Describe the gospel in 25 words or less. Can we explain it to someone without diving into too much detail? Suppose we all wore Tshirts that said "Ask me about the Gospel". You get on an elevator with someone, they say "I'll bite, tell me about the gospel". You have 7 seconds (25 words) to get them to say "Tell me more".I didn’t get a lot of responses, but here is my attempt “You're gonna die, you're not going to heaven or hell. But God, through Jesus, has a plan to bring you back to life, forever. Interested?" I know, I used two contractions and “gonna” to keep it to 25 words. It’s the best I’ve come up with so far. Perhaps you can do better.
What if I told you that God managed to pack the gospel into one word of six letters? Yes we have to go back to Hebrew to see it. But it is the very first word in the Bible. In English, the Bible starts “In the beginning”, in Hebrew it starts “beresheet”, that is בראשית. The word Beresheet has also come to mean the first book of Moses, what we call Genesis in English.
This is Beresheet in an actual torah scroll (sefer torah) used in a synagogue. It’s crooked because it’s a photo of an uneven scroll.
Since Hebrew is written without vowels, this gives different ways to parse a word like beresheet. We will consider three ways – maybe there are more.
Number 1 (B’resheet ) is the usual meaning of the word – in the beginning, although it would be more accurate to translate it “in a beginning” - see Kehillat Israel (2).
Number 2 (Bar’asheet) I found comments from several sources.
The Amazing Word of God (3) - If you take the word for "son" in Hebrew (bar) and the word for "I make" (asheet) and put them together, you have the first word of the Scriptures: "in the beginning" (barasheet).
Bible Society in Israel (4) - The first word of the Bible, b’resheet, can be divided into two words, “bar asheet,” meaning “I will appoint a son.” This strengthens the parallel we have already noted in John 1. … So from the very first word of the creation story we get the hint that God will appoint a son through whom the redemption will come.
In case you remembered the Hebrew word for son is “ben”, as in Benjamin, Yahoo Answers (5) explains.
Q. In Hebrew bar and ben both mean 'son of' what is the difference that determines which you use?
A. This is an easy one: "ben" is Hebrew, "bar" is Aramaic. In Hebrew you always use "ben" except for imported phrases such as "bar mitzvah" or names like "Shim'on bar Yokhai".
Grant Luton of Beth Tikkun adds this in his article In The Beginning (6).
Now if we recombine the definitions of these two Hebrew words, we arrive at the phrase “A Son I shall put/place/appoint”. A better rendering might be, “A Son I shall establish.” The introduction of only a slight separation between the second and third letters of the Bible provides us with this insight
Let’s look at number 3 – (Bara’sheet) - Bara (ברא) is the second word of the bible and means “he created”. Sheet is a variant of shesh (שש) or “six”. The question is “six what?” We have to read through verse 3 to see it, but one answer is six alephs (א). There are six alephs in the first sentence of the Hebrew Bible (verses 1-3). And aleph sounds exactly like eleph (אלף), which means “thousand”. In other words, six alephs equals six thousand years. Two alephs during the darkness (verses 1-2) two alephs where God speaks (verse 3), and two alephs in “let there be light” (verse 3). In other words, 2000 years of darkness till Abraham, 2000 years after revealing his torah, and 2000 years in the light of Christ. Note the progression from darkness to speech to light. Luton gives much more detail about the derivation at In The Beginning (6) and also shows where this notion came from:
The Talmud also suggests allusions to Messiah in the opening words of Genesis. The Talmud (b.Avodah Zarah 9a) states the following:
The world is to exist for six thousand years; the first two thousand years are to be void; the next two thousand years are the period of the Torah, and the following two thousand years are the period of the Messiah. Through our many sins some of these have already passed [and the Messiah has not yet come].3
3 The words that appear in brackets were added by Rashi (R’ Shlomo ben Yitzchak, 1040-1105 C.E.)
The Talmud quote can be found in Avodah Zarah (7) at juchre.org.
So if we put them all together [B’resheet, Bar’asheet, Bara’sheet], taking a little license, we have “In the beginning, God appointed a Son, and gave man six thousand years”.
Admittedly, you have to read through verse 3 plus other sources to get the interpretation of 6000 years, so technically it wasn’t one word. But still it is an incredible thing – the essence of the gospel in one six letter word.
These observations in the Talmud were made many hundreds of years ago, Wikipedia dates this tractate to about 100AD [wikipedia - Avodah Zarah (8)]. What we know as the “six thousand year plan” has been known for thousands of years already. It isn’t an idea discovered in these end times, but it is all the more urgent now to understand that time is up, and Jesus is returning soon. It was foretold from the first word of the Bible.