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...the Strength of the Covenant

The Word
Part Two: the Aleph-Tav

by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
(Ephesians 2:12)

Genesis 1:1

B-re'shiyt bara Elohim 'et hashamayim v'et ha'aretz.

"In beginning created Elohim (*) the heavens and the earth."
Genesis 1:1

(For those of us not literate in Hebrew script, the translated text above has been rendered left to right rather than right to left)

In the center of this verse of these seven Hebrew words, after B-re'shiyt bara Elohim there is a fourth untranslatable word. That fourth word is actually two Hebrew letters: the aleph and the tav. The aleph-tav (aleph-tav) expression serves a grammatical purpose in that it points to the direct object of the sentence, but these two letters do not actually form a word - rather, they express an understanding. This is the basic difference found between Greek based languages, such as English, and the Hebrew language. Whereas Greek and English form a static, rigid architecture; Hebrew is more fluid - promoting understanding rather than a definitive, straight line presentation (see My Big, Fat Greek Mindset PART 1, and PART 2 for a full explanation. click on highlighted words to view content). The aleph-tav aleph-tav character symbol has been hidden in plain sight from the beginning, starting with the original Paleo-Hebrew scrolls written by the hand of Moses and the Prophets, then copied by scribes for thousands of years thereafter into modern Hebrew - but not translated by the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the King James or subsequent English bible translations because it was not considered a word. However, as we shall see, the placement of these two Hebrew letters throughout scripture has far reaching implications.

The aleph (aleph) is the first letter of the Hebrew alephbet (alphabet), and the tav (tav) is the last letter of the alephbet. It is in the placement of these two very significant letters at strategic locations within many verses of Hebrew scripture that express the understanding of a total completeness. It is equivalent to saying "from alpha to omega, from a to z, from first to last, from beginning to end." We see the aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol, in association with YHVH (YHVH), used in hundreds of places in the Original Writings. One example concerning judgment is Genesis 13:10 - "destroyed YHVH aleph-tav Sodom and Gomorrah". Other examples confirming this usage can be found in Genesis 19:14, Isaiah 13:19, Jeremiah 50:40, and Amos 4:11. An example of the aleph-tav (aleph-tav). symbol rendered as a blessing is in Exodus 20:8 - "and blessed YHVH aleph-tav Day, the Sabbath". Hebrew scholars agree that originally in Paleo-Hebrew, the first letter of the alephbet, the aleph (aleph) letter meant "Strength" with its letter symbol an Ox Head. The last letter of the alephbet is the letter tav (tav), which had as its letter picture an X - a symbol or sign of "Covenant". Consequently, the aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol literally means "Strength of the Covenant" when used in original Hebrew text and was placed to create emphasis as a direct object pointer to the workings of YHVH (both YHVH and aleph-tav) concerning His covenant, wherever it was placed throughout the Tanakh (the Original Writings).

For instance, in the life of Jacob and Esau captured in Genesis 25:28, we find that both Jacob and Esau have aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbols in front of their names in the beginning of their life together - but the LAST time we see the aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol used in front of Esau's name is in Genesis 27:1. On that day Isaac calls to Esau, asking him to hunt some savory meat so that he (Isaac) may bless Esau. Even though Esau's name is used another 78 times in the Torah the aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol continues to be only in front of Jacob's name and NOT Esau's - because the covenant blessing of the birthright given for Messiah was removed from him. The reason Esau has no aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbols in front of his name after Genesis 27:1 is explained by Moses in Genesis 25:34 for "so despised Esau his aleph-tav birthright!" (the passage of birthright is chronicled in the Kinsman Redeemer - the Signet). Esau's dismissal of YHVH's designated purpose for his life resulted in that purpose being passed to his brother, Jacob. Yet another instance of the significance of the aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol is found in the Book of Ruth. Ruth's name is used 12 times in the book. The first 10 times there is no aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol in front of her name. After she is redeemed by Boaz the next two times her name is used, an aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol appears in front of her name each time (Ruth 4:5&13). These are just two examples, but it seems quite obvious that the aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol shows a connection of covenant relationship with YHVH (refer to the last series, One Flesh - Communion).

the AlefBet the beginning - the alephbet
So, from the Hebraic perspective these words are written in, Genesis 1:1 is seen as "In the beginning Elohim created the aleph-tav". In other words, the very first thing Elohim created were the letters from which all life and all physical things spring forth - the divinely ordained building blocks of life (Elohim is commonly translated as "God" in the English translations of Genesis 1:1 - but, Elohim is specific and unique to Hebraic thinking, occurring only in Hebrew and in no other languages). Ancient Hebrews believed that Elohim had to create this first because it is all the letters of the Hebrew alephbet that form the Torah, the word of YHVH - which, according to the word of YHVH, is YHVH Himself. Actually, if the words of Genesis 1 are read closely we find that no creative process takes place in the first six days except the beasts and man. Everything else was formed from material that was already created in verse one. This is the same statement contained in Yochanan (John) 1:1, "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with YHVH and the WORD was YHVH" (see Who is designated the Word in scripture). Any Hebrew reading that verse would give it a hearty amen! He would say, "In the beginning was the WORD (the alephbet), the WORD was with YHVH, and YHVH was the WORD (the alephbet)." YHVH is the the alephbet and is revered for the same reason; the letters of the Words of Torah ARE the Source of Life, YHVH - not Yeshua the Son who, in His words of John 17:6 tells us that He did not replace YHVH, but manifested the Name of the Father; in which are found the Glory, the Nature and Essence of YHVH expressed in Exodus 34:1-7 - and, by which, those who follow Yeshua are called to do the same in John 17:20-23 (Luke 9:23, see In Addition).

In English, Genesis 1:1 should be understood as "In the beginning Elohim created A to Z." The Prophet Isaiah confirmed the same about YHVH (YHVH) being the first and the last in Isaiah 41:4, 44:6 and 48:12. The English expression that parallels this one is, "He finished everything from A to Z, or from beginning to end." Because these Hebrew letters are the building blocks of life, to be In Perpetuity with the Creator means active involvement with His Words in creation today. It means to study them and to speak them forth continuously. The ancient Hebrews believed that, if ever there is a time when Torah is not being vocalized, "the earth will melt away with a fervent heat" (Malachi 4:1; scripturally, evildoers are those who do not keep the Words of YHVH - see Defining Enemies for a thorough explanation). That saying should ring familiar to those who study the Messianic Writings as there is a similar statement in 2Peter 3:10-13 that there will be a time when "the earth melts away with a fervent heat!" From a scriptural point of view that simply means that "there will be no Laws and no Torah on the earth, and that it is Torah (the word of YHVH) that is keeping all things together!" This brings to mind Colossians 1:17 where it says that "in" Him were all things created and that through Yeshua all things hold together or "has cohesion" ("through" as in a conduit - not initiated by His own hand). In Yeshua abides the Word of YHVH, manifest in His Life and it is through the Word of YHVH that all things hold together or "have cohesion".

So, when the words "instruction" or "commandment(s)" are noted in the Messianic Writings, is it always referring to the original 10 Words and Torah? If we are to use the life of Yeshua as the benchmark by which all the other words of scripture are measured (Revelation 19:10b, see Who's Word Is It?), then His Words of Matthew 19:16-22 should be sufficient in which He not only says to keep the "commandments", but repeats them so that there is no misunderstanding about which ones He is referring to. However, to those who do not have the ears to hear the truth of these words, who are not desperately seeking truth - they will always find ways to justify their claims contrary to His Words (Luke 16:31). Most "Christians" would say "well, of course we keep the commandments because we do what is right as Jesus would have us do". However, they don't keep Shabbat, the fourth of the commandments, and the commandment to not covet another's spouse only applies unless they are really attractive. To say they keep the commandments but neglect any one of them by rewriting its meaning to suit their beliefs do not realize that by neglecting the one, they bring the full weight of separation from Spirit upon their lives (James 2:10, see who changed the Sabbath). The Ten Words of YHVH are the basis of the Nature of Spirit. You might wish to read the 4 part series "About the Law" which begins with a discussion on the difference between Torah and the Law and continues on in the links at the bottom of each article to show how everything Yeshua and the apostles said was not "new" but a proper interpretation of what had come before out of the Torah.

"But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles YHVH, and that person shall be cut off from among his people ." Numbers 15:30

YHVH is Torah
The Hebrew word translated "with a high hand" in this verse in Numbers 15 is ruwm and means to be "lofty, exalted, set on high" - deciding for themselves what is Truth. The tenth letter of the alephbet is the yod and literally means 'of the hand' or lifting of the hand', as in 10 fingers. The hand is that which we work, make, and worship with. Yeshua directly linked the yod to Torah and the commandments in Matthew 5:18: "For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one YOD or one tag shall in no way pass from Torah, till all be fulfilled." The illumination of the Spirit is not a substitute for study. Scripture is given to us to validate what we are hearing is the Spirit of Truth. Those who approach scripture with the attitude that all that is required is a devoted and open heart to the leading of Spirit are adopting the same approach as the man who waits for Elohim to harvest the field while he sits on the fence and prays for something to happen. If we are to be active participants with YHVH in the creative process taking place around us right now we need to be actively aligned with His Purpose found in His Words (see why there is no time found in Eternity).

This article contains excerpts from Brad Scott’s series entitled "Alephbet - the building blocks of life."
The Word Series
Part One: Who Is The Word?
Part Two: Aleph-Tav
Part Three: the Separation

"And this is the separation: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the Light and does not come to the Light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true: comes to the Light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in YHVH."
John 3:19-21

Please feel free to email me at While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.