Saturday, April 18 2020
ON THE 24TH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH, April 18, 2020…This calendar date appointed in God’s Word, April 18 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar, was significant enough to be recorded in the book of the Bible announcing apocalyptic events connected with the second coming of King Jesus.
It is no coincidence that God’s Word is crossing the chasm of time itself, with a vitally important message. We need to be counting the days, but we need to count focused upon God’s timeline, not our own. That conscious move on our part will cancel out COVID19 and deliver us to the truth of JESUS20. View God’s calendar for this month: https://fontanacommunitychurch.org/abib_2020
“On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris…” Daniel 10:4.
The Tigris River is identified in Genesis 2:14 as the third of the four headwaters coming from the river flowing straight out of the Garden of Eden itself. It still flows today not far from the ancient city of Babylon near Bagdad, Iraq.
Imagine the aging prophet Daniel standing on the banks of a river that literally once flowed from Eden, eagerly waiting God Almighty's direction. An elderly man in his 80's, he had been taken prisoner when the remnant nation of Judah was conquered by Babylon. Forced to live in exile in a foreign nation since his teens, his trust in God had always remained unshakable, even when he faced certain death at the hands of his captors.
For 60 some years, his testimony of faith and righteous wisdom had influenced ruling kings as well as fellow prisoners in exile. Still today, the book of Daniel is an awesome example on how to live as a Christian witness in a pagan society.
Because of this witness, the current king had just given him and his fellow exiles permission to return to their homeland. You’d think 'ole Daniel would have already been on his way back to Jerusalem. But he wasn’t. He was standing on the banks of the historic Tigris River, near his exile home, deeply troubled by a prior vision of a coming great and terrible war.
“I, Daniel was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding…The end will come like a flood. War will continue until the end and desolations have been decreed….he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 8:27; 9:26-27.
The timing of this lesson is so right on target for us right now it should make our hair stand on end. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we are all deeply disturbed by the instability of the world we live in. Every single day, some unsettling global event is reported by the news media. Right now, we really need to be reminded that God's timing is perfect, We won't despair, and like Daniel, we will stand firm in our humility and our faith. And when we least expect it….
“I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like crysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and leg like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.” Daniel 10:5-6.
The Hebrew word for crysolite is "tarshish". Mineralogy and Botany of the Bible describes it. "Tarshish, the chrysolite, is a crystal-like precious stone of the quartz kind, of a glassy fracture. The prevailing color is yellowish-green, and pistachio-green of every variety and degree of shade, but always with a yellow and gold luster. It is completely diaphanous (sheer, translucent) and has a strong double refraction."
Ezekiel uses the same word "crysolite" to describe his vision of the "wheel within a wheel" attached to the living creatures as the glory of the Lord is revealed to him. He also was standing along a Babylonian river, the Kebar, in the opening chapter of his prophetic book. "... High above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him." Ezekiel 1:26-28.
John also described a heavenly being just like this in his vision in Revelation 1:12-16. “And when I turned I saw… someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
Indeed, there are undeniable similarities that point to the fact that this heavenly being that spoke to Daniel in chapter 10 was Jesus Himself! Over 500 years later, Jesus even recounted Daniel's earlier troubling vision to his disciples on the Mount of Olives. “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…” Matthew 24:15.
This same disturbing vision of Daniel that Jesus recounted also came with a startling prediction of the very timeline that Jesus was standing in when He repeated it. “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’"
The phrase translated here as "Anointed One" is the Hebrew noun "Mashah", which is our word "Messiah". Yes, with uncanny accuracy, the "seven sevens and sixty-two sevens" prophecy of Daniel 9:25 pointed straight to the first coming of Jesus in the restored Jerusalem as "Messiah", some 490 years later! It was also around the same date, the 24th day of the first month, that Jesus appeared to His disciples in John 20:26.
There's more, as the rest of the passage seems to give clues to the timing of the second coming of the Anointed One, Jesus the Messiah, who will rule and reign over the Earth!
Daniel continues in 10:10-14: “ So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
Don’t you think Daniel had been longing for years to hear those words! “…your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”
But don’t forget the reason Daniel’s words were heard. “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God…”
Yes, before we even think about looking for apocalyptic wisdom in the prophecy of times to come, we desperately need to learn how to shut down the influence of the enemy so that we can clearly see God's perfect appointments when they are revealed. “Apocalypse” means revealing. God’s Kingdom will be revealed “on earth as it is in heaven” When Jesus refers to Himself as “son of man”, it goes back to the words of the prophet Daniel.
Daniel is given to us in God's Word today as the perfect example to follow. He lived his life, daily, on God's calendar, even though he was in exile in a foreign land and who revered their own national calendar and events. Also he didn't aspire to be a “mega-Christian", running around doing all the things he possibly could to cement his Christian status and celebrity. He just quietly and unceremoniously waited for God to reveal Himself and direct Him.
As He waited, what did He do? He remained steadfast in His faith in the face of his enemy. He fasted, he prayed and he was humble before his Lord. He looked to God for strength and inner peace. He went about his duties faithfully. Even when he was given permission to go home to Jerusalem, he didn’t run off with all the other Christians to reclaim something they thought was always rightfully theirs. He purposefully distanced himself from that people and mindset, and literally just stood around in contemplation, waiting and praying for the Almighty to speak.
“Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”
"Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
"When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth…” Daniel 10:15-21.
Yes, Daniel had a vision of a man, but not just any man. In the previous chapter, Daniel identified the angel Gabriel as the heavenly spokesperson appearing before him. But in chapter 10, it is obvious as he drops to his hands and his knees, that this encounter with another divine being is unlike anything he had ever experienced before. Could God Almighty have appointed this month and this day, for Daniel to see Jesus, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Son of God, coming in glory, already fighting for his beloved, chosen people?
On the 24th day of the first month, God’s anointed lesson on His appointed date has crossed the chasm of time and space, straight to us right now in the 21st century. In the middle of mounting worldwide tension, death and escalating Christian persecution, we desperately need to see Jesus, and hear His calming words. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
It is also no coincidence that on the same date, over 500 years later, the resurrected Jesus came to His disciples, stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” in John 20: 26-30, with the closing words, These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
The only possible reply for anyone on this earth who has a relationship with the Almighty should be exactly the same as the humble, penitent, Daniel. “Speak, my Lord, since you have given me strength.”
The simple reply of Jesus' loving promise echoes across thousands of years of religious turmoil and struggles, calming our very souls for all eternity.
"I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth”.
ON THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH...
Saturday, April 11 2020
PEACE BE WITH YOU! Following the morning Resurrection of Jesus, this incredible account is recorded in John 20:19-20: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
For many of us, this important time is often skipped over because it isn’t viewed as one of the pivotal appointments of the Almighty for His Son. Nothing could be further from the truth. For it is at that specific point in time that Jesus the Christ speaks TO the body of Christ, AS the Body of Christ.
No, that’s not a tongue-twister, but it IS a mind-bender. Of all the words He could have spoken, “Peace be with you!” takes on a whole new meaning following the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Only Begotten Son of God!
Then, Jesus displayed His own body as physical proof of His bodily resurrection. We humans need that. PROOF. As much as we want to believe, and “confess” to believe, where is that Proof! Indeed, many of us “Christians” today who WANT TO BELIEVE and PROFESS TO BELIEVE just can’t quite make it there.
“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” verses 21-22.
How is Jesus sending His disciples forth into the world? By literally breathing life from His own body into His chosen! What an incredible physical/spiritual picture we have been gifted with in this awesome narrative. The Holy Spirit coming from the Father and the Son, flowing through us, is the ONLY way we can ever accomplish the will of the Father in this world.
Jesus went on to clarify what had happened and why. “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
As they ministered the Good News of Jesus the Christ, they were fully creditable, having received the forgiving power of the Holy Spirit emanating from Jesus Himself directly on them on that day. They would not be speaking about what they didn’t know to be truth. The Holy Spirit, the “Ruach Adonai”, the very Breath of God who breathed life into man at creation, now breathed life into their mortal bodies and souls as they were freed from their sins!
Now they finally understood the truth that if sins were NOT forgiven, they would remain FOREVER…lifeless! Jesus had said earlier in John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
While the manifestation of the Power of the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2 at Pentecost, this scripture describing the Holy Spirit imparting forgiveness to the disciples is the fulfillment of John 7:38-39. "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
The Aramaic translation paints a clearer picture: “For the Spirit had not yet been issued since Jesus had not poured out his sacrificial, glorifying blood.
Jesus continued to appear to His disciples, convicting and convincing them of His Deity. As we follow further in John 20, we witness the doubt of the disciple Thomas in verse 25. “…Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
A week later, Thomas was with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them again. Incredibly, the Son of Almighty God invited Doubting Thomas to touch His nail wounds, to verify His death on the Cross! No small wonder that ‘ole Thomas immediately believed, shouting “My Lord and my God!”.
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Jesus continues to appear before us in the presence of His Living Word. The physical proof of His Resurrection, presented by Jesus Himself, has yielded to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit He has gifted us. And it is in this power that you and I stand today: we have not seen, yet we believe.
We must pause and be humbled and encouraged by the salutation that Jesus repeated twice to His disciples and is repeating to us right this very minute today.
“PEACE BE WITH YOU.”
Resurrection lesson: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2887300784683425&id=394745103939018
Tuesday, April 07 2020
LET MY PEOPLE GO…God has been speaking this for a long time. Those of us living today are witnessing what our ancestors could have only hoped for. Though no one is voicing it, we know it’s happening. Right this very minute, the entire world is being rearranged and quieted in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ!
Look around. Capitalism is sleeping. Governments are weeping. Religion as we have known it has been rearranged. Our calendar and days of the week no longer have authority. Wall Street holds no sway over our future.
Even the ancient nation of Israel has been leveled. The iconic, religious Wailing Wall has been disinfected by workers wearing hazmat suits and gas masks. But not before every single prayer note in every single cranny HAD BEEN REMOVED from what many people revere as one of the holiest physical places on the entire planet! And it’s all happening during one of the most Holy times on God’s calendar called “Passover”.
Signs that God is definitely in charge of this day are everywhere. For the first time since Israel has been regathered, there will be no public memorial of Passover in Jerusalem. People will be celebrating in their individual homes, quarantined, just as ancient Israel was the night of the first Passover in Egypt, when they were freed to worship Him in a way they had never done before.
All this is openly referred to by religious, and non-religious, as “an act of God"! Indeed, it's no coincidence that this Holy Day of Passover is a memorial to the action of The Almighty when He delivered His people out of bondage and servitude to the authority of the world which keeps us from worshipping Him as He desires.
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, ‘Let my people go so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.’ Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.’ ...The Lord said, ‘I will bring one more plague on Pharoah and Egypt. After that he will let you go.'"
"...About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die...This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household...Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast...Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover."
"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast...Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come." Exodus 5:1-2;11:1,4-5;12:1-3,6-8,11-15,17
These are the timeless words of Almighty God to His people 3500 years ago on the 14th day of His first calendar month, which began this evening, April 7th on our Gregorian calendar. They are just as applicable today as ever, possibly even more so. God gave detailed instructions for all those who trusted Him. Following His instructions would bring life. Ignoring them would guarantee death.
Fast forward 1500 years from the deliverance out of Egypt to Jerusalem. It is the 13th day of Abib, Preparation Day, and the unblemished lambs have been selected and are being sacrificed. The innocent, blameless Lamb of God hangs on the cross, dying publically for all to see. “…For Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7.
“…On the night when the Lord Jesus was handed over to be killed, he took bread and gave thanks for it. Then he divided the bread and said, “This is my body; it is for you. Eat this to remember me.” In the same way, after they ate, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said, “This cup represents the new agreement from God, which begins with my blood sacrifice. When you drink this, do it to remember me. This means that every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are telling others about the Lord’s death until he comes again.” 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. More on this timeline https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2877237032356467
The meal of the Passover Lamb is Jesus, Himself. The Lamb is slaughtered for the bitter sin of the world, His blood the perfect atonement. But the pure, sinless, Unleavened Bread was resurrected on the 3rd day! All this done in haste, as time stands still for no one, and is carefully and perfectly marked by the Almighty.
Fast forward another 2000 years to the evening of April 7, 2020 also known as 14th day of Abib on God's calendar, the physical anniversary of the Passover Lamb’s midnight blood covering. God is giving detailed instructions through His Word for all those who trust Him. “The wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23. ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’
John 1:29. “God gave Jesus as a way to forgive people’s sins through their faith in him. God can forgive them because the blood sacrifice of Jesus pays for their sins.” Romans 3:25. “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:5). ”Repent, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.” (Acts 3:19) “He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
The lesson hasn’t changed any in 3500 years. But time is growing short. Be ready for your sure and swift deliverance. “This is how you will eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste, it is the Lord’s Passover.”
"Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7
God is still God. He still desires for ALL His people to be freed to worship Him ONLY, the way they never have before. Listen as He continues to challenge and level the authority of this world…
“LET MY PEOPLE GO!"
Sunday, April 05 2020
IT IS FINISHED…We are approaching the most important week in the history of mankind with the anniversary of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And this year, God Almighty has arranged it so He has our attention. There is so much He wants to teach us, and so little time left.
Indeed, some of the most important lessons we have yet to learn have to do with the most basic things in our lives. Ground zero is moving away from the world and our traditions, toward Him. Since God appears to have done-away with our calendar during this quarantine, could it be that He wants us to get in sync with HIS calendar instead?
“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” Exodus 12:2. The 2nd book of God’s Word clearly appoints the beginning of God’s year. The entire ministry of Jesus Christ, our namesake, is scheduled there, in God’s timing and perfection. When we try to fit His schedule into our Gregorian calendar, it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Part of it may fit in, but it never fits the way it should. Neither will function properly in that state.
“The evening and the morning” constituted the day as God created it in Genesis. If we stay on His calendar for the appointment of months and Sabbath days, we begin with the new moon as Day 1, a worship day of sacrifices. (1 Samuel 20:5,18; 2 Kings 4:23; Ezekiel 46:1,6; Amos 8:5) The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia states, “The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle. Both date back to the nomadic period of Israel.” Counting forward 7 days from the first day, each Sabbath occurs within the created phases of the moon: 8th First Quarter Moon; 15th Full Moon; 22nd Last Quarter Moon; 29th Dark Moon. By viewing the evening sky, God’s people could identify the Sabbath, the day of the month, week, and the season of the year. They had a calendar appointed by their Creator, and it was always with them. So do we. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2845514275528743
God’s Sabbath and Festival Days were appointed on the same schedule. With God’s calendar, there is no postponement of His Anointed Days when they coincide with Sabbaths. Passover week is on a permanent schedule, year after year. And Jesus stays “3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth”, just as He said in Matthew 12:20.
We still have to pay attention to historical details. But God’s Word has a way of putting everything in perspective. “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.’” Exodus 12:26-27 The word “Passover” describing the sacrifice is the Hebrew word “Pesach”, actually refers to both the Lamb (the price paid for protection) BEFORE the day, and the day itself, which gives us valuable information when setting a timeline for Holy Week.
So we are actually looking at 2 days, which could be referenced together as “Passover”. According to the Book of Jubilees written before 150AD, the timeline for Passover, first annotated in Exodus 12:6, included Preparation Day on the 13th beginning between noon and 1pm, until 6pm. The lamb would be slain and prepared for the Passover meal eaten around 7pm on the evening beginning the 14th. After the Temple fell in 70 AD, there was no altar for a sacrifice, the timing of eating the meal changed to sunset-midnight on the 15th day.
The disciple John, who was present at Jesus’ death, writes in John 19:14: “Now it was the Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he [Pilate] said unto the Jews, ‘Behold your king’” John 19:31: “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day…” Also, Luke 23:52-54 reports “This man went unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.”
Biblically, Passover Day is known as the Fast of the Firstborn. The Jewish tradition of the Galileans and Samaritans was to have a meal together on the beginning evening of the 13th. Known as “Seudah Mafseket”, it is literally translated "Last Supper". (This tradition was moved later to the 3-hour period beginning at midnight on the 14th, when God preserved the firstborn of Israel.) John 13:1-2 refers to the Last Supper as an evening meal that occurred just before the Passover Feast. Also, at a Passover meal, the focus is on the paschal lamb. But Jesus said, “This bread is my body”, which was certainly true enough. But still, there is no mention of the lamb in ANY of the disciples’ accounts of the Last Supper.
Also, in 325AD, it was decreed by the Roman Council of Nicaea that Easter, a memorial of Christ’s resurrection, was to be celebrated on the Sunday following the full moon after the spring equinox. That timeline is still used today, though Easter wasn’t celebrated in America until the 1870’s. It can be as much as a month different than God’s perfect timing for the resurrection of His Son, called Firstfruits, which is annotated in God’s Word in Leviticus 23:11 as the day after the Sabbath following the Passover.
So, based on what we just reviewed, we are ready to put together a Passover timeline, remembering that “the evening and the morning” constituted the day as God created it. The Last Supper for Jesus and His disciples occurred in the evening as the 13th began, April 6 evening on our calendar. Jesus went to the cross the next morning, April 7 on our 2020 calendar. During the designated Preparation Day hours on the 13th, he was “prepared” as the Passover Lamb Sacrifice. He died around 3pm (between the two evenings) and was buried during the afternoon hours of the 13th, still April 7 on our calendar.
JESUS was the Passover Lamb in every way when the Passover Meal began shortly after sunset on the beginning of the 14th. He stayed in the tomb 3 days and 3 nights, just as He said He would. He rose from the dead on or by the morning of the 16th, April 10 on our 2020 calendar, the Day of Firstfruits, appointed in Leviticus 23 as the day (16th) following the Sabbath (the 15th). “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20 God's calendar superimposed on our 2020 Gregorian calendar: https://fontanacommunitychurch.org/abib_2020
In truth, when the Son of God uttered the words, “It is finished” on the cross, He was meeting the directive of our Father God, and fulfilling His appointment for mankind. And that covered much more than we could ever have imagined. EVERYTHING was finished by Jesus, not just our salvation. John tells us He is our Creator and Revelation says He’s coming to rule and reign over this world. So He’s taken care of EVERYTHING!
All that’s left is to slide on over into Eden and meet our King!
IT IS FINISHED…
Saturday, April 04 2020
I WILL BRING ONE MORE PLAGUE… 3500 years ago, under the midnight illumination of a full moon, God brought a final plague upon a proud, haughty nation that would convince them once and for all that He was God. He would bring death to every household. Only the life’s blood of an innocent lamb could save them. But they would have to choose that lamb themselves, care for it in their homes, and together, sacrifice it so that they might live. Appointed death would “pass over” them if the innocent’s blood marked their abode. Exodus 11-12
It all began when God changed Jacob's name to Israel. Being the grandson of the patriarch Abraham, God had promised to bless His family. When Jacob (Israel) took his 66-member family to Egypt to escape a famine, God continued to watch over them. Exodus 12:40 states they lived there 430 years. Exodus 12:37 also records their numbers swelled to 600,000 males besides women and children.
For awhile it seemed like heaven on earth. But their sheer numbers caused friction with the rest of Egypt. Persecution soon followed because they worshiped the God of Israel, and not the Egyptian gods and goddesses.
So, Israel prayed to God, and asked for deliverance. Exodus 7-10 records that God sent 9 plagues to convince Egypt to let Israel go so that they could worship Him in the desert. Egypt ignored them all and refused to let them go.
The 10th plague of death for every firstborn male, including livestock, was right on schedule when the Almighty instructed the Israelites to choose a firstborn male lamb and inspect it carefully to be confident that it was blemish-free. God designated the date for their Passover lamb selection as the 10th day of His first month.
40 years later, on this identical calendar date, the same ancient people who chose the Passover Lamb for their salvation, miraculously crossed the Jordan River on dry ground into the Promised Land and began to set up God’s kingdom on earth. (Joshua 4)
1500 years later, on the same month and day, Mark 10:46-52 records that on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus stopped in Jericho where He healed Blind Bartimaeus. All those folks gathered along the road would have understood God’s perfect appointment of Jesus crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land and setting up His kingdom there, since Jericho was the first to be conquered by the children of Israel in Joshua’s day. Indeed, the next chapter, 11:1-11, records when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt that same afternoon, the people chose Him to deliver them when they shouted Hosanna and spread palm branches to welcome Him.
500 years before that, on the 10th day of God's month, the exiled prophet Ezekiel had visions of a new Jerusalem. He noted this Jerusalem had no temple and had streams of living water flowing from it. It is not hard to figure out what…or who…he was actually seeing spiritually when we recall the Words of Jesus. “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in 3 days.” And “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” John 7:38-39.
It’s impossible not to see that God is meticulous about His calendar dates, and very repetitious with the importance of those same dates year after year. Everything is inter-connected, moving like clockwork. That is WHO HE IS.
So we should sit up and take notice when we realize that April 4 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar is the designated 10th day of God's first month. We learned in a previous lesson how to pinpoint the beginning of God's New Year on His calendar. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2840563909357113
“For Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. 1500 years after God Almighty’s plague, the Only Begotten Son of God chose to lay down His life as the Passover Lamb, once and for all time, so that God’s people, who deserved death for turning against their God and Creator, “would not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
2000 years later, God has cleared our calendars. All that’s left is His.
NOW is the time to choose the Passover Lamb of God, Jesus the Christ, as your Deliverer.
I WILL BRING ONE MORE PLAGUE…
Sunday, March 29 2020
HE SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM…2000 years ago, during this same time of the year, Jesus journeyed from the countryside up to the ancient city of Jerusalem, one last time. As He traveled through town after town, He constantly surprised all who would listen, teaching them in ways they could never have understood under any other circumstances. Indeed, that is what He is doing in our generation through our worldwide virulent infection and forced quarantine.
“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.” Luke 9:51-56.
We can learn a lot from the curious phrase “he set His face” to go to Jerusalem. This is an Aramaic expression used several times in the Old Testament to signify resolution or determination. Jesus was a man on a mission, not only in spirit, but in physical countenance. Imagine the face of the Only Begotten Son of God displaying physical determination to meet the appointment of His Father, Almighty God. One look at His face probably convinced any and all that He was totally focused on getting to Jerusalem to fulfill His appointment on the cross as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.
A lot needed to be accomplished in a short amount of time. So He had sent messengers ahead of Him, to prepare the way. We can see the perfect synchronicity here of heaven and earth. Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God, is now working in concert with mankind to accomplish a spiritual purpose that would bind them together for all Eternity!
But predictably, there was dissention in the religious community over what the Words of Jesus actually meant. Indeed, James and John were ready to call down fire from heaven and consume those who believed differently.
The Samaritans were aware of what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well. “Believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” And now Jesus stood in front of them, resolutely intent on His apparent goal of being worshipped in Jerusalem. So those in the Samaritan village “did not receive Him”. In other words, they were questioning what He was doing.
The great irony was, in the coming days the Jewish community would wave palm branches and shout “Hosanana” upon His Jerusalem entrance, but then turn on Him and shout “Crucify Him” when it appeared He was not doing the things they expected, either.
Of course, His disciples figured Jesus was intent on teaching others who didn't know Him like they did. But they quickly learned that Jesus always taught His closest followers the hardest lessons first. Jesus sent shock waves into their midst when He "rebuked" the disciples for their lack of mercy, and not the Samaritans, who wouldn't acknowledge Him.
Let’s stop here to ponder the truth that our Christian community today is a lot like the one Jesus encountered on His way to fulfill God Almighty's Divine Appointments. We receive the Words of Jesus as truth but deny Him the right to expand upon them in our timeline to accomplish His Father’s will. Or we’re like the Jews who followed their scripture prophecy to every “jot and tittle” but weren’t able to even see Messiah in their midst.
They didn’t know what was going to happen back then anymore than we do today. Sure, we have our eschatology and biblical prophecies and expectations. But that doesn’t make them valid or correct. What we need is what both the Samaritans and the Jews needed. to understand the Words of Jesus as He intended, we need to be in the proper sphere of God’s timeline. We need to be humble and willing to reexamine our beliefs in the light of each new day and generation. And don’t forget that Jesus rebuked his disciples for their lack of mercy, but not the Samaritans who wouldn’t acknowledge Him.
Indeed, if we look at this situation through the perspective of time, we see that Jesus was intent on accomplishing a much bigger task than assuming the role of an earthly kingship in Jerusalem. He had an enemy to defeat once and for all before any of that could be accomplished. But it would not be in the manner anyone thought. He would have to lay down His physical life and walk away from His physical throne---for a time.
Yes, today, we have the awesome vantage point of knowing that Jesus not only laid down His life, but He regained it when He was raised from the dead. And we also know that one day soon, He will return to reign on Earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
As we continue reading the next verses in Luke 9:57-62, 10:1-4, we are confounded and humbled by the Words of Jesus. “As they were walking along the road headed toward Jerusalem, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”
“He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’”
“Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’”
“As He commissioned 72 other disciples and sent them by 2’s ahead of Him to every town and place He would go, He continued to instruct them, saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”
Most of us Christians should be staggering right now under the weight of Jesus’ description of TRUE discipleship: accept rejection without responding in anger …let the dead bury the dead… no goodbyes to loved ones…lambs among wolves…no clothes or money… don’t let your guard down.
And there’s still so much more that happened in those final weeks. They were jam-packed full of parables and lessons that only the Son of God Himself could teach. The Good Samaritan ends with Jesus posing a question that still divides religious folks today. 'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him 'Go and do likewise.'" Luke 10:36-37.
Jesus taught us how to pray by giving us the model "Lord's Prayer". But then He insulted the religious folks of the day when He boldly announced, "Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”
Jesus continued to shock and dismay the religious establishment when He said, "Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
The gospel of Luke alone records 35-40 parables and teachings from chapter 10-19, with Jesus sending out the 72 disciples, His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, healing 14 people along the way, and all in a matter of days or weeks. It is so VERY obvious that this was one of THE most productive times on this earth in the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Yes, today we literally follow in the footsteps of Jesus during His final time on this earth. We know this because we learned in last week's lesson how to pinpoint the beginning of God's New Year. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2840563909357113
God’s Word tells us in Exodus 12:6 that the sacrifice of the lamb occurred at twilight on the 14th day of the first month. “Twilight” is more accurately translated “between the evenings”. (There is a Hebrew word for twilight, not used here.) “Between the evenings” was understood until 200 BC to designate the hours of 3-5 pm, referred to as the 1st evening with the 2nd evening occurring at sunset.
Deuteronomy 16:1, 6 adds further explanation: "Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the Lord your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night...There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt."
The death of Jesus between the evenings fulfilled God's appointed deliverance of His chosen people for all time. Paul said it best in Corinthians 5:7: "...For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed." The 14th day God's first month will begin at twilight, April 7 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar.
Jesus set His face to go Jerusalem, and sent messengers ahead to prepare the way. As we are called by God in the same manner to prepare the way of our returning Lord, may we be like God's servant Isaiah who said, "The Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed" Isaiah 50:7
HE SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM…
Sunday, March 22 2020
IN THE BEGINNING GOD…In our lifetime, we are witnessing the whole earth literally coming to a standstill. God Almighty has hit the reset button, physically, and spiritually. The evening of March 25 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar will usher in darkness giving way to "Earthrise", as a new year, and a new era, begin for the entire world at the direction of God Himself.
The timing of man's witnessing "Earthrise" is impeccable. When it happened in 1968, Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first of God's creation to travel beyond low Earth orbit, the first to see Earth as a whole planet, the first to directly see the far side of the Moon, and the first to witness "Earthrise", as pictured by the commemorative stamp illustrating this post. They also became the first to communicate God's Word from the vast expanse of the Universe He created. As they took turns reading the first 10 verses of Genesis 1, a billion people on Earth heard the Word of God being broadcast 240,000 miles above them, and knew beyond a doubt, a new era of time was being ushered in.
"We are now approaching lunar sunrise. For all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send to you." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnyNXLXl8iA
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
This profound statement stands alone, defying exegesis or commentary. If we had been with the astronauts that memorable day, we would have understood why they chose to read God’s Word at just such a defining point in human history. Indeed, it wasn't about all the nuances of what happened when, or the swagger of intellectual knowledge and ability of mankind. The Apollo 8 astronauts realized there is all the difference in the world (pun intended) between SEEING God as Creator and SEEKING Him as Creator.
That's exactly where we are today, but even more so. A new era is being ushered into the world in our lifetime. Nothing will ever be the same again. Someone else is in charge of our time, and what we can and can't do. We have all been reduced to humans... which is really what we have been all along.
We've had flashes of God as Creator, and many of us have bowed in His presence, acknowledging Him as Lord and Creator. But soon after, we set about creating our own worlds, effectively SEEING God as Creator but not SEEKING Him as Creator on a daily basis.
Every day as we hurtle through space and time at 66,700 miles per hour, we've sought everything ELSE except our Creator. We have drifted into darkness, physically and spiritually, out of the presence of our Maker and His blessing and healing. We are now subject to increasing global pandemics and human misery and suffering. The whole earth has been quarantined because of our propensity to infect ourselves with our own gods, our own pestilence and death.
We're been reckoning physical and spiritual light and darkness on our own terms. If we refuse to honor God in the physical calendar of His created time and on His appointed Holy days, consider that we have stepped into into spiritual darkness, away from Him, and will never be ever be able to honor Him in a way that glorifies Him. Our appointed Gregorian calendar and days of the week are prime examples of how we have brought other gods into our lives daily. See more: https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2845514275528743
We need to acknowledge life and it's marked passage as God created it. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5.
All it takes is 8 minutes for the light of sunrise or sunset to get to Earth, where we can observe it. That's how quickly things can change from darkness to light under God's direction. The day begins in approaching darkness at sunset, and morning begins at sunrise with first light. Together, and in that order, they constitute what God called "day".
"Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also." Genesis 1:14-16
Today, astronomers estimate there are ten thousand billion trillion stars – that’s a 1 followed by 25 zeros! And there are between 100 billion and 1 trillion stars in 1 normal galaxy. Our universe alone may contain 100 billion galaxies! Using elements from the staggering array of His heavenly handiwork, God has appointed a lunar and solar calendar for His creation on Earth. Genesis 1:14. Jeremiah 31:35 and Psalm 136:7-9 state these lights are the sun, moon and stars.
On March 16, 2020, the day and night hours were exactly equal, marked as the Vernal Equilux, providing a good indication that the physical circuit of the sun in the heavens was completed as appointed by the Almighty. After this point the daylight hours begin to outweigh the dark hours, and the sun can truly be said to have begun another renewed cycle, or year.
God has given us an awesome spiritual picture of this in Psalm 19:4-6. “...In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course, It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat." We explored the physical and spiritual imagery of Jesus being crowned King, and leaving the heavens, making His way to His Bride, His church. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2833263450087159
God's appointed time periods within the year are based on the cycles of the moon which He created. The Hebrew word for month, “chodesh”, literally means “new moon.” A new month begins with the rising of the new moon at twilight and lasts until the next new moon rises at twilight. The moon’s phases follow one another in clock-like precision, giving mankind the ability to easily follow God's calendar as He has designated it in the heavens.
Our Creator also formed the stars and their specific, named groupings in the constellations. (Genesis 1:14; Job 9:8-9; Job 26:13; Job 38:31-33; Amos 5:8). “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Job 38:31-32.
The Pleiades is a star cluster approximately 400 light-year distance from Earth near the constellations of Orion and Taurus in the night sky. The cluster includes seven bright stars that are easily seen with the naked eye, gravitationally bound together. (One can only imagine how Job knew that.) Every year the star group appears in close proximity to the newly visible crescent moon -- just after sunset, in the Spring, at the beginning of the FIRST biblical month.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” Exodus 12:1-2. The name of the month is given In Deuteronomy 16:1, where the Israelites are told to keep the Passover in the month of Abib, because they were "passed over" by the 10th death plague of Egypt on that very day by God Almighty.
Numbers 9:5 states that they kept the Passover "on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai..." Yes, the Israelites observed the first celebration of the Passover on the prescribed month, setting the date in the middle of the desert, with only the heavens as their reference point. And they did so every year for the remainder of their 40 years in the desert!
On the evening of March 25 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar, we begin the watch for “chodesh”, or "new moon" for God's New Year to officially begin. Yes, we have to watch. Because contrary to contemporary opinion, God's New Year cannot be appointed by man on his published calendar.
"Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven...for signs," Recognizing God’s 1st month is extremely important, as it literally ushers in God’s appointed dates for the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! When Jesus came as the Passover Lamb, whose blood was shed for all mankind for forgiveness of sins, that divine appointment had been appointed on God's calendar 1500 years before. When He was raised from the dead as the sinless, Unleavened Bread, He fulfilled the timing of God Almighty made 1500 years prior. When Jesus ascended to the Father after His death and resurrection on Firstfruits, He not only fulfilled the 1500-year appointment of the Almighty but guaranteed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in His name, 50 days from that date, known as Pentecost!
We also can look forward to heavenly signs of at least 3 more divine appointments on God’s calendar. Jesus will return as the anointed Trumpet Call for our righteous ingathering. Jesus will reign as the divine Atonement for our sin. And finally, Jesus will Tabernacle WITH His people when He returns as the King of Glory! Yes, when Jesus returns to this earth, it will be by Divine Appointment only, right on schedule by God's calendar. Check out God's appointment schedule given to His people in Leviticus 23.
God’s calendar is not about celebrating a religious festival or a Sabbath day just to please Him. It’s always been about the revelation of Jesus, the Christ, the Deliverer, the Anointed One, come to set His people free! “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17
God has hit the reset button. And He's done it through a pandemic virus named "corona", Latin for "crown". God Almighty is using man's mutant "crown" virus of their own making to convict us of our sinful bent of "crowning" other gods before Him and making them a priority on our manmade calendars and thus in our everyday lives.
In the coming year, as we hurtle through space, we will travel nearly 600 million miles. That's certainly more than enough time to be humbled by the Almighty, as He reveals His glory and majesty, just as He planned all along. His plan to redeem us and restore the earth will culminate soon in the corona-tion of His Son, Jesus as King of Kings over the entire earth!
The Apostle Paul said this to the people of Athens, "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth...made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us...’” (Acts 17:24-28)
"IN THE BEGINNING GOD..."