We have unlocked the original meanings of two of Yeshua’s words in the verse below. We used them to replace “jot” and “tittle” in the following translation:
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one yod (the smallest Hebrew letter) or one qotz (the smallest part of the smallest letter) shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)
Now let’s turn our attention to the word “verily.” If we look it up in a dictionary we find the following definitions: in truth; really; indeed. Did Yeshua mean:
● “For in truth I say unto you . . .”
● “For really I say unto you . . .”
● “For indeed I say unto you . . .”
As pointed out before, Yeshua didn’t teach in English, so our first step to discovering what he did say is to examine the Greek word that is translated “verily” – amhn. Before we find out what it means, let’s review the options that translators have when they are working with ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. Translators have four options: translate, transliterate, ignore or insert.
● Translate means to transport the meaning of the word from the language they are translating to the language of the people who will be reading their translation.
● Transliterate means the transport the symbols (letters) of the word from the language they are translating by finding the closest equivalent symbols of the language of the people who will be reading their translation.
● Omit a word from their translation that is found in the ancient manuscript they are translating by not translating or transliterating it.
● Insert a word into their translation that has no equivalent word in the ancient manuscript they are translating.
Make sure you clearly understand the options translators have when they are translating the ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the books of the Bible. I suggest that you make a copy of them and put it in your Bible. It will come in handy in your Bible studies.
Now let’s transliterate the Greek word above. I am sure you have used it many times. The equivalent English letters are below the Greek letters.
“Amen” is a word we are all very familiar with and used many times in our lives. However, when we use it, we usually use it at the end of what we are saying or praying, not at the beginning, like in the verse we are studying:
For AMEN I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one yod (the smallest Hebrew letter) or one qotz (the smallest part of the smallest letter) shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)
Are you ready for a surprise? The ancient translators that produced the Greek manuscripts also chose to transliterate a Hebrew word instead of translate it.
In Dr. Robert Lindsey’s important book, The Jesus Sources: Understanding the Gospels, he provides some important information about this Hebrew word:
In fact, in Hebrew literature . . . “amen” is always a response. You see, it just grates on one’s nerves because if “amen” is at the beginning of a sentence it is so odd that one just does not know what to do with it. . . So what does one do? One day I began to look in the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark & Luke) through all the places where this phrase appears. I was reminded that in the Greek manuscripts there is no punctuation. So suppose then that you put a period after the word “amen,” and you add the phrase “I tell you.” . . . I said to myself, “That would really be true Hebrew!”[i]
Dr. Lindsey recognized a three-fold pattern that Yeshua used in his teachings:
1. Significant statement
3. Added statement strengthening the Amen.
This clue allows us to recognize that “Amen” in the verse above was used by Yeshua to connect two important statements. This would be easier to recognize if there were no verse breaks to deal with. By the way, it would be over a thousand years after the books of the New Testament were written before chapter and verse markers were inserted. Now we can reconstruct the three-fold pattern Yeshua used.
1. Significant statement -- Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
3. Added statement strengthening the Amen -- I tell you till heaven and earth pass, not one yod or one qotz shall pass from the Law till all be fulfilled.
The point Yeshua made is – I have come to fulfill the Law & Prophets – is becoming much more clear. But most readers of English translations do not understand what Yeshua meant by “fulfill.” We will unlock its meaning in the next blog.
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