How to Misread the Bible in the Name of Paleo-Hebrew 1 (Introduction)

Dr. Leong Tien Fock* has written a scholarly and conclusive refutation of the Paleo-Hebrew movement.

Setting the Context
A well-known pastor of one of the biggest churches in South East Asia preaches that Jesus is hidden in a Hebrew code word which is found throughout the Old Testament. He refers to Revelation 1:8 where Jesus describes himself as the Alpha and Omega, which are respectively the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. He asserts, “But Jesus did not speak Greek. He spoke Aramaic or Hebrew. So He would have said, “I am the Aleph and the Tav.” Aleph and tav are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.”

The pastor is promoting the ideas of a new movement which has gain popularity among preachers who claim they have special insights into the Bible, based on their idiosyncratic reading of ancient Hebrew script called Paleo-Hebrew. They rely on a method of reading Hebrew words based on the assumption that, unlike the letters of other alphabets, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet represent not only sound but also meaning. Hebrew words then have “deeper meanings” missed by even Hebrew scholars who do not use this method in reading the Hebrew Bible.

The pastor elaborates, “Each Hebrew letter has a corresponding picture. Interestingly, aleph is associated with an ox and tav, a cross. Together, they make up a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us—He is the sacrificial “animal” on the cross. It was for us that He suffered, bled and died.”

Accordingly, the word Aleph Tav () which occurs occurs 7373 times in 5701 verses of the Hebrew Bible [checked using Logos Bible Software and BibleWorks] is left untranslated because it is a sacred code of the crucifixion of Christ.

However, anyone with an elementary knowledge of the Hebrew language would know the Hebrew particle Aleph Tav () is left untranslated simply because it functions as a direct object marker in a sentence. Sadly, the pastor ends up misleading his listeners.

You may be interested to read the conclusive refutation of the claims of the “Paleo-Hebrew” movement in a new post written by our guest writer, Dr. Leong Tien Fock:

How to Misread the Bible in the Name of Paleo-Hebrew 2 (Executive Summary)

How to Misread the Bible in the Name of Paleo-Hebrew 3 (Full Article)

*Dr Leong Tien Fock has been studying the relevance of the Old Testament to the Church and the world for over 20 years. This has culminated in his recent book entitled Our Reason for Hope: An Exposition of the Old Testament on the Meaning of History. He has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Malaya and an M.A. in Old Testament Studies from Wheaton College Graduate School. His masters’ thesis is on the interpretation of Ecclesiastes entitled The Realism of Ecclesiastes. He also has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in (ancient) Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles. His Ph.D thesis, entitled Tense, Mood and Aspect in Old Babylonian, is a computer-assisted linguistic analysis of the language of Hammurabi.

BONUS: You may download free copies of two books written by Dr. Leong Tien Fock at the links given below:

Our Reason for Hope [pdf]

Book of Ecclesiastes

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