Hebrew Studies (12)

Sunday, 03 April 2011 01:13

The Menorah Pictographs

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This pictographic study piggy-backs on the earlier study of 'Yeshua' in an interesting way that I didn't see coming until it presented itself by accident. It concerns the seven-candled 'Menorah' that was located in the Temple, and I trust you'll find this study equally as exciting, if not a bit bizarre. So let's begin by examining the Hebrew word for 'Menorah' as written in today's Hebrew language.

Menorah_HebrewReading from right to left, the first Hebrew letter is a 'Mem', followed by a 'Nun', a 'Resh', and finally a 'Hey'. Phonetically this would equal M-N-R-H, and when the proper vowel points are added, the sound is 'Menorah'. You'll remember the Menorah from our prior studies, and from the earlier post on the Tree of Life that illustrated the 49 events of the book of Revelation.

As with all of our Hebrew word studies, we can now refer to the original pictographic letters that were used thousands of years ago, and find an underlying meaning to this word that adds more depth to our understanding of it's role in God's overall scheme; 

MemThe first letter is the 'Mem', depicted as a series of waves on the sea, which can suggest the various potential meanings of chaos, mighty, blood, or simply water or waves.  In this instance, we'll choose 'Mighty', and the reason will be apparent in a moment.

NunThe second letter is the 'Nun', which is a picture of a seed. This letter can mean either continue, heir, or son, since all of these come from a man's seed.  Or, it can simply mean seed.  But we'll choose 'Son' in this instance.

ReshThe third letter is a 'Resh', which you can clearly see resembles a man's head. This letter can mean first, top, or beginning, since in the ancient world a man was the first or top of his household. In this case the meaning of 'First' fits our purposes best.

HeyThe last letter is the 'Hey', which is a picture of a man trying to get your attention. This letter has the alternate meanings of look, reveal, or breathe, but can also mean praise or behold, depending on how and where it is used. But here we'll choose 'Reveal'

By now you've probably already guessed what the word 'Menorah' means in the underlying Hebrew pictographs;

"The Mighty Son First Revealed"

Menorah_TempleThis is quite a statement, and it made sense on a certain level, though it was slightly puzzling at the same time. Puzzling, that is, until I came across something quite by accident.

For just a moment, let's examine the structure of the Temple Menorah in the adjacent illustration, which is a replica of the actual Temple Menorah as depicted in the Arch of Titus in Rome. We can see that it had seven candles with seven flames, and we know that these flames were to remain lit at all times. In Old Testament times this menorah was intended to represent the seven Festivals of the Lord, which included Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Weeks, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. From this we can find some symbolism that refers to Jesus Christ, or 'Yeshua', since the two advents of Yeshua will fulfill all of these festivals in their entirety. Literally and figuratively speaking, they were the first signs of his appearing.

However, in the New Testament we learn that these seven candles also represent the seven churches in the book of Revelation. From this we can find additional symbolism that refers to Jesus, since the letters to the seven churches described the process of sanctification that determines who will inherit eternal life, and who will inherit the Kingdom of God and become his Bride. So in the case of both the Festivals and the churches, Yeshua was indeed first revealed by the symbolism behind this Menorah.
 
But that's not all there is.

THE YESHUA MENORAH

This next part may surprise you a bit, but just look at at the name 'Yeshua' in the Hebrew letters, and see if any additional Menorah symbolism is revealed;

YeshuaYou may have noticed it already, but if not, look at how the Lord's name has seven flames on top of the letters, just as the Menorah was always to have seven flames burning on top of it. Hebrew letters are somewhat unique in this manner, in that several of them have this flourish at the top that looks like a flame. But the name Yeshua is one of the few words in Hebrew that would exhibit this effect. So, it would seem that while the Menorah has clear symbolism that is revealed in the LIFE of Jesus, it also has a physical component that is revealed in the NAME of Jesus.

What more is there to say? The pictographic studies continue to reveal the deeper things of the Bible.


Friday, 25 February 2011 18:48

HaMatzot

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In our last word study on the middle 'Matzah', otherwise known as the 'hidden manna' or the 'Afikomen', we found that the original Hebrew pictograpic letters revealed the underlying meaning "The Mighty One you seek was revealed". Well, this next word study is completely related, since it is the word 'HaMatzot', the word used in the Bible for 'Unleavened Bread'. And the underlying meaning of this word is equally impressive, if not more so. I think you'll enjoy it.
 
MatzotHA-MATZOT

The Hebrew word HaMatzot is comprised of the letters Hey, Mem, Tsade, Vav, and Tav, reading from right to left in the adjacent     merely a form of the word matzah, and as we know, the matzah was the unleavened bread or wafer that was eaten during the Exodus. It is also an integral part of the second Feast of the Lord, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It's within this context that the original Hebrew pictographic letters reveal something quite interesting.  But first, let's examine the letters and see what they tell us.

THE PICTOGRAPHS

HeyThe first letter is the 'Hey', which as we've learned in past studies is a picture of a man trying to get our attention. Depending on the intended context, this word can have the potential meanings of look, reveal, or breath, and can also mean 'behold'.


MemThe second letter is a 'Mem', and this is really the first letter of this word, since the 'Hey' essentially means 'the', as in 'the' matzah in this instance. It depicts waves of water, and has the potential meanings of chaos, mighty, or blood, or just waves. We'll use 'mighty'.


TsadeThe third letter is a 'Tsade', which is a picture of a man laying in wait on his side. Since he is depicted this way, the potential meanings are understandably that of wait, chase, snare, or hunt. Additionally, it can mean 'seek', which we'll use in this instance.

 
VavThe fourth letter is a 'Vav', which is a picture of a tent peg that secured the tent in place. So naturally it's potential meanings are that of add, secure, or hook. However it can also mean simply peg or 'nail', which is precisely what is illustrated.


TavThe final letter is the 'Tav', which is depicted as two crossed sticks that form the shape of the cross. This pictograph suggests the various meanings of mark, sign, signal or momument, but can also mean 'cross'.


When you examine the suggested meanings highlighted above, can you form a sentence or meaning with them? 

THE MEANING

When examined within the context of the scriptures that describe the 'hidden manna' and 'unleavened bread', the meaning is clear;

"Behold, The Mighty One you seek was nailed to the Cross."

Cleary, we are speaking of Jesus Christ, the 'Afikomen' that Israel has sought for thousands of years.
Friday, 25 February 2011 01:10

The 'Hidden Manna'

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AfikomenIn our analysis of the 'Letter to the Church at Pergamum' that will be posted in a few more days, I mention the 'Middle Matzah' from the Passover Seder meal that Christ referred to as the "hidden manna" in that letter. But since that post was getting rather long, it seemed appropriate to shorten it by moving the analysis of the word 'Matzah' to the 'Hebrew Studies' section, where it really belongs anyway. So when you read that lesson in a few days, you can refer back to this one for context.

THE HIDDEN MANNA
Afikomen_Reward
The 'hidden manna' that Christ mentions in that letter alludes to a Jewish tradition during the Passover meal that went something like this; during the meal, the Seder leader would take a linen bag with 3 Matzah wafers in it, remove the middle matzah, and break it in half. Then, they would place one half back in the linen bag, and wrap the other half in a linen napkin and hide it in the house while the children covered their eyes. Then, after the meal was over, the children would be turned loose to find the matzah, known as the 'Afikomen'. When it was found, the child who discovered it would receive a reward.

Hmm. Does this sound familiar somehow?

THE FULFILLMENT

At this point, your Christian antennas should be in the fully upright position, because the symbolism here is taken directly from Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. And in a way, it amazes me that this tradition is still not associated with Jesus Christ within the Jewish community. It would seem to me that it could refer to nobody else, no matter how far we stretched the symbolism. Here are the associations;

1) Jesus is the 'Son of Man' that was the middle figure of the 'bread of life' Godhead (Father - Son - Spirit). He indeed was the middle matzah.

2) Jesus was broken for our transgressions, just as the middle matzah was broken.

3) Jesus was wrapped in linen after he was crucified, just as the middle matzah was wrapped in linen, becoming the 'Afikomen'.

4) Jesus was hidden away in a tomb, just as the Afikomen was hidden away.

5) The child that found the Afikomen would receive a reward, just as those with "faith like a child" find Jesus Christ and receive the reward of eternal life.

There is a bit more to this tradition that I'll probably explore in a separate lesson during Passover week this spring, but for now it sets the table for the following word study on the underlying meaning of 'matzah'. Given the above tradition, this meaning is REALLY interesting, which you'll see in a moment. Personally, this has ended up being my favorite Hebrew word study so far.

MATZAH

MatzahI accidentally stumbled across the Hebrew for 'matzah' tonight while preparing for another lesson, and the individual letters struck me as being quite significant, based on my current understanding of the tradition of the Afikomen.

In the adjacent Hebrew text, we see that this word 'matzah' begins with a 'Mem', followed by a 'Tsade', and ending with a 'Hey', reading from right to left. And in the original Hebrew pictographs that are the backbone of this study, these letters would be illustrated in the following way;

MemThe 'Mem' is a picture of water, or specifically, waves of water.  This letter carries with it the potential meanings of chaos or mighty or blood, or it can simply mean water or waves. In this instance, it appears to mean 'mighty', which will become apparent in a moment.


TsadeThe 'Tsade' is a picture of a man laying on his side, which seems rather strange at first. But the picture illustrates the potential meanings of wait, chase, snare or hunt, all of which can be related to a man resting in this position.  In this instance, we'll use the idea of hunting, or to 'seek'


HeyThe 'Hey' we've seen many times in these studies, and it's a man trying to get our attention. It has the potential meanings of look, reveal, or breathe, but can also mean behold. In this instance, we'll use the meaning of 'reveal'.


THE MEANING

When we consider the context of the hidden manna, which is the middle matzah of the Seder dinner tradition, the implied meaning is clearly apparent, suggesting the following;

"The Mighty One you seek was revealed."Cross

Notice how the mnemonic meanings of the pictographs coincide perfectly to the tradition of hiding and then finding the 'matzah', known as the 'Afikomen'. The children would seek the matzah, which would be revealed ONLY to the seeker. If you did not seek, you did not find. Does that remind you of any particular scripture?  It should.

But you might wonder why I used the words "WAS revealed" in the meaning above, instead of "IS revealed", which would be another possibility. The answer is simple. You see, Afikomen is not even a Hebrew word, but rather a Greek word, and it's the only Greek word that has found it's way into the Seder tradition. This tradition began in the first century A.D. after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, and while this word is generally associated with 'dessert', ironically enough, Afikomen simply means"I came."

In other words, the Lord announced to the Jewish community that while they still seek their Messiah even to this day, their Afikomen "WAS revealed" back in the first century. He has already come, and He died on a cross to save them, and the rest of us, from our sins.

One day soon when the 'sign of the Son of man' appears in the sky, the Jewish community will finally find their Afikomen, Jesus Christ, and on that day, they will receive their reward of eternal life.
Sunday, 13 February 2011 00:47

Yeshua 'haMashiach'

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In the last Hebrew lesson we revealed the mnemonic meaning behind the name 'Yeshua', or Jesus, as it was illustrated in the original Hebrew pictographic letters that were used in antiquity. As they have done with every other subject we've examined, the pictographs revealed something specific and consequential about our Messiah. So today we'll examine the second half of His title, 'haMashiach', or Messiah, and see what else may be revealed about the ministry of Jesus and the role that he will play in the last days.
Thursday, 10 February 2011 21:36

The Yeshua Pictographs

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Today's Hebrew study will focus on the name of Jesus, which in Hebrew was 'Yeshua'. Once again, the pictographs will be quite revealing, providing information in a nutshell that is revealed throughout the course of the entire New Testament.

YeshuaThe name of Yeshua is composed of four Hebrew letters, which reading right-to-left are the 'Yud', the 'Shin', the 'Vav', and the 'Ayin'. We're all familiar with the common translation of "He Saves" that is associated with this name, and certainly that corresponds to scriptures such as Matthew 1:21, which states "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” But there is a little more to the story. Hidden within His name are a few other attributes in addition to the fact that he saves.

THE PICTOGRAPHS

 As with each of our other studies, we'll now substitute the ancient Hebrew pictographic letters for the modern Aramaic Square Script letters, and see what kind of mnemonic meanings emerge.

YudThe first letter is the 'Yud', which has a 'Y' sound and is represented by the arm and hand of a man. This letter carries the implied meanings of 'work' or 'throw' or 'worship', along with a few other similar connotations that are all related to working or doing something. It can also mean simply 'arm' or 'hand'.
 

ShinThe second letter is the 'Shin', which has a 'Sh' sound or an 'S' sound, and is represented by two front teeth. This letter has the potential meanings of 'two' or 'sharp' or 'press' or 'eat', but it can also mean 'consume' or 'destroy' or anything that relates to the function of teeth or eating.


VavThe third letter is the 'Vav', which today has a 'V' sound, an 'O' sound, or a 'U' sound depending on how it is used, but in ancient times it was called a 'Waw', and carried a 'W' sound. It is represented by a tent peg, and has the potential meanings of 'add' or 'secure' or 'hook', but it can also mean simply 'peg' or 'nail'. 


AyinThe last letter is the 'Ayin', which has a short 'A' sound, and is represented by a human eye. Potential meanings include 'watch' or 'know' or 'shade', or anything that relates to the functions of the eyes such as to 'see', 'understand', or 'reveal'. And as with the other pictographic letters, it can simply mean 'eye'. 

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THE MESSAGE

When we combine the various meanings that are available for each letter, and consider the context provided by the person they are describing, I think the message that they convey becomes clear;

"He who creates, destroys, saves, and reveals"

Jesus was our Creator (John 1:1-3), and it is He who will destroy those who destroy the earth (Revelation 11:18). He is also the only name by which we are saved (Act 4:10-12), and He is also the revealer of mysteries (Daniel 2:28). The fact that all of these qualities are wrapped up in his name is certainly no coincidence.










Monday, 07 February 2011 04:01

haShamayim - "The Heavens"

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It's been 2 or 3 weeks since our last Hebrew word study, so this week we'll continue with our analysis of the very first sentence of the Bible;

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

If you've read the previous posts in this 'Hebrew Studies' section, you've seen the incredible mnemonic meanings that the pictographs revealed for the first three words 'Beraysheet', 'Bara', and 'Eloheem'. Today we'll look at the next word in this sentence, 'haShamayim', which is the word for "The Heavens", and see if the pictographs for this word will be equally revealing.
 
haShamayimThe illustration to the left shows the modern Hebrew rendering of haShamayim, which employs the letters Hey, Shin, Mem, Yud, and another Mem. When the vowel points are inserted in the appropriate places, the proper pronunciation would sound like this; 'Hah-Shah-Mah-Yeem'.

Now, you may recall from prior lessons that when the 'Hey' is used at the beginning of a word, it generally means 'the', and is not necessarily an integral part of the word that it is attached to. In this instance the modern Hebrew understanding is that it serves as the word 'the', as in 'the heavens'. The vowel point included in most Hebrew translations is a 'patach', which adds a short 'A' sound after the 'H' sound, giving it the sound 'Ha' as in the word father. Of course, the 'ha' at the beginning of this word is not really part of the word, per se. The actual word for 'Heavens' begins with the Shin.

HEAVENS

The next letter, the 'Shin', is actually the first letter of the word 'Heavens', and it makes a 'Sh' sound, or in this case a 'Sha' sound due to the implied 'hamatz' vowel. The hamatz gives this letter a short 'A' sound just like the 'patach' did with the letter Hey.

Then, we have a 'Mem', which predictably has a 'M' sound. And as with the prior letters, this letter also has an implied vowel point, which in this case is the 'patach', and so the Mem makes the sound 'Ma'. These two letters, the Shin and the Mem, form the word 'Shama' or 'Heaven' in the singular.

The last two letters in 'Heavens' are the 'Yud' and the 'Mem', and once again reaching back into our memory banks, you'll recall that when we have a Yud and a Mem at the end of a word, it forms the suffix 'eem', which turns the subject into a plural. In other words, the 'eem' would represent the 's' ending in our English translation 'Heavens', and would turn our singular word Shama (heaven) into the plural Shamayeem (heavens).

THE PICTOGRAPHS

Okay, at this point we know that the Hebrew word for 'Heaven' in this instance is 'Shama'. So let's break it down in the original pictographic form of Hebrew, and you'll see that these letters convey the simple meaning of the word heaven that was provided in the creation account itself.

ShinThe 'Shin' is symbolized by two front teeth, and has the potential meanings of 'sharp' or 'press' or 'eat/consume/destroy' or simply the number 'two'. As with all Hebrew letters, the immediate context of it's use will determine which particular meaning is implied in that instance. In this instance we'll chose the number 'two' as the implied meaning, for reasons that will become quite clear in a moment.

MemThe 'Mem' is symbolized by waves of water, and has the potential meanings of 'chaos' or 'mighty' or 'blood', or, as with all of these pictographs, it can take on the simple meaning of the picture itself, which in this instance would be 'waves' or just 'water'. Again, the context determines the rendering, and in this instance the reason for choosing this meaning will become clear in a moment.

THE MEANING

When we combine these pictographic letters, we have the simple understanding of 'two waters' for the word 'Heavens'. Although it may not seem clear at first, there is a simple reason why God used this symbolism;

And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8)

During day 2 of God's creation, he separated the water above from the water below. In other words, he was dealing with 'two waters' in his creation of the sky. The first 'water' is on the earth, while the second 'water' is presumably above in the upper atmosphere, separated by the expanse called 'sky'. And this upper water may represent heaven itself as we think of it, therefore 'the heavens' is interpreted as 'the two waters'.   
Saturday, 22 January 2011 16:54

'haSatan' - Consuming and Imprisoning

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The last few Hebrew word studies we've done have all pertained to God's name or God's creation account, and in each case, the original pictographic form of the language revealed a spectacular additional layer of meaning that was not conveyed by the modern Hebrew text. So this week, I thought it would be interesting to examine the name of the adversary, and see what the pictographs may reveal about his name and overall nature. The results were actually quite interesting, and quite consistent with what we have learned about him throughout scripture.

haSatan

haSatanFrom Webster's 'New World Hebrew Dictionary', we find the word 'satan' interpreted in the following manner;

satan  nm  1. Satan; 2. accuser; opposer; 3. obstacle.

The name of Satan appears in the Old Testament Hebrew as 'haSatan' when we render it phonetically, with each letter 'a' sounding like a short 'o', as in the word 'on'. The word 'haSatan' can be interpreted as either a name, as shown above, or as an attribute such as 'accuser' or 'opposer' or 'obstacle'. When we combine the potential meanings of this word, we can see how the common interpretation of 'the adversary' is appropriate. 
 
As you can see in the illustration of the Hebrew letters, the 'Hey' is the first letter of his name, which gives us the first part of that interpretation, which is the word 'the'. You may recall from our prior Hebrew word studies that when the Hebrew letter 'Hey' precedes the object, it is pronounce 'ha' and it means 'the'. We saw this with 'haEloheem' which meant 'the powers', or 'haShamayim' which meant 'the heavens'. But this letter is technically not part of the name of Satan, or at least, it does not describe his essence. The next three letters will do that. So let's review his entire name as presented in scripture, and see what it reveals.

The Pictographs

HeyAs we learned in the lesson on the Tetragrammaton, the letter 'Hey' is intended to get one's attention. It's a picture of a man with raised arms, and it's meanings include 'look' or 'reveal' or 'breathe'. It also carries many associated meanings such as 'behold', and it can even mean 'praise'. The particular meaning that is used in each instance would depend entirely on the intended context, and yet they are closely related.

ShinThe second letter of 'haSatan' is really the first letter of his name, and it is the letter 'Shin', which the original Hebrew depicts as two front teeth. The meanings for this word include 'two' because of the two front teeth, but it also carries the meanings of 'sharp' or 'press' or 'eat/consume'. All of these meanings can be associated with teeth, and again, context determines which particular meaning is implied.

TetThe next letter of this name is the letter 'Tet', which in ancient times was depicted as a basket. This basket was a very understandable symbol for the meanings 'surround' or 'contain', because that is what baskets do. imprisonment is a related concept as well. However, it also carried the meaning 'mud', presumably because that is how mud was carried in the making of bricks. But it can also mean simply 'basket' or 'container'.

NunThe last pictographic letter in this name is the 'Nun', whose symbol was a seed. As you would imagine, the meanings of this letter are all associated with what results from seeds, and include 'continue' or 'heir' or 'son'. And as with all the other pictographs, it can also mean 'seed'. 


The Meaning

In order to develop the proper context for these pictographs, we only need to reflect on what we know of Satan from scripture. When we consider how Satan has persecuted Israel, who along with Jesus Christ is the heir to the kingdom of God, then the inferred meanings of each letter become clear. The pictographs simply reveal the role he has played throughout scripture;

"Behold he who consumes and imprisons the heir." 



Friday, 21 January 2011 00:03

YHWH - The Hand & The Nail

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Over the last several weeks we've examined some of the verses of the Bible from a Hebrew perspective, and have discovered that the original pictographic Hebrew letters reveal quite a bit more about the Old Testament than we could ever have imagined. In fact, from the first verse of the Bible to the 'Shema of Moses', the concepts of the 'Trinity' of God and the 'Son of God' are continually affirmed. So today we're going to do another study along that line by examining the name 'Yahweh', the primary Old Testament name for God.

The Tetragrammaton

YahwehThe four Hebrew letters of 'Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey' that comprise one of the names for God Almighty are often referred to by biblical scholars as the 'Tetragrammaton', which is merely a Greek term for something with four letters. The Tetragrammaton should not be confused with any of the other names for God in the Bible, such as Shaddai or Eloheem, but is specifically reserved to describe the name 'Yahweh'. 

As we've learned in previous lesson, Hebrew was read from right to left, so the name 'Yahweh' shown in the adjacent illustration is presented in that way, beginning with the 'Yud' on the far right, following by a 'Hey', and then a 'Vav', and then another 'Hey'. While the third letter of 'Vav' can be either a consonant or a vowel, it serves as a consonant with a 'W' sound in this instance, and the appropriate vowel points must be inferred. This is quite typical for Hebrew. All we really need to know in this instance is that the four letters that would equate to 'Y-H-W-H' in English would actually have two inferred vowels, and would sound like 'Yahweh'.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011 03:04

'Eloheem' - Revealed Through Blood

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This is the third word in our analysis of Genesis 1:1, where the ancient pictographic forms of the Hebrew letters have alot more to say about God and His word than just the surface meaning of the words that they form.

The first word we examined was the very first word of the Bible, 'Beraysheet', which means "in the beginning" in today's translations. But we discovered that there was an underlying meaning in the pictographs which suggested that "The Son of God will be pressed by his own hand on a cross". Then, the second word of the Bible, 'Bara', is typically translated as "created", while the pictographs of the word openly point to the "Son of God" as the Creator. This week we'll examine the third word of the Bible, 'Eloheem', and we'll see what the pictographs have to say about this commonly used name for God.
Saturday, 15 January 2011 16:54

"Bara" and the "Son of God"

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Time for another short Hebrew lesson, once again using the original pictographic form of the language.

Last week we discovered that the very FIRST word of the Bible, 'Beraysheet', which means "in the beginning", revealed the Son of Man pressing himself on the Cross. That was an interesting study that confirmed the New Testament claim that Jesus was slain from the beginning of creation. This week we'll examine the SECOND word of the Bible, 'Bara', which means "created", and see if it has anything additional to offer about the Creator. The results may surprise you.