This is the short catechism of the Hebrew alphabet: Hint: Though there are links here, you should read the rest of this book before following them.
They heard - אבגדה
- God spoke and created the heavens and the earth א and revealed to men ב that he pursued them ג with a commandment ד which they did not understand ה.
They saw - וזחטי
- They were distinguished ו as the bride ז when they did understand ח. Through a marriage ט they became a new creation י.
The promise - כלמנס
The exchange - עפצ
- He was made to be flesh ע, taught in parables, prophecies and riddles פ, and exchanged his righteousness for our sin צ.
The revelation - קרשת
- The Son of God died and rose again ק revealing ר that his Word returned with an increase ש and the revelation had produced new life ת.
The final state - ךםןףץ
- The Son of God died ך completing the promise of the Father ם. The Son of Man was restored to Glory ן. Prophecy was fulfilled ף. Judgement is ended ץ. And we became co-heirs with Christ.
Ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. - Isa 43:10
In casual conversation if I mention that I have been researching Hebrew for more than 20 years, invariably I am asked why I would do such a thing. I explain that Hebrew is unlike any other language. In Hebrew, the meaning of a word is derived from the combined meaning of the letters within. The letters get their meaning from the jots and tittles (dots and strokes) of the letter; and the jots and strokes are derived intuitively as if our DNA was programmed to understand them.
As I started to study the Hebrew portion of the Bible seriously, I wanted to learn how to think like a Hebrew. I called a prominent Rabbi hoping that in discussions I would be able to discern how he thought. One day I suggested that since teaching was his profession, I would like to remunerate him. He suggested that I take his remote classes. He asked that I not talk about Christian stuff in class since it would just confuse the other students.
I think he forgot I was there. Perhaps he did so intentionally in order to allow me to see him and his students dialog about issues in a purely 'Hebrew' setting. I quickly realized that the Western Greek thought process, using Greek philosophy, logic rhetoric, debate and even myth was very different from the conversations I was hearing.
It was here, and from other rabbis I engaged, that I learned of the unique nature of the Hebrew language. However, they did not know how to parse the meaning of words from the letters. They only had a memory that it was done. One friend was researching the use of gates, which are two-letter sub-roots, within Hebrew. Much of his work relies upon free-for-all allegory. Another was researching the pre-Babel language through the assumption that consonants retained their meaning in various languages as the languages were confused at Babel. Another was researching the logic structures of Hebrew thought.
I appreciate the insight into the Hebrew mind from these men who I consider great thinkers in their pursuit of truth. Unfortunately, their various pursuits are limited by the restriction of data into their research. None will consider the claims of Christ, and none would confess to having read the New Testament, if, in fact they had.
This is an important gap in their thinking. They all agree that the Hebrew scriptures are written in prophetic riddle. Some believe that there are two layers of meaning, and some believe that there are four layers. But they are unwilling to consider that the answers to the riddle may be found in Christ.
The verses which Christians consider to be obvious references to Christ, they interpret as to applying to the nation of Israel, or to a mysterious figure named Adam Kadmon who possesses many attributes assigned to Christ. He is both God and man, and has the purpose of revealing God to man.
As they applied the scriptures to either Israel or Adam Kadmon, I saw Christ in ways that I had not seen previously, and which they would not consider. I could almost here the twelve year old Jesus in the temple asking: "Doesn't that rock represent Meshiach? Why was he struck? Why did the rock follow them in the desert? Jacob went to sleep on many rocks for a pillow, but when he awoke there was only one rock; what does it mean?"
Taking the rabbinic challenge to understand Hebrew words from their letters, I started with 8000 Hebrew words, and like a giant crossword puzzle, reverse engineered the meaning of the letters. Explaining how that was done is tedious and boring. When the words of Genesis 1:1 started making sense read letter by letter, the alphabet came together. Solving the puzzle and relating it in English involves choices of translation options from a metaphor in Hebrew to words in English.
"That was his Waterloo." The phrase uses a common metaphor which can be explained in many ways. We might describe a man who was arrogant and ill-prepared because of it. We might described a messed up supply line. Or we might describe a man fortunate to succeed by the failures of his opponent. To help understand this better, you may wish to watch the "Darmok" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Because the crew of the Enterprise could not understand the alien crew, Picard was forced to battle a common enemy with the captain of their crew. Through the real life drama, they formed shared metaphor by which they could start to understand each other.
The metaphor of the Hebrew language is understood when we share the real life events of Christ. Starting four thousand years before the event of the cross, God built the metaphor of the cross into the alphabet, words and literal history of Israel. Because we share the knowledge of Christ, we can now see what the ancient prophets could only hope to see.
Lu 10:24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard [them].