Beginning: resheet (Feminine Noun) (Strong’s 7225)
Sounds like: ray-sheet
In the beginning [b’resheet] God created the heavens and the earth.
The very first word in the Bible is the word beginning. We might think it’s the word “in”, but in Hebrew “in” is not a word itself, but a prefix. In Hebrew there are root words and those roots take on prefixes and suffixes to flesh out their meaning. Hebrew does not have words for in, the, and, to, as, like, with, by and from… instead they are prefixes added to a root word. The first root word in the Bible is beginning [resheet]. In the beginning is b’resheet.
So what does “beginning” mean? In one way, it is a starting point in time. In the case of Genesis it is the starting point of earth’s story and the starting point of human history. YHWH was clear… everything was created with a purposeful plan:
Remember the former things of old:
That I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me;
Declaring the end from the beginning [me-resheet],
and from ancient times things that are not yet done;
Saying: ‘My counsel shall stand, and all My pleasure will I do.’
From the very beginning YHWH declared the end. His plan was set from ancient times and into the future. His declaration stands firm and does not change. He is a never changing God in and ever changing Universe. YHWH IS the beginning and the end.
More commonly, however, the word beginning is used to describe humanity’s first step to being good, wise and knowledgeable humans… and according to Scripture those things begin with the fear/respect of YHWH:
The fear of YHWH is the beginning [resheet] of wisdom;
all who follow His precepts have a rich understanding.
His praise endures forever!
Do you want to be wise? First you must begin with a deeply seeded, gut-wrenching, respect for your Creator. This must be the first step for everything else to fall in place.
Let the wise listen and gain instruction, and the discerning acquire wise counsel—
to understand the proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of YHWH is the beginning [resheet] of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Choice, Finest, Best
However, resheet is more than just beginning in regards to time. It also means the finest, best, or top choice:
You drink wine by the bowlful and with the finest [w’resheet] oils anoint yourselves,
but you fail to grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
Therefore, you will now go into exile as the first of the captives,
and your feasting and lounging will come to an end.
If we take this meaning back to Genesis 1 we can understand that at the starting point God created the finest of His creation.
There is another meaning of resheet. It also represents the “first fruits”, the start of a good harvest.
As a sacrifice, YHWH required the people to offer the first fruits of their harvest to Him:
For on My holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, there the whole house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land. There I will accept them and will require your offerings and first fruits [resheet] of your sacrifices, along with all your holy things. When I bring you from the peoples and gather you from the lands to which you have been scattered, I will accept you as a pleasing aroma. And I will show My holiness through you in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am YHWH, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I swore to give your fathers.
Israel was YHWH’s first fruits of His harvest.
Israel is the YHWH’s hallowed portion, His first-fruits [reshith] of the harvest; All that devour him [Israel] shall be held guilty. Evil shall come upon them, saith YHWH.
YHWH is very protective of Israel, the first fruits of His harvest. Through the people of Israel, YHWH would provide a Saviour, the Messiah. And from God’s first fruits (Israel), the harvest would expand to all nations. In turn, YHWH sacrificed His first fruits, the ultimate Israelite, his Son the Messiah, to be an atonement for all the nations. This is the plan that God put in action from the beginning.
The Gospel book of John mirrors Genesis 1:1, starting off in the beginning:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Word, as metaphor for the Messiah, takes on a fuller significance when we apply the three meanings of resheet:
- In the beginning was the Word
- The finest/best was the Word
- God’s first fruit was the Word
Whereas Genesis defined the creation of earth and all that is in it, John defined the Messiah who would save all of creation. The Word is Yeshua [Salvation], who was with God in the beginning and who was, and is, life and light to all humankind. Yeshua, Son of God, was the choice first fruit of YHWH.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
The alpha, (the first), or in Hebrew, the aleph… is the first letter of the alphabet, and is symbolically the first of all things. Yeshua indicated that he was the aleph, the beginning, and the tav, the end. He was the Word from the beginning, when God spoke the earth into existence.
Paul explained it this way:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things He may have preeminence. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross.
Life From the Beginning
Although John started his Gospel book with “In the beginning” (in Greek “en arches”), John more commonly used the phrase from the beginning (in Greek “ap arches”) throughout his writings:
1 John 1:1-2
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have gazed upon and touched with our own hands—this is the Word of Life. And this is the life that was revealed; we have seen it and testified to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us.
1 John 2:24-25
As for you, let what you have heard from the beginning remain in you. If it does, you will also remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life.
Love was from the beginning
However, John tells us that the very first message from YHWH was to love:
1 John 3:11
This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
From the moment that YHWH created the heavens and the earth, He had a plan for His creation. He wanted to save them, and He wanted to save them because He loved them. The story of creation is a love story… a tale that starts at the beginning of time. It’s all about love!
2 John 1:4-6
I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father has commanded us. And now I urge you, dear lady—not as a new commandment to you, but one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the very commandment you have heard from the beginning, that you must walk in love.
This is the first message we should get from Genesis 1:1…. LOVE. From the beginning of our own lives, this is the way we’re meant to take. If this is not the path you’re on, remember… there’s always a chance for a new beginning.
Next week: snow