What do the Ancient Scriptures mean when they declare something to be without spot or blemish? Is this the same thing as being perfect? Isn’t this an impossible standard to achieve? What can the Hebrew Pictograms reveal to us that would help us to understand the word Tamiym better? Will anything here point us to Messiah?
We are placed in a difficult situation in the Gospel of Matthew by Jesus when he says:
"Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
We know none of us are truly perfect, and consequently this translation from the Greek leaves us in a troubling position. What are we to make of this? Are we really expected to be something of which we are not capable? In Hebrew, the words perfect in this verse would be Tamiym, and in Hebrew thought there is an entirely different concept in view.
In conventional Hebrew, the word Tamiym means complete, whole, entire, or sound in the sense of being unimpaired, innocent, and having integrity. In Hebrew thought there is no such concept as perfect. This begins to better explain what we find in Psalm 19 verse 7:
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple."
The law or Torah, which is called perfect in our translation, really means this: the Torah is complete and morally pure. In it is found every instruction needed to avoid sin and live in integrity and at peace with God.
In Exodus Chapter 12 verse 5 another very interesting example of Tamiym is found as Moses is instructed to select a lamb for the sacrifice for the first Passover:
"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats."
The words without blemish are the Hebrew word Tamiym. This is the qualification for the lamb whose blood will be applied to the side and upper doorposts and save the firstborn of all those inside from death. Again, is this animal perfect? No, but it is Tamiym. It is blameless, unimpaired, and complete.
What can the pictographs that are found in the Ancient Hebrew letters show us that could give more understanding? Tamiym is spelled Tav Mem Yood Mem.
Tav is the picture of crossed wooden sticks and means a sign, or to seal, or to covenant.
Mem is the picture of waters and can be waters of chaos and confusion as a tsunami or gentle waters like a brook that brings life. It can mean the living water or the word of God that brings life.
Yood is the picture of the hand and means a mighty deed or purpose accomplished.
Mem, again, is the picture of waters that in this case bring life.
What can the pictograms for Tamiym tell us? That whatever is Tamiym is confirmed or made secure by living waters that will accomplish the purpose of bringing life. In Tamiym is a sign or a seal of a covenant. Is there an example of that for us to examine?
In Chapter 18 of the book of Deuteronomy God warns His people to avoid the evil practices of the inhabitants of the land they are about to possess. In verse 12 Moses writes this for us:
"For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee."
Moses follows that with this in verse 13:
"Thou shall be perfect with the LORD thy God."
The word perfect is Tamiym and describes a people that we can see as we read are not actually perfect in our usual sense today, but are morally complete, blameless, and secure in their covenant relationship with their God. The real question Is how does this take place? What is the process of becoming Tamiym?
Verse 18 gives us a clue:
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him."
It is the Word of God, the Living Waters that gives God’s people the ability to be Tamiym. The Rabbi Paul explains this for us in Ephesians Chapter 5 starting in the middle of verse 25 through verse 27:
"Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
God’s people today are made Tamiym by the washing of water by the word just as they were in Deuteronomy. But just how hard is this? Each of the Hebrew letters in Tamiym are also numbers that hold meaning for us that is determined by how those numbers are used in the scriptures.
Tav is the number 400 which can be described as the number 10 which is something ordained in Heaven, times 40 which indicates trials and testing or probation.
Mem is the number 40 and indicates trials and testing or probation.
Yood is the number 10 and describes something ordained in Heaven.
Mem, again, is the number 40 and stands for trials, testing, or probation.
There is an unmistakable pattern found here. God has not ordained that His people will automatically become Tamiym. This will only happen by being washed by the water of His word, and this will always be a choice that comes after trials and testing.
Ultimately, God’s people becoming Tamiym comes as a result of relationship with Messiah. Just like those saved by the Tamiym lamb in Exodus at Passover, in First Peter Chapter 1 verse 19 we see that the One who is Himself Tamiym saved His people:
"…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."