This week (March 17) on Shabbat Night Live, Yeshua’s name appears in the Old Testament, but it’s not referring to whom you think it is!
Keith Johnson and Dr. Nehemia Gordon comb through the Torah to illustrate the subtle nuances of Yeshua’s name for different individuals throughout the ancient world.
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!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) How has the evangelical impulse to translate unknown words and idioms into contemporaneous locutions proven to be problematic for many believers? How might careless or unscrupulous individuals seek to politicize or falsely allegorize ancient texts into contemporary polemics, resulting in another Tower of Babel instead of the clarity of divine truth?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) How do these two references to the name “Yeshua” in books of the so-called Old Testament both de-mystify and hallow the identity of the Messiah? How can this paradox be said to undermine the distinctions between two major segments of the Bible by suggesting a narrative element of prophecy and also drawing our attention to the inherent symbolism of divinely-appointed names throughout scripture?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) Similarly, how does Moses’ gesture in Numbers 13:16 of changing the name of Hoshea to Joshua serve to dramatize the importance within biblical narrative of name-changing as a profound shift of identity, one that demarcates particular figures as significant for the process of salvation? How does the absence of this context effectually deprive believers who are limited to English translation of the New Testament of the eminence of Yeshua’s birth?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) As discussed repeatedly in this forum, the matter of proper translation of scripture is known and frequently acknowledged by many believers, yet proper instruction and methods of exegesis are often unavailable to most readers of the Bible. How does the present discussion suggest the plausibility of a growing evangelism that is based on accessible scholarly approaches, one that could challenge the “easy grace” that has been criticized by Michael Rood?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 32:00) How does the initiation of the Feast of Sukkot as detailed in Nehemiah 8:17 underscore the importance of the linguistic affinity between the names of Joshua and Yeshua? In light of the scale of this commemoration on the part of the children of Israel and their return from exile, how might this factor be interpreted as a vindication of the Law of Moses and a foreshadowing of the coming of the Messiah?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 38:00) How does the concise yet detailed pronunciation gloss in Leeser’s 1853 translation provide an essential tool for the student of scripture regarding the recognition of linguistic patterns that provide a subtext of continuity between the earliest texts and the accounts of Yeshua’s ministry? How might the revival of this simple practice serve to deter potential believers from the tempting recourse to doubt and agnosticism?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 42:00) Aside from its importance as a commemoration of Sukkot, how does Nehemiah 8:17 further underscore the pattern of exile and return throughout Hebrew history and scripture? How does this ancient text draw our attention to the profundity of an event like the founding of modern Israel for those believers who seek evidence of YeHoVaH’s plan for his creation as a foundation for their own worship and obedience?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 46:00) How might Benjamin Kennicott’s Vetus Testamentum hebraicum (1776 – 1780) and the scholarly activity which it inspired be rediscovered as part of a reflex toward greater recognition of the importance and challenges of biblical translation within the evangelical community? How does its equivocal legacy encourage the participation of both academic and unlettered readers in efforts to discern the truth of scriptural meaning?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 50:00) Conversely, how does the confusion over specific meanings in these volumes involving vowel points and centuries-old scribal practices threaten to discourage the student of scripture from ascertaining truth through preserved texts? How does this work demonstrate the need for recognition of shifting historical contexts as a characteristic of intellectual history as part of the search for salvation?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 54:00) How does the ostensibly arbitrary rabbinic commentary on the 1523 edition of the Jerusalem Talmud suggest the importance of Ezra with regard to the Book of Nehemiah? How does his presence in the chapter under examination here, particularly his designation as “the scribe,” serve as a reminder of the Hebraic orientation toward preservation through the written word and an ironic foreshadowing of the close reading that will be demanded of those who would follow the word of YeHoVaH?