I Am the Alef and the Tav

I Am the Alef and the Tav

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.

God said…

God called…

God blessed…

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…)

Father in Hebrew: Alef Bet

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.

Mother in Hebrew: Alef Mem


Hebrew Reveals Christ from Alef to Tav

This is the Hebrew alphabet, from ancient to modern:

Hebrew Alphabet Source Jeff A. Benner

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.

  • Christ is the bridge of God’s loving-kindness, and like the camel, he bears our burdens
  • Christ is the nail that attaches our sin to the cross
  • Christ is the first fruit of God and Head of the Church

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.


Image-Bearers, Right Down to the Letters

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.

Shalom


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.

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1 Comment

  1. rose says:

    very interesting and thought-provoking!

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