The evening news showed a small child with his back turned to a stalking lion with its eyes intent
upon the unsuspecting boy. Suddenly, the crouching predator sprung into the air with its paws
spread open wide to seize the helpless child and hold him in its deadly grasp. Frightening! Utterly
frightening! The only thing that saved the young, unaware child was a large viewing window that
protected visitors from the lion exhibit at a zoo. Somewhat comical was four flattened paws pressed
against a wall of glass and a very surprised look on the lion’s smashed face!
The unnerving incident, however, could serve as a grave reminder found in I Peter 5:8, which
warns us to be alert because our adversary the devil, walks around as a roaring lion, looking for
the unaware whom he can devour. Sharing this verse with my husband, relating it to the lion
incident, he added another relevant Scripture. He referred to Genesis 4:6-7. Cain was very angry
because his offering from the ground was unacceptable before the LORD, who spoke to Cain about
“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well,
sin is crouching at your door and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”(NASB)
The Hebrew word for sin or transgression found in Genesis 4:7 is חטאת : chattat. Hebrew words, unlike English terms or words, are read from right to left. Also, unlike the English alphabet,
Hebrew letters have profound meanings. Thus, the first letter in 'chattat' is the letter chet ח. Chet is
thought to be like a fence which protects that which is inside from possible harm lurking outside
of the fence. We think of the fence surrounding the Tabernacle and the Holy of Holies, which
surrounds the ark in which two tablets were protected. The Ten Commandments were written on
the tablets by the finger of God. His instructions were meant to protect people from harm, a
spiritual fence, if you will.
Disregarding or refusing to obey God’s laws or instructions is law–less–ness.
“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” I John 3:4 (NASB)
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
I John 3:4 (KJV)
“Not doing well,” as stated by the LORD, is dismissing His teachings, which allows sin to lie at
our doors. The term “lie” in Genesis 4:7 is the Hebrew word רבצ: rabats meaning “to crouch, to
stretch oneself out, lying down.” Lying in wait for the opportune moment, we can imagine sin, like
a crouching lion, suddenly lunge and seize us. The Hebraic definition of “seize,” חזק : chazach, has
many powerful meanings, but only a few are mentioned here. Sin, which can seize us, can be
chazach in that it can be “strong, powerful, and violent.” We can be completely bound up or
imbedded in sin. By practicing sin or lawlessness, we transgress the laws or teachings that our
loving Creator gave even before the time of Abraham.
“...because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My
statutes and My laws.” Gen 26:5 (KJV)
In this verse, “laws” in Hebrew תורה: torah means “direction, teaching, and instruction.” These
directions and teachings that protect us from our adversary, the devil, were given to Moses by God
at Mount Sinai. According to II Thessolonians 2:8, the devil is the wicked, lawless one (Greek:
ἄνομος = anomos), meaning “without law.” In other words, the devil is without Torah! He is the
Torahless one that seeks to bind fast and devour us.
The second letter in chattat or “sin” is the letter tet. Tet ()ט looks like an open container or possibly a serpent with a head and tail. Tet represents choices and decisions. We can decide to follow God’s directions or instructions and pull out a blessing from the container, or we can choose to do what
is right in our own eyes and be bit by the serpent! God encourages us to do what is right because
He loves us.
“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity”. Deut 30:15 (NASB)
We see what the LORD has set before us. Again, He speaks forth words of encouragement and of warning:
“...I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life
that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deut 30:19 (KJV)
We have the choice. We have to make a decision. Do we choose to follow the LORD and His
commandments and be blessed with abundant life, or do we choose to allow sin, chattat, to seize
and hold us in its deadly grasp?
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that
they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (KJV)
The LORD tried to encourage Cain that if he did well there would be acceptance and an uplifted
countenance. Out of His goodness, the LORD warned there was impending sin at Cain’s door. In
Genesis 4:7, the LORD gave him some very important advice, if not an outright command:
“Its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (NASB)
Earlier we saw that sin can be strong enough to keep one in bondage, but the LORD is instructing us that we can and must master sin. The Hebrew word for “rule” is mashal: ל ש מ , which also means “to reign, have dominion, or to have power.” Therefore, we have the power to master, to reign, and have dominion over sin. But how can this be accomplished?
This brings us to the third and fourth letters in chattat: חטּאת or “sin.” They are “aleph” ()א and
“tav” ( ת ). Aleph and tav are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Together they form
the word “”את which is pronounced “et.” Grammatically, the term has different uses in a sentence,
but even so, “et” reveals Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus), all through Scripture! Yeshua is the
beginning and the end! He is the first and the last. In other words, He is the Alef Tav (Rev 1:11)!
But why would Aleph Tav (Yeshua), who was sinless, be found in chattat: חטּאת or the word
for sin? The answer may be found in the meanings of aleph and tav.
The aleph ()א is made up of the letter “vav” and two “yods.” The upper yod in the aleph represents the power and strength of the heavenly Father. The yod ()י looks like the open, giving, right hand of God, who is omnipotent (all powerful). He is Power. The lower yod represents those who are
separated from the Father, thus considered to be haters of God. (Rom 1:30) The vav ()ו, the center part of the aleph, looks like a nail, hook, or tent peg. The vav is a grammatical conjunction, but it also connects spiritually. Therefore, the way people can be connected to the Father is by the nail that connected Yeshua to the cross! The Father’s open, giving hand, allowed Yeshua to die for our sins that we may be reconciled to Him through the death of His Son. It is through Yeshua that we also have joy because we have received atonement. Rom5:10-11
According to Romans 6:4, Yeshua was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father that we should also walk in newness of life. What joy we receive when we turn away from lawlessness
and death and are reconciled to God! There is a sense a brand new life when we walk with Him.
Yeshua, the Son of God and the Son of man, arose from the tomb and sat down at the right hand
of the power of God. What significance does this have for us? Luke 22:69
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12 (KJV)
Tav, ()ת the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, looks like a cross “+” in ancient Hebrew. Tav has
great meaning also. Joining the two definitions, we may discover why the aleph and tav letters,
“et,” appear together in the Hebrew word for sin. Tav is not only the name of a letter. It is also a Hebrew word. A tav (ת = cross) and a vav (ו = nail) together spells tav, a word signifying the mark, sign, or seal of the Covenant of the Nail. From ancient times cutting a covenant between participants required shedding the blood of an animal, then crossing over a threshold and partaking of a meal or breaking bread together. The Covenant of the Nail represents the shed blood of Yeshua when He was nailed to the cross as an atonement for our sins.
When we enter into covenant with Yeshua and obey His laws and commandments by the power
of the Holy Spirit, we hit the mark. Sometimes, when not following the Spirit’s leading, we
sidestep and fall into the enemy’s trap. When we deliberately choose to have sin or chattat reign
in our lives, we will miss the mark resulting in bondage to the enemy. The “et” in sin, chattat:
חטּאת, gives us hope. Praise God!
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made
the righteousness of God in him.” II Cor 5:21 (KJV)
The Aleph Tav, Yeshua, defeated the devil at the cross! Thanks be to God that all power is His,
and He gives us power over all the power of the enemy. Luke 10:19 (KJV)
“...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
(Rom 8:37) (KJV)
We have mashal: משׁל , the power to reign and have dominion over the roaring lion that seeks to destroy us. Why? Chattat not only means sin, but it also means sin offering and atonement!
Yeshua was the sin offering for our transgressions! Even though sin has seized us and holds us in
its grasp, Yeshua is there to deliver us. His blood was shed on the cross for the atonement of our
sins...all of them. The power of Yeshua’s forgiveness and sin offering is definitely chazach: חזק , far stronger and more powerful than any chattat or sin. When He seizes our hearts, we can become more than conquerors to master sin.
Chattat: חטּאת might be understood as the chet (the “fence” or Torah), the instructions of God,
which protect us from the serpent in tet. The Torah helps us to make wise decisions so that we will
be blessed and strengthened by God’s power in our lives. Yeshua, or Alef Tav, is the “First and the
Last,” the faithful partner of the Covenant of the Nail who alerts us to the sin crouching at our door
ready to seize us like a roaring lion.