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An Ancient Witness
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Twenty-two Foundation letters: He engraved them, He carved them, He permuted them, He weighed them, He transformed them, and with them He depicted all that was formed and all that would be formed.

Twenty-two Foundation letters: He placed them in a circle like a wall with 231 gates. The Circle oscillates back and forth. A sign for this is: There is nothing in good higher than Delight (Oneg - ); There is nothing in evil lower than Plague (Nega - )

Sepher Yetzirah 2.2

The Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Creation, is one of the oldest Jewish religious texts to be found outside the Bible. The late Rabbi/Physicist Aryeh Kaplan, who wrote an extraordinarily insightful commentary on this ancient text, stated that

The first commentaries on this book were written in the 10th century, and the text itself is quoted as early as the sixth. References to the work appear in the first century, while traditions regarding its use attest to its existence even in Biblical times. So ancient is this book that its origins are no longer accessible to historians."

An old manuscript dating from at least the 10th century says "This is the book of the Letters of Abraham our Father, which is called Sepher Yetzirah, and when one gazes into it, there is no limit to his wisdom." Though it underwent numerous additions, alterations, and degradations in the intervening years, it is almost certain that this book originated as the product of devout Jews living under the First Covenant before the advent of Christ, unto whom the Lord had "committed the oracles of God." One modern Jew's understanding of these letters and the Sepher Yetzirah can be found at Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh's This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window site.

Galgal (The Wheel)

One of the primary purposes of the Sepher Yetzirah was to elucidate how God designed, that is, engraved, carved, weighed, permuted and transformed, the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet to form the foundation of his creation and how he combined these letters to generate the words by which "He depicted all that was formed and all that would be formed." The text states that God "placed them in a circle." In this regard, Rabbi Kaplan noted that:

The word for circle here is Galgal. This can also be translated as 'sphere' or 'cycle'. In a number of places in the Talmud, this word is also used to denote the cycle of events in the world. Later, the Galgal is depicted as king over time. [It] also denotes the mystical array of the 22 letters.

This Galgal, this mystical array of 22 letters that reigns as King over Time is none other than a primordial vision of God's Wheel "seen in a glass darkly." It is a prophetic glimpse of the final form of God's eternal Word by his ancient beloved people, the Jews. Its etymological relation to Golgotha is discussed in The Axis of the Wheel

The Numerical Weight of the Letters

The Sepher Yetzirah also states that God weighed the letters which refers to the "weight" of their numerical values. This natural metaphor continues to be used by modern mathematicians in such phrases as "weighted sum" and "weighted average." The values of each letter may be seen in the Alphabet Table , and a thorough demonstration of God's design and use of them in the Bible is given in the articles Gematria and Scripture and Basic Greek - Gospel Light . Aleph () is the lightest, having a weight of Unity, while Tav (, ), the Cross, is the heaviest with a weight of 400. It is clear that God considered these weights when placing these numbers in Scripture. The first occurrence of the Number One is found on the First Day of Creation when God said "Let the be light" whereas the Number 40 first occurs when God made his initial covenant with Abraham involving a bloody sacrifice and "an horror of great darkness." An immeasurably greater horror that brought "darkness over all the earth" fell upon the Lord Jesus Christ when he encountered his Tav () and sealed the everlasting Covenant with his own blood as he bore the unbearable weight of the sin of the world. The ramifications of Tav as the heaviest letter are manifold and profound.

Tav: King Over Grace

Just as the Wheel is called King over Time, signifying its eternal and unchanging character, so the Sepher Yetzirah crowns each letter governing the various Spokes as King over some aspect of creation. These designations are incredibly insightful and informative because they were faithfully derived by devout men from the ultimate authority of the Holy Scripture. Although we now have the greater light of the risen Sun of Righteousness, the aged Book of Creation bears faithful witness to the everlasting Gospel bathed, as it were, in the softer light of the Moon. This is particularly evident in the significance it assigns to the letter Tav, the Cross. Speaking with a clarity unsurpassed by any book of the New Testament, this ancient Hebrew text simply states that God "made the letter Tav king over Grace." The word used in this passage, (Chen, Grace), is the very word used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures to denote the saving grace of God, as in the verse "And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Undoubtedly, this is the word that Paul, a "Hebrew of the Hebrews" brought up "at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers," had in mind when he wrote "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," and again, when he declared that we are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." It is noteworthy that grace was introduced with reference to Noah whose name is an anagram (permutation) of grace ().

Mayim: King Over Water

Another obvious example of God's design and use of the Hebrew alphabet is found in the 13th letter Mayim (), which the Sepher Yetzirah designates as "king over Water." This attribute arises directly from the literal meaning of its name, Mayim (, water). With its numeric weight of 40, this divine hieroglyph makes its stunning biblical debut as an integral part of the greatest hydrologic event in all recorded history, Noah's Flood:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty () days and forty ()  nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. And Noah was six hundred () years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.

This passage also contains the first occurrence of the Number 600 which is the alternate value of the final (sofit) form of the letter Mem () as shown in the Alphabet Table . Thus, both numerical values associated with the letter Mayimm first appear in Scripture together and in conjunction with the great Flood of Water, over which this letter rules as king.

Galgal (Wheel) = 66

Yet another obvious example of the careful design and use of the Hebrew alphabet and language in the structure of the Bible is found in the numerical weight of the Hebrew word designating the Wheel itself. In accordance with the Table, we have:

Wheel (, Galgal) = 30 + 3 + 30 + 3 = 66

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Who but God could create a system as intelligently integrated as this? The numerical weight of the Hebrew name of the Wheel -- the fundamental form upon which God engraved his eternal Word -- agrees exactly with its actual weight as measured by the number of books it contains. Identities like this are extremely common - the identity of the Creator, the essence of the Gospel, and even the truth of Gematria are all encoded by God in the intrinisic alphanumeric structure of the Greek and Hebrew languages. Here are three of the more astounding examples with links to associated articles:

  • Alpha Omega = 801 = The Creator
  • Gospel = 577 = God's Love = God's Will
  • Law = 430 = Number

Glory to God! There is no end to His Wisdom. What can we say but that the Alphabetic Wheel has been weighed, measured, and meted out with perfect precision to bear the glory of the creative impulse of Almighty God? It is the unified heart of the miraculously self-consistent, self-descriptive semantic system commonly known as the Holy Bible.

Yet there is more. The ultimate source of the Wheel is revealed in the verse "But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble." The exact words written are:

Of the LORD (, MYHVH) = 66

This last identity also demonstrates the grammatical function of the letter Mayimm, which, when prefixed to a word, represents the preposition of or from. This then manifests in the fundamental word , (Am, Mother or Mom) from whom we all emerge into this world. Furthermore, the union of the Mother () with the Father () yields the Child (, Yeled), as in the verse "Unto us a child is born." We have the identity:

Father ( , Av) + Mother ( , Am) = 44 = Child ( , Yeled)

This simple equation mathematically reiterates one of the most basic and universal facts of all our existence. It is because of this fact that every one of us now lives! Is it any wonder that the Sepher Yetzirah states that these are the letters with which God "depicted all that was formed and all that would be formed?"

231 Gates

The text also states that God "placed them in a circle like a wall with 231 gates." The Number 231 counts the total number of lines that can connect the 22 letters. This figure, therefore, is simply the Wheel of God with each pair of letters, called a Gate, connected by a line. The Sepher Yetzirah teaches that meditation upon these Gates, i.e. contemplation of the meaning of the paired letters, opens the mind to the mysteries God's creation.

Finally, the text quoted also states that the relation between the words Oneg () and Nega (), which are anagrams of each other, is a "sign" indicating the oscillation of the Circle. This is because these words can be transformed into each other by rotating the Wheel. If one begins with the letter Ayin on top and rotates the Wheel counterclockwise, the letters spelling Oneg can be picked off. Alternately, if one then begins with the letter Nun on top, the Wheel can be rotated and the same letters, now forming Nega, can be selected. In the terms of combinatorial mathematics, this transformation is called a cyclic permutation.

The goodness of Oneg is understood from the Lord's promise that "Then shalt thou delight (Oneg) thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth." The evil of Nega is inferred from such verses as "And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague (Nega) more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt ... And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts." This essential reversal of meaning arising from the permutation brings forth a very important point. The relation between words that have the same weight, as do all that are anagrams of each other, is neither simple nor meaningless.

The primary significance of many alphanumeric relations is often immediately obvious, as with identities such as Wheel = 66, and Alpha Omega = 801 = The Creator, but in most cases a proper understanding requires a great deal of study, experience, and patience, with an emphasis upon the latter virtue. No harm will come by withholding judgment until more is learned, whereas blasphemy and heresy quickly follow the fool "intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." The alphanumeric relations encode the deepest mysteries of the faith with exquisite beauty that quickly loses all form and comeliness when not handled with an appropriate understanding, respect, and fear of the Lord.

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