Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #1 B’resheit (In the Beginning) Genesis 1:1-6:8
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 42:5-21
B’rit Chadashah: Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5
We have been blessed to start our new adventures in studying and learning G-d’s Torah. The book of Genesis lays the foundation for the history of Israel (true believers) and the world. As Messianic believers who recognize that G-d is One and that Yahshua (G-d saves) is part of the complex unity of G-d, we can rest assured that there are no contradictions in G-d’s Torah and that the Oneness of G-d (Echad) is stated in the Torah in the very first sentence.
In the Hebrew, the fourth word in the first sentence is spelled alef tav. The sentence states “B’resheit bara Elohim alef tav hashamayim v’et haeretz. In traditional Judaism, the alef tav is not translated. But if we go to the end of G-d’s Torah in the book of Revelation we can easily validate what the alef tav means;
“Pay attention” [says Yahshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z’ (in some translations Alpha and the Omega), the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Each of these pairs describe the first and last in Hebrew, the Alef Tav. The alef tav is found in the fourth position in the sentence, consistent with the position of the Shamash candle in the Temple Menorah. All lights on either side of this Servant candle draw their light from it just as we draw our light from Yahshua and cannot shine without His Light. Furthermore, if we look at verse 26 we notice that G-d says “ Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves …” Now, G-d in the role of the Creator was speaking to Yahshua who had not yet been sent to the earth as G-d incarnate to show man how to apply the spirit of the law to the letter of the law which was the only aspect of the Torah they understood at the time. These scriptures should at least spark a sense of curiosity in the minds of those who have been mistakenly taught that there is a Trinity. YHVH, Yahshua, and the Ruach HaKodesh are One, not three separate entities of the G-dhead. One more point on this subject is that if we translate the paleo Hebrew letters of G-d’s Name, it translates as “hand behold nail behold.” Is this not a direct reference to Yahshua? YHVH/Yahshua is One. For more information on this specific subject, I invite you to peruse the articles on our website at http://www.rabdavis.org (Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue). It is critical to lay the correct foundations from the beginning to reach the correct conclusions and know who our Creator is and what is expected of us as His creation.
We read in 1:4 that evening precedes morning. The biblical day starts in the evening before the sunrise. Accordingly, the biblical holy days as all others start at sundown the day before the next day. Shabbat, or the seventh day, starts on Friday evening and lasts until sundown on Saturday. Sunday sabbaths are a Christian agenda- based practice based on worship of a sun-god and not the G-d of Israel. On March 3,321, Constantine I decreed that Sunday (dies Solis) will be observed as the Roman say of rest. It reads “On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.”
Constantine’s decree was modeled after pagan sun worship, though he also intended to benefit the church, which already met on Sunday. Seventh-day Adventist scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi argued that Sunday worship unconnected to Sabbath was introduced in Rome in the 3rd century and was later enforced throughout the Christian church as a substitute for Sabbath worship. There is evidence that early Christians celebrated both the seventh-day Shabbat and Sunday worship. There is a plethora of information on the origins of Sunday worship for your continued research on several credible sites on the Internet that I invite you to explore. The point is that Shabbat was declared by G-d to be on the seventh day from sundown on the sixth day to sundown on the seventh day and not Sunday or any day we choose to designate.
Another point of misunderstanding is that Chava (Eve) was the one who committed the sin that cursed mankind. Let us look at the truth of this matter also. In Genesis 2:15 G-d “took the person (Adam) and put him in the garden of “Eden to cultivate and care for it. G-d gave the person this order “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.” Some translations state that the human would die on “that day.” We know this is not correct because the imputed sin we inherited from this act is ongoing unless we become reconciled to G-d through Yahshua’s sacrifice; His blood; the kippur or covering for this sin that would destine all man to spiritual destruction. We see that the command was originally given to Adam and not Eve. The man sinned; the woman was deceived. She was no less guilty of sin as she committed the sin of the lust for wisdom and lust of the eyes (Gen. 2:2-6). She added to G-d’s words by saying that G-d said “You are neither to eat from it nor touch it, or you will die (Gen. 3:3). Compare this statement to the original order in Gen 2:17. Is this such an issue with which to be concerned? Indeed. Let’s go back to revelation 22:18 and forward; “I warn everyone hearing the words of this prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, G-d will add to him the plagues written in this book. And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, G-d will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book.” All we need do is look at our society today with the lawlessness, secular humanism paradigm, diseases and organisms which we have never seen, and the human disregard for life to realize what G-d’s Torah predicted would happen in the history of man is coming to fruition as we continue in these end times.
Another interesting fact about being created in the image of G-d is that male and female were created. How does this reflect the image of G-d? If we look at G-d’s Name Y-H-V-H and split the name in half. We see that the first two letters are masculine and the last two feminine. If we look past the Pa’shat (literal translation) into the deeper relationship of this duality, we can see that this masculine-feminine relationship is reflected in YHVH/Yahshua’s characteristics. In the Sefirot use in Kabbalah to describe the characteristics or attributes of G-d, there is one side that reflects a masculine role such as justice (Gevurah) on one side with the corresponding unmerited kindness (Chesed) directly opposite justice. Another relationship reflecting this duality is the balance between G-d’s laws (the Song of Moshe) and grace (the spiritual application) of G-d’s laws taught by Yahshua (the Song of the Lamb). As humans, we know that it is a difficult balance to achieve in all aspects of our lives between being to strict or to lenient. However, G-d is perfect in His justice and mercy. Unfortunately, Christians are often taught that G-d is all love, which is not Biblically supported.
There is one other narrative that is often misunderstood found in Chapter 6:2: “In time, when men began to multiply on earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of G-d saw that the daughters of men were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Adonai said, ‘My Spirit will not live in human beings forever, for they too are flesh; therefore, this lifespan is to be 120 years.’ The N’filim were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of G-d came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown.” These sons of G-d were and are fallen angels, not holy men. The etymology of the word N’filim is a derivative of the Hebrew root meaning “to fall” or causing others to fall. The majority of ancient biblical versions including the Septuagint, Theodotion (a Hellenistic Jewish scholar who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek around 150CE). It is not known whether he was revising the Septuagint or worked from Hebrew manuscripts. Also, the Latin Vulgate, Samaritan Targum, Targum, Onkelos, and Targum Neofiti interpret the word to mean “giants.” Even Arab pagans believed them to be sent to earth in the form of men, mating with women and giving birth to hybrids. We see these giants described in the person of Goliath, those in Canaan at the time of the Israelite conquest as reported by the 10 spies and described in Ezekiel 32:27. The progeny of these “sons of G-d are with us today and will be used by HaSatan to do his dirty work until Yahshua destroys them and those who follow them. Thanks be to our L-rd and Redeemer that there is a way to overcome all of the evil that is now and is to come. Follow G-d’s Torah out of love. “How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! (Rev. 22:14)
Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5-21
There are two connections between the Parasha and the Haftarah.
First, the Parasha 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 Parasha, 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. Make sense?
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 Parasha 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.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart