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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Genesis 48:4

And said unto me, Behold I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people: and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

For further study –Genesis 48:1-22

In the record of Jacob and his sons in the land of Egypt we see that when they came into this foreign land they were blessed. In fact they were exalted through Jacob’s son Joseph, who actually received the directive from Pharaoh for this to happen.

This is the narrative recorded in Genesis 47, where we also see that Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for the Pharaoh, verse 20. This was not to make the Pharaoh the mean landowner, but instead to save the people of Egypt. God continued to bless Jacob’s son.

Verses 27 to 31
deal with the last days of Jacob, as he nears death. This makes the transition into Genesis 48 and our devotional reading for today. Jacob wants to make sure that he will be carried back to Israel, the “promised land”, to be buried.

Jacob wants to be buried at the site where his Grandfather and Father, Abraham and Isaac, had been buried. The burial site is the one purchased by Abraham in Hebron, the Machpelah Cave, Genesis 23:16-20. This is the burial site of the Patriarchs. It is the second most sacred piece of real estate in all of creation to the Jewish people today.

Jacob made Joseph swear that the brothers would take him at his death to the land of Israel to be buried. The land was promised to Abraham, Isaac and in verse 4, our key verse, a re-confirmation of that promise to Jacob. This is the reason Jacob wanted to be buried in the land of Israel.

There is one other part of the record of Jacob’s family in Egypt I want you to notice and keep in your memory for later details as we continue our journey through the prophetic passages of God’s Word.

In verses 5 to 22 we see how Jacob blessed his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph that had been born in the land of Egypt. These two boys would take the place of their father in the tribes of Israel and also play a role later in history that plays into God’s prophetic scenario.

We will give more of the details in a later devotional reading, but let me just mention that half of the tribe of Manasseh would be given the Golan Heights when Joshua would lead the children of Israel into the “promised land” after the exodus from Egypt.

The tribe of Ephraim would be the tribe of Jeroboam, the leader of the rebellious ten tribes that separated from the two tribes at the breaking up of the twelve tribes as recorded in I Kings 11. These boys would play a major role in very important events in Bible prophecy.

This record in our devotional reading for today is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled in the future, a future that is getting closer and closer. We are living in the last days. Keep looking, Jesus is coming and it could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the reality that you are coming and it could be very soon now. My prayer is that of John, the writer of the book of Revelation, “even so come Lord Jesus”.
Saturday, January 30, 2010

Genesis 46:6

And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his seed with him.

For further study – Genesis 46:1-27

In Genesis 46 we have the account of the first departure of the Jewish people out of the “promised land” into the land of Egypt. The previous chapters in Genesis had laid the groundwork for this chapter.

Jacob was compelled by a famine in Canaan to lead his family of some seventy people, verse 27, into Egypt. In fact, the Lord spoke to Jacob in a dream and through a vision to assure the father of the twelve sons of Israel that He would not only be with him and his family, but while he was in Egypt He would make of Jacob a “great nation”, verse 3.

Verse 6, our key verse in this devotional, records the departure of Jacob and his family on their trip to Egypt. We know that Jacob had 70 members of his family that went into Egypt and later, when we look at Exodus 12:37, we’ll see that the family grew to over two million.

God’s promise to Jacob in verse 3, that He would make Jacob a great nation would be fulfilled. All that Joseph had gone through and how he protected his brothers would stand as a confirmation that the Lord would not only make Jacob a great nation but also preserve them for the plan He has for the Jewish people, especially in the last days.

As we continue our journey through the prophetic passages of God’s word you will notice that there will have been three “departures” of the Jewish people from the “promise land” and there will be three “returns”. Two of those “returns’ have been completed, we are living in the time of the third.

Genesis 46 is a “benchmark” in the timeline from Creation to “eternity future”, Genesis 1 through Revelation 21-22. God had promised Jacob when He changed his name to “Israel”, Genesis 32, that He would “ fight for him” and all of his family and descendants through out “history”.

These facts, revealed in Genesis 46, are key to God’s prophetic plan for the end times and His plan for eternity future. The modern-day state of Israel is a product of the fulfillment of Bible Prophecy and evidence that we are drawing very close to the Rapture of the Church.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for preserving Jacob’s family, the Jewish people, and giving us evidence of your faithfulness. Help us to be faithful to you in these the end of days, as we await your soon coming.
Friday, January 29, 2010

Genesis 45:7

And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

For further study – Genesis 45:1-28

As we come to our devotional reading today we will look at eight different chapters in Genesis. Remember, I am not going to look in detail at each of the chapters but only those passages that have a prophetic significance.

The reading for today is Genesis 45, which is basically the end to the story of Jacob’s son Joseph and how Joseph played a key role in the life of his father and his eleven brothers. I’ll have more details on Genesis 45 in a moment.

In Genesis 38 there is a parenthesis in the narrative of Joseph with an account of the “shame of Jacob”. Genesis 39 gets us back on track with the story of Joseph and this son of Jacob being brought into Egypt.

Joseph is selected by the Pharaoh of Egypt to serve him. However, the wife of the Pharaoh tries to tempt Joseph, which was rejected by Jacob’s son, verse 8. In Genesis 41, after following the narrative through Genesis 40, the Pharaoh sets Joseph over all of Egypt, verse 41.

As you read Genesis 42, 43 and 44 you see how the Lord was working in the life of Joseph, and how he would actually be used of the Lord to protect his brothers from death and continue the line of Jacob to the ultimate end of the line which is the Jewish people of today.

Notice several verses in chapter 45. Joseph said that God sent him before his brothers to “preserve life”, verses 5 and 7. Verse 8 tells how Joseph had been sent into Egypt, by God’s design, not by the mistreatment of his brothers. God had a plan for Jacob’s family that He was directing.

God has a plan for all of us who know Him as Lord and Saviour. We must study to determine what that plan might be, and then move forward as He directs. The Lord’s plan for the end times is found in the prophetic passages of scripture.

These are passages that we can study everyday to determine where we are in His timeline. My study seems to indicate that we are ever so close to the Rapture, when He will call us to be with Him forever more. In fact, it could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for your prophetic passages that alert each of us to your plan for the future and how close we are to the next event, the Rapture. Help me to be ready for the Rapture, in my daily living.
Thursday, January 28, 2010

Genesis 37:1

And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

For further study – Genesis 37:1-27

In Genesis 37 there is a continuation of the history of Jacob and an introduction to his son Joseph. However, before we look at the entire reading for today please notice again our key verse, verse 1. Remember, Genesis 36 detailed for us the Lord sending Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, into Mount Seir with his family to live.

As the Lord made that move He also told Jacob that he and his twelve sons would dwell in Canaan, the focus of the “land of promise”, Genesis 37:1. This decision by the Lord sets the stage for the Abrahamic Covenant to be fulfilled through the “son of promise”, Jacob.

This chapter also introduces to the reader the son of Jacob, Joseph. Joseph was a favorite son of Jacob, “Israel”, verse 3, the name that the Lord had given Jacob, Genesis 32. Jacob so favored Joseph that he gave him a “coat of many colors”, also verse 3.

The brothers of Joseph started to hate their brother, because of the “coat” but also for the dreams that he would have about the family situation, verses 5-9. The second of the dreams was the one that really bothered the brothers. Joseph dreamed about the sun, moon and eleven stars, verse 9.

Joseph told his brothers that his dream indicated there would be obeisance to him from his Dad, the “sun”, his Mother, the “moon”, and the eleven brothers, the eleven “stars”. This angered not only the brothers but their father also, verse 10.

Additional reading of our devotional chapter will lay out the rest of this particular story referring to Joseph and his brothers. The eleven would strip Joseph of his coat of many colors, throw him in a pit and eventually sell Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver and then they would have Joseph taken into Egypt.

We’ll stop the story of Joseph right here, but I suggest that you do read all of Genesis 37. There are many thoughts that I have about this chapter, the first being that God gave Jacob the land promised in the covenant. The rest of the story of Joseph, revealed in the following chapters, will give more detail of the life of this very interesting man, used of God to save his family, the Jewish people of today.

It’s also interesting that the dream Joseph had about the sun, moon and eleven stars has a connection to the passage in Revelation 12:1-2, which is referring to the Jewish people in the last days. The passage in Revelation is “apocalyptic”, God using a symbol to communicate an absolute truth. This symbol in Revelation is interpreted by this passage in Genesis.

Again we see that God’s Word is written to inform each of us about the future. Our devotional today helps us to also see that the history of God’s people gives us a base upon which to understand God’s prophetic scenario for the end of times.

The evidence is strong that these last days are quickly approaching. We must live in light of this information as we await the shout from Jesus to have us join Him in the heavens.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the record of the past that helps each of us to understand the future. Help me to live eagerly awaiting the shout from Jesus to join Him in heaven.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Genesis 36:8

Thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir: Esau is Edom.

For further study - Genesis 36:1-12

Genesis 36, our selected passage for today’s devotional reading, is the record of the generations of Esau, and the separation of the twin bothers, Esau and Jacob. Genesis 37:1 reveals to the reader that God was setting in motion His plan for the sons of Jacob, the Jewish people, into the future.

God told Jacob that he was to dwell in “the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan”, which is the “promised” land, the land of Israel. God told Esau that he was to leave this “land of promise” and go to a place called, Mount Seir, more on that in a moment.

You may remember that Jacob had been out of the land, traveling into Haran, modern-day Turkey, and there married and had eleven of his twelve sons. Jacob traveled back home and on the way, God changed his name from Jacob to “Israel”, Genesis 32.

When Jacob returned to the land of his father, Isaac, the land of Israel, he became very prosperous. It was so much so that he and his brother Esau, who also had prospered, could not dwell together in the land, verse 7.

As you will notice, God will send Esau and his family to a place called “Mount Seir”, verse 8. Mount Seir is the area in the lower third of modern-day Jordan. After Esau and his family arrived at Petra, the capital city of Mount Seir, the Lord changed the name of this real estate to “Edom” after Esau.

This record of God beginning His plan for the twin brothers is the basis for our understanding of the statement made by God to Rebekah, the mother of the twins, Genesis 25:23, that these two boys would become “two nations”.

As we know, Jacob had twelve sons who became the “twelve tribes” of Israel. These “tribes” became the nation of Israel, the modern-day Jewish State. Esau, as the text tells us, would also become a “nation”.

Notice verse 12, where we read that the “grandson” of Esau was “Amalek”. This young man would grow up and become the “father” of the Amalekites”, who God would later say He would have “ war with Amalek from generation to generation”, Exodus 17:16.

Space will not allow for a complete study of the descendants of Esau (see my audio study, “Esau and the Palestinians”), but this type of a study would reveal that the Palestinians of today can be traced back to Esau.

Therefore, we see that God’s prophecy to Rebekah of two “nations” in her womb has been fulfilled. The fulfillment of this prophecy sets the stage for additional prophecies to be fulfilled, Ezekiel 35 and Obadiah for example.

The stage is set for the prophetic events recorded in these books to be fulfilled. But before they come to pass, the Lord will call us up to be with Him in the heavens at the Rapture, which could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the record of the people and the events in history past that set the stage for the prophetic events that will happen in what seems to be the near future. Help me to live, looking for you to call us to be with you in the heavens.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Genesis 35:21

And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.

For further study - Genesis 35:16-26

Before we get to our devotional reading in Genesis 35 let me suggest that you may want to read through Genesis 34 which is the record of Jacob as he reaps the harvest of his evil years. Next we come to Genesis 35.

The account of the event covered in our devotional reading for today has a “historic” significance and a “prophetic” significance as well. In fact, historically, this passage helps the reader to understand the prophetic aspect of the location, “Migdal Edar”, verse 21, the “tower of the flock”.

Before we get to the prophetic, let’s look at the historic impact of this account of Jacob’s return to the “promised land”. Jacob and his family, his two wives and eleven sons, had traveled from Haran, a location in modern-day Turkey. Jacob was sent there to protect him from his twin brother, Esau, who wanted to kill him.

It had been several years since Jacob ran away from the “land” that the Lord had promised all the Jewish people, through him. As the family had made their way from up north, Jacob had a hand-to-hand struggle with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, Genesis 32.

The Lord had change the name of Jacob to “Israel”. The Lord wanted Jacob to be the “father of the Jewish people”. As you know, the twelve sons of Jacob would be the “twelve tribes” of Israel and become the Jewish people and the “nation of Israel”.

Our devotional reading for today explains that the “twelfth” son was born at Bethlehem in Ephrath. Jacob’s wife, Rachel, was the “mother” of this last son, the twelfth son, who she named Ben-oni.

Rachel would die in “child-birth” and Jacob would bury his wife at the spot of the birth, today referred to as “Rachel’s Tomb”. Jacob would then re-name the child, “Benjamin”, the “son of sorrow”.

Several things I would like for you to take note of, and let these items teach you of this very important time in the life of the “nation” of Israel. Remember, these twelve sons of Jacob would become the “Jewish people” of today.

Remember, Jacob and his family had just returned from Haran, which, as I said, is located in the modern-day state of Turkey. Interestingly, eleven of the twelve sons of Jacob were born outside the land that would become Israel.

Now, let’s focus on the phrase, “tower of Edar”, or in the Hebrew, “Migdal Edar”. This phrase is only used twice in the Bible, here and in Micah 4:8. The phrase is describing a “two-story stone tower" in the “Shepard’s fields” where the “priestly Shepard’s” would watch over the “sheep” that would be offered in sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem three miles away.

In Micah 4:8, “Migdal Edar”, would be the location where Jesus Christ would be born. We will have more on that on December 24th, but let me tell you how Migdal Edar was used.

The “chief Shepard” would stand in the top story of the tower and watch over the flock of sheep that were in his care. There were other animals in the area that would love to have one of these sheep for lunch. The bottom floor of this tower was used for “birthing” the new-born lambs.

This whole scenario plays into the Christmas story that I will deal with in a future devotional reading. But, do let me remind you that Jacob’s boys would become the “nation of Israel”.

God was fulfilling His promise to Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, Genesis 12:2. It was to the Jewish people that God would send the “messiah”, Jesus Christ to be born in the same location of the death of Jacob’s wife Rachel.

God had a plan then for Jacob and his family, and He has a plan for the descendants of Jacob in the future. That plan will be played out and in fact, it is unfolding even as I write this devotional thought. You can watch Jacob’s family today, the Jewish people of today, to see how close that plan is to being fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for a way to know what you are doing in your plan for all of humankind. As I watch the Jewish people I can tell the time of the fulfillment of that plan. Help me to live in light of your plan for me as I watch your “timepiece”, the Jewish people.
Monday, January 25, 2010

Genesis 32:28

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

For further study - Genesis 32:22-32

Again, as we travel through the book of Genesis, we will not deal with all the chapters in their entirety but instead point out to you special thoughts from some and detail the others. This is the case with Genesis 28, 29, 30 and 31.

In Genesis 28 we see Jacob having a vision, a ladder set up on earth that reached into heaven, Genesis 28:12. In that dream Jacob saw the Lord appear to him to confirm the Abrahamic Covenant, verse 13.

In Genesis 29 and 30 there is a record of Jacob's travels to be with his Uncle Laban in Haran where he would meet his two wives, sisters. This is a must read for you to better understand how there were twelve sons of Jacob. These sons would become the twelve tribes of Israel.

Genesis 31 tells us how Jacob and his family would leave and return to the "land of promise" and become the nation of Israel, the Jewish people of today, the ones that God still has a plan for in the future.

In our devotional reading for today we will look at the account of Jacob's return to the land of his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. Jacob had been in Haran, which is today modern Turkey.

Jacob had spent a number of years living with his uncle, his mother's brother, as he hid himself from his brother, Esau. It was during this time that Jacob got married. In fact, he married two sisters, Leah and Rachel.

The Lord had given this family eleven sons and as we come to this portion of Genesis we see that they had traveled south, back into the land God had promised to both his father, Isaac, Genesis 26:2-3; and his grandfather, Abraham, Genesis 15:18.

In fact, the Lord would also make a promise to Jacob of the land, Genesis 35:12, and thus establish the covenant with the "line of promise" to these, the patriarchs of the Jewish people.

In our key verse, and also in our extended reading, we see that the Lord would name the people and the land, by changing Jacob's name to "Israel".

As the story goes, Jacob had been in Turkey to escape the wrath of his twin brother, Esau. As Jacob returns to make amends to Esau for his deception committed against his brother, Jacob had an "all night long" wrestling match with Jesus Christ, a "pre-incarnate" appearance of Jesus.

I know that it was Jesus because the text tells us Jacob stood "face-to-face with God", verse 30, and he did not die. Jacob could not have seen God the Father face to face, and lived, John 1:18. The text tells us that the wrestling match lasted all night long, verse 24.

Jacob told Jesus he would not let the Lord go until He had blessed him, verse 26. So the Lord changed Jacob's name to "Israel", "I will fight for you", verse 28. This marks the time in history that the Lord chose to begin a "people" that He would use as a "witness" to the entire world.

Let me point out several things about this very interesting and informative passage. During the "wrestling match" Jesus touched the "thigh" of Jacob, and basically impaired Jacob's full use of his leg. The reason the Lord touched Jacob's "thigh" is that the "thigh" is the strongest muscle in your body, ten times stronger than any other muscle.

Also, Jacob would live for the rest of his life with a limp, verse 31, and it would be a daily reminder that his own strength was impaired, but the Lord would "fight for him", and thus his new name, "Israel".

It is also interesting to note that "eleven" of Jacob's twelve sons who would become the "twelve tribes of Israel", were born outside of the "Promised Land". God has His own way to accomplish His plan, a plan for Israel that will be fulfilled in the future.

It is key that we understand this truth of God's Word, God does have a plan for the Jewish people. It is a plan that extends into "eternity future" and the Lord's plan must be fulfilled because the Lord said He committed His integrity to the fact that His plan for the Jews would be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord to remember that You fight for me and not only for me but for all that know You as Lord and Saviour. And also, thank You Lord for keeping Your promises to the Jews, and to me, as well.