BERESHIT – In the Beginning
Genesis 1 through 6:8; Isaia 42:5 – 43:10
by Michael Schneider, from the German version of Israel Today, Israel Heute, October 21, 2011
translation by Birgit Barandica

With the words "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth", God begins His writing to men. Also, the yearly Torah reading begins anew. You could ask, why these repetitions?

Rabbis say that each year, the believer is being illuminated and inspired anew with the same text by God. Let me add that every year, man is on a different spiritual level of his life with God. Today, different things are important to him or speak to his heart, other than last year, therefore he overlooked them back then. This is why you should never say, referring to the Word of God, "I have already read this!"

In our parashah, the weekly Torah portion, it is about the creation of the world until the time of Noah. Within only 6 chapters, more than 1.500 years are being focussed! Ten generations lived in that time period, from Adam to Noah. What a short report for such a long time of events! Well, brevity is the soul of wit!

Yet, there is one thing that is standing out in the creation report: how come that there was light from the very first day on, yet God created sun and moon only on day four? It was the light and the glory of God that was shining! And this is how it is going to be in the last days, too. As to rabbinical opinion, also in the Spirit of God

"hovering over the face of the waters" in verse 2, it is about the Spirit of the Messiah. He was there right from the beginning on.

In our parashah we don't only find the first mortal man, but also the first one being raptured: Enoch. The biblical word for "rapture" mentioned for the first time in our parashah, is "lakakh" (Genesis 5:24), which is usually being translated as "to take". Interestingly, Enoch was 365 years old, just like the number of days in a year!

Also in this parashah, we already see Satan (as serpent), and his end, too!!! In Genesis 3:15 we read of the seed that will "crush his head", which later is being confirmed in Revelation 12:9, "The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray..."

"To promise someone heaven and earth", as it is being said – so it was done by the serpent: he promised them "to be like God" (verse 5). So watch out! The devil has cunning and creative tricks up to today to seduce us astray from God. We, the believers, are his goal!

Man was created last, on day six. After that, God rested from "all His work". Yet it is remarkable that God did not finish the sixth day of creation like He finished the creation of His other works saying, "And it was good"! It is often taught that God, after creating man, should have said "And it was very good". Yet He did not say this directly after creating man, but when watching ALL that He has made (Genesis 1:31).

Jews interpret it like this: God gave man the free will of following Him or rebelling against Him, e.g. choosing between good and evil. So it is in our hands whether God in the end can say, "And it was good!" – or in other words, "Well done, good and faithful servent!" (Matthew 25:21)

Probably when Adam was naming the animals, God saw, "It is not good that the man should be alone". So He created the woman from Adam's rib. Yet before that God had to cause a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. This is a classical image of Israel and the church of Jesus. Israel like Adam had to undergo a deep sleep or hardening in their hearts so that the church of Jesus could form until he would awake from his slumber - and realize, "bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:23). Yes, Israel and the church of Jesus will once compliment each other – as God's people! Not one instead of the other, for only like this they could be fruitful like man and woman.

Here is something for all couples in love: at the end of chapter 2, we read about the most important three-some principle of marriage:

1) leave father and mother;

2) cleave unto his wife ("dawak", the Hebrew term for "to stick, adhere") and

3) become one flesh. This literally means – as it is being confirmed in other scripture verses – that the man should get to know his wife more and more; this is his life-task. It means true love as to the bible – and is not always a matter of emotions and feelings!

In our prophet portion, Haftara, from Isaia 42 we read about praising the creation of the world by God. But at the same time, the prophet draws the string over toward the chosing of Israel as God's people. The "light of the world" shall come forth from it or, as Yeshua tells the non Jewish woman at the well, "Salvation is from the Jews" – with what he actually thought of Himself!

On this particular Shabbat, after the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was held in a dark dungeon for 5 years and 4 months by Hamas, we cannot miss verse 7: "... to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness".

Keep in mind verse 8 from Haftara:

"I am Jahweh, that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols".

Shabbat Shalom!
Michael Schneider

The Christian Counter