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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!   




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!  

ARTB Bible Blog 3.21.11, Solving the mystery of GOPHER wood

You make a box of GOPHER wood and make NESTS in the box. Atone its housing on the outside with henna. (Genesis 6:14, ARTB)

A note from A. Frances Werner:

My last blog posting dealt with the second half of this verse, commenting on the words ATONE and HENNA.  I mentioned that there had to have been waterproofing materials used on the ark. But HENNA is not a waterproofing material like the bitumen and pitch.  So where is it?

The word GOPHER (Strong's 1613) has been a mystery for many years.  There has never been a species of tree that matches to this designation, and since it appears only once in the entire scriptures, it has been very difficult to discern.  I believe a credible answer is found in ARAMAIC.  Jastrow's Dictionary*, page 263 shows the entry to mean "to make water-tight", "sulphur [or bitumen, pitch]".

The Hebrews were not shipbuilders.  The famous shipbuilders were to the north, in Lebanon, closer to the center of the Aramaic world. I believe Yahweh was instructing Noah to build a boat with WATERPROOFED wood.  Further evidence comes from a book on EMULSIONS** which explain that the word bitumen is what we call asphalt in the US. Combining bitumen and sulphur make it a longlasting waterproofing emulsion.

I know from working in the rubber chemical industry supporting the tire business that SULFUR was the key ingredient to make rubber sap solidify to the product we know as RUBBER.  So, a WATERPROOFING product made of sulphur and bitumen seems like a very credible answer.  

The other fun word is the word NEST (QEN, Strong's 7064).  It is used 13 times in the Old Testament, and 9 times in the Aramaic New Testament.  Most other versions use the word ROOM here, even though they generally use the word NEST everywhere else. Isn't that a lovely word from a nurturing God? 


*Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature,  Marcus Jastrow 1945, reprinted in 2005, Hendrickson Publishers.

**Emulsions and emulsion stability, Johan Sjöblom, 2005 CRC Press. More information on emulsions can be found online by typing the combination SULFUR BITUMEN EMULSIONS.

Just published this at the discussion site on GOPHER wood at wikipedia if you'd like to join the discussion:


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