I’d like to introduce teacher extraordinaire, author and speaker Lauren Crews, who was gracious enough to agree to step up to the mic here at Five Stones and a Sling this week. Lauren shares her insight on one of Jesus’ most memorable assertions.
A Guest Post by Lauren Crews
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth, all their host. (Psalm 33:6)
Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets,
He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27)
Have you ever wondered where Christ first reveals himself in the Old Testament? To find him, you only need to read through Genesis 1 and note the verbs.
In John 1:1 Jesus is called the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:1-3).”
Have you ever truly considered the power of God’s word? Every breath of God speaking out creation contained Jesus.
In Revelation 22:13 John records Jesus as saying, “I am the Alpha and Omega.” These words were recorded in Greek because that was the primary language of commerce and literature of John’s time. But, Christ spoke these words in Hebrew or Aramaic.
We understand this phrase to mean that Jesus was referring to himself as the beginning and the end – and He is. But if Jesus is the Word then it is reasonable to consider Jesus is also every letter contained within the Word. In Hebrew Jesus would have said, “I am the Alef and the Tav” which are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. If He is the first and the last, He also fulfills each letter – from the first to the last.
Written language originated as pictures – think cave drawings. Hebrew is one of several languages that is considered a pictographic language. This means that each letter not only holds a sound but also holds a picture meaning that adds to the letter’s use and understanding.
For example, the Hebrew word for father is Ab or Abba, spelled with the letters Alef and Bet. The images behind these letters mean:
Alef is an ox. It relates to strength, and being the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, it means first.
Bet is a house.
When we add the imagery behind the letters we have a deeper meaning of Father as the first strength of the house.
(Remember that it reads from right to left…)
Mother is spelled Alef, Mem.
Mem means water and chaos (rushing water is chaos). With the pictures, we learn Mother is the strong water (water of the womb) or strength in chaos. I think most women would celebrate that imagery.
This is the Hebrew alphabet, from ancient to modern:
Source: Jeff A. Bennet,
Ancient Hebrew Language and Alphabet
Alef – The Ox
Bet – The House
Gimel – The Camel, a burden bearer, and bridge of kindness
Dalet – The Door
He – The Window and Behold
Vav – The Nail or Hook
Zayin – The Sword
Cheth – The Fence
Teth – The Snake
Yod – The Open Hand of Power
Kaph – The Palm of the Hand or Wing
Lamed – The Ox-Goad or Staff
Mem – Water
Nun – Fish and Life
Samech – Prop or Support
Ayin – The Eye
Pe – The Mouth
Tzaddi – A Fishhook
Qoph – Back of the Head
Resh – The Head, First in Rank and Order
Shin/Sin – Tooth
Tav – The Cross-Shaped Mark or Sign
If we know the images behind these letters, we can explore the depths of God’s Word and be amazed by another layer of understanding.
Alef as the ox relates to strength (strong as an ox), and service (as a service animal). The ox was the animal sacrificed by the High Priest on Israel’s Day of Atonement, and so it also holds a reference to sacrifice.
Tav is a Cross or identifying mark – like “X” marks the spot.
Within the individual letters of God’s holy word, Christ is revealed. When Christ proclaimed He is the Alef and the Tav He was not only saying He was the first and the last, but also God’s strength through the ox and the mark of our sin sacrifice on the cross.
For some of the pictorial images, we might easily see Christ.
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. (John 1:14).
Jesus put on a house of flesh and dwelt among us to ultimately become our sin sacrifice.
As He was here, He served and taught, and like all wise and worthy Rabbis He poured into His disciples. The goal of a rabbi is to recreate himself and his teachings in others. The disciples were to go into the world and be like Jesus. In turn, we have the teachings of Christ and we too are to be Christ-like – from Alef to Tav.
We too can represent the Word of God, right down to the letters.
Alef – Yoke yourself to the strength of God
Bet – His spirit dwells in us
Gimel – We are a bridge of God’s loving kindness to this world
Dalet – We can open the door to Christ for others
He – How do others behold Christ in us?
Vav – We can nail down God’s teaching for others
Zayin – We must know how to properly use the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God
Cheth – We hedge others in prayer
Teth – Be aware of the serpent and do not fall to his temptation
Yod – We are the hand of God – do you offer His power to others?
Kaph – We are the serving hand of God
Lamed – We are to teach and lead others
Mem – We are to offer the Living Waters to others
Nun – We recognize the Life we have in Christ
Samech – We are to support each other
Ayin – We are to look to others without sin and judgment
Pe – Speak His word
Tzaddi – Do not be hooked and led away; do not cause this for others
Qoph – Follow behind Christ, allow Him to lead
Resh – Surrender to God leading as our authority
Shin/Sin – Chew on His Word
Tav – Leave a Cross-shaped mark or sign in your life so others will recognize Jesus
We are to Go and Tell, and I challenge you to speak His Word with a new understanding of what it is you are saying – from A to Z.
I would love to hear how you embody the Word of God. What letter do you find yourself representing well, and where do you struggle? Believer – lover of Christ, He dwells in you and strengthens you to follow Him day by day. He upholds you by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Walk in a manner worthy of your calling.
By Lauren Crews, MDiv.
As a Bible teacher and speaker, Lauren is excited to encourage Christians to explore and understand the Jewish roots of their faith. She lives in north-east Florida with her husband and two chocolate labs. She is mom of three fantastic young adults and will soon welcome a daughter-in-love to the Crews crew. She is represented by Credo Communications and working toward the publication of her books The Strength of a Woman and Jesus: The Alef and the Tav. You can connect with Lauren on the web at www.laurencrews.com.