For several months, I have been listening to the ‘Jewish New Testament’ narrated by Jonathan Settel. It was translated by David Stern for the purpose of restoring the Jewishness of the New Testament. For example, instead of saying ‘Jacob’ he says ‘Yă’ăkōv’, and his sons are Re’uven, Shim‘on, Levi, Y’hudah and so on… There are some wonderful insights to be gained from studying the scriptures from that perspective. A couple weeks ago (12/21/2013), just before Christmas, Jewish communities across the globe began the annual reading through the book of Exodus. In our Messianic Jewish Congregation women are also allowed to read from the Torah Scroll, so when Louis asked for volunteers, I got brave and went up to read because I had now become familiar with the Hebrew version of the names, through listening to the cd’s. When I held the Torah Scroll up in the air for the whole congregation to see the writing, my eyes looked down at the patched cinder burn at the bottom of the scroll and to my surprise there was the scribe’s stamped impression embossed into the hide, next to it, signifying that it is a Kosher Torah Scroll (which means that every letter can be clearly read correctly). The only way that the impression can be seen is when the scroll is held up vertical to the light with the shadows outlining the embossment. None of us had ever seen it before, and it was amazing to see!
In a similar way, God has His own ‘embossments’ or ‘water-marks’ where controversies exist among various translations of a passage of scripture. They are profound and astonishing!
Let’s start with Genesis 5: (We will use the NASB spelling for the names.)
God’s Water-marks: Genesis chapter 5
The Alexandrian Septuagint says that Methuselah was 167 years old when Lamech was born, and Lamech was 188 when Noah was born. Noah was 600 years old when the Flood began. 167 +188 + 600 = only 955 years. That doesn’t work out! It would mean that Methuselah lived 14 years after the Flood began, because he lived to be 969. To add to that, the scriptures say that all mankind died, except for the 8 on the Ark (Genesis 7:21-22). Soooo…. there’s something wrong with that translation! Also, it says that Lamech died at the age of 753.
The Masoretic Text (Hebrew) says that Methuselah was 187 when Lamech was born, and Lamech was 182 when Noah was born, and died at the age of 777. That means that Lamech died 5 years before the Flood, and Methuselah died just before the Flood began. The numbers add up correctly here. (187 + 182 + 600 = 969) ‘Methuselah’ when broken down in the Hebrew is ‘Meth-u-shelach’, which word for word means ‘dies-and-sends’. His father Enoch named him that because he said that when he died, the Flood would be sent. What isn’t so obvious is the reason for Lamech dying precisely at the age of 777. The name ‘Lamech’ means ‘to-conquer’ or ‘to-overthrow’. Methuselah named Noah’s father ‘Lamech’ as a continuation of the prophesy of his own name. He prophesied that God would conquer/overthrow the wicked of his day. To add to this, remember how God told Cain that whoever killed Cain that vengeance would be taken on him seven fold? Well, later on Cain’s descendant, who was also named ‘Lamech’, killed a young man for wounding him, and then proceeded to boast to his 2 wives that he would be avenged seventy-seven fold! (See Genesis 4.) It’s my understanding that the pre-Flood violence stemmed from that Lamech and his descendants.
The number 7 is God’s number for completion. Noah’s father ‘Lamech’ is named 7 times in the scriptures. (The last 2 are in 1Ch 1:3 & Lu 3:36). Think about this in contrast to the other ‘Lamech’s’ boast! Because of the pre-Flood violence, God was going to erase all mankind off the face of the earth. God was going to overthrow and be avenged 777 fold! Lamech dying at the age of 777 is also God’s ‘water-mark’ to show which translation of Genesis 5 is correct. In this case, it’s the Masoretic Text.
The genealogy in Genesis 11:
Now let’s look at the genealogy of Shem’s descendants in Genesis 11. There is a 850 year difference between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text. The Septuagint adds an extra name and 100 years to almost everybody before the next son is born. The Septuagint says that Arphaxad was 135 when he begot Cainan, then Cainan was 130 and begot Shelah, who in turn was 130 when he begot Eber! Then Eber is 134 when he begets Rue, and Rue is 132 when he begets Serug. Then Serug lives to be 130 and then begets Nahor, who then lives to be 179 before Terah is born!
Here’s how the genealogy in the Masoretic Text goes: Arphaxad is 35 when Shelah is born. Then Shelah is 30 when Eber is born, who in turn is 34 when Peleg is born. Peleg then is 30 when Rue is born, who in turn is 32 at the birth of Serug. Serug then is 30 when Nahor is born and Nahor is the ripe old age of 29 when Terah is born. If this one is true, then Shem would have lived until after Isaac was born. The Ussher, Hovind, and ‘Wall Chart of World History’ timelines all suggest that Shem lived during part of Abraham’s life. I was convinced of that for a long time until last May (2013) when Dr Terry Hurlbut and Dr Walt Brown presented their research concerning a precise date for the global flood of Noah and ‘upset the apple cart’! (See http://creationsciencehalloffame.org/2013/05/17/creation-2/news/global-flood-gains-astronomical-fix/ ) Part of their research includes the Septuagint version of Genesis 11, which, as I mentioned before, adds 850 years to the time line. So which version of Genesis 11 is correct?
Did you know that the early church quoted the Septuagint? Every translation of Luke that I am familiar with always includes Cainan as the son of Arphaxad, and then Shelah as his son. This same ‘Cainan’ is not mentioned in Genesis 11:12 in either Jewish or Protestant Bibles which are based on the Masoretic Text. In English ‘Cainan’ sounds like ‘Canaan’ the son of Ham that Noah cursed, and because of that, when I first started investigating this, I came to the conclusion that Cainan (whom I thought was Canaan) was Shelah’s father-in-law because on the other end of the genealogy Luke 3:23 mentions Eli, who would have been Joseph’s father-in-law. To add to that, when Barnabas and Paul were first sent out, they were sent to Western Turkey which is the ancient land of the Hittites, who were descendants of Canaan. The good news to them was that Yeshua had annulled the curse for all those who put their trust in Him, and they would be one of the first ones to hear it!
Then I looked up ‘Cainan’ in the NASB concordance and it is the same name as the ‘Kenan’ in Genesis 5:9-14. ‘Kenan’ means ‘smith’ or ‘metal-worker’, so apparently the art of metallurgy was re-established right after the Flood by the time the second generation was being born. (And there is evidence all around Ararat that that was the case. The oldest metal working operations in the world are found in Metsamor in Armenia, just a short distance north-northwest of Mt Ararat. That was my first clue. [Look up ‘ancient foundries in Armenia’.]
God’s Water-marks: Luke 3
Then I started dissecting the genealogy in Luke 3 in the ‘Complete Jewish Bible’. There’s 77 names in the list in that translation. So I divided them up into minyans (groups of 10, in consecutive order)….There’s 7 groups of 10 guys with 7 guys left over!….
The first ten guys start with Adam and end with Noah. Adam was the Father of mankind.
Then the next 10 guys start with Shem and end with Terah. Shem and his 2 brothers Japheth and Ham were the Fathers of mankind born after the Flood.
The next ten begin with Abraham. They are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez, Hezron, Ram, Admin, Amminadab, and Nahshon. [Admin is only in some versions, but not all of them. So far I have found his name in the CJB, NASB, LB, & Good News Bible.] Abraham is considered the Father of all those who trust in YAHWEH.
The next ten guys begin with Salmon. He’s the guy who married Rahab the x-prostitute who helped the Israeli Spies. Salmon represents the Fathers of the first generation of the children to be born in the Promised Land after the Exodus.
After those 10 guys there are 3 more groups of 10, plus 7 more individuals, but there’s no known history associated with their names until we come to the last name on the list which is Yeshua/Jesus… So what about the last Guy on the list? Well, in the scriptures the ‘number 4’ represents the Messiah. In Ezekiel & the book of Revelation, the 4 living creatures are pictures of different aspects of Messiah’s personality and ministry. There’s also 4 Gospel accounts, each one representing a different aspect of who Yeshua is. To add to this, the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is a stick picture of a door. (See picture below.) It is also the symbol used for the number four. In ancient times apparently the door was attached to a rod instead of hinges as we know them. It’s where both our letter ‘D’ and our number ‘4’ came from. Guess who said that He is The Door? (See John 10:7&9.) With that in mind, also recall what He said to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22 when Peter asked how many times must he forgive his brother? Jesus said 70 times 7!
Now let’s put it together to see God’s water-mark:
In Luke 3 you have 77 names: 10+10+10+10+10+10+10+7
The number 4 represents the Messiah.
The first 4 groups of 10 all start with somebody being the father of a new beginning.
The very last name on the list is ‘The Father of forgiveness’ (John 1:29: The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.) Another way of saying it is The Father or Author of salvation, which is a new beginning!!
The 77 names include Cainan in Genesis 11 from the Septuagint, so in this case, God’s water-mark is on the Alexandrian Septuagint translation and not the Masoretic Text.
One last thing: Berry Setterfield, who is a well known Creationist, has some interesting research on the Alexandrian Septuagint History and it’s use by first century Believers. (See http://www.setterfield.org/Septuagint_History.html ) Among other things, he explains why the Masoretic Text developers changed the ages in Genesis 11. As you read his well-written research, please keep in mind that there are also strong arguments for the Masoretic Text, and if there had been no problems with the Septuagint, the translators of the KJV and all those that followed, would have used it instead of the Masoretic Text.
Thank you Father for Your precious ‘water-marks’ that You ‘embossed’ into Your Word a long time ago, for such a time as this.