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The Divine Design of the Hebrew Alphabet

(Chapter 7 of the Bible Wheel Book)

The Symbolic Meanings of the Twenty-Two Hebrew Letters

There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

1 Corinthians 14:10ff (Spoke 2, Cycle 3)

The thematic interweaving of the three Books on each Spoke with each other and the corresponding Hebrew letter is one of deepest wonders revealed by the Wheel. To understand this, we need know the symbolic meanings of the letters. They are derived from five primary sources: 1) the name of the letter, 2) its position in the alphabetic sequence, 3) KeyWords found in the Alphabet Verses and Hebrew Lexicon, 4) the role the letter plays in Hebrew grammar, and 5) the way each letter combines with others to form Hebrew Word Pictures. These five sources are tightly integrated. They synergistically reinforce each other to reveal the rich halo of symbolic meanings God invested in each letter and used in the design of His Word. They will be discussed in order below.

The Names of the Letters

Letter Names in the Alphabetic Verses
י 10th Letter Yod (Hand): Lam 1:10, 4:10, Prov 31:19, Ps 119:73
כ 11th Letter Kaph (Palm of the Hand): Prov 31:20
ס 15th Letter Samek (Support): Ps 111:8a; 112:8a,119:116,117, 145:14
ע 16th Letter Ayin (Eye): Lam 3:49, 3:51, Ps 25:15, 34:15, 119:123, 145:15
פ 17th Letter Pey (Mouth): Prov 31:26, Ps 34:16, 119:131, 145:16
ר 20th Letter Resh (Head): Ps 119:160
ש 21st Letter Shin (Tooth): Ps 112:10b

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Psalm 147:4f (Spoke 19, Cycle 1)

The names of the letters reveal essential aspects of their symbolic meanings. We saw this, for example, in the review of Spoke 22 in Chapter 5 (pg 69) and its relation to the last letter Tav (ת) which signifies a mark, sign, or cross (cross).

All of the names are firmly established in countless historical documents and God con-firmed seven of them in the Alphabetic Verses where He used them as KeyWords, as listed in the table. He emphasized many by repetition, and as shown in the Synopsis, these repeated Keywords play very important roles in the dominant themes of the books on their corresponding Spokes (e.g. pgs 299, 325, 348).

The Position of the Letters

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.

Isaiah 44:6f (Spoke 1, Cycle 2)

The position of each letter in the alphabetic sequence reveals a lot about its meaning. This is very obvious with the first and last letters, Aleph (א) and Tav (ת), since they correspond to the Greek Alpha and Omega which God used to identify Himself in Revelation 1:8 and elsewhere. The relation between position and meaning is easily discerned for the first ten letters since they are linked with fundamental Biblical sequences like the Ten Commandments, the Seven Days of Creation, and the Seven Seals of Revelation. Most other numeric relations are too subtle to be explored in an introductory book like this.

Alphabetic Verses and KeyWords

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Matthew 7:24f (Spoke 18, Cycle 2)

God established the primary source of information about the meaning of the Hebrew letters in the KeyWords given in the Alphabetic Verses of His everlasting Word. They are, therefore, part of the Rock upon which He instructs us to build our "house." The significance of this cannot be overstated; God built the alphabetic core of the Bible Wheel into the very structure of the text itself. The whole Bible is self-reflective. Its large-scale structure follows the pattern found in the text, most notably in Psalm 119, the great Psalm of the Word (pg 17).

The most significant aspect of this "self-reflection" is seen in the Alphabetic KeyLinks, which are defined as unique links between the Alphabetic Verses and one or more books on a corresponding Spoke. For example, the verse corresponding to the sixteenth letter Ayin (Eye) in the alphabetically structured Psalm 34 says: "The eyes (ayin) of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry." This verse is quoted in one and only one book of the Bible, in 1 Peter 3:12 on Spoke 16. It is an Alphabetic KeyLink. Furthermore, it defines one of the most prominent of the themes that unite all three books on Spoke 16, as discussed at length in the Synopsis (pg 293). These Alphabetic KeyLinks reveal God's prophetic anticipation of the thematic pattern of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, in the Alphabetic Verses.

Psalm 119 gives the grandest revelation of the Alphabet, with its 176 verses divided into 22 stanzas yielding eight KeyWords for each letter (176 = 8 x 22). This Psalm perfectly represents the whole Alphabet; there are no variations from the standard order and no missing letters. It is particularly significant that the sole topic of this greatest of all Alphabetic Psalms is none other than the proclamation of the glory of the Word of God from Aleph to Tav, thereby reiterating its connection with the Capstone Signature (ΑΩ/את, pg 88).

References to such verses will henceforth be marked with "AV" as a reminder that they are Alphabetic Verses. Not all Alphabetic Verses are structured as neatly as AV Psalm 119. Many exhibit some variation from the expected pattern, such AV Psalm 145 which is missing the Nun verse in most Hebrew manuscripts. Whether this is due to God's design or an error in transmission of the text is not always clear. It will be discussed as the need arises. The table on the next page lists the primary passages that are alphabetically structured.

The Alphabetic Verses
LAMENTATIONS
  • Chapter 1: 22 verses, one for each letter in the standard alphabetic order from Aleph to Tav.
  • Chapter 2: 22 verses, one for each letter. This chapter introduces the curious variation that the order of Ayin and Pey is reversed. This same interchange appears also in Chapters 3 and 4.
  • Chapter 3: 66 verses, three consecutive verses for each letter from Aleph to Tav
  • Chapter 4: 22 verses, one for each letter from Aleph to Tav.
  • Chapter 5: 22 verses, but they are not written alphabetically.
PROVERBS 31:10-31:
  • 22 Verses, one for each letter in the standard alphabetic order from Aleph to Tav.
ALPHABETIC PSALMS:
  • Psalms 9 & 10: 39 verses: These two Psalms were composed together. The first runs from Aleph to Kaph, the second from Lamed to Tav. It follows a skip pattern with a KeyWord in every other verse. There are a few variations from the expected pattern, such as the missing Dalet and Quph verses.
  • Psalm 25: 22 verses. The KJV versification gets out of line with the Alphabet at verse 5, which includes the Hey and Vav verses in one. Tav therefore appears in verse 21. Also, there are two consecutive verses corresponding to Resh, one of which fills the space usually occupied by Quph. This Psalm ends in verse 22 with an appended verse beginning with the Pey KeyWord hdeP] (p'dey, redeem) which is used in one of the Pey verses of Psalm 119. It also is appended to Psalm 34.
  • Psalm 34: 22 verses. This Psalm follows the standard order with the exception that the verse corresponding to Vav is missing, so correlation between the verse numbers and the letters is off by one after verse 5. For example, the Tav verse is AV Ps 34:21 rather than the expected 22. This Psalm ends in verse 22 with an appended Pey KeyWord hdeP] (p'dey, redeem) which is also appended to Psalm 25.
  • Psalm 37: 40 verses. Most of this Psalm follows a skip pattern with every other verse corresponding to a Hebrew Letter. The first verse starts with Aleph, the third with Bet, the fifth with Gimel and the seventh with Dalet. If this pattern were followed throughout, there would be 44 (= 2 x 22) verses. But the pattern breaks down in a few places where there is no verse separating the sequential Letters. This first happens with Hey appearing in verse 8 immediately after Dalet in verse 7. But then the original plan begins again, with Vav in verse 10, Zayin in verse 12, Chet in verse 14, and so forth until we come to Kaph in verse 20. These variations are easy to follow and the corresponding KeyWords are clearly discerned.
  • Psalm 111: 10 verses. The whole Alphabet is represented in standard order from Aleph to Tav. The first 8 verses each have two clauses beginning with consecutive Letters and the last 2 verses have three clauses, so the 10 (= 8 + 2) verses represent all 22 (= 8 x 2 + 2 x 3) letters. The clauses will be indicated by letters such as AV Ps 111:1a for the Aleph clause and AV Ps 111:10c for the Tav clause.
  • Psalm 112: 10 verses. The whole alphabet is represented in standard order from Aleph to Tav. Each verse divided into two or three clauses in exactly the same way as Psalm 111.
  • Psalm 119: 176 verses. This is the greatest alphabetically structured chapter in the Bible. It is also the longest. It consists of 22 sections, each containing 8 consecutive verses that begin with the same Hebrew letter, for a total of 176 (= 8 x 22) verses. The first eight begin with Aleph, the next eight with Bet, the next eight with Gimel, until the alphabet is exhausted. There are no variations from the standard order. Its alphabetic structure is transparent in many Bibles, such as the New International and King James Versions, which present the name of the letter at the beginning of each section of 8 verses.
  • Psalm 145: 21 verses. This follows the standard order from Aleph to Tav, with the exception that the Nun verse is missing in some manuscripts. This is why it has 21 rather than the expected 22 verses.

Symbolic Meanings Based on Grammatical Functions

So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sin-ews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

Ezekiel 37:7ff (Spoke 4, Cycle 2)

In Chapter 1, the skeleton of the Bible Wheel was completed when all its bones (books) "came together, bone to his bone" on the twenty-two Spokes. We have since been occupied with the second stage, clothing these bones with the "sinews, flesh, and skin" through the knowledge and understanding of the detailed content of each book, the thematic links amongst them, their connection with the Hebrew letters, and how every part relates to the whole body of Scripture. This stage will be complete when we learn the Divine Wisdom that God has built into the Hebrew Alphabet. It is then that our ears will be open to hear the rolling thunder of His Voice in the Wheel of His everlasting Word (galgal, Ps 77:18, pg 380).

God has given us the key to the Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet in Alphabetic Verses. Hebrew is a building-block language. Each letter carries its own innate symbolic meaning into the words it forms when it combines with other letters. This is seen most clearly in the grammatical functions of certain letters that are used as prefixes and suffixes. It is all very simple and straightforward, and the best part is that God has illustrated it for us in Scripture. Again, citations from the Alphabetic Verses will always be marked with the reminder "AV."

Bet Prefix: Sign of the Prepositions In, With, By

My soul shall make her boast IN the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

AV Psalm 34:2

בBet Prefix
ביהוהB'YHVH: IN the Lord
בשפתיBishpati: WITH thy lips
בדרךB'Derek: IN the way

The name of the second letter Bet means house. In the ancient Hebrew script it was drawn as an image of a tent: tent. When rotated ninety degrees clockwise, it becomes the Latin miniscule b. The most obvious manifestation of its meaning on Spoke 2 is in the theme based on the design of the Tabernacle, the House of the Lord, which dominates Exodus (pg 135).

When prefixed to a word, Bet signifies the prepositions in, within, with, or by. God used it this way in almost all of the Alphabetic Verses, such as the one quoted above. As is typical in translations, the original word order was lost (compare Genesis 1:1, pg 89). A more rigid rendition would, of course, start with the Bet KeyWord and read "In the Lord, my soul shall make her boast." In all discussions of the Alphabetic Verses, the highlighted portion represents the translated KeyWords which always appear at the head of the verse in the original Hebrew. Here are two other examples of Bet (ב) in the Alphabetic Verses:

  • AV Ps 119:13 WITH my lips (bisphati) have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
  • AV Ps 119:14 I have rejoiced IN the way (b'derek) of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

The grammatical function of Bet (ב) coheres precisely with its literal meaning since a house serves as a general symbol of a place to go IN. This is the basis of a profound KeyLink between Jeremiah and 1 Corinthians on Spoke 2 (see Glory IN the Lord, pg 139).

Lamed Prefix: Sign of the Prepositions To, Towards, For

לLamed Prefix
לעולםL'olam: FOR ever
להודיעL'hodia: TO make known
למען שמךL'ma'an-shimka: FOR
thy name's sake

For ever (l'olam), O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

AV Psalm 119:89

The name of the twelfth letter Lamed denotes an ox goad or a pointer. In the ancient script it looked like a Latin L, a picture of a shepherd's staff. This coheres precisely with its grammatical function. When prefixed to a word, Lamed signifies the prepositions to or for. God used it this way in over half of the Alphabetic Verses. Here are two more examples:

  • AV Ps 145:12 TO make known (l'hodia) to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
  • AV Ps 25:11 FOR thy name’s sake (l'ma'an-shimka), O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

The name Lamed leads directly to another important KeyWord, lamad (to teach), which also is the root of Talmud, the compendium of Jewish learning. Again, we have an obvious threefold coherence of 1) the meaning of the letter's name as ox-goad or pointer, 2) its grammatical role as the sign of the prepositions to or for, and 3) the meaning of the related KeyWord lamad (to teach). The great miracle of God is that this coherence defines many of the dominant themes of Spoke 12, most notably that of Paul's Pastoral Epistle to Titus (see Teach and Exhort! pg 258).

Vav Prefix: Sign of the Conjunctives And, But, Also, So

וVav Prefix
וצדקתוV'tzidqatho: AND his righteousness
ואשמרהv'eshm'rah: SO shall I keep
ותקםV'taqam: She riseth ALSO

... AND his righteousness endureth for ever.

AV Psalm 111:3b

The name of the sixth letter Vav denotes a nail or hook. Scripture uses it this way in the description of the hooks in the Tabernacle (Exo 26:32). This exemplifies its grammatical function. When prefixed to a word, it signifies conjunctives like and, but, also, so and then. Note that the verse above is marked "3b" because AV Psalm 111 presents two letters per verse, and it is in the second clause of verse 3 (pg 109).

Every Alphabetic Verse corresponding to Vav uses its meaning as a conjunctive, which in part may be due to the fact that it is the first letter of very few Hebrew words. Here are a couple more examples from the Alphabetic Verses:

  • AV Ps 119:44 SO shall I keep (v'eshm'rah) thy law continually for ever and ever.
  • AV Prov 31:15 She riseth ALSO (vataqam) while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a por-tion to her maidens.

The letter Vav connects and hooks words together in a sentence. As with Bet and Lamed, we have an exact correspondence between the literal meaning of the letter's name and its grammatical function. This is what I meant when I said this would all be "very simple and straightforward." In truth, it could not be any simpler, or any more profound (which is, by the way, a very nice mix).

Yod Prefix: The Active Hand, the Sign of Continued Action

... HE WILL guide (y'kalkel) his affairs with discretion.

AV Psalm 112:5b

יYod Prefix
יכלכלY'kalkel: HE WILL guide
יזכרYizkor: HE WILL be mindful
ידרךYadrek: HE WILL guide

The name of the tenth letter Yod denotes a hand, the symbol of personal action, power, and control. When prefixed to a verb, it indicates the grammatical conjugation called the "third person masculine imperfect" which conveys the idea of continuous action, usually expressed as "he is doing," "he was doing," or "he will be doing" something. God used it this way in six Alphabetic Verses. Here are two more examples:

  • AV Ps 111:5b ... HE WILL ever be mindful (yizkor) of his covenant.
  • AV Ps 25:9 The meek WILL HE guide (yadrek) in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

The word translated "guide" in the second example is different from the first. It is based on derek (way), which we saw prefixed with a Bet in the table for that letter above. Yod is one of the seven letters that had its name established by God in the Alphabetic Verses (pg 107). Here is one example:

  • AV Ps 119:73 Thy hands (yadeyka) have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy com-mandments.

The symbolic meaning of Yod is the key to understanding the reason for the Number 10 in the Ten Commandments which are the guide to all our actions. This manifests in many primary themes in 1 Timothy on Spoke 10 (see The Ten Commandments, pg 237).

Kaph Prefix: The Open Hand, the Sign of Similarity

Quicken me AFTER thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

AV Psalm 119:88

כKaph Prefix
כחסדךK'hasd'ka: AFTER thy
lovingkindness
כמהKammah?: How many?

The name of the eleventh letter Kaph denotes the hollow of the hand, the palm of the open hand. It is also translated as spoon. The next section discusses its relation to Yod. When prefixed to a word, Kaph signifies the idea of similarity and is translated with such words as like, how, thus, so, according to, in this manner, and so forth. This is how it is used in the verse above, which in more modern terms would be translated as "according to your lovingkindness." Kaph is frequently prefixed to interrogatives like hm; (mah, what?) to form hM;K' (kammah?) which asks as what? or how many? God used it this way in the following Alphabetic Verse:

  • AV Ps 119:84 How many (kammah) are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

The meaning of Kaph as the sign of similarity is the basis of the name Micah (Spoke 11, Cycle 2), which means "Mi (Who is) K (like) Yah (the Lord)?" The same question is asked in the text of Micah 7:18 so we have a threefold convergence of the meaning of Kaph, Micah's name, and the content of his prophecy on Spoke 11 (see Who is a God like You? pg 243).

Yod and Kaph Suffixes: Mine and Thine

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: THY people shall be MY people, and thy God my God:

Ruth 1:16

Yod and Kaph Suffixes
עםAm: People
עמיAmi: My People
עמךAmkah: Thy People

As noted above, the letters Yod and Kaph denote different aspects of the hand. Yod is the Active Hand by which we manipulate, control, manage, and grasp things. It is a symbol of personal power and possession. Kaph is the Open Hand by which we give and receive things. And as when they were prefixed, so also do their meanings manifest with perfect clarity when they are suffixed. When Yod is suffixed to a word, it signifies the first person possessive, the idea of ME or MINE. This is complimented by Kaph, which is suffixed to indicate the second person possessive, the idea of YOU or YOURS. The verse from Ruth 1:16 beautifully exemplifies their roles in Hebrew grammar. The actual Hebrew underlying the highlighted words reads simply "ammek ammi" which literally means "thy people, my people." These words are listed in the table, where the suffixes and their meanings are highlighted red to stand out. To repeat: when used as a suffix, Yod means MY and Kaph means THY. As an aside, this gives an opportunity to note that Mem and Kaph are two of the letters that are drawn differently when written at the end of a word. The Mem (מ) is drawn more squarely (ם), and Kaph (כ) is elongated (ך). These are called the sofit or final forms. The five letters with sofit forms are listed in the table of the Hebrew Alphabet on page 22.

Meaning of Yod vs. Kaph

The images graphically illustrate the meanings of the Yod and Kaph suffixes. They are pictures of the real meaning of these Hebrew letters. The term "Hebrew Word Picture" is meant to be taken literally. This is why the language is so impressive. It embodies universal gestures in a system of signs that unifies its grammar, its Alphabet, its syntax, and its semantics so that it forms a universal sign language (pun intended). In this example, I used the consonants מפתח (maphte'ach, key, Isaiah 22:22) for the unchanging word base, printed in gray. The different meanings come only from the change of suffixes and vowel points. This is what makes Hebrew such a lucid building-block language. The letters (blocks) carry their own meanings into the words they form. They remain unchanged no matter what vowels you decorate them with, so their symbolic meanings shine forth unobstructed.

Divine Algebra: Putting it all Together

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in se-cret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written ...

Psalm 139:14ff

The table below gathers together the meanings of four of the Letters reviewed above. We have here a lucid threefold convergence of 1) the names of the Letters with 2) their basic symbolic meanings and 3) their grammatical functions:

Meanings of the Hebrew letters

The consistency displayed in each column shows how God designed the names of the letters with their grammatical function in mind. This leads directly to the miraculous heart of the Hebrew language. These letters bring their meanings with them when they combine with each other to form basic Hebrew words. Each letter is like a building-block that contributes its own meaning so that the meaning of the words they form coheres with the meanings of the letters that form them! The table above shows the individual meanings of these four Letters. The table below shows how they combine to form four fundamental words which are used throughout Scripture:

Grammatical functions of the Hebrew letters

This table looks and functions like a standard multiplication table representing a kind of semantic algebra. The Bet Prefix (IN) combines with the Yod Suffix (ME) to form the word Bi (IN ME), and so forth. This kind of Divine coherence characterizes the entire Hebrew language. Just as the individual letters are pictures with profound symbolic overtones, so they combine to form words – Hebrew Word Pictures – with even deeper symbolic overtones. It is truly a Holy Tongue based upon God's Wisdom and designed by Him as the foundation of the large-scale structure of His Word. It is very important to remember that God taught us the meanings of these letters in the Alphabetic Verses. Obviously, He intended for us to study them to discern their meanings. As we shall see, they are the true prophetic keys to the structure of the Wheel of His everlasting Word.

Hebrew Word Pictures

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Matthew 18:16

One of the strongest Biblical tests of truth is the coherence of independent witnesses. The idea of analyzing Hebrew words in terms of the meaning of their constituent letters is very old and is discussed in many ancient Jewish documents. In recent years, it has been popularized in Christian circles by Dr. Frank T. Seekins through his book Hebrew Word Pictures in which he analyzed the relation between the symbolic meanings of the Hebrew Letters and hundreds of the words they form. About two years after I first published the preliminary results of my research on my website BibleWheel.com in February 2001, I was contacted by Dr. Seekins because he thought I was using his work without acknowledging the source. The tight convergence of our conclusions convinced him I must have drawn my understanding directly from his material. The fact is I had never seen his book. But after receiving a copy of it, I quickly understood the cause of his concern. For example, on the first page of Hebrew Word Pictures, Seekins explained how God led him to begin his work when he attended a Hebrew seminar in the 1980s:

The instructor at that seminar shared with us that Hebrew used to be an ideogramic language (i.e. many pictures are used to describe a word). He demonstrated this point with the Hebrew word for shepherd. The three Letters in this word are Resh the head, Ayin the eye and Hey the window. Together these letters reveal the picture for a shepherd as a person looking out of the window or as one who watches intently.

This is very near to the interpretation I had had published on my website for over two years in my article The Chief Shepherd (reproduced in the Synopsis, pg 301). But I did not learn it from a seminar or any book. My conclusions were simply the result of applying the methods discussed in this chapter. This demonstrates the objective reality of these interpretations. Independent researchers come to the same conclusions because they are based on the common, traditional meanings of the letters as revealed in their names, the Alphabetic Verses, Hebrew grammar, and so forth. The review of a few of the primary Hebrew Word Pictures below should make their Divine origin and power clear.

Hebrew Word Picture of the Father

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:15 (Spoke 1, Cycle 3)

אבAv: Father

A premier example of the connection between Hebrew words and the meanings of their constituent letters is found in the primary Aleph KeyWord Av (Father), shown large in the box. It is literally the first word of the Hebrew language because it is spelt with the first two Letters, Aleph (א) and Bet (ב). Their names gave rise to our word for the Alphabet. Most Christians are familiar with its Aramaic cognate Abba found transliterated in Romans 8:15 above. Before analyzing its symbolic meaning, we should recall three simple facts about reading Hebrew:

  • Hebrew is read from right to left. Thus, the Aleph is on the right of the Bet.
  • Hebrew Letters are consonants, though a few have certain vowel-like aspects. The vowels are written with diacritical marks called “vowel points” (pg 19). In the case of av, the little mark that looks like a “T” under the Aleph represents the vowel "qamatz" which sounds like “ah.” The Letter Aleph itself has no sound. Linguists call it a “glottal stop” which basically means that it functions as a placeholder for the vowel (see the Alphabet Table, pg 22). These vowel points were not included in the original Hebrew manuscripts; they were added in the 10th century by scribes called the Massoretes.
  • The Letter Bet has two pronunciations, soft (v) and hard (b). The hard pronunciation is indicated by a dagesh (dot) placed in the center of the letter. There are six other letters that take a dagesh.
Hebrew Word Picture
אב Av: Father
The Leader of the House
אAleph: Leader
בBet: House

Now it is easy to analyze the first Hebrew word. As the first letter, Aleph represents the idea of a Leader or Ruler. This manifests in closely related KeyWords such as Alluph (Leader, Guide, Teacher) which differs from Aleph only in vowel points (pg 60). It combines with the second letter Bet (House) to form Av (Father) which is therefore a compound symbol signifying the Leader (Aleph) of the House (Bet). Its meaning coheres precisely with the symbolic meanings of its constituent letters, and all of this exemplifies the traditional and Biblical definition of a father, as explicitly stated in the qualifications of a bishop in 1 Timothy 3:5:

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

Yet this is only the beginning of wonders. We encountered this KeyWord in the review of the First Spoke (pg 67) where it played a central role in the unique link – the KeyLink – between Genesis 17:4 and Romans 4:17 based on the phrase "a father of many nations"! And as noted then, this Spoke 1 KeyLink and the Aleph KeyWord it is based upon both relate directly to the nature of the First Person of the Trinity, God the Father! We have a threefold convergence that shows the full integration of 1) the reiterative symbolic structure of the first Hebrew word based on the meanings of its constituent letters, 2) the integrated geometric, alphabetic, and thematic structure of the Wheel, and 3) the Triune nature of the Godhead. This extreme coherence, sufficiently plain for any child to see, is typical of each Spoke of the Bible Wheel.

Hebrew Word Picture of the Son

And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

Exodus 4:22 (Spoke 2, Cycle 1)

בןBen: Son

This verse from the Second Spoke contains the first reference to anyone as God's Son. We see the same pattern in the sequence of Psalms where we find the Second Psalm to be the great prophetic Psalm of the Son, the Second Person of the Godhead. Both passages use the Bet KeyWord Ben:

I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son (Ben); this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance (nachal), and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Psalm 2:7-8

Hebrew Word Picture
אב Av: Father
The Leader of the House
אAleph: Leader
בBet: House

This prophetic passage contains the key needed to understand the symbolic meaning of the KeyWord Ben, spelt with a Bet and a Nun, the fourteenth letter. We already know the meaning of Bet as House. The rest of the meaning is wrapped up in the word nachal (inheritance). This is a primary Nun KeyWord that defines a dominant theme of Hebrews on Spoke 14 found in its opening declaration of Christ as the "heir of all things" (Heb 1:2) and its unique promise of an eternal inheritance to the faithful (Heb 9:15, pg 281). God used this word in conjunction with the name of the Fourteenth Letter when He ordained Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land:

But Joshua the son (ben) of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit (nachal) it.

Deuteronomy 1:38

This theme is based on the name of the Fourteenth Letter Nun which literally means to continue, increase, or propagate. It is closely related to the KeyWord neen which denotes progeny or descendents. All of this is discussed in great detail in the Synopsis of Spoke 14. The important point now is to see how the meaning of these letters combine to form the Bet KeyWord Ben (Son) as he who receives his father's House (Bet) for his Inheritance (Nun). Again, this coheres precisely with the traditional and Biblical meaning of this word, and we see another example of the profound theology that God engraved in His Capstone. Note that we have again a threefold coherence of 1) the reiterative symbolic structure of the Bet KeyWord Ben (Son) based on the meanings of its constituent letters, 2) the integrated geometric, alphabetic, and thematic structure of the Wheel, and 3) the nature and title of the Second Person of the Godhead! Moreover, the analysis of this Bet KeyWord followed exactly the same pattern as that of the Aleph KeyWord Av (Father) above. Truly, there is no end to the glory of what God has done in His Word!

Hebrew Word Picture of the Stone

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:10f

Union of the Father and the Son

As a final example that shows the profound theological implications of the Hebrew Language and the Word Pictures it forms, we have the word for stone, ehven. This is the word used in Psalm 118:22 quoted by Peter in Acts 4:12 above. It represents the union of the Father and the Son and so displays the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ who said "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). When the Father (Av) and the Son (Ben) share the same "house" or "dwelling place" (represented by the letter Bet) they form the word ehven, (stone). As it is written, "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2:9) and "Who is a rock but our God?" (Ps 18:1). The word ehven is an anagram of nava (to prophesy). It will play an essential role in our understanding of the Capstone Prophecies in Part III. This interpretation of this Word Picture is very ancient. Rabbi Heshy Grossman explained This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window its relation to the Headstone (Ehven HaRoshah) of Zechariah 4:7 and the Stone of Israel, citing the commentary on Genesis 49:24 by Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki known by the acronym Rashi (died 1105 AD):

Av is spelled 'Aleph' - 'Bais' [=Bet], for this is the beginning of the proper Seder [Order] in life. When things begin thus, all of life continues in a productive and worthwhile manner, and the ongoing process of Divine revelation continues its uninterrupted growth. This true beginning is the basis of all existence, and the foundation of our world. It is the "Ehven HaRoshah" (Zechariah 4:7) - the rock of creation. Upon this altar, Avraham Avinu [our Father] offers his son Isaac as a sacrifice to G-d, and it is this sanctity that subsequently pervades the Holy Temple. The word "Ehven" is also rooted in the 'Aleph' - 'Bais', with the all-encompassing 'Nun' that is the middle of the alphabet immediately following - and it alludes as well to the 'Av' and 'Ben' - father and son. "MiSham Ro'eh Ehven Yisrael [From thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel]" - this [Ehven] is an acronym – 'Av' and 'Ben' – fathers and sons, Ya'akov and his children." (Rashi, Breishis 49:24)

This discussed more here.





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