By Diane M. Hoffmann, B.Th., M.Th., PhD/Th., Ord./IAOG-Canada
Another article provided by Timing Revelation and more...
There's a word in the Bible that has been misunderstood by many of today's preachers and teachers of the Word of God, for a long time, in modern days translation/understanding of the Bible
This word comes up often within the passage of scripture from which it originates... and every time I hear this interpretation I have this uncomfortable feeling in my heart, but so far have been dismissing it for whatever reason.
However I heard it again last week from an evangelist on a television program and this time felt a strong “burning in my bones“ to finally do a search of the scripture to confirm my intuition about it – or the voice of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus did send us who would teach us all things and bring all things to our remembrance... (John 14:26).
You have no doubt heard the word that I'm talking about from a number of Christians over the past recent years-- that word is the word “Daddy” as recently ascribed to God Almighty. It is actually more prevalent than I expected as I began to search the scripture for the truth.
I mentioned this to a friend who happened to drop by my place on the day that the Lord led me to do a proper exegesis (exe-ge-sus) on this subject matter.
For those who don't know, exegesis means a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture. "the task of biblical exe-ge-sis". Synonyms: interpretation, explanation, exposition, explication, elucidation, clarification, gloss, annotation.
As my friend and I got into talking about the Word of God, I shared with her about this assignment from God that I had received, expressing my concern over its misunderstanding by many Christians.
Her immediate response was to defend the use of this terminology as an intimate reference to God the Father, an endearment, a casual expression of intimacy with Father God. This being echoed by many Christians in this day and age. But interestingly enough, it is also surprisingly opposed by many in Christian forums that I visited.
Those who defend the term “Daddy” to address God our Father, usually refer to the scripture within which the word is found, as the source of this teaching; they actually say that the Bible teaches that... or even that Jesus taught it Himself.
The scripture used to come up with this teaching is Mark 14:36 where it says:
“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
But the word Abba does not mean 'Daddy' at all... and I will show you why in a moment.
That word is also found in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6.
Getting back to the defensive response of many Christians on this issue, they will insist that this is perfectly right and 'ok' to call God 'Daddy'. It's amazing how much people will believe and follow the many new teachings that come through some pulpits and articles, whether in person or via technology... it just gets picked up without discretion or discernment.
Just like the new teaching that born-again Christians “cannot” sin... no kidding, some people have fallen into that one too, and as I also researched this teaching I was amazed at the names of those teachers – but not surprised. I did a radio show on that issue which ended up in a four-part series because there were so many scriptures to back up its repudiation.
Charles Spurgeon said on discernment: “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” In a similar line in business there is a saying that goes: “if it's not quite right, it's wrong”, which, by the way, I try to live by as much as I can.
So, the main scripture that Christians use to back up their defence of the word 'Daddy' to address God the Father as we already saw is:
Mark 14:36 -- “ And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
Plus, there are also two more scriptures that use the word “Abba:, Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6,
Rom 8:15 -- “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Gal 4:6 -- “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
These three scriptures are the only ones that have the word “Abba” in them... and it does not mean 'Daddy' as I mentioned earlier.
From the Thayyer's Greek Lexicon: “Hebrew father, in the Chaldean emphatic state, a customary title of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the N. T. (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) it has the Greek interpretation subjoined to it; this is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee, through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek-speaking Jews added the appellative from their own tongue.”
The word 'Abba' is used only three times in the new testament, as opposed to the word 'father' over 1,000 times in both the Old and the New Testaments combined -- the Hebrew word 'ab' (#H1) in the Old Testament, meaning father of an individual, of God father of his people; and #G3962 Greek “pater” in the New Testament, meaning natural father, father of a nation, ancestor), etc.
This word 'Abba' is the Chaldean interpretation of the word Father. If you look at the scripture that everybody says is the source of the “teaching” of Jesus you will find that the translation of this New Testament scripture “Abba, Father” is actually, Father, Father-- both words are translated as Strong's #G5 “father”. (Of course it's not a teaching from Jesus, but that's what those who propagate this misunderstanding say about it).
Three reports, one event
Now at first, when this issue was brought to my attention, I never thought that it meant “Daddy”... I thought that the translators of the Greek to English had perhaps left the Chaldean word there as an emphasis to the people of the time who spoke Chaldean -- which was correct, but it goes even further then that.
This scripture of Mark 14:36 -- “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”, as you know is the event that took place when Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray with His disciples just before His arrest by the chief priests, scribes and elders.
But this event is also reported in two other gospels – in Matthew 26:42 and Luke 22:42...
Matthew 26:42-- “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father (#3962, pater), if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
and Luke 22:41-42 -- “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father (#3962, pater), if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
Now did you notice something? The word “Abba” is not there in these last two scriptures; Why not?
Let me point out that three gospel writers wrote about this event that took place in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed that famous prayer, but only one actually included the word “Abba” in his gospel report... and that's Mark.
Why might that be?
To get there we have to understand what is going on at this point in the Gospel history. First of all, as we've already seen, this word “Abba” is the Chaldean translation of the word “Father”. At the time of Christ's visit to this earth in the 1st century A.D., the basic languages were, Aramaic (or Chaldean), Greek and Latin.
The Septuagint is the earliest Greek translation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch translated around the mid-3rd century B.C. Some say this included other book of the Old Testament as well.
From the Wikipedia, "Language of Jesus" we read that Aramaic was the common language of Judea in the first century AD. The villages of Nazareth and Capernaum in Galilee, where Jesus spent most of his time, were Aramaic-speaking communities. Jesus likely spoke a Galilean variant of the language, distinguishable from that of Jerusalem. It is also likely that Jesus knew enough Koine Greek to converse with those not native to Judea, and it is reasonable to assume that Jesus was well versed in Hebrew for religious purposes.
Similarly, the Jews outside of Canaan would have used Greek, Aramaic Syriac (Chaldean) and Koine Greek. The High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem would use Aramaic Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic Syriac and Aramaic Hebrew (or Masoretic). And the Romans would use Greek and Latin.
It is said that prior to this, after the Babylonian Captivity of 605-536BC, the Jews used the Hebrew language less and less until the time of Alexander the Great in around 330 B.C. when almost none of the Jews spoke Hebrew anymore. That is amazing.
Why would Mark use the word “Abba”?
Now why would Mark use the word “Abba” and not the other gospel writers. Since the other two did not use the word “Abba”, then Mark added that word for a reason.
We know that the gospel of Matthew was written specifically to a Jewish audience. Mark on the other hand writes to a general population of Gentile thinking, and we notice also his use of Aramaic Chaldean words in several places, such as Mark 5:41 and 7:34 which indicates that he was reaching out to the common working language of the people. And Luke, the physician writes to Theophilus, a gentile of high standing.
So Mark added this word to reach the general population of Gentile who commonly spoke the Aramaic or Chaldean language -- ('abba' [Strong's #G5] which translates to 'father', and 'pater' [Strong's #G3962] which translates to 'father'). It was to emphasize the teaching of God as being 'Father' as opposed to the common Chaldean thought that God was some high and lofty judge above, as they had been made to know Him.
For example we read a story in John, chapter 8, verses 37-59 where Jesus' Jewish opponents were extremely angered that Jesus would put Himself on the level of God the Father. Here's that story -- listen to this conversation carefully:
Scriptures are from the King James Version.
v. 37. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
38. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
39. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Wow Jesus sure wasn't beating around the bush...
v.45. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
46. Which of you convinceth (convicts) me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
47. He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
50. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
51. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
52. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
You see they had a completely different idea of who the Father is-- to them it was all about ancestry to Abraham.. God to them was through Abraham....
v. 54. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
55. Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
Oh boy this is quite an intense conversation... have you ever been there trying to defend accusations against your belief in Jesus Christ and the Gospel, when they reject and oppose the truth that you know deep down in your bones, because you have the truth in you of knowing who God really is, through your personal born-again experience?
56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
And here's that famous scripture:
58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
And the last verse, 59 -- Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”
So here we see that Jesus's opponents were so angered they impulsively blurted out “God is our Father” as an incongruous admittance of the very thing they criticized Jesus for saying. They were provoked to admit that God was their Father, but this as they knew Him within the Abrahamic covenant. They were never aware of what that really meant.
For some, their father God was a creator, and for others like the Platonists of the time, God was merely a hidden deity who dwelt above the heavens and had no direct contact with material things.
So being keenly aware of this, Mark used again a common Chaldean expression to drive the point that God is a true Father to them. “Abba” being Chaldean and “Father” being Greek-- both being the same word in the original (Father, Father – Abba, Abba), but translated in the two main languages of the audience of the day.
Jesus did not say “Daddy”
It was not uttered by Jesus at all, neither was it meant to be “Daddy”. This term “Daddy” is just a recent secular translation of the Chaldean wording 'Abba' that sounds emotionally endearing. There is another confirmation of this when one looks up the word for father in the Hebrew language.
So as we can see this word “Abba” was not used by Jesus, yet in their misunderstanding many Christians actually say that Jesus “taught” the use of the word “Daddy” --because they misread it in Mark 14:36. It was never a teaching of our Lord nor of the Bible.
The word “Daddy” was not even in existence at the time of Christ. This word, came up within the 1500's a.d. The Webster's dictionary of the early 1900's describes “daddy” as, “A diminutive form of dad, a childish name for father. And “Dad” as, “Imitative of a child's attempt to say father. A familiar name for father.”
From 'theOdysseyOnline.com', we read: “Daddy” came into the English vocabulary in 1523, at the beginning of the modern English time period. The exact origin of the word “daddy” is unknown, though, but specifically, it is claimed that the origin of the word may have come from baby talk. The forms “dada” and “tata,” meaning “father,” originated from childish speech. And this timeline is also confirmed by other sources.
Christians call God their Father because that is what Jesus taught his disciples to do. God is the Creator but also the Redeemer. As we saw earlier through that intense conversation when Jesus was confronted by the religious opponents, Jesus had a unique and sure testimony of his relationship with God the Father that he was quite clear about and anxious to teach to the people he came to save from sin, as we read in John 14:9:
“He who has seen me has seen the Father,” he said. And in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one”. Jesus also made it clear that He and the Father were two persons, although within one God – particularly on the cross when He said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46) there is no doubt that he was not talking to himself.
Description of the word
And here's the other confirmation from scripture that “Abba” does not mean 'Daddy'. When one looks up the word 'father' in Hebrew, the word is “ab”. Father in Hebrew is "ab" -- in Aramaic it is "abba" and in the Assyrian language it is "abu" – all meaning 'father' in English...
From the Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon...it was common to all the Phoenecio-Shemetic languages. This is the description of the word of the various scriptures wherein these words, ab”, “abba” or “abu” are used:
1.father of an individual
2.of God as father of his people
3.head or founder of a household, group, family, or clan
(these are the different meanings according to the context of the passages)
4.ancestor (grandfather, forefathers — of person, of people)
5.originator or patron of a class, profession, or art (the father of such and such artistic period for example)
6.of producer, generator (fig.)
7.of benevolence and protection (fig.)
8.term of respect and honour
9.ruler or chief (spec.)
At the same time, it is also clear from the New Testament that Jesus had the authority of the Father to say and do the things recorded of him in the Gospels... what he did was the work of God the Father.
A good example of this occurs in Mark’s Gospel, when Jesus demonstrated to a skeptical audience that he had the power to forgive sins, a prerogative that belongs to God alone (Mark 2:6–12). His critics were therefore right to say that in calling himself the Son, Jesus was making himself equal to God, because Father and Son share the same nature.
(Gal. 4:6-7) "...Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Abba, Father!” (Father, Father, in the original Greek). So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
In practical terms, the relationship that the Son has given us with God the Father is analogous to his own. In the Son, we have become heirs of the Father’s kingdom, co-rulers with him and even judges of the angels (1 Cor. 6:1-3):
“1. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3. “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
Now does God expect us to be children or grown up and mature when we join Him in the ruling of the universe?... why would He want us to call Him 'Daddy', when we are slated to be rulers with Him? No He wants us to strive to be perfect from the get go of becoming born-again... we are a new creature, a peculiar people, mature, perfect, holy before God, a priesthood.
Paul said: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11).
I don't think that anyone who has read the awesome majesty of God the Father in the vision of Ezekiel, would or could see God as “daddy”. In that book, the word God is mentioned over one hundred times, mostly translated as “Elohim”, the plural name reflecting divine majesty and power, meaning supreme rulers and judges...
It is the same name used in Genesis as Creator of heaven and earth, the universe, including everything in them! And in many other passages of scripture in the Old Testament alone, to a total of over four thousand times including corresponding Hebrew and Aramaic derivatives.
Putting away childish things
When we come to God, we put away childish things. This high calling comes with a price. We are taught the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. Even as young converts, we immediately begin to grow spiritually, and just as Jesus glorified his Father while on earth, so we too are called to glorify him as the God of the Universe and Creator of all things.
I encourage you to read John 17:1–26 where Jesus prays to the Father (Greek word #G3962, “pater”) (pronounced 'pat-ayr), used several times as such throughout that passage.
In the new Testament, “father” (pater) in addition to the description we saw earlier of the Hebrew word for “father”, means the following:
-God is called the Father by Jesus Christ himself and by the apostles.
-God is called the Father of the stars, the heavenly luminaries, because he is their creator, upholder, ruler,
-of all rational and intelligent beings, whether angels or men, because he is their creator, preserver, guardian and protector,
-of spiritual beings and of all men,
-of Christians, as those who through Christ have been exalted to a specially close and intimate relationship with God, and who no longer dread him as a stern judge of sinners, but revere him as their reconciled and loving Father,
-of the Father of Jesus Christ, as one whom God has united to himself in the closest bond of love and intimacy, made acquainted with his purposes, appointed to explain and carry out among men the plan of salvation, and made to share also in his own divine nature.
A priesthood of mature believers
So why would we want to bring God and ourselves down to a “Daddy” relationship as in the physical world? And the point is not to argue that Daddy is a nice, fuzzy title to approach God with -- the point is that the word “Abba” did not, does not and will not ever mean “Daddy” -- this is a man-made mistaken move on the part of some irresponsible teaching.
As the Church who is different and unique among a world that does not know God as their father, we are to be different, a peculiar people as the Bible says – a priesthood -- and that is what the Bible teaches. The Word of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, teaches us to be a priesthood.
As such, should we be taught to call God “Daddy” as children do their physical fathers? God is looking for strong co-workers. It's all about what we are taught in Church, who we are in Christ Jesus. We are victorious, we are overcomers, like our Lord. We ought to be teaching this in the Church. But we don't, and therefore we are weak people, crying like babies, not understanding who we really are in Christ.
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