Sunday, 25 December 2011

The First Oral Translation of the Gospel

The Evangelist Luke recounts how the Gospel was orally translated for the first time in Jerusalem.

From the Old to the New Testament
Saint Luke the Evangelist is the author of the book of Acts of the Apostles, his second biblical book. He wrote it in the first century after having completed the version of the Gospel that bears his name (the Gospel according to Saint Luke). In his book of Acts, Luke gives apostolic testimony that is not to be found in any other book of the New Testament. He reveals how the old Temple gave way to the new Temple, how the Old Testament passed into the New Testament, how the Jewish Synagogue became the Christian Church.

Pentecost and the Old Temple in Jerusalem (Old Testament)
Pentecost is the Greek name for a Jewish biblical feast known in the Old Testament as the presentation of the first fruits. The Law of Moses prescribes that every year this feast must be celebrated forty-nine days after the offering of the sheaf of the first grain. Moses also commanded that the Israelites, in order to celebrate this holy feast, must gather at the place where the Altar of God stands.

Around the year 1000 BC King David brought the Altar of God to Mount Zion in Jerusalem, Mount Zion being located in the high part of the city, and the priests serving at the Altar of God took up residence in Jerusalem. David’s son Solomon, who succeeded him as King of Israel, later built a Temple to serve as a house for the Altar. This first Temple was destroyed in the year 587 BC prior to the Babylonian Exile, and the Altar disappeared.

When the Jews returned to Jerusalem after forty-nine years of exile in the region of Babylon, they built a second Altar in the place where the first one had stood, and after a further twenty-one years they proceeded to build the second Temple to accommodate the Altar. In the first century AD the second Temple was extensively renovated and embellished at great public expense.

Pentecost and the Foundation of the Church in Jerusalem (New Testament)
According to Luke, on the day of Pentecost the eleven faithful disciples and a number of Christ’s other adherents were gathered within one room in a house in Jerusalem. This was forty-nine days after Jesus had returned at Easter. On that day of Pentecost the Spirit from Heaven descended upon all the faithful who were present in the room. On receiving the Spirit the disciples and all those with them began to talk under divine inspiration, speaking in many languages. At that very moment they became Apostles.

Many Jews had gathered in Jerusalem from all over the Diaspora, swelling the number of the city’s inhabitants. They had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the presentation of the first fruits. They were walking the streets speaking in the languages of the regions from where they had come, while others spoke in Judaean Aramaic. Those passing near the house on which the Spirit had descended perceived voices from within, and each heard the words in their own language.

The people gathered to listen, for those inside the house talking in many tongues were speaking as though reading from the Scriptures, and they were speaking of the Messiah, who is Christ. This was unusual, as the house was not a synagogue, and when reciting from the Scriptures, a priest or rabbi would speak in one language, where-as those in the house were talking in different tongues.

The Place Where the Altar of God Stands
The location of the house to which the Spirit came is not known, but it is certain that it stood in Jerusalem and that it was not the Temple that had been built after the return from the Babylonian Exile. Luke’s testimony in the book of Acts indicates that a new Temple with a new Altar had been founded in Jerusalem among the disciples and adherents of Jesus to whom the Spirit had come, and that the Spirit spoke openly by way of these Apostles to the many Jews gathered in the streets.

The house where this came about was the first church building, and those gathered within it formed the first assembly of Christ’s Church that had been founded there. It was the place where the Altar of God was established. On that day of Pentecost, therefore, the Altar was not in the magnificent stone Temple where most Jews thought it was.

Concluding upon Luke’s description of the events, the apostolic priests of the new Altar were in the house to which the Spirit had descended, and under divine inspiration they spoke the Word of God in numerous tongues. Within course of time this oral Gospel was to become the written Gospel, and so the Word of God is to be found in the written New Testament.

In the first chapter of his version of the Gospel, John the Evangelist states that Jesus is the Logos, the Word of God. According to Saint Luke’s book of Acts, the Logos spoke the Word in many languages on the day in which the Church was founded in Jerusalem.

The Logos, the Son of God, preached the first oral translation of the Gospel in the house where his faithful apostolic assembly had gathered, speaking in many tongues through the first fruits gathered unto the Presence of the Holy Father in Jerusalem.

  • Book of Acts of the Apostles
  • Gospel according to Saint John
Written by D. Alexander

Read also: the first written translation of the Gospel:

The origins of the English Church: how a royal marriage brought about the foundation of the  English Church in Kent.

Saint Peter's primacy comes from Zion the High City, not from Rome:

The great controversy between the Church of Saint Peter and the popes:

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