Why the Bible challenges us with double meanings
Updated: Aug 27
The way language is constructed and used has always fascinated me so when there is something puzzling in phrases used in the Bible, I’m interested.
For instance: Daniel 5 has the narrative about King Belshazzar holding a feast and handwriting appears on the wall, written by a disembodied hand. Understandably Belshazzar was frightened witless and when his wizards, magicians and astrologers couldn’t read or interpret the Aramaic phrase, it was left to Daniel to speak its meaning.
The phrase incorporated words that had a double meaning so Daniel applied both meanings of the words in his interpretation: ‘mene’ as "to count" and "to finish"; “tekel”, to "weigh" and "to be wanting"; “upharsin”, "to divide" and "Persia" and foretold the fall of the Kingdom of Babylon to the Persians – an event that happened that very night.
Much of what Jesus said had double meanings, also. Jesus talked about healing blind eyes but he was also implying that people were blinded beyond belief.
The parables that Jesus spoke had double meanings, too. When the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, in His answer we have the key to why so much of the Bible is written with 2 meanings. Jesus replied: “The knowledge about the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them”(Matt. 13:11).
There is a very real secret in the double meaning of the name: “Jesus” or “God saves”. The word, “saves”, is used both literally and metaphorically to speak about being made whole. Jesus saves us from our sins and Jesus heals us from our diseases.
When Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem the people shouted, “Hosanna”, “Oh Lord, save us”. That word “save” is from the same Hebrew word with the 2 meanings, to redeem us and to restore us to health.
When you know the secret hidden in the name “Jesus”, you can call on His name for people to be saved and made whole, mind, body and soul. Everywhere you go you're God-blessed words revealing who Jesus really is, will be a fragrance that brings life (2 Cor. 2:14-16).