Crossing the Jordan River

(Deuteronomy 11:31)

When the Lord called Israel out of Egypt, He used Moses and Aaron his brother to lead the people to their Promised Land –Canaan. They were then a multitude of people that over the years grew from seventy when they first arrived in Egypt to over a million in the period of over 400 years. That happened according to the word of the Lord to Abraham when confirming His covenant: He said, know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs, and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years… On the fourth generation, they shall come back here [to Canaan] again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full and complete (Gen. 15:13, 16). In the span of time of 400 years Israel suffered as slaves in the land of Egypt, after Joseph had died and new Pharaohs came to power who did not know anything about him and his family. God heard their cry and used Moses to lead them back to Canaan, a journey that might have lasted only eleven days, took forty years.

A Fish and a Shekel

(Matthew 17:24-27)

When YAHSHUA arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the half shekel [the temple tax] went up to Peter and said, Does not your Teacher pay the half shekel? He answered, Yes. And when he came home, YAHSHUA spoke to him first, saying, What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or tribute from their own sons or from others, not of their own family? And Peter said, From other people not of their own family. YAHSHUA said to him, Then the sons are exempt. However, in order not to give offense and cause them to stumble, go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel. Take it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself.

Go Into the Plain and I Will Talk to You There

(Ezekiel 3:22-27)

The Prophet Ezekiel was one of the prophets who received from YAHWEH difficult tasks to represent the spiritual conditions of the nation Israel. He grew up in the environment of the temple, having been born in the priestly family. Unlikely some prophets, he grew up knowing the things of God firsthand.  He was only thirty years old when YAHWEH called Him while he was in the midst of idolatrous surroundings of Babylon. In chapter one of his book, he describes the vision given him. He starts by saying, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God (Ezekiel 1:1). After seeing the vision in its completeness, he was instructed in three things: to hear what YAHWEH was telling him; not to be like those rebellious people, and to eat the words given him. Meanwhile, the Lord warned him that the people were not going to listen to his message, for they were a rebellious nation. Ezekiel’s responsibility, however, was to warn them, listening or not, otherwise, he would be held responsible for the blood of that person. The instructions how to deliver YAHWEH’S message were difficult for one to follow. Ezekiel, however, had no complaint, except for one. He willingly did exactly what the Lord commanded Him. Arise, YAHWEH told him, go forth into the plain and I will talk with you there (Ezekiel 3:22b).

Understanding the Context of the Fig Tree Episode

(Mark 11: 13-15; Matt. 21:18-22)

A week before His death, YAHSHUA rode on a young colt as the ultimate expression of His kingship or messiahship. The people, in return, cried out with voices of happiness, they spread their garments on the road, and others [scattered a layer of] leafy branches, and those who went before and those who followed cried out, Hosanna! Praised and blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord; Praised and blessed in the name of the Lord is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest (Mark 11: 7-9)! What was going on here? Had the people accepted Him as their Messiah? Of course, not. The people wanted Him to overthrow the Romans and become their physical king. They were not interested in the spiritual aspect of His Messiahship. That week was very important for YAHSHUA. In a few days, His ministry as all knew it, would come to an end. He entered Jerusalem riding on a colt fulfilling Zachariah’s prophecy of long ago: Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zach. 9: 9-10). Slowly, He rode to Jerusalem, the city that kills their prophets, and soon, He too, was going to face His death at their demand. He was their rejected and condemned King, riding on to face His death in His city- Jerusalem, the city of the great King. A lot was happening at that time while He was fulfilling the last things before His death without the people around Him knowing or perceiving them.

The Law Served as a Guide to Lead Us to Christ (Part 1)

(Galatians 3)

The Israelites, while living in Egypt, were undefined as a nation. They were a family composed of twelve brothers, whose numbers grew greatly, as God was preparing them to make a nation out of them. The 430 years that they remained in Egypt, they grew to a staggering number, causing the Egyptians to kill their babies and force hard labor on them, bringing them to a slave’s status. Jacob, his wives, and sons were living in Canaan before they sojourned to Egypt until the famine took them to Egypt in search of food. These were days of uncertainties in the mind of Jacob, as he made decision to move to Egypt, a distance of 121 miles from Canaan, their Promised Land; they were already there, but not in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in the space of time ordained for it to happen. Many years had to pass, many things had to happen in their lives, including in Moses’ life.  A nation to be a nation is required for a good number of people to fill the spaces. A nation, out of seventy people is hardly enough to be formed into one. God’s plan was for them to grow and multiply before He took them out of Egypt for the purpose to form a nation unto Him- a royal race.

Rahab, a Woman of Importance in History- Past and Future

The Bible gives us a short synopsis of Rahab’s life just enough for us to know whom that woman was. In the book of Joshua we find the accounts about her as a prostitute and one who saved the Israelite spies. In doing so, she exercised faith and belief in the God of Israel. Rahab acknowledged to the spies what they all had heard concerning God’s supernatural deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Although, she lived among pagans, she confessed her faith in the true God- the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,  by saying, “ The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Jos.2: 9-11). Her faith expanded to action to protect the spies, as a gesture of fear and respect for Israel’s God. She was chosen for that time with God’s purpose not only to save Israel, but to display His plan far off into the future. Sometimes, in our feeble mind, we get lost in our understanding of how God fulfills His plans. In the case of Rahab we wonder why a prostitute. Remember YAHSHUA’S reaction toward the Pharisees when they brought a sinful woman to Him, condemning her?  He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger; when YAHSHUA raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? She answered, No one, Lord! And YAHSHUA said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more (John 8: 8,10-11). No one is without sin, no matter the size of it. Rahab’s heart was right with God and when the opportunity presented itself, she chose to obey the Lord.

Picture of the Rapture

(Exodus 12)

The Lord’s deliverance of Israel before judgement fell on Egypt is a type of the rapture. In it we see the consistency of our God saving His people before judging nations. Israel had been in Egypt for 400- 430 years. From the time of famine in the land and their deliverance by their brother, Joseph, Israel never went back to Canaan. According to the words the Lord God spoke to Jacob, Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will there make of you a great nation; I will go down with you to Egypt and I will also surely bring you up again.. (Gen. 46:3-4).  In obedience, Jacob moved to Egypt with his family of seventy total.  That’s when the 430 years stated for Israel’s permanency in Egypt. Thirty years of freedom and 400 hundred years of slavery. That was to be fulfilled according to what God had told Abraham when covenanting with him (Gen.15:13). God said to Abram, Know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs, and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years (Gen. 15:13).