It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings, (Proverbs 25:2).
I admit, I have wondered why people would go to all the trouble of studying Hebrew—especially given the very few opportunities that most people ever get to actually speak Hebrew. I have been interested for a long time in the original language of the Bible, but that alone didn’t motivate me to study Hebrew. So what changed? Why am I now signed up for online Hebrew classes? Let me take you step-by-step in taking my initial interest to the next level, which is a quantum leap.
In 2010 I became a full-time missionary, and read The Mysterious Bible Codes by Grant R. Jeffrey. In the book, Jeffrey explains how he learned about the Bible Codes in which hidden words are found throughout the original Hebrew text of the Bible that relate to people, places, events and other items all through history up to the present time. These words were encoded in a pattern called equidistant letter sequence (ELS). Discovering these ELS patterns would have been practically impossible before the age of computers because some of the patterns are found at as much as 100 letter intervals. Using the ELS code, for example, the Hebrew phrase for equidistant letter sequence, shalav a’ot, is found in the Hebrew text of each book of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).
There are other Bible code books: The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin (who has followed up with several other Bible code books), Cracking the Bible Code by Jeffrey Satinover, and Yeshua by Yacov Rambsel.
Then I heard a sermon on YouTube in which the plan of salvation is encoded in the names of the first ten generations of men: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. Adam means man in Hebrew. Seth means appointed; Enosh means mortal, frail, or miserable; Kenan means sorrow, dirge, or mournful poem; Mahalalel means Blessed God; Jared means shall come down; Enoch means teaching; Methuselah means his death shall bring; Lamech means lament or despairing; and Noah means relief or comfort.
Adam = Man
Seth = Appointed
Enosh = Mortal
Kenan = Sorrow
Mahalalel = The Blessed God
Jared = Shall come down
Enoch = Teaching
Methuselah = His death shall bring
Lamech = The Despairing
Noah = Rest, or comfort.
Put it all together and you get: Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest. Very cool stuff!
I also learned that each Hebrew letter has a numerical value, and that numbers have specific meanings in the Bible. For example, the number 7 is the number of perfection, and 6 is the number of man (who falls short of perfection), and the number 666 is the number of man repeated 3 times, which emphasizes that the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:18) is indicative of humanism.
I heard another sermon in which the preacher explained about the sign Pilate wrote to hang over Jesus’ head at His crucifixion: Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews. It was written in three languages: Hebrew, Latin, and either Greek or more likely Aramaic. Some churches show that sign with the letters INRI, which is an abbreviation for the Latin Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews). I had always wondered why just the letters, but the preacher said that they wrote signs like that: just the initial letters. And that by taking just the initial letters in Hebrew, you come up with The Tetragrammaton, the four letters representing the unpronounceable Name of God: Yodh, He, Waw, He. That was why the Jewish leaders were so insistent that Pilate rewrite the sign. But, of course, he refused.
But the most intriguing thing, and the one that won me over is that each Hebrew letter also represents a word. For example a friend of mine who is a student of Hebrew told me that the Hebrew letters of the Name of God have this meaning: The first letter, Yodh, means hand. He means behold. Waw means nail. And when you put all that together, it’s exactly what resurrected Jesus told Thomas: The hand, behold! The nail, behold! Or as John put it in his Gospel, “See My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side,” (verse 20:27). And Thomas, knowing the four letters representing the Name of God, dropped to his knees, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!”
So I investigated Hebrew classes, and the more I looked into it, the more excited I became. Next thing I knew, I was signed up. The online classroom can accommodate my busy travel schedule, which is a really good thing. So, classes start the first week in December, and go for nine months. They say that by the end of classes, I’ll be able to read the Bible in Hebrew. Woo-HOO! God is good!