We all experience times when we need healing or restoration. The Hebrew word for this is Aruka. What does this word actually mean and how does this happen? Does anything in the Hebrew pictographs describe this to us more fully? Does anything in these pictographs point us to Messiah?
More than 500 years before the birth of Christ, the nation of Israel began its return to its homeland after being led into captivity in Babylon. This was to fulfill the promise of God to restore His people after being held for 70 years as judgement for their unfaithfulness to Him.
When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were heartbroken at the sad state of their beloved city.
The temple had been destroyed and the walls of the city had been torn down. In answer to this, Nehemiah, the Jewish cupbearer to the Persian king, asked for and was given permission to return and rebuild the walls in order to secure health and safety for the inhabitants.
This restoration of the walls was not without its opponents. This is recorded for us in the book of Nehemiah Chapter 4 verses 7 and 8:
But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up and that the breeches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,
And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
In the English phrase were made up is found the Hebrew word Aruka which means to restore, to restore to health and to recover. It literally refers to a long bandage which would be applied to heal a wound.
There are several other Hebrew words for bandage that could have been used here instead of Aruka. Why was this word chosen? To see why, let’s investigate the ancient Hebrew pictographs which contain clues that can help us see more clearly.
Aruka is spelled Aleph Reysh Vav Kaf Hey.
Aleph is the picture of the ox and means the strong leader or God the Father.
Reysh is the picture of the head and stands for the leader, the master, or the prince.
Vav is the picture of the iron nail or the wooden hook and means to fasten, to secure, or to join two things together that are separated from one another.
Kaf is the picture of the palm of the hand and means to cover, open, allow, or to atone.
Hey is the picture of the man with outstretched hands to the heavens and means to behold or to pay attention to what follows.
Can you see what God is revealing here? The strong leader, the prince, is connected to an atonement that is followed by something we should notice. And who is this strong leader? This is a picture pointing to Jesus Christ who atoned for the sins of His people. This is followed by restoration to God and healing from the results of sin.
But there is more to be discovered here. Each of the Hebrew letters is also a number. Interestingly, each of these numbers also carries with it a meaning that can be discerned by seeing how that number is used whenever it appears in the scriptures. Most often there is rich theology wrapped up in these numbers, so let’s have a look at them.
Aleph is the number 1 and refers to God the Father.
Reysh is the number 200 and reminds us of the insufficiency of man contrasted with the sufficiency of God.
Vav is the number 6 and clearly tells of man’s enmity with God.
Kaf is the number 20 and points us to redemption.
And finally, Hey is the number 5 and shows us the grace of God.
In this we see that God’s plan for healing and restoration is more than a long bandage wrapped around a wound by a physician to help promote healing. God the Father, seeing man’s enmity with Him, has, in His sufficiency and through His grace, provided the ultimate healing which is man’s redemption from sin.
The Rabbi Paul reminds us of this in his letter to the church in Galatia in Chapter 4 verses 4 and 5:
But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
We are further reminded of this in the Gospel of Mark Chapter 10 verse 45 where Jesus, referring to himself, stated this:
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Now we can see why God singled out the word Aruka for the building of the walls in His holy city Jerusalem. It was never about simply replacing the stones or just applying a bandage on the wall. It was symbolic of the necessary restoration and healing because of the sins of God’s people.
Ultimately that restoration can come only at the hand of the Prince, Jesus Christ, who by His sacrifice for each of us on the cross has provided healing for all who choose to come to Him and accept God’s gift of grace.