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The Nomina Sacra/Divine Placeholders

Because the Greek language had no way to convey the proper pronunciations for certain Hebrew names and terms, over-scored Greek symbols known as Nomina Sacra (which were used as a form of "[Divine] Placeholders") were written in place of YHWH, Yehoshuah, Mashiach/The Anointed One, and certain other Hebrew names, titles, and words. Prior to the 4th century, every single manuscript thus far discovered used the placeholders. Not one of them contained the Greek words "Iesous/Yehoshuah", "Kurios/Lord", "Theos/Ail", "Christos/The Anointed One", or "stauros/cross". Not one! Stephen Walch, a brother intimately familiar with the subject, suggests, "Hebrew not being the main language of the Greek and Roman World, using Hebrew letters would probably have served to confuse the Greek speaking populace. The placeholder' main purpose was to point the reader to the Tanakh so they could understand the importance of YHWH' Name." Let's say, for example, that I was reading the eyewitness account of Mattith-YaHu [Matthew] in Greek and came across the placeholder, . I could then look for that same placeholder in the Septuagint [the Greek translation of the Tanakh or Old Testament]. Once I found it, I could look up that passage in the Hebrew texts themselves and know which Hebrew name that placeholder was referring to. If I did not know how to read Hebrew, and I probably didn't if I wasn't a "Yehudah [Jew]", I could have found someone who knew how to read Hebrew and asked them to help me. In this case, I would find that the placeholder referred to the Name, Yehoshuah (or Joshua as it erroneously pronounced today). Thereafter, whenever I came across in an ancient text, I would have known to read it as the name, Yehoshuah or Yehoshuah. That was the soul purpose of the placeholders. Exquisitely simple, powerfully effective. The following is from Walch' document, Placeholders A Renewed Covenant Greek Text Phenomenon. An excerpt may be found here. There is one thing, and one thing only, which occurs in each and every Greek manuscript of the Renewed Covenant up until the 9th Century CE and that is the occurrence of what's referred to as placeholders, or designated by the title, Nomina Sacra. Nomina Sacra means Sacred Names. There is a lot of debate on what and why Nomina Sacra were used; most of them are discussed in Professor Larry W. Hurtado' book entitled The Earliest Christian Artifacts from page 95 through to page 134, so his discussion on them won't be repeated here. These Nomina Sacra are placeholders for certain Greek titles and names the four main ones being /Kurios=Sovereign/Lord/Master; /Iesous=Yehoshuah; /Theos=Ail; and /Chrestos=Mashiach/The Anointed One [there were] 4 extra ones used in numerous manuscripts (but not in all of them), namely /Pneuma= Spirit /Huios=Son; /Anthropos=Man; and /Stauros=Upright Stake. Due to the consistent reoccurrence of the 4 former ones mentioned, Scholar Schuyler Brown designated them the Nomina Divinia ("Divine Names").

A theory I hold regarding the Nomina Divinia/Sacra is that they were used in Greek manuscripts as placeholders for the previously mentioned names and titles. The authors of the Renewed Covenant and their Greek translators knew that with names and special titles, you are to transliterate them into other languages. But unfortunately for the Greeks, they had few letters in common with the names of YHWH and Yehoshuah. The Greeks lacked a Y, H, and a W, making YHWH's and Yehoshuah's Names completely impossible to transliterate into the Greek language (except for the vowels of course). But this would completely butcher the Name of Ailoheem and His human manifestation', so it was decided very early on that these Nomina Sacra would be used instead of an attempt at transliteration, and coming upon the placeholder, those who were reading them would pronounce YHWH's or Yehoshuah's Name accordingly. [Bolding my own, not Stephen'] The Greek words "Iesous" and "christos" were never actually written by the authors of the Messianic Writings. Placeholders were written so that the reader would be forced back to the Hebrew texts. The placeholders were removed and "Iesous" and "christos" were substituted centuries later by the Roman Catholic Church. Now, you have to ask yourself, "Why?" Once you figure out the answer to that, you will be on your way to intellectual and spiritual freedom. For example, depending on the case, the divine placeholders for "Mashiach" were Chi Rho (), Chi Rho Sigma (), Chi Sigma (), Chi Upsilon (), Chi Rho Upsilon (), Chi Omega (), Chi Rho Omega (), and Chi Nu (). There were divine placeholders as well for YHWH, Yehoshuah, Spirit, upright stake or crucified, Man or Men, Son, and Ail/Ailoah/Ailoheem. Now, since the existence of the Divine Placeholders is indisputable and their purpose has been known to translators for a very long time, why do you suppose that we do not find the actual Hebrew Names and terms which they represent in any of our modern translations of Scripture? The sounds of each of these Hebrew words can be easily replicated in English, so why don't we see them in our English "Bibles"? Why do we continue to find made-up names? Why are we given titles instead of the Names? Well, for starters, every modern translation, regardless of the publisher' boasts of it' having been "translated from the most ancient manuscripts", is better described as nothing more than just another customized rework of the Latin Vulgate, which was a translation of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Latin Vulgate "translation" was the work of Jerome, who was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church has no tolerance for YHWH's Name, or for His Torah, or for anything else which opposes their Pauline doctrine and Babylonian paganism, so Jerome used Greek words instead of the Divine Placeholders or correct transliterations. As with every religion, the leaders of Roman Catholicism have a singularly unrighteous agenda: their goal is to lord over the masses and to accumulate wealth and power along the way at all costs. So the Divine Placeholders were ignored and were replaced with the Lord, Christ, cross, Iesous, Jehovah, and all the other pagan or made-up religious terms which fill our English translations.

Below are three photos of ancient texts with some of the divine placeholders circled in red.

Above is the 2nd page of Papyrus 5, a Greek manuscript containing the text of YoKhawnawn [John] and dated between 180-220CE. The text shown is Yo-Khawnawn 1:33-41. Look at the second circled placeholder. The placeholder was used when the word "Theos" was in the Greek genitive case. Because I personally do not know Greek, I cannot tell you what the Greek genitive case is. I'm just passing along information shared with me by those who DO know what it is. A page describing the various cases in Greek may be found here for those of you who might be interested.

The photo above is of half a page of manuscript MS2648, containing the Greek text of the Book of Yehoshuah [Joshua], dated to the late 2nd Century CE. The verses here are Yehoshuah 10:2-11:3.

This is an image of Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest known Scripture codex to contain most of the Christian "Bible" in its 66-72 Book form, dated to be between 350-400CE. The text seen here is from Revelation 4:6-10; 5:5-8.