Bible Study – Genesis 1

I just love the book of Genesis. It is our introduction to Yahweh and literally the beginning of His story. I want to point out that our Adonai is 100 percent trustworthy because He is the Creator of the Universe and all that it contains and because His Word is His gift to us so that we may know Him and His Way, it is also 100 percent reliable and a firm and immovable foundation, no matter what snake comes to say otherwise. Also, at least in my opinion, the study of Genesis is the key to understanding the rest of scripture.

So the goal here is not necessarily to get through the whole Bible, but at least give some tips on how to study the rest of it for yourself. I do plan to work through all of Genesis. What in incredible journey it is.  The best and simplest way to study is to read through the whole Bible and begin again when you finish. Take advantage of the side references (most Bibles have them) to other parts of scripture.

As you study, always ask the Ruach Ha Kodesh, Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding and remember that this is not the only way to hear from God, but it is the main way that God speaks to anyone. Any other way must always be consistent with scripture.  It is very important to know what God really did say as we will see in Genesis.

Some helpful study tools that I like include interlinear Greek and Hebrew verse by verse on biblehub.com and a parallel feature on biblegateway.com which allows you to see at up to 4 versions of the same passage side by side.

Here We Go

B-re'shiyt (In the beginning) bara (created) Elohim (God) et (aleph-tav) hashamayim (the heavens) v'et ha'aretz (and the earth). ~Genesis 1:1 - Hebrew transliteration

I want to point out a little Hebrew word, et, which is usually left out of English translations because they do not know how to translate it, but it packs a mighty punch. The Hebrew letters are Aleph Tav, the first and last letters of the alphabet. In Greek they are Alpha and Omega. Sound familiar?

"I Am the Alpha and the Omega (the Aleph and the Tav), the Beginning (B-re'shiyt) and the End," says the LORD, "Who Is and Who Was and Who Is to come, the Almighty." ~Revelation 1:8  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ~John 1:1-2

I so love seeing Yeshua in the Old Testament, yes, from the beginning.

The earth was without form and void, tohu wa bohu, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. ~Genesis 1:2

In the first two verses we have the Elohim (plural); the Abba Father, the Son- the light, the beginning/end, The One, and the Ruach- Holy Spirit which hovered over the face of the waters. Yahweh created light, Shalom, which is perfect order, to overcome darkness, ra or tohu wa bohu, which is utter disorder, chaos and confusion. The mystery is where did the disorder of verse 2 come from? Some speculate that it was the time when Lucifer fell from grace.

Day one is Yom Echad in verse 5. The Hebrew word, echad has a fuller meaning than just number one, it means a single entity made up of more than one part (plural) which is different from the word, yachid, which is singular.

Extended dry land, raquia was formed, then the sky, shamayim (heavens), grass, herbs and fruit trees according to their kind.  lights, greater and lesser to divide the day from the night and for signs, seasons - moadim (divine appointments, rehearsals), days and years. It can be difficult to grasp that God exists outside of time and that He actually created it. Then animals were made according to their kind.

I will mention that the moadim are the feast days which Yahweh gave to the Israelites which includes Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Shavuot/Pentecost, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. I didn't get to write about them all this season, but I am blessed to have celebrated them.

And He made humans in His likeness which means that they have greater abilities than other creatures to think, create and to have compassion. All were commanded to multiply and to fill the earth and the humans were given dominion to manage it. Notice there was never meant to be a limit to this. God called it all good.

All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:3-5  

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~John 1:14

Other helpful links include:  

YouTube - Inspiring Philosophy - Genesis 1a: And God Said!  and Genesis 1:b: And It Was Good

news.kehila.org/the-meaning-of-the-word-echad-one

Where is God When We’re Lonely? Repost.

A Pew Research poll recently found that in the United States, 27% of people sixty and over live alone, compared to 16% living alone elsewhere in the world, where elders in the Asia-Pacific region, Sub Saharan Africa, and the Middle East are least likely to live alone, at only 5%.
But Beloved Friends, these are the days of Covid 19, when people of all ages may be in quarantine, and those of us who want to be with our loved ones may be prevented from visiting friends and family out of concern for their health, and even their lives.
How can we cope in isolation? Where can we go when there is literally nowhere to go? To whom can we turn for help when we can’t reach out to the people we need the most? What do we do when we miss each other and all the little joys and pleasures of life that we once took for granted, in a world where everything familiar seems to have disappeared right before our eyes?
The two-part series reposted below, “You Are Not Alone,” follows some of our heroes and heroines from scripture in their loneliest and most difficult times, and asks the questions “What are we missing?” “Why are we here?” and “What do we need?” when we are feeling a loneliness that we cannot escape.
Even though these articles were written in 2018, well before the time of this pandemic, God’s Word is eternal and it applies not only to the heroes of scripture, but to all of us who are called to hold on to hope and courage during the many trials that life here on earth inevitably brings.
We hope you enjoy reading God’s answers to the questions above by clicking on the links below.
As I wrote in “You are not Alone:Part Two”:
 “Rick Warren reminds us, ‘God uses problems to draw you closer to himself. The Bible says, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit [Ps 34:18].’ Your most profound and intimate experiences…will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.’“
Always remember that especially when the night seems to be the most dark and the days are unbearably long, Jesus promised to all who believe in his name, “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”  (Matthew 28:20 GW).

Pray for the United States and All Our Leaders, All Over the World.

As citizens of the United States, whether we are natural-born or naturalized, we learn to recite the Pledge of Allegiance:          
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We recite the Pledge, because we believe in the founding principles of our country that are based on the equal standing of every human being before Almighty God and our God-given rights, which are to be protected by a freely elected government that is established by the people in order to be for the people - as stated in our Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
But in these tumultuous times, a spirit of unrest, hatred, and division is attempting to destroy what our Founding Fathers and Mothers built. And yet, because we remain one nation, under God, it is our duty as citizens of the United States that we pray for the healing of our nation. Otherwise, the blessings of liberty and the freedom to practice our religious and spiritual beliefs – whatever they may be – will be taken from us.
It is recorded in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) that Jesus stated very clearly that “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:24-25). Therefore, what kind of a spirit is it, that goes against the words of Christ, attempting to divide what God has put together?

Therefore, as Christians it is our duty to pray for the healing of the divisions that are beginning to form in the United States – and in our world. God said, in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Beloved Friends, wherever we are in the world, from whatever nation, as children of God, we are citizens of heaven. And as brothers and sisters who are citizens of heaven, it is our duty to pray according to God’s instructions. As God instructed the young pastor Timothy through the apostle Paul, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Therefore, I ask you today, to please join us in prayer for our nation, and for every nation. For all our leaders and for every leader on the face of this good Earth. And I ask you today to join us in prayer for all peoples, that all will be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth of salvation through Christ Jesus. Because as the sweet psalmist King David wrote, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers [and sisters] dwell in unity!

And I humbly and sincerely ask you to join us in special prayer for our President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania and their family, for healing, strength, comfort, and wisdom. And for continued health, strength, and wisdom for Vice President Pence and his family. And I ask you to join us in prayer for former Vice President Biden and his wife and family, and Senator Harris and her family, that they will continue to be healthy, and for strength, comfort, and wisdom.
Please pray that whomever is granted the privilege of leading this country in all the levels of government now and in the future will be guided by the word of God, and led by his Holy Spirit to uphold the principles of peace, faith, morality, and equal justice under the law.
“For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
 guarding the paths of justice
    and watching over the way of his saints.
(Proverbs 2:6-8)

 

All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.

Beauty for Ashes.

In his book, “Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit,” Henri Nouwen wrote about the experience he had watching a sculptor chiseling away at a large block of stone. As he watched, Nouwen wondered whether the striking of the hammer against the chisel, and the chisel against the stone caused the rock to feel pain. But suddenly, he realized that emerging from the marble was the form of a beautiful dancer. In that moment, Nouwen understood that in the hands of God, everything is grace.
The gospel of Luke tells us that immediately after Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan river, he “…was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil” (4:1:2). Luke went on to write that afterward, again being led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth in Galilee, “…and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country” (4:14). When he came into the synagogue on that Sabbath day, Jesus unrolled the scroll of the book of Isaiah before the people, and read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
And Jesus said, “’Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:18-19, 21).

While Jesus was forty days fasting in the wilderness after his baptism, he was given his assignment by God the Father, through his Holy Spirit. No wonder the enemy chose that time to come against him and tempt him to abandon his mission!
But the prophecy of Isaiah did not stop there, and neither did Christ’s ministry. When we continue to read the words that God gave to the prophet in Isaiah 61, the next part of Jesus’ commission unfolds:
“…to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”
(Isaiah 61:2-3)
Jesus’ mission to the world is one of transformation, bringing us beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning, comfort for pain, and strength in his Holy Spirit for our weakness in times of trouble.
The prophet Ezekiel wrote of God’s promise to transform our hearts from cold stone to warm flesh, when he wrote, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (36:26).
Like a potter working the clay, and the sculptor wielding hammer and chisel, God forms us and shapes us, making all things new. He transforms us from the inside out from spiritually cold, dead stone into his redeemed people, filled with the breath of his Holy Spirit and the gift of eternal life.

If you are feeling that the mission God has planted in your heart is facing opposition from the enemy, or that the hammer and chisel of transformation are ringing a little too loudly in your ears, fear not, dear Friend! God is at work in you, right now, to bring forth the original purpose he designed specifically for you. Sometimes God’s handiwork feels like trials and testing. But remember, our mission is to allow ourselves to be transformed so that we may glorify his name – and then – give him all the praise as we become his hands and feet sent out into the world to speak his word with boldness and his truth with love. Isaiah saw this when he wrote, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (52:7). Jesus demonstrated this to his disciples when he washed their feet at the Last Supper, before his crucifixion (See John 13).
As Henri Nouwen discovered, with God, everything is grace. As we climb the mountains set before us, our steps become beautiful as Jesus transforms our journey from the ashes of mourning to joy and beauty. Because he is with us, we have nothing to fear, and there is no need to rush.

On the road to Emmaus, Luke tells of two of Jesus’ disciples who were walking away from Jerusalem, heartbroken at the tragedy of Jesus’ death. Suddenly, a man appeared on the road, who went with them, revealing to them the mystery of the scriptures from Moses through the prophets. Once they realized that it was Jesus who had been walking with them all along, they proclaimed, “…’Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’” (24:32). While they walked along the road, they were being transformed by the presence of Jesus and the word of God. They didn’t even realize it, until the moment when they recognized who had been with them all along. The presence of Christ transformed their journey from mourning to joy and from ashes to beauty, while they were walking, until their broken hearts revived and burned with a fresh fire within them.
Beloved Friend, Jesus is doing the same with you. Stay on the straight and narrow road. Just keep moving forward and do not be in a hurry. The God of Transformation is at hand, and he will never leave you nor forsake you, whether he is walking with you on the mountain or in the valley.
Jesus assured his disciples, “… And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). As he was with them, so Christ is with you. 

 

 

All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.