Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mich'tam: we contemplate the 10 Words; Part 1

…10 Words…
..Part 1 – Michtam..

(Author’s note: I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that portions of this teaching are based in part of the Teachings of Dr. Frank Seekins, whose work can be found at One man plants and another waters, so says Scripture (1 Cor 3:6); we acknowledge where our true learning comes from, the Ruach Ha’Kodesh, the Holy Spirit, yet when we lean on another’s work, we give credit when due. May Father Yahoveh be the one blessed and exalted, and Yeshua magnified, Amein…)

At the heart and soul of all we do as believers in God and His Son Yeshua Ha’Machiach lies the essence of whom and what we are. There is a foundation laid up for us, a, as Scripture says:

Eph 2:19-22
   “…19     So then you are no longer astrangers and aliens, but you are bfellow citizens with the 1saints, and are of cGod’s household,
     20     having been abuilt on bthe foundation of cthe apostles and prophets, dChrist Jesus Himself being the ecorner stone,
     21     ain whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into ba holy 1temple in the Lord,
     22     in whom you also are being abuilt together into a bdwelling of God in the Spirit…” [1]

1 Cor 3:11
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than nthat which is laid, owhich is Jesus Christ. [2]

What is that sure foundation but that of our Savior, and the Words lain down from before the foundation of the world? On this point, as here at the Gates of Yerushalayim, we must mich’tam.  In the Hebrew language, the word is rendered as (Strong’s # H4387) מִכְתָּם miḵtām. Reading right to left, the word is spelled with the mem, the kaf, the tav and the mem. Most dictionaries and resources are at a quandary of what the exact meaning of this word is. Some, like in McClintock’s and Strong’s Cyclopedia defines it as:

Figure 1. Mich'tam [3]

The key to understanding the ancient Hebrew language is in understanding that the original Scriptures were not written in either modern Hebrew or even Biblical Hebrew, but in what is called Pre-Babylonian (Paleo-Hebraic) Hebrew; that is, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet was not only a sound, but also a number and a picture that had meaning. One way to describe this concept is as follows:

“…The definition of a word is going to be directly related to the culture in which that word is being used. One word may have different meanings depending on the culture that is using it. In order to place the correct context to a Hebrew word from the Ancient Hebrew language one must first understand Ancient Hebrew thought.
Abstract and Concrete
Greek thought views the world through the mind (abstract thought). Ancient Hebrew thought views the world through the senses (concrete thought).
Concrete thought is the expression of concepts and ideas in ways that can be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or heard. All five of the senses are used when speaking, hearing, writing and reading the Hebrew language. An example of this can be found in Psalms 1:3; “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither”. In this passage the author expresses his thoughts in concrete terms such as; tree, streams of water, fruit and leaf.
Abstract thought is the expression of concepts and ideas in ways that cannot be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or heard. Examples of Abstract thought can be found in Psalms 103:8; “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger, abounding in love”. The words compassion, grace, anger and love are all abstract words, ideas that cannot be experienced by the senses. Why do we find these abstract words in a passage of concrete thinking Hebrews? Actually, these are abstract English words used to translate the original Hebrew concrete words. The translators often translate this way because the original Hebrew makes no sense when literally translated into English.
Let us take one of the above abstract words to demonstrate the translation from a concrete Hebrew word to an abstract English word. Anger, an abstract word, is actually the Hebrew word Pa (aph) which literally means “nose”, a concrete word. When one is very angry, he begins to breathe hard and the nostrils begin to flare. A Hebrew sees anger as “the flaring of the nose (nostrils)”. If the translator literally translated the above passage “slow to nose”, the English reader would not understand…” [4]

Though there is more to the understanding of the Ancient Hebrew language, this gives you a brief introduction into it, and allows you to see mich’tam in a different light…
Using the concept you just read above, in ancient time’s מִכְתָּם miḵtām would have been written as:

Mtkm (read right to left). The m or mem, which is a symbol for “water”; it also means many, mighty, or to come.  At the beginning of a word it translates as “from”. The kor “kaf” signifies an open hand and means to cover, to open or allow. The  t is the “tav” . It’s symbol means a sign, to seal or covenant. Last, we see the M mem” again. What we see in this word then is “from the open hand the covenant comes” .[5]  A powerful message indeed if we think of it in the terms of Messiah, in whose open hand as the nail passed through the covenant of redemption came.[6]

One other meaning of the word mich’tam is found in the footnotes of the oft maligned Authorized King James Version of the Scriptures. I say that with a sigh in my heart, for I truly love the King James. It has its flaws, as does every translation – or better, transliteration.  If one has any experience in languages, then you know that to express a thought from one language into another is fraught with missteps and mistakes. One doesn’t translate; one must transliterate, or try to express in the native hearers language a concept derived in another culture. Our English translations leave a bit to be desired when transliterating from the Greek and Hebrew texts. What we read today in our Bibles is an English translation from Greek (or Hebrew) transliterations of Hebraic/Jewish concepts. Without a deeper understanding of the cultural background of the original writers, we lose the flavor and intent of the original. With that said, I have to state my bias for the King James, it was the first Bible I ever read and to my surprise, I understood it. So I find it hard when others attack it; flawed? Yes, but only because man got in the way. One thing though, every good study resource in the original tongues is keyed to it, so you might want to get familiar with it if you already aren’t. ‘Nuff said; the footnote is found in the King James Study Bible by the Thomas Nelson Publishers, ©1988 at the introduction to Psalm 16; here in the margin they translate mich’tam as “Contemplation”; in this I agree, and in this, we begin our study…

We stand here today at the Gates of Yerushalayim, in mich’tam, in contemplation. We read of the gates in Nehemiah chapter 3; in Ezekiel 40-48, we read of the gates of the walls and the Temple gates. In the Ezekiel passages we hear of the “Prince” that is to come, who will restore the sacrifice and oblation, who will Himself enter again through the East Gate that Only God Himself could go through… We see this Servant of God in Isaiah 53 and again in Zechariah 12:10. In Psalms 122, our feet are already at the gates of Yerushalayim; the Branch of Yishai (Jesse) shall come forth…

(Isaiah 11:1-4)
There ashall come forth a 1Rod from the 2stem of bJesse,
And ca Branch shall 3grow out of his roots.
2     dThe Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
3     His delight is in the fear of the Lord,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
4     But ewith righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall fstrike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. [7]

Psalms 118:22 declares Him to be our foundation, our cornerstone. Rev. 21-22 introduces us to the gates again, this time we see one for each of the matot (tribes) of Isra’el… Haggai tells us that the Lord’s anger will turn from His people, and once again they will flourish…  Romans 11 speaks of the same thing as Haggai, and gives the Goyim (the nations) a way to enter in the city, for there is no gate for the Gentiles, only the matot.  Michah tells us the end result:

(Michah 4:1-5)
     1     And it will come about in the alast days
That the bmountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established 1as the chief of the mountains.
It will be raised above the hills,
And the cpeoples will stream to it.
     2     aMany nations will come and say,
bCome and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
And to the house of the God of Jacob,
That cHe may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For dfrom Zion will go forth the law,
Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
     3     And He will ajudge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, 1distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords binto plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they 2train for war.
     4     Each of them will asit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With bno one to make them afraid,
For the cmouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
     5     Though all the peoples walk
Each in the aname of his god,
As for us, bwe will walk
In the name of the cLord our God forever and ever.[8]

Here at the gates we mich’tam, we contemplate.

We search here for the meaning of the words of Messiah, it is here we ask ourselves what are these words that we read, how do they change us, how do they affect our world? Are these just words to read, or are they concepts to meditate upon, to mich’tam?

Here are the basics of life. Here at the gates we learn the true meaning of what David wrote in Psalms 1:1-3:

Psa 1:1-3 CJB  How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, don't stand on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit!  (2)  Their delight is in Adonai's Torah; on his Torah they meditate day and night.  (3)  They are like trees planted by streams - they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither, everything they do succeeds. [9]

In Psalms 5:1 we read: “…1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation…” [10] but in the Hebrew the language is more descriptive, for it literally means “groaning”.  This is mich’tam, this is the contemplation of our spirit, that we should groan:

  • With questions
  • With petitions
  • With pleas for mercy
  • With the glory of the mystery of salvation
  • With the yearnings of our heart, for our Messiah.

Paul speaks of these things in Rom 8:19-28…
19 For athe earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For bthe creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of 6corruption into the glorious cliberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation dgroans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have ethe firstfruits of the Spirit, feven we ourselves groan gwithin ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the hredemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but ihope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For jwe do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but kthe Spirit Himself makes intercession 7for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now lHe who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints maccording to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those nwho are the called according to His purpose. [11]

What can we learn from words? Truth is, absolutely nothing if those words do not cause us contemplation, do not set within us the groaning of our spirit.

So what exactly does it mean, this contemplation? Let us consider the name “Psalms”:

  • In Hebrew they are called Tehiltim, “Songs of Praise” or Sefer Tehiltim, “Book of Psalms”.
    • This “contemplation” is Tephillot:  Prayer..
    • It is worship, both individual and corporate..
    • It is what we should do – a deep, insightful, prayerful consideration of the words we read, not in just a pursuit of knowledge, but in a sense of laying a hold of something that we endeavor to sink deep into our souls and psyche.

I bring all this up for a reason; to understand the 10 words, the 10 devarim, you have to contemplate.  In the titles of Psalms 16, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60 you’ll find the word mich’tam. As we’ve seen before there is more than one definition, which isn’t surprising since the sages say that for every word of Scripture there are 70 layers of interpretation.  One definition is “a graven or permanent writing”.  When we approach the Word in mich’tam, in contemplation, we aren’t just reading ancient words, we are beholding eternal truths, set before the creation of anything. Before there was nothing, there were these Words, permanent Words about future events that affected an ancient people, and extends this day into our contemporary lives.  This translates into the course of action that this study will continue in Part Two, the acts of

  • Engaging our culture
  • Offering an alternative to the morass we see
  • And the hardest but simplest thing of all, just speaking truth…

Till then, may Elohim richly bless you this day my beloved…Amein…

a  Eph 2:12; Heb 11:13; 1 Pet 2:11
b  Phil 3:20; Heb 12:22f
1  Or holy ones
c  Gal 6:10
a  1 Cor 3:9
b  Matt 16:18; 1 Cor 3:10; Rev 21:14
c  1 Cor 12:28; Eph 3:5
d  1 Cor 3:11
e  Ps 118:22; Luke 20:17
a  Eph 4:15f; Col 2:19
b  1 Cor 3:16f
1  Or sanctuary
a  1 Cor 3:9, 16; 2 Cor 6:16
b  Eph 3:17
[1]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
n  Is. 28:16; Matt. 16:18; 2 Cor. 11:4
o  Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4
[2]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] CYCLOPEDIA of BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL and ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE, by James Strong & John McClintock: AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version 1.0 © 2000
[4] The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible, Hebrew Letters, Words and Roots Defined Within Their Ancient Cultural Context, by Jeff A. Benner; © e3 2005 Jeff A. Benner; electronic edition, theWord Software, ver, © 2003-2010 - Costas Stergiou

[5] Author’s interpretation.
[6] Interpretations of the Paleo-Hebraic language taken in part from the book  Hebrew Word Pictures”, by Dr. Frank T. Seekins, ©1994,2003 Frank T. Seekins
a  [Zech. 6:12]; Rev. 5:5
1  Shoot
2  stock or trunk
b  [Is. 9:7; 11:10]; Matt. 1:5; [Acts 13:23]
c  Is. 4:2
3  be fruitful
d  [Is. 42:1; 48:16; 61:1; Matt. 3:16]; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; [John 1:32]
e  Rev. 19:11
f  Job 4:9; Is. 30:28, 33; Mal. 4:6; 2 Thess. 2:8
[7]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

a  Is 2:2–4; Dan 2:28; 10:14; Hos 3:5
b  Ezek 43:12; Mic 3:12; Zech 8:3
1  Lit on
c  Ps 22:27; 86:9; Jer 3:17
a  Zech 2:11; 14:16
b  Is 2:3; Jer 31:6
c  Ps 25:8, 9, 12; Is 54:13
d  Is 42:1–4; Zech 14:8, 9
a  Is 2:4; 11:3–5
1  Lit at a distance
b  Joel 3:10
2  Lit learn
a  1 Kin 4:25; Zech 3:10
b  Lev 26:6; Jer 30:10
c  Is 1:20; 40:5
a  2 Kin 17:29
b  Zech 10:12
c  Josh 24:15; Is 26:8, 13
[8]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[9] The Complete Jewish Bible, by David H. Stern; © 1998 David H. Stern, published by The Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc (electronic edition, e-Sword ver 9.91 ©2000-2011 Rick Meyers)
[10]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
a  [2 Pet. 3:13]
b  Gen. 3:17–19
6  decay
c  [2 Cor. 3:17]; Gal. 5:1, 13
d  Jer. 12:4, 11
e  2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:14
f  2 Cor. 5:2, 4
g  [Luke 20:36]
h  Luke 21:28; Eph. 1:14; 4:30; [Phil. 3:20, 21]
i  Rom. 4:18; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1
j  Matt. 20:22; 2 Cor. 12:8
k  John 14:16; Rom. 8:15; Eph. 6:18
7  NU omits for us
l  1 Chr. 28:9

m  1 John 5:14
n  2 Tim. 1:9
[11]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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