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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 2

Genesis 2:4-3:23   -   Ezekiel 28:11-26   -   Psalm 2   -   Romans 5:12-21
 

Nisan 12, 5764 / April 3, 2004

Nisan 12, 5767 / Mar 31, 2007
Nisan 12, 5770 / Mar 27, 2010

Nisan 12, 5773 / Mar 23, 2013

Nisan   8, 5776 / Apr 16, 2013

 

Elleh toldot / These are the Generations    SCRIPTURES (should be read first)

 

These are the beginnings.” The Torah is foundational to the entire Bible, and in the first part of Genesis we can see the roots of major Biblical themes. In today’s portion, we first see God’s character represented by His Holy Name, then the creation of man, his dwelling place, his fall, and origins of the ordinances of circumcision and baptism.

 

God’s Holy Name (See God’s Holy Name)

 

“Elohim” refers to the creator who judges His creation – He saw that it was very good. “Yahweh” refers to the Eternal who is gracious. Here we first see “Yahweh Elohim” (v.2:4, commonly translated “the Lord God”), the Eternal who is gracious with His creation that He judges. “Yahweh” is His memorial name for all generations (Exodus 3:15). It also indicates God’s attribute of being eternal – (Hayah, Hoveh, V’yih-yeh) He was, He is, and He will be – and His attributes of omnipresence, omnipotence, and etc.

 

Here is modern rabbinic teaching concerning the Name Yahweh: “This is also the proper name of God. In respect for its intense holiness, it is not pronounced as it is spelled. In prayer or when reciting a complete verse of the Torah, it is pronounce Adonoy (Lord). Otherwise it is referred to as HaShem (the Name)” [The Chumash on Genesis 2:4].

 

In Scripture, God’s memorial Name is used approximately 7,000 times, far more than any other proper noun, and by all kinds of speakers. The command to use it is the most repeated command in the Bible, though it is not enumerated with the 613 as compiled by modern rabbinic sources. We are repeatedly commanded to “Praise the Name Yahweh” (Psalm 7:17, Joel 2:26, Isaiah 42:8), but “Not use His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). We are to use it only with utmost respect and honor, not as a common word. [I have a hard time seeing justification for replacing the Name, when reading Scripture or blessing God, with a common word such as “Lord” or “the Name”.]

 

While God did not indicate this name to man until Moses (Exodus 3:15), some 2500 years after Adam was created, yet Moses used it in writing the Torah, from this account of God’s original dealings with man. From Adam, through Moses, to the present, the Eternal God has dealt with man by grace. He does not change (1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6).

 

Creation of Man

 

Though God created trees and vegetation on the third day (v.1:11), they did not grow above ground before the end of the sixth day – when man was created: “Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for Yahweh Elohim had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground” (v.2:5). The sages say that crops did not come to fruition until there was man to bless His Name for them.

 

God took Adam’s body and breathed into it the spirit of life, and Adam became a living soul (v.2:7). The body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26). “Soul” is commonly used with feelings that require the spirit to be with the body – as when a soul desires food. It seems to represent the combination of the other two.

 

God did not finish creating until the end of the sixth day, “Friday” (He rested from creating on the Holy Sabbath): His final creation was man – male and female (Gen 1:27, 31).

 

On the sixth day, God created Adam, and then placed him in the garden with instructions forbidding the Tree of Knowledge (v.2:15-17), and finally created Eve (v.2:22). Some may like to call Eve the crowning achievement of creation. Eve (Heva) means living (v.3:20). Adam called her “ishah” (woman), because she was taken from “ish” (man) (v.2:23).

 

Eden (See Eden / Paradise)

 

The Hebrew “Gan Edan” is usually translated into English as “Garden of Eden;” in the Greek Septuagint, it is translated “Paradisos,” which is subsequently translated into English as “Paradise.” As Yahweh placed the Garden of Eden for man on the ancient earth, so on the renewed earth God will establish Paradise – Eden. The same items found in the original Eden (Genesis 2) are to be found in the future Eden (Revelation 2 & 22). These include: the river flowing out from Eden (Gen 2:10 / Rev 22:1), the tree of life (Gen 2:9 / Rev 2:7 & 22:2), and God walking with man (Gen 3:8 / Rev 21:3).

 

Man was charged with keeping Eden’s garden, and was not to seek to be like God (Genesis 3:5).

 

Chattat - Man’ s Fall

 

While Torah means to point or aim – Messiah is the goal of the Torah (Romans 10:4), sin (Heb. chattat) means to miss the mark – to fall short of the goal.

 

God said to Adam, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife . . .” (v.3:17); so we see that Adam chose between pleasing God and pleasing the one who was offering a momentary enticement. How often do we do this? Adam was graciously given Eve, then pointed to her for an excuse for his sin (v.3:12). Eve pointed to the serpent for an excuse (v.3:13). God faulted all three. Interestingly, Adam replied (literal translation of v.12 Heb. v’ochel – future tense), “I ate and will eat again”! This seems to be an admission that he would likely do the same again in similar circumstances.

 

Adam died spiritually the day he sinned (shown by his hiding from God), and he died physically on the same millennial day (he lived to 930 years, short of one millennium).

 

Though Eve sinned before Adam, it was through Adam that a sin nature was inherited by all mankind (Romans 5:12). Therefore, Yeshua, “the seed of the woman”, did not inherit sin, having no earthly father.

 

Some would say that ha-satan (satan) was created before this week of creation. Some rabbinic sources teach that angels were created on the second day of creation. God says that all things, in heaven and earth, were created in these six days (Exodus 20:11). See Ezekiel 28:13.

 

In this portion, we see the promise of a redeemer: satan would bruise the heel (indicating temporary hurt/crucifixion) of the seed-of-the-woman (Messiah), then Messiah would crush the head (indicating ultimately destruction) of the serpent (satan).

 

Adam and Eve glowed with the glory of God (see Eden/Paradise). Trees of the garden did not glow. When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their glow; and perceiving their “unclothed” state, covered themselves with leaves and hid among the trees of the garden (v.3:7-8). They tried to look like trees, which did not glow.

 

A Promised Redeemer

 

This week’s portion includes Gen 3:15, “Yahweh Elohim said to the serpent. . . , ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, when you shall bruise His heel.’

 

Let us consider Yeshua, with no earthly father, called the Seed of the woman (see Gal 3:16). He is “the prophet like Moses” (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22, 7:37), leading the church through the wilderness (Acts 7:38). Marching a straight line, He plants His foot on the earth (2000 years ago), and a little viper snake (haSatan) bites His heel (crucifixion). He takes a step backwards and steps on the snake, crushing its head (destroying its power by His resurrection). The flock is temporarily scattered (Matt 26:31), but the snake no longer poses a danger to it – the church will never be swallowed up by death (Matt 16:18), but will march on to an ultimate glorious life!

 

Brit Milah - Circumcision

 

Then God clothed them with skin (v.3:21). We often hear that this was animal skin, indicating a slain animal; but the text does not say so. Having lost their covering of light, they may have been, for the first time, covered with human skin. Some rabbinical sources suggest that they were “uncircumcised”, given foreskin and hymen (circumcision, prescribed on the eighth day for a man and at marital consummation for a woman, being seen as our return to the original holy state). The latter two ideas may coincide. In any case, it was God who provided the atonement (covering).

 

We know that circumcision is an ordinance of God – of that category of commandments where men are to perform some physical act to display spiritual truth. We know that circumcision indicates partaking in God’s Covenant – to be of His people. Here we may see that it represents going back to the original state, before the fall, which is the ultimate purpose of God’s covenant.

 

Mikvah - Baptism (See Mikvah / Baptism)

 

The portion about the river (v.2:10-14) seems to be a parenthetical clause – its relationship to the rest of the chapter is not obvious. We see this river again in Revelation 22:1-3. The Talmud teaches that all the water in this world had as its source this river from Eden. The Mikvah Mayim (baptismal water) is our primary contact with the Garden of Eden: when we immerse in it, we are born again – symbolically from the Mem for Mayim, picturing our spiritual birth by the Word of God.

 

Today, many Christian groups take the “New Testament” (a misnomer) to replace the “Old Testament”, and take baptism to be something new started by John the Baptist. It is commonly taken to be a “public” act, often performed at the front of a church sanctuary.

 

Immersion in a mikvah is an ordinance of the Torah. An ordinance is a symbolic act to demonstrate spiritual truth. Baptism is not a public act: clothing is not an option. John would not have baptized men in the Jordan when women were present. “The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3) is an ordinance performed during the forty days preceding Yom haKippurim / the Day of the Atonements.

 

We know that baptism pictures burial and resurrection. When we are baptized, we are to rise in newness of life, to serve God. Ultimately, we are to physically rise from the dead to the original sinless state – in Eden.

 

Torah for All from Beginning

 

Yahweh, the Gracious One, gave Torah (instruction) to Adam. Adam should have acted in love towards God and Eve, but Adam disobeyed, ultimately hurting himself and others.

 

Adam was created at the end of the sixth day, and the Holy Sabbath was made next. Yeshua said “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27) – it was made initially for Adam.

 

The Ten Commandments were given through Moses, the first five to show us how to love Yahweh, the last five to show us how to love our neighbor. The Fourth Commandment is to “remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy” – as it was established in the beginning.

 

The Commandments were “added because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19) – to show people that they were fallen far from the original instructions. They were not some monumental change in requirements.

 

The Torah was not only for one group of people. After God chose Israel to be “a light to the world” (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, 60:3) – to take God’s instruction to everyone, He took the priesthood from the firstborn (since Adam) and gave it to the Levites (Numbers 3:12).

 

The title, “These are the beginnings”, indicates that this portion of Genesis is foundational to the whole of history.

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

Elleh toldot hashamaim v’ha-aretz b’hi-baram b’yom asot Yahweh Elohim eretz v’shamaim.

Reader 1* Amen 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh Elohim made earth and heavens. 5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for Yahweh Elohim had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.

 

Reader 2* Amen 7 Then Yahweh Elohim formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 And Yahweh Elohim planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground Yahweh Elohim caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

Reader 3* Amen 10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

 

Reader 4* Amen 15 Then Yahweh Elohim took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 And Yahweh Elohim commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

 

Reader 5* Amen 18 Then Yahweh Elohim said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." 19 And out of the ground Yahweh Elohim formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So Yahweh Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And Yahweh Elohim fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

 

Reader 6* Amen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Yahweh Elohim had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden '?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'" 4 And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die! 5 "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of Yahweh Elohim walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh Elohim among the trees of the garden.

 

Reader 7* Amen 9 Then Yahweh Elohim called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." 11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 And the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." 13 Then Yahweh Elohim said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 14 And Yahweh Elohim said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life; 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel." 16 To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." 17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; 19 by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." 20 Now the man called his wife's name Heva (Eve), because she was the mother of all the living. 21 And Yahweh Elohim made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Ezekiel 28:11-26

 

Reader 8* Amen 11 Again the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh Elohim, "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 "You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 "You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. 16 "By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you. 18 "By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries.

 

Reader 9* Amen Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. 19 "All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have become terrified, and you will be no more."'" 20 And the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 21 "Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, prophesy against her, 22 and say, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, and I shall be glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am Yahweh, when I execute judgments in her, and I shall manifest My holiness in her. 23 For I shall send pestilence to her and blood to her streets, and the wounded will fall in her midst by the sword upon her on every side; then they will know that I am Yahweh. 24 "And there will be no more for the house of Israel a prickling brier or a painful thorn from any round about them who scorned them; then they will know that I am Yahweh Elohim." 25 'Thus says Yahweh Elohim, "When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26 "And they will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards, and live securely, when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them. Then they will know that I am Yahweh their Elohim."'"

 

Psalm 2 (to be sung)

1 Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against Yahweh and against His Anointed: 3 "Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!" 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, Yahweh scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: 6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. 7 I will surely tell of the decree of Yahweh: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.' " 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship Yahweh with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

 

Romans 5:12-21

 

Reader 10* Amen 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- 13 for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Yeshua the Messiah, abound to the many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.

 

Reader 11* Amen 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Yeshua the Messiah. 18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

 


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)