Alpha Beta

An alphabet is a set of written characters that are used to compose words in written form. Humanity has invented many alphabets since the beginning, but as far as Bible History is concerned, the Old Testament (see Old Testament Fact File, The Older Testament and Which Bible Did Jesus Use?) was written mostly in Hebrew (i.e. from the ancient Hebrew People), while the New Testament (see New Testament Fact File) was written mostly in Greek which was still very much the lingua franca, the common language, of the Mediterranean region at the time, despite the Greeks (see Ancient Empires - Greece) having been surpassed by the Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome), exactly as prophesied long before (see Daniel's Statue), as the leading nation of the "world." The English word alphabet is derived from the first two letters of the Greek "alphabet," alpha and beta.

The Hebrew Alphabet

Hebrew is a member of the ancient West-Semitic family of languages, which includes Aramaic (see Fact Finder question below), Syriac, Moabite, Phoenician and others.

The Greek Alphabet

Greek is a member of the Indo-European group of languages. Greek was one of the foremost languages of ancient times, and was in many ways the "English" of its day i.e. people from many nations and languages used Greek as a common language to communicate. It was still so prominent at the time of the first coming of the Messiah that it was used to write the New Testament. Jesus Christ, in using the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet (alpha and omega) as an analogy, referred to Himself as "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." (Revelation 22:13 RSV)

Fact Finder: Along with Hebrew and Greek, what other language (and alphabet) was Jesus Christ fluent?
See Aramaic

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This Day In History, August 26

55 BC: Roman forces under Julius Caesar invaded Britain.

1278: Rudolf I (Hapsburg) defeated Ottocar II, king of Bohemia, at the Battle of Marchfeld Plain, north of Vienna. The victory was a turning point in the history of Central Europe in that it established the Hapsburgs as rulers in the region, from 1278 to 1918, 640 years.

1346: An outnumbered English army of 10,000 under Edward III defeated Philip VI's superior French forces in the battle of Crecy. It was the first battle at which the English used only infantry and longbowmen.

1498: In Rome, Italian artist Michelangelo, 23, was commissioned by Pope Alexander VI to carve the "Pieta" - Mary lamenting over the dead body of Jesus, Whom she holds across her lap. The work was completed in 1501.

1541: Suleiman I of Turkey captured Buda and annexed Hungary after his dispute with Archduke Ferdinand over claims to the kingdom.

1883: An extremely powerful eruption of a volcano on the island of Krakatoa in the Sundra Strait between Java and Sumatra began. The two-day eruption and associated tidal waves killed some 36,000 people and destroyed two-thirds of the island.

1901: The New Testament of the ASV (American Standard Version) Bible was first published. That U.S. edition of the 1881 English Revised Version (ERV) comprised the first major American Bible translation. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1952, which is used as this Daily Bible Study's primary reference Bible, is an update of the American Standard Version of 1901.

1920: The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the vote.

1936: The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty established Egypt as a sovereign state after 50 years of British administration.

1978: Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice was elected as Pope John Paul I. He served only 33 days before dying of an apparent heart attack on September 28.


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