Studies in Torah

Parashat Bereisheet (בראשית): Genesis 1:1-6:8

These days, a Creator Who made the heavens, Earth, plants, creatures and people is scoffed at by many, including ever more in the Body of Messiah. But this week’s Torah portion, בְּרֵאשִׁית B’reisheet (“In the beginning,” Genesis 1:1-6:8), reminds us why Yeshua (Jesus) taught that this is important real history undergirding our faith.

The traditional complementary Prophets reading is Isa. 42:5-43:10.

Companion readings from the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) from (also has through-the-Bible readings for prophets and B’rit Chadashah) and First Fruits of Zion:

  • Mt. 1:1-17; 1:3-9; Mk. 10:1-12; Lk. 3:23-38; Jn. 1:1-18; 1Cor. 6:15-20; 15:35-58; Rom. 5:12-21; Eph. 5:21-32; Col. 1:14-17; 1Tim. 2:11-15; Heb. 1:1-3; 3:7–4:11; 11:1-7; 2Pet. 3:3-14; Rev. 21:1-5, 22:1-5 (Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)
  • Rev. 22:6-21 (Parashiot From the Torah and Haftarah by Jeffrey E. Feinbe of Flame Foundation))
  • John 1:1-18 (First Fruits of Zion)

The following are recorded studies and notes on passages from Bereshit by Hallel Fellowship teachers:

Parashat B’reisheet

Genesis 1:1–6:8: God commanded, but why should I listen?

Genesis 1:1–6:8: The Creator shows why to ‘have no other gods before [Him]’


Genesis 1

Genesis 1:1 — ‘beginning’ part 1

The first book in the Bible is called Genesis, which is Greek for “beginning.” The meaning of “beginning” in the Hebrew language in which the book was written can tell us a lot about Messiah.

Genesis 1:1 — ‘beginning’ part 2

Knowing where all that is comes from is important, but God plans to make the end, the outcome, of us and the earth greater than the beginning. We explore more deeply what it was about the end that God declared in the beginning, in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

Genesis 1:1: ‘In the beginning’

In seven Hebrew words of the first verse of the Bible, God started declaring the end from the beginning. The final result of the creation — shown in the Apostolic Writings, especially in the book of Revelation — will be much greater than “in the beginning.”

Genesis 1:1 — ‘created’

The second Hebrew word in Genesis 1 — bara, “create” — tells us a lot about something that God is creating in us, His body of believers that is unseen, powerful and will get greater over time.

Genesis 1:1 — ‘the heavens and the earth’

Richard explores the last four Hebrew words in the first verse in the Bible, translated as “the heavens and the earth.” What did apostle Paul mean when he said he was taken to the “third heaven”? The Hebrew word for “heavens” explains this.

Genesis 1:2: ‘The land became formless and empty’

The end will be greater than the beginning, according to prophesy. If you want to know how the current world will end, you need to know how it began. We are continuing our survey through the start of creation. Did God create the world in chaos and confusion? Isa. 45:18 says no. So how do we understand Gen. 1:2 because it seems to imply otherwise.

Genesis 1:2 — ‘and darkness’

What is the big deal about “light” and “darkness” at the beginning of the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1? How is that connected to the light and darkness Yeshua (Jesus), the prophets and the apostles talk about in connection to people?

Genesis 1:2 — ‘darkness was on the face of the deep’

Gen. 1:2 says that “darkness was on the face of the deep.” How is the “darkness” and “light” in Genesis 1 related to the “darkness” and “light” that apostles Paul and John talk about?

Genesis 1:2 — ‘ruach’

Gen. 1:2 says, “the Spirit of God was moving on the face of the waters” (NASB). The words from the original language for “Spirit” and “moving” give us an intimate picture of who God is.

Genesis 1:3 — ‘let there be light’

In Gen. 1:3, God says, “Let there be light!” Richard explores the connection between God’s bringing light to darkness at the beginning of the world to Messiah Yeshua’s (Jesus) bringing His “light” to the darkness of people living apart from God.

Genesis 1:4 — ‘it was good’

Why is there the repetition in Genesis 1 of “God saw ____ and it was good”? When God repeats Himself, take notice of something important. When He repeats Himself seven times in the same chapter, get ready for something amazing. Richard leads a discussion of what was so good about the light and everything else God created.

Genesis 1:3-31: ‘And God said…’

Genesis 1 tells us that God did not create the earth and the heavens above for His own comfort, He created it for ours. The primary purpose of creation was for the use of mankind — His Image upon the Earth. God said it was good and He took pleasure in His creation, particularly its culmination in creating mankind with His own hands. God will fulfill His pleasure and it will be complete.

Genesis 1:4 — ‘separated the light from the darkness’

Many say that God is all about unity, bringing people together. Yes, He wants to reconcile rebellious mankind to Himself. Yet, why is He continually setting people, behavior and things apart — making them holy?

Genesis 1:5 — ‘God called the light, Day … the darkness, Night … the evening and the morning were the first day’

In Gen. 1:5, God is not only describing what the world was like when He created it but what it will be like when He returns to re-create it. That may be the spiritual picture behind light and darkness, evening and morning in this verse.

Genesis 1:6 — ‘let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters’

Gen. 1:6 describes God’s action of creating the “firmament” by creating an expanse. In the original language, this process was “beating out,” like with metal or dough. What does God want to “pound out” in our lives to create what He wants in the world?

Genesis 1:26-2:8: Purpose of Shabbat and creation; two creation accounts or one?

The last two things God created was the Shabbat/Sabbath and the Garden of Eden. God did not create the Shabbat because He was exhausted or tired. Rather, He wanted to set aside a day for mankind to have a special time with Him. Also some are confused about the creation narratives of Gen. 1 and Gen. 2 but a careful reading of each shows us that Gen. 2 focuses specifically on the creation of mankind and the special Garden called Eden that was made by God as mankind’s primary residence.

Genesis 1-2 — ‘made’ vs. ‘created’

Is there a distinction between use of Hebrew words translated as “created” and “made” in Genesis 1-2? If so, why is that distinction there?

Genesis 2

Genesis 2:1-7 — ‘rest,’ ‘mist’ and ‘breath’

God created things in the physical world to explain what happens in the spiritual world. What is the spiritual teaching behind “rest,” “mist” and “breath” in Gen. 2:1-7?

Genesis 2:8-17 — four rivers, two trees in Eden

The Hebrew words behind the four rivers in Eden, the garden and the two trees in Gen. 2:8-17 help us understand more about God.

Genesis 2:8-17: The good, the bad and the two trees of Eden

God gives us free will and the option of choosing the good, which leads to righteousness and eternal life, or the bad, which leads to evil and eternal death. God gave Adam several profound responsibilities: tending the Garden of Eden; naming the animals and choosing between the Tree of Life v. the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. Adam made the wrong choice. All of us as Adam’s heirs also have a similar choice to make. God gives each of us us free will to choose the good, which leads to righteousness and eternal life or we can choose the bad which leads to evil and eternal death.

Genesis 2:17-25 — ‘in dying you shall die’; woman the ‘helper’

The LORD God warns Adam about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and decides that Adam needs a “helper.”

Genesis 2:17-24: A helper for Adam

What kind of woman was Eve? She was just as smart as Adam. God says through Paul that Adam was the one who sinned, but it was Eve who was deceived. She was created to be Adam’s opposite. She was created to be an intelligent, hard-working woman. Adam and Eve made a terrible mistake. Was Eve’s mistake greater than Adam’s? No, Adam’s mistake was greater than hers. For those who have more knowledge, when they sin, they will be “beaten with many stripes.”

Genesis 2:25 – 3:1 — ‘naked,’ ‘ashamed,’ ‘serpent’ & ‘subtle’

Unknown to the English reader, the original Hebrew words for Gen. 2:25 and Gen. 3:1 contain a word play with root words translated as “naked,” “ashamed,” “serpent” and “cunning.” Some have made fun of this description as one of the first nudist colony or claimed that the first couple were really clothed with light. Yet there is a vital lesson in the nakedness.

Genesis 3

Genesis 3:7–14 — Adam’s & Eve’s eyes opened to their ‘nakedness,’ shame covered by prophetic fig leaves

Why do the fig tree show up in the Genesis 3 account of Adam and Eve’s decision to pursue knowledge of good and evil? What does the fig tree symbolize throughout the Bible?

Genesis 3:14-24 — Curses for Man, Woman & Serpent

The curses on Adam, Eve and the Serpent are well-known but misunderstood. For example, how many snakes eat dirt? Is a husband to be a dictator for his wife? The original language of Gen. 3:14-24 holds the answers.

Genesis 4

Genesis 4:1–7 — the first murder & the root of rebellion against God

In Gen. 4:1-7 we read about the the first murder. Many readers of the Bible are confused about why God rejected Cain, and some think it was over something “petty.” Yet the real reason underlies the downfall of all people.

Genesis 4:7-25: The way of Cain

Cain’s offering was not rejected because it was the wrong offering. It was rejected because of the condition of Cain’s heart. God warns Cain that he has let sin into his heart and his house. God instructs Cain that he is to rule over sin not to allow the sin to rule over him, but the sin in Cain’s heart was too pleasurable to him.

Genesis 4:16-26 — Lessons from Cain’s family

Names are very important in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible. The names of Cain’s descendants tell an interesting story about the anguish he and those after him felt about separation from God.

Genesis 4:8-15 — ‘Mark of Cain’ is mercy not racism

Many have thought the “mark of Cain” is dark skin or some other physical trait. Actually, it was a mark of mercy. That mercy claimed the life of Messiah Yeshua.

Genesis 5

Genesis 5 — generations of Adam and Seth

The lineage represented in Genesis 5 are the leading righteous figures before the flood. The names of these men can teach us about the working of God in a world much like our own, growing increasingly dark as judgment approaches.

Genesis 5: Generations from Adam to Noah

Each one of the patriarchs listed here are listed for a reason: to show us where Noah came from. Each one of the these patriarchs had other sons and daughters besides those mentioned here, but God singles out these particular men to teach a specific lesson.

Big picture

‘Feasts to the LORD’ foreshadowed in Genesis 2-5

Daniel explores foreshadowing of all seven ‘feasts to the LORD’ in Genesis 2–5. For example, hints of Passover are seen in Adam and Eve’s hiding from God in the garden; Firstfruits, in Eve’s dedicating her firstborn; Atonement, in God’s marking Cain to wander with vengeance taken against him.

Genesis 4–11 recap

This recap of Genesis 4–11 into what happened to mankind right after God had to throw Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and into the time of the flood and the post-flood period. We come to discover that unless we believe the Messiah’s own words that the book of Genesis is real history, we can lose our way. We also need to keep in mind what Messiah said about the book of Genesis (and the differences between people and angels) so we are not led astray by fanciful and even salacious interpretations of how mankind fell away so far that God had to destroy all of mankind (except for one righteous family). A Spirit-filled grounding in the Word of God will help us provide the right answers when those around us ask us about our confidence in God and His scriptures.

The account of God’s first dealings with man so far — a recap of Genesis 1–36

Before studying the life of Yosef (Joseph), we look back at some of what we have learned about God and His interaction with some of His notable people. The Flood and the Tower of Babel were the two most monumental events in mankind’s history. Everything we experience today is the result of these two events.


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