For Week #7 of Come, Follow Me, the home and family-based New Testament curriculum for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I learned something super enlightening, once again! I am loving this!
That week’s lesson was about the Sermon on the Mount. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compared his followers to salt, in Matthew 5:13. Why did he do this? The question in the study guide asked that.
I pondered that question by doing a Hebrew word study on “salt.” I learned about Hebrew from my close friend Katie who owns this site here, where you can learn about Hebrew pictograms. Ever since I learned the meanings of the ancient pictograms which represent the letters of the Hebrew alphabet I have been fascinated with what I find.
In Hebrew the word for salt uses these letters:
chet lamed mem
which when spoken sounds like “melakh.” Hebrew is written and read from right to left. We read the mem first, the character on the far right. Then we read the middle character, the lamed, then the letter on the far left, the chet. The mem is like our letter “m,” the lamed is like our “l” and the chet is like a “hkh” sound. We add vowel sounds in between.
These letters translate into pictograms which are symbols for, again going from right to left, corresponding with the above characters:
(water) (shepherd’s staff) (fence)
And then, these symbols stand for the following ideas:
So, in other words, salt in Hebrew can mean:
“Leaders who lead into the mysteries within the bounds of covenants.”
In other words, people of salt or covenant keepers or disciples of Jesus are to be the staff-holders or leaders, to help people to learn/ behold mysteries and to come within the boundaries or fences, that covenants, provide. Isn’t that beautiful?! A true leader is not someone who says to “do whatever you want,” or “do whatever feels good.” A true leader, a disciple, leads one into the covenants that Jesus offers through His restored gospel.
Doctrine and Covenants 103:9-10-13 even unites the candle and salt symbols together. As you probably know, Jesus tells his followers to be like both salt and a candle. Here is what the above scripture says:
9 For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;
10 And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
So if we are not leading people into the covenant path, we are not being true lights. President Nelson has asked us to be the gatherers of Israel to get people onto the covenant path. That is how we follow the Savior’s light, as images of his light. I love it! In the video below, he tells us that the greatest compliment we can have is to be a “covenant keeper.”
In his first message to the Church as president, President Nelson invited each member to stay on the covenant path.
The video below shows more examples of finding the meanings of words by using the ancient Hebrew pictogram meanings. It’s so fascinating!