Archive for category Ancient Hebrew

A Little Time at the Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel

I have spent the last few weeks in Genesis 11 reading about what might have been one of the greatest construction projects in world history. Out of the blue one day I was overwhelmed with the need to go back (or forward – since most of my time is spent in Genesis 1) to the account of Babel.

I wasn’t really sure what I would find or even whether there was anything new to be found in this familiar account. As always, there is some pretty great stuff there, there is some pretty challenging stuff, and then there is just some stuff that needs to be worked out theologically. So, who knows where this is going.

Also, this will have to be a series because I have absolutely no idea when or how it will all play out, and it probably won’t be continuous – for those that know me, you know that Part XII may appear some time next year. For now, this first post is just a quick look at the ancient Hebrew pictographs that make up the word “Babel.”

In Hebrew, Babel is spelled BET, BET, LAMED. The Hebrew letter BET is the equivalent of our letter B, and it is pictured in the ancient Hebrew pictographs as a house or a tent. The letter BET also symbolically represents a house or lineage, as in “the house of David.” The letter LAMED is the equivalent of our letter L, and is pictured as a shepherd’s staff or ox goad. LAMED symbolically means to shepherd, lead, teach and/or prod.

What does that give us? Something quite remarkable really. The story of the Tower of Babel is of a unified, homogeneous group, perhaps an extremely large family, the descendants of Noah, sharing one language and coming together for one purpose: to make a name for themselves by building a great city with a tower that reached to the heavens. God puts a halt to this by confusing their language and scattering the people, presumably into different tribes or people groups with different languages (one “house” being transformed into multiple “houses”). So, the picture painted by Babel is of God, the great shepherd, taking His staff and scattering His flock into different families or houses over the earth.

Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. Gen. 11:9.

Babel in the Ancient Hebrew

Babel in the Ancient Hebrew

More of the theological stuff later, but, for now, yet one more example of the divine nature of the language of God.

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When Evil is Beautiful

Adam, Eve and the Serpent Adam, Eve and the Serpent

I chose the title “Beauty of the Bible” for this blog because I believe there is beauty in God’s Word beyond the mere words on the page (as beautiful as those are). I realize that even non-believers recognize the Bible’s poetry, prose, symbolism and literary value as being among the most beautiful in all of literature. I would suggest that we have barely scratched the surface.

I have written before that I believe every word, letter, or jot in scripture is divinely inspired and divinely placed. To evidence this, I have shown examples of individual Hebrew words and names that, when broken down into the individual ancient Hebrew pictographs, themselves are related scriptural references (see Isaac & Ishmael, Noah, Moses, and God/Elohim). If this phenomenon occured only occasionally, it would be remarkable, but for this to occur as frequently as it does in the Bible’s first book is nothing short of divine.

I’m convinced this complexity and elegance extends throughout the Torah and probably the entire Old Testament. In other words, I think the examples of storylines being retold and/or elaborated upon in the tales told by the Hebrew pictographs are endless. It took me several months to work through Genesis 1:1, so my ambition to work through the book of Genesis was perhaps a bit naive.

Nevertheless, while I realize that systematically working through every verse of Genesis would take me several lifetimes, I love doing this enough that I can’t imagine it ever getting tiresome. That said, any plans to continue with Genesis 1:2 are on hold because I want to apply this same method to other topics that interest me or that others might request.

I have answered requests before from friends and family, but I have only published one of those even though it was one of my own personal favorites (see God’s Blessing). I think the challenge of researching and answering these and the excitement generated by the results is too much to pass up. This is not to say that I will be doing this exclusively, by any means, but I will write about them more.

Several months ago I was asked to look at Genesis 3:15, the results were pretty cool. I actually arrived at this backward. Because of how individual words frequently open up and reveal the broader context in which they are contained, I chose to begin reviewing Genesis 3:15 by studying the context. So, I began by studying the word “serpent” (plus I thought it would be pretty interesting). Well, I was either really lucky, or God was very gracious in not having me spend several months in Genesis 3:15. Either way, “serpent” was the scriptural reference for Genesis 3:15.

Okay, here goes. In Hebrew, “serpent” is the Hebrew word nachash, and is spelled with the Hebrew letters NUN (the equivalent of our letter N) which is pictured as the “seed of life” or a fish and means seed of life or life. CHET (J or Ch) which is pictured as a wall or fence and which means to cut off or to exclude, separating those inside from those outside. And SHIN (Sh) which is pictured as two teeth, meaning to destroy or consume.

Genesis 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. (NASB/HCSB combo).

The letter NUN is the seed, CHET is the wall or fence separating the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (the enmity between), and SHIN (two teeth) is the serpent biting at the heel with his two fangs. It is really a pretty cool picture of “you will strike his heel,” but the result is the ultimate destruction of the serpent. Here’s the visual:

Serpent in the Ancient Hebrew

Serpent in the Ancient Hebrew

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What’s in a Name? On Ishmael and Isaac

Most believe that the alphabet as we know it is a human invention. I do not. I have come to the sincere belief that every single word (or jot) in the Bible is divinely placed and meaningful. Additionally, I believe that the language in which the Old Testament was originally written is also divinely created and given by God (see God Speaks: The Origin of the Alphabet).

I think some of the best evidence for this belief can be found in Biblical names. I have previously shown the vivid pictures painted in the names Noah and Moses by the ancient Hebrew pictographs. I believe equally vivid stories can be told for most, if not all, names in scripture.

Among the reasons I believe that the ancient Hebrew alphabet was created and given to man by God is the superhuman mix of simplicity and complexity. The simplicity of an alphabet based on child-like pictures (an ox head to mean a strong leader or God) is in stark contrast to the complexity of a name prophetically depicting verses in scripture written some 500 years later (see Elohim as Psalm 23). I can imagine an extremely gifted human developing a language with symbolic alphabetic characters, perhaps even where the symbols can be arranged to form words, possibly even tell stories. But, when someone does this in a manner that also prophecies something 500 years in advance, then I might reconsider my position.

I believe there are countless examples of words and names depicting scriptures, a divine double entendre, but without the ambiguity. In this post, I want to focus on just two of these examples: Ishmael and Isaac.

I believe this is actually possible with any name in the Bible, I have studied Adam, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Moses and others, and never have I been disappointed. I might write on others later, but the account of Ishmael and Isaac has always fascinated me because of its reflection of God’s grace vs our works.

You all know the story, Sarah becomes impatient with her inability to produce a child and persuades Abraham to impregnate Hagar. I’m sure we can all sympathize with Sarah’s impatience. I know I’ve tried to help God along on more than one occasion. But, the promise is fulfilled not through our works, but through God’s grace. So what of the works? They amount to nothing, usually cause problems, and are cut off like Ishmael.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” Gen. 22:2.

By this time Abraham had both sons, Isaac and Ishmael. But, what does God say, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac…” This is a harsh, but true reality. As far as God was concerned, Abraham had only one son, the son of promise. Now, God made provision for Ishmael, and promised Abraham that he would become a great nation too, but there were consequences. Here is how the Angel of the Lord explained it:

The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Gen. 16:11-13.

First, more than a prophetic statement, this is now an historical fact. Second, this prophetic look into the future of Ishmael was decreed from the naming of Ishmael (You shall name him Ishmael). In Hebrew, Ishmael is spelled YOD, SHIN, MEM, AYIN, ALEPH and LAMED. In the ancient Hebrew pictographs, the YOD is pictured as a hand from the fist to the elbow meaning my, my hand, or my works. SHIN is pictured as two teeth meaning to destroy or consume. MEM is pictured as waves of water meaning waters, nations or peoples. AYIN is pictured as an eye meaning to see, or to see as God sees. ALEPH is an ox head meaning strong, leader or God. LAMED is pictured as a shepherd’s staff meaning to lead.

Recall from earlier posts that the combination of ALEPH and LAMED form the Hebrew name El or God. The name Ishmael means God hears me or my God hears because the YOD or “ee” sound is the letter or sound for my/me and “shama” (produced by SHIN, MEM and AYIN) is the Hebrew word for hear. So, Ishmael (or ee shama el) is my God hears or God hears me. But, when you look at the Hebrew pictographs what you see is Genesis 16:11-13, “his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers…” and “You are the God who sees me…”

Here it is in the ancient Hebrew pictographs:

Ishmael in ancient Hebrew

Ishmael in ancient Hebrew

As much as Ishmael is a vivid picture of future strife, Isaac (meaning laughter) vividly depicts the replacement of Ishmael and the sacrifice God asks Abraham to make with Isaac. The Bible says Ishmael was a hunter or bowman, a man of the bow. Ishmael is a man of the bow because the bow is a symbol of covenant (see my discussion of the bow as covenant), and, while God’s covenant with Abraham was to be through Isaac, we are reminded that God also promised to make Ishmael a great nation.

Nevertheless, the Abrahamic covenant was through Isaac, and Ishmael was completely cut off from it. We can see this is the name Isaac. In Hebrew, Isaac is spelled YOD, TSADE, CHET and QUPH. Again, the YOD is pictured as a hand, meaning my or my efforts. TSADE is pictured as a man lying on his side or a fish hook meaning to hunt or fish. CHET is pictured as a wall or fence meaning to cut off. QUPH is pictured as a horizon meaning some sort of time element. So Isaac is a depiction of the relationship between Abraham and Ishmael: MY HUNTER (Ishmael the hunter or bowman) will be CUT OFF for all TIME, or the product of MY EFFORTS, the HUNTER is CUT OFF for all TIME.

Isaac in ancient Hebrew

Isaac in ancient Hebrew

Moveover, in the ultimate test of one’s faith, God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It is quite an amazing test, one I’m not sure many would pass. But, Abraham does, and it is recorded in this way:

Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Gen 22:9-12

You can almost picture Abraham taking his son by the hand and then in his arms and laying him down to cut him with the knife, but the angel intervenes in the nick of time. What is truly remarkable is that this picture was painted before Isaac’s birth, when the Lord told Abraham, “your wife Sarah will bear you a son and You will call him Isaac…” Gen. 17:19. Actually, now that I think about it, all of these word pictures were painted before time began. They were only revealed later. Quite astounding!

Here is Isaac:

Isaac in ancient Hebrew

Isaac in ancient Hebrew

…lest anyone doubt the significance of a name!

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The Salvation of “the earth”

When I first began writing this blog, I began by showing Genesis 1:1 in the ancient Hebrew pictographs and the beauty revealed therein. I showed that Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross was revealed from “In the beginning…” The last such entry was about “the heavens” and the various revelations made about Noah, Moses, etc. There is much more in “the heavens,” but I will develop that more later.

For those who began reading since then, and for a quick recap here is a brief summary of what we have seen in Genesis 1:1 to this point (and the links to those earlier posts):

Now, “and the earth.” I realize it has taken several months to conclude what I began several months ago, but that is, in part, because I wasn’t satisfied that I had finished “the heavens” or “the earth.” Well, there is plenty more in “the heavens,” and I know there is more in “the earth,” but I doubt I will ever be able to exhaust either. That is no reason to prolong sharing what I know is there, so here it is.

Believe it or not, the “and” is quite significant on its own and probably deserves its own post, but for sake of time, I will combine the two. The Hebrew word v’at translated “and” is comprised of the Hebrew letters VAV, ALEPH, and TAV. If you will recall from earlier posts, the ancient Hebrew alphabet was made up of pictographs that represented a letter of the alphabet, a number, and had a symbolic meaning.

The letter VAV was pictured as a tent peg, hook or a nail. Specifically, the VAV was the tent peg or hook that held the curtains of the tabernacle of Moses together. The symbolic meaning of the VAV was to bind together or hook, and represented the connection between heaven and earth. The ALEPH was pictured as the head of an ox and symbolized strength or God, as in the Lord is my strength. The TAV was pictured as two crossed sticks and symbolized a cross, mark or covenant.

Interestingly, the VAV in v’at (and) is the first VAV in the Bible and connects “the heavens” and “the earth” as is symbolized by VAV. As I have written before, I believe “the heavens” symbolically represent God’s Old Testament Covenants. I also believe “the earth” symbolically represents God’s New Covenant in Christ Jesus. The “and” reveals this relationship. The NAIL or VAV is GOD’S COVENANT.

v'at  /  and

The “and” also is a reassurance that GOD is BOUND by His COVENANTS. Without this reassurance, what is revealed in “the earth” would be meaningless. “The earth” is comprised of the Hebrew letters HEY, ALEPH, RESH and TSADE. The letter HEY was pictured as a man with outstretched arms and means to behold. The letter HEY is also representative of God’s gift or grace. The ALEPH, as I mentioned before, was pictured as an ox head and represented strength or God. The letter RESH is pictured as the head of a man and means the first or highest man, or first born. The TSADE is pictured as a man lying on his side or bent at the knees, or pictured as a fish hook. The symbolic meaning of the letter TSADE was to hunt or fish.

Therefore, GOD’S COVENANT by which He is BOUND is the GRACE or GIFT of GOD which is His FIRST BORN. The conclusion, or TSADE, is even more remarkable. It is our great commission, to GO FISHING/HUNTING. This was and is God’s promise to the world, “Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks…” Jeremiah 16:16. Moreover, Jesus first chose fishermen to be His disciples, and He told them He would make them fishers of men.

Let’s go a little deeper. There are five Hebrew letters which have a sofit form which is used when one of these five letters concludes a word, such as the TSADE in “the earth.” The traditional form of the TSADE is a man on bent knees or laying down, representing humility, as in to kneel before or to lay down one’s life. The sofit form is the righteous man upright with hands held high (the Hebrew word tzadik means righteous person). If this is not a picture of Christ Jesus, I don’t know what is. The humble servant laying down his life and rising again. So, “the earth” is the GRACE of GOD in JESUS (HIS SON) who died and rose again, now go FISHING.

As rich and full as some literature is, the beauty of the Bible is beyond human capability and comprehension. Genesis 1:1 alone is fuller and richer in symbolism and meaning that any written work of man…and this is without touching on the numbers and gematria, which I will leave to others far more qualified than I. I used to think that you could devote a lifetime to studying the Bible and never get it all, and I still believe that, but I now think you could spend a lifetime studying Genesis 1:1 and still not get it all.

But it’s going to be fun trying.

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The Ministry of Death

Imagine the uproar if an unbeliever were to call a pastor preaching about the 10 Commandments a “Minister of Death”. The battle lines would be drawn, would they not? Ah, but would the unbeliever be right?

…ugh! Yes, I was as horrified to write it as you were to read it. I cannot even imagine a Christian thinking such a thing…except one. In 2 Corinthians 3:7 the Apostle Paul writes: “7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory… 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?”

I have read this before, probably more than once, but this latest time I was stopped dead in my tracks. I could not leave it. I read, and reread, and reread. I read commentaries on this passage, read different translations, I tried breaking down the Greek, I even resorted to reading blogs about it, imagine that (just kidding), and still, nothing. I felt completely unsatisfied.

I have been very blessed in my life to have been exposed to amazing teachers and lecturers. I have also been fortunate to have heard extraordinary preachers and teachers of the gospel. And yet, I have never once heard a sermon or teaching on the “ministry of death”. So, I turned to the greatest teacher of all, the author Himself. Not Paul, although that would have been really cool, but here is what I believe the Holy Spirit had to say on the matter. For now.

“What is death?” It’s funny how the Holy Spirit answers a question with a question. Where better to find the answer than the first place death is mentioned in the Bible. Genesis 16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'”

Interesting: you die only after the knowledge of good and evil. Please note, God did not say you die after you commit evil, rather when you first know about good and evil. The Hebrew word translated “evil” is rah, spelled in Hebrew RESH AYIN. The ancient Hebrew pictograph for the letter RESH is a man’s head and its symbolic meaning was the first or highest person. For AYIN it is an eye meaning to see, and not simply to see but to see with divine sight, to see how God sees. Thus, to know evil is for the FIRST MAN (or Adam) to SEE as God sees.

Why would the knowledge of good cause death? For that matter, why would the knowledge of evil cause death? Simple: none of us are perfect, yet we are.

And this paradox hurts our brain so much that it just kills us. No, not really. You see, none of us are righteous, and no amount of attitude adjustment, behavioral modification, or religious rule following will ever make us so. Yet, at the exact same time, we in Christ are wholly and completely justified before God. Spotless. Washed whiter than snow. Otherwise, Jesus’ sacrifice was insufficient.

The intent was never for man to be perfect, contrary to popular opinion. How could we? We are not God. Man’s ability to be in the presence of God, walk with God and fellowship with God was always a matter of divine gift. It is the knowledge that we are unable to do this on our own that causes us such grief. Therefore, God, in his mercy, asked man to not partake of the knowledge of good and evil, so that we would never realize our unworthiness.

Once man did obtain this knowledge, the process of teaching man this lesson began. Now, through Jesus’ sacrificial life and death, we are worthy again. Jesus was perfect, and as “He is, so also are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17. We can walk with God, fellowship with God and even be in the presence of God, and once again it is as a matter of divine gift: God’s gift of grace.

So, the ministry of death is aptly named, it is God’s 4000 year long lesson about overcoming death, or the knowledge of good and evil.

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God’s Signature

Most men I know have spent way too much time developing their signature. And why not(?), it is their public “mark” for life. But it’s not our fault, ladies, really. We are made in the image of God, and I think this is something we have inherited from our Father. Even having signatures that are difficult to make out is, I think, something given to us by God…why else? Let me explain.

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega”? I think we have some idea that this is just another way of saying, “I am the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” And that is correct, certainly, but He is really saying so much more. Jesus is saying, “I am the signature of God.”

As you are aware, most of the New Testament was originally written in the ancient Greek. However, Jesus spoke Aramaic. So, while John writes in Revelation, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” what Jesus would have said was, “I am the ALEPH and the TAV.”

Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, Omega is the last. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the Aleph, the last is the Tav. But the essence of what Jesus meant is lost in translation.

This phrase, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” first appears in Revelation 1:8 and last appears in Revelation 22:13. However, the depiction of Jesus as the Aleph and the Tav is first made in Genesis 1:1. When Jesus says to John before the grand revelation, “I am the Aleph and the Tav,” He is, in fact, referencing the first sentence of the Bible, and, in the process, clarifying a mystery that has existed since the Torah was first written.

The first sentence of the Bible is most frequently translated, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The original Hebrew reads as follows (remember, Hebrew reads right to left):

Right in the middle is an untranslated word. In fact, it is untranslatable because it is not a word at all. It is simply the ALEPH and the TAV. Why? It seems very strange. This is a mystery to rabbis and mystics as well.

Actually, it is to this ALEPH and TAV that Jesus was referring. Just as the book of Revelation begins and ends with Jesus saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” so too does the Bible.

The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters or characters. This is reflected in the 22 chapters of Revelation. “I am the Aleph and the Tav” is a clue to this parallel. That there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet necessarily means that 22 letters are sufficient for what God needs to say, otherwise there would be more.

When John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1. Jesus as “the Word” is really Jesus as every word: the ALEPH and the TAV and everything in between (the whole Bible).

In Hebrew, the first sentence in the Bible is comprised of seven words. Within those seven words, the ancient Hebrew pictographs tell the story of the entire Bible. The seven words needed to depict the entire Bible parallel the seven days needed for creation. I have shown this in part in prior posts: In the beginning, God (The Lord is My Shelpherd), created (On Creation), and “the heavens” (Oh, My Heavens! Part 1 and Part 2). I will develop “the heavens” further in later posts, as well as “the earth” to show the entire picture of Genesis 1:1.

The first three words are all about Jesus (1) as Messiah, (2) as creator, and (3) as the shepherd. The last three words contain all of God’s covenants, old and new. However, right in the middle is this untranslatable Aleph-Tav. Actually, this is the most important part.

The ancient Hebrew pictograph for the letter Aleph is an ox head, meaning strength or God, as in “the Lord is my strength”. The pictograph for the letter Tav is two crossed sticks, meaning a mark or covenant. Therefore, when Jesus says, “I am the Aleph and the Tav,” what He is saying is that He is the MARK of GOD, or God’s signature. When God has Moses write the Aleph and the Tav into Genesis 1:1, what God is saying is, “You see, this Jesus, He is the Messiah who is going to die on the cross for your salvation, He is the creator who was in the beginning, He is the shepherd prophesied about in the Old Testament. He is My Word, He is My Covenant, He is My Signature.”

In contract law, it is the signature of the person to be bound that is required. We have God’s contract, and it is signed, sealed and delivered. What more could we ask for.

The Rest of Genesis 1:1:

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On Doubt: Another True Thomas Moment

Thank you all so much for the response to my last post, the emails and feedback were very reassuring. To get where I want to go today, I need to give a little background information. For those of you who do not know, I was oppressed by a spirit of doubt for several years until the Lord very graciously (1) revealed the nature of my affliction, and (2) performed a miracle of deliverance on me beyond what I could possibly express here.

To be perfectly honest, I was somewhat apprehensive about putting this out there, creating a permanent record in the public sphere because of the potential skepticism, religious implications, and possibly even financial and political implications. But, it is what it is, and I hope this disclosure gives additional insight into who I am and context to this blog.

Since that time, God has opened up a whole host of truths to me which I would have had a very difficult time accepting, or rejected outright. One, revelation about Genesis 1:1, has been the subject of several posts, and which I will develop more in later posts. As I said, your comments and emails following the last post were a tremendous blessing to me. Thank you so much. But what I want to share is what, I believe, was the Lord’s blessing.

First, the scripture to make it official. John 20:25 “…But he [Thomas] said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails…I will not believe.’ … 27 Then He [Jesus] said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands…and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

It may seem obvious that my Thomas moment would have come when the Lord removed the veil of doubt from me, but that was just my first Thomas moment. Last weekend I came across a teaching by Joseph Prince that I had Tivoed and watched several months ago about the name Yahweh and the meaning of the Hebrew letters that spell Yahweh (YHWH). In short, he showed how in Hebrew the first letter of the four words making up inscription (or accusation) above the cross on which Jesus hung would have spelled YHWH. In Hebrew it would have read, “Yeshua (Jesus) HaNazarei (the Nazarene/of Nazareth) Vemelek (the King) HaYehudim (of the Jews).” Forgive my transliteration.

For those of you familiar with this blog, you will recall that the YOD or “Y” is pictured in the ancient Hebrew as the hand or arm and the VAV or “V or W” is pictured as a nail or tent peg. The HEY or “H” has a symbolic meaning of God’s grace. Joseph Prince’s teaching, then, concluded that God’s grace came by the nail in the hand.

I must say, I could not agree more. Also, this was in the context of a broader teaching, so I do not at all question this picture not really being developed further. I spent a fair amount of time meditating on that, researching the ancient Hebrew and praying for revelation. I knew there was something more I was missing, yet I simply could not find it.

Nevertheless, I was and have been, for several months now, stirred that I was missing something specifically for me, but I was stuck. Recall that there were several instances in the New Testament where either Jesus or Paul would say essentially, “there is so much more I want to show you, but if you can’t even get this, how can I?” Well, I had that very sensation only in reverse. I felt like God was having one of those moments with me, until this week.

It was another true Thomas moment that struck me while crossing the street of all things. Here it is: YHWY, YOD (Y) the hand, meaning my hand or works, HEY (H) a man with outstretched arms, meaning God’s grace, VAV (V or W) the nail, and HEY (H) same man with outstretched arms, meaning grace. There it was, so obvious. A man standing with outstretched arms, they seemed to be held out right in front of me, showing me the HAND and the NAIL or nail hole, and saying, “‘Reach here with your finger and see MY HANDS…and do not be unbelieving, but be believing,’ this is My gift of GRACE.”

Here is the visual (remember, Hebrew is read right to left):

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