Hebrew Refresh

One of my regrets is that after learning Hebrew and Aramaic in my last year in seminary in 1987-1988 (Columbia International University, Columbia, SC), I did not keep up with it as I should have and I forgot a lot of it.  I even made pretty good grades and enjoyed it; but I confess I have forgotten a lot of it.   I forgot a lot of Greek also, but I have been able to keep up better with NT Greek than with OT Hebrew.  (One of the interesting aspects though, is as I was learning Farsi / Persian, a few years later, I recognized the similarity in some of the words that came from Arabic, because I could see the similarity in Hebrew!  Cool!)

One of the great things now a days is how many resources there are on the internet and one of them is the “Daily Dose of Hebrew” by some evangelical Hebrew professors. (Mark Futato, Tom Blanchard, and Adam Howell – see under “about” at the Daily Dose of Hebrew website. )  I was blessed recently by taking the time to review and study (and pray) with these helpful videos and review some OT Hebrew.

I remember now learning the names of the vowels and symbols.  This professor emphasizes the accents and line divisions that the Hebrew writer divided the sentences into.

Here are several videos on Psalm 1.  Be sure to watch all of them for the full effect of this Psalm, as I only embed two of the videos below, in order to just make a few comments on certain elements of the Hebrew and teacher’s insights.

https://dailydoseofhebrew.com/pslam-1/

They are all helpful to me and this is enhancing my memory of Hebrew.  I remember learning a long time ago about the Hebrew word for “meditate” הגה (Hagah – “to meditate, to growl, to mutter, to utter, to speak, to muse, to complain, to moan, to plot and image, devise)

“but rather, in the law of the LORD is his delight; and in His law he meditates day and night.”  Psalm 1:2

Some one familiar with the Bible immediately thinks of other texts about meditating on the Word of God, like Joshua 1:8, Psalm 19:14 (noun form – Higayon – הֶגְיֹון ); Psalm 119 (uses mostly a different Hebrew word, שיח – siach)  ; and Psalm 63:6.

I remember learning about this word also used for animals growling under their breath over their food, and muttering and murmuring to oneself.  This was a blessing to be reminded and think on this word and the other verses and other Hebrew words with similar meanings.

I like what the professor says here about this word.  It means “to think deeply on something”, but the Hebrew idea of this word is much more than that:

“Unlike our western culture, in Biblical culture, meditation was done out loud, a low murmuring of the text. And it was not a mindless activity; it was an activity that engaged the mind. Here, engaging the mind, on God’s law.”  (Dr. Mark Futato, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary)

 

I appreciated the professor mentioning the tension between “in whatever he does, he succeeds/ prospers” (Psalm 1:3) as compared to a verse like Jeremiah 12:1 – “You are always righteous, LORD, when I bring a case before You. Yet I would speak with You about your justice.  Why does the way of the wicked prosper? (same word, צלח )

 

It is interesting to me how success and prosperity  are understood in the Hebrew language and Old Testament culture.

Joseph was “prosperous”, yet at the same time suffered tremendously.  (Genesis 37-50)

In Genesis 39:2, 3 and 23, the text says Joseph prospered or was successful, yet at the same time he suffered for righteousness sake.  He was falsely accused of rape and put in prison and forgotten about, yet “God was with him”.

“The LORD was with him”, even in suffering.  That is true blessedness – that even in suffering, God is with us.

Jesus became flesh, human (John 1:1-5; John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8) and was born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35), and came as “God with us” (Matthew 1:23)

True believers in Jesus Christ have “God with us” – Jesus said, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will lead you into all the truth . . .  and He will be with you forever (John 14:16), and “abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17)

(see John 14:16-17; 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:7- 15)

So, when we think about what it means to be blessed and the right kind of success and prosperity, (Not the heretical “Word of Faith” Prosperity heresies that are so damaging and prevalent in Charismatic and Pentecostal churches and Christian TV networks.) true prosperity is when God is with us even in our trials and sufferings.  We can be in economic trials and still be “prosperous”, according to the Bible.  There is another word for “success” in Hebrew (שכל), used in Isaiah 52:13 about the coming suffering servant-Messiah, and also Joshua 1:8 that means “to act wisely, and so accomplish the goal” (that God wants for us). Joshua 1:8 has both words.  True success is a life connected to God in faith, repentance, humility, prayer, the Word, and a local Biblical church in community, fellowship, and service.  True blessedness is when God is with us; and we are walking with Him in a life of holiness, and we learn to act wisely and so accomplish or do God’s moral will for our lives, even in the midst of suffering, and loss, grief, and hardships and mysteries.

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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3 Responses to Hebrew Refresh

  1. Ken,

    I posted this reply to Unitarian at William’s blog in Denis Giron’s post on Mark 13:32. I share it with you in case Williams doesn’t post my reply. Here’s what unitarian said:

    “I don’t think there is ANY OTHER TEXT related to the Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that would constrain it anyway.”

    “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, BECAUSE HE KNEW ALL MEN, and did not need anyone to bear witness of man, FOR HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN MAN.” John 2:23-25

    “All things are delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son, except the Father. And no one knows the Father, except the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27 – cf. Luke 10:22

    “Even as the Father knows Me, SO I KNOW THE FATHER. And I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:15

    Here, the Father’s and Son’s knowledge of each other is reciprocal, showing that the Son knows the Father to the same extent and to the same degree that the Father knows him. Add to this the Son’s claim that only the Father is capable of knowing him and you end up with Christ claiming to be an incomprehensible and omniscient Being. And:

    “His disciples said to Him, ‘Yes! Now YOU ARE SPEAKING PLAINLY AND WITH NO FIGURE OF SPEECH. Now we know THAT YOU KNOW EVERYTHING and do not need anyone to question You. By this we believe that You came from God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘DO YOU NOW BELIEVE?'” John 16:29-31

    “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said to Him, ‘Lord, YOU KNOW EVERYTHING. You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.'” John 21:17

    Now compare the foregoing with the following:

    “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart AND KNOWS EVERYTHING.” 1 John 3:20

    Finally:

    “Who has directed THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD, or as His counselor HAS TAUGHT HIM? With whom did He take counsel, and who INSTRUCTED HIM, AND TAUGHT HIM in the path of justice, AND TAUGHT HIM KNOWLEDGE, AND SHOWED TO HIM THE WAY OF UNDERSTANDING?” Isaiah 40:13-14

    “But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. FOR THE SPIRIT SEARCHES ALL THINGS, YES, THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Likewise, no one knows the things of God, EXCEPT THE SPIRIT OF GOD. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

    “that their hearts may be comforted, being knit together in love, and receive all the riches and assurance of full understanding, and knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, IN WHOM ARE HIDDEN ALL THE TREASURES OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.” Colossians 2:2-3

    Compare the above with the following claim by the same Apostle:

    “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways!” Romans 11:33

    Since the depth of the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond comprehension and pass finding out, the only way for the Spirit to search and know the deep things of God and for the all of the treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge be stored in the Person of Christ, is if both the Son and Spirit are omniscient and incomprehensible Persons.

    Now watch him deny, explain away, attack and/or undermine the authority of all these texts.

  2. I just posted this here: https://bloggingtheology2.com/2018/12/01/mark-1332-and-the-omniscience-of-the-holy-spirit/comment-page-1/#comment-217

    I don’t know if Williams will allow it to appear but I thought it would help you to refute the Muslims.

    Denis Giron,

    Since Revelation came out let me share with you some further nuggets proves that Jesus is described as Jehovah God Almighty, and therefore omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Deity in the flesh.

    First, in this passage,

    To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘THE SON OF GOD, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like fine brass, SAYS THESE THINGS: I KNOW YOUR WORKS, love, service, faith, and your patience, and that your last works are more than the first. But I have a few things against you: You permit that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, but she did not repent. Look! I WILL THROW HER ONTO A SICKBED, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I WILL PUT HER CHILDREN TO DEATH, and all the churches shall know that I AM HE WHO SEARCHES THE HEARTS AND MINDS. I WILL GIVE TO EACH OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR DEEDS.’” Revelation 2:8, 18-23

    The Son of God basically claims to be omnipotent Creator and Life-giver by ascribing to himself the power to cause death and illness from heaven of all places. Heaven is the last place that God would grant such powers and characteristics to a mere creature.

    Christ also claims to be omniscient and omnipresent since he explicitly says he is the One who searches hearts and tests minds in order to repay everyone according to their deeds. What makes so astonishing is that the risen Lord has attributed to his own divine Person the very words spoken by Jehovah!

    “I, Jehovah, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10

    It only gets better. In the following texts,

    “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though I were dead. Then He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid. I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST. I AM THE LIVING ONE, THOUGH I WAS DEAD Look! I am alive forevermore. Amen. AND I HAVE THE KEYS OF HADES AND DEATH.” Revelation 1:17-18

    “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘THE FIRST AND THE LAST, WHO WAS DEAD and came to life, says these things:’” Revelation 2:8

    Christ not only again claims to have power over life and death, i.e. he holds the keys of death and hades, he also identifies himself as the First and the Last, and the Living One, all of which are titles that Islamic theology ascribes to Allah alone!

    Al-Awwal, Al-Akhir: The First and the Last

    Al-Akhir is He who remains after all His creatures have perished.

    Al-Awwal is the First, preceding all others.

    Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir are two of the Ninety-Nine Names.

    “He is the First and the Last and the Outward and the Inward.” (57:3)

    The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “…Allah, You are the First, for there was nothing before You, and You are the Last, for there is nothing after You, and you are the Outward, for there is nothing above You, and You are the Inward, for there is nothing beyond You. Remove our debt, and relieve us from poverty.”…

    Al-Hayy: The Living

    Ever-Living, i.e. Deathless.

    Al-Hayy is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

    “Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining.” (2:253)

    “Put your trust in the Living who does not die and glorify Him with praise.” (25:58) (Aisha Belwey, Divine Bewley https://bewley.virtualave.net/names.html)

    Just when you thought I was done. Muhammadis reported to have said that the most vile human being in the sight of his god is the one who claims to be the king of kings, obviously because only God can make such an assertion:

    CXIV. The name which Allah most hates

    5852. Al-A’raj related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah said, “The most ignoble name in the sight of Allah on the Day of Rising will be a man who calls himself ‘the king of kings’.”

    5853. Al-A’raj related from Abu Hurayra, “The most ignoble name in the sight of Allah.” Sufyan said another time, “The most ignoble of names in the sight of Allah on the Day of Rising will be a man calling himself ‘the king of kings’.” Sufyan said that someone else says that it means “Shahan Shah (King of Kings in Persian).” (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of Al-Bukhari, Chapter 81. The Book of Adab* (Good Manners) https://bewley.virtualave.net/bukhari41.html; italicized and underline emphasis ours)

    Here is a different English rendering of the hadith:

    Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “The most awful (meanest) name in Allah’s sight.” Sufyan said more than once, “The most awful (meanest) name in Allah’s sight is (that of) a man calling himself king of kings.” Sufyan said, “Somebody else (i.e. other than Abu Az-Zinad, a sub-narrator) says: What is meant by ‘The king of kings’ is ‘Shahan Shah.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 224 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=73&translator=1&start=0&number=224; bold and italicized emphasis ours)

    The Risen Lord also claims to be the One who rules over all the earthly kings because of his being the King of kings, as well as the Lord of lords:

    “and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

    “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: FOR HE IS LORD OF LORDS, AND KING OF KINGS : and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

    “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11-16

    Isn’t it ironic that in the very same chapter where Jesus is said to be the only One who knows his name, Christ is identified as the King of kings and Lord of lords?

    So there you have it Denis. Jesus in Revelation claims to be the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Creator and Life-giver, the First and the Last who is the Living One that lives forevermore that reigns supreme as Lord over all lords and the King over all kings.

    Ken, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this also.

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