Hebrew Highlights 128 – Word of God
Shalom! This is Yuval Shomron coming to you from Jerusalem.
MAT 15:2-9, "Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." And He answered and said to them, "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? "For God said, 'Honor your father and mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.' "But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother," Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God, "he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 'But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "
Yeshua did a very Jewish thing here when He answered a question with a question. However, He upset a lot of fellow Jews when He belittled tradition, when he said, “you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition,” and also “teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”
Even today, there seems always to be a war going on between “The Word”, and tradition. Although tradition is very prevalent among the Jews, I think you would agree that Christians have added their own long list of doctrines and precepts which proclaim kinship with God’s Word, but are in truth, either cheap copies, or simple misunderstandings.
Without confusing you, let me explain that the word “Word” in Hebrew is “davar”. Even with the exact same pronunciation it can also mean “thing” or “mailman”. You can only know by the context. This should not be to complex an idea to comprehend if you give it a little thought.
After all, the word really is God’s thing. Every thing He creates or destroys He does by His Word. And the Word is God’s letter delivered to us on Mount Sinai, and by the Apostles.
A little later, I’ll mention the Greek versions of the “Word.”
The Word of God is important, and should not be tampered with, as we see in PRO 30:5-6, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar.” Forgive me if I share my personal preferences and explain to you that it is verses like this one, which prevent me from reading the Amplified Bible, which adds to God’s Words, or the New International Version, which takes away from them.
God speaks about His Word in His Word quite often. One good example is LUK 11:27-28, “And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice, and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed." But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it." Yeshua was not speaking against His mother here, but speaking of the importance of the Word. We understand the significance of a nursing mother to a young child’s growth. But do we realize that without the Word, we would die?
Let’s glean another point from ACTS 4:31-33, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness. And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.”
The revival in the New Testament, in fact any revival ever, happens around the use of the Word of God, not the proliferation of traditions and doctrines. Not only the revival, but the continued growth of the Church depends on the Word, as we see in ACT 6:7, “And the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”
Here’s another interesting passage. ACT 8:14, “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John.” It wasn’t when the gentiles started wearing skull caps, or getting circumcised, or going to synagogue that caught the Apostle attention. It was their receiving the Word of God. Maybe we don’t understand what an earth shaking development this was. The Word of God was, and still is, precious. At the first only the Jewish people were privy to it. The Gentiles were now not only able to hear it preached, but to study it, and foremost, to obey it.
A similar story comes from Cyprus. ACT 13:44-45, “And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God.” “But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.”
Notice if you will that the crowds didn’t turn out to see the famous celebrities from Jerusalem. They didn’t even come to see the miracles, which they had almost undoubtedly heard about. They came to hear the Word of God.
Yet, we know that Paul did not use the Word to draw an audience from reading 2CO 2:17, “For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” I’m afraid that nowadays there is a lot of “peddling the Word of God” going on. We all have to be very careful in judging between offering a service and making a buck in today’s media-hyped church. May God help us all keep clean.
Unfortunately, some of the doctrines and ideas swimming around the Word of God like sharks circling an island will cause many to fall, as we see in 1TI 4:1-5, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
I would suggest that we always keep the Bible in one hand and a prayer on our lips whenever someone comes our way with a new idea.
Now, as promised, let’s take a look at the Greek translations of the “Word”. One of them is “logos” which speaks of the written word, and the other is “remah” which means the spoken word. Let me first point out that while many Bible teachers have built mountains of doctrine on these two words, that they don’t exist in the Hebrew New Testament. We still have the “davar” used in each passage. Although the word “remah” is used 62 times in the Greek New Testament, only 4 of those are used somehow in the phrase “Word of God.” Let me show you just one example of why I think maybe the word “logos” which claims 171 appearances maybe should have been used the other 4 times.
EPH 6:17 says, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Here the word is “remah”. We could therefore build a doctrine which says our preaching or prophesying is the sword of the Spirit. However, in HEB 4:12, there is a much more definitive statement, which in this case uses “logos”. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” In this case, I think it is clear that it is God’s written Word, or the Bible, which is going to divide between soul and Spirit.
Now, let’s leave the Greek argument, and concentrate once again on the power and importance of the Word of God, as expressed in HEB 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
A simple translation of this verse back into the Hebrew creates a cute play on words. “Ha olamim huchnu alyadei “Davar” HaElohim, lo alydei ‘davarim.” The worlds were made of the “thing”, or Word, of God, not of “things.”
There is simply nothing stronger and at the same time safer than the Word of God. We know from 1PE 1:25 that, “the Word of the Lord abides forever.” Why is this?
For the glorious answer, let’s go to REV 19:11-13, “And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.”
In case this scripture isn’t clear enough, let’s read JOH 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
How blessed we are that the Word didn’t stay in Heaven. Further down the page in verse 14 we read, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
One of the names of Messiah is Immanuel, God with us. Do we realize that when we open up our precious Bibles and feast on God’s Word, that this is one of the ways He is with us. Oh yes, I know He also dwells in our hearts and spirits. But by having the Word at our fingertips, we have access to understanding the very character and purpose of the Most High.
Whenever we hear a “remah”, we can check it out in the “logos”, and make sure we get the “thing” just right.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem