Saturday, 25 February 2017

In the Beginning ~ The Cross.~ Ganeida.

The Gospel according to the apostle John begins: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

We may think John chose a particularly beautiful & lyrical way to begin his gospel.  If we have a little bible knowledge we may know that the Hebrew word used for God *Elohim* in Genesis 1:1 is a plural word used in singular grammar & so we understand that the Trinity is implicit in this statement.

However John is actually basing his statement on sound theology.  I want to take some time to look at the opening statement of Genesis because if you think the cross is not central to everything God is & says you have completely missed His point.

Revelation 13:8 makes this statement:. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Now come with me to Genises 1:1 & I will show you the undergirding theology that John based both these statements on.

In English Genesis 1:1 reads: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that translation.  It is an accurate & literal translation of the Hebrew.
However when you read this verse in the original layers of meaning are revealed.
The Hebrew reads: Beraysheet bara Elohim et HaShamayeem v’et HaArets.

It was originally rendered in Hebrew pictographs & it is the pictographs I want us to study this morning. I will simplify it as much as possible ~ & try & keep it short to make it as easy as possible for us.  For deeper insights you can study here & here.

The first word is Beraysheet made up of the pictographs Beyt, Resh, Aleph, Shin, Yud & Tav.  Remember there are no vowels in written Hebrew.

Each pictograph has a meaning & combinations form meanings. The first two pictographs, Beyt & Resh make the Hebrew word Bar, son of. The 3rd pictograph is Aleph, depicting an ox head & commonly used to denote God. Next comes Shin which can be translated as pressed. Yud is an extended hand or arm & Tav is 2 crossed sticks in the form of a cross. Thus the very first word in Genesis 1:1 can read : The son of God will be nailed by His own hand upon a cross. As God laid the foundation of the heaven & the earth He already foresaw Christ upon the Cross.
The original Hebrew has 7 words.  Seven is the number of completion. Thus the whole work of redemption was completed from the foundation of the world.

Now I want us to look at the middle word, et. In Hebrew et is a very common word but it does not translate into English.  Grammatically its purpose is to point to the direct object of the sentence ~ in this case heaven & earth. It is formed by combining the Aleph & the Tav.  Translated into Greek that would be Alpha & Omega. 

Grammatically the et is not needed as the meaning is clear without it.  Symbolically it is interesting. From the very beginning we have the Aleph, God, the first, & the Tav, the sign, the covenant, the cross. Because it is such a common Hebrew word it is found throughout scripture as a constant reminder that God is first & last, the sign, the covenant, For in him we live, and move, and have our being; [Acts 17:28]

In Hebrew the first 5 books of our bible are called the Torah ~ Tav, Vav, Reysh, Hey.
Tav as we have seen is the cross ~ a covenant.
Vav is nail.
Reysh is head meaning the Highest One.
Hey means Behold! or revealed.
Behold the Highest One nailed to a cross. Or The Highest one revealed, nailed to a cross.

If you keep head as the literal meaning of Reysh you would get Nailed at His head Behold. What was nailed at His head? Matthew 27:37, "Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  According to John this was posted in 3 languages: Greek, Latin & Aramaic. This gives us a tetragram if we take the first letters of The Aramaic/Hebrew which would read YHWH ~ the name by which God calls Himself.  No wonder the Jews were beside themselves & demanded that Pilate change it.

Again, looking at the pictographs for YHWH, we get Yod [hand], Hey [behold] Waw/ Vav [nail], & Hey [behold]. Behold the nailed hand!
Reverence the cross.  Reverence the sacrifice.  It is so central that it makes up the very name of God Himself.

We hold God’s word in highest esteem.  We believe it to be accurate & inerrant in the original language. Here is why:
·      The scribes could only use clean animal skins, both to write on, and even to bind manuscripts.
·      Each column of writing could have no less than forty-eight, and no more than sixty lines.
·      The ink must be black, and of a special recipe.
·      They must verbalize each word aloud while they were writing.
·      They must wipe the pen and wash their entire bodies before writing the word “Jehovah,” every time they wrote it.
·      There must be a review within thirty days, and if as many as three pages required corrections, the entire manuscript had to be redone.
·      The letters, words, and paragraphs had to be counted, and the document became invalid if two letters touched each other. The middle paragraph, word and letter must correspond to those of the original document.
·      The documents could be stored only in sacred places (synagogues, etc).
·      As no document containing God’s Word could be destroyed, they were stored, or buried, in a genizah – a Hebrew term meaning “hiding place.” These were usually kept in a synagogue or sometimes in a Jewish cemetery. From Here.

This resulted in a high level of accuracy & as we saw from our short study of Genesis 1:1 each & every word is important & carries a weight of meaning.  We also see the centrality of the cross from the opening paragraph of scripture until its final lines in Revelation.

1st Corinthians 1:18 says: For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

We have seen the exact method of Jesus death was laid down @ the very foundation of our world: before God separated the light from the darkness; before he called forth the dry land; before the growing things; before there were lights in the sky; before the things of the sea & of the air & of the land were created; before there was man or woman there was the cross.

The cross is the foundation for all Christian belief & doctrine. It began in the garden with 2 trees. One was the Tree of Life. The other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. Of the tree of knowledge Adam was forbidden to eat. Nachmanides, one of the foremost Torah scholars of his time, suggests that the name eitz hada’at, usually translated as Tree of Knowledge, would actually be more accurately translated as Tree of Desire ~ which in effect meant that Adam & Eve desired things other than God Himself because up until that point God was sufficient for all their needs.

The cross once again provides a way for all our needs to be met.
Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

The cross is called a tree & it was because of a tree Adam & Eve fell into sin. Having sinned they hid amongst the trees of the garden. Gen. 3:8

God is nothing if not precise.  Redemption is not partial.  When He saves He saves the whole. A person’s body & mind are just as important as their spirit.

Adam & Eve were banished from the garden & cursed.  Not only that, they brought all of creation under the curse with them because they had been its custodians.

Deuteronomy 21:23 says anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. The land itself was cursed & you can see in place like Leviticus 18:24~28 that when the Israelite's came into the land they were given specific instructions that would lift the curse from the land brought on by the pagan practices of idolatry, sexual immorality & the shedding of innocent blood.  The leaders were hung on a tree that the curse would be lifted from the land.  In like manner Christ was lifted up that we could be freed from the curse.

Galatians 3:13~14 says Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.  He redeemed us in order that the blessing  given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The cross restores everything that was lost in the garden

This has been a foundational teaching for when we come to communion next week & look at the specific parallels the cross provides for our complete redemption from the curse & how to practically apply the blood of Jesus that has been shed for us.


  1. My friend Ginny loves and studies all the deep meanings of the original languages and what she calls types and shadows, and some of what she has shared boggles the mind.

    When you teach about the very symbols that form the words meaning what they do, it's thrilling to even see *in part*.

    I have thought about the precision of God many times. I read about how if the hydrogen molecules that bind themselves to oxygen molecules to make H2O were placed at a slightly spot, all life would be not as we know it, if at all. It made me wonder if God is that precise in His creation, why would He not be when it comes to salvation? The all roads lead to God theory doesn't seem to go with the way He does the rest of every single thing. Hugs to you today, Ganeida. I know your study is a blessing to you as well as to the hearers. xoxo

  2. I was just scratching the tip of the iceberg too, as I'm sure you know, Julie. I have to try & make this as accessible as possible for our whole congregation & it is a very new way of thinking about the bible for some.

    God is, I believe from the evidence, extremely precise & why I have been forced to change my thinking over the years to accommodate what He says as opposed to what I thought He was saying. Love & hugs your way, dear friend. ♥