This Revelation 18:4 – Come Out Of Her study discusses whether the Brit Chadash (New Testament) was written in Hebrew.
Some people have the mindset that everything needs to be Hebrew focused, as the narrative from Abraham to Messiah was Hebrew. Based on this, they proclaim that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek.
They point specifically to the Gospel of Matthew as being written in Hebrew. And maybe it was, but there’s no Scriptural manuscripts to prove it out.
I agree that the Brit Chadash is undeniably Hebrew in grammar, idiom, and thinking… because it was written by people who had a Hebrew mindset… but that doesn’t prove that the Brit Chadash was written in Hebrew.
A Hebrew author knows how to convey Hebrew concepts in the Greek language. I think that proclaiming that the Brit Chadash was written in Hebrew, without manuscript proof, is forcing the narrative.
A major theme of the Brit Chadash is that our beloved Messiah came to save the gentiles too, who spoke Greek, so it makes sense that it would be written in a language that they understood.
The Gospel of Matthew was written primarily to the Jews, so it includes Hebrew-style grammar, idioms and mindset.
And example is Messiah’s reference to the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15. The Jews understood that it points back to Daniel 8, when Antiochus Epiphanes and his army surrounded Jerusalem to take the temple captive, killing many Jews. This type defines what is the abomination of desolation.
And Messiah was pointing to the prophecy in Daniel 12:11, which foretold that the abomination of desolation would take place during the Jewish-Roman War of 66 AD. It occurred when Cestius and his army surrounded Jerusalem in November 66 AD, to take Jerusalem captive. The message in Daniel 12 was hidden from the unbelieving Jews’ eyes, so that they would not understand to context of their judgment.
The Gospel of Luke was written primarily to gentiles who would not understand the type of Daniel 8, when Antiochus Epiphanes and his army surrounded Jerusalem to take the temple captive, so Luke defined it for them.
So Luke 21:20-21 gives the clear definition, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.”
The Greek Septuagint Old Testament renders Joshua’s name as Iesous (Ιησους), which is the same New Testament Greek word that is rendered as Jesus in English.
The Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek, which is known as the Septuagint. It is estimated that the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE and the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BCE.
According to an ancient document called the Letter of Aristeas, it is believed that 70 to 72 Jewish scholars were commissioned during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus to carry out the task of translation. The term “Septuagint” means seventy in Latin, and the text is so named to the credit of these 70 scholars.
The English names Joshua and Jesus are derived from the same Hebrew word 3091 יְהוֹשׁוּעַ Yehoshua or יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yehoshua.
Joshua 1:1 in the Greek Septuagint, reads “ΚΑΙ ἐγένετο μετὰ τὴν τελευτὴν Μωυσῆ, εἶπε Κύριος τῷ ᾿Ιησοῖ υἱῷ Ναυὴ τῷ ὑπουργῷ Μωυσῆ λέγων·”
The King James Bible reads, “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua (᾿Ιησοῖ, Iesous) the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,”
We can see that the Greek Septuagint Old Testament Joshua, and the Greek New Testament Jesus, and are both based on the Greek Iēsous. The question becomes, why did the Bible translators render Messiah’s name as Jesus instead of Joshua.
The Greek Septuagint Old Testament use of Iesous is important, because it destroys the false teaching that Emperor Constantine created the name Iesous, which became Jesus.
We have many Brit Chadash manuscripts in Greek and none in Hebrew.
Yet, despite this fact, people still insist that the Brit Chadash was written in Hebrew first and they say that the enemy destroyed the Hebrew manuscripts.
One of the primary reasons for this stance is because Hebrew Roots type people denounce the Greek transliteration of Messiah’s name. They declare that the only valid name for Messiah is His Hebrew name and all others are an abomination.
But the declaration of Scripture and evidence of writings in the first few centuries tells a very different story.
The Brit Chadash Textus Receptus manuscripts show Messiah’s name in Greek.
The Textus Receptus, called the Majority Text, which represents over 90% of the 5,800+ Greek manuscripts of the New Testament still in existence today.
Matthew 1:1 in the 1611 King James reads, The booke of the generation of Iesus Christ, the sonne of Dauid, the sonne of Abraham.
The Textus Receptus reads, βιβλος γενεσεως ιησου χριστου υιου δαβιδ υιου αβρααμ
We can see by the witness of the New Testament manuscripts, that Messiah’s name was written in Greek, not Hebrew.
Ignatius of Antioch wrote a letter to the Magnesians in 110 AD.
Here’s a link to his letter to the Magnesians in Greek. The letter starts with:
Γνους υμων το πολυευτακτον της κατα θεον αγαπης, αγαλλιωμενος, προειλαμην εν πιστει Ιησου Χριστου προσλαλησαι υμιν.
“I was delighted to hear of your well-disciplined and godly love; and hence, impelled by faith in Jesus Christ, I decided to write to you.”
Polycarp, who lived from 70-155 AD, was a direct pupil of the Apostle John.
Here’s a link to an Epistle to the Philippians that he wrote, which shows the Greek and English. In the Greek it is Ἰησοῦ Χρισῷ, which in English is Jesus Christ.
1:1 Συνεχάρην ὑμῖν μεγάλως ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χρισῷ, δεξαμένοις τὰ μιμήματα τῆς ἀληθοῦς ἀγάπης καὶ προπέμψασιν, ὡς ἐπέβαλεν ὑμῖν, τοὺς ἐνειλημένους τοῖς ἁγιοπρεπέσιν δεσμοῖς, ἅτινά ἐστιν διαδήματα τῶν ἀληθῶς ὑπὸ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ἐκλελεγμένων·
¹I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because ye have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord;
So right there is proof that early church fathers used the Greek transliteration of Messiah’s name, in the 1st-2nd century.
Ignatius of Antioch, who lived from 30–107 AD, was a contemporary of Messiah and the Apostle John.
In his Epistle to the Ephesians, we see the Greek “Love in Christ Jesus.”
Αποδεξαμενος εν θεω το πολυαγαθητον σου ονομα, ο κεκτησθε φυσει δικαια κατα πιστιν και αγαπην εν Χριστω Ιησου τω σωτηρι ημων· μιμηται οντες θεου, αναζωπυρησαντες εν αιματι θεου το συγγενικον εργον τελειως απηρτισατε·
In his Epistle to the Magnesians, we see the Greek “Jesus Christ.”
Γνους υμων το πολυευτακτον της κατα θεον αγαπης, αγαλλιωμενος, προειλαμην εν πιστει Ιησου Χριστου προσλαλησαι υμιν.
Clement of Rome, who lived from 30–100 AD, was a contemporary of Messiah and the Apostle John.
In his First Epistle of Clement to the believers in Corinth, we see Iesous Christos in the Greek text of chapter 32, verse 4.
And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
καὶ ἡμεῖς οὖν, διὰ θελήματος αὐτοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ κληθέντες, οὐ δι᾿ ἑαυτῶν δικαιούμεθα, οὐδὲ διὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας σοφίας ἢ συνέσεως ἢ εὐσεβείας ἢ ἔργων ὧν κατειργασάμεθα ἐν ὁσιότητι καρδίας, ἀλλὰ διὰ τῆς πίστεως, δι᾿ ἧς πάντας τοὺς ἀπ᾿ αἰῶνος ὁ παντοκράτωρ θεὸς ἐδικαίωσεν· ᾧ ἔστω ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. ἀμήν.
First century Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote the Antiquities of the Jews, documented the names Iesous and Christianos.
In the book, Josephus: The Essential Writings by Flavius Josephus, it says,
Now there was about this time Iesous, a wise man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; And the tribe of Christianos, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. (Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3)
The second mention of Jesus in the Antiquities, says,
And so he convened the judges of the Sanhedrin, and brought before them the brother of Iesous, the one called Christos, whose name was James, and certain others, and accusing them of having transgressed the law delivered them up to be stoned. (Book 20, Chapter 9, Paragraph 1)
Here’s old Greek, modern Greek and English from the writing of Josephus.
Γίνεται δὲ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον Ἰησοῦς σοφὸς ἀνήρ, εἴγε ἄνδρα αὐτὸν λέγειν χρή: ἦν γὰρ παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής, διδάσκαλος ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἡδονῇ τἀληθῆ δεχομένων, καὶ πολλοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους, πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ ἐπηγάγετο: ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν. καὶ αὐτὸν ἐνδείξει τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου οὐκ ἐπαύσαντο οἱ τὸ πρῶτον ἀγαπήσαντες: ἐφάνη γὰρ αὐτοῖς τρίτην ἔχων ἡμέραν πάλιν ζῶν τῶν θείων προφητῶν ταῦτά τε καὶ ἄλλα μυρία περὶ αὐτοῦ θαυμάσια εἰρηκότων. εἰς ἔτι τε νῦν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τοῦδε ὠνομασμένον οὐκ ἐπέλιπε τὸ φῦλον
Ginetai de kata touton ton chronon Iêsous sophos anêr, eige andra auton legein chrê: ên gar paradoxôn ergôn poiêtês, didaskalos anthrôpôn tôn hêdonêi talêthê dechomenôn, kai pollous men Ioudaious, pollous de kai tou Hellênikou epêgageto: ho christos houtos ên. kai auton endeixei tôn prôtôn andrôn par’ hêmin staurôi epitetimêkotos Pilatou ouk epausanto hoi to prôton agapêsantes: ephanê gar autois tritên echôn hêmeran palin zôn tôn theiôn prophêtôn tauta te kai alla muria peri autou thaumasia eirêkotôn. eis eti te nun tôn Christianôn apo toude ônomasmenon ouk epelipe to phulon.
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.”
Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews Book 20, Chapter 9; mentioned Messiah again, when speaking about His brother James being killed.
“so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, (ton adelphon Iesou tou legomenou Christou), whose name was James.”
These witnesses clearly show that the Greek transliteration of Messiah’s name has been used since the 1st century, and the name Jesus Christ is not an invention of Constantine in the 4th century, as some people proclaim!
The purpose of the Brit Chadash tells why the Greek language was used.
Isaiah pointed to Messiah also coming for the gentiles.
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6
The primary narrative of the book of Acts and the epistles is that Messiah came to shine the light of the Gospel to the gentiles, who are grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel.
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12
A Brit Chadash that is written in Hebrew wouldn’t spread around the world, as only Hebrews understood the language.
A Greek Brit Chadash was spread around the Roman Empire, so that the Gospel was proclaimed to the many people who spoke Greek, and by the power of the Ruach Spirit, Messiah’s Ekklesia grew dynamically.
Paul was a Hebrew whose ministry was to the gentile churches, so it only makes sense that he would write his letters in the Greek language.
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee. Philippians 3:5
To me, the evidence shows that the Brit Chadash was written in Greek.
We have manuscript evidence in the Greek and none in the Hebrew.
We have church letters from the first few centuries which validate the Greek transliteration of Messiah’s name.
We can see that a primarily role of the Brit Chadash was to proclaim the Gospel to gentiles who spoke Greek.
Though Messiah’s parents and disciples used His Hebrew name, we can’t condemn the Greek and English transliterations of His name. Much has been accomplished for the glory of Messiah our King, using the Greek and English transliterations of His name.
Read Father And Son Names