At this Passover / Easter season, it is important for us to remember what this weekend is all about. Passover and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus has been hijacked by the ancient Babylonian religion, and continues in numerous forms. The New Age movement carries on many of the pagan beliefs and philosophies and so, for many in today’s modern era, the true significance of Resurrection Sunday has been lost.
Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey early in the week of Passover. On that day, the crowds were ready and most anxious to anoint Jesus king so that He could confront the Roman Empire and set them, the Jewish people, free from the bondage they were under. Rather than challenging the Roman government, Jesus chose to become the sacrificial lamb. He then went through the sham of a trial and the excruciating process of the Roman scourging and crucifixion. Some of the very same people that were singing “Hosanna to the highest” early in the week were demanding that He be crucified and Barrabas, a known criminal be set free instead of Him–not at all what His followers were expecting. It’s really hard to imagine.
I am reminded of a Scripture found in Philippians 2 which reads:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (verses 5-11, NKJV)
Jesus had the power to confront any and every enemy that came against Him. There was not a power on earth, nor from hell itself that could have defeated Him in any way. We find just a little hint of this when He was confronted by a whole company of Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane. When He asked them whom they were looking for, they said, “Jesus of Nazareth”. When He answered them and said, “I am He”, the whole company fell to the ground. Do we really think that any power had any chance of overcoming the Son of God? Yet, Jesus allowed Himself to be taken so that God’s plan of saving mankind could be fulfilled.
When Jesus had been on the cross for several hours, and after He spoke the words, “It is finished,” He released His spirit into the hands of the Father. No one took His life. He had willingly completed what He had come for and then He died. The soldiers who came to break the legs of the men being crucified in order to hurry their deaths because of the Sabbath, found Jesus already dead.
The passage in Philippians which we read above, tells us of the humility of Jesus. Regardless of “Who” He was, He submitted Himself to the most brutal and degrading death imaginable. He had the authority in heaven to call a legion of angels to set Him free, but He did not because that would have defeated the very purpose that He had come for, to die with the sins of all mankind counted against Him so that His innocence and righteousness could be counted for any who accepted His gift of salvation.
So, as we gather with our families or friends this Passover / Easter weekend, let’s not forget what the real reason for the season is! It has nothing to do with the Easter bunny! It has nothing to do with eggs! It all has everything to do with Jesus Christ and the enormous price that He paid on the cross to set us free from the penalty of death and eternal condemnation! Let us honor Him with the praise and worship He is worthy of! I am reminded of another Scripture found in Revelation, chapter 5:
“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals? and no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” The I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and power and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth a d such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 4:1-13, NKJV)
The true significance of what was accomplished on that cruel cross two millennia ago escapes most of us. This passage in Revelation shows us a heavenly scene not long after Jesus ascended to the throne of God. The things Jesus warned the disciples of were about to begin unfolding. After all, the end times were now going to begin unfolding. The seals could not be opened by anyone other than the One who had paid the ultimate price. This was Jesus, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the Lion of the Tribe Judah!
It was not Confucius who was able to open this scroll! It was not Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Mormons, nor was it Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Scientists! Nor could Mr. Russell who was the “apostle” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses”, open this scroll! Was Buddha there? How about Baha’u’llah of the Baha’i faith? Was Muhammad the prophet there to open the scroll? NO! None of them were there! They were all DEAD! Jesus Christ, the Messiah, however, had prevailed over death, sin, the curse, and the fallen Lucifer, who had done everything he could do to get the Son of God murdered. That very thing however was what defeated Satan and set the human race free! Now all that is required of us is to humble ourselves before Him and ask for and accept His free gift of forgiveness and then allow Him to become LORD of our lives! What a good deal that is for us!! This is what Passover and the celebration of Easter is really all about!!
As I spoke with Pastor R***** a couple days ago, I found myself encouraged with the accounts of the mighty miracles God is doing in the midst of the killing fields of the Middle East! In spite of all the mayhem, chaos, murder, and war on every side, GOD is touching lives everywhere and souls are being saved! As Jesus promised, “The gates of hell will never prevail against the Church!” For every volunteer missionary that falls, 100 more souls are reached! Only GOD can do such a thing; yet, this is what we asked our Master for from the very beginning, and He has seen to it that this is exactly what has happened! Praise the Name of the LORD!
Because of the hard work of brother O***, A***, Rami’s father, and so many others whose names I do not know, the Good News of Jesus Christ and His free gift of forgiveness is being shared with tens of thousands, and the eternal destinies of many thousands have been changed. GOD is good!!
The winter has been very hard, but God has walked with His people…and He has provided for the needs of many thousands that the U.N. could not meet. GOD, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, provided mattresses, clothing, grain for bread, and Bibles for many thousands; a great many deciding that the love shared with them by the followers of Jesus Christ was genuine, and they decided to follow the Nazarene, Jesus Christ also! Hallelujah!
Mofidah and the “Widow Sisterhood” have found the Lord Almighty opening doors for them that could not have been opened any other way. The healing of 18 Iraqi soldiers in such an unusual and public way, has opened the door for many hundreds more that have found the Man from Galilee as their Savior and LORD!! I’ve said it often, GOD is GOOD!!
The war continues, and many of God’s precious ones are lost, but never in vain! None of the Lord’s own leave this life until it is time…His time! We know because of what Scripture foretells, that the wars in the Middle East will continue; in fact, they will get worse…much worse! But, it is all under the control of the One who controls absolutely everything. So, take heart!
I was told that these last few days, missionaries have been working night and day to get a timely message about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, out. Many thousands of copies have been made and delivered all across Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, Jordan, and Iran, for the volunteer missionaries to use for teaching purposes. We pray that many are touched with the understanding of why Jesus can make the statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by Me!” There is no one else who can legitimately make such a claim!!! He is the only ONE!
There is a great need for more Bibles now. The new believers in the Middle East see the Bible as more valuable than any of their possessions. Unfortunately, they share one Bible between about 60-100 people each. If you feel the call to help with this need, there is a Post Office Box to send donations to at the bottom of this update. Thank You!
When I spoke with Pastor R***** he had a good opportunity to share some of the good things that God has been doing. It is always good to hear and celebrate the fact that Jesus is very much alive and is doing great works on this earth.
I received a special Passover message from Pastor R***** which I would like to include in today’s update. Enjoy!
H.O.B. MIDDLE EAST PRAYER UPDATE 3 APRIL 2015
A PASSOVER MESSAGE FROM PASTOR R*****
Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
Joyous Passover and Resurrection Day Blessings!
Tonight in millions of homes in Israel and around the world the Jewish people retell the ancient Passover story as they celebrate the feast of their deliverance and freedom from slavery and bondage in Egypt.
Passover is also a picture of our own exodus from sin and our receiving salvation by the blood of Yeshua, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
During this holy week as we remember our Lord’s death on the cross and celebrate His resurrection and free gift of eternal life, please join me in praying for the salvation of Abraham’s descendants, Jew and Arab, in the Middle East:
Heavenly Father, reveal Your Beloved Son Yeshua, Jesus Christ, as the Passover Lamb Who was sacrificed once and for all to take away the sin of the world. Open the eyes of all Your people in the Middle East and set the captives free to worship You in Spirit and in Truth!
Thank you for standing with me and the hundreds of H.O.B. missionaries and Widow Sisterhood as we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of His love in Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan and Iran. We rejoice as God is redeeming tens of thousands of Muslims from centuries of slavery and bondage in the war-torn nations of the Middle East. A great spiritual exodus is underway as God delivers His beloved children of Abraham out of the darkness of the kingdoms of this world into the Light of the Kingdoms of our LORD and His Son.
We expect an even greater harvest during this Passover season. In the midst of raging war and terrible destruction, unspeakable terror and heartbreaking suffering, what was meant for evil God is using for good. The lost and dying, the hungry and thirsty, see the horror being wrought by the radical jihadists of Islam and are desperate to know our God of love.
Please pray for our strength and protection as we work night and day to bring in the harvest while the door to salvation is wide open. And join with us in thanksgiving and praise for redemption has come to the Middle East. Let every knee bow, let every tongue confess Jesus the Messiah is risen from the grave and in Him we have eternal life!
Thank you for your fervent prayers and loving support as we co-labor to advance His Kingdom rule and reign in the nations of the Middle East. Some day when we stand before the throne of God, we will see how He fitly joined us together–each part doing its work–for such a time as this!
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen and Amen!
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”Lord, bind us together in Your love, grace and shalom,
Your servant R*****
O give thanks unto the LORD
Who remembers us in our low estate
and redeems us from our enemies
With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm,
for His love endures forever.
(from Psalm 136)
God bless you all,
Mailing Address: H.O.B.; P.O. Box 2093; Redmond, Oregon 97756