Can we really be confident that all of God’s promises will come true? Jesus was convinced of it, and his teaching built faith in his listeners. Consider the illustration he gave in his Sermon on the Mount, as recorded at Matthew 5:18: “Truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one stroke of a letter to pass away from the Law until all things take place.”
The smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet is י (yod), which is the first letter of the Tetragrammaton, the sacred name of God, Jehovah.* In addition to the actual words and letters of God’s Law, the scribes and Pharisees viewed each “stroke of a letter” as highly significant.
Jesus was saying that it was more likely that heaven and earth would pass away than that the smallest detail of the Law would go unfulfilled. Yet the Scriptures assure us that the literal heavens and earth will remain forever. (Psalm 78:69) So this striking statement indicated that not even the smallest detail of the Law would go unfulfilled.
Does Jehovah God care about small details? Yes, indeed. Consider this: The ancient Israelites were told that they must not break any bone of the Passover lamb. (Exodus 12:46) A small detail, perhaps. Did they understand why they should not break any of the bones? Probably not. Jehovah God knew, though, that this detail was prophetic of the fact that the Messiah would not have any of his bones broken when put to death on the torture stake.
What do Jesus’ words teach us? We too can be totally confident that all of Jehovah God’s promises will come true, down to every last detail. What a powerful reassurance from Hebrew’s smallest letter!
The smallest letter of the Greek alphabet is iota and is evidently similar to the Hebrew י (yod). As the Law of Moses was originally written and passed down in Hebrew, Jesus was likely referring to the Hebrew letter.