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Hebrew – Tongue of the Prophets, Language of Today
by Hannah Nesher
The amazing fact that Hebrew has, against all odds, defied extinction, and exists today as a modern language in daily use by more than seven million people in Israel and Jewish communities around the world is an absolute miracle. By all human reason and logic, Hebrew should have died out two millennia ago when it ceased to be the everyday language spoken by Jewish people. After the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people from Judea, Hebrew gradually ceased to be a spoken language around 200 CE but remained a written language. Even at the cost of their very lives, the Jewish people faithfully preserved the language that God spoke to Adam and Chava (Eve) in the beginning. Christians are indebted to the Jewish people to have preserved almost intact the very language God used to speak to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob so long ago. In fact, as a Hebrew teacher once said, “If Moses were to return today, he would understand modern Hebrew!” Hebrew is not an ordinary language; Zephaniah called it a pure language; it contains no curse words. Jewish people call it Lashon Hakodesh (The Holy Language). It was the language that God spoke to the children of Israel and Moses at Mt. Sinai. The finger of God etched on stone tablets the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. (Exodus/Shmot 31:18) Each letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet (alphabet) contains a richness of meaning that nourishes the soul and gives the light of divine revelation. These very letters were combined to speak the whole of creation into existence! Now how awesome is that?
Largely as a result of the fanatical efforts of a man named Eliezer Ben Yehudah, Hebrew was revitalized as a spoken language during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many religious Jews opposed Ben Yehudah, accusing his work of being fanciful or even blasphemous. They considered Hebrew too holy of a language to be spoken by common people in a secular context. The resurrection of the Hebrew language to modern usage is also a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy: “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of יהוה"(Zephaniah 3:9) Early each morning, observant Orthodox Jews meet in synagogues all over the world and conduct their services in Hebrew - the language of the Bible.
In fact, it is not only the Old Testament, but also the New Testament which is highly Hebraic. Its’ writers are Hebrew, the culture is Hebrew, the religion is Hebrew, the traditions are Hebrew and the concepts are Hebrew! The Old Testament comprises 78% of the Biblical text. Less than 1% of the Old Testament (portions of Ezra & Daniel) is written in Aramaic; the rest is written in Hebrew. The New Testament comprises 22% of the entire Bible. However, highly Hebraic portions of the New Testament include the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts 1:1-15:35 (43% of NT). Therefore, not more than 12% of the Bible was originally written in Greek. In addition, 176 quotations in the New Testament are derived from the Old Testament Hebrew, leaving less than 10% of the Bible written in Greek and over 90% written in Hebrew! This alone should be reason enough for students of the Word of God to want to learn the Hebrew language. It is the KEY to our understanding of Scripture, as stated in the following quote by Roy Blizzard, Jr. in ‘Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: “If any additional advances are to be made, especially in better understanding the words of Jesus, the concentration must shift to the study of Hebrew history and culture, and above all, the Hebrew language.”
Today, countless courses are available to learn Hebrew, but not many are taught by a Messianic Jewish Israeli Believer with Biblical insights and revelation from both the Old and the New Testaments. Shalom Morah I (Hello Teacher) not only teaches the aleph bet – the Hebrew letters – but it also contains a powerful Bible study on the Hebrew names of God. Knowing God’s authentic names gives us powerful tools to use in our prayers, praise and worship as well as formidable weapons of warfare in spiritual battle. Shalom Morah II contains a powerful teaching on the wisdom in the Hebrew alphabet.Christians learning Hebrew in this day are doing far more than simply learning another language. They are participating in the last great end time move of the Spirit of God – reconnecting the Church to its Hebraic root and revealing the true identity of Jesus the Messiah as Yeshua Hamashiach! Come and be part of this fulfillment of prophecy.