3’s of the Ancient Hebrew
The number 3 biblically represents divine wholeness, completeness and perfection. Gimel is the 3rd letter in the Hebrew alphabet which was also used commonly used in Jewish/Aramaic conversation as the number 3 – it simply means to elevate, to rise up, lift up, or to be exalted. Here is a question this morning! Is it not perfectly amazing that from the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic language, a letter representing a number from a sequence, which contained the meaning of a word that revealed the Day 3 resurrection of the Son of God thousands of years before it ever happened?
That is a pretty good reason this Palm Sunday to begin our Holy Week journey together with both interest and desire for deeper revelation (spiritual understanding) of God’s “3.” We will discover this week as we seek this greater understanding just how God in His Mercy delivered on His promise of forgiveness and redemption through Jesus the Messiah in these 3… wholeness, completion, and perfection. We will clearly be able to track how God used 3 to put His handprint on the fulfillment of His Kingdom and all things eternal. That it pleased the Father, that the fullness of The Father – The Son – The Spirit would dwell in Christ Jesus (Perfect Unity). We will use God’s 3 as our pilgrimage guide towards exalting, elevating, and lifting up the name of our Savior and King Jesus Christ.
Within the Hebrew traditions of the Law the Torah (the place of origin for God’s 3), there is an even greater meaning found. I came across this research from the brilliant (Rabbi) Dr. Greg Killian, which will be extremely helpful in sharing with you the symbolism, significance, and meaning of God’s 3.
A] In the Torah (Jewish Book of Law), the number 3 is used to mediate between two opposing or contradictory values. The 3rd value always mediates, reconciles, and connects the two that oppose. So, 3 is the number of truth – remember that. Without realizing it, by their use of 3, the ancient Hebrews were setting the path to God’s ultimate mediator and reconciler. So if 3 is the number of truth – remember that Jesus said, I am the WAY – TRUTH – LIFE, no one comes to the Father except through Me. 3 is indeed the number of truth.
B] To the ancient Hebrew time was divided into 3 portions: The Past, The Present, and The Future. Though it does not seem to be - the position in time that is most expressive of the non-physical is the present, they believed that because temporal life in comparison to eternity is so fleeting, momentary and instantaneous. The function of The Present, is its service as the connector between The Past and The Future. The number 3 expresses connection. By the inspiration and power of the Holy Spirit the writer of Hebrews wrote… “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The number 3 expresses Christ Jesus as the connection between past, present and future.
C] According to Jewish law, once something is done 3 times it is considered a permanent thing. This is called a “chazakah.” Once we have done something 3 times, we have connected to it and connected it to this world. The number 3 represents permanence. That’s why Hebrew tradition is to do things in 3’s, since it adds strength to our acts. For example: The Amida (expanded prayer “The God of History”) is repeated 3 times. There are 3 people standing when a sefer (Torah) is read. The minimum number of verses read by a single reader is 3. The minimum number of readers is 3. In His dying for our redemption and forgiveness, in His resurrection for our life eternal, and in His ascending to pray and intercede for us, Jesus was making His love for all humanity permanent. Paul to the Roman believers wrote… Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding (ascended) for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? The answer is no one – ever. 3 represents the permanence of Christ love for us.
D] The number 3 has a unifying element, and can represent a unity. This is why the thirteenth rule of Ishmael is used as a key principle to understand Torah: Two verses that seem to contradict one another until a third verse reconciles and unifies them. 3 is the number of unity. Christ was unifying the apparent contradiction between being justified by faith or by works through His one perfect act of selfless and sacrificial love. The love of Jesus reconciles both faith and works into unity through the great mystery of God’s Love. This 3 is why the greatest commandment is the greatest commandment. You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength.
I found Rabbi Killian’s wisdom more than fascinating, considering our journey this week it was quite inspiring. Even things that I already had knowledge of, such as the Torah given by God, through Moses the 3rd born, in the 3rd month of the Biblical year, for 3 people groups (Priests, Levites, Israelites); and that Aaron was exactly 3 years older than Moses thereby missing Pharaoh’s command to kill the firstborn of all male Hebrew children. That the weeklong Christian Holy Week coincides with the Jewish Passover setting off 3 prophetically significant feasts for the Jewish people, yet impacting all Gentile Messianic believers; Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), and Sukkot (the Festival of Booths). And of course, the obvious ones… The 3 Patriarchs of the Old Covenant (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), Abraham’s 3 visitors, the 3 Hebrew teens who would not bow and apparently would not burn – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Jonah in belly of the great fish for 3 days, and there are many, many, more. Point being we have through God’s use of “3” a consistent and supernatural method of the prophetic revelation, of biblical confirmation, and of divine fulfillment – again 3. Holy Week is filled with God’s 3’s. Which leads us to a perfect starting point for Palm Sunday – the words of Jesus.
Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I did not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
And with those words you and I can begin our Holy Week Journey together.
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