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Rediscovering Genesis – Deuteronomy

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Rediscovering Israel Online Biblical Study
Reading Assignment – Pg. 51-72
Reading Time: 5 minutes

It was almost time!  I could sense the excitement of my friend when I arrived at her house to watch the debut of the newest season of a show we both enjoyed.  The previous season’s finale left us with a cliffhanger, and we were eager to find out if one of the characters was still alive.  Much to our relief, the character would survive. Phew!

During the next commercial break, we discussed the show and I mentioned how much the show had changed through the seasons, especially the close friendship between the leading ladies in comparison to their rivalry when the one entered the show.  And instead of nodding in agreement with me, my friend tilted her head in confusion and said, “Really?”

I titled my head in equal confusion, “Don’t you remember?”

She told me the app she’d been using to watch the show started with the eighth season, and she just fell in love with the show at that point. I could hardly believe it and immediately began to fill in what I could of the storyline so she’d be aware of what was happening with the characters in the new season.

After we finished that night’s episode I begged my friend to start back at the first season of the show so she could have an even greater appreciation for the story. After I showed her which app to use to watch the first 7 seasons, she didn’t waste any time.   She was even more excited to tell me how much better she understands and appreciates what is happening now that she knows the beginning of the story. 

Where to Start?

I have heard so many pastors and church leaders encourage new followers of Jesus to begin reading the Bible in the New Testament because “that’s where Jesus’ story begins.” I have to admit was once one of those leaders who genuinely thought this was true and what was best. But my understanding completely shifted when I heard Kristi McLelland explain, “The Bible is one Story, best read and understood from beginning to end.” Rediscovering Israel, pg 51 It’s also so important for us to remember that the whole story is all about Jesus.

After gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for the full Biblical story, I don’t think I’ll ever encourage someone to essentially start reading the Bible or watching the Biblical narrative in the “eighth season” again. 

But I will continue sharing the gospel story and what I guess could be considered as a “trailer” for the greatest story ever told, with its own cliffhanger—when Jesus died, and things looked really bad, the most epic plot twist happened—He’s alive!

In the Beginning

Did you know that God actually included His own “trailer” for the entire Biblical narrative in the first verse? 

When we take a closer look into the Hebrew, we uncover multiple amazing meanings tucked into each letter, and we see that God actually explains His whole plan of Salvation, literally, in the beginning of His story.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

In Hebrew: בראשׁית ברא אלהים את השׁמים ואת הארץ

Transliteration: “Bereshit bara Elohim ‘et hashamayim v’et ha’aretz.”

Hebrew is read right to left, so the very first word Bereshit (בראשׁית) spelled in Hebrew letters is: Beit, Resh, Alef, Shin, Yod, Tav.

  • The first letter, Beit ב in its ancient Hebrew form, is a picture of a house. If you have the opportunity to see the Old Testament written in Hebrew, be sure to notice how the Beit is enlarged, symbolizing importance and showing how God’s house is the foundation of the world.
  • The Beit and the second letter Resh בר spell the word “Son” – Bar in Aramaic and Ben in Hebrew.
  • The next letter, Alef א in its ancient form, is shaped like an ox head. This letter has many meanings, such as “ox”, “strong”, “first leader”, “authority”, and “Elohim/GOD”.
  • Shin שׁ is the next letter, and in its ancient form, it looked like teeth and dealt with the understanding of “destruction”.
  • Next, we have the smallest Hebrew letter, Yod י. This letter represents a closed hand, meaning that a “deed was done” and or a “work was finished”.
  • The last letter is the Tav ת. Its ancient form was the shape of a cross, and it represented someone’s “mark” or “sign”, and means “cross” or “covenant”.

Putting the meanings of these letters together to form a word picture, we can see a covenant will be made, and the Son from the Father’s house will finish the work of destroying something, and we know that what He destroys is sin. 

Oh, but just wait… it gets even better! 

Breaking down Bereshit in just a slightly different way God reveals how His Son will go about destroying sin.

Hebrew Letter(s)Hebrew Character(s)Meaning(s)
Bar בר“Son”
Shin, Yod, Tav –
spells Shayit
“Appointed”“To Lay Down”
Resh, Alef, and Shin
spells Rosh
Beit, Resh, and Shin – spells Broshברש“Tree”
Shin and Yud
spells Shay
שי“The Son’s Gift” 
Alef and Shin
spells Esh
Tav character originally looked like a crossת“Covenant”

Amazingly packed into the very first word of God’s story, Bereshit, He beautifully explains: 

As a gift of the covenant that God made with Abram, with fire, the Son of God will come from His Father’s house to be crowned with thorns upon His head, and hung on a tree, to complete the work of destroying sin.

I encourage you to continue digging into the original ancient Hebrew as many more treasures can be discovered as you break down the rest of Genesis 1:1. At the bottom of the blog, I’ve shared several links to YouTube videos, blogs, and other documents to help you begin your research.


In chapter 3 of Rediscovering Israel, Kristi McLelland did a great job summarizing the first five books of the Bible: Genesis (Bereshit), Exodus (Shemot), Leviticus (Vaiyikra), Numbers (Bamidbar), and Deuteronomy (Devarim). This collection of books is known in Hebrew as Torah, or “Instruction”–the Five Books of Moses.

Since we just learned how each Hebrew letter has multiple meanings, let’s take a moment to look into the meaning of the letters that spell the word Torah and see if it reveals more about the rest of God’s story. 

Tav ת means “cross”.

Vav ו means “nail”.

Resh ר means “head”, “chief”, or “first man”.

Hey ה means “reveal” or “behold”!

The word picture we see in the first five books of the Bible is “Behold! A man nailed to the cross.”

In a way that only God could do, He calls our attention to the fact that Jesus’ story does not start in the New Testament book of Matthew. The story of Jesus and the amazing love of God for His creation literally starts… in the beginning!

He is very Good

God is truly the greatest Author, and the more we take the time to read and study His Word, the more we are able to understand who He is and His love for His people. 

The first two verses of the Bible show that God is very powerful; He created everything. The rest of the Bible demonstrates that God is also very good.”

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 55

Just like we discovered God’s “trailer” or His plan for Salvation hidden in the word Bereshit, we are learning through studying the Torah how the beginning of the nation of Israel and the Jewish faith prepared the world for Jesus. Because it is so important for us to understand the relationship between the characters in a story, God wanted us to see how He not only created people, but from the very beginning, He desired to be in fellowship with them. 

“Remember, the narrative of Scripture shows us that God moves from hovering to down, toward, and in!”

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 67

When we realize that every single detail of the Bible has been so carefully orchestrated and everything about His creation so strategically formed, it becomes amazingly clear how important we, as His people, truly are to Him.

Resources for further study:

Were you aware that the Hebrew language is so “picturesque”?
How does this revelation change how you read God’s Word?

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Rediscovering Israel | Kristi McLelland

A 7-week study to experience Scripture as a timeless, transformational Story demonstrating God’s love and faithfulness. String the Biblical pearls to encounter the Bible as one cohesive storyline, rather than a book of stand-alone accounts.

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