Ready for your Hebrew lesson?
I bet you are!
Bet (also written as Beth/Beit) is the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet, or Aleph-Bet. It sounds like our letter “B”. Every line in Psalm 119:9-16 starts with this letter. Bet looks like this:
Bet means “house”.
For example, Beth – lehem means “house of bread.”
The letter signifies a house with the front door opened.
See the roof on top?
We can’t see the heavens that are beyond our world.
The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to man. Ps. 115:16
See the floor on the bottom?
God built us a house with a solid foundation.
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth. Ps. 102:25
See the wall behind on the right?
We can’t see what came before the creation of our world.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Job 38:4
See the open door on the left?
For now, the way is open to the future – a new heaven and a new earth.
Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. Isa. 65:17
Now let’s look for Jesus in the letter “bet”.
This letter has the distinct honor of being the first letter of the first word in the Hebrew Bible. (“In the beginning” in Hebrew is “B’resheet”.) This reveals that God created the world because He wanted to dwell in a house with us. In Jewish culture, the father’s house was given to the first-born son.
See where we’re going here?
God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the master of this house. The Messiah was the fulfillment of the promise made to King David, “The Lord Himself will establish a house…that will endure forever.” (2 Sam. 7:11, 16) Christ Himself is the Chief Cornerstone and all believers are members of the household of faith. (Eph. 2:19-20) We are, even now, living stones being built into a spiritual house. (1 Peter 2:5)
One more thing.
“There are many stories as to why Bet is the first letter of the Hebrew Bible and not Aleph, which is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. While some say it was due to Aleph’s humility, another theory explains that God decided to start the Bible with the letter Bet in order to show man that he did not know the first thing about how the world works!” (hebrewtoday.com)
To reflect that understanding, all ancient Jewish literature written as commentary on God’s Word begins on page two (beit); the first page is left blank, to show that we can’t assume to know how the beginning began.
So when Jesus said “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, He was saying “I was here before the beginning of creation, before Bet, before the house was built.”
That’s Hebrew for “stop and think about that for awhile.”
Next: My favorite word that starts with “B”.