A Jewish Hebrew scholar, a self-described “former Pharisee,” is providing Christians with some startling new revelations about their faith.
Nehemia Gordon, a Semitic-language expert and one of the Dead Sea Scrolls translators, is currently in the United States, lecturing in churches and Christian Bible studies on the person he calls “the real Yeshua,” Jesus’ actual Hebrew name, which means “salvation.”
He is the author of “The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus,” a book and DVD teaching series that is causing a sensation among the Christians all over the world who are rediscovering the Hebrew roots of their faith, recognizing that Jesus was, indeed, a very Torah-observant Jew, not a Gentile who came to do away with the law.
Some of Gordon’s most important discoveries came in his translation of what he believes to be the original Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew.
The King James translation of Matthew 23:2-4 has befuddled Christians for hundreds of years. While Jesus indicted the Pharisees, calling them “vipers” and worse, He seems to suggest doing what they say to do in this verse: “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.”
But, according to Gordon’s translation of the recently discovered Hebrew text of Matthew, there is a slight, but important, mistranslation of the verse – probably a result of an original error in the Greek. Some scholars believe Matthew originally wrote his gospel in Hebrew.
What it actually says, according to Gordon, is for followers to do what Moses says, not the Pharisees. When the Pharisees would sit in Moses’ seat, they would read from the first five books of the Bible – the words of Moses. Jesus, or Yeshua, was telling His disciples to heed the scriptural text and disregard the man-made teachings of the Pharisees, explains Gordon.
Gordon’s research reveals that the more “modern” Greek text of Matthew, from which the Western world’s versions were translated, depicts “another Jesus” from the Yeshua portrayed in the ancient Hebrew version of Matthew. Gordon explains the life-and-death conflict Yeshua had with the Pharisees as they schemed to grab the reins of Judaism in the first century, and brings that conflict into perspective for both Jew and Christian alike.