VAV: The Column of Creation
THE NUMBER OF MAN
“Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man (mankind); and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” - Revelation 13:18
This scripture has been analyzed and evaluated over and over through the centuries in an effort to discover the identity of the man we refer to as Antichrist. Some have theorized that it really doesn’t identify an individual but rather is demonstrating that, in the end, mankind would be as evil as he has ever been. The clue that supposedly hints at this interpretation is the fact that six - the number of man - is tripled.
Because Adam was created on the sixth day, six has been considered to be the number of man or mankind. Thus, the Hebrew letter vav, whose value is six, is considered to be a man, specifically “an upright man,” as opposed to a fallen man.
The letter vav also alludes to physical completion because, on the physical plane, there are six directions: left, right, above, below, before and behind.
Rabbinical commentary offers Moses’ father-in-law Jethro or Yitro as an example of physical completion resulting in an upright man. Yitro was originally known as Yeter, spelled yod, tav, resh. When he embraced the God of Israel, his name was changed and the letter vav was added. Yeter was completed and became Yitro, the priest of Midian, an upright man.
SIX DAYS OF CREATION
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” - Genesis 1:1
In the Hebrew Scriptures, the first word of the Bible is b’reshiyt - “in the beginning.” There are six letters in the word corresponding to the six days of creation. So, in a sense, the vav represents the Creation.
The first verse of the Bible, as written in Hebrew, contains seven words, corresponding to the six days of creation and the one day of rest - Shabbat.
The sixth word of Creation is v’et, translated literally as “and.” The conjunction “and” acts as a hook to join two sections of a sentence together. In the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1, the conjunction “and” has been translated solely from the letter vav. In name, vav is a “hook.”
The Bible says that hooks were used to fasten the components of the tabernacle together. The Hebrew word that is translated “hooks” is vavim. Thus, the vav is the hook that, in this case, joins heaven and earth.
What makes this even more interesting is the fact that, though the word v’et is translated as “and,” only the letter vav is actually being translated. What then do the other two letters - alef, tav - represent?
These two letters, the first and
last letters of the Hebrew alef-bet, represent the entire alef-bet.
It would be similar to summarizing the English alphabet by saying “A - Z.”
From a rabbinic point of view, the alef-tav not only represents the
Hebrew alef-bet, but the entire Hebrew language and by extension, the very
Word of God.
Thus, v’et symbolizes the vav, a hook, an upright man, being joined with the Word of God. That “hook,” the upright man, is connecting “the heavens” with “the earth.” That “hook” has some connection with the Word of God.
COLUMN OF CREATION
Because there is only one vav found in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1, and because in form the vav is considered a pillar or column, the first vav of Scripture - as found in v’et - is said to be the “column of Creation.”
According to the sages, the column of Creation is personified by none other than the Messiah. It represents the Messiah because Creation is always looking forward. To look forward is to hope and all hope for the future rests solely upon the Messiah.
Don’t forget, however, that the vav of Creation is joined to the letters alef-tav, which represents the Word of God. Therefore from a rabbinic point of view, the Messiah, the column of Creation must have some affiliation with the Word of God.
WORD OF GOD MADE FLESH
Of course, as believers we understand what this affiliation is. The Word of God (represented by the alef-tav) was made flesh (represented by the vav) and dwelt among us. The Word of God became an upright man who joined - reconciled - man to God, heaven to earth.
In my opinion, Y’shua makes reference to this picture in Genesis 1, when He appeared to the apostle John on the isle of Patmos. Recall, that Y’shua said, “I am the alpha and omega, the first and last.” Actually, this is not what He said. He said, “I am the alef and the tav, the first and the last.” In effect, He was telling John, I am the Word of God.
Because John’s first language was Hebrew and because he was very familiar with rabbinic concepts associated with the nuances of the Hebrew text, he would have recognized exactly what Y’shua was alluding to - that is, the alef-tav that appears in Genesis 1:1.
For centuries, the sages have taught that, because the alef-tav represents the Word of God, and because the alef-tav is not translated in the text, it is evidence that the Word of God was present at the beginning of Creation. Furthermore, they argue that it is the Word of God that actually created the heavens and the earth.
So, when Y’shua referred to Himself as the alef-tav, He was in effect stating that “I am the Word of God. I am the Creator!” It is worth noting that John is the only New Testament writer who makes the connection between Y’shua and the Word of God when he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
But what is so striking, and what is relevant to our study of the letter vav is, that John goes on to say, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). This, I believe, is reflected in the word v’et, because it is in that word that we see the Word of God is made to be an “upright man” - the column of Creation - who acts as the “hook” to reconcile man to God.