Messianic Times Review

A Prayer To Our Father
Nehemia Gordon & Keith Johnson
© 2009 Hilkiah Press
175 pages

Review by Gabriel Patton

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever.] Amen.

There are a thousand variations in hundreds of languages of the Lord’s Prayer. It is perhaps the most commonly spoken prayer in almost every Judeo- Christian sect on earth. It is the only one ever written by Yeshua Himself, a gift to His people, every syllable full of solemn gratitude and hope. If this last statement is true, how can there be so many different interpretations? Which version is the true original, uttered by Yeshua and spread by His disciples? The most popularly recited prayer in Christianity and Catholicism, it is commonly accepted that these verses of Scripture (Matthew 6: 9–13, and Luke 11:2) are translated from the Greek. But God did not choose to reveal His Word to the world in Greek. He intentionally chose the Hebrew language as the conduit for his message. So what does it all mean?

This is the question that A Prayer To Our Father seeks to answer. More than just a simple exercise in translation and etymology, this book is a journey of discovery, and takes the reader from the United States to the Holy Land, from the locker rooms of the NFL to a secret underground vault guarded for a millennia by Jewish rabbis, a place so highly regarded that not even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was allowed to see what was inside. It is within this sacred chamber that the true wording and indeed the full meaning of the Lord’s Prayer is revealed.

The authors, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson, met over a discarded Torah Scroll, became fast friends, and spent years studying the Tanakh with a particular focus on the Gospel of Matthew, written in Hebrew. It is during this time together they embark on their spiritual journey. Nehemia is a Jewish Scholar raised in Chicago and living in Israel. Keith Johnson is a former chaplain for the Minnesota Vikings football team, and an African-American minister living in North Carolina. While they have very different philosophies, backgrounds and cultures, they find the common interest of knowing the full meaning of Yeshua’s message far outweighs any differences they have.

Most impressive is their intense focus on the exploration of the Hebrew origins of the Lord’s Prayer. Once they have resolved themselves to uncover its fullness, they do not stray for a moment. They allow the words from the text to be the mutual witness to each other, never once attempting to proselytize toward any particular denomination. A Prayer To Our Father takes what could have been a rather dry, academic subject and brings it to life with firsthand accounts of answers to prayer and confirmations of faith. This book demonstrates the Word of God can mean different things to many people, but its Divine origin makes its truths inexorable. MT

Printed with permission from The Messianic Times, September-October 2009, page 16.

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