Biblical Definitions: “WORD”
Source: “Messiah – Volume 1 – Understanding His Life and Teachings In Hebraic Context” by Avi Ben Mordechai. This book is no longer available from Coming Home - A Biblical Hebraic Outreach Teaching Ministry from Avi Ben Mordechai. It is out of print.
NOTE: I have added my comments in square brackets as such [...].
We have all heard definitions given for different words written in the Scriptures. The Scriptures are our best source for defining its own words. In this Torah teaching, we will be looking at the word “Word.”
Throughout this study, you will notice the use of Hebrew names and terms with the English term noted. The purpose of this is to expose you to some Hebrew names and terms to help you down the road to start thinking like a Hebrew. After all, our Scriptures were originally written in Hebrew and some parts in Aramaic. Recently, a scroll of the book of Mattityahu (Matthew) was discovered to be written in Hebrew. It is my opinion that all the Scriptures were originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek and other languages.
First we will start off with the word “Word.” It’s a common phrase we’ve all heard, “the Word of G-d,” “the Word of faith,” “the Word,” “G-d’s Word.” These are only a few of what we have all heard in the past. These are used in religious circles as “generic” definitions for the words of the “New Testament” or the words of “Jesus” or “Paul.” But in the Hebrew mind, the “Word” is much more specific. Looking at the Greek, it is the idea of the Logos stemming from the philosophical system of Plato which does not help us. In the first-century Jewish world there was the Aramaic Memra a synonymous term for HaShem (“The Name”) when ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human, especially to a deity when the expression was to be avoided. Memra was understood as a divine manifestation of Yahweh and sent to His people for discipline, comfort and teaching in the Torah. In Hebrew, another expression was also used―D’var (“Word”). D’var can mean the word of a man, the word of a prophet, the word of a child―any word whatsoever. However, what we want to lean is what Y’shua and His talmidim (disciples, students, or followers) had in mind when they said “Memra” or “D’var.” For example, concerning Y’shua’s dialogues: (Emphasis mine.)
“My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God, and are doing it.”
Luke 8:21 [emphasis added]
[NOTE: We need to take special note here that it’s not just those who hear the Word of Yahweh who are counted as brothers and sisters, but those who do the Word of Yahweh also. In other words, all who hear and do His mitzvots (Yahweh’s Commandments) given to us in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, are His brothers and sisters.]
“Now it came about that while the multitude were pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret,”
Luke 5:1 [emphasis added]
“11 Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 And those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved.”
Luke 8:11-12 [emphasis added]
Concerning the ministry of Y’shua’s [Jesus’] talmidim [disciples, students or followers]:
“And the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”
Acts 6:7 [emphasis added]
“But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.” Acts 12:24 [emphasis added]
“Now apostles and brethern who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.”
Acts 11:1 [emphasis added]
“And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.”
Acts 13:49 [emphasis added]
Concerning Kefa (Peter) and Yochanan (John):
“And so, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.”
Acts 8:25 [emphasis added]
Concerning Sha’ul (Paul) and his teaching ministry:
“But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching, with many others also, the word of the Lord.”
Acts 15:35 [emphasis added]
Again, concerning Sha’ul and his teaching ministry:
“And this took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.”
Acts 19:10 [emphasis added]
“Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you:”
2 Thessalonians 3:1 [emphasis added]
Concerning Sha’ul and his teaching in Ephesians:
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” Ephesians 6:17 [emphasis added]
[NOTE: Sha’ul (Paul) was quoting from Isaiah 59:17 where it is written: “For He put on tzedakah (Righteousness) as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon His head, and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.” This is describing Yeshua’s garments and dress as our High Priest, not a Roman soldier, for Isaiah never knew what a Roman soldier looked like, since he lived some 600 years before the Romans even existed. Moreover, Sha’ul is telling the Israelite people to dress just like their Savior Yeshua. The Roman soldier analogy is a myth, produced by wayward sheep, darkened in their understanding. Looking at Isaiah 59:17 in context with Isaiah 59:16, we can see that Yeshua is the One being described as Yahweh’s armor. So, in essence, these verses are telling those of us who are Israelites to put on Yeshua and His fullness.]
Concerning the End-Times in Revelation:
“I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus.”
Revelation 1:9 [emphasis added]
“And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they maintained.” Revelation 6:9 [emphasis added]
[NOTE: What is being stated here “the testimony, which they maintained” is talking about keeping Yahweh’s Teachings and Instructions (Torah) and sharing the testimony of Yeshua.]
In each of the passages quoted, what is the definition of “the Word of G-d” or “the Word of the L-rd”? To find the answer, let us turn to the book of D’varim (Deuteronomy) which means “words” in Hebrew, and reflect upon Chapter 32, verse 46:
“Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law [Torah].”
Deuteronomy 32:46 [emphasis and comment added]
In the first century, the “Word of the L-rd” or the “Word of G-d” always referred to the whole Mosaic Law of Mount Sinai. Thus, when Y’shua said in Luke:
“On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it―”
Luke 11:28 [emphasis added]
He [Yeshua] was restating Shemot (Exodus) 24:7-8 in the ears of those whose ancestors said―
“…7 All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient (hear)! 8 So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” [emphasis and comment added]
[NOTE: The blood of the lamb sealed the Torah, just as the blood of the Lamb also seals the Renewed Covenant. Yahweh truly never changes either the means of atonement, or the nation who are the recipients of His atonement.]
The “Word of G-d” is the Torah. Although Torah is judicial law in some sense of the word, it is actually much more; it means a divine teaching that imparts life to the human soul, something no demanding man-made system of discipline could ever accomplish. (This is the basis for understanding the epistles of Galatians, Ephesians, Romans and Colossians.) Thus, in Hebrew, the phrase “Word of G-d” is synonymously understood as D’vrai HaTorah (words of the Torah).
Now let us consult the Tanakh (Old Testament), our biblical dictionary, and sample the use of this Hebrew phrase D’vrai HaTorah:
“And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law [Torah] and these statutes,”
D’varim [Deuteronomy] 17:19 [emphasis and comment added]
“Cursed be he who does not confirm the words of this law [Torah] by doing them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
D’varim [Deuteronomy] 27:26 [emphasis and comment added]
“Assemble the people, the men and women and children and alien who is in your town, in order that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your Elohim God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law [Torah].”
D’varim [Deuteronomy] 31:12 [emphasis and comment added]
[NOTE: Notice that the children did not go to separate children’s programs; but were required to hear all the Torah with the adults.]
Notice in the above passage the words of the Torah are to be observed by “the alien who is in your town.” Later, this refers to Gentiles who become “grafted in” to Israel.
“45 When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law [Torah].”
D’varim [Deuteronomy] 32:45-46 [emphasis and comment added]
“Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judea and in Jerusalem, that he might confirm the words of the law [Torah] which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.”
Melechim Bet [2 Kings] 23:24 [emphasis and comment added]
“Then Nehemiah, who is the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law [Torah].”
Nechemyah [Nehemiah] 8:9 [emphasis and comment added]
From the many passages we can clearly see that the “Word of G-d” is synonymous with the “Words of the Law” or, in its Hebrew form, “Words of the Torah.” But in the Tanakh [Old Testament], the Torah or Word of G-d is also defined as the L-rd’s Instructions, Words, Law, Path, and Ways. [Let’s look at some more Scriptures to clarify this point.]
“A Maskil of Asaph. Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.”
Mizmor [Psalm] 78:1 [emphasis added]
“Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah.”
Yeshayahu [Isaiah] 1:10 [emphasis added]
[NOTE: Isaiah was speaking to Judah’s leaders in Jerusalem.]
“And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; that and He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.” For the law [Torah] will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Yeshayahu [Isaiah] 2:3 [emphasis and comment added]
“18 Therefore hear, O nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, O earth, behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their plans, because they have not listened to My words, and as for My law [Torah], they have rejected it also.”
Yirmeyahu [Jeremiah] 6:18-19 [emphasis and comment added]
“And they made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law [Torah], and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.”
Zecharyah [Zachariah] 7:12 [emphasis and comment added]
Again, perhaps now you can grasp what Y’shua meant in the recorded narrative of Luke 8:
“19 And His mother and His brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” 21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it.” ”
Luke 8:19-21 [emphasis added]
Furthermore, with this as a defined foundation for G-d’s word, it is easy to see in what context Y’shua HaMashiach [the Messiah] is speaking when He said after His resurrection:
“These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law [Torah] of Moses and the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Luke 24:44 [emphasis and comment added]
The term translated “fulfilled” in the verse above is the Greek word pleroo (play-ro’-o), Strong’s #G4137. From Dr. Strong’s King James numbering system and is the same term used in Mattityahu [Matthew] 5:17 when Y’shua also said “Do not think that I am came to abolish the Law [Torah] or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” According to Dr. Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon it means:
1. to make full, to fill up.
2. to render full.
3. to fulfill, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law [Torah]) to be obeyed as it should be.
We should not be confused with the Greek word teleioo (tel-i-o’-o), Strong’s #G5048, which according to Dr. Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon means:
to make perfect, complete.
to complete (perfect).
to bring to the end (goal) proposed.
In His Hebraic mindset, Y’shua is saying that the Word of G-d, the Torah, finds its fullness and perfection in His teachings. He is not, however, saying by any stretch of the imagination, that His teachings [are] now complete, bring to an end, or replace and terminate the D’vrai HaTorah [words of the Torah], the divine instructions given to Moshe at Mount Sinai. Here is more Scriptural proof:
G-d to Moshe: “I will raise them up a prophet from among their countrymen, like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.”
D’varim [Deuteronomy] 18:18 [emphasis added]
Y’shua to His talmidim: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”
Yochanan [John] 14:24 [emphasis added]
“… 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Yochanan [John] 5:46-47 [emphasis added]
[NOTE: This does not mean the Israelites should not trust Moshe’s words; rather, He is using a Kal va Chomer (principle of Hebraic interpretation that seeks the greater or weightier issue, when two commandments seem to contradict.) argument stating that if you trust Moshe, a servant in the House, how much more should you trust the Builder of the entire House of Yisrael.]
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”
Yochanan [John] 15:10 [emphasis added]
[NOTE: Both Yeshua and Israel must guard Yahweh’s Torah as a “sign” of affection, submission and obedience. To claim a love for Yeshua apart from Torah obedience will result in being cut off from the Vine, along with suffering the consequences of that removal.]
“Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” ” Yochanan [John] 7:16 [emphasis added]
The “Word of G-d” in its Hebraic definition means the “Words of the Torah” or the “Words of the Law” reviewed in the book of The Words (D’varim or Deuteronomy). [emphasis added]
The “Word of G-d” is also explained as His instructions, His teachings, His Law, His paths, and His ways. [emphasis added]
The fulfillment of His Word involves doing it and obeying it, not ending it. [emphasis added]
It should be perfectly clear that when we use our Bible to get the definition of different words, the Word becomes “fuller” and “fulfilled.” All too often we rely upon dictionaries for the definition of words we come across in our Bibles. I have done this for many years until I learned to start looking to the Bible itself for the definition of some of its words.
I pray this study / teaching has been a blessing to you and pray that our Loving Heavenly Father, Yahweh, will direct your paths and further study into His Word. After all, His Word is Absolute!
Continue to test all things and may Almighty YHWH bless all who study His Absolute Written Word.
I am One Crying In The Wilderness!
Eddie Rogers, Minister, D.D.
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