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The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III

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Question #1: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill, A Messianic told me Hebrews doesn't belong in the bible, because it is inaccurate and full of misquotes. He said the first two chapters have several misquotes. I am not aware of any. I think a few could be paraphrased, but misquoted? I know I asked you once about the quote from Ps. 8, that says that man was made "for a little while" a little lower than the angels, and Hebrews was attributing that to Christ. I didn't remember the "little while" in the original Ps. 8, but I think you told me that was a pretty literal translation of the original Hebrew, in the original quote. So, I don't know what this guy is talking about. He doesn't think we are in the New Covenant yet, so naturally, he doesn't like Hebrews and tries to disparage it. Also, when the NT writers and speakers quoted the OT, didn't they usually quote the Septuagint? Could this be the cause of the discrepancies, if any?

Thanks for your help.

Response #1: 

The Messianics are fast becoming the premiere heretics d' jour - no small feat when considers all the fringe movements out there at present (as you at CARM know much better than I). I have recently been devoting the weekly postings at Ichthys to the issue (see the link: The Dangers of Messianic Legalism I and The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II).

Hebrews presents a real problem for these people since the book, carefully read and properly understood, is an assault on exactly what they are selling: the false notion that Christians can follow the Law without damaging their faith (as the Galatians were also foolishly trying to do). It is no wonder that individuals who go down this road usually end up being not only obstreperously legalistic but also no Christians at all in the end. Most of them end up reducing Jesus to the Pharisaical idea of the Messiah: a divine man but not YHVH in any sense. Hard to see how there is any salvation down that road. As to "no New Covenant", I believe Jesus Himself told us "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Lk.22:20 NIV).

As to the issue of quotations in Hebrews, their making use of this argument is very telling. The canonicity of Hebrews is beyond question - for all those who accept the authority of the New Testament (one of the latest wrinkles from this movement is that the NT is "good" but not "the Word of God" in the same sense that the Tanakh is!). Since there are no obvious arguments from history or literature to be made against the book as definitely part of God's holy scriptures, and since its theology is objectively in opposition to almost everything they teach, they have had resort to this very slender thread of "misquotes".

We have covered some of this ground before (now posted: "The Canonicity of the Book of Hebrews"), so I will just hit the high points here (feel free to write back for clarification if necessary):

1) There is no standardized method utilized by New Testament authors employed to quote the OT.

2) The New Testament is in Greek; the Old Testament is in Hebrew; therefore any reference in the New to the Old has to be a) a personal quotation; b) a quote from a Greek version of the OT (of which there were several main types at the time, all with many variations in individual passages); c) a combination of the two; d) a divinely inspired paraphrase.

3) Determining which is which in the above is a case by case matter; books have been written about this, but we could use more good, detailed work on the subject.

4) Hebrews makes use of the same sorts of flexible quotations that other New Testament books do without any visible trend to any unique treatment of verses from the OT in that book as opposed to the rest of the NT.

5) So to the extent that perceived "problems" with quotations in Hebrews argue for it to be thrown out of the canon, to that same extent the entire NT canon has to be thrown out, since all the books do the same exact thing.

6) When perceived "problems" are examined, however, they always turn out be explainable under one of the rubrics of point 2 above.

7) As a Christian, I believe and understand that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the New Testament; if there are cases where the OT text has been interpreted or paraphrased so as to be noticeably different in some respect, I believe that such was not only deliberate, but beneficial and sanctified.

Finally, in your example, the Greek in Hebrews 2:7 translated "a little while" could easily be (and often is) translated "a little bit" (i.e., not temporal but referring to capability); in this the Greek brachy ti is precisely parallel to the Hebrew me'at, so the Greek is a great translation of the Hebrew in that place; if there is a problem, it is with the English versions.

Hope this helps!

Yours in Jesus who fulfilled the old promise (covenant) and has brought us into the new.

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Doc!

What should a person be told who thinks they are being persecuted but their beliefs and are wrong? they believe in keeping the sabbath and when I sent your email to them showing how their legalists they wrote back:

"Persecution: Around the world, Christians are being persecuted for their faith. My grandparents went to China as missionaries. The Communists went to every house in their village, and killed all foreigners, except their house. My grandfather was arrested by Mao Tse Tung, put on trial, with a gun held to his head. He was ordered to renounce his faith. Instead, he preached the gospel to thousands of Communist Chinese. They threw him into a dungeon. Meanwhile, my grandmother fled with the three children into the wilderness. My father, a very cerebral Pathologist said, bandits would ride up, slit your clothes (looking for valuables) and kill you. Out of nowhere, there was a sound of a bugle and it scared them off. My grandfather prayed to the Lord, to take him home, or, set him free. That day "someone" came and opened the door. He thought he was going to be executed. Instead, he led him to the Hong Kong Harbor. He found his family and went to Singapore. We are living in the last days, persecution is going to arise. When the church was being persecuted by Saul, the Lord said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? And he said, who art Thou Lord? And the Lord said, I AM Jesus, whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks...Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." Acts 9:4-6. Jesus said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake." Matt 5:11. Jesus said, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matt 5:44. There are Christians all over the world, that have experienced persecution. Radical Islam and radical Hindus are persecuting Christians in their own countries. But we hear them say, "Persecution only makes us stronger." Can we say that? Muslims in Iran are having dreams and visions of Jesus and are coming to Him. I heard a testimony by a former Muslim the other day, saying, that, there are over 15 million Muslims that are now Christians. There are Christian meetings of over 2 million strong in Nigeria. In Israel, there are over 180 Messianic congregations - those who believe, that, Jesus is the Messiah. God is pouring out His Spirit so much in China, that, they do not have enough pastors. Thousands of Christians disappear every year in North Korea. God is pouring out His Spirit in northern Europe, in Cuba, and in South America. We are approaching the end of all things. Jesus said, "But he that received the seed in stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with joy he receiveth it. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for awhile: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended." Matt 13:21. The Apostle Paul said, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Cor 12:10. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ, shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 8:35-39. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Tim 3:12. "And I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge, and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" Rev 6:9,10. Are we ready to be persecuted for our Lord Jesus Christ? "

It seems like those who are trying to help those who are wrong in their doctrine are the ones being persecuted. How do you open the eyes of the spiritually blind such as this person? thanks in advance!

Response #2:   

Beyond praying, I'm pretty sure it is not in our power. People, nominally Christians, who are intent upon doing and teaching things that are contrary to God's Word and inconsistent with the grace we have in Jesus Christ are unlikely to be dissuaded by our words. If they have rejected God's truth and the witness of His Spirit, and if in our presentation of the truth to them for additional consideration they berate us and consider themselves persecuted for Christ (which I suppose would make us the "communists" et al. in this story), I don't see a lot of room for further discussion. All we can do is what we are called to do in the first place anyway, namely, to love the truth, seek the truth, learn the truth, share the truth, teach the truth. We have the right of access to the throne room of God as believers in Jesus Christ, and we have the Spirit who empowers our prayers. So we can always pray to good effect. Here in time, of course, it is all a question of the choices we make in free-will faith, to believe the truth or not. The vast majority of humankind from the fall of Adam and Eve to the very last day of Christ's millennial rule have and are and will refuse the truth. This has nothing to do with the way the truth is presented. Surely, we wish to, in Paul's words, "be all things to all people", not even seeming to be changing the truth in even the smallest way, but being accommodating to others in matters of no consequence. But God is the One who makes His truth known, who makes it real to those who are listening through His Spirit. Rejecting the truth is rejecting God and His authority, and in the end that has nothing to do with the way we, His servants, are presenting it. A person who is really seeking to know all the truth of the Word of God, and who is really willing to follow Jesus Christ (rather than assert and glory in self-created systems and false doctrines), will be able to gain from the most inarticulate of us who are truly His servants - whereas those who are committed to their own versions of what they wish to be true would not accept the preaching of Peter or the teaching of Paul. If they reject Jesus' words, for He is the Word, why would they ever accept us?

In Him whom we serve in anticipation of the wonderful rewards to come, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Shalom Dr. Luginbill,

Re: the Church -- I agree with your statement: "I have long been firmly opposed to the traditional view (coming from most denominations) that there is somehow a wide chasm between 'Israel and the Church'." Dallas Theological Seminary was a leader in promoting such a chasm (I don't know if it still does). Whether intentional or not, it does help smooth the way for a pre-Trib rapture of the "post-resurrection Church," leaving all other "left-behind" luke-warm Christians, and Israel, to go through the fire.

Most Jewish believers in Messiah that I know would strongly affirm Paul's word of Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." So every believer in Messiah Yeshua has the same real access to God's divine grace through Him. No one is preferred in the eyes of God.

Nevertheless, in the outworking of this free divine grace in the vertical direction, i.e. between God and man, there remain distinctions in the horizontal, i.e. between man and man. Or may I say for example, between male and female.

Marriage certainly must be considered the epitome of distinction between male and female and Paul advised marriage for certain people, though he encouraged people to forego it if possible. Even if believers get married, the distinction between man and woman does not anull the great unity of all humble believers in Messiah and the unity of access to God.

It is the same with Jewish believers in Messiah. 1 Cor. 7 includes the verse, (18) "Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised." Jewish believers I know are of the opinion that the intent of this verse is not simply to maintain the physical condition of circumcision, but rather to uphold the Jewish life that circumcision stands for. In fact, later, in 1Cor.12:13 Paul writes that all are unified the Body of Messiah So here Paul does not ignore the possibility that there are Jews in the Body, or that there are slaves. But all are part of One Body. So Galatians 3:28 should not trump 1Cor.12:13 as a description of the Body of Messiah.

Whether you and I accept it or not, the main "Christian Gospel" that Israel is familiar with is Roman Catholic. Personally I question how many "faithful Catholics" actually know God, but that is beside the point. The Roman Catholic church enforced the "there is no Jew" to death, as during the Inquisition. Jews who became Catholics (willingly or not) had to completely abandon their Jewish heritage. Otherwise, they were subject to the flames of those deemed heretics.

Modern Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua thus have a major obstacle in the path of bringing the Good News to Israel. While the NT makes it clear that Yeshua's work of salvation is infinitely superior to any work man can do, there is no verse in the NT that says Jews are forbidden to observe the Torah, as the Roman Catholic church so fanatically enforced. There must certainly be recognition that human works or the Torah will not provide a relationship with God, but that does not mean Jews have been ordered to abandon Torah observance. Messiah's word to Jews in Matthew 5:17-20 must be reckoned with:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Messianic Jews see Yeshua as a faithful Jew who certainly rebuked Pharisees, scribes, Sadducees, and even His own disciples (including us?), but who never ceased being Jewish nor uphold the Torah for Israel. Acts 15 proves that believers in Yeshua from the Nations were recognized by Jewish believers as fully acceptable to God. The Jewish believers did require the four basic regulations to provide (as many Jewish believers understand it) a basis for Jewish and non-Jewish fellowship in Messiah.

Bob, I hope this helps explain something of how I view Israel. The hope among Jewish believers that I know is that today's remnant of Israel will grow, in God's timing, to bring the resurrection, as many see in Paul's word in Romans 11:15 "For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?"

Blessings in Messiah.

Response #3:   

I think we are very close in what we are saying on the issue of Israel and the Church. I think what you say here is, with a few quibbles (see below), pretty much what I was trying to say in making the issue a cultural one rather than a theological one. For example, someone who has grown up in traditional Protestantism may have a hard time accepting that 90% (or more) of what passes for godly worship is really only accreted tradition that has nothing to do with the Bible (and in most cases does more harm than good). Far be it from me, however, that I should march into their churches on Sunday morning and tell them so. I live and let live on such things. My policy is to make such legalism an issue only when it is made an issue to me or to those who look to this ministry for guidance. Then I stand with Paul who said -- on the issue of circumcision, by the way -- "We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you" (Gal.2:5 NIV; emphasis added).

I entirely understand why someone of Jewish lineage and Jewish heritage might wish to maintain their traditional cultural approaches in all manner of things; I have no problem with that whatsoever. But as you know far better than I, many such traditions have little concurrence with actual scripture. Where I part company is with any notion that such an approach is mandatory. Indeed, in many ways I find the emphasis on such things detrimental to faith (as it certainly is in the traditional Protestant approach -- to say nothing of Roman Catholicism!). As I say, just as the Jerusalem council opted for "live and let live" within reasonable boundaries, that is my approach as well. I certainly would never even suggest to a Jewish-Christian couple that they should not have their boys circumcised. Where I would have a problem would be with anyone else telling them that they had to do so, or, heaven forbid, telling them that they were endangering their own or their children's salvation by failing to do so. In this I firmly believe that I also have the Spirit of God.

I have already mentioned the Galatians 2:5 passage above. Jesus did indeed follow the Law and did indeed fulfill the Law -- in truth (Matt.5:17). That is to say, it seems clear to me from His words and actions and from those of His apostles that there is a difference between what the Law actually says and, even more importantly, actually means, and how it was interpreted and used by our Lord's contemporaries (and it is from this perspective that I view Matthew 5:17-20). For example, Jesus often healed on the Sabbath, and seems to have done so deliberately to make a point. If the deeper meaning of the Sabbath could trump the contemporary understanding of what it means to keep the Sabbath before the cross, I dare say this is true of every other aspect of the Law, especially now that all its shadows have been fulfilled by our Savior's death on the cross.

A true understanding of the meaning of the Law as the pedagogue which leads us to Christ was not something that came easily to our Lord's generation, or to the contemporaries of His apostles, or for that matter to anyone today, gentile as well as Jewish believers included. The Jerusalem council, influenced greatly by Peter who had been given special and miraculous instruction on this matter, gave the gentiles "special dispensation" to refrain from the particulars of the Law. But of course only God can do something like that in truth. Acts records what happened; it does not necessarily provide a divine imprimatur of the rightness of what happened. If Jews of Paul's day were still obligated to keep the Law, then how could gentiles be made exempt from any of it (such was certainly not the case in the past; cf. Ex.12:48; 20:10)? If there is no Jew or gentile, not only is there "no Jew" but there is also "no gentile". That is to say, if a Jew must still keep some aspects of the Law, how then would a gentile be exempt (since all are equal on both sides of that equation)?

As to 1st Corinthians 12:13, Paul is recognizing existing, physical categories -- and deliberately contrasts them to the unifying spiritual reality: we are all one in Jesus. It is true that the physical categories exist. The roles of men and women are different; the opportunities of free men and slaves are different; the cultural backgrounds of Jews and Greeks are different. But if men and women were walking perfectly with the Lord, they would refrain from marriage in order to serve God more completely (not all can; therefore not all should); and if freemen and slaves were walking perfectly with the Lord, then the free would act entirely as Christ's slaves in a life of total dedication to Him, and the slaves would attain their freedom if possible (1Cor.7:21; not all can; therefore not all should); and if Jews and gentiles were walking perfectly with the Lord, they would both put the truth of scripture high above any other consideration, no matter how attached they might be to their particular cultural heritage (not all can; therefore not all should). What we "are" in the world's terms really is insignificant in comparison to what we are in union with Christ. What we can become for Jesus Christ if we embrace those truths is what makes all the difference in the world. I have no problem "allowing" all sorts of behavior which are not out and out sinful. In the case of every believer (it has certainly been true in my own case), the desire for change from ritual to reality, from the insignificant to the eternally important may take some time to develop, and it has to come from within; it cannot be imposed from without. First milk, then solid food. It is just that I will never be willing to say or to let stand "milk is good enough" or "solid food is not good".

As I say, I am very encouraged by all of your emails, and it is clear to me that you not only have a very deep understanding of the truth of the Word of God, but that you are deploying it in an excellent way in the mission field to which our Lord has called you. I look forward to hearing of your efforts and your progress in Jesus Christ.

Keep up the wonderful work for our Lord Jesus!

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Jesus said that not one jot nor tittle will pass away until all is fulfilled. What did He mean by all is fulfilled?

Response #4:   

Matthew 5:18 has two qualifiers: "until heaven and earth pass away" and "until all things have come to pass". The former "event horizon" is the end of history when the present heaven and earth will pass away to be replaced by the new heavens and the new earth "wherein righteousness dwells" (2Pet.3:13). At that future time, since there will be no more sin and no more possibility for sin or evil, since all who were to be saved shall have been saved and resurrected, since there will be no more death or any possibility of death or want or need or pain or trouble, there will be no need of any Law to govern behavior or symbolize God's plan for history. For at that future time, all creature behavior will be perfect and completely incapable of imperfection, and there will be no more history. The other limit placed by our Lord on the application of the Law is the "coming to pass of all things". The first point to understand is what the "all things" of the Law are. Jesus, in assuring His listeners in verse 17 that He has not come to "abolish" the Law but to "fulfill" the Law makes two things clear: 1) although He is the Messiah, He is not there to establish the Millennial Kingdom, and 2) all of the things written in the Law are indeed on the point of fulfillment. So this is what the "all things of the Law" are, namely, the things Jesus had come to fulfill in person during the first as opposed to the second advent, namely, the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah to take away sin (rather than rule over the sinful world).

Every aspect of the Law is to one degree or another a commentary on the issue of sin, what it is, how it is to be avoided, why it can't be completely avoided, and, most importantly, how God resolves this central problem of humanity, namely, how to save sinful and mortal creatures from eternal damnation through sacrifice. As we Christians know well, only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross in dying for our sins, bearing them and suffering for them in the darkness on Golgotha could ever remove sin as an impediment to our salvation from eternal death and open a way instead for us unto eternal life. This sacrifice by Him is what "fulfills" the Law. For it is "impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Heb.10:4). These sacrifices required by the Law were symbols that pointed to and prophesied His coming sacrifice, and it is His sacrifice which fulfills all of the symbols of the Law (with which it is replete). Once Jesus had died for the sins of all human beings, the Mosaic code which was designed to teach us about this central event of all create history by foreshadowing it symbolically was indeed "brought to fulfillment" (i.e., the "all things of the Law" were now historically completed). Until that time, "not one jot or tittle" was to be overlooked, because in every respect all of the teaching therein pointed to Christ and the sacrifice He was about to make. This was a shock to the hypocritical religious crowd, because they assumed that Jesus was a "law-breaker"; in fact, they had overlooked the true meaning and purpose of the Law (to show them their sin and draw them to the mercy of God) and were merely employing it as a set of traditional rituals which they had long since leached of any true meaning or substance. But once Jesus died on Calvary for our sins, everything written in the Law had and has been fulfilled.

I believe the reason that the second boundary is present (the "until" which comes first) is that the Law is still wonderfully applicable to all sorts of things today -- it is still God's truth and as such is important for all believers to study and understand as they would all other scripture. But it is not appropriate to carry out its symbolic rituals; in fact, this is no longer allowed for Christians (the main theme of the book of Hebrews; see the links: "Who wrote Hebrews?" and "Hebrews 10:26"), because in doing so we would be saying in effect that what Jesus did was not sufficient, that these "things" (or whatever part of the "all these things" of the Law we persist in observing) are still in force because they have not yet been properly "fulfilled" -- but of course they have, fully and completely and eternally in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In Jesus who has fulfilled all things for us that we might be saved,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Hello, Doctor--I have a manuscript question for you. A Messianic Jewish person has told me that: "There is only one verse in the older manuscripts that has the word "Law" in Acts chapter 15."

Is that true? Sorry this is blue; I don't know how to get rid of it. Some Messianics say that it is necessary to obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved. We are justified by grace through faith, but then, we should obey the Law of Moses, out of our love for God. And some have told me what the Apostles were addressing in Acts 15 was the man-made laws, NOT the actual Law of Moses, itself. But vs. 5 says "Law of Moses." It can't be anything else. But this person says it's only in one old manuscript. She supposedly backed it up with something, but I never saw it.

I was wondering if you knew anything about this. You did about Mark 7 with the "thus making all meats clean." So, could you please shed some light on this? I'm not sure if she is saying only one old manuscript says "Law of Moses" or what. But are the word "Law of Moses" found in most of at least some of the older manuscripts? Thanks and God bless you.

Response #5:   

All the manuscripts of the Greek New Testament have the full phrase "Law of Moses" at Acts 15:5 -- I was not able to find a single exception, and there are of course hundreds of manuscripts and thousands of testimonies to the text.

And of course, this issue certainly does not rise and fall with Acts 15:5!

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14 KJV


Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:16 KJV


For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Galatians 3:10 KJV


For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Galatians 5:3-4 KJV

One could almost quote the entirety of the Pauline corpus.

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy Easter!

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Hello--I hope you won't mind if I ask you a question about a verse in the bible and how authentic it is. You know where Paul says he tries to be all things to all people? He says that "to those under the Law, I became like one under the Law, though I myself am not under the Law..." I think it is in Romans or 1 Cor. Anyway, a Messianic I know says the "though I myself am not under the Law" isn't in the original text. He quoted the KJV, where it isn't there, so it must not be in the Textus Receptus, which, if I remember right, is as much later copy of the NT than the ones used today. But it is in the NASB and most other bible translations, according to our BibleWorks 4.0. And it's not added.

I told this guy that and he still insisted it wasn't in the original writings. I asked him how he knew, since the original autographs no longer exist, or does he have a time machine where he can go back in time and look over Paul's shoulder while he wrote this passage??? He insists it can't be in the original autographs, because it doesn't fit the context, which is nonsense; I told him it fits perfectly; he just doesn't like the fact that Paul did NOT consider himself to be under the Law anymore. Some Messianics think Paul still followed strictly the Law of Moses. I said he probably did--when he was with other Torah-observant Jews, so he could win some to Christ. He found common ground with everyone, so he could "meet" them there and witness to them. But he didn't do it when he was around gentiles.

Anyway, I would appreciate your feedback on this. Thank you and God bless you.

Response #6: 

Yes this part of 1st Corinthians 9:20 is in all of the best and oldest manuscripts. In fact, it is only absent from a handful of witnesses. The Aland and Black third edition (which rates likelihood of originality for problem passages) rates this one an "A", that is, "almost certainly part of the original". Here is what their companion volume of textual commentary has to say:

The words, which are decisively supported by א A B C D* F G P it vg syr(h) cop(sa) goth arm, probably fell out by accident in transcription, the eye of the copyist passing from [the first] hypo nomon to [the second] hypo nomon.

We call this type of error "homoioarcheton", that is, words or phrases with similar beginnings which the scribe puts in his mind as the place to resume when he looks aside to refresh his pen, but then goes forward to the next place erroneously because it looks identical. There is no particularly compelling reason for someone to put in this phrase or take it out for that matter, so that, given the overwhelming evidence for the inclusion of the phrase, it is virtually certain that its absence in a handful of later witnesses is due to just the scenario suggested above.

Good to hear from you as always!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Anyway, a curious thing has come up on the boards at CARM. One person has a curious translation of Gen. 9:3. Young's Literal Translation does the same thing--what most bibles have as "every moving thing" this Hawk guy has "reptiles" and so does Young's. Our BibleWorks 4.0 says it means "perfect, all sort of things, creep, walk on all fours, creeping organism." Now, can the word "remes" I think it is, mean simply "four-footed animals", or is its main meaning "reptiles" and those animals that creep about, squaty-like? In context, it appears to mean everything that moves, since God also gave us every green plant as food (though of course, the poisonous ones aren't).


in the first place, in Gen. 1, there was no sin or death and Adam and Eve only ate plants. So, your argument there is moot. Secondly, the word for "creeping" here has a fairly wide range of meaning; BibleWorks 4.0 has "perfect, all sort of things, creep, walk on all fours, creeping organism."


I Quoted [Genesis 1:24] simply to show the difference between Cattle (behemah), creeping things (remes) and beasts (chay). Here it is again: 24 And God saith, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind:' and it is so. Cattle, of course being what we know cattle to be; Creeping things are reptiles and beasts would be all other wild animals. Their respective Strong's numbers are #929 (Cattle); #7431 (Creeping Things) and #2416 (Beasts). This was done to show what the difference was in these various creatures.....not to claim Adam and Eve had become carnivores. Here are their definitions: Behemah; from an unused root (probably meaning to be mute); properly, a dumb beast; especially any large quadruped or animal (often collective):--beast, cattle. Remes; from 'ramas' (7430); a reptile or any other rapidly moving animal:--that creepeth, creeping (moving) thing. Chay;from 'chayah' (2421); alive; hence, raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively:--+ age, alive, appetite, (wild) beast, company, congregation, life(-time), live(-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop. As you can see....the Hebrew is quite specific about what constitutes "remes". The reason it is called a "Creeping Thing" in scripture is because it creeps. Cattle do not do this and most other animals don't either. Now, let's again look at the Hebrew for the definition of Noah's food source: Young's Literal Translation: [Genesis 9:3] 3 Every creeping thing that is alive, to you it is for food; as the green herb I have given to you the whole; Here is the Transliterated Hebrew for that verse: k l-reme 'er h '- ay l em yih yeh l ' l k yereq ' e n at l em 'e -k l: Here is the transliterated Hebrew for [Genesis 1:24] wayy 'mer ' l hm tw ' h ' re nefe ayy l mn h b h m w reme w ay w -'ere l mn h way h- n: There can be no disputing the fact that these are different words......and again many folks have been deceived into believing that all animals were given to Noah for food because that happened to be the theology of Catholic translators as well as Protestant Reformation translators who did the same thing regarding [Romans 14:14]. In that instance, of course they attempted to show the Greek word to be "unclean" because of the appearing nonchalance of the Apostle Paul in dealing with this situation. By translating the word "KOINON" as "unclean" instead of the proper definition of "common" it puts a whole new slant to the passage.....a slant that would indicate it's no big deal to now eat unclean food. That was not Paul's intent and any honest evaluation of the passage will bear that out. When the translators dealt with [Genesis 9:3] they dishonestly (it couldn't be an honest mistake) called "remes"....every moving thing. They did this because, again....they wanted to show everyone that it was O.K. to eat every animal. Here is the King James again for [Genesis 9:3] 3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. This is gross error.....and purposeful! Let's now go back to [Genesis 1:24] (Young's) 24 And God saith, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind:' and it is so. This word, living creature is 5315. nephesh (neh'-fesh) from naphash; properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental) This word, nephesh.....would have been the word that The Holy Spirit would have inspired to be used if Noah was to eat all animal life. If we look at [Genesis 9:12] we can see the context with which God uses this word: 12 And God saith, 'This is a token of the covenant which I am giving between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, to generations age-during; So....the question becomes......why would the Spirit inspire "remes" in verse 3 and inspire "nephesh" in verse 12? According to the Catholic/Protestant translations....they mean the same thing. Well.....I think we both know why.....and anyone reading this post should also....know why. Here is the Hebrew transliteration for [Genesis 9:12]. Are you beginning to see the deception?

He seems to think it is a deception. I can't figure him out, because the Messianics on the boards certainly don't think God gave Noah reptiles to eat ONLY. But to read this guy, God gave ONLY reptiles for us to eat, after coming out of the Ark. I think he said this was to let the cattle, sheep, goats, etc. multiply before humans started eating them.

He wrote this earlier, which seems crazy to me:

We'll take them one at a time. I grasp it just fine....however, apparently you turn a blind eye to what the rest of the Bible says, such as in Gen. 9:3, Mark 7:19; Acts 15, Romans 14, 1 Cor. 8, and 1 Tim. 4:1-5. And yes, they DO mean what they say. We'll do a thorough study starting with [Genesis 9:3] so we may not get to [I Timothy 4:1-5] for a couple of months.....but we'll know by then exactly where your errors lie. [Genesis 9:3] 3 Every creeping thing that is alive, to you it is for food; as the green herb I have given to you the whole;(Young's Literal Translation) What are creeping things? The Hebrew says 7431. remes (reh'-mes) from ramas; a reptile or any other rapidly moving animal ...............that creepeth, creeping (moving) thing. Now....let's ask some pertinent questions: Do elephants creep? How about kangaroos? Can you imagine a giraffe creeping? Cows don't creep, chickens don't creep, sheep don't creep. The point I'm making is that most animals don't creep and the Holy Spirit inspired the word "remes" as the animal that would provide Noah and his family with food......reptiles! http://www.htmlbible.com/sacrednameb.../CONHEB743.htm Does scripture say Noah is to eat these reptiles? No! It simply says "they will be for food." [Genesis 1:24] 24 And God saith, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind:' and it is so. Do you see the differentiation between cattle 929. bhemah (be-hay-maw') and creeping thing 7431. remes (reh'-mes) as well as 2416. chay (khah'-ee)? Scripture does not allow for Noah to eat cattle or other beasts.....only the produce from reptiles. According to what we have just covered God told Noah he could eat what was provided by the creeping things.....not eat them per se......but eat what they provided. Now....let's make sure we are not confusing the two. Here is the King James for [Genesis 9:1-3] 1And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. Here is Young's: [Genesis 9:1-3] 1 And God blesseth Noah, and his sons, and saith to them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth; 2 and your fear and your dread is on every beast of the earth, and on every fowl of the heavens, on all that creepeth on the ground, and on all fishes of the sea -- into your hand they have been given. 3 Every creeping thing that is alive, to you it is for food; as the green herb I have given to you the whole; Do you see now that God did not tell Noah he could eat cattle, chickens or lambs? He was told that the creeping things would provide his food. God specifically says in the Hebrew that Noah could only eat what was provided by reptiles. Why do you suppose that was? He certainly would not be able to eat any unclean animals because the first pork barbeque he had would have caused the species to become extinct [Genesis 7:2] as he only brought one pair into the ark. [Genesis 6:20] 20 Of the fowl (owph) after its kind, and of the cattle (bhemah) after their kind, of every creeping thing (remes) of the ground after its kind, two of every sort they come in unto thee, to keep alive. Do you see the difference? God did not say he could eat fowl or cattle. He simply said , "Every creeping thing that is alive......to you it is for food".

He seems to think Young's Literal Translation is the last word in biblical exegesis. I know the pitfalls in always translating literally--sometimes one can, and sometimes one cannot...it depends upon the context. But this sounds like so much doublespeak to me--God didn't say we could eat reptiles, only what was provided by them??? God didn't say that they could eat reptiles, only that they could eat what the reptiles provided??? What did they do--go out and kill other animals and bring them back to Noah and his family to eat???? I still say it sounds like so much double-talk to me. But anyway, the word for "creeping thing"--does he have a point? He also thinks what God gave Noah and his family to eat wasn't the reptiles themselve,s but their EGGS, since they usually lay quite a few! He compares it to God giving the fruit of trees to mankind to eat; ergo, the "fruit" of creepy crawly things is their EGGS. Isn't THAT a corker? He's not a Messianic, but something else....what, I am not sure. I swear, a lexicon in the hands of someone who doesn't really know the language is a dangerous thing.

Response #7:   

The Bible uses remes in a generic sense. It may mean "reptiles" but it is clearly not restricted to that category as we classify fauna today. So under the Noahic covenant, all animal life was available for food (as is again the case today). We see this, for instance, in Genesis 9:2:

"The fear and terror of you will be upon all animal life on the earth: on all the birds of the air, on every animal that moves (ramas; lit., "with which the earth crawls") on the earth, and on all the fish in the sea. These are [all] given into your hands [as a food source]."
Genesis 9:2

N.b., the opening phrase is all inclusive: "all living things"; and then this expanded by subdividing "all" into three more specific sub-categories. Correctly translated, this verse divides all of animal creation into three: 1) birds; 2) remes (or more literally "that with which the earth ramas-es"); 3) fish. Since all animals are specifically said to be included in this tripartite division, "birds" clearly did not exclude flying mammals (though these would be excluded by the Law); "fish" clearly did not exclude crustaceans (though these would be excluded by the Law); and "remes" clearly did not exclude reptiles (though these would be excluded by the Law). However, since these three categories very clearly represent all of animal creation, remes in the context of the Noahic covenant must mean "all non-flying land animals" (assuming as I believe we must that the verb in such contexts represents just what the noun would). At times, the noun remes is even used for sea creatures (Ps.104:25; cf. the verb ramas similarly used of sea creatures at Lev.11:46; Ps.69:34), so pretty obviously it just means "things that creep, crawl, prowl, glide on the earth and sea".

I'll let the egg thing go as I believe the above answer covers that was well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Shalom Bob,

Are there more Scriptures other than Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 and Hosea 11:1 in the OT (Tanakh) that 'directly' declare Yeshua Jesus to be the Son of God or God? As you well know the Jew (as well as the Arab) has little to no contention with the historicity of the miracle working prophet Jesus but, will NOT accept the 'fact' that the man Yeshua Jesus was indeed the Son of God, i.e.

John 5:18: Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

John 10:33: The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

With sincere respect,

Response #8:   

As Hebrews chapter one points out, there are two other OT verses which are equally clear:

"You are my Son. Today I have begotten you (Ps.2:7)." [and see also verse 12, "kiss the Son"]

"I will be a Father to Him, and He will be my Son (2Sam.7:14)." [clearly Messianic]

I would add Psalm 72:1; 80:17; 89:27 as well. You might also have a look at the following links:

Jesus is God

The Deity of Jesus Christ

Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Dr. Luginbill,

Grace and peace to you. It has been awhile since I last wrote to you and as always your answer to me, not only being swift, but truly edified me greatly. Now as to my next question, I know that in the cases of people who are truly off the beam, Paul tells us to avoid and in the case of those who espouse false doctrine, to avoid all together. But in the case of a gentleman I am corresponding with now, I feel a need to understand him for I feel that he might be of the remnant mentioned in Isaiah 10:20 and 11:11-12 for he neither believes in Christianity nor Judaism but yet that Christ is yet to come but will indeed at the END of the millennium. But what concerns me is the following document that he posted a few days ago and if you could I would like you to peruse it and tell me what in God's green acres he is talking about (if you have time).





EXPOSING THE LAME "NAME EXCUSE" Have you ever wondered why people who are believers in the Moshiach Yahshua do not pronounce Abba's real given Name? Have you ever been mystified as to why there are certain Messianic and Christian sects that will only use the Son's true Name Yahshua/Yahushua but do not or will not see the restoration of the Father's Name as equally or even more important? Have you or someone you know ever gone to a recognized leader, rabbi or pastor, earnestly inquiring as to why they do not use Yahweh's true Name? And have you ever gotten a response similar to this? "Well we would, if we could but SINCE NO ONE REALLY IS SURE AS TO HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT, WELL. WE JUST DON'T!" S.a.tan (the one whose rear end will fry in full tan) has the entire believing and unbelieving world jointly held together in dark unity by what I call the LAME "NAME EXCUSE"; "We Don't Know The Pronunciation For Sure" doctrine of s.a.tan's Theological Seminary 101. This doctrine, manmade to the core, in most cases is designed to excuse the often willful ignorance of a given spiritual leader, that reveals them to have a complete lack of accurate biblical, historical or ecclesiastical history relating to the one true eternal Name of the Father. In this day, during the restoration of all things spoken of by the prophets of Israel (Acts 3:21), it is incumbent upon you and I TO NEVER ACCEPT THIS WEAK, TIMID, UNSCHOLASTIC EXPLANATION. YOU AND I MUST START TO DEMAND THAT THE LEADER IN QUESTION PROVIDE US WITH HIS OR HER PROOF, SHOWING THAT ABBA HAS LEFT US WITHOUT THE ABILITY TO KNOW FOR SURE AS TO HOW HIS NAME IS TO BE PRONOUNCED. Religious leaders equipped with this lame "Name Excuse" used as a crutch, continue to proliferate false SUBSTITUTE titles and names for Elohim in all languages including Hebrew, that have no biblical, historical or ecclesisiatical reality. These leaders have chosen in many cases to hide under the shadow of familiar names and titles, (under the influence of "familiar religious spirits that tormented our forefathers") that are clearly not his Name, all the while claiming their justification in so doing with the now familiar lame "name excuse", of "well" we just don't know for sure". But what they do know for sure, ( various false names that Yahweh forbids and cautions them not to use) they freely and often without reservation use and proliferate. WHY THE RESISTANCE? Before we address this all encompassing error with some of the most liberating facts that we can present to all truth seekers in this final hour, we must in turn ask the true question that begs to be addressed which is: Why? Why do these same folks insist, (even when lovingly corrected) in using false names, and titles for Yahweh like Jehovah or God or HaShem, when they can know for sure that these names and titles are clearly false substitutes. It seems like when it comes to these familiar spirited titles, these same leaders are secure and snug in their "knowing for sure" that these substitutes are being pronounced correctly. Hmmmmm.. Is it not better to accidentally mispronounce or highlight a wrong letter in childlike inaccuracy, and innocence, rather than to bring Yahweh's entire Name to naught (Shemot/Exodus 20:7) bringing defilement to themselves and their hearers? These "leaders" you have been seeking are in violation of the first and third commandments, not just the third. The first AND GREATEST IS: "I AM YAHWEH YOUR ELOHIM [THE ONE] WHO BROUGHT YOU OUT OF THE LAND OF MITZRAYIM" .(Shemot/Exodus 20:1-2)"NOT THE "GOD YOUR GOD" OR THE "LORD GOD YOUR GOD" OR THE PICK YOUR OWN FAMILIAR NAME THY GOD! We are told to love Yahweh SPECIFICALLY BY NAME (Devarim/Det. 6:4) by Messiah Himself (Matityahu/Matthew 22:36-38) , and its virtually impossible to recognize, let alone love someone whose name you do not know or whose name you shun, under the shadow of the lame "Name Excuse Doctrine." The next time you ask your "spiritual leader" why he does not teach, and instruct in the true Name of Yahweh, and you receive the same "NOBODY knows for sure how it is pronounced" answer, just take it upon yourself to educate them to the truth. And what is the truth? The truth is what Yahweh says in Isaiah/Yeshayahu 52:6! The Father states unequivocally "THERFORE MY PEOPLE SHALL KNOW MY NAME. IN THAT DAY [Hebrew idiom for the last of the last days] FOR I AM THE ONE WHO IS SPEAKING." So when a spiritual leader rehearses the worn out pabulum of "I don't pronounce it, since no one can know for sure just how to pronounce it", also known as the lame "Name Excuse", they are in direct violation of the above text. They have tragically in essence called Abba Yahweh a liar, for Yahweh has said that HIS PEOPLE SHALL IN FACT KNOW HIS NAME THEREFORE IT MAY BE ASSUMED THAT THIS LEADER UNDER YOUR QUESTIONING, BY THEIR OWN CHOICE, MAY NOT BE PART OF HIS PEOPLE OF RENEWED COVENANT RETURNING ISRAEL, SINCE YAHWEH PROMISED THAT HIS LAST DAYS REMNANT, WOULD CERTAINLY KNOW HIS NAME! HE HIMSELF WOULD SEE TO IT! Also in Shemot/Exodus 3:15 Yahweh promises to preserve His Name as a memorial of His redemptive nature to all generations. Now if He did not instruct us as to how to verbally memorialize it through proper pronunciation, then His very honesty can be called into question, since according to this wicked and adulterous generation walking fully in the lame "Name Excuse", they believe that Yahweh did not memorialize it through revelation to prior generations, [after the rabbinic ban in circa 400 BCE] so as to assure its preservation! In essence this is calling our Father in the third heaven a liar. These are they who wrongly insinuate by their false adoption of the lame "Name Excuse" doctrine, that Abba Yahweh has voluntarily submitted to unregenerate man, and placed Himself under "the ban" of rabbinic Judaism by neglecting His own revealed Word! Sheer blasphemy! This talmudic principle is unknowingly followed by the manmade kirch toady. In traditional Judaism it is well known as the principle of the "Kol HaAm" or the "Voice Of The People". The essence of this principle states that even if the voice from Yahweh coming directly from heaven gives clear divine instruction, and if the collective voice of the people of Israel led by the [talmudic] rabbis, gives a different or contradictory instruction, that the voice of the nation ALWAYS PREVAILS AND TAKES PRECEDENCE over the voice of Abba Yahweh. Papists are also well acquainted with this behavior as seen in much of their catechism in all forms of popery. Unknown to millions of pastors and messianic rabbis, this is the unscriptural Kol HaAm principle that they are walking in, even though they would claim that they would never willingly follow man's word above Yahweh's Word. When they invoke the lame "Name Excuse Doctrine", they ipso facto have fallen into the trap of the unscriptural "Kol HaAm Principle!"

Once again, thank you for this consideration and may God be with you.

Response #9:   

Always good to hear from you. First of all, the "Name" being referred to here is of course the Hebrew name for LORD, also known theologically as the "tetragrammaton" because it is a four letter name in Hebrew: YHVH (yodh-heh-waw-heh). By way of introduction and so as not to repeat everything here please read the following link: The Divine Name. This name, often translated into English versions as "Lord" or in all caps "LORD" is sometimes also transliterated into "Jehovah" or "Yaweh". You can see in the case of both of these transliterations essentially the same consonants: J/Y + V/W + H, since "J" and "Y" on the one hand and "V" and "W" on the other are linguistic mirrors of each other. However, why the vocalization (i.e., the input of vowels) is different and the reason for this is what takes a little explanation.

With few exceptions, ancient Hebrew writing did not contain vowels. While it may be difficult for an English speaker to visualize reading a book in English with all the vowels removed, Hebrew, since it is much more consonant-root grounded than English, can easily be read (by a near-native speaker) without the vowels (the Jerusalem Post, to cite but one example, along with most written Modern Hebrew has few vowels). In the Hebrew Bible as we now have it there are "vowels", but these were added somewhat late in the manuscript tradition. The fragments which we have from Qumran, for example (most notably from Isaiah), don't have the vowels in the sense that the later manuscripts do. There was an ancient way to let people know if the word had a long "o" or "u" or alternatively a long "i" or "e", but this system was used only sporadically (and inconsistently - mainly when the scribe felt there might be a high probability of misunderstanding otherwise), and "a's" of all sort (the most prominent of the Hebrew vowels) along with all the short vowels were not represented in the ancient system. This seems very bizarre to English speakers, but one has to understand that in Hebrew (and in Semitic languages generally), consonants are more important. Indeed, in Israel today aside from the Bible and pedagogical texts virtually all other written texts omit the vowels in essentially the same way the ancient system did. English example: W TH PPL F TH UNTD STTS, N RDR T FRM MR PRFCT NN. Admittedly, it's harder to fill in the vowels in English because our language is not as root/consonant based as Hebrew by a long shot, but I'll bet you figured out the foregoing without much trouble. If you did it every day, it would soon become second nature, and it is easier to do in Hebrew.

Following the depopulation of the land of Israel after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the later Bar-Kochba rebellion, sometime in ca. the 8th century A.D. (give or take a couple of centuries), the Massoretes produced the present day OT text which included "vowel points". This was important inasmuch as Hebrew was dying out as a spoken language in the vast majority of Jewish communities (and there were from here on in very few Jews living in Palestine). Not that Hebrew ever completely died out as a spoken language, but it did decay to the point of being essentially an academic language (spoken by a few "scholars and intellectuals", for want of a better term, in a way similar to Latin). Having the vowel points was thus nigh on essential for people who didn't grow up speaking Hebrew to be able to pronounce the text when necessary in various religious ceremonies. The vowel points are thus an interpretation as well as an aid, because - and again this makes more sense if you know some Hebrew - there are many times when a certain combination of consonants can be read as several different words or forms of the same word, and the context does not always absolutely rule out all of the alternative possibilities.

Back to the point at hand. The one word that the Massoretes did not "point" was the tetragrammaton, the name for the LORD at issue here. Traditionally, since of course one has to vocalize something when reading this name, the Hebrew word for "my LORD" ('adonay - technically a plural with a first person singular [possessive] suffix) is vocalized wherever YHVH is read in the vast majority of instances (there is an exception I'll omit here). And I believe there is also a tradition which uses "ha-Shem" (lit., "the Name") in vocalizing YHVH. Your correspondent clearly feels that there is no question but that Yaweh is the true vocalization of YHVH, and in this he has most of the secular scholarly community in his corner; although I must say that the older "Jehovah" is equally possible, at least in my view.

What difference does all this make? That's a little harder to say. His posting seems to speak for itself here, and his point about the hypocrisy of those who refuse to make use of any vocalization is probably on the money. The real reason for the resistance is that it's traditional, and tradition in any religion that is composed almost entirely of tradition is obviously hard to buck. I'm not sure that I would agree, however, that any precise "incantation" of the Name would have any supernatural effect. There are some mystical Jewish groups who really do feel that getting the precise pronunciation (and they wouldn't buy the ones put forward above) would really give someone special power. But all this strikes me as a bit of a wild-goose chase. I certainly have respect for the Lord and for His Name. But I do not think that my Christianity or my spirituality has been at all compromised by calling Him "Lord" instead of "Yaweh", nor do I think either would be enhanced in any measure were I to begin doing so. He knows who belong to Him and He speaks every language. More important is knowing what the name means and entails (on which please see the link: The name YHVH). I would certainly strive to be respectful of people who do find it important and would not willingly make an issue of it, but not to the point of being bullied into adopting such a practice myself.

Finally, I totally agree with your qualms about the particular messianic eschatology this gentleman espouses (it is something I have heard before). I would also say in reference to his comments that the name YHVH often refers to Jesus in the OT, since Jesus is the revealed member of the Trinity. This couldn't be known at the time, but with the benefit of New Testament Revelation we can definitely look back and understand that it was Jesus in His pre-incarnate glory acting as the Father's representative in many cases (e.g., compare Jn.12:41 with Is.6:1ff.). This is something of which even Messianic Jews - and many Christians - are either ignorant or reluctant to accept, but it is true nonetheless. On that subject, please see the following links:

"The Trinity in the OT" (from BB 1: Theology)

Jesus Christ in the Old Testament (Christophany: Gen.3:8).

The meaning of Jesus' words, "I am" in John 8:5

Changing the Name of God?

Please feel free to write me back if you want to discuss any of this further. Best wishes for your continued witness to the truth on behalf our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Keep on fighting that good fight of faith!

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hi--I ran across this on the internet. I don't know who the guy is who runs this website; he wrote about 7:19 about the words "thus He declared all foods clean":

The Problem with this particular scripture is complicated by two layers of confusion. The first concerns the Greek text. While the Traditional (Majority/Received) Greek text of Mark reads καθαριζον. The Hort/Nestle/UBS text however, reads καθαριζων, ('[he was] purifying'), thus ending the quotation after εκπορευεται, and setting off the last phrase as Mark's explanation in the narrative (rather than a continuation of Jesus' speech). This reading is only supported by three manuscripts, Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph), Vaticanus (B), and Alexandrinus (A), against the entire corpus of thousands of other MSS. What is the significance of the change? It represents a stage in the Romanization (Gentilizing) of the New Testament, in which early editors tried to remove the embarrassing "Jewish" elements and downplay the Jewish origins and teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, in the process of making Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. We can see the significant impact of the alteration of a single letter in one word in the resulting translation:

The Traditional text reads:

"...everything from outside entering into the man is not able to make him 'common'; because it doesn't enter into his heart, but into the intestine, and into the toilet passes, purifying [the man] of all the foods..."

The Traditional text is straightforward, and simply states the obvious, that even if food temporarily enters a man, it also leaves again, restoring a man's purity (e.g. through fasting). There is no "magical" meaning attached to Jesus' words, nor is it needed, in order to make sense of the teaching.

The UBS text reads (and mistakenly translates):

"...everything from outside entering into the man is not able to make him 'common'; because it doesn't enter into his heart, but into the intestine, and into the toilet passes." - [he was ] purifying all foods...

The 'modern' versions then further corrupt the passage by 'interpreting' it and extrapolating it:

The Message: 'That took care of dietary quibbling, Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.'

New Living Trans: '(by saying this, he showed that every kind of food is acceptable.)'

Good News NT: '(In saying this, Jesus declared that all foods are fit to be eaten.)'

NIV: (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

Clearly every modern 'translation' here goes way beyond translating, and is actually inserting running commentary to support Roman Catholic and popular doctrines about food that have no support whatever from the Biblical text. Naturally, all these 'modern' versions, based on these 4th century Roman heavily edited ecclesiastical texts make Mark say in the narrative that Jesus had "declared all foods clean". But this not only rests on shakey textual ground, but it rests also on a super-imposed meaning based on Roman Catholic popular teaching.

If you ask me, he was no better than he thinks some of these interpretations are, when he wrote:

"The Traditional text is straightforward, and simply states the obvious, that even if food temporarily enters a man, it also leaves again, restoring a man's purity (e.g. through fasting). There is no "magical" meaning attached to Jesus' words, nor is it needed, in order to make sense of the teaching."

He said "fasting" would purify a person. Where did Jesus say that? (no, this isn't the person who says that the codeces don't have this phrase). In fact, this guy says this phrase, having Jesus purifying all foods, IS in the three codeces. The opposite of what the Messianic has told me.

So, do you know what is going on? Can you shed light on this? I know you said who was declaring all foods clean is in the "person" of "cleansing"--third person masculine. So, it could only refer to Jesus, since He was the only one speaking. I don't think this guy even mentioned the "person/case." Unless I missed it in reading.

Response #10: 

This one is simple enough to deal with. I had written to you about this issue before (and will link to those two questions/answers in at the bottom of the email since they do apply to the question), but let me say first that the "trick" here is the translation. All of this person's argumentation is based upon assuming that he/she has translated the alternative version of the text correctly, but in fact he/she has not. Regardless of whether or not we have an omicron (TR) or an omega (virtually everyone else), panta ta bromata, "all the foods [there are]" is still the direct object; but he/she has made "the man" the direct object (even though the hypothetical person is not repeated in the text), and has added the word "of" to make "all the foods [there are]" the object of a preposition . . . which is not even there in any manuscript. Moreover, the presence of the definite article with "all foods", i.e., not technically, "all foods", but more precisely "all the foods [there are]", makes it clear that this is a generic statement (as it is usually understood). That is to say, with the article, the phrase must apply to foods generally and not just to the individual in the hypothetical case Jesus is referring to. So among the other problems listed above and at the link below, the definite article would have to be excised in order for this person's desired meaning even to be considered. Finally, during the period that the NT was being copied into the codex format, the difference in pronunciation between a short and a long "o" (i.e., between omicron and omega) was very slight or even non-existent, depending upon the speaker and the provenance of the manuscript. Therefore that this sort of confusion crept in here, i.e., an omicron incorrectly written for the omega which shows up in the rest of the tradition, is entirely explainable on paleographic grounds without any need to resort to the conspiracy theory evident in this email.

Here's the link: "Some Jewish Issues (Question # 13)

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hello--Sorry to bother you again, but remember, some months ago, our discussion over Mark 7:19, where Mark has Jesus declaring all foods clean? Some Messianics tried to tell me it was added by copiests and isn't in the original manuscripts. You wrote back to me that it was in every ancient Greek manuscript you were aware of. Now, another Messianic told me it's not in the "codexes"--is the plural "codeces?" Anyway, she didn't say which ones. Do you know what she might be talking about. I know there is a Codex Vaticanus--one of the very oldest and most complete NT in Greek, isn't it? But she used "codexes"--plural.

Do you know what she could be talking about?

Response #11:   

A codex is a book form of manuscript (as opposed to a papyrus roll, which was the "book" of the ancient world until about the third century A.D.). The correct Latin plural is codices, but, as with many other Latin words we are in the process of Anglicizing the plurals (e.g., "indexes" instead of the truly correct "indices" is becoming standard).

As Mark 7:19, Nestle-Aland lists two majuscule (Kappa and Gamma) and three minuscule (33, 700, 1010) manuscripts which have the inferior reading (i.e., omicron instead of omega). This not only puts the omicron reading decisively in the minority, but all these witnesses are very late: 9th and 10th, and 9th, 11th, 12th centuries respectively. Moreover, most of the manuscripts available when the Textus Receptus (the Greek composite text upon which the King James version was based) was produced read omega. So why did TR read omicron in spite of such good evidence to the contrary available even back then? As I have written before, the TR is not a manuscript but a critical edition based upon a series of previous scholarly editions of the Greek New Testament, including the edition of Erasmus for one. In other words, editors had made some of these choice based upon their own particular judgment (and subject to their own particular foibles and theology). Therefore it is much more likely to find TR readings that have been influenced by Roman Catholic theology than it is to find similar problems in MSS. that date from before the schism in the Church! I think if people who support the TR really knew what it was they were fighting for (i.e., a very secular and "scholarly" Roman Catholic-leaning text, and one based upon inferior manuscripts at that), they might think twice about their zealotry. But of course that point of view doesn't take into account that people have agendas and will use whatever evidence is at hand to support them, be it good or, as in this case, very poor.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

I still have what you sent me previously on Mark 7:19; I just wanted to get clarification on a couple of points. I didn't know a codex was the book form of the bible, versus the papyrus form. If I remember right, the book form of writing was invented in the 4th century, but not sure if I am remembering right.

Aren't majuscule writings in Greek earlier than the miniscules? I don't remember when the miniscule writing came out, though.

So, if I remember right, the "omicron" reading has the purging doing the cleansing of the food, instead of Jesus doing the cleansing, is that correct? One MJ apologetics website said that when Jesus declared all foods clean, He meant ceremonially clean; in other words, judging by what He said earlier about eating with unwashed hands in Mark and Matthew, He was saying that all foods eaten with unwashed hands were ceremonially clean. I don't buy that, as Jesus had moved on from the unwashed bit, and was explaining how nothing that goes into the stomach and out the other end can defile us, but only the sins coming out of us defile us. Food is just....food. So, undoubtedly, He meant one can't transfer "uncleanness" from an unclean object to a clean one, though unwashed hands, but food itself isn't intrinsically unclean--it's just food.

One Messianic said that if Jesus was declaring all foods clean, He was going against what His Father said, in Leviticus about clean and unclean foods. I pointed out that in Gen. 9, God gave everything that moved upon the earth as food for Noah and his family....she didn't like my bringing that up. So, Jesus was hardly disagreeing with His Father. :)

Thanks again for your help. God bless you.

Response #12:   

The codex form is the book form as opposed to the earlier papyrus role, and codices do come in sometime around the 3rd century (although there are some earlier examples if memory serves). Greek did not develop a full set of lower-case letters until Byzantine times (ca. 800 A.D.). There are examples of "semi-cursive" styles in the papyri, ligatures, abbreviations, and some lower case letters (omega, for example). The major (important) codices are all in standard upper-case Ionic alphabet. I don't think any of the minuscule manuscripts date to before the ninth or tenth century.

An important point of clarification on the participle katharizOn vs. katharizon: the meaning of the verse is essentially the same in either case; the only question is whether Jesus is the subject (He is; the masculine gender indicated by the omega is the correct reading), or whether the participle is neuter and hanging there in loose apposition to the sentence. In the latter case (only hypothetical, mind you, since that is not the true text, a somewhat literal translation would read: "[a statement which had the effect of] cleansing all foods". And, yes, the food, "THE food", food in general is the object of the cleansing any way you slice it. This is unquestionably meant as a general statement with universal applicability.

People are always getting upset about apparent contradictions in scripture where they do not exist. That is because people have a tendency to apply human logic to the Bible and as a result fail to take into account some important truth or another. Unclean food is unclean for a certain group of people under a certain system for as long as God says so; not any longer. Pork was not unclean for believers before the Mosaic Law; it is no longer unclean after the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross (Matt.5:17; cf. Heb.13:9) Mark 7:19 is a very important verse to consider for all those who claim that Jesus would have us live today by the standards of the Law in every respect. We know of course from the rest of the New Testament that such is not the case (compare Acts 10:9-23; 11:4-18), but it is very nice to have the truth about the dietary requirements for Christians made so clear here in regard to our Lord's own words. It is no wonder that contrarians feel the need to try and neutralize this passage.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Hello--Thanks for answering. Yes, I have tried to tell some Messianics what you wrote here--that the food was "unclean" only for a particular people until God said otherwise. They think that if God changed His mind, it means God changes--which I have told them is NOT the same thing. HE didn't change; His covenant DID.

Some also think that because the animals were "unclean,' they are unfit for human consumption, dirty scavengers. I point out that 1. Pig are NOT strictly scavengers, but will eat nearly any kind of food they can get, both animal and vegetable--and in modern farms, they are fed careful diets of cooked food by law. I also point out that 2. Rabbits and camels are unclean because they don't have cloven hooves, but they are not scavengers, but strict vegetarian. They gets the MJers' dander up. They then tell me that God has a good reason; we just don't know what it is and anyway, do we know better than God? Oh, they say, I just want to do what I want to do and not what God wants me to do.

One MJ lady even told me that when Jesus comes again,I will have to stand before Him and explain why I ate swine flesh, when I was told by a number of people that is is wrong. I asked them to show me from the bible where Jesus will grill us on our diets, to see who kept kosher the best. Instead, He will ask us who showed the most love toward his fellow man.

I also like to remind them in Gen. 9, how God gave everything that moved upon the earth for food, except people; is there anything NOT included in "everything"? The MJers don't like that, either.

Oh, and when I quote what you write about the Greek in these cases, they pooh-pooh what you wrote and say that naturally, I will only quote someone who agrees with me. I also pointed out that when I write to you about the translation of some Greek, or whether or not a phrase is in the original manuscript, I have no idea what you will say, because I don't know myself. So, how could I be picking someone who ONLY agree with me?

Response #13:   

You're very welcome. Thanks for this -- very eloquently put. I don't understand how anyone who claims to be a Christian cannot see that what we eat is not important compared to what we do; it's not what's in our stomachs that counts, but what's in our hearts (which is of course our Lord's point in Mark 7:19). I find this legalistic attitude particularly disturbing given that scripture clearly tells us that making false issues over food will be one of the major ways Christians will be led astray during the troubling times to come (Col.2:16-22; 1Tim.4:1-5; cf. Heb.13:9).

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Hi--Sorry to keep going on about this, but this guy wrote this to me, after I posted what you had written to me:

"Please remember, though, that I referred to the Byzantine type of text, not the Textus Receptus (Received Text). This larger text, which is based on the overwhelming majority of extant Greek manuscripts, supports the same reading found in the KJV and NKJV; thus, some doubt remains whether Mark wrote in his Gospel that Jesus declared all foods clean."

Is this true? And what exactly are the "Byzantine" type of text? It sounds the opposite of what you told me. He also wrote:

"If, for sake of argument, we assume that Dr. Lunginbill has identified the correct text, we must still wrestle with the question whether the phrase all foods denotes all foods without exception or all foods within the context of Jesus' discussion. The Bible, after all, sometimes uses all in ways foreign to us. In Matthew 10:22, for instance, Jesus told His disciples, "... You will be hated by all because of my Name ..." (New American Standard Bible). Taken literally, this prediction would mean that the disciples were going to be hated by everybody they witnessed to; in other words, they would get no converts. In the preceding verse, however, we see that Jesus was saying that loved ones--parents, siblings, children--were going to betray the people who evangelized for Him. Thus, we can see that Jesus was predicting in verse 22 that all kinds of people--even those who might seem trustworthy--were going to turn against His missionaries."

I know "all" here is "ta panta" which I know means "the entirety." I don't know what it is in the verse he cited about being hated by "all."

What is the "Byzantine" text? And the "Alexandrian" text? I thought the latter were copies found in Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1800's. Is the Byzantine text the ones found on Mt. Sinai, in the mid-1800's, like the Textus Sinaiticus? I read how the latter was found in Dr. Metzger's book about the Text of the New Testament and it is a fascinating story.

Sorry to keep bringing this up. I am just trying to understand all of this, as I am no scholar when it comes to the bible and its history. Someone else on CARM said that the TR is a Byzantine work, though not sure what that means. I know the Alexandrian codecies were found in Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1870's, wasnt' it? Don't know about the Byzantium ones....

What is you opinion about the Sinaiticus text? The story about its founding is fascinating....how good a text is it considered compared to, say, the Vaticanus? Just wondering....

God bless

Response #14: 

First, on the issue of texts, Byzantium was the focal point of Greek scholarship during the dark ages (as the Muslims took over or destroyed all other eastern centers of learning), so that virtually all manuscripts produced after about the seventh century are "Byzantine". These manuscripts are much more numerous than the older manuscripts (as with wine and many other things, the older, better stuff is also much more rare). For this reason, these were the manuscripts readily available when Renaissance scholars began to get back into Greek. The better, rarer manuscripts didn't surface until the 19th century as scholarship improved and began to go farther afield than the university libraries in its search manuscript evidence. The Textus Receptus, however, is a man-made, critical text, not a manuscript (i.e., it is like your Nestle-Aland, a published edition which has drawn its readings from manuscripts, other critical editions, and editorial choices); the TR is almost exclusively based upon Byzantine manuscripts -- because that is what was available at the time.

Second issue, as noted before, even among Byzantine mss., the neuter reading is greatly in the minority. Not only is the masculine katharizOn the clear choice of the better witnesses, it is also the majority choice of the "majority" (in terms of number) Byzantine group of texts (which are inferior in their readings to the earlier mss.).

Third issue, "all"; a third red-herring. Context limits what we can do with flexible uses of words like "all". When Jesus made this statement, some foods were already considered clean and some were not; if Jesus were not cleansing "all" (in the full sense of "all"), then what would these words mean? For they surely they do not mean "Jesus cleansed foods already cleansed", and without any sort of contextual clue here or indication elsewhere in scripture that there are now new "tiers" or food-groups, it can't mean "He cleansed lobster but not pork" (or something of the sort). More simply put, "all" has to mean "all" here, so that Mark 7:19 must mean that Jesus hereby declared the dietary part of the Law no longer mandatory (as the apostles later affirm).

Sinaiticus is the oldest and the best manuscript of the New Testament. I have had occasion to test this "theory" out repeatedly over the last thirty years and it has always proven true. It's not perfect (no human product could be), but it is always the first, best place to look.

Keep up the good work for our Lord!

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Hi--I'm sorry,but I am going to have to bug you again. I can't believe this one lady...I don't mean to be, well, mean, but I am beginning to think she is a few bricks short of a chimney...she just doesn't seem to understand what I am getting at. Or maybe I don't understand what she is saying...

She says "katharizon" isn't in the original Greek. I told her I have checked our BibleWorks 4.0 and it is there, in every, single English translation and NOT in italics or brackets, which mean it is NOT added. It is also in the Greek section at the bottom. I can read Greek a little bit and by this time, I recognize katharizon REALLY easily...

Anyway, she wrote back, telling me to check again, and then wrote this stuff, which I can't decipher. I don't know what this Blue Bible is trying to say. Can YOU figure it out? But in the Greek sentence in question, I still see "katharizon" (or is it "katharizou"?) Do you know what this stuff is talking about? Can you decipher it for me? Thanks.  

Response #15:   

It's no problem. The Blue Letter Bible has the text precisely as the Nestle-Aland and all other major Greek versions; not only is katharizOn there, it's also in the masculine (which is what we have been saying all along). The only point of potential misunderstanding I can see here is that the convention The Blue Letter Bible adopts for explaining and commenting on the Greek words is the standard one, namely, to list the dictionary form of the word/verb as its entry heading instead of the conjugated form of the word/verb. So in the list below the passage, all the verbs are in the first person singular present indicative form. In the text, katharizOn is a participle, so the spelling is somewhat different from that of the list. If this person is going only by the English transliteration in the explanation list, she will see katharizO not katharizOn for that reason. This discrepancy will occur anytime any word in the text above the explanation does not occur in the precise dictionary form (i.e., it will happen almost all of the time). For example, she would have the same trouble with eisporeuetai "goes in"; since this is the third singular form, it differs from the transliteration on the list eisporeuomai (which is the first person form, the dictionary form). If a person is unaware of how Greek forms change, these sorts of confusions will be common.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Hello Doctor--Sorry to bother you again, but could you clarify something about that stuff from the Blue Letter bible? A poster on CARM, a Messianic wrote this to me:

Your friend says that a problem with the BLB is that they do not show the verb in it's participle form. But it does say that the verb in the Greek text (which is shown above) is a participle. Here is the page. Click on the "tense" button after the verb. http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible...&t=KJV#conc/19 <http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mar&c=7&v=1&t=KJV#conc/19

Is she correct? Did you look at it wrong? But anyway I would appreciate clarification on this. Thanks.

Response #16:   

No problem. The link you supply is identical in format to what we discussed before. There is the Greek text (where we have the participle katharizOn); and below we find a vocabulary list where the dictionary forms are given as opposed to the conjugated forms (katharizO).

Your latest correspondent clearly didn't understand what I wrote. The problem (for your /earlier/ correspondent) seems to have been that the difference in spelling in Greek from text to list caused him/her to think that katharizOn did not occur because that precise spelling was not on the list; however, it was in the text -- my point (not how the word is identified in the English commentary). There is no problem with the Blue Letter Bible. There does seem to be a problem with how some without basic Greek skills are understanding it.

In Jesus,

Bob L.


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