Avinu – Hebrew Matthew Our Father

Our Father in heaven, May your name be sanctified,
May your kingdom be blessed,
Your will shall be done in heaven and on earth.

Hebrew Matthew 6 – Yeshua

Hebrew in the Early Church

Not being deep in academia when I committed my life to Jesus, hence the Bible, I naively assumed the entire Bible originally was written in Hebrew – not the Old Testament only. Therefore, I embarked on a quest to study Hebrew, the language of the early Church.

My young sons were about two and four when I began to seek a Hebrew teacher. Our city had a small Jewish community, and as it happened, a Jewish mom was in my babysitting co-op. (There was no internet, no Google back then.) When we were together, I asked if she knew of anyone who might give Hebrew lessons. With young children, two pre-teens and a teenager, times were hectic. It was a few months before I heard a still small voice in my prayer time say, “Call the rabbi, and he will teach you Hebrew.” The next day, nevertheless with trepidation, I called Rabbi Horowitz. After I explained my quest to learn Hebrew, he agreed. When I asked about a fee, he told me there would be no fee and simply said in his charming accent, “I vill teach you Hebrew!”

By faith, I don’t doubt Hebrew is the language of the Jewish people and the early Church in the first century A.D. (Common sense tells me Jesus spoke his fathers’ language.) Of course, I have grown in understanding all the ancient texts and versions of our Christian Bible, but I waited for the Hebrew words of Jesus to surface. Imagine my joy to learn that among the discovery of hundreds of pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls were sections of the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew – Jesus’ words for the Lord’s Prayer intact.

Our father in heaven, may your name be sanctified

I came across a video by Nehemia Gordon from years ago when he first began speaking to Christians groups. He was explaining why he is a Karaite Jew. For Karaite Jews, the written Torah is its supreme authority in halakha (Jewish religious law) and theology. Karaites maintain that all of the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah without additional Oral Law or explanation. Karaite Judaism is distinct from mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, which considers the Oral Torah, codified in the Talmud and subsequent works, to be authoritative interpretations of the Torah. Nehemia simplifies the matter by saying Karaites believe in one Torah and Rabbinic Judaism believes in two Torahs. I began researching the subject after hearing Nehemia’s teaching and found that Rabbinic Judaism began around a hundred years before Jesus and was indeed what Jesus challenges in the Gospels!

As I searched for more videos with Nehemia Goron, I learned he is a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar and Semitic language expert, and that Nehemia explored the ancient Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew from manuscripts long hidden away in the archives of Jewish scribes.1 Also Nehemia Gordon became friends with an African American pastor and shared his resources. Together they wrote a book entitled, A Prayer to Our Father – Hebrew Orgins of the Lord’s Prayer. I like the book, and I think you will enjoy listening to an early version of Nehemia that is posted on his site, Nehemia’s wall where he talks about the Hebrew Our Father.2 Here it is:

Links to Nehemia Gordon’s site are in the footnotes below.

Todah! Thank you for stopping by the Israel Letters II! Please share with your friends! You are welcome here.

Blessed be the Holy One of Israel,

Nan Montgomery

1. Nehemia’s Wall – Dr. Nehemia Gordon, Israel
2. Nehemia Gordon on Hebrew Matthew & The Lord’s Prayer

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