The Hidden Word in Genesis
One of my very favourite Bibles is a Hebrew/English interlinear Bible ie: it has one line in Hebrew & below that line it is translated into English. It's not always the easiest to read because Biblical Hebrew sentences are not written in quite the same word order as English, and for that I love reading other 'versions.' But I believe it is the most accurate in glimpsing into God's Heart from the original Hebrew. And for this reason, it is a treasure trove!
In the first line of Genesis Chapter 1, verse 1, there is a word in Hebrew that is not translated into English. I would like to credit John Parsons, a Messianic Jewish American, who runs the Hebrew for Christians website, for mentioning this in an online study many years ago, which the LORD used to bring this missing word to my attention. The LORD then shared directly with me from my Hebrew interlinear Bible, much of what you are about to read. After the LORD had shown me, I sat in my kitchen and in complete humble awe, quietly uttered the words,"What kind of God am I dealing with?!" Years later, I revisited John Parsons' website and to my joy found that the LORD has also shared with him much of this study. The Holy Spirit is revealing Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah, hidden in the Hebrew language, to many of us with Jewish heritage at the same time, together with many believers from the nations. Thank you LORD.
As you look at the line, there is a big wide open space directly underneath the fourth Hebrew word. It is not translated into English, or for that matter any other language, because it is "untranslatable" into one word.
In English Genesis 1 verse 1 says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"
In Hebrew it says "In the beginning God (extra word) created the heavens and the earth."
The extra word is the Hebrew letter Aleph followed by the Hebrew letter Tav. Now, although it cannot be translated into one word, it can - with God's help - be translated into a profound revelation of His entire salvation plan, hidden in plain sight in the first line of the Bible. But you can only 'see' it in the Hebrew!!
The first letter, Aleph (א), is the very first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (the beginning). The second letter is the Hebrew letter Tav, which is - not coincidentally - the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Tav
( ת) is the last (to the end).
So the missing word is Aleph-Tav and looks like this:
את (remember Hebrew is read from right to left!)
In Hebrew, saying "Aleph and Tav" is the same as saying "A and Z" in English. Now, if we said that phrase in Greek it would be "Alpha and Omega". Who is described as the Alpha and Omega in the New Testament?
So when we add this Word, hidden in plain sight in the original Hebrew into our translation into English, Genesis 1 verse 1 actually says:
"In the beginning God (the A and Z, the beginning and the end) created the heavens and the earth."
Jesus (Yeshua) is called four times the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. All four of these references to Himself are found in the final book of the Bible, the book of Revelation (1.8, 1.11, 21.6, 22.13). And yet in the Hebrew Bible He is called this right back at the beginning, in the first line of Genesis!
But we can go down a layer still into the beautiful depths of the original Biblical Hebrew language.
In Hebrew, each letter represents something and has a meaning. Hebrew is seen to the Hebraic mind as the language of God. Paul was a Jew and he says this outright in the New Testament, while describing to King Agrippa his encounter with Jesus (Yeshua) on the road to Damascus:
Acts 26:12-16: “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
Some very modern translations have changed this verse to "in the Aramaic language", which is incorrect and is responsible for contributing to a narrative that is not there in the original Bible. But go back to the King James translation and it was originally correctly translated as "in the Hebrew language", or even more accurately, "in the Hebrew tongue". This is because, even today in the Jewish world, Biblical Hebrew is colloquially referred to as "Lashon Kodesh", which literally means "the Holy Tongue." In its narrowest sense Lashon Kodesh means Biblical Hebrew, not even Modern Hebrew and definitely not every day secular speech. But in its broadest sense, "Lashon Kodesh" means to speak with "clear, pure and refined speech." My closest Christian friends share this quality. And yet a major Chassidic work called "The Degel Machaneh Efraim"by Rabbi Moshe Chaim, first printed in 1808, also comes to the Rabbinical conclusion that "one did not need to speak Hebrew to speak Lashon Kodesh." It sounds as if the Rabbis came to the same conclusion as James (Ya'akov) in the New Testament on the subject of the tongue! Only God living in us can tame our tongue.
To the Jewish people, the Biblical Hebrew language is so highly revered that, even today, Torah scribes will bury the Hebrew if they make a mistake on a scroll. They will not just throw it away. This is because they believe, just as Christians do, that it is the living word of God!
Co-incidentally, this is also exactly what the Jewish Rabbis do with all the prayers offered up at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. All those tiny pieces of paper from people's hearts are squeezed into the crevices of the Wall during prayer. But every few months, when the crevices get too full, they are carefully removed and considered so treasured that the Rabbis bury your prayers on the Mount of Olives. Words written to God are to be respected. How much more words FROM God!!
Amazingly, the scribes have also copied this 'extra' Hebrew word hidden in Genesis through thousands of years, even though some of them do not know what it fully means in its entirety, such is their respect for God’s Word as it was originally written.
Later, we will look at what a non-Messianic studier of the Torah would think this word את represents, as such wisdom can teach us in the church much more about our Messiah.
So let's look at the meaning of each of these two Hebrew letters in this Hidden Word.
The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet - aleph - is considered extremely important. It not only has a meaning but the letter Aleph represents God Himself. This is because it is the first letter of the alphabet, it comes before all things and it is a silent letter on its own. Just like God, He was silent before He then spoke creation into being as recorded in Genesis.
The letter Aleph only makes a sound when you add tiny vowel marks below it or around it. So it can make different sounds depending on which tiny ‘vowel’ marks you add. Just like God makes different 'sounds' through each of the gifts He adds onto us, if we submit to Him. Therefore Jews believe the letter Aleph represents God and indeed it does.
It is also formed with one yod (the tiniest of Hebrew letters that looks like a hand) to heaven, one yod to earth, with a diagonal stroke in the middle joining the two yods (hands). The diagonal stroke is the same as another Hebrew letter called vav on its side. Vav is the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents man. So, in addition to seeing the letter as representing God, a Messianic Jew will clearly see the letter Aleph as representing Christ as LORD, the 'man' who is God, joining heaven to earth and earth to heaven by the breadth of His Hands. The meanings of Hebrew letters are beautiful in themselves. So the first letter of this strange missing word - that is never seen in English - represents God. So that is what the letter "Aleph" represents.
But it has a further meaning too.
Each letter in Hebrew has a meaning, unlike English. Aleph (א) means: "Strength, Leader, Ox"
And the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tav (ת) means: "Mark, Sign and Covenant"
So, any Biblical Hebrew speaking Jew should 'see' God saying in the first line of Genesis:
"In the beginning God (the A and Z, the beginning and the end, God who was the Strength, Leader and Ox who was a Mark, Sign and Covenant) created the heavens and the earth."
Or would they?! Without the Holy Spirit and God's Hand lifted from in front of their eyes (Romans 11) it is doubtful. What they will see is a straightforward grammatical explanation instead. That is because in Hebrew grammar, the word Aleph-Tav is used a great deal. It performs as something called a "direct object marker." There isn't an English equivalent, which is why it is not translated. In Hebrew, it is used to relate the subject of a sentence to its direct object. So in the sentence in Genesis 1 verse 1, God is the subject of the sentence, He is doing the creating. The object of His creating is the Heavens. And the grammatical technique for joining the two in Hebrew is to use the "direct object marker". It's used for extra emphasis, as if to say, "This object is being acted upon by this subject and is a direct object of that subject." Which particularly makes sense here in Genesis 1. The Heavens are being acted upon by the God of the universe as He is creating them. He's in control and the Heavens are in submission to Him. So even in its straightforward grammatical understanding, this tiny Hebrew word adds deeper awe and appreciation of God's character and authority, that He creates the Heavens!
This is what most Torah studying Jewish readers of Genesis would see. Would they see the whole meaning? I can't say.
But through the Holy Spirit in both Jewish and Christian believers, we can see the LORD of the Bible has hidden beautiful meaning and depth into the first line in Hebrew:
"In the beginning God (the A and Z, the beginning and the end, God who was the Strength, Leader and Ox who was a Mark, Sign and Covenant) created the heavens and the earth."
To a Christian this is so obviously describing the LORD Jesus Christ. So Jesus (Yeshua) is in the first line of the Bible in Hebrew! When God first showed me this I sat speechless in my kitchen for quite some time. The extent of God’s Grace to the world, that He made Himself seen by them but blinded His chosen people so that the time of the Gentiles could come in, absolutely hit me. The Hidden Word is like a neon sign telling us Who Messiah is, but it's switched off in English and flashing in Hebrew. Yet it can't be seen until the nations have seen Yeshua as Messiah. Then God will lift His Hands from in front of His Jewish people's eyes and they'll see Him, sitting there in the first line of the Torah.
But there's more! Hebrew often feels like a deep ocean full of God's beauty, glory and presence. The time I spend studying Hebrew is some of the most peaceful I experience and I lead a pretty peaceful life! So, to go down deeper into the very ancient depths of the Hebrew letters:
As described, each Hebrew letter has a meaning. But if we go back through time, each Hebrew letter also has an ancient picture. It's a little like Chinese when pictures mean words, or some other ancient cultures who drew pictures before they used words. The same is true of the most beautiful of classical languages.
The pictograph of Hebrew would be used by mostly uneducated Jews in ancient Biblical times. People at the bottom of the social scale would understand it. Jesus wanted to make Himself seen through revelation, not just through knowledge and education; although study and knowledge of His Word is very, very good. He wanted to reveal Himself through a love of His Language, not 'religion'. Educated Jews would also know the pictograph for their letters too, and especially children.
Are you ready? The pictograph for Aleph is an ox head.
Yeshua called Himself an Ox. He says His yoke is gentle (Matthew/Matityahu 11.29-30). In the Jewish faith, the responsibility of obeying a life of Torah is called "the yoke of Torah." It is the unique responsibility of the Jewish people to the nations described in the Bible. (Deuteronomy/Devarim 26. 17-19 and Isaiah/Yesha'yahu 49.6) And yet it is a heavy yoke, one that comes with responsibility to live obeying all 613 laws in the Bible. No human can do that. It is exhausting. Even if we managed to physically obey each one, we fall thousands of times a day in our mind, hearts and motivations. We obey to impress, we obey without love. We fall. It is an impossible yoke, that can only be fulfilled by a perfect human.
The ox appears in the Old Testament to mean Messiah too. In Ezekiel 1.10 God describes the four characteristics of Himself by using four 'faces'. One is an eagle, one is a lion, one is a man, and one is an ox. The ox represents the servant face of God, the one who takes our burden. Yet it isn't a picture of an entire Ox. The pictograph for the letter Aleph is only the ox head. So even in His servant state Jesus/Yeshua is saying He is the Head. This paradox is so profoundly true! When we serve, when we give ourselves up to be sacrificed for the Truth, we become filled with His Authority. When Pilate was betraying Jesus, Pilate was the one with human 'power.' But Yeshua was the one with Heavenly authority. Pilate was only in that position because God had allowed Him to be. Pilate only knew human power. The truth has an authority to it from Heaven that cannot be shaken and unnerves those with just human power.
And amazingly, in the last two of the four references to Jesus as the Beginning and the End in Revelation previously mentioned, it is actually translated correctly in some older Bibles as "the beginning and THE HEAD." The ox-head! This hidden word in the very first line of the first chapter of the Bible is prophesying the exact phrase Jesus Christ is called in the very last chapter of the Bible. It's a perfect mirror. An Ox Head - Servant Authority.
But it gets more perfect and even more amazing. Because, what is the pictograph for the second letter in this hidden word in Genesis? What is the pictograph for Tav?
The pictograph for Tav is a crucifix! So for centuries Christians have being wearing the pictograph for the Hebrew letter Tav around their necks! A Hebrew speaking Jew who knew their pictographs would therefore see around your neck the letter meaning: "Mark, Sign, Covenant who was Crucified!"
Yet if they don’t ‘see’ it, it is not because they are somehow stupid or forgotten by God. It is because He has blinded them in order to show His Grace to the Nations (Romans 11). What kind of grace is this? That He would be SO obvious, yet make Himself so hidden to His own "treasured possession"? Does the 'greek' church realise the depth of grace upon which she is walking? When she does, she instinctively takes this love and blessing back to the Jewish people. It is a central part of the Gospel (Romans 1.16). The relationship between Christians and Jews is growing increasingly close because of this realisation.
So, in conclusion, the first line of the Bible in Hebrew actually reads:
"In the beginning God...
(the A and Z, the beginning and the end,
God's Leader, Servant Strength, Ox Who is the Head,
Who is the Mark, Sign, Covenant,
Who was Crucified)
...created the heavens and the earth."
God is saying in Hebrew that Yeshua is God, that Yeshua created the heavens and the earth, that He is just as much the Subject of that sentence acting on the universe. He is the Servant Head, the Mark and Sign of God's Covenant who was crucified - all in two Hebrew letters! Utter beauty. The Bible in Hebrew therefore prophesies Jesus' divinity and crucifixion as God's first over-riding covenant in the first line, BEFORE THE HEAVENS WERE CREATED. What kind of God do we worship?! Do we worship THIS God? Or do we 'worship' a man-made version, who fits into our tiny box of human understanding, a god who is there for our convenience?
God is a Genius and He was there, with Yeshua as One God, creating the Universe and Hiding His Master Salvation Plan, before He spoke one galaxy into being.
Sadly, this is all missed when reading the scriptures in English, and in all the preceding translations based on the Greek into English. But we are finally in a time when Jew and Gentile are coming together to share what we each see of the God of the Universe. What a marriage. We need His Spirit and we are blessed by each other. Because God's first line of His Bible in Hebrew perfectly mirrors John chapter 1 verses 1-5:
"In the beginning was the Word (in effect the untranslatable Word), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men (Jesus crucifixion gives us the Light of Salvation). The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."
So, now you know that the FIRST covenant in the Bible is therefore not the Noahic covenant after the flood. It is the covenant of Salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) preceding all covenants, HIDDEN IN GENESIS IN THE HEBREW LETTERS THEMSELVES. The covenants build on each other. They do not cancel each other out, otherwise by that reasoning, the Noahic covenant would have cancelled out the first covenant hidden in Genesis, which is Christ!
This means that the New Covenant doesn't cancel out the Abrahamic covenant either. How arrogant of the modern church to think it has replaced the Jewish people. God's love for the Jewish people wasn't based on the Sinai covenant but the Abrahamic covenant, which was unilateral ie: not dependent on their behaviour. The church often gets these two covenants confused and thinks because the Jewish people sinned the church has replaced Israel. But by that rational, if a Christian sins that would mean the New Covenant was over! The breaking of the Sinai Covenant through sin has consequences, yes. Sin has consequences in the Christian's life too. But the covenants build on each, they don't cancel each other out.
And now through the Hebrew and His divine help, we can see all later covenants build on the Cornerstone, who was in the beginning with God and was God (John 1). Replacement Theology doesn’t understand this because it is a demonic deception and so, by definition, it is very hard for those who believe Replacement Theology to humble themselves to learn alongside and bless their Jewish brothers and sisters. Instead, they will often politically isolate Israel and the Jewish people, even in the name of 'Christ'. This is a travesty of His Salvation Plan. It must break the LORD's heart. It can hurt mine as a believer with Jewish heritage. A church that preaches grace, sometimes in its extreme, yet tries to hold that grace back from Israel.
To me, I can see the blindness is therefore both ways. The majority of Jews have been given over to blindness to let the Gentiles come in. Some Gentiles are being given over to blindness through pride, and sometimes very sadly ignorance through lack of Biblical teaching. The LORD strongly warns the branches (Gentile believers) not to become arrogant against the root, Israel. (Romans 11 verses 17 - 24).
I pray we love, bless and spend time with the Jewish people, visiting and supporting Israel on the world stage and praying for the Jewish Messiah to reveal Himself to His treasured possession. We are loved by Him in Messiah. I pray we share that love in these times of rising anti-semitism around the world.
“The devil is far too clever to try to destroy Christianity.
He is just making a version of Christianity that is so close to the truth
that good Christians dare not speak out against it.” Anon.
Hebraic and Prophetic Teaching
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