Call all to celebrate the Lord's Passover
2 Chronicles 30:1 -
And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel.
We read in today's message Hezekiah invited all the Lord's people to come and celebrate the Lord's Passover.
If we give due attention to the message we will realize Judah, Ephraim and Manasseh were part of Israel yet they are written as separate entities. We also notice Israel and Judah received a personal invitation while Ephraim and Manasseh received the invitation through letters.
We see in Old Testament even though the Lord changed the name of Jacob to Israel there are many times the Lord Himself continued to call Jacob as Jacob and not Israel. But that was not the case with others in the Old Testament. Once Abram's name was changed to Abraham, we see he was never referred to as Abram but only as Abraham. The same with Saul in the New Testament, once he was called Paul not once he was referred directly as Saul.
The other person, other than Jacob whose name was changed by the Lord and yet referred to by their original names many a times was Simon who was named Cephas by Jesus (in Greek translated as Peter).
So we see the names had meanings and purpose with them. In the case of Jacob the name meant a deceiver and the Lord had promised to change him and make him Israel which meant Prince of God symbolizing Son of God through his struggle with the Lord. We see Jesus came to fulfil this by giving us His Spirit and with our struggle with His Spirit we become Sons of God which is the true Israel.
Today's message defines the people of God into 4 categories - Israel, Judah, Ephraim and Manasseh. Israel - are those who walk in the way of the Lord and are on the way to become Sons of the Lord. Judah - are those who worship the Lord. Ephraim - are those who come to the Lord only to receive from the Lord, they come to be healed, to receive financial help, good job and materialistic things. In short if they did not want anything they would even forget God existed. Manasseh - are those who have forgotten what the Lord has done. These are those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Saviour but their term of Saviour has no meaning in it. They still look at different ways to save themselves like doing worldly good works or asking other persons (dead or alive) to help them to be saved.
In today's world we see Christianity is divided, divided not according to denominations, for God does not see them by their denominations but by these factors. He sees very few as real Christians, those who have taken up the mission which Jesus has given them and are indeed His true disciples.
Then there are those Believers who worship God only to be saved and go to Heaven. These are those who worship God live a good Christian life, do their duties towards God, go to Church, do not do idol worship, read the Bible, do charity etc. but they fail to reach out to the other lost sheep. They do not witness Christ to others, give the Gospel and do not take the task of strengthening those who are weak amongst them. They feel others are there for that task and it is not their calling to do it.
Then there those who are part of the Prosperity Church who like to hear only prosperity preachings called prosperity Gospel. For them Heaven is here and all they want is to live a good life here on earth. They like the tribe of Ephraim did not want to go to the Promised Land which symbolized Heaven and preferred the rich land before the Jordan River.
The same did the tribe of Manasseh which symbolizes Christians like the Catholics, Orthodox Christians and other Christians who fall in this branch that does not believe in Christ alone for their salvation. They feel Christ did not finish the task of opening the gates of Heaven for His people. Their works are not the work which those in Israel do. They do not do the mission that Christ has given them but do worldly works like social service and inflicting pain on themselves when they sin. They think their man made traditions will save them. They think other dead people in the Bible like Mary and those alive like the Pope or his equivalent in their Church would be instruments in saving them. God in the Bible also calls them the children of Jezebel.
We see in today's message God does not write off the people of Ephraim and Manasseh, but also does not include them among His own. He causes Hezekiah to write to invite them. He is saying He has still kept the door open for them to come to Him and His mercy and grace is still available for them. All they need to do is come and celebrate the Lord's Passover, be a part of it.
We all know Jesus truly fulfilled the Passover and the Lord is telling all who take part in celebrating the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ will be part of His people.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You took the task of saving your people because You knew there were none who were capable to do it. But Lord we have many among us who are still struggling to save themselves, or are looking at other humans to save them. They are rejecting You as King and still desire a human king. Lord we pray we all once again have no King in our lives other than You. That we come as one body to celebrate the Passover You have prepared, which takes us unto freedom...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
Genesis 17:5 - Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
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.
Genesis 35:10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
Genesis 46:2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.
John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
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