American Civics Research Library
Bible Reference Page
Special Thanks to Dr. Gene Scott for his expert teaching and guidance on the Hebrew words that make up our English noun: Faith
Our English word "faith" is made of of four Hebrew words from the Old Testament. They are:
1. חסה (hasa): to run to a shelter or refuge, to find protection, to trust.
2. (batah): to rely on, to lean on, to trust
3. (gawlall): roll burden unto something else.
4. (amen): Amen, surely, you know that you know, so be it, it is.
By: David Deschesne
The Hebrew language is the original language of the Old Testament. Hebrew is, like Greek, much more descriptive in its word meanings than our modern-day English. Hasa is one of the words the Hebrews used to describe Faith in the LORD. Faith is an Action based upon a Belief, sustained by Confidence—these are the “ABC’s of Faith” as coined by the late Dr. Gene Scott.
Hasa means “to run to a shelter,” “to seek refuge,” and “flee for protection.”
Suppose a person is visiting Florida during hurricane season for his first time. He finds himself out in an open field as a violent storm begins to dump torrents of rain down with hurricane-force winds. He quickly looks around for a shelter. When he finds a shelter that looks like it may protect him, he takes action by running to it, based upon the belief that it will shelter him.
But, because it's a new shelter, he isn't sure in the beginning if it will actually work. Once he gets inside and sees that the rain is kept out, the roof doesn't leak and the wind doesn't blow it down, he begins to gain a slight degree of confidence in that shelter. As days go by and get a little bit stormier, he always runs back to the shelter that he knows, from previous experience, will in fact shelter him. As it continues to shelter him from increasingly more powerful storms, his confidence grows in that shelter so that no matter how big or small the storm is in the future, he has confidence that it will hold up and keep him warm and dry.
That level of confidence in the shelter doesn’t come by mere belief. He actually had to go inside the shelter and test it. Because he observed the violent storm being kept out and experienced the shelter protecting him, he has first-hand knowledge that it is an adequate shelter. There is no doubt in his mind that the shelter worked, and can work for the next storm.
“The root is probably to be distinguished from bā
tah ‘rely on,’ ’take refuge in’ as denoting more precipitate action. The etymology is doubtful. With derivatives the root is used fifty-six times, predominantly in the Psalms and similar poetic and hymnic literature.”1
Believing in the Lord isn’t enough to give us that first-hand experience; we have to go through the daily storms and problems in our lives with Him as our shelter. As He gets us through, we come out at the other side of the problem and know that He, as the shelter, works.
As a mother bird shelters her young by placing them under her wing, so too, does Christ shelter those who run to him. Nineteenth-century preacher, F.B. Meyer describes the sheltering quality of Christ:
“And so it is proved beyond doubt and forever more that the man who has got Christ is devilproof. The devil cannot touch him if he abides in Christ. Now, the only way in which the devil can get the better of you is to strew some crumbs to get you from under the wing of Christ. As long as you stay there, the devil cannot touch you. So he puts some little morsels of worldly pleasure, and evil imagination, and lust, and passion, and he says: “Come along, come along, come along!” and when you come out, he has you. But if you keep in Christ he cannot touch you. Abide in Christ and let Christ abide in you, and the devil has no power.”2
“To seek refuge” stresses the insecurity and self-helplessness of even the strongest of men. It emphasizes the defensive or external aspect of salvation in God, the unchanging one in whom we ‘find shelter.” 3
1. Theological Word Book of the Old Testament, Vol. 1, ©1980 Moody Bible Institute, pp. 307-308
2. A Castaway and Other Addresses, ©1897 F.B. Meyer, p. 82
3. Theological Wordbook, p.308
By: David Deschesne
Bātah means “to lean on” for the purposes of support. It also means “safety,” “trust,” “confidence” and “security.”
When we get up in the morning, get out of bed, and put our feet on the floor, we are placing our weight on the floor trusting that it will hold us. There is never any doubt that the floor will hold, because it has as long as we’ve been on it and it will continue for some time to come. That level of confidence and trust in the safety of the floor is contained in the meaning of bātah.
A shepherd who is tired leans on his staff to hold himself up. When the staff is brand new, the shepherd leans lightly to make sure the new, unfamiliar staff won't break as weight is applied to it. As he continues to lean on it for support, he begins to have confidence that no matter how much he leans, the staff will always support him. He begins to trust leaning on his staff to support his weight the same way we will slowly lean against a railing on a set of stairs that we have never leaned on before.
You've seen people do the same thing in modern times. When they want to lean on a railing that they have never leaned on before, they always place just a little bit of weight on it, while keeping their feet firmly under them to see if it will hold without breaking. As they apply more and more weight to it, they see that it will hold them until eventually they are leaning their full body weight on the railing and their feet are finally resting. We've all done that at one point in time or another. We learn to lean on and place confidence in that railing, or staff, or crutches, or whatever it is we need to lean on for support. We can also learn to lean on each other for support and as faith and trust grows here in the physical realm, it is easily expanded over to the spiritual realm via trust in God. The level of confidence in that railing will of course be greater, the higher the person is off the ground.
“...in Hebrew, bātah expresses that sense of well-being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence...bātah does not connote that full-orbed intellectual and volitional response to revelation which is involved in “faith,” rather stressing the feeling of being safe or secure. Likewise, all the derivatives have the meaning. “to feel secure,” “be unconcerned.” - Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ©1980 Moody Bible Institute, Vol. I, p. 233.
A level of confidence in the Lord can only be obtained by actively trusting in Him and seeing the effects. It’s the same way we learn to trust one another, only the Lord is the most trustworthy of all. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to place confidence in man.”- Psalm 118
To Shift or Roll Your Burdens
By: David Deschesne
Gālal means “to roll your burden onto (something else).”
In Biblical days, the imagery ofגלל was that of a shepherd who is carrying a heavy load on his back, who eventually gets so tired that he can not carry it anymore. As long as he continues to carry that load, thinking he is strong enough and capable enough to do it, he will continue to suffer perpetually increasing stress on his knees and feet until they buckle under him and he falls to the ground, unable to get back up.
Rather than getting to that point, the shepherd will turn to his camel, have it kneel down and he will roll, or shift, his heavy burden onto the camel's back.
Because the camel is much more powerful than the shepherd he can get up and carry the burden for him as his partner and they will both get to their destination together.
The shepherd has to do two things, though. He must first acknowledge that the load is too heavy for him to bear alone and then he must willingly roll it onto the back of the camel. While the load is still there, it is being carried by an animal that is more equipped and capable of carrying it to its final destination.
“Gālal means to roll some object on, upon, away, in, against, from, together, unto, or down.
This figure is used for rolling oneself on the Lord and so to trust the Lord (Ps 22:8) or to commit one’s behavior or life to the Lord (Ps 37:5; Prov 16:3) or remove such non-material things as reproach and contempt (Ps 119:22).” - see Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 1, ©1980 Moody Bible Institute, p. 162
In modern days, we roll our burdens onto the conveniences of society, such as automobiles, hydraulic lifts, trucks, and in some respects, computers.
The lesson to be learned here is that no matter what we do or how bad our problems are, at the end of the day only the Lord God is capable of handling them.
The life of Faith is what counts one as achieving Salvation. Faith is more than just trust or belief. In order to Faith, a person must in fact acknowledge that they alone are unable to handle their problems and shift or roll them onto the Lord. It is that voluntary act of relinquishing one’s control over oneself and his/her problems that starts a person on the road to salvation through Faith.
The way a person wears their hair, their clothing choices, all their charitable acts of kindness, whether they swear and cuss or not, how they present themselves in public do not allow them any credit toward salvation. The only thing the Lord God is looking for is trust; for you to roll your burden onto Him and commit your life and its destiny to Him and the mission He has in mind for you in this physical realm. When that level of Faith is achieved and maintained, you have become the person God wants you to be - one who Faiths in Him at the level His Holy Son did all the way to the cross and beyond.
I would like to start this final section on my series on Faith with a Thank-You to the late Dr. Gene Scott, from the Los Angeles University Cathedral ( www.drgenescott.com ), for his invaluable teaching on the Hebrew words for faith. Dr. Scott is no longer with us, but his teaching continues under the direction of his wife, Melissa, twenty-four hours a day on the website, via C-band and Ku-band satellite, world-wide short-wave radio, and a Sunday morning service at the cathedral on Broadway in Los Angeles.
For the past four issues of the Journal, I have shown you three Hebrew words for Faith; Hasa, Batach and Gawlal. The final word will be most familiar to people, it is Amen.
The word amen means "loyalty,” “truth,” “surely,” “no doubt.” It ties Hasa, Batach, and Gawlal all together. Amen is that state of certainty that is reached once a person exercises, as Dr. Scott has described, an “Action based upon a Belief, sustained by Confidence.”
The Amen-state is that level of trust and confidence that is attained after running to a shelter, leaning on something for support and/or rolling your burdens unto something/someone else.
Some people cheapen the power of the word Amen by mindlessly spouting it off at the end of every other sentence, merely using it as a word of agreement, when it is so much more than that.
“At the heart of the meaning of the root (amen) is the idea of certainty. And this is borne out by the NT definition of faith found in Heb 11:1.
The basic root idea is firmness or certainty. In the Qal it expresses the basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the parent supporting the helpless infant. The constancy involved in the verbal idea is further seen in that it occurs in the Qal only as a participle (expressing continuance.). The idea of support is also seen in II Kgs 18:16, where it refers to pillars of support.
In the Hiphil (causative), it basically means ‘to cause to be certain, sure’ or ‘to be certain about,’ ‘ to be assured.’ In this sense the word in the Hiphil conjugation is the biblical word for ‘to believe’ and shows that biblical faith is an assurance, a certainty, in contrast with modern concepts of faith as something possible, hopefully true, but not certain.” - Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ©1980 Moody Bible Institue, Vol. 1, p. 51
(note: “Qal” and “Hiphil,” as used above, are Hebrew grammar terms used to classify various forms of a word)
Amen describes the level of certainty God has as He speaks something into existence. Dr. Scott has described it as the “launching pad” for His word. When God says, “Mountain move,” He knows the mountain is going to move before He even speaks the words. His “Amen” becomes the launching platform for the commands He utters.
We have an Amen level the same way as God, only on a more localized level. When you hold a brick out in mid-air, you know before you release it that it’s going to fall to the ground. When you put one foot in front of the other, you know it’s going to be pulled toward the ground. We are, in a way, at an “Amen” state in relation to gravity. We know its effects before we even start. That is the level of faith, trust and confidence - may I say certainty - that God is looking for from us in our personal relationship with Him through His son, Jesus. Jesus exercised that level of certainty and provided us with a template of faith to model ourselves after. While we will never achieve the level of Jesus’ faith in the fleshly, physical realm, God will continue to work us toward perfection in Heaven when we finally arrive “over there.” All we have to do to start the process is act upon our trust in Him.
In life, there are constantly problems and trials that we, alone, are physically and mentally unable to handle on our own. God is the shelter we run to when it gets stormy in our life. Acknowledging you have problems that only He can help you with is found in Psalm 84:23. Running to God as your shelter can also be found at Psalm 91:2 As you run to the Lord God as your shelter in the beginning to shield you from your problems and anxieties you will not immediately have the confidence that you need to sustain you. But, once under His shelter, you will find that the shelter works. The only reason God will begin to shelter you from your anxieties is that you started out by trusting Him. You can't run to Him doubting, you have to humbly submit to Him and allow Him to do the sheltering. Remember, you can't do it by yourself. Now, it may be that as He shelters you, He may utilize others, here in the physical realm, to assist you. “Why would he do it that way,” you might ask? Well, because He's God and He can do whatever He wants.
So, you run to Him for shelter and find that the shelter works. You then begin to lean on Him or support, the same way you would a railing when you want to rest your feet.
God wants us to trust Him and He understands that this is how we humans, who have learned all of our life how to doubt, have to relearn how to trust. As we lean on Him for support by drawing on Him for strength to get us through, and rest from our problems and anxieties, He proves that he is able to hold us up the same way the railing does. As we see that He holds us, and allows us to rest and regain our strength, we begin to have more confidence that He will always hold us up.
The next time a problem arises, and larger ones will arise, you'll have a level of confidence that will allow you to faithfully place that new problem or anxiety on God's back and let Him carry it for you. That is what we all need to do - place our problems with Him and allow Him to utilize whomever He will in order to help us through our difficulties. As we do that and find that He is faithful to His word, we will begin to unlearn the doubt which we are all guilty of and replace it with trust. The highest level of trust that is physically available to us is the trust of a child. "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:4
All we have to do is run to His shelter, lean on Him for support, roll our problems onto Him and trust that He will assist us in this journey of life which is testing and preparing us by way of faith, reducing our doubts and increasing our faith to that of a child so that we can become the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and populate His kingdom with souls who trust Him without question, doubt, or reservation. That's all God wants from us - not perfection, trust.