Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #1: B’resheit ( Genesis/Beginning) B’resheit 1:1-6:8
B’rit Chadashah: Revelation 21:1-5:22:1-5
The narrative of creation described in this Parashah is structured by a seven-day pattern, six days whereby G-d accomplishes his physical creation, and the seventh day in which He rests. Yet in that rest, he “created” the Sabbath for man. This day is blessed and designated holy. There is a great deal of symmetry in the creation; the first three days describe the creation of domains. The next three describe the creation of specific inhabitants of the domains in the same order. His creation comes to its peak in the one day that has no counterpart; the Shabbat observed by G-d and commanded to be observed as a holy day for man. Man only becomes aware of this command in Exodus 16 as far as the Torah reveals. The role of the number seven in Gen. 1:1-2:3 extends beyond the obvious division of G-d’s creation into a seven-day sequence. Let’s look at this more closely.
The expression. “ And G-d saw that it was good” or “very good” occurs seven times, but not on every day of the “week.” It is not written on the second or seventh days but is written twice on the third and sixth days ( Gen. 1:10; 12,25,31). Also, the word “G-d” (Elohim) occurs 35 times (5×7) in the passage and the narrative devoted to the seventh day (2:1-3) has exactly 35 words in the Hebrew. The organization of the creation process into a sequence of seven days. Before we move ahead, we must acknowledge that the “untranslatable alef-tav that follows the word Elohim in Gen 1:1 alludes to Yahshua who was part of the Complex Unity of the G-dhead that created the world. This is completely missed by our Jewish brethren who are not Messianic because they do not accept Yahshua as Messiah …yet. The alef-tav in Genesis and elsewhere in genesis is simply not translated, rather deemed untranslatable. Yahshua identifies Himself as the Alef-Tav in Revelation 22 which validates our belief that He was included in the original creation. The Tetragrammaton of G-d’s Name further points to Yahshua as G-d; Y (Hand ) H (behold) V (nail or hook) H (behold). YHVH/Yahshua are One just as the Sh’ma states: “Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai Echad.”
We have another validation of Yahshua’s existence and involvement in creation. The organizational process into a seven-day sequence may be familiar to most readers from our Parashah and from the command for observing the Sabbat in the 10 Commands ( Ex. 20:8-11). But this connection/pattern is not universal in the Tanakh. Most of the text concerning the Sabbath make no reference to creation. Why is this so? Perhaps Genesis 1:1-2:3 is derived through the perspective of a particular school of thought that dates to a relatively late period in the religious history of the Israelites. Many scholars attribute the passage to the “Priestly” source abbreviated (P). As we read the creation story, we see that G-d does in fact seem to function in a priestly way such as the Cohen (priest) giving blessings (Gen. 1:1;28:2:3; Lev. 9:22-3;Num.6:22-27), and in consecrating the Shabbat (Gen. 2:3; Ezek.44:24).
As Messianic Jews, we know that Yahshua will execute the rolls of prophet, priest, and king all in one when He returns. We learn of His role as each of these at specific times throughout G-d’s Torah, but it is extremely revealing to see His role in creation along the priestly paradigm. Adding to this information, the creation of the world presents several striking similarities to the construction of the Tabernacle (Ex. 25-31 and executed in Ex. 35-40. For example, compare gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 39:32; 42-3 that discusses the prototype of the Temple in Jerusalem and the emphasis on the priestly service to G-d. So looking into the structure of the creation story, we are able to glean much more information that describes the fact that G-d is a G-d of order, consistency and that Yahshua our Messiah was a part of it all… in the beginning.
• The (P) source mentioned in text refers to one of three sources that underlie the first five books of the Torah (Pentateuch). Scholars disagree how these sources were used by those who wrote the first five books. This explanation is known as the documentary hypothesis that was very prominent in the 20th century but is now is waning in popularity. The reason it was introduced in this lesson is because of the fact that the (J) source is responsible for most of Genesis but the Priestly source (P) provided the first chapter of Genesis. The book of Leviticus; and other sections with genealogical information, the priesthood, and worship. I submit this is no coincidence in relation to Yahshua’s involvement in creation.
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 42:5
There are two connections between the Parashah and the Haftarah I want to address.
First, the Parashah begins with the creation of the world. In the Haftarah, the prophet Isaiah reminds Israel that G-d is the Creator of the world, sustaining the creation each day. Creation is not something that was done once; it is a continuing miracle. We are to be reminded of this with each Shabbat observance.
Second, in the Parashah, man is the only creature given the power to choose between right and wrong, In the Haftarah, Yesha’yahu tells the people that G-d created Israel to be a “light for the nations.” It is our responsibility to show the nations what is right, so that they too, can come closer to G-d. How do we accomplish this? The Chassids have a great definition of what we are supposed to be if we are to identify ourselves with Israel and as servants of YHVH/Yahshua. We are to be constantly moving from what we are to what we can be, and from what we have made of ourselves to a deeper truth of what we really are. We are to be engaged in perpetual quest to improve ourselves and G-d’s world; to transcend the world and transcend our “selves”. We are to be engaged in a lifelong conversation with G-d: to present our questions, needs, grievances and aspirations to Him; and then listen carefully for His responses. We are to do good because G-d commands it and because we love Him. G-d told Abraham to “ Lech lecha me’artzecha, me’moladetcha, ume’beit avicha, el ha’aretz asher areka… which is translated in English “Go, you, from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” In Kabbalistic interpretation the phrase means: “Go to your innermost self: move away from your will, from your feelings, and from your intellect, to the desire that I will reveal to you.” To be a light unto the nations, we must learn to imitate the Light of the world.
B’rit Chadashah: Revelation 21:1-5
The first passage describes the sinless condition of Eden that will be restored after thousands of years of groaning with the pains of childbirth to be finally set free from its bondage to decay, to enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that G-d’s children will have (Rom. 8:19-23). It describes the restoration spoken of in Acts 3:21 in which Yahshua “has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as G-d said long ago, when he spoke through the holy prophets.” It is also the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Is. 65:17-19; 66:22-24).
The Bible depicts creation as in a constant struggle. For example, light conquers darkness. The sea is allied with darkness. It has to be contained and limited- this is done on the second day of creation (Gen. 1:6-10). The sea is active in bringing destruction and death through the Flood of Noach. But the sea is under G-d’s control as seen in the episode of the red Sea, and Yahshua’s calming the sea. Psalms 148 attests to the subservience of the sea to His command. The sea will never be used again as a means of universal destruction. Our internal battle between our Esau and Jacob is also a constant struggle. However, we can emerge victorious at the finish line through trusting in the faithfulness of Yahshua and following the commands of G-d.
The Holy City of Jerusalem mentioned in Verse 2 is considered feminine (Ga. 4:26) Could this resemble the verse on our Parashah that describes a man leaving his father and mother in the context of Yahshua leaving His Father and “mother” and cleaving to His wife (Israel in the future?) This is food for thought. Jerusalem is seen coming down out of heaven from G-d (as a bride is brought to the alter by her father), prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. The bride is Israel (all true believers defined by Yahshua in the book of Revelation and NOT the Church!
Verse 4 speaks of the restoration of the relationship between Israel (all true believers) and G-d as was the relationship between Adam, Eve, and G-d in the beginning. G-d (YHVH/Yahshua) will dwell with His own, never to be separated again.
I want to touch on Verse 6 because of its applicability to the Alef Tav (Yahshua). Here is validation that Yahshua is the Alef Tav mentioned in Genesis 1:1. Verse 6 reads “And he said unto me, it is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that thirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. The Greek word for beginning is arche, “beginning, ruler, initiator, beginner,” that is, he who stands above and beyond time, Who creates and rules everything. YHVH/Yahshua was not only essenced “in the beginning”; He is the beginning as G-d/Yahshua!
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart