Enough with the Latin!
Hello and welcome-or welcome back-to Renaissance Woman where, this week, I continue my study of the Hebrew word bara which is most often translated “create” in the Old Testament. The root bara is spelled Bet (ב) Resh (ר) Aleph (א). I have briefly examined Resh earlier in my study of Isaiah 45:7 but did find it interesting that, according to Mr. Haralick’s book, Bet means “container”, Resh means “cosmic container”, and Aleph means “the pulsating unbridled force.” Container and Cosmic Container seem a bit redundant and I was curious what I might learn as I studied each letter. I began with Bet.
Bet is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the word itself-spelled Bet Yod Tav (בית )-means “house, dwelling place, or home.” In his entry for Bet, Mr. Haralick quotes Exodus 25:8: “And let them make a sanctuary that I may dwell within them.” I looked up this verse in the New King James version and found the word used is among rather than within. I checked the scripture in the Comparative Study Bible and each of the four translations contained therein also have the word among. I looked up among in the Strong’s concordance and found referenced the root tavek (H8432) which means, “to sever, a bisection, in the center, among, between, in the middle, midst.”
I must take a moment and urge anyone who wishes to go deeper into Bible Study to get an Interlinear Bible. The Strong’s is an invaluable reference but it doesn’t give prefixes or suffixes or, in some cases, tell you which word is used in the scripture. Case in point: John 1:1 says “In the Beginning was the word…and the word was WITH God.” If you were to look up “with” in the Strong’s you’d have to go to the Appendix where you will find listed all the words used so frequently they’d make the concordance very unwieldly if every occurrence was included: words like A, He, Her, They, and With. The Appendix would tell you that “with” in the Greek is sun and there’s actually an interesting lesson to learn by considering the meaning of sun in the first verse of John’s gospel. However, an Interlinear Bible would show you the word translated “with” in John 1:1 is not sun at all but pros. There is a different mind picture painted when the meaning of pros is meditated on in the passage.
It’s the same looking up the Hebrew letters. When I look up “among”, the Strong’s gives me the root tavek spelled Tav Vav Caph but my Interlinear Bible shows me the root appears with Mem as a suffix and Bet as a prefix. The addition of the prefix and suffix make the root third person masculine plural and it would be pronounced be-tow-kum. The Bet as a prefix means ”in, at, by, among, with, by means of, through”. Among is a perfectly fine translation but so is within or in or in the midst. All of this is fascinating but the word Bet means house and I have the promises of Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezekiel 36:27 ringing in my ears and so I return to my study.
2 Corinthians 6:16 says, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’.” The words the Apostle Paul quotes are found in Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 32:38, and Ezekiel 37:27. First there was the Tabernacle and then the Temple which served as Houses of the Lord but there were also these promises from God that the day would come when there would be no external Tabernacle or Temple but God Himself would live within us.
Then comes the Incarnation where “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Amplified uses the word “tabernacled” instead of dwelt which I like. The Old Testament promises are beginning to be fulfilled but are not yet. Jesus gives wonderful promises in the upper room of the One He would send: the Comforter, the Teacher, the Spirit of Truth who would guide us into all truth. He would speak not on His own authority but will take everything that is of Jesus and declare it to us. (See John Chapters 13-17). The same night He gives these promises, Jesus is arrested, tried, and crucified. He dies but before dying declares “It is finished!” What is finished? There is far more to be said about what was happening on the Cross than I have room for here. I think the Book of Hebrews has the best explanation for what is referred to as the “finished work of the cross”:
Hebrews 7:26-27: “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for all the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”
Hebrews 9: 24-27: “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Hebrews 10:12: “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”
I used the term “the finished word of the cross” because I’ve heard it said so often but if we stop there, there is no finished word and no fulfillment of God’s promises. The Old Testament promises of God putting His Spirit within us, giving us new hearts, writing His law on those hearts, and enabling us to walk in His statutes are not fulfilled in the death of Jesus. As the Apostle Paul writes, “If Christ is not risen, then your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17) Our faith is NOT futile and we are NOT still in our sins because Jesus is risen from the dead! He is not only risen but ascended to the right hand of the Father. After His ascension came Pentecost where the Holy Spirit rushed upon those gathered together. At last, with the lavish shedding abroad of the Spirit, the promises of God were fulfilled.
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Amen, to the glory of God through us” (1 Corinthians 1:20). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of every promise of God which means that now, today, His Spirit is within me. He has given me a new heart, He has written His law on it, and He is causing me to walk in His statutes. I am in Him and thus am a new creation. How is this possible? Because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and poured His Spirit into me. The same Spirit that is there in Genesis 1:1 is within me. He sends forth His Spirit and I am not only created but re-created and renewed (See Psalm 104:30).
After his experience with the Centurion Cornelius, Peter says, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). What is true for me is true for every other believer. The Spirit of the Living God lives within each and every one of us. Without Him, the Christian life is impossible. There is no ability to love anyone, especially our enemies. There are no streams of living water flowing out of us and into the world around us. Without Him we do not know we are in Christ and Christ is in us and thus we have no hope of glory. We can look at scripture and do our best to keep the rules so hopefully we get to go to heaven when we die but there is no LIFE. We can read and memorize and know about Jesus, we can even try our hardest to be like Him but, without the Spirit of truth and wisdom and revelation; we won’t ever intimately KNOW HIM because the things of God are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” That is 1 Corinthians 3:16 and the question is asked again later on in Paul’s letter: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). If the books written by Christian authors I’ve recently read are any indication, believers do not know the Holy Spirit lives within them. May He open all of our eyes to see what is the hope of our calling.
Bereshit bara Elohim…In the beginning, created God the heavens and the earth. But these were not His house. “This saith the Lord, ‘The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that ye build unto Me? And where is the place of My rest?’” (Isaiah 66:1). “For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited…” (Isaiah 45:18). “Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made Him” (Isaiah 43:7).
Do you declare Jesus is Lord? Do you know God is your Father and you are His child? Do you know He has adopted you and is placing you as a Son? Yes? Then know the Spirit of the Lord lives within you. You are the house of the Lord, a living stone in His temple, a member of that great city described in Revelation whose maker and builder is God!
Hallelujah! God has done this! Let the House of the Lord sing praise!
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures are quoted from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
The Comparative Study Bible, The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984
Green, Jay P. Sr., The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English, Volumes 1-3, Authors For Christ Inc., Lafayette, IN, 1985
Haralick, Robert M., The Inner Meaning of Hebrew Letters, Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale, New Jersey, 1995
Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990