Tree of Life – Level 2, Lesson 1: Symbolism 5
The break-through of consciousness for people was the fire. Thus, out of it evolved the teachings of the Word and the Eternal Flame.
This is not something without a divine substance and basis. If you could see it in the atmosphere around you, you could see from whence comes the Life Force. You would find that there were billions upon billions of sparks of Life Force of the Word spoken by the Father. And even the strong word, which denotes the divine authority, puts it into a simple form — for what we are thinking of is the “fiat.” These tiny live sparks are a living material Reality of the Word of Life.
One might say — in a very casual way — that they are the fiat of life, or the eternal flame kept burning in the Mind of the Father. That is why in all chapels of this School, you will find an Eternal Flame. This is the reminder to us that we are dependent on the Creative Word of our wondrous and nameless Creator.
This is why we have the First Commandment — for from Him stems all Life, Light and Love through the great Christos — first born Son of the Father.
The Hebrew language has probably been spoken since about 2,000 BC. It is a dialect of Canaanite — one of the Semitic languages.
There is no Semitic race; Semites are those who speak Semitic languages. Thus, the ancient Hebrews, Assyrians, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians were Semitic. Arabs and some Ethiopians this present day speak Semitic tongues. Modern Jews can be correctly called Semites only if they speak the Hebrew tongue.
The word “Semite” — pertaining to a person speaking Semitic languages — is from the Hebrew name “Shem.” This relates to those which were supposed to have descended from Shem, a son of Noah. Semites are one of a people from Caucasian stock, and now represented mostly by Jews and Arabs.
The word “Hebrew”, or “ibhri”, means literally, “one from beyond” (Jordan). The word “Jew” is from the word “Y’hudi”, meaning descendant of Judah.
The Semitic peoples gave the world the idea of one God, and started three great religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism (Islam). The Phoenicians invented the alphabet.
Most of the Semitic people are of the Mediterranean race of Caucasian stock. The Jews were once a sub-type of this race before they became intermingled with other people.
The Semitic languages include Assyrian, Aramaic, Syrian, Canaanite, Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic, and Ethiopian. The Aramaic language was spoken by the Jews. In sound, the Hebrew language is about half-way between Aramaic and Arabic.
Aramaic was spoken through the near East from 700 BC to about 700 AD. It was the popular tongue of Palestine at the time of Jesus. The books of Ezra and Daniel were partly written in Aramaic. Arabic finally replaced this language.
Hebrew is much like the language of the Phoenicians — of Moab and Edom. The development of the Hebrew language had three phases. The first took place before the exile from Palestine during which much of the Old Testament was written with some words being borrowed from neighboring tongues.
The second phase took place after the exile when the Old Testament and associated literature were furnished. Current writers then began using more and more Aramaic which was the spoken language of that time.
The third period came after the time of Jesus when the Talmud was written. This was about 500 AD. This has two parts: the first in Hebrew; the second in Aramaic.
About this time, the Jews began to leave Palestine in large numbers. They settled in Europe, Asia, and Africa — especially in Babylonia. This greatly affected the language. Their writings showed that they borrowed many terms from the language of the country they were living in. This was especially true since Hebrew was limited through lack of many adjectives and adverbs.
The revival of Hebrew as a spoken language in Palestine has given Hebrew literature new life.
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