Archive for the ‘Hebrew Lexicon’ Category

Fear – Hebrew: yirah

The word ‘fear’ is found 475 times in the Old Testament. It is used to describe a reverence for God through obedience, feeling distressed in a situation, or trembling with fear from uncontrollable circumstances.

יראה

“Adonai ordered us to observe all these laws, to fear Adonai our God, always for our own good, so that he might keep us alive, as we are today” (Deuteronomy 6:24).

The Hebrew word for ‘fear’ in this verse is yirah and means ‘reverence’ and ‘awesome.’ Its root is yare and means ‘morally irreverent.’

When we ‘fear’ God, we will be ‘morally reverent’ to His laws, commandments, Torah. We will obey Him and receive His righteousness and be ‘kept alive.’ If we do not yirah Him, we will live an immoral life, rejecting everything He gave us ‘for our own good’ and ‘die.’

In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Chava sinned, they did not ‘reverence’ God and obey His one command ‘to not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.’ Thus, they died. Yeshua, reverenced the Torah of His Father, and because of his righteousness was able to atone for our sins and bring us life. We are to live like Yeshua, obeying and fearing God.

תירא

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be distressed, for I am your God. I give you strength, I give you help, I support you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

“He said, “You man so greatly loved, don’t be afraid. Shalom to you; and be strong, yes, truly strong.” His speaking to me strengthened me, and I said, “My lord, keep speaking; because you’ve given me strength” (Daniel 10:19).

The Hebrew word for ‘afraid’ in these verses is is tirah and literally means ‘to be full of fear’. This type of ‘fear’ causes distress (metzar) or ‘terror’. According to Isaiah, we are not to distress and be afraid as God will support us through his ‘right hand’ which is a allusion to Yeshua.

When the messenger came to Daniel, he was also told not to be distressed. He reminded Daniel that he was greatly loved. Daniel was strengthened hearing the words of Adonai and received ‘shalom.’

הרדת

“Fearing human beings is a snare; but he who trusts in Adonai will be raised high [above danger]” Proverbs 29:25).

The Hebrew word for fear in this verse is, charadat, and means a ‘trembling’ fear. This is what Yeshua was referring to in Luke 21:26 when he said about the end days, “as people faint with fear at the prospect of what is overtaking the world ....” We are not to get caught in the snare of what is overtaking the world. We are to put our faith in Adonai and be ‘raised high above danger.’

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Soul/Spirit – Hebrew: Nefesh

נפש

When Elohim created the animals and Adom – both ‘breathing creatures – he put a ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ within them. This ‘soul’ was an animal-type ‘spirit’ called a nefesh that lives by instinct and flesh desires likes emotions and the mind.

A nefesh does seeks the divine Creator. It doesn’t have personal awareness nor does it have the ability to reason. It just exists in the physical realm. This nefesh gains worldly knowledge from its ‘flesh’ voice and the voices of men. The nefesh is what drives men to the sins of ‘lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life.’

One of my Bible teachers explained saying that in the garden the neshama – the spiritual man ruled over the nefesh – the flesh man. When Adam sinned, there was a flip-flop. The nefesh began to rule over the neshama. Though we may be born again of the Ruach and water, in this life we will always be in a spiritual battle between the nefesh and the neshama. The Ruach haKodesh was poured out so that we would have the power to keep the neshama ruling.

Hebrew Word Pictures

spirit – nefesh – נפש

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Pey is a ‘mouth’ and means ‘to speak’

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘to change’

Nefesh means ‘life speaks to change’ (dust of the earth into life)

Sha’ul (Paul) refers to this ‘soul man’ as the ‘carnal man’ or the man controlled by his ‘old nature’ who is hostile to God, His Torah and whose life ends in death.

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self [nefesh] was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (Romans 6:5-7).

“For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God’s Torah — indeed, it cannot. Thus, those who identify with their old nature cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the [carnal] flesh [nefesh] sets its desire against the Spirit [Ruach], and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another …” (Galatians 5:16-17).

“In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit [nephesh] that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh [nefesh] and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath …” (Ephesians 2:2-3).

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit [ruach] is willing, but the flesh [nefesh] is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

“Because all the things of the world — the desires of the old nature [flesh], the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life [pride] — are not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16).

“Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh [carnality] his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5).

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Soul/Spirit – Hebrew: Neshama

נשמה

When Elohim breathed the ‘breath’ of life into Adam, it was His ‘breath,’ his ‘holy wind’ or the Ruach haKodesh. This ‘breath of life’ spirit/soul is called the neshama. The neshama set mankind apart from the animals nullifying the whole idea of evolution.

The neshama seeks a relationship with its Creator. The neshama is self-aware and seeks divine nourishment ‘like the deer pants for living water.’ This neshama gains wisdom from listening to the voice of God. Sadly, for Adam and Chavah, they sinned against Elohim by listening to their fleshly desires and lost the ability to ‘hear’ His voice. Consequently, we are all born without that ability.

“But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it” (Numbers 14:24).

Caleb had a different ‘spirit’ and followed God fully. This meant that his neshama was alive through the Ruach haKodesh. He heard the voice of God and obeyed.

After the fall in the Garden of Eden, the neshama of man had to be restored. This was why the Ruach haKodesh had to be poured out. To begin the full restoration of mankind, to put to death the ‘carnal,’ ‘flesh,’ ‘old man’ in order to become a ‘new creation.’

One of my Bible teachers explained saying that in the garden the neshama – the spiritual man ruled over the nefesh – the flesh man. When Adam sinned, there was a flip-flop. The nefesh began to rule over the neshama. Though we may be born again of the Ruach and water, in this life we will always be in a spiritual battle between the nefesh and the neshama. The Ruach haKodesh was poured out so that we would have the power to keep the neshama ruling.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘change’ or Shekinah, the Divine Presence

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘mighty’ or ‘to come from’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Neshama means ‘reveal the mighty life change to the divine‘ (taking the ‘flesh man’ and making him a ‘spiritual man’

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self [nefesh] with its evil practices, and have put on the new self [neshama] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him...” (Colossians 3:9-10 NASB).

“In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self [nefesh], which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit [neshama] of your mind, 24 and put on the new self…” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

“It teaches us to renounce godlessness and worldly pleasures [nefesh], and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives now [neshama], in this age …” (Titus 2:12).

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Helper: Hebrew: Shammes

The Hebrew words shamash שמש or the Yiddish shammes שמש (spelled identically but with a different vowels) mean ‘helper’ and is used to describe the person who looks after the synagogue.

Hebrew Word Pictures

ש  shin is a picture of a ‘tooth’ and means to ‘destroy’ or also corresponds to the Shekinah or glory of Elohim

 מ Mem is a picture of ‘water’ and means ‘chaos’

ש  shin is a picture of a ‘tooth’ and means to ‘destroy’ or also corresponds to the Shekinah or glory of Elohim

The word pictures can mean ‘destroying the chaos with the glory of Elohim’

The shamash or shammes is the ‘set apart’ candle on a Hanukkiah that is used to light the rest of the candles.

Some suggest that because the word shamash has ties to the Babylonian/Assyrian god known for truth and justice, that Hanukkah is rooted in a pagan festival and should not be celebrated. It is interesting when looking at the god Shamash: he was responsible for maintaining the order of the universe, nothing could be hidden from his bright light which banished darkness and revealed lies. It was said that his ‘eye’ could see everything.

The Jewish people had by the time of the Feast of Dedication been sent to live in foreign cultures. They had been dispersed to Babylon and Assyria and could very easily have incorporated ‘foreign’ words into their vocabulary just as we have with the days of the week. Thursday for Thor, Wednesday for Odin, even Saturday for Saturn. Perhaps even to worship the God of Israel, they used the term ‘shamash’ in order to just stay alive. I don’t know; I wasn’t there. What I do understand is the struggle to find ways to express dearly held beliefs in order to fit into an intolerant culture.

From a different perspective, perhaps the multi-god cultures of Babylon and Assyria saw the power of the God of Israel in the Jewish people around them. Perhaps they saw how He helped His chosen people, remained a light in their midst, and lived lives based on Truth. Perhaps they chose the Hebrew word shamash for their god. Remember that Sha’ul saw in Athens idols with names for all manner of gods, but there was one unnamed that they worshipped in ignorance. Of course, he revealed the name of that God, the yod hey vav hey.

In either scenario, one word that means ‘helper’ in Hebrew does not a pagan practice make. With its Hebrew word pictures possibly depicting the ‘destruction of chaos by the glory of Elohim’ presents an extraordinary view of Hanukkah that fits the description found in Maccabees. There was great chaos caused by the Syrians (Assyrians) who murdered the Jewish people for their faith and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple and its altar had to be rededicated back to Elohim and according to the commands in Torah, that dedication must last eight days. For these reasons alone should Hanukkah be commemorated in support of the people and nation of Israel.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

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