in the beginning

Jesus in the Beginning

10 May 2022

3.4 MINS

When we examine the Word of God in its original Hebrewt text, we can discover profound layers of meaning behind a single word. Here is an exegesis of why John the Evangelist emphasised the word “beginning” when referring to Christ.

One of Jesus’ closest disciples, known as the disciple “whom Jesus loved”, repeated an intriguing word in his writings.

The word he used repeatedly was beginning. Following are some of the places where it is found.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2 NKJV)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life. (1 John 1:1 NKJV)

I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the
beginning. (1 John 2:14 NKJV)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord. (Revelation 1:8 NKJV)

These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness,
Beginning of the creation of God. (Revelation 3:14 NKJV)

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 21:6 NKJV)

Where is this Beginning?

John deliberately used this word to take us back to where it was originally used, in Genesis 1:1. English translations of this verse add two words, in the, that are not in the Hebrew, but were inserted to make the English more readable.

In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 NKJV)

So, the very first word in all Scripture is the Hebrew word for our English word, beginning! The Old Testament Hebrew word for Beginning is listed in Strong’s as:


This word is rê’shı̂yth, pronounced as ‘ray-sheeth’.

It can have the following meanings: beginning, chiefest, firstfruits, part, time, principal thing.

It describes both reality before all matter, space and time were created, and the identity of the One through whom all things were created.

What is Hidden in the Beginning?

The word rê’shı̂yth contains 5 letters. Two of them are aleph and tav, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. They correspond to the alpha and omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus used this title in the Revelation to identify himself as the One who was with God in the beginning.

There are 22 consonants in the Hebrew alphabet, and each is a symbolic picture with a unique meaning.

Hebrew words, unlike our English words, are written and read from right to left. Looking at each of the letters in the word rê’shı̂yth, we can uncover hidden prophetic messages. In the table below, reading from left to right on each line is each letter, followed by its name, pictograph and meaning.

  • ר     Resh/a man’s head/head, first, top, beginning
  • א     Aleph/ox head/strong, power, leader
  • שׁ     Shin/two front teeth/Shaddai, sharp, press, eat, two
  •  י     Yod/arm or hand/hand, work, throw, worship
  • ת     Tav/crossed sticks/mark, sign, signal, monument

In this Hebrew word is a clear prophetic picture of “the Word who was with God and was God” (John 1:1), our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

  • His Incarnation — A high-ranking man.
  • His Character — A strong and powerful leader with a heart to serve.
  • His DivinityEl Shaddai, God Almighty whose words are true and give life to those who receive them.
  • His Ministry — His outstretched hand will complete the work he is sent to do, throw down evil, and be worshipped.
  • His Death — He will be marked with and memorialised by a cross.


The book of Revelation contains a tantalising verse that could relate to the 22nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ת Tav, in the Genesis 1:1 word for beginning.

Bible translators are divided over how best to interpret the Greek in this verse. There are two ways this verse can be structured, and both can be right.

Some link the phrase, from the foundation of the world to God’s foreknowledge of those who would worship the beast, rather than to Jesus’ death.

And all that dwell on the earth shall worship Him, everyone whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain. (Revelation 13:8 ASV)

Others, on the other hand have translated the verse as,

 All who dwell on the earth will worship Him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8 NKJV)

Could this latter translation be what the last letter in rê’shı̂yth is hinting at? For ת Tav depicts a cross!

This version of the text reveals that the cross of Jesus was not an afterthought by God. The cross was in the heart and mind of God before the creation of the heavens and the earth! Sacrifice has always been at the heart of God’s love for His Creation.

God knowing all things, even before humans began to inhabit the planet, planned that the death of His Son on a cross would be the way to be saved from sin’s power and be reconciled back into right relationship with God the Father!


Image by Chris Tolworthy on Flickr.

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