Shabbat shalom family,
Tonight I would like us to look a little closer at some of the Hebrew words in their ancient pictographic form, which will further strengthen our ability to fix our eyes on the One True Shepherd of our souls!
In a message tonight called, ‘WHO IS YOUR SHEPHERD?’, I simply want to join the dots so to speak and line up Scripture with Scripture in revealing to us the continual theme we see all the way through Scripture from Berěshith to Ḥazon.
While many of you will make the bold and correct statement in quoting Tehillim/Psalm 23:1, I want to simply show you how our Good Shepherd has revealed Himself to us, in order that we may know Him and follow His Voice.
Tehillim/Psalm 23:1 “יהוה is my shepherd; I do not lack.”
Making this powerful declaration must come with the realisation of how protected and cared for we are by our Great Shepherd, as the Hebrew word for lack is חָסֵר ḥaser – Strong’s H2637 which means, ‘to lack, need, decrease, deprived, scarce, be lacking, be without, made lower, fail’. Knowing that יהוה is our Shepherd gives us the confidence that we shall not lack or be in need or be deprived or fail, but rather we shall trust and fix our eyes on Him and the truth of His Word that sustains us and leads us, lighting the way through a dark and depraved world.
When Mosheh asked Elohim what he should say to the children of Yisra’ĕl when they would ask him what the Name of the Elohim of their fathers is, he received the following answer:
Shemoth/Exodus 3:14-16 “And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” 15 And Elohim said further to Mosheh, “Thus you are to say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘יהוה Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Aḇraham, the Elohim of Yitsḥaq, and the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and this is My remembrance to all generations.’”
I AM THAT WHICH I AM – in Hebrew is – אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה – eyeh asher eyeh – The root word from which ‘eyeh’ comes from is הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961 which means, ‘to be, to become, to be in existence’ and the root word אֲשֶׁר asher – Strong’s H834 which is a primitive pronoun that means, ‘who, which, that, that which’ and is a marker of a relative reference to an entity, event, or state. The first ‘eyeh’ is written as a proper noun, singular, masculine, while the second ‘eyeh’ is written in the qal active verb tense and in essence we see Elohim making it clear here to Mosheh that “The One who exists is the One who causes to exist, or gives existence” or “The All existing One is the One who gives existence”
Literally speaking it can render, “I AM the One who causes to be”, or “I AM the One who brings into being”, as well as “I AM the life-giver, the giver of all existence”, and “I AM the ever living self-consistent and unchangeable One”. This however is not The Name of Elohim, but was rather an explanation that would lead up to the revelation of His Name, which we see in verse 15 is clearly declared as: יהוה – Strong’s H3068 which is derived from the root word הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961.
The above Name, is known also as the Tetragrammaton (four letters), and the four Hebrew letters are:
יהוה – from right to left are: י ה ו ה
י (yod) – Y; – ה (hay) – H; – ו (vav) – W or V; – ה (hay) – H = YHWH = יהוה
These 4 letters transliterated as YHWH form the True Scriptural Name of The Almighty El. And when we speak the Name of the Almighty All-Existent One and express the 4 letters of His Name we are declaring that the Great I AM causes me to be. While there has been widely contested debates on how to pronounce the His Name, we believe that the use of YAHWEH, YAHVEH or YAHUWAH are all acceptable in expressing the Name of the One who gives us life, with the primary emphasis being on the YAH sound, which in Scripture is also rendered as His Name well over 50 times and is not seen as just a contracted form of the Name but rather constitutes the fullness of His Name.
Why I am sharing this with you is to simply lay a foundation in understanding more clearly who our Shepherd is, as we will see that not only does the One who exists and gives existence, ‘cause us to be’ but the CAUSER OF LIFE also shepherds us!
We are also given further insight into the revelation of the Great I AM as we see being displayed or spoken through the ancient pictographic script, which renders the Name of יהוה as follows:
Yod – י
In the Ancient Script this is the letter ‘yad or yod’ which is pictured as – – which is the picture of an arm and hand and carries the meaning of ‘work, make, throw’ from the primary functions of the arm and hand and also represents worship or giving thanks in the extending of hands as a gesture of this. This also reveals to us a stretched out arm and hand.
Hey – ה
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as a man standing with his arms raised up and out as if pointing to something, and in essence carries the meaning of ‘behold’ as in when looking at something very great. It can also have the meaning to ‘breath’ or ‘sigh’ as when looking at a great sight and having your breath taken away so to speak! It also has the meaning of revelation or to reveal something by pointing it out.
Waw – ו
The ancient pictographic form of this letter is , which is a peg or ‘tent peg’ or nail, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope form slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.
In the pictographic representation of the Name of Elohim we are able to clearly see how He, the All Existing One, revealed Himself to His Creation through His Outstretched Arm and Hand. The two pictures of the man and the peg in between them also gives us insight as to how He would come and reveals Himself in the form of a man and secure the Covenants of promise, and in this we are able to see the two comings of Messiah.
Behold the Outstretched Arm of the All Existing One shall come and secure His Covenant and Redeem us in order to establish His House for which He is coming again!
Shemoth/Exodus 6:6 “Say, therefore, to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am יהוה, and I shall bring you out from under the burdens of the Mitsrites, and shall deliver you from their enslaving, and shall redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 53:1 “Who has believed our report? And to whom was the arm of יהוה revealed?”
When Messiah came many did not believe and were unable to recognise the Arm of יהוה:
Yoḥanan/John 12:37-40 “But though He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Yeshayahu the prophet might be filled, which he spoke, “יהוה, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of יהוה been revealed?” 39 Because of this they were unable to believe, because again Yeshayahu said: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they should not see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn, and I should heal them.”
This Yeshayahu said when he saw the esteem of יהוה and spoke of Him!
It is this Arm of יהוה that shepherds the flock of Yisra’ĕl!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:10-11 “See, the Master יהוה comes with a strong hand, and His arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. 11 He feeds His flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs with His arm, and carries them in His bosom, gently leading those who are with young.”
Having laid the foundation of who our Elohim is – let us further see how יהוה clearly tells us that He is the Shepherd, of whom the beloved king Dawiḏ made the bold declaration.
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 34:11-12 “For thus said the Master יהוה, “See, I Myself shall search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 “As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so I shall seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered in a day of cloud and thick darkness.”
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 34:15 “I shall feed My flock and make them lie down,” declares the Master יהוה.”
In this great woe against the false shepherds יהוה was making it very clear that He Himself will search, seek out, deliver and feed His flock and make them lie down!
The Hebrew word translated as ‘feed’ is the same word used in Scripture for ‘shepherd’ which is the word רָעָה ra’ah – Strong’s H7462 which can carry the meaning of ‘shepherd’ as well as ‘to pasture, graze, consume, feed’. Let us look at the pictographic rendering of this word for ‘Shepherd’:
Resh – רָ
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘the head of a man’ and has the meaning of the head of a man as well as chief, top, begging or first. Top as in the top or head of a body and chief an is head of a tribe or people as well as the one who rules the people.
Ayin – עָ
In the ancient script this letter is drawn as – and is pictured as an eye and carries the meaning of ‘insight and understanding’ or that to which you look upon.
Hey – ה – We have already discussed this above – as and is pictured as a man standing with his arms raised up and out.
In looking at these pictures in terms of the word ‘shepherd’ or ‘feed’, we are able to clearly see that the True Shepherd is the head of all, as seen through the ‘exalted’ man! Or behold our Head upon whom we fix our eyes!
Who is the One we are to fix our eyes upon? Iḇ’rim tells us to throw off all sin and that which entangles and look attentively upon our Master:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:2 “looking to the Princely Leader and Perfecter of our belief, יהושע, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the stake, having despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.”
We are told to be ‘looking’ to Messiah – and as we can see from the verse before this one, is that in order to be able to properly ‘look’ at Messiah, we need to throw off and lay aside every weight and sin that easily entangles us and run with endurance – looking intently at our King as we run faithfully as servants of the Most High Elohim!
The Greek word for ‘looking’ is ἀφοράω – aphorao – Strong’s G872 and means ‘to look/ to turn eyes away from all other things and fix them on something’, metaphorically speaking it means ‘to fix the mind upon/ give full attention/ looking intently upon/ to take heed’, and it also means, ‘to consider carefully, attentively look at’ and comes from the two Greek words: ἀπό apo – Strong’s G575 which is a preposition and participle that means, ‘from, away from, at, in, to’ and the word ὁράω horaō – Strong’s G3708 which means, ‘to see, perceive, attend to, take heed, see with the mind, beware, to see as in becoming acquainted with by experience’.
We are to look to Messiah and careful consider our ways, and we are at the same time to ensure that our eyes are not looking elsewhere as we ‘take heed’ of the corrupt teachings of man-made dogmas and traditions that lead people astray.
In Hebrew the word for ‘see’ is רָאָה ra’ah – Strong’s H7200 meaning, ‘to see, look, observe, pay close attention, consider’, and has the similar phonetic sound as the word for ‘shepherd/feed’ yet this word contains a different letter! Instead of an ‘עָ’ – ‘ayin’ it contains the letter ‘אָ’ – ‘aleph’, and so in the ancient script would look like this:
Aleph – אָ
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘the head of an ox’ representing strength and power.
This word in itself teaches us a great deal on who we are to keep our eyes attentively upon; and to see clearly and be functional in seeing as we should, can render the following meaning for us,
“The beginning of our strength is in the revelation of Messiah our Head, who we praise and serve with our all”
So in Hebrew we have two similar sounding words – רָעָה ra’ah for ‘shepherd, feed’ and רָאָה ra’ah for ‘see, look attentively”. What we are able to recognise in the Hebrew text is that the Shepherd unto whom we are to keep our eyes fixed on in order that we are not be led astray by falsehood and lies, is יהושע – Our Good Shepherd – Our Strong Head that was lifted up and exalted on High and is the One who dwells between the keruḇim:
Tehillim/Psalm 80:1 “Give ear, O Shepherd of Yisra’ĕl, who leads Yosĕph like a flock; who dwells between the keruḇim, shine forth!”
– רֹעֵה – ‘Ro’eh’ – “Shepherd” of יִשְׂרָאֵל – Yisra’ĕl
The verse that stirred my pursuit in putting this message together this week was from:
Berěshith/Genesis 49:24 “But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty One of Ya’aqoḇ – from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Yisra’ĕl”
In this blessing of Ya’aqoḇ given to Yosĕph, we are able to see how the life of Yosĕph was truly a shadow picture of the Messiah, who would come forth and Shepherd Yisra’ĕl. We have already looked at the word for ‘shepherd’, which clearly reveals to us that Messiah is our Good Shepherd, yet further evidence in this verse is seen in another word that describes our Shepherd – and that is the Hebrew word used here for ‘Stone’! The Shepherd of Yisra’ĕl is also the Stone of Yisra’ĕl, and the Hebrew word for ‘stone’ is אֶבֶן eḇen – Strong’s H68 meaning, ‘stone, corner stone, differing weights, plumb line’ and comes from the root of בָּנָה banah – Strong’s H1129 meaning, ‘to build, besieged, construct, fortify, rebuild’.
As we look at the ancient script for this word for ‘stone’ we are given greater clarity in who is the Chief Cornerstone and Shepherd. In the ancient script the word is pictured as:
Aleph – אֶ
We have already looked at this symbol/picture that represents ‘strength and power’
Beyt – בֶ
The ancient script has this letter as , which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself, and is the Dwelling Place of the Most High, which we are, as we are as living stones being built up in Messiah.
Nun – ן
The ancient script has this letter as , which pictures a ‘sprouting seed’ and gives the idea of continuation or an offspring or an heir, speaking of that which sprouts forth will be the heir of the promise of continuation.
Seeing this pictographic representation of the word Stone in reference to our Shepherd being the Stone of Yisra’ĕl we are able to see from these symbols how this word in terms of Messiah can render the following:
The Head and Strength of the Dwelling Place has been brought forth, and is the Chief Cornerstone upon which we are built and have the sure promise of inheritance.
Tehillim/Psalm 118:22 “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone.”
This Messiah spoke after He gave the parable of the wicked tenants who killed the son of the master of the vineyard (it was a parable used to teach!!!).
Mattithyahu/Matthew 21:42 “יהושע said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone. This was from יהוה, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”
This is repeated in:
Marqos/Mark 12:10-11 “Have you not read this Scripture, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone. 11 ‘This was from יהוה, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”
And again in:
Luqas/Luke 20:17-18 “But He looked at them and said, “What then is this that has been written, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone’? 18 “Everyone who falls on that stone shall be broken, but on whomever it falls, he shall be pulverised.”
After these words the Pharisees were seeking to seize Him, but feared the crowd as they knew that the parable was about them who had denied who He is!!!
Who did they reject? The Shepherd and Stone of Yisra’ĕl!!!
Messiah tells us clearly in:
Yoḥanan/John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
Yoḥanan/John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. And I know Mine, and Mine know Me”
Messiah tells us in:
Luqas/Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Aḏam has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
When we understand these words and see what Messiah was proclaiming and revealing in the flesh, we see that as יהוה had spoken by the prophet Yeḥezqěl, that He Himself would come to seek and deliver His lost sheep and feed them, we see how by the religious Pharisees of the day who rejected Him, they were rejecting the Shepherd and Stone of Yisra’ĕl – that is they were rejecting יהוה who is our Shepherd!
In the parable that Messiah used of the vineyard, He referred to those who rejected Him as ‘evil ones’ and I find this very striking and sobering as we take careful note of the fact that in Hebrew the word ‘evil’ is from the word רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 meaning, ‘bad, evil, wicked, harmful’. This word is often expressed in the feminine form as רָעָה ra’ah – Strong’s H7463 and has the same spelling for the word for ‘shepherd, feed’; yet we see that this comes from the word רֹעַ roa – Strong’s H7455 which means, ‘badness, evil’.
This should be a clear ‘wakeup call’ for us to see how things may sound correct, and at times may even be written with the same letters, yet may cause us to ‘look’ at what is wrong. Many of our father’s teachings and ways may sound good and true, yet when tested against the measuring stick of the Torah we find that most of what we inherited was in fact not good at all, and what we must learn is that corrupt practices spoil our relationship with יהוה!
The religious lot of the day rejected the Stone and Shepherd as their eyes were not fixed on the Truth but rather on traditions and man-made laws. When Scripture, even in its ancient from of pictographic symbols, revealed who the True Shepherd and Stone of Yisra’ĕl is, many rejected this Shepherd and Stone and looked to false shepherds, who Yeḥezqěl was told to prophesy against – against those who were feeding themselves!
As mentioned earlier from Tehillim/Psalm 118:22 how the stone which was rejected has become the chief cornerstone we can see a powerful insight in the verse before this one:
Tehillim/Psalm 118:21 “I thank You, for You have answered me, and have become my deliverance.”
In praise of the Good Shepherd and Stone of Yisra’ĕl we are able to see how the psalmist uses a great play on words in giving thanks! In this verse leading to the next we can see how he is giving thanks in lifting up his hands in praise and testifying that the causer of life who has brought him deliverance/salvation is the Stone that was rejected by many!
I ask you tonight – WHO IS YOUR SHEPHERD? There is only One Shepherd and One Stone of Yisra’ĕl – Is He your Shepherd?
יהושע Messiah is that revealed Shepherd and Stone who came to seek and save what was lost – who יהוה Himself swore
that He would do – and so as we are able to see in the ancient script of the True Shepherds Name – : He, the All Existing One, who causes us to be, has secured for us the sure promises of His Everlasting Covenant for His sheep, by coming Himself and laying down His life for His sheep, and becoming the Chief Cornerstone in order for us to be built up in Him that we shall never lack!
Traditions and dogmas of man can have a very wicked way of blinding the eyes of many so that they reject the Shepherd and Stone, instead of seeing the revealed Outstretched Arm of Elohim that is not too short to save. We have a Good Shepherd – are you looking attentively at Him?
WHO IS YOUR SHEPHERD? יהושע is Our Good Shepherd = and He is none other than – יהוה who saves, shepherds and feeds His sheep!!! Woe to any other false shepherds who are leading people astray!!!
For our Shepherd – יהוה our Elohim, as mentioned earlier, as Our Shepherd and Stone is our Head and is seen/has been revealed/made known to us through the exalted Son of Aḏam!
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:25 “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your lives.”
WHO IS YOUR SHEPHERD? MY SHEPHERD IS יהוה!!!
May our Good Shepherd, יהוה – bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up his face to you and give you shalom!