“People who study Hebrew without studying linguistics will make horrible mistakes. This is one of the things I plead about often when speaking to people within this movement. We all need to go back to school and study linguistics. MP is light years ahead of a fluent Hebrew speaker even though he feels quite inadequate with the language. One can be fluent, think in Hebrew, dream in Hebrew and have no clue about grammatical nuances and how these things fit when translating into other languages. I know many people who are fluent in both English and Hebrew, that would make numerous errors in their analysis of a Hebrew text because they do not understand linguistics. He has done a great job in explaining how the term is used.
Now for an additional piece of information that will make a non-Hebrew speaking individual find stand alone ets. The Aleph and the Tav together as a word has several meanings in addition to being and indicator of the direct object. First is the word “you.” Masculine singular is the word atah which does not look like the et only because it adds a hey on the end. The feminine form has no hey, so it looks exactly like the direct object indicator in an unpointed text. When someone doesn’t know Hebrew very well, they will often say that the pointing is a rabbinic tradition, therefore invalid. Well, I guess you can have that opinion if you want, but when it is based totally on, I want it to read this way, then I suspect there will not be any truth in their findings. So the female word for you, pronounced “at” (a as in car) rather than “et” is one way an aleph and tav will be together and not be indicating a direct object. It may appear unneeded in the text since the verb will also be in second person feminine singular doing double duty for the word you. That is done often in Hebrew and can be found in all forms of the word you.
On another note, the word et (the vowel pronounced “eh” as in head) or eit (the vowel pronounced “a” as in hate) can both be a sign of the direct object or the word “with.” When used as with, it will appear to have no relationship to the direct object since it has no relationship to the direct object other than it has two nouns tied together rather than a verb tied with a noun. Example: John et Mary ran (John ran with Mary) rather than John chased et Mary (John chased Mary) In the first sentence the noun John is connected to a second noun with et while in the second sentence the verb “chased” is connected to the second noun “Mary.” Context clarifies meaning. Since not many people study Hebrew grammar to that degree, there is a lot of confusion when they merely look at the text and pick out a word formed by an aleph and a tav.
Now there is another idea that is being missed here. First you can find many Rabbis who have suggested similar reasons for the et. Many of them famous. While they are not necessarily claiming that the et refers to messiah, there have be other allegoric interpretations. One must fully understand what they are doing or it will lead to discussions like this. First they are taking the literal reading of the text and saying the et is an indicator of the direct object. This is called the pashat meaning. Then they expound upon the text making a drash (allegoric meaning). So in their homily, they explain that the et has other meanings. That is somewhat different from what you are understanding these messianic teachers to be doing. They seem to be saying that the et literally means Messiah. That is what Maggid, Tonga and MP are protesting. No, this is a grammatical term and it does not literally mean Messiah. Now allegorically, it might mean that, and could be argued by the revelation passage which is making an allegorical usage of the Alpha and Omega. There is a basis from the Prophets to form this conclusion, but that alone is insufficient to prove that God intended to sneak in the et to always stand for Messiah. I must add my vote with Maggid, Tonga, and MP stating that this is stretching things quite a bit.”
Frank Houtz on the Aleph Tav…not literal (p’shat), but per John’s Revelation and John 1 take the hint (remez) and we can midrash (drash) about it and come up with an esoteric (sod) idea from it.