Important Terms and Concepts
Although the author of this commentary is a Christian, it is written from the Hebraic perspective of the one who wrote it, the apostle John. Why? . . . simply because it is impossible to fully understand the Bible without understanding the Hebraic perspective from which it was written. Numerous terms and concepts are used that may be somewhat unfamiliar to most Christians. So, for the purpose of effective communication, the following explanations are provided:
Y-H-W-H - the closest English approximation of the Hebrew letters that represent the name of the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). Written Scriptural Hebrew (in the earliest extant manuscripts) contains no vowels - just marks that indicate what vowels should be used in pronouncing words. And because of prohibitions against speaking the name of the Creator, scribes of the earliest extant Hebrew Scriptures refused to include a mark for the second vowel in His name. However, at least one expositor1, who has thoroughly researched the spelling and pronunciation of the name of the Most High God, explains that the correct pronunciation of YHWH is "Yahuah," which means "The Self-Existent One, Who is the Beginning and the End." Actually, the earliest extant Hebrew manuscripts spell the Name YHVH. But research has also revealed that, in ancient, pre-Solomon Paleo-Hebrew, there was no such letter as v, and the third letter of the name is w (waw), pronounced "uu." The poetic short form of the Name is Yah, pronounced “Yah” (as in “yawn”). Historically, the Jews, in their hesitancy to speak the name represented by the letters Y-H-W-H, have substituted Adonai (“Lord”). But, contrary to the practice of most Jews and many Messianic Believers, if we have an intimate, Renewed Covenant relationship with our loving heavenly Father, He delights in hearing His Children speak His name, imperfect though our attempts to do so may be. YHWH actually occurs more than 6,800 times in the earliest extant Hebrew manuscripts. Moses, to whom the name of the God of his fathers had first been revealed (Exodus 3:15), openly proclaimed His name (Deuteronomy 32:3). Yahuah’s People are exhorted to take oaths in His name (Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20), exalt His name (Psalm 34:3), give thanks to His name (Psalm 122:4), praise His name (Psalm 113:1, 3; 135:1), bless His name (Deuteronomy 10:8; Psalm 145:21), minister in His name (Deuteronomy 18:5), serve in His name (Deuteronomy 18:7), call upon His name (Isaiah 12:4), and glorify His name (Isaiah 24:15). King David sang praises to His name (Psalm 18:49), declared that he would wait on His name (Psalm 52:9) and make His name to be remembered (Psalm 45:17), appealed to Yahuah to save him by His name (Psalm 54:1), and prophesied that all the earth would sing praises to His name (Psalm 66:4) and all nations would glorify His name (Psalm 86:9). Finally, Solomon asked, “What is His name, and what is His Son’s name? Surely you know!” (Proverbs 30:4) Indeed, how are we going to make the distinct name of our God known to the world without speaking it?
Jahovah is an Anglicized corruption of the name represented by YHWH, formed by changing the Y to J, the W to v, and combining the letters J-H-V-H with the vowels of Adonai. But, as with v there is no j in ancient Hebrew. The terms LORD and GOD as used in most Greek (Gentile) translations of thecripture (including the New King James Version, which is quoted in this commentary) in the place of Yahuah, are not proper names of the God of Israel and should not be used as such. They are descriptive titles. So, unless otherwise indicated, the Lord, as used in this commentary, refers to a title of the God of Israel and not to His name. Also, the Hebrew plural term ‘elohiym (English: Elohim) is frequently translated God in Scripture (e.g., Genesis 1:1), but is a title referring to Yahuah’s divine, omnipotent, triune nature rather than to His proper name. Elohim is also used in Scripture to refer to created or spiritual off-spring of Yahuah or even to other gods (cf. Exodus 22:19; Psalm 8:5; John 10:35), so may be confusing when used as a title of Yahuah. Although God is commonly used in referring to Yahuah by both Jews and Messianic Believers, its meaning must be determined by context, and will be used in this commentary only when quoting the Hebrew text.
Yahushua - which means “The Self-Existent One, Who is Salvation,” is the Hebrew name of Israel’s Messiah. Note that the name of the incarnation of Yahuah, to reflect His divinity, actually contains the name of the God of Israel. “Jesus” is a Greek (Gentile) corruption of the name of the Messiah, actually, some say, having been derived from a variation of the name of the Greek god Zeus (“Y’Zeus” or “Ie-Zeus”), so it may actually represent an attempt to replace the name of the Hebrew Messiah with the name of a pagan god. “The Lord” may be a title of either Yahuah the Father or Yahushuah the Son - or both - depending on the context.
Messiah - an English transliteration of the Hebrew title Maschiach, meaning “Anointed One.” The Greek or Gentile version is “Christ” (from the Greek: Khristos) which means, simply, “anointed” and is combined with “Jesus” in most English translations of the Bible to form the alleged full name of the Messiah - Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus. However, Messiah, as used in the Bible, is a title ("the Anointed One"), not a name. So, because “Christ” diminishes the meaning of “Messiah” and should represent His title rather than His name, it will not be used in this commentary as either the title of the Messiah or His name, which is, in Hebrew, Yahushua haMashiach (Yahushua the Messiah).
BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (the Common Era)— refer to events or times before or after Yahushua’s birth. The usual terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini – in the year of the Lord) are misleading because they, in a subtle way, undermine the deity of the Messiah, implying that He did not exist before His birth. They also play into the hands of the replacement theologians who teach that Christians have replaced Israel as Yahuah’s chosen People. The alternative terms BCE (Before the Common Era, Christian Era, or Current Era) and CE (the Common Era, Current Era, or Christian Era) are also misleading because they are ambiguous terms developed by Jews and secularists to deny that the coming of the Messiah Yahushua to Earth was the turning point of world history and, indeed, to deny the Son of the Father Yahuah’s existence altogether. Also, they are inaccurate, because astronomical and historical evidence have shown that Yahushua was born in 3 BC or BCE. However, for the sake of communication and the lack of a better alternative, the neutral terms BCE and CE will be used in this commentary to designate calendar dates.
The Tanakh and the B’rit Hadashah—commonly referred to as the Old Testament and the New Testament, respectively. However, “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are misleading terms, giving the impression that Scripture given before the time of Yahushua is outdated or has been replaced by Scripture given after the time of Yahushua. But the apostle Paul stated, “All Scripture [referring especially to the Tanakh, because the B’rit Hadashah had not yet been compiled] is given by the inspiration of [Yahuah] . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Tanakh” is an acronym made from the first letters of the three main divisions of the Hebrew Bible: Torah (the “Law” or “instructions” of Yahuah), Nevi’im (Prophets) and K’tuvim (writings). “B’rit Hadashah” is a Hebrew term meaning “new covenant,” and is used for Scripture written after the birth of Yahushua because He established the New Covenant, which is the Torah written on Believers’ hearts, with the sacrifice of Himself for our sins (cf. Matthew 26:28).
Israel or the Hebrews - refers to the descendants of Jacob (natural or proselytized). “True Israel,” as distinguished by the apostle Paul (cf. Romans 9:6), looks forward in faith to the coming of the Messiah, whether or not they have yet recognized that He is Yahushua (cf. Romans 11:25). Although "Hebrews" referred originally to the descendants of Abraham, the two terms came to be used interchangeably in referring to the descendants of Jacob.
Jews - originally and technically referred to members of one of the tribes of Israel - the tribe of Judah. But after the Northern Kingdom (Israel or Ephraim) divided from the Southern Kingdom, "Jews" referred to subjects of the Southern Kingdom because of its dominant tribe, Judah. However, after the Northern Kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE and many thousands of subjects of the tribes of the Northern Kingdom fled to the Southern Kingdom, intermingling all twelve tribes, "Jews" came to refer to the entire nation of Israel. And that is how the term was used by the apostle Paul, himself an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1), who, in explaining his own Jewishness, clearly stated that the Jews were citizens of "my own nation" (Israel) and members of "all our twelve tribes" (Acts 26:4-7). Then, throughout His letter to the Romans, Paul used the terms "Israel" and "Jews" interchangeably.
The Saints, the Redeemed, the Remnant, the Elect - Yahuah’s ancient People Israel who, in faith, anticipated the Messiah, His current People the Jews who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah, and the Disciples of Yahushua are all, in both the Tanakh and the B’rit Hadashah, referred to as the “called,” the “chosen,” the “elect,” the “redeemed,” the "remnant," and the “saints.” Indeed, as the apostle Paul explains, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in [the Messiah Yahushua]” (Galatians 3:28). Whether “the Saints,” “the Redeemed,” or “the Elect” are referring to those Hebrews who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah or to the ones who have already accepted Yahushua as their Messiah must be determined by context.
The Disciples of, Followers of or Believers in Yahushua (the Messiah) - commonly referred to in Gentile translations of the B'rit Hadashah as “Christians.” However, “Christian” is a misleading term, giving the impression that the People of Yahuah, the Hebrews who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah but have not yet recognized Him, are separate from and have been relegated to an inferior status or replaced by the Christian Church, when, in fact, the People of Yahuah, including ancient Israel, have believed in, interacted with, and followed the Messiah throughout their history.
Life in the Messiah - commonly referred to as “Christianity.”
Yahuah's People, the Messianic Community, or the Assembly of, the Community of or the Body of Believers in Yahushua - commonly referred to in Gentile translations of the B'rit Hadashah as the "Church” (Greek: ekklesia – a gathering of citizens called out from their homes to some public place of assembly). “Church” is a term originally coined by the Roman Catholic Church to refer only to that religious organization and has taken on misleading connotations because it gives the false impression that Yahuah’s original chosen people Israel are separate from the “Church.” However, in both the Tanakh and the B'rit Hadashah, "the assembly," "the congregation," and "the bride” refer to the corporate People of Yahuah, and Paul explains that Gentiles who become Disciples of Yahushua are “grafted into” the “commonwealth of Israel,” in which "You [Gentiles] are . . . fellow citizens with the saints [Israel]." (cf. Romans 11:24; Ephesians 2:12, 19). In the Kingdom of Yahuah, there is no distinction between the ancient Hebrews (beginning with Abraham) who looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah, the modern-day Jews who anticipate in faith His coming, and the present-day Disciples of Yahushua (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). Also, etymological studies have shown that the original root of the word “church” is not ekklesia. It is the name of the Greek witch, sorceress, and goddess Circe, the daughter of the sun god Helios, who was also the matron goddess of the circus (“circus” is derived from circe). So, in this commentary, in most cases, the term “assembly” will be used rather than “church.”
Antimessiah—commonly referred to as “Antichrist” (1 John 4:3). Although many have the anti-messiah spirit, at the End of the Age, there will be a man (Revelation 13:18), the incarnation of Satan, the false messiah who, for a short time (42 months) will rule the world.
Note: If a term replaces the original term in a quotation, it is enclosed in [brackets].
For an excellent exposition of the Names of the Father (represented by YHWH)
and the Son, visit www.yahu2.com
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