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Facets of God Displayed in the Hebrew Aleph-Bet (Aleph-Bet-Gimel)—Part One
As many of you know my favorite Biblical studies center around the ancient Hebraic roots of our Christian faith. In many of my articles, I like to include Hebrew word studies and the pictographs they contain that can sometimes give us a more detailed and in-depth view of Biblical concepts.
In this series of articles, I would like to look at each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet and show how each one magnificently portrays a facet of Gods character. Please note that the words with Hebrew fonts are to be read from right to left. Knowing Hebrew won't be necessary but it is helpful to know the directional aspect when I am describing the position of the letter within the Word. So when I mention the first letter it will be on the letter on the right.
It is also important to note that the fonts I am using in this article are modern Hebrew ones that were developed during the Babylonian captivity and are what is used in Israel today. In their most ancient form, these letters were actual images of the pictographs we are studying.
We begin with the letter Aleph. Aleph "א" is a picture of an ox or a bull. This animal is known for its strength...
much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
— Proverbs 14:4
Aleph shows us that God is strong!
The very first revealed name of God in the scriptures is Elohim (אלהים) which begins with the letter "aleph" and denotes His strength as seen in creation.
In the beginning God (Elohim - אלהים) created the heavens and the earth
— Genesis 1:1
The Aleph "א" also has to do with origins and beginnings considering it is the "first" letter in the Aleph-Bet and also depicted in the above verse. It is the "first" letter in the Hebrew word for father (ab - אב ) more familiarly "abba" which is also the very "first" word in the Hebrew dictionary. The Lord's prayer as taught by Jesus Himself "begins" with "Our Father".
An ox is also noted for its dependability and reliability. In fact, the early pioneers preferred oxen over mules or horses for pulling wagons, for this very reason.
...know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God...
— Deuteronomy 7:9
Aleph begins with showing us the strong dependable Father.
The Father's Love Revealed
It is also a relevant connection that the Hebrew word for love "ahab" - אהב contains the same letters as "father" with the addition of one letter in the middle.
"Ab" the Hebrew word for father is spelled with an aleph and a bet אב (reminder to read the Hebrew word beginning on the right)
Love is spelled with an "aleph", a "hey", and "bet" אהב.
From a pictograph perspective, the "hey's" position in the middle of the word (between the aleph and bet - Hebrew word for father) signifies the heart of the word and "hey" itself is a picture of a window represents something revealed. In other words, love may be defined as the heart of the Father revealed. What is in the heart of the Father is love.
Remember Philips plea to Jesus
“Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
— John 14:8
It was as if Philip was saying that it's all we need to know. That is what Jesus came essentially to do was show us the heart full of the love of the Father.
"Jesus said to him...He who has seen Me has seen the Father"
— John 14:9
It was Jesus who demonstrated this heart of love for us as shown in this next word revelation.
The two letters ending Ahab (love) are "hey" and "bet" and this Hebrew word is an abbreviation for a word meaning to give. Keep in mind that the Bull or Ox is also known to be a sacrificial animal, let's read this very familiar portion of scripture that ties this all together.
For God (the Father) so loved the world that He gave (sacrificed) His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
— John 3:16
A revelation of the Father's love as revealed in the sacrificial giving of His Son that cleansed us from our sin that paved a way for a new eternal beginning.
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love...
— Jeremiah 31:3
"In Aramaic the term Abba (Father) is a term of intimacy and respectful familiarity, a word of belonging and connection, of family and protection and of love...A fathers love formed the center of the household"
— David Timms "Living the Lord's Prayer"
The second letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet is "Bet" "ב". "Bet" is a picture of a house or floor plan of a tent and comes with idea of home and family
"Bet" is the first letter of the word "son" (ben בן). It is also the first letter of the word for build benah בנה. We can see that one letter "hey" is added to son to form the word build. When hey is at the end of the word it can indicate "what comes from" building up the family name was the responsibility of a son. It was pertinent in ancient culture to preserve the family name and line. What comes from the son? The family
This letter shows us Jesus the Son of God who was sent to build a family.
Is this not the carpenter...?
— Mark 6:3
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named
— Ephesians 3:14
We know from the scriptures that we are that temple.
...you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
— I Peter 2:5
"Christ Himself is the builder of his spiritual temple, and has built it on the mountain of His unchangeable affection, His omnipotent grace, and His infallible truthfulness."
"Each individual believer is being prepared and polished and made ready for his place in the temple, but Christs own hand performs the preparation work"
— C.H. Spurgeon
Gimel "ג" is the third letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet and it is a picture of a camel. In a previous hub "Bless and Knee" it was noted that the camel could be viewed as a bestower of blessings and benefits. The Holy Spirit can be shown in this concept.
A camel traverses through the wilderness to bestow benefits
Just as the Holy Spirit is a bestower of Christ to man. We see this in the beginning in the creation narrative.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters
— Genesis 1:2
We can see a vast dark and deep wilderness of nothingness and the Spirit of God brooding over it.
A camel ("gimel") is noted for its kneeling as well as its lifting up. It was the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead and bestowed the treasures from above to us.
Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
— Acts 2:33
Some more on the benefits bestowed...
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him
— Acts 10:38
This next verse ties together the first three letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet in showing us a facet of God.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
— Romans 5:5
It is the Love of God the Father (Aleph) poured into our hearts through His Son (Bet) by the Holy Spirit (Gimel) who was given to us (bestowed upon us).
This wraps up the first part of the series. The next article will look at the next three letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet which are "dalet", "hey", and "vav".