Christians the world over will be rejoicing come Sunday, April 20, 2014 as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ remembers the Passion of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We will be praising God that He raised up His Son from the grave even as He had promised to do so in His Word. These words will be said by just about every Christian, “He is Risen! Hallelujah!”
The Scriptures speak to the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ was and is God who came down in the flesh. He left behind his Glory (ἐκένωσεν, ekenosen) that He had with the Father, to come and make available a perfect sacrifice so that those who believe on His name could receive eternal life by having their sins, transgressions and iniquities washed by the blood of the Lamb. But there was only one way that this could be accomplished; which meant that the perfect Lamb of God had to be brought to the slaughter so that His pure blood could be offered on the altar in heaven before the Holy God of Israel.
Yet Jesus was a man. Jesus came down into the flesh so that He could be our perfect High Priest who could feel the things that we have felt as it is written in
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
We see His agony as expressed in the Garden of Gethsemane where He literally sweated out blood from His forehead. Medically speaking, Jesus was suffering from a condition called ‘hematohidrosis.’ It is a very rare condition and according to Dr. Dave Miller, Ph.D.,
“only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat (idros) – a much used term in medical language. And only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat as consisting of great drops of blood (thromboi haimatos)-a medical condition alluded to by both Aristotle and Theophrastus (Hobart, 1882, pp. 8-84). The Greek term thromboi(from which we get thrombus, thrombin, et al.) refers to clots of blood (Nicoll, n.d., 1:1631; Vincent, 1887, 1:425). Bible scholar Richard Lenski commented on the use of this term: “‘as clots’ thromboi means that the blood mingled with the sweat and thickened the globules so that they fell to the ground in little clots and did not merely stain the skin” (1961, p. 1077).
The Lord Jesus felt the agony of what a man would feel knowing that he is walking straight towards his own death. Jesus faced His own will as opposed to His Father’s will; so we read that
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
We can rejoice that the Lord Jesus submitted His own will to that of the Father’s and went as foretold in Isaiah 53:7, “…he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
When the Temple guards came for him after Judas had sold his Master for a mere 30 pieces of silver, Jesus was led away as if He was a criminal. They then placed Him next to the real criminal, Barabbas and asked the crowd who they wanted to have released to them that year. The people chose the real criminal, Barabbas. What should be interesting to note are the names of these two contenders:
Bar Abbas = Son of the Fathers
Bar Abba, Yeshua = Son of the Father
The crowd that day preferred a true criminal rather than the true Son of the Holy Father; the perfect Son, who always pleased His Father; the Messiah was then to be crucified as a criminal, when He was Holy. It was the Garden of Eden being played out again. The choice between Good and evil; Adam and Eve chose their own way, which was evil and the people that were there during this age were once again choosing their own way, thus the evil way. They were calling that which was good as if it were evil; and calling that which was evil as if it were good.
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
There isn’t any question as to the Lord Jesus’ righteousness, except by those who do not know Him. Which, in that case, it does not matter if they do question His righteousness, because again, they do not KNOW Him. But of all the important phrases, saying, quips, quotes or anything else one can come up with as a writer or pundit, the best exclamation is based on these Scriptures.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is risen!…
These Seven words rejoices the spirit of every faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, not just looking forward to Palm Sunday when prophecy was fulfilled as He, Jesus, rode into Jerusalem during His triumphal entry, being hailed as the King of Israel. But His disciples continue to rejoice from Palm Sunday to the time of Passover, when the True Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sins of the world. God Almighty was fulfilling His Word when He had promised that the Gentiles would also partake and have a place in the family of God as well.
Many people claim to be Christian….but are you a DISCIPLE? There is a difference. Since Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, the true Passover Lamb which takes away the sins of the world, this would be a great time to find yourself on your knees, repenting of your sins, transgressions and iniquities, pleading the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (John 1:9). Best of all….
HE IS RISEN!
The first of the four blood moons that has been cosmologically noted by NASA occurred around 3:00 a.m. CDT this morning, April 15, 2014. This writer was up at 4:11 a.m. watching the stellar display in God Almighty’s heaven. According to Pastor Hagee and NASA there will be a total of four blood moon occurrences: the first one being this morning, April 15, 2014, also the beginning of Passover; the next one will be on October 8, 2014 which will be on the Feast of Tabernacles; the third blood moon will occur once again on Passover April 4, 2015; and finally, the fourth blood moon in this Tetrad will happen on September 28, 2015. As Pastor John Hagee stated “that these happenings occurring in what is known as a Blood Moon Tetrad is beyond the null hypothesis of probability.”
The Blood Moon that this writer witnessed was indeed a soft red in color since the sun’s rays were being blocked by the earth passing between the sun and moon. This writer also found it remarkable that a light breeze was blowing, though it was very cold, and the chimes on a nearby house were playing. In the awesome quiet of this early morning hour with the lunar eclipse turning blood red in the sky, it was as if the chimes were singing their own song of praise to the Creator of the universe. Shortly thereafter, the birds began to sing as well. It was totally awe inspiring this morning.
Interestingly, a video produced by Evangelist, Anita Fuentes lists some remarkable timelines: the blood moon on April 15, 2014 is in the sign of Virgo, which represents not only the Mother of Christ but the Bride of Christ as well. The blood moon that will happen on October 8, 2014 will be in the sign of Pisces, which is represented by two fishes; which also represents the two houses of Israel. Then again it will repeat during the Passover on April 4, 2015 and the Feast of Tabernacles on September 28, 2015. But even more importantly, on Adar 29 or March 20, 2015 there will be a ‘Sackcloth Sun’ which will also be in the sign of Pisces.
The fact that these four blood moons will be occurring on two of Israel’s feasts in 2014 and 2015 is phenomenal and has only been recorded before during the years of 1493-1494 when Spain fell; the Jews were expelled; and Columbus discovered America. Then in 1949-1950 after Israel became a nation and the last one was in 1967-1968 during Israel’s Six Day War. It seems that when these blood moon tetrads occur, there is a coinciding of happenings of great world events also occurring during these periods.
Is God, the Creator of the Universe trying to get our attention? Many say ‘yes’, and this writer being a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, says ‘yes’ as well. Let’s look at some of the Scriptures and they too cannot be ignored.
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Well the signs in the heavens have certainly been happening and there will be three more blood moons which will conclude on September 28, 2015. But in the middle of these four blood moons the sun will be darkened on Adar 29 or March 20, 2015. Let us now look at
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Of course, there are some Christians sects that say that the foregoing Scripture refers only to the fall of Jerusalem which the Lord Jesus prophesied would happen in 70 A.D. However, there are many other Christians that believe that there are also what is called ‘double prophecies’ in the Scriptures; in other words, it happened once and it will happen again. Because if we conclude that these Scriptures are over and done with, then what happened to the 1000 year millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ? By that foregong timeline, His millennial reign would have ended sometime in the 10th or early 11th centuries if you state that it all occurred in 70 A.D. This is why the belief in a double prophecy theory has validity since there are not any records of a sole King that has ruled the entire world with goodness and mercy; there have been attempts to set up world wide dictatorships, but never a world wide theocracy.
This writer believes that everyone should be watching intently to see what happens over the course of the next 18 months and if you are not saved by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, this would be an auspicious moment to do so. The Scriptures declare in
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Plus, anyone can link to this writer’s Christian website, New Covenant Christian Ministries and read more about how to become a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Sunday before Easter has been called Palm Sunday because of the imagery of the Lord Jesus Christ making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The people hailed Him as their Messiah, waving palm branches and laying them down before Him, as well as their outer garments or cloaks so that the asses’ colt that He rode upon would not have to tread upon the dirt road.
In just a few more days, the Lord Jesus entered the beginning of His passion or suffering which would culminate in His resurrection from the dead. The whole of it came to be called the Passion week which included all of the activities of the Lord Jesus during His final week in His physical body upon the earth.
This year, Palm Sunday will fall on April 13, 2014 and churches everywhere will be celebrating this day in remembrance of our Lord’s passion that He suffered for us. Looking at some of the historical aspects of this event, the palm tree itself has always been associated with the oasis in the desert. When the people of Israel camped in Elim, there just happened to be 70 palm trees and 12 springs of fresh water. Thus do we see the imagery of the number 70 for the exact number of elders that judged the people. The number 12 being the representative number for the 12 tribes of Israel. Thus we see that Jesus was being hailed as the Messiah, with the people waving palm branches, thus indicating that the Lord Jesus as Israel’s Messiah was their eternal oasis of ‘living water,’ even as He had told the Samaritan woman at the well in:
Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
The Holy Bible prophesied that a ‘triumphant and victorious” king would enter Jerusalem ‘humble and riding on an ass.’ The spectacle of Palm Sunday fulfills this prophecy,” so The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. We find this prophecy in Scripture in
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.
Just as God saw to it that He had prophesied before it happened, the Lord Jesus Christ came riding into Jerusalem, riding on the foal of an ass. But let’s look at the remaining two verses of Scripture, and let’s see what else is prophesied. The Scripture states that “he shall speak peace unto the heathen..” This would be the Gentiles that one day would be allowed to enter into the family of God. It also states that “His dominion shall be from sea to sea…” which means just exactly what it says…that the Lord Jesus Christ rules and reigns over the entire universe, not just for a short while, but eternally. Then let us look at the final verse; verse 11, “…by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” Truly phenomenal statements: “…by the blood of thy covenant…” for the Lord Jesus Christ was soon to make a new covenant with His very own blood. Finally, “…I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” This usage of ‘water’ is often associated with the Holy Spirit and indeed, Jesus foretold that He would be giving forth ‘living water’ and so indeed He did bring to pass this very prophecy.
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Christians have been celebrating the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ…well… for about 2,000 years. So where did this all start? It started in the Garden of Eden when mankind sinned against a Holy God and were banned from entering the garden ever again. If the Creator had allowed them to stay, it would have been possible for them to eat from the correct tree of life which would have locked them into an eternally damned state. This is why Scripture depicts Cherubim guarding the way back into the garden in Genesis 3:22-24 with a flaming sword. Then moving to the next step of the God-ordained plan of salvation for mankind is in Genesis 12, with God giving to Abraham the command to leave his country and that God would show him the land that he would possess.
We find the first recorded Passover feast in preparation for their departure from Egypt in Exodus 12:5-28. They were to kill the Passover lamb without blemish, they were to eat it while standing and to do it in a hurry. They were commanded to strike the lintel and door posts with the blood of the lamb so that God would ‘pass over’ and not kill their first-born. So did they perform this feast year after year until the time was fulfilled that the final Passover Lamb was readied to be offered.
The prophecies in Isaiah 53 are a stunning foretelling of the Messiah, also known as the suffering servant. Even in the New King James version, the intent of the passage shows the poetry, it is almost like a song.
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
The suffering servant would be rejected, bruised, afflicted, stricken, offered, slaughtered like a dumb lamb, He carried our iniquities, He was numbered as a transgressor and He was buried with the wicked, and thus He became our eternal intercessor.
With the coming of the Messiah, the Lord sent His prophet ahead of Him, namely John the Baptist who publicly acknowledged the Lord Jesus Christ as such:
Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
The proclamation by John the Baptist that Jesus was the Lamb of God ushered in the ministry of the Lord Jesus and this He did for approximately three years until it was time for Him to offer himself up as the final atonement.
So we find then that the record of the ministry of the Lord Jesus which culminated in his trial, death and resurrection is to be found in the following synopsis of the Gospel of:
Matthew 27:22, 35-37, 50
Pilate said unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all said unto him, Let him be crucified. And they crucified Him and parted His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots.” And sitting down, they watched Him there, and set up over His head His accusation, written: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
It is interesting to note that as an integral part of the ritual of the first Passover, the participants were to eat the lamb while they were standing, and they were to eat it in a hurry. When the full account in Matthew 27 is read, we find those that were participating in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, the final Passover Lamb (though the participants knew it not at that time), were standing there reviling the Lord. They also saw to it that the Roman soldiers were to crucify Him quickly because the Passover feast was drawing nigh, which is why they were breaking the legs of those that were crucified along with Jesus in order to hurry up their deaths. They did not of course physically consume the body of the Lord Jesus, but they most certainly drank in and ate up the entire scene of the sacrificial Lamb of God at that moment. Another note: the first participants also performed this ritual outside of the Promised Land, and the final participants also crucified the Lord Jesus outside of the city gates of Jerusalem, in the Promised Land.
The climax of the Passion week is found in:
Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He Is Risen….
For the Christian, these are the three greatest words ever recorded in the annals of history. This was the final sacrifice for sins, transgressions and iniquities forever more. Jesus the Christ, the Messiah of the world, who is our eternal hope and confidence. This year, we will celebrate His resurrection and subsequently ours as well in every church, not just in the greater metro area of Chicago, but this celebration will take place tomorrow in every church, every home, even in every field across this nation and the entire world. Every Christian will joyfully utter these words, not just on tomorrow, but every time that the remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed His atoning blood at Calvary is remembered by saying:
He Is Risen! Hallelujah!