Following Ha Derek
By Ray Gibson

One of my favorite New Testament verses has always been John 14:6. At first glance, its message seems very simple, and the English words are certainly straight-forward and easy to memorize. Like many kids growing up in the Christian Church, I memorized a lot of little verses in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and John 14:6 was one of them. At the time, I don’t think I paid much attention to the overall context of the first six verses of John 14. And I’m sure I never suspected the depth of meaning in the three key words of verse six.

When I first came to Faith in Yahweh and His Son Yahshua eight years ago, I quickly realized there was more to the Scriptures than just what was on the surface. I had known of Yahweh for many years, but I didn’t really know Him. In the same way, I had studied Yahweh’s written word and thought I knew it fairly well. The reality was, that without the benefit of an intimate relationship with the Author, I had barely waded into the great ocean of His Book.

It was only as I begun to read and study Scripture with the desire to understand Yahweh better, that He led me beyond the basics I had known from childhood. Yahweh blessed me with a desire to do some Hebrew word studies, so I could begin to dig down to the original meanings of the names for many people, places, and things. Knowing more about various words in the Old Testament has often given me insight into the passages in which those words were found.

Of course, the insights I have gained are not limited to the Old Testament. Whatever arguments can be made about what language the New Testament was originally written in, it is certain that Yahshua and His earliest followers almost exclusively spoke Aramaic, a Hebrew dialect, and Hebrew itself. So, my minor knowledge of Hebrew has given me the ability to dig deeper into all of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, and share what Yahweh reveals.

Which leads back to John 14:6. To keep that verse in context, the first six verses of John 14 say, in English:

(John 14:1-6 KJV)  "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in Yahweh, believe also in me. {2} In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. {4} And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. {5} Thomas saith unto him, Master, we know not where you are going; and how can we know the way? {6} Yahshua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Obviously Yahshua makes a very exclusive statement in that last verse. However, the English words, “the way,” “the truth,” and “the life,” don’t do much to reinforce that exclusivity. Their Hebrew equivalents seem to do a better job. They are: ha Derek (hah deh-rek, Strong’s #1870); ha emeth (eh-meth, Strong’s #571); and ha chay (khah-ee. Strong’s #2416.) As with all Hebrew words, these three

have layers of meaning that the disciples would have known, which we today often don’t have a clue about. Unless, that is, we go looking for the meanings that the original Hebrew and Aramaic speakers were well aware of.

So, when Yahshua said He was Ha Derek, the levels of what He was saying were, “I am the Road; I am the Course of life or mode of action; I am the journey through or toward; I am the highway, I am the pathway; I am THE Way.”

When Yahshua said He was Ha Emeth, the depth was, “I am stability; I am certainty; I am trustworthiness itself; I am assurance; I am establishment; I am faithful.” I am right; I am sure; I am THE Truth.”

And when Yahshua said He was Ha Chay, the nuances were, “I am alive; I am flesh; I am fresh; I am strong; I am a lifetime; I am living; I am THE Life.”  Yahshua embodies all of the variations of meaning we find in the original Hebrew definitions of those three words from John 14:6. Though words alone do not define Him, or His Father Yahweh, because “He is above and beyond all things.” He does want us to know Him. Since Yahshua left us quite a detailed Instruction Book, the more depth we find in that Book, the deeper we will know its author, Yahweh, and the closer we will be to Him.

For this reason, it was probably no accident that the New Testament believers called themselves Ha Derek, “the Way,” because they were echoing one of Yahshua/s simplest, and yet most profound teachings. ~