WFT- ab ovo

20 August 2011

I reached wayyy back into the pile of pending Word of the Day email and came up with this one from September 17, 2009: ab ovo.

Merriam-Webster provided this definition

from the beginning

and this background on the word:

"Ab ovo usque ad mala." That phrase translates as "from the egg to the apples," and it was penned by the Roman poet Horace. He was alluding to the Roman tradition of starting a meal with eggs and finishing it with apples. Horace also applied "ab ovo" in an account of the Trojan War that begins with the mythical egg of Leda from which Helen (whose beauty sparked the war) was born. In both cases, Horace used "ab ovo" in its literal sense, "from the egg," but by the 16th century Sir Philip Sidney had adapted it to its modern English sense, "from the beginning": "If [the dramatic poets] wil represent an history, they must not (as Horace saith) beginne Ab ouo: but they must come to the principall poynt of that one action."

Unlike many of the Words For Thought on the site, you will likely not hear this word in everyday discussion. :)

Taken in its figurative sense "from the beginning" we can consider several passages of Scripture that speak in similar terms:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

"But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

Wisdom speaks in Proverbs and says

From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. (Proverbs 8:23)

Messiah says to his disciples:

"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27)

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--  what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.  (1 John 1:1-3)

We can see from Scripture that there are many "beginnings".  Here are just a few:

  • The beginning of all creation
  • The beginning of Israel as a nation
  • The beginning of Messiah's work in the 1st century

There is an interesting connection between all of these "beginnings":

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.  (Exodus 24:9-10)

Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" (John 1:35-36)

When we look forward to the next beginning, the beginning of the Lord's kingdom we find this:

Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.  Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.  (Zechariah 14:1-4)

The Lord has been present with us ab ovo, from the beginning, and desires to walk in the midst of His people:

"Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you. (Deuteronomy 23:14)

When He returns He will dwell and walk among us once again.  Oh, Lord, may You hasten that day!

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