I watched a video presentation entitled: “The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus” by Nehemiah Gordon and consider it worthwhile to be included in this article due to its very important content. Nehemiah Gordon is well educated in the study of scripture and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in this video interview, he exposed a very important point, a “one word” error, that as far as I know, all versions of the bible currently available missed completely; even the Scripture 1998++.
Now, let me start right away by saying that Nehemiah Gordon does not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for he is Karaite Jew.
What is Karaite Jew or Karaite Judaism?
Let me borrow a few paragraphs concerning this subject from Wikipedia:
Karaite Judaism or Karaism (pron.: /ˈkærə.aɪt/ or /ˈkærə.ɪzəm/; Modern Yahadut Qara’it Tiberian Qārāʾîm ; meaning “Readers of the Hebrew Scriptures“) is a Jewish movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) alone as its supreme legal authority in Halakhah (Jewish law) and theology. It is distinct from mainstream Rabbinic Judaism (also known as Rabbinism, and its practitioners sometimes as Rabbanites), which considers the Oral Torah, the legal decisions of the Sanhedrin as codified in the Talmud, and subsequent works to be authoritative interpretations of the Torah. Karaism is thought to have arisen in the 7th-9th centuries CE in Baghdad and possibly in Egypt.
Karaites maintain that all of the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah, without additional Oral Law or explanation. As a result, Karaite Jews do not accept as binding the written collections of the oral tradition in the Mishnah or Talmud. When interpreting the Tanakh, Karaites strive to adhere to the plain or most obvious meaning (“peshat“) of the text; this is not necessarily the literal meaning, but rather the meaning that would have been naturally understood by the ancient Israelites when the books of the Tanakh were first written. Due to the tremendous changes in Jewish culture and religious practice over the past 4,000 years, the peshat may not be as easily understood as it once was in Biblical Israel, and must now be derived from textual clues such as language, and context. In contrast, Rabbinic Judaism relies on the legal rulings of the Sanhedrin, the highest court in ancient Israel, as they are codified in the Mishnah, Talmud, and other sources, to indicate the authentic meaning of the Torah.
Karaite Judaism holds every interpretation of the Tanakh to the same scrutiny regardless of its source, and teaches that it is the personal responsibility of every individual Jew to study the Torah, and ultimately decide for themselves its correct meaning. Therefore, Karaites may consider arguments made in the Talmud and other works without exalting them above other viewpoints.
As I have said in the opening paragraph, he brought forth a very important point that in following verses, the Lord Jesus seemed to have contradicted His own statement or instruction because of the misinterpretation of one word:
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (Matthew 23:1-4)
In one breath, it would seem that our Messiah was every bit confused. Since the rabbinical priests were sitting on Moses’ seat, the Israelites were instructed to obey them, while at the same time, not to emulate them! How can this be? Obey while at the same time “do not” obey? According to Nehemiah Gordon, in verse Matthew 23:3, there is a misinterpretation of “just one word” which made our Messiah seems to contradict Himself.
Let me remind you once again, Nehemiah does not believe in the Lord Jesus as the Messiah and much less as the begotten Son of God. Therefore, we should bear that in mind as we follow his comments except for a few important pointers such as the Messianic Believers should be cautious in uttering certain prayer in Hebrew which contains curses to believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. He also brought into discussion about the name of our God, and those who do not call on the real name of God which is YHWH, the following promise might not be fulfilled: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of YHWH shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the YHWH hath said, and in the remnant whom the YHWH shall call. (Joel 2:32)
Therefore, in the following video, he stressed on the importance of keeping the Torah of Moses, which does not conform to our faith-based salvation concept.
Nehemiah Gordon Interview: Hebrew Yeshua vs. Greek Jesus
Uploaded on Jan 27, 2012
Christine Darg interviews Nehemia Gordon, a Karaite Jew and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, who has written the fascinating book, “The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus”
Here is the mistake:
“…therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: Matthew 23:3
should have been translated as:
“…Therefore, whatsoever he (Moses) bid you observe, that observe and do;”
Let me stress this point: here we are given a strong impression that the Lord Jesus was confirming Moses as the authority in respect of the law in force, then, or Moses’ Torah (Instruction) was to be guarded and obeyed, not the Pharisees who sat on Moses’ seat without authority from God YHWH on high. They were mere usurpers to the priesthood of Moses’ caliber! The Lord Jesus told His audience (us) about their characters: Mark 12:38-39 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
Is it any wonder if we find the scribes and the Pharisees to act as if they were men of authority to issue new law, edicts and precepts? They were sitting on the seat which only Moses was allowed to occupy! So, they were a least of the same standing, in fact, they acted even more so than Moses! Or so they thought of themselves.
Therefore it was most appropriate for the Lord Jesus, Son of YHWH to put them in their rightful places by instructing His Chosen People:
“…but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Matthew 23:3b-4
Now I know, I will be seriously attacked by the proponents of some passionate souls who think going back to Hebraic root means performing the ritual of circumcision and guarding the Torah of Moses, dressing up like Jews with skull caps and all, since I have been saying quite to the contrary. I have stubbornly maintained to this very day, that we are not able to guard the Torah of Moses, nor are we required to keep them. It is an age old attempt by the enemies whose mission has always been to mislead those who are seeking to walk towards eternal life. We learn that even in the apostolic period, these scribes and Pharisees were still trying to exert their influence on new converts from gentile nations:
Act15:5-11 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
If you, a gentile, are following after the understanding of the scribes and Pharisees, in respect of circumcision and keeping the Torah of Moses, take heed, you are tempting God. Remember, I keep saying that the Torah of Moses, was only showing or describing the Lord Jesus Messiah (His shadow); as the following verse indicate:
Colossians 2:17 …which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
However, the Lord Jesus did refer to Moses’ authority as in the following:
Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever he (Moses) bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their (the scribes and Pharisees) works: for they say, and do not.
The Lord Jesus Messiah specifically instructed the Israelites, to do according to Moses’ instructions. Why?
To those who are upholding the Torah of Moses, (complete with rituals of circumcision and what not), let us look at the time line and which part of the Torah of Moses the people could actually do, then? Remember, the temple was still standing and the priesthood (in the order of Aaron, the Levite) was still in charge. The Lord Jesus Christ, when He issued that instruction, was still roaming around and ministering on this earth. He had not been esteemed as yet! Or the redemptive blood had not been shed as yet! So, the only way God’s Chosen Ones would get a semblance of forgiveness from their transgressions, were to offer animals slaughtering in accordance with the Torah of Moses. There was no other way, at that time! That was what the people of God were asked to guard and do! Just a shadow of what was to come; it was only as a trainer or the school master:
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:22-26)
So, our loving God, had always have a way to forgive His people from eternal condemnation! The Torah of Moses that the Chosen People would have to guard and do, was to bring animals for slaughtering and burned as sacrifices to redeem their transgressions against the Ten Commandment (Ten Words) of God, which were written by God’s own fingers on the two stone tablets, kept in Ark of Covenant, and covered by the Mercy Seat.
If the Lord Jesus Christ instructed the Chosen Ones to obey the complete Moses’ instruction (Torah) and if that would have been sufficient, then why was it necessary for God, to come down as a human being, and had to go through a very humiliating and horrendous death on the stake as one of condemned criminals?
Because, actualy the Torah of Moses is said to be only:
“…a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” (Hebrews 10:1)
I repeat, the Israelites were instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ to redeem their transgressions against the Ten Word (Commandment) by offering slaughtered animals (See Exodus 21,22,23). That was the only way, then, for it is said: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)
No matter what, a slaughtering and the shedding of blood was and still is of paramount importance to a sinful human-being if he or she does not want to be separated from God eternally following his or her death.
Now what had happened following the Lord Jesus’ death on the stake, His burial, and resurrection after three days? He walked the earth for another 40 days, after which, He was taken up to His throne in heaven: (Mathews 25:31) When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
(Hebrews 1:8-9) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
(Luke22:69) Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
So, following His death and a short burial, He was resurrected and taken up into heaven, and sit on His seat at the right hand of Father YHWH.
(Hebrews 1:8-13) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
Now, with all the verses quoted above, the instruction for the Chosen People to follow Moses’ Torah had not been cancelled as yet. Following His ascension to His glorious throne, we read His appointment as described in the following verses:
(Hebrews 5:1-10) For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Now we know, that God Himself established the Lord Jesus’ priesthood, not following after the order of Aaron, the Levites, but that of the order of Melchisedec.
So, there was a change in Priesthood!
(Hebrews7:12) For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Following the change in priesthood, there was a change in the law or the Torah of Moses as opposed to the Ten Word (Commandment) which remains intact to this very day! Remember, from the Torah, the Lord Jesus Christ instructed God’s chosen ones to observe the animals’ sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins! That too was changed!
(Hebrews9:11-15) But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
The re-New-ed Covenant was prophesied long time ago, by the prophets of God.
(Jeremiah31:31-34) 1 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
And the inspired apostle, remind us of this promise following the Lord Jesus’ ascension to His throne and established Him as the High Priest:
(Hebrews 10:12-17) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Now, which way do you wish to take? Favour through faith in the redemptive power of the Lord Jesus Messiah, or go through becoming a Jew, by castrating (sorry, circumcising) yourselves, do all of the requirement of the law as written by Moses which will end God’s favour ? It is your call!
Ha Kadosh baruch Hu,