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The Good Shepherd Remained Faithful
I believe Yahshua lived without sin, and that his faith was without blemish.   And I would like to offer specific evidence from the literal text of the Aramaic gospel that Yahshua never doubted himself.  Remember, we're talking about the One who walked on water, who calmed the sea, who brought ܠܥܙܖ back to life, who conquered this world, and so much more..

[Image: Yahshua_Great.png]

Most religious commentators like to agree with each other that Yahshua doubted himself on the cross and also in the Garden of Gethsemane before the crucifixion.  But I read the literal Aramaic ܠ-e-t-t-e-r  f-o-r  l-e-t-t-e-ܖ and I think these commentators are wrong.  I don’t mean to cast aspersions or claim that I know everything, but I do know some things about the literal Peshitta text, and I want to encourage other students to grow in faith as well. 

I think translators & commentators over the centuries have relied too heavily on traditions that speculate, and so have mistranslated and misinterpreted gospel text to imply doubt, and in doing so, it simply allows religious men to project their own lack of faith onto the Good Shepherd.  But Yahshua was always alive in his faith.  He did not die in disbelief, but ascended in faith. 

Conventional religious commentators place non-literal and unnecessary stumbling blocks when they claim the gospel text conflicts with itself three times:  (1) betray me quickly, actually wait I’m scared so let’s call it off, (2) sleep now guys, actually wait stand up guys, (3) I am in my Father and my Father is in me, actually wait I’ve been forsaken.

Fortunately, the Peshitta has none of these conflicts, because it maintains Yahshua’s perfect faith.  I strive to prove this in my post here.  I want to keep this simple, so this proof will focus on answering these three questions in order.  Scholars note: the Greek text can only answer the first question satisfactorily along with the Aramaic; so only the Aramaic answers all three questions to show gospel harmony:

First Question:  (A) Permanently Remove The Cup Because I’m Scared? Or (B) Remove the Cup For This Hour/Moment That I’m Protecting My Sheep In the Night?

Most commentators argue conflict: at first they correctly say Yahshua instructs Judas to betray him “quickly” (John 13:27), but then while Yahshua is awaiting Judas' with the nighttime mob in the garden of Gethsemane, commentators incorrectly say that Yahshua second guesses himself and prays that the cup will pass from him ‘permanently’.  The flaw here of the commentators is that they overlook the timing stated literally in the Aramaic & Greek text – “hour”.  They basically just ignore the word because it doesn't fit their doctrine of doubt.  According to these majority scribes & commentators, the text is not about any hour, but rather Yahshua permanently wants Judas to not betray him, and apparently he is also not the good shepherd because he is simply praying to protect himself – to the commentators, it is irrelevant that Yahshua’s sheep are with him and that he is literally waking them up three times to try to keep them safe in that nighttime hour.  Who among these commentators are shepherds?

Literal Aramaic text proves harmony: Yahshua instructs Judas to betray him quickly (John 13:27) -- Yahshua was obviously concerned about the timing of the betrayal.  And then while Yahshua is in the garden he prays literally that ܫܥܬܐ (“the hour/moment”) will pass from him. Mark 14:35.  In Aramaic, ܫܥܬܐ means “hour” or “moment”, and in either case it refers to a very limited period of time in every single instance in the gospel.  
Accordingly, that temporal context provided by the gospel of Mark is fundamental to any bible translation here, because in that ‘hour/moment’ Yahshua was guarding his sheep/apostles in the night in a confined space.  Indeed, three times during his prayers he diligently worked to protect his sheep by waking them up, and instructing them to be alert.  In doing so, Yahshua was working to fulfill the prophecy (John 17:12, John 18:19) that not one of his sheep would be lost, save for the son of destruction (Judas). 
[Image: Yahshua_lamb.png]

So according to the literal text, Yahshua is the good shepherd protecting his sheep in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And his prayer about the cup, which the gospel of Mark literally equates with “the hour/moment”, was literally about “the hour” (a specific hour in the dark of night while his sheep/apostles were confined in the garden).  Yahshua was specifically not praying about the next day, as the light of morning was near and so his sheep would be safer to flee upon his seizure.  I am a shepherd in California, and I know firsthand that when a predator approaches, my sheep are exponentially safer in the day time.  Night & day are ‘like night & day’ if you know what I mean. At night they scatter blindly and can get picked off one-by-one, but in the day they flee together and they sometimes also ram predators who get close. 

Notice how the gospel of Mark 14:35-36 equates “hour” and “cup”, so they are conceptually synonymous in the prayer:
ܘܐܡܖ ܠܗܘܢ ܟܖܝܐ ܗܝ ܠܗ ܠܢܦܫܝ ܥܕܡܐ ܠܡܘܬܐ ܩܘܘ ܗܖܟܐ ܘܐܬܬܥܝܖܘ ܘܩܖܒ ܩܠܝܠ ܘܢܦܠ ܥܠ ܐܖܥܐ ܘܡܨܠܐ ܗܘܐ ܕܐܢ ܡܫܟܚܐ ܬܥܒܖ ܡܢܗ ܫܥܬܐ ܘܐܡܖ ܐܒܐ ܐܒܝ ܟܠ ܡܕܡ ܡܫܟܚ ܐܢܬ ܥܒܖ ܡܢܝ ܟܣܐ ܗܢܐ ܐܠܐ ܠܐ ܨܒܝܢܝ ܕܝܠܝ ܐܠܐ ܕܝܠܟ

“And he said to them, ‘Sorrow is to me, to my soul unto death. Remain here and be watchful.’ And he offered a little and fell upon the earth and was praying that if possible would cross the hour from him, and he said, ‘Father, my Father, whatever possible you may cross this cup from me, but not my own will, but yours.”

[Image: Mark14_35_36.jpg]

The words 'cup' & 'hour' are also synonymous in the Greek text of this passage as well.

Now that the conventional mistranslation (stumbling block) has been cleared away, we can see plainly that when Yahshua said, “the spirit is willing and ready but the body is weak” (Mark 14:38), he was referring to his own spirit (he) being willing and ready, but the body of Christ (his apostles) being weak.  Indeed, his apostles were not even strong enough to keep watch, as we hear Yahshua instruct them literally to also pray that they do not “enter temptation” (Mark 14:38).  Remember, Yahshua previously instructed his apostles that he was sending them out “as lambs among wolves; be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16), so in Mark 14 Yahshua was obviously not praying that his small group of apostles/lambs would successfully sword fight a large mob at night.  Rather, Yahshua was praying that they would “not enter the temptation” to fight, but would instead flee to safety.  How do I know this?  Because of being a shepherd, I know this.

If you were a good shepherd, you would hope the same for your own sheep.  If a group of wolves/mob attacked your sheep/apostles at night in a confined space, they are more than likely to start with one kill/capture, and upon that one kill, you can only hope that your remaining sheep would use that time/opportunity to flee to safety.  You would never hope that your sheep stand their ground and try to attack the wolves.  Indeed, wishing for a small group of sheep to attack a large group of wolves at night is like hoping for a small group of canaries in a cage to fight a large group of cats –  not only is it futile, it’s completely counterproductive to protecting the canaries.  The canaries need to simply flee.  Yahshua was the Good Shepherd, so he knew well that his sheep needed to flee.  And that was his prayer, for their safety, not his own.

[Image: christ-the-good-shepherd.jpg]

Second Question:  Conflicting Orders to 'Sleep, Rest, & Stand', or Rather Ordering 'Persons Who Were Just Sleeping' to 'Rise'?

Critics argue conflict: they incorrectly say Yahshua instructs the disciples to ‘sleep and rest’, and then immediately contradicts himself by instructing them to ‘rise’.  Most critics simply cite the Greek texts of Mark 14:41-42 and Matthew 26:45-46.  But even the critics who read Aramaic are prone to misreading the Aramaic grammar in this text.  Fortunately though...

Literal Aramaic text proves harmony: in both Mark & Matthew, the gospel writer first identifies the apostles as ܠܗܘܢ ܕܡܟܘ ܡܟܝܠ ܘܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ  “they sleeping and thereafter who were resting”).  Only then does the gospel writer quote Yahshua, who is instructing his apostles that the end has arrived; and then Yahshua commands the apostles to “rise”.  Yahshua never told them to sleep, not even once.  The grammar proves it.  Indeed, ܡܟܝܠ (“thereafter”) is the operative word here that proves gospel harmony, and its location in the sentence matches many other examples in the bible with this very same word & sentence structure of interjection. See examples: Luke 16:2, John 15:15, Gal 2:20, Gal 3:18, Gal 3:29, Eph 4:28, Heb 10:2. 

Scholars can also confirm this grammar specifically with regard to the vav prefix in  ܘܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ (“and who were resting (plural)”) -- see the following standard examples of ܘ placement after ܡܟܝܠ : Mark 11:14, John 2:8.  (Incidentally, the related word ܗܟܝܠ follows the same grammatical pattern in the gospel, providing still further confirmation of my reading in this post).

So the Aramaic grammar supports gospel harmony, which means that when Yahshua orders the apostles in the imperative tense ܩܘܡܘ  (“rise”) in Mark 14:42 and Matthew 26:46, that is his only order to them at that time.  He did not order them to sleep, then immediately afterword to rise.  And indeed, his one order (“rise”) makes perfect sense in harmony with his three previous orders to them to stay alert and pray.  Any commentator who wants to argue otherwise (i.e., to argue that Yahshua gave conflicting orders) can only do so by ignoring this Aramaic grammar that supports Yahshua.

Mark 14:41-42
ܘܐܬܐ ܕܬܠܬ ܙܒܢܝܢ ܘܐܡܖ ܠܗܘܢ ܕܡܟܘ ܡܟܝܠ ܘܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ ܡܜܬ ܚܖܬܐ ܘܐܬܬ ܫܥܬܐ ܘܗܐ ܡܫܬܠܡ ܒܖܗ ܕܐܢܫܐ ܒܐܝܕܝܗܘܢ ܕܚܜܝܐ ܩܘܡܘ ܢܐܙܠ ܗܐ ܩܖܒ ܗܘ ܕܡܫܠܡ ܠܝ

Matthew 26:45-46
ܗܝܕܝܢ ܐܬܐ ܠܘܬ ܬܠܡܝܕܘܗܝ ܘܐܡܖ ܠܗܘܢ ܕܡܟܘ ܡܟܝܠ ܘܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ ܗܐ ܡܜܬ ܫܥܬܐ ܘܒܖܗ ܕܐܢܫܐ ܡܫܬܠܡ ܒܐܝܕܝܗܘܢ ܕܚܜܝܐ ܩܘܡܘ ܢܐܙܠ ܗܐ ܡܜܐ ܗܘ ܕܡܫܠܡ ܠܝ

Notice how the phrases ܕܡܟܘ  (“who were sleeping (plural)”) and ܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ (“were resting (plural)”) are not written as commands because they are not in the imperative tense (i.e., there is no vav in the middle of either word (which according to Payne-Smith makes the imperative here) and as further seen in context in verses like John 2:8 for example with ܙܠܘܥܘ ܡܟܝܠ ). 

Rather, there is only a vav suffix in each phrase in both Mathew & Mark, and all scholars agree it renders the word plural.  Indeed, the gospel confirms this grammatical reading plainly in other verses as well:

-          Sleep --  Matthew 13:25 (ܕܡܟܘ = “they slept”), 1 Cor.15:6 (ܕܡܟܘ = “sleeping” (plural)).
-          Resting – Mark 6:31 (ܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ = “to be resting (plural)”);  Philemon 1:7 (ܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ = “are resting (plural)”); Hebrews 10:2;  See also Payne-Smith, p 331 (imperative = ܢܘܚ ;  Ethpeel = ܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ)

Moreover, as a bonus, this literal Aramaic reading also resolves the additional timing conflict that critics try to argue with Luke 22:46-47, “Arise, pray lest you enter into temptation. And while he spoke, behold, a crowd with the one who was called Judas, one of the twelve, came before them and he drew near to Yahshua and kissed him.” 

Now that we know that Yahshua was not instructing the apostles to sleep, but was instructing the apostles (who were previously sleeping and resting) to rise, it is obvious that Luke 22:46-47 is in harmony with Mark 14:41-42 and Matthew 26:45-46.  Accordingly, the Aramaic Peshitta has no conflict.  And moreover, the Aramaic Peshitta resolves the conflict in the Greek.

In the big picture, these verses are also a warning to Christians – I expect this very theme to repeat itself before the second coming: first the apostles are sleeping, and then they are woken and instructed to pray to avoid temptation, and they sleep again, and then they are woken again and instructed to pray, and then while they are resting ‘at peace’, suddenly the hour arrives!  Like a thief in the night! 

Third Question: Wondering Why Father Forsakes Him, or Praying To The Father To Release Him to the Appointed Time?

Critics argue conflict: they say Yahshua prepared extensively for his destiny to faithfully give up his life, but then at the last minute he simply gives up his faith and says, ‘why have you forsaken me’??

Literal Aramaic text proves harmony: Yahshua prepared extensively for his destiny to faithfully give his life, and then at the conclusion of his journey, he fulfills it in faith, praying literally in Hebrew, “My strength, my strength, to the appointed releases me.”

First, the gospel tells us that the Aramaic-speaking people who heard Yahshua at the cross could not decipher the meaning of his last words. See e.g. Matthew 27:47, “This [man] to Elijah calls?”  These Aramaic speakers didn’t immediately recognize Yahshua’s words of prayer. By itself, that fact should humble anyone trying to fix in stone their translation of the words today, because there may inherently be multiple meanings.

And whether those meanings are translated in Aramaic or Hebrew, the first thing to notice is that most of the translations are optimistic and have literally nothing to do with being forsaken, but rather being released.  Why therefore are commentators so quick to judge Yahshua’s words to imply a lack of faith?  

Here are the root words in Hebrew:
ܐܝܠ – strong one, strength, help.  The root word for ܐܝܠ (“strong one”) is ܐܠ (“God”)
ܡܢܐ –appointed, weigh
ܫܒܩ - release, forgive

And here are the root words in Aramaic:
ܐܝܠ – God, helper
ܡܢܐ – vessel, who/what/why, bread, count, weight
ܫܒܩ - release, forgive
There has never been a great consensus on how to translate Yahshua’s last words ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܢܝ in Matthew 27:46.  Indeed, if the native Aramaic speakers listening directly to him that day could not understand him (i.e., some thought he may be asking Elijah a question, but they were uncertain for some reason), then it seems quite possible that Yahshua was not speaking their native language in this instance.  If so, then would he have been speaking Hebrew, a language of prayer, and not asking a question at all?  If Yahshua’s last words ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܢܝ are translated literally in Hebrew, then here are couple options: (1) “My strength, my strength, to the appointed releases me.”  (2) My Helper, the Strong One, to the appointed, releases me.”

Or if Yahshua is speaking Aramaic, then the text also has many possible optimistic translations, including this one, “My God, My Helper, He releases me”.

Now, I could keep writing with more examples in Hebrew & Aramaic and include a discussion of the grammar as well… and perhaps this thread will go in that direction.  But for now I have made my point:  people can choose translations that doubt Yahshua’s faith or they can choose to find his faith in the literal text.  I choose faith.
Yahshua was the lamb without blemish.   If any commentator says Yahshua doubted Himself, then I think the commentator is relying on speculative (often non-literal) translations, and in doing so he is only casting his own doubts onto Yahshua.  People are free to do that, but know this…

The literal Aramaic maintains that Yahshua the Good Shepherd remained faithful even to his last breath on the cross.  

[Image: Yahshua_cross.jpg]
Or, He was referring to the words in one of the Psalms, as shown below. We see that Yeshua would at times point to The Scriptures as speaking of Him.

"In the volume of the book it is written of Me." See Psalm 40:7 and Hebrews 10:7

To ask a question is not to be in any doubt. See Habakkuk 1:12, Psalm 10:12, and Zechariah 1:12. Again, to ask a question, such as "Why have you", "If it be possible", "How long will you" is not doubting in our prayers to God.

Psalm 22:1
ܐܠܗܝ ܐܠܗܝ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ

Matthew 27:46
ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ

Mark 15:34
ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ
ܐܠܗܝ ܐܠܗܝ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ
That's an excellent point, and you're right.  The Messiah could certainly be posing a ‘lamenting question’ here in Aramaic. The Judean tradition of a weeping prophet (like Jeremiah) shows precisely how a faithful man's question to Marya is not an expression of doubt, but rather a faithful prayer for help. 
In addition to your examples above, there are almost countless examples in support in Lamentations, Proverbs, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes.  Lamentations 1:12 and 2:20 for starters…questions presented within the context of a great declaration of faith.

I really appreciate you adding this complimentary perspective that further upholds the Messiah’s faith on the cross.  And the fact that the Aramaic grammar is perfectly sound on that perspective adds great support to its likelihood.
Really cool when you think about the deeper meaning too -- a lamentation that actually uplifts, a faithful prayer that is raised up to heaven.
(01-27-2016, 12:40 AM)gregglaser Wrote: Hey Gregg
Bless you.

But ܠܗܽܘܢ (lehun) means 'to them' right? How can you make this 'they' instead of 'them'?
Thank you for your important question Distazo. I am very grateful for it because you motivated me to go back to the Peshitta gospel and look at every single instance of  ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ.  Now, any other readers following along, this is the section of my original post that Distazo is asking about:
  • Literal Aramaic text proves harmony: in both Mark & Matthew, the gospel writer first identifies the apostles as ܠܗܘܢ ܕܡܟܘ ܡܟܝܠ ܘܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ  “they sleeping and thereafter who were resting”).  Only then does the gospel writer quote Yahshua, who is instructing his apostles that the end has arrived; and then Yahshua commands the apostles to “rise”.  Yahshua never told them to sleep, not even once.  The grammar proves it.  Indeed, ܡܟܝܠ (“thereafter”) is the operative word here that proves gospel harmony, and its location in the sentence matches many other examples in the bible with this very same word & sentence structure of interjection. See examples: Luke 16:2, John 15:15, Gal 2:20, Gal 3:18, Gal 3:29, Eph 4:28, Heb 10:2. 
I am pleased to report that the answer to your question is that “they” and “to them” work equally well as English translations of ܠܗܘܢ.   Either translation is fine to make the same grammatical point I am making because… in Aramaic, the phrase    ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ  can always be followed by an interjection before the quote, which is why it works as an introduction to a plural setting/subject in these representative examples:
  • John 7:50,  ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ ܢܝܩܕܡܘܤ ܚܕ ܡܢܗܘܢ ܗܘ ܕܐܬܐ ܗܘܐ ܠܘܬ ܝܫܘܥ ܒܠܠܝܐ (“Said to to them Nicodemus, on from them, he who had come to Yahshua in the night…”) then the actual quote begins in John 7:51.
  • Mark 4:35 ܘܐܡܖ ܠܗܘܢ ܒܗܘ ܝܘܡܐ ܒܖܡܫܐ ܢܥܒܪ ܠܢ ܠܥܒܪܐ   (“And he said to them, in that day at evening, let us cross over to the other side.”)
  • Luke 18:1 ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ ܕܝܢ ܐܦ ܡܬܠܐ ܕܒܟܠ ܥܕܢ ܢܨܠܘܢ ܘܠܐ ܬܡܐܢ ܠܗܘܢ     (“And he said to them, and also a parable, that in all times they should pray and not become weary.”) Then the actual quote begins at Luke 18:2.
And these three examples are just from the four gospels.  I’m confident I could find additional examples throughout the Peshitta, and especially so if I included ܐܡܪ ܠܗ in the findings.  But I trust the above three examples are sufficient to prove this grammatical point.

Now, the real proof in my original post is the ‘absence of the imperative tense’ in Mark 14:41 and Matthew 26:45.  For if I have successfully shown that Yahshua is not using command words with 'sleep' and 'rest' (ie., those conjugations are not in the imperative tense), then it categorically supports my reading.  See for example Matthew 13:25, where the exact same conjugation ܕܡܟܘ (“they slept”) is clearly not in the imperative.  See also Philemon 1:7, where ܐܬܬܢܝܚܘ (“are refreshed”) is clearly not in the imperative.  Also Hebrews 10:2 (“they had ceased”) is not in the imperative.  There are zero examples in the Peshitta where those conjugations are in the imperative.  That is why I feel so confident about my reading.

With that said, if any Aramaic scholar or native Aramaic speaker can provide me an example where those two conjugations are used in the imperative, then my reading would then only be a possibility.  But until that time, I think I’ve got this one straight.  I'm actually very very happy about it. I may be just a small voice in this moment, but that’s enough to plant a seed. 

Should that seed grow, I think that the majority reading of doubt will ultimately not prevail because the literal Aramaic text plainly encourages faith and shows 100% harmony in the Peshitta.
Distazo, one of the reasons that I am so glad for your reply is that for my original post, I was just looking at examples of ܠܗܘܢ as an introduction to a plural noun or group or actions, which of course supported my original post quite easily (as that is basic Aramaic). See e.g., Matthew 13:54, Matthew 14:15-16, Matthew 17:3, Mark 3:17.

But  ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ is much more specific and at first glance would seem to support the majority reading (again, if one overlooks the absence of the imperative).  That is because normally if the speaker’s quote does not come directly after ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ, then the speaker is the one identified immediately after ܠܗܘܢ rather than the listener or any significant context. See e.g., Mark 4:11. 

Fortunately, examples like Mark 4:35 and John 7:50 show that the listener and/or setting can be identified in some detail after ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ and before the quote is actually stated.

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