Friday, April 5, 2013

The Hidden Secrets within Scripture

Orthodox Jews have an annual reading and study cycle of the first 5 books of the Bible referred to as the Torah.  They consider this text as special since it was direct revelation from God to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai.  The remainder of the Jewish Bible is also considered to be the word of God by indirect revelation through various writers.  Jews place a special emphasis on studying the Torah because it is direct revelation from God.

According to Wikipedia, Orthodox Jews can study the text of the Torah on any of four levels as described in the Zohar:

1.        Peshat, the plain (simple) or literal reading;

2.        Remez, the allegorical reading through text's hint or allusion;

3.        Derash, the metaphorical reading through a (rabbinic sermon's) comparison/illustration (midrash);

4.        Sod, the hidden meaning reading through text's secret or mystery (Kabbalah).

Most Christians and Jews spend their time studying the Bible on the first 3 levels and rarely dig deeper for the text’s secret meanings (Kabbalah).  Kabbalah, like the number 13 has been taken over by the occult and corrupted.  Because of that, not all Kabbalah is true biblical Kabbalah.  In fact, most Kabbalah being taught today is not biblical Kabbalah and can lead people astray.  The original Kabbalah focused on the secrets and mysteries hidden in the Hebrew text.  It involved studying the Hebrew text intently looking for hints while being guided by God’s spirit to gain understanding.  It is very similar to what most bible students do today in studying scripture.  We read and study and pray and seek spiritual guidance from above for understanding.

So let’s look at a simple example of hidden secrets within scripture from the very first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1, where it says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (NASB)  The Hebrew text says:  בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ which literally translates “In the beginning created God the heavens and the earth”.  Notice the placement of the אֵת. It occurs in the 4th and 6th words in the 7 word sentence.  The א is the aleph which is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The ת is the tav which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Hebrew words are read from right to left so the order is aleph tav.  Both Jews and Christians teach that this represents the messiah.  The only difference is that Christians use the Greek letters alpha and omega instead of the Hebrew letters aleph and tav.

The placement of these two letters in the verse gives a hint at the appearance of the messiah.  They occur in the 4th and 6th words of the 7 word verse.  Rabbis have historically taught that the messiah would appear after 4000 years and 6000 years since creation based on the pattern in the creation narrative where God created everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th.  We are currently in the Jewish calendar year 5773 near then completion of 6000 years when the messiah is supposed to appear!

There is another interesting thing about the אֵת and its hint at the messiah.  In Hebrew sometimes the verb comes before its subject not after it like in English.  This is the case in the literal translation for Genesis 1:1 as I previously quoted above.  “In the beginning created God the heavens and the earth”.   You can identify the direct object (person or thing acted upon) because the word “et” precedes the direct object.  It is the Hebrew word “et” which directs the action of the verb according to Hebrew grammatical rules.  So God created the heavens and earth and it is the אֵת or “et” placement before each of these that directs the action of God creating them.  Since the “et” represents the messiah, it hints the messiah’s involvement with God during the creation of the heavens and the earth.
It seems that God wants His people to search and study the scriptures to discover the hidden secrets.  This is what the Jews call the Sod or hidden meaning of scripture.  You can read bibles translated to English all day long and will not achieve the deeper Sod level of interpretation.  With Translations, you will only uncover the first 3 levels of meaning.  You can only get to the hidden meaning by studying God’s word in the original language – Hebrew.  There is an excellent website called hebrew4christians that can help you get started in studying the original Hebrew of the Bible for deeper insight into the scriptures.

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