The history of the Apocryphal Books

One of the oldest books found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran is the Book of Enoch.

The Bibles we have today include a compendium of books that were written at a particular period in history. The word canon, whose origin is generally traced to the Greek κανών which is a measuring rod, actually comes from the even more ancient Hebrew קנה (cané) which is a reed, and, precisely, was used for measuring. So we can deduce that the biblical canon refers to the group of books that have authority in terms of religious doctrine, whether in Christianity, Judaism, or Catholicism, whose respective canons differ from one another.

Needless to say, such authority in doctrinal matters was decided by the religious leaders of the time, so it is logical to attribute a certain subjectivity to such selection. Although most Christians consider the 66 books of their canon as the only “inspired” or “worthy of being taken as doctrinal”, the reality is that depending on the religious culture in which one has been raised, this will change. Just imagine that until before Martin Luther, works such as the books of Tobit or Judith would have been common knowledge.

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – OCTOBER 13, 2017: One of the Dead Sea Scrolls, on display at the Book Museum. Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Israel

How old are these books?

The biblical period covered by the apocryphal books is mostly limited to the Second Temple period, between the last prophets, concluding with Malachi, and the New Testament literature. This spans from around 300 BCE to 50 or 100 CE. There are later works from this time that were used by the so-called Church Fathers, but these would be included in another category as they relate exclusively to the New Testament and were written even after the closure of the Jewish canon in the 1st century.

One of the oldest books found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran is the Book of Enoch. This book, not included in the Jewish or Catholic canon, appears in more than ten different manuscripts in Qumran, written in what is believed to be the original Aramaic. Communities of believers in Syria and Ethiopia also preserved this book in their own languages (in Syria, Aramaic was spoken but had a different type of script, in contrast to the Essenes, who wrote Aramaic with the Hebrew letters we know today, which are originally Aramaic).

Other well-known works found in Qumran include the Book of Maccabees, Ben Sira, and Tobit.

Who decided which books entered the canon?

In the case of Judaism in Israel, a rabbinic assembly was formed, gathering in the city of Yavne around the year 100 CE. Although most writings in the Torah and the prophets were widely accepted, there was some controversy surrounding different books among the writings, such as the Song of Solomon and Daniel, the latter being written in Aramaic. One of the main reasons why many apocryphal books did not enter the Jewish canon was precisely because there were no Hebrew copies.

Other Jewish communities did not necessarily accept the authority of the rabbinic leadership in Israel and continued to use books they considered worthy of study. This is the case with the Ethiopian community of Beta Israel, which included, among others, the aforementioned books, the Book of Jubilees, the Testament of Abraham, the Testament of Isaac, and the Testament of Jacob.

The Catholic Church defined its canon at the Council of Rome in the fourth century, commissioning Jerome to translate the list of books into Latin. In the Eastern Church in Syria, different lists were maintained, and a unanimous decision regarding the canon was never reached. Some “extra” epistles found there include the Prayer of Manasseh and Psalm 151, while, for example, the Book of Lamentations is excluded.

During the Protestant Reformation, Luther decided to differentiate from the Catholic canon and moved seven books (Tobit, Judith, 1–2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch), placing them in the Apocrypha section (“books not considered on par with the Holy Scriptures but worthy of being read and studied”). Despite moving them, at least he included and promoted their study. Unfortunately, this distinction paved the way for their eventual exclusion altogether.

Is it relevant to study these books?

If we limit ourselves to what Martin Luther said, then yes. Beyond Luther, it is worth delving into the historical context of each work. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls shed new light, confirming that Jewish communities of this time, even in the Land of Israel, considered many of these works worthy of study. In each of these books, we can appreciate not only ethical, moral, or spiritual messages but also the cultural environment of the Jewish people in a period of history that is unfortunately absent from our current Bibles.


Emuna (אֶמוּנָה) – The faith that sustains us

Emuna, our faith, as well as truth, is what we rely on. That’s why this word has the definition of being a support.

What is faith? Did you ever try to define it? If we can’t explain what it is, can we claim to possess it?

In the dictionary, this word is associated with belief and hope, and while this is true in Hebrew as well, the meaning of the word emuna (אֶמוּנָה) is much more comprehensive.

First, we must understand that the noun emuna comes from a verb. This verb is amán (אָמַן). Amán means to believe, but it also has various physical or practical implications, as we will see below.

And he believed in Yehovah, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6

The verb “believed” (הֶאֱמִן) here comes from the verb amán (אָמַן). And in the context of Abraham’s story, we see how he was a man of action and received this visitation from Yehovah after he had already left his homeland. His emuna led him to take action.

Emuna is related to truth:

A faithful (emunim) witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies. Proverbs 14:5

Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth (emunim) may enter in. Isaiah 26:2

In both cases, the word related to truth comes from the word emuna.

Emuna, our faith, as well as truth, is what we rely on. That’s why this word has the definition of being a support. Something that holds up another thing. A faithful person (who has faith) in Hebrew is ne’emán; a person who has a firm support base.

Perhaps one of the most impressive figures that this word can teach us is in its relation to a mother; em (אֵם). A mother is the one who holds and sustains the baby. This word is embedded within the word emuná and the verb amán. There is another similar word, omén (for a man) or omenet (for a woman), which comes from the word em (mother), but it does not necessarily refer to a biological mother but to someone who cares for and sustains a baby. In the Spanish of the Reina Valera translation, it can be translated as a nanny.

Then Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became his nurse (omenet). Ruth 4:16

Or in the following case, where Moses complains to Yehovah in the desert about the children of Israel:

Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian (omén) carries a nursing child, to the land which You swore to their fathers?’

All these different concepts converge at the root of the word emuná. Faith requires support, and it also requires action. A faithful person is a steadfast person.

Perhaps some of these things help put into perspective the words of Ya’akov (James) when he wrote, Show me your faith (emuná) without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Total relaxation. Handsome young man keeping eyes closed and holding hands behind head while sitting in big comfortable chair at home

Shabbat, the First Commandment

In these erratic times in which we live, where we spend most of our time working to acquire material possessions, separating the Sabbath day from the rest of the days is a true sign (Exodus 31:17) that reminds us of whom we truly serve.

When a person begins to delve into the study of the Bible and leaves behind religious conditioning, they realize that there are numerous commandments contained within the pages of the Torah. Not coincidentally, the word Torah is translated as “law,” despite the more appropriate translation being “instruction.”

These instructions were not created by the Almighty to overwhelm us or confine our existence to religious confinement, but rather to learn how to navigate this world and guide our families and communities.

According to rabbinic accounts, there are 613 commandments contained in the first five books of the Bible. It is important to note that not all of these apply to everyone. Many of these commandments are exclusively related to the service of the Temple and the priesthood, while others are specific to judges, women, men, and so on.

Most people are familiar with the Ten Commandments, which represent the statements that the Creator Himself spoke from Mount Sinai and dictated to Moses:

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.’ So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” Exodus 34:27-28

Among these Ten Commandments, which even most Christians pride themselves on observing, is the Sabbath, the fourth commandment:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

Although this verse speaks of “remembering” the Sabbath, in the recounting of the commandments in Deuteronomy 5, it speaks of “keeping” it.

Why is the Shabbath the first commandment?

When the commandment of the Sabbath was first declared by the Creator in Exodus 20, it appears in the fourth position. So why do I say that the Sabbath is the first commandment?

Simple, when we follow the chronology of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, on their way to Mount Sinai, in the second month, they complained and received manna from heaven. A few days after the manna started to fall, Moses told them:

Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.” Exodus 16:23

This is how we can see that the Sabbath was introduced weeks before the Israelites reached Mount Sinai and had implications regarding the collection and preparation of food.

Where does the Sabbath come from?

The Sabbath is defined in the creation week at the beginning of the book of Genesis. Thousands of years before the Torah was given and even before Abraham was chosen, the Creator established this model and pattern of seven days. When we study different elements of Creation, we realize that the number 7 is extremely relevant and cannot be altered, whether it’s the 7 musical notes (do re mi fa sol la si), the 7 colors of the rainbow, or the 7 days of the week. Throughout the Biblical narrative, we encounter this number time and time again.


Being the first commandment that appears after the Israelites’ liberation from slavery, we see that it holds special importance. It is no coincidence that most believers interested in the Hebrew roots of Christianity begin with this very commandment.

In these erratic times in which we live, where we spend most of our time working to acquire material possessions, separating the Sabbath day from the rest of the days is a true sign (Exodus 31:17) that reminds us of whom we truly serve.

For more information about the Sabbath day, click here.

The Potter and the Vessel

The way the Creator helps us grow spiritually is through the suffering of the flesh.

Isaiah 64:8 tells us:

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Our father is YeHoVaH, and in this verse, Isaiah tells us that it was He who formed us. Don’t be deceived that He is talking solely about Adam, who was the first man who was “literally” formed from the dust of the earth!  He is talking about all of us.

He who formed us, He who works with the clay, is The Potter. The word for “potter” in Hebrew is yotzer (יוצר), and it is related to the root of the verb “to form” (yatzar, יצר) in the verse from Isaiah above. The Father is The Potter, and it is He who forms us. But what does “form” mean in this context?

A clue to this meaning is provided by a striking prophetic image in Jeremiah chapter 18:1-6:

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from YeHoVaH: ‘Go down to the potter’s house [yotzer], and there I will give you my message.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands, so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of YeHoVaH came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares YeHoVaH. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel’.”

Here we see how the potter works on his creation in the same way that YeHoVaH works with us – it is the very same idea that Isaiah mentions.

Returning to the question posed earlier, what does it mean that He forms us, that He works in us? Obviously, our body is already formed from the womb of our mother. But throughout our lives, we experience all kinds of situations that make us grow spiritually. The end product that the Creator wants to make of us is not about physical beauty or perfection but about spiritual identity.

But how do you grow spiritually?

This is an aspect that will probably displease our earthly natures. For remember, the spirit is at enmity with the flesh (Rom 8:7).

The way the Creator helps us grow spiritually is through the suffering of the flesh. How do we know? As the Hebrew makes clear, we can find the same linguistic root for the words “form” and “potter” in many words that we associate with suffering.

For example, the word “tribulation,” translated as “anguish” in Jeremiah 30:7, is tzara (צרה). The word for “Egypt” in Hebrew is Mitzraim (מצרים), understood as “a narrow and suffering place.” The “narrow path” that Yeshúa speaks of is the tzar (narrow, suffered) path.

And this is where we can associate suffering with the heavenly potter working on us all. Each of these examples has to do with our suffering, but at the same time, with an insatiable desire to reach out to our Creator, to call him from the midst of our tears, to surrender to his will.

In this context, we can understand how Shaul (Paul) says in Romans 5:3 that “we exult in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces patience.”

And we can also understand how Ya’akov (James) says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (1:2).

Joy within suffering is found when we realize that the Creator is working on us just as the potter works on his pot. Through the pressure of his fingers, he molds and refines his creation and removes roughness. It is when we identify with the spirit, rather than the flesh, that we can appreciate and even rejoice, in our times of trial and tribulation.

The Kingdom of Heaven – Maljut haShamaim

Just as there are kingdoms and empires in this world which are born, expand, and ultimately pass away, there is also in contrast a kingdom that is eternal –  the kingdom of God.

The term “the Kingdom of Heaven” is famous in Christianity since it is used by Yeshua throughout his ministry – from exhorting people to “become little children” in order to enter it (Mt 18:3); comparing it to a treasure hidden in a field (Mt 13:44) or a mustard seed (Mt 13:31); to even talking about how the halakhic rules would be within the Kingdom (Mt 22:29).

What many people do not know is that this term, “Malchut haShamaim” (the kingdom of heaven), and the term “Malchut Elohim” (the kingdom of God; sometimes “Malchut Shaddai”), were terms widely used in the Jewish temporal context in which Yeshua lived.

The Roman Empire had complete sovereignty over the land of Israel and economically oppressed the people through tribute (i.e., taxes) to the emperor. Dissident Jews who decided to refuse or even question those authoritarian imperialist regulations were crushed by the Roman military arm, and their bodies were displayed on crucifixes as an example for others so that everyone would think twice before rebelling or questioning their authority. The Zealots were a dissident group, mentioned in the New Testament, who fought against the Roman authorities, hoping to regain Jewish autonomy, just as the Maccabees fought against the Greeks a couple of centuries before.

A thought, rooted in biblical doctrine, became popular during that time: just as there are kingdoms and empires in this world which are born, expand, and ultimately pass away, there is also in contrast a kingdom that is eternal –  the kingdom of God.

A very clear picture of this appears in the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream given by Daniel in the second chapter of his book: In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end but will itself endure forever.

What is an Omer?

Shalom Torah fans.

Many of you may have heard the term Omer but perhaps have no idea what it means. Others know that it is something that represents the days that we count between Passover and Shavuot, but may not have an idea of what the word originally means. And this is what we will learn in this audio blog.

If you have been celebrating the Biblical Feasts for at least a year, you have probably noticed that one of the most important Feasts, in fact, one of the three so-called Pilgrimage Feasts in which every man had to go up to Jerusalem, is the Feast of Shavuot. This is called Pentecost, or Feast of weeks (Shavuot means weeks). What is unusual about this Feast is that its celebration does not fall on a specific day of the Biblical calendar, but rather it is celebrated on the fiftieth (50th) day of what is usually called “the counting of the Omer” (s’firat haOmer in Hebrew).

Why is it called “the counting of the Omer”, and what is an Omer?

The best place to start our search is in Leviticus 23.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest” (Leviticus 23:10).

The word sheaf in Hebrew is Omer (עֹמֶר), and we are talking about the Omer of the “first fruits”. This is an important detail, since it determines the moment in which the seven weeks began to be counted, which is from the day the first fruits were presented.

This is why we call it “the counting of the Omer.” It could also be called “the count (of the days) from the offering of the Omer (of the first fruits)”.

We now understand why it is called the counting of the Omer, but we still need to understand what an Omer is.

The simple answer would be that it was a unit of measurement that was used in biblical times. As in our days, there were then ways to quantify measures of length, weight and liquids among others. An Omer is part of the measurement to quantify the volume of dry things, such as a measure of flour for an offering, or, in this case, the amount of barley that had to be presented on the day of first fruits.

An Omer was one tenth of an ephah (Exodus 16:36). Another known measure was the se’á, which was one-third of an ephah. An ephah is approximately 22 liters in modern measurements. Note: Although liters is a unit of measure for liquids, it is also used in modern times to determine the volume of something, for example, the space in a travel backpack. In the same way, the measurement of the Omer refers to “the amount of something” according to the capacity of a container of an Omer (the weight can be different according to the density of different elements).

The first time this word appears in Scripture is in Exodus 16:16, where the word Omer was not even translated in some versions of the Bible (!!!):

“This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each person needs to eat. You may take two quarts (an Omer) per individual, according to the number of people each of you has in his tent.”

As we count down the 49 days of the counting of the Omer, we also remember the manna that Yehovah fed the children of Israel with, from which each family took exactly one measure of an Omer per day.

In a more spiritual sense, the counting of these 50 days represents a conciliation between the individual and the Creator. This can be correlated to the bible passage regarding the children of Israel that traveled from Egypt to Mount Sinai. They were slaves, representing the lowest spiritual level; upon reaching their destination they heard the voice of the Almighty himself – the highest spiritual level that can be reached. During these days of the counting of the Omer, it is a great opportunity for each of us to get in tune with this ascending path of personal and spiritual development.

Mitzraim – The meaning of slavery in Egypt

We understand reality through polar opposites. We can say that something is bad because we compare it to the concept of what is good, we can think that someone is cruel because we know what compassion is…

One of the most prominent topics in the Scriptures is the subject of slavery. This is not because slavery itself is important, but because liberation from slavery is most significant.

All concepts in this existence are based on duality. As early as Genesis 1 with the concepts of heaven and earth, light and darkness, day and night… Adam himself was conditioned to understand reality based on duality when he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

To this day, no matter who you are or what background you come from, we understand reality through polar opposites. We can say that something is bad because we compare it to the concept of what is good, we can think that someone is cruel because we know what compassion is, we appreciate something as beautiful because we can conceive the concept of what is horrible.

In the same way, in the biblical story, we are taught about freedom, based on what slavery is and what it represents. The children of Israel understood freedom through slavery. There are those who say, especially those who have been deprived of their liberty, that one cannot know what liberty is at all unless he has been deprived of it first.

Mitzraim (מִצְרָיְם) was one of the sons of Ham (Gen 10:6), and is the Hebrew word for Egypt. However, this word has a deeper meaning that reveals the biblical understanding of what slavery means, as well as freedom.

Breaking down the Hebrew word, we see that the “im” at the end of Mitzraim indicates the plural form of the word. In the singular, it would be matzor (מָצוֹר). Interestingly, Egypt is referred to in this way in certain places, such as Isaiah 37:25:

“I dug wells and drank water. I dried up all the streams of Egypt (matzor- מָצוֹר) with the soles of my feet.”

A matzor in Hebrew is a siege when an army surrounds a town or city before attacking it – usually to prevent supplies from coming in.

Matzor, comes from the root tzar (צָר) which means narrow. The pressure that an army applies to a besieged people has to do with this idea. Tzar is also related to the suffering that can be experienced.

Tzorer is the word generally translated as enemy, but it also comes from this root and would be better translated as “one who causes tzar”, one who causes pain or suffering.

One of the Hebrew words for rock is tzur (צוּר). This word is used a lot in the Psalms when David says “Yehovah is my rock.” The word tzur, once again, comes from the same root as all of these words. In this case, the idea of ​​pressure or the concept of something narrow has to do with the conditions in which this stone was formed under the ground. 

Tzur in Hebrew has to do with a specific stone, although this detail is lost in translation. In English, it is called flint, which is one of the hardest stones in existence, used to make tools and weapons in the stone age.

With all this, we have enough material to meditate on the concept of where the children of Israel were when they suffered during the period of slavery in Mitzraim, Egypt.

Suffering is not necessarily physical, but mental. In this world, the strongest chains and limitations are in our mind. Emotions like worry or anxiety make us feel as if we are in a narrow place. In appearance, we have already left Egypt and were freed from physical slavery, but how many of us can say that we are free in our mind?

This is the truth that Yeshua preached, when he taught:

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls..” Matthew 11:28-29

How to Escape the System of the Beast

With regulations and government restrictions on the world’s population, increasingly resembling George Orwell’s dystopian nightmare of 1984, it’s hard to have hope that things will get better.

For those of us who believe in Bible prophecy, we know that the good guys win in the end, even though we forget it sometimes or aren’t fully aware of it. Another point to consider is exactly how long evil will have to reign; how long it will be night before the day comes; how long will we go through tribulations, until we reach that promised land, metaphorically speaking.

First, to put it in perspective: there is nothing new under the sun

For each of us, our own trials and challenges seem “the hardest.” We think about our own lives first and that makes our own problems the worst. This same distortion in perspective can be projected communally or globally. Therefore, we believe that the problems affecting us in the world today are the worst in the history of humanity: the most tyrannical governments, the most violent climate changes, the greatest depravities of the population, etc. But the truth is, there is nothing new under the sun. The evils that plague the world today have existed since the beginning of history!

As soon as two human beings existed, envy and jealousy were born. From the birth of the first communities, hierarchies of power arose, which were later corrupted by the carnal ambition for power and dominance, which later developed into the need for conquest and control over other communities. Nations and empires were founded and, in the last 250 years, we have the most familiar concept of the state which resembles the forms mentioned above – with the exception that we live in a democratic system, in which, in my opinion, there is an illusion of choice, in hopes that there will be a positive change one day.

There are three types of responses

When we are faced with any type of threat, there are three ways in which we respond. These are described in the reactions of fighting, fleeing or paralysis, which refer to involuntary physiological changes that occur in the body and the mind when a person feels threatened. These responses exist to keep people safe, preparing them to face, escape, or hide from danger.

Let’s analyze these three kinds of responses in relation to the threat in which we currently find ourselves.

Fighting. If we decide to fight the beast system, this would be a noble sentiment. Many in the past have fought physically to preserve freedom and rights, whether at the familial, communal, or national level. Many times, it is not about overthrowing an entire government, but simply preserving order, advocating for the poor and promoting justice in our own neighborhood.

An important point to keep in mind in this mode of reaction is that we must choose our battles wisely. Although there are many just causes, we must invest our time fighting where we can have a real impact and make a difference in a tangible way.

Fleeing. It is wise to realize when there are no more battles to fight, or when we are outnumbered, or simply when the war is lost. It would be sensible to begin thinking of a plan to change our circumstances, such as moving to another city, removing children from the public school system, etc. Meaning, in this case, “fleeing” would be the necessary thing to do at that moment. A family or individual can flee a country in which they feel threatened, searching for economic prosperity or simply to preserve their physical integrity. These are the main reasons people have migrated from one place to another throughout history.

I want to emphasize. These two types of responses, fighting and fleeing, are not mutually exclusive. Our response to a threat can change according to the circumstances. Yeshua instructed his disciples to buy a sword, but then scolded Peter for using it. There is a time for peace and there is a time for war.

Paralysis. This type of reaction to a threat is, essentially, the absence of a reaction. In the face of fear, confusion, surprise or lack of motivation, our nervous system can become paralyzed, leaving us immobile and defenseless against a threat. This is the reaction that those in power want to project on the population. That’s why the news transmits fear and uncertainty. That is why during the last two years of the pandemic the information that has come out from government sources has always been confusing or fatalistic, or both. And that is why, it is no coincidence that paralysis is the state in which the majority of the population finds itself.

Escaping the system

In the times when Yeshua walked through Judea and Galilee, the Roman Empire exercised control over the land. They collected taxes, controlled transportation and movement, imposed restrictions of all kinds and decided who lived and who died. It was in this same setting that Yeshua preached about the Kingdom of Heaven. But unlike the redemption that everyone expected at that very moment in order to be freed from the unbearable Roman oppression, through political change and the coronation of a Jew (Yeshua) over Israel, the Messiah was speaking of another Kingdom.

A Kingdom that was possible to access at that very moment; regardless of who the emperor or the president of a country was; a kingdom that could not be damaged by the hand of man nor does it age with the passage of time. A Kingdom that existed before Creation and will continue to exist when everything is finished; the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God.

To escape the system of the Beast, we must first realize that whatever happens around us on planet Earth, in this physical world, does not change in the slightest the power and sovereignty of the Creator over the entire Universe.

Second, it is imperative not to fear. This is a COMMANDMENT that appears in the Scriptures dozens of times, many of them accompanied by the tool that allows us to overcome fear; Courage. “Be strong and courageous!” the Creator told Joshua before entering the Promised Land.

Fear is a mechanism by which our brains help to protect us from danger. But there are times when overcoming that fear is the only way to overcome the obstacle. Overcoming fear and obstacles is precisely what makes us stronger, wiser, and more resilient.


Good times create weak men; weak men create hard times; hard times create strong men; strong men create good times.

What ails us is not only the system of the Beast, but our feeling of helplessness to fight it. Whether we choose to fight (by physical, legal, mental or spiritual means) or we choose to flee, it is important to take a good look at our circumstances and then make the appropriate decisions, based on prayer, good counsel and rational logic. And in other cases, all it will take to escape the system of the Beast, will be to simply turn the TV off, and restrict phone and social media use.

Beautiful Panoramic View of Canadian Mountain Landscape covered in clouds during a vibrant summer sunset. Dramatic Sky Artistic Render. St Mark's Summit, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


The “waters” (mayim) were created in Genesis 1:1, when the Creator created the “heavens” (shamayim).

In the beginning, God created the shamayim and the earth. This word, shamayim, appears in the first verse of the Scriptures and has much more richness, depth, and significance than we can appreciate in any language other than Hebrew.

There are profound concepts in the creation narrative. Concepts that, even with an understanding of the Hebrew language, are difficult to conceptualize with our limited human minds

To begin with, we must note the plural nature of this word. The sound “im” at the end of shamayim is the cause of the translator’s decision to translate this word as heavens, instead of heaven (singular).

This has important implications, for as we read the scriptures in context we understand that there is more than one heaven. There are at least:

  1. the heaven where the birds fly,
  2. a higher heaven where the stars are, and
  3. a heaven where the angels and the Almighty dwell.

1 Kings 8:27 tells us about, “the heaven of heavens,” and in 2 Corinthians 12, Shaul (Paul) mentions having met someone who was taken up to the “third heaven.” These provide evidence for a plurality of heavens.

Another interesting point has to do with the connection between “the heavens” and “the waters.” 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and immediately afterwards the Word tells us that Elohim’s Ruach “moved over  the face of the waters.”

An inquisitive reader will then wonder when did the Creator created the waters – since, there is no indication between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 that water had been created.

This is the reason we cannot establish a certain doctrine or a new theology unless we analyze the scriptures in their original language. This is why I’m passionate about Hebrew!

The word water in Hebrew, just like the word heaven, occurs, naturally, in the plural form: waters is pronounced mayim and, if you’ve been paying attention, you will notice that this word, mayim, is part of the word shamayim: heavens!

That’s right. The “waters” (mayim) were created in Genesis 1:1, when the Creator created the “heavens” (shamayim).

Armed with this knowledge, the sixth verse of Genesis 1 now makes sense to the reader. Elohim “separated  the waters from the waters” when he creates the “expanse” of the heavens, or the “firmament.”

What Does Hallelujah Mean?

Hallelu is simply the imperative form of the verb halel and Yah is the first part of the name of the Creator.

From the “elel” that is shouted in traditional Ethiopian festivals, to the sound of early instruments, to the “halleluyah” that is shouted in Pentecostal churches today- whether we know it or not, they are all related to the concept of praise in ancient Israel.

The word halel, where halleluYah comes from, is usually translated as “praise” or “to give glory.”

Hallelu is simply the imperative form of the verb halel and Yah is the first part of the name of the Creator. Therefore, the meaning of this ancient word would be “praise Yah” or “give glory to Yah.”

The problem that arises is that the concept of praising or giving glory is not something concrete in English. To delve into the meaning of this word, and the concept of praise, in Biblical Hebrew we must go back to its first usages in the Scriptures.

“when His lamp shone (hilo, הִלֹּו) on my head, when I walked in the dark by His light.”
– Job 29: 3 ISR

In this example we have the shortened root of halel and we see that it has the meaning of illuminating or shining- the same action as the glowing of a candle.

The following is a very interesting Biblical example since it has brought about much confusion in different translations:

Have we learned something wrong again? Not quite.

The reality is, thematically speaking, that the “beginning of the harvest,” those fruits of the barley harvest offered during the week of Chag haMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), from when we began to count the fifty days until Shavuot may also be called bikurim.

So, if we want to define the terms correctly and accurately, it is important to understand that the Day of First Fruits is NOT called ‘Yom haBikurim’ in the Torah. On the contrary, the day that is called ‘Yom haBikurim’ is Shavuot, as we saw above.

Finally, I will share the meaning of this word. Bikurim is the plural of the word bikur, which is literally “first,” related to organic elements such as animals, fruits and plants.

It is related to the root bakr which means “firstborn.” In Egypt, for example, the tenth plague was called makat haBechorot, “plague of the firstborn.”

As expressed biblically, the first “fruit of the womb” of a woman is linguistically related to the first fruits of the earth.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (heilel, הֵילֵל), son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
– Isaiah 14:12 KJV

In this verse of Isaiah, the word heilel, which is related to halel also gives us that image of “shining” or “giving light.” In this case, it is the light that a star gives, the brightest star seen in the sky just before sunrise.

The context of this chapter tells us that we are talking about the king of Babylon and his pride. The word heilel was translated into the Vulgate of Jerome as Lucifer in Latin. “Lucifer” is simply something that gives light, such as a star, but being one of the words with which hasatan is denominated (“the angel of light”), this verse is often taken out of context.

In fact, many translations in English and other languages ​​preserved here the Latin word Lucifer (capitalized, as if it were a name) instead of the most adequate translation of the word: the shining one.

In the Jewish tradition, halel is also the name given to Psalms 113 through 118, which were sung in the Temple at the time that the lambs were sacrificed at Passover and, most likely, the hymns that Yeshua and his disciples would have sung at the end of the “Last Supper” (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26).

In conclusion, we see how the word halel is connected with the action of shining, such as a light, either from the fire of a candle or a star. Lights (fires) and stars were used in ancient times as reference points, that is, as objects of orientation that could be followed to reach a specific destination safely.

Beyond the basic and loosely accurate translation of “praise” or “glory”, the next time you say or think of the word halelu-Yah, keep in mind these ancient meanings and connections, which give a deeper meaning to everything that we should attribute to Yah.