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…