Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Tale of Two Passovers

I know this post is lengthy. I wanted to give the background of the Jewish celebration of Passover since it begins tonight at sundown. I hope you will take the time to read this post and see the significance of Jesus as our Passover Lamb. I haven't re-read it so excuse the errors. It is time for me to put up the computer for the night and get my four children to bed:). Thank you for stopping by. I would love to hear from you!

For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, I have the authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. Jesus words found in John 10:17-18
It was my sin that held Him to the cross, my sin that pierced His beautiful hands and feet but He went willingly because He loves me.

A Tale of Two Passovers
The Israelites were about to be set free from the heavy yoke of slavery. For 400 years Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, oppressed them. Exodus opens up with the king's order to throw all the baby boys into the Nile river. This he used as a form of genocide. Moses spared from death and rescued by the Princess was pulled from a basket in the Nile River. He was raised in the household of Pharaoh. He was God's chosen servant to set the people free and lead them out Egypt. God sent 10 plagues to Egypt. With each plague, Pharaoh's heart was hardened.
1445BC, Egypt

Stephen's account of Moses documented in Acts 7
There arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph. It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father's home. And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh's dauther took him away and nurtured him as her own son. Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered His mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together and he tried to reconcile them in peace saying, ' Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?' But the one who was injuring this neighbor pushed him away, saying ' Who made you ruler and judge over us? You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?' At this remark, Moses fled and became an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
After fourty years had passed, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush. When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 'I am the GOD of your fathers, the God of Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob.' Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. But the LORD said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. I have certainly see the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groans, and I have come down to rescue them; come now, and I will send you to Egypt. Acts 7:17-34

Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?' then tell them, ' It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.'At Midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. Exodus 12:21-28,29. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.
Passover is the annual remembrance of this divine deliverance. It was also a celebration commemorating the passing over of the angel of death. The blood on the door kept the destroyer from entering the home of the Israelites, sparing their firstborn. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to last 7 days followed by the the Passover dinner commemorating these events.

What was Israel's response to the deliverance? " This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ' Who made you ruler and a judge' is it the one whom God sent to be both ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for 40 years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ' God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.' This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received the living oracles to pass on to you. Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. Acts 7:35-39.

AD33, Jerusalem During the feast of Unleavened Bread
The Triumphal Entry, When the crowd heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the feast, they took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, Fear not, Daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt. John 12:12-15.
The statement above is a fulfillment to the prophesy found in Zechariah, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9
When He approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it. Luke 20:41. Jesus spent the week of Unleavened Bread preaching in Jerusalem.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So they prepared for the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table . And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves, for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes." And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:7,13-21.
After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives and then to the Garden of Gethsemane, which literally means "oil press", Matthew 26:30,36. When he arrived at the place, He said to them, " Pray that you may not enter into temptation." And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, " Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation." While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came , and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, " Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest. Luke 22:40-48,54
Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward and said, " This man stated, ' I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.' The high priest stood up and said to Him, "Do you not answer What is it that these men are testifying against you?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, " I adjure You by the living God, that tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of the God." Jesus said to him, " Y0u have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of Heaven." Then the high priest tore his robes and said, " he has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?" They answered, "He deserves death!" Then they spat on His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, "Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the the one who hit you?"

Isaiah 53 The Suffering Servant, written sometime between 739-686BC
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; he has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the inequity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgement He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgressions of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave assigned with wicked me, yet He was a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; BY His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and he will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with transgressor; yet He Himself bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

Prophesy Revealed in Revelation, written by John sometime between 81-96BC
I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."Revelation 7:9-12

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Word of God

American Barn
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-4

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and he has a name written on Him which no one knows but Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called, The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Revelation 19:11-16

He is the image of the invisible God the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was Jesus, He created all things and in Jesus all things hold together. Jesus when He returns will be called the Word of God. Jesus, who is the Word in the flesh, came to earth to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth. What is the Truth? It is the infallible Word of God. The Word that was with God in the beginning. The Word that will be the defeat of the nations when He comes again in great glory. The Word that is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
The Word that no creature is hidden from but exposed to His sight, all things laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:13
The Word who is referred to by Jesus and Isaiah as our Comforter, Helper, the Living Water that dwells within us and the Bread of Life that sustains us.
It is no wonder Satan does his best to distract me from God's Word. He tempts me to doubt it and compromise it by not proclaiming all of it. It is no wonder that in some churches today Truth is stumbling for we have turned aside the truth of God's Word and slayed it with the carnal swords of unbelief, indifference, and popularity. It's no wonder that when I read His Holy Word my flesh wages war with the Spirit- for no other word has the power to divide my innermost being and wage a war within myself.
For He who is called Faithful and True is coming again and it is with the Word that He will slay the nations. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. He is the One who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood- and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father - to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen Revelation 1:2-6
Lord, you are coming again in great glory. Sustain us with your mighty right hand as we eagerly wait for you. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of the Lord would reveal to us. Revive our hearts with the cooling waters of your Word.
Who is like you, O Lord, for you have called forth the generations from the beginning - You were with the first of them and you will be with the last of them - You are the Great I AM Isaiah 41:4

This post was written July 2009

Friday, April 1, 2011

Abundantly Pardons

Pink Flower-1
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways", declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:6-9
The verses above are often misquoted and in their misquotation the real meaning and passionate call to salvation is often missed. We use these verses to explain away the things we don't understand about life and God when in reality these verses are about the limitless love of God to a dying and desolate soul. I know it's not popular to use the words dying and desolate to describe the condition of the human soul without God but I can honestly say that during my college years there were moments I would have referred to myself this way. I believed the lie that there was no way the Lord could forgive me and while embracing this lie I covered up my sin and shame by living my life the way I saw fit with no regard to God. Depression has a way of bringing you to your knees and I am thankful that the Lord brought me to the end of myself.
Oftentimes, when we sin we turn away from God. For a long time, I did my best to silence Him because to admit there is a God I must also admit that I was not god. I didn't know what the Bible said but I did know that within myself I wasn't following some higher moral code. I sought answers everywhere but not from the One who was calling me unto Himself. I wish I would have known these verses then.
We see from the verses above that salvation is for everyone who comes to Jesus. God desires to ABUNDANTLY pardon our sins. He calls us, to seek Him, to call upon Him, and to forsake our sinful ways and thoughts and to accept His Son, Jesus as the final sacrifice and atonement for our sins. For it is by His grace that we have been saved not by our works. It is by His death that we receive life. Our minds can't comprehend nor can our human intellect understand a holy infinite God who loves us and desires to pardon everyone who comes to Him, believing that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6. According to the verses above, there is no room for penance or working for our salvation for only God pardons sin and He does so through faith in His son, Jesus. God doesn't pardon sin reluctantly but abundantly.
Re-post written December of 2009