What does the Bible mean when it says we are to die or experience death? What about the word for burial? What will the pictographic Hebrew letters tell us about these events that will help us to understand them more? Will these letters somehow point to Messiah? Let’s find out.
In the Biblical account of the leader of the nation of Israel named Joshua, we find in Chapter 24 the record of his death and his burial. In verse 28 through 30 we read the following:
So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance. And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
The Hebrew verb Muwth or died used here is spelled Mem Tav. Usually, it is spelled Mem Vav Tav and can also be translated to death as well as die or died.
We think we know what death is all about, but what do the letters indicate that would help us better understand the Ancient Text?
Mem is the picture of massive waters like a tsunami or a flood or a gentle rain that makes a desert bloom.
Vav is the picture of the iron nail and is used to secure or join things together.
Tav is the picture of crossed sticks and means a covenant, a sign or a cross.
So the first mystery we can discover here is that Joshua is about to experience something that is destructive like a tsunami or something that is gentle and brings life. Which will it be? It depends on whether or not Joshua is connected to the one who covenants with us. The Tav has always pointed to the work of Messiah on the cross of Calvary where death was forever destroyed for us.
Rabbi Paul wrote of this in his second letter to his disciple Timothy. In chapter 1 verses 9 and 10 he states that according to the power of God:
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
The numbers that these three letters represent tell us even more. Mem is the number 40 and indicates a trial or an action of grace resulting in revival. Vav is the number 6 and describes man’s enmity with God. Tav is the number 400 and describes the divinely appointed period of time that will bring about deliverance and renewal.
These numbers show that for Joshua and for us because of our enmity with God there is a coming divinely appointed time or trial that will result in our deliverance and renewal if we are connected to Messiah and the covenant He has extended to us.
But part of this trial includes the Hebrew word Qabar which means to bury. This word is spelled Qoof Beyt Reysh. What mystery will we find here?
Qoof is the picture of the back of the head and means behind, the last, or the least.
Beyt is the picture of the tent and stands for the house, the family, or the dwelling place and is the first letter of the Torah that identifies the Son of God.
Reysh is the picture of the head and indicates the leader, the master, or the prince.
So the mystery found in the pictographs of the word Qabar or bury is that the person who has died, the least, is headed to the house of the leader or the prince. But which prince?
In the Gospel of the beloved disciple of Yeshua named John, we hear of another prince. Yeshua Himself refers to him in John Chapter 14 verse 30.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you, for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
There is a prince of this world that has nothing to do with our Messiah. The one who is buried is going to dwell either in the house of this worldly prince or Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Christ. How do we know which house or tent Joshua chose?
In Joshua Chapter 24 verse 15 he tells us what his choice was:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
The numbers that come from the letters in Qabar complete the mystery. Qoof is the number 100 and points to the children of promise. Beyt is the number 2 and refers to God the Son. Reysh is the number 200 and describes the final blood sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. So those who choose to serve Yahweh as Joshua did become the children of promise that will enjoy the results of the final blood sacrifice of Yeshua, the perfect Lamb of God.
This is why Rabbi Paul could write this encouragement to the followers of Yeshua in Corinth. In his first letter to the Corinthians Chapter 15 verse 55 he writes:
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
And in verse 17 he concludes:
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who have chosen to put their trust in Yahweh and the Messiah have nothing to fear in either Muwth or Qabar, death or burial.
There is one final twist to our two words. Rabbi Paul wrote something revealing to the believers living in Rome. In Chapter 6 verse 3 and 4 he said:
Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The letters in Muwth described mighty waters that connected us to the Covenant with Messiah. In the waters of baptism, we share with Messiah the death He experienced on the Tav, the crossed wooden sticks. How do we do that? In the waters of baptism, we are Qabar, buried with Messiah unto Muwth or death. Wonderfully the story does not end there for Rabbi Paul tells us we will also be raised up from the dead to newness of life by the glory of the Father.
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