The Sons of Jacob :: Issachar (and Jesus Christ)

Issachar was ninth born of the sons of Jacob. He was born as Jacob’s fifth son through Leah. Issachar means “for hire”. He was so named by Leah because of the event that occurred which led to his birth. What may seem absurd is that Leah had hired her husband from Rachel her sister by giving Rachel the mandrakes, that her first born son Reuben had found.

Points to ponder:
Jacob the deceiver was bought with mandrakes that was believed to be an aphrodisiac which functioned as a fertility agent to produce life (make a woman conceive). Jesus bought us from the penalty of death with his blood which gives new life to all who believe in him. Jesus came to do the will and work of God the Father, which is to pay the wages of sin (death).

Genesis 30:14-18 (KJV)
14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.
15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.
16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.


The Great Eclipse

The Great American Solar Eclipse – August 21, 2017

The first solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years happens today (August 21st, 2017) according to The Washington Post. Huffington Post calls this celestial phenomenon as the “great American eclipse” where from the Pacific to the Atlantic, various states can see how the moon will come in-between the sun and earth, blotting out the warmth and light of the sun, from the residents of the earth. Darkness will temporarily come over the earth as the moon will casting its shadow on it.

While the Bible records that the sun will be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, before the coming of our Savior, Lord and King, we must remember Jesus’ words that the day and hour of his coming is not known to anyone except God the Father (Matthew 24:29,30; 36). We must therefore keep watch for the return of Jesus (Matthew 29:42). End signs and prophecy is given to us in the Bible, not to predict the time of God’s return but to proselytize the Truth of his Gospel, so that everyone living in darkness may have the chance to believe and repent and be adopted into God’s family (John 1:12). End signs and prophecy is given to us so that we can build Biblical character, conforming more into Jesus’ image (Romans 8:29), rather than building a Biblical timeline.

Additionally, as I chatted with my wife (Sangeetha) and children (Reuben and Ittai) about the solar eclipse and pondered on it, there are a few other things that surfaced. The moon is a lot smaller (about 400 times according to scientists) than the sun; The darkness experienced by the residents of the earth is only temporary.

The moon was created as one of the two lights to rule the night i.e., in a timeframe when it is dark, it is set in place by the Creator to reflect the light of the sun to give light upon the earth but in a solar eclipse it comes in-between the sun and the earth and by virtue of its position, casts a shadow instead, blocking out the light of the sun from the earth. Like the moon, Lucifer (aka satan), was created as a morning star (Isaiah 14:12) to declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) and to worship God alone and not seek the worship of self (Revelation 22:8-9). In fact, the very word Lucifer means light-bringing. But iniquity was found in his heart and he wanted to usurp God’s throne and elevate himself above God, and so was pushed out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18) and he fell on earth (Job 1:6-7). He is so much smaller than God in all spectrums. Yet he tries to position himself between the Son of God and the people of the earth, eclipsing the glorious truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, blinding the minds of many, to keep them in darkness (2 Corinthians 4:4). But the good news is that the darkness is temporary, because the fact is that the sun never stopped shining – it was only obstructed. In like manner, the love of God is constant, ever shining on all of his creation. The warmth and love of Jesus Christ never stops shinning. Satan cannot stop it for there is nothing, absolutely nothing, for I, this Paul, like Apostle Paul, am persuaded that nothing – neither death, nor life, nor angels (satan being one of them), nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (including satan) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Points to ponder:
Let us not remain in darkness, but by the renewing of your mind, let us believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be brought into the light that dispels all darkness. Let not our soul be eclipsed, for that is far greater than the great American eclipse! Accept the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the World, uneclipsable.

Matthew 24:29-30
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Genesis 1:16-18 (KJV)
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 (KJV)
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus cashed us Out

Heard this morning on the radio, the story of a cashier (I believe at Walmart), whose gesture emulates the love of Christ Jesus. As a mom with 5 kids and a cart full of groceries was getting ready to checkout this cashier (whose name I did not catch) told the mom “Looks like you can have a blessing”. The cashier walked over to the other side and while the mom expected to get a hug or a coupon, the cashier took out her own debit card and paid for the groceries in full. She cashed this family out. However, for a moment, if you let me indulge you, should the mom, who received this unmerited favor, refuse to accept the kindness and generosity of this cashier, she would not have benefitted in the blessing.

On the Cross, the sixth saying of Jesus Christ was “Tetelastai”, meaning that it is finished; it is paid in full (John 19:30). The spiritual debt that leads to the death of man, due to man’s own sin, was paid in full by the remitting blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:25) on the cruel cross of Calvary. In other words, Jesus cashed us out for the wages of sin is death, bringing life, eternal life, to all who believe in him for the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).

Points to ponder:
You have been cashed out by Jesus Christ, for Jesus’ sacrifice is once and for all, accepted by God. Our spiritual debt has been paid, but if we willfully refuse to accept his offer of eternal life, we remain in the spiritual debt that can be satisfied only by death, second death, eternal death, forever separated from God.

Are you cashed out by Jesus Christ? In other words, have you willfully accepted Jesus and believed in his Salvation?

Romans 6:23 (KJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 19:30 (KJV)
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.


The Sons of Jacob :: Asher (and Jesus Christ)

Asher was eightborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Zilpah, Leah’s servant and Jacob. Asher  means “blessed or happy”. He was so named by Leah at his birth for she was happy.

Points to ponder:
The Bible tells us that those who are in Christ Jesus are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). Jesus was born on earth (his own creation) so that we could be born again into heaven. Are you blessed? Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose hope the LORD is (Jeremiah 17:7).

Genesis 30:12-13 (KJV)
12 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.
13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (KJV)
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

The Sons of Jacob :: Gad (and Jesus Christ)

Gad was seventhborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Zilpah, Leah’s servant and Jacob. Gad  means “A troop comes”. He was so named by Leah.

Points to ponder:
Gad means a troop comes and from him arose the tribe of Gad.

When Jesus comes back to rule and reign, he will come with his troop – with his army of mighty angels. Are you ready to face Christ return as King with his host (troops)? We can only face Christ as King, if we accept him now as our Savior and be accepted into his kingdom now. Are you be willing to be in Jesus’ troop?

Genesis 30:9-11 (KJV)
When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
10 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.
11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.

The Sons of Jacob :: Napthali (and Jesus Christ)

Napthali was sixthborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Bilhah, Rachel’s servant and Jacob. Napthali  means “my wrestle”. He was so named by Rachel as she expressed that God had seen her wrestling with her sister who had borne Jacob four sons while she was barren and now she had prevailed.

Points to ponder:
Napthali means to struggle or wrestle. In Jesus Christ, we have a high priest who was tempted in every way (Hebrews 4:14), who struggled with the decision to have his own will, yet he submitted to God fully (Luke 22:42) and who prevailed against all his struggles without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15).

Most importantly Jesus struggled on the Cross, both physically (thirsting) and spiritually (forsaken by his Father), and he prevailed over death and sin.

Jesus wrestled death and sin for you and me and prevailed. What is your struggle? Why do many wrestle to accept and believe in him? Are you wrestling against God? Believe in Jesus and accept him today.

Genesis 30:7-8 (KJV)
And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.

No more segregation (from God)

In the article, “The Meaning of The King Holiday”, late Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., succinctly writes “On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.” Undoubtedly, Martin Luther King Jr.  rightfully deserves such recognition for his fight against segregation based on color, for we are all made in the image of God and no one man is more superior than the other.

On this day as I pondered over the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I realized that Martin Luther King Jr. emulated in fact the values and virtues of an even greater King, in fact, the greatest of all kings – Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ love is universal and for all for his will is that no one should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus’ love is unconditional for he died for us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Jesus’ forgiveness is for all – from the saintliest to the vilest of sinners. Jesus even requested God to forgive those who crucified him (Luke 23:34).
Jesus embodied non-violence for like a lamb led to slaughter, he kept quiet without retaliating against his oppressors (Isaiah 53:7).

Points to ponder:
Do you know Jesus and his love for you? He does not want you to perish i.e., be segregated from God. He unconditionally loves you and me and he will forgive anyone who asks him to with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Does the gentle non-violent Spirit of Jesus draw you to him?
Not only today, but each day of our lives, let us commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered Jesus’ redeeming Spirit.
Because of Jesus, man can be reconciled with God and that means because of Jesus, there is no more segregation (from God) to all those who believe in Jesus. Believe in Jesus and accept and receive him.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 23:34
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Isaiah 53:7 
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Reference: The Meaning of The King Holiday