Abram was the first in scripture to be called 'Hebrew'. Why? What does it mean? Is it only referring to the lineage that Abram descended from? Or, is there an understanding of this discriptive term that also applies to us, as Believers In Christ? This writing explores this concept.
Abram was Hebrew. R U?
There seems to me to be one overriding characteristic that apparently is common to all believers and followers of the Call of CHRIST. For my observations, that one common characteristic that seemingly applies to all who are in CHRIST is the subject of 'spirituality'. Who we are individually in our own personal spirituality, and where we are individually in our own personal spirituality is a topic and subject that for many seems to be continually in limbo; or at best, in a state of change. But does CHRIST change? "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever".[Heb. 13:8] I think CHRIST changes not!
You and I, and all Believers in CHRIST, have been called to embark on a journey. We have been called to experience and take part in a journey that is of and by and for and in CHRIST. We have been called to accept an opportunity that CHRIST provides for all who will answer HIS call. Remember, "No man can come to ME unless FATHER who sent me draws him". [John 6:44] Also, "You did not choose me, but I have chosen you...".[John 15:16] You didn't choose this journey. The Provider of this Opportunity has chosen you!
We have many examples and parables and teachers from scripture to instruct us along this Spiritual journey that we have embarked on. I call this opportunity a journey, not because we travel geographically, but because we are being allowed to see a higher vision and understanding of the Life Our Father has placed within us. And you have accepted that call, and you have embarked on this Magnificent Journey if you have accepted the Promise from GOD that CHRIST is your Life. Or, may I say the same thing in a different manner? May I be allowed to say that "CHRIST in you is Life"? Paul, our elder brother in Faith, was allowed to express the same idea this way: "When it pleased GOD... to reveal HIS Son in me,". [Gal. 1:15-16] Wow! I pray to FATHER right this moment to quicken you, by HIS Spirit in you, to prepare your understanding for the purpose of "revealing CHRIST in you". Amen!
In Gal.1:16, the Greek word that we have translated "...to reveal" is 'apokalupto'. It is, in your Strong's Concordance, #601, and it is a verb that might be better translated as "to unveil". The word, 'apokalupto', actually means to "...disclose; to take the cover off of; to reveal". The word in no way indicates to put something into place. It rather is used to describe something that is already there, but I, for whatever reason, was unable to see it. To 'unveil' means to disclose that which is already present. For GOD to unveil HIS Son in Paul is to accept that HIS Son was already present, but hidden and not recognized, in Paul. This understanding, to Saul of Tarsus whom later became known as Paul the Apostle, had to be a veritable earthquake where his religion was concerned. I believe this was what Saul saw on his trip to Damascus to destroy Believers of the Way.
"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute ME"? "Who are you, Adonai (Lord)"?
"I AM Yeshuah, whom you are persecuting"! "Oh YHWH (LORD), what shall I do"? "Arise,..."!
I hope my dramatization doesn't cause you discomfort. I assure you, I do not make frivolous the above event. Quite the contrary, it causes me to weep to confront the extent to which I, too, have persecuted GOD the Son in me. But this story is about reconciliation, and not persecution.
Paul said that it pleased GOD to reveal, or unveil, HIS Son in Paul. The Greek word, apokalupto, that is used in Gal.1:16 is also the same word that is used in Rev.1:1. "The Revelation (Unveiling) of Jesus Christ...". Can you see now that this is really about the "unveiling" of CHRIST? To "unveil CHRIST" is to take away what ever has been the covering that has not allowed us to realize "...CHRIST in you, the hope of glory". [Col.1:27] And if Rev.1:1 is truly the unveiling of CHRIST in you and me, and the unveiling of CHRIST in all believers of all ages, then what does that do to all of the Eschatological [End of the World] books that have been written in recent years? They may not be quite as accurate as we have been lead to believe.
Oh well, at least they were good for the economy.
As I said earlier, we have been given opportunity to embark on a journey. And as I said before, I do not believe it to be a geographical journey, but a journey into Spirit Life. As I am able to see this opportunity, it is the invitation from Our Father to "pass over" from the boundaries and limitations of our carnal and fleshly prison to a Dimension of Spirit and Life; to a World that is bounded only by my ability and willingness to believe the WORD that FATHER has already established in Heaven; the Heaven that HE has established in me and in you! FATHER invited us to "cross over", and HE had actually already prepared the means for us to cross over before HE told us that we could cross over. "Adam, where are you"? "Abba, i'm afraid" "Come back, adam, all is well". "i'm afraid".
To "cross over" is the major theme that permeates our scripture. It implies to us that we have some how gotten on the wrong side of the border, and now need to be shown the gate or crossing point that we may re-access the "land" that we departed from. This is the very notion that GOD revealed in Abram while he dwelled in Ur of Chaldea. GOD told Abram to leave the bondage and boundary that Ur of Chaldea imposes, and pass over to a land that GOD will reveal to you. We know that Abram answered the call of GOD by leaving what he was accustomed to, and setting out on a journey. Abram accepted the invitation of GOD to become Abraham. Abram accepted the opportunity to "pass over"; or as I prefer to say, to "cross over". Abram was called to leave the 'comfort zone' known as "Ur of Chaldea". [Gen.11:31; 12:1; 15:7; Heb. 11:8]
"Ur" means 'light'. The Hebrew word that we have translated "ur" is #218 in Strong's Concordance. It is a noun that comes from the verb that is in Strong's Concordance #215. The verb form of the word that we have translated "ur" means "...to be or to make luminous; to enlighten; to illuminate".
I hope you now begin to see that GOD told Abram to leave the' light' that is known as Chaldea, and journey to a "...a land that I will show you".[Gen. 12:1] Chaldea was recognized as the authoritative center for astrology; Chaldea was the gathering place for all who practiced the art of prophesying and fortune telling by interpreting the signs that we call the zodiac. Please, do not confuse astrology with astronomy. GOD designed and enforces and uses astronomy. And scripture teaches that HE has preached to us the Gospel in the constellations. Job was a very gifted and acknowledged astronomer. Astrology is something completely other than astronomy. Astrology is different from astronomy as dark is different from light. Actually, I will go so far as to say that astrology is the 'light' of man's wisdom. Hmmmmm! GOD told Abram to leave the light of Chaldea. Abram was told to leave the influence of the wisdom of man. GOD told Abram to separate himself from that camp, and "...he sojourned in the land of promise,...for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD". [Heb.11:8-10] Abram was witness that Ur of Chaldea did not have nor display the Light of GOD, for he departed from that position to seek a more perfect Light. I do hope at this point you recognize that Abram was not looking for that pot of turmoil in the middle east that is known as "...the Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children..."[Gal. 4:25], but Abram was seeking "...the Jerusalem which is above,...".[Gal.4:26]
In Gen.14:13, we read about "...Abram the Hebrew,...". Abram is the first to be called a Hebrew, and he is first referred to as a Hebrew in this verse. I began to become intrigued by this reference to Abram as a Hebrew, and wanted to know why he was called Hebrew. The answers to my questioning was not difficult to dig up, but the understanding and interpreting of the answers is not quite so simple. The word, or name, 'Hebrew' comes from a verb that means to "...pass over; to cross over". The word that we get Hebrew from is in your Strong's Concordance #5674. It is pronounced "ah-vare", and it means just what I said before; "...to pass; to pass over; to cross over; to be removed from". As we have already seen, Abram "ah-vare" from Ur of Chaldea to search for the city that YHWH would reveal to him. And to be willing to "ah-vare", or pass on or away from something, you first must be brought to the realization that the place or thing that you are given opportunity to cross over from is indeed an inferior and unacceptable position or place. Accepting that the position or place that you currently recognize yourself to be in as an inferior and undesirable place or position is usually not very difficult. However, leaving the place or understanding that you find yourself in is a different subject altogether. Abram had recognized, by the Voice of GOD in him, that Ur of Chaldea was not the place or understanding for one who was seeking "...the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD".[Heb.11:10] And so, now he has to act. But taking action is seldom as simple as seeing that action needs to be taken. Abram had to uproot all that he had become accustomed to. He had to leave family and business behind. He had to be willing to separate himself from all that he was familiar with, and embark on journeys that have unknowable consequences.
In Ur of Chaldea, Abram had stature. In Ur of Chaldea, Abram had wealth. Abram had the respect of a community and society that prided itself in its human logic and wisdom, and the results that human wisdom and logic can provide. He had to be willing to divest himself of a successful economy, because that economy did not reflect the Name and Nature of GOD who was now revealing himself in and to Abram. Let's try to get a closer look at this man we know as Abram, who was to become "...our father Abraham".
Abram was a descendant of Shem. Shem survived the flood on the ark as one of Noah's three sons. Shem lived about six hundred years, according to scripture, and would have been about four hundred when Abram was growing up. Abram was, without question, exposed to and aware of his history, his lineage and the knowledge of his family tree. Abram knew Shem. In the Book of Jasher, which the Bible refers to in Joshua and 2Samuel, Shem is recorded to be not only a man of great valor and dignity, but also a Spiritual leader. Abram was taught the Life and Ways of GOD directly from Shem. Abram was the descendant of Shem; not just genetically, but Spiritually. "Shem" means '...name; nature'. The name "Shem" means 'Name; nature; to display your understanding of self'. It is an interesting observation that Jews still refer to Our Father as "ha Shem", which is translated into English as "the Name". For religious reasons, Jews will not attempt to pronounce the Personal Name of GOD. I do not mock or criticize that religious position. However, I do want to "cross over" from that limitation. I do want to "cross over" to the "...city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD"; to :"ah-vare", or "cross over", to that LIFE that desires to have a face to face relationship with me, to that LIFE who longs to have a personal and intimate 'Name to Name' covenant in me. HE Who is LIFE HIMSELF desires that I know HIM as my Life, and HE is unveiling HIMSELF in me and to me, that I am no longer afraid to call HIM by HIS NAME.
To know HIS NAME is to know HIS NATURE. Remember, the Hebrew word "shem" means "...name; nature; character". To know one's name is to know their character and nature. To know one's name is to know who they are and what they do. Refer to Ex. 34:1-8. Here God descends to Moses so that Moses can begin to understand the true NATURE and CHARACTER of this ' god' that Moses had been receiving direction and guidance from.
In Ex.3:13, Moses said to GOD that when he, Moses, was to go to the Israelites in bondage [Egypt] they were going to ask Moses, "what is the name of this god who sent you?". It was actually many years later before Moses was able to cross over, to "ah-vare", to the level that he would be able to know and understand the TRUE NATURE and to understand the importance of THE NAME that he had been serving and following.
I can almost hear some of you saying, "So what! What does that all have to do with me"? To quote Paul, "...much in every way". Abram was called "...the Hebrew" while he was still known as Abram. Abram was called to "cross over, to ah-vare". Abram was called to embark on a journey that would lead him to a higher and more pure knowledge of the ONE who had called Abram. But he was not called to go, as Abram, to that "...city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD". That understanding was held in reservation for "Abraham". Abram the Hebrew received many blessings from GOD. Abram the Hebrew produced many sons after the flesh. Abram the Hebrew spawned many peoples who are still, to this very day, fighting and shedding blood over a sand box on the coast of the Mediterranean.
Genesis, chapters 16 and 17, point out that Ishmael, the son of Abram after the flesh, and his brethren and kin would inherit the land that they still fight for to this day. Those who still clamber and scrape for position in that physical inheritance are the seed of Abram. Abraham, however, was the Father of Isaac, the son of Promise. "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "and to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed, who is CHRIST".[Gal. 3:16] Even Jesus told the Jews that Abraham was not their Father. But they wouldn't hear HIM.
I hope you can now begin to see that I am talking about a Spiritual Hebrew. If CHRIST in you is being unveiled, it is for the purpose of allowing you to see the difference between the physical and carnal Christianity that we have all been guilty of, and accepting the call to "cross over" and see yourself as the Spiritual Hebrew that FATHER has declared you and I to be. To "cross over" is to die to that carnal religion that we have called Christianity and "...come up higher" to the New Jerusalem that is truly you. CHRIST in you is the New Jerusalem, "...the city ...whose builder and maker is GOD". To "cross over", to become the Hebrew you are destined to be, is to see yourself as the Holy of Holies that scripture declares that you are. In Rev. 21, John shares with us the vision he was allowed to see. He tells us he saw the "...the city, the holy Jerusalem, descending from heaven from GOD". John was telling us, in no uncertain terms, that the "Holy Jerusalem" is a Spiritual city. John saw, in vivid detail, the understanding of "...the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD". John saw the city that Abraham knew in his heart he was called to go to. To John was "unveiled" the hope and promise that Abraham longed for and had dreams and visions of. To John was "unveiled" the "blessed hope" that believers of all ages have been desiring. Believers of all ages have suffered slaughters and persecutions and tortures and ridicule from "the religious church" because they knew in their 'Spirit From GOD' that there was "A Place of Hope" designed by OUR FATHER to which we have all been called to go.
"But I saw no temple in the city, for the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY and the LAMB are it's temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine, for the Glory of GOD illuminates it, and the LAMB is it's Light." [Rev.21:22-23]
You, also, have been called to journey to this city. You and I, like our Father Abraham, have been called to leave the comfort of our Babylon surroundings and thinking, and "cross over" as a True Hebrew, to the City which GOD shall show us. Babylon has fallen; it can no longer support you. You have now embarked on a journey, in Spirit Living, that can no longer tolerate the surroundings of the carnal and selfish world that we once called home. We have been told, "...come up higher"[Rev.4:1], and you will be able to see Life and Truth from GOD's viewpoint. "Come up higher" and realize the "Heaven" that GOD has placed in HIS SPIRIT in you and me. "Come up higher" and recognize your true identity as the resurrected Body of CHRIST that has opportunity to impart Life to all you encounter because LIFE HIMSELF has taken up HIS Rightful Residence in you whom HE has chosen. "Come up higher" and you will see all the possibilities that may now take place as you have accepted residence in "...the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD." It is truly your city. It was made for me and you. It was created for habitation, and we have been called to "ah-vare", to "cross over", and to be the full Hebrews we are called to be in our Spiritual City. And unlike our Father Abraham, we do not have to uproot our physical presence, and wander in search of a calling that will not leave us alone. You don't even have to leave your recliner. It is a Spiritual journey through the Cross, into the Heavens that OUR FATHER has placed in HIS SPIRIT which HE has now Breathed into You. You have been CHRISTED with HIS HOLY SPIRIT or you wouldn't even be reading this. And now, if we can leave the surroundings of the religion of carnal christianity, and "cross over" and "come up higher" to the "New Jerusalem", which is being unveiled in and to the Body of CHRIST, we will be able to know OUR FATHER as JESUS knows OUR FATHER. And was that not Our LORD's prayer request? Did HE not pray that we would become ONE with FATHER as HE was ONE with FATHER? HE did not make HIS request in vain. And HE only asks the will of HIS FATHER. If FATHER wishes that we be ONE with HIM, and CHRIST wishes that we be ONE with HIM, then let us be ONE with HIM in New Jerusalem. "Cross over" from any bondages and limitations that hinder you from your full potential as Son of GOD that HE has declared you and me to be. "Cross over". Become the True Hebrew you were always destined to be.
And as always, take great Joy in the Journey.
Shalom and Shalom! Alan