In the Wilderness of Temptation

No nation has ever experienced the physical wilderness as the nation of Israel. Theirs were the trials, the thirst, the hunger for meat, for the onions and other things Egypt offered. To them were given forty years wandering through the desert for the purpose of being formed as a nation under God Himself. Many died; a large number of them; they did not make it through the wilderness to their destination, because they fell to temptation, while their hearts became hardened as they were tested. The signs and wonders they witnessed when God provided for their needs did not serve as a guide to exercise faith in Him. So their journey became a wilderness of temptation in every aspect: physical, emotional and spiritual. That constituted an open door to fail in every time a need arrived. Without waiting for God to provide for their needs, as He promised He was going to, they murmured and complained, even when manna- food from heaven was given them.  They longed the world’s food instead. In Psalm 95 the Psalmist remembers those days with a warning: Harden not your hearts as at Meribah and Massah in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tried My patience and tested Me proved Me and saw His work. Forty years long was I grieved and was disgusted with that generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in their hearts, and they do not approve, acknowledge or regard My ways. Therefore I swore in My wrath that they would not enter My rest (95: 8-11), and again in Hebrews 3: 7-11.

Jews and Romans at a Crossroad

(Matthews 27:1-2,11,17-27)

The word crossroad, according to Webster dictionary, is at the point where one must choose between different courses of action.

Sometimes crossroads are unexpected emergencies as consequences of decisions of our own. Sometimes, they come to us for changes in lifestyles, sometimes a warning not to proceed. In today’s study of the event in the lives of Jewish and Roman nations, we will learn that, although a seemly bad decision was made, it was in God’s plan and purpose for the salvation of the nations. The Prophet Isaiah prophesized this many years previously: All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53: 6).  Rejected by His own people, YAHSHUA’S salvation was extended to all nations. John said, He came for His own, and they did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. But to as many as did receive and welcome Him He gave the authority to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in His name (John 1:11-12).

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 Hill Called Olivet Past, Present and Future

(Acts 1: 6-12)

The Mount of Olives is a very significant place in the prophetic pages of the Bible. Its past in the time of Solomon was used by him for idol worship. I Kings 11:7-8: Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abominable idol of Moab, on the hill opposite Jerusalem, and for Moloch the abominable idol of the Ammonites, and He did so for all of his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.  From the distance we only see white sepulchers; nothing that shows life. Death is written all over it. We cannot understand why that mount was used for such a purpose, since it is located in a desirable area for all to see. In spite of this, Mount Olivet is also a place that speaks of the future pointing to the time of the end.

An Incredible Journey Foreshadowing the Future

Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph (Ex. 1:8). There is a lot to consider in this few words, for they take us to the beginning when Joseph was sold to an officer of Pharaoh as a slave. However, God was with him and through all his life in Egypt, he prospered to become second to the King. Finding favor with him, Joseph moved his family from Canaan to Egypt, where they stayed 430 years.  The Israelites, after so many years in that land, prospered and never returned to Canaan. That seemed to be the story of Israel throughout history after they were taken captives to another land. Not until pressure of persecution to the point of their death, do they return home, but not all. Let’s remember Hitler’s day. How many were killed? How many are still in that land today, including the whole of Europe? What will take them to realize the way home? History has being repeating itself over and over in the lives of Israel; today they call it anti-Semitism. After the slaughter of many of their ancestors in Hitler’s day Israel has said, “Never again.”  But it will not be so, until they go home.

The Righteous Are Living Memorials of God’s Faithfulness

(Psalm 92: 15)

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and verdure. [They are living memorial] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him (Psalm 92: 12-15).