemia: But it’s really powerful. I really quick - I know I always say that - so really quick, redeem in Israel, the ancient concept is that you had a field and it was your family field, it didn’t belong to you. It belonged to your line and you inherited it from your father and you went into poverty and you sold the field. Now one of your relatives comes and he pays the price for your field. That’s called redeeming. That’s “go’el.” He is the redeemer, the go’el.

And here Yehovah is saying, “I’m going to redeem you, Israel, because I called you by name,” and I love the imagery here in 43:3, “for I Yehovah am your God, the holy one of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as a ransom for you, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you because you are precious to Me and honored and I love you. I give men in exchange for you and the peoples in your stead. Fear not for I am with you. I will bring your folk from the east, will gather you out of the West. I will say to the north, Give back and to the south, Do not withhold bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.”

Here it’s talking about how Israel’s been scattered throughout the nations, they’ve been sold into slavery and God is going to redeem them. He’ll give whole nations in exchange for them. You know, just like a field, you pay silver or some kind of… animals or something to redeem that field, something of value. God is saying, “I’ll give whole nations for you.”

And when I read this, I think of the modern image we have of Gilad Shalit, that Israeli prisoner in the hands of Hamas terrorists, who was exchanged, and it was like a thousand terrorists were given in exchange for him. That’s the image here that God is saying, “I’m going to give whole nations for you Israel, because I called you by name and this will be My witness to the nations that this people, Israel, where I foretold in the time of Isaiah in 700 BC, that they would go into exile and then they would be gathered back.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Hallelujah.

Keith: And isn’t it something when we were reading this…

Nehemia: What a great testimony of Yehovah.

Keith: It is, it is. When we’re reading this and we see this, and then we look today, and you just brought a perfect example of: Here it is, here was the past, here’s the present. This actually happened. We actually saw it. And something interesting, Nehemia, where we talked a little bit about this, is that when we get to this verse, and I know we’re just about to the end. In a few minutes, I’m going to stop recording, but I just want to bring up two things. One, 43:1 I want people to open their bibles, maybe you’ve got your English Bible, very, very interesting word, it says, “And He who formed you.” Very interesting word. If you could do a study about that, the “Yotzer”…

Nehemia: Don’t you have a teaching about that somewhere?

Keith: It’s somewhere, I don’t know where it is. But this idea that our Father in heaven actually puts us on the potter’s wheel.

Nehemia: Yeah it’s a pottery term, yotzer.

Keith: Can I just slow down? He puts us on the pottery wheel and He starts to mold us and He starts to shape us. One of the reasons that I’m so excited about doing this, Nehemia, is that I’ve felt called to help people understand God’s word and its language and its history and its context. And when you start to understand His word, you feel His fingers, you feel His hands pressing in on you and molding you and shaping you. And when He says, “He who formed you,” I just think of Him today doing that in our life. I think He’s forming us. I think He’s calling people to do that same thing. And then I also wanted to say…

Nehemia: Wait, on that verse, I’ve got to say something on that verse...

Keith: Go ahead.

Nehemia: …which is that it says here, “I called you by name,” and He’s talking about Israel and Jacob, but if you feel that the Creator has called you and He’s moved you in your heart, imagine that - He can actually call you, Keith Edwin Johnson, by name. You individually, and He’ll give whole nations for you if you turn to Him and come to Him. What a powerful thing. What a beautiful image. Can we talk about verse 10 before we wrap up?

Keith: Yes, yes. We’ve still got a couple of minutes. Verse 10 go ahead.

Nehemia: All right, so you know I’ve been to a bunch of countries recently. I was recently in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Nepal, and I was in some other countries, but in those three countries, oh and Malaysia. In those four countries, I was sharing with people about the name of the Father, Yehovah. And people said to me, “That sounds a lot like the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” So I’m bringing that up because verse 43:10 is where the Jehovah’s Witnesses get their name. So they take this verse and it says, “Ye are my witnesses,” in King James, “sayeth the LORD.” And in Hebrew it does say, “says Yehovah.” “Atem edai na’um Yehovah.”

So this group from Brooklyn has usurped this title, that God has given to all those who love Him. All those who turn to Him in truth and righteousness are Yehovah’s witnesses, and His people Israel are His witnesses. And this - can I use the word? - this cult from Brooklyn has stolen the identity that God has given to all His people and said, “We are Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

And here’s the irony: If you asked the Jehovah’s Witnesses, at least on their official website, they say that His name isn’t Jehovah. It’s not Yehovah, it’s Yahweh. That’s what the Jehovah’s Witnesses say. But you know, it really bugs me that here’s this name that appears 6,827 times in the Hebrew Bible, Yehovah, and people in these far-off, far-flung countries that most Americans can’t even find on a map, they hear Yehovah and they say, “Oh, that sounds like the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Now in China I didn’t have that experience because in the Chinese Bible it says, Ye-Ho-Wah. So it says Yehovah, or their pronunciation of it.

But, can you talk to me, because we were talking the other day about this idea of this title, Jehovah’s Witnesses. Are they truly Jehovah’s Witnesses and we’re not?

Keith: Well, no, I think…

Nehemia: You gave me a good example. Can you share it?

Keith: Well there are many examples of people that kind of kidnap titles and things from Scripture. They usurp things. For example, right now, I don’t know, you probably didn’t know this, that there’s a group that takes the image of the rainbow, they put it on their flag and they say that…

Nehemia: If you tell any Jew “rainbow”, and the first thing we think is the covenant God made with Noah that he won’t destroy the world. You’re telling me that’s not the first image…?

Keith: Of course not. Everybody knows that. There are groups who take… for example, there’s a group who takes the rainbow and says, “Okay, this is now going to be our logo.” The Jehovah Witnesses come along and say, “Okay, we’re now called the Witnesses.” The sports team… even Nike says, “We are witness.”

Nehemia: Yeah, I don’t know what that’s about.

Keith: You don’t know anything about that, but I’m saying that these are things that happen. But again, I want to get back to something. So that’s what’s happening out there. What I want God’s people…

Nehemia: Wait, so this would be like if I went all over the world and said, “Look at that rainbow, that represents the covenant of God.” And then I would have people in the Philippines say, “Oh, you mean that…” what you were talking about, instead of the Bible. So basically, they’ve kind of usurped this biblical image and displaced it, and what we have to do is reclaim it for the Creator of the universe. It’s here in Isaiah 43:10.

Keith: So here’s what I want to do, Nehemia, and folks, we are going to try our best to go systematically through this, but sometimes there are going to be things that jump up. We missed one little thing, but it actually relates to the end. There are many things that we missed, and this is a really obscure little thing that I want you to look up real quick, Nehemia. When I was reading, I try to read it in English, I try to read it in Hebrew, I try to ask myself what other translations say. And in fact, one of the things that we’re doing right now is we’re trying to help people so that when they hear you speaking in Hebrew or when they hear what the Hebrew word is, for them to not see it as such a foreign thing and to give them the ability to start interacting with that information.

So just as this is being released right now, I want to give you an example of something that just caught my attention. Go to verse 25, and it says at the end of the verse, and I have here, 42:25. And I want to give a story. First, all I want you to do is to read the last part of the verse in Hebrew, the last part of the verse in Hebrew.

Nehemia: The last part of the verse. “Vativar bo velo yesim al-lev.”

Keith: Okay. So I’m in Israel and I’m getting on an escalator and the escalator says, [laughing] “sim lev.” Okay, you guys, just let me get excited. So I’m looking at the escalator and it says “sim lev”. And I’m thinking, “what does that mean?” Now, this excited me. It says in English, “pay attention”. Okay? In English, in my English Bible, it says, “They paid no attention.” They did not sim

Nehemia: Well the King James said, “let he laid it not to heart.”

Keith: He laid it not to heart.

Nehemia: Which is a Hebrew expression – lasim lev is literally to put heart.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: To put heart means to pay attention.

Keith: To pay attention, to set your heart. Okay.

Nehemia: And even today on an Israeli escalator, you’ll see it. [laughing]

Keith: It says that. So again, what I want to do is this - we’re doing something Nehemia. You saw just a little bit of it. But the reason I want to share this is because when we’re going through Prophet Pearls, it’s going to be impossible for us not to interact with that language that seems so foreign to so many people, and that’s the Hebrew language. God could have chosen any language to give His prophets, and he gave them the Hebrew language.

We started out the program where we heard Netanyahu preaching salvation, the message of salvation right there in the United Nations. We’re reading this stuff, as we go through this, I want people to not be so afraid of the Hebrew language. So one of the things that we’re doing is we’re doing something called Scripture Bites. That’s something that people can learn. What I love about it is I learned a process over the last 12 years. And that process was to be able to go to the Scripture, even if it’s learning letter by letter and word by word, and pretty soon, after a while, it becomes more familiar and then bringing that information forward so that people can start reading and interacting with the Hebrew language.

So as this is being released, Scripture Bites is being released. And why is it connected? It’s connected, Nehemia, because all the time that I have ever known you, we’ve always asked one question, what does the Scripture say? And there aren’t enough people who can answer that. They can answer what they’ve learned. We’ve heard so many people say, “I’ve heard this, my pastor says, my rabbi says,” but what does the Scripture say? So can we make a commitment in front of the people right now? Let’s make a commitment to people right now. We might have opinions about things, but ultimately we want to bring them what?

Nehemia: The Word of God.

Keith: The Word of God. And folks as you’re listening, we want you to interact with us. We want you to go to Nehemiaswall.com, BFAInternational.com, and when you go there, you’re going to have a chance to make comments and discuss this. We’re going to try to make these as available as we can. Again, Nehemia, let’s be really clear about it. We have two different ministries. Say something about your ministry.

Nehemia: So my ministry is called Makor Hebrew Foundation. M-A-K-O-R Hebrew Foundation. Makor is the Hebrew word for source, and it’s about the Hebrew source, and you can go to my website NehemiasWall.com or MakorHebrew.org.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: 501(3c) Tax Deductible.

Keith: Absolutely. BFAInternational.com. And people say, “How can you guys do this? Two different ministries, two different perspectives.” Hey, we’ve got some common ground around the Word of God.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: Our mission is to inspire people around the world to build a biblical foundation for their faith. So please visit us there. Scripture Bites is going to be available. Nehemia I’m sure he’s always going to have one more thing.

Nehemia: I’ve got to end with one thing.

Keith: Okay. Do it.

Nehemia: So you’re doing the Scripture Bites thing, which I’m really excited about seeing - I haven’t seen it yet. Can I end by teaching the people a word?

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: You started with “salvation”.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: So we have that word, salvation, that word yeshuah. Actually, what’s called a participle form of it, it’s a sort of noun, which is the word…

Keith: He said participle. [laughing]

Nehemia: A participle.

Keith: I know. It’s funny. You call it a participle, I love it. [laughing]

Nehemia: Participle, participle, whatever. So it was a present participle, in Hebrew benoni. Okay. So it’s the word moshia. Moshia means savior, not Mashiach, which is Messiah, but moshia is savior. And here in Isaiah 43 verse 3, he says, “Ki ani Yehovah elohecha,” “For I am Yehovah your Elohim, your God.” “Kedosh Yisrael, the holy one of Israel. Moshiecha, your Moshia.” So He’s proclaiming right there to Israel, I am your savior, I Yehovah your God.” So that’s the word for the week, Moshia.

Keith: So that’s the word for the week. That’s awesome. But Nehemia, I’m not going to let you off the hook...

Nehemia: The root of that is yeshuah.

Keith: The root of it is yeshuah.

Nehemia: That’s obvious.

Keith: But do me one more favor. At the end of the word, it says moshiecha. And what does that “cha” mean?

Nehemia: Cha means you, your. Your moshia.

Keith: That’s why sometimes people, when they’re interacting with the Hebrew, sometimes they get confused, but if they could look at the word and see that, they’ll know, “Oh, that’s actually a suffix at the end.”

So those are the kinds of things that we’re teaching in Scripture Bites. That’s something that I’ve learned over the years, but I have to tell you, Nehemia, I appreciate the fact that the tools that we’re going to be able to bring in, to be able to use. Folks, bear with us. We want you to comment with us. We want you to stick in there with us, but we are going to try our best to do this for the entire year. Prophet Pearls.

Nehemia: 54 episodes.

Keith: 54 episodes. This was the first one, it went a little long, but that’s because we just got started. Nehemia, come on. Do you have anything you want to say to the people? I know I want to just tell you, “Thanks for praying.” I want to tell you, “thanks for praying.”

Nehemia: Thank you for answering the call that you received, which you haven’t actually told the people about.

Keith: But we’ll tell you next week. [laughing] Until next time. Here’s what we’re going to keep saying. We have a chance to open up the Word of God and understand it, the past, present and future, yesterday, today and tomorrow. And so let’s keep doing that with Prophet Pearls, and beyond that, I’m just humbled that we get a chance to do this.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: Amen.

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

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Related Posts:
The Original Torah Pearls - Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)
Torah and Prophet Pearls
Hebrew Voices Episodes
Support Team Studies
Nehemia Gordon's Teachings on the Name of God

Sources:
Jehovah's Witnesses website (Feb 11, 2011): "The truth is, nobody knows for sure how the name of God was originally pronounced... Some—though not all—feel that the Israelites before the time of Jesus probably pronounced God's name Yahweh..."

44 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #1 – Bereshit (Isaiah 42:5-43:10)

    • I’m very thankful for both of your efforts to bring the word of HaShem to many people. It’s refreshing to see and hear Jew and gentile interacting peacefully. Baruch HaShem!!

  1. RE: the Jehovah’s Witness cult. – Early in my spiritual walk (about 1983), I had a very intense and detailed dream that put me in the middle of Psalm 23; without going into pages of detail, it amounted to a “heads up” warning about the JW cult and an expose’ of their deception.

  2. Nehemia I first saw you on Shabbat Night Live, your excitement for Yehovah’s word is inspiring. Shalom

  3. Did y’all skip over 43:10? Am I wrong in understanding that what is said is: that you may understand that I am, I was, I will ever be? Is Yehovah revealing his nature and the meaning of his name? That gets me excited!

    I just finished listening to Torah Pearls over the last few months, and I started listening to Prophet Pearls. I am so grateful for for these podcasts, they have helped my understanding of the Word, and in that have changed my life in a mighty way.

    Blessings to you guys, thanks for what you do for the Kingdom!

    Scott
    Dallas, TX

  4. Starting a New Year in the Torah and want to spend time in the Prophets this year.I want to thank you both for your love for our gracious Creator. Keith you are a fast talking fell a. My father, Keith Johnson was buried last Shabbat.

  5. Shallom . This programme is Yahovahs gift to people like me , living in India. You both do a wonderful Joy and make us to prostrate before the Living Yehovah .
    In Isaiah 62 : 1 – ‘……., until her righteousness goes forth as brightness , and her deliverance as a lamp that burns .”

    Does not these words go back to Genesis 15 : 17 – 21 : the covenant YAHovah makes with Abraham .

  6. Hello Nehemiah and Keith! Thank you so much for this podcast and all the insight you bring to it. Nehemiah, specifically what version of the Bible were you quoting for chapter 42, verse 6? I looked it up in the online version of the JPS 1917 but it didn’t match. I would love to read what you read. Thank you!!

  7. “As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered.” ?

    • I was raised as a “jw”… in my research & unwinding/binding of my mind theologically, I found that they manifested from a Hebrew roots type movement in the late 1800s. I wonder often about the possible significance of this seeming cycle. Esp in relation to other historical events during the earlier time.

  8. Shalom! I have a question, and it’s probably a silly one:
    I don’t consider myself as a evangelical christian anymore, after listening to all of what I heard so far. Here, and on Youtube. So, I love the God of Israël, Yehovah. I worship Him, and want to serve and obey Him. Does that make me Jewish?
    Your people are my people.
    May Yehovah bless you.
    Yvon Van Kreij

    • Seems like it is the embracing of Torah, rather than the desire to worship Yehovah, that is used as a definition more. When you read it, and you constantly run into passages about God’s Salvation, be sure you are reading some English translation.

    • If you are a follower of Yeshua and believe he is the Messiah, you SHOULD love Israel and the whole bible. What you are learning should enrich your faith. Many of us feel like we are children who have found their birth mother but still love our adopted parents. You are twice blessed!

  9. I want you both to know that The Original Torah Pearls and Prophet Pearls are so Awesome, The focus on the Common Ground – Torah – Uniting together – Focusing on Yehovah – when the day comes we quit trying to convert others to our beliefs and realize that above all else – Studying Torah – learning how to live by Yehovah’s Instruction – It gives new meaning to “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free!” The “money ball” is we do it together! Thank you!

  10. Y’Hovah (Yehovah if you pronounce the sheva a bit harder) never once in the Scriptures instructs us not to use His name. We are instructed in the 10 Commandments not to use His name in vain.
    Oh, but the understanding of why some would not want His holy name used is in the meaning behind the letters YOD-HEY-VAV-HEY: HAND-BEHOLD-NAIL-BEHOLD.

  11. Fabulous guys! Thank you. Toda. Keep it going. As a deer pants after the water, so my soul pants after you O Jehovah. I love the insight and commentary that you both bring. Incredible. I can hardly wait for the next one.

  12. I really enjoyed this teaching as much as the others, I found something funny, I was in the Jehovah witness religion for 20 years, my father sadly still in it and what you guys just said is the main argument between us, they claim to be the spiritual Israelites, actually the ONLY true teaching they can give you is that YEHOVAH is GOD and is ONE (not a trinity), of course they teach many false doctrines just like all Christian religions, let me tell you, I have learned more New things with you two in 6 months than what I did with them in 20 years, YEHOVAH bless you both and provide you the ways to get all the truth out there. THANK you so much.

  13. Thank you for this. I think it is so important to teach the Hebrew because the words are so much more in depth and meaningful then in English. I think in the English translation we miss the intimacy of YHWH’s Word a bit. We get the gist of the meaning of the text but not the fullness of it in the English.

  14. If you are going to do the prophets; it may be a good idea to identify from the scripture, Ezekiel, as to what YeHovah, defines as a true prince, priest or prophet. What was their function? I see them being them being YeHovah’s legal attorneys’ for keeping the people within the Covenant Laws as given through Moses. Priest generally represented the people to YeHovah, they were teachers of the Covenant. The so called “praise leaders” today are not what He had in mind in Temple Service; but are more talented celebrity musicans of entertainment. I think they lack of understading Hebraic scritpures in ME cultural context; pays to much attenting to sing and dancing; then in knowing the Covenant Words of HaShem.

  15. There are layers of Servants.The Hebrews They were Blind and Deaf They did not see or hear when the prophets warned them- which got them sent into exile in the first place.
    But, then isn’t Cyrus also a Servant. The Lord even calls him his anointed.He was given a Servant job to do.To start the release process of the exiles.Cyrus is also Blind and Deaf-He was not a follower of the God of Israel.(Though you do not acknowledge me).
    Nebuchadnezzer was also a Servant to take the Hebrews into exile .It isn’t until he undergoes the seven years as a Beast.Then Neb was given a man’s heart when he acknowledged the Lord.

  16. What I see in this person is that the Messiah or Servant will come as sinful man. Jesus did come as the blind and the deaf. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh or the sinfulness of His brethren and became sin in order that we might be made righteous. It is not at all offensive to me to call Jesus as blind. Yet, He clarified that He had also come to grant sight to the blind thus showing us clearly that He was God and man. He is the Lord. He also became sinful man that we might be redeemed. In this Passage He fulfills the position as Lord and sinful man. Only in this way can man be truly redeemed from His sin. As much as Netanyahu (and I love him and his speech) wanted to proclaim that it was Israel that was bringing light, he is mistaken. Jesus is the light of the world. He is the only way to peace. If we lose sight of that our world will once again plunge into darkness. Blessed be our Lord and HIs servant Israel that has given us this Holy Scripture. I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion.

  17. You guys did not discuss
    IS 42:1 My servant – Him, He
    42:2 He , His
    42:3 He
    42:4 He , His
    42:7 Yeshua quoted this – “you are the light of the world”

      • Ok so not discussing any scripture that is not “traditionally read” I see. Would like to hear a complete reading of Isaiah and midrash someday. Ok your a Kairite – you know about “traditions” – lets hear the whole book! :>)

    • Isaiah 41:8 might help you with this question Mike. And just a reminder that the original writings did not use capitalised letters, meaning the deified appearance in english might not be accurate. 😉
      But i think those verses actually discard the possibility of Yeshua/Jesus being the subject anyway.

      Thanks Keith and Nehemia for starting this awesome project. Looking forward to more hidden treasures that come from your appreciated effort and time.

  18. Thank you, I’ve been praying for this!
    I missed seeing you in Canyon City… my husband is on the mend from spinal surgery and I was afraid to travel that far away from him. I pray that you both continue to “cast these pearls” toward those of us who need the loving reassurance of our Father’s “Plan” for our lives.
    Jackie in Colorado

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