Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

  No one who reads the Gospels with an objective mind can come to any other conclusion than that Jesus claimed deity, and that He did so repeatedly. But more than just talking about it, Jesus proved Who He was by doing miracles that no prophet of God had ever done, such as walking on water, calming a storm and raising Himself from the dead, demonstrating His sovereign power over His creation. But His bold declarations provide no room for doubt to the reader who comes to the text without a bias. 

  Jesus' words in John 11 are one such example. While Jesus was in the Jordan River area, He received an urgent message from some beloved friends in Bethany, the sisters Mary and Martha. This was the Mary who had anointed Jesus with oil and wiped His feet with her tears. Their brother Lazarus had become seriously ill:

 3 So the sisters sent a message to Him: “Lord, the one You love is sick.”

 4 When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 

  Jesus already knew what was about to happen to His friend Lazarus even then. Jesus also knew what He was going to do about it, and what  the result was going to be.  

  And even though He was 29 kms. (18 miles) away, Jesus already knew that Lazarus was dead, though He chose to wait three days before making His way to Bethany. When they arrived there, it was  confirmed that Lazarus had indeed been dead four days.

(Messianic Jewish professor, author and radio host Dr. Michael Brown notes that the Jewish belief at the time was that the soul of a deceased person would wander around for three days before finally departing from the body, and that it is possible that Jesus had purposely delayed returning till the fourth day to prove to His Jewish audience that He had total control over death.) 


  Jesus is then confronted by the grieving Martha, who laments that Jesus had not come soon enough to heal Lazarus and keep him from death. 

23 “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her. 

24 Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

  To which Jesus responds with a stunning proclamation: 

25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 

26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?” John 11 

  A few moments later, Jesus calls Lazarus from out of death and the grave, and he is restored to his formerly grieving sisters.



  As the apostles asked after Jesus had done another similarly amazing  supernatural miracle, "What kind of man is this?"  

  "I am the resurrection and the life?" (italics mine)


  Not "God is the resurrection and the life."

  No, Jesus clearly says, "I am the resurrection and the life."

  "The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live?"

  Not "The one who believes in God, even if he dies, will live."

  Instead, Jesus says, "The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live."

  And the boldest statement of all:

  "Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."

  
  Not "Everyone who lives and believes in God will never die." 

  Jesus said, "Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."

  Those are not the words of an ordinary man.

  Those are not the words of a mere prophet.


Jesus is no ordinary man. 

Jesus is no mere prophet.

Jesus is YHWH GOD!
Dedicated to a humble, kind and gracious servant of God, Pastor Tootsie Mejia, who is finally wrapped in the loving embrace of our Lord and Master today. We envy you, Tootsie. See you soon!

See also:


    Jesus the Vine


    http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/05/jesus-vine.html

    Jesus the Bread of Life 

    http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/05/jesus-bread-of-life.html



Jesus the Bread of Life

  Jesus makes some very startling statements in the Gospels. We find one of them in John 6. 

  The context: Jesus had just fed about 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The next day, when some of them came to Him seeking more free miracle food, He offered them something much more valuable: 

32 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. 

33 For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!”
  

35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. 

36 But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe.


37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 


38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 


39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day.


40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6


  How could a mere mortal say such things about himself?

  No mere man can say he has come down from heaven, or that he can give life to the world.

  "No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry or thirsty again?"

  No mere man can provide the spiritual food and drink that will keep our spirits alive. 

  "Those who believe in Me, I will raise up on the last day?"

  No mere man can claim the power to resurrect the dead, if we have faith in him.

  These are not the words of an ordinary man.


  These are not the words of a mere prophet.



  But Jesus is no ordinary man.


  Jesus is no mere prophet.

Jesus is YHWH GOD!


  See also:

    Jesus the Vine 

    http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/05/jesus-vine.html



Jesus the Vine

  In John 15:5-7, Jesus speaks about doing good things for God, about working for and bearing good fruit for the Kingdom of God.     

  Read His words very, very carefully, and tell me if a mere man can say them:

 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 

 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 

 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you." John 15

  Now, let us look closely at the implications of Jesus' words.

  "You can do nothing without Me?"

  That means you can do nothing good for the kingdom unless He is in you and with you.

  "If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers?"

  That means your spiritual fruit cannot survive away from Him.

  "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you?"

  That means your relationship with Him and your obedience to His Word gives you access to the power of God.

  These are not the words of any ordinary man.

  These are not the words of a mere prophet.

  Jesus is no ordinary man. 

  Jesus is no mere prophet.

  Jesus is YHWH GOD!


Ask Him into your heart today
so that you can begin your relationship with God
and start bearing fruit for the kingdom!

  See also:

  Where Does Jesus Say, "I Am YHWH (God)" in the Bible?




YHWH God, A Father?


  Who is YHWH, the God of the Bible, to you?


  There are some who think of YHWH, "I Am Who I Am," as the strict disciplinarian God of the Old Testament, while Jesus is the kind, gentle and loving God of the New Testament. They say the God of the Old Testament is the God of the Law while Jesus, the God of the New Testament is the God of love and grace.  


  But these various Old Testament Scriptures themselves will describe Who God was to the Israelites even back then (italics mine):  


1 Chronicles 22

10 He is the one who will build a house for My name. He will be My son, and I will be his father. I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

Psalm 89
26 He will call to Me, ‘You are my Father,
     my God, the rock of my salvation.’

Jeremiah 3
  4 Have you not lately called to Me, “My Father.
     You were my friend in my youth."

Isaiah 63
16 Yet You are our Father,
     even though Abraham does not know us
     and Israel doesn’t recognize us.
     You, Yahweh, are our Father;
     from ancient times,
     Your name is our Redeemer.

Isaiah 64:8 

  8 Yet Lord, You are our Father;
     we are the clay, and You are our potter;
     we all are the work of Your hands.

  But I've left the most moving example for last:


Jeremiah 3
19 I thought: How I long to make you My sons
     and give you a desirable land,
     the most beautiful inheritance of all the nations.
     I thought: You will call Me, my Father,
     and never turn away from Me. 

  As it turns out, the Almighty YHWH is a Father Who desires to be in a loving relationship with His children! 


  For some this might be a novel concept, but there it is, as old as the Bible. 


  And Who best to demonstrate the powerful bond between a father and son in the New Testament than Jesus the Perfectly obedient Son? Who else could model loving and God-honoring sonship for us but Jesus? 


  Even as He is struggling in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus calls out to the One Who had sent Him: 


  And He said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36

(note: "Abba" means "father" in Hebrew. The word was used by Greek-speaking believers together with their own word for father, and this produced the phrase, "Abba, Father," or more literally, "Abba, Pater")

  If you are one of those who are reading this and unable to relate with a loving Father God, perhaps these words from Jesus will help:


  “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him... The one who has seen Me has seen the Father.John 14:7, 9b


  The very same love, selflessness, caring and compassion we see in Jesus is a mirror image of the Father. 


  When you see Jesus, you see the Father. 


  They are truly indivisibly and inseparably One.


  And He will always be there for you:


  For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” Romans 8:15


  The Bible tells us that God never changes, that He can be depended upon to not morph into Someone different or new every day, leaving us always guessing or in fear of what whims might strike Him tomorrow. And that means that the God of the Old Testament remains a Father God in the New. Jesus' half-brother James wrote: 

17 Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. James 1

  If you don't yet know God in this way, you don't know what you're missing. Maybe your life is a mess. Maybe it's going well but you know you're missing something but you don't know what it is. 


  That can all change today. 


  Your whole life can turn around 180 degrees. 


  What are you waiting for? 


  Call on Him now in the name of His Son, Jesus, so that you, too, can begin to call Him your Father! 


And because you are sons, 
God has sent the Spirit of His Son
into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 
Galatians 4:6




The Messiah, The Son of God?

Black Marble Background

  In Matthew 16, Jesus has a very important conversation with His followers:

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”


14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” 

17 And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven."

  "Son of Man" was the divine title Jesus used most often for Himself, but here we see Him accepting another divine title, "Son of the living God." Nowhere in the entire New Testament do we find Jews contesting this claim, and this because the concept of God having a divine Son was not foreign to them. We find it confirmed in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible which Christians call the Old Testament. The Jews knew God had a Son.

  The man "after God's own heart," King David wrote:

11 "Serve the Lord with reverential awe and rejoice with trembling. 


12  Pay homage to the Son or He will be angry and you will perish in your rebellion, for His anger may ignite at any moment. All those who take refuge in Him are happy." Psalm 2

  In turn, one of the wisest men who ever lived, David's son King Solomon penned these words: 

 4 "Who has gone up to heaven and come down?

     Who has gathered the wind in His hands?
     Who has bound up the waters in a cloak?
     Who has established all the ends of the earth?
     What is His name, 
     and what is the name of His Son—
     if you know?" Proverbs 30

  While how the Son would actually become manifest was not at all clear to the Jews, they knew Messiah was coming. And when Jesus came teaching Who He was, some began to better comprehend the literal nature of Isaiah's prophecy: Jesus was indeed "God with us, Immanuel." 

  Jesus affirms for us that He was precisely that Son spoken of by Solomon in John 3 (italics mine. See also John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1):

13 "No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man." 

  While Revelation 6 reveals that Jesus, the Lamb of God, is the Son of Whom David had spoken:

16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 

17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?” 

  Then along comes Muhammad six centuries later directly contradicting almost 2 millennia of Biblical testimony, not just from Jesus Himself, but from the Jewish Tanakh itself. While claiming to be following in the footsteps of all the Biblical prophets, Muhammad completely rejected Jesus as the Son of God as well as all of the testimony of the prophets regarding the Messiah. 

  We find this in Sura 9:30 of the Quran:  
  
  "The Jews call Ezra (Uzair in the Arabic) a son of God, and the Christians call the Christ a son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. May Allah destroy them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!" Quran 9:30 

  There are a few problems with the above. Firstly, there is nothing in all of Jewish history to support Muhammad's claim that Jews did, in fact, call the prophet Ezra "a son of God." This is a historical error on Muhammad's part. Or rather, on Allah's part, since Muslims believe that all of the Quran was simply dictated to Muhammad by the "angel Jibril" who said a god named Allah had sent him. 


  Secondly, Jesus is not "a son of God." He is the Son of God, Who existed in eternity with the Father and the Spirit. "Son of God" is a divine title which the Word of God, Jesus, has held from eternity. Jesus was not born into the position of "the Son of God." He was not created and then named "the Son of God." Rather, the Word has always eternally existed as the Son. 

  Thirdly, as we have already discussed above, the concept of God having a divine Son (not a biological one) is not only seen in the New Testament, it is also in the Old Testament. 


  But it is obvious that Muhammad never read the Bible and that he was only vaguely familiar with its contents. Otherwise, he would have known about the clear testimony of the Scriptures on the matter. Making things even worse, Muhammad teaches Muslims to accept Jesus as Messiah, though he gave them no idea what a messiah is, or what He was to do.    


  This puts them in a particularly difficult position because of what the Bible has to say about Yeshua ha Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah. Let me show you why.

  In Matthew 26, Jesus is on trial before the Sanhedrin and under interrogation by the high priest:
  
63 "Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”

64 “You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 


  The high priest very specifically challenges Jesus to acknowledge whether He is "the Messiah, the Son of God."

  And Jesus' response is, basically, yes, I am God. But there is more.

  In Luke 4, Jesus demonstrates God powers by casting demons out of people: 


41 Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah. 

  Demons recognize the Son of God but, as this is early in His ministry,  Jesus stops them from announcing to all that He is also the Messiah. But there's more.

  In John 11, Jesus is about to demonstrate God powers again by raising Lazarus from the dead but before that, He speaks to Martha and tells her,

25 “... I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 

26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?” 

  And she responds with...

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”

  Again, Jesus has been recognized not just as Messiah, but also as the Son of God. After which He raises Lazarus from the dead to prove His divinity. But there's more.

  In John 20, John the Beloved has just related the story of Jesus appearance to His disciples after His death, as well as the encounter which followed between "Doubting Thomas" and the resurrected Lord Jesus at which Thomas declares clearly and unequivocally Who Jesus is:

28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

After which story John appends this:

31 "But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name."


  Again and again in the Bible, not only is Jesus called Messiah, but He is also recognized as the Son of God. Jesus always accepted the recognition of His divine Sonship in His discussions with His followers. 

  But as we saw in our first passage from Matthew in which Jesus asks them Who they think He is, He went on to explain that Peter had not come upon this vital truth by following popular opinion, or through his own spiritual acumen. Rather it had been revealed to him by YHWH God Himself. 

  This remains true today. As Jesus said in John 6,


44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day." 


  The spiritual revelation that Jesus is God is a gift from God, but it is a gift that is given freely to all. 

  If you don't know Jesus as your Messiah, Son of God, ask Him to reveal Himself to you. As Matthew also records for us, Jesus calls out to you, 

  “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

  Jesus will do it because that's what Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God, came to earth to do!

Banner Headline

  See also:

  'Sons by the Tons' or No Sons at All? 

What's In A Name? Yeshua versus... Esau? 2

  Why does Muhammad have a problem with one Hebrew name in particular?

  In the Hebrew Bible, Adam and Eve are Adam and Hava.

  In Arabic, they are Adam and Hawa.

  In the Hebrew Bible, Abraham is Avraham. 

  In Arabic, he is Ibrahim. 

  Lot is Lot whether it's Hebrew or English. 

  In Arabic, he is Lut.

  Moses is Moishe, but in Arabic, he is Musa.

  You see the consistency here, right?

  The Arabic hews very closely to the original Hebrew when it comes to Bible names.

  So why is it that suddenly, when it comes to the name of the King of kings and the Lord of lords...

  Muhammad decided to change Jesus' name to Isa (or Eesa)?   

  God didn't name Jesus "Isa" in the Bible. 

  He named Him Yeshua, short for Yehoshua, which means "The Lord Saves."


  Here it is in Matthew 1 (text in parentheses mine):


  20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 


  21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus (Yehoshua in the Orthodox Jewish Bible)because He will save His people from their sins.”


  Yehoshua is transliterated as "Iesous" in the Greek, and IESVS in Latin, from which we get the English word, "Jesus." 


  In John 19:19-20, we read:


19 Pilate also had a sign lettered and put on the cross. The inscription was:  

     JESUS THE NAZARENE 
     THE KING OF THE JEWS. 


20 Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.


  The sign on the cross would have had Jesus' name spelled out as IESVS-IESOUS-YEHSHUS (Latin, Greek, Hebrew). 


  Jesus was known as Yeshua in the Hebrew, and Iesous in the Greek.

  Eesa, on the other hand, is said to be the Arabic for "Esau," which means "hairy" in Hebrew. 


  "Eesa" means nothing in Arabic. 

  There is no meaning or definition whatsoever for the name "Eesa" in Arabic. 

  It is certainly curious that Muhammad would choose to replace Jesus' name, Yehoshua, "The Lord Saves," with another name which means absolutely nothing, especially in our context. 


  This after YHWH had taken such pains to make sure that the world got the message that this Child was going to be unlike any other. For example:

  
  - the virgin birth
  - signs in the heavens preceded and attended His coming
  - angels appeared to shepherds
  - prophets spoke at His dedication at the Temple
  - He did miracles such as had never been seen on earth then and since 
  - He rose from the dead on His own power after three days, just as He had prophesied 

  Some say that Muhammad got the name Eesa from manuscripts which are not a part of the Christian Bible. These were the Gnostic Gospels, which is a collection of false teachings written hundreds of years after Jesus' return to heaven.  


  This is a huge problem for Islam because the Gnostic Gospels' Isa is a person who is far removed from the real Jesus of the Bible.

  For example: 

  - the real Jesus of the Bible never killed anyone, much less children. But the Gnostic Isa did. 

  - the real Jesus of the Bible never did any miracles just for show. But the Gnostic Isa did. 

  - the real Jesus of the Bible never cursed people or made them blind. But the Gnostic Isa did. 

  The real Jesus of the Bible gives life. He doesn't take it.

  The real Jesus of the Bible is humble and meek. He's not proud or boastful.

  The real Jesus of the Bible heals others. He doesn't harm them.  

  Dr. Michael Brown suggests that Muhammad may also have gotten the name "Eesa" from a code name that Jewish rabbis from his era were using for Jesus. Jewish rabbis who rejected the Messiahship of Jesus. 

  Now, if Muslims believe that Muhammad wrote the Quran, then it would most certainly be understandable that Muhammad made this mistake simply because he didn't know that the Jews were using code to avoid using Jesus' real name. But that is not what Muslims believe. Instead, they believe that their Islamic god Allah wrote the Quran in eternity. Which leads us to the question...

  Why didn't Allah know Jesus' real name was Yeshua? 

  Why didn't Allah know the Jews were using code?
 
  Christians have no such problems because the God of the Bible had already declared...
He Will Save His People from Their Sins


Jesus is Lord!

  See also:

  Where is Jesus Prophetically Named in the Old Testament?
  




What Was Jesus' First Miracle, According to the Gospels?

  If you were to search all of the Gospels for an answer, what would you say was the very first miracle that Jesus ever did?



  If you're a Christian who knows your Bible, then most likely you will say it was Jesus' turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. And until today, I would have agreed with you.

  After all, in John 2, we read that:

11 Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

  But technically speaking, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of creation.com is right and we are wrong. Dr. Sarfati has another answer, and he is correct. In his video presentation at the Seattle Creation Conference in 2013 (link provided below), Dr. Sarfati points to the chapter prior, in which the Apostle John points out that Jesus' birth was not the beginning of His existence:

  1 In the beginning was the Word,
     and the Word was with God,
     and the Word was God.

  2 He was with God in the beginning.

  3 All things were created through Him,
     and apart from Him not one thing was created
     that has been created. John 1

  Dr. Sarfati explains that, since Jesus is the Word, then His first miraculous act in the Gospels is seen in John 1, not John 2. And there it is in verse 3.

  Jesus, the Word of God, created all things. Nothing has been created that was not created by the Word of God. It was through the Word of God, Who is Jesus, that YHWH created all things.

  John continues to relate what happened next to that very same Word of God: 

14 The Word became flesh
     and took up residence among us.
     We observed His glory,
     the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, 
     full of grace and truth. John 1

  Jesus, the Word of God, YHWH manifest in the flesh, our Messiah, our Savior. But also our Creator.

  What difficulty would turning water into wine present for the One Who created all things? 

  What would be impossible for the God Who took the form of man to take our place on the cross and save us from our sins for eternity? 

  What would stop this same Son of God from rising again from the grave after three days to fulfill the Word He had spoken and prove He was Who He said He was?



Jesus is God!

  See also:

  "Real Science Supports the Bible" Seattle Creation Conference 2013

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFRWnfm2G1c


What Languages Did Jesus Speak?

  In this age of globalization and the Internet in which so many speak multiple languages with grace and ease, it is somewhat strange that some people think we are the only generation that has ever had this gift. Coming as I do from a country in which large numbers of us speak at least two very different languages, I find it odd when some make the claim that Jesus could only speak one. The claim is that His one and only language was Aramaic.

  But did Jesus really only speak one language?


  Let's explore what we can learn from the words of the New Testament and from studies made by others.  

  We begin with the young Jesus, when His parents have discovered He is not with them in the caravan heading home. Instead they find Him at the Temple in Jerusalem. Hebrew was still spoken in 1st century Israel, of course, because this was Jewish land and had been for about 2,000 years. But the exile of the Jewish people had taken its toll on their choice of language, and Aramaic had spread throughout Israel to such an extent that Hebrew was now spoken, for the most part, only by the intellectually elite and the religious leadership. 


  But while many of His people could no longer speak Hebrew, the 12 year old Jesus most definitely did: 


46 After three days, they found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 


47 And all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers. Luke 2


   This was the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where Judaism's best and brightest held court. The discussions would have centered on the Torah, the prophets and the Psalms, known to the Jews as the Tanakh. Their debates would all have centered around the Biblical text which was in Hebrew. Jesus would have had to be more than just a little familiar with Hebrew, especially since the Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus' answers and understanding of the Word of God "astounded" them. Jesus was only 12 years old at the time, and yet already His knowledge and grasp of the Scriptures amazed the Temple academia.


  Many years later, in Luke 4:16-17, we read that, "As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read." Jesus read them a portion from the Book of the prophet Isaiah. "As usual," the text says. Rendered "as was His custom," in other translations.


  These are some of the proofs that Jesus spoke His native Hebrew fluently. But coming as He did from Nazareth and Capernaum, Jesus would also have spoken Aramaic as this was the language most common in those towns. Perhaps the best known example of this is when Jesus speaks Aramaic from the cross:


  "About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46



Sabachthani

  Jesus also uses other Aramaic words and phrases in the Gospels, such as "Talitha kum," when He raised a child from the dead, "mammon" in reference to money," and "Ephphatha," when He healed a deaf man. 

  Now we know that Jesus also spoke Aramaic aside from Hebrew, but the evidence also suggests that Jesus' ability to communicate was not limited to just two languages.


  As we have already noted, this was 1st century Israel and Alexander the Great's conquests had brought the Hellenization of most of the region. Greek was now commonly spoken there as well.


  Jesus would have known Greek because He hailed from Galilee of the Gentiles, so named because of the preponderance of non-Jews who lived there. These Gentiles spoke Greek, and since Jesus was a tradesman before going into ministry -- whether as a builder, a stonemason or carpenter we aren't sure -- but He would have needed to know Greek to do business with Gentiles.

  We have proof of this in the Gospels. In Mark 7:24–30, we see Jesus in a discussion with the Greek-speaking Syrian Phoenician woman,


25 Instead, immediately after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit came and fell at His feet.


26 Now the woman was Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to drive the demon out of her daughter.


  Jesus also spoke Greek when He avoided the snare set for Him by some religious leaders regarding the payment by Jews of taxes to Caesar in Mark 12:13–17. Before He replied, Jesus asked them for a coin:


16 So they brought one. “Whose image and inscription is this?” He asked them.


     “Caesar’s,” they said.


17 Then Jesus told them, “Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.


  We know He replied to them in Greek because, as Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede tells us, His answer used "a wordplay that works only in Greek" (see article linked to below). Jesus' brilliant response not only foiled an  attempt to trap Him in a political controversy, but also proved that He was a Master Communicator.


  This now brings Jesus' flawless grasp of languages to three, but we have yet one more to discuss.

  Israel was occupied by Rome at the time, and the occupying Roman soldiers, who were well-known for their cruelty and brutality, would not have bothered to learn either Hebrew or Aramaic to speak to the colonized Israelites.


  That meant that Israelites risked death if they didn't know Latin because, as Dr. James White points out, you would always want to understand exactly what orders an armed Roman soldier was barking at you because not knowing Latin could result in your untimely demise.


  But the Gospel of Matthew 8:5-13 also shows us Jesus interacting with a Roman centurion:

 5 When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 


 6 “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony!”


 7 “I will come and heal him,” He told him.


 8 “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured."


  John 18 also tells of Jesus' encounter with the Roman official Pontius Pilate, fifth prefect of the province of Judea (italics mine): 


33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”


34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?”


35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied...”


  Jesus and Pilate would have spoken in either Latin or Greek. Interestingly enough, it is Pilate who later orders which words will be placed on the sign that was to be affixed to Jesus' cross. The Apostle John records Pilate's choice for us:


John 19

19 Pilate also had a sign lettered and put on the cross. The inscription was:


    JESUS THE NAZARENE

    THE KING OF THE JEWS.

20 Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.


  Pilate posted that sign in at least three of the languages common to the people of Jerusalem at the time; Hebrew, Latin and Greek.


  Since these languages were common in their day, why would Jesus not have known them?


Jesus is Lord!

  See also:

  A Testament Is Born, by Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede

  
  http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1994/issue43/4324.html




Who Wrote Most of the New Testament?

  Is the claim correct that Paul wrote most of the New Testament?

  Critics make this claim to try and support their assertion that Paul somehow hijacked Christianity away from the Mosaic Law and into his own "grace theology." But the answer about who wrote most of the NT is easy enough to come to. All we have to do is the math.

  The information used below comes from the oldest sources we have: the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. As you may know, the authors of the NT wrote in Koine Greek, which was the lingua franca of their day. The word numbers may vary slightly from source to source, but these are not going to change our final results.

  So who are our Top Three writers?

  The New Testament has a total of 138,020 Greek words in the Analytical Greek New Testament (AGNT). 

  Of those 138,020 words, the most prolific writers of the New Testament were:

  Author  Books                 # of Words      % of NT   

  Luke    Gospel of Luke        37,933          27% 
              Acts                               

  Paul     Romans                  32,407          23%
              1 Corinthians
              2 Corinthians
              Galatians
              Ephesians
              Philippians
              Colossians
              1 Thessalonians
              2 Thessalonians
              1 Timothy
              2 Timothy
              Titus
              Philemon

  John    Gospel of John         28,092           20%
              1 John
              2 John
              3 John
              Revelation

  While Paul may have written the most epistles, he did not produce as much volume as did Luke the evangelist.

Bible

  Other NT facts:
  
    Gospel of Matthew       18,345 words
    Gospel of Mark            11,304 words
    Gospel of Luke            19,482 words
    Gospel of John            15,635 words

               For a total of    64,766 words

  The four Gospels which tell us about the life and words of Jesus comprise almost 47% of the New Testament. 

  The next largest book after that is Luke's Book of the Acts of the Apostles, with 18,451 words, or 13% of the New Testament.

  After Acts comes the Book of Revelation, which contains what many Christians consider yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy in the New Testament. Revelation has 9,852 words, or about 7% of the NT.

  The longest epistle is Paul's letter to the Romans, with 7,111 words, while the shortest is John's epistle of 3 John, with 219.


  References:

  The only website I found with a list of the number of words in the Greek New Testament was this one. The data is based on the Analytical Greek New Testament (AGNT):

  http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/NT-Statistics-Greek.htm



A Second Look at the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible

Front Cover

  Now that I've had time to use the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) Apologetics Study Bible for a few weeks, I figured it was time for an update.

  But first let's talk about why anyone should consider getting a hard copy of any book, especially since we are very well into the digital age where so much is now available for your phone or other mobile device. 

  My main reason for looking at getting a new hard copy Bible was because I have found that I don't quite remember things as well reading off a computer screen as compared to the printed page. Maybe I'm just old school, but my thinking is that a hard copy will make remembering my Bible word for word easier for me the same way I memorized important verses from my first Bible from a quarter of a century ago.

Cover for Gospel of John



  Apart from that, with a hard copy Bible, there is no power source required. You can take it anywhere in the world and you will always be able to read it. There are no batteries to charge, no downloading wait times, no hardware freezes or any of those other technical issues. But what is likely to be the most important fact would be that there are no added reasons to be distracted from actually reading and studying the Word of God. Your hard copy Bible won't notify you of new email or text messages and take you away from making a discovery about the verse or passage you're studying. 

  That said, let's get back to the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible. One of the reasons this version caught my eye was that, since I teach the Bible online through my articles, I wanted a text that is relatively easy to read and comprehend for as many as possible without sacrificing the accuracy of the translation. And I believe the HCSB meets both of these requirements.

  The next definite plus I noticed as I used the online version (thanks, BibleGateway.com!) was that the HCSB uses the name Yahweh for God, which was also particularly useful for me. The HCSB also capitalizes the names and titles of God, which meant less work for me as I copied and pasted all the many verses I use daily. I can't imagine how many hours that capitalization saved me. While not having the capitals is great for scholars who want to make sure their interpretation isn't influenced by others, it isn't helpful for those of us who are trying to make Scripture as accessible to many who are unfamiliar with the Bible and its contents.  

  Another thing I was looking for in a new Bible was a version that was up to date with modern scholarship, one that factored in what we have  learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other recent manuscript finds. That is also present in the HCSB.

  And now for the "distractions."   

  All Study Bibles contain tons of notes and practical helps for understanding Scripture. And the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible certainly has that in spades. The "problem," if it can be called that, is the possibility of getting lost in all of that wonderful information.    

  Apart from the usual textual footnotes, the HCSB ASB has apologetics-focused material, such as the Timeline seen below:


Apologetics Timeline

  I haven't yet had the chance to explore all of these features, but I can tackle those in a future installment of this review. 

  An update: 

  I started reading the notes for the Gospel of Matthew and they are great. They cover the theory of the Hebrew/Aramaic original and authorship issues but deal with it using modern scholarship. Excellent stuff. The Study Notes are also perfect for apologists. As expected, this Bible is going to set me back from my 90 Day Bible Reading Plan because I will want to read all the notes, too!  


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