Archive for category Ancient Hebrew
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):
- In the beginning – The Son of God would be destroyed on a cross.
- God – Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd…
- created – Jesus as the creator.
- the heavens – Noah and the flood (Part 1).
- the heavens (cont.) – The story of Moses (Part 2).
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.
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.
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.
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:
- In the beginning
- God (The Lord is My Shepherd)
- Created (On Creation)
- The Heavens (Part 1 and Part 2)
- And the Earth
- God’s Signature
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):
In my earlier post, In the beginning, I described how Jesus and his redemptive work on the cross was depicted in the ancient Hebrew pictographs that make up the first word in the Bible, the Hebrew word barasheet (translated most frequently as “In the beginning”). This, of course, echoes Isaiah 46:10 “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come…”
In fact, this confirmation in scripture is found throughout the ancient Hebrew. It is almost as if each Hebrew word is itself a scriptural reference. I have attempted in my previous posts to show several of these.
For example, the first sentence in most English bibles is translated: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I have previously shown In the beginning, God (The Lord is My Shepherd), and I have given a little taste of “the heavens” (see Oh, My Heavens! Part 1 and Part 2.
Now let’s look at the word “created”. In the Hebrew sentence structure, “created” is actually the second word in the Bible. It would more literally be translated, “In the beginning created Elohim the heavens and the earth.” The word translated as “created” is the Hebrew word bara, from the same root as barasheet (“In the beginning”) and barak (“bless”, see God’s Blessing).
Before I get into the ancient Hebrew pictographs, I want to emphasize the way in which each word is a scriptural reference in itself. For “created”, let’s look at two scriptures:
John 1:1 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.; and
Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Okay, now the Hebrew pictographs. The Hebrew word bara is spelled BET (the equivalent of our letter “B”)(pictured as a house or a tent, and meaning house/lineage), RESH (R)(pictured as a man’s head, meaning the first or highest person), and ALEPH (A) (pictured as an ox head, meaning strength or God, as in “the Lord is my strength”). Recall from earlier posts that the Hebrew/Aramaic word bar (spelled BET RESH) is the word for “son”. So, bara (“created”, more literally “to create”) is actually depicted as the SON of GOD.
We take for granted that when we call someone on the phone, send an email, text or IM someone, or write a blog, they will understand what are trying to communicate (assuming we share a common language).
Obviously, this was not always the case. The other night, I was watching The Naked Archaeologist on television and he traced the origin of the alphabet out of Egypt, across the Sinai peninsula, up through modern day Israel and north and eastward (to the Greeks, then Romans, etc.). Essentially, he claimed the spread of the alphabet tracked the exodus of the Bible. The time frames, archeology, and ancient writings all seemed to match.
Now, this archaeological discovery did not claim that hieroglyphics or other ancient types of picture writing were traced to the same alphabet, only that the alphabet as we know it (symbolic pictures or letters that can be arranged to form words, not just a picture of a bird to show a bird, but the ability to spell B-I-R-D) seems to trace its origins to the time and location of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt.
While this is a really cool discovery, I cannot say that it came as a big surprise to me. I believe this truth is also revealed in the ancient Hebrew/Semitic alphabet. In fact, the Roman Alpha and Beta are derived from the ancient Hebrew ALEPH and BET, thus, the word “alphabet” is actually the Hebrew aleph-bet.
As I have discussed in earlier posts, the ancient Hebrew alphabet is made up of 22 letters or pictographs. The first letter of the alphabet is the ALEPH (similar to our letter “A”). The ALEPH is pictured as an ox head, and symbolically means strength or God, as in “the Lord is my strength”. The word ALEPH is spelled ALEPH (A)(ox head, God); LAMED (L)(pictured as a shepherd staff or ox goad, meaning to shepherd or lead); and PEY (Ph)(pictured as a mouth, meaning to speak).
The Hebrew word El (spelled ALEPH LAMED) is a common Hebrew word for God. Actually, many of the ancient Hebrew pictographs discovered by archaeologists are of the Hebrew word El (an ox head and shepherd staff). So, every time anyone says the name El, they are saying, “the Lord is my shepherd”. If you missed it, see the discussion of Elohim (the longer version of El, as prophetic of Psalm 23) in the post The Lord is My Shepherd.
So, for the origin of the alphabet, all you have to do is look to the first letter of the ancient Hebrew aleph-bet: the letter ALEPH, which is actually GOD (EL) SPEAKS. The creation of an alphabet occurred when God first spoke.
In Oh, My Heavens! Part 1, I tried to show how the story of Noah and the flood is revealed in the Hebrew word for “the heavens” in Gen. 1:1. Now, I will show how Moses and the parting of the Red Sea is also revealed in hashamayim (the Hebrew word for “the heavens”).
I will not go over all of the spelling and ancient Hebrew pictographs that make up “the heavens” again, if you want to review those please read Part 1. However, so that you see Moses clearly, I need to give a quick recap. Hashamayim is spelled HEY (H), SHIN (Sh), MEM (M), YOD (Y) and MEM (M).
Moses, in Hebrew, is Moshe. Moshe is spelled MEM (M), SHIN (Sh) and HEY (H). When Pharoh’s daughter finds Moses in the river, “[S]he named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’” Gen. 2:10. Hashamayim is also a visual representation of Moses being drawn out of the water. Here is the picture, notice the arm extending into the water and drawing Moses out.
While I believe the story of Moses is represented in hashamayim in other ways, the other most notable is Moses’ dramatic parting of the Red Sea. Quickly, let us look at Exodus 14:21-22, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
Though it might not have been necessary, I have made some alterations to the graphic representation for visual effect. Here is Moses stretching out his hand and the waters being divided.
The Rest of Genesis 1:1:
If we assume God is good (or, better yet, greater than we could ever imagine), then the heavens must be just glorious. Indeed, they are.
Most English translations of the Bible render the first sentence of Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew word for heaven is shamayim; the Hebrew word for “the heavens” in Genesis is hashamayim.
As with previous posts, I will explore the ancient Hebrew alphabet pictographs that make up the word “the heavens” and attempt to explain what might be contained therein.
I numbered this post “Part 1″ because it will be but one of several posts about “the heavens”. I wish I could say how many there will be, but I simply cannot. I know I will post on Noah and the flood, Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, and Abraham as they are all contained in “the heavens”, but I’m not sure exactly how far this will go. It could just be the entire story of the Old Testament. Just as God is infinite, so too may be “the heavens”.
“The heavens” is comprised of the Hebrew letters HEY (similar to our letter “H”, and represented in the ancient Hebrew pictographs as a man standing with open arms, and meaning grace or to behold). SHIN (Sh)(pictured as two teeth, and meaning to consume or destroy). MEM (M)(pictured as waves of water, and meaning waters or peoples or nations). YOD (Y)(pictured as the arm from the fist to the elbow, meaning my hand or works). MEM (M)(pictured as waves of water, and meaning waters or peoples or nations).
The word mayim (spelled in Hebrew MEM YOD MEM) is the Hebrew word for water. Therefore, we see in “the heavens” BEHOLD (HEY), DESTRUCTION (SHIN) by WATER (MEM YOD MEM). More specifically: BEHOLD, the WORKS (deeds) of your HAND will be CONSUMED/DESTROYED by WATER. I have provided a visual representation of hashamayim below. Please note, this post continues below the graphic, so keep reading about Noah and God’s covenant below.
Okay, so Noah…The name Noah in Hebrew is pretty cool, too. In Hebrew, the word for Noah is essentially the same with a little more throatiness involved, it is Noach. The Hebrew letters are NUN (N)(pictured as the seed of life or sometimes a fish, meaning seed or life). Just an aside, when you see the pictograph of NUN below, you have to wonder how in the world the ancients knew what a “seed” looked like so long ago (without a microscope), I did anyway. And CHET (Ch)(pictured as a wall or fence, meaning to cut off). So, the name Noah in the ancient Hebrew pictographs is LIFE will be CUT OFF.
Curiously, Noah spelled backwards in Hebrew is the Hebrew word for grace, chen. Regarding Noah and the flood, I cannot help but to think of the word chen (grace) like I am looking in the rear view mirror of a car: grace looking forward, Noah and the destruction of the flood looking backward. LIFE will be CUT OFF, but after LIFE is CUT OFF then GRACE.
Therefore, I believe we can also see hashamayim as BEHOLD, God’s GRACE is that there will never again be DESTRUCTION by WATER, just as God says to Noah in Gen. 9:11 “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” In light of the Noah/Grace connection, take another look at “the heavens” graphic above and read Gen. 9:11 one more time.
As additional evidence of my rear view mirror example, look at the covenant God makes with Noah. God says, “I have set my bow…” God’s seal on the covenant is the bow, or rainbow. The Hebrew word translated bow is queshet, spelled QUPH (Q)(pictured as the sun on the horizon, meaning time, new/old, beginning/end, etc.); SHIN (Sh) (pictured as two teeth, meaning to consume or destroy); and TAV (T)(pictured as 2 crossed sticks, meaning mark or covenant).
So, God’s covenant, the bow (queshet) is: look to the HORIZON after the DESTRUCTION and you will see God’s COVENANT. See bow below.
“The heavens”. Five letters, five pictures, yet so rich, so deep. But, there’s more. I’ll explore that in Part 2.
The Rest of Genesis 1:1:
The first of the many names God gives himself is Elohim. In the first sentence of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” the Hebrew word translated God is Elohim.
I have read numerous translations or interpretations of Elohim: the Lord is my strength, the plural nature of the word Elohim for one God, the powerful one, it seems the discussion is endless…and perhaps justifiably so. The subjects of God, the nature of God, the word of God, etc. are endless, why should one of the names of God be any less so.
And while I certainly do not intend to resolve any of the discussions mentioned above in this post, I do want to suggest another alternative (not necessarily in place of, but in addition to, all the above).
As before, let’s look at what the ancient Hebrew pictographs show us about the name Elohim. Elohim is spelled in Hebrew ALEPH (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and similar to our letter “A”)(in the ancient Hebrew pictographs, ALEPH is pictured as an ox head, and it signifies strength, or God – as in the Lord is my strength). LAMED (L)(pictured as a shepherd’s staff, meaning to shepherd or lead). HEY (H)(pictured as a man with outstretched or open arms, meaning God’s grace or to behold). YOD (Y)(pictured as the arm from the fist to the elbow, meaning my hand or works). MEM (M)(pictured as waves of water, meaning waters or peoples/nations).
In other words, the LORD is my SHEPHERD by his GRACE he provides for MY needs (I SHALL NOT WANT), he takes me by MY HAND and LEADS me by still WATERS. Sounding familiar? That’s right, Psalm 23. So, while the Lord is definitely our strength, I think He primarily wants to be our shepherd.
Approximately 400 years after Moses is given the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible), and writes “In the beginning God (Elohim)…”, David writes perhaps the most memorable and most quoted Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd…” I wonder if Moses knew…
Here is the visual depiction of Elohim:
- In the beginning
- God (The Lord is My Shepherd)
- Created (On Creation)
- The Heavens (Part 1 and Part 2)
- And the Earth
- God’s Signature
This is the third in a series of posts on the revelation of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross in the ancient Hebrew/Semitic pictographs that make up key words and phrases in the Bible.
In the first post, My Covenant, I showed where Jesus is revealed the first time God uses the phrase “My covenant” when speaking to Noah. The second showed how Jesus was revealed in the first Hebrew word in the Bible, “Barasheet” (In the beginning). In this post, I will explore the word “Hebrew” (or, “Ibrit“).
As discussed previously, the Hebrew alphabet is derived from an ancient Hebrew/Semitic alphabet made up of a series of pictographs. The word Hebrew (Ibrit) is comprised of the Hebrew letters AYIN (similar to, though not the exact equivalent of, our letter “E”, “I”, or “O”)(the ancient pictograph for AYIN is an eye, and its meaning is to see). BET (B)(pictured as a tent or house, meaning house, as in a lineage). RESH (R)(pictured as a man’s head, meaning the first or highest person). YOD (Y)(pictured as an arm from the fist to the elbow, meaning my hand/works). TAV (T)(pictured as two crossed sticks, meaning a covenant or mark).
Recall from My Covenant that the Hebrew word b’rit (spelled BET, RESH, YOD, TAV) is “covenant”. So, the word Hebrew (or Ibrit) can be read TO SEE the COVENANT. Moreover, covenant (b’rit) is pictured as the SON (recall that the Hebrew/Aramaic word “bar” spelled BET RESH is “son”) with his HANDS on the CROSS.
In short, within the very word Hebrew (Ibrit), God has shown that we will SEE the SON with his HANDS on the CROSS, and SEE that as His COVENANT. Whether in the first word of the Bible (also the “word” or “covenant” of God), or the first time God speaks the word covenant, or within the very name of the language originally used to give God’s word, the message is the same: Jesus is God’s covenant.
Here is the word Hebrew (Ibrit) in the ancient Hebrew pictographs.