Over the years, there have been multiple studies on the Hebrew language. From countless Bible codes to the DaVinci code, people have been infatuated with the language of the Bible—and for good reason! Messages, like the Gospel, are made up of ideas. Ideas are carried by words. Words consist of letters, and letters (in the Hebrew language) are revelations of God created before He spoke the world into existence. After all, if God spoke, that necessitates a language, right? And what language would the Almighty use to reveal Himself through creation? Moses heard Hebrew. Well if the Hebrew language were the language spoken first by the Holy One Himself, that requires a divine origin. Perhaps this is why Hebrew has been called the Lashon HaShamayim—the language of heaven?
We do know that the Scriptures are the very word of God. So when we look deeply into the face of every page, we can know that every letter, word, idea and message is infused with a revelation of God Himself. They are not meant to be a novelty; they are meant to be life changing!
The first thing to understand about Hebrew is that it’s a functionally-based language. For example, if you were asked to describe a key, you may say, “its silver and about 3 inches long.” But if you were to ask someone with an eastern mindset, he may say, “You lock and unlock doors with it.” Of course, both descriptions are accurate; but, whereas the western mind thinks in terms of adjectives, the Hebrew mind thinks in terms of function.
This creates some really strange word links in our western mind, that aren’t so odd to a Hebrew. I’ll show you what I mean. Psalms 29:9 is translated a couple of different ways. Here are two examples.
“The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, and strips the forests bare; and in His Temple everyone says, ‘Glory’.” (New King James Version)
“The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in His Temple all cry, ‘Glory’.” (New International Version)
Deer and oaks? So which one is right? Both! It can be translated either way. The Hebrew word used here is ayalah, which means strong one. The deer is seen as the strong one of the forest animals (you’ve got to think of a mighty buck, or aged doe—like Bambi’s dad); and the oak is seen as the strong one of the trees of the forest. The word used for birth and twists respectively simply means to writhe (like ringing out a wet towel). You see? To our mind, a deer and an oak don’t have a lot in common (other than proximity), but in Hebrew, both are connected through function. They’re both strong ones.
If you look at the same word in the masculine tense (the word ayil–Strong’s # 352), its translated as ram (156 times), post (21 times), mighty men (4 times), trees (2 times), lintel and oaks (one time each). What do rams, posts, mighty men, trees, lintels and oaks all have in common? They’re all strong ones.
So what does this mean for us? The language that God created to be the binary language, if you will, is based on function—that’s action! Our Father is a God of action. He never sits still. He doesn’t “slumber or sleep” (Psa 121:4).
We, as children of this active God, should be the same. The idea that our faith is a profession to a certain set of truths is foreign to the Hebraic mindset. To the Hebrew, like Moses and David, faith is an action! In fact, the Hebrew word for faith is emunah. It means faithfulness. Faith and faithfulness, to the Hebraic mind, are the same thing. If one says “I believe such-and-such”, but his life doesn’t match the profession, he is seen to lack faith. On the other hand, if a man truly does profess something to be true, his lifestyle will be evidence of it.
James, in his epistle, makes an argument concerning faith and works (actions). He argues that a profession of faith without accompanying works makes the faith dead (James 2:20). He goes on to argue that Abraham’s action of preparing to sacrifice his only son Isaac was proof that the faith he had was genuine (vs. 21), and indeed his actions proved his faith was mature (vs. 22). He says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (2:26).
So as you grow in your faith, don’t ask yourself “what do I believe?” Ask yourself, “what do my actions say I believe?” It’s your actions that speak loud and clear about where you are in your relationship to God, your family and friends, or anyone else.
We’ll look at some more revelations of our Father next time!