Why Not Jesus? (Episode 3)

The Bethlehem Birth Certificate

This week (Dec 23) on Shabbat Night Live, translators of many English Bibles put poison tricks into their translations in order to disconnect the English name “Jesus” from the Hebrew Yeshua.

Keith Johnson reveals “the Bethlehem birth certificate” that forever solidifies Yeshua’s name with his mission as Messiah.

Watch the episode — included on this blog post.

While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section, and let’s get some discussion going!

  1. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) Why does a key passage like Matthew 1:21 continue to cause greater confusion than clarity with regard to the importance of the Messiah’s divinely given name? How have multiple English translations reduced this “birth certificate” of Yeshua to an almost marginal detail instead of emphasizing the inherent connection between his name, YeHoVaH, and our salvation?
  2. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) Similarly, how have frequently petty academic disputes among major bible translators and publishers ultimately created greater obstacles for the faithful in their efforts to learn spiritual truth? How has a centuries-long attempt to discern the most truthful yet accessible text revealed the limitations of a vital, evolving language like our own in its apprehension and communication of transcendent spirituality?
  3. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) As referenced earlier in this forum, the city of Bethlehem is widely known to believers and unbelievers alike as the birthplace of Yeshua, yet it is consistently overlooked in terms of its multileveled meaning. Just as with the names Joshua and Jesus and their connection with salvation, how does the translation “house of bread,” the anointing of David, and the prophet Micah’s description of “least among the clans of Judah” provide further resonance with divine providence surrounding the Messiah’s birth?  
  4. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) How has the subject at hand been poorly served by the democratic nature of present-day English, wherein glosses, diacritical markings, and standards of precision in orthography and grammar are brushed aside in favor of tweets and acronyms and resistance to textual or bibliographical factors? How does this prevent believers from exploring scripture in a genuine depth that could enhance the growth of their faith life and worship?
  5. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 33:00) Similarly, how does popular ignorance of such factors as the distinction between translation and transliteration, and the importance of masculine and feminine endings of particular names all serve to obstruct a genuine understanding of scripture? How has a superficial view of root factors in common words led to needless politicization in recent decades of language as “patriarchal,” or “racist,” and “sexist”?
  6. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 38:00) In light of the examples presented thus far in this series, how does the tenor of this discussion recall the notion of Yeshua as an affirmative masculine figure, particularly through his name’s affinity with the Old Testament Joshua? Why is it significant that believers are beginning to view a more vigorous or even aggressive Messiah as more convincing than the pacific figure who has dominated popular culture for many years?
  7. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 42:00) How does Johnson’s parsing of the names of Jesus and the HeGetsUs campaign here demonstrate the disingenuous nature of this public relations effort? How can the arbitrary similarity between them be viewed as a false etymology that contributes to the depiction of the Messiah as a secular, politicized figure who is more accessible to suffering individuals rather than one whose life and ministry are a source of salvation?
  8. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 46:00) Similarly, how has the concept of salvation – a profound gesture between the divine and the human – arguably been oversimplified by the word “saved” in much evangelical Christianity over the past century? How does a casual use of this term, predicated solely on the New Testament as a reference, suggest a likely ignorance of the complexity of salvation as represented by such biblical figures as Isaac or Moses?
  9. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 50:00) Because loss of connotation in Bible translations tends to limit the full extent of meaning in a crucial concept like salvation, why are most of our secondary apparatus, such as historical Bibles and concordances, inadequate to the purpose of strengthening our relationship with YeHoVaH? How is the enormity of such terms as “deliver” or “savior” unavoidably deficient without recourse to the Hebrew language?
  10. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 54:00) How does Moses’ gesture in Exodus 2:17 of defending the daughters of Midian and watering their flock suggest more than mere generosity or even chivalry? How does his aggressive behavior here, as with the earlier defense of his Hebrew kinsman to the extent of manslaughter and concealment, demonstrate the profoundly uncompromising nature of YeHoVaH’s plan for our salvation?

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