Archive for July, 2016

07 26th, 2016

Aleph Tav

Do the Letters Aleph Tav in the Hebrew Text Refer To Messiah?

Aleph and Tav ( ) are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Greek alphabet their parallel would be Alpha and Omega and in English, A and Z. They appear together over 7,000 times throughout the Tanakh (Hebrew Old Testament). They are never translated in any Bible in any language.

This study will address the issue of whether or not those two letters refer to Messiah when they appear in a text. Proponents of that view will quote selected verses containing aleph tav that also seem to relate to Messiah in some way. For example:

Leviticus 3:7-8 – If he offer a lamb for  his offering, then shall he offer it before Yahweh. And he shall lay  his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle  the blood thereof round about upon the altar.

Since this passage relates to Messiah based on the fact that his blood was shed as an offering, it seems to suggest the letters aleph and tav point to Messiah. However, there are thousands of other verses where aleph and tav appear to have no relation to Messiah whatsoever. For example:

1 Chronicles 6:65  – And they gave by lot out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, and out of the tribe of the children of Benjamin,  these cities, which are called by their names.

We can try to read Messiah into this verse if we so choose, but that is not how we are to arrive at truth. Many believers are reading Messiah into texts that contain . Since that is the case, what other explanation is there for having those words in the text and not translating them? The answer lies in Hebrew grammar.

The Definite Direct Object Marker. In Hebrew prose, definite direct objects are usually marked with . The direct object is the word that receives the action of the verb. For example, in the sentence “God created the earth,” the word “earth” is the direct object of the verb “created.” The direct object “earth” is also a definite direct object because it has the definite article, “the earth.” In Hebrew, the definite direct object marker, also called the accusative marker, is spelled exactly the same as the preposition  which translates “with.” [1]

We also read the following in Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar.

 1. The simplest way in which a noun is subordinated to a verbal form is by the addition of an accusative of the object to a transitive verb.  In the absence of case-endings,  this accusative can now be recognized only from the context, or by the particle אֶת־ (אֵת, before suffixes also אֹת, אוֹת) prefixed to it. The use of this nota accusativi is, however, somewhat rare in poetry, and even in prose it is not invariably necessary but is restricted to those cases in which the accusative of the object is more closely determined by being a proper name, or by having the article, or by a following determinate genitive (hence also by the suffixes), or in some other way (see below, c), e.g. Gen 4:1 and she bare אֶת־קַ֫יִן Cain; 6:10, 1:1 God created אֵת הַשָּׁמַ֫יִם וְאֵת הָאָ֫רֶץ the heaven and the earth (but 2:4 אֶ֫רֶץ רְשָׁמַ֫יִם); 1:25 and God made אֶת־חַיַּת הָאָ֫רֶץ the beast of the earth; 2:24.[2]

 For further study on the grammar of aleph tav, please visit http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_Six/Object_Pronouns/object_pronouns.html under the section “Definite Direct Objects.”

Based on the rules of Hebrew grammar, to read Messiah into aleph tav is to negate the true purpose of those letters; to mark the definite direct object.

 There are those who would object to this rule of grammar and insist that  refers to Messiah based on several New Testament verses.

Revelation 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:11  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you see, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Revelation 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:13  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Let’s examine each of those verses.

1) The words of Revelation 1:8 are not the words of Yeshua and should not be printed in red in modern Bibles.

John is giving a greeting starting in Revelation 1:4 and ending in verse seven. Verse four is a greeting from the Father “which is, and which was, and which is to come.” Verse five is a greeting from Yeshua the Messiah. Verse eight is spoken by the Father which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Scripture makes a clear distinction between the Almighty and Yeshua in Revelation 21:22; “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (KJV)

Revelation 4:8-11 read;

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.  And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who lives for ever and ever. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.

Then, in Revelation 5:6-7, we read;

 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

 The Lamb (Yeshua) is not the Creator who sits on the throne, the Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

2) Revelation 1:11 seems to be the words of Yeshua based on the context of the ensuing verses. It reads, ” Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you see, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” However, upon closer inspection you will see that is not true.

Revelation 1:10 reads,  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s-day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying,

We are not told whose voice that is, but it is compared to that of a trumpet. John then turns around to see who was talking.

Revelation 1:12 And I did turn to see the voice that did speak with me, and having turned, I saw seven golden lamp-stands,

The next four verses describe the glorified Savior, Messiah Yeshua.

Revelation 1:13-16 and in the midst of the seven lamp-stands, one like to a son of man, clothed to the foot, and girt round at the breast with a golden girdle, and his head and hairs white, as if white wool–as snow, and his eyes as a flame of fire; and his feet like to fine brass, as in a furnace having been fired, and his voice as a sound of many waters, and having in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth a sharp two-edged sword is proceeding, and his countenance is as the sun shining in its might.

Notice Messiah’s voice is described as “a sound of many waters.” However, the voice in verse 10 sounded like a trumpet. These voices come from two different individuals.

Revelation 4:1-3 After these things I saw, and lo, a door opened in the heaven, and the first voice that I heard is as of a trumpet speaking with me, saying, `Come up here, and I will show you what must come to pass after these things;’ and immediately I was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne was set in the heaven, and upon the throne is one sitting, and He who is sitting was in sight like a stone, jasper and sardine: and a rainbow was round the throne in sight like an emerald.

This passage is describing Yahweh sitting on the throne. It appears that His voice was likened to a trumpet.

The Greek words used for “voice” (G5456) and “trumpet” (G4536) in the Septuagint are used together in the following verses.

Exodus 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day, as the morning drew nigh, there were voices and lightnings and a dark cloud on mount Sinai: the voice of the trumpet sounded loud, and all the people in the camp trembled. 

Exodus 19:19 And the sounds of the trumpet were waxing very much louder. Moses spoke, and God answered him with a voice (same word as the one translated as “sounds”).

Exodus 20:18-19 And all the people perceived the thundering, and the flashes, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and all the people feared and stood afar off, and said to Moses, Speak thou to us, and let not God speak to us, lest we die.

So, we are not told who voices John heard in Rev 1, but we should not assume the trumpet voice was Yeshua’s if we know for a fact that his voice sounds like many waters. It is the being whose voice was as a trumpet that owns the title Alpha and Omega.

3) Revelation 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

In context, this verse refers to Yahweh.

Revelation 21:5-7 And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcome shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

He that “sat upon the throne” (vs 5) is Yahweh as we saw in Rev 4 & 5. We are not sons of Yeshua (vs 7), but of Yahweh. Yahweh is our “God” as well as Yeshua’s “God” (Revelation 3:12).

4) Revelation 22:13  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

This verse usually appears in red letters because the translators thought Yeshua was speaking. However, notice the context including verse 12.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

We know Yeshua is coming, however, did you know Yahweh is coming as well?

Isaiah 40:10  Behold, Adonai Yahweh will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. 

“His arm” is a reference to Yeshua. They are both coming in a sense. Yeshua will come as Yahweh’s representative. When he comes, it will be as though Yahweh (Yeshua’s Father and “God”) will come as well. Yahweh will literally come later to dwell in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-5).

The bottom line is this; we are not to read things into the text and thereby establish our man-made doctrines. We are not told anywhere in scripture that the two letters “aleph tav” (), as found throughout the Old Testament, refer to Messiah Yeshua. That is wishful thinking on the part of those who want to prove that either Yeshua is Yahweh or that Yeshua preexisted as a spirit being prior to his earthly birth. Let’s stick to what the scriptures actually say and not add to them, to the glory of Yahweh.


1 Pratico, Gary D. & Van Pelt, Miles V. Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar (Michigan, Zondervan, 2001), 6.7, 54-55.

2 Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, (London, Oxford University Press, 1909), Section 117.1

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