ARTB Bible Blog 5.16.2011 GOOD and ROTTEN? Why not EVIL?
His sun shines over the good and the ROTTEN... (Matthew 5:45, ARTB Draft)
A note from A. Frances Werner:
This quotation of Yeshua (Jesus) from the Sermon on the Mount highlights one of the more difficult word problems of the New Testament which has truly revolutionized my understanding of what Jesus and John the baptist were saying.
Why is this a difficult word problem? In most bible translations, the Greek word PONEROS (G4190) is translated EVIL. But you will also find that two other Greek words are also usually translated EVIL, WICKED or BAD: KAKOS (G2556) and PHAULOS (G5337). We are well trained that the opposite of GOOD is EVIL. The second opposite we use in English is GOOD and BAD. But both Greek and Aramaic show us that there is a third word pair in existence in the New Testament that shows the opposite of GOOD, which is rendered ROTTEN in the ARTB. You will see it over and over again.
Because we no longer store food in the cellar all winter, and the grocery stores pick out the rotten fruit for us, we don't encounter rotten produce very often in our lives. The best place at my house is with a bag of onions or potatoes. But if we had bushels of apples in the basement that needed to last all winter, we'd be very attune to watching out for ROT. If one apple has rot, that apple would be extracted immediately, because the whole bushel basket of apples would quickly become to a smelly, gooey mess. All the labor put into growing those apples would be lost, and perhaps I would not have food to feed the family. If caught early enough, the extracted apple could still be used if the ROTTED spot is cut out.
Thus, the concept of being vigilant about ROT would be an everyday concern prior to refrigeration. So why is this word pair of GOOD and ROTTEN so important?
Have you ever noticed when the evening news interviews someone who has lost a relative or friend, we usually use the word GOOD? I heard one mother talking about how her son was basically a GOOD fellow, even though he died as the drunk driver in an accident. Yesterday, a dear friend reported about her daughter's relationship outside of marriage with another man. She was quick to point out that her daughter was basically GOOD. Listen this week. I'm betting you'll hear this type of discussion more than once.
Why are we so desperate to label our loved ones and ourselves as GOOD? Because the only two opposite words we have in our heads is EVIL and BAD. Very few people are EVIL and BAD in the classic sense of the term. The crimes committed in concentrations camps in Germany during World War II were EVIL and BAD. My personal experience is that there is a definite presence of the EVIL-ONE, the devil himself, is palpable in EVIL situations, or with people that you sense are EVIL. So in the absence of obvious EVIL, we THINK we're GOOD.
My friends, we may THINK we are basically GOOD people, but the son driving drunk made a ROTTEN choice. My friend's daughter made a ROTTEN choice in her relationship. Sin is ALWAYS a signal of ROT, but it is not always regarded as EVIL. For example, adultery is a sin, but sometimes it is not regarded in today's society as EVIL. We tolerate a lot of sin in our lives because we've convinced ourselves that it cannot be BAD or EVIL to seek satisfaction outside of marriage when we love the other person. Violating most of the 10 commandments is not be regarded as something BAD or EVIL in today's culture, with the exception of KILLING. But every sin is at least a signal of ROTTENESS we need to confess. ROTTEN is a word we've been missing to capture the sin in our lives that we don't think exists because we perceive we are not EVIL or BAD people.
So what was the message of John the baptist? Get every speck of ROT out of your life. Confess it to God and be baptized. Don't wait until the sin is serious enough that you will have to go to Jerusalem and offer a sacrifice to the priest.
Jesus said similar things. If your eye causes you to stumble, cut it out, it's a signal of ROT. If you are angry with your brother or you look with lust at a woman, run to get rid of the ROT. Otherwise you won't have fruit that remains--it will be a smelly, gooey mess.
I found that if I asked myself what are my SINS to confess to God Almighty, the list is short. But when I asked where I had ROTTEN "soft spots" in my thinking, my habits, and my words the list was MUCH larger. The word ROTTEN is also a wonderful word to use when sharing the faith. If you ask someone if they are a sinner with sins to confess, the normal response is "I'm basically a GOOD person". But if you say, Have you done anything ROTTEN in your life, you get an entirely different response. People in today's America absolutely know they've done ROTTEN things.
ARTB Bible Blog, 4.18.11, Why CHIEF, not MASTER?
You call me "Our CHIEF" and "Our Lord". You-have brought a proper saying. (John 13:13, ARTB Draft)
A note from A. Frances Werner:
In my last blog, I covered the background on MASTER and LORD. This passage normally is translated as MASTER instead of CHIEF. This passage is one of the few in the New Testament where the differences between Greek and Aramaic are very dramatically different.
In Greek, the word MASTER is a very complimentary term. It is based upon the Greek word DIDASKALOS (Greek Strong's 1320), and means someone has the mastery of a subject, a teacher. The Greek New Testament ascribes this term to Yeshua (Jesus). But as I described in the previous blog, the Hebrew/Aramaic use of the word MASTER is closer to OWNER, and is the name of a demon, BAAL.
In Aramaic, the word CHIEF (RAB) is the same word used to describe the CHIEF priest. It has nothing to do with concepts of TEACHING or MASTER in Hebrew or Aramaic. Thus in Aramaic, they are equating Jesus to a CHIEF priest rather than a great teacher. Even though the word RAB looks like it is related to the Hebrew word RABBI, the word RABBI does not appear in the scriptures.
There is a huge amount of discussion about whether the disciples spoke Greek or Aramaic, and whether the Greek or Aramaic New Testament was first. I am not qualified to make an educated decision. However, based upon my intent to publish a New Testament based upon the Hebrew origins of the words, I have to believe that a bunch of uneducated Jewish fishermen would NEVER have called Jesus MASTER. It would have been an insult of the deepest magnitude to give him a title of a name of a demon. Rather, they are calling him CHIEF and LORD, in recognition that he is the true CHIEF priest and LORD of us all.
Thanks to HankM, who is helping proofread the text, for raising the question, "Why CHIEF, why not MASTER?"
ARTB Bible Blog 4.16.2011, MASTER or LORD?
Just-as Sarah was submitted to Abraham, she-was calling him, "My lord." (1 Peter 3:6, ARTB Draft)
A note from A. Frances Werner:
This obscure passage from Peter's letter was something I never particularly studied. The passage goes on to describe a marriage relationship. But it was not until I have been sorting out several words that are used in relationship to God, MASTER and LORD, that I learned a lot more about this passage.
Why in the world did Peter think Sarah's statement about the use of the word LORD (ADON, Strong's 113, 136) was so important? First, I looked up the only occurance I could see where Sarah used the word in Genesis 18:12:
Sarah laughed in her center, saying, "I will have Eden after I deteriorated and my lord is-old?!"
She did not use the word HUSBAND. There is no word like our English usage of the word HUSBAND referring to marriage in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Because many of the Israelites raised animals, they were into animal HUSBANDRY. Calling the man you were living with a HUSBAND would mean that you were an animal, not a human. The use of the word married HUSBAND in the Old Testament or New Testament is a translators choice to add to the text. It does not appear in ARTB.
In Hebrew and Aramaic, the word utilized for a married man is MASTER (BAAL, Strong's 1167), which is not a particularly nice word in those languages. Note that the Hebrew is BAAL, which indeed is the name of a demon god. The word MASTER actually means OWNER, as in slave owner. Black slaves in the US called their owners MASTER. Any woman that was purchased with a BRIDE PRICE truly was owned by her husband. Our understanding of marriage has been so redeemed from these concepts that we have a hard time understanding that the role of women in many countries truly is no different than a piece of property.
So where did that redemption start? What is Peter saying? As I examined the listing for LORD (you can look it up by typing in LORD on the ARTB Bible Search Page), I was completely stunned that use of the word LORD began with Abraham, in his dialogue in Chapter 15 of Genesis. He utilizes the title LORD Yahweh for the first time. The name Yahweh was revealed in Genesis 2, at the beginning of the world, but the word LORD was never used before.
We can't see this change in our normal English translations, because the word LORD is substituted every time the word YAHWEH appears in the text. So, like me, you may have never really noticed that the word LORD hadn't appeared before Abraham. The word LORD is profoundly different than MASTER in Hebrew and Aramaic. LORD is associated with bondservice, where you owe a debt, but you CHOOSE who you are working for. You can stop working for that person if you choose.
Abraham and Sarah had a tremendous revelation of their relationship with each other, as well as their relationship with Yahweh. Sarah was choosing to call Abraham her LORD. Their relationship was not based upon being owned by a slave MASTER, but rather her choosing to be in relationship with him, and him choosing NOT to enforce his role as a MASTER. Abraham now was using the title LORD in his relationship with Yahweh. He was not a slave for his god, as were the followers of BAAL. Rather he was choosing to be in relationship and working for his God.
Note that we never use MASTER in the formal title of God. We never say "King of kings and Master of masters", rather he is "King of kings and Lord of lords". Thanks to Abraham and Sarah for showing us the difference. Selah.
ARTB Bible Blog 4.4.2011 RINGS confirmed today
I saw a written-record by the right of Him that sits over the throne, signed from inside and from outside, and RINGED with seven RINGS. I saw another powerful messenger that was heralding with an upraised voice, Who-is worthy to open the written-record and to loosen its RINGS? (Revelation 5:1,2, ARTB Draft)
A note from A. Frances Werner:
What a thrilling day! Thanks to Marijm and HankM who made this blog happen!
Let's start at the top. This verse is usually translated as SEAL instead of RINGS in every other English translation and SCROLL instead of WRITTEN-RECORD, although the KJV uses the word BOOK. I had always visioned this passage as a rolled parchment scroll with 7 wax seals on the edges. So when the translinear approach came up with RINGS, I thought, how odd!
But RINGS is identical in Aramaic and Hebrew (Strong's 2885, TABBAT), so there could be no denying that the word was RINGS, not SEAL. Even in the Greek, there is a different word here only used once in the New Testament (Greek Strong's 2696, KATAPHRAGIZO) . So now I'm thinking, there are 7 RINGS over a scroll. Never heard of this before.
Would you like to see what I think is really described in Revelation 5? It is NOT scrolls. As of today, I truly believe John probably was describing RINGED booklets. The fabulous discovery of 70 metal books from the first century AD was brought to my attention by Marijm this morning. Do not miss this story**. This is like the original PowerPoint presentations of Christianity on index cards on RINGS!
Take a careful look at the pictures. Some are opened booklets with rings. But look carefully. You will see one booklet RINGED with 12 rings, unopened. My friends, who will loosen the rings? Selah!
**Appearing in the middle two hours, British scholar and author David Elkington spoke about the extraordinary discovery of 70 ancient metal religious books that could alter the world's view of biblical history (related article). Elkington, who was privileged to examine the lead tablets in person, said the books contain images and a form of paleo-Hebrew writing, measure about three to four inches across, many are sealed, and almost all appear to be authentic. "If they are forgeries, what are they forgeries of, because you don't forge something that's unique," he noted. Laboratory metallurgical tests confirmed they are of ancient provenance, he continued, adding that the book form of the metal documents points to an early Christian origin.
Thanks to HankM for pointing out this passage as we discussed the story this afternoon.
CLARIFICATION ADDED 4.5.11: A quick clarification to yesterday's note about the WRITTEN-RECORD with the RINGS. I am not suggesting that the WRITTEN-RECORD and the vision mentioned in Revelation 5 is the same as the metal books that were just discovered. The vision in Revelation 5 to my knowledge is a heavenly vision.
But I do believe that John's description of the WRITTEN-RECORD matches closly to the photographs of the metal books that were discovered, better than anything I have ever seen or imagined. Metal books appear to be a temporary technology in use at that time, quickly phased out, similar to our floppy discs for computer storage.
My excitement and enthusiasm is based upon the the solidity and veracity of the word of God: It tells the truth even when we don't completely understand it. But it's important to have the right words, so that when we see the revealed truth, we recognize it immediately. Seeing RINGS yesterday, when Revelation 5 uses the word 7 different times, and uses the phrase LOOSEN THE RINGS, made me pray for the discoverers, that they would quickly verify, validate or invalidate, and release the information ASAP!
ARTB Bible Blog 3.28.11, BELIEVE or FAITHFULLY-FOLLOW?
You have not FAITHFULLY-FOLLOWED, because you are not from my sheep, but just-as I said to you: My own sheep hear my voice and ||I|| know them and they come after me. (John 10:26-27, ARTB Draft)
A note from A. Frances Werner:
This passage about Jesus (Yeshua), our wonderful shepherd, captures an example of a specific word that I have been wrestling with all week, FAITHFULLY-FOLLOWED. This passage is typically translated using the word BELIEVE, and until this week, the ARTB Draft had employed the word BELIEVE. Here's the story I've uncovered which explains the change in my thinking.
In Greek, the Strong's number series 4100, 4102, 4103 is based on the Greek verb PISTEUO. The verb form is usually translated as the English word BELIEVE, the noun form as FAITH, and the adjective as FAITHFULNESS. The Aramaic is based upon the same core foundation as the Hebrew AMAN, BELIEVE, (Strong's 539). But the New Testament Aramaic was a mess compared to the Greek: The clear lines to use BELIEVE, FAITH, and FAITHFULNESS did not exist.
As I was attempting to figure out the discrepancy, it hit me like a lightning bolt that this series wasn't truly TRANSLINEAR because of the limitations of the English language. There simply is no natural verb for FAITHFULNESS in our language. And because of the importance of the words like BELIEVE and FAITH, I didn't think to dabble with alternatives at all for the Old Testament.
But a second lightning bolt hit me one morning: The words BELIEVE and FAITH mean something different to me than FAITHFULNESS. It is one of the oddest anomalies in the English language that having FAITH (BELIEVING) in someone has nothing to do with being FAITHFUL. Let me give you an example.
I absolutely BELIEVE that eating a healthy diet and doing exercise is true, and is a smart thing to do. I absolutely BELIEVE that cigarette smoking can cause early death. But if I am not FAITHFULLY-FOLLOWING those truths, my BELIEVING is worthless.
Now, flip this to a faith statement: I absolutely BELIEVE in God Almighty and all the truths contained in sacred scripture. Altar calls often say to BELIEVE in the name of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, and we will be saved, because ministers are accurately quoting our current English-based scripture. But isn't it true that if I am not FAITHFULLY-FOLLOWING what Yahweh tells me to do, my BELIEVING is worthless?
I reflected that demons BELIEVE that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah, the son of God, but they certainly don't FAITHFULLY-FOLLOW him. This scripture from John actually makes more sense to me with this change. As his sheep, we FAITHFULLY-FOLLOW--we go after Him.
I am not finished with my review, and I realize that this comment may stir up some controversy. The simple message is this: I strongly think this word series needs to be based upon the word FAITHFULNESS exclusively, with the word FAITHFULLY-FOLLOWING as a verb form, and FAITHFUL-FOLLOWERS as the noun. Try this on in your own statement of faith and compare it to other scriptures that you know. May we not only BELIEVE our Good Shepherd, but FAITHFULLY-FOLLOW him!