Obedient Child

By Sylvia Bambola Monday, 17 September 2012 15:42:00

As we continue following the footsteps of Jesus we next see him in Luke 2:21-52 (Amplified) being brought to Jerusalem by his parents when he is eight days old in order to be circumcised and dedicated to the Lord according to the Law of Moses. While there, a man named Simeon, prompted by the Holy Spirit, takes Jesus in his arms and praises God for allowing him to see the Savior before he dies, the one who would be a Light to the Gentiles and bring “praise and honor and glory” to Israel. On the heels of that, the prophetess Anna, a widow for 84 years who never left the temple, also begins thanking God and talking about Jesus as the “redemption of Jerusalem.” By these two prophets, God makes it very clear that His mercy would extend to Jews and Gentiles both. And this on top of all the other wonderful revelations we’ve had about Jesus prior to His conception and at the time of His birth. So, before Jesus even utters one word, God has already openly and powerfully declared to the world Who He is and what His mission would be.

It’s interesting that our next encounter with Jesus is when he’s twelve years old and in Jerusalem with his family for the Feast of Passover, the time when Jews celebrate their deliverance from Egypt (a symbol of the world and sin) after they had applied the blood of a spotless lamb to their doorpost and lintels in Goshen so that the angel of death would pass over them on the way to slay all the first born in the land (Exodus 12:1-41). Numbers in the Bible mean something so we need to pay attention to the fact that it points out that Jesus was twelve. That Greek word for twelve is dodeka, and literally means two and ten, and gives us a wonderful picture. While the number two speaks of the duality of Jesus as 100% God and 100% man, the number ten speaks of Divine order, perfection, nothing wanting, and the law; thus illustrating that Jesus, the God-Man, was to be God the Father’s perfect fulfillment of the law and answer to the sin problem. As the spotless lamb chosen “from the foundation of the world,” Jesus’s blood is to be applied to the doorposts and lintels of our hearts that we, too, can be delivered from sin, and pass from spiritual death into eternal life

But what else can we glean from this story? Well, when the feast is over the family begins their return trip to Nazareth thinking Jesus is somewhere among the caravan. After they discovered He isn’t, they return to Jerusalem and find Him in the temple, listening to and questioning the teachers and astonishing them with His “intelligence and understanding and His replies.” When His parents confront Him, He answers, “How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary as a duty for Me to be in My Father’s house and occupied about My Father’s business?”

At twelve it is very clear Jesus is so exceptional that He dazzles the rabbis in the temple. It is also obvious that He not only knows who He is, but knows He’s on assignment from His Father, God. Yet knowing all this, Luke goes on to say that Jesus then returns with his parents to Nazareth and is “habitually obedient to them.”

Think of that! Jesus—whom the angels had already declared as God, Savior, King, Creator, then two prophets further proclaim Him as Light to the Gentiles and redeemer of Jerusalem/Israel—shows up in the temple at Passover, the very Lamb of God, but a lamb not yet ready to be sacrificed. And after blowing the minds of the learned rabbis, He returns home to a small inconsequential town where He learns carpentry and is “habitually obedient” to his parents. And while there, verse 52 tells us that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

Two things amaze me. One is how much God revealed about Jesus well before Jesus began His earthly ministry, and how detailed these revelations are. God certainly wasn’t trying to keep it a secret! The second is that God would endure the obscurity of a backwater town; would labor in meekness for and in habitual obedience to beings (no matter how wonderful) He Himself created. It all shows how much God wants us to know and understand who Jesus is, and how wonderful God is, too, for He did not think it abhorrent to walk and work among us; and in essence show us how to live.

Until next time,




Regarding Israel . . .

By Sylvia Bambola Monday, 14 February 2011 11:47:00

As the saga of Egypt unfolds many are wondering what this means for Israel.  My own opinion: in the short term, not much.  In the long term, added danger.  Israel has become the whipping boy of the world.  Anti-Semitism is rampant throughout Europe, while in the Middle East it continues to ratchet-up—all dangerous, but not necessarily for Israel.  To be sure, the Old Testament talks of the day of “Jacob’s Trouble” while the New Testament calls it the “Tribulation”, a seven-year period when the world will be turned upside down, and all because of the tiny state of Israel.  And while it will be a difficult time for Israel, it will be even more disastrous for the world.  How do I know?  It’s all in God’s Word.


In the meantime, more and more churches in America are buying into “replacement theology” which claims that the church has replaced Israel and that God is actually finished with Israel altogether. It’s a belief that twists scripture as well as ignores end-time Bible prophesy where Israel, not the church, is the central figure. This new theology is dangerous because it is dangerous to abandon Israel, and I’m talking spiritually.  God promised Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob (God later changed Jacob’s name to Israel) that He would bless those that blessed him and curse those who cursed him (Genesis 12:3).  He also promised him a certain land. “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to they seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:7-8.  Notice the word everlasting was used twice and it means just what is says.  God intended this covenant and possession to be forever, non-revocable and not predicated on the faithfulness or performance of Abraham’s descendants, unlike some of the other covenants God made with the Jews which were.  God also calls Israel the apple of His eye and that when we hurt Israel we are poking Him in the eye! (Zechariah 2:8)  Space does not permit the documentation of how God responded to those who have hurt Israel in the past, but if you want more on this, read John McTernan’s book, As American has done to Israel; a sobering work to be sure.


In spite of all God’s warnings, the Bible tells us that in the end times Israel will stand alone, that the whole world will be against her.  We are beginning to see it.  Even our government is cooling towards its best Middle Eastern ally. It’s important to note that Israel is the only nation in the world where God Himself set up the boundaries (Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4) and they encompass far more land than Israel claims today. Even so, the politicians say Israel must give up more land in order to solve the Palestinian problem, and that once this problem is solved there will be peace for all, including Israel. Well, if you repeat a thing often enough, even if it’s a lie, people eventually begin to believe it.  The sad, desperate plight of the people in Gaza is due to their own leadership.  Over the years, billions in aid have poured into the area, and instead of being used to build roads, hospitals, schools, improve sanitation, etc., it has gone to line the pockets of people like Yasser Arafat or to purchase more weaponry to use against Israel. Add to that this fact: In 1922 75% of the land promised the Jews in the Balfour Declaration was taken away and given to the Arabs as their state, a state set up east of the Jordan River called Transjordan, later renamed Jordan.  The land west of the Jordan River was to be used for a Jewish state.  A promise was given that the Jews would never again be asked to give up any more land. So much for promises. 


And what of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem?  The Moslem world would like nothing better than to bar all Jews from it because they claim it is so holy to Islam. Really? Then why is Jerusalem never mentioned by name in the Koran while in the Bible it is mentioned over 800 times? And that doesn’t count the times it is called by other names such as Zion or Salem.  You would think a site so holy to Muslims would be mentioned at least once in their scriptures.  And while the Dome of the Rock is, indeed, a holy structure to Muslims, the Jews have had two temples on the Mount, and the first one, Solomon’s Temple, was built over 1,600 years before the first stone of the Dome of the Rock was ever laid.


So why all this phony uproar and illegitimate claims against Israel’s land?  Because it’s a spiritual issue, and limited space prevents me from doing justice to the subject. But here’s the reason in a nutshell: Israel is God’s land.  Jerusalem is where Jesus, the Great King, will return to set up his earthy kingdom, where He will rule and reign for a thousand years, therefore it is the very place where Satan vies to set up his.  And for a brief period during the tribulation, Satan will succeed, when his man, the Antichrist, declares himself god in the new Jewish Temple (Oh, yes, there will be another Jewish Temple!) So while there is a great physical struggle going on over Israel and the Temple Mount, it only mirrors the spiritual struggle going on behind the scenes.


So, as a result of the world sticking its finger into God’s eye, what can we expect in the future, according to the Bible? Here are but two examples: Damascus (an ancient city continuously inhabited for over 4000 years) will become a “ruinous heap.” (Isaiah 17:1) The coalition army of Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, and Turkey that will eventually go against Israel will be decimated by God Himself. (Ezekiel 38) And it will take Israel seven years to burn their battle implements (Ezekiel 39). 


I fear we are entering perilous times, times when we need, more than ever, to press closer to God and to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  They will prosper that love thee.” Psalms 122:6


Until next week,