Yesterday the word was “the heavenly realms” found 5 times in Ephesians. The King James translation renders this “heavenly places” suggesting it is a physical location. The original Greek does not mention realms or places, it simply calls it “the heavenlies”. For we, created in time and space, have a hard time getting hold of God, after all he exists since creation of both time and space. Just think, without physical matter time and space has no meaning. The apostle Matthew calls the heavenlies the Kingdom of heaven, Mark and Luke calls it the Kingdom of God. Jesus himself says in John 18:36 “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.“
We tend to think that what we do makes a difference. God has given us access to the spiritual dimension, or realm, or even place in the form of the Holy Spirit, and thanks to that He has given us power. No, he has given us access to the heavenlies, not in our selves but it is Christ, in the form of the Holy Spirit that lives in us. Without him we can do nothing.
Something happened to us today that has never happened to us before. After a successful shopping trip we went to a diner that serves excellent crab cakes. After finishing the meal, the server, followed by the manager, came and said, somebody paid for our meal. At first we were dumbfounded, we have heard of acts of random kindness, but why us, we don’t look that destitute, as a matter of fact, we look rather good, considering our age. We humbly thanked the server and manager for the anonymous generosity. Leaving the diner I remembered that we always pray before the meal, holding hands, giving thanks to God for what He has tone today and for the meal, all in the name of Jesus.
There is something going on, i can sense it. We are praying for a revival of Biblical proportions, and a worldwide awakening. After all, God gives more grace.
John 21 tells of the eighth miracle of Jesus. This miracle of a great catch of fish happened after Jesus resurrection and was a sign of new beginnings. Jesus reinstated Peter and told him: “Feed my sheep.”
Exodus 12 tells of how God instituted the Passover. The name comes from the action that night, when the angel of death came to kill every firstborn in Egypt, if he saw the blood of the pascal lamb om the doorposts and the lentil of the house, he would pass over that house. The chapter is fantastic, read it and marvel!
In Exodus 13 the feast of unleavened bread is defined and the consecrating of the firstborn to the LORD. The Hebrews have escaped from Egypt, and a proposed route is suggested.
John 20 deals with the resurrection, and Jesus was not there, only his grave clothes, strips of cloth, not the “Turin Shroud.” It was the first day of the week and Jesus showed himself to all the disciples except Thomas. He doubted their testimony, and it is from this we have the expression “Doubting Thomas.” Later, when even he saw Jesus, he bowed down and worshiped him saying “My Lord, and my God”. Jesus also gave the promise they would receive the Holy Spirit.
Exodus 10: Two more plagues, the plague of locusts and the plague of darkness. For these two plagues the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
In Exodus 11 Moses and Aaron proclaimed the tenth and final plague: The death of the firstborn. Interestingly enough the plagues of Egypt are also in the Quran, four are the same, five are different, and one is missing altogether. Guess which one!
Psalm 11 has the phrase “flee as a bird to the mountain”, which bring back memories of songs we used to sing in choir.
John 19:16b-42. I took the liberty to incorporate all the “seven words of Christ on the cross.” This requires to take passages from the Gospel of Luke, as well as from the Gospel pf Matthew or Mark. It helped me a lot to get the time-order of events as well as the completeness of Christ substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross. It is finished!
In Exodus 9 there are three more plagues, the plague of livestock, the plague of boils and the plague of hail. In the fifth and seventh plague Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, but for thesixth plague the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
John 19:1-16. The trial of Jesus continued under Pilate. He tried his best to get out of it by placing a crown of thorn on Jesus, let the soldiers mock him and hit him, hoping that would placate the Jews. But they cried Crucify! He tried and tried, but they cried “E\We have no King but Caesar” so Pilate finally gave in and handed Jesus over to be crucified.
In Exodus 7 God promised Moses to give him the words to all he must say, and Aaron was to tell it to Pharaoh. God also said he would harden Pharaoh’s heart and not let the people go. Aaron threw down his rod and it became a snake. The Egyptians duplicated it. The first plague out of ten occurred, turning the water of the Nile to blood.
Exodus 8 is very interesting. It tells of three more plagues of Egypt, the plague of frogs, the plague of gnats and the plague of flies. The Egyptian magicians had no trouble duplicating elements of the plague of frogs, but when it came to the plague of gnats they threw up their hands and said “This is the finger of God”. From then on they could not duplicate any of the plagues.
John 18:28-40 deals with the last 24 hours of Jesus life, from the trial before Annas and the Sanhedron Jesus was paraded before Pilate, seeing a way out, Pilate sent him to Herod, who sent him back to Pilate, Pilate offered to release Jesus or Barabbas and the people demanded that Barabbas be released.
In Exodus 4 God gave Moses his call. At first Moses came up with one objection after another, but God persuaded him with signs that he must go back to Egypt, face Pharaoh and lead his people.
In Exodus 5 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and asked for a 3 day reprieve for his people so they can go and worship God. Like all dictators Pharaoh reacted to this petition by making life even more miserable for the Hebrews; he wanted them to gather their own straw and still make as many bricks as before. The Hebrews blamed Moses for stirring up trouble for them.
And in Exodus 6 the LORD (Jehovah) promised deliverance from Pharaoh and He would give them the land He had promised Abraham. The narrative continues with an interlude where the names of the heads of the clans of Israel are listed. Moses protested and did not want to talk to Pharaoh any more, so Aaron would have to do the speaking.
John 18:1-27 deals with the last 24 hours of Jesus life, the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane and the subsequent arrest of Jesus, the trial before Annas, Peter’s first denial, Jesus trial before Caiaphas, Peter’s second and third denial and the cock crowing.
Exodus 3 tells where God revealed Himself to Moses in the form of a burning bush and declared “I am that I am”. Jesus made a similar declaration in John 8:58 “Before Abraham, I am”.
In the Septuagint Psalm 9 and Psalm 10 belong together. They speak of God’s faithfulness and the only temporary victories of the wicked one.
John 17 is commonly known as Jesus’ high priestly prayer. In some conservative circles it is also called “The Lord’s prayer.” In it Jesus prayed for himself, then he prayed for his disciples followed by prayer for all future believers. In the end of the chapter he prayed that the believers will see his glory, the glory God gave him before the creation of the world.
A few hundred years has passed since the end of Genesis. Exodus 1 tells how the Hebrews multiplied and became a perceived threat to the Egyptians. The Egyptians told the Hebrew midwives that every boy they delivered must be thrown into the Nile, but every girl were to be let to live.
Which seamlessly leads into Exodus 2, how Moses when he was born placed in a papyrus basket, which was thrown into the Nile and the child was left crying in the reeds. Pharaoh’s daughter heard it, picked him up and asked her servant to find somebody to nurse him. Of course she found Moses’ own mother to nurse him. After he was weaned Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s household and got educated. He did remember he was a Hebrew, so when he saw and Egyptian mistreat a Hebrew he killed the Egyptian. This became known and Moses fled to Midian, where he spent 40 years tending flocks. Great reading.
John 16:17-33. Jesus continued his instructions to his disciples. They did not understand why it is good he leaves and sends the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that their grief would turn to joy and ended with this encouragement: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Ecclesiastes 1. The author, king Solomon spoke of the vanity of life and the grief of wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 2. King Solomon continued with the vanity of pleasure, the end of the wise and the end of the fool.
Psalm 9 speaks of God’s faithfulness and the victories of the wicked one are only temporary.
John 16:1-16. Jesus continued his instructions to his disciples, telling why it is good he leaves and sends the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 48 describes how Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh. He blessed Ephraim ahead of Manasseh, even though Manasseh was the older of Joseph’s sons.
In Genesis 49 Jacob blessed all his sons with a different blessing for each of them.
And finally, Genesis 50 tells how Jacob was buried back in Canaan near Mamre where Sarah also was buried. Joseph forgave his brothers; “Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good”. Finally even Joseph dies, and he wills that his bones will be carried out when they depart and enter into the promised land.