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Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew Roots

Hebrew Roots FAQ's and Myths

 

Scriptures

 

Myth. The book of Hebrews is full of error, therefore not really canon.

A. Recently, some of the teachers in the Messianic movement have stated that the Book of Hebrews is errant, and therefore, should be disregarded. Some posit why all should reject it and uphold the requirement to be under the Law of the Old Testament, thereby negating the New Covenant and being saved by grace through Jesus Christ. The various  statements bring into question the authority of the Word of God, not just with the Book of Hebrews, but as a whole.

One Hebrew Roots teacher wrote:

"So, how did the early Gentile believers get so befuddled and confused about God’s covenants? ... I personally believe that the greater number of Churchmen have been mislead by something put into the New Testament – the book of Hebrews....There are contradictions and mistakes in the book of Hebrews ...

Maybe the writer of Hebrews was confused. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he just didn’t make the best argument. I still agree with many of the statements and conclusions offered in the book. I also agree with many positive statements made by many Christians leaders and teachers throughout history. I just find that when the writer of Hebrews references the Law of Moses and the previous covenants, he fails to speak with precision and accuracy as other New Testament writers do, especially the Apostle Paul.

...The debate about the book of Hebrews is an ancient argument... " 1

One of the errors pointed to as being reason to disregard the Book as Scripture, is based on the fact that in most modern translations, there is a discrepancy in relation to the placement of the Altar of Incense.

Here are a few Modern versions, showing how they render this:


Hebrews 9:4 :

NASB
having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;

NIV
which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

ESV

having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.

Message
In it were placed the gold incense altar and the gold-covered ark of the covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, the covenant tablets,

Complete Jewish Bible
which had the golden altar for burning incense and the Ark of the Covenant, entirely covered with gold. In the Ark were the gold jar containing the man, Aharon's rod that sprouted and the stone Tablets of the Covenant;

The translations quoted above, only represent a cross section of the Modern Versions that render the passage as altar of incense.

Here is what one of the teachers stated in his article:

"The writer [of the book of Hebrews] states that the golden altar of incense was stationed with the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. This is incorrect. The Altar of Incense was in the Holy Place with the Menorah and Table of Shewbread. A teacher making that mistake today would be considered incompetent to the task of teaching the Bible. Why do I bring these particular mistakes up? Because these obvious errors are immediately following the statement that the New has made the Old obsolete. Hebrews 8:13 is immediately followed by Hebrews 9:1-5. When the Biblical text was originally written, chapters and verses were put in the Scripture later for referencing purposes by Bible scholars. The separation of these verses are artificial." 2

First of all, it is important to note that the KJV renders the passage as this:

Hebrews 9:4
Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

The NKJV translates this as golden censer also.

This is in agreement with

Leviticus 16:12
And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring [it] within the vail:

When this was pointed out to one of the teachers, his response was:

BUT, if you must justify your argument by English translations - NASB,
ASV, RSV, NET, NIV, NLT, all agree it is the ALTAR being spoken about...
He was correct in his assertion that most of the modern translations, did in fact, render it as altar of incense. There were, however, a few other points that he had overlooked, that needed to be examined and addressed, because Young's Literal Translation also rendered the phrase in question as golden censer:
4 having a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid all round about with gold, in which [is] the golden pot having the manna, and the rod of Aaron that budded, and the tables of the covenant,
Additionally, it is important to note, that not only does the KJV, NKJV, and the YLT render it as golden censer, but all of the Reformation translations render the phrase in question as golden censer, instead of the incorrect (according to Leviticus 16) altar of incense:

Hebrews 9:4
Bishops Bible translated 1568 c.e.(43 years before KJV)
Which had the golden senser, and the arke of the couenaunt ouerlaide rounde about with golde, wherin was the golden pot hauyng Manna, and Aarons rodde that had budded, and the tables of the couenaunt:

Geneva Bible printed 1560 c.e. (51 years before the KJV)
Which had the golden censer, and the Ark of the Testament overlaid round about with gold, wherein the golden pot, which had Manna, was, and Aaron's rod that had budded, and the tables of the Testament.

Miles Coverdale Bible 1535 c.e.(76 years before KJV)
which had the golden censor, and the Arke of the Testament ouerlayed rounde aboute with golde, wherin was the golden pot with Manna, and Aarons rodd that florished, and the tables of the Testament:

Tyndale New Testamant 1525 (86 years before KJV)
which had the golden senser and the arcke of the testamet overlayde round about with golde wherin was the golden pot with manna and Aarons rodde that spronge and the tables of the testament.


Wycliffe Bible translated 1384 c.e.(216 years before KJV)
hauynge a goldun cenrer, and the arke of the testament, keuered aboute on ech side with gold, in which was a pot of gold hauynge manna, and the yerde of Aaron that florischide, and the tablis of the testament;

If we review the Latin Vulgate translated by Jerome 385 c.e. from the ancient Greek and Old Latin manuscripts (translated 1200 years before the KJV) we also find the same rendering:

aureum habens turibulum et arcam testamenti circumtectam ex omni parte auro in qua urna aurea habens manna et virga Aaron quae fronduerat et tabulae testamenti

aurarius -a -um [golden , of gold] aurum : gold.
turibulum -i n. [a censer for burning incense]

Here is the Douay Rheims Catholic English translation of the Vulgate:

Having a golden censer and the ark of the testament covered about on every part with gold, in which was a golden pot that had manna and the rod of Aaron that had blossomed and the tables of the testament.

Additional translations that use golden censer :

Mace New Testament (published in 1729), Wesley's New Testament (published in 1755), Noah Webster Bible (published in 1833), Weymouth New Testament (published in 1886), Darby's English Translation (published in 1890), Bible in Basic English (published in 1949).

This is being demonstrated in an exhaustive manner due to the fact that when the KJV was shown as being rendered correctly, one teacher accused the translators of intentionally changing it from Altar of incense to Golden censer, which he said was not the correct translation according to the Greek. With the above plethora of translations that were done before the KJV translators were even born, this clearly demonstrates otherwise in reference to his allegation of intentional tampering. (see Greek explanation at bottom)

Since some of the people who are teaching that the book of Hebrews is not valid, claim to be Aramaic Primacists, let's review how some translations of the Aramaic Peshitta render this verse:


Hebrews 9:4

Aramaic Peshitta (Murdock) published 1851
And there were in it the golden censer and the ark of the covenant, which was all over laid with gold; and in it were the golden urn which contained the manna and the rod of Aaron which sprouted, and the tables of the covenant;

Aramaic Peshitta (Etheridge) published late 1840's
But the interior tabernacle, that was within the second veil, was called the Holy of Holies: in it were the incense-vessel of gold, and the ark of the covenant, which was altogether covered with gold; and within it were the golden urn, in which was the manna, and the rod of Aharun that budded, and the tablets of the covenant:

Aramaic Peshitta (Lamsa) published 1933
03 But the inner tabernacle, which is within the veil of the second door, was called the Holy of Holies.
04 And there was in it the golden censer and the ark of the covenant all over laid with gold, and in it were the golden pot containing the manna, and  Aaron's rod which budded, and the tablets of the covenant;

The fact that they would say that the KJV was intentionally altered, in light of the fact that the Aramaic Peshitta translations render it as golden censer also, then creates a little problem for their theory of the Aramaic Peshitta being the “original” Bible if their own statement of alteration holds true.


Greek explanation (referenced above):
One person told me that the KJV translators knew that the word was altar, but intentionally changed it to censer to make it conform with the English translation of Leviticus. This is aside from HR teachers normally rejecting the Greek manuscripts. Let's take a look at this false assumption, because there is a more specific Greek word that can be used for altar, which is translated as altar all twenty three times that it appears in the New Testament text.

Greek for 2379 thusiasterion {thoo-see-as-tay'-ree-on}
TDNT ReferenceRoot Word TDNT - 3:180,342 from a derivative of 2378 Part of Speech n n
1) the altar for slaying and burning of victims used of
a) the altar of whole burnt offerings which stood in the court of the priests in the temple at Jerusalem
b) the altar of incense which stood in the sanctuary or the Holy Place
c)any other altar

Here is the Greek word that is found in Hebrews 9:4. It is translated as golden censer the one time that it appears in the New testament text:

Greek for 2369 thumiasterion {thoo-mee-as-tay'-ree-on}
from a derivative of 2370 Part of Speech n n
1) a utensil for fumigating or burning incense
2)an altar of incense

Let's take a look at some of the words related to the above word used in Hebrews:

Greek for 2368 thumiama {thoo-mee'-am-ah}
from 2370 Part of Speech n n Outline of Biblical Usage
1)an aromatic substance burnt, incense
The above word is translated as incense four times, and as odor twice,

Greek for 2370 thumiao {thoo-mee-ah'-o}
from a derivative of 2380 (in the sense of smoking) Part of Speech v
1)to burn incense
The above word is translated as burn incense the one time that it appears in the Greek text.

Since the book of Hebrews was originally authored in Greek, it seemed prudent to review some other Greek writings from the era that might have information concerning the Greek word in question.Reviewing the Greek LXX, it was found that the same word that is translated as censer in Hebrews 9:4, can be found in the Septuagint in the following verses:  Ezekiel 8:11 ; 2 Chronicles 26:19

In both passages, the Greek word thumiasterion (G2369) is used as censer. Thumiasterion is used as the equivalent for the Hebrew miqtereth (H4730) in both passages. What is really of interest, is that 2 Chronicles 26:19 differentiates between the censer and the incense altar or mizbach (H4196) by using the Greek word thusiasterion (G2379) for altar.

Here is how the KJV translated the Hebrew:

 2 Chronicles 26

19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.

 Ezekiel 8

11And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.

 Now the LXX: 

2 Chronicles 26

19 And Ozias was angry, and in his hand [was] the censer to burn incense in the temple: and when he was angry with the priests, then the leprosy rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, over the altar of incense.

Here is the Greek: 

19 kai eyumwyh oziav kai en th ceiri autou to yumiathrion tou yumiasai en tw naw kai en tw yumwyhnai auton prov touv iereiv kai h lepra aneteilen en tw metwpw autou enantion twn ierewn en oikw kuriou epanw tou yusiasthriou twn yumiamatwn

Ezekiel 8  

11 And seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and Jechonias the son of Saphan stood in their presence in the midst of them, and each one held his censer in his hand; and the smoke of the incense went up.

Here is the Greek:

11 kai ebdomhkonta andrev ek twn presbuterwn oikou israhl kai iezoniav o tou safan en mesw autwn eisthkei pro proswpou autwn kai ekastov yumiathrion autou eicen en th ceiri kai h atmiv tou yumiamatov anebainen

Referencing the first century writings of Flavius Josephus, this shows an excerpt from one such writing:

Against Apion book 2

Lastly, it is not so much as lawful to carry any vessel into the holy house; nor is there any thing therein, but the altar [of incense], the table [of shew-bread], the censer, and the candlestick, which are all written in the law;

This particular writing by Josephus, who was a chronicler for the Roman empire was available in Latin. Here is the Latin text below. 

denique nec uas aliquod portari licet in templum, sed erant in eo solummodo posita altare mensa turibulum candelabrum, quae omnia et in lege conscripta sunt.

It is interesting to note, that Josephus was a Jew familiar with temple service, and originally wrote this in the first century. When translated to Latin, they chose the Latin word turibulum to represent censer. It is the same word that is used in the Latin Vulgate which was translated from ancient Latin and Greek texts in 385 ce. Its definition is an incense-pan, incense-burner, censer. If you go to Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, you will find that the equivalent word in Greek is thumiaterion, which is the same Greek word that is used in Hebrews 9:4 to describe the censer.

It is also interesting to note, that while translating the Latin Vulgate, Jerome was consistent in the word that he chose for censer, turibulum , whether translating from the Hebrew, or the Greek. Here are some TeNaKh verses where he chose the same word for censer, which can also be found at the above resource.

Leviticus 10:1;16:12; Numbers 16:6,17,37,39,46; 1 Kings 7:50; 2 Kings 12:13; 25:15; Ezekiel 8:11; 2 Chronicles 4:22; 26:19

And also including in the NT...   Hebrews 9:4

This comparison between the TeNaKh (OT) and the New Testament that should be of particular interest:

The Contents of the Ark

First the Torah:

Exodus 16

32 And Moses said, This is the thing which YHWH has commanded, Fill an omer from it, to keep for your generations, so that they may see the bread which I caused you to eat in the wilderness, as I brought you out from the land of Egypt.

33 And Moses said to Aaron, Take one pitcher, and put there the fullness of an omer of manna, and lay it up before YHWH, to keep for your generations.

34 Even as YHWH commanded Moses, Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to keep it.

Numbers 17

9 And Moses brought out all the rods from before YHWH to all the sons of Israel. And they looked, and each one took his rod.

10 And YHWH said to Moses, Put back the rod of Aaron, before the testimony, to be kept as a token to the sons of rebellion. And you shall end their murmurings off Me; and they shall not die.

Now the Prophets:

1 Kings 8

9 Nothing was in the ark, only the two tables of stone which Moses put there in Horeb, when YHWH cut a covenant with the sons of Israel as they went out of the land of Egypt.

Now the New Testament:

Hebrews 9

4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

So which one should we remove from the cannon? The first three passages do not list all of the articles in the Ark of the Covenant. 1 Kings states that there were ONLY the tables. Hebrews 9:4 is the passage that list all of the contents of the Ark correctly. This is an example of how any argument based on a minor point can be taken to an extreme. 

As we can see from the many witnesses listed above, we can determine the reliability of the word that is used in Hebrews 9:4, and be certain that the rendering of censer, is in fact accurate.

Part 2

Another argument presented by these teachers, was that Hebrews 8:8-9 does not follow Jeremiah 31:31-34 accurately, therefore, that is another flaw that proves Hebrews is an errant book that should be “cast out” of the cannon. Here is an excerpt from what was stated to this writer:

"...No, the quotation here is changed to serve the theological purpose of the writer, and directly CONTRARY to what the original text says - YHWH did NOT disregard them, He REMAINED a faithful Husband!!!  3

Since the person who issued the above quote is an Aramaic Primacist, it would be important once again, to see how the Aramaic Peshitta rendered this passage:

Hebrews 8:8-9

Aramaic Peshitta (Etheridge) published late 1840's

Behold, the days are coming, saith the Lord, and I will complete with 3 the family of the house of Israel, and with the family of the house of Jihuda, THE NEW COVENANT: not as was that covenant which I gave to their fathers in the day that I took them by their hand, and led them from the land of Metsreen; because they did not persevere in my covenant, therefore I have neglected them, saith the Lord.

Aramaic Peshitta (Murdock) published 1851
08 For he chideth them and saith: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will complete with the family of the house of Israel, and with the family of the house of Judah, a new covenant;
09 not like the covenant which I gave to their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand, and brought them out of the land of Egypt; [and] because they continued not in my covenant, I also rejected them, saith the Lord.

Aramaic Peshitta (Lamsa) published 1933

08 For he found fault with them and said, Behold, the day is coming, says the Lord, when I will perfect a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;
09 Not according the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt; and because they abode not in my covenant, I rejected them; says the Lord.

And now the KJV:

8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

As we can clearly see, both the Greek and Aramaic translations into English render the passage the same. This could be viewed as another blow to Aramaic Primacy if his initial statements were in fact correct.

Other research about the accuracy of other TeNaKh (OT) Scriptures that are quoted in the NT. Here is a sample of what was found.

Matthew 4:10 Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Matthew 9:13 I will have mercy, and not sacrifice
Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice

Matthew 13:35 I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
Psalms 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old

Matthew 15:8,9 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

Matthew 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Matthew 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Psalms 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Matthew 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Matthew 12:18-21 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
Isaiah 42:1-4 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Based on the accusations in reference to the book of Hebrews being errant in it's quote of Jeremiah 31, should we then toss out the whole cannon, including the TeNaKh (OT) since the Greek Septuagint (LXX) also varies from the Hebrew in some places, and because some Hebrew texts are not in full agreement with each other?

1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Isaiah 40:6-8 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Endnotes

1-2  September / October 2005 Issue - The Seven Everlasting Covenants: Parts 1 and 2  ; http://www.lionlamb.net/Yavoh/2005/print/SepOct2005PN.htm   YAVOH, He is Coming is a monthly newsletter published as an outreach ministry of Lion and Lamb Ministries Inc. The ministry is a non-profit organization with an end time prophetic message in a Messianic Jewish context. Subscription to YAVOH, He is Coming is without cost and supported only by donation. Permission is granted to reprint any article in YAVOH, He is Coming with attribution given to YAVOH.     Editor - Monte Judah    Electronic Editor - Phil Vellekamp 

 

For more on Monte Judah, who is a Two House proponent please see: Error- Two House, Ephraimites, Joes, Lost Tribes -all believers are Jewish > http://www.SeekGod.ca/hr/hrfaqs2.htm ;

 

Monte Judah, Kabbalist, False Prophet & False Prophecies > http://www.SeekGod.ca/montejudah.htm

Part 2: Monte Judah's False Prophecies > http://www.SeekGod.ca/montejudah2.htm

MJAA Inroads of The Hebrew Roots Fringe> http://www.SeekGod.ca/mjaarevisited.htm

 

3. Email debate between HT and David Pollina

 

Lamsa Bible http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/dr_george_lamsa_bible.htm

Murdock Bible http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/Murdock/murdock.htm

Etheridge Peshitta  http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/Etheridge/etheridge.htm

Josephus, Flavius Against Apion book 2 http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/apion2.html

Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary  http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2348270

 

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02/25/2011

 

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