August 9, 2008

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End Notes

The Name of the Lord


Is it a small thing—a matter of little consequence—to call the angel Gabriel a liar? Apparently it has become so for Sabbatarian Christians who have bit into the poisonous mushroom of the sacred names heresy.

Luke records,

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God [J@Ø 2,@Ø] to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. … And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord [Ò 6bD4@H] is with you. … Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God [2,è]. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and , you shall call his name Jesus [[0F@Ø<hIesoun, with the “n” for the case ending, the superscript “h” for the rough breathing or aspiration on the “I”]. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High [LÊÎH ßR\FJ@L]. And the Lord God [6bD4@H Ò 2,ÎH] will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob [["6ã$] forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (1:26–27, 30–33)

In what language did Gabriel speak to Mary, considering that the Pastor writes to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God [2,`B<,LFJ@HGod breathed] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God [J@Ø 2,@Ø] may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16–17)? Is the Gospel of Luke not Scripture? Luke addresses his gospel to “most excellent Theophilus [1,`N48,]” (Luke 1:3) a Greek-named lover of God and probably a personified euphemism for every lover of God; so it is not reasonable to assume that Luke’s gospel was initially written in Hebrew then later translated into Greek, when Greek was the lingua franca of 1st-Century CE Asia Minor.

If the Gospel of Luke is Scripture, then “in Scripture” the Lord’s name is /[0F@ØHhIesous /, when in the nominative case (e.g., Luke 2:52). Of course, if the Gospel of Luke is not Scripture but the Gospel of Matthew is, then consider how Matthew begins his gospel: “#\$8@H (,<XF,TH [0F@Ø OD4FJ@Ø LÊ@Ø )"LÂ* LÊ@Ø U$D"V:A record of genealogy of Jesus Christ son of David son of Abraham” (1:1). The Son of David is still named Jesus, the Christ.

But if the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew are not Scripture, then perhaps the Gospel of John is. But John records, “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus [[0F@Ø<] of Nazareth, the son of Joseph’” (1:45).

If all of Scripture is God-breathed and if the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John all identify the Son as [0F@ØH/<, how the Septuagint rendered “Joshua” into Greek, and if a person chooses to reject what God has breathed out because Mary, perchance, did not hear Gabriel speak in Greek but in Aramaic or Hebrew (Jesus’ first language was not Hebrew but Aramaic), and if the unbeliever rejects the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John because each inscribes the Son of Man’s name as [0F@ØH/<, then this person is left with the Gospel of Mark, which begins, “UDP¬ J@Ø ,Û"((,8\@L [0F@Ø OD4FJ@ØThe beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ” (1:1).

The doubter who does not believe that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are God-breathed Scripture, but are spurious translations of a lost or never written Hebrew text must ask him or herself: did Mary hear the words of Gabriel as sound waves bumping against her eardrums, or were Gabriel’s words heard in her mind? She doesn’t say, but for her to hear words with her ears, Gabriel would cause air molecules to bump into one another and thereby form sound waves when he spoke. Angels, however, don’t breathe air.  They are not of this physical world, and Gabriel’s words did not come from this world but from God. So were not Gabriel’s words heard as the Father’s words were heard when He said, “?âJ`H ¦FJ4< Ò LÊ`H :@L Ò ("B0J`Hs ¦< ð ,Û*`60F"This is the son of me the beloved in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). John the Baptist heard the Father’s words, but did anyone else? Were the words the Father uttered like when He answered Jesus: “‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not mine’” (John 12:28–30). The crowd heard sound—as Israel heard sound at Mount Sinai (Ex 20:18–9)—but not words, for the words of God are given in the mind though they seem to have been heard by the ear.

If Scripture is God-breathed, then did the Father speak in Hebrew or in Greek when His divine breath [B<,Ø:" 2,@Ø] descended as a dove to light on His beloved Son? If He spoke in Hebrew, then Matthew did not record His words as Matthew recorded the Aramaic words of the crucified Son of David on an equally important occasion: “/84 084 8,:" F"$"P2"<4p J@ØJz §FJ4<s 1,X :@Ø 2,X :@Øs Ê<"J\ :, ¦(6"JX84B,HEli, Eli lama sabachithani? This means, God my, God my, why me have you forsaken? Matthew would not have needed to translate the Son of David’s utterance if his gospel would have been originally written in Hebrew, for Hebrew and Aramaic are closely enough related that a 1st-Century Judean would have understood the utterance. A Greek would not have understood and would need the translation.

If ever the Father spoke in Hebrew in the 1st-Century CE, that occasion is not recorded in canonical Writ. If Jesus were ever called by a Hebrew name, that occasion is not recorded in Holy Writ although it is probable that He was known to Aramaic speakers by the Aramaic shortened form of /Joshua/, just as I am known by a shortened (simplified) English form of Keyser, a low-German spelling of Caesar … am I any less a descendant of Caesar because my name is Kizer, with a close approximation of the Latin pronunciation of Caesar retained? Is not my surname an ancient contraction of a naming phrase derived from a descriptive title (a sar was a prince or king)? Is it not an Americanized spelling of the German expression for “king,” as in Kaiser Wilhelm I or II? But Kizer and Caesar don’t appear to be the same name, and in Americanized English, they are not pronounced the same. But they are the same name, and neither misspelling nor mispronouncing the name changes that reality.

If Scripture is God-breathed and if the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are scriptural, then the name by which disciples in the 1st-Century knew the Son of God was [0F@ØH/<. To say otherwise is to call all of the gospel writers plus the angel Gabriel liars, not something easily overlooked when judgments are revealed especially when those who call Gabriel a liar are quick to cite Peter saying,

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit [B<,b:"J@H (\@L breath holy], said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man was healed, let it be known to all of you and to the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth [[0F@Ø OD4FJ@Ø J@Ø ;".TD"\@L], whom you crucified, whom God [Ò 2,ÎH] raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone [@âJ`H ¦FJ4< Ò 8\2@Hs Ò this is the stone, the (Christ)] that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:8–12)

The no other name by which men can be saved is [0F@Ø OD4FJ@Ø J@Ø ;".TD"\@L; it is not by the name of the Joshua [in Greek: [0F@Ø] that led Israel into the promised land. It is not by the name of the high priest plucked as a brand from the lake of fire (Zech chap 3). It is only by the name of one particular man/[0F@Ø, who was the Logos [Ò 8`(@H] before He entered His creation as His only Son to be born of Mary—who was 2,ÎH, who was with JÎ< 2,`< in the beginning (John 1:1–3). Salvation doesn’t come by correctly uttering the name [0F@Ø in Greek or in Hebrew or in English; it comes by faith, by walking as [0F@Ø walked, by believing that the Father raised from the dead “this one” who was in the beginning with Him. And the doubter who argues that the Father created all that is not through Ò 8`(@H but by Himself denies Christ and denies the only name by which this doubter could be saved.

When moving between languages, especially languages using differing alphabets, translation and transliteration does not always permit a linguistic object assigned to an icon in one language to be represented by an appropriate linguistic icon in another language. For example, in Greek Zeus is Theos [2,ÎH], the most high of the Greek pantheon, collectively the Theoi. But Hermes is also Theos. So is Poseidon Theos. In fact every male deity of the pantheon is, in nominative case usage, /Ò 2,ÎHthe god/. So the Hebrew icon /אלהיםElohim/, which is structurally plural, cannot truly be translated into Greek as /Ò 2,ÎHthe Theos/, but cannot be translated as theoi either. There is no case-ending construction of “2,-” in Greek that permits Elohim to convey the plural quality of the Hebrew icon that takes singular verbs when “the Logos—Ò 8`(@H” who was “2,ÎH(John 1:1) speaks for the conjoined YHWH; for this Tetragrammaton conceals through the physicalness of the creation the marriage-like relationship that had two entities functioning as one deity, the reason why Elohim is plural and the God of Israel is not represented by the singular /Eloah/. And dropping all case endings when translating “2,-” into English will not work, for who is the The? So moving from a Semitic language to an Indo-European language then from one Indo-European language to another will require the type of wisdom not evident when a disciple calls Gabriel a liar.

In Greek, the icon phrase /Son of the Most High God/ rendered as a name will be [0F@ØH, which as those holding the sacred names heresy are quick to tell everyone means /son of Zeu-/, but this is only partially true at best, for the Septuagint renders the name of Joshua, son of Nun, as [0F@Ø — his given name was “הושעHoshea — meaning “YHWH is salvation.”

After the 5th-Century BCE, no thinking Greek believed that the gods of the pantheon were real. In fact, when Homer inscribed The Odyssey (ca 7th-Century BCE), the gods were not real entities with real power that must be feared or respected, for Odysseus would not have lied about what Zeus had done if he, Odysseus, believed the Zeus could inflict harm on him for attributing to this phantom fictional exploits. The gods and goddesses of the pantheon had become storytelling devices that enabled a still mostly oral culture to discuss the hypothetical, thereby permitting the assignment of socially taboo actions to non-real agents so that hypothetical situations could be discussed. The pantheon was to 7th-Century BCE Greeks what Coyote was to 19th-Century CE Intermountain Native American tribes and what Raven was to Alaskan Natives, with the landscape of the pantheon similar to the landscape of faery for northern Germanic tribes through at least the 10th-Century CE. So [0F@ØH forms a close approximation of /Immanuel/, the Septuagint’s rendering of /עִמָּנוּאֵל/ meaning /God with us/; for to be humanly born as the Son of the Most High is having God with us, the hermeneutical logic that permitted Matthew to declare that the sign given Ahaz pertained to the Logos entering His creation as His only Son.

The prophet Isaiah records,

Again the Lord [YHWH] spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord [YHWH] your God [Elohim]; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord [YHWH] to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin [young woman] shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the boy knows to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. The Lord [YHWH] will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria. (7:10–17)

The sign given Ahaz was the desolation of the land, not just the land of Judah but the land of Ephraim and the land of Syria—the sign given Ahaz was not a virgin/young woman giving birth, but the timing for the coming Assyrian invasion that would empty Syria and the kingdom of Samaria and nearly empty the kingdom of Judah. However, the “sign” also had a spiritual application just as Assyria spiritually represents death in the same way that Egypt represents sin. And it is this spiritual application that Matthew references when he writes, referring to Jesus’ birth, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, / and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (1: 22–23). The land—this earth—will be emptied before Sin and Death are defeated.

The young woman that was already pregnant when Isaiah spoke the words of the Lord would not bear a child many years in the future but within the year, and before this child is old enough to know to refuse evil and to choose good, the Assyrians would pass throughout the land, even to surrounding Jerusalem … before the Body of the Son of Man is old enough to know to refuse evil and to choose good, Death shall pass throughout the land, surrounding even heavenly Jerusalem, a city that Death will bring to the brink of starvation, a city gripped by a famine of the Word, a city that will be emptied as earthly Jerusalem was emptied because of Israel’s sins, a city emptied by infant baptism (it does no good to “baptize” a child before this child is born of spirit). So while physically minded Israelites debate about whether the LXX accurately rendered /almah/as “a virgin” or whether the word should have been rendered as “a young woman,” the point Matthew makes is missed: all that happens to earthly Jerusalem forms the shadow and copy [the left hand enantimer] of what happens to heavenly Jerusalem, with the young woman and child of Ahaz’s day forming the shadow and copy of Mary and child in Herod’s day—and indeed, before the Body of Christ knew to choose good and reject evil, Death overran the congregations in Syria and Samaria and in all of Asia and laid seize to Jerusalem itself.

When AJ@8,:"^@H M48V*,8N@H commissioned scholars to translate the LXX, he expected these scholars to understand Scripture—and these scholars had more understanding than most of those who have come behind them. They apparently recognized the dual referents employed, and their hermeneutics caused them to translate the spiritual referent into Greek when both referents could not be rendered by the same word [linguistic icon].

When “Immanuel” is treated as a naming descriptive phrase, and when [0F@ØH is read as a naming descriptive phrase, the phrases convey the meaning of God is with us as His Son. So when [0F@Ø is coupled to “Immanuel,” it becomes linguistically evident why [0F@Ø OD4FJ@Ø J@Ø ;".TD"\@L is the only name by which men can be saved. But again, it isn’t proper utterance of the name that saves, but the particular Nazarene [J@Ø ;".TD"\@L] identified as the “Christ” that saves by covering disciples with His righteousness while these younger sons of God learn to walk uprightly as men and not shamble along as beasts to be sacrificed when the temple is dedicated.

The naming phrase [0F@ØH is a linguistic icon to which meaning must be assigned, with this meaning becoming which of the many men named [0F@Ø is the Christ or the Savior, the promised Son of David.

When “the whole earth had one language and the same words” (Gen 11:1), every person could speak to every other person and be understood. But this language in which Noah spoke to his sons was not to long survive; for before the Tower of Babel incident is relayed, Scripture reveals that of the sons of Japheth, son of Noah, came the sons of Javan [grandson of Noah]: “Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. From these the coastland peoples spread in their lands, each with his own language, by their clans, in their nations” (Gen 10:5).  Likewise, the sons of Ham down to the great-grandsons of Noah spread from Sidon to Gaza, dispersing according to “their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations” (v. 20). So did the sons of Shem disperse “by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations” (v. 31).

The Tower of Babel incident is framed by the genealogy, of Noah and of Shem, so when the confusing of languages occurred can only be scripturally reckoned by when the earth was divided in the days of Peleg (Gen 10:25), or in the days of Noah’s great-grandchildren, a hundred years after the Flood (cf. Gen 10:25; 11:11, 12, 14, 16 — for Peleg to be named for the division would suggest the division occurred near the time of his birth) the earth was divided by God confusing the languages. … The mason who held a brick in his hand held the same brick regardless of what the brick was called after God had confused languages so that humankind could not “‘understand one another’s speech’” (Gen 11:7). What changed was not the “things” that words represented, but the linguistic icons used to identify these things. The sound or inscribed images/icons were divorced from their previously assigned “meanings.” So the division of the earth came about through the separation of utterance from object; from the separation of the icon or symbol or word used to mimetically represent a “real thing.” And this separation of sound or inscribed symbol from a real thing is of tremendous theological significance; for the Logos [Ò 8`(@H], or the Word, who was 2,ÎH separated from the Father [JÎ< 2,`<] to enter His creation as His only Son (John 1:14; 3:16).

It is the separation of linguistic icons from linguistic objects at the Tower of Babel that forms the shadow and type of Yah entering His creation as His only Son, leaving behind in heaven the One whom He will later identify as His Father and His God (John 20:17). The division of the earth in the days of Peleg is a type of the division of words that comes from separating sound or symbol from meaning (a real thing in this world). This division also foreshadows the division of Israel between those who hear Jesus’ voice and those who do not hear His voice. The many schisms and denominations within Christendom were foreshadowed by the division or separation of Noah’s great-grandsons. And from Noah’s many great-grandsons come Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg. And from the many denominations, sects, and schisms within Christendom will come those who are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise, with Abraham’s seed walking as Jesus, an Observant Jew, walked in the flesh (1 John 2:3–6).

Because the Lord [YHWH] confused languages at Babel by separating sound images from linguistic objects, allowing many sound images to represent the same linguistic object, no sound image has priority over any other sound image in representing the linguistic object: there is nothing in Genesis 11 that favors proto-Eber utterances over proto-Joktan utterances—and the sons of both separated from each other according to their languages (again Gen 10:31). They uttered differing sound images for the same linguistic objects. They uttered differing sound images for God when they prayed to Him, and Hebrew was not then the language in which Moses spoke with Yah. Therefore, because God is one [“one” being a sound image representing two primary linguistic objects, singleness and unity] and is not many gods but represented by many sound images when languages were confused at Babel, there is no “one” correct pronunciation of His name or His Son’s name.

There is, according to Peter, only one name by which men can be saved: [0F@Ø OD4FJ@Ø J@Ø ;".TD"\@L. But this one name is not any uttered sound that has no meaning until one is assigned to it. To say that an uttered sound—a thing of this world—saves men is blasphemy. Can the deaf mute then not be saved? That is the argument made when a person attaches significance to how the name of the Son of David is uttered. It is, however, only the object of this uttered sound ([0F@Ø OD4FJ@Ø J@Ø ;".TD"\@L) that saves the Elect, with this “object” having a new name that no man knows (Rev 19:12).

The argument made against using the letter “J” to represent the sound made by a Greek speaker when this speaker uttered the aspired vowel /hI/ is the nonsensical posturing of ignorance masked as feigned scholarship. The following two linguistic icons have identical pronunciations: /gaol/ and /jail/. They both have the same linguistic object, the county lock-up where petty criminals are incarcerated. But one spelling is preferred over the other for convenience sake, and preferred because it better represents how Americans have been taught to pronounce the /g/ sound since the /ga-/ combination in “gaol” should have a hard /g/ sound because of its Latin origin, but has instead has the /dz(e)/ sound that is now best represented by the /ja-/ letter combination. Likewise, the /[0/ letter combination can be represented by the /yah/sound or by the /jo/ sound, but is perhaps best represented by the /dze/combination that is in turn represented by /je/spelling. Therefore, [0F@Ø minus the case ending will be /Jes-/ or /Jeez/ instead of /Yah-shu/. Now following customary English practice on inscribing Greek masculine names with the /us/ ending as in “Odysseus” since English does not use gender case endings, /Jes-/ becomes “Jesus,” the name by which most of Christendom knows its Savior.

The importance of what happened at the Tower of Babel has not been well understood by Sabbatarian disciples. This separation of the sound and symbol from the “thing” that the sound or symbol represented to Noah typologically reveals what happened when Ò 8`(@H who was 2,ÎH separated Himself from JÎ< 2,`< to enter His creation as His only Son. The “Word” was separated from the Father—the Most High God—when He entered time where He came to die as the sacrificial Lamb of God. And if the Word could be separated from the Father by sin [i.e., when He took on the sins of Israel], disciples can also be separated from the Father by uncovered sin. But if the Word came as a flesh and blood human being and not as God (to say otherwise causes the disciple to be of the antichrist), then how a word is uttered—even the name of God—does not effect the Father and takes nothing away from the Father when He, the Father, is the linguistic object assigned to the word. And the same now applies to Christ Jesus.

Much foolishness poses as intelligence in this post modern era of the endtime Church … whenever importance is attached to the things of this world—and this includes how the names of the Son and the Father are pronounced or mispronounced—then the person is far from God. The person’s mind is set on the things of the flesh (such as the movements of the tongue and lips), and this person cannot please God. Unfortunately, this person usually also carries the name of the Son in vain, taking from a physically circumcised people utterance that was too sacred for even Jesus to publicly speak when here on earth.

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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

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