Treasures come in many shapes and sizes. What we often cherish the most are those things that create a deep personal bond in our lives. Sometimes we treasure a special gift from a loved one. Other treasures are precious memories we hold dear. Some of my most valuable are those unlikely friendships that seem to have appeared from nowhere. The instant you meet someone, you sense you’ve met a friend. I’m grateful to share a guest post from one such treasured friend this week, Mrs. Stephanie Pavlantos; the author of the acclaimed “Jewels of Hebrews” Bible study.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which a
man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells
all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44 ESV
I’m a scientist and a researcher. I worked in cancer and AIDS research, and later I worked as a Histotechnologist in a hospital pathology lab. Researching comes naturally to me, as does teaching.
Teaching is my first love. I taught biology, chemistry, and anatomy in homeschool co-ops, and the Lord called me to teach Bible studies over twenty years ago. Researching the biblical languages, culture, and history are exciting to me.
So when the Lord put a man who spoke and taught Hebrew in my life, I had to know more. The little he shared with my husband and me intrigued me. I began researching everything I could find about Messianic beliefs, the Hebrew alphabet, the culture, and the Feasts.
I saw things I had never seen in scripture through rabbis and rabbinical/ Messianic books I found.
When the Lord led me to write a study on the book of Hebrews, I loved the Hebrew-ness of it. I loved the first four verses of chapter one and how the author described Jesus, or Yeshua. I knew I would have to use the name Yeshua because I saw His Jewishness in this book, and I was eager to show others.
After writing the first six chapters, the Lord gave me a theme: Jewels.
I found a website on the biblical meaning of the different colors of gemstones. Amazingly, of course, there was a color that fit each of the chapters already written. It came together like it Someone already planned it.
One thing that floored me about the Hebrew letters is how different they are from our alphabet. We have the letter “b,” but Hebrew has the letter bet. Their letters are words, and those words have meaning. Bet means house or tent.
We write the word manna with the letters mem and nun or מך (reading right to left). Mem can mean water or something that comes down from heaven, and nun means life (and can mean fish).
John 6:32-33 says, “Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I
say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from
heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and
gives life to the world.’”
In this verse, Jesus gives the meaning of the true bread, which is the one who comes down from Heaven to give life. That is the definition of manna.
The Gospels are full of Hebrew idioms and proverbs that Jesus referenced when he spoke.
In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
A Hebrew saying is, “Give with a good eye” or give generously. A bad eye is a selfish person.
That’s why verse 24 says,
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the
one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and
despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
You will find these and other gems like them in Jewels of Hebrews.
To introduce each chapter, I tell a story of a famous gem or piece of jewelry. I base each chapter on a specific stone like the amethyst, ruby, emerald, topaz, pink diamond, or other colored precious gem. Each color stands for a characteristic of Jesus, i.e. ruby stands for blood, salvation, redemption, or sacrifice.
Your job as you read, and work through that chapter of Hebrews is to find the verses which deal with those characteristics. All the while you are learning about the Old and New Testament, Hebrew language, culture, and the Jewishness of Jesus.
In this study, you will see Jesus as the High Priest, Savior, and Jewish rabbi He was and still is.
Jewels of Hebrews is an expositional thirteen-week study for individual or group study. Within the study there is teaching, fill-in-the-blank, and reflection.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1- Amethyst.
The first verse in which the Holy Spirit spoke to me was John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He revealed that John (the Baptist) prophesied about Yeshua. It may seem like a no-brainer now, but at the time it was a revelation. I had not seen John in that light before. After that, I looked forward to the Holy Spirit showing me insights I did not “see” in Scripture.Where is your favorite treasure trove in God's word? Click To Tweet
Reading Scripture is more than a ritual to check off our list. It should be an exploration. The Father wants us to experience his Word. Like a treasure map where X marks the spot, the Bible is our map to find the hidden secrets of the which leads us to Yeshua. Imagine God guiding us along His path of love, encouragement, and wisdom every time we open His Word. He is eager to show us his Son’s heart, love, and selflessness, so we will treasure Yeshua as God does.
The author of Hebrews highlights seven characteristics and actions of Yeshua, which set him apart from everyone else. Today, we will study the first two in Hebrews 1:2-3.
- He is “the heir of all things.”
What is an heir? Merriam-Webster defines an heir as “one who inherits or is entitled to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office, heir to the throne. Turn to Psalm 2:8 and Daniel 7:13-14.
What do these two passages state concerning Yeshua’s inheritance?
Have you ever inherited something? We often think inheritance means receiving something of value like money, furniture, or land. But we can also inherit good and bad traits from our family, a problem or money pit. Yeshua inherited a kingdom from his Father, a kingdom full of nations and people who will serve him now and forever. This is the kingdom Yeshua refers to in the Gospels when he teaches on the kingdom of God.
Read Daniel 7:13-14. In these verses, the Son of Man is Yeshua, and the Ancient of Days is God the Father.
How is Yeshua’s dominion (sovereignty) and kingdom described?
- “Through whom [God] created the world.”
Read John 1:1-3. How does John refer to Yeshua?
Who is Yeshua with? Who is he said to be?
Verse 3 declares all things were made through him and nothing was made without him.
“[He] was God, and he was at the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2) The Word is both the spoken word and the Word made Flesh. (John 1:14)
God spoke and still speaks; His words will never pass away (Matt. 24:35). His Word is power, and his words are powerful. God spoke and created all things. He spoke by the prophets, and he spoke by his Son. Read the following explanation about God’s Name, Elohim. I hope it adds to your understanding of the Trinity and God’s Name.
God is referred to as Elohim in Genesis 1—the account of creation. This name for God in the Hebrew language is אֱלֹהִים, and it consists of five consonants (read right to left). Hebrew is both a written and pictorial language. Each letter represents a picture or symbol adding to its meaning. The first letter of Elohim is an Aleph, or א. It illustrates an ox and stands for leader or father. The next consonant, depicted by a shepherd’s crook, is a Lamed or ל, and it symbolizes the son or shepherd. The third character is a Hey or ה, and it portrays a man with his arms raised. It represents the Holy Spirit or revealer. The fourth consonant, signifying a mighty deed or life, is a Yod, or י, while the last letter is a Mem or מ, and suggests separation of the waters. This name for God is a plural, masculine word, and this one name contains the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit pictured as the mighty Creator.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one yet separate. They are equal and interdependent on each other. All three exhibit qualities of the Creator. God may be the Designer while the Son creates. Like an architect who designs and draws the blueprints and the engineer who builds what he sees on the plans. We never want to say God is “one entity,” or has “one characteristic.” It’s not good to limit any one person of the Godhead by a specific trait or “duty.” The Trinity is like a multi-faceted, priceless diamond reflecting each other’s beauty. Individually and together, they possess everything good, holy, and perfect.
Find Jewels of Hebrews at: https://www.amazon.com/Jewels-Hebrews-Stephanie-Pavlantos/dp/1949564916/ Also, on BarnesandNoble.com and Walmart.com.
About the Author:
Stephanie Pavlantos is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She has taught Bible studies for fifteen years and has spoken at ladies’ retreats.
She is ordained with Messenger Fellowship in Nashville, TN. Stephanie works for Besorah Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies in the Student Services department as well as teaching online classes.
She is published in Refresh Bible study magazine, Charisma magazine, and CBN.com. She is also a contributor to www.VineWords.net, Feed Your Soul with the Word of God compilation by Lighthousebiblestudies.com, and Love Knots compilation by VineWords Publishing.
You can visit her blog at www.stephaniepavlantos.com and other social media sites at twitter @DPavlantos and www.facebook.com/stephaniepavlantos.
Her Bible study, Jewels of Hebrews, won a third place at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (2018), an Honorable Mention at the Florida Christian Writers Conference (2019) and is a finalist in the Selah Awards at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (2021).
Married for twenty-nine years, she and Mike have three children, Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. Stephanie loves animals and has dogs, ducks, sheep, and chickens.
Please join my friend Ms. Stephanie Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as she and host Coach Mark Prasek take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. They’ll discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.