Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS - MOHAWKS, SINGING ANGELS?, AND MY SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST


                                            Merry Christmas, Christmas Card       


   Christmas is upon us once more and we will be very busy with church events, singing Christmas trees, shopping, baking cookies and mailing cards, all Christmas staples in America.  We will have sung Hark the Herald Angels Sing so often that it will seem like gibberish, much like when you repeat a word over and over until it stops making sense. We will run out to stores, "one more time" to get "one more thing" numerous times and still feel like we left someone out.  Anyone with more than one child knows how hard it can be to balance gifts evenly, our family has 5+1 this year as we have the welcome edition of a new son(in law).

      I remember back when I was in high school, it was popular to shave the sides of your head, just "a little bit."  I asked my sister to shave my sides...just "a little bit"(it was the 80's), and as she worked at keeping both sides even, "a little bit" became more and more until I ended up with an unintended Mohawk!  Evening out gifts for 5 kids can be just like that.  Every year, my wife and I agree to keep Christmas simple. Everybody gets just "a little bit."   We have a set amount of money to spend each year and every year we second guess the amount of gifts we have for each child and every year we attempt to even it up until... well it's the equivalent that  Mohawk my sister gave me, by the time we are done.  We always seem to end up going much further than we ever planned.

   In the midst of all the hustle and bustle(what exactly is bustle, anyway?), we strive to keep the true meaning of Christmas at the fore front.  So easily, Christ, the namesake of Christmas, gets lost in the shuffle of events, get togethers, and gift giving.   Our family makes a birthday cake for Jesus, even though we are fully aware that He was definitely not born on December 25, and we have a time of prayer and Bible reading.  This seems like the least we can do amidst all the tearing of wrapping paper and consuming of foods in quantities we would never even consider, any other time of year.

    Christmas Eve service, with at least one more rousing sing-a-long of Hark The Herald Angels Sing, is also an important part of our observance.  Oddly enough, though there is not one instance of a singing angel in the scripture, we sing a veritable stocking full of songs about singing angels every Christmas.  There is, however, something special and sacred about going to church on Christmas Eve.  Even people who only go to church once or twice a year find it important to attend church on the night before Christmas. This is also a great opportunity for the local church to love on visitors and encourage them to come back on Sundays.  In my self righteousness and pride, I once felt resentful toward the Christmas and Easter crowd, now, I am glad they come out and worship, and hope to give them a reason to come back and especially hope they make a lasting connection to Christ.

    To all my regular readers, I would like say THANK YOU! from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to read my rants and rambles all year long.  I would also like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!  Thank you to those who comment and feedback on what I write.  Jesus loves you and I do what I do because He has given me so much and I know He has much to bless anyone who believes.  Looking forward to 2016 and seeing God's plan for His people!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - REVIEW AND COMMENTARY -- WARNING **SPOILERS**

         THE PERFECT MIX OF OLD AND NEW CHARACTERS                BRINGS BALANCE TO THE FORCE AWAKENS
                                     
                                               Robot, R2D2, Model, Toys, Planet, Pave

 went to see The Force Awakens with my boys.  5 stars, two thumbs up, and any other A+ rating a movie can earn.  If you are hesitant to see the new Star Wars Episode VII, do not hesitate, GO SEE IT!  J.J. Abrams has recreated every thing you ever loved about the Star Wars universe and seems to have gotten it right on every level.  I liked Episode VII as much as, if not more, than Episodes V and VI. This is a very worthy sequel  to A New Hope.

      The Force Awakens feels like Star Wars and captures the magic of the original trilogy.  The opening scroll and large ship of the first minutes of the film made me feel as if I was visiting a place of nostalgia and gave me a warm feeling, immediately going into the film. The new characters are likable and well developed, while the presence of many of original cast "brings balance" to The Force Awakens.  J.J. Abrams has done for Star Wars what Peter Jackson did for Lord of the Rings.  While Lucas defecated on his own source material, Abrams stayed true to the original formula and gave the new Trilogy relevance where Episodes I-III are nearly complete throw aways.

     Story line wise, the plot if Episode VII has many similarities to the original Episode IV but the main plot of finding Luke Skywalker is fresh and keeps with the original plot of Episodes IV-VI, which were really the story of Luke Skywalker.  The humor is not overlplayed nor annoying but is a welcome break in the tension created by the new villain, Kylo Ren, grandson of Darth Vader.  The most shocking moment in the film is not discovering that Kylo Ren is Han Solo's son Ben, but that Ren so easily murders Han Solo.  Harrison Ford had campaigned to kill off Han Solo back in Episode V but Lucas did not want to harm merchandising opportunities. Ford finally got his wish in a very spectacular scene, here in Episode VII.

   
     TFA picks up a number of years in the future from ROTJ.  Solo and Leia have married and produce a child, Luke became a Jedi Master, training a new generation of Jedi until the evil empire re-emerges as the First Order and Ben Solo is recruited by the dark side of the force and kills all the young Jedi.  At this point, Luke does as his previous masters did before him, he flees to another planet to live in seclusion.  A young orphan and a renegade Storm Trooper team up and join the search for Skywalker.  Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3PO, Luke, and even the voice of Obi Wan make a comeback and none disappoint.  Coming in at just over 2 hours and 15 minutes, TFA holds your attention throughout, even during my second viewing, right up to the last scene where we finally see Luke Skywalker in his seclusion.  Though the scene was completely predictable, it still riveted the viewers and garnered cheers from the sell out theater crowd.


      The Force Awakens brought old characters you know and love, while introducing new characters that do not annoy.  No Jar Jars in this film!  After the first viewing, I went 2 days later with my wife. Yeah, it was that good.

     When I first saw Peter Jackson's LOTR, I left the theater and went to the book store.  I could not wait 3 years to find out how LOTR ended.  I do not have that luxury with the new Star Wars films.  I have no choice but to wait as Abrams and Disney craft the rest of the films.  I am anxiously awaiting the next installment.  Abrams has restored balance to the Star Wars universe and revived a beloved franchise that was almost destroyed by it's own creator.  My wife said, after viewing TFA, that she is more of a Star Wars fan than ever before!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ISIS TESTS AMERICAN THREAT RESPONSE AS L.A. TAKES THE BAIT

   Today, ISIS sent an e-mail to American cities threatening schools. Los Angeles County took the threat seriously and gave ISIS a peek at America's response and readiness.  In response to a threat involving machine gun fire and explosions, sent from an IP address in Frankfurt Germany, L.A. County shut down all schools.  Other cities received the same threatening e-mail, yet chose to ignore the threat as a hoax,  New York City, being the most notable.  L.A. County erred on the side of caution and cannot be faulted for protecting school children.  Officials in L.A. acted in the interest of public safety and I would feel much more secure in Southern California tonight than if I were living in the Big Apple.

     Unfortunately, ISIS gained a victory in L.A. as they were able to ascertain the response to a credible threat in a major city.  Undoubtedly, ISIS operatives were prepared, across the country, to study the response and precautions taken by law enforcement and Homeland Security in each city targeted.  Now they know.  Thank God no attack took place, and thank God the officials of L.A. County took measures to protect public safety, but now the enemy has valuable intel for a real attack.

     ISIS now knows how broad an attack has to be, at least in L.A., and other cities of similar size, to foment the most terror.  The attack in San Bernardino was much smaller, in scale, than the attacks in Paris.  The spineless attackers in San Bernardino fully expected to get away with their crime, yet were quickly tracked and gunned down by well prepared first responders.  Investigation into the shooting revealed that other attacks were planned .  Knowing that the Paris attacks were well coordinated and executed in multiple locations, simultaneously, one can only expect that ISIS has similar plans, on a much larger scale, for American cities.  All Americans need to be on alert for suspicious activities.  Presidential candidate Chris Christie said, "every place is a target," referring to potential attacks from Islamic terrorists.

     There is no surprise that the threatening e-mails came from Germany, as hundreds of thousands Syrian refugees have flooded that county in recent weeks, undoubtedly, ISIS operatives are among that number.  There can be no doubt that ISIS is planning a major attack in the United States. I believe today's false threat was an attempt by these terrorists to gather intelligence that they may attack on a scale sufficient to cripple an effective response from local and federal law enforcement.  Our country needs prayer, more than ever before, and we need to pray for our leaders and our men and women who are committed to protecting the safety of America at home and abroad.

Friday, December 11, 2015

ARE GLOBALISTS IN OUR GOVERNMENT USING ISLAM TO DISRUPT AMERICA?

   I fear that I may be guilty of playing into the Globalist's agenda.  I have been very critical of all who identify with Islam, writing posts condemning anyone who calls them self a Muslim.  Being part of a faith that has a massively large spectrum of adherents with, seemingly, polar extremes of belief and commitment, I should have realized that within Islam, the same exists.  On the far right of what calls itself Christianity, there are those who advocate eugenics and genocide, groups like Christian Identity, who are white supremacists.  On the other extreme of those who identify as Christian are cultural church goers who are born into a church lifestyle but couldn't find the Gospel of John with the table of contents.  I would daresay, an incredibly small percentage of the 80% of Americans who identify as Christian are truly born again.  The shape of our country attests to that.

     Within any faith system, there are spectrums of extremes, like the one noted above.  Islam is no different.  I have only known two Muslims in my life, neither of them were devout, one of them married a Jew, celebrates Christmas and has never read the Koran.  These guys are certainly not a threat to anyone.  Devout Muslims would certainly disavow both of them.  Unlike Christianity, where those who truly follow the teachings of Jesus try to love others and put others first, those who are truly devout, Koran following Muslims are commanded to overcome infidels and are only guaranteed heaven through martyrdom.  The question is, how many of those who identify themselves as Muslim are culturally Muslim and pose no threat and how many are devout enough to support Sharia Law and take up arms in holy Jihad?  We cannot know.  That is the dilemma.

WTF-➠-The-Dallas-Morning-News-➠-Is-Sharia-Law-In-Texas-Such-A-Bad-Thing1
groups like CAIR only fuel the fires of distrust
    By my experience, I would guess that the majority of people, in America, who identify as Muslim are not devout Koran abiding individuals.  Just as in Christendom, so to in Islam, most people are American's first, pursuing the American dream, and faithful to their religious creed as it is convenient.  This describes Americans.  The balance of power in the American Muslim community is shifting. As devout, Koran following Middle Eastern Muslims enter America at unprecedented levels, the risk for violence and terrorist behavior rises exponentially.  Cultural Muslims will be victimized along with everyone else, and sadly, as devout Islam raises the risk to Americans, cultural Muslims will become targets of hate crimes from non-Muslim extremists as well.

      A recent article in the Washington Post has caught my attention on this matter and changed my thinking, to some extent.  read article here  The article featured Muslims in the military and their concern with blatant anti-Islamic rhetoric from fellow soldiers, especially on social media.  My fear is that if we begin to marginalize all Muslims, and the citizenry begins to openly persecute, harass or attack Muslim neighbors, America will erupt into civil unrest, the likes of which has not been seen since the Kent State incident.  Civil violence in the streets will play right into the hands of the Globalist agenda, one world order, one world government.  Right now, the U.S. Constitution is a major obstacle to the Globalist agenda, but a civil uprising may be just the catalyst needed to give  the Globalists in power a chance to override U.S. Law and institute Martial Law.  An armed society is a society safe from tyranny. An irresponsibly armed society is in grave danger of losing the right to bear arms.  A civil uprising pitting the Islamic community against American Patriots would allow, even force, the government to move in and take away privately owned guns.

    Anti-Islamic sentiment is at an all time high in America, far greater than after 9/11.  Events like the ones in Paris and San Bernardino only serve to raise suspicion against the Muslim community.  Of particular note, is the fact that Muslim leaders who speak out against Islamic violence or who agree that measures need to be taken to protect American citizens against Islamic fueled terrorism are being forced to resign.   read about Imam in TX forced out for speaking out     Eventually, there will be no voice of reason in the Muslim community and will escalate, all due to the efforts of those in positions of power who have a nefarious one world agenda.

   This is a time for all Americans to remain calm.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for the Christian community to reach out to Muslim neighbors, in love, to share the Gospel and demonstrate the love of Christ.  Even as Islam is increasing across the globe at unprecedented levels, many Muslims are turning to Christ.  I have read numerous, first hand accounts, of former Muslims who had visions or dreams of Christ and then became Christians.  There are Christian missionaries risking their lives in Muslim countries, trying rescue the followers of Allah from the clutches of Satan.  Here in America, we are free to love, free to share and free to demonstrate the grace of God to the Muslim community, without fear of persecution or death.  The Lord wills that none should perish(2 Peter 3:9) and if we serve Him, we should will that none should perish as well.

     As Followers of Christ, it is imperative that we rise above knee jerk reactions and hate filled rhetoric.  Evil forces are attempting to bring about a desired outcome, but we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.  Jesus commanded us to love out enemies.  Regardless of the designs of Globalists to create dissension in America, regardless of their attempts to allow terrorists into America, and regardless of the fact that Allah is Satan,   Christians are Christians first and Americans second.  If called upon by our nation to take up arms to defend America, we should, but aside from that, we are not called to foment or commit violence against fellow Americans. We have a right to defend ourselves, but we do not have a right, nor can we justify, initiating any kind of violent civil unrest.  In getting caught up in harassment, bullying or violent acts against our Islamic neighbors, we not only play into the hands of the One World Government crowd, but, more importantly, we become enemies of the Gospel, for it was Jesus who said, "You are with Me or against Me, he who is not gathering, scatters."  Let's gather for the cause of Christ and help lead our Muslim neighbors to the truth of the Gospel, let's not scatter and marginalize those who need salvation.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ASA KING OF JUDAH - HOW OBEDIENCE LEADS TO BLESSING AND SIN LEADS TO HARDSHIP



KING ASA'S REIGN DEMONSTRATES OUR, OFTEN, ROLLER COASTER FAITH

   I have previously written on the connection between obedience and blessing, CLICK HERE to read, and most recently, on the need for believers to tear down the high places of sin in our hearts.  CLICK HERE to read   Often, we find ourselves rollercoastering in our faith and walk with God.  We go through periods of great devotion and faith to periods of complacency and sometimes, even seasons of sin. The poignant account of King Asa of Judah demonstrates these points amazingly. 



    Asa was the great great grandson of King David and ruled the kingdom of Judah for 41 years. King Asa's reign is a microcosm of the life of Israel, the church and individual believers, as we roller coaster through faith and experience God's blessing and His rod, alternately, as is warranted through our obedience and devotion.   Asa became king after his father, Abijah, who only reigned for 3 years. Asa's grandfather, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, lost the northern kingdom of Israel due to sin and mismanagement, while Abijah started reforms which reestablished the power of Judah, but it was Asa who completed the reforms and brought peace to the land... for 10 years.

    In the book of Kings, we read a quick account of King Asa's reign, and it tells us that Asa's heart was towards's the LORD all the days of his life.  While his heart may have remained true, he was not always careful to enforce God's law over the land in which he ruled.  The book of Chronicles gives us greater detail and insight into the reign of Asa.  When Asa began to reign, he made reforms in his country, removing all the detestable idols and pagan practices from the land, even deposing his own mother because of her idolatry.  As Asa sought the favor of God, and obeyed His commands, his kingdom prospered and Asa won great victories over his enemies.  The land was at rest for 10 years and the people began to lapse into bad habits, as their prosperity led them to a false sense of self reliance.  For 5 years, the nation reverted to paganism as Asa enjoyed peace and prosperity.  Asa's heart did not turn from God, he simply grew complacent in his faith.  Soon, conditions began to become such that war and pestilence ravaged the land.  

     As conditions in the kingdom worsened, a prophet came to Asa and reminded him of God's law and holiness.  Immediately, Asa repented of his spiritual complacency and sought the face of God, once again making much needed reforms in the land.  Soon, God restored peace to the land and all was well for bout 20 years.  After 20 years of peace, Asa, sought help from evil Syria, rather than God and Asa and his people paid dearly for it.  

As believers, we go through periods of crisis and periods of blessings.  In the crisis, we tend to cry out to God and repent of sin and seek His favor.  In times of blessing, we are in danger of becoming complacent in our faith, feeling self sufficient and thus, becoming less careful in our behavior.  The key to avoiding the trap King Asa fell into is keeping our faith at the center of our hearts and minds, regardless of our circumstances.  It is essential for the believer to hold firm to the promises of our faith.  It becomes so tempting for us to let down our guard against sin when things are going good.  It is in the good times that we are most vulnerable to attack and failure.

Discipleship and accountability are key in avoiding this pitfall.  Serving in our gift is also essential to our remaining grounded in faith.  Discipleship should be ongoing in the life of all believers, we should be discipling newer believers and being discipled by more mature saints.  We should have an accountability set up, where we actually answer to someone and have a confidant with whom we can share our struggles and victories.  Finding your gift and serving in it is also a vital part of a Christ centered life.

When we are busy serving in our God given capacity, we will purposely avoid obstacles to our success.  We will view sin as poison to our soul and recognize it's destructive power in our ability to serve God effectively.  When we become complacent in our faith, as Asa did, we will find ourselves excusing sin and indulging our flesh.  God's desire is for us to walk in spiritual victory, and this can only be done when we "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."  




Sunday, December 6, 2015

ON THE SHIELD OF FAITH AND BEING WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST

   Often,(not nearly often enough!) as I read through the Bible, my heart becomes convicted and I have one of those "oh wow" moments that cause me to re-evaluate my walk with the Lord.  Back in my early days of Christian service, we called these "heavy revies", a short form way of saying we received a heavy revelation from God.  I have, lately, been thinking about the Shield of Faith which the Apostle Paul charges us to utilize as part of the whole armor of God.  Reading through 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 today, I received a heavy revy on faith and my being worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

      The passage that struck me is 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 - And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for your received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  

Here is a group of people to whom the message of salvation came in the midst of hardship and persecution, yet the Thessalonians embraced the truth without second thoughts or doubt.  I have received the truth of the Gospel in the midst of the ease and comfort of the American dream, and as soon as things do not go the way I expect or perceive they ought to, I begin to doubt and worry, to my great shame.

      Everyone has doubts at one time or another, and I am sure that one of the most heard prayers is "God, are you there?"  2015 has been a difficult year for me, spiritually.  I have been clinging to the Shield of Faith, and holding tight to the promises of God, even in the midst of doubt and worry.    One good thing I can say happened this year is the addition of my new Son in Law, who is more of a son in my heart than an In Law.  In the midst of this year I have had some true prayers of angst with God over certain passages of scripture that seem to promise certain things, of which I have not seen the manifestation, according to my expectations.  What I have to keep reminding myself is that I do not see the Big Picture and God is not my personal Genie in a bottle, my wish is not His command!  One of the biggest enemies of man is unrealistically made, unmet expectations.

      For all my knowledge that Christ called me to pick up my cross and follow Him, for all the passages that promise me hardship and opposition in this carnal world, for all my studies on the spirit world, in which I am reminded again and again that this is Satan's realm and my home is in heaven, some part of me still expects everything to go my way.  I am selfish and petulant.

Then I read a passage like the one above and God cuts my heart with the Sword of the Spirit and I realize just how good I really have it.  In the Middle East, right now, Christians are watching their children being brutalized and murdered by ISIS.  I shudder to think how my faith would hold up to any real persecution or crisis.  Thankfully, we are told in scripture that we are not given more than we can bear, and we will be given the right words to say when brought before opposing authorities!

   The real question I have to ask, at this point, is, am I worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Obviously, I do not deserve salvation as, by definition, salvation is unmerited grace bestowed upon me by God through the sacrifice of Christ, I understand that. Now, having attained this unmerited grace, I am called to live a life worthy of the sacrifice of Christ.  We are called, in numerous passages to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel:

Ephesians_4:1  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 

Philippians_1:27  Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 

Colossians 1:10  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 

1Thessalonians_2:12  we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 

2Thessalonians_1:5  This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—

2Thessalonians_1:11  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 

    A major tool we have in this battle is the Shield of Faith:  Ephesians_6:16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

   Once we become believers, we are lost to Satan.  Satan then wants to neutralize us and not only keep us from serving Christ and making disciples, but to cause us to harm the cause of Christ by tempting us to exhibit unworthy behavior.  Being worthy of the Gospel is a multi-layered thing, like peeling an onion, except this onion is infinite with infinite layers, meaning, there is no point of arrival or attainment.  There will always be areas of my life that need work and sins, once conquered, may resurface unexpectedly.  Sanctification is a lifetime pursuit, outside the deluded Holiness movement, which teaches believers they can attain and sustain a sin free life through the Spirit.  This opens the door to all kinds of disappointment and self righteousness.  

By maintaining the Shield of Faith, I am able to withstand the attacks form the enemy that are designed to cause doubt, fear and worry.  I maintain my Shield of Faith by staying in the Word, fellowshipping with other believers and keeping a healthy prayer life.  When doubt arises, I am able to look at the things in scripture that I know for sure.  I am positive that the Genesis account is literal and true, for example.  I also recall answered prayer in my own life, miracles of healing that I have witnessed in my wife, for instance.  By holding firmly to the Shield of Faith, I am able to protect myself from the fiery darts of the enemy.

God is good, and He never fails.  God promises to never leave, nor forsake me.  I stand firmly on that promise and know that my Lord will sustain me and protect me and provide for me...always.

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

THE 3 JESHUAS - MORE EVIDENCE OF JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

   The Western mind is programmed to believe in co-incidences.  This would dictate that we are subject to chance, which, if you think on it, requires luck.  If luck comes into play, then it stands to reason that we need help from good luck charms... and so we go down a path that leads us away from God and His sovereignty, and toward a place where we give credit to a coin, a rabbit's foot or a even a special pair of underwear!  The Bible calls us to give God thanks in all things and I do not see how we can do that if we are accrediting luck to a pair of special boxer shorts.   James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. I cannot imagine how it is possible for a believer who claims to accept the Word of God as the Word of God to accredit anything to, or even invoke the name of, luck or chance.

     Having a mind that sees co-incidents and credits luck and chance, we often miss some very important subtleties of scripture. God calls us, from the very first chapters of the Bible, to look for signs and symbols.  We are even given a huge clue as to the symbolic nature of this world in the passage of Colossians 2:17  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.  What is a shadow, but a representation of something else.  I am not my shadow, my shadow represents my form, depending on the exposure of light.  In less direct light, my shadow is larger and more prominent than I, but in more direct light, I overtake my shadow and my true form is seen without shadow.  The same goes for Biblical truth. 

Throughout scripture, and in the created order, we see symbolism of Christ and His sacrifice. The sacrificial lamb of Passover symbolized the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. 
John 1:28-29  These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 
  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!         
Rev 5:6  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 
Here, we see that Christ is symbolized by a lamb, but we do not worship a lamb, nor do we worship the image of a lamb, because the direct light of the Holy Spirit shines on Christ and we see Him plainly and His image overtakes the symbology to the point which we are able to see only Him!  

Jesus said that not one Jot or Tittle will fall and Paul instructed us in his letter to Timothy that            2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 
We can understand that no word is wasted in scripture and we have the Bible God has intended us to have.  There is no coincidences in scripture.

Having established this foundation, I would like to look a a very obscure passage in the book of Ezra that, under normal circumstances, would not gain much attention, but looking at scripture with a more Eastern eye, as it was written by an Eastern hand for an Eastern audience, we can see a rare gem of truth, seemingly hidden in a mundane list of names.  

Ezra 2:2-40  They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel: 
Ezr 2:3  the sons of Parosh, 2,172. 
Ezr 2:4  The sons of Shephatiah, 372. 
Ezr 2:5  The sons of Arah, 775. 
Ezr 2:6  The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,812. 
Ezr 2:7  The sons of Elam, 1,254. 
Ezr 2:8  The sons of Zattu, 945. 
Ezr 2:9  The sons of Zaccai, 760. 
Ezr 2:10  The sons of Bani, 642. 
Ezr 2:11  The sons of Bebai, 623. 
Ezr 2:12  The sons of Azgad, 1,222. 
Ezr 2:13  The sons of Adonikam, 666. 
Ezr 2:14  The sons of Bigvai, 2,056. 
Ezr 2:15  The sons of Adin, 454. 
Ezr 2:16  The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98. 
Ezr 2:17  The sons of Bezai, 323. 
Ezr 2:18  The sons of Jorah, 112. 
Ezr 2:19  The sons of Hashum, 223. 
Ezr 2:20  The sons of Gibbar, 95. 
Ezr 2:21  The sons of Bethlehem, 123. 
Ezr 2:22  The men of Netophah, 56. 
Ezr 2:23  The men of Anathoth, 128. 
Ezr 2:24  The sons of Azmaveth, 42. 
Ezr 2:25  The sons of Kiriath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743. 
Ezr 2:26  The sons of Ramah and Geba, 621. 
Ezr 2:27  The men of Michmas, 122. 
Ezr 2:28  The men of Bethel and Ai, 223. 
Ezr 2:29  The sons of Nebo, 52. 
Ezr 2:30  The sons of Magbish, 156. 
Ezr 2:31  The sons of the other Elam, 1,254. 
Ezr 2:32  The sons of Harim, 320. 
Ezr 2:33  The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 725. 
Ezr 2:34  The sons of Jericho, 345. 
Ezr 2:35  The sons of Senaah, 3,630. 
Ezr 2:36  The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 973. 
Ezr 2:37  The sons of Immer, 1,052. 
Ezr 2:38  The sons of Pashhur, 1,247. 
Ezr 2:39  The sons of Harim, 1,017. 
Ezr 2:40  The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, 74

This list is a seemingly random list of people who accompanied the High Priest Jeshua and the royal governor Zerubabel back to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the Temple.  What is amazing about this passage, if you can accept that everything in the Bible is written with design and purpose, is the placement of the name Jeshua in this list.  Each Jeshua, a real person in his own right,  but also relates to a literal Jeshua of note in the History of Israel.  We see the same pattern here as that charged to John, Revelation1:19  Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.  John is told to write what was, what is and what will be, and this list gives us a picture of a Jeshua that was, a Jeshua that is and a Jeshua yet to come, in relation to the time that this passage was written. 

JESHUA THAT WAS:

When Moses died, God told him to entrust the leadership of the people to a man named Jeshua. Jeshua led the people into the promised land as Moses, representing the Law, could not.  We know the first Jeshua by the anglicized name of Joshua,  Joshua's name was Hosea but was changed to Jehoshua (God saves) by Moses, when Moses sent the spies into the promised land.  The man who led Israel into the promised land was a man named God Saves.

JESHUA THAT IS:

When Israel was released from captivity in Babylon, and allowed to rebuild the Temple, the High Priest Jeshua, helped led the people into the land, along with the man who would be king, had Israel not sinned, Zerubabel.  Jeshua is a variation of the name of Jehoshua, meaning God Will Save. In fact, in the book of Zechariah, Jeshua's name is rendered Jehoshua, basically the same meaning.  After the people were removed from the land, they returned under the leadership of a man named God Will Save.  

THE JESHUA THAT WILL BE:

The next prominent Jeshua we find in scripture is Jeshua of Nazareth.  Known to the Western world as Jesus Christ.  Jesus was Hebrew, His mother was Hebrew and His given name was Hebrew.  His name was not Jesus, it was Yeshua, meaning God Saves.  Just as Joshua's name was anglicized, so was Jesus' name rendered in Greek, the common language of the world at the time.  At the time of the writing of Ezra, Jesus was still over 400 years in the future. We attribute our salvation to God, incarnated as a man named God Saves.

NAME PLACEMENT ON THE LIST:

Also of note is the placement of the names on the list.  There was no natural order to this list, meaning it was not a genealogy, nor was it an alphabetical list.  This list has no discernible order, other than it was dictated by God to be written as we see it to represent time.  Notice the first Jeshua on the list comes in right towards the top, placing the name in proximity to the beginning of the forming of the nation of Israel, just like the first Jeshua. We do not see the second Jeshua on the list until about 29 lines later, indicating a long period of time period of time passing before the next Jeshua shows up to lead the people to the land.  Interestingly, this Jeshua actually represents himself, as this is the literal High Priest Jeshua who led the people out of captivity.  Next, after a relatively short period of time, we see the third and final Jeshua appear on the list.  This Jeshua represents Jesus, who came on the scene about 400 years after the writing of this passage, a relatively short period time, receiving very little historical coverage in scripture, in comparison to the about 1000 years of Jewish history that most of the Old Testament seems to cover.

The final Jeshua is not a representation of anything, but the genuine Messiah, who leads His people to the Father and ultimately, Heaven, the true promised land.

This passage of scripture took place concurrently with the ministry of the prophet Zechariah, who revealed the name of the coming Messiah to be Jeshua click here to read my blog on this topic 

God, our Father, is not a God who leaves things to chance and luck. He is a God of order and design.  The plan for the redemption of man through God's becoming a man named Jeshua, was planned from the foundations of the earth and is encoded in scripture for us to find.  Ezra shows it symbolically and Zechariah states it emphatically, yet almost all of Israel missed it and the majority of the Gentile world misses it as well.  The truth of God's plan is hidden in plain sight and we are told to "seek and ye shall find" so go seek out these truths and be enriched in your faith.

Please feel free to comment below - Blessings!