The different Levels of the Word

Live started in a garden. We call it paradise, from Persian pardes, garden. The word made its way into Aramaic and Hebrew, written PRDS. Later the rabbis based a teaching about the layers of the Word of God and a way of hermeneutics on this word:

  • P = pschat, the literal sense of the Word
  • R = remes, the allegorical, parabel sense of the Word
  • D = drasch, the moral sense of the Word, what it teaches us
  • S = sod, the hidden layer of the Word

The rabbis defined the fourth layer “sod” as kaballah, what we would call bible code. Just remember that they did not have the Spirit, as “sod” was added in the 11th/12th century. I will define this layer as the hidden now word, the rema, that is revealed to people to speak into their time, their situation.

Let’s recall my last blog entry about the fig-tree and use it as an illustration for the four layers:

In the literal sense, Jesus was talking to a fig-tree as he was disappointed – it did not bear fruits. And He was talking to a farming culture about recognizing the times, looking at nature around them. So they new summer was coming when the trees budded and gained strength.

In the allegorical sense, Jesus linked the times to Israel, His own fig-tree. He revealed His plan for the years to come – at least the beginning and the end of it. Even hinted on the duration.

In the moral sense, He wants to show us that he is not through with Israel and that they have a vital role to play in the end times. Here he only hints at it by showing them as a sign we can know from that we are getting close.

And in the personal, timely sense He speaks right to our generation: the fig-tree buds and gains strength. Now look for the other trees – the church – to do likewise. And soon the end will begin. Are you ready?