Christianity 201

May 4, 2013

The Inscription on the Cross

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Again today another new blog to introduce you to, this one is called Who?Jesus written by Brennan McMahon.  I found the story of the blog interesting:

Started off as a daily devotional blog, turned out to be a full-blown research and “Christianity rules and God is amazing” website. I take people on a word journey where they learn awesome, often overlooked hints in the Bible that point to the sheer brilliance and unerring truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We chose the most recent post, the Hebrew title of which is also below! You’re encouraged to read it at source.

ישו מנצרת מלך היהודים
“Jesus of Nazareth the King of Jews” or “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”
That Latin phrase, written on the board above Jesus’ head on the cross, is where we get “INRI” that then gets written on random jewelry, pictures, etc. Yea, it’s pretty cool. 
It was also written up there in Greek…
Now, check this out. The same was also written in Hebrew…
ישו מנצרת, מלך היהודים
“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”
…the Hebrew symbols read…
Yeshua Ha’Netzeret V‘mlech Ha’Yehudim
“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.” – John 19:17-30
Keep in mind, Pontius Pilate probably didn’t realize his off-hand phrase about Jesus would reveal anything in Hebrew. So, why did the Pharisees (the chief priests) want to change what he had written? I’ll tell ya. It’s because the Hebrew phrase translated into words whose first letters were none other than Y-H-V-H.  The “I AM!” The very name of God! They freaked out. Coincidence? Doubt it. They just realized they messed up big time and probably double-timed it to smear Jesus’ name some more.
“Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ’I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD,the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” Exodus 3:13-15
I don’t know where in time the the “W” replaced the “V” because there is no “W” in the traditional Hebrew language. Yahweh is the transliteration of the proper name YHWH which comes from spelling “I AM WHO I AM” in Hebrew. (You can see where vowels got tossed into “YHWH” to be able to pronounce it. It is also sometimes referred to as “Jehovah.”)
Recorded as written above Christ’s head from each of the Gospels…
King of the Jews
No one knows for certain the exact words written up there due to different fragments of this phrase in the four Gospels. An educated guess as to the addition of the words “this is” and “the” could be that they are English qualifying terms, perhaps not necessary in other languages for this instance. John 19:19 seems to be the one to keep an eye on.
The differences in the Gospels do not make the Bible inconsistent four times, but rather gives us a puzzle, when pieced together, no matter the language most likely reads:  ”Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
Brennan McMahon