Hebrew Words Defined
What is Truth?
by Brad Scott
"What is truth?" Pilate asked Yeshua‘ that same question. It is an important question. We seem to always want to know the truth. When I listen to anyone speak, I want them to speak the truth. We ask our children to always tell the truth. When we catch them lying, we always commend them for finally telling the truth. When someone is called to testify in court, they are asked to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. No one wants to believe a lie. Everybody wants the truth. But, scripturally speaking, just what is the truth?
In Yochanan (John), Yeshua‘ says something very revealing to the Yehudim who believed on Him. He said:
Yochanan 8:31-32If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The verse appears in many places other than bible studies and sermons. It is very often carved on government buildings and court houses, but do they know what they are saying? Let's back up a few verses. In verse thirty, Yochanan says that these words were spoken to those who believed on Him. Then He turns to a specific group of people who believed on Him in verse thirty one. Those Yehudim. Why did the Ruach haQodesh make it a point to single them out? Could it be that they knew the Scriptures (Yochanan 5:39)? In context, I believe so. It makes perfect sense for Yeshua‘ to make this statement to them rather than believing gentiles. He singles out those who have always been in the word of YHVH, but have only so far honored Him with their lips. He makes it a point to tell us that these Yehudim now believe on Him. Then He says to those Yehudim, "If ye continue ..." The Greek word used here is meinete (μείνητε). It is in what is known as the aorist tense. In this context, the aorist tense expresses a dwelling, or abiding sense. This word is translated as abiding, or dwelling in the New Testament (Mattityahu (Matthew) 10:11, Yochanan 5:38, 2Corinthians 9:9). In our verse it carries the idea of remaining. As a matter of fact, in verse 35 of chapter 8, this same word is used. "And the servant abideth (μένει) not in the house forever; but the Son abideth (μένει) forever." So you see that Yeshua‘ is speaking to believing Yehudim, and asking them to remain in His words, and they will know the truth and the truth will make them free. Free from what? Free from SIN! Not free from YHVH's words, commandments, or laws. Let's look at the very next verse. "They answered him, We are Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man. How sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?" Yeshua‘ answered them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin." Yeshua‘ is saying that His words set you free from bondage to sin. He is saying to those who know the words of ’Elohiym that if they remain in them, these same words will free them from bondage. This is clearly typified in the exodus from bondage in Egypt. The Hebrews are enslaved to a sinful, worldly, pagan system, and YHVH frees them and takes them to Mt. Sinai to receive His words. When these words are obeyed, they bless you and free you. When disobeyed, these same words stand against you.
Let's go to the New Testament dictionary now and define what Yeshua‘ meant when He said that He was the way, the truth, and the life.
Mizemor (Psalm) 119:142Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is truth.
Melakhiym Alef (1 Kings) 2:3-4And keep the charge of YHVH thy ’Elohiym, to walk in His way, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That YHVH may continue His word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel.
Male’akiy (Malachi) 2:6The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
Mizemor 138:2I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou has magnified thy word above all thy name.
Mizemor 40:11Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O YHVH; let thy loving-kindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
Mizemor 119:151Thou art near O YHVH; and all thy commandments are truth.
Mizemor 119:160Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever. [How Long?]
Mizemor 33:4For the word of YHVH is right; and all His works are done in truth.
Mizemor 85:11Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Isn't that last verse precious? The same truth that looks down from heaven will also spring forth from the earth. WOW! Who could that be? Yeshua‘ of course. Yeshua‘ claimed to be the truth, but now we know what the meaning of truth is. It is the laws and commandments of YHVH. His teaching and instructions that set us free, that have now been manifested in the flesh.
Let's look at some verses in the New Testament with this definition.
Yochanan 17:17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
2Kefa (2Peter) 2:2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
Yochanan 14:6Yeshua‘ saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me." [i.e., The words of YHVH.]
Romans 1:25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Ephesians 6:14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; ...
3Yochanan 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Yochanan 18:37-38Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Yeshua‘ answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in Him no fault at all.
The Tanakh is packed full of words that foretell all about the Messiah. Israel was warned again and again as to who He would be. They were told that He would speak according to the law and the testimony (Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 8:20). That He would be a prophet like unto Mosheh. (Devariym (Deuteronomy) 15:15-19). They understood that to recognize the Messiah was to recognize His words. That He would speak according to the words of YHVH, and that His words would be truth. YHVH's words are truth and purified seven times (Mizemor 12:6). There is no error or fault in them. This is how you know it is YHVH. His words are pure and holy and without fault. Pilate testified to this when he proclaimed that he could find no fault in Yeshua‘.It is this Yeshua‘ that we need to proclaim to a lost world. Our children also need to know that the JESUS (Yeshua‘) that they claim as Master is all the words of YHVH come in the flesh. This is what the scriptures teach that we receive. We need to teach that what we are accepting is much more than just our Savior, and that His words, all His words are truth and His commandments are not burdensome, but will set us free. (1 Yochanan 5:3).
So, as you can see, there are many words that all point back to the same thing. The same thing is true of the New Testament's use of righteousness, wisdom, liberty, walking, knowledge, and being blessed. Next time, we will take some lengthy time out to define the word faith. This word has clearly become meaningless in our culture. How was it understood in the first century? Was this word already well defined in the Tanakh? This will be the most important concept that we will undertake. The defining of this word will set the foundation for all scriptural doctrine.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊