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The 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is LAMED.
The numeric value of LAMED is 30.
The pictogram, or symbol, behind the shape of the letter LAMED is a staff.
A staff is a symbol of authority. It is not the same as a sceptre. The sceptre is the pictogram for the Hebrew letter ZAYIN. That represents the symbol of authority of a king. The sceptre of a king was also held in the hand. It was smaller than a staff, but it was made of gold.
This staff is a wooden rod. It could be used to prod someone – to get them moving. Moses carried a staff.
Look at this line of letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The LAMED is the only letter that reaches above the line.
In ancient Hebrew writing, the upward reach of the letter was even more pronounced. You can see it here on a segment from one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that date back to before the time of Jesus.
The LAMED really did look like the sort of staff that a shepherd would carry. The sort of staff that a shepherd might use to separate sheep from goats.
The word LAMED – the name of the letter – is spelled LAMED MEM DALET. This is the 3-letter root (in Hebrew, we would say the "shoresh").
LAMED MEM DALET, the same spelling, but pronounced “lamad”, means: to learn, to train for, to be trained (implying training that would be put to use).
LAMED MEM DALET (also pronounced “lamad”) also means: to teach, to instruct, to impart knowledge
LAMED MEM DALET (same spelling) but pronounced “limud”, means: a disciple (one who is taught), a follower
I am sure you have caught the idea that is on view here.
The Hebrew alphabet – all 22 letters – might be divided into two sets of 11 letters (2 x 11). 11 is a prime number (the 5th prime number) and 2 is a prime number (the 1st prime number). Two is a unique prime number. It is the only prime number that is an even number.
The first verse of the Bible, Genesis chapter 1 verse 1, says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
In Hebrew, that is "Bereshit bara Elohim et ha’shamayim ve’et ha’aaretz." The middle word "et" has two letters. It is an untranslatable word in Hebrew grammar. It points to the direct object. It is made up of two Hebrew letters – the first and the last letters of the alphabet – ALEF and TAV. Jesus said that He is "the first and the last ... the beginning and the end".
With all this in mind, look at this line of letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The first 11 letters speak of our rescue – the fact that Jesus rescued us – out of the world, out of darkness – and brought us to Himself, into Himself.
The second set of 11 letters begins with this upward-reaching letter LAMED. This set of 11 letters speaks of our race – the fact that we are called on to persevere, in faith in Jesus, to the end. In ourselves, we are not capable of the effort. But in His strength, as we look to Him, supernatural power is available.
Now, look beyond the first and last letters of the alphabet. They speak of Jesus, obviously ... the ALEF and TAV. He is pre-eminent. And He is the culmination of all things.
Now see how the letters we have already covered can be grouped in sets of two.
BET GIMEL: We start a pilgrimage, from flimsy tent of this life, to stone building, toward our permanent home in the heavenlies ... one that can never spoil or fade. It is His household. We flow in His Spirit.
DALET HEH: Jesus is the door. Jesus is revealed as the One who has made it possible to move from darkness to light, from death to life.
VAV ZAYIN: Jesus connects us to heaven. The nail and the sceptre are almost identical in shape. Jesus, the Son of Man, is also the Son of God, and the King of Kings. First the cross, then the crown. First the thorns, then the throne.
CHET TET: Jesus is the doorway – the only way to God – the entrance into the Holy Place. And then the veil is torn, so that we may enter boldly into the Holy of Holies.
YUD KAF: The two hands of Jesus, stretched out. Jesus is the right hand of God in Scripture. And Jesus is now at the right hand of God in heaven. He is the atonement, the sacrifice for our sins.
Now, here is the thing ... we can see the way of salvation, the path to life, represented in these symbols.
The last letter KAF has a final form, when it appears at the end of a word. That form indicates a "going down". Jesus died and was buried. In Him, we too died to the old life. In baptism, we too were buried.
And, with LAMED, the start of the new life – born again – we are raised. Jesus was raised from the dead. In Him, we too have entered into a new life. He went down, to go up. We also go down, so that we can go up.
Now, in this matter of going on – unto full stature, unto maturity in Christ – it is so that we can be useful to Him, so that we can bring Him glory. It is a process of learning, of being discipled, then teaching others, discipling them.
"Although He was a Son, Jesus learned obedience from the things He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). If Jesus, though He was fully God, had to be trained and disciplined during His time as a man on earth, how much more are all of us in need of training and discipline?
We are not here to learn the letter of the Law. We are here to learn to walk in the Spirit. "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Corinthians 3:6). The letter (of the Law) kills, because it is meant to kill. It is meant to bring us to an end of ourselves, so that we can learn to walk according to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus came to rescue sinners. Jesus was a friend of sinners. Having received mercy and grace, we are to learn to extend mercy and grace to others (Matthew 9:13).
Jesus is our Teacher (John 13:13). His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, now teaches us (John 14:26). God has also given us teachers and pastors, to walk alongside us, to instruct us and to help us.
Having received mercy and forgiveness, we are to lead others into this new life and onto to the way of righteousness. King David, after he received forgiveness, wrote: "I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will turn to You" (Psalm 51:13).
When we are fully trained, God promises, we will be like our Teacher (Luke 6:40). We will never be above Him, but we will be like Him – in manner and in love.
With understanding of Hebraic thought, and awareness of design elements in the Scriptures, we take a journey of growth in Christ Jesus.
The seminar “Bringing sons to glory” starts with Session 1: “You are gods” What did Jesus mean? ... and continues through the Psalms of Ascent.
This series will increase your knowledge of biblical Hebrew.