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The Kingdom Of God Is Here Now

December 15, 2012 in Hebrew Understanding

Luke 10:9 – And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near to you.

It’s important for the reader to understand that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God(Yahweh) are essentially the same thing. In fear of violating the third commandment(thou shall not take the name of Yahweh thy God in vain), the Jewish scribes developed an unbelieving superstition that the safest way not to take it in vain would be to never say it at all. No wonder both God(Yahweh) and Jesus(Yeshua), were always condemning the leaders and teachers of Israel, for leading the people astray with their man made traditions.

Matthew 23:13 – But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.

The American church has carried on this evil man made tradition by not using the real name of God, which is Yahweh. Nearly 7000 times (6,823, if memory serves), God saw fit to move His prophets to use His personal name Yahweh in the Hebrew Old Testament. Man had no right to remove his name from his word. Imagine how angry celebrities would be if we removed their names and just called them all celebrities. If you wrote a best seller and your name was substituted for some generic name wouldn’t you be angry. God is a generic name. The people of Yahweh had many Gods(idols) which is why they were scattered in the first place. I don’t want to get off topic to much, the reader just needs to understand that whenever he sees the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven written in the bible, they both mean the Kingdom of Yahweh. I will visit this topic in more depth in another post.

Luke 10:9 – And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near to you.

In Hebrew, “to come near” means “to be at.” If we try to understand Luke 10:9, quoted above, by reading the Greek word engiken(translated “has come near”), we are in trouble. Engiken means “about to appear” or almost here.” However if we translate it back into Hebrew, we get an entirely different meaning. The Hebrew equivalent of engiken is the verb karav, which means “to come up to and be with,”or “to be where something else is.” The Greek engiken, or the English, “near,” mean : “It’s not yet here.” The Hebrew karav means the exact opposite: “It’s here ! It has arrived !”

When King Ahaz was in Damascus and saw the altar there, he sent a model of it and the exact dimensions to Uriah the priest in Jerusalem. Uriah built it and had it ready when the king returned. II Kings 16:12 records ; ” And when the king came from Damascus the king viewed the altar. Then the king drew near(karav) to the alter and went up on it.” In other words the king went right up to the altar, and stood right next to it or beside it. He was right there ! Another instance in which karav is used is found in Deuteronomy 22:13-14, which states: ” If any man takes a wife, and goes into her, and then despises her, and brings false charges against her and maligns her, saying, ‘ I have taken a woman, and when I came near(karav) her, I did not find her a virgin,’ then…”Here, “came near” (karav) is used in the same way in which “knew” is sometimes used in the Bible-that is,” to come near” and “to know” are sometimes Hebrew idioms for having sexual relations.

We are told in Genesis 20:4 that Abimelech ” had not come near ” Sarah. Although Abimelech had taken Abraham’s wife to live with him (verse 2), he had not had sexual relations with her. In Isaiah 8:3 we are told that the prophet Isaiah ” came near the prophetess[i.e.,his wife], and she conceived and bore a son. ” Again we see the idiomatic usage of karav. Karav does not imply that there necessarily has to be any distance between that which is coming and that which is being approached. This is most important for the understanding of such passages as Luke 10:9: ” The Kingdom Of God has come near to you. ” We can see how the Greek or English leaves the wrong concept of the Kingdom Of God: futuristic. The Hebrew leaves the correct concept: present tense-NOW! The Kingdom Of Heaven or Kingdom Of God is always present tense,” right now, ” according to Jesus’ understanding, and in rabbinic usage as well. It is unfortunate  that the Church, because of a Greek consciousness, has confused the Kingdom Of Heaven with  Jesus’ teachings on his Second Coming (what Jesus calls ” the coming of the son of man “)

The concept of ” kingdom ” is perhaps is the most important spiritual concept in the New Testament. In English or Greek,” kingdom ” is never verbal. It is something static, something to do with territory. But, in Hebrew, ” kingdom ” is active, it is action. It is God ruling in the lives of men. Those who are ruled by God are the Kingdom Of God.

” Kingdom ” is also the demonstration of God’s rule through miracles, signs, and wonders. Wherever the power of God is demonstrated, there is His ” Kingdom. ” ” Kingdom as the demonstration of God’s power is echoed every week in the Sabbath prayers in the synagogue: “Your sons saw your Kingdom as You split the Red Sea before Moses.” How can one see God’s Kingdom ? It is only possible when ” kingdom ” is correctly understood as something which is verbal and not static. We see God’s Kingdom when we see him in action. In the same way, people saw the Kingdom when they saw Jesus in action. This is what Jesus meant when he said:

Luke 11:20 ” But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Jesus also used ” kingdom ” to refer to those who followed him, the members of his movement. His disciples were now to literally be the Kingdom of God by demonstrating his presence and power in their lives. Jesus’ charge to those sent out by him was :

Luke 10:8-9  Whenever you enter a town and are accepted…heal the sick of that town and then tell them, The Kingdom of God is here !”

It is necessary to paraphrase the disciples, proclamation(just three words in Hebrew) in order to maintain its force in English: “You have seen God in action. Through us God is now ruling here. Satan has been defeated. The miracles you have just witnessed are proof of it.” The disciples, words were verified by the miracles God performed.

From just the few Hebraisms discussed above, one can easily see the importance of reading the Gospels Hebraically. Only when we begin to put the Greek of the Gospels back into Hebrew will it be possible to fully understand the words of Jesus. One can only hope that there will soon be a new translation of the Gospels based on the Hebrew understanding of the text.