Monthly Archives: December 2022

The Coming of The Prophet, Foreshadow & Fulfillment

If you will be home this Christmas, but would like to have an edifying time with your family or whomever you will be with for the day when Christ’s birth is celebrated, check out the following devotional meditation. Consider taking time to reflect on what the Lord has brought and perhaps share what you learn with someone else. Pray in the Spirit and pray with others who are seeking the Lord at this time.

Exodus 1-3

Moses – Son of Levi,                     Son of Adam, Lawgiver

Birth preceded by a time of oppression of Hebrew people.

Birth marked by signs in the sky, noted by astronomers. (Josephus)

Pharaoh furious at the coming of a deliverer for his slaves.

Pharaoh wanted the midwives to expose the newborn boys.

The midwives refused to betray the boys.

Pharaoh wanted to wipe out a generation of Hebrews.

Moses escaped to the desert.

Moses later returned to the land of his birth when told the vengeful Pharaoh had died.

The Lord appeared to Moses in a bright bush commissioning him for his life purpose though he was just a shepherd.

Moses was promised in Deuteronomy 18:15 that another prophet like him would come from the Hebrew people.

Matthew 2; Luke 2:1-21

Messiah – Son of Judah,               Son of God, Savior

Birth preceded by a time of oppression of Jewish nation.

Birth marked by a star in the east, noted by wise Arab magi. (Dec 25, 1BC=Jupiter&Regulus?)

Herod hated the coming of Messiah the deliverer.

Herod wanted the magi to reveal the location of Messiah.

The magi refused to betray the birthplace of Messiah.

Herod wiped out a generation of children in Bethlehem.

Messiah escaped to Egypt.

Jesus later returned to the land of his birth when Joseph was told that Herod had died.

The Lord sent angels to shepherds keeping their flock commissioning them with good news of the Messiah.

Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of promises and prophesied the coming of the Holy Spirit in John 14:6.

The Gift of Gifts – A Christmas Prayer

O Source of All Good,

What shall I render to You for the gift of gifts: Your own dear Son, begotten, not created, my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute, His self-emptying incomprehensible, His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders: He came below to raise me above, was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love when I cannot rise to Him, He draws near on wings of grace to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power: when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart, He united them in indissoluble unity, the Uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom: when I was undone, with no will to return to Him, and no intellect to devise recovery, He came, God incarnate, to save me to the uttermost, as a man to die my death, to shed satisfying blood on my behalf, to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds and enlarge my mind. Let me hear good tidings of great joy, and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore, my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose, my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father; place me with ox, donkey, camel, goat, to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face, and in Him account myself delivered from sin. Let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart, embrace Him with undying faith, exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him, You have given me so much that Heaven can give no more.

Based on a prayer in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust © 1975.

Categories: Bible Study, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Life Cycle of Israel, The Messiah, and You!

Check out this pattern and see if you see a pattern that points to Jesus.

Feasts of Israel, The Human Life Cycle, Time of year observed, Deliverance, and Prophetic Lesson

How Israel observes the feasts, how they began, how every human is intended to observe the feast through the start of their life, and how these point the way to the Messiah. The outline is based on one by Zola Levitt.

Purim / Lots

Origin: Hadassah / Esther the Jewess married king Ahaseurus / Xerxes of Persia. She was instrumental in the deliverance of Israel, by chance. This random turn of events took place sometime between 486-465 BC. (Esther, especially 9:18-22)

Key Life Cycle Event: Marriage of a Jewish maiden became central to the deliverance of the Jewish people.

Time observed: 14th day of Adar – Winter.

Delivered from destruction at the hands of Haman and his cronies.

Agricultural feature: Dried fruit from the previous year’s produce becomes today’s feast.

Prophetic Lesson: Israel shall be preserved by the Lord, regardless of the lands they live in, though it seems to be by time and chance. In the Messiah, Gentile and Jew shall be joined and Israel delivered. Sorrow shall be turned to joy!

Pesach / Passover

Origin: Israel slaughtered a lamb and put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes. First observed in the land of Goshen, Egypt around 1450 BC (Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:5).

Key Life Cycle Event: Ovulation, an egg is released by the mother on the 14th day of the first month of her ovulation cycle. The DNA of life is transferred to a new life.

Observed: 14th day of Nisan, the first month of the year. A full moon. With an egg in the Passover seder.

Delivered from the death of the first born during the plagues of Egypt.

Agricultural feature: Preceded by the flowering of the almond blossoms.

Prophetic lesson: Messiah Yeshua died on Passover as the firstborn of Israel during a full moon, there was a shadow cast over the heart of the constellation of the Lamb in the heavenly array. Death is the penalty for sin. Innocent Messiah suffered on our behalf as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). The DNA or information for life is essentially rooted in the rejection and suffering and death of the Messiah. Without this, there is no Good News for New Life (Matthew 26:27). In some traditions, a noble man would die on the day he was born. If Jesus died on the day he was conceived, this calendar would fit perfectly with the “Key Life Cycle of Events.”

Unleavened Bread

Origin: Israel ate unleavened bread as they left Egypt in haste (Leviticus 23:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

Key Life Cycle Event: Fertilization, a fresh start for the generations, ideally takes place on the day after the 14th day of the month. The woman’s egg become a zygote.

Observed: 15th day of Nisan. Agricultural offerings were made.

Delivered from the life of Egypt and the sin of the old life.

Agricultural feature: Leaven, mold which feeds on old, processed grain, is removed and fresh unleavened bread is presented. When leaven raises the dough, the bread is said to be working.

Prophetic lesson: Messiah Yeshua presented himself sinless and was buried outside the city gates. Sin was dealt with once and for all. Jesus rested on the seventh day in the tomb and did no work. Jesus bore stripes for our healing and was pierced for our iniquities. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12)

First Fruits

Origin: Moses commanded Israel to present the first fruits of the land to the Lord (Leviticus 23:10-11).

Key Life Cycle Event: Implantation, when the human zygote travels down the fallopian tubes as a morula and is implanted in the womb as a blastocyte. Takes place not less than 2 days & not more than 6 days after ovulation.

Observed: Not less than 2 days and not more than 6 days after Passover, on the first day of the week.

Delivered from famine in the land and wandering in the wilderness.

Agricultural feature: First sheaves of barley from throughout the land are presented in the temple.

Prophetic lesson: Messiah Yeshua was the first fruits of Israel as He rose from the grave and presented Himself to His beloved church. This was still a somewhat “hidden” appearance, in private, to prepare the church. The Messiah and His church are the first fruits in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23). The dead were also raised in Matthew 27:53.

Shavuot / Pentecost

Origin: When the law was given on Mount Sinai, at the base of the mountain the children of Israel formed a golden calf. On this day when the written form of the Law was received, 3,000 children of Israel were killed. God insisted He be worshiped and not the handiwork of man. The Word of God written is death to all who rebel.

Key Life Cycle Event: 50 days after implantation, the human fetus takes on human appearance in form.

Observed: 50 days after first fruits, the first sheaves of the wheat harvest are presented. (Leviticus 23:15-17)

Delivered from a year of famine and from death and judgement under the law.

Agricultural feature: The right pattern of wind from the north and south timed just so with the blooming of the wheat and the growth of the olives is necessary for the success of Israel’s agriculture to produce oil and bread.

Prophetic lesson: The church of the Messiah was formed on Pentecost when 3,000 received new life. A new pattern developed for holy human life, and we learned that it is by the Spirit (Hebrew&Greek=Wind/Breath) we live, not by the letter. The two loaves waved represent Jews & Gentiles worshipping together in Messiah. Acts 2 details this happening.

Rosh Hashanah / Trumpets

Origin: The trumpet would sound in Israel to announce the call to the temple on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24). Trumpets were also used in the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-10). These trumpets were formed out of a ram’s horn, like the horn of the ram which was caught in the brush which Abraham used to substitute for Isaac (Genesis 22). Joshua also used trumpets at Jericho.

Key Life Cycle Event: The fetus can now hear and respond to sound at the start of the 7th month of gestation. There is the promise of a full-term birth.

Observed: On the first day of the 7th month.

Agricultural feature: The Jewish farmer would leave his vineyards and olive groves and go to the Temple.

Prophetic lesson: A day will come when Messiah will gather the faithful at the last trumpet and the resistant powers of the nations will collapse. All remaining Israel will return to the land (Isaiah 27:12-13).

Yom Kippur / Atonement

Origin: A day to humble oneself and seek God for forgiveness (Leviticus 23:27-30). One day of confession & rest. Blood of a male goat was placed on the mercy seat to cover the sins of the people (Leviticus 16).

Key Life Cycle Event: A fetus replaces fetal blood (HbF) with adult blood (Hemoglobin A) into the seventh month.

Observed: On the 10th day of the 7th month.

Agricultural feature: Complete rest for the land was the command.

Prophetic lesson: To quit from our own works is to confess and nations will repent of sin and structurally submit to Messiah altogether. Israel will ultimately look to Messiah Yeshua whom they have wounded and mature in their understanding of atonement & forgiveness found in the firstborn (Zechariah 12:10, 13:1, 6).

Sukkoth / Booths

Origin: Israel lived in flimsy shelters in the wilderness. Moses commanded them to do this in the Land to remember where the Lord had brought them from into the Land (Leviticus 23:34, 42-43).

Key Life Cycle Event: The developing fetus has whole, functioning lungs to breathe.

Observed: From the 15th day of the seventh month for 7 days.

Agricultural feature: In the desert regions, this is the time that nomads dwell in booths from date palm fronds.

Prophetic lesson: Messiah Yeshua observed the feast of tabernacles (John 7). Other nations will one day observe this festival as well (Zechariah 14:16-19; Ezekiel 37:26-27). Ultimately all the earth will worship the Lord in spirit & truth. In eternity, the Lord Himself will dwell with us and be our sanctuary for worship (Revelation 21:3, 22).

Chanukah / Dedication

Origin: 165 BC, the Temple was rededicated & a one-day supply of oil lasted eight days. Daniel prophesied this (8:9-14).

Key Life Event Cycle: The baby is born and dedicated to carry the light of life into the world. On the 8th day after birth, a Jewish boy is circumcised.

Observed: In an ideal calendar where the 14th of Nisan/Aviv falls on the Spring equinox, Chanukah would fall 280 days later would fall on the first day of Kislev, the tenth month, which would be December 25th.

Agricultural feature: The Lord can cause our produce to outlast our expectations when we are dedicated to Him.

Prophetic Lesson: Jesus observed Chanukah & claimed to be God, fulfilling the Temple’s purpose (John 10:22-39).

Categories: Bible Study | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Forgiveness & Reconciliation – For a Family

December 2022

Dear Friends,

You all have been on my mind lately for the past few weeks. Then I heard how some were struggling and desired to grow spiritually/draw closer to the Lord again. But something came up in my mind with regard to you all, a dynamic I have seen in others and even in my own family.

              Forgiveness & reconciliation are essential parts of the spiritual life of any Christian. Pursuing peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation with others brings peace into our own lives. On the other hand, if we harbor ill-will or bitterness against another person, it will impact our own hearts. I have seen this often in people’s lives. In my own life, I have ended up hospitalized a number of times for mental illness after I became embittered against various people in my life.

              Humans are made for love. We are created in love by God. We need love from others to grow. We need to love others freely to fully be mature. Indeed, the measure of maturity one has is the measure of how well you love others. A childish person is one who is selfish and unloving.

              A person who has not matured in love will have waves of joy and waves of sorrow, depending on how rooted they are in a covenantal relationship with God. Happiness is too easily overwhelmed by hatred if bitterness eats away at the root of one’s relationship with God. Like a little bit of poison seeping into a well, when bitterness leeches into the soul, soon the very fountain of life within is corrupted and peace, joy and all virtue is spoiled. Oh, that we might guard our hearts against the defilement of bitterness!

              Another parabolic way of understanding this is a flow of water. If water flows freely in a creek or fountain in the high mountains, it can be fresh and refreshing. But if the water pools in a hot puddle, soon all kinds of parasites and germs will make the water toxic and unusable. Love and forgiveness are like that flow of water. When the flow of mercy and grace go through the soul from the heights of God’s love to others, then the heart will be clean, fresh, and at peace and happy. When the outlets of this mercy and grace are plugged up in the soul, foul words, bitter looks, harsh attitudes and actions will flow out.

              Reconciliation is a matter of unplugging these stopped up wells of grace within. First one must get out the bitter defilement from the heart, and then the relational flow must be restored by connecting one person’s heart-house to another by freely letting grace and mercy flow from one to another. Jesus did not come to judge or condemn the world. The world condemns itself because they have cut themselves off from kind and patient relationships with God and so all interpersonal relationships are rendered somewhat spoiled as a result.

              We as Christians must guard our hearts. We must not condemn nor be too quick to judge our neighbors to whom our pipes of God’s love are connected. If we introduce such noxious substances of undue judgment, bitterness, condemnation, or resentment and pretending there are irreconcilable differences in our relationships, it will be like pumping sewer straight into the clean water. The source of God’s love remains clean and fresh and healthy. However, if we mix love with hatred in our relationships we will soon find ourselves sick. Our relationships will start affecting our health, our mentality will be toxic, and before you know it our spirit will wither and shrivel as the flow of life from God is choked by hard-heartedness.

              The root of church life and the root of social life is found in the family. Let me ask each of you? How have you harbored ill-will or toxic thoughts towards others? How have you hindered the flow of grace and reconciliation in your relationships? How are you holding out on extending mercy to others and so choking off the joy that God wants to give us? How are you keeping times of refreshing from flowing to your family members and to the broader church and community beyond? What do you appreciate about one another? What do you like most about each other?

              God is love. But if we do not love others as He does, we will miss out on our access to the fullness of God and our full relationship with Him. I will continue to pray for you all. My hope is that you will again learn to love one another and reconcile as believers in Jesus who will one day have to spend eternity in the same house: God loves it when his children love one another and relate to one another freely and gladly.

Your friend and brother in the Lord Jesus,

Mert Hershberger

Categories: Family, reconciliation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at