Coronavirus: Hebrew Insight

We are going to talk about Coronavirus again – and, as it often happens with Hebrew, I believe some surprises await you today. Before we do that however, I would like to finish the topic we started to discuss here: the Last Supper.

The Last Supper and the Sign of Jonah

Last time, we reviewed the traditional approach: the Last Supper was the Passover meal (Seder) that took place on Thursday night and Jesus was crucified on Friday.  We asked some questions which this traditional approach raises – first of all, about the Sign of Jonah: if Jesus was crucified on Friday and resurrected on Sunday, where are the three days and three nights?  Here is one possible explanation: “The expression ‘three days and three nights’ is an Old Testament idiom carried over into the New Testament, and means not necessarily three whole days and three whole nights, but in round numbers a period of about three days.”[1]  For instance, in the book of Esther we read that Esther says to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise” – but already “on the third day” she appeared before Ahaseurus[2].  This means that in the Scriptures, part of a day is counted as a whole day. Therefore, Jesus indeed “may be said to have been in the grave ‘three days and three nights’: Friday, to which legally belonged the night of what we shall call Thursday; Saturday, consisting of the night of Friday and the day of Saturday; and Sunday to which belonged the night of Saturday and the very early morn of Sunday.”[3]

We also spoke about the alternative scenario (that I personally happen to believe): it was on Wednesday Nisan 13 that the disciples prepared this special meal that we call the Last Supper and that was, in fact, seudah maphsehket – the last meal before the Fast of the Firstborns. Jesus and the disciples ate this meal on Wednesday night, as the day changed to Nisan 14. Then Jesus was arrested at night, tried and convicted early on the Thursday morning, and then crucified during the day – and all this happened on Nisan 14, Thursday, the day of “Pesach”, the day of the slaughtering of the paschal lamb.  Thus, on Thursday, Nisan 14, Jesus died on the cross; and on Sunday, Nisan 17 – the Feast of Firstfruits – Jesus was resurrected. “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”[4]

Once again, I don’t claim to have the final answers here: nobody can be one hundred percent certain exactly how and when these events took place. Even with all the Hebrew insights and Jewish background details that I try to share with you, there is always a possibility that we are missing something. The secret things belong to the LORD our God…

Virus Or  Plague? 

In fact, this verse: The secret things belong to the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law[5] – has always been one of my favorite scriptures. But though I know very well  that there are “the secret things belong to the LORD our God”,   I also do believe, that by God’s great mercy,  this connection between things secret and things revealed is continually alive and active: even today the Lord speaks with us through His living Word, continuing to reveal the secret things. And for me personally, one of incredible examples of these secret things that God is revealing to us today is the language of the Scriptures.  I am utterly convinced that the Hebrew language, being given by God, is essentially different from any other human language: like a doubly exposed roll of film with its images overlapped; here the future meanings of words – the as yet invisible realities – are placed over their basic meanings, and at some point they begin to show through.

I have goosebumps every time I discover these prophetic markers—these future meanings that only God could foreknow and foresee from afar. Here is an example – and it  is connected directly with our present reality. I would like to tell you about another simple Hebrew word that we hear so very often these days, and that has such powerful prophetic connotations.

“Coronavirus” in Hebrew is Negif Korona – negif  ( נגיף )  meaning  “virus”. The word “negif” is the most prominent word we hear on news these days. One has to know Biblical Hebrew, however, in order to recognize a very frightening root in this word: negef, or magefa – the words that, according to the dictionary, mean “plague, pestilence (divine judgment)”. Why do these words have the same root? You probably know that when the Hebrew language was being restored and updated, many new words (words that did not exist in biblical times) had to be derived from biblical roots. For some ‘inexplicable’, I would say prophetic, reason the word “virus” was derived from the word “plague”, even though at that point, probably no one saw the possibility of a deadly plague, in a virus. Today of course, it is very different: the reality of a biblical “negef” (plague) shows fiercely and mercilessly through the contemporary meaning of the word “negif” (virus). I don’t think there is another language where the word “virus” is derived from the word “plague” – but Hebrew, as I said, is an essentially different and deeply prophetic language.

We do want this plague to be stopped, don’t we? Perhaps the time has come to listen to God’s conversation with Israel wafting up from the depths of His dealings with us—because now God is dealing with the whole world! Initially, these dealings belonged to the secret things of God, but now, I believe, He wants these secret things to be revealed and illuminated to our hearts …because they are being manifested now, right before our eyes!

 

 

[1] David Baron, Types, Psalms and Prophecies, Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 2000  p.361

 

[2] Esth.4:16-5:1

[3] Ibid., p. 363

[4] Mat.12:40

[5] Deut. 29:29

[6] Gen. 6:9

 

 

This article is an excerpt  from the book I am working on right now. Excerpts from my books are included in many  posts here, so if you like the  articles on this blog, you might enjoy also my books,  you  can get  them  from  my page:   https://blog.israelbiblicalstudies.com/julia-blum/   My last book “Unlocking the Scriptures”, with the Hebrew insights into the Torah and  Jewish Background insights   into NT,  is available on Amazon only: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=unlocking+the+scriptures+by+julia+blum&crid=2IHYED6W7ZVYI&sprefix=julia+blum+%2Caps%2C689&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_11 Also, I would like to remind you,  that if these articles whet your appetite for discovering the hidden treasures of the Hebrew Bible, or studying  in depth Parashat Shavua, along with New Testament insightsI would be happy to provide more information (and also a teacher’s discount for new students) regarding  eTeacher courses[1] (juliab@eteachergroup.com) .

[1] At this point, we offer WTP course only in English, while DHB course exists both in Spanish and Portuguese.

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

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  1. Esperanza Reynolds

    I have always believe that Yeshua died on a Wednesday. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Yeshua knew better than anyone how to count the days. If He died at about 3pm on Wednesday and was resurrected in the evening of Saturday then we have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights and from 3pm on Wednesday to Thursday (1 day) Thursday to Friday (day 2) Friday to Shabbat (day 3).

  2. annette stals

    Thank you for sharing your understanding of timeline of Yeshua’s crucifixion. In my heart I agree with you that In the year of Yeshua’s death 14 Nisan was on a Thursday.
    1) Does it say some in Scripture that He was raised on 17 Nisan?
    2) How do I get past explanations that 14 Nisan was a Wednesday that year because Thu 15 Nisan was a high Sabbath and Scriptures say women bought and prepared spices on the Friday, they then had to wait for Shabbat to pass and could then only go to the grave early Sun morning 18 Nisan?
    Thank you in anticipation.
    Annette

    1. Julia Blum

      Hi Annette, thank you for your kind words. As for your questions – no, the Scripture doesn’t say that He was raised on Nisan 17. It just says (as you probably know) that He was raised on the first day of week – which in Jewish calendar has always been Sunday. Regarding your second question: I think, any approach or concept we choose would have difficulties and questions bound up with it. For me personally, the timeline that I suggested in this post, sounds the most convincing – but as I said several times, I don’t expect my readers to accept my view.