The dictionary defines a heart anatomically as a hollow, pump-like organ of blood circulation, composed mainly of a rhythmically contracting smooth muscle, located in the chest between the lungs and slightly to the left and consisting of four chambers: a right atrium that receives blood returning from the body via the superior and inferior vena cava, a right ventricle that pumps the blood through the pulmonary artery to the lungs for oxygenation, a left atrium that receives the oxygenated blood via the pulmonary veins and passes it through the mitral valve, and a left ventricle that pumps the oxygenated blood, via the aorta, throughout the body.
This is the view of the heart based on modern science.
The Scriptures, on the other hand, declare that the heart is far more than a biological pump that keeps the blood circulating through our body.
The Scriptures describe the heart as the center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, and emotion.
Even medical science is beginning to catch up to the fact that the heart may be a lot more complicated than their textbooks report. Evidence is mounting that the heart may be responsible for personality, reason, and emotion. All characteristics that were once believed to be the exclusive domain of the human brain.
Since the advent of human heart transplants, the modern knowledge of the heart has been in flux as doctors report feedback from those who have received heart transplants. Many of these reports leave the medical profession scratching their heads since science can not explain why a significant percentage of those who have received the transplants experience changes in their personality and preferences. Some even report that they feel like another person is living inside of them.
The evidence that the heart is the seat of the emotional makeup of man is growing. A surprise to modern science but not to Biblical literalist who have known all along that the references to the heart of man in the Scriptures were to be taken literally and not simply as metaphorical figures of speech.
The Heart is revealed in Scripture as the center of emotion. The heart according to Scripture is said to have the capacity to reason and think and imagine and to feel strong emotions such as joy and grief.
It is with our heart that we have the capacity for sympathy, feeling, affection and love.
In the Scriptures, the Heart is sometimes used to describe our spirit, courage, and even enthusiasm.
God declares that He has the power to write things on the heart as if they were a tablet. Is this simply an allegory? Is it possible that what God is prophesying can be understood literally?
Before you discount the idea, consider that man now understands that the body has a language. The language of DNA that is in the blood.
Medical Science is all abuzz as they consider all the ways that they can re-sequence or re-write a person's DNA and by so doing change the physical condition of man.
How many articles are showing up in medical and science digests that suggest that ailments and genetic diseases including cancer can be cured by re-writing the DNA in the bloodstream through some sort of new DNA code introduced and then copied by the person's own DNA? The answer is volumes.
This is all connected to the heart of man. A heart sends the life-giving blood of man coursing through the pathways of man's amazingly created body.
Long ago the Scriptures declared that the life was in the blood and without the heart that life cannot be sustained.
Let’s look at the first and second time the Hebrew word composed translated into English as HEART is used in the Scriptures
First and Second use of Hebrew Word HEART in Scriptures
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Is it an accident that the first paragraph that uses the Hebrew word we translate as Heart reveals that man's heart is imagining evil continually, and that is causing God’s heart to grieve?
The word HEART in Hebrew is composed of two letters, the Lamed and the Beyt. Let’s take a look at the Pictures that unpin these two letters and see if we can begin to understand what God has to say about the heart.
Pictorial Meaning of Heart
Control -To Shepherd
To Have Authority – To Urge Forward
The tongue – The Voice of Authority
The first letter of the Hebrew word translated into the English Scriptures as Heart is Lamed .
Lamed is pictured as a Staff, a picture that is immediately understood. The Shepherd's Staff is used as an instrument of authority over the sheep. It can be used to comfort, protect, discipline, control and guide the sheep.
Lamed means to Have Authority – To Urge Forward.
Lamed also has reference to the tongue and has the dual but complimentary meaning of – The Voice of Authority.
House -Tent – Son – Family – Dwelling Place
Inside – Within – 1st Letter in the Torah that Identifies
The Son of God
Tent / House
The second letter of the Hebrew word translated into English as Heart is Beyt .
The easiest way to remember the conventional meaning of the Hebrew letter Beyt is to remember that it is the first letter in the first word of the Torah. In Genesis 1:1 in the literal Hebrew it is translated IN BEGINNING and even in the English translation reveals that the first word in the Scriptures is the word IN.
This is a pretty amazing letter that must be very important if it is the first letter we find in the Ancient prophetic Scripture.
The picture of Beyt compliments the idea of being in, or inside.
Beyt is pictured as a House or a Tent.
Beyt is the picture of a dwelling place and is linked to the concept of the family and more specifically the son.
Beyt Reysh is the Picture of the Beyt, the Tent or House, and Reysh the Prince. He is the Prince that lives in the house.
The Scriptures compare our human body, the body we temporarily live inside, to a TENT or a Tabernacle.
Let’s read what the Scriptures teach in 2 Corinthians 5:1 (ESV):
We know, for instance, that if our earthly dwelling were taken down, like a tent, we have a permanent house in Heaven, made, not by man, but by God.
And in 2 Corinthians 5:4 we read:
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened;
What is the Picture meaning of the Hebrew word we translate into English as Heart?
The first letter in the Hebrew word Heart, God pictures the Heart as the Voice of Authority, the Lamed pictured as a Shepherd's Staff.
The second letter in the Hebrew word Heart, God pictures the Heart as a Tent or House.
The Picture translation is as follows:
The Heart is the Controlling Voice of Authority that is inside of Man.
According to the Scriptures, the greatest challenge for man is to live up to the expectations that God the Creator built into the very function and purpose of the human heart.
That purpose is God’s primary concern when it comes to the condition of man.
It is the human heart that God checks to make sure that man is on the path to eternal life in His presence.
The essence of man’s LIFE from God’s perspective begins with the condition of man's heart.
God summarized it for us in one short sentence that everyone can understand. Sadly the Human Heart is incapable of doing what it was designed to do because it has been mortally wounded by Sin.
And what is that one thing, what is the first thing, the wellspring of Eternal life?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart!
The picture meaning of HEART puts on a path to God’s amazing revelation regarding the human heart.