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The 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Nun.
The numeric value of NUN is 50. The pictogram, or symbol, behind the shape of the letter NUN, is an upright – something straight up and down.
This is particularly evident in the shape of the letter NUN in its final form.
Of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, five have a final form – a different shape when they occur at the end of a word.
The five letters that have a final form are KAF, MEM, NUN, PEH and TSADI.
In Hebrew, these are known as the "sofit" letters, from the Hebrew word "sof" (SAMECH VAV PEH), meaning "end" or conclusion. Jewish rabbis have long debated why God arranged the Hebrew alphabet in this way. The arrangement is not an accident.
We have already seen how the Hebrew alphabet of 22 letters can be split into two groups of eleven letters. The first group indicates our "rescue" ... the fact that Jesus rescued us out of the world, out of darkness.
The second group of eleven letters points to our "race" ... the fact that we are called on to persevere to the end, in faith in Jesus.
The last letter in the first group of eleven letters is KAF. And KAF is the first Hebrew letter that takes a final form when it appears at the end of a word. The shape of the final form of KAF indicates a "going down". Jesus died and was buried. In Him, we too died ... to the old life.
And the next letter, LAMED, indicates the fact that after death there is a "going up" ... a resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead. In Him, we are born again.
It is not an accident that KAF is the first letter that takes on this final form, and that it indicates a "going down" ... an end of the old life.
Note that the letter after LAMED is MEM. MEM also has a final form – but a very different final form. MEM speaks of the water of the Word of God. The letter MEM has an opening in its shape. In its final form, the opening is closed. It is "completed", we might say.
The Word of God, in the Old Testament, promised that God would institute a new covenant. Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 31 says: "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ..."
The Old Testament Scriptures end without the fulfillment of this promise. The Word of God is "incomplete" at this point.
But, in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, the Scriptures are completed – the circle is completed.
So, we have 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, with five final forms. There are 27 forms of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and there are 27 books in the New Testament.
Back to the letter NUN. NUN has this final form that indicates a "going down", and there are two more letters that we shall see soon, PEH and TZADI, that also have a final form that indicates a "going down".
What is this all about? I thought we went down, in order to go up. What is this going down again all about?
Think about this. Jesus died on the cross and was buried. Three days later, He rose from the grave. And He was seen by the disciples. He talked with them. He ate with them. He was alive. But He was not yet glorified.
40 days later ... 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3), He ascended to heaven. His resurrection from the dead proved that there is life after death. But the 40 day period between His resurrection and ascension demonstrates that, after we get spiritually born again, we still have to live out a time on this earth before we enter our inheritance in the heavenlies.
The New Testament speaks of this eternal state as if we were already there. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3 for example says that God has: "... blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies ..." We own these blessings. They have been promised to us. But we are not there yet. There is some enduring and some transformation work to be done.
This was also demonstrated in the Old Testament. Abraham, for example, was told by God that He would inherit the promised land. Hebrews chapter 11 verses 8-10 say: "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance, and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise ... dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise. He was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. They did not receive what was promised, because God had planned something better. It is that only together with us would they be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:39-40).
After we are called and saved (by faith in Jesus) we have to walk out a pilgrimage to the end of this life on earth. We have an assurance of what is to come, but we are a work in progress. We are on our way, but we are not there yet.
And here is the thing about the Christian life ... we go down in order to go up. We overcome by going down. We die, daily, to ourselves. We learn, as an act of our will, to give up our selfish desires. There must be less of us and more of Jesus on view.
Sin has been dealt with at the cross. The price has been paid. But our natural life is to be reduced ... and it is an ongoing battle throughout this life ... a battle where we are called on constantly to make choices, to deny ourselves – taking the way of the cross.
In the letter NUN we see the upright character of Jesus. And we see how He did not make this a reason to stay aloof from all of us ... aloof from people who are less than perfect.
Jesus lowered Himself. And we are called on to do so too ... to allow Him to reduce us.
The name of the letter NUN is spelled NUN VAV NUN. The word NUN means "to continue". It also means "to propagate – to cause to multiply". And it is in the strength of Jesus and by His Spirit that we continue in the life of faith. It is He who makes us fruitful.
Jesus said: "... without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). He also said: "Abide in Me" (John 15:4). You cannot bear fruit unless you stay attached to Him. And Jesus also said: "Every branch that bears fruit, God prunes, so that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2).
That is what God is doing in us. He is constantly pruning so that we will be more fruitful. Less of us. More of Him.
Jesus is the Branch of the LORD. Isaiah wrote: "A shoot will spring up from the stem of Jesse ..." (Jesse was the father of King David. And King David was the forefather of the line of Jesus.) "A shoot will spring up from the stem of Jesse and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him." (Isaiah 11:1-2)
Branch in Hebrew is "netser" (NUN TSADI RESH). Jesus was raised in the town of Nazareth. In Hebrew "Natsrat". (NUN TSADI RESH TAV). The same Hebrew root as "netser" (NUN TSADI RESH) meaning "branch".
Jesus, the Nazarene ... Jesus, the Branch of the LORD. And the word in modern Hebrew for "Christians" is "Notsrim" (NUN TSADI RESH YUD MEM) ... "Branches".
The letter NUN and the word "nun" speak of Jesus.
Psalm 72 is a Messianic psalm. Verse 1 says: "Give the king Your judgments O LORD, and Your righteousness to the king’s son." Verse 7: "In His days may the righteous flourish and abundance of peace until the moon is no more." Verse 17 says: "May His name endure forever. May His name be magnified as long as the sun, and let men bless themselves by Him. Let all nations call Him blessed."
Here is a verse pointing clearly to Jesus. In Hebrew, the numeric value is 3108, which is a number that breaks down to 2 x 2 x 777. Or we could express it as 2 x 2 x 3 x 7 x 37.
And the middle two words in the verse, "yinon shemo" have a numeric value of 462, which breaks down to 3 x 7 x 22.
These middle two words, "yinon shemo" are translated "May His name be magnified". "Shemo" ... "His name". "Yinon" ... "be magnified". Here we see the "shoresh" (the root) NUN VAV NUN. Translated "be magnified". And indeed, may His name, the name of Jesus, be magnified.
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.