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 site.
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 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 .
is the lightest, having a weight of Unity, while
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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
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.