Torah Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

In this episode of The Original Torah PearlsKi Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), after revealing the identity of the “wandering Aramean,” we discuss the name commanded to be spoken seven times during the first fruits offering. A vivid picture is painted of the tribes standing on Mounts Ebal and Gerizim declaring the blessings and the curses across the bowl-shaped valley. But why are the curses so complicated and the blessings so simple?  Gordon lets us in on marginal notes that direct how some of the more graphic phrases in the Torah are to be read in public. He also proposes an explanation for the statistically insignificant Jew becoming a byword among the nations. Could the exile and its miseries be as much of a sign as the miraculous ingathering? And while our heavenly Father many times commands the whole hearts and souls of his people, to what one cause does he pledge his? Continue reading

The Name of God with Nehemia Gordon (Open Door Series – Part 3)

In Part 3 of the Open Door Series, Nehemia Gordon explains how the name of God, sacred to both Jews and Christians, has become hidden by time and tradition. Beginning with Roman persecution forbidding Jews to speak the name through rabbinical adaptations, translation errors and other misunderstandings, the one and only name of the Lord was superseded over time by titles—like “El Shaddai,” or “Adonai”. As the exiles of Israel and the others joined with them to return to the Promised Land, the name of the Lord Yehovah is again being sanctified and exalted.


The Name of God with Nehemia Gordon (Open Door Series - Part 3)

You are listening to the Open Door Series with Nehemia Gordon. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

Nehemia: All right, thank you very much. It’s great to be here in Texas, and I'm gonna continue talking to you a little bit about the Hebrew origins of the Lord's Prayer. I really only touched on a very small part of it, and even after this presentation, it will be a very small part of it. There's so much deepness and richness once you get into the Hebrew.

Over here, I have a picture of another manuscript of Hebrew Matthew. Before, we saw one from the British Library; this one is from Florence, Italy. And here, we can see the second line of the prayer. It starts, “Our Father in heaven,” and then it says in Hebrew, “Yitkadesh shimkha. Say, “Yitkadesh.”

Crowd: Yitkadesh.

Nehemia: Shimkha.

Crowd: Shimkha.

Nehemia: And that's really a powerful statement, because in English, we usually translate that, “Hallowed be Thy name.” What does that really mean, “Hallowed be Thy name?” It's kind of like this vague statement, “Your name is holy.” But when you look at it in Hebrew, and in Greek, the Hebrew and Greek here are identical, it means literally, “May Your name be sanctified,” which grammatically is a call to action. And Keith is gonna talk more about that, I won't steal his thunder. But “May Your name be sanctified” is a call to action. It begs the question, if we're sanctifying the name of our heavenly Father, what is His name? What is the name of our heavenly Father? And that's what the prayer is, too, our Father in Heaven.

About a year ago, I was speaking to this group of charismatic prayer warriors. And some of them were praying in tongues, and they were all over the place. And one lady was praying with Hebrew names; she was calling upon the Father using various Hebrew names. And when I was presenting on this, I said, “Okay, I'm going to pick on her and ask her, ‘What, ma'am, is the name of our Father in Heaven?’” And she said, “Well, is it El Shaday? Is it El Elyon?” And she threw out a whole bunch of titles; those are beautiful, wonderful titles of the King of Creation, but He only has one name. And that is a name that He gave and revealed to Moses when Moses asked the exact same question, “What is the name that I should tell the Israelites? You've appeared to me in the burning bush, said, ‘Go to the Israelites,’ and I'm gonna say, ‘The God of our forefathers has appeared to me.’ I need to be more specific.”

And why is that? Because their forefathers worshipped lots of gods. It says that when Terakh and Nakhor, their father was Abraham, were across the river, they had many, many gods. And in Egypt there were many, many gods. There was Ra and there was Ba'al from Canaan. There were more gods than we could possibly count.

So, Moses, when he appears before God at the burning bush, he says, “God, what name should I tell them?” And the answer comes in Exodus 3:15. God says, “Thus shall you say to the children of Israel,” and then we have this four-letter name. And as Keith says, when we get to this name a lot of people will shut down, they'll say, “There's controversy. I don't want to deal with this, because there are different opinions on how to pronounce this name.” In the earliest Hebrew manuscripts that have vowels, it's written “Yehovah.” Some people say it's “Yahweh” or “Yahuwa.”

And I've actually been invited to speak at some places, and they’ve said, “We want to hear you speak. You have so many things for us that we need to hear, but only if you pronounce the name, ‘Yahuwehi,’” or some other pronunciation. Everybody has a theory out there, and a lot of them will say, “If you don't pronounce it this exact way, then you have lost your salvation. Lake of fire for you, if you don't pronounce it our way.” And I'm not coming up here and telling you, “You have to pronounce God's name this particular way, or that particular way.” I say, search it out for yourself, study it for yourself. Keith Johnson has a great book he'll talk about, “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again,” an amazing book, it goes into some evidence. But at the end of the day, you need to work it out for yourself, in fear and trembling, with prayer and study.

Again, I've said, based on the earliest Hebrew manuscripts I pronounce it “Yehovah.” If you want to replace that with “Yahweh,” knock yourselves out. God said to Moses, “Thus, you say to the children of Israel, ‘Yehovah,’ or ‘Yahweh,’ the God of your fathers has sent me to you. This is My name forever. This is My memorial for every generation.”

Now, how do I know this name is still relevant today? And again, I don't want opinions or theories. Based on this verse, how do I know that the name is still relevant today in the 21st century? Because maybe that name was only relevant for the answer that God was giving Moses at that very moment. Maybe what he was saying to Moses is, “Right now, when you go to the Israelites tell them this name, and tomorrow I'll have some other name.” How do I know it's still relevant today, based on the verse? It says forever. Are we still in forever?

Crowd: Yes.

Nehemia: I think we are, to the best of my knowledge, last time I checked. And the Hebrew phrase "forever" is actually two words, “le'olam.” Say, “le'olam.”

Crowd: Le'olam.

Nehemia: We translate this "forever,” but what it literally means is “the universe.” And what you're saying when you say "le'olam" is, “for the duration of the universe.” As long as heaven and earth continue to exist, this will be true. That's what "le'olam" means. And he's saying, “As long as the universe continues to exist...” And after it ceases to exist, it won't really be of much interest to us, because we'll be dead, and so will all of our descendants. “But forever, for the existence of the universe, this is My name forever and for every generation.” And we're still in every generation, the last I checked, as well.

Now, when I was studying this with Keith, he kept asking that same question. He said, “I shook the tree, nothing fell out. How do I know this is relevant for my people?” And we looked in scripture to find the answer; don't want opinions. And here's what we found, many verses, but this is one in particular. Psalm 148 11-13. It says, “Kings of the earth, and all peoples.” Say, “All peoples.”

Crowd: All peoples.

Nehemia: “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth, both young men and maidens, old men and children, let them praise the name of Yehovah, for His name alone is exalted, his glory is above the earth and heaven.” This is in my Bible, as a Jew, and this is in your Bible as Christians, Messianics. This is in all of our Bibles.

Now, if you look in a lot of your Bibles, you won't see this, though. You'll see that in place of the name, “Yehovah” or “Yahweh,” it'll say, “LORD.” Now, why is that? And a lot of people will ask me, “Why isn't this in my Bible?” Now, this is the title page of the original 1611 King James Version, as it actually descended down from the clouds of heaven. That's how it was written, right? No? Oh, that's what I was told. Anyway, this is the original 1611 King James Version, the title page. And if you look here, you can see the biblical world as it was understood by the translators. Over here, we have Aaron with the breastplate and Moses with the 10 Commandments, the tablets. Up here is the lamb, what does that represent? You sound not sure. Okay, up here is this bird, this dove, what does that represent? And up here, the Father in heaven up in the clouds, it says “Yehovah” in Hebrew. This is an enlarged picture of it. It actually says “Yehovah” on the cover page of the 1611 King James Version.

So, somebody tells you, “Well, it doesn't appear in my English Bible. In my Bible, it only says ‘LORD.’” Tell them, “In the original one from 1611, it had it on the title page.” Now, it is preserved in seven places in the King James, and in those verses the translators decided, “If we write here ‘LORD,’ it won't make any sense.” For example, Psalm 83:18, “That men may know that Thou whose name alone is Jehovah...” And remember, if you're aware of this, in 1611 the J was interchangeable with the I, and it's actually spelled six times with a J, once with an I. So, they would have read this as “Yehovah” back in 1611, which is pretty close, a different nuance of pronunciation. “That men may know that Thou whose name alone is Yehovah, are the Most High over all the earth.”

Now, here they realized, if we write "the LORD,” it'll change His name and it won’t make any sense, which is exactly what many translators have done. Like the NIV, which is, of course, the Nearly Inspired Version, we said, they've written "the LORD.” And most translations have replaced it with "the LORD,” changing the eternal name of our Father. Now to be fair, what they did is they wrote it in capital letters. And if you read the introduction to your Bible... Who here reads the introduction to their Bible? I mean, we could barely get people to read the Bible. The introduction, most people don't read it. There's a saying in Hebrew, “A few righteous men in Sodom.” So, we've got a few righteous men in Arlington here, but most of you are not reading the introduction and I don't blame you. And so, I think it's actually kind of misleading. But they do tell you if you read the fine print, that it originally is the name “Yehovah,” or “Yahweh,” the tetragrammaton they call it, the four-letter name. And that four-letter name, which in Hebrew is four letters, Yud, say, “Yud.”

Crowd: Yud.

Nehemia: Hey.

Crowd: Hey.

Nehemia: Vav.

Crowd: Vav.

Nehemia: Hey.

Crowd: Hey.

Nehemia: That's the four-letter name of the Father. It appears in the Hebrew Bible, in the Old Testament, 6,000...Say, “6,000.”

Crowd: 6,000.

Nehemia: 800.

Crowd: 800.

Nehemia: And 28.

Crowd: And 28.

Nehemia: 6,828 times. That’s in my Bible, on average, seven times per page, depending on the size of your font and everything. But seven times per page is a lot. It's about 1,000 pages. That's actually more than all the titles put together, more than “Lord,” and "Lord" actually legitimately appears as “Adonay” in the Hebrew. “Adonay” is the Hebrew for “Master,” or Lord. It appears, “Elohim,” “God,” “El Shaday” appears, “El Elyon,” “Most High God,” I'll talk a little bit more about that tomorrow. And those legitimate titles appear less altogether than the name of the Father Himself, 6,828 times. Now, that's obviously an important name, isn't it? I would think so. Sounds important. He likes to hear His name. He says it a lot.

Now, the reason we don't say the name and you see it in our English Bibles, is our English translators learned how to translate Hebrew from Jewish Rabbis. And the Rabbis taught them a tradition I was raised with, that whenever you see the name of our Heavenly Father, Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, which appears in the Hebrew text… It's not missing from the Hebrew text.

You know, I'll hear from a lot of people, “Oh, the Jews came along and removed the name from the Bible.” No, 6,828 times, that's not removed. What we were taught is whenever you see that name, to read it as "Lord,” as “Adonay.” So, that's tradition, that's not scripture.

Now, there's an older tradition, one that predates this tradition I was raised with. It goes back probably to up until the middle of the 2nd century. And this is recorded in the Mishnah, the writings of the early Rabbis. They say, “A man is required to greet his fellow using the name.” Now, I don't quote this as an authority that we're required to do this today. What I'm saying is that this was their original Jewish tradition, that predates the tradition of not speaking the name, the one that most Jews today will be familiar with. Now, this tradition that the Rabbis talk about here, that a man is required to greet his fellow using the name, they didn't pluck that out of the thin air. They tell us that they took this from the Book of Ruth, 2:4. And there it says, “Behold, Boaz was coming from Bethlehem. And he said to the harvesters, ‘Yehovah be with you.’ And they said to him, ‘Yehovah bless you.’” That was the greeting in ancient Israel. When someone was coming, you blessed him in the name of Yehovah, in the name of what we later translated as "LORD.” Does that sound familiar from anywhere, to bless someone who comes in the name of the Lord?

And actually, in the New Testament, when Yeshua comes, arguably there's a dual meaning there, that they're blessing him in the name of the Lord as he's coming, in the name of His Father, according to the New Testament, “Yehovah.” And he's also coming, according to the New Testament, in that name, as well. So, the New Testament says, is that right? It says there, “He came in the name of His Father,” which is a pretty neat trick if he never uses that name. How do you come in the name you never speak? I don't know. So, this earlier tradition predates the ban on the name that we're familiar with, that I grew up with. I was taught, whenever you see those letters, read them as a different word.

This is a tomb in the Galilee. How many people have been to this tomb in the Galilee? One man? What is the name of this tomb, who's buried here? You don't know. And you probably weren't actually there. Keith was there. This is the tomb of a Rabbi named Hananiah Ben Teradion, or Hanina Ben Teradion, according to some pronunciations. It's actually on the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. It's not marked on any maps. It's not a secret where it is, but you have to really dig to find that information. And the Rabbi who’s buried in this tomb is a Rabbi who was executed by the Romans, he was martyred. He was actually burned at the stake.

We're told by the rabbinical sources that this Rabbi was taken and he was wrapped in a Torah scroll, and they put wet tufts of wool between him and the Torah scroll to slow the burning, and then they lit him on fire. And why did they do that, according to the Talmud? Because he spoke the name of the Father the way it is written. Whenever he came upon the name, Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, and he was teaching in public, he would proclaim the name, “Yehovah.” And the Romans in the time of the Hadrianic persecutions, which ended in the year 138, banned the speaking of the name.

The tradition not to speak the name comes from shortly after that. And what happened is, the Rabbis realized, “If we keep speaking this name, we're going to be put to death.” Now, whatever you say about the Rabbis, one thing that we're very good at is adapting. They saw a threat and they said, “Okay, the Romans will kill us if we do this. We're going to do something similar, as best as we can do. When the Messiah comes, He'll drive them out of Israel, and we'll be all fine.” And they thought that would happen next week, or next month, or next year. They didn't think we'd be here 1,600 years later, or 1,800 years later, still waiting for that, for the Messiah to come and reign as the flesh and blood King over Israel.

Another famous example of that is the calendar. The Romans came and abolished the Sanhedrin, forbade the Jews to proclaim the monthly sighting of the new moon. And what did the Rabbis do? They said, “We'll adapt. When the Messiah comes next week, He'll restore the original calendar, or next month or next year. Until then, we'll follow this approximated calculating system.” There are Rabbis in Israel to this day, or in modern times, who say, “Whenever the Messiah comes, may it be today...” they pray every day, “May it be speedily in our days, we will restore the biblical calendar.” So, this method of adapting is what brought us the ban on speaking the name. No one ever thought it would last forever. And the Rabbis knew it wouldn't last forever because of this verse in Zacharia 14:9. It says there, “Yehovah shall be King over the entire earth, and on that day Yehovah will be one,” say, “One.”

Crowd: One.

Nehemia: “And His name will be one,” say, “One.”

Crowd: One.

Nehemia: “And in that end time, all mankind will call upon His name.” There's another verse like this in Zephaniah 3:9. It says there, let me read it from the Bible. I don't have a slide for this. Zephaniah 3:9, it's a powerful verse. Zephaniah is one of those little books hidden away here. Oh, here it is. Zephaniah 3:9, I'll read it to you from Hebrew. It says, “Ki az e'hefokh el amim safa berura likro khulam beshem Yehovah le'ovdo shekhem ekhad,” “For then I will turn the nations to a pure tongue.” And that's a Hebrew expression, “A pure language,” it means. “To all call upon the name of Yehovah to serve Him.” And it usually is translated, “With one accord.” It literally says, “With one shoulder.” It's describing an image of all mankind gathered together, serving Yehovah, standing shoulder to shoulder, calling upon His name, in that pure language, the original language, the language from before the Tower of Babylon.

If you read in the Torah, you can see very clearly that original language is Hebrew. You know, we see all these names of people. Remember, Yeshua and Yoshia? Yeshua, “He will save,” in Hebrew Matthew. You have that throughout the first 10 chapters of Genesis, people who are named things that only make sense in Hebrew. Adam, Eve, Seth, all these people's names are Hebrew names. The original language will be restored when the Messiah comes and sits on the throne of David. Can I get an Amen?

Crowd: Amen.

Nehemia: Okay. The Rabbis admit this. It says this in the Talmud. It says, “This world is not like the world to come.” When the Rabbis say “the world to come" in this literature, they're talking about the reign of the Messiah here on earth as a flesh and blood king. They say, “In this world the name is written ‘Yehovah’ and read ‘Adonay.’” That's the tradition I was raised with, that started in the 2nd century. “In the world to come it will be one,” say “One.”

Crowd: One.

Nehemia: “Written Yehovah and read Yehovah.” And what's the proof for this? How do they know this? They quote that verse from Zachariah, that's how they know His name will be one. I want to share something that happened with the name. This is when Keith and I were traveling around South Africa. Can we see the slide? Here I'm standing in front of a place called Khayelitsha. Say, “Khayelitsha.”

Crowd: Khayelitsha.

Nehemia: This is what they call a township. Say, “Township.”

Crowd: Township.

Nehemia: This is a place in South Africa that Keith and I were not supposed to go to. We were not supposed to be there. We were traveling around, speaking at these nice middle-class venues, and all of a sudden, Keith has this burning desire to go and meet with the people living in these townships. These townships, they're very poor places, by and large. Khayelitsha is a place of 400,000 people living in these shacks with tin roofs. And we were told by some of the folks that in the winter it gets cold, and they heat their houses with kerosene. And they're living in wooden shacks with tin roofs. And sometimes, there’ll be fires that just sweep through whole areas of it, burning up people, and burning up their possessions, and killing people. I can't even imagine what it's like to live there. They have outhouses, and when you're there you smell what that means. You know, seeing it is one thing, seeing the picture, but smelling it, that's really the experience.

Well, Keith wanted us to go to Khayelitsha. And I said, “Why on earth would I want to go to Khayelitsha?” That's not on our itinerary; we had a very tight itinerary. In fact, the lady who organized our itinerary over there in South Africa, she said, “What would you like to do, besides speaking? Would you want to go to Kruger National Park or various other things?” I said, “Any spare time we have, let's fill it up with more speaking venues. I'm not a tourist, I got plenty of tourism in Israel. I'm not going there to see the sights. I want to speak.”

So, we were there for something like I believe, 16 days, and we had, I believe it was 14 venues. It was insane, I actually completely lost my voice. Well, so Keith wants to squeeze in the middle of this some township that I’d never even heard of. And he didn't have a particular one he wanted to go to. He just said, “We need to get to one of the townships, see how the real people live.” We were sitting, I remember, one evening in this home and I had... what you all call, when you go to Mexico, you Americans call this “Montezuma's revenge.” I came to call this in South Africa, “Shaka Zulu's revenge.” You know what I'm talking about, right?

Okay, so I'm there in South Africa and I'm suffering from Shaka Zulu's revenge. And I'm sitting on the couch, and I'm holding my stomach and I'm moaning. And Keith says, “We need to go to one of the townships.” I'm like, “We drove three-and-a-half hours, and spoke for three hours, me two-and-a-half hours of it, and I'm ready to go to sleep.” And the man sitting there whose house we were in, he said, “Well, you guys are driving back tomorrow morning to Cape Town to catch a flight, and I happen to know a Christian Pastor who lives in one of the townships.” And Keith said, “Tell me more.” Well, the man said, “It's a small little township, 400,000 people living in tin shacks.” He didn't tell us that part, we found that out later. He said, “It's a little township called ‘Khayelitsha.’”

Now, when he said “Khayelitsha,” this man, everyone in the room was muttering and talking, and they were having these conversations, it went dead silent. There was dead silence. And there was one woman there who grew up in Cape Town. And she said, in her thick Afrikaans accent, “You just go to Khayelitsha and they kill you.” And I'm thinking, “This is probably not a place we want to go to. I don't think we should be going there.” Of course, that only encouraged Keith. You couldn't have said anything more to encourage him.

So, we make the phone call, and we're talking to this Pastor in Khayelitsha. We have a flight out at something like 9:30, or 10 am. We're supposed to meet him at the entrance of Khayelitsha at seven in the morning. We can't go into it ourselves, because if we take a wrong turn, we're dead. I mean, this is not a place you want to get lost. He meets us at the entrance, and he takes us. And finally, we get there and he's telling us how his church was built. He actually lived in the back of his brick church, in his tiny little room with his wife and children, in one little room. And he was one step above his neighbors, because they're living in the tin roof shacks made of wood. So, he has actually brick outside. And he's telling us how the bricks were donated, and the mortar was donated by a second person. And a third person came and mixed them together and helped him build the place. I mean, it was poverty you can't even imagine.

And he's telling us the story and he's so excited and animated. And finally, he says, “Well, tell me about you guys, where are you from?” And I start to tell him, “I'm from Israel. I've lived there since 1993, blah, blah, blah.” He says, “Whoa, stop. Did you say Israel?” I said, “Yeah, I live in Jerusalem, Israel. I have since ‘93.” He says, “Do you speak Hebrew?” And I said, “Yeah.” Remember, this is a man who is what's known as a “Xhosa,” which is one of the 11 tribes of South Africa, 11 languages of South Africa. And this Xhosa man is asking me if I speak Hebrew, and I said, “Yes, of course I speak Hebrew. I've lived in Israel for many years.”

He starts to tell me, he says, “About seven years ago, I had a dream. And in that dream,” he says, “I saw four Hebrew letters.” Now, if you tell someone in English, “I'm thinking of a four-letter English word,” you're thinking of a cuss word, right? You tell someone in Hebrew, “I'm thinking of a four-letter word,” what do you think of? You think of the tetragrammaton, the four-letter name. That's the first thing that came to my mind.

And I'm thinking, “Could it be that God gave this dream to this African Pastor, a Christian Pastor?” Remember, I'm Jewish. Christian Pastors, as I understand the universe, are not supposed to get visions and dreams, certainly not of the Hebrew name of the God of Israel. What is going on here? And I say to him, “Can you write down what you saw?” He said, “No, I cannot write Hebrew.” And so, I said, “Okay, bring me a pen and paper, and I'll write it out and maybe you can recognize it.” He brings the pen, and I start to write out, “Yud,” say, “Yud.

Crowd: Yud.

Nehemia: Hey.

Crowd: Hey.

Nehemia: Vav.

Crowd: Vav.

Nehemia: Hey.

Crowd: Hey.

Nehemia: And I show it to him. And he looks at it, and he says, “Well, that's kind of what I saw.” And as he says that, he's actually writing it in air letters. And I'm thinking, “Why can't he recognize it?” He's actually writing it out right in front of me. What's going on here? And Keith, who's been silent the whole time, he's very patient with me. He walks over, and he looks over my shoulder, and he gives me that look, that quintessential Keith look, like, “What? Ma zeh?” And he says, “Nehemia, I can read Hebrew and I can barely read what you wrote.”

Now, it's true, my teachers always complained, I've always had horrible penmanship. So, Keith runs out, he actually leaves this little brick church, I don't know where he's going. He runs outside and he comes back, and what is he carrying? He's carrying a copy of his book. And I came to call this book his "little study,” ‘cause when he originally wrote it, it was essentially a study that he did really for himself. And he calls me up and he says, “Nehemia, I've done some research on the name of our Heavenly Father. Would you look at this little study I've done?” Or maybe I called it "little study.” I think I did. Over time, this study has grown to where now it's over 200 pages, and it's really a monumental masterpiece. You must get this book. Here is the cover. And he shows this Pastor the cover of his little study, and on it he sees these beautiful Hebrew letters. And without hesitation, the Pastor, what did he say, Keith?

Audience Member: “That is what I saw.”

Nehemia: He says, “That is what I saw. Those were the four letters.” Now, if someone was telling me this story, remember, I'm the skeptic, and God isn't supposed to be revealing His name to Christian Pastors. I would doubt this story, I'm totally honest with you, if I hadn't seen it for myself. And more than anything, it was seeing the look on his face. He was clearly recognizing something he'd seen before. And this happened, I'm like, “What's going on here?” You know, what you did up on the mountain, okay, I could forgive that. I can forgive you, God, because I'm a Litvak, after all. But why are you revealing your name to a Christian Pastor? What are you doing, God? You're out of control. Get back in the box. What are You doing?”

And what this has made me realize is the God of creation is bigger than the boxes that we've created for Him. And He's continuing to touch people's lives around the world with His name. Things are happening that I can't even believe. I'll talk tomorrow about Smithfield. I want to look at this verse in Acts 2:21. It says, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Now, this is a verse that appears as part of the scene in Acts 2, which is what's known as the “Pentecost event,” that is the Shavuot that happened 2,000 years ago. You all know what I'm talking about. And this is part of Simon Peter's Pentecost sermon.

And in the context of that sermon, 50 days…I guess, 53 days after that fateful event, what does this mean when he says, "the Lord?” What Lord is he talking about? And we could probably have debates from now until kingdom come. And the people on this side of the room would say, “When he says ‘the name of the Lord,’ he means Yeshua.” And the other side of the people would say, “He says ‘the name of the Lord,’ he means the Father.” And how would we ever know? I mean, really, we would never know. We could even start entire denominations, you know, that's what they do. They'll take the most obscure thing and say, “Okay, because we can't understand this verse, and we have our truth that we’ve received, this is where we're gonna draw the line as our denomination.”

And if we think about this, what does this mean, we really would never know, if we only had this verse. But there's another verse, and that's a verse in the Book of Joel. And if you have a good reference Bible, you already know the answer, that Peter was not only quoting this one verse, he was quoting an entire section from the Prophet Joel. And in the Prophet Joel, what he says, there in Acts it says, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” In Joel it says, “And it shall come to pass to whosoever shall call the on name of Yehovah shall be saved,” Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, the tetragrammaton, that four letter word. That's the name that it says in Joel.

Now, when Simon Peter’s saying this in Jerusalem on Pentecost, on Shavuot, in the Feast of Weeks, presumably he's speaking in Jerusalem next to the Temple, in Hebrew. That was the language of discourse in Israel, and certainly, it would be the language in the synagogue and when you were giving sermons. And if he's reading Joel, Joel's already in Hebrew, he doesn't have to even translate it. So, if he's reading this in Hebrew in the Book of Joel... And remember, this is 100 years before that other Rabbi was put to death, burned at the stake for speaking the name of Yehovah in public, burned at the stake by the Romans. The Romans martyred him, not the Rabbis.

Now, what would Peter have been saying in the 1st century, 100 years before that Rabbi died? Presumably, he'd actually be quoting Joel verbatim, word for word, with the name “Yehovah.” Now, how can we know for sure? And I guess we can't ever know for sure, unless we go back in time. But here's a clue, and I think it's a powerful clue. This is a page from the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is actually from a Dead Sea Scroll from a place called Nakhal Khever. Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls come from where?

Crowd: Qumran.

Nehemia: Qumran is a city on the shore of the Dead Sea. There are several other places where they’ve found scrolls, some of them from different periods. The ones from Nakhal Khever were placed there in the year 135 during the time of the Bar Kokhba uprising. That was an uprising against the Romans. It was part of the whole Hadrianic persecutions. Here in this Scroll, which is actually of Zachariah 8:23 through chapter 9:2. We could probably stop for a minute and talk about 8:23, that's a very important verse. What does it say there in 8:23 of Zachariah? Someone read it.

There, it talks about how 10 men of all the languages shall grab hold of the Jewish man. Is that right? Okay, that's for another sermon. Here in this Dead Sea Scroll, what I want to talk about is the name. This is in Greek, the Greek translation of the Book of Zachariah. And here, there are two words on the page that appear that are not Greek words. Does everybody see those words? You don't have to be a Greek scholar to see these words. It appears here and it appears here, and that is the name “Yehovah” written in what's called “Paleo-Hebrew.” Paleo-Hebrew is the original Hebrew script that was used before the Babylonian exile. When the Jews came back from Babylon, they gradually replaced the original Hebrew script with what we call in Hebrew the “Assyrian script.” That was the script used to write Aramaic, the language of the Gentiles. And when they wrote Hebrew, their Hebrew was heavily influenced by Aramaic, and they even used the Aramaic script to write their language. But when it came to the name of the Father, they wrote it out in Paleo-Hebrew.

Now, why did they do that in the Septuagint? For a number of reasons, but primarily because this name was considered so holy, it couldn't be written out in this Greek language, that they decided to write it out in the original language. And the problem came about when Gentile scribes came along, ‘cause remember, this up here, this is a Jewish copy of the Book of Zachariah in Greek. Most of the copies we have of the Book of Zachariah in Greek are Gentile copies from about 200 years later. And almost all of those have replaced the name “Yehovah” with what by then was standard Jewish tradition, where instead of Yehovah they said "Lord.” And in Greek, the word for Lord is “Kurios.” Say, “Kurios.”

Crowd: Kurios.

Nehemia: And Kurios is a very curious word. Not my best material, I admit this. So, this word “Kurios” replaces it in most of the manuscripts of the Old Testament in Greek, except for a handful of them, about five of them. And in those handful, it actually has the name of Yehovah written not in Paleo-Hebrew letters but in Greek letters. Now, how did they do that? Let's look and see what they did.

They had the name, Yehovah, and they said, “We can’t write this in Paleo-Hebrew letters. No one on earth will know what this is. We've got to replace it with Greek letters.” And they said, “Well, this kind of looks like a Greek letter, and so does this.” What is this actually? If you read it right to left, this is “Yud-Hey-Vav-Hay. And they said, “Okay, the hey looks like what Greek letter?” What Greek letter does it look like? It looks a little bit like the Greek letter pi, like we use in mathematics to this day, 3.14. And so, instead of the two heys, they wrote pi and pi. And they didn't know what this was, the vav, or what that was, the yud. And in place of those, they decided, “Okay, after every consonant in Greek, we have to write a vowel.” And the vowels they decided to write were the Greek letter iota or ayota, you may know that as. So, they ended up with pi iota pi iota. And this word in Greek is pronounced “peepee.” No, I'm serious, “peepee.”

And there were actually several manuscripts of the Old Testament in Greek, where it says, “And peepee spoke unto Moses saying, ‘Thus sayeth peepee to the Prophets.” Even in Greek this sounded utterly ridiculous, and they said, “We've got to get peepee out of our Bibles.” And eventually, they said, “Okay, the Jews have now, under Roman pressure, decided to replace Yehovah with Lord, with Adonay. So, we’ll write “Kurios,” this curious word that replaces it.

Now, that's a fact that that happened in the Old Testament, ‘cause we have the documents to show it. What happened in the New Testament? That's speculation. You know, I try to stay away from speculation. But certainly, we see that happening in the Old Testament, and I think it's reasonable to suggest that it may have happened in the New Testament. Either way, even in Greek, what was written in Peter's words was probably the word “Yehovah” in Paleo-Hebrew, in the original Greek of Acts, which of course we don't have. We have copies, of copies, of copies from 200, 300 years later.

Okay, I want to talk about this really quickly. I'm going to try to end early, to give Keith a little bit of extra time, because I took so much of his time before. But before that, I want to talk about why I think it's so important. You know, Yeshua preached this message, teaching people to sanctify the name of the Father. And when I first started going out with Keith and was talking about this, I had no intention of talking about the name. I thought, “Well, everybody knows about the name of Yehovah, I don't need to talk about that.” There are so many other things. I mean, there's a powerful message of reconciliation, actually, in the prayer, “Forgive us the debt of our sins as we forgive the debts of those who sinned against us.” There are so many deep messages there just in that section, that the first time I preached on this, it was on that topic. And I didn't even mention this whole issue of the name.

And the reason I decided to share this thing on the name is something in this passage in Isaiah 56. And here, to understand this passage, we have to put ourselves in the mindset of the Prophet. We have to go back 2,700 years. Isaiah preached in the 8th century BC. He was very active during the time of the Assyrian invasions in 732, 721 and 701. Those were the three invasions. He preached before those invasions and after those invasions. His message, he would stand up in the public square, get on top of a soapbox, and he would say, “Thus sayeth Yehovah.” And that's how this prophecy opens. So, let's try to put ourselves back 2,700 plus years in the time of Isaiah, and hear his words, “Thus says Yehovah, ‘Keep judgment and do righteousness, for My salvation is close to coming, and My righteousness to be revealed.’”

By the way, what's the Hebrew word for “salvation?” Actually, the Hebrew word for salvation is “yeshu'a.” You might think that's splitting hairs, but it's an important difference. Yeshua is derived from this word, but the word is a slightly different word. “My salvation, yeshu'a, is close to coming and My righteousness to be revealed.” And then it says, “Blessed is the man who does it, and the son of Adam who grabs hold of it. He who keeps the Sabbath from desecrating it…” I'm reading from the Hebrew, “and keeps his hand from doing all evil.”

Now, if you were a Jew, and you were walking by in the public square and you heard the Prophet standing on the soapbox, preaching these words, would you think this applied to you? Presumably, you would, there'd be no question that this applied to you. But what if you were a Gentile in Jerusalem at that time? You were one of those eunuchs of the kings, who were the ambassadors from all over the world. Jeremiah talks about these ambassadors as the way he spread his message to the nations. He would preach to them, they spoke Hebrew, and they would then go out and convey the message all over the ancient world.

In Isaiah's time, if you were one of those men, those Gentiles sent by your king to Jerusalem, or if you were a merchant who had settled in Jerusalem, and you heard the Prophet speaking these words, would you think it applied to you? You'd probably think, “Well, he says ‘man’ and he says, ‘son of Adam,’ and it's true I'm a man. And it's true I'm a son of Adam, but he talks about the Sabbath and the covenant. And we know from Exodus that the Sabbath is the sign of the covenant between the God of Israel and the people of Israel.” And so, you might say to yourself if you were a Gentile in the 8th century BC, hearing Isaiah, “That doesn't apply to me. He's speaking to the Jews, not to me. He's speaking to those people who have a covenant between their God and them. Although I, as a Gentile, may believe in the God of Israel, I have no part of the Sabbath or that people.” And many people apparently thought that, because the very next words in verse 3 is Isaiah addressing those Gentiles. What it says in verse 3 is, he says, “Let not the son of the Gentile…” and the word there is “nekhar,” say, “Nekhar.”

Crowd: Nekhar.

Nehemia: Nekhar they translated “stranger” or “foreigner,” that's the Hebrew word for Gentile, undisputedly. “Let not the son of the Gentile who joins himself to Yehovah...” and the word for joining there, it's very interesting. It's the same root as the word “Levite.” If you look at the reason for the name Levite, look at the origin of it in Genesis. It has to do with Leah joining herself to her husband. Here it's speaking about the Gentiles who join themselves, who Levite themselves, say, “Levite.”

Crowd: Levite.

Nehemia: Who Levite themselves to Yehovah. “Let not them say, ‘Yehovah has surely separated me from His people.’” ‘Cause that's what many of them were thinking, “I don't really have anything to do with that God.” Or, “Even if I join myself to that God of Israel, I'm not really part of His people. I'm a separate category, I don't belong to His people.” He's saying, “You must not say that.” He then talks about the eunuchs; we'll skip over that for the sake of the children and go to verse 6. In verse 6, he says, “And the sons of the Gentiles who join themselves, who Levite themselves…” Say, “Levite.”

Crowd: Levite.

Nehemia: “Who Levite themselves to Yehovah to serve Him, and to love the name of Yehovah, to be His servants, all those who keep the Sabbath from desecrating it, and grab hold of my covenant.” And this is one of the reasons, this verse, that I decided that I need to go and include this part of Yeshua's message of sanctifying the name.

And it was really something that happened, now we're coming on two years ago, when Keith and I were speaking over, I believe it was in Colorado. And Keith had talked about the name and I had sort of mentioned it. And then, we were sitting in the home of this man afterwards, who was our host there. They usually don't put us up in these nice hotels like they do here, we're usually in people's houses. We're in this man's house. Keith was sitting there in the living room with him. I was in the dining room, munching on a bowl of shredded wheat, which I like to eat after my presentations. I'm sitting there and I'm chomp, chomp, chomp, and Keith is talking to the man back and forth, and they're talking about the name. Now, this man is what I would call -- and I hope this doesn't offend anybody -- but he's what I call a “Jewabe.” Have you met some of those people, a Jewabe? A Jew wannabe? And I'm not saying that to insult him. I guess, I'm being a little bit obnoxious, but what I mean is he loved God, he loved the God of Israel. And being a Christian, he realized, “Okay, Jesus is a Jew. I want to be like the Jews.” Just like that messianic Gentile I met all those years ago, this man wanted to be like the Jews, and he emulated the Jews in all kinds of ways. The man was in his 70s, and at his messianic congregation they did a bar mitzvah for him.

Now, you have to understand. A bar mitzvah, from where I come from, is what you do for 13-year-old boys. So, this man in his 70s is doing it. Okay, I'm sure for him that was very moving and beautiful. It sounds strange to me, but I could see from talking to him, and hearing him, that he loved God as much as I love God. And he's sitting there talking to Keith, and he says, “When I came into this whole thing of the Hebrew Roots, they told me, ‘Never speak the name ‘Jesus.’ Jesus is an evil name. Only call Him Yashua.’” That's what he was told. I'm not saying that. That's what he was told.

And one day he's thinking, and he says, “If I'm supposed to call the son ‘Yashua’ ‘cause that's His true name,” so they told him, “what should I call the Father?” And he went to his congregation leaders. And he said, “You told me to call the son ‘Yashua,’ what should I call the Father?” And they said to him, “You don't need to know that name.” And I remember, he’s sitting there and he says this to Keith, “They told me I don't need to know that name.” And Keith says, “It's in your Bible in Hebrew. I wish I could just show it to you.” And the man said, “But they told me I don't need to know that name.” And Keith says, “But I wish I could just show it to you.” And the man said, “They told me I don't need to know that name.” And Keith said, “I wish I could just show it to you.”

And I'm eating my shredded wheat, and I'm thinking, “Oh God, Keith, just go show it to him. Your Bible’s in the other room, just do it.” And then, the man got up from his own couch, and he was about to walk out of the room. He was about to walk out of his own living room. And I saw the fear in his eyes, the fear of being confronted with the name that his leaders had told him he didn't need to know, and he shouldn't know, that it was dangerous for him to know, that he needed to stay away from and avoid. And when I saw that, it broke my heart. It made me think of this verse which speaks about the son of the Gentile who joins himself to Yehovah, the one who loves the name of Yehovah. That's what it says in verse 6. “Who grabs hold of His covenant and keeps the Sabbath.” That someone like that would be told not to love the name, to fear the name of the Father, it broke my heart. And I realized, when Yeshua taught the multitudes and intended this message to go forth far beyond the Galilee, and He taught them to sanctify the name of the Father, he had an intention there for that name not to be hidden, not to be suppressed, not to be feared, but to be sanctified. Can I get an Amen?

Crowd: Amen.

Nehemia: Well, the prophecy doesn't end here. In verse 7, it says, “And I will bring them to My Holy mountain and I will make them rejoice in My house of prayer.” This is the most famous verse in the Bible, am I right, just about, in the Old Testament. “I'll make them rejoice in My house of prayer, their burnt offerings and peace offerings shall be accepted upon my altar, for my house should be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Say, “All nations.”

Crowd: All nations.

Nehemia: That phrase, “A house of prayer for all nations,” I mean, this whole congregation is named after it. It's one of the most famous verses in the Bible. Most people stop reading here. They got to the famous verse and we're done. But the next verse is the key verse to me, and this is verse 8.

Now, verse 8, I'm going to publicly share that this is a verse I don't believe. Uh-oh. Michael, you took a big risk. It might have been a mistake, I don't know, but this is a verse I do not believe. And let me read it to you and I’ll tell you why.

It says, “Thus says Lord Yehovah who gathers in the dispersed of Israel. ‘I will gather others unto those who I have gathered.’” And I don't believe this verse. I believe that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. And some people think I'm nuts for that. They think, “Oh, what are you talking about? It was billions of years.” I believe with every fiber of my being, that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, six literal days. That's what I believe, laugh at me if you want. But I don't know it for a fact. It's a belief. And why don't I know it for a fact? Because I wasn't there.

And I believe that God took my ancestors out of Egypt and gave us the 10 commandments on the anniversary of this day, 3,500 years ago. But I don't know it for a fact, ‘cause I wasn't there. This verse I don't need to believe, because I've lived this verse. And what I have up here is actually something I stumbled upon by accident. It's a page from… Can we get the slide? This is page from a ship's manifest, from the USS Mauritania. That's the name of my great-grandfather, and he was listed on the ship's manifest when he arrived at Ellis Island. I had no idea that he even went through Ellis Island. I actually had a 12-hour stopover in New York, and I said, “What am I going to do all day? I don't have any money. I'll go to Ellis Island, that's cheap.” And I end up there in Ellis Island, and there's a computer, and I go and I look up his name just for kicks, and I find it.

And I realize that this is the fulfillment of this prophecy. It talks here about God gathering Israel from the four corners of the earth. And I realize that I've literally been gathered in and privileged to walk the streets of Jerusalem, to breathe the air in Jerusalem. For 2,000 years my ancestors wandered the globe. They were on boats from this country to that country. Nowhere was their home, and finally, after 2,000 years, I get to live this prophecy. I don't need to believe this prophecy, I've lived it.

And I also realized at that time that if my ancestor hadn't been on this boat, I wouldn't be here today. The rest of the family who was left behind in Europe, they're all dead. I actually went to Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust Memorial, and I typed in the name “Gordon.” I get a lot of people who say, “Oh, you're of Scottish ancestry, because you're Gordon.” But Gordon is actually a famous name of Lithuanian Jews.

And I was curious, how many Gordons were killed in the Holocaust? They actually had the names of about half the people killed in the Holocaust, three million names at Yad Vashem. You can go and type it in. I think you can even do it online. And I typed in the name "Gordon" there, and it gave 1,000 names, and then it stopped. It said, “We only give 1,000 names. You have to click for more results to get more.” I thought, “If he hadn't been on that boat, I just wouldn't be here today.” And so, it's a literal fulfillment of this prophecy, that He gathered me in from the diaspora, just like he promised 2,700 years ago.

I mean, when he said this 2,700 years ago, when Isaiah preached these words in the public square in Jerusalem, my ancestors hadn't even been exiled yet. They said, “What is this guy talking about? He's crazy. He gathers in the dispersed of Israel? We're here in Jerusalem. We're gonna defeat the Assyrians, we're gonna win and then we'll defeat anybody else who comes.” And then they were scattered twice, and then gathered back in like He promised.

And the reason that this is so powerful, I think, isn't just that He gathered me in and saved me and my entire family from the ovens of Europe. But I'm seeing all over the world, Keith, gathering in those others. I'm seeing on every continent, he's gathering people, and people who can't explain it. They shook the family tree, and nothing fell out. There's no Jews that they know of in their ancestry, but something's burning in their heart and it wasn't bad pizza. It's burning in their heart, and they know that the God of Israel is calling them to His covenant, and they can't explain why. And it's this prophecy. He said, “Just as I gather in the dispersed of Israel, I will gather others unto those who I have gathered.” This is what we're seeing all over the world.

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