SoulBreaths

God’s Bridge: He Thunders—Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1]

By SoulBreaths Author [ 8 months ago ]

Ballerina dancing outdoors

 

From a beginning within a beginning. Exploring The Bridge given by its architect, God, revealing and connecting His Plan from Genesis 1 to the end and beyond. Yes, there really is a connection between Genesis 1 and the New Testament. And this two-part post shines a light on some first steps.

 

This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.

 

Like any good story, it’s best to start at the beginning. But with God’s story . . . it’s not always that simple.

 
 
 
 

In the Bible, God’s revelations are woven within the crevices of every word, every syllable, every stroke of every letter. It is history—God’s factual storytelling—but with deliberate omissions. In those gaps, the silence echoes volumes and kindles our souls. Its firefly moments proclaim what was, what is, and what will be.

 

Yet the exactness of time remains hidden. The Bible talks of times but defies time, existing outside of this physical dimension . . . yet all the while intersecting and embodying it.

 

As the pages of the Bible turn with the gentle winds of each generation, the King’s heart and desire come forth—awakening and encouraging us to walk with Him and see Him, the One who is not seen—and the One who was to come.

 

That’s what makes the Bible’s first three words—in the Hebrew—intriguing. Rashi, the famed biblical commentator from the Middle Ages, said that those first words screamed for explanation. (Okay, my word choice, but he did say it “calls aloud” for explanation.)

 

Those initial words open a doorway well beyond our comprehension, transporting us to when God hovered over the “astonishingly empty with darkness” . . .

 

When God moved over the chaotic, the tehom—Hebrew for depths, subterranean waters, and even suggesting a deep soul-to-soul groaning as in Psalm 42:7(8) where “deep calls unto deep at the roar of your waterfalls.”

 

That movement takes us to a pivotal point when God began creating time and space and order . . . and, believe it or not, to a point when His very words laid the groundwork for a New Testament connection.

 

Homiletically—per commentary notes in the Stone Edition of The Chumash (the first five books of the Bible)—the first word b’reshit can be stated as . . .
 

“The world was created for the sake of [for the things that are called] beginnings.”

i.e., for the sake of bringing forth Torah (the Law, which would reveal what is good in God’s eyes while subsequently exposing humanity’s sinful nature).

 

But in those initial words of Genesis 1, something else was being remarkably birthed.

 

Because God alone knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:8-10), in that beginning, He set in motion the answer to humanity’s impending dilemma . . .

 

The world was created for the sake of REDEMPTION—the Moshiach (Messiah)—hands down the foundational story from page 1 of the Bible forward.

 
 

 
 

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: TO THE UNEXPECTED

 
 

But first: two brief, need-to-know points.

 

#1. The Tanakh—”Old Testament”—is written in Hebrew, a consonantal language, read right to left. Meaning that it’s written without vowels. Spoken with vowels, yes, of course. And initially learned using a vowelized version.

 

But early biblical writings had no vowels—and no word or paragraph spacings. So it’s ironic that the spiritual clues to this universe’s beginnings in Genesis 1 lie in the vowel usage.

 

Here’s how Genesis 1:1 looks without vowels:
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

 

Here’s how Genesis 1:1 looks with vowels:
בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ

 

#2. The Masoretes—scribes and scholars in the 7th century CE/AD—created a vowel marking system and a grammatical guide (with word/paragraph spacing and punctuation) using an oral tradition from a millennium earlier.

 

Their work culminated in what’s known as the Masoretic Text, which preserved the Hebrew Bible and became the authoritative text for rabbinic Judaism.

 

EXPLORING THE TRANSLATION

 

Discussions—heated or otherwise—span the ages regarding the Genesis 1:1 wording, which is often translated “In the beginning, God created.”

 

But considering a point of Hebraic grammar, is that what it’s really saying?

 

Some scholars and/or grammarians say no. They make an argument for this translation: “In A Beginning.”

 

An intriguing view on a gazillion levels. A view that’s been discussed many times over the years at Torah study tables—and a view that always sets my mind spinning, in a thrilling, isn’t-God-amazing way.

 

Compounding that, Stephen Rayburn points out in his 2009 “D’var Torah: Bereshit” article, that Rashi regarded the word b’reshit as a statement not about “the absolute beginning of everything” but when “God turned His attention to our own world.”

 

But let’s take another step closer, looking at the vowel in question—a sh’va, two vertical dots under the first letter, which is a bet.

 

Simply put, that vowel gives us the word b’reishit in a grammatical construct state. In other words, a construction that’s lacking something: a noun.

 

There are four other biblical occurrences of this voweled wording (b’reishit) that are in the same construction as Genesis 1:1—and all are translated with a preposition:

 

Genesis 10:10.The beginning of his kingdom

Proverbs 8:22.The beginning of His way

Jeremiah 2:3.The beginning of His increase

Jeremiah 26:1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim

And this . . . Deuteronomy 18:4. In the first fruit/beginning of your corn

 

In other words, the translation “In the beginning of” or “In a beginning of”demands a noun to follow—but we only have a verb (created). “In the beginning, God created.”

 

Based on biblical consistency (shown in the four scriptures above), the construct in Genesis 1:1 would be translated with a preposition and a gerund (verb+ing, forming a noun) . . .

 

“In the beginning of God’s creating.”

 

Does it matter? Well . . . it just might create a stairway to some intriguing wonderings . . . and connections to your redemption.

 

 
 

BEGINNINGS: ANOTHER STEP

 

Back in October 2011, Reb Jeff—Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser—wrote in his blog post (“Bereshit: In the Beginning of What?”) a more illustrative translation based on the grammatical analysis and infusing spiritual innuendos of timelessness.

 

He says the “world never stopped being created” since it “has a beginning, but it is a beginning that has never ceased.”

 

Goldwasser’s translation:

 

“In the beginning of the beginning that is always beginning, G-d created the creation that is still [beginning and creating].”

 

Simply complex, right?

 

Think of it. God IS the beginning . . . the One who has NO beginning. And WITHIN HIM is the beginning—a beginning that continues to unfold, contract, reach down, extend out . . . and begin.

 

A beginning within a beginning within a beginning.

 

I mean, seriously, the further-most observable object in our universe is 46 billion light years away. We’re talking about the humanly incomprehensible power of our holy God.

 

The Creator. The One who ignites time—even though He is neither bound by or existing in time, yet time exists within Him—and carves dimension, order, life, the Law, redemption, and even the coming new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem. (Have you read Revelation 21?)

 
 
maxwell-nelson-UvN7K8MM-8k-unsplash
 
 

WALKING THE BRIDGE: AND HE SPOKE

 

So what was going on with these beginnings within beginnings . . . when there was absolutely no beginning because God has no beginning and no end?

 

God created this dimension—this beginning—within the beginning with a WORD. Per rabbinical teaching, the WORD God spoke in the creative process did the creation.

 

I couldn’t agree more. It’s the apex linking God’s beginnings within beginnings and the reveal of the redemptive gift to humanity: the Messiah.

 

So let’s take that immense, unfolding beginning and the WORD igniting it all, and walk this next part of the bridge in Part 2 . . . and stay tuned for more reveals in Genesis and beyond throughout this series.

 
Read this next: Beginnings within Beginnings, Part 2.

 
 
PHOTO CREDITS for this two-part post:
CREDITS: Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Tennis shoes on asphalt photo by Maxwell Nelson on Unsplash.com
 
 
RESOURCES:
Sefaria.org

Soul Remodeling Series: Moses

By SoulBreaths Author [ 6 years ago ]

Seeing you as G-d sees you.

MOSES (MOSHE)
fugitive prince turned bride guardian—who almost missed his calling

 

©SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

First—click this pop-up for a 1-2-3 recap of God's soul-wilderness tactic.

 

READING TIME: 6 MINUTES.

 

Ever since my younger years—later elementary school and decades forward—God has used Moses as a teacher and an example to awaken and stir my soul’s DNA (Judaic roots), guiding it into deeper understanding of God’s Word and His relationship with His people, His world.

 

Moses was a surrendered soul, truly in love with his God. But with all he was allowed to do under God’s hand, he was still a man.

 

Egypt proved a blessing for the twelve tribes of Israel during the famine years when Joseph held a high position. Then the shift emerged and Israel experienced over 400 years of oppressive enslavement.

 

But God’s precision timing was about to unfold—not only Moses’s soul, but also for Israel’s.
 

God begins by separating Moses from the common—his birth tribe and his adopted, privileged position in Egypt—for a series of deconstructing-reconstructing encounters—meetups with God to beat all others.

 

God’s lightning revelations flashed through Moses’s soul
time and time again.
Moses was humbled at the burning bush,
silenced at the sight of God’s glory,
illuminated at God’s giving of the Torah.

 

It was a process of discovering who he was in God.

 

Lightning cracked through Moses’s soul when he first encountered the Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. His response was a natural one. He brought down the Egyptian to help raise up that slave.

 

Moses’ destiny burst forth for a moment, like a firefly flash . . . a hint of what was to come, what would be birthed . . . a foretaste of the servant redeemer that his soul was meant to be.

 

From that major lightning crack across the sky at the burning bush, his soul’s relationship with the living God rose to such a magnitude that the flashes of lightning became his new norm.

 

Times on the mountain, glory times in the tent. It all was part and parcel of what it would mean—for him and us—to flow in God’s presence, spirit, and the prophetic.

 
ricardo-arce-cY_TCKr5bek-unsplash
 

BUT MOSES ALMOST MISSED IT

 

Torah scholar/commentator/author Avivah Zornberg gave some insight about “The Transformation of Pharoah, Moses, and God,” during an interview she gave to OnBeing.com’s Krista Tippet.

 

Moses argued with God for seven days no less when he was first called to lead Israel. His thinking was rooted in earthly, physical standards, not in a heavenly perspective.

 

Internal resistance was stirring in his soul.

 

Psychologically, Zornberg says, Moses—like Pharoah and the Hebrews—has an unwillingness to open himself to an alternative reality.

 

He blames it on his speech—in the Hebrew the wording is heavy (kaved, kah-vehd,כָּבֵד). Moses says he’s got a heavy/impeding mouth and heavy/impeding tongue: כְבַד-פֶּה וּכְבַד לָשׁוֹן. Clearly, a negative connotation.

 

There’s another word association, per Zornberg.

 

The Hebrew word for heavy (kaved) is the same word used to describe Pharoah’s hardness of heart during the ten plagues—with the negative connotation of being closed in/off, impervious, resistant.

 

[Note: Kaved is not kavod—ka-vohd (כָּבוד) means glory or honor. Same shoresh (root), so there’s a link. Yet, as we’re seeing, kaved often reflects a negative usage; kavod, a positive one.]

 

Was the heavy (kaved) tongue of Moses also closed off, resistant to God?

 

Moses, per Zornberg, appears willing to forego the whole opportunity to redeem Israel, seeing himself as not the right person for the job. He does recognize, she posits, that an “operation” of sorts is needed—since Moses is like a babe in need of a circumcision and refers to himself as a man of uncircumcised lips.

 

However, this “heaviness,” an inability to open up to God and His word—psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise—appears to go well beyond Moses, Israel’s exodus years, and Pharoah.

 

The Cambridge Bible commentary states the “closed in” or “impervious to good impressions” wording in regards to a “heavy, uncircumcised heart” appears elsewhere in the Tanach: Leviticus 26:41, Jeremiah 9:25(26), and Ezekiel 44:7,9.

 

The wording also is used similarly when speaking of the ear, in Jeremiah 6:10, revealing that the nation heard imperfectly.

 

I dare say this “heaviness” is a human condition. One that only a spiritual surgery in God’s wilderness venues can heal. Turning a no into a . . . teetering if-you-say-so.

 

REDUCED SMALLER - iStock_000009489613XLarge

 

QUESTIONABLE BRIDE—REDEEMING BRIDE GUARDIAN

 

Fortunately for us, Moses surrendered to God’s soul deconstructing-reconstructing process and embraced his soul’s calling—as Israel’s leader, intercessor, shepherd, bride guardian.

 

So much so that the Torah’s final words in Deuteronomy (Devarim) 34 say that “no prophet in Israel has since arose whom God knew face to face” and that Moses “evoked great terror before the eyes of all Israel.”

 

Rabbinic commentary says this great terror is none other than Moses’ shattering of the first set of tablets—which is linked to a midrash that goes something like this.

 

So there was a king, a bride-to-be, and her maidservants.

 

The king heads out of town on some business, putting the maidservants in care of his bride. But their character was lacking, big time. They engaged in harlotry, consequently smudging the betrothed bride’s character.

 

That pushed the king’s anger into overdrive. To the point where he wanted his betrothed killed and out of his life. Clean and tidy.

 

But the bride’s guardian was quick on his feet. As soon as he learned of the king’s intentions, he swooped in and destroyed the marriage contract: “Even if she was found wanting, she wasn’t your wife yet. So all’s good. She’s not accountable to the contract.”

 

Presto. No need to kill her. That appeased the king, which was a good thing because he later discovered his bride’s behavior really hadn’t been awry—just her maidservants’.

 

The bride’s guardian stepped in and suggested the king write a new marriage contract.

 

The king agrees. “Fine. But since you tore up the first one, you provide the paper and I’ll write it in my own hand.”

 

kelly-sikkema-E8H76nY1v6Q-unsplash

 

SOUND FAMILIAR?

 
Israel is found wanting—though not all of them. Moses protects her covenant with God by destroying the first marriage agreement, the first set of tablets that God had carved and written on.

 

Then when God is willing to redo the marriage contract, He has Moses co-labor with him by carving out the tablets that God will write on.

 

But the Ramban—Nachmanides, a Spanish Sephardic rabbi and noted medieval Jewish scholar—adds another component. He says Moses had a temper, i.e. killing the Egyptian and striking the rock incidents. So it wasn’t all about his acting as defender of the bride.

 

I tend to merge the two thoughts. When you have a critical position that has to be assigned to someone—maybe a person who will handle significant aspects of your business or oversee your health directive or your will—you need to choose someone who won’t be intimidated in making tough, wise decisions. Someone who can do that in a split moment, if needed.

 

That’s why I think God chose Moses. Yes, he had passion, a temper even. For Moses, when something was wrong, it was wrong. He acted on it. The excessive actions of the Egyptian, the excessive rebellion of Israel at the rock.

 

In his talmudic commentary Shabbat 87a, French medieval rabbi Rashi played with the reading of “ashur” (meaning “that” or “which”) for “ishur” (meaning “affirm” or “praise”) to basically suggest that when it comes to the shattered tablets, it’s as if God thanked or praised Moses for his actions.[1]

 

Was God saying this? “Thank you, bride guardian, for having the passion, wisdom, boldness, and courage to make the hard decision when needed to defend Israel and allow me to still make covenant with her via a new contract.”

 

Quite possibly.

 

One thing’s for certain. Through all his soul’s wilderness travails with Israel and within himself, Moses humbly steadies the course at all costs—relinquishing any rights to a personal life or family legacy . . . God’s people became his legacy.

 

Read all the Soul Remodeling stories:

 

I’ve had my God- designed wilderness journeys to deconstruct-reconstruct my soul. How about you? These posts can shed some light and encouragement: Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 1 and Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 2.

 

[1] Rashi’s comment per an article called “The Marriage Contract,” appearing on www.meaningfullife.com

CREDIT: Blurred Arrow Target photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash

CREDIT:Broken Heart photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

Article created August 17, 2015.

Journey on