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.  


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?

How to Identify a True Prophet?

Yeshua comes to the Temple to teach, and some of the chief priests and elders of the town question the provenance of his expertise:  “By what authority are you doing these things?  Who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23).

Immediately, Yeshua answers by asking them a question that puts them on the spot: “Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from men?” (Matt 21:25).  The dynamic that Yeshua presented to them was very simple – if they answered his question, Yeshua would answer their initial question.

But the chief priests and elders decided otherwise, for they came to the conclusion that they would be exposed before Yeshua and the people, as detailed in Matthew’s account:

“They began to argue among themselves, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” He will say to us, “Then why didn’t you believe him?” But if we say, “From men,” we’re afraid of the crowd because everyone thought John was a prophet.’ So they answered Yeshua, ‘We don’t know’” (Matthew 21:25-27).

Something of vital importance that we can derive from this confrontation between the priests and Yeshua is their knowledge that the people recognized Yochanan Ben Zejariah, known to many as John the Baptist, as a true prophet, one who had been sent from YeHoVaH.

This popular awareness is also associated with the prophet Samuel:  “All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a confirmed prophet of YeHoVaH” (1 Samuel 3:20).

Today, we observe many people who proclaim to the world at large that they are sent from heaven. But how can we know whether someone is a true prophet of the Most High?  How could our ancient counterparts distinguish between a man of YeHoVaH and a false, self-proclaimed teacher?  1 Samuel 3:19 gives us a clue:  “Samuel grew, and YeHoVaH was with him, and He fulfilled everything Samuel prophesied.”

This supports one of the criteria that Moses gave us in the Torah to distinguish between true and false prophets:  We are told that if a prophet arises and “speaks in the name of YeHoVaH, and what he said does not happen, nor does it come to pass, it is a word that YeHoVaH has not spoken; with presumption the said prophet spoke it; don’t be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22).

The Torah offers yet another touchstone for identifying a false prophet: “When a prophet speaks in the name of YeHoVaH, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message YeHoVaH has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

Beloved brothers and sisters, the Bible truly enables us to distinguish between the true men of YeHoVaH and those who would prophesy in vain.  So let us be diligent and continue to study and apply the Holy Scriptures!

Yeshua Heals a Leper – and Leaves us a Great TEACHING

Levi, son of Alphaeus – better known as Matthew the Levite – tells us at a certain point in his gospel narrative about how Yeshua heals a leper just after finishing his famous speech, the so-called “Sermon on the Mount.”  Lepers were people who were in a condition of physical uncleanliness (Lev 13:44) and who literally had to shout “unclean, unclean” (Lev 13:45) and be isolated from others (Num 5:2).  They were utterly unwanted by people in the community, and rejected because of their impure condition.

Matthew tells us that a leper came before Yeshua and prostrated himself before him, and told him that if he wished, he could cure him.  Moved with mercy, Yeshua answered him “I will do so!” and immediately, he was cleansed of his leprosy.

Every time I read this passage, I have no doubt that Yeshua had the authority, the power, and the proper disposition to heal the leper, but I came to realize that it was not until the leper surrendered to him, bowing before him and acknowledging his lordship, that Yeshua performed his miracle.

How many times have we gone through difficult situations involving illness, pain, or even torment, waiting for YeHoVaH to “do the work,” only for nothing to happen? We know that our heavenly Father has the power to heal us, and that by Yeshua’s wounds we have been healed (Is 53:5).  But even so, we remain afflicted.

Yet even in the midst of all this frustration, we can perhaps learn something from the example of this leper.  YeHoVaH knows our pain and knows what we need, but sometimes He allows sickness to touch us – remember the example of Job! – because He is waiting for us to turn to Him and bow down, saying “Lord, if it is your wish, you can heal me up.”


The Confession

Many people do not refrain from doing evil to others in order to achieve their personal goals…

When YeHoVaH created us, we were endowed with a conscience. This is a type of “judge” that was designed to direct us to what is right or wrong according to the eternal Torah that reflects the righteous character of the Creator, and by which He rules all of His Creation.

But as we grow and begin our journey through this world, that conscience is influenced, refined, distorted, and even contaminated, all in such a way that we can lose our sense of justice completely.  And as this happens, many people do not refrain from doing evil to others in order to achieve their personal goals.  Hence the famous expression: “These people have no conscience!”

But when we have a genuine and transformative encounter with Yeshua, something supernatural happens: That sense of conscience is restored and renewed to align once again with YeHoVaH’s Torah, and a new beginning – a new life – emerges, as described by Paul (Shaul):

“…if anyone is in the Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Then, the potential to keep us acting honestly and justly is reactivated.  However, we inevitably make mistakes again because of our habits, and we run the risk of returning to our old patterns, ignoring or underestimating our conscience that is now awakened by the Spirit of YeHoVaH that dwells in us.

What to do? How do we deal with these problems? It is in these moments when we must take advantage of the resource provided by our Father to be restored in our journey: The Confession.

But I am not talking about going before another man to render an account of what we have done, but about talking with God, with YeHoVaH, to affirm what He himself defines as injustice, and then to accept that He is right, acknowledging that what we have done is sinful. Immediately afterward, we accept by faith the forgiveness that has already been granted to us through Yeshua and we carry on, redefining our spiritual journey.

You may ask yourself: “What if I have acted unfairly with someone; how have I done so?”  There will always be situations in which we must go to the person we have hurt to admit that we have acted wrongly, for that too is confession. In other words, let that person know that you did wrong and then ask forgiveness for such behavior.  But do not demand forgiveness; instead, you must grant him the option, through his own volition, to make that decision.

YeHoVaH provides us with a special day during the festive season of autumn – Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, or the day of liberation from the guilt that we have been carrying throughout the year. The tenth day of the Seventh month of YeHoVaH’s Calendar is set aside for us to audit ourselves. On such a day we are commanded to humble ourselves before YeHoVaH by following the biblical example of fasting. That day is considered a Shabbat in which no work should be done, when we must retire into silence and stillness to start fresh with our Creator.

In fact, to be able to do this we need to adequately prepare ourselves in the days leading up to this occasion, cultivating an attitude of introspection with the help of our Father, to bring to mind those intentions, attitudes, and behaviors that need to be corrected or repaired.  And the first step to achieve this is The Confession, as we have mentioned before.

But more importantly, we should not wait until the annual arrival of Yom Kippur to mend our relationships with our Father and with others. This is something we need to do every day, just as we do with our bodies when we breathe.  Just as we exhale toxins and inhale fresh, pure air, so also let us release our injustices through confession, and let us take in the forgiveness and justice that come from YeHoVaH through Yeshua, our Lord and Messiah.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9)

Four Keys to Discovering Your Purpose

YeHoVaH will never do what you can do, but he will be there to help you achieve the things that are beyond your limits when you have exhausted all your resources.

Have you ever asked yourself, “what am I doing here?”

Every human being who is mindful of an eternal destiny has asked himself this question at least once during his existence. And the search for an answer often determines the meaning of our daily lives.

When we first hear or read about Moshe’s life, we do not expect its major events to unfold at the advanced age of eighty. Now, if we try to get into the mind of this man during his first forty years of life, we might find him wondering why his life was so different from those of his enslaved brothers. This was, for him, a time of abundance, comfort, pleasures, achievements, and recognition – virtually everything that a person would like to obtain in life.

But when he wanted to stop being a spectator and become proactive – by defending a slave and killing his assailant – his life turned into a nightmare. He became a fugitive; he abandoned everything and lived in a strange land, and dedicated himself to taking care of his father-in-law’s herds. It seems that he was fed up with wealth and power, and had no desire to possess them for himself.

And so he lived for 40 years, seemingly completing his mission in life. But YeHoVaH had other plans: He called him and commissioned him to free Israel from slavery, and thus he became a person whose influence remains throughout the world to this day.

Here are four keys that will help you discover why you are here.

First of all, keep in mind that YeHoVaH will never do what you can do, but he will be there to help you achieve the things that are beyond your limits when you have exhausted all your resources. In other words, you must do everything that is within your capacity to find the solution for a troubled situation, one that is legal and complete, and then YeHoVaH will step in.

Secondly, you must do whatever task you have at hand – whether a job, chore, or even a recreational activity – to the best of your best ability and with the best possible attitude. It is the way to grow, to discover the true meaning of things. When you move lazily, with annoyance, and with a negative attitude, you are eliminating the possibility of discovering new capabilities. Most likely, when Moshe “had” to learn to herd his father-in-law’s sheep, he did so with an affirmative attitude – it is evident that this work allowed him to develop areas of his life that were later useful in “shepherding” the nation he was in charge of.

Third, you need to preserve in your mind and heart the concept of YeHoVaH’s full sovereignty. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30). This is how Yeshua expressed it, and that was what sustained him during his time on earth, allowing him to fulfill his mission. When you accept this truth and fully trust it, then your heart finds rest. After all, you can be sure that “He who is with you is greater than he who is in the world” and “If YeHoVaH is with you . . . who can be against you?”

Fourth, you should live only one day at a time, leaving the future in his hands because “He cares for us.” Yeshua’s teachings were repetitive regarding this: “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, each day has enough trouble of its own” and “Give us today our daily bread” are words that compel us to a total dependence on our creator in our day-to-day lives. The system in which we live seeks to manipulate our fears by selling us insecurity at every step; that’s why we pursue life insurance, health insurance, savings for old age, burial, etc. But we cannot foresee all future eventualities that are only in the hands of our Father. Therefore, understanding the concept of his sovereignty is vital to answer the question raised at the beginning: What am I doing here? Recognizing that YeHoVaH has absolute control will allow you to develop your dependence on him, and thus, you will be led by his providence. And though his path for you remains imperceptible, you will still fulfill the plan that He needs you to carry out. That is the reason why he gave you existence and why he has taken care of you until now.

This life is not to seek our own goals and satisfactions; it is to carry out the Eternal Plan designed by YeHoVaH, in which he wanted to give us participation, wonderfully combining our interests, talents, and circumstances with his eternal purpose: to restore order throughout the universe, submitting all things to his command.

Our Hebrew Identity

The sheep of the house of Israel were rejected by YeHoVaH but He himself promised that this would not be forever…

While it is true that we all have an identity or nationality from the country in which we were born, believers in Yeshua (Jesus) have another identity — an inner desire to know the truth about their identity as part of God’s people.

Regardless of being raised in a believing family or attending a Sunday church, there is often a restlessness in one’s heart to really know the God of Israel. Has this happened to you?

If your answer is yes, you are not alone. The same thing has happened to many of us, and we are involved in that same search for that deep feeling of love for God and for the people of Israel.

In 1 Kings 11, YeHoVaH (God) divided the kingdom of Israel because of King Solomon’s sin; the result was the house of Judah and the house of Israel. The house of Judah, despite being exiled to Babylon because of their sin, was allowed to return to the land of Israel and preserve YeHoVaH’s Torah (God’s instructions in the five books of Moses) to this day. The opposite happened to the house of Israel, which was taken into captivity by the Assyrian empire and was eventually dispersed throughout the nations.

At some point in history, the sheep of the house of Israel were rejected by YeHoVaH (Hosea 1:6,9) but He himself promised that this would not be forever (Hosea 2:19-20,23).

Ezekiel also mentions a beautiful prophecy where the house of Judah and the house of Israel will return and will be one nation, and his servant David will reign, and YeHoVaH will dwell in their midst:

Thus saith YeHoVaH: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations to which they have gone, and will gather them from everywhere, and will bring them into his land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will be king to them all; and they will never again be two nations, nor will they ever again be divided into two kingdoms. Nor will they defile themselves any more with their idols, with their abominations, and with all their rebellions; and I will save them from all their rebellions with which they sinned, and I will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in my precepts, and my statutes they will keep, and they will do them. They will dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, in which your fathers lived; they and their children and their children’s children will dwell in it forever; and my servant David will be their prince forever. And I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant it shall be with them; and I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set my sanctuary among them forever. My tabernacle will be in their midst, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Ezekiel 37:21-27

Indeed you have a Hebrew identity! You are part of the house of Israel that was scattered throughout the nations, but one day you will be called home again, back to your home with our Father YeHoVaH and his “servant David,” our King Yeshua.


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.