People often ask me what version of Scripture I use. Normally I quote from the New King James Version (NKJV), basically because it is widely trusted and fairly easy to read. However, I also correct the names and terms to the Hebraic forms. When I feel it is helpful to clarify something, or to give additional information, I will place my words in brackets.
Unless noted otherwise, all Hebrew and Aramaic quotes from the Tanach (Old Testament) are from the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT). Unless noted otherwise, all quotes in Aramaic for the Renewed Covenant (New Testament) are from the Eastern Peshitta. For Greek I will normally quote from the BibleWorks Greek Text (BGT). If I quote anything else, I will try to let you know.
For historical reasons that are too complex to explain here, the Protestant world has come to believe that the apostles first wrote their epistles in Greek. This is not accurate. As we explain in this book, the church fathers tell us the epistles were written in a Semitic tongue (Hebrew and/or Aramaic). They were translated into Greek afterwards. However, the Hebrew and/or Aramaic originals are no longer with us, and there is evidence that some of the Greek texts are older than the Aramaic. For this reason, I sometimes use the Greek texts for textual analysis.
It is true that all of the texts we have today have been altered over time (including the so-called “original” Hebrew Masoretic Text). It is important to know this because anti-missionaries will oftentimes point to some of the discrepancies between the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Renewed Covenant texts, and then suggest that the Renewed Covenant is wrong (in that it does not agree with the Masoretic text). Without getting into too much detail here, even the Hebrew Masoretic Text disagrees with itself in places, having been written and transcribed by men. It is also important to realize that the Hebrew Masoretic Text dates back only to 900-1100 CE, and it is the result of an Orthodox Jewish attempt to “fix” or “standardize” the texts in keeping with Orthodox Jewish traditions (one of which is to reject Yeshua’s deity). This is not cause for despair. We simply have to realize that some small changes and alterations have been made over the course of centuries, and then understand that Yahweh is faithful to give us what we need, when we need it—and that by careful scholarship we can deduce what has been changed and why.
I have chosen to use the Hebraic names and terms for reasons I hope will be clear by the time you finish reading this study. In many places, Yahweh (Jehovah) tells us that He is very zealous for His name, and He promises to reward those who know His name.
Tehillim (Psalms) 91:14
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.”
The pronunciation of the divine name is a subject of some discussion. I pronounce His name as Yahweh (or Yahuweh), and I will write “Yahweh” in this book. If you feel convicted of another pronunciation, simply substitute it as you read.
In Hebrew, the term for “God” is Elohim. I will try to use that term in this book because the word “God” is actually the name of a pagan deity, and we are told not to use the names of other deities (e.g., Exodus 23:13).
Because this book is a primer, and because many people will read it on the Internet, I ask for your patience if I explain the names at the start of a chapter. The first time I write “Yahweh” I will often put “(Jehovah)” after it, and the first time I write “Elohim” I will often put “(God)” after it, and so on—then I will switch to the Hebraic terms for the rest of the chapter.
This book was put together as a compilation of studies that were done over time, and were assembled as one book. The scripture quotations in the older chapters are indented 5 spaces (more indentation), and the quotes in the newer (revised) chapters have less indentation.
I know that nothing done of man is perfect, but I hope that this book will help advance the understanding of the calendar Yahweh wants us to keep, at least in some small way.
Norman B. Willis
In the Ephraimite Dispersion,