HEBREW IDIOMS - UNLOCKING THEIR MEANING
Hebrew Roots Research by Lew White
Hebrew Roots Research by Lew White
This research is included in the new book Strong Delusion
HEBREW IDIOMS /
UNLOCKING THEIR MEANING
A GRAVE SITUATION IN FIGURES OF SPEECH
Languages have from dozens to hundreds of idioms. A widely-known Hebrew idiom, Bosom Of Abraham, is one of them that is commonly missed, and taken literally. Is it a real place, or an idiom for the grave?
WHAT IS AN IDIOM?
An idiom is an expression of a concept, feeling, idea, circumstance, or thing, used in a figurative sense. An idiomatic expression should never be interpreted literally. It is very closely related to a maxim and a parable.
WHAT IS A MAXIM?
A maxim is a brief expression of a general truth or rule of conduct. An example of a maxim is: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Idioms, maxims, and parables have been very useful teaching tools, especially in mainly oral cultures.
WHAT IS A PARABLE?
A parable is a short allegorical story intended to illustrate (or teach) some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
Yahusha spoke with parables and figures of speech many times.
At Luke 16 He uses the Hebrew idiom, “bosom of Abraham.”
This was a figure of speech they readily understood, and Yahusha used it to make His point about a very rich man and a desperately poor man. His point was that riches, pleasure, possessions, and position can be a “stumbling block” to us.
He wanted to convey how important it is that we evaluate our behavior, and how it will factor into our final destination. Our hearts are corrupt, and lack compassion for our fellow human beings. The rich man lacked compassion, and was extremely selfish. He had the “evil eye,” and idiom meaning he was stingy, miserly, and self-centered.
Yahusha was not teaching us about the literal details of the “here-after”, but rather figuratively used the idiom, bosom of Abraham to teach the principle of generosity, hospitality, and kindness. He was also giving us a glimpse of how He sees our treatment of one another.
This idiom conveys to us a principle of balance in mitigating the damages caused by accident or negligence. It does not cover the intentional act of doing harm.
GREEN TREE, DRY TREE
Yahusha used the idiom green tree (fruitful, righteous, obedient, and loving one); the opposite being the dry tree (rebellious, unfruitful, hateful one). In context we see the green tree is associated with Psalm 1 and the Living Waters of Torah. The dry tree is without life and cannot produce the fruitfulness of obedience because its roots are not in contact with the Living Waters of Torah. In times when the Commandments are taught and lived by, a nation flourishes and is blessed by Yahuah. In times when the Commandment are restricted or banned, a nation sees love grow cold and is cursed by Yahuah.
Yahusha used many idioms. His Natsarim followers knew He used them, and in one place they pointed this out: “His taught ones said to Him, ‘See, now You are speaking plainly, and not using figure of speech!’” – Yn. 16:29
These figures of speech refer to the use of idioms.
Cultural idioms can easily be misunderstood when translated literally.
They vary in transparency.
Some familiar to us are: bat out of hell (or hell out of Dodge; leaving with extreme haste); feeling under the weather (an illness); in the same boat (in the same situation together); woke up on the wrong side of the bed (cranky); bats in the belfry (mentally disturbed);
graveyard shift (working the late shift, past midnight); silver lining (unforeseen good aspect of a bad situation); if we play our cards right (be careful); raining cats and dogs (a torrential downpour); red herring (distracting or misleading clue); red hot (exciting); red-handed (in the act of doing something wrong); have a bone to pick (dispute between people); heap coals of fire on his head (shaming them); raking over the coals (openly shaming someone); thrown under the bus (exploiting a situation causing blame to fall on an innocent person); kick the bucket, croak, bite the dust, bought the farm (die) . . . and so on.
If we don’t understand how to apply idioms, we can easily get “egg on our face.” (This idiom means “made to look foolish”).
We can easily “fly off the handle” and invent misinterpretations and fantasies – unreal places we think may really exist.
The idea of “Purgatory” - a fantasy realm – is a syncretism borrowed from Buddhism. Catholicism exploits the belief in this fantasy realm to collect vast sums of wealth in exchange for “indulgences” which are said to reduce or eliminate a fiery torture for “venial sins.”
No one can be in Purgatory because it doesn’t exist.
Purgatory appeared for the first time in Christian tradition in the late 12th century, and is derived from a Buddhist practice of making offerings for the dead. Misunderstandings create strongholds (false reasonings).
HEBREW IDIOMS The KJV uses the word “apple” where the Hebrew text employs an idiom for an object of incomparable desire. One idiom became a completely different one here, since the Hebrew word does not mean “apple”, either literally or abstractly. Literally, it means “little man of the eye.”
Apparently, the translator was hungry, or really, really liked apples.
There are many Hebrew idioms. If we take them literally, they only confuse us. One of them is the familiar phase, “the bride of Yahusha.”
This is an idiomatic expression, since we know there is not a literal gender component involved. It’s “like” a marriage, a covenant relationship of selfless love and total commitment.
Another idiom is the idea of first-fruits, meaning first-born. Idiomatically the idea applies to those in the first resurrection, the bride that will attend the “wedding feast.” This second idiom, “wedding feast,” is an extension of the “bride” idiom.
Other Hebrew idioms are: heart (thinking); eye of a needle (any task requiring great skill and focus);
bind and loose (forbid and permit, according to Torah); uncircumcised ears/hearts (lack of commitment to Yahuah); make a wide mouth (sneer); slept (died); to receive another heart (change the mind); lifted up his eyes (saw); hate (avoid, or prefer less than another); your right eye (your will, decision, or fixed goals); stumbling block (deterrent, obstacle); throat an open grave (speak deceitfully); enlarge space (set free); under the ban (may mean either dedicated only to Yahuah, or be completely destroyed); stiff neck (obstinate); kiss the son (show loyalty, render pure homage); bronze forehead (brutish, unhearing); remove the foreskin of your heart (commit yourself); hard-hearted (stubborn, unyielding, lacking compassion); gird up loins (be ready); open the womb (give birth); kidneys (guts, inner courage); flowing with milk & honey (fertile); living water (Torah observing, love); green tree (fruitful, righteous, obedient, and loving one); dry tree (rebellious, unfruitful, hateful one); seed (offspring, descendants); bind and loose (forbid & permit); bury my father (collect my inheritance); evil eye (stingy, miserly); poor in spirit (humble, selfless, or mourning one); eagles gathered together (messengers, the weed-reapers at the harvest of the Earth); right hand (might, strength); higher-calling (those selected as the bride, first-fruits, at the first resurrection); old wine (men’s teachings); new wine (Truth, freeing a person from men’s teachings). One cannot serve two masters.
Either we will serve Yahuah and follow His instructions, or we will follow men's teaching authority and "fall into a ditch" (be taken away by deceptive teachings).
Other idiomatic expressions include beast, lake of fire, mother of
harlots, and lukewarm.
In the Hebrew culture, Pharisees understood the “bosom of Abraham” as another way to refer to the grave, where everyone was in the “same boat.”
Although Yahuah never goes into detail about those in sheol, we must acknowledge it is an field of little human knowledge, yet under His complete control.
We may desire to understand the circumstances, but we are to keep to our own
estate (realm) and not go on flights of fancy. Nicolaitanes
like to make people think they know things, but they really don’t because
they operate in the realm of “religion” not reality.
ADDRESSING THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
The dead are in a state that is removed from our realm entirely, but remain in the Mind of Yahusha. They are outside our physical realm of space-time, so time is not passing for them. In this state of being, they are awaiting their resurrection from the dead. Such “heavenly matters” are very misunderstood by the vast majority, and this is quite understandable.
The prophet Danial is waiting in a state idiomatically called the bosom of
Abraham right now, resting until he is raised at Yahusha’s coming: Danial 12:13:
“But you, go your way till the end. And rest, and arise to your lot at the end of the days.”
The dead are not consciously aware of anything, but resting, or sleeping. The dead “know” nothing (being unconscious) - their next conscious thought will be when they are in the presence of Yahusha:
“We are of good courage, and are well pleased rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Master.” 2Cor 5:8
That sounds as if it will be immediate as we reckon time, but we have to consider that how we perceive reality here in the physical realm needs to be adjusted for the “heavenly matters” over which Yahusha alone is sovereign. The dead will be in the presence of the Master in one of two events called the first and second resurrections. Although their flesh has ceased to live, Yahusha stated that all are alive to Him. This is explained at Mt. 22:32.
Danial and Daud are not yet in the presence of Yahusha, note Yn. 3:13:
“And no one has gone up into the heaven except He who came down from the heaven – the Son of Adam.” (also Acts 2:34). No one is in “heaven” yet, nor has anyone entered the “lake of fire.” You’ll see this as you read further.
Two resurrections of the dead are ahead of us.
Yahusha will determine if they will be clothed with immortality, or face annihilation in the “second death,” the lake of fire.
Both the righteous and unrighteous who have died are in a place called the grave (Hebrew, sheol).
They will be called-forth to one of two resurrections from the dead. The first resurrection will occur at Yahusha’s return to reign, and the second will occur at the end of a Millennium (1000 years).
THE LINCHPIN OF ALL HISTORY:
THE FIRST RESURRECTION: YAHUSHA’S RETURN TO EARTH
The first resurrection will be the calling-forth of the bride of Yahusha, or first-fruits. This is the time of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. These are all idioms describing the chosen ones, and their joining to Yahusha when all His fullness dwells in them.
At the first resurrection, a “changing of the guard” will occur as the beast and the false prophet will be the first (and only ones) to enter the lake of fire.
WHO OR WHAT IS THE BEAST?
The beast is an idiom for the reign of Babel.
The beast is the bureaucracy of Babel currently reigning in the world. It is a highly organized authoritarian structure of teaching authorities and governments. It includes Babel’s operation, system, network, and pattern of behavior (all witchcraft), along with the “orders” of the world system (clergy-nobility-laity).
At Yahusha’s coming, this beastly reign will be completely wiped out:
“Babel the great is fallen, is fallen!” Rev. 18:2
The beast is not literally a person, and neither is the false prophet. These two entities represent the authoritarian control that is “taken out of the way,” when Yahusha begins His reign. The bureaucracy of Babel, and the office of the false prophet, never rise again to reign over the Earth. 1000 years pass as Yahusha reigns on the Earth with His bride, the first-fruits group. The first-fruits are His Natsarim, branches fully connected to Him, the Root of all power and authority. The first two to enter the lake of fire are the beast and the false prophet:
“And I saw the beast . . .
representing the bureaucracy of Babel which includes the false prophet or 1st estate,
and the sovereigns of the earth . . . (the nobility, the 2nd estate),
and their armies . . . (the common people, laity, the 3rd estate),
gathered together to fight Him who sat on the horse and His army.
And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he led astray those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. The two were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulphur.” Rev 19:19, 20
Why are the beast and the false prophet thrown into the lake of fire?
The beast and false prophet are idiomatic classifications of power.
They are the reigns of all world authority, given to them by the dragon.
Our enemy in not flesh and blood.
The dragon offered Yahusha the authority to reign over the entire bureaucracy of Babel: “Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain, and showed Him all the reigns of the world, and their esteem, and said to Him,
‘All these I shall give You if You fall down and worship me.’”
Mt. 4:8, 9
If we interpret the idiom “lake of fire” literally to be a sea of flames for eternal torture rather than a term meaning utter annihilation, then we have ignored the idiom. We miss the meaning of the beast, and the false prophet as well. These two are authorities, principalities, and POWERS that have to be “taken out of the way” at Yahusha’s coming. It’s not the “Holy Spirit” that is taken out of the way: “And now you know what restrains, for him to be revealed in his time. For the secret of lawlessness is already at work – only until he who now restrains comes out of the midst.
And then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Master shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth and bring to naught [annihilation, lay-waste] with the manifestation of His coming.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of satan, with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those perishing, because they did not receive the love of the Truth, in order for them to be delivered.
And for this reason Alahim sends them a working of delusion, for them to believe the falsehood, in order that all should be judged who did not believe the Truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness.”
- 2Thess 2:6-12
THE SECOND RESURRECTION
The second resurrection will involve the rest of mankind who did not merit the “higher-calling.” They are not the bride, but are the great harvest, different from the “first-fruits.”
They will face the judgment at the Great White Throne, and will enter eternal life only if their names appear in the Scroll of Life. The rest will be sent into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet are. This will also be the time the dragon and those malakim that followed him will enter the lake of fire and face utter annihilation forever. They will inhabit the “outer darkness,” an idiom for non-existence. Those who face this loss will weep and chatter their teeth as they grope with the horrifying prospect ahead of them. Many believe they will be tormented for all eternity, but for that they would have to receive immortal bodies to endure the suffering.
A more likely interpretation is they will be tormented by eternity, what they have lost.
They face a second death, and that death is eternal (without end).
They are destroyed (annihilated, laid-waste).
In Yahusha’s illustration, notice the term grave.
The Hebrew word He used was sheol:
“And it came to be that the beggar died, and was carried by the messengers to the bosom of Abraham. And the rich man also died and was buried.
And while suffering tortures in the grave, having lifted up his eyes, he saw Abraham far away, and Alazar in his bosom.” - Luke 16:22, 23
The Pharisees believed in the resurrection from the dead, and that belief is based on references in the TaNaK. When a person died, it was said they were “gathered” or “slept.” Gen / Barashith 25:8: “And Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, aged and satisfied, and was gathered to his people.”
This is an idiomatic description of death.
Idiomatic expressions apply themselves to specific conversational applications familiar only to a native group or period. Look at how our English language receives new words due to culture and technology.
Yahusha used the colloquial expression, “bosom of Abraham,” to bring attention to the huge gap between the life of a rich man and a poor man.
The rich man would not help the poor man during his life, knowing he needed help. In Yahusha’s illustration, the poor man was comforted, and gathered to his people.
The rich man was presented as one experiencing extreme shame for the way he ignored Alazar, and this is brought out as a reference to “heat.”
We can relate this to how we feel blood rush to our face when we are embarrassed, causing our face to become hot and blood-red.
This is very much like the idiom “coals of fire” heaped on someone’s head used in this verse:
“Beloved, do not revenge yourselves, but give place to the wrath, for it has been written, “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay,” says Yahuah.
Instead, if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink, for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:19, 20
By misunderstanding idioms, people can leap to bizarre conclusions. We should look before we leap.
LAKE OF FIRE . . . annihilation or eternal torture?
The lake of fire is an idiomatic expression for a place of utter destruction, and is the second death, not eternal life. In Yahusha’s time it was referred to as “Gehenna.” At this time, it is not “occupied” by anyone, meaning Yahuah has not yet annihilated anyone.
The first to “enter it” will be the beast and false prophet, at Yahusha’s coming.
We are to fear not those who can kill the body, but rather the ONE Who can destroy BOTH being (nefesh) and body:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the
being. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy
both being and body in Gehenna.”
To destroy does not
involve eternal torture.
To destroy does not involve eternal torture.
- Mt. 10:28. Here we see the word “destroy” (Hebrew, shoah) is used.
Without knowing about idioms, someone could claim the Scriptures contradict themselves. Because most people have received doctrines based on misunderstood idioms and misinterpretations, Yahuah’s true character is not known. Many believe Yahuah is a terrible, unforgiving “GOD” of the “Old Testament.” When they learn that He is the “same yesterday, today, and forever,” and comprehend how great His love for us truly is, kings will shut their mouths. (Isa / YashaYahu 52)
Yahuah Became A Servant
The following dovetails with YashaYahu 52:
The following dovetails with YashaYahu 52:
“. . being in the form of Alahim, did not regard equality with Alahim a matter to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and came to be in the likeness of men.
And having been found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, death even of a stake.” Php. 2:7, 8
That helps explain why the Name Yahusha means:
“Yahuah is our Deliverer.”
Literally it means “I am your Deliverer.”
- and believe it, that’s not an idiom.
IT’S LIKE MUSIC TO OUR EARS TO HEAR THE TRUTH!
The delusion is a
The delusion is a psychosis.
Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes:
False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions) ;
Seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations).
Two Resurrections (brief TorahTalk on Youtube):
DEATH seminar (1 hour video):
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