Book Ends of The Bible: Satan Has Sprouted Weeds And Thorns To Choke Out The Truth – By Tim Moore - https://harbingersdaily.com/book-ends-of-the-bible-satan-has-sprouted-weeds-and-thorns-to-choke-out-the-truth/
Isaiah 46:9-11 KJV – “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
What an awesome God we serve!
No other supposed deity has the knowledge to describe the pre-historic past authoritatively, the foresight to predict the future, the audacity to proclaim the future, and the power to ensure that what He declares will come to pass.
The Bible is unique in that it contains detailed descriptions of the beginning and the end of Creation. Skeptics and atheists are left sputtering their contempt in the face of God’s commanding declarations. They argue that the prophets of God recorded their prophecies long after what they foretold came to pass.
But the historical record is clear. The prophets of God lived and prophesied long before their prophecies were fulfilled. That fulfillment validated the prophets’ authenticity—and validates God’s omniscience and omnipotence.
In the Beginning
God’s first statement contains His own eyewitness account of His activity at the very outset of recorded history: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Who can dispute His account from a position of authority? Who else was present to offer a different recollection of that event? Thus, cosmologists and theoretical scientists with their hypotheses cannot even provide a valid contradictory theory because there is no way to substantiate their ideas for how the cosmos came into being.
And the universe that God created was not merely reformulated out of existing stuff. He did not mold and form matter that He found pre-existent and unused. He made everything that exists ex nihilo—out of nothing. Indeed, all that we observe and know sprang from an idea in the unfathomable mind of God.
John tells us that even before He created, God existed in perfect harmony with Himself. Referring to Christ, John records, “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” (John 1:1-3).
Every created thing—be it a galaxy, a world, a mighty beast, a perfect snowflake or God’s highest creation, Man—exists because God made it so.
A Denial of Reality
Over time, Man’s relationship with God became skewed due to our sinful nature. As it has been said, we are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. That propensity to wander away from God—initially spurred by the serpent in the garden of Eden—has been our downfall throughout human history.
Yet, just like Adam, we endeavor to deflect the responsibility for our sin to anybody or anything but ourselves. Or, following the faulty reasoning of fallen Man, humanity rationalizes that there is no God who created us—therefore, we are not beholden or accountable to anyone outside ourselves. David renounced such false thinking and the behavior it inevitably produces: “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds” (Psalm 14:1).
Always eager to discredit God and lead men and women into deception and destruction, Satan still whispers, “Did God really say?” and “You surely will not die!” (Genesis 3:1, 4). Today, the false gods of our age beckon us to reject the God who made us and become our own god. Doing so leads to certain destruction. But God had a better plan.
Before the Foundation of the World
John recorded that God has a Book of Life containing the names of everyone—past, present, and future—who trust in the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Peter also testifies that “He (Jesus Christ) was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of [those who have believed]” (1 Peter 1:20).
God’s plan of salvation was not His “Plan B,” concocted to deal with a creation gone awry. He did not wring His hands and exclaim, “Well, this isn’t working out the way I’d hoped. I’d better come up with something to set it right, or at least save some.”
No, the good news of God’s provision for salvation was preordained before He even said, “Let there be light.” He knew that His Son would have to suffer and die for the sins of many before He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). He knew your name, your heart, and the number of hairs on your head before He set the first star in the sky.
Alpha and Omega
At Lamb & Lion Ministries, our focus is often on “last things.” Our mission is to proclaim the soon return of Jesus Christ. For the Bride of Christ—the Church—our homegoing will occur at the Rapture when our Bridegroom comes to take us back to His Father’s house.
For those who have rejected God’s free gift of salvation, the wrath of God will be poured out in the Tribulation. Following those seven years of unparalleled horror, Jesus Christ will descend from heaven in the same manner that He was caught up in the sight of the Apostles. He will set foot on the Mount of Olives and speak a supernatural word that will destroy the Antichrist and armies gathered near Megiddo. The Kidron Valley will split in two, and Jesus will enter the city of Jerusalem through the Golden (Eastern) gate, ascend to the Temple Mount, and take His seat on the throne of His father, David.
For 1000 years, Jesus will reign over the earth, flooding it with peace, righteousness, and holiness. Then, He will put down a final rebellion instigated by the Devil and cast death and Hades into a lake of fire. At that point, the redeemed will enter the eternal state, where time itself ceases to have meaning.
That plan too was foreordained by God, which is why He could reveal it to His servants, the prophets. Though not yet realized, that sequence of events is as certain as any historical fact—because our God has declared the beginning and the end. He is our Alpha and our Omega—our Creator and Sustainer–and the One who will welcome us into His eternal presence—or cast us into everlasting destruction.
Evening and Morning
The opening verses of Genesis describe the earth as formless and void, with darkness abiding over the surface of the deep. The only movement was the Spirit of God Himself (Genesis 1:2).
In the midst of that impenetrable darkness, God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). He pierced the darkness with the power of His spoken Word and showered the earth with light that He declared to be good. From that point forward, darkness was separated from light. Mankind would experience a daily reminder of the contrast between those two extremes. Every day—beginning with the first seven recorded in the opening pages of Genesis—consists of evening and morning. That is why Jewish days begin at sundown and end when the brightness of day recedes once again.
Throughout the Creation account, each day’s work with its component stages was declared to be good. Only when the whole was completed in perfect harmony did God gaze over all He had created and declare it to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Initially, Man’s interaction with God was also very good. Adam had no stain of sin and no reason to be ashamed or fearful of God. However, the Fall brought Man from that glorious height into the cursed depths. He was even banished from Eden, condemned to hardship and toil. The Creation itself became discordant, with thorns and thistles and poisonous plants and animals emerging. Wandering ever farther from God, men and women “became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).
The Hebrew word for evening is erev. The word originally conveyed obscurity and chaos, but over time has come to mean darkness or evening. So evening represents a rise in disorder and understanding. Likewise, in a very real sense, Mankind’s dark age began the moment Adam and Eve first sinned against God.
In Jewish understanding, the fall of night symbolizes Man’s departure from God’s goodness. That motif of darkness and light carried through the Old Testament and into the New. Thanks be to God, His eternal plan was to pierce the darkness. Citing Isaiah 9:2, Matthew recounted how “the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a Light dawned” (Matthew 4:16). That Light was Jesus Christ.
John testified about Jesus, “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 1:4-5). Later, John reiterated that the message he heard from God and shared with us is that “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
Beginning and End
Just as each day has a beginning and an end (whether according to Jewish or western reckoning), Creation also had a beginning and will come to an end. Likewise, human history also has a beginning and an end.
Those of us who are plodding along the timeline of history are confined to a very two-dimensional awareness. We can reflect on the past—although our own awareness fades the further back we go; even human records only carry us so far back. We are capable of anticipating the future but, left to our own devices, cannot gaze ahead at all.
Referring to mankind, the writer of Ecclesiastes observed that God “has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).Thus, in this life, we are constrained to a linear experience of time and confined to a never-ending “present.”
But God is not confined to time as we know it. Instead, like a pilot flying high above an interstate who can see obstacles and traffic jams many miles ahead, God’s omniscience allows Him to see the beginning and the end with equal clarity. And He has chosen to reveal what we need to know about each—testifying to His creative acts in Genesis and the flow of end-time events in Jesus’ Revelation.
Jesus – the First and the Last
God is the Central Figure both in the beginning and at the end. Jesus Christ is the Creator who fulfilled the will of the Father. He will also come again to fulfill all the Father has revealed and promised.
Jesus—the eternal Son of God—was there at the beginning. He is there in every book of the Bible, either in pre-incarnate manifestation, foreshadowed type, or as the gracious and silent Author driving the narrative of history. And history itself is His story.
The two books of the Bible most frequently dismissed as fanciful and non-literal are Genesis and Revelation. But they act as bookends to all of God’s revealed Word—describing His acts of Creation, Man’s Fall, God’s foreshadowing of a Messiah to restore relationship, and the final culmination of human history when God closes the loop on righteousness, justice, mercy, and holiness.
Between those two bookends, the Bible conveys all the revelation God deemed appropriate to share with mankind. Skeptics complain that the span of God’s revelation in Scripture is just too hard to understand. But, as Henry Morris once said regarding Revelation, “It is not hard to understand; if you will believe what the Lord has proclaimed, you will understand.”
With God’s metanarrative available to all who would simply read the Book and believe, why is there such a shortage of understanding today? The reasons are legion—and yes, that is an intentional side-reference to the band of demons that possessed the hapless man that Jesus encountered on the eastern shore of Galilee.
Some are so enamored with their reason and lean so heavily on their own understanding that they reject the revelation of God. Others allow the insidious doubts sown by Satan to sprout into weeds and thorns that choke off the truth. As in the garden, our enemy’s favorite tactic is to ask, “Did God really say…” and then proceed to discount and contradict the Creator outright.
So, what can we do? First and foremost, we must dedicate ourselves to reading, studying, and heeding the whole Word of God. Revelation twice promises a blessing to “all who read and heed“ that final book of prophecy. That principle applies to all of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will increase our knowledge and understanding as we read the entire Bible. Heeding first involves believing God and literally taking Him at His word.
Genesis (and Paul) testified that Abram believed God, and He credited it to him as righteousness. Therefore, if we desire to receive a blessing from God, we must not only believe IN Him, we must also believe Him.
The Image of the Invisible God
Jesus—the Word who was there at the beginning, the One by whom all things were created, the Son whose finished work on the cross justifies us before the Father—has promised to come again (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17, Romans 5:9, Revelation 22:7, 12, 20). When He does, we will look upon Him face-to-face. We’ll see His glory, and He will dwell among us forever.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see Jesus on every page. Expect that He will reveal the prophecies that point to Himself—causing your heart to burn within you as the disciples on the road to Emmaus testified when Jesus revealed Himself in the scriptures.
The Bible really is all about Jesus. Experience Him anew as you dive between the bookends.
Getting Israel Right - Steve Schmutzer - https://www.rev310.net/post/getting-israel-right
A pastor, an atheist, a Bible class teacher, and a businessman walked into a bar….
You’re thinking this is the opening line of a joke, right? Wrong. I am the Bible class teacher, and before you get worked up about us being in a bar, it was the only part of the restaurant that had available seating.
The lunch meeting was about a business matter. I knew all the parties, and I had made the introductions. There were mutual opportunities to provide some expertise.
The meeting went well and the mood was relaxed. With the main agenda concluded, our conversations turned to this and that. Above and behind me, the TV news was playing. I could not see it, but the businessman could and he was watching it.
“I hope they blast them to bits,” he muttered. I pivoted to look. The other parties glanced up too.
The news anchor was discussing reports that Russian forces in Syria had fired on Israeli warplanes. The Kremlin was denying it, but the Israelis saw the situation differently.
We watched for a few moments before I turned back around and said, “I’m not worried about Israel’s abilities to defend herself. They have one of the best militaries in the world.”
“I’m hoping the Russians blast the Israelis to bits,” the businessman growled. He shot me a steely gaze.
An awkward pause ensued as I realized I had misread him. I sought for an appropriate reply, but none came.
The atheist broke the silence. “The Balfour Declaration is one of the greatest blights on world history,” he volunteered. “The current problems in the Middle East can be traced back to letting the Jews think they have rights to that land.”
“What’s the Balfour Declaration?” the pastor asked.
This was my chance to lend some much-needed perspective. “The Balfour Declaration was issued towards the end of WW1, around 1917. It outlined Britain’s intentions to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in the area we now know as Israel. Back then it was called Palestine, but it wasn’t until….”
“And it still should be!” the atheist interjected. He was on a roll. “It’s criminal the way the Palestinians have been mistreated by the Israelis. The Jews have managed to convince everybody that Palestine is their rightful homeland. Our dumb leaders just play along with the whole deception, giving the Israelis everything they ask for.”
“That’s my point!” the businessman retorted. “They’ll fight to keep the Golan Heights, and that territory belongs to Syria. The Israelis have no business being there in the first place. They are going to drag us all into WW3.”
I glanced at the pastor, hoping for some words of wisdom. Reason had abandoned the premises.
The pastor cleared his throat. “Well,” he slowly mused, “I know a lot of people feel the Jews have a right to their ancestral homeland, but I don’t believe that is what the Bible teaches.”
I sat in stunned silence.
He continued, “Perhaps my new friend here (he smiled at the atheist) might have imagined that’s what I believed, but many Christians misunderstand these issues. God’s promises to the Jewish people were for a specific period of time, and the Bible teaches that God has moved beyond the problems of the Jews. He is now focused on the church.”
The pastor paused and glanced at me. I was still speechless.
“I think the holocaust was a very tragic time for the Jews,” the pastor pontificated. “However, all people have suffered at the hands of others throughout human history. We were unjust to the Native Americans as a case in point. Should we just turn over this entire country to all the Indian tribes since this was their ancestral homeland? Of course not! It was wrong to displace the Palestinians, and it’s the right thing to pursue a two-state solution now.”
I could continue narrating this discussion, but the picture is painted. This meeting took place a few weeks ago, and I’ve tried to relate the dialogue as I recall it.
Let’s evaluate the responses of the parties here. The businessman professes to be a Christian, but I don’t see much evidence of it in his life despite the fact that he regularly attends a popular mega-church in this area. I’m confident he’s not well-read on the Middle East, so his views are probably formed by the media and opinions of others.
I’ve watched him play both sides. I’ve seen how he acts one way around one type of crowd and another way with a different group. I’ve known him for a long time, enough to know that some of his choices show very little governance by the Holy Spirit. I attribute his mounting personal trials to this double-mindedness (James 1:8), and I’m compelled to admit that by Biblical standards he’s probably not a believer.
The atheist is actually a pretty good guy! He’s got better moral fiber than many Christians I know, and he’s generally regarded as an upstanding person in my community. He is charitable, and he publicly advocates for those who are less fortunate. Politically, he leans left – rather hard left on climate change, immigration, and gun control. I guess it’s no surprise that he remains in step with that edge of the political spectrum when it comes to his views of Israel.
That said, he and I get along well and he’s told me a few times how much he respects me. I’ve had a number of opportunities to share my faith with him, but he insists on holding to the notion that his good works will place him in good standing “….if indeed there is a God.” I’m continuing to pray for him, and he knows that.
What about me? Well, I’m more than a Bible class teacher since I’m also an entrepreneur, an artist, and a devoted husband and father. But it’s the last seven years of teaching an adult class at my church that has challenged me to put my nose deep into the Word of God, to set aside unfounded notions, and to “study to show myself approved unto God” (2 Tim. 2:15).
It’s this discipline - and the challenges that come with it - that have shaped the views I have and which I believe the Word of God teaches. I accept the Scriptures at face value, so it’s evident to me that the Jewish people were to be regathered back to their ancestral homeland by a sovereign act of God (Ezek. 36). Historically, the early rumblings of this began with the Balfour Declaration, and they climaxed when Israel became a nation in 1948. For all practical reasons, that regathering continues today, although the Jews remain in spiritual unbelief just as the Bible declared they would be (Ezekiel 20:33-38; 22:17-22).
And because I feel future prophecies will be fulfilled just as literally as past ones were, I believe there will be a second worldwide regathering of the Jews to Israel. This future event will be different than the first one according to Isaiah 11:11-12:6. This next one will be the final such event, and it will signal Israel’s imminent blessing as she enters the Millennial Kingdom.
There will be a terrible period of time for the Jews before that point, the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7). Those of them who persist in spiritual unbelief will die (Zech. 13:8-9); the smaller portion will be spared. This is all laid out candidly in the Scriptures, so it’s not hard to see.
But the important takeaway here is God has not forgotten the Jews! Nor is He “focused on the church” to any exclusion or exception of his chosen people. The presence of national Israel today is not “irrelevant” - or even “problematic” - as many church leaders claim.
I know the Bible well enough to know that such ideas are heresy. I don’t care who teaches them, how many degrees they have, how big their audience is, or how many books they’ve read or sold – they are wrong! God still has great plans for his chosen people, and they are the same intentions He spelled out a long time ago. He hasn’t changed His mind, regretted His decisions, or moved on to ‘Plan B.’
Now, I’m convinced of my views because I don’t contort the Scriptures to mean something other than what they are saying. So I don’t need to overlook the stalwart truths of Romans 9-11 which make a watertight case for God’s continued devotion to the Jews. The Jews have rebelled as God declared they would, the world has reviled the Jews as God prophesied it would, and the Jews have regained their ancestral homeland as God predicted they would.
Furthermore, I don’t need to argue that the Millenial Kingdom is really a ‘spiritual kingdom’ or that “Israel” now means “the church.” Neither position is true. The Millennial Kingdom is a literal earthly kingdom with Israel and Jerusalem as its headquarters. And “Israel” means Israel, just like it says. I don’t need to hold to any position concerning the current situation in Israel or any of the regions around it other than it’s all coming together according to God’s perfect and prophetic plan.
As I study the Bible, it affirms that God remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. The modern state of Israel amounts to a miracle in our time, and it is profound evidence that God says what He means and He means what He says. Any other position on this matter confirms one’s inability – or unwillingness – to accept the Biblical definition of who God really is.
And that point brings me to the fourth party in our little meeting: the pastor. This guy dismays me the most.
This is an acquaintance of mine and he’s highly educated from a renowned conservative seminary – which just goes to show formal education is not all it’s cracked up to be. He and I are not close, but we’ve met socially a few times. By standard assessments, his church is doing well and people speak respectfully of him.
So why doesn’t this guy regard Israel the way he ought to? The real question is, “Why do so many church leaders fail to interpret the Word of God as it needs to be interpreted?”
They don’t want to.
If you don’t like that answer, here are some others to consider:
Perhaps some are thinking, “Now wait a minute! Don’t be so dogmatic. What if I just have a different understanding of these passages about Israel and the Jews? What if I genuinely believe that the Bible is saying something different here? Isn’t that alright?”
No, it’s not.
God’s Word should not be subordinated to spineless relativism and personal opinion. Its animate and divine nature is the reason it convicts and changes lives (Heb. 4:12). If you question its accuracy, intents, and effect, it’s tantamount to doubting its Divine Author.
Moreover, we are specifically instructed to hold to proper prophetic interpretations (2 Peter 1:20) which is one way of saying there’s no room for any “You’ve-got-your-opinion-and-I-have-mine” postures. As I said before, there are clear standards with God’s Word, and it’s our obligation to seek them out and conform to them.
Misinterpreting Biblical passages about the Jews and Israel amounts to leaving your brain at the door. These are among the clearest prophecies in the Word of God. The only way to derive from them something they are not saying is to refuse to accept what they are saying. In that case, anybody’s opinion is as good as the next person’s, and there is no Biblical standard anymore.
It necessarily follows that the Bible always extols truth and correct interpretations. Since the Scriptures do not contradict themselves, will we not contradict each other when we responsibly interpret them. Alternative explanations which steer us away from God’s intended message are neither correct nor are they from God. It is man’s rules and interpretations that always render our service to God ineffective (Matt. 15:9), and we can ill-afford such compromise in tenuous times as these.
Let me conclude by returning to that lunch meeting and to the errant views of my companions. A time is coming when God will put the people of earth on trial for how they treated the Jews and for how they tried to divide up the land of Israel (Joel 3:2). God Himself will preside as Judge, and no corruption will taint the outcome. The evidence will be weighed and the facts will be made clear. The guilty will know they are guilty.
John MacArthur said, “If you get Israel right, you get your eschatology right.” He is correct. Israel is prophetically significant in so many respects, and God is still at work with His chosen people. While events with the Jews and with Israel may yet take place which tax our knowledge and test our faith, we cannot permit the instability of human reason to override what the Word of God teaches.
Israel is God’s covenant land, and the Jews are His covenant people. The Bible makes this clear. God takes His oaths with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and their descendants) very seriously!
We should too.
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The Abrahamic Family House: A House of Lies - By Jeffrey C. Ady, Ph.D. - https://www.raptureready.com/2023/03/11/the-abrahamic-family-house-a-house-of-lies-by-jeffrey-c-ady-ph-d/
The recently-opened Abrahamic Family House’s importance in setting up the global deception that will follow the termination of the Age of Grace cannot be overstated. It’s a huge development. And it’s based on a dangerous deception. This deception operates from several key angles:
1. The lie that there are multiple ways to God has been especially powerful from the late 19th century up until now. Modern relativism, along with the occult teachings of many gods and paths to divinity, and postmodern syncretism seem to be culminating in this universalist, global pseudo-religion that is empty at its core.
2. The idea that a tricameral global religion will unite most of humanity peacefully and bring prosperity is patently absurd for anyone who takes the primary ‘sacred’ texts from the Bible or the Koran seriously. No fundamentalist Christian, fundamentalist Muslim, or conservative Jew truly believes any of this. Furthermore, Muslims will pretend to buy it (taqiyya, or the doctrine of deceiving unbelievers in order to advance Islam) because foolish Christians and Jews really want it to work (it won’t). This is why these “agreements” and “plans” will not bring peace or prosperity.
3. There is only one way to the Father—Christ Himself. The Abrahamic Family House is built on the lie that denies this truth. Consequently, nothing the House aims to do will prosper—except to guide fallen humanity closer to the global deception that will vault the Man of Sin to worldwide power.
When the “Deal of the Century” and “Peace to Prosperity” plans were announced in January and September of 2020, I was quite disappointed in the Trump administration. Perhaps I was naive in expecting something better. Operation Warp Speed raised a second red flag. Though “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20) seems directed particularly at those claiming to represent Christ, I think politicians’ fruits can be understood this way as well. Do policies lead people into liberty or bondage? Do they oppose Christ? Do they respect God’s covenant with the people and nation of Israel?
Thinking strategically, I’m forced to wonder whether the COVID plague served partially as cover for the dastardly and demonic geopolitical travesties that were the Deal of the Century, Peace to Prosperity, and the Abraham Accords. Perhaps more people would have objected to these ventures had the world not been otherwise occupied with COVID. The shiny object of COVID had me forgetting about the latest shill for “Peace and Safety” deception.
The good news is that while the world sets itself up for the Tribulation more quickly than most of us can appreciate, God isn’t surprised; His plans will prosper, and those who are in Christ now don’t have anything to fear. If you haven’t yet surrendered yourself to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, make that commitment now. The free gift of eternal life can be yours if you will believe that He died to save you from your sins and pain and that He was raised back to life by God so that you can share in His victory over death. Call upon Christ now, and you will be saved! (Romans 10:13).
A bright future awaits! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Parallel Activities During Holy Week - By Gene Lawley - https://www.raptureready.com/2023/03/15/parallel-activities-during-holy-week-by-gene-lawley/
That first Holy Week, when Jesus was on trial and was illegally subjected to death on the cross, has remarkable parallels in traditional Jewish Day of Preparation activities and the activities of Jesus at the same time. What makes it remarkable is John the Baptist’s remark noted earlier, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
The first Passover, when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, had detailed instructions from God. He laid it out in Exodus 12:
On the tenth day of the first month,
Each household, with neighbors, if too small in number, so that each person would have their need fully met, would share a lamb;
The lamb must be without blemish, a male of the first year;
It may be taken from the sheep or the goats;
It shall be kept until the fourteenth day of the month, thus, four days.
The whole assembly shall kill their lambs at twilight;
It is to be roasted, then eaten, and if any is left over till morning, it must be burned in fire.
Other instructions are given in Exodus 12, but the key parallels to events in the Holy Week are the quality of the lamb and the four days when the lamb is kept with the household. That time may have been to carefully see that the lamb had no blemishes or faults. Or, as a point of reflection on what was to come for the lamb?
That Holy Week began on Saturday evening at sundown and the following day, Sunday, the first day of the selection of the lambs, and the four days ran through Wednesday, the Day of Preparation. (Matthew 27:62-63 tells us of the timing of events then: “On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, ‘Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise.'” (And they ask for guards at the tomb.)
How does that first Holy Week begin for “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?” (John 1:29 and 1 John 2:2)
On Palm Sunday, He was chosen by the people at His triumphant entry with great acclaim and authority of His overwhelming Person. (The opposing religious leaders asked His disciples to have Him quieten the crowd, and He said, “If they are silenced, the rocks will cry out!”)
On the next day, Monday, He cleansed the Temple of the marketers and moneychangers. On Tuesday, He was in the temple area teaching and making Himself known as the Lamb of God.
During the day of Wednesday, He was with His disciples into the evening time and the Last Supper. Then they went over to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He struggled in prayer regarding His coming ordeal and crucifixion. The disciples, now just eleven of them, were totally unaware of what was going on and that the agony of His suffering was about to be poured out.
The Jewish day began at twilight on Tuesday, running through to twilight on Wednesday. Then began the Day of Preparation at twilight on Wednesday. That Thursday began at twilight on Wednesday and continued until twilight on Thursday, as the Jewish days were counted. It was the end of the fourth day, and roasting the Passover lamb was next by putting it to death and applying its blood as directed by God to Moses.
(These details are confusing, but getting them fixed in our minds is important for understanding how and when the parallel events fell into place.)
Preparation Day for the Lamb of God began with His agony in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by being arrested there. It continued with all of the abuses of the questioning in attempts to find a reason for His conviction and “trial” that lasted all night and into the next day, Thursday. Read Isaiah 53 for a detailed picture of His suffering and abuse before, during, and after the trial.
Scourging, whipping, beating, abusive and blasphemous accusations—these are told in the gospel accounts of His treatment. The parallel is like this: While the religious leaders were skinning and preparing their lambs for roasting, the Lamb of God was being effectively “skinned” and made ready to be displayed as sinful as ordinary criminals were.
It is astounding how openly evil man can be in his rejection of truth. The injustice is overwhelming as we unwind the intimate details of His illegal trial. Repeats in like-kind can be seen today as well, showing that mankind is not becoming better and better in moral integrity.
As the parallel continued in the Temple at twilight, the Passover lamb was killed at twilight as the day of Wednesday ended. While that was happening, Roman soldiers were nailing Jesus to the cross on the hill of Golgotha, then lifting Him upright to hang there until death came. He had said prophetically, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14), then “if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).
There were seven statements from Jesus from the cross, not all reported in each of the four gospels. His final four were perhaps in this order:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
“It is finished” (John 19:30).
And this one as His ordeal ended with Luke’s account of those three hours of agony hanging there: “Now it was about the sixth hour [3:00 pm], and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour [9:00 pm]. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last” (Luke 23:44-46).
Some reminders of the foundation of God’s plan of salvation, not that of man, as the flow of Scripture brings together the parallels to One final conclusion:
Leviticus 17:11 – “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
Hebrews 10:1-3 – For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Hebrews 7:25 – “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
Psalm 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
The Apostle Paul briefly sums it up in 1 Corinthians 5:7: “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
Jesus died once for all, thus providing the gift of salvation available for all who will accept the gift. The gift is Him, Christ, actually, and “to as many as receive Him, to them is given the authority to be called the sons of God” (John 1:12).
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Daily Jot: When might doesn’t make right - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
When governments get too big and too powerful, the rights of citizens suffer. Every society in history has seen it and America is no exception. The government of the people, for the people and by the people is turning into a government of the government, for the government and by the ruling elite. Technology and bureaucracy are used to censure dissent as well as invade the privacy of every citizen. If you don’t agree with COVID policy, you are marginalized and censured. If you want to buy a gun, you are tracked in the system. There are many other ways to oppress your rights, like through an army of Internal Revenue Agents. The government is not yours, it’s its own. Day by day it is taking away your rights.
As an example to demonstrate how powerful the government is, Joe Biden announced an executive order to bypass Congress and the Constitution to create a universal database on gun owners through a nationwide background check. On March 14, Biden said, “my executive order directs my Attorney General to take every lawful action possible to move us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation.” In addition, he has unilaterally increased “red flag” law enforcement. His concept is for parents, teachers, police officers, health providers and counselors to turn in people to the court system that they think have violent tendencies so that their firearms can be confiscated.
Biden also wants to use the executive order to promote “safe storage for firearms, something every responsible gun owner agrees with.” This certainly will encourage more invasion of privacy if a person is suspected of not storing their guns safely. Finally, Biden’s executive order takes steps to “hold the gun industry accountable.” He wants the gun industry treated similarly to tobacco companies for marketing guns to citizens “by using military imagery.” Biden’s budget calls for $17.8 billion to further regulate the firearms industry, create gun trafficking strike forces, enforce background checks and implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This is in addition to the 87,000 new IRS agents that Biden signed last year. Yes, Republicans voted to repeal that jack boot action, but not with a veto-proof majority.
These actions taken by Biden thumb their nose at the Constitution and Congress, which is supposed to make the laws and set the budget for the Executive Branch to manage. Trouble is, government has gotten so big that Congress, or even the people, cannot rein it in. So it does what it wants, when it wants and justifies it using any means it wants. Things are way out of control. For example, as a responsible gun owner, I do not agree with the FBI or ATF using a search warrant generated by a school board member who is angry with me for not supporting his LGBTQ+ sex agenda on school children to check whether my guns are safely stored, and confiscating my guns for evidence one way or another until I’m medically evaluated. See where this can go? We all need to figure out how we, as Peter said in Acts 5:29, “Obey God rather than men.”
Daily Devotion: New Doesn’t Always Mean Improved - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. —1 John 4:1
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/new-doesnt-always-mean-improved/ - Listen
When I was a new Christian, I wanted to find a shortcut to spiritual maturity. I didn’t want to wait fifteen to twenty years to learn and grow. I wanted spiritual maturity overnight. I was always looking for an angle: What can I do? Where can I go? Is there a book that I can read? Is there one experience that I could have in my life that would bring me to instant spiritual maturity?
That is a trait of youth. You want something, and you want it now. New believers can be that way, and so can immature believers. They don’t want to wait for something. They want it now.
Another trait of youth is they like new things. Young Christians can be that way too. They like things that dazzle them.
When the apostle Paul visited Athens, he met the high council of the city. They said to him, “Come and tell us about this new teaching. . . . You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about” (Acts 17:19–20 NLT).
The next verse adds this detail: “(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas)” (verse 21 NLT).
That is typical of the mentality of youth. They like something that’s new.
However, we need to be careful. As we mature, we realize that just because something is new doesn’t mean it is better.
We can be looking for a new experience, truth, or revelation and get ourselves into a lot of trouble. Instead, we need to apply judgment and realize that we’re potentially vulnerable. If we can’t find it in the Bible, then we don’t need it from someone else. The Bible is the arbiter of truth.
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