Important Terms and Concepts

As was stated on the home page, although the author of this commentary is a Christian (in the Scriptural sense of the term - read the essay on True Christianity), 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 Jewish/Hebraic perspective from which it was written. Several 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.

Disclaimer:  Just because the author uses certain Hebrew names and terms in this commentary does not mean that he practices a kind of reverse replacement theology - replacing Christians with Israelites or Jews.  Please visit Who are the People of Yehovah ("God")? for a complete explanation of who the chosen people of God are.  Also, recognizing that a tactic Satan uses to divide believers in the coming Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) is to get them quibbling over non-essential issues (rather than being united in the Spirit), he will not be dogmatic about the spellings, pronunciations, or even the use of the following terms as opposed to others.   

Y-H-V-H - the closest English approximation of the Hebrew letters Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (the Tetragrammaton) that represent the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) and the God of the Christians. 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 by pagan and Roman Catholic persecutors of the Jews during the early centuries following the diaspora of the Judean Jews in 135 C.E., scribes of the earliest extant Hebrew Scriptures refused to include a mark for the second vowel in His name.  Therefore, although the topic of much research and debate by Bible scholars and others down through the centuries, the exact spelling and pronunciation of the name of the God of the Bible, until recently, has remained a matter of constant conjecture and disagreement. However, after more than 20 years of study, the Hebrew scholar Nehemiah Gordon and his global team of researchers have recently discovered over 1,700 early manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures that have retained the name of Israel's God completely spelled out, with full vowels.  And Nehemiah has concluded that the correct spelling of the name (in English) is Yehovah.
2  Therefore, although we will not be dogmatic about it because some have made strong cases for other spellings (e.g. Yahuah) plus, it's what is in our hearts that counts rather than exact spellings and pronunciations, Yehovah is the name that will be used for our God in this commentary.  The terms LORD and God as used in most Greek (Gentile) translations of the Scripture (including the New King James Version, which is quoted in this commentary) in the place of Yehovah, 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 but is a title referring to Yevovah’s divine, omnipotent, plural nature rather than to His proper name.  In fact, Elohim refers to both God the Father and God the Son as One, as in Genesis 1:1.  Elohim is also used in Scripture to refer to created or spiritual offspring of Yehovah 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 Yehovah. Although God is commonly used in referring to Yehovah by both Jews and Christians, its meaning must be determined by context.  In this commentary, we attempt to use the titles Elohim and God only in passages of Scripture or situations in which the plural title, referring to both the Father and the Son, is appropriate.  For example, "the wrath of God" is used rather than "the wrath of Yehovah" because Revelation 6:16 makes it clear that the "wrath" of the Day of the Lord is the wrath of both the Father and the Son.  

Yeshua (often spelled Yahushua, Yahshua, or in some other way) - which means “Yah saves" or "Yah is salvation” - is the most commonly-used spelling of the  Hebrew name of Israel’s Messiah. Note that the name of the incarnation of Elohim, to reflect His divinity, actually contains the short form of name of the God of Israel (Yah, or Ye when used with the suffix shua). “Jesus” is an English transliteration of the Greek (Gentile)  name of the Messiah, Iesus, which itself is a translation of the Hebrew name of the Messiah. “The Lord” (Hebrew: adonai) may be a title of either Yehovah the Father or Yeshua the Son - or both - depending on the context.

Messiah - an English transliteration of the Hebrew title Mashiach, 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, Yeshua haMashiach (Yeshua the Messiah).

BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (the Common Era)— refer to events or times before or after Yeshua’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 Yehovah’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 Yeshua to Earth was the turning point of world history and, indeed, to deny the Son of the Father Yehovah’s existence altogether. Also, they are inaccurate, because astronomical and historical evidence have shown that Yeshua 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.

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 Yeshua (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 (Judah), "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. The book of Daniel, which was written while the Jews were in captivity in Babylon, uses the terms "Jews" and "children of Israel" interchangeably (Daniel 1:3; 3:8, 12; also, cf. Daniel 9:7, 11, 12).  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 New Covenant.  From the beginning, starting with Adam, Yehovah has actually had only one covenant with His People: to bless them and give them life if they walked in unity with Him, but to curse them and consign them to death if they did not walk in unity with him.  All other covenants—the covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and others—from the time of Yehovah’s original covenant with Adam until the coming of the “second Adam” Yeshua, have been imperfect variations of that Original Covenant, modified for imperfect, fallen humans, and are therefore, because they are outdated, collectively referred to in Scripture as the Old Covenant.  However, because He lived a perfect, sinless life, walking in perfect unity with His Heavenly Father, and gave His life so that His Followers might have eternal life if they continue to walk in unity with their God, Yeshua restored/renewed the Original Covenant, as it was with Adam, when Adam had an intimate, personal relationship with Yehovah.  Also, note that the New Covenant applies just as much to Yehovah’s People Israel as it does to the Followers of Yeshua, because it was first promised to Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-33).  

The Old Covenant Scriptures and the New Covenant Scriptures—commonly referred to as the Old Testament and the New Testament, respectively. However, “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are ambiguous, misleading terms, giving the impression that Scripture given before the time of Yeshua is outdated or has been replaced by Scripture given after the time of Yeshua. But the apostle Paul stated, "All Scripture [referring especially to the "Old Testament," because the "New Testament" had not yet been compiled] is given by the inspiration of  [Yehovah] . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16).  This presents us with a dilemma, because, as has been established above, Jews who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah but do not yet recognize that He is Yeshua, and those who already know Yeshua as the Messiah, are, in the eyes of Yehovah, who knows the end from the beginning (Acts 46:10), already “one in the Messiah” (Galatians 3:28).  Therefore, all of Scripture—both what is called the “New Testament” and what is called the “Old Testament”—was given to both believing Jews (“true Israel”—Romans 9:6) and to the present Disciples of Yeshua (the Christians).  And there shouldn’t be any division between the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament”—one should flow into the other seamlessly.  That division is a major perpetuator of Replacement Theology, on one hand, and Messianic/Hebrew Roots theology (which is often an over-reaction to Replacement Theology but is also, ironically, a form of Replacement Theology) on the other hand. Therefore, in this commentary, “the Old Covenant Scriptures,” referring to those Scriptures written before the first advent of the Messiah by men who were under the Old Covenant, will be used rather than “Old Testament” and “the New Covenant Scriptures,” referring to those Scriptures written after His first advent by Followers of Yeshua who were under the New Covenant, will be used rather than “New Testament.” 

The Torah - the Hebrew name of the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch), commonly referred to as "the Law" in the New Covenant Scriptures.  However, the Torah is much more than the rules and ordinances of the "Old Testament" Law.  It contains all the teachings and instructions for living a happy, successful life as a child of Yehovah. 

The Saints, the Redeemed, the Remnant, the Elect - Yehovah’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 Yeshua are all, in both the Old Covenant Scriptures and the New Covenant Scriptures, 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 Yeshua]” (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 Yeshua as their Messiah must be determined by context.

The Disciples of, Followers of or Believers in Yeshua (the Messiah) - commonly referred to in Gentile translations of the New Covenant Scriptures as “Christians.” However, “Christian” is a misleading term, giving the impression that the People of Yehovah, 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 Yehovah, including ancient Israel, have believed in, interacted with, and followed the Messiah throughout their history.

Life in the Messiah - commonly referred to as “Christianity.”

Yehovah's People or the Assembly of, the Congregation ofthe Community of or the Body of Believers in Yeshua - commonly referred to in Gentile translations of the 
Renewed Covenant Scriptures 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 Yehovah’s original chosen people Israel are separate from the “Church.” However, in both the Old Covenant Scriptures and the New Covenant Scriptures, "the assembly," "the congregation," and "the bride” refer to the corporate People of Yehovah, and Paul explains that Gentiles who become Disciples of Yeshua 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 Yehovah, 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 Yeshua (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). Also, etymological studies have shown that the original root of the word “church” is not ekklesia; it is derived from the Greek term kuriakon (from kurios - lord or master) loosely meaning "lord's house."  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].



2For a more complete explanation of Nehemiah Gordon's research and conclusions regarding the name of the God of the Bible, visit https://nehemiah's wall.com/1000-manuscripts-yehovah.


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Having been a Christian for forty years, when I retired, I realized that I didn't know my Creator's name, or His Son's name. When I prayed fervently to …

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