Hebrew Mind vs. Greek Mind


Lesson Five

During the second and third centuries B.C., Hellenism and the perpetuation of the Greek language quickly dominated the entire Western world. The Macedonian kings from Greece took their Egyptian influenced culture back to Egypt through the Ptolemy family. Around 260 B.C. the language and thought processes of Greece had so changed the Eastern culture that King Ptolemy put forth the decree to translate the entire Hebrew Bible into Greek. This was later known as the Septuagint translation of the Scriptures, or the LXX. The Septuagint was so named allegedly because it was accomplished by 70 scholars, but there is some uncertainty about that. None the less, Yeshua' quoted from it quite often. This version of the Scriptures is one of the most awesome pieces of evidence of the reliability of itself. Virtually every scriptural and secular scholar agrees that the Scriptures, with the exception of Esther, were translated from Hebrew to Greek in or around 250 years before the birth of Yeshua'. Do you realize what that means? It means that the 333 prophetic utterances of Yeshua''s birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection are, at the very least, written 250 years before they happened.

One by one the generals of Alexander began to fall to the Roman Empire. Philip IV of the Antigonid empire began the decline by challenging Rome in the first place. The Seleucid dynasty was still going strong in 163 B.C. when Antiochus IV ruled Jerusalem. Antiochus, as did his predecessors, carried the Greek-Egyptian traditions and culture into his reign. The books of the Maccabees record much of this period of Greek history, especially as it permeates the Hebrew culture. The story of Chanukkah is the best example to date of how scriptural thinking and culture can be dramatically altered. Normally a change in thinking processes occurs very slowly over a long period of time. But the account of the Maccabees happened comparatively quickly.

This is a quote from 1st Maccabees:

1st Maccabees 1:11-14In those days [i.e. of Antiochus Epiphanes] lawless men came forth from Israel, and misled many saying, "Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles round about us, for since we separated from them many evils have come upon us. This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king. He authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem [for Greek education], according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.

The first thing done in Greek thought is to build an education center to train captives in Western thinking. To conquer with the sword is only temporary, and still maintains an enemy. Conquer the mind and you have a friend and an ally. Change the language and you change the meaning of things, for words are only symbols. If you change the symbol, you change the meaning and create a whole new set of parameters. Paradigm shifts in any society are created over time in gradual increments. This is primarily why people, especially church people, see the instructions of YHVH as antiquated, obsolete, and almost impossible to grasp. Our whole thinking process has been so far removed from YHVH's that it is almost unrecognizable.

Let's continue on with 1 Maccabees:

1 Maccabees 1:41-49Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and that each should give up his customs. [What he really meant was for the captives to give up their customs.] All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; [see what I mean!] they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath. And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and feasts, to defile the sanctuary and the priests, to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals, and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, so that they should forget the law and change all the ordinances.

This is the perfect description of apostasy, the abandonment of YHVH's instructions. This will indeed happen again according to Mattityahu (Matthew) 24. More on that later. Many people in Israel at that time gave in to the king and abandoned the covenants and feasts. These were the forerunners of the Grecians. Over generations, these Hebrews mixed Western thought with their own ancestry. But many of these people did not. Some were executed for their tenacious trust in YHVH. Others escaped and followed the Maccabean brothers in the desert to eventually return and take back the temple. This is, of course, the facts of the Chanukkah story. The point is that YHVH's way defeated the Western way by standing strong in His words and not giving in to the Greek influence.

Between the time of Antiochus and the birth of Yeshua', the Roman empire had defeated all of the kingdoms of the Macedonian empire. Rome's culture is now prevailing at the time of the so-called birth of Christianity.

Shalom Alecheim!