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Here is Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew: “Bereshit bara elohim et ha’shamayim ve’et ha’aaretz.”
In the beginning (Bereshit); God (Elohim); created (bara); the heavens (ha’shamayim); and (ve); the earth (ha’aaretz).
The middle word in this sentence, this two letter word (“et” spelled ALEF TAV), is not translated. It is an untranslatable word in Hebrew grammar. It indicates the direct object.
“Et” is made up of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is a “hint” of Jesus.
In the first chapter, and again in the last chapter of the book of Revelation, we have a record of Jesus declaring that He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 1:8 and 22:13).
That is in Greek in the New Testament. But Jesus would have spoken in Hebrew, which was the mother tongue of the Jewish people. Alpha and Omega ... the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. ALEF and TAV ... the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
This word here, Ve’et, is the sixth word in this seven word sentence. Once again, the ALEF and TAV are on view, untranslatable, but we do translate this word “and” (ve), because of the VAV at the beginning. VAV is a connecting letter and we see here how it connects the heavens and the earth.
And we see that the spelling of this word, VAV ALEF TAV, are the same letters that make up the word “OT”. OT means “a sign” ... a sign from God. OT also means “a letter of the Hebrew alphabet”. It is no accident that this sixth word in Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew is made up of the same three letters as the word for “a sign” ... a sign pointing to Jesus.
The next word I'd like to look at is the third of the seven words in this Hebrew sentence. It is the word for “God” ... Elohim. The word is plural in form, but singular in meaning. There are many places in the Old Testament where this word Elohim means “gods” with a small “g”, plural. But in this case it is the word for “God”, because the verb that precedes it, “bara”, indicates here that it is meant to be understood as singular. However, the form surely hints to us of the three-in-one nature of the Godhead.
Now, let us talk about this word, “bereshit” (in the beginning), and the word next to it, “bara” (created).
The first three letters of "bereshit" (BET RESH ALEF) are the same as those of the second word "bara" (BET RESH ALEF). “Bara” means “created”. But five times in the Old Testament, "bara" means “cut down”.
And these three letters at the end of “bereshit”, if they were separated out and stood alone as a word, would mean “set in place”.
Clearly, this verse is saying “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, but we could see a sub-text in these first two words ... something just out of plain sight ... that reads “created, set in place, cut down”. In other words, God created the heavens and the earth, God set them in place, and God has determined to cut them down.
And that is not a new revelation. Scripture says that is what God intends to do. He is not going to “fix up” this fallen world. He is going to destroy it, and replace it with a “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13). And how is God going to destroy the heavens and the earth? By fire (2 Peter 3:10).
Now look at this word “bereshit” again. The middle two letters spell “esh”, ALEF SHIN. “Esh” means “fire” in Hebrew. And the four letters on either side, BET RESH and YUD TAV, together spell “brit”, which means “covenant” in Hebrew. Do you see that as a sub-text below the surface? A “covenant of fire”.
For centuries, rabbis have asked the question amongst themselves, “When God gave the Torah, why didn’t He make the word for ‘God’ the first word of the Bible?” This word “Elohim” starts with an ALEF, the first letter of the alphabet.
But Elohim is the third word of the Bible. It would have worked grammatically to have made the first sentence of the Bible start with the Hebrew word for God. But God gave the Torah, starting with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, BET. As a prefix on a word, BET means “in”.
These five letters “reshit”, mean “what is first”. They also mean “the choice part, the finest, or “firstfruits” as in firstfruits of a harvest.
And the New Testament presents Jesus as the firstfruits.
(1 Corinthians 15:20) “... Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits ...”, and “Christ, the firstfruits ...” (1 Corinthians 15:23).
So, we could also read as a sub-text, “In the firstfruits ... God, the ALEF TAV (Jesus) ... created the heavens and the earth.”
Again, that is not a new revelation, because the Gospel of John tells us “All things came into being through Jesus.” (John 1:3). And in Colossians, “... by Him (Jesus) all things were created ...” (Colossians 1:16)
There is more ... the letter BET as a pictogram means “a house, or household”. We examined this in Session 5. In this first word of the Bible, the first letter and the last two letters of the first word, spell “beit”, BET YUD TAV. “Beit” means house or household. And the remaining three letters in the middle of the word, spell “rosh”, RESH ALEF SHIN. And “rosh” in Hebrew means “head”. So we have “head” in “the house”.
The “head” in the “household” of God is Jesus. In book of Hebrews we read, “... Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s household ...” (Hebrews 3:6). And in 1 Peter, we learn that, as believers in Jesus, “... we are being built into a spiritual house for God” (1 Peter 2:5) ... Jesus being the head.
Finally, in this session, there are two Hebrew words for “Son”. One word is “ben”, BET NUN. And the other is “bar”, BET RESH. Both of these words for “son” are on view in Psalm 2. In verse 7 it tells us “... the decree of the LORD: He (God) said to Me (Jesus) ‘You are My Son’ ...”. Son in this verse in Hebrew is “ben”, BET NUN.
In verse 12 of Psalm 2, we read, “Do homage to the Son, lest He be angry with you.” Son in this verse is “bar”, BET RESH.
Now back to “bereshit”, the first word of the Bible. BET is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but BET is the first letter in the Bible. The last letter in the Bible, in Greek, is NU. It is the last letter of the last word in the book of Revelation. Now I know that Hebrew and Greek are different alphabets, but in both alphabets, this sound is unique. NUN in Hebrew ... NU in Greek.
So, we can say that the first and last letters of the Bible spell “Ben” (“Son” in Hebrew). But the first two letters of the Bible also spell “Son”. The first two letters of the word “Bereshit” are BET RESH. “Bar” means “Son”. “Ben” means “Son”.
Jesus is the Son of God. "All authority in Heaven and on earth" has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18).
He is the first and "in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).
With understanding of Hebraic thought, and awareness of design elements in the Scriptures, we take a journey of growth in Christ Jesus.
The seminar “Bringing sons to glory” starts with Session 1: “You are gods” What did Jesus mean? ... and continues through the Psalms of Ascent.
This series will increase your knowledge of biblical Hebrew.