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Pastor Andrew Webb | Fayetteville, North Carolina
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Providence ARP Church
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400 Eastwood Ave
Fayetteville, NC 28301-3320
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Providence ARP Church
223 Early St.
Fayetteville, NC 28311
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The Importance of a Greek Word I Can’t Pronounce
WEDNESDAY, JULY 06, 2011
Posted by: Providence ARP Church | more..
27,200+ views | 520+ clicks

I was doing (very slowly) my morning devotion in the Greek text of Matthew 1 and I’ve been sounding out the words which I hope will help me to remember them, when I came to this mouthful: μεθερμηνευομενον. Even the English transliteration is hard for me to get out: methermeneuomenon. But the word is actually of great importance, it means “translated” and it occurs in the context of Matthew 1:20-25:

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,

and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

Here Matthew is recounting the words of the angel to Joseph regarding the child that Mary was carrying in her womb. The angel assures Joseph that this is no ordinary child conceived by fornication, but rather her pregnancy is the result of the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. This child shall be called Jesus, which in the Greek was Iesous and in the Hebrew is Yehoshua meaning “YAHWEH is Salvation.”

This then was to be the long awaited Redeemer of Israel, the one who would save His people from their sins. But he goes on to say something even more astounding, this Child would be the child whom Isaiah prophesied saying "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Here is where “methermeneuomenon” becomes vitally important. In the Greek Immanuel is simply Emmanouel, a proper noun. His readers, having just finished the genealogy of Jesus would already have been hit with a long list of Hebrew names transliterated into Greek and they might be tempted to assume that Emmanouel is just another Hebrew name. But Matthew wants to assure them that it isn’t merely a name (in fact no man in the Old Testament is named Immanuel) but a word of tremendous theological importance. So he says in essence, “Let me translate Immanuel from the Hebrew for you; it means ‘God With Us.’”

What Matthew wants his readers to know, just as much as John did in the first verse of his gospel, is that this Jesus is not only the promised Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel, He is also GOD WITH US. God the Son, incarnate and tabernacling - that is “dwelling” - with his people. Matthew is saying that in Jesus we not have “the Lamb of God” but in keeping with God’s promises in the Old Testament, we have “the Lamb WHO IS GOD.”

Category:  Greek & Hebrew Words

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