Saturday, March 31, 2018

An end to the series on A Prayer to our Father, Part 6 from Lessons in the Wilderness Volume 16.

…Lessons from the Wilderness Volume Sixteen… [1] [2] [3] [4]
Part Six
“Ten-lanu haiyom lechem chukeinu.”

Avinu shebashamayim, yitkadash shemekha.
Tavo malkhutekha ye’aseh r’tsonekha
ba’arets ka’asher na’asah vashamayim.
Ten-lanu haiyom lechem chukeinu.
u’selach-lanu et-ashmateinu
ka’asher solechim anachnu la’asher ashmulanu.
Ve’al-tevieinu lidei massah,
ki im-hatsileinu min-hara.
Ke lakha, hamamlakha, vehageverah, veha tiferet l’olemei ‘olamim.

Matthew 6:9–13 (NASB95)
aPray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘aYour kingdom come.
bYour will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘aGive us this day 1our daily bread.
12 ‘And aforgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but adeliver us from 1bevil. 2
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’[5]

Hebrew Matthew Transliteration:

Av-ee-noo she-ba-sha-mai-yeem
(Our Father in heaven)
Yeet-ka-desh sheem-kha
(May Your Name be sanctified)
Ve-yeet-ba-rekh mal-khoot-kha
(May Your kingdom be blessed)
Re-tson-kha yee-he-ye a-sui ba-sha-mai-yeem u-va-a-rets
(Your will shall be done in heaven and on earth)
Ve-tee-tayn lah-may-noo te-mee-deet
(Give us our bread continually [daily])
Oo-me-hol la-noo ha-to-te-noo ka-a-sher a-nah-noo mo-ha-leem la-ho-teem la-noo
(Forgive us the debt of our sins as we forgive the debt of those who sin against us)
(Do not bring us into the hands of a test)
Ve-shom-re-noo mee-kol rah
(Protect us from all evil)
    (Amen) [6], [7]

A note to my readers: it has been a while since I have written anything. Oh, I could make a hundred excuses. I can offer even more reasons why I haven’t had the time, or work, or deaths in my family, or many other things, situations, or reasons why I have been silent. In the end though, excuses are all they are, and they just are not reasoning enough for not doing what G-d had and has tasked me to do. Now, I’m recovering from major surgery – it’ll take 6 to 8 months for me to fully recover; one “reason” I’ve had in the past is that I could not find the time to write. Well, G-d has taken care of that problem – now I’m all out of excuses. Can I be honest though? I was tired. Tired of the time it took to develop each post, tired of the time I had to devote to study, to research and to prayer, tired of wondering if I got it right… I grew tired of speculating if my words even meant anything to anyone – I have never received any feedback, good, bad or indifferent about my blog posts – so I have had no way of even gauging whether my words mattered at all.  Is anyone reading my blog? To be sure, to date I’ve had over 43,000 hits on my blog; but is anyone reading?

It requires an intense amount of research and study just to write one post. It takes thirty-five to fifty hours just to be comfortable with one post: to be sure I’m listening to the Ruach, to be true to the word of G-d, to even make what I’m trying to say coherent. And this is the truth then, I grew weary of the task. I’ve been renewed though. Not because it is any easier, but because gently the Father has coaxed me back to the keyboard and told me to get busy with the Kingdom’s work. My job is simply to plant – and then He waters. It is not for me to know if any hear, or any read – or care – what I write. If I do nothing, then it is for sure no one will read. If I write – then there is always the chance that some will. So, I’ll put forth the effort, I’ll do the work. May the Father and Son sort it all out from there. Thank you all for reading (or not). I still must do what the Father asks – may I remain faithful and continue for His glory alone, amein and amein.

There is a lot we do not know about G-d. Why for instance, do the two versions of the Gospel of Matthew exist, one in Greek (with many different variants between manuscripts and fragments) and the one spoken of by many of the “Church fathers”[8]? As a polemic, a rebuke to Christianity, Shem Tob’s Hebrew Matthew raises more questions than it dispels, for truly, it strengthens Yeshua’s role in affirming the Torah of G-d and that of His role as rebuking and correcting the leaders of the day. While some see it differently, Shem Tob’s work, at this time, clearly points to a more ancient document than any in modern time have ever seen. There is too much in this Hebrew manuscript that if it was only just a translation of the Greek Matthew into a Hebrew Matthew for discrediting Christianity, a Hebrew translator would not have left in the manuscript those items found in the Hebrew document which only serve to cloud the issue even further. While I cannot take the time to go into all the textural aspects of the work, as a polemic – safe to say - it fails in that task.  Yes, there are some definitive “anti-Christian” statements in the Shem Tob manuscript. But there also exists many glaring anti-Jewish statements found in the venerated King James Bible – a translation that odes all it can to strip Yeshua/Jesus of his Jewish background. There has been an anti-Semitic polemic against the Jews for the last 2000 years, and it is called Christianity.  Let us call it what it is. Man has crafted a religion that is inferior to that which G-d has made. There is blood on Christian hands, blood dripping from the “Church fathers” writings concerning the Jews and revisionism in the practice of Christianity that has essentially remained unchanged since the early 300’s.

Now, I am not an apologist for any polemic -Jewish or Christian. I am only interested in truth. There will be many nay-sayers about my stance, many who might want to initiate a backlash about what I say. All I want to do is examine this one set of verses that concern the Avinu shebashamayim, the prayer to our Father. Leave the overall criticism of this document to the squabbling scholars – and all those who profess to know better; what I am seeking is an understanding in Hebraic thought and language usage that just may help us all understand Messiah’s words better.  

No one, including myself, believes that Shem Tob’s “Hebrew Matthew” is an extant copy of first century work, either by Matthew or some other Jewish writer. But from a study of the Anti-Nicene church leaders, it is obvious that some form of Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew did exist – it was seen by Jerome; in fact, “…he said he had translated it and on several occasions, he quoted from it (On Famous Men 2 & 3). However, Jerome did not say this was Matthew, but rather “the gospel in Hebrew letters which the Nazarenes use” (Against Pelagius III, 2), or “the gospel according to the Hebrews.” A much earlier writer, Papias, who was a disciple of John the apostle, stated that Matthew recorded the sayings of Jesus in Hebrew and everyone translated them as best he could (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History III, 39, 16).[1] It is unlikely that the book to which Papias refers is the canonical Gospel of Matthew. It is quite possible, however, that Papias’ “Matthew” is the same as Jerome’s Hebrew gospel…”[9]

We cannot be sure that this gospel is the same as the canonical Matthew we have today. In fact, we cannot even be sure of the correct version of the Avinu shebashamayim; we find different versions in canonical Matthew and in Luke. Just as the Gospel of Mark is different (a long version and a short version), so does the Avinu shebashamayim consist of a long version and a short one (compare Luke 11:2-4 with Matthew 6:9-14). In the earliest manuscripts, Mark ends at chapter 16, verse 8. Verses 9-19 in chapter 16 are additions: bogus. These were added because early scribes thought the ending of Mark was too abrupt – so they just added an ending (concocted from bits and pieces of the other three Gospels)[10] that said what was reflective of their theology – but that which was not written out by Mark as inspired by G-d. The longer version in Matthew is like the long version of Mark – not found in the earliest extant manuscripts.

So, what is the point here? Textural criticism aside, it is extremely possible that the Shem Tob Hebrew Matthew had its Hebraic translation founded in an ancient Hebraic document. Though over the years it had likely been changed into the polemic of the 13th-15th century, it none the less reflected a more ancient document, maybe even one that dated back to the first or second century.

History aside, what one chooses to follow or hold to concerning the canonical scriptures is a choice each makes between themselves and G-d. What translation or version of Scripture one uses is again between each soul and G-d. Some are better than others – but in my humble opinion – Father uses what He can to get you to pick up His word and begin to read, begin to follow Him. As one grows – the Spirit will lead them into a deeper understanding which may or may not include a change of transliteration; the best change is to get a desire to investigate the original languages of Scripture but that again is a personal choice.

Why I am looking at this prayer through the Shem Tob Matthew is because there are so many Hebraisms, idioms, puns, and word plays found in the text to, at the very least, indicate to me that this document has its original foundation found in an ancient Hebraic text, thus, my reason for using it. Now that we have history out of the way, let us continue our study.

Ve-tee-tayn lah-may-noo te-mee-deet
(Give us our bread continually [daily])
(Forgive us the debt of our sins as we forgive the debt of those who sin against us)
Ve-al te-vee-e-noo lee-day nees-sa-yon
(Do not bring us into the hands of a test)
Ve-shom-re-noo mee-kol rah
(Protect us from all evil)

In Israel today you might come upon what we Westerners might consider a strange sight: bread. Bread in a bag on top of a wall; bread in bags hanging next to the trash containers; bread left out on the curb. Sometimes it might be a day old, other times it may be fresh, just baked. One may think this strange, but from a Jewish perspective it isn’t. Instead of throwing away their bread, some Jews leave it outside where the poor could find it. Some say the custom began from the influx of immigrants from Eastern and Western Europe to the land of Israel. These people remembered how precious a piece of bread could be – maybe the difference between starving and making it another day, so the considered the bread almost as sacred as the Scriptures. Instead of throwing away their bread – they gave of it.

Proverbs 22:9 (NKJV)
9     hHe who has a 3generous eye will be iblessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor. [11]
Matthew 6:22-24 (JNT)
22 ‘The eye is the lamp of the body.’ So if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and money. [12]

Now some say that there is no dignity in this – why not just give the bread away in a manner that preserves a poor person’s self-respect? Some also say what does that say about the mores of a society that hangs its bread on garbage cans? Most of the detractors speak from a Western mind set – a mindset that throws away more food every day than some third world countries possess to distribute monthly. Go to fast-food restaurant. What they have left over at the end of the night goes in the garbage. No one benefits from this; at least there is some attempt by some in the Israeli population to try to deal with hunger. The visual is powerful: the system can be better, but it’s a start. We have our soup kitchens over here; nations and societies must deal with their poor as they can. Here is the thought though – think of your daily bread. Do you give thanks every piece you eat? Do you acknowledge the One that gives you the provisions necessary to purchase that bread? The bread is a symbol here maybe, of a generous heart – who knows what else one does than just set his old bread out.

The Hebrew word for “daily” is better defined as “continual”. The word derives from the root word tamid. Elsewhere in the Bible this word is used when it talks about the daily sacrifices at the Temple. This is the bread of our daily need – the daily prayer to G-d, the need for the substances that sustain our lives. When we look at the word in the Greek, the word for daily is  ἐπιούσιος - Transliteration: Epiousios - Phonetic: ep-ee-oo'-see-os.[13] This word is only found twice in the B’rit Hadashah; in Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3. Linguistically, it is difficult to fix the meaning with any precision,[14] for this word only exists as found in the afore mentioned verses. The word is said to have been “formed” by the writers of Matthew and Luke – to lend some meaning to the Hebraic rendering of the Avinu shebashamayim. In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament we find the following explanation:

“…Origen said that he did not know the term either in academic or popular speech. The older translations vary widely, as do also the fathers. The first linguistic suggestion is a derivation from ἐπιέναι. The participial stem gives one possible clue, ἐπ + ιοντ + ιος becoming ἐπιούσιος on the analogy of (ἑκών)/ἑκόντιοσ* › ἑκούσιος etc.  This would give the meaning “future,”  “regular,”  “second in goodness,” “coming to us daily,”  or “as is appropriate to us.”  Linguistically, however, this derivation is not so free from objections as that from the expression ἡ ἐπιοῦσα, sc. ἡμέρα, against which there is no linguistic objection.  ἡ ἐπιοῦσα means the day which follows, the next day, the day which is before us.  Hence the meaning is that to-day already, or acc. to Lk. daily, we should pray for bread for the next day. This interpretation fits both Mt. and Lk., and it does not render anything superfluous in either. It is also supported by the Ev. Hebr., which acc. to Jerome has mahar, “to-morrow.” Thus the rendering “for the following day” is now the most widely accepted. Few commentators, however, refer it to the coming aeon. With the same derivation from ἡ ἐπιοῦσα, the word may also refer, of course, to the day which is “already breaking.” In this case, we should have a morning prayer in which bread is requested for the day now dawning. It might also be pointed out that in the ancient world the day began the evening before, so that even later in the day it might well refer to the new “day” which was shortly to begin...”

However the word came to be, it was almost certain that the meaning behind it was constructed to bring out the concept of “daily” or “continually” as found in the Hebraic language. The Greek word ἐπιούσιος simply did not exist before being conceived in the NT.[15]

The continual bread we need is not only physical for our survival, it is also spiritual, the bread of life – the Word of G-d. The need for this bread cannot be ignored – especially in the light of how the world is today. May He send this bread daily – and continually till He returns.

Oo-me-hol la-noo ha-to-te-noo ka-a-sher a-nah-noo mo-ha-leem la-ho-teem la-noo
(Forgive us the debt of our sins as we forgive the debt of those who sin against us)

Ezekekiel 16:46-59
46     “Now your aolder sister is Samaria, who lives 1north of you with her 2daughters; and your younger sister, who lives 3south of you, is bSodom with her 2daughters. 47     “Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were atoo little, you acted bmore corruptly in all your conduct than they. 48     “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have anot done as you and your daughters have done. 49     “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had aarrogance, babundant food and ccareless ease, but she did not 1help the dpoor and needy. 50     “Thus they were haughty and committed aabominations before Me. Therefore I bremoved them 1when I saw it. 51     “Furthermore, Samaria did not commit half of your sins, for you have multiplied your abominations more than they. Thus you have made your sisters appear arighteous by all your abominations which you have committed. 52     “Also bear your disgrace in that you have 1made judgment favorable for your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted amore abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. Yes, be also ashamed and bear your disgrace, in that you made your sisters appear righteous.
53     “Nevertheless, I will restore their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and 1along with them 2your own captivity, 54     in order that you may bear your humiliation and feel aashamed for all that you have done when you become ba consolation to them. 55     “Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, 1will return to their former state, and you with your daughters will also return to your former state. 56     “As the name of your sister Sodom was not heard from your lips in your day of pride, 57     before your awickedness was uncovered, 1so now you have become the breproach of the daughters of 2Edom and of all who are around her, of the daughters of the Philistines—those surrounding you who despise you. 58     “You have aborne the penalty of your lewdness and abominations,” the Lord declares.
59     For thus says the Lord God,
I will also do with you as you have done, you who have adespised the oath by breaking the covenant.” [16]

                         This long passage cumulates in the principle that G-d uses to deal with each and every one of us. 
  Figure 1. From The Hebrew/English Transliterated Bible (Torah, Prophets, Writings) Presented by El Shaddai Ministries. Copyright  2011-2012 Hebrew World, Scottsdale Arizona, USA

The saying “…(veasiti) (veasiti) otach kaasher asit asher…” has the same meaning as “midah ke-neged midah”, which means literally “measure for measure”. G-d is saying to Israel “…I will do to you as you have done…”, but this principal is not limited to Israel – it is the destiny of all mankind. There is a reason for the “Day of Atonement”, Yom Kippur the holiest day on the Jewish calendar (actually,  G-d’s calendar, for He was the one that appointed this day in the list of His feasts found in Leviticus 23); as I write this, (August 23, 2017) there are 28 days of repentance left till Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets on Rosh Hashanah. From there, the 10 days of Awe and then Yom Kippur – the opening of the books in heaven where what we do is recorded. And what we do has consequences. How is G-d to deal with everyone over the next year? By what that person has done or not done. Measure for measure. This is how one writer speaks of this:

“…A longer version of this mishnaic Hebrew idiom is במידה שאדם מודד בה מודדין לו (Bamidah she’adam moded ba, modedin lo; m. Sotah 1:7, Codex Kaufmann), which may be translated “by the measure that a man measures, they measure to him.” In Jewish literature the rabbis often referred to this principle simply as מידה כנגד מידה (Midah KeNeged Midah). In English, people say, “What goes around comes around,” or “He reaped what he sowed.” These two pithy sayings express the same idea. Moreover, most of us have witnessed circumstances where the principle seems to have operated perfectly. Consequently, even today Midah KeNeged Midah remains part of modern western thinking…” [17]               
        This principle was not invented by the writers of the Tanakh – this principle exists in literature from ancient Mediterranean and other Near Eastern sources. The writers of the Tanakh surely did expound upon it, but the concept is ancient as time, for it came from the heart of the Almighty. Yeshua spoke in similar terms all throughout His ministry – even on His death: “…Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…” forgiveness is a powerful statement – but so is unforgiveness and mistreatment of others. One cannot oppress the stranger among us, yet similarly, the stranger among us has no right to exploit or steal from the land in which they have entered. Measure for measure applies both ways. The hardships visited upon one by another will come back to bite the oppressor as well as the hardships visited upon the native of a land by those who wrongfully have entered it. There is no substitute in G-d’s eyes for the right thing – either you do it or you will suffer the consequences of your own actions.

       Vengeance is never ours to enact. Vengeance is a divine prerogative. Societies must maintain law and order, but it must be meted out fairly and with justice. A society cannot coddle the guilty and expect law and order to work or be accomplished also. Measure for measure. Exploit the legal system, and order breaks down. Deny justice and societal norms break down. Laws can be broken – but realities break men. The Ten D’varim, the Ten Commandments, stand as a monument to measure for measure. The first five deal with how we approach G-d, the last five are how we are to treat one another. These are realities – deviate from them, they break you and the society you live in. So is the concept of forgiveness. Forgive and you’ll be forgiven; do not forgive – it’ll break you. The reason race relations are so shattered right now? Unforgiveness – and the lack of asking to be forgiven. There will never be peace between the races till we see color no more. Look at the black community: there is a segment within it that has no desire to forgive past wrongs, and the community suffers. Within the white community, there are those who are stricken by guilt over history, and who then excuse lawlessness and incite violence as a means of “social justice”: and they achieve neither, social change or justice – and their violence will one day soon be returned measure for measure. The lawlessness which they tolerate will only be dumped right back onto their own heads, and only suffering can come of it, for blacks and whites. All other ethnicities will suffer also – no one is safe from the scourge of unforgiveness and the curse of measure for measure.

“…I will do to you as you have done…”

How sober is this warning? Every deed done in darkness will be exposed and retribution will come. The sins of the past must be forgiven, for only then, can the sins of today be put aside. If the races ever hope to reconcile – then forgiveness MUST be given, even if not asked for. There is an adage that two wrongs do not make a right;

Deuteronomy 5:32-33 (NASB95)
32 “So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 “You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess…”[18]

Forgive to be forgiven. Heal to be healed. Measure for measure.
Hate always destroys the vessel it is contained in before it hurts the vessel it is aimed at.

Simply heed the warning before it is too late.

If we look closely at the prayer, you’ll see that it says, “Forgive us…” This is a collective prayer. We, each as an individual as well as a collective body, are responsible for the repairing of the world. Mipnei tikkun ha-olam has been co-opted by the “social justice” crowd, but for all the wrong reasons. They concentrate on the societal aspects while totally ignoring the moral and sacred aspects that “repairing the world” really entail. The world cannot be fixed by human action: to repair the world is G-d’s purvey: we must ask Him, plead with Him, weep before Him to get Him to act – then the world can be repaired. This is our responsibility: to ask, to seek, to give forgiveness. Then and only then, collectively, can tikkun olam take place. 

Ve-al te-vee-e-noo lee-day nees-sa-yon
(Do not bring us into the hands of a test)
Ve-shom-re-noo mee-kol rah
(Protect us from all evil)

 Tzedakah (charitable giving) and gemilut hasadim (acts of kindness); these are test of our nature, of our hearts. These are tests we can only hope that Adonai will bring us into – so we can do the right things. But what are the tests spoken of here, in the last section of the Avinu shebashamayim?

 We face trials, tests, and temptations in our walk with G-d. Now, I realize that the Scriptures say that G-d does not tempt us – that this is the work of the enemy. But is that so? We need to define the words, and then see from where they come…

What are we to make of trials, tests, and tribulations then? Are they punishments for sins, are they done for us to earn rewards (a popular misconception)? Why do we have to go through them and what exact purpose do they serve? Well, I must agree with Rabbi Jack Abramowitz when he concludes that:

“…The concept that God puts people through trials is the most debated idea in the entire Bible. (III, 24) Most people assume (incorrectly) that God afflicts individuals not in response to their own sins but to provide them with an opportunity to earn reward. Trials are discussed six places in the Torah but only one of them supports such a hypothesis at face value (Deuteronomy 8:16, which we’ll discuss shortly). Rather, the Torah’s teaching dismisses such an understanding as “He is a faithful God; there is no injustice in Him” (Deuteronomy 32:4). The Sages taught likewise that “there is no death without sin and no suffering without transgression” (Shabbos 55a). A thinking person must therefore not attribute any wrongdoing to God by suggesting that He has afflicted a righteous person with undeserved suffering. Rather, in the six instances of trials in the Torah, we see that trials are the tests through which God demonstrates the faith of individuals or nations…”[19] and “…We see from the Torah that the sole purpose of trials is to teach a person what he should do or what he should believe. The trial itself is not the goal, it’s the means to an end…” [20]

So what does this mean in the context of Avinu shebashamayim?

To find out, first we must look at what “evil” is – and isn’t.

“…The words ra [[;r], roa, and raa [[;['r], "harmful, harm, " may be used in indicating something evil as bad, with ra [[;r] frequently appearing as the opposite of good. Sometimes its meaning is moral, sometimes cultic evil, but often both. Hosea's favorite word for evil is ra [r]. The evil man in Proverbs 11:21 will be punished, will be ensnared by the transgression of his lips (12:13), and has no future ( 24:20). Job complains that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity (21:30). In Jeremiah 2:33, Israel, the unfaithful wife of Yahweh, has so departed from his ways that she is able to teach her ways even to evil women. The men in 1 Samuel 30:22 termed evil are those who had pursued the Amalekites with David but who had selfishly decided that those left to guard the baggage should not share in the Amalekite spoil. In Genesis 13:13 the word describes the men of Sodom. In Psalm 140:2, evil things are devised in the hearts of violent men. The Revised Standard Version interprets ra [[;r] in Psalm 10:15 as the "evildoer."
In the New Testament the words poneros [ponhrov"] and kakos [kakov"] and their compounds and derivatives along with anomia [ajnomiva], "lawlessness, " have been used to denote what is bad or evil, and may either denote violations of social or cultic norms. The word kakos [kakov"], its compounds and derivatives, denoted what was "bad, " the opposite of good. In the Septuagint kakos [kakov"] most often denoted an evil that objectively hurt one's existence, which may have come as a judgment of God ( Deut 31:17 ; Amos 3:6b ). The word appears in the New Testament without the attendant problems of theodicy that appear in its Old Testament setting. As such the adjective kakos [kakov"] may characterize a morally bad slave (Matt 24:48), what is harmful (e.g., the tongue, James 3:8; cf. Rom 14:20), or, when used as a substantive, what is contrary to law (i.e., a sin, crime, John 18:23; Rom 7:21). Most of its occurrences in the New Testament are found in Paul's writings, where it can depict the evil one does unwillingly ( Romans 7:15 Romans 7:17-20 ) and which becomes a law that rules him ( Romans 7:21 Romans 7:23 ) and which can only be overcome by the grace of God through Christ ( 7:25 )…”[21]
I use these definitions as a comparison. In the Masoretic text, the word “evil” is generally seen as  “…[;r…” (ra) and in the Greek Septuagint (or LXX) [r always corresponds to its usage. In Matthew 6:13, we see the usage of κακός used when it says “…protect (or deliver) us from evil…”.  Friberg says of κακός this:

“…14741  κακός, , όν basically, denoting a lack of something bad, not as it ought to be, opposite καλός (sound, good) and ἀγαθός (good); (1) morally, of persons characterized by godlessness evil, bad (MT 24.48); substantivally evildoer (RV 2.2); (2) as moral conduct, attitudes, plans of godless people evil, base, wicked (MK 7.21 ); (3) neuter as a substantive τὸ κακόν evil as being present in the world (RO 13.3); plural κακά evil deeds (RO 1.30); (4) of circumstances and conditions that come on a person harmful, evil, injurious (RV 16.2); substantivally τὰ κακά ruin, harm, misfortunes, evils (LU 16.25); (5) as characterized by reprehensible lack of accuracy wrong, incorrect (JN 18.23)…”[22]

This corresponds to the Hebrew ra’. We can see how it is used by examining the definition from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament:

“…2191     רָעַע (rā˓a˓) I, bebad, evil. Denominative verb.
Parent Noun
2191a     רַע (ra˓) evil, distress; also adjective, evil, bad.
             2191b     רַֹע (rōa˓) badness, evil.
             2191c     רָעָה (rā˓â) evil, misery, distress.

Cognate adjectives of the root r occur in Akkadian (raggu “bad, evil”) and Phoenician (Karatepe 1. 15 “evil men”: substantive “all the evil” 3. 17). The root also occurs in Ugaritic according to AisWUS, no. 2533.[23]

The essential meaning of the root can be seen in its frequent juxtaposition with the root ṭôb. Thus, Moses concluded, "See I set before you today life and what is good [ṭôb], death and what is evil/bad [ra˓] (cf. Mic 3:2). Frequently they occur in the merism that one distinguishes “good and evil/bad” (II Sam 14:17; 19:35 [H 36]; I Kgs 3:9; Isa 7:15; cf. here “tree of good and evil,” Gen 2:9, 17).

Since the decision that something is bad depends subjectively on one’s taste, the root frequently occurs with the formula “in the eyes of.” Thus, Isaiah threatens those whose moral judgments are distorted: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” Because the Lord’s judgment stands as a moral absolute, however, one can speak of objective evil, of sin. The formula ˓āśâ hāra˓ bĕ˓ênê YHWH “to do evil in the Lord’s judgment” occurs frequently in the OT.

The root can have either a passive or active connotation: “misfortune, calamity,” and “wickedness” respectively. It can occur in profane contexts, “bad” “repulsive,” and moral contexts, “evil” “wickedness.”

The denominative verb, occurring seventy-five times with meanings ranging from “displeasing, injurious,” to be bad or evil [see above] inherits from its noun a dual meaning of being wrong in regard to God’s original and ongoing intention and detrimental in terms of its effects on man. In some instances, it may refer only to its injurious effects on man, either as physical or emotional harm to the person or as painfully unpleasant experiences. There are practically no philosophical or metaphysical connotations that bear upon theodicy or cosmology. The verbal forms of the root are basically descriptive of the interrelations between God and man and between man and man [emphasis mine] …”[24]

The point I’m trying to get you to see is that what evil is and what it isn’t. Evil is an action, a result – not a condition. Evil is an effect on another, brought out by the intentional disregard for G-d’s words, His statues, His precepts – His Torah, His moral instructions and a disrespect for the Son He sent. All the ills of society today, here in America and all over the entire world can be directly traced back to the blatant disobedience of the Hebrew Scriptures (this includes the Tanakh[25] AND the B’rit Hadashah[26]) and the one true G-d -YHVH. Evil is the result of the rejection of the Supreme Lawgiver, the Creator, the Father of us all. This “evil” has spawned countless false religions and practices, false “gods”, false “messiahs”, false paradigms of “your best life now”, false prosperity, false security, false systems of government, false education, false “social justice” and is leading us to its ultimate conclusion – death.
All the ills are declared to be somebody else’s fault: The Republicans - racist misogynistic xenophobic homophobic bigots. The Democrats - Left leaning communistic red diaper dope smoking Antifa fascist brown shirt useful idiots. It’s the fault of Mexicans, Whites, Muslims, trans-genders, gays, Blacks, Native Americans, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Protestants, Atheists, Agnostics, heathens, witches, warlocks, on and on and on. We murder every day someone – with our tongues. We kill someone everyday with our lies. We condemn someone everyday by our false witnesses and testimonies, we rob, we kill, we cheat, we covet, and then wake up the next day refreshed and go out and do it all over again, never seeing the hypocrisy and the wake of destruction that our collective guilt, shame, or unbridled hatred for anyone who is not just like us, who doesn’t think just like us, who we deem not like us regardless of whether or not they are the right color, sex, gender or ethnic soup de ‘jour – just as long as we DEEM them not to be one of us. This baseless, senseless, lawless behavior is the true definition of evil – and it comes in many forms, shapes and colors.

And who is us? Us is you, us is me; us is the people next door that like Trump, or those down the block that hate him. Us is the ones who call themselves “social justice warriors” all the while never even understanding the costs, the implications and the correct way to affect social change. Us is every black, white, brown, red or yellow human being that cannot sit down and have an articulate conversation with their neighbor that doesn’t involve raising your voice or hurling four letter invectives or talking over another, disrespecting their right to be heard also. Us are the ones demanding another gives up his or her rights, simply because you don’t happen to like their rights. Us are those who do not understand one basic premise:  that your rights end when they seek to deny another his. This is evil.

Evil is not a handgun or an AR-15 style rifle. Evil is not politics even though some politicians are evil. Evil is not the NRA, the NAACP, the ACLU or any other group as LONG AS that group is not hell bent on denying another their basic individual rights in America (as I can only speak for Americans – if you are reading this in another country, you must fight for these same rights that should be the same for you regardless for they are given by G-d Almighty to every man, woman and child) of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In my country we also have the “Bill of Rights”, written by men who personally may have had flaws, but prophetically, knew that governments would try to trample on citizen’s rights if they were not enumerated in writing. These are those rights:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.[27]

If these are not part of your nation’s constitution, then you live in an evil world, and you must fight for what is yours.

Evil is us – if we disobey and discard the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Israel’s just and moral laws and call evil good and good evil.  Evil is using children to deny the rights of others, no matter the “good intentions”. The road to hell has been paved with the blood of martyrs and patriots, all in the name of “good intentions” that were just evil, plain and simple. The Avinu shebashamayim directs us to pray, to be protected and/or delivered from this evil – the evil that is us. No matter who you are, the evil rests inside each of us, ready in a moment’s notice to leap forth and do its damage unless it is constrained by the righteous and moral laws of our Creator.

  • Good men do not rape women and children in the name of their god; good men do not wage war upon others to drive them into submission of their god.
  • Good men do not enslave others or bring violence upon another just because they can regardless of their god.
  • Good people make changes in their society not with “f-bombs” and calling each other names; good people don’t stop school shootings by denying other law-abiding citizens of their rights guaranteed to them by the founders of their nation.
  • Good people do not murder another by the vile use of their tongues and the printed media.
  • Good people do not allow their children to bully others in schools and on the streets – this breeds the shooters in our society.
  • Good people do not drug their children nor try to convince them to change their sex because it is the cause célèbre; they help them to understand who they are and love them no matter what.
  • Good people reach out, listen and help; good people put off such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from their mouths (Col 3:8).
  • Good people understand that they too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending their lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another (Titus 3:3), but now understand that by Messiah, they have been saved not by works of righteousness that they have done but on the basis of Messiah’s mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He (Messiah) poured out on US all in full measure, if only we can bend our knees and cry unto Him (Titus 3:5-6).

We – US – you and I: do we not know we are without excuse for the baseless hatred we display every day?

Do we yell at that talking head on the TV?
Do we rush to social media and blast everyone who disagrees with our position of the day?
Do we gossip? Backbite? Snicker at the one’s that can’t afford new clothes.
Do we ignore the homeless, the disabled, the old folks forgotten in the nursing homes?
Do we throw away the letters asking for our help taking care of wounded and disabled veterans?

We – US – you and I do we not understand:

Romans 1:18-32 (NET)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, 19 because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. 29 They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them. [28]

       Now you can scream and pounce and hate me for these words, but because I love you all – I share them with you. If they hit too close to home – then reconcile it with G-d. I judge no one, for I was once guilty of all. I am and was the chief of sinners, and I need forgiveness every day, and I must repent a thousand times a day. That is why I pray the Avinu shebashamayim, so I can put the we - us – I to death every day.

“Amein”: Some texts end here, some add “ ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν ("for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen") here.  However you feel that the Avinu shebashamayim ends, what matters is do you believe? What do you believe today?

This has been a long journey. Baseless hatred is tearing our nation apart, dividing families and destroying lives. It must stop. Nothing of this earth can stop it: but the Avinu shebashamayim is not of this earth. This seemingly simple prayer can can move mountains – it can save lives; I’ve seen the power in it, I’ve seen it save a life. You are under no obligation to believe this, but if you could shake off the disbelief and desire to change the world – pray this prayer daily. Your protest marches will not save one life. Your demands will not sway one vote. Your bullying news commentators only shows how classless you really are. Using children to make political points is evil. The We -US – I in this world have forgotten the face of our Father.

I pray we are not too late.

Pray with me:
Avinu shebashamayim, yitkadash shemekha.
Tavo malkhutekha ye’aseh r’tsonekha
ba’arets ka’asher na’asah vashamayim.
Ten-lanu haiyom lechem chukeinu.
u’selach-lanu et-ashmateinu
ka’asher solechim anachnu la’asher ashmulanu.
Ve’al-tevieinu lidei massah,
ki im-hatsileinu min-hara.
Ke lakha, hamamlakha, vehageverah, veha tiferet l’olemei ‘olamim.

aPray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘aYour kingdom come.
bYour will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘aGive us this day 1our daily bread.
12 ‘And aforgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but adeliver us from 1bevil. 2
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’[29]

Now, if you really want to change the world,
This is how you do it.

Until next time, may He richly bless you, my beloved
Amein and Amein.

[1] Authors note: Use of information from Jewish-themed websites should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed. The inverse is also true – by using these sites in no way confirms or denies that this author holds to all things found on these sites – but brethren, we all can learn from one another, Jew and Gentile; may it be so in shalom and love and respect.
[2]  Author’s note:  Throughout this study I’ll be using the Net® Bible and the Net® Notes: within the notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NetBible©) used in translating the New Testament. Please go to and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[3] Author’s Note: In these studies, I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of G-d. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief I) insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions or scholarship; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of G-d’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones…” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.
[4] One may wonder why I omit the “o” when I write the title “G-d”. While there are many who say that to leave out the “o” is a sign of being under the influence of the Rabbis who forbid saying the name of Yahveh, I say, one must conclude on their own and do as their heart convicts them (within the bounds of G-d’s word of course). I believe in the power of the name of the Most High – the name of Yahveh – and in uttering it in awe and reverence, yet find no contradiction in my soul for the hyphenated title “G-d”. I have written it both ways – stopped doing it, and now I have returned to the practice – as I said, one must follow the conviction of their heart. I do not disrespect anyone else’s opinion on this matter, and regardless if you think it wrong or right, I ask for the same respect. Let each be fully persuaded in their own mind and heart – and let G-d sort it out with each believer. For now, this is right for me, till the Father corrects - or confirms; I am after all, a work in progress. Shalom.  (Appended note: The main reason I use “G-D” is nao as a name – but a reminder that His name is holy.His name is not to be carelessly written or tossed about, defamed or misused; His holy name is never to be blotted out or destroyed as are the names of the false “gods” of this world (see Deut. 12:3-4 – reading varies by translations). Never is His name or  any title that describes Him to be used in a manner that brings shame upon His reputation – that is why it must be honored and used circumspectly.)
a Matt 6:9–13: Luke 11:2–4
a Matt 3:2; 4:17
b Matt 26:42; Luke 22:42; Acts 21:14
a Prov 30:8; Is 33:16; Luke 11:3
1 Or our bread for tomorrow
a Ex 34:7; Ps 32:1; 130:4; Matt 9:2; 26:28; Eph 1:7; 1 John 1:7–9
a John 17:15; 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Thess 3:3; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Pet 2:9; 1 John 5:18
1 Or the evil one
b Matt 5:37
2 This clause not found in early mss
[5] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 6:9–13). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[6] Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. A Prayer to Our Father. 2nd Revised Edition., 2010; pg 175
[7] George Howard. The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew: Revised Edition of The Gospel of Matthew according to a Primitive Hebrew Text. Mercer University Press, Macon Georgia, USA, 1995.
[8] "Matthew collected the oracles (ta logia) in the Hebrew language, and each interpreted them as best he could." - Papias (Eusebius, H.E. 3.39.16)
"Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews n their own dialect while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the church."  - Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 3.1.1
"As having learnt by tradition concerning the four Gospels, which alone are unquestionable in the Church of God under heaven, that first was written according to Matthew, who was once a tax collector but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language." - Origen (Eusebius, H.E. 6.25.4)
[9] From the article “Did Jerome see the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew?” by Ray Pritz
([1]  In the Loeb Apostolic Fathers I, p. 166, this statement is cited as Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 36.)
h  2 Cor. 9:6
3  Lit. good
i  [Prov. 19:17]
[11]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[12]  Stern, D. H. (1989). Jewish New Testament : A translation of the New Testament that expresses its Jewishness (1st ed.). Jerusalem, Israel; Clarksville, Md., USA: Jewish New Testament Publications.

[13] F. Brown, S. Driver, C. Briggs; J. Strong; J.H. Thayer. Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, Thayer’s Greek Definitions, and the Strong’s King James Concordance with TVM, Electronic Edition, © 2000–2014 e-Sword, version 10.4.0, by Rick Meyers, n.d.
[14]Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (2:591). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
[15] Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. A Prayer To Our Father. 2nd Revised Edition. , 2010., pg 135
a  Jer 3:8–11; Ezek 23:4
1  Lit on your left
2  I.e. environs; so through v 55
3  Lit from your right
b  Gen 13:10–13; 18:20; Ezek 16:48, 49, 53–56, 61
2  I.e. environs; so through v 55
a  1 Kin 16:31
b  2 Kin 21:9; Ezek 5:6; 16:48, 51
a  Matt 10:15; 11:23, 24
a  Gen 19:9; Ps 138:6; Is 3:9; Ezek 28:2, 9, 17
b  Gen 13:10; Is 22:13; Amos 6:4–6
c  Luke 12:16–20; 16:19
1  Lit grasp the hand of
d  Ezek 18:7, 12, 16
a  Gen 13:13; 18:20; 19:5
b  Gen 19:24, 25
1  Many ancient mss and versions read as you have seen
a  Jer 3:8–11
1  Lit mediated for
a  Ezek 16:47, 48, 51
1  Lit in their midst
2  Lit the captivity of your captivity
a  Jer 2:26
b  Ezek 14:22, 23
1  Heb includes will return...state after Sodom also
a  Ezek 16:36, 37
1  Lit as at the time of
b  2 Kin 16:5–7; 2 Chr 28:5, 6, 18–23; Ezek 5:14, 15; 22:4
2  So with many mss and one version; M.T. Aram
a  Ezek 23:49
a  Is 24:5; Ezek 17:19
[16] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[17] From by Joseph Frankovic, the article titled “Measure for Measure”.
[18]  New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[20] …Ibid…
[22] Barbara Friberg, Timothy Friberg & Neva F. Miller ANALYTICAL LEXICON OF THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT
© Baker Books 2000 All rights reserved. Electronic edition, BibleWorks 9, ©2013, BibleWorks LLC  
[23] AisWUS J. Aistleitner, Wöterbuch der ugaritischen Sprache, 4th ed., 1974
[24]Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (854). Chicago: Moody Press.
[25] Tanakh (TNK): the Torah (Law or Pentateuch), the Nevi’im (the Prophets) and K’tuvim (the Writings) – incorrectly referred to as the “Old Testament”.
[26] B’rit Hadashah: The Renewed Covenant (or the Messianic Writings), incorrectly referred to as the “New Testament”.
[27] Source:
[28]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
a Matt 6:9–13: Luke 11:2–4
a Matt 3:2; 4:17
b Matt 26:42; Luke 22:42; Acts 21:14
a Prov 30:8; Is 33:16; Luke 11:3
1 Or our bread for tomorrow
a Ex 34:7; Ps 32:1; 130:4; Matt 9:2; 26:28; Eph 1:7; 1 John 1:7–9
a John 17:15; 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Thess 3:3; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Pet 2:9; 1 John 5:18
1 Or the evil one
b Matt 5:37
2 This clause not found in early mss
[29] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 6:9–13). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.