- Christogenea Saturdays
TruthVid's 100 Proofs that the Israelites were White, Part 71
In our last presentation we discussed many of the countless similarities which the Hebrews had with ancient Greek culture, demonstrating the fact that Hebrews and Greeks held many common beliefs, even if one side was from a pagan perspective. Now we shall discuss the similarities between the Hebrew language and the languages of Europe, mostly Latin, Greek and English. Those similarities go far beyond the fact that the nations of Europe use a Hebrew/Phoenician alphabet, as many of the most basic words are so similar in sound and meaning that they must be directly related. But before we get into that discussion, we shall discuss a prophecy where Yahweh God had promised that He would speak to his people in a language other than Hebrew, and that language must have been Greek.
96) Why the New Testament was written in the Greek language, and most quotations from the Old Testament were made from the Greek Septuagint.
There are rumors that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, which is also sometimes called Syriac, but that is a lie. The oldest known manuscripts of any portion of the New Testament in Aramaic dates to the 5th century, and several known translations into Aramaic from Greek were created even later, such as the Philoxeniana in the early 6th century or the Harklensis in the early 7th. There was a Syriac harmony of the Gospels called the Diatessaron made in the late 2nd century by Tatian which has not survived. But that was an attempt to rewrite the four Gospel accounts in harmony, and should not be reckoned as actual Scripture. There are also related claims that Christ and the apostles spoke Aramaic, and not Hebrew. But often, the apostles mention their native tongue, and they always called it Hebrew, and not Aramaic. Syriac and Hebrew are distinguished in Isaiah chapter 36, which records events that occurred about 700 BC. In that account it is evident that Hebrew speakers could not normally understand Aramaic, or Syriac. There may have been differences between the Hebrew of the first century and that of Isaiah’s time, but it was nevertheless Hebrew, and the apostles must have known better what language they were speaking than modern commentators.
The only book of the New Testament which may have any claim to have been originally written in Hebrew is the Gospel of Matthew, as the 2nd century Christian writer Papias of Hierapolis had left an ambiguous statement that “Matthew collected the oracles in the Hebrew language”. Then the later second century Christian writer Irenaeus had also attested in his Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1, that “Matthew also issued a written gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect.” However even if Matthew may have written a Gospel account in Hebrew, it has not survived and the Gospel of Matthew which we do have was originally written in Greek, it is not a translation. Rather, the copies of Aramaic New Testament Scriptures known to scholars today are all translations from earlier Greek versions. Even Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews was originally written in Greek.
The fact that the promised New Testament would come in a language other than Hebrew may be evident in the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah, and especially in Isaiah chapter 28 where we read, in part: “10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” Of course, Yahweh God would speak to the people in the form of Yahshua Christ, the Savior and Redeemer whom He had also promised throughout those prophecies of Isaiah.
The process of transforming the Scriptures into Greek began shortly after the time that Judaea became subject to Alexander the Great. According to Judaean tradition recorded by Flavius Josephus in the opening paragraphs of Antiquities, Book 12, the Macedonian ruler of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, had requested of the high priest in Jerusalem that a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures be made in Greek for his library at Alexandria. His request was granted, and describing it Josephus even repeated the fable that the Judaeans sent “six elders out of every tribe”, and yet the name of the work was ultimately called Septuagint, which is 70 and not 72. Where Josephus repeated this fable he contradicted his own words in Antiquities Book 11 (11.133) where he had said that “... therefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.” There is little doubt, however, that during this period the translation of Scripture which we know as the Septuagint had appeared, and that it was well known to the apostles.
Speaking in approximate terms, there are nearly 300 citations of passages from the Old Testament found in the Scriptures of the New Testament. Of these, almost a third are verbatim or nearly verbatim citations from the Septuagint, and close to another third are somewhat modified, often merely for context, where it is still evident that the Septuagint text was the source. Of the balance, some are paraphrased, while others favor the Masoretic Text, or on occasion, the Aramaic targums. This pattern is not consistent among the authors of New Testament scriptures. For example, the citations from Matthew and the Revelation seem to favor the Septuagint less frequently than those of either Luke or Paul.
In any event, all of our New Testament authors cited Scriptures from the Septuagint often enough to reveal that they were certainly familiar with Scriptures in the Greek language. Even James 4:6, which cites Proverbs 3:34, is verbatim except that it has θεός rather than κύριος. Peter has that same variation, where the rest of his citation of Isaiah 40:6-8 found in 1 Peter 2:24-25 is nearly, but not quite, verbatim from the Septuagint. While the differences are minor, the Septuagint was certainly the inspiration for his text.
The fact that the New Testament was written in Greek, and that Greek translations of the Old Testament were made in anticipation of the fulfillment of those words found in Isaiah chapter 28, that “with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people”, help to prove that Christ never intended to come merely for Judaeans, but rather, He came for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, for the “twelve tribes scattered abroad”, who had mostly all come to know Greek to one degree or another by the time of His coming. If Yahweh God knew beforehand which language He had in mind when the words of Isaiah 28:11 were recorded, Greek must have been that language, and of course He knew because He is God.
This leads us to discuss the many similarities which the Hebrew language has with other European languages. Even if Greek is markedly different than Hebrew, it also has marked similarities, and both Latin and English also have sufficient similarities with Hebrew, that they must all be related languages.
97) Similarities of words in European languages with Hebrew.
We saw in our last presentation that the were many parallels between ancient Hebrew and Greek religious beliefs and customs which cannot be explained if the cultures were not related. Now we shall hopefully see that the same is true of their languages, that there are so many fundamental words in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English which are so very similar that those languages must be related to one another in ancient times.
Sources for discussion: