Was the Greek of the New Testament predicted in the Old Testament?

I have frequently found that when confused by the many theological theories, and stories, one encounters on a daily basis, the best cure is always to go to the ultimate source of spiritual knowledge, the bible.

I was recently told that “The name of the Saviour is not Jesus, but Yeshua”, by an elder of a Messianic congregation.

Now, the name Yeshua is a form of the Hebrew Joshua, or Yehoshua, and since Jesus, or Iasous, is the Greek form of this same name, Yeshua is a legitimate name to use to refer to the Messiah. I have no problem when one uses Yeshua to refer to the Messiah, but I have a problem with this statement.

When one says that “The name of the Saviour is NOT Jesus, but Yeshua” he is claiming divine knowledge. In short such a statement is making a claim of divine revelation, unless the speaker has a direct statement to that effect from the Scriptures.

Does such a statement exist in the Scriptures?

No, not to my knowledge, and those who make such claims have universally failed to produce one.

This statement is based on a fallacy that says that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and then later translated into Greek. This is more than a fallacy, it is actually a heresy.

There is no evidence for such a text. The “original Hebrew New Testament” is fiction. There is a mountain of textual evidence in Greek, and not one in Hebrew. The Aramaic Peshitta is newer than the Greek, a translation of it, and still is not OT Hebrew.

So, if there is no evidence that the New Testament was written in Hebrew, is there evidence that God planned it to be written in Greek? Is there a place in the Old Testament where God hints that He would use another language when writing the New Testament?

Yes, there is!

Isaiah 28:11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

Notice that this is not “other tongues”, but “another tongue”. Who is “he” in this context? It is the Lord Jesus, the Messiah! The “another tongue” of this passage is none other than the New Testament Koine Greek! The lingua franca of the Roman Empire, including Israel, in the first century.

Most people who stammer have higher than average intelligence. Their brain moves faster than their body can keep up. This may explain why the Lord would stammer. I am not aware of any other passage that speaks of Jesus stammering, but if scripture says it, it must be true.

Some will accuse me of taking this passage out of context, but I can assure you I have read the whole chapter. There are multiple contexts in the passage. The first few verses refer to ancient Israel, and the last few refer to the Tribulation period. Somewhere in the middle it changes to the first century.

Lets take a few moments to examine the context of the passage;

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:

This initial context is ancient Israel during Jeremiah’s life time. This section refers to Ephraim of the northern kingdom, shortly before they were taken into captivity. Today the descendants of Ephraim live in Afghanistan and Pakistan, among the Pathan tribes. They are now Muslims and don’t drink any more, but don’t think God is done with them.

Somewhere in the passage the context switches to the future of the Tribulation period;

21 For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. 22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.

While God decrees judgment against Israel, from time to time, the “consumption, even determined upon the whole earth” is a clue that this particular judgment is not reserved for Israel alone, but for every nation. This judgment is the Tribulation, which will affect the whole earth.

In the middle we have the verse in question; For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

What happened in the middle, between the scattering of Israel, and the final regathering for the Tribulation? That is the time when the Messiah came, and that is the time when He spoke to “this people” with another tongue… Greek!

In case we didn’t get it, he speaks again of the Messiah in verse 16

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

There is no doubt that this verse is a reference to Jesus the Christ, and neither is there any doubt that verse 11 is also a reference to this same person.

I find it interesting that he says “ he that believeth shall not make haste”. Humans are always in a hurry. It is counter intuitive that we should wait. We don’t like to wait. We want the Lord to hurry, but His timing is perfect. We often commit our worst sins when we act on an impulse!  Wait for the Lord.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. Psalms 37:9

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Is Isaiah 28:11 alone? Is it the only place where the New Testament Greek is hinted at? No. While God does not specify which language He would use for the New Testament, he does say that Hebrew would cease to be the lingua franca of Israel.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. Jeremiah 31:23

At the time when Jeremiah wrote this verse, Hebrew was the main language of Israel. It would have been inconceivable to the Jews of that day that their descendants would speak another language. Here he is prophesying that the day would come that they would no longer use this language, and would not use it again until they are returned back to the land.

The phrase “when I shall bring again their captivity” is not a reference to their return after 70 years, but to their return after 2700 years. The majority did not return when the Persians allowed them to.  This is actually a reference to Chaim Weizmann, the father of the modern Zionist movement, and the establishment of modern Israel in 1948.

After the invasion of the Greeks in c.330 BC, Israel was subjected to Hellenization to the point that when Jesus was born, Greek was the lingua franca, the operating language, of Israel. In fact Greek was the operating language of the entire Roman empire, not Latin.

Cory Keating makes this note;

“It has been universally acknowledged by virtually everyone who has studied the matter that “Greek was the lingua franca of the Graeco-Roman world and the predominant language of the Roman Empire.” Because it was the language of the Empire, it held a place of prestige in that it dominated the political, educational, and economic environment even of Palestine itself.This means that there would have been cultural, social and especially linguistic pressure to learn Greek in order to communicate broadly within the social structure.”

Furthermore, evidence continues to increase regarding the strong influence of the Greek language and culture in lower Galilee, the region where Jesus grew up. Highlighting the evidence of Hellenistic influence in Galilee is the fact that Matthew refers to that region as “Galilee of the Gentiles.” Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth, was located just four miles from the largest Galilean city, Sepphoris which was a Hellenistic-Roman city where the Hellenistic culture, not Judaism, was dominant.

This Hellenistic culture, which implied the use of Greek, dominated every aspect of life and society.”

In summarizing the importance of this region as a trade route, surrounded by Hellenistic culture, the greatly respected Greek linguist Stanley Porter says, “it is not legitimate to think of Jesus as growing up in linguistic and cultural isolation. Nazareth was situated along a branch of and had a position overlooking one of the busiest trade routes in ancient Palestine, the Via Maris, which reached from Damascus to the Mediterranean.”

Thus New Testament historian H.C. Kee concludes, “This means that for Jesus to have conversed with inhabitants of cities in the Galilee, and especially the cities of the Decapolis and the Phoenician region, he would have had to have known Greek, certainly at the conversational level.”

Evidence from History and the Gospels that Jesus Spoke Greek By Corey Keating

Because it was God’s purpose to save gentiles, as well as Jews, He inspired the original New Testament, Jewish authors to write in Greek, the same language Jesus had used as His language of ministry.  It was not a human decision to use Greek for the New Testament Scriptures, it was one made by God Himself!

So what about the angel who came to the virgin Mary, and told her she was going to have a son. What name did he tell her to use?

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Luke 1:31

Here it is in the original;

και ιδου συλληψη εν γαστρι και τεξη υιον και καλεσεις το ονομα αυτου ιησουν

He told her to name Him ιησουν, Iasous! (Yes, I have the original bible on my computer.  You can find it for free here!)

Ἰησοῦς in our English characters is Iēsous, or Jesus. As Wikipedia says; “The Greek form is a hellenization of the Aramaic/Hebrew ישוע‎ (Yēšūă‘) which is a post-Exilic modification of the Hebrew יְהוֹשֻׁעַ(Yĕhōšuă‘, Joshua) under influence from Aramaic.”

One little fact I have not seen anyone mention is the fact that throughout history Jews taught Hebrew to their sons, but rarely to their daughters.  Reading of the Scriptures, the Tanakh, was considered a subject for men alone, and women were taught to be house-keepers, mothers, and wives, thus they would have no need for Hebrew.

So, if the first person the angel spoke to was a young girl, Mary, or Miryam, he probably had to speak Greek to her to be understood!  This may explain why Jesus had such a large number of women followers, He spoke their language!  He wasn’t uppity, speaking only Hebrew to learned men, His message was for everybody!

Is it possible that God would take a transliteration for his name when He came to earth? It seems inconceivable, yet it appears that this is exactly what He did! There is NO evidence to the contrary!  Zero!  None!  Nada!

This is what Jews throughout history have done, when naming their children. They take the local transliterations of Hebrew names for their sons and daughters, in the language with which they find themselves speaking. My son has a Jewish classmate named Benjamin. Should Benjamin some day move to Israel he will probably go by Binyamin (בנימין), but as long as he lives in Canada, speaking English, he will likely continue to be known as Benjamin.

Anatoly Sharansky, the famous Russian-Jewish dissident, changed his name to the Hebrew Natan when he immigrated to Israel.

God told us that Hebrew would die out as a spoken language, In Jeremiah 31:23, and would only be restored in the End Times. He told us that He would come speaking another tongue in Isaiah 28:11. The evidence is that these things are true, and the Greek of the New Testament is actually a fulfilment of these prophecies!

You and I are called to believe the bible, NOT to modify it!

What of the martyrs? What of the hundreds of millions of martyrs who died during the last two millennia? How many of them died for Jesus, and how many of them died for Yeshua? The fact is that the vast majority of them never heard of Yeshua, but they gave their lives for ιησουν, Jesus, or the local equivalent, even the Jewish believers.

There may have been a handful who knew Him by Yeshua, but He will not dishonour those who died for Him knowing only Jesus.

Modern men who tell us “The name of the Saviour is not Jesus, but Yeshua” are disrespecting the Lord, the bible, the martyrs, the saints, and all the evidence He gave us. They are ignoring two thousand years of church history!

You will find that such churches don’t sing any of the old hymns either, for the exact same reasons. They don’t believe that those who came before us made any valuable contributions to the faith! They are lifting themselves up for special honour. Don’t believe such men, but read your bible (the AV), and believe it!

There is a Hebrew Roots version of the bible that some are reading, and which I have recently encountered. I noticed the other day that where the original says “Christos” they have replaced it with, not Messiah, or Mossiach, but with Yeshua. This is not even a valid translation! Such a bible is not trustworthy! Translation requires that you replace the original word with the equivalent word of the language into which you are translating. 

Replacing Christos with Yeshua is a paraphrase, which is the authors opinion, and not a translation.  Making such an insertion betrays an agenda, and an attitude.  This is an arrogant attitude, and not the type of attitude a Christian should display.  A servant of Jesus Christ should be humble, and faithful.

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  James 4:6

Shalom,

Dan

For further investigation I recommend the following;

Can we trust the Greek New Testament? by John J. Parsons of Hebrew4Christians

Evidence from History and the Gospels that Jesus Spoke Greek by By Corey Keating

See also my article In which Language was the New Testament written

 

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About dknezacek

An average, ordinary guy. Author, husband, father, pilot, aircraft builder, test pilot, machinist, artist, just ordinary stuff that lots of people do. Don't forget bible student. Dan's passion is bible study, especially including the End Times prophecies.
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11 Responses to Was the Greek of the New Testament predicted in the Old Testament?

  1. Gordon D G says:

    It is not true that all who believe and use the Hebrew Name(s) of the LORD have dissassociated the Godly successes and accomplishments of the common Sunday Churches of JESUS CHRIST as meaningless. There are some Messianic/Sacred-Name/Hebrew-Roots churches and ministries that do that, but, they are definitely wrong for doing so. The Anglo-Grecian Name of JESUS is Anointed. Has been for some time now. And, it will continue to be Anointed and valid in GOD’s Eyes up until the time that the real Anti-Christ rises to power using that name of “Jesus Christ” for himself. I use the Hebrew Names of GOD. I observe 7th-Day Sabbath and Messianic/Hebraic Feasts, and I know that there are many true Believers and Followers of GOD and of HIS Messiah in the Sunday, Christian Churches. But, still, despite the accomplishments of these Churches, it does not change the truth of the Son of GOD’s Name being Hebrew. It is “Yahushua”.

    • dknezacek says:

      Thanks for the response Gordon,

      I hope I didn’t come across as being against the use of Yehushua, or Yeshua. The statement made to me was that “Jesus is NOT the name of the messiah”. It is the emphatic “NOT” that I take issue with.

      You and I weren’t there. We only have the Holy Scriptures to go by. If they say His name was ιησουν, I take that as gospel truth, and will not argue with Scripture!

      The Hebrew equivalent of that name is Yehushua, or Yeshua, and I have no problem with that. My issue is with those who know more than the Lord, and wish to argue with His Word.

      I have known several people who went by English equivalents of their foreign name while in Canada. Some are Jewish, but many are not. It is common for people to use a name other than their birth name, when living in another language.

      In the case of ιησουν, however, I am not convinced that ιησουν was not his birth name. It just might have been!

      God Bless,

      Dan

      • dknezacek says:

        Here is a little test Gordon,

        Have you ever heard anyone use Yehushua ha Mashiah as a curse word? Does anyone in the world use that name as a curse? Maybe in Aramaic or Hebrew, but certainly not in the English speaking world. That name means nothing in English.

        What name is the most popular curse word in the world? It is Jesus Christ!

        I have never heard anyone use Buddha as a curse. Neither have I ever heard anyone use Krishna, Shiva, or Allah as a curse word. They know in their hearts that these gods can do nothing. They are false gods, so they receive honour from the lost.

        They also know in their hearts that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all Creation! It is toward Him that they direct their anger!

        It is kind of negative evidence, but it is legitimate. It is breaking of the third commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Ex 20:7

        It is like they are daring Him to do something! And, He will!

        Yes, Jesus is the only God and Saviour! This is His name in English. If you speak Hebrew, or Aramaic, you can call Him Yehushua, or Yeshua, but in English His name is Jesus! Even the lost know this!

        He has been known by variations of this name for some 2,000 years, and now after all this time, a group of self-appointed bible correctors have discovered that “we were wrong all along”? I don’t think so! I think this is an attack on the authority of the original Greek text.

        It is also an attack on God’s decision to use ιησουν for His own name!

        By the way, I know of no verse that says the Antichrist will call himself Jesus Christ. I doubt that he will. He wants to distance himself from that name. Even if he did, that would not invalidate the name. It is also very true that one can believe a gospel based on the correct name and still be lost.

        II Corinthians 11:4
        For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

        Dan

      • Gordon D G says:

        Dan, Thanks for your reply. All angles and points of view are welcomed with me. But, nevertheless, perhaps if the Name YAHUSHUA had not been so hidden, it might’ve been more familiar to people in general, and then, used, in time, as part of curse language. By “hidden”, I mean, the Jewish Orthodoxies and learned who KNOW “Yahushua” is the Lord’s true Name, but, because they do not believe that Yahushua (Jesus Christ) is the true Messiah, they kept that Name hidden all the more. Much like the Father’s Name of “YAH”, as in YAHUVEH (or, YAHWEH/YAHUAH). That “YAH” was kept hidden, as a very Sacred Name, hence “YAHushua”, for the Son. Keep the Name out-of-sight, and it will be out-of-mind of the commoners, is their intention. But, they hid it under the guise of “The Name of ELOHIM is so sacred that it is not to even be uttered or spoken by mere men.”, and, “To speak the LORD’s Sacred Name is to ‘take the Name of the LORD in vain’.”, etc., etc. But, those were just surface excuses, ruses, to hide YAH’s true Name, for they hated the fact that YAHushua was indeed YAHUVEH’s Son and MESSIAH. By that same logic, the fact that the Name YAHUSHUA was hidden and kept from being more widely used, is a form of “hatred” towards Him, and an attack against His Name of YAHUSHUA. And/or perhaps Satan knows better than to use the most Sacred Name of “YAHUSHUA” as a curse word, and knowing that “JESUS CHRIST” is not the Son’s true name, gives the Enemy more liberty to violate that Name of JESUS. Some more angles to consider.

      • dknezacek says:

        Gordon,

        I believe there are some fundamental flaws in your logic.

        The whole purpose of the New Testament is for God to call out a people from among the Gentiles. If His name was hidden for all of these years, then who could have been saved?

        You seem to think that Satan was in charge of the writing of the New Testament. How else could they have gotten the name of the Son of God so wrong? Were Paul, John, Peter, James, and Jude led by Satan to call the Son of God Jesus (ιησου)? I think not.

        You are essentially saying that God was powerless to preserve the true name of His son. God is in your debt for finding His true name and restoring it, when He was unable to do so, Himself! While you are ostensibly lifting up the name of the Son of God, you are really lifting up yourself. The same goes for anyone who denies that the name of the Son of God is Jesus!

        The original New Testament says that the name of the Son of God is ιησου χριστου, Jesus Christ. The bible also says that;

        All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” II Timothy 3:16

        This includes the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament Originals, but not the Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, and English translations, though they may be anointed.

        The Scriptures also say;

        Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus (ιησου) accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
        I Corinthians 12:3

        The Original bible says the name of the Lord is Jesus (ιησου). Your idea, that it must be Yahushua, is only a private interpretation. You are in the same category as those who say it must be only Yeshua, or the JWs who say it is only Jehovah.

        Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
        II Peter 1:20

        Did God leave Himself without a witness in the Gentile world? Absoluteley NOT!

        Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21

        This is God’s indictment against the whole human race. All the tribes of earth had knowledge of the true God, on the ark, and even at Babel. It does not mean they are saved, but they do know about the creator.

        And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:14

        According to you the gospel has not gone very far at all, since no-one knows the true name of the Son of God. By definition, the gospel people believe in must be false, if the name they are trusting is a false name. No, there is a false Jesus out there, but Jesus is the true name of the Son of God, in English.

        The idea that God can only be known by his Hebrew name is erroneous and contrary to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. I think this is why God chose to use Greek to inspire the New Testament. He is not dependant on Hebrew, and will accept worship in any language.

        You can call on the name of the Lord, as revealed in your bible, and He will save you! If you choose to call Him by his Hebrew name later you are not more, nor less, saved.

        Dan

      • Gordon D G says:

        Dan, If you re-read any of my previous posts, you’ll notice that I never once denied that the Name “JESUS” was valid. In fact, I said the very opposite. The Anglo-Grecian Name (and it is factually Anglo-Grecian) is valid as it pertains to the Son of GOD. My issue is, simply, that it is not, nor could it have been His true given Birth-Name. He was Hebrew/Jewish and He was naturally born with a Hebrew Name just like anyone else born in Israel (any foreign-born citizens notwithstanding). The Hebraic race treasured birth-names for their children for it meant something special. We do today, but, it appears much more acute back then, and GOD had it so. My gig is the Saviour/Messiah’s true Name “Yahushua” is His Name, His birth-Name. And, the Prophetic revelation from one of GOD’s modern Prophets (Ephesians 4:11-12; I Corinthians 14 and Amos 3:7) is that, the Anti-Christ will use the name and title of “Jesus Christ” for himself. Like what Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda did, only it will be on a Global scale. GOD allows the Name of JESUS to be valid from it’s inception until the rise of the Anti-Christ. It’s just that simple. It is a fact that the Hebrew Messiah had a Hebrew Name, regardless of the Language He spoke regularly. He was Hebraic, and there’s just no getting around that, seriously. So, the Grecian Name “JESUS” was not His Name given Him at birth. And, none of His Disciples or Apostles knew Him as “JESUS”. That’s common sense. No doctorate needed to understand that. But, the future will tell whether this Prophecy of the AC taking on the name Jesus for himself is true or not. As I said, II Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that the AC will declare himself as “God”. And, we know that Yahushua (JESUS) is God, (God the Son). So, that Verse plus the modern Prophetic revelation support each other. As a Warning and as the importance of knowing what the Saviour, Lord and King’s real Name is. For His loyal subjects.

      • dknezacek says:

        That’s true Gordon,

        Sorry if you took it personally. I was referring to someone who specifically said to me that Jesus is NOT the name of the Messiah. I may have got caught up in the emotional reaction to his statements.

        Maybe I lumped everyone under the same brush. I didn’t mean to,or at least I shouldn’t have.

        Still I do take issue with your statement that the Greek was anointed. This term implies that God blessed a human effort. I don’t think the Greek New Testament was a human effort. It was inspired by God. It was God-breathed. The King James, and the Aramaic Peshitta were human efforts that were anointed, or blessed by God, but the Greek came directly from Him.

        Sorry,

        Dan

  2. Charlie says:

    Brother Dan, I personally believe that the “stammering lips” interpretation is a stretch but I definitely believe that Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament was according to the predetermined will and plan of the LORD. My own “explanation” is that the OT was given primarily for the Jew and the New Testament primarily for the Gentile, thus Hebrew OT and Greek NT. Also, Yahweh is LORD of the Old Testament and Jesus is Lord of the New Testament given in a new language, with no further mention of Yahweh. JMO

    Charlie

    • dknezacek says:

      Thanks Charlie,

      I personally believe Jesus is YHWH. His statement to Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37 indicates to me that He is the God of the Old Testament. That He would have “gathered their children under His wings” is a reference to the God of the Old Testament.

      The Stammering lips. It may be a stretch, but if He did stammer from time to time, I wonder if the Pharisees might have taken that as evidence that He couldn’t be the Messiah? I don’t know… just thinking.

      Dan

  3. To the Jew…were committed the oracles of God. Rom 3:2 After the 70 weeks determined were finished – the Gospel went to the gentiles (nations). so it is no wonder that the oracles of God (the New Testament) was transmitted into the language of the nations: Greek.
    I was piqued by your idea of a decoy tribulation. Other than myself you are the only one I have heard suggest the idea. I would like to have a review copy of your book. perhaps I would have you as a guest on my broadcast?

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