By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
The study of the Word of God is one of the most thrilling endeavors the heart of man can pursue.
The more I have studied the Bible, the more I am amazed at its’ incredible depths. Being a diligent student of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15) will include carefully examining the Word of God, even in its’ original languages (Jeremiah 29:13). The blessings of such a journey are beyond description!
It is also imperative as we study the Word of God to remember that everything in Scripture revolves around and points to Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Peter pointed this out when he was preaching the Word of God to Cornelius and his household:
Acts 10:43-To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
While discussing the Word of God with the Jews of His day, Jesus made this claim:
John 5:39-You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
With this in mind, I would like to share with you something I have learned recently. I was, quite frankly, stunned by what I am about to share with you.
That is the beauty of the Word of God! It has the power and the eloquence to speak to a child so all can understand, and yet there are depths to the Bible that can astonish the careful student after years of intense scrutiny.
What I am going to share with you has to do with the very first word of the Bible-and how this word paints an incredible picture of Jesus Christ.
The Hebrew Old Testament
The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language, which is exceedingly and amazingly complex.
Scholar Chuck Missler describes some of the incredible nuances of this language:
“The Hebrew language has some distinctive characteristics that no other language on the planet Earth has. All the early languages were written without spaces between the words, and the Hebrew language is self- parsing. In Hebrew, there are five letters that have a slightly different shape when they’re used as the last letter of a word. Because of that, it’s possible to read Hebrew without spaces between the letters. There are only consonants in Hebrew, and no vowels. It’s what’s called a consonantal script. The meaning of a word derives from a root of three letters, and each three letter root word can be expanded to create all manner of other words. Prefixes and suffixes can be added to those three letters, forming different parts of speech or even entirely new words; the meaning is related to those three base letters. The particular meaning of the word depends on how it’s pronounced when vowel sounds are added. For instance, the three letters sfr create the word for “book” and it’s pronounced “sapher.” A writer, on the other hand, somebody who makes books, would be called a “sopher” same letters. The plural form requires a “ym” ending sfrym – “sefarim.” The pronunciations are therefore very important. It’s not difficult for a native speaker to vocally add the appropriate vowels. We often use the consonants “bldg” for “building” and we understand the word even with the vowels (and one consonant) removed. Native speakers would naturally read the words correctly. The root consonants are designed to give Hebrew a semantic backbone and stability not characteristic of Western languages. It also leads to word play. Verb usage is dependent on the context, and the language lends itself to puns. There’s often far more meaning implied in the Hebrew sentence than there would be in a Greek sentence….One of the peculiarities of the Hebrew language is that the alphabet is not just phonetic, but also symbolic. The alphabet of most languages are phonetic. Words can be sounded out if the letter sounds are known. Hebrew is phonetic, but it is a special language, because it is also symbolic. Individual letters can have their own meanings. Early in Hebrew writing, the letters were also pictographs. Aleph , for instance, was shaped like the head of an ox and represented strength and leadership. The letter kaf was originally shaped like a hand, and “kaf” means “palm of the hand” or “to coerce.” The Hebrew language is astonishingly vivid, concise and simple. It is also so dense that it makes it difficult to translate fully. While the Greek language is precise, each word holding a specific intended meaning, Hebrew leaves many ideas to be “understood.” It requires the reader to fill in the blanks. It often takes two or three times as much space to translate the Hebrew into English because the words carry so much significance on their own.”. (Chuck Missler, How We Got Our Bible, 400-424 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House)
The original Hebrew of the Old Testament, like the koine Greek of the New Testament, is unparalleled in its’ beauty and complexity.
With this rudimentary knowledge in mind, consider the amazing discovery one researcher learned about the very first word of the Bible:
“I began to wonder about the Hebrew pictographs. The pictographs can be dated back many thousands of years even before the time of Christ. Each picture tells a part of a story or message; I believe it is a message from eternity to those who are willing to listen and believe….The above illustration is a generalisation of the meanings of each letter. For instance Aleph can also mean sacrifice as it is in the shape of an ox and an ox was used to sacrifice or it can mean God himself as the first above all. Tav is the last letter of the Hebrew “Aleph- bet” and like Aleph and many of the other letters can simply mean cross because of its shape. Again I wondered is there a message here somewhere? I began my search in the very first word of the Old Testament “Bereshit” meaning “In the beginning.” What would happen if I took the ancient pictographs and substituted them for the Hebrew letters in Bereshit? Would there be a message hidden beneath the surface text?…In the pictograph of Bereshit, the first word of Genesis 1, we read from right to left: ְבּ Beit which is a picture of a house or the temple, ֵר Resh meaning the highest, אAleph which can mean God or sacrifice, שׁ Shin meaning to be destroyed or to destroy, יYod meaning hand or one’s own hand, ת Tav meaning a cross. (See fig 4) The stunning message we receive from Genesis 1 in ancient Hebrew Pictographs and Bereshit the very first Hebrew word in the bible is: The house / temple of the highest sacrifice (or God) will be destroyed by his own hand on a cross. (Fig 4)….Isn’t that incredible? To discover the Gospel message hidden in the first Hebrew word of the bible? Hidden in ancient Hebrew pictographs. All the more stunning when one realises the modern religious Jew does not believe God would come and die on a cross for their sins. Yet here it is revealed in the Hebrew pictographs proving, yet again, God authored the bible; placing within the Hebrew text proof they cannot deny from their own ancient pictographic history. Yeshua is God and came and died on the cross for our sins. The message was placed there by a divine hand at the very beginning of the Hebrew bible thousands of years before crucifixion was ever invented!” (Bob Mitchell, The Messiah Code, 77-103 (Kindle Edition))
“The house/temple sacrifice of God will be destroyed by his own hand on a cross.”
When I was studying this, I was reminded of something else I had read a couple of years ago:
“Even the word “Torah” itself, drawing on the concepts that lie behind the original Hebrew letters, , embodies some provocative elements: The Tav (originally, a cross), the Vav (a nail), the Resh (the head of a man), and the Heh, (the breath or Spirit of God). Thus, Man, with the Spirit of God, nailed on the Cross! This term was in existence well before Messiah walked on the earth. It is an interesting summary of the climax of God’s love story, which was nailed on a cross erected in Judea 2,000 years ago. The entire Biblical drama records the extremes our Creator has resorted to in order to redeem man—including you and me—from our predicament.”. (Chuck Missler, Hidden Treasures In The Biblical Text, 295-305 (Kindle Edition): Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House)
Everything revolves around Jesus Christ.
My friends, the God of Heaven has gone to such incredible lengths to inspire His Word and to provide evidence of its’ inspiration so that you will know that it is TRUE. The God of Heaven DOES love you. He loves you so very much that He sent His Son to live a perfectly sinless life, even though He was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and to die in your place as a perfect Sacrifice (1 Timothy 2:6). Jesus died for you, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
God has declared that those who hear His Word (romans 10:17), believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and are baptized into Him (Galatians 3:26-27) will be saved (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Will you not obey Him today (2 Corinthians 6:2)?
If you are a Christian who has turned from the Lord, won’t you please repent of the sin in your life and turn back to God by confessing your sins to Him (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?
The churches of Christ stand ready to assist you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.