Abram was the first in scripture to be called 'Hebrew'. Why? What does it mean? Is it only referring to the lineage that Abram descended from? Or, is there an understanding of this discriptive term that also applies to us, as Believers In Christ? This writing explores this concept.
The Coarse Course of YHWH
PART ELEVEN HYH vs HVH
The three-letter Hebrew word ‘hyh’ is easily recognizable to most Bible adherents, though the casual reader may not immediately recognize it, and some even pursue the understanding of this word/concept to the extreme. Admittedly, this writer is one of those ‘extremists’. This word ‘hyh’ is used continuously throughout the Old Testament scripture, and in a variety of forms of expression. This three-letter verb is pronounced phonetically as ‘hah-yah’, and in Strong’s Concordance is designated as #1961. It is used in the three-letter root form 345 times in scripture, according to concordances, and many times more than that when spelled in different compounds. The most recognizable translation of this word ‘hyh’ is found in Ex. 3:14, where it is translated simply as “I AM”.
KJV Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
There are no adherents to Judaism, nor serious Bible students anywhere in history, that have not pondered over what this verse is revealing, and the importance of “I AM”. Very, very few Believers have ever gained an acceptable understanding of this word/concept. The misinterpretations of this simple but life-changing word have caused confusions beyond description, and those confusions (babylon) have kept most ‘seekers’ from understanding the importance of the appearance of Yashua as Messiah. These misunderstandings have also prevented most from grasping the Spirit Life of the message Yashua came to deliver. Yashua declared to us, “The words that I speak are Spirit and Life”. [John 6:63] In Yashua’s own words, his mission to mankind (adam) was to deliver to us the identity of, and accessibility to, I AM. The entirety of the Gospel of John is the continual declaration of Yashua as I AM. At this point, most reading this will continue to think that Yashua (Jesus) was declaring himself to be the only and unique expression of I AM. How wrong has been our understanding!
The Hebrew word ‘hyh’ is simply the equivalent of the English verb ‘to be’. Do you remember all of the times in English grammar class that you had to conjugate the verb ‘to be’? Did you have to memorize all of the tenses of the verb ‘to be’? I am, you are, he is; we are, you are, they are. We had to learn ‘first person’, ‘second person’ and ‘third person’ tenses, in singular form as well as plural forms, to properly express our English language conversation. This Hebrew word ‘hyh’ is the precursor of our English concept of ‘the verb to be’. And this word, in its many different compounds, perfectly expresses every possible scenario of existence, just as the many tenses of the English language do. It is also the perfect example of the concept of “I AM”. ‘hyh’ is first person tense identity, and is the quality of ‘God awareness’ that was being revealed to Moses in Ex. 3:14. I Exist! And, in my opinion, the more accurate expression of this concept when translated into English should come out this way; “I will Exist so that I will Exist”. I believe it also just as acceptable to translate this as “I Will Be so that I Will Be”. Remember the North Carolina state motto; “To be, rather than to appear to be”. Much of the confusion surrounding this concept comes from the simple fact that literal Hebrew rarely ever directly translates into English in a ‘word for word’ format. Many of the concepts of communication that exist in Hebrew require numerous additional English words to adequately translate a given Hebrew word or concept into a proper English word, or sentence. Consequently if the spiritual truth a Hebrew word or phrase is communicating is not properly understood by the translators, the translation will stumble and struggle in effort to accurately communicate. And the confusions that have resulted from this simple reality are numerous; hence, the many uses of the word ‘babylon’, for ‘babylon’ simply means confusion. And religion is the reign of babylon.
NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Religious ideas, and the translation of those ideas, put many limits on man’s ability to clearly hear the voice of the Spirit in the scriptures, but that voice is always there, and its message never wavers. Of the many limitations and restrictions imposed by religion on the mind of ‘adam’, the most prevalent of these is probably the idea that Yashua (Jesus), as ‘son of God’, was uniquely different from all of the rest of humanity. The whole of scripture, however, declares to us just the opposite. Consequently the long looked for Messiah was referred to as ‘son of man’; or more accurately, ‘son of adam’. Was not Yashua, as Messiah, called “…the last (of) adam...” [1Corin. 15:45]
Judaism, the religious culture that emerged from the descendants of Abram/Abraham, had manufactured and imposed many rules and conditions of conduct upon themselves, and upon any others that would listen to them; and those who did listen to them were referred to as proselytes. The problem with a manufactured list of rules to qualify for Life with God is that more rules and conditions had to be invented and imposed to make room for situations where the previous rules were not quite adequate to cover all scenarios or situations or people. YHVH provided a means for ‘adam’ to make more and newer rules and regulations to not only cover all scenarios of carnality, but to also continue to provide an escape clause to avoid final judgement.
The first priority for religious ‘adam’ is to avoid being restricted by rules and statutes. Religious ‘adam’ needs regulations that provide a much needed escape clause to accommodate his vulgar appetites. But the first rule of a rule is that the rule not be allowed to corral and fence in the clever. Rules are made for escape clauses, not for handcuffs and bindings. Rules breed more rules, and of the increase of rules that permit all of the captives to have leeway and wiggle room, there seems to be no end. Every addition of peoples to the cult required a new shuffling of rules. The ‘lordship’ of YHVH allowed for the compromising addition and expansion of just such a malleable ‘rulebook’. The religious leaders and lawmakers, referred to as the priesthood, were continually searching and scrutinizing to find rules and regulations that ensured their own superiority over the peasantry, while also hemming the peasants into a manageable and profitable herd. Into this cesspool stepped Yashua of Nazareth, accepting for himself the appointed responsibility to manifest Messiah on the behalf of all of mankind. The time was at hand for God to become man.
NKJ John 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
I still remember the startling force with which the above verse impacted me, once the Spirit of Truth properly highlighted this verse in my understanding. Yashua was declaring to the religious leaders and rule-makers of his day that the scriptures they so diligently searched and scrutinized, looking for loopholes and escape clauses and self-glorification, were only there so that they could recognize Messiah when he appears. Yashua never claimed to be ‘the Messiah’. He allowed the scriptures, and the experts in the religious law, to declare whether or not he qualified for the recognition of Messiah. When he was challenged by the jew lawyers to confess himself as son of God, he simply told them that their very actions towards him declared that he was who they accused him of claiming to be. He never made the claims himself. “Who do men say that I AM?” “Who do you say that I AM?”
NLJ John 18:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I AM he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I AM he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I AM he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
While religion continues to debate and argue, two millennia later, over whose interpretation of scripture is more valid, the simple Truth was laid before us by Yashua. We were all introduced to the liberating concept of I AM. I AM is the way. I AM is truth. I AM is Life.
NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
The corrosive rules and restrictions that are the arena known as religion are still requiring of ‘seekers’ to accept the idea that Jesus, and only Jesus, be recognized as “The Way, The Truth and The Life”. And yet Yashua, or Jesus if you prefer, declared just the opposite. In the verse quoted above, the English translation makes this verse sound as if Yashua was declaring that all must “…come to the Father” through himself; through the person known as Yashua. But that is not what this word is revealing. Yashua was illustrating to all of us the quality of Spirit Life that declares “…none can come to the Father if not through an individual ‘first person’ identity with the Spirit of Truth in Love”. Again, this is my paraphrase, but the Greek language of the New Testament, plus Old Testament Hebrew, confirms this. In John 14:5, Thomas queries Yashua with the following: "Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?" And to this Yashua responds with the following: “I AM is the Way; I AM is your Truth; I AM is your Life. None can come to the Father if not by their own personal I AM identity.”
NKJ 2 Corinthians 3:6 “…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” [Rom. 2:26-29]
We would be very remiss in our honesty if we did not recognize the fact that the ‘glory’ of Judaism had continually decayed and disintegrated from the messianic days when Saul, David and Solomon reigned. All of these three kings (we three kings?) were recognized as messiahs, though without introducing into their reigns the personal and individual responsibility of obedience to the Spirit of Truth in Love. All of Israel was under the rule of kings that ascribed their authority to YHVH, (or Jehovah, or LORD God if you prefer) and each king reigned as he desired with impunity. Is not that the way with kings? And yet each king moved ‘Israel’ further and further away from the written laws and commandments that centuries before were provided by Moses as Torah; the Law. And Moses professed that he got his instructions from YHVH. After the reign of Solomon, whose very name indicated that there should be peace in Israel, the destruction and decay of the tribal peoples that feigned allegiance to YHVH accelerated, and continued to go downhill until Rome had established occupation in the land. And as the people further distanced themselves from the rules and regulations that Moses had ordained, their servitude and subjugation became more oppressive. Does this sound familiar to the twentieth century dwellers? And into this scenario Yashua appeared, preaching a gospel of personal Spiritual responsibility.
The religious priesthood of the last century of the era that we refer to as B.C., or before Christ, had grown fat off of the ignorance of the people. Here again, how familiar does that sound? When Yashua began to illuminate his listeners, the religious hierarchy was alarmed. For Yashua was preaching to the common people a message of personal responsibility; your own faith will make you whole. His message was in direct contradiction to the oppressive religion imposed by the priesthood that continued to endorse personal temporary cleansing by bringing sacrifices of cash and goods to the priestly order, as dictated by YHVH. As Yashua challenged the priesthood’s interpretation and implementation of Torah, the priests retaliated by accusing Yashua of defying YHVH, and in so doing, making himself ‘son of God’. In this accusation they were correct, though not by the reasons and actions of which they accused him. Yashua was preaching and teaching a personal Spiritual identity for every individual. “The words that I speak are Spirit, and Life.” As Yashua taught salvation by personal responsibility in the Spirit of Truth in Love, he was at the same time dismantling the religion of Judaism, and its subjugation by YHVH/Yahweh. Yahweh condemned failure of religious character and the resulting behavior to which that vulgar character yields. But Yahweh/YHVH also provided an escape clause for redemption from the personal responsibility and consequences of harmful actions and attitudes towards others. LORD God criticized and condemned carnal behavior. But because no one wants to “…reap what we sow”, YHVH also provided a means of deliverance; expensive, but only because it was worth the price. Let’s face it; no one wants to go to hell. We can all justify a place for ourselves in heaven.