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Hundreds of years ago, Jewish scholars studying the Hebrew Scriptures, discovered something remarkable. It is a phenomenon in their Holy Book that doesn't occur in any other writings, and that could not have happened by accident.
A little background ... we Christians often refer to the Hebrew Scriptures as the “Old Testament”, and we do this to contrast with the “New Testament”. Well, for Old Testament we could say the “Old Covenant”, and for New Testament we could say the “New Covenant”. Because the “old” is a reference to the fact that God made a covenant of Law ... a conditional covenant with the people of Israel through Moses. The New Covenant was put in place when Jesus died on the cross, paying with His blood sacrifice for the redemption of all who would place their faith in Him.
The story of Jesus, and His death and resurrection, and the giving of the Holy Spirit, was unveiled to us in the 27 books of the New Testament, all recorded nearly 2,000 years ago, and delivered to us in Greek.
The Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, the 39 books of the Old Testament, had been written by the prophets of Israel over a period of about a thousand years, starting with Moses. Moses wrote the Torah.
Torah means “law”.
The Old Testament (as we call it) ... the 39 books delivered to us in the Hebrew script ... is arranged in three sections. The first five books comprise the first section – the Law of Moses – the Torah. Then we get the prophetic books, written by the prophets of Israel – in Hebrew we would say the “Nevi’im”.
And then the Holy Writings – books like Psalms – in Hebrew we would say the “Ketuvim”. And taking the first letters of each of those three words – Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim – we have an abbreviation “Tanach”. What we call the Old Testament, Jews would call the “Tanach”, often shortened as a reference to “Torah” since that is the first section of the Tanach.
The first five books of Moses are foundational, and are the most important in the Hebrew Scriptures. And in that, the first book, Genesis, sets the mark for understanding everything that follows.
Now, let us return to the Jewish scholars and the discovery that they made hundreds of years ago.
The first word of the Bible – the first word of the book of Genesis – is “bereshit” (in the beginning). Starting with the last letter of this word, which is a TAV, they found the Hebrew word “Torah” spelled out every 50th letter.
Here you see it on the screen. TAV. Now count seven times seven letters (that is 49 letters), and the 50th letter is a VAV. Then count seven times seven letters (49 letters), and the 50th letter is a RESH. Then count 49 letters, and the 50th letter is a HEH. TAV VAV RESH HEH spells “Torah”. It might be a coincidence – an accident.
Then they went to the next book of the Bible ... Exodus ... and they found exactly the same phenomenon. Starting at the beginning of the book and starting with the last letter of this word “shemot” – the last letter is a TAV – they counted 49 letters, and the 50th letter is a VAV. Then 49 letters and the 50th letter is a RESH. Then 49 letters and the 50th is a HEH. “Torah”. Now we are moving outside the realm of coincidence. This looks like design.
What about the third book of the Bible – Leviticus – the middle book of the five books of the Torah? Here they did not find the word “Torah”. Instead, they found the 4-letter word that represents the name of God – the unpronounceable name – YUD HEH VAV HEH. When reading aloud and we come to this word in the Old Testament, we say “Adonai” (LORD) or "Ha Shem" (the Name).
Starting with the second letter in the first word in the book of Leviticus ... the second letter in “va’yikra” – this letter YUD ... they counted seven letters and then the 8th letter is a HEH. Count another seven letters and the 8th letter is a VAV. Count another seven letters and the 8th letter is a HEH. YUD HEH VAV HEH ... the word that represents the name of God.
Did you listen to Session 6 in this series? YUD HEH VAV HEH is a hint of the name of Jesus. Interesting?
What about the next book of the Bible – Numbers? Here they found the word “Torah” again, at an equidistant skip sequence every 50th letter, but this time spelled backwards – pointing inwards, so to speak – pointing to the name of the LORD. In fact, the word “Adonai” (YUD HEH VAV HEH) is the second word in the book of Numbers, and the reverse skip sequence starts immediately after that word, with the HEH in “Moshe” (Moses). HEH RESH VAV TAV. “Torah” spelled backwards, every 50th letter.
This phenomenon in the Bible has come to be known as ELSS – Equidistant Letter Skip Sequences. It is not mysticism ... it is not something to be afraid of ... it is simply there ... it is a fact. You can check it. It is easy. You don’t have to be a Hebrew scholar to do it. You can download a pdf file from our website where this video sessin is embedded, and you can check it for yourself. It is a “watermark” ... a “finger-print” of God. It proves His hand of design.
The early findings are exciting but now, in the computer age, we are discovering that there is much, much more, encoded so to speak in the Hebrew Scriptures.
For a few more examples, let us go back to the book of Genesis, to the opening five verses. It is where the word “Torah” is embedded, and there are other words that I would like you to see.
(1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (2) The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (3) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (4) God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. (5) God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, day one.
In Hebrew that reads:
(1) Bereshit bara Elohim et ha’shamayim ve’et ha’aaretz. (2) Ve’ha’aaretz hayitah tohu ve’bohu ve hoshech al-pnei tehom. Ve Ruach Elohim merachefet al-pnei ha’mayim. (3) Va’yomer Elohim yehi or, ve’yehi or. (4) Ve’yar Elohim et-ha’or ki-tov, va’yevdel Elohim bein ha’or ou’bein ha’hoshech (5) va’yikrah Elohim la’or yom ve’la’hoshech kara lilah. Va’yi’erev va’yi’boker yom echad.
The word “Torah” is encoded from the TAV in bereshit, the first word, at a skip sequence of every 50th letter. Count 49 letters (7 times 7), and then the next letter is the letter that spells out “Torah”. We get an idea of the significance of this in the book of Leviticus.
Chapter 25, verses 8-10 say:
(8) ... count off ... seven times seven years ... forty-nine years.
(9) ... then sound a shofar (shofar is a ram’s horn trumpet) ... on the day of atonment ...
(10) ... consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you ... and each of you shall return to his own property, and each shall return to his family.
Fifty is an important and symbolic number. From this passage about the Jubilee, the fiftieth year, we see that it looks ahead to redemption. To being brought out of bondage. But Torah means "Law" ... the Law. It is about having to measure up, to reach a standard in order to be accepted.
It is not freeing. But it is freeing if it brings you to the place where you realise that you don’t measure up, and you can’t measure up, and you see that you need a Savior. That you need the Messiah. And it is liberating if you see in the Scriptures who that Messiah is. It is a gift. It is a blessing from God.
(Back to Genesis 1:1-5 in Hebrew) Starting with the same letter, TAV, the last letter of the first word, but now counting every 26th letter, we find the word “trumah”, spelled out. In Hebrew, “trumah” means “gift”. TAV RESH VAV MEM HEH.
Every 26th letter is interesting. We haven’t yet got to numeric values, but the numeric value of the word that represents the name of God, YUD HEH VAV HEH, is 26, and we will be covering that in the sessions ahead.
(Back to Genesis 1:1-5 in Hebrew) Starting with the third letter in the third word, HEH ... that is the middle letter in the word "Elohim". Starting from that HEH, every 14th letter (that is 2 x 7), spells out “ha’ot”, HEH ALEF VAV TAV, which means in Hebrew “the sign” and, if you have been following these sessions, you will understand the significance of that word “ot”. It points to Jesus.
Starting from the first letter of the fifth word, the HEH in ha’shamayim. Again, count every 14th letter, and it spells “ha’or”. In Hebrew, “the light”. HEH ALEF VAV RESH. The light. Jesus said He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12).
Starting from the second letter of the fifth word, the SHIN in ha’shamayim. Every 26th letter – there is that number 26 again – spells “shofar”, the ram’s horn trumpet ... the trumpet that will be blown on the Day of Atonement.
If you have been following these sessions, I am sure that you can see hints of Jesus in this opening passage of Genesis. But there is an even stronger pointer a little further on in chapter 1. Genesis 1, verses 14 to 19 is the account of creation on the fourth day. God created the sun, moon and stars to be lights in the heavens.
From verse 17 we read: “God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.”
“Va’yiten otam Elohim be’rakiya ha’shamayim le’hier al-ha’aaretz, ve’limshol be’yom ou’va’lilah ou’le’havdil bein ha’or ou bein ha’hoshech va’yaar Elohim ki-tov. Va’yi’erev va’yi’boker yom revii.“
Starting with the fourth letter of the third word ... the third word is Elohim, the word that means God ... the fourth letter is the YUD. From that point, every 26th letter (there is that number again) spells “Yeshua”, Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus. YUD SHIN VAV AYIN.
The promised Messiah made His appearance to the people of Israel, in the land of Israel, at the end of four thousand years of history. Four thousand years after the creation account.
(See Psalm 90:4 ... “A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”)
Jesus, Yeshua, the Light of the world.
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.