Summary: AHKHAREET is the Hebrew word for "that which comes after". Are you making decisions today in light of eternity?


Edwin Thomas was a master of the stage. During the later half of the 1800’s in America there were few actors more successful than he was. At age 15 he starred in his first play, Richard III. He quickly established himself as a premier Shakespearean actor. In New York he performed Hamlet for one hundred consecutive nights. Edwin had a brother who was also an actor. John was never as successful as his brother. In 1863 John and Edwin united their talents to perform Julius Caesar. John played the part of Brutus, the assassin. This was foreshadowing things to come. You see 2 years later John, who played the assassin in Julius Caesar took on the role of assassin in another theatre. On a crisp night in 1865 John walked into Ford’s Theatre in Washington and fired a bullet into the head of Abraham Lincoln. Oh, I forgot to mention their last names - Edwin Thomas Booth and John Wilkes Booth.

But the story does not end here. Edwin Thomas Booth was never the same after that night. Shame from his brother’s crime drove him into early retirement. He might have never returned to the stage had it not been for a twist of fate at a New Jersey train station. While he was waiting for his train Edwin noticed a young, well-dressed man who, pressed by the crowd, lost his footing on the platform and fell on to the track in front of the approaching train. Without hesitation Edwin jumped forward and pulled the young man to safety. After a deep sigh of relief the rescued man recognized the famous actor Edwin Booth. Edwin had no idea of who it was he had rescued. It wasn’t until weeks later when he received a letter which he would carry with him for the rest of his life. The letter was from General Ulysses S. Grant. The letter thanked Edwin Booth for saving the life of Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln. How ironic that one son would choose to kill the president while the other to save the president’s son. Edwin and John Booth – same parents, same upbringing, same profession, yet one chose death and the other life.

Isn’t it amazing how often in life 2 very similar people can make such different choices. Abel and Cain were both sons of Adam. Abel chose God and Cain chose murder. Abraham and Lot were family and both pilgrims in Canaan. Abraham chooses God but Lot chose Sodom. David and Saul were both kings of Israel. David chose God but Saul chooses power. Peter and Judas were both followers of Jesus and both denied their Lord. Peter chose life and Judas chose death. On every page of the Bible there is a truth that is revealed – that God gives each one of the us the right to choose. So how do we make right choices in life?

In Hebrew and the other Semitic languages many words which indicate direction or orientation are derived from parts of the body. For example, in Hebrew the word for first or beginning comes from the Hebrew word for head, since on the human body the head comes first. In English this is like saying that someone is at the “head of the class” – it means they are in first place. In Hebrew when you are standing next to a person you are literally “at the hand” of the person. If I am standing in front of him than I am “to the face” of the person.

The Hebrew word for back is the word AH-KHA-REET. In Hebrew this literally means “that which comes after, final consequence, ending”.

From your vantage point you cannot see my back. If I had a huge hole in the back of my pants everything would look fine to you until I passed by you and you saw my… AHKHAREET. Then, when you get over the shock, your perception of my appearance would be radically altered. What looked fine from the front a moment before would latter seem embarrassing in light of the back.

Likewise it is important in life to make decisions in light of the end. From our ordinary human vantage point we cannot see that which is to come. However, God sees the whole picture. He knows the beginning and the end. To live the Christian life is to have God’s perspective. We need to live our lives and make choices each day in view of the consequences of our decisions or AHKHAREET.

The word AHKHAREET occurs 65 times in the Old Testament - 13 times (or 20%) it occurs in the book of Proverbs. In fact the whole purpose of the book of Proverbs is summed up it the words of Proverbs 19:20 – “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and IN THE END you will be wise”. In other words live your life today in light of your end or AHKHAREET.

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