The Aleph and Tav in the Hebrew Scriptures
If you are familiar with the Greek language or church symbols, you might notice that the image above depicts the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet which are Alpha and Omega on each side of the cross. This is not in conflict with the Aleph and Tav in the title of this writing which are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet otherwise known as the Aleph-Bet.
This particular lesson will attempt to connect the dots that form a very obvious picture of the Alpha and Omega (Jesus Christ) in the New Testament to the, not so obvious, Aleph and Tav (Jesus Christ) in the Old Testament.
The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the Old Testament was written in Hebrew which is why we will be looking at both languages, beginning with the New Testament's Alpha and Omega.
A quick note before we get started, all Hebrew fonts are to be read from right to left. The ability to read Hebrew won't be necessary but the letters referenced in the very short two-letter word we are studying will be in that order, and it will be useful to know what they look like.
Alpha and Omega and Its First Two Mentions
The uses of the title of Alpha and Omega, in reference to Jesus, are four in total, and they are all contained in the Book of Revelation. They are much like bookends to the entire book of Revelation, in that, the first two mentions are at the very beginning of the book, and the final two are at the end.
The first two occurrences are in chapter one of Revelation and reveal four phrases that are all connected in concept: "Alpha and Omega", "Beginning and End", "Which is, was, and is to come", and the "First and the Last". Let's look at the first two.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
— Revelation 1:8
. . . for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ
— Revelation 1:9
I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you see, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches. . .
— Revelation 1:11
Sandwiched between these first two "Alpha and Omega" verses, John makes the connection to the Word of God, Jesus Christ. This being in the center is significant as we have learned in other lessons. This points to the main topic of the discussion.
Before we get to the final two Alpha and Omegas, there are two more mentions of "First and Last" that occur, but they are not accompanied by "Alpha and Omega, the first one revealing the Lord Jesus, also making it clear that He is the reference to these titles.
“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
— Revelation 1:17-18
The other title "First and Last" unaccompanied by Alpha and Omega, is found in the second chapter of Revelation. It was the letter to be addressed to the suffering church of Smyrna.
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life
— Revelation 2:8
Alpha and Omega and Its Last Two Mentions
The final two usages of Alpha and Omega are found at the end of the book of Revelation, connecting us with the creation account in the beginning as we will be the topic of this entire study.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, (recall Eden) and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
And he said unto me, It is done. (recall Jesus words "it is finished) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
— Revelation 21:1-6
The Bible began with the creation of heaven and earth. Revelation ends with a new heaven and a new earth. Once again we see bookend themes. In the beginning, we saw Eden prepared for God and man to dwell together, and now we see a Holy city coming down from above.
The fourth and final use of Alpha and Omega is found in the very last chapter of the Bible. Note the language in this portion of Scripture that is also very similar to the first couple chapters of Genesis.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (rivers flowing from Eden)
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (tree of life in the garden)
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. . .
. . . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last
— Revelation 22:1-13
Jesus is telling John that He is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last in each of the four uses of Alpha and Omega. In reading the final two occurrences, its obvious connection to the first chapters of the Genesis creation account cannot be denied.
Jesus also dictates a letter to the church of Laodicea, in Revelation chapter three, this very same truth.
These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God
— Revelation 3:14
The Gospel of John begins with this now-familiar theme, that also is so very reminiscent of the creation report, and as we saw between the first two uses of Alpha and Omega, this connection with the Word of God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. . .
— John 1:1-6
Later in John's Gospel Jesus is praying just prior to the passion that is about to occur and mentions that He Himself existed before the world was.
And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
— John 17:5
Paul furthers this revelation of Jesus present at the creation beginning in his letter to the Colossians.
For by him (the Lord Jesus Christ referenced earlier in the chapter) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
— Colossians 1:16-17
The Lamb Slain From the Foundation of the World
In the last use of Alpha and Omega in the book of Revelation, a connection to the throne of God and the Lamb is made. This Lamb is none other than Christ Himself who was the slain "Passover" lamb that we might be delivered from sin and death.
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
— I Corinthians 5:7
This was illustrated for us in the book of Exodus with the deliverance of God's children from the cruel taskmaster, Pharaoh, who represents our willful, stubborn sinful flesh and the spiritual forces that rule over those passions.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— Romans 6:22-23
In a previous chapter in Revelation John tells us that this Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world.
. . . the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
— Revelation 13:8
How can this be? And where can we find this in the Old Testament?
The First and the Last
Before we look at the hidden places we will see Jesus the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world in the Old Testament, let's first connect Him with the more obvious mentions in the Old Testament.
We saw in the four mentions of Alpha and Omega above, from the book of Revelation that the phrases "first and last," or "beginning and end" are in partnership with it. So let's see where else we see these phrases and what and who they are connected to.
The first nine mentions of "first and last" are used in reference to the Acts of the kings of Israel beginning with King David . . .
Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer.
— I Chronicles 29:29
. . . and ends with good King Josiah.
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the Lord,
And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
— II Chronicles 35:26-27
This gives us a clue that this phrase "first and last" concerns the works of a king and foreshadows a Messiah King, "Son of David," who would rule in the hearts of men.
The next bulk of references are in the book of Isaiah and directly prophesize this coming Savior Messiah King. The first one discusses one "raised up" from the east.
“Who raised up one from the east?
Who in righteousness called him to His feet?
Who gave the nations before him,
And made him rule over kings?...
...Who has performed and done it,
Calling the generations from the beginning?
‘I, the Lord, am the first;
And with the last I am He.’”
— Isaiah 41:1-4
The second one, once again mentions a king in connection with it.
Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
— Isaiah 44:6
The third and final occurrence reveals where we are headed next with all of its connections to "the beginning."
I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass . . .
. . . I have even from the beginning declared it to you; before it came to pass I showed it you . . .
. . . You have heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shown you new things from this time, even hidden things, and you did not know them . . .
. . . Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
My hand also has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
— Isaiah 48:3-13
The end of this portion of Scripture references the "First and Last" along with His relationship and significant role in the creation of the heavens and the earth.
Right in the middle of the above declarations of the "First and the Last" God tells us that He declares the end from the beginning.
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
— Isaiah 46:9-10
Jesus Was in the Beginning
Somewhere "in the beginning" is where we will find Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.
Jesus alludes to this when He confronts the religious rulers for not acknowledging that He is the very Messiah they had been waiting for, and of whom the Scriptures had foretold.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.
— John 5:39
Jesus tells them also in chapter eight of John
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
— John 8:56-58
Consider that the Scriptures at the time of John's writing consisted of only the Old Testament. He is making it clear that He, the one Who is, Was, and Is to come, the great "I Am" is in the Old Testament.
The writer of Hebrews expounds on this reference in the New Testament as it pertains to the Lord Jesus who would be sent to be a sacrifice for sin
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book (Tanakh - Torah Prophets and Writings) it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”. . .
. . . By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
— Hebrews 10:5-10
Jesus also reveals to His disciples where it is written of Him.
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses (Torah - first five books) and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.
— Luke 24:44-49
Jesus is saying that this event of His suffering, death, and resurrection were all recorded in the Old Testament.
The One Who Was and Is and Is To Come
The book of Revelation once again confirms that Jesus is the eternal one from the beginning four times using the phrase "who was and is and is to come" The first is used in Christ's address to the seven churches
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne
— Revelation 1:4
The text between verses four and eight, and the second use of this phase, is so relevant to our topic of Christ the lamb slain from the foundation of the world and the foretelling of this from the beginning, as well as His Kingship, that I can't help but include the text introducing this phrase.
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,”“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
— Revelation 1:5-8
The third occurrence is included in a scene set in the throne room of heaven and connects us again with creation.
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”. . .
. . . “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.
— Revelation 4:8, 11
The fourth and final use really summarizes all of them together, revealing the entire plan and purpose God had from the beginning.
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:
“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
— Revelation 11:15-17
So, where is Jesus "in the beginning"?
The Aleph Tav
It was noted earlier in the book of Luke that Jesus showed His disciples where it was written of Him in the Scriptures. It was also noted that the only Scriptures at that time would have been the Old Testament otherwise known by the Jews as the Tanakh (Torah, Prophets, and Writings). These Scriptures were written and read in Hebrew. We are about to discover why that matters.
Within the Hebrew Scriptures is a tiny little two-letter word "et" (אֵ֥ת), spelled with two Hebrew letters "aleph" and "tav" which are the first and last letters of the Hebrew "aleph-bet". This word many times doesn't get translated into English at all because of the lack of clarity to its meaning.
There are some speculations that this word is a pointer to the direct object in the sentence which is true in some cases but not all. As we shall see it is more likely the sign of the covenanted presence of the Lord Jesus as it concerns the events of the text.
The very first mention of this word is in the very first sentence of the Bible and in fact, it is mentioned twice.
בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ
The literal word for word rendering of the above verse in Hebrew, when reading from right to left in English, is "in beginning created, Elohim, 'et' (Aleph-Tav in bold) the heavens and 'et' (Aleph-Tav in bold) the earth."
Recall that Jesus is revealed as the "Alpha and Omega", "The First and the Last" The Beginning and the End", "The One Who is and was and is to come", and with this understanding we can now say He is also "The Aleph and the Tav" which is the equivalent of all of these titles. "Aleph" and "tav", recall, is the first and last, and the beginning and end, of the Hebrew aleph-bet. Just as alpha and omega are the first, last, beginning and end of the Greek alphabet as understood from the book of Revelation. So we have the Bible beginning with the Aleph andTav and ending with the Alpha and Omega.
The pictograph meanings of these two letters are very confirming to understanding how "et" (אֵ֥ת Aleph-Tav) in the Scripture is representative of the presence of Christ and the concept of covenant.
Hebrew in it's most ancient form is a pictograph language in which the letters are actually symbols of things that can help describe the concepts being conveyed in the meaning of a word. It might be useful, therefore, to take a look at what these symbols might reveal as it concerns this study.
Aleph - Ox
The first letter in the "aleph-tav" letter combination is, of course, "aleph" and this letter is imaged by an ox. The chart above shows the development of this letter in ancient eastern languages. The Hebrew font I have been using thus far in this presentation is the form that developed during the time of the Babylonian captivity at which time it adopted a cuneiform look. These are the present-day letter forms used in Israel today. I will continue to use these modern forms, as I don't have a way to copy the ancient pictographs in the text. As you can see this letter in its early images clearly displays an ox.
An Ox Is Strong and Dependable
An ox is noted as a strong, trustworthy, and dependable workforce. Oxen were the animal of choice for early American pioneers who were headed west for this very reason. Horses were faster but oxen were stronger, more steady, and dependable.
The ox in the context of this word is an illustration of Jesus. Their power is exhibited in their ability to bear and pull large burdens.
He (Savior Messiah) bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
— Isaiah 53:12
Ancient living was dependent upon such animals as is noted by the writer of Proverbs who makes note of its strength.
. . . much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
— Proverbs 14:4
An ox is a domesticated animal that is quite cooperative and obedient when tamed and trained. The ox gives us an example of the Lord Jesus in the following.
. . . though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
— Hebrews 5:8-9
...who was obedient to the Father even unto death.
. . . being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
— Philippians 2:8
The Ox Bears the Yoke
Most often the work that is accomplished by this animal is by the bearing of a yoke to which a cart, plow, or burden of some kind is attached.
Yokes are predominantly made of wood. The yoke that Christ wore to bear our sin burden (Lamentations 1:14) was a wooden cross and most likely the horizontal beam of the crucifixion device.
And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.
— John 19:17
The Leading Ox
Although a single animal can be yoked, most yokes are designed to join more than one animal. However, one animal is always the leader and therefore a stronger more experienced ox. Christ the leader has chosen to yoke Himself with us in our humanity and invites us to come under His leadership. He leads by His own example of submission to the yoke of His Father.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
— Matthew 11:28-30
It should also be noted, in reference to the above verse that oxen, in spite of their powerful abilities, are a gentle creature. In reference to Christ, the apostle Paul notes in his second letter to the Corinthians . . .
Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.
— II Corinthians 10:1
Tav Is a Cross
The second letter in the "aleph-tav" letter combination is "tav" and it is imaged by a cross.
The chart heading this section shows the development of this letter in ancient eastern languages. It is undeniably a cross as we know it.
This ancient symbol was a sign of a covenant long before the Romans used crossed wooden beams as a tool of execution, which once again confirms the Word, in the beginning, the Christ, in the beginning, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It happened before it happened through the one who declared the end from the beginning.
The writer of Hebrews informs us that . . .
the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
— Hebrews 4:3
It was embedded and coded into the earliest of languages.
The United Message
If we combine these two concepts it could be concluded that "et" (aleph-tav), the untranslated word, is pointing to the strong, dependable, powerful one who, in His humble obedience, bore our burden of sin through a blood covenant on the cross to settle our heavenly debt.
Roman crosses were designed for the execution of criminals of which Christ was not but . . .
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.
— I Peter 2:24
Just as Isaiah foretold He would
He poured out (made naked) His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the (et אֵ֥ת) transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession (to strike a covenant to make peace, caused our punishment to fall upon Himself) for the transgressors.
— Isaiah 53:12
We see in this portrait the horizontal aspect of this covenant as he connects Himself with transgressors through a burden-bearing, sin paying, covenant on the cross, as shown by the "et" (אֵ֥ת) in the middle of the second line. The "et" (אֵ֥ת) shows us who accomplished this, that is the one and only Alpha and Omega, the strong sin-bearer on the cross.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
The writer of Hebrews gives us the vertical aspect of this strong covenant cross beam.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
— Hebrews 4:14-16
With this in mind lets go back and see how this fits with the very first sentence of the Bible.
". . . in beginning created, Elohim, et (אֵ֥ת) the heavens et (וְאֵת) the earth. . ."
Notice that the second "et" (אֵ֥ת) has an extra letter added to it. That particular additional letter is a "vav" and is a letter used to join and link the subjects or clauses. It would technically read v'et. In this case, the "vav" is connecting the heavens and the earth. And what is the Hebrew word pictograph for vav? It is a nail or peg, which is an instrument of joining, attaching, and securing things. Christ connected the heavens and the earth through His death and resurrection, as it was in the beginning and foretold it would be again by the prophet Isaiah.
‘Then it shall be in that day,
That I will call My servant Eliakim (God raises) the son of Hilkiah (Yah is my portion or possesion);
I will clothe him with your robe
And strengthen him with your belt;
I will commit your responsibility into his hand.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
And to the house of Judah.
The key of the house of David
I will lay on his shoulder;
So he shall open, and no one shall shut;
And he shall shut, and no one shall open.
I will fasten him as a peg (nail) in a secure place,
And he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house.
‘They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house.
— Isaiah 22:20-24
God's humble servant and obedient Son nailed to the cross was a covenant act that connected us to our Heavenly Father. The writer of Hebrews informs us that it was this very Son through whom He made the worlds.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
— Hebrews 1:1-3
Urim and Thummim
One final "aleph" and "tav" reveal, is found in Exodus at the induction instructions of the priesthood. The following passage discusses specifically a preparation for the high priest's clothing.
So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the Lord continually. And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord
— Exodus 28:29-30
"Urim" begins with an "aleph" and "Thummim" begins with a "tav". "Urim" means "lights" and "Thummim" is rooted in a word that means "perfect completion" or "to finish". We studied how light is the beginning element of the creation account and very well connected with Jesus the Light of the World, and He also is the author and finisher of our salvation.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:1-3
No one is exactly sure what these objects looked like but they were mainly used to discern the will of God in certain matters. Here again, we see Jesus our High Priest, the Word of God, Alpha and Omega, the Urim and the Thummim discerning the hearts of men.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
— Hebrews 4:12
I conclude with one final note on "aleph-tav" as it concerns its use in the rest of Scripture. The "aleph-tav", in exclusive combination, occurs a little over 7000 times in the Old Testament and can be most often seen in relation to some kind of covenant events where God is directly involved. We saw that the first two mentions were given in creating and connecting heaven and earth. The third use of (et אֵ֥ת) occurs at the scene of the bringing forth of light.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw (et אֵ֥ת) the light, that it was good.
— Genesis 1:3-4
John obviously understood this connection of the beginning and the end as he wraps up the first few verses of Genesis in the following writing at the opening of the fourth Gospel, and relates them to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men . . . That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him..And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth . . .
— John 1:1-5,14
Why is this important? It is important because God who knows all things planned and purposed for every possible outcome from the very beginning that we might be given the opportunity to live with Him eternally.
God told Jeremiah . . .
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
— Jeremiah 1:5
Paul adds to this conversation.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
— Romans 8:29
This means that God knows the end from the beginning and has left nothing undone. He had a plan all along that included all possibilities, and the choice is ours as to whether we harden our hearts or hear His voice and seek Him while He may be found.
His bottom line desire is relayed in the following verse.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
— II Peter 3:9
We will end with the recorded purpose of this great work of God that has been established from the beginning, which also is an invitation to any who would desire this precious, priceless, indescribable, eternal gift.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
— John 1:10-12
There are also places in the Old Testament where, what is known as a theophany, occurs and as cued with the announcement that there was a visit by the "angel of the Lord" it is thought that these too indicate the presence of Christ before His appearance in the New Testament. I was also recently reading a book that suggests another cue to look for is when you see the phrase "the word of the Lord came to . . ." Jesus being the Word of God Himself would be who is referred to in these places.
The following video contains further information on this topic as well as presents some very useful resources that are available for further study. It is truly amazing to see all the places the work of the covenant Christ is displayed before He comes on the scene in human form in the New Testament. Each one reveals a facet of that accomplished work and can lend to some very useful applications.
Sources and Credits
Questions & Answers
How many times is the aleph tav listed in the Tanakh?
According to William H. Sanford, in his book "The Messianic Aleph Tav Interlinear Scriptures", there are a total of 2251 aleph tavs in theTanakh. 1/3 of these are in the Torah.
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