Jake 5-10-24 Paul-web

Paul: The Brilliant & Misinterpreted Apostle

“Paul’s letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).

While traveling on the road to Damascus, the man who would later become one of the most powerful instruments in God’s hands to preach the gospel to the Gentile nations had a literal blinding encounter with the Lord Yeshua.  That man was Saul, or Paul as he was known in Greek (“Paulos”).

Having been spiritually blinded to the truth by the false traditions of the Pharisees, Paul had spent his entire life being raised and educated in the depths of man-made religion.  Now literally blinded by the reality of Yeshua being the true Messiah, Paul had to relearn those things he had been raised to believe.  After spending some time in Arabia (very likely at Mount Sinai), the man who had been exceedingly zealous for the traditions of his fathers (see Galatians 1:11-18) grew to become even more zealous for the truth of God’s Beloved Son.

Paul traveled far and wide preaching the good news of Yeshua Messiah, reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jews in their synagogues (see Acts 17:2) and also preaching to the Gentile nations the beautiful message of salvation from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The same man who had once been the star pupil of the great Jewish Rabbi Gamaliel (see Acts 22:3) was now reaching out to Pharisee and pagan alike with the same word of truth Peter, James, John, Andrew, and the other apostles of the Messiah were delivering.

With one possible difference:  Paul was exceptionally intelligent.

I am not saying that Peter, James, John, and Andrew were not intelligent men.  They most certainly were—intelligent, wise, and personally called, taught, and qualified by the Master himself.  But they had also been raised to be simple fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.  Paul had been raised to be one of the greatest rabbis of the Pharisees.  Peter and the other apostles would’ve heard the Torah and the Prophets preached on the Sabbath in the synagogues.  Paul would’ve literally memorized the Torah and the other sacred books to quote them verbatim.

Paul’s intelligence and familiarity with the Hebrew Scriptures (known to Christians as “the Old Testament”) is clearly seen throughout his thirteen letters (or “epistles”).  He quotes from the Torah a total of 45 times.  He quotes the Prophets 53 times, with Isaiah being quoted the most at 36 times.  The Psalms are quoted 23 times.  Additional books of the Hebrew Scriptures are quoted or referenced an additional 10 times.  In total, Paul either directly quotes or paraphrases the Scriptures 131 times.

Put simply, the man was brilliant.  And like all brilliant men, their own intelligence can prove to be a stumbling block to others.  Paul’s epistles—while perfectly true and never contradicting God’s Torah—have proven to be the most difficult of all the Biblical books to properly understand, which makes it easier for the ignorant to misinterpret or even the deliberately devious to distort.  This misinterpretation or deliberate distortion of Paul’s letters can prove to be extremely dangerous, even damning to the soul if it leads to a rejection of YeHoVaH’s commandments and obedience to His ways.

Peter, who knew Paul personally and understood that his epistles never taught anything contrary to the Torah of God, warned his readers of this reality, saying, “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters.  His letters contain some things that are HARD TO UNDERSTAND, which ignorant and unstable people DISTORT, as they do the other Scriptures, to THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION” (2 Peter 3:15-16, emphasis added).

In the very next verse, Peter then sternly warns his readers to never be carried away by the lawless (literally, the Torah-less):  “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by THE ERROR OF THE LAWLESS and fall from your secure position” (2 Peter 3:17, emphasis added).

Yeshua Messiah prophesied that many such people would come—those who would call him their “Lord” but they would “not do what [he says]” (Luke 6:46).  Such people will not enter the kingdom of heaven, because they have pursued a Torah-less lifestyle and not done the will of the Eternal Father while on the earth.  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you that practice LAWLESSNESS!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, emphasis added).

Let it be known that I love and cherish Paul’s letters.  His letters are beautiful, true, and filled with great wisdom from the Almighty.  I simply understand the same thing the apostle Peter understood:  Paul is the most difficult of all the Biblical writers to properly interpret.  Because of that, my personal encouragement to all would be to make Paul the LAST author in the Holy Bible that you read, never the first.  Never start your Biblical studies with Paul nor establish your doctrines with his letters.  The likelihood of distorting his message and intent is simply too great if you do.

Instead, I would encourage everyone to start their studies with the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and with the direct words of Yeshua Messiah (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).  Afterward, pursue a study of literally every additional book in the Bible.  Then, after obtaining a proper understanding of the same Scriptures that Paul knew so well, study Paul.  By so doing, the likelihood of distorting his epistles and being “carried away by the error of the lawless” to your “own destruction” (2 Peter 2:17, 16) is significantly reduced.

Shalom, my friends, and YeHoVaH God be with you all.

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The Partaking of Pride

“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:4-5).

There were many trees in the Garden of Eden, but two trees were of the utmost significance: The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil — a tree that I refer to as “the Tree of Death.” YeHoVaH God had sternly warned Adam and Eve to never partake of the fruit of that cursed tree, promising that “when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17).

As watchful believers, we must understand that Satan’s tactics to destroy the human soul have not changed over the past 6,000 years. He may refine his tools and methods of delivery, but his core tactics remain the same. He first causes people to doubt the Word of God by asking, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:2). He then outright calls God a liar by stating that what God has declared to be true is actually false: “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). Then comes his most insidious lie — his empty promise that through disobedience to the Almighty God “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

Yeshua Messiah declared that the devil was “a murderer from the beginning” and that he is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). How perfectly true. Literally from the beginning of the world, Satan has sought to murder the eternal souls of God’s children by convincing them to believe in his lies and partake of the fruit of that wretched Tree of Death. That foundational lie of “You get to be God yourself” is one that so many have fallen for throughout human history and continue to fall for today. It is the lie that says we get to determine the moral order. We get to be our own moral masters, our own law-givers, our own arbiters of what is good and what is evil.

To believe in this lie and to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Death is to partake of the sin of PRIDE. It is to shake one’s fist at the Heavens and declare in supreme arrogance: “I don’t need You to tell me what I can and can’t do! I am my own god! I get to decide for myself!”

The Word of God continuously warns us of the dangers of the sin of pride, promising that “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Throughout the Word, we see the fulfillment of that promise time and time again.

It was this sin of pride that brought about the Fall and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. It was pride that brought mankind down into such a wretched state of wickedness where “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5), and YeHoVaH God came out in righteous judgment and destroyed all the world with a flood of water. Pride led mankind to gather together and build a tower to reach to the heavens so that they might “make a name for [themselves]” (Genesis 11:4). Pride brought about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, for they had become a people that were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before [YeHoVaH]” (Ezekiel 16:49-50).

It was pride that led the ruler of Tyre to boast that he was a god. “In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.’ But you are a mere mortal and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god” (Ezekiel 28:2). This same pride brought about his own death and the ruin of his kingdom. “Because you consider your wisdom to be equal to that of God, I will bring foreigners against you, the most barbarous of all the nations. They will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They will hurl you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas” (Ezekiel 28:6-8).

Pride led to the demise of the king of Babylon. “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit” (Isaiah 14:13-15).

Pride brought the curses of the Almighty down upon King Nebuchadnezzar and drove him insane. “[Nebuchadnezzar] said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’” (Daniel 4:30). It was not until he eventually “raised [his] eyes towards heaven” in repentance that his “sanity was restored” (Daniel 4:34), and ultimately he was brought to declare in humility: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).

Pride led to the horrific death of the wicked Seleucid-Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes. “Thus he who only a short time before had in his superhuman arrogance believed that he could command the waves of the sea, and who imagined that he could weigh high mountains on a scale, was thrown down to the ground and had to be carried in a litter, clearly manifesting to all the power of God. The body of this ungodly man swarmed with worms, and while he was still alive suffering agonizing torments, his flesh rotted away, so that the entire army was sickened by the stench of his decay. Only a short time before, he had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven. Now no one could even bring himself to transport the man because of his intolerable stench” (2 Maccabees 9:8-10).

Pride caused Herod Agrippa to embrace the praises of his people when they declared him to be a god. “On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:21-23).

And many more examples can be cited.

Pride is the root sin of all sins. It is the original sin. To be filled with the sin of pride is to metaphorically partake of the fruit of the Tree of Death. It is to deceive oneself into believing that you have the authority to redirect the moral order and remain free of any consequences for your rebellious actions. Do not be deceived! Know that there are always consequences. YeHoVaH God’s promise holds true to this day: “You will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). And whenever you see an individual or a group or a nation lifted up in the pride of their hearts even to the point of celebration in their defiant acts of disobedience, rest assured that destruction is at the door.

As the world and those of it choose to dedicate the month of June to the sin of PRIDE, I would encourage you to dedicate this same month (and all months hereafter) to the virtue of HUMILITY. The spirit of pride says, “I want to be god!”, but the spirit of humility says, “YeHoVaH already is God.” The spirit of pride boasts, “I get to do whatever I want!”, but the spirit of humility says, “I have the blessing of doing whatever YeHoVaH God wants.” The spirit of pride foolishly believes, “There won’t be any consequences for my actions,” but the spirit of humility understands, “There are always consequences for sinful actions.”

Beware which spirit you allow to influence you.

In the Book of Proverbs, we read of this promise: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6). This is why our Lord Yeshua declared, “All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).

We can either voluntarily choose to humble ourselves before the Almighty God — and by so doing draw closer into loving relationship with our Glorious Creator — or we can heap the burning coals of judgment upon our heads and await YeHoVaH to humble us Himself. Choosing to humble ourselves before God and to obey His Word is to partake of the Tree of Life. But to lift ourselves up in the sin of pride and choose to disobey God is to partake of the Tree of Death.

Thus, the choice laid out before us is the same choice presented to Adam and Eve: Life and Death. Which “tree” will you choose to partake of?

In love, I encourage you to choose humility. Choose obedience to God. Choose life. As Moses declared to the House of Israel in the wilderness, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Shalom and Amen.

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Honoring God’s Memorial

“God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “YeHoVaH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is My Name forever, and thus I am to be REMEMBERED throughout all generations’” (Exodus 3:15, emphasis added).

For citizens of the United States of America, this week began with a very significant national holiday: Memorial Day. It is on this day that we pay special remembrance to those valiant soldiers of the United States armed forces—especially those who have paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives in defense of liberty and justice. On this day, we remember the indomitable courage and heroism that stormed the five blood-soaked beaches at Normandy, freed the Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz-Birkenau, victoriously raised the U.S. flag atop the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, pushed back against the encroachment of communism in Korea and Vietnam, and have sought to put an end to the barbaric Islamic terrorist groups who seek to eradicate Jew and Christian alike.

From everyone at A Rood Awakening International Ministries, we thank and salute our valiant U.S. soldiers and veterans.

But on this particular Memorial Day, my mind has spent considerable time meditating on the word “memorial” and its connection with the God of our fathers. The Hebrew word translated as “remembered” in Exodus 3:15 is “zeker,” which properly means a “memorial.” As God declared to Moses from the burning bush, the hallowed Name of YeHoVaH — a Name which stands as an everlasting declaration that “He was, He is, and He will be” — is the eternal memorial of the Almighty God. Recorded nearly 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, God’s awesome Name is how He is to be remembered and honored forever and ever.

Throughout American history, forces of great evil have arisen to destroy all that we hold dear. Time and time again, these forces of darkness have been challenged and ultimately conquered by the valiant, the brave, and the bold. We honor their sacred sacrifices on Memorial Day.

There’s a spiritual parallel here because, throughout human history, there have been forces of great evil that have arisen to destroy what we should hold dearest: the sacred memorial of God Himself. These servants of the enemy seek to “make My people forget My Name” (Jeremiah 23:27). They seek to cause God’s people to not remember, not call upon, not exalt, not banner, not bless, not swear oaths by, and not love the Name of YeHoVaH.

But time and time again, these forces of spiritual darkness have been challenged and ultimately conquered by the valiant, the brave, and the bold. Empowered by God’s grace, servants of the Almighty have worked tirelessly to restore God’s great Name, so that His memorial can be known and declared throughout all the world.

God’s “zeker”—His “memorial”—will never be destroyed and will never be forgotten. HalleluYah!

As we seek to honor God by holding His memorial sacred, we are humbled by His promise that He also remembers us. “Then those who feared YeHoVaH spoke with one another. YeHoVaH paid attention and heard them, and a book of REMEMBRANCE was written before Him of those who feared YeHoVaH and esteemed HIS NAME” (Malachi 3:16, emphasis added).

All glory be to YeHoVaH God forever and ever. Amen.

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Unmistakable Signs of the End of the Age

It would take naivety and innocence to affirm that political leaders will somehow find answers to all this chaos.

Likewise, just as it happened in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:28-30

On several occasions, Yeshua declared that prior to His return, the situation would be similar to the days preceding the Flood and the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah. And what were those conditions? Nothing more and nothing less than the ones we are witnessing. Let’s see:

  • Abortions – equivalent to the sacrifices of children offered to demons, disregarding the life given by the Creator.
  • Greed – Insatiable desire for material things. At present, almost all activities in life revolve around buying and selling some product. Humanity is insatiable and is not ashamed of it.
  • Unions outside of marriage – Fornication – Adultery. Relationships have been degraded to the purely physical level, and in the best cases, marriage is just a social activity without any commitment.
  • Excesses in food and drink – Today, the proliferation of exotic and unhealthy foods leads to gluttony and dependence on them; the same happens with drinks, and poor health is the consequence of these excesses.
  • Industrial food production – Through genetically manipulated seeds, a few companies produce food for humanity because most people are clustered in cities, disconnected from Creation and its Creator.
  • Unprecedented construction – as a response to the needs of the crowds crowded in urban centers.

Faced with all of the above, you don’t need to be a scientist or a prophet to identify the current conditions. Just open your eyes and look around. Of course, we haven’t mentioned all the other situations that are also already present: frequent earthquakes, diseases due to people’s blind trust in official health systems, pollution of our planet, complete imbalance in the delicate system created by YeHoVaH… etc.

So, ask yourself if you truly believe that this will improve through a political party or a human leader. If your answer is negative, ask yourself this other question: how long will this situation last? It would take naivety and innocence to affirm that political leaders will somehow find answers to all this chaos. No. The situation will worsen because it’s foreseen to.

Yeshua warned us in advance that this would happen; moreover, He encouraged us to lift our faces because when this is being fulfilled, it means our liberation is near. It is planned that these things will happen before His return to establish a real kingdom of justice and peace.

There’s no room for fear because we have hope in the promises of our Eternal Father YeHoVaH, who will intervene in due time to rescue His faithful remnant who have separated themselves from the contaminated system and placed their trust in Him. It’s time to align your daily life with His commandments. If you haven’t done so yet, what are you waiting for?


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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.

Conclusion

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.

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The Feasts of YeHoVaH

Modern lifestyle has disconnected us from nature – Yehovah’s Creation – and has connected us to an artificial life that prevents us from understanding the way God acts.

We were created to interact with Creation at all its levels. The original mandate was: “fill the earth and govern it.” Instead of that, we have grouped ourselves to live in paved cities, full of skyscrapers, highly polluted, and we have lost sight of the Garden in which we were originally placed.

Modern lifestyle has disconnected us from nature – Yehovah’s Creation – and has connected us to an artificial life that prevents us from understanding the way God acts.

In this condition, we do not know or understand the Festivals that were given to us, as they are linked to nature and the cycles of food cultivation.

Not only have we lost the opportunity to recognize the hand of our Father in nature, but we also ignore the meaning of the Appointed Times gave by Him. Yehovah our Father determined multiple celebrations throughout the year:

For the Spring season:

  • The Celebration of Pesach (Passover).
  • The Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread).
  • The celebration of Bikkurim (First Fruits).
  • The Feast of Shavuot (Weeks or Pentecost).

For the Fall season:

  • The celebration of Yom Teruah (Trumpets).
  • The celebration of Yom Kippurim (Day of Atonements).
  • The Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).

We then have Four Celebrations and Three Festivals each year. But we also have at the beginning of each month, the celebration of Yom Kodesh or the beginning of the lunar month (see topic: Yehovah’s Calendar), and every week, we have the Shabbat, a gift from our Father so that we can suspend the routines that sometimes overwhelm us and take a break in His presence (see topic: Shabbath, the First Commandment).

In general, we can affirm that these Celebrations and Festivals have several purposes:

Setting aside time to be with Him, knowing Him, and thanking Him for His constant provision.
Keeping us alert to the development of His perfect Eternal Plan.
Identifying ourselves as His people by honoring Him.
Recreating and rejoicing in the proper and non-harmful manner.
When we practice these Celebrations and Festivals, we are acknowledging that Yehovah is the center of our existence, so we orbit around Him throughout the year, and in that way, we testify that He is the most important person in our lives. Additionally, these are opportunities to develop our interpersonal relationships and take time to rest and enjoy the things He provides for us.

Decide to participate in Yehovah’s Festivals because you will gain an understanding of His Word that is not possible to achieve otherwise.

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The Calendar of YeHoVaH

The practice of Yehovah’s Calendar will help us to understand more clearly the prophetic times, the Scriptures and our Father’s Plans.

The emphasis on the importance of knowing and understanding Yehovah’s Calendar will never be overstated because the prophetic events of the Scriptures are not aligned with the calendar that the world uses day by day. Because of this, many will be taken by surprise like a thief in the night. Here is a brief introduction to the topic.

The Days

From the moment we are born, the counting of time begins for each of us. According to the date our parents claim we were born, we start counting the days, weeks, months, and years. That special day we celebrate every year begins at 12:00 a.m., that is, midnight, and ends one second before midnight of the next day. However, our Eternal Father defined the start and end of days differently. When we read the account of Creation in the Bible, each stage of the process is described as:

“And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” Genesis 1:5

Therefore, days begin at sunset and end 24 hours later when the sun sets again.

The Weeks

Scripture only gives a name to the seventh day: Shabbat in Hebrew (Sabbath in English). The other days are recognized as the first day of the week, the second day of the week, and so on until the sixth day. English translations keep the name Sabbath for that day. However, some translations into other languages have substituted the Hebrew word Shabbat for the word Saturday, or for the expression “day of rest”, thus making it difficult to recognize both the Shabbat and the fulfillment of what our Eternal Father commanded.

The Months

According to the Scriptures, months begin with the new moon or the appearance of the first crescent of the moon after nights when it has not been visible. (Clarification: The astronomical new moon is a calculated event that occurs at an instant when it enters conjunction with the sun, one of the nights when the moon is not visible.)

Moon Cycles

Moon Cycle

When the Temple in Jerusalem was still standing, it was imperative for two witnesses to testify before the high priest that they had observed the first sliver of the moon with the naked eye. The high priest would then declare that day (which had already begun at sunset) as the beginning of a new month.

The Years

The calendar we currently use is solar, which means we calculate time based solely on the sun. However, our Father Yehovah governs His Creation according to His lunar-solar calendar, making use of both celestial bodies.

God determined when the years begin:

“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, ‘This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.'” Exodus 12:1-2

At that time, the Hebrew people were about to be liberated from their slavery in Egypt. It was spring, when all plants are greening, and life returns after the cold winter. The beginning of that first month was determined by the new moon. Later, Yehovah gave instructions regarding a second condition to be considered in determining the start of the years: the maturity of the barley:

“Today you are going out in the month of Aviv.” Exodus 13:4

“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in the month of Aviv you came out of Egypt.” Exodus 34:18

Aviv was not the name of the month but the condition of the barley. If it is in a certain state of maturity and close to being harvested, it is said to be “aviv.”

Now we know everything we need to determine how to start the years today, following the Torah’s instructions. In summary, if

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Why is it important to study the Torah?

The holy books were never secret documents, but the patrimony of the whole community.

While it is true that the priests and the Levites were entrusted with the custody of the sacred books, they were also entrusted with the responsibility of teaching the Torah — YeHoVaH’s instructions — to the people. However, the Levites were not the only ones who had the responsibility of studying and knowing it.

In fact, the very survival of YeHoVaH’s people has depended upon their faithfulness to YeHoVaH’s instructions; it’s the responsibility of everyone who trusts in the God of Israel! For this reason, ignorance of the Torah is no excuse among the children of YeHoVaH. This is why Moses was tasked with reading these instructions to everyone — both the literal tribes of Israel and the “mixed multitude” who escaped Egypt with them:

“And he (Moshe) took the Book of the Covenant and read in the ears of the people”
~ Exodus 24:7

One of the provisions of the Torah specifically calls for the reading of the entire book of Deuteronomy before the assembled people — specifically so that those who did NOT know the God of Israel would understand what He expected of anyone who would consider themselves as part of Israel:

“And Moshe commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time of the year of remission, in the solemnity of Tabernacles (Sukkot), when all Israel go to appear before YeHoVaH your Elohim in the place which He has chosen, you shall read this Torah before all Israel in their hearing. You shall gather the people, men, women, and children, and your stranger who is in your gates, that they may hear and learn, and fear YeHoVaH your Elohim, and keep the words of this Torah to do them. And that their children who do not know it may hear and learn to fear YeHoVaH your Elohim, all the days that you live in the land where you are going, past the Yarden, to take possession of it.
~ Deuteronomy 31:12

So it was that every seven years, and during the Feast of Sukkot of each Sabbath year, all the people of Yisrael were summoned to be instructed by the priests and Levites, making it clear from the beginning of their existence as a nation, that they were the people chosen by YeHoVaH to develop that unique identity. This is the reason why the holy books were never secret documents, but the patrimony of the whole community.

If we are to affirm our identity as YeHoVaH’s people, we need to keep immersing ourselves in His Word, otherwise, we will not be able to discern the Truth from the multitude of voices and messages that reach our ears every day. The path is narrow and staying on it requires our full attention to the Torah — the instructions — that our Father has provided to us.

Bikkurim – Yeshua Presents the First Fruits

Could Yeshua enter the Heavenly Sanctuary saying, “Here I am; I am the First Fruits”? This clearly makes no sense…

Traditionally, we pay a lot of attention to the celebration of Pesaj, and we are rightly moved to remember the departure of our ancestors from Egypt, because in this way we show our obedience to the commandments of YeHoVaH. However, we often pay very little attention to the Bikkurim or First Fruits Celebration, which shows us the resurrection of the first saints who were presented by Yeshua before YeHoVaH on the designated day.

Let’s read closely the words of Matthew 27:50-53:

Yeshua shouted again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And they came out of the tombs after his resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.

If we really consider that nothing in the scriptures can be added on a whim, here we have a problem to solve, because no one has truly explained the rationale or the hidden meaning of the details described here.

Note carefully that when Yeshua died, the graves were opened, but the bodies of the saints did not come out until after the resurrection of Yeshua, an event that took place on the Shabbat of that week, thus fulfilling the prophecy announced by himself as the only sign that would be given to that generation of unbelieving leaders:

But he answered them:

“An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” (Matthew 12:39-40)

Thus, exactly three days and three nights after giving up his life on Wednesday at the chosen hour, Yeshua rose again along with those saints whose graves had been opened at the time of their death, and it was then that “they entered the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:53)

And John 20:1 describes what happened afterward:

“On the first day of the week [Sunday], Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.” Moments later, Yeshua appeared to Miriam, and after a short dialogue, told her:  “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father—to my God and your God.” (John 20:17)

In those moments, Yeshua was on time to present to the Father the offering of the First Fruits – Bikkurim: the first resurrected who had been raised on Saturday afternoon after he had risen. Thus, while the high priest presented the cut sheaf the night before and the food offering that they had prepared during the night (Leviticus 23:10-11), Yeshua presented before YeHoVaH the resurrected First Fruits.

There are those who would affirm that Yeshua alone is the First Fruits, but if so, then we would have another dilemma, because the Torah gives a very clear instruction in YeHoVaH’s pronouncement in Exodus 23:15 – “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.”

So, since Yeshua had to fulfill the Torah perfectly, he could not appear before the Father that morning with no offering! He had to bring something to present to his Father, because that was precisely the day of Bikkurim – the Day of the First Fruits. Could Yeshua enter the Heavenly Sanctuary saying, “Here I am; I am the First Fruits”? This clearly makes no sense, for Yeshua had to take something with him as an offering of First Fruits to his Father, and this provides the only possible explanation for the resurrection of those saints referred to in Matthew 27:50-53 – they were the First Fruits that Yeshua presented as his Bikkurim offering before our father YeHoVaH.

Perhaps we are wondering: who were those who were resurrected? Unfortunately, the story tells us nothing further about it, but we do have records in the Tanakh or Old Testament that many righteous prophets and kings were buried in and around Jerusalem. Therefore, we can infer that some of them who were chosen by YeHoVaH were resurrected and therefore are in heaven with Yeshua and with YeHoVaH. Will they be the 24 elders referred to in the Book of the Revelation? It is probable, because the truth is that the rest of those who have slept are awaiting resurrection on the day of the Messiah’s return.

Let us rejoice! Because when there are First Fruits, this means that there is going to be a harvest later, and in the very manner that those saints were resurrected, we will also be, if the Messiah does not come before.

Unmistakable Signs of the End of the Age

“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).

Repeatedly, Yeshua declared that, prior to his return, the times would be similar to those before the flood and the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah.  And what was happening then?  Nothing more nor less than what we are witnessing in our own day and age.  

Consider:

Abortion – literal child sacrifices offered to demons, despising the life given by the Creator. 

Greed – The insatiable desire to obtain material things. At present, almost all activities in life have to do with the purchase and sale of a product. Human beings are “materialized” and not ashamed of it.

Free unions – Fornication and adultery. Relationships have been degraded to mere physical contact and marriage to little more than a social activity, without any commitment.

Excesses in food and drink – Today, the proliferation of exotic and unclean foods leads to gluttony, dependence, and even addiction.  Something similar occurs with drinks of all kinds, and poor health is often the consequence of such indulgence.

Industrial food production – Using genetically engineered plants, a select few companies produce food for the entire world because most people are housed in cities, disconnected from Creation and their Creator.

Unprecedented scale of buildings and construction – A response to the needs of crowds seeking life in urban centers.

Hence, you don’t need to be a scientist or a prophet to recognize these current conditions. Just open your eyes and look around you. Of course, we have not mentioned all the other situations that are already too familiar: frequent earthquakes, diseases spread by people who blindly continue to trust the official health systems, and the contamination of our planet’s resources, creating a dangerous imbalance of the delicate system created by YeHoVaH.

So, ask yourself if you really think this state of affairs is going to improve, thanks to a political party or an idealistic leader. If your answer is negative, ask yourself another question: How long is this situation going to last?  It would be ludicrous to claim that political figures will somehow find the solution to all this chaos.  No, the situation is going to get worse because that’s how it has been planned.

Yeshua warned us in advance that all of this would happen.  And what’s more, he encouraged us to be attentive, because when his prophecies are being fulfilled, it means that our redemption is near.  He is planning these things to occur before he returns to establish a kingdom of royal justice and peace.

Yet there is no place for fear in this scenario, because we have placed our hope in the promises of YeHoVaH, our eternal father who will intervene in time to rescue his faithful remnant who remain separated from the world’s corruption, and who have placed their trust in him.  It is time to align your daily life with his commandments.  

And if you haven’t done it yet… what are you waiting for?