Exploration 86 – The Dust-To-Darwin Problem

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:7 King James Version

Bob Sorensen used the phrase “dust-to-Darwin” to describe evolution. This phrase succinctly describes the mythopoetic rationalization underlying evolutionary speculations. It brings two contrary things to mind. First, the word dust brings to mind Genesis 2:7 where we have a “dust-to-Adam” creation by God. Second, the word Darwin brings to mind those who promote a mindless, deterministic/random evolutionary explanation of how we got here.

The dust-to-Darwin problem is the realization that the speculations attempting to replace Genesis are no longer plausible, if they ever were. The problem for atheistic speculations is that science never has been on the side of atheism in spite of it being institutionally force-fed. That’s because experimental science doesn’t sit still. Scientists, some of them witlessly, keep pushing down the atheist fencing, because that fencing doesn’t fit reality.

For example, although mutations in DNA might look like the driving force of evolution, look closer and they point to genetic entropy and single, recent male and female ancestors. Although the fossil column might look like it could be dated to be hundreds of millions of years old, look closer and that dating falls apart when scientists estimate the entire geologic record would be eroded away in a mere ten million years assuming measured rates of erosion. Experimental science measured this entropy and erosion. Those measurements undermined speculative philosophy’s attempts to justify atheism.

Even more fundamentally, the dust-to-Darwin problem is that the philosophy of atheism offers no plausible way for any kind of dust to get here in the first place without God. It presents no plausible explanation for how that dust came alive without God. It has no plausible way to explain why men and women are inhabiting earth right now without God.

But the most serious part of the dust-to-Darwin problem comes when normal, ordinary people realize that they have been deceived, fooled into filtering reality through atheistic mythology.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Tazria 1 Nissan, 5782 – April 2, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 12:1 – 13:59
Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:18 – 46:15; Isaiah 66:1; Isaiah 66:23-24; Isaiah 66:23
Brit Chadashah: John 6:8-13; Matthew 8:1-4
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Exploration 85 – Oral Torah

23 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.

Matthew 23:1-3, King James Version

The oral Torah is part of the tradition of Rabbinic Judaism in addition to the written Torah of the Bible. Not all Jews accept this second Torah. Those who don’t are called Karaite Jews.

Nehemia Gordon, a Karaite Jew, described this oral Torah in the first half of the lecture below. Given Yeshua’s (Jesus’s) objections to the Pharisees he suspected Yeshua was an early Karaite Jew (although Christian and Messianic believers know He is much, much more).

Being also a Hebrew scholar who studied the Shem Tov Hebrew manuscript of Matthew as well as one who found other manuscript copies of it Gordon attempted to answer a question about Matthew 23:3 that has puzzled some. In spite of Yeshua’s objection to the oral Torah of the Pharisees why did He tell His disciples to do whatever “they bid you observe”?

Gordon observed that in the Hebrew manuscript of Matthew Yeshua told his disciples to do whatever “he” bid you observe where the “he” referred to Moses, not the Pharisees. If this section of the manuscript is more authentic, the puzzlement can be explained by a scribal error.

His explanation is in the second half of his talk starting about 1:15:50 in the video. For more details see his book, The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus.

I am grateful to Benjamin Andreessen’s very detailed posts on this and similar topics in his MeWe group Hebrew Shalom.

To hear a positive view of the oral Torah see Rabbi Berel Wein’s informative and short presentation of Jewish history especially episodes Rebellion Against Rome and Exile, What Is the Talmud, and Writing of the Talmud.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Shemini 23 Adar II, 5782 – March 26, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47
Haftarah: 2 Samuel 6:1-7:17
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 7:1-19; Hebrews 8:1-6
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Shapes and Colors, Light and Shade

Exploration 84 – Yehováh, Not Yahweh

Some people pronounce the divine name in the Bible represented by the four Hebrew letters, yud-hey-vav-hey, YHVH, יְהוָ֤ה, as “Yahweh”, but is that correct?

The following are some arguments in favor of Yehováh (accent marked on the last syllable to distinguish it from “Jehovah”) as the divine name.

  • Benjamin Andreessen in a recent post to his Hebrew Shalom MeWe group noted that Nehemia Gordon found manuscripts with full vowel pointings and cantillation marks for the divine name Yehováh. He also gives a brief history starting with the Samaritans and leading to Gesenius for why Yahweh might even be considered today as a possible ancient pronunciation suggesting there is not enough evidence to support it.
  • Navah provides an explanation favoring the Yehováh pronunciation and an explanation why the Hebrew letter vav would have been pronounced in ancient times with a “v” rather than a “w” sound as it is done by many Hebrew speakers today. He takes a different view of Gesenius than Gordon does.
  • The following video summarizes Al Garza’s argument for Yehováh.
Jewish Sources for Pronouncing YHVH, Dr. Al Garza

Here are arguments favoring “Yahweh”.

  • Justin J. Van Rensburg created fifteen video responses to Gordon (see the Hebrew Gospels). His arguments are based on “ketiv qere perpetuum” explained in video 3, that some readings of the vowel pointings are gibberish explained in video 5 and a claim that the vav had a “w” pronunciation in ancient times in video 15.
  • Brown-Driver-Briggs constructed vowel pointings for the Yahweh sound, but that assumes the vav had a “w” sound in ancient times and the visible vowel pointings in the Masoretic text were faulty. They also used the JEDP documentary hypothesis to classify the evidence. Since I maintain that Moses wrote most of the Torah, I find what they have to say suspicious.

If anyone has more information, or a strong opinion one way or the other, you are welcome to comment.

There is a third position presented by the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues Steering Committee (One Law, Two Sticks, 1-15-2014, page 10) : The problem with praying to God by His so-called “sacred name,” was that nobody was really quite sure what it was. Some said it was “Jehovah,” while others decided it was “Yahweh,” and there were other forms as well. This position would prefer a title such as Lord or Adonai than a specific name.

Until recently this third position was the one I followed saying “May the Lord bless you” rather than may Yahweh or Yehováh bless you. However, it raises the question: Should I be invoking a title when the Hebrew text offers an explicit name?

This issue concerns me because I have unwittingly believed things that I later wished I had not. Until I read Andreessen discuss the “Yahweh heresy” and its suspected origins in “liberal Theology” I had no problem with the ancient Yahweh pronunciation although I didn’t use it. Now I wonder whether the introduction of Yahweh a couple of centuries ago had been part of a larger deception. I don’t want to be fooled any more.

In the video below Nehemia Gordon provided evidence for the divine name being Yehováh citing 16 rabbis who explicitly stated that the correct vowels were sheva, cholam, and kamatz. He did not find anywhere in the database of historical Jewish documents the name Yahweh (about 29:00 in the video). This is the view I now favor.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Tzav 16 Adar II, 5782 – March 19, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36
Haftarah: Jeremiah 7:21-28; Jeremiah 9:22-23
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 7:24 – 8:6
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Fallen Palm Branch

Exploration 83 – The Hebrew New Testament

…what’s it matter if it’s written in Hebrew or Greek and the answer to that is it doesn’t matter at all unless you care about the truth of Scripture and if you care about the truth of Scripture it makes a huge difference because everything we know about our Hebrew Messiah we know through a Greek filter….

Dr. Miles R. Jones, A Sit-Down Conversation with Dr. Miles R, Jones,
The Messianic Torah Observer Ministry of QFC, (about 1:14:25 in the video)

In a series of brief articles Jeff Brenner outlined an argument that Hebrew was the original source language for the New Testament. Here are four topics he covered:

  • Recent archeological evidence shows that the language of the Israelites during the Second Temple Period was Hebrew.
  • Evidence from the book of Maccabees and Josephus show the rejection of Hellenistic culture by the Jewish people.
  • Evidence from Church Fathers and the text suggests the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew.
  • Hebrew words are transliterated in the Greek texts suggesting the Greek text is a translation from Hebrew.

There are surviving Hebrew manuscripts that could be viewed as copies of copies leading back to original autographs not translations from the Greek or Aramaic. Here are some sources describing and translating these manuscripts.

  • George Howard translated the Shem Tob Hebrew text of Matthew in The Gospel of Matthew according to a primitive Hebrew text (1987). He knew of nine manuscript copies. Michael Rood claimed there are now 28 known surviving manuscript copies of the Hebrew Matthew (about 7:50 in the video, The Greek Jesus vs the Hebrew Yeshua).
  • Michael J. and Justin J. Van Rensburg recently finished translating the Hebrew manuscripts of Revelation, James and Jude found in Cochin, India (Ms. Oo.1.16 and Ms. Oo.1.32 from the Cambridge University Library). They argue that these manuscripts can be traced to Hebrew originals. They have finished translating the Hebrew manuscripts of Matthew, Mark, and John and they are in the process of translating Luke coming from Vat. Ebr. 100.
  • Miles Jones organized a team which finished translating the Epistle of James last summer from a copy in the British Museum. The question of the authenticity of this manuscript (Royal MS 16 A II) as a copy of an original Hebrew autograph is still open.

To understand why these manuscripts are important here are two problems that have been resolved by studying them.

  • Hebrew manuscripts make clear that the name Joseph referenced in Matthew 1:16 was the name of Miriam’s (Mary’s) father, not husband. Her husband’s name was also Joseph. Without that correction, Jesus was not in the actual line of David. See Michael Rood’s Is Jesus THE Messiah? for why this matters.
  • Hebrew manuscripts make clear that Jesus did not tell his disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:3, but Moses. Jesus consistently rejected the Oral Torah of the Pharisees. See Nehemia Gordon, The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus, for more information on the Oral Torah of Rabbinic Judaism and the copying error that led to the confusion.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Vayikra 9 Adar II, 5782 – March 12, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26
Haftarah: Samuel I 15:1-34
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 10:1-18
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Leaves and Bay

Exploration 82 – Ruth

Elimelech, his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, went to Moab to escape the famine in Bethlehem. There Mahlon married Ruth (Ruth 4:10) and Chilion married Orpah. There also Elimelech died as well as his sons Mahlon and Chilion. Naomi told her daughters-in-law to stay with their families in Moab, but Ruth would not leave her.

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

Ruth 1:16-17 King James Version

Ruth went with Naomi back to Bethlehem. She gleaned in the fields of Boaz, a kinsman of Naomi’s husband Elimelech (Ruth 2:1). He married Ruth and she bore Obed, an heir for Mahlon, the son of Elimelech. After Obed came Jesse the father of David in whose line was born Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus) of a virgin named Miriam (Mary) (Matthew 1).

17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Ruth 4:17 King James Version

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Pecudei 2 Adar II, 5782 – March 5, 2022
Torah: Exodus 38:21 – 40:38
Haftarah: Kings I 7:51 – 8:21
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 1:1-14
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

I am looking for a name to replace “Sunday Walk”. I am trying “Exploration”.

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