Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shalom: A Blessing and a Call to Action.

By Dan Cathcart

The Hebrew word Shalom שלם literally means “peace”.  However, peace is only one small part of the meaning of the word Shalom.  In Israel, the word Shalom is used on a daily basis to greet people. It is also used to bid farewell to people. However, Shalom means much more than peace, hello or goodbye.

A word study in the New King James version for Shalom says: Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

So in essence, when you speak out the word Shalom - you are not only proclaiming peace, but all the above meanings of the word over that person.  You are placing a wonderful blessing on the person being greeted.

There is a related word in Hebrew that is spelled exactly the same it is Shalem שלם. It is from the Strongs #8004 and #8003 It means complete (literally or figuratively); especially friendly:--full, just, made ready, peaceable, perfect(-ed), quiet, Shalem (by mistake for a name), whole.  Shalem, or in English, Salem, is also one of the early names for the city of Jerusalem also known as the City of Peace

The name Shalem suggests not only peace but perfection and completeness.  The prophet Isaiah describes the time of Messiah as one of righteousness and peace that comes from trusting in God.  Remember that Messiah (Jesus) is called the Prince of Peace, or in Hebrew Sar Shalom

Isaiah 26:1-3 MKJV 1 In that day this song shall be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as our walls and banks. 2 Open the gates, and the righteous nation shall enter in, keeping faithfulness. 3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You.

In this passage the two words translated as “perfect peace” are a doublet in Hebrew or “shalom shalom”.  This double word syntax is common in Hebrew and is used when extra emphasis is needed to communicate the importance of the message.

The idea of peace, perfection and completeness is emphasized by Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine to Abram.  Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God and represented Messiah Yeshua’s eternal priesthood that is on a higher order than that of Aaron (see Psalms 110:4)

Genesis 14:18-19 MKJV 18 And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought forth bread and wine. And he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of Heaven and earth.

There is a third word derived from the same root and spelled exactly the same.  It is Shalam  שלם  It is #7799 in the Strong’s and is a primitive root; to be safe (in mind, body or estate); figuratively, to be (causatively, make) completed; by implication, to be friendly; by extension, to reciprocate (in various applications):--make amends, (make an) end, finish, full, give again, make good, (re-)pay (again), (make) (to) (be at) peace(-able), that is perfect, perform, (make) prosper(-ous), recompense, render, requite, make restitution, restore, reward, X surely.

The prophet Zechariah says that during Messiah’s reign, he will again choose Jerusalem. And in Psalms it says those who love the Torah will have peace.

Zechariah 2:12 MKJV 12 And the LORD shall possess Judah, His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

Psalms 119:165 MKJV 165 Great peace is to those who love Your law (Torah), and there is no stumbling block for them.

Melchizedek was the king of righteousness, who reigned in the City of Peace, perfection or completeness. Yeshua (Jesus) will be our righteous king reigning as the Prince of Peace from the same city which will be restored and from which instruction in peace will flow.

Isa 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children. (NKJV)

Shalom is also an action word.  It recalls action and calls for action.  Look and this Hebrew word picture of Shalom:

(Hebrew letters have meaning in themselves.  When you put the individual meanings together, you gain a greater understanding of the word.)

Hebrew Word Picture: Hebrew is read right to left.
Peace: Shalom:  שלם
ש Shin: Teeth, destroy, consume
ל  Lamed: The staff, authority
ם  Mem: Water, chaos

Peace or Shalom is to destroy the authority of chaos.

And who is the one who destroys the authority of chaos?  Look at the word picture of the name of the City of Peace:

Hebrew Word Picture: Hebrew is read right to left.

Jerusalem: Yeruwshalaim:  ירושלם
י Yod: Hand, actions, deeds
ר Resh: head, the highest, a person
ו Vav: nail, “and”, to secure
ש Shin: Teeth, destroy, consume
ל  Lamed: The staff, authority
ם  Mem: Water, chaos

Jerusalem: The hand of the highest secures the destruction of the authority of chaos.

As you can see there is a great depth of meaning to the simple Hebrew word Shalom, peace.  The next time you great a friend, great him or her with Shalom and place this blessing on them as the LORD gave instruction found in Numbers:

Numbers 6:24-27 MKJV 24 The LORD bless you and keep you. 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. 26 The LORD lift up His face to you and give you peace (Shalom).

At His ascension, Yeshua greets and blesses His disciples with this very benediction.

John 20:21 Then Jesus said to them again, Peace (Shalom) to you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you. 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. (MKJV)

In the Gospel of Luke it records that Jesus "lifted His hands and blessed them". This is the same procedure done by the High Priest at the temple after he comes out of the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. Only the High Priest was authorized to give this blessing (Numbers 6:24-26). The LORD gave Moses instruction to tell Aaron to give the blessing, not for Moses to do it. It could only be done AFTER the High Priest made the annual atonement before the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.

When Yeshua gives this blessing over His disciples, He had already made the necessary atonement before the heavenly Mercy Seat as our High Priest of the higher order of Melchizedek and was now commissioning the disciples and empowering them.  What a powerful word "Shalom".

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be blessed

Brenda and I are going to Israel June 19-30 2010.  We will be co-hosting this special tour of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob where we will be teaching from our study series "Shadows of the Messiah in the Torah".  You too can join us on this unique tour off the tourist path and into the true Heart of Israel.  Space is still available.  Go to for registration and more information.