Tag Archives: Greek

Paul and his use of Greek Philosophy

Out of the 27 books, epistles and letters that make up the New Testament, 13 have been authored by the Apostle Paul (This does not include the book of Hebrews which some believe he wrote). One of the most influential people in the 1st Century Church, a former Pharisee, he took the gospel or Good news of our Messiah to the Greek speaking world of his day. This was no easy task. The peoples of Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Phillipi, Colosse & Thessalonica which he wrote to, were all part of the Greek speaking world educated in Greek literature and philosophy, with their own gods, traditions and opinions.

If you have read Paul’s epistles, inevitably, a thought such as “Why is Paul so hard to understand?” would have crossed your mind at some point. It is true that some of his letters are not that easy to read or understand. And interestingly, this has been the case even in his day, as we see Peter saying “… even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2Pet 3:15,16)

Today, I present to you some research into Paul’s words and why we have such a hard time understanding most of it. As you will see listed below, Paul uses the words, ideas and Greek philosophy presented by such philosophers as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Seneca and many more intellectuals of his day, to help the people who he was talking to, better understand his teachings.

1Cor 15:33
Evil communications corrupt good manners.

Quoted from Thais, a work done by “Menander“, a writer from the 3rd Century BC, who in turn is supposed to have quoted from another Scholar named “Euripides”.

Titus 1:12
The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

In writing to Titus Paul quotes a description of the Cretans taken from “Epimenides“. Paul calls Epimenides “one of themselves, a prophet of their own”.

Acts 17:24-29
In Acts 17:18 Paul is encountered by Epicureans and Stoics. Paul’s first sentence struck directly at the “Epicurean” theory (the origin of the world by mere coincidence and of atoms) and arrayed himself with the “Stoics” in their doctrine of the (Divine Wisdom and Providence creating and ruling all things). His speech is made up of words quoted from a Roman Stoic Philosopher called Lucius Annaeus Seneca as mentioned below.

Acts 17:24
Paul went on to say, “God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.”
Seneca, the most prominent contemporary representative of Stoicism, had put their doctrine into these words, “The whole world is the temple of the immortal gods,” and “Temples are not to be built to God of stones piled on high. He must be consecrated in the heart of every man.”

Acts 17:25
Paul said, “Neither is God served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.”
Seneca put the same truth in this form: “God wants not ministers. How so? He himself ministereth to the human race.”

Acts 17:26-28a
Paul said, “God made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.
Seneca agrees, “We are members of a vast body. Nature made us kin, when she produced us from the same things and to the same ends.”

Paul said, “God is not far from each one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.
Seneca wrote, “God is at hand everywhere and to all men.”  and again, “God is near thee ; he is with thee ; he is within.”

Acts 17:28b
Paul says, For we are also his offspring.
In Paul’s speech at Athens, he quotes from “certain of your own poets”. The poet he is talking about is Aratus, and this is a line found in the Phaenomena of Aratus

Acts 17:29
Then Paul proceeded, “Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think the godhead is like unto gold or silver or stone, graven by art or device of men.
Seneca parallels the thought again: “Thou shalt not form him of silver and gold: a true likeness of God cannot be molded of this material.

Gal 5:23b
Paul says, Against such there is no law.
Roman 2:14b
Paul says, Are a law unto themselves.
Paul’s words are eerily familiar to Aristotle‘s saying of men eminent for wisdom and virtue, “Against such there is no law, for they themselves are a law,”

1Cor 9:24a
Paul says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?
Plato says, “But such as are true racers, arriving at the end, both receive the prizes and are crowned”

Rom 7:22,23
Paul says, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Plato says,”There is a victory and defeat – the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats – which each man gains or sustains at the hands not of another, but of himself; this shows that there is a war against ourselves – going on in every individual of us.”

Phillip 3:19
Paul says, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things“.
Plato gives a vivid description of those gluttonous and intemperate souls whose belly was their God, in Plato’s work called “the Republic”.

Rom 8:5
Paul says, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
Gal 6:8
Paul says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption
Plato speaks of “to be carnally-minded was death” in Phaedo

2 Cor 4:4
Paul says, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not
Plato speaks of “the God of this world blindeth the eyes of his votaries” in Theaetetus
In the book Paul and His Epistles – D.A. Hayes writes “Plato would have pictured for him the truth that the God of this world blindeth the eyes of his votaries, and Paul never could have forgotten the picture when he had once read it.” – Theaet., 176; Rep., 7, 514
(Please note that the above point has been corrected as rightly pointed out by dear brother, Dan Angelov – my sincere apologies for misquoting it before) I wish to thank Angelov for re-checking the post and communicating this correction.

Php 1:21
Paul says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Plato says, “Now if death is like this, I say that to die is gain.”

2Tim 4:6
Paul says, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand
To be with Christ, which is far better.
Plato says, “The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways, I to die and you to live. which is better God only knows.

1Cor 13:12
Paul says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.”
Plato says, I am very far from admitting that he who contemplates existences through the medium of thought, sees them only “through a glass, darkly,” anymore than he who sees them in their working effects.

1Thess 5:15
Paul says, “See that none render evil for evil unto any man.”
Plato says, Then we ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to anyone, whatever evil we may have suffered from him.

1Co 8:2
Paul says, “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
Socrates
says, For my part, as I went away, I reasoned with regard to myself: “I am wiser than this human being. For probably neither of us knows anything noble and good, but he supposes he knows something when he does not know, while I, just as I do not know, do not even suppose that I do. I am likely to be a little bit wiser than he in this very thing: that whatever I do not know, I do not even suppose I know. (Apology, 21d – kindly submitted by Brother Joseph)

1Cor 9:16
Paul says, “For necessity is laid upon me ; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
Plato says, But necessity was laid upon me – the word of God I thought ought to be considered first.

Acts 14:15
Paul and Barnabas say, “We also are men of like passions with you“.
Plato says, I am a man, and, like other men, a creature of flesh and blood, and not of ” wood or stone,” as Homer says.

2Cor 7:2
Paul says, “I speak because I am convinced that I never intentionally wronged anyone“.
Plato says, We have wronged no man ; we have corrupted no man ; we have defrauded no man.

Rom 12:4
Paul says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office“.
Socrates says  “To begin with, our several natures are not all alike but different. One man is naturally fitted for one task, and another for another.”

Eph 1:22,23
Paul says, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Plato says “First, then, the gods, imitating the spherical shape of the universe, enclosed the two divine courses in a spherical body, that, namely, which we now term the head, being the most divine part of us and the lord of all that is in us; to this the gods, when they put together the body, gave all the other members to be servants.”

1Cor 12:14-17
Paul explains that “a body is not one single organ, but many. … Suppose the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, it does still belong to the body. If the body were all eye, how could it hear? If the body were all ear, how could it smell? But, in fact, God appointed each limb and organ to its own place in the body, as he chose.
Socrates asks Protagoras, “Is virtue a single whole, and are justice and self-control and holiness parts of it? … as the parts of a face are parts-mouth, nose, eyes and ears.” Socrates then probes into the metaphor further by asking Protagoras if they agree that each part serves a different purpose, just as the features of a face do, and the parts make the whole, but each serves a different purpose–“the eye is not like the ear nor has it the same function.”

1Co 12:25
Paul says “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
Socrates says, that the best-governed city is one “whose state is most like that of an individual man. For example, if the finger of one of us is wounded, the entire community of bodily connections stretching to the soul for ‘integration’ with the dominant part is made aware, and all of it feels the pain as a whole”

Paul’s use of Greek Philosophy of his day and age, cannot be overlooked or dismissed. He used the words of intellectuals of his day to his advantage in taking God’s word and the good news to the Greek speaking Gentile world. The evidence provided above cannot be passed off as mere coincidence. He wrote and spoke these words to a particular people who would have understood and would have been very familiar with the metaphors and ideas which he was using. One of the main reasons that we have such a hard time understanding Paul’s words is that we are so much removed from the world Paul was living in, and talking to. The above verses are only a few I could find in my attempt in researching this subject. But I am sure that there are many more instances where Paul would have used Greek Philosophy to his advantage.

This study would be somewhat of a shock to some who depend on Paul’s words alone as the epitome of Scripture. (This is not in anyway, an attempt to demean his writings or his work) Paul was and still is one of the greatest apostles of God. But as Peter said in 2Pet 3:15,16, “there are some things in his letters that are hard to understand”. It is better for us to take this warning seriously, and not fall into the category of “ignorant and unstable people who distort Paul’s teachings to our own destruction”. We must always remember that God’s Word cannot have confusion or disorder. Paul’s words(The actual meaning of his words, and not what we read into it) cannot disagree with any other author in the Bible. His words have to co-exist with all of Scripture in harmony.

I hope this study has helped you to understand Paul, his letters and his ministry a bit better. If you know of any more parallels or ideas that Paul adapted from Greek Philosophy, please note it down as a comment. Thank you & may you be a blessing to others!

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Works Cited
The life and letters of Paul the Apostle – Lyman Abbott
Paul and His Epistles – D.A. Hayes
Paul the Apostle: At the Edge by Faith – Stuart H. Merriam

The Spring, the Stream, the Pool & the Puddle

The famous Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther once said “The Hebrew language is the best language of all … If I were younger I would want to learn this language, because no one can really understand the Scriptures without it. For although the New Testament is written in Greek, it is full of Hebraisms and Hebrew expressions. It has therefore been aptly said that the Hebrews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latins from a downstream pool.”
-Martin Luther, Table Talk, quoted in Pinchas E. Lapide, Hebrew in the Church, trans. Erroll F. Rhodes (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984).

In my studies of getting closer to the Hebrew Language, Hebraisms & Hebrew Expressions – in pursuit of understanding God Almighty and His Word, I have come across many people with varying opinions. Some see it as of no use. Some see it as attempting to become Jewish. And some even see it as a start of a new doctrine/teaching, when in fact learning Hebrew helps you understand the Scriptures better (Even understanding the Greek New Testament, as one third of it is quoted from the Hebrew Old Testament – 2606 Old Testament verses quoted in 7967 New Testament verses as per Barnes’ Bible Charts. 32.7% of the New Testament is directly from the Old Testament).

Today, I would like to leave a thought with you using Martin Luther’s words. If Hebrew is the Spring, Greek is the Stream and Latin a downstream Pool, what is English? Is it not a small Puddle?

Don’t get me wrong. The translators of the hundreds of English Translations available today, have done their own best. But we have to come to the same conclusion about all these translations. A translation is just that. A translation. It will never be as good as the Original. Anyone who has read books from a foreign author in their native language and then read the same book in English or any other language will understand what I am trying to say. Translations will always loose it’s purity down the way. The Spring to the puddle. If a person is happy with the water in the puddle, so be it. I, on the other hand, prefer the Spring. And am swimming towards it, in the pursuit of truth.

Is Baptism a New Testament ritual?

Reading the Gospels, I was always under the impression that Baptism started with John the Baptist. Was John the inventor of Baptism? Or did Baptism originate before him? Where did Baptism really come from? What is the true meaning and purpose of it? These are some of the questions I had myself.

The issue this study will try to address mainly, is that Baptism did not suddenly appear after John and Yeshua, but that it existed and has it’s roots in the Old Testament Scriptures.

It is a fact that the word “Baptism” does not appear in the Old Testament Scriptures. It seems to be an alien ritual that John suddenly starts out of nowhere, and people take part of, in the thousands(Mat 3:5,6). Even the Pharisees and Sadducees who were vehemently opposing Yeshua, wanted to take part in it(Mat 3:7).

An interesting point to ponder on, is in John 1:25. Here some asked him “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”(Joh 1:25). If Baptism was a completely new idea, why did they ask why John is Baptizing, instead of what is this thing called the “Baptism” that you are doing?

————————————————–The sum of this study——————————————————
Since this study delves deep into the Greek words written in the original manuscripts, I have compiled a summary of sorts for everyone who would find the evidence below a bit too advanced or time consuming.

The English word “Baptism” is a “Cognate” word. What this means is, that the English word “Baptism” comes from a similar sounding word from Greek, which is “Baptiszo”, which originally means “to make fully wet, whelmed or wash”. The reason we do not find Baptism in the English translation of the Old Testament, is a simple one; The English translations that we have of the Old Testament, was translated from Hebrew, while the New Testament was translated from Greek.

Even though 2000 years later, we see the English cognate word “Baptism” as a “ritual” that was started by John and Yeshua, the Greek word “Baptiszo” simply meant “to make fully wet, fully whelmed or wash”.

Further to this, “Baptism” is one of the main 3 acts performed by whomever wants to become a proselyte of Judaism. The Jewish Baptism (also called immersion), is identical to the “Baptism” recorded in the New Testament. And this act of Jewish Baptism predates John, Yeshua and the Christian Baptism. (Refer, Ablution, Jewish Baptism, Jewish proselyte baptism).

The act of Baptism, is believed to originate from the commandment God gave to His people before the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:10). This act can be seen further in Leviticus 8:6, where Aaron and his sons were washed when they were ordained as priests to minister in the holy tabernacle.

Baptism is an important step in the life of anyone who believes in Yeshua. It depicts how we are dead to our old sinful self, and is born in Christ’s image (Rom 6:3,4). Baptism cannot save anyone, in the same way circumcision cannot save anyone. Both are outward acts that show an inward change. The person with the repentant heart alone will be saved through God’s grace. I am in no way, saying that Baptism is of no use. It is an ordinance made by Messiah to proclaim to the world, what has happened inside of a person who gets baptized in his name. In other words, you are showcasing the inner change to the world by the act of immersing yourself in a body of water, which is “Baptism”.

Just because we start seeing the English word “Baptism” in the Gospels first, does not mean that the act of Baptism wasn’t there before John or the Gospels. Getting caught in a word has blinded us to the reality of Baptism or Immersion in Water, as an act of re-birth and purification which was there, long before Christianity. This has in turn, led to the erroneous idea that Yeshua, our saviour introduced a complete set of new rules and regulations, and that baptism was also a new law that came with the New Covenant.
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Study of Greek words in the Original Manuscripts using the Strong’s Concordance
Now let’s look at the 3 main Greek Words used in connection with the idea of Baptism in the Original Greek Manuscripts. I have showcased all of these words (even though 2 of them originate from the first word) and their corresponding translations to English, as well as highlight key verses for discussion and shedding insight into the act of Baptism.

1) G907 – βαπτίζω – baptizō – bap-tid’-zo – From a derivative of G911; to make whelmed (that is, fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: – baptize, wash.

G907 is translated as “Baptize”, “Baptized”, “Baptizest”, “Baptizing”, “Baptizeth” in  – Mat_3:6; Mat_3:11; Mat_3:13; Mat_3:14; Mat_3:16; Mat_20:22; Mat_20:23; Mat_28:19; Mar_1:4; Mar_1:5; Mar_1:8; Mar_1:9; Mar_10:38; Mar_10:39; Mar_16:16; Luk_3:7; Luk_3:12; Luk_3:16; Luk_3:21; Luk_7:29; Luk_7:30; Luk_12:50; Joh_1:25; Joh_1:26; Joh_1:28; Joh_1:31; Joh_1:33; Joh_3:22; Joh_3:23; Joh_3:26; Joh_4:1; Joh_4:2; Joh_10:40; Act_1:5; Act_2:38; Act_2:41; Act_8:12; Act_8:13; Act_8:16; Act_8:36; Act_8:38; Act_9:18; Act_10:47; Act_10:48; Act_11:16; Act_16:15; Act_16:33; Act_18:8; Act_19:3; Act_19:4; Act_19:5; Act_22:16; Rom_6:3; 1Co_1:13; 1Co_1:14; 1Co_1:15; 1Co_1:16; 1Co_1:17; 1Co_10:2; 1Co_12:13; 1Co_15:29; Gal_3:27;

It is also translated as “wash” in Mar 7:4 and as “washed” in Luk 11:38.
Mar 7:4  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Luk 11:38  And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
These verses should ideally read as given below:-
Mar 7:4  And when they come from the market, except they baptize, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Luk 11:38  And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first baptized before dinner.

This is clear proof to the fact that the Greek Word “G907 – βαπτίζω – baptizō – bap-tid’-zo” clearly meant “wash”. Since this Greek word has been translated to “Baptism” in English, which is a “Cognate” word, (meaning a similar sounding word which has originated from it’s Greek counterpart) it has caused people to think that the act of “Baptism” is a completely new idea only found in the New Testament. The fact is, that this word originally meant “wash” or “immerse” in the Greek.


2) G908 – βάπτισμα – baptisma – bap’-tis-mah
– From G907; baptism (technically or figuratively): – baptism.

G908 is also translated as “Baptism” in Mat_3:7; Mat_20:22; Mat_20:23; Mat_21:25; Mar_1:4; Mar_10:38; Mar_10:39; Mar_11:30; Luk_3:3; Luk_7:29; Luk_12:50; Luk_20:4; Act_1:22; Act_10:37; Act_13:24; Act_18:25; Act_19:3; Act_19:4; Rom_6:4; Eph_4:5; Col_2:12; 1Pe_3:21;

G908 – baptisma originates from G907 baptizō


3) G909 – βαπτισμός – baptismos – bap-tis-mos’
– From G907; ablution (ceremonially or Christian): – baptism, washing.
Mar 7:4  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Mar 7:8  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Heb 6:2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Heb 9:10  Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Just like G908 – baptisma, G909 – baptismos also originates from G907 baptizō. This word which is translated as “baptisms” in He 6:2, is translated as “washing/s” in Mar 7:4, 7:8 & Heb 9:10. This further proves the fact of “Baptizo/Baptism” being the equivalent of “Wash”.

Baptism in Judaism predating John and Messiah
Any and everyone who wants to become a proselyte of Judaism has to go through 3 main acts over and above studying. The 3 acts are “Circumcision”, “Baptism” and offering of “Sacrifice”. In today’s context, as the Temple in Jerusalem is no more, they have to accomplish the first 2. It has been so, even before John & Yeshua according to historical documents.  And this Jewish Baptism (also called immersion), is identical to the “Baptism” recorded in the New Testament. (Refer, Ablution, Jewish Baptism, Jewish proselyte baptism). Furthermore, they even believe that the person who goes through “Baptism” is like a newborn child, which is very close to the idea of born-again, used by Christians.

“Baptism”(G907 – baptizō ) found in Septuagint
The “Septuagint“, which is a Greek Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures, contains G907 – baptizō  in 2 Kin 5:14.
2Ki 5:14  Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

In this verse Naaman the Syrian, who had a skin disease washed/immersed himself 3 times in the Jordan as per Elisha’s instructions. It is translated as “dipped” in our English Bibles, though the Greek scholars who translated the Hebrew to Greek for the Septuagint, 2 centuries before Yeshua, used G907 – baptizō  in this place. This is a clear indication, that G907 – baptizō  meant to “wash/immerse oneself”. And that the word itself was there 2 centuries before Yeshua, even though the English word “Baptism” came to be, only much later in time.
Origins of Baptism or Ritual Washing/Immersion
In Exodus 19:10, God tells Moses to tell the people to wash their clothes in preparation of hearing God speak and receiving His Commandments. This is the first instance there is any mention of a ritual of washing.

Leviticus 8:6 records that Aaron and his sons were washed with water when they were ordained as priests to minister in the holy tabernacle, according to God’s Command. Again, in Leviticus 16:4, God commands Aaron to wash himself before he ministered in the Holy of Holies.

The first Temple in Jerusalem built by Solomon had a large circular pool of water, which was called the “Sea of Solomon”. This was used by the priests for cleansing/washing and is mentioned in 1Kings 7:23 and 2Chron 4:2.

Baptising or Washing/Immersing ourselves today
Baptism in itself is only an act. It is the heart of the person that gets Baptised/Immersed/Washed that matters. Baptism cannot save anyone, in the same way circumcision cannot save anyone. Both are outward acts that show an inward change. The person with the repentant heart alone will be saved through God’s grace. Baptism is an important step in the life of anyone who believes in Yeshua. It depicts how we are dead to our old sinful self and is born in Christ’s image (Rom 6:3,4). It is an ordinance made by Messiah to proclaim to the world, what has happened inside of a person who gets baptized in his name. In other words, you are showcasing the inner change to the world by the act of immersing yourself in a body of water, which is “Baptism”.

Concluding words
A person can very well say, that “Baptism” is first seen in the Gospels. This has led to the idea that Yeshua, our saviour introduced a new set of rules and regulations, and that baptism was also a new law that came with the New Covenant.

Just because we start seeing the English word “Baptism” in the Gospels first, does not mean that the “act of Baptism” was started by John in the Gospels. As we have seen above, “Baptism”, a cognate word, originating from it’s Greek counterpart literally means “immerse/wash”.  And washing as an act of renewal and cleansing has been there from Old Testament times.

Finally, I hope this article adequately shows you that the act of “Baptism” was not created by John or Yeshua, and that it is not something that anyone can use to separate the Old Testament from the New. If at all, this act brings the Old Testament Scriptures closer to the Gospels and epistles, of the New.

Defining the terms “Jew” & “Gentile”

Since we have already defined the word “Israel”, it is only fitting that we understand what it means to be a “Jew” or a “Gentile” as per the definition found in the Scriptures.

Who is a Jew?
The word Jew means “of Judah” or Descendant of “Judah” (1 of the 12 sons of Jacob).
Strong’s Hebrew Concordance – H3064 – יהוּדי – yehûdı̂y – yeh-hoo-dee’
Descendant of Jehudah (that is, Judah)

2 of the 12 tribes of Israel (Namely Judah & Benjamin) were in the House/Kingdom of Judah(1Kings 12:23) after the Division of Israel (1 Kings 11 onwards)

Later people coming from the House of Judah, even if they were from the Tribe of Benjamin, were known as Jews. (Esther 2:5,6)
Paul called himself a Jew, (Acts 21:39) but he was from the tribe of Benjamin (Rom 11:1)

The House of Judah was the only 2 tribes left in Judea when Jesus was on earth, as the other 10 tribes were scattered after being taken to Assyria. (2Kings 17:5-23, Eze 28:25) We will do a separate study on the Two Houses of Israel, in the near future.

Peter was called a Jew (Gal 2:14). Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus), His disciples and everyone living in Judea were called Jews (John 4:9)

In the last days people will ask the Jews about their God (Zec 8:23)

Judaism is “the Religion of the Jews”, which Paul claims He was a part of before, as a Pharisee. (Gal 1:13,14).

Not all Jews are followers of Judaism. There are Jews who believe in the “Oral Law” and the ways of the Pharisees called “Orthodox Jews”. There are Jews who believe in only the Old Testament(Tanakh) called Karaite Jews. Then there are Jews who believe in Yeshua as Savior, called “Messianic Jews”. The 1st Century Church of the New Testament was also called a Jewish Sect, called “The Way” at Paul’s time.(Acts 24:14,22, Acts 9:2)

Jews are only part of Israel, but all of Israel are not Jews.
The “Israel” mentioned in the Scriptures is not a country or a Land. The land given to Israel was called the “Land of Israel”.

Who is a Gentile?
There are few words in Greek, which have been interchangeably used as Greek & Gentile in the English King James Version Bible

G1672 – Ἕλλην – Hellēn – hel’-lane
From G1671; a Hellen (Grecian) or inhabitant of Hellas; by extension a Greek speaking person, especially a non-Jew: – Gentile, Greek.

The Places G1672 is used in the KJV Bible is given below
It is translated as Gentile in Joh_7:35, Rom_2:9, Rom_3:9, 1Co_10:32, 1Co_12:13,
It is translated as Greek in Joh_12:20, Act_14:1, Act_16:1, Act_16:3, Act_17:4, Act_18:17, Act_19:10, Act_19:17, Act_20:21, Act_21:28, Rom_1:14, Rom_1:16, Rom_2:10, Rom_10:12, 1Co_1:22, 1Co_1:23, 1Co_1:24, Gal_2:3, Gal_3:28, Col_3:11

G1675 – Ἑλληνιστής – Hellēnistēs – hel-lay-nis-tace’
From a derivative of G1672; a Hellenist or Greek speaking Jew: – Grecian.

The places G1675 is used are Act_6:1, Act_9:29 & Act_11:2

G1484 – ἔθνος – ethnos – eth’-nos
Probably from G1486; a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

G1484 has been translated as Nations in Mat_24:9, Mat_24:14, Mat_25:32, Mat_28:19, Mar_11:17, Mar_13:10, Luk_12:30, Luk_21:24, Luk_21:25, Act_13:19, Act_14:16, Act_17:26, Rom_1:5, Rom_4:17, Rom_4:18, Rom_16:26, Gal_3:8, Rev_2:26, Rev_7:9, Rev_10:11, Rev_11:9, Rev_11:18, Rev_12:5, Rev_13:7, Rev_14:8, Rev_15:4, Rev_16:19, Rev_17:15, Rev_18:3, Rev_18:23, Rev_19:15, Rev_20:3, Rev_20:8, Rev_21:24, Rev_21:26, Rev_22:2

G1484 has been translated as Gentiles in Mat_4:15, Mat_6:32, Mat_10:5, Mat_10:18, Mat_12:18, Mat_12:21, Mat_20:19, Mat_20:25, Mar_10:33, Mar_10:42, Luk_2:32, Luk_18:32, Luk_21:24, Luk_22:25, Act_4:27, Act_7:45, Act_9:15, Act_10:45, Act_11:1, Act_11:18, Act_13:42,
Act_13:46, Act_13:47, Act_13:48, Act_14:2, Act_14:5, Act_14:27, Act_15:3, Act_15:7, Act_15:12,
Act_15:14, Act_15:17, Act_15:19, Act_15:23, Act_18:6, Act_21:1, Act_21:19, Act_21:21, Act_21:25, Act_22:21, Act_26:17, Act_26:20, Act_26:23, Act_28:28, Rom_1:13, Rom_2:14, Rom_2:24, Rom_3:29, Rom_9:24, Rom_9:30, Rom_11:11, Rom_11:12, Rom_11:13, Rom_11:25, Rom_15:9, Rom_15:10, Rom_15:11, Rom_15:12, Rom_15:16, Rom_15:18, Rom_15:27, Rom_16:4, 1Co_5:1, 1Co_10:20, 1Co_12:2, Gal_2:2, Gal_2:8, Gal_2:12, Gal_2:14, Gal_2:15, Gal_3:14, Eph_2:11, Eph_3:1, Eph_3:6, Eph_3:8, Eph_4:17, Col_1:27, 1Th_2:16, 1Th_4:5, 1Ti_2:7, 1Ti_3:16, 2Ti_1:11, 2Ti_4:17, 1Pe_2:12, 1Pe_4:3, 3Jn_1:7, Rev_11:2

Are we Gentiles?
We WERE Gentiles till we accepted Yeshua as Savior (1Cor 12:2, Eph 2:11).
Gentiles do not know God (1Thess 4:5). Gentiles are the ones who seek worldly things such as food and clothing (Mat 6:32)
Peter tells the believers to be honest among the gentiles they live around (1Pet 2:11,12)
Israel is scattered among gentiles (Joh 7:35, Hos 8:8, ) Gentiles have different Gods and sacrifices(1Cor 10:20)
Gentiles got converted (Act 15:3) God picked a people out for Himself out of the gentiles (Act 15:14)

The above instances show a clear separation between Gentile, and believers in Almighty God. The Old Testament also agrees with this concept, saying a Gentile who lives among Israel is to be considered as one born in the land (Lev 19:34). When someone becomes a “Christian” (one who imitates THE Anointed one), he is no more the Old Gentile who dwells in the Gentile Ways, He is a new Creation. One who imitates God’s ways, God’s people. He is grafted in to God’s people Israel (Rom 11:16-26). The title “Gentile Christian” is an oxymoron, as a “Gentile” is one who does not know God and a “Christian” is one who imitates THE Anointed one. Effectively, “Gentile Christian” means “One who imitates THE Anointed one, who does not know God”.

Remember, that the Good Shepherd has only one flock (John 10:16). If God has said that Israel is His people/His flock forever(2Sam 7:24, 1Chr 17:22, 2Chr 20:7, Psa 125:2), can Gentile Christians be another flock?

Whether we call ourselves Gentiles or whether we try to separate ourselves far off, from the Jews, one thing is Clear. We have to shape our ways into God’s People. We cannot act like Gentiles. We must start living how He wanted His people, “Israel” to live. That is for sure!

Defining the word “Christ”

The word “Christ”, is commonly used today alongside the name of Jesus. So much so, that “Jesus Christ” has become one name. But what is the actual meaning behind the word “Christ”? Some say, that the meaning is Messiah, Savior or Deliverer. Is this claim true? Let’s go back to the original Manuscripts and the Greek & Hebrew words to check the truth and learn for ourselves the true Biblical definition rather than stick to any particular translation.

First of all, let’s check the Greek word, which the word “Christ” has been translated from:
The Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance
G5547 – Χριστός – Christos – khris-tos’
From G5548; Meaning Anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.

(In all of the instances where khris-tos’ is present in the New Testament, the KJV Bible translation reads “Christ”). The word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word. It is a word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’.

Since the Strong’s definition above says that “khris-tos'” is derived from the word denoted by Strong’s Number G5548, let’s check that word as well.

G5548 – χρίω – chriō – khree’-o
Meaning to smear or rub with oil, that is, (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service: – Anoint.
(Luk 4:18, Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38, 2Cor 1:21, Heb 1:9)

So it is very clear now where the word khris-tos’ comes from, and that it means Anointed. Making it clear that “Christ” means “Anointed”. But what about the word “Messiah”? The definition of Messiah is, a deliverer or savior. Where is the connection between “Christ” and “Messiah”? Hold on for a second, We will get the answer for this soon!

Now that we know that the word “Christ” means “Anointed“, let us move to the Old Testament to check the meaning behind the word “Anointed” as well. (The word “Christ” does not appear in the Old Testament because it is derived from a Greek word, whereas the Old Testament is written in Hebrew)

The Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance
H4899 – משׁיח – mâshı̂yach – maw-shee’-akh
From H4886; Anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.

(In all of the instances other than Daniel 9:25&26, where the word “maw-shee’-akh”appears in the Old Testament, the KJV Bible translation reads as “Anointed”. In Daniel 9;25,26 “maw-shee’-akh” is translated in the KJV Bible as “Messiah”). Just like the word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’, “Messiah” also is a cognate word that originates from the Hebrew word “maw-shee’-akh”!

The only 2 places that the word “Messiah” is found in the whole KJV Bible is in
Daniel 9: Verses 25 & 26. And actual Hebrew word there is none other than “maw-shee’-akh” the word that is translated as “Anointed”.

You might think, so what is the big deal about this? Why do we need to understand what “Christ” means?
Reason No.1

In the New Testament, the word “Christ”, has always referred to Yeshua. Giving the meaning of “Yeshua the Anointed”. The Hebrew word “maw-shee’-akh”, on the other hand,  is not, and has not been exclusive to Yeshua(The hebrew name of Jesus). Here are some instances “maw-shee’-akh” is used for others.

You can see David referring to Saul as God’s Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – 1Sam 26:9,11,16, 23
Levitical Priests were called Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – Lev 4:3,5,16
Cyrus, the Persian King was called Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – Isaiah 45:1

Am I refuting the Fact that Yeshua is “THE Messiah”? God forbid. Not at all. I am merely trying to show the biblical definition of the word “Christ”.
The word maw-shee’-akh in Daniel 9:25,26 has valid reason to be translated as Messiah or Savior, as I believe it is referring to “THE Anointed” one, Yeshua our Messiah.

We know that He was Anointed with the Holy Spirit by God in the beginning of His ministry(Acts 10:38). But what was He anointed as? And why is He called THE Anointed one? We know, by reading Hebrews 8:1, That He has been Anointed as our High Priest.
We also know, according to 1Tim6:14,15 and a whole load of scriptures in the book of Revelations, that He will be the one who is Anointed King when He comes the second time.

He is THE Anointed High Priest & THE Anointed King over our lives.

Reason No.2
To unravel the confusion between the terms “Christ”, “Anointed” & “Messiah”.
Take a look at the verses given below.
2Ti 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
(If Christ meant Messiah which means Savior, this verse would read, …of our “Savior” Jesus “Savior”, who hath…) Check Philip 3:20, Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6, 2Pet 1:1,11, 2:20 as well.
We need to understand the difference between Yeshua being the Saviour, and Him being called Anointed. He is called THE Anointed one, who is our Saviour.

Reason No.3
Maybe the most important of all the reasons for our lives would be what it means to be called a “Christian”. The word “Christian” can be seen only 3 times in the Bible.
(Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1Peter 4:16)

G5546 – Χριστιανός – Christianos – khris-tee-an-os’
From G5547; a Christian, that is, follower of Christ: – Christian.

Which means Just like the word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’, “Christian” also originates from the Greek word khris-tee-an-os’! It is a follower of Christ. Someone who acts as Christ. Someone who emulates THE Anointed one.

In closing, I would just like to say, that knowing the true meanings of the words we use pertaining to the Bible can be of little or no use to most people. But I hope it has helped you to understand one of the most used words concerning Yeshua. Every time that you read “Christ” in your bible, remember that the true meaning of it is not Savior, Deliverer or Messiah but “THE Anointed”. I hope this helps even a few people understand that “Christ” is not just another meaningless title that our Messiah carries, and when you read “Jesus Christ” in your Bibles, that it will make much more sense and bring much more revelation in your personal studies.

Added on 29th March 2013
Another important point had been missed by me in this definition. Yeshua said in Mat 24:4,5, “Let no one deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” With the definition we have of “Christ”, what can Yeshua be saying here?
Many shall come in my name(I’m a follower of Yeshua), saying, I am Christ(Anointed), and deceive many. What He asked us to be careful of was not only “THE Antichrist”. It was also people who would come saying that “I am a follower of Yeshua. I am an anointed one who speaks God’s words.” The only way to be not deceived, is to know God’s Word. A person who speaks God’s word cannot go against the Scripture. Not even one word.

Defining the word “Church”

The word “Church” today is commonly used for the place Christians meet. Generally a person would say things like “We are going to Church” or “The Church is empty”.

Before going into Biblical Definitions, we must know some basic information and history about the Bible.

  1. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew also known as the Tanakh.
  2. There was a Greek translation done of the Hebrew Scriptures in the 2nd Century BCE, (Before Yeshua‘s Birth) called the Septuagint.
  3. Most of the remaining New Testament manuscripts are in Greek.

Even though we use an English translation of the Bible, we know that sometimes meaning can be lost in translation. Because of this, going to the root languages of the Manuscripts can lend much more insight into the real meaning of the word “Church”. What we now need to research is, which word in the Greek was translated to the word “Church”

The Word “Church” is a translation for a Greek word called “ekklēsia”, which means “Called out”, “Assembly” or “Congregation”. (Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Dictionary – G1577)

While throughout the bible, “ekklēsia” has been translated as “Church”, there are a few places it is translated as “assembly” as well – Acts 19:31,39,41

An interesting point to note is, that in very much the same way, the word “Synagogue” is a translation for a Greek word called “sunagōgē”, which means “Assembly”/”Congregation” as well. (Strong’s Greek Dictionary – G4864)

“sunagōgē” is translated as “assembly” in James 2:2
“sunagoge” is translated as “congregation” in Acts 13:43

Both words, “Church” and “Synagogue” meant bodies of people. Not a building or a place.

Now that we know that “Church” doesn’t mean an institution, a place or a building, let’s tackle one of the other common misconceptions, which is that Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus) came to build a “Church”, and that there was no “Church” before Yeshua.

Language, I believe, has become one of the biggest barriers of our time. Since we have a big barrier which is a New Testament(NT) in Greek, and an Old Testament(OT) in Hebrew, comparing the two languages are next to impossible, as they are worlds apart. Because of this, we will turn to the Septuagint, which is a Greek translation of the OT. Comparing the NT Greek and the OT in Greek using the Septuagint, we can land on some solid answers.

Armed with this knowledge, let’s check whether we can find the Greek word “ekklēsia” in the OT. And true to the fact, there are more than 70 locations where “ekklēsia” is used, in place of “Assembly” or “Congregation”. These places are listed below.

Deu_4:10, Deu_9:10, Deu_18:16, Deu_23:1, Deu_23:2, Deu_23:3, Deu_23:8, Deu_31:30, Jos_8:35,
Jdg_20:2, Jdg_21:5, Jdg_21:8, 1Sa_17:47, 1Sa_19:20, 1Ki_8:14, 1Ki_8:22, 1Ki_8:55, 1Ki_8:65, 1Ch_13:, 1Ch_13:4, 1Ch_28:2, 1Ch_28:8, 1Ch_29:1, 1Ch_29:10, 1Ch_29:20, 2Ch_1:3, 2Ch_1:5, 2Ch_6:3, 2Ch_6:12, 2Ch_6:13, 2Ch_7:8, 2Ch_10:3, 2Ch_20:5, 2Ch_20:14, 2Ch_23:3, 2Ch_28:14,
2Ch_29:23, 2Ch_29:28, 2Ch_29:31, 2Ch_29:32, 2Ch_30:2, 2Ch_30:4, 2Ch_30:13, 2Ch_30:17, 2Ch_30:23, 2Ch_30:24, 2Ch_30:25, Ezr_2:64, Ezr_10:1, Ezr_10:8, Ezr_10:12, Ezr_10:14, Neh_5:7
Neh_5:13, Neh_7:66, Neh_8:2, Neh_8:17, Neh_13:1, Job_30:28, Psa_22:22, Psa_22:25, Psa_26:5, Psa_26:12, Psa_35:18, Psa_40:9, Psa_68:26, Psa_89:5, Psa_107:32, Psa_149:1, Pro_5:14, Lam_1:10,
Joe_2:16, Mic_2:5

——————————————————————————————————————————–
A Sample is shown below in Bold:
Greek Septuagint – Deu_31:30  και ελαλησεν μωυσης εις τα ωτα πασης εκκλησιας (G1577) ισραηλ τα ρηματα της  ωδης ταυτης εως εις τελος

English KJV – Deu 31:30  And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.
——————————————————————————————————————————–

This leads to quite an amazing conclusion. In about 70 instances in the OT where the English says “Assembly” or “Congregation”, the Septuagint translates those words to “ekklēsia”.

Let me put the comparison of the words in a simpler way to digest:
ekklēsia (Greek NT) = church (English NT)
ekklēsia (Septuagint Greek OT) = assembly / congregation (English OT)
which means: church (English NT) = assembly / congregation (English OT)

So effectively, if the words are the same, (ekklēsia = church = assembly = congregation)
we would be able to read more than 70 other scriptures in the OT alongside Deut 31:30 as,
“And Moses spake in the ears of all the church of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended”.

To everyone who believes that the “Church” came after Yeshua, I ask you to look at the evidence. Do not get stuck with a particular language or a word. Look at the meaning of the word, rather than the word itself.

Now, I know that some people would still say that I am putting too much effort and forcing my ideas through. To all those people, my answer would be to compare and check the evidence. Don’t believe me. But if there is sufficient evidence, don’t shrug it off. Be open to learning something new, even if it goes against some of your beliefs.

In closing, I would like to say that, as people living in a technologically advanced age, why can’t we put all the resources we have to good use and audit our translations, check for the real meanings and compare historical documents. I hope, I have made a good enough case to prove,
A) That “Church” means the people and not any institution, building or place
B) That the “Church” existed even when Moses led Israel, as the people/congregation was the “Church”.

When Yeshua said “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my CHURCH; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Yeshua did not mean He was creating a new institution, a new system, a new building or a new place. What He meant was that, He is going to build His people, His assembly and His Congregation – the “Called Out” ones.