Parashah 1: B'resheet (In the beginning)
Genesis 1:1 through 6:8
Parashah 1: B'resheet (In the beginning) - Genesis 1:1 through 6:8.
Haftarah reading: Isaiah 42:5 through 43:10.
B'rit Hadasha suggested reading: Matthew 1:1-17; 19:3-9; Luke 3:23-38; 10:1-2; John 1:1-18; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 15:35-58; Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 5:21-32; Colossians 1:14-17; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; Hebrews 1:1-3; 3:7-4:11; 11:1-7; 2 Peter: 3:3-14; Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5.
Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the AENT.
Today we start reading the Torah all over again - Halleluyah! Torah, written by Moshe (Moses) consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah").
The Book of Genesis - which we're going to start discussing today - is where everyone who believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob should begin reading! Unfortunately, many people have never bothered to read Torah, much less, the entire Bible from cover to cover. Most just concentrate on the last third of the Bible which constitutes the "New Testament"; or they engage in "Smorgasbord" type behavior (reading this passage and that), which means they never fully understand the Bible in context.
In this week's parashah we see God creating the universe from nothing. YHWH created everything there is, including man (and by Chapter Six He's already ready to destroy him!). If you haven't done so before, please read the following very carefully and think about what a powerful, awesome God we have who is able to create the entire universe and everything in it!
Genesis 1: 1 In the beginning ELOHIM created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water.
YHWH created the heavens and the earth and the entire ecosystem! Note that the Spirit of God hovered over the surface; it doesn't say the "person" of God....He arranged for animals of like kind to find each other and procreate, and for plants to grow to provide both beauty and food; each of which has certain insects to clean, protect and/or pollinate them, and to aerate the ground - the synergy is simply amazing. (For more on these miracles, we recommend a wonderful video series by David Attenborough called "Life in the Undergrowth." Even though Mr. Attenborough, an agnostic, cannot see YHWH in these miracles, the presentation of them in these videos is wonderful.)
As most of you know, Genesis 1 is an overview "thumbnail sketch" of Creation, while Chapter 2 provides more details, especially on how man was created (the history of the heavens and earth - Genesis 2:4-9). Notice in Genesis 1:26 that YHWH says, "Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves...." Who was He talking to?
Some believe He was talking to the angels, but angels are created beings who don't necessarily resemble humankind - although they do reflect His Holiness. (Examples, Hebrews 1:14, Joshua 5:13-14, Matthew 28:4, Exodus 25:20, Isaiah 6:2). Plus, in Genesis 3:22, after Adam and Eve's disobedience, ADONAI said, "See, the man is become as one of Us". This is not an expression YHWH would have used if he were speaking to an angel, because angels are not equal with Him! And remember, YHWH Himself is Spirit; while Yeshua was actually a man.
So, who was he talking to? No one really knows. Perhaps He was simply using the "third-person" terminology reserved for royalty; perhaps He was talking to Yeshua! Remember, YHWH is ECHAD, Hebrew for the plural form of ONE (such as ONE DOZEN eggs or ONE BUNCH of grapes), and Yeshua is "an arm" of YHWH (Isaiah 53:1) who was the Word that was "with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2). It's a concept we will only fully understand once we are out of our "earth suits" and in our eternal bodies.
As you study, notice that Moshe (the writer of the Torah/first five Books of the Bible) used human terms to describe what YHWH did/accomplished. Genesis 1:6 "Let there be a dome in the middle of the water; let it divide the water from the water"....and God called the dome Sky." Genesis was never intended to be a scientifically accurate account of the Creation; it is simply describing the event. Moshe, to the best of his human ability, captured the importance of the events of the beginning.
Notice in verse 24, we're told something very interesting:
Genesis 1: 24 God said, "Let the earth bring forth each kind of living creature - each kind of livestock, crawling animal and wild beast"; and that is how it was. 25 God made each kind of wild beast, each kind of livestock and every kind of animal that crawls along the ground; and God saw that it was good.
Animals don't become "livestock" until they are corralled and kept for food or milk! (The actual word in the original Hebrew is "b'hemah" which means "a dumb beast; especially any large quadruped or animal", so in context, the verse, it is simply covering all types of created animals. But since only the b'hemah become "livestock", this seems go against the idea that man was supposed to be vegetarian only! Indeed, we learn in Genesis 3:21 an animal had been sacrificed by YHWH presumably as atonement for the sin of eating the forbidden fruit, and as soon as Genesis 4:3-4 that Abel brought a sacrifice "...from the firstborn of his sheep, including their fat", revealing that instructions for the sacrifice had already been presented. We can conclude animals were permitted to be eaten because we learn in Leviticus that some animal offerings were permitted as food.)
In verse 28, after YHWH created man, He ordered man to be "fruitful and multiply." Not only was that the first Torah command (Divine Instruction) that we know of, but it's something that humankind today directly violates via man-made birth control methods, including abortion.
Check out verse 30, which says: "And to every wild animal, bird in the air and creature crawling on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I am giving as food every kind of green plant." This seems to put to rest the debate as to whether or not animals have souls....
Now here's a great question: Genesis 1:27-28 says, So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him male and female he created them. God blessed them: God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth."
Wouldn't this mean that before Adam, God created humankind, and filled the earth before Adam?
The answer is: Perhaps, but not very likely because the only people mentioned in the Garden of Eden were Adam and Eve who, as we all know, got kicked out of the garden once they sinned, and thereby were responsible for the downfall of mankind....And again, Genesis 1 is an overview of Creation, while Genesis 2 goes into a deeper explanation of what happened in Genesis 1.
Genesis 2: 4 Here is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created. On the day when ADONAI, God, made earth and heaven, 5 there was as yet no wild bush on the earth, and no wild plant had as yet sprung up; for ADONAI, God, had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no one to cultivate the ground. 6 Rather, a mist went up from the earth which watered the entire surface of the ground.
7 Then ADONAI, God, formed a person [Hebrew: adam] from the dust of the ground [Hebrew: adamah] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being. 8 ADONAI, God, planted a garden toward the east, in 'Eden, and there he put the person whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground ADONAI, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In Chapter 2:1-3, He blessed the Seventh day and made it holy, because that is the day He sat back and watched the "engine" He created, begin to run by itself! Throughout the Torah He reiterates that the Seventh Day is to be kept holy/set apart for Him. It is our "date" with Elohim every week! How awesome is that?
Now, please pay close attention beginning in verse 7 where we see YHWH forming Adam (Hebrew for "humankind") from out of the earth, and then immediately providing food for him...including food from the "tree of life"...and for some reason He also caused the forbidden "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" to be there, as well:
Genesis 2: 9 Out of the ground ADONAI, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
We can only surmise that He put the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in the Garden to give man the choice to obey and belong to Him, or not....After all, He is not a God who forces Himself on His creation. We all have the choice to accept Him, or not - as we will see below.
Genesis 2: 16 ADONAI, God, gave the person this order (another Torah command!): "You may freely eat from every tree in the garden 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die."
Ever wonder why He did that? Why did He put a tree there He surely knew would tempt His Creation? Only YHWH knows the answer to that, but perhaps it was to test our free will? He has, after all, given us the CHOICE to belong to Him, or not....
Anyway, it's food for thought. But we need to keep in mind that, because Adam and Eve CHOSE to disobey YHWH, they "lost their lives." You see, they were kicked out of the Garden after they had "tasted of good and evil" and they consequently lost their right to eat anymore from the Tree of Life - which resulted in the end of "eternal life" in Utopia. Thanks to YHWH's grace and mercy, He sent us His Son to be our Final SIN Sacrifice, which restored our access to eternal life!
Moving on to Chapter 3, we see Satan as a serpent, deceiving Eve by asking questions and making some troubling statements to cause doubt into her mind. Note that Satan addressed the woman and not the man - perhaps because he knew that Adam had received YHWH's initial Instructions directly from the Mouth of YHWH and was not about to stray from them...while the woman had received the instructions "passed down" from her mate and would be easier to sway and thus be instrumental in convincing Adam to "eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."
Be that as it may, Eve was successful in getting Adam to ignore YHWH's command to refrain from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. Once they did, everything changed! Suddenly, the couple "knew" the difference between good and evil and they apparently also recognized the difference between the genders and, consequently, the need to "cover themselves"....
And thus began the first deliberate rebellion against YHWH, and the invention of the first "blame game" - the birth of the "excuse" and not being personally responsible one's own actions!
Genesis 3: 8 They heard the voice of ADONAI, God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of ADONAI, God, among the trees in the garden. 9 ADONAI, God, called to the man, "Where are you?" 10 He answered, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I ordered you not to eat?" 12 The man replied, "The woman you gave to be with me - she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." 13 ADONAI, God, said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me, so I ate."
And so began man's downfall....Adam and Eve's sin had broken the fellowship with Elohim. After the fall of Adam, YHWH asked, "Adam, where are you?" This is a good question we need to ask of ourselves: "Where am I? Am I in fellowship with Elohim or in rebellion against Him?"
Also note, up until Genesis 3:16, man and woman were completely equal, because YHWH said:
Genesis 3: 16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you."
Now watch what all else YHWH did as He kicked them out of the Garden:
Genesis 3: 21 ADONAI, God, made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them (this was the first sin sacrifice). 22 ADONAI, God, said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever -" 23 therefore ADONAI, God, sent him out of the garden of 'Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
Note, He could have put Adam and Eve to death, but He didn't - which is evidence that the "Old Testament God" was showing mercy and grace!
Genesis 3: 24 So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of 'Eden the k'ruvim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
NOTE: YHWH permanently removed access to eternal life - which was restored only after the death of Yeshua!
Backing up a bit, remember that YHWH had told man to be "fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). In Genesis 3:20 we learn that Eve was "the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:21) - and she and Adam were apparently very prolific because by the time we get to Genesis 4 where Cain killed Abel, we see that they had already populated the earth as evidenced in Cain's strange statement:
Genesis 4: 13 Kayin said to ADONAI, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 You are banning me today from the land and from your presence. I will be a fugitive wandering the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." 15 ADONAI answered him, "Therefore, whoever kills Kayin will receive vengeance sevenfold," and ADONAI put a sign on Kayin, so that no one who found him would kill him.
Who is the "whoever" in the above statement? It HAS to be the brothers and sisters who came before him. Obviously, Moshe moved through the Genesis account very quickly, and he only mentioned those who were crucial to the Bible story....That's evidently where Cain got his wife, as well.
Moving on, in Genesis 3:21 we saw the first sin sacrifice as YHWH sheds the blood of an innocent animal and then uses its skin to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. How awful it must have been for the duo to see an animal friend that they had named, put to death because of their sin! The next thing they knew, they were put out of the Garden, thus losing their cushy life forever. And, unfortunately, mankind has paid the price for their sin, ever since....
The subject of animal sacrifices leads us to Genesis 4:3-5, where we see Cain and Abel offering a sacrifice. (Whether it was a SIN sacrifice we can't say; however, it seems likely because this particular situation required a sin sacrifice, because verse 7 YHWH discusses sin.) Now, while we don't know exactly why YHWH rejected Cain's sacrifice, throughout the Torah (especially in Leviticus) we discover that only blood atones for sin. While Cain and Abel had obviously learned this truth somewhere, for some reason Cain decided to bring "produce from the soil." As you saw, YHWH obviously did not accept his offering, and Cain ultimately killed his brother in a fit of jealousy.
Genesis 4: 1 The man had sexual relations with Havah his wife; she conceived, gave birth to Kayin [acquisition] and said, "I have acquired a man from ADONAI." 2 In addition she gave birth to his brother Hevel. Hevel kept sheep, while Kayin worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Kayin brought an offering to ADONAI from the produce of the soil; 4 and Hevel too brought from the firstborn of his sheep, including their fat. ADONAI accepted Hevel and his offering 5 but did not accept Kayin and his offering. Kayin was very angry, and his face fell.
At this point it is important to note that neither Cain nor Abel nor their parents nor anyone else on earth at that time were "Jews". there were no Jews until after our third Patriarch, Jacob, had a son named Yehuah (Judah) who ultimately became the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 29:35; Matthew 1:1-2, from which the term "Jew" originated). The Tanach ("Old Testament") shows that His Chosen were called Hebrews (Genesis 14:13). (See the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Tanach). "Hebrew" means, "to cross over" which is what Abraham, our first Patriarch, did when He accepted YHWH as His God and physically "crossed over" in the Land YHWH commanded him to enter (Genesis 12).
Scripture read in context reveals that EVERYONE, beginning with Cain and Abel, was Torah observant - which negates the Christian claim that they don't have to obey God's Divine Instructions! ANYONE who believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is to be Torah observant, and He even said so FOUR TIMES IN A ROW in Numbers 15:13-16! YHWH chose Abraham because He wanted to (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) and He reiterated this in Jeremiah 31:32 by making His New Covenant with the Houses of Israel and Judah - both of whom were Torah observant.
Something powerful is revealed in this first parashah: Not only do we see the first murder, but YHWH then tells Cain that he has the power to rule over sin!
Genesis 4: 6 ADONAI said to Kayin, "Why are you angry? Why so downcast? 7 If you are doing what is good, shouldn't you hold your head high? And if you don't do what is good, sin is crouching at the door - it wants you, but you can rule over it."
YHWH was reaching out to Cain, showing Him the need for holy living through obedience to His Torah, and yet Cain CHOSE to go with his sin nature when he ended up killing his own brother.
Notice after that, Cain "left the Presence of ADONAI and lived in the land of Nod (which means "wandering"), east of Eden (Genesis 4:16). In other words, Cain was fully abandoned and free to create a new generation of unbelievers - those who didn't know YHWH!
Isn't it great to know, however, that He is so full of grace and mercy that He allows us to RETURN to Him once our spiritual eyes have been opened? Halleluyah!
Immediately afterward (although many years had passed), we learn something about how the "sins of the father are passed down" (Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:6-7, Deuteronomy 5:9) when Cain's line produced a man named Lemech who "took two wives"; thus committing adultery and bragging about how he, too, had killed a man (Genesis 4:23-24). In other words, YHWH allowed sinful man to continue even in those days, and the descendants of Cain reproduced and moved right into the nations where they became godless heathens.
Notice in verse 25 that Adam again had sexual relations with his wife, and they named the boy Shet - who eventually had a son called Enosh, and "That is when people began to call on the name of YHWH!" (Genesis 4:26).
It is imperative to realize that Yeshua did NOT come through the line of Cain (remember, ultimately YHWH killed off the entire world and allowed only the righteous Noah to start humankind again)! Yeshua came straight through the line of Adam (Genesis 5) which bore Noah, who was chosen by YHWH to re-populate the world.
Notice in Genesis 5:24 we see the first "rapture" (if we want to call it that) when Enoch "walked with God and then he wasn't there because God took him." It doesn't say he DIED....Wouldn't it have been awesome to have been there to witness that event?
By the way, sinners did not get to continue into the post-Flood world! YHWH continued mankind through Noah who found favor in His eyes (Genesis 6:8). Unfortunately, sin eventually crept in again, and we'll see how that happened in future studies.
As you digest today's Torah study, please think about a mystery in Genesis 6: Who were the Nephilim? (Genesis 6:1-8) We invite you to check out this one possible explanation.
Today's Torah portion directs us to Isaiah 42:5 - 43:10, which beautifully reiterates what we have learned so far:
Isaiah 42: 5 Thus says God, ADONAI, who created the heavens and spread them out, who stretched out the earth and all that grows from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk on it: 6 "I, ADONAI, called you righteously, I took hold of you by the hand, I shaped you and made you a covenant for the people, to be a light for the Goyim, 7 so that you can open blind eyes, free the prisoners from confinement, those living in darkness from the dungeon. 8 I am ADONAI; that is my name. I yield my glory to no one else, nor my praise to any idol. 9 See how the former predictions come true; and now new things do I declare - before they sprout I tell you about them."
Isaiah 43: 1 But now this is what ADONAI says, he who created you, Ya'akov, he who formed you, Isra'el: "Don't be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I am calling you by your name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through water, I will be with you; when you pass through rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you will not be scorched - the flame will not burn you. 3 For I am ADONAI, your God, the Holy One of Isra'el, your Savior - I have given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and S'va for you.
4 Because I regard you as valued and honored, and because I love you. For you I will give people, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Don't be afraid, for I am with you. I will bring your descendants from the east, and I will gather you from the west; 6 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Don't hold them back! Bring my sons from far away, and my daughters from the ends of the earth, 7 everyone who bears my name, whom I created for my glory - I formed him, yes, I made him.'" 8 Bring forward the people who are blind but have eyes, also the deaf who have ears.
9 All the nations are gathered together, and the peoples are assembled. Who among them can proclaim this and reveal what happened in the past? Let them bring their witnesses to justify themselves, so that others, on hearing, can say, "That's true." 10 "You are my witnesses," says ADONAI, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you can know and trust me and understand that I am he no god was produced before me, nor will any be after me.
B'rit Chadasha reading:
The question that often asked is: "Where do I begin to study the Bible?" And most New Testament only believers respond with: "Start with the Gospel of John."
Well, even if one starts in John's Gospel we read, "In the beginning." That is the roadmap of the Gospels: "In the beginning." What is the "beginning?" Obviously, Genesis 1, where we see YHWH creating the universe, the Earth and mankind...."The beginning" is the beginning of YHWH's Creation and His giving of the first command to mankind. That command was TORAH - "Divine Instruction in Righteousness" without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living!
Having said that, let's mention some of today's B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) portions. Our first one, referring to Matthew 19, discusses how YHWH created male and female to be echad (one) flesh - and that mankind in our fallen state have gone against His wishes. He knew that some marriages would end in divorce because of "hardness of the heart." But the bottom line is: The ONLY reason that we may divorce is if our spouse has committed adultery. In other words, we are expected to "work things out"....
Matthew 19: 3. And the Pharisees drew near to him there, and were tempting him and saying, ,"Is it Lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause?" 4. But he answered and said to them, Have you not read, that He who created from the beginning, He created them male and female? 5. And he said, Because of this, a man will leave his father and his mother and will be joined to his wife, and they will be both of them one flesh. 6. Henceforth, they will not be two, rather one flesh. Therefore, what Elohim has united, man should not separate. 7. They said to him, "Why then did Moshe command to give a letter of divorce and to put her away?" 8. And he said to them, Because of the hardness of your heart, you were allowed to put away your wives. But it was not thus from the beginning. 9. But I say to you that he who leaves his wife without a charge of adultery, and takes another, commits adultery. And he that takes a divorced woman commits adultery.
Next, we see the meaning of YHWH's "free gift" to sinful mankind!
Romans 5: 12. As by means of one man, sin entered into the world; and, by means of sin, death; and so death passed upon all the sons of men inasmuch as they all have sinned: 13. For until Torah sin, although it was in the world, was not accounted sin because there was no Torah. 14. Your death reigned from Adam until Moshe, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression of the command by Adam who was the type of him that was to come.
Footnote from the AENT:
 The theology of "total depravity" uses this verse to whip up the condemnation. John Calvin, of Catholic background, used this verse to laden souls with condemnation and guilt in order to blackmail them into becoming his followers. A strategy of the religious is to create copious amounts of guilt, then sell religious solutions and pardons. Mashiyach brought the knowledge of YHWH's Love, Compassion, Mercy and Forgiveness to mankind; he didn't minister condemnation, but he teaches the nature of the carnal man versus the spiritual man.
False religion keeps people in perpetual guilt, in order to sell their theological solutions. YHWH's Torah provides instruction in righteousness; when a person realizes that sin brings death they want to become free of sin. If and when YHWH's people "miss the mark" it's because they have not been properly trained up. Not everyone is born into the world as evil, nasty and wicked people; perhaps "church founders" were simply projecting their own natures upon others.
Romans 5: 15. But not, as the fault, so also the free gift. For if, on account of the fault of one many died, how much more will the grace of Elohim and his free gift, on account of one man, Y'shua the Mashiyach, abound to many? 16. And not, as the offense of one, so also the free gift. For the judgment, which was of one (offense), was to condemnation; but the free gift was, of many sins, to righteousness. 17. For if, on account of the offense of one, death reigned; still more, they who receive the abundance of the grace and the free gift and the righteousness, will reign in life by means of one: Y'shua the Mashiyach.
18. Therefore, as on account of the offense of one, condemnation was to all men; so on account of the righteousness of one, will the victory to life be to all men. 19. For as, on account of the disobedience of one man many became sinners, so also, on account of the obedience of one, many become righteous. 20. And the entrance given to Torah was that sin might increase: and where sin increased, there grace abounded. 21. So that, as sin had reigned in death, so grace might reign in righteousness to life eternal, by means of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach.
There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....
The next Parashah reading will be:
Parashah 2: Noach (Noah) - Genesis 6:9 through 11:32.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Isaiah 54:1 through 55:5.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Matthew 24:36-44; Luke 17:26-37; Acts 2:1-16; 1 Peter 3:18-22; 2 Peter 2:5.