Inside Israel – The Pascal Lamb

Hi and welcome to another special guest post this special week, from J of Jerusalem.  Praying for you all as we celebrate Jesus, who was and is and is to come.  Now, here’s J . . .

Shalom oo bracha…peace and blessing! 
Tomorrow is the day that the Passover lamb was, and is, sacrificed for the sins and ‘safe covering’ of a people.  As you know well, the blood applied to the doorpost saved the people who stayed in the house.  It is also observed this year as the day that The Pascal Lamb was sacrificed, His Blood shed for the sins and ‘safe covering’ of all who will come and abide.  What a time to take notice…to STOP…in the midst!
In Exodus 12 God commanded that the lamb, carefully chosen, be taken into the home of those he was to be sacrificed by, 4 days before the sacrifice.  I have thought about this a great deal.  It seems to me (with my western thinking) that perhaps the purpose of this was to ‘count the cost’…that during that time the family would grow attached to the lamb and feel sad for the cost of sin, but I do know that this is a western way of thinking. 
I posed that question to a (…hum…how do I explain this…It is acceptable in Judism for people (men) to commit themselves to study of torah (or other religous writings and teachings) and that is usually called a yeshuva student, although they may be 80 years old.  So I posed my question to a yeshuva student and asked him what the rabbis taught about the 4 days that the lamb was taken in the home before the sacrifice.  He didn’t know and began to speculate about ‘the number 4’ (!) I brought him back to the heart of the issue several times, until he was interested and began to focus a bit.  
The subject stayed in my thoughts and I am praying that it will stay in his as well, and perhaps even spread to conversation among the others.  May many ‘think on the cost of sin and freedom through The Blood of and seek The Sacrifice … The Pure Lamb Who paid the price for all of our wickeness and departing, and still leads the way through the sea away from the enemy…still able to drown all of the enemies barking at our heels, ready to engulf us and bring us again into slavery of sin!  
Tomorrow night we will be gathering at the home of friends, other Jewish (and some non Jewish) believers, around the Passover table, and we will read the ancient texts, eat the traditional foods, break the matzo together and sing the traditional songs in the midst of Jerusalem, in the midst of the people who were given the covenant of Avraham, which I read this morning as I read Gen 17 as part of my morning devotions…the covenant given as an “eternal covenant” (brit olam) – How BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL and PERFECT are His plans for all of those whom He chose, and who chose HIM back!  How ABLE He is to fulfill ALL of His plans and purposes! How above our ways are His ways and how … HOW…how… can we offer Him the worship that He is due!
May we stand in awe…may we bow as a body before the humble majesty of His glory! 
(this was written at work just now, so please forgive if it is disjointed…I was just overwhelmed with a desire to wish you all His blessing from Jerusalem)
ani b’derek
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Published in: on April 7, 2012 at 12:49 am  Comments (4)  
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Love Suffers

“Love suffers long and is kind.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Love . . .suffers.

Thank You, Lord, for showing me what love is and what it does. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Love Shows

The ad shows diamonds
beaches, beds
muscles, curves, skin
long lingering looks
excitement
while

a rejected cornerstone
Golgotha, nails
stripped, torn flesh, blood
hanging long hours
shows
love.

Ministering To Jesus

“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’.” Acts 13:2
“Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” Acts 13:3

I’m more accustomed to hearing and thinking about us ministering to each other.

Jesus, please help me remember the importance of ministering to You today. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Me to You and You to Me

Lord, You are waiting
for me to come today
bringing You love and praises
as I fast and pray.

I don’t have to make it into
what I think it should be
to let a simple ministry happen
of me to You and You to me.

Inside Israel – from Jerusalem

“Hi” and blessings today as you take a look inside Israel. I’m sharing this personal letter from J of Jerusalem, a Jewish believer. Since I received this letter, J has been in the hospital, so your prayers for her and for Israel are always so appreciated! Thank you! Now, here’s J . . .

“Have I offended you?” O. asked me at kehila (fellowship meeting) a few weeks ago. The question took me by surprise for several reasons. First of all, I hadn’t heard that question in a very long time, from anyone. Secondly, O. and I hardly ever talk to one another. I thought back to when (and how) we first met. When we used to rent a larger place for our meetings, I was a ‘doorkeeper’ and that included greeting people. I remember the first day that she and her family came and I greeted them, asking if they were visiting and their answer made it obvious to me that they were ‘leaders’ and I had no need to greet them. During subsequent weeks I greeted them and usually received a minimal or no response. That did in fact, ‘pinch’. I wasn’t one of the ‘important’ people from their circle. How did I deal with it? I struggled…but finally forgave them and put it aside until I could pray for their blessing as well, when I prayed for the members of the kehila. I thought for a moment, and said, truthfully, “No, O., you have not offended me. Did something make you think that you had? ”Then she thought; “No…I just wondered and didn’t want anything between us.” I hugged her. “No. I don’t either! God bless you!”
I went home thinking about the encounter. I was blessed that she was sensitive to care if she had offended someone and had humbled herself to ask. Her husband (who speaks once a month at our fellowship) has been out of work for quite awhile and has suddenly had a job offer in China (!). Obviously this is a big decision for them (they have a large family) and it was wonderful to see that they wanted to make certain that everything was in order spiritually so that they could hear from The Lord clearly.
That got me thinking about “Offense”, “Forgiveness” and the gift of “Repentance” afresh. God is just SO incredibly good to us to give us His ‘low’ way. It’s so low that the shortest and youngest of us can ‘reach’ it, even little children. It is not difficult for a tall person to stoop down, but for a short one to climb up can indeed be hard. He has made provision.
Back in the 1970s I heard a message given by Campbell McAlpine that was to change my life. He spoke about the offended person becoming a betrayer! Now that startled me. ‘I thought that the offended person was the victim!’ Indeed, I listened closely as he took us through the scriptures…beginning with Cain and Abel…going through Joseph’s brothers…and ending, shockingly at Judas! I was frightened and I wept and sought Him as I knew that I was a particularly touchy and easily offended person, very opinionated. Oh, it was ‘colored’ nicely ‘She is SO sensitive!’ people would say, but…now… I knew the Truth about myself! The Lord had shined His revealing Light into my wicked heart, and (to quote Amy Carmichael) I stood “confessed outright undone”. I kept the verse from Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love Thy law and NOTHING shall offend them” above my kitchen sink for years, praying it and asking God for help. Some years later I did a Bible study concerning forgiveness that gave a LONG list of awful sins followed by scriptures that pointed out just how deep those sins run (for example ‘if you look on a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery’). At the time I was dealing with a nasty sin of unforgiveness in my heart toward a sister in The Lord who simply didn’t like me, and constantly ‘set me at naught’. I looked at that LONG list of sins and realized that I was guilty of most of them because I ‘hated my sister without a cause’. Oh yes, she was setting me at naught, BUT…had she ever stolen our food? Or caused harm to our children? Had she killed my loved one?…but I found that the ‘hurt’ in my heart had turned to anger, and the anger to hatred…and that made me a murderer and a betrayer! Talk about a ‘holy fear’! I was terrified and disgusted as I fell to my knees and cried out repenting! Did I get the victory immediately? No way! I struggled, and lifted it before The Lord over and over and OVER! Until I COULD put aside all of the ‘slights’ and become her sister again! Then I suddenly understood what a horrible thing the enemy does in the body through stirring up ‘slights’ and magnifying differences and causing us to take offense, causing ‘silent’ rifts in the body…the holy body of Messiah!

There was another time during which ‘The Word of God tried me’ in this area…and it nearly killed me! A leader in a fellowship that I was part of and loved, accused me of an awful sin and ‘forbid’ others to fellowship with me. The Lord told me to ‘be silent and discuss it with nobody’, and I obeyed Him. During that season, I was afraid that I was lost. There have been some very hard times in my life, but that was the hardest. That trial lasted 7 years and the biggest battle was to forgive. My husband and children all stumbled through that trial…and still I had to forgive…and silently. I told The Lord that ‘Someday I believed I would be able to thank Him from my heart for the trial’, but during those long, agonizing years I could only thank Him for it ‘by faith’.

And now…I can, and do, thank Him with my WHOLE heart for that experience! No, I never saw that leader again, nor do I know what became of it all…but I know that I have forgiven and my heart is free. And I feel bad for the leader because others were caused to stumble.

And that is the other side of the coin…not CAUSING offense. James said that in ‘many things we offend all’ but Yeshua said ‘woe to him through whom offense comes’! What a responsibility!! BOTH to forgive, AND to not cause offense! Oh Lord! This FLESH dies HARD!

So O., in her great tenderness, asked me if she had offended me! I COULD have said ‘Yes, O. When we met, you always looked through me and made me feel as if I wasn’t ‘good enough’ for you’…but you know what? There was no need. I had already forgiven that. It was under The precious Blood!
Sometimes people comment on how ‘spiritual’ I am…but BELIEVE ME, I’M NOT!! All of us are the SAME flesh given the same opportunity to take up the cross and carry it…by applying the cross and The Blood…and the Living Word to our hearts and minds. My flesh, without His grace, is FAR smellier then yours!

And so, God IS building His Temple HERE…with imperfect stones touched by His anvil…and that includes me,…and that includes O. It is Jerusalem day as I write this, and it is a proper time to think about the building of His temple. I am thankful to be a small stone, built together with each of you. God bless you! May He build His temple and fill it with His glory!

And now…I am given the painful ‘opportunity’ to illustrate what I wrote, and fully believe. I need to ask you to forgive me. The last letter that I sent out was concerning Jerusalem Day, after the fact…and I did want to share it with you. But these letters that I send are not intended to be ‘my own’. I write them as an observer and a ‘translator in the breach’, a person who has been called to stand in Jerusalem, and to simply bare witness to what I see so that others can pray. That CAN’T be done in the flesh or it only brings forth, produces flesh! I must confess to you that just before writing the last letter I had had an argument with my Husband and I was angry! I knew that I should not write until I had repented, but I could not imagine getting another time to write…so…I wrote and sent it…being unrepentant of the anger that I was nursing. I gave The Lord an unholy offering. I have received The Lord’s forgiveness, but now I must ask you to please forgive me, because I shared that unclean offering with you. As I have prepared to send out this letter (written earlier) concerning forgiveness, The Lord began to deal with my heart and show me more about the depth of the filth of unforgiveness. It IS a spiritual issue, bigger then I understand. Isn’t He good in that we must be partakers of what we think we know!

May God bless you this week with a double portion of His Spirit as Shavuot (Pentecost) approaches. Lovingly, your sis – may we glorify HIM and finish the work!

ani b’derek

Does This Offend You?

“”Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it’?” John 6:60
“When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you’?” John 6:61

How can I be offended by the One who died for all my offenses?

Lord, when You speak a harder truth that I don’t understand, I desire to stay humbled before You until I do. And here’s a simple poem . . .

A Hard Saying

Eat My flesh
and drink My blood
and you shall abide
in Me.

Your fathers ate manna
and are dead –
eat this Bread
and live.

(from John 6:56, 58)

Inside Israel – Passover is Near

“Hi” and welcome to a look inside Israel as passover nears. J of Jerusalem shares about passover from her perspective and also a letter from her pastor. Thank you so much for standing with Israel at this time and praying for J too! Now, here’s J . . .

Passover Preparations…2011 –

I GREET YOU IN YESHUA’S NAME! MAY HE BE BLESSED AND GLORIFIED…AND MAY YOU BE BLESSED!

*YOFI! (That means ‘wonderful!’ or ‘beautiful!’ or ‘great!’) Once again I waited long enough before finishing this to include an excellent prayer letter by my pastor. Much took place since I began writing yesterday and he covers it better then I would, but it is just what I would have written if I could have. Please take time to read his, even if you don’t read mine. I will close with it.*

PASSOVER…everyone is cleaning, most are almost done…all except for me. I haven’t even begun and I am despairing of the fact that it WON’T be done this year…only – hopefully – in my heart. With The Blood of The Lamb over the doorposts of my heart, I will do what I can do and know that I am safe within. Oh, I WILL get rid of all of the leaven on my shelves, according to the scriptures, but the traditionally toothbrush-clean-house will, alas not be ours this year as the situations of ‘life’ have really been crashing in on me for a good steady while and I am exhausted. I’m not even home long enough to clean, it seems…only to make meals and eat.

Passover…Pesach in Hebrew…the first of the Spring Feasts…one of the three High Holidays commanded in scripture to be ‘observed perpetually’ – a time when all of the men were commanded to ‘come up to Jerusalem’ and worship in the temple.

Chapter 12 of Exodus is the clearest exhortation and description of the holiday, but it is mentioned over and over in scripture…and its fulfillment is the central theme of the Gospels…The Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, the pure sacrificial Lamb, Who’s most precious Blood is still, today, put over the doorposts (of our hearts) to keep us marked ‘do not touch’ from the death angel. To me there is a sense of awe and a hunger to see clearly the beautiful plan.

The sedar meal itself (which will be the night of Monday the 18th this year) is, to me, so well described in Psalm 78

.”…That which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told…We will not hide from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of The Lord and His strength, and His wondrous works that He hath done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, even the children that should be born; who should arise and tell them to their children, That they might put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments;…”

The Psalm goes on to re-tell the Exodus and other parts of our history. This is what we attempt to do at the sedar. It is really geared to the children crowded around the table (and it is rare to find a table without many children! Sedars are BIG meals and people gather together house to house, so rarely is there a very small group. I will prepare most of the food for our sedar meal but for the first time we will be bringing it to our older daughter’s house, which has a larger table then ours) Most of you probably know all of this, but for those who don’t, ‘sedar’ means ‘order’ in Hebrew and there is a ‘specified order’ to the sedar, varied according to traditions passed through the generations, but generally there is a ‘haggada’ used…a small book that everyone has, and we read together. It is more then just reading…it is a discussion handbook…it has songs…it has directions (for example: now eat some matzo with bitter herbs and remember the bitterness of slavery)…it has lessons. Many people write their own or adapt them, and we, as disciples of Yeshua, have done the same. I wrote ours a few years ago and adapt it yearly. But the basic Truth does not change. The Lamb, the pure Lamb, was sacrificed for sin…for Life…to keep us from perishing. It is only GOD Who can deliver us from bondage…and to Him we give thanks!

I didn’t intend to write this much about Pesach in this letter, but, well…here it is. Yesterday my husband and I had to leave work early and travel down to Be’er Sheva where our landlord has lived for years…but it was not to see him. It was to see his two children as they were ‘sitting shiva’. This is the week of mourning when one sits in the home and everyone comes to comfort. Our landlady died last year during Pesach year…and now our landlord 2 weeks before Pesach. (yes…this may alter our housing situation, and it is a care I am casting on Him) While we were down there, just a bit further south, a school bus was attacked by antiaircraft fire from Gaza. Miraculously nearly 50 children had gotten off the bus at the previous stop, but one 16 year old remains in critical condition, fighting for his life. The fighting has been escalating rapidly all day. At this writing it is being reported that 16 mortars have landed in the western Negev today and a school was evacuated. (I wrote that yesterday and there were over 50 rockets reported. The young man is still in critical, fighting for his life)

I have grown used to an unusual amount of dramatic events taking place during the holidays, particularly Pesach. You may remember that the last intifada began during a Pesach with a horrific bombing of a sedar up north.

In the midst, we sit down to ‘remember’ Him and His mighty deeds. May the eyes of our people be open THIS YEAR to the Pascal Lamb of God…Who has come to take away the sins of the world…AND those of His natural birth nation as well.

(Several have asked for a personal update. Thank you. I request prayer for the whole family. Like with our nation, major battles appear on every front. Thank you for praying and caring!)

Prayer Priority Update
“I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also”
1Corintians 4:15

*

Hatred Unleashed

Yesterday, in a vicious attack, Hamas launched an anti-tank missile from the Gaza Strip, at a clearly marked school bus. Thankfully, most of the children had just been dropped off. However, the one remaining child was critically injured. (The bus driver was injured lightly.)

Immediately afterward, Hamas launched close to 50 mortar shells and rockets. Thankfully, a grad missile was destroyed in mid-flight by the new Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

These are clearly acts of war and crimes against humanity, but don’t expect the NGOs, or the nations, or the UNHRC to make resolutions against Hamas, or call for an investigation. Hatred of Israel and the despising of the Jewish people have become the norm.

Today the attacks continue; about 16 mortar shells were fired from Gaza at the Negev (southern part of Israel) this morning, and five more this afternoon. The shelling continues as I write. For all practical purposes, Israel’s south is in the midst of a war.

This comes on the heels of a deadly terror attack in Itamar in which two parents and three young children were brutally murdered, and a bombing in Jerusalem which killed an English missionary to Togo who was in Israel to study Hebrew.

A Perpetual Hatred

“Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:” Ezekiel 35:5

“Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them,” Ezekiel 25:12

“…in your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them….” Ezekiel 35:11

“They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You:” Psalm 83:3-5

While the Palestinians and the Arab nations are not the direct descendants of Edom, surely the same spirit has overcome them, fanning within their hearts the flame of that same ancient hatred and desire to destroy the Jewish nation. But God thinks differently!

An Everlasting Love

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.’” Jeremiah 31:3-4

Contrary to the thinking of the Arab nations who see it as the U.N.’s “fault” that the Jews were allowed to come to Palestine, it is God who has drawn the Jews back to the Land of their forefathers. It is God who is building the nation again. And it will be God who will save us from our enemies, and from our sins, by doing an amazing goodness, never before seen on such a scale.

Unleashed Love and Grace

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name— after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 39:25-29

“And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” Jeremiah 33:8-9

A Goodness to tremble at

Although rockets are raining upon us and the situation may get much worse in the near future, God has promised that it would be the nations who tremble and shake for fear, as they see the power of God’s goodness when it is unleashed from heaven upon Israel.

Another Passover

What a shock was Israel’s exodus from Egypt! No power, human or otherwise, could stop it. The more Egypt resisted, the worse their own situation became. Unfortunately, it ended with their destruction at the Red Sea, as they continued to pursue Israel in order to enslave them again.

There is no power in hell, on the earth, or in the heavens that can stop God from fulfilling His plan and purpose for Israel and for the nations. Yeshua has gained mastery over every principality and power at the cross.

We can stand there, in that very “spot”, and pray and believe for God’s counsel to be fulfilled in our days.

The first exodus, the Passover, will be celebrated on April 18th, this year. Let us stand before God during this Passover season, in a renewed faith in our mighty God, to again, by the blood of the Lamb, rescue His people from their enemies and from their sins. The first Passover was exactly that: a deliverance from bondage and a deliverance from the enemy.

Praying for Israel at this time

– Stand by faith on the finished work of Messiah on the cross. Take time to thank Him for the blood of the Lamb; take time to renew your own faith in what has been accomplished at Calvary.

– Give thanks for the mighty, delivering power of God in the Messiah, from anything and everything.

– Stand by faith before the Lord for His Goodness to be unleashed upon Israel, as He has promised.

– Pray for God’s protection and for His own involvement in the warfare over Israel just as He undertook to fight the pursuing Egyptians then. “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

– Pray for a mighty revelation of Messiah to His people. Pray for God to open the spiritually blind eyes, and remove the veil cast over this people.

– Pray for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon Israel, and the Body of Messiah in the Land.

– Pray for the Presence of God and His Glory to fill the Land again.

– Pray that God will give much Glory to His own name through the restoration of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:23, “Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

May we see the power and wonder of God this Passover season!

Shabbat shalom,

Ofer Amitai

Israel Prayer Center, Jerusalem

Father, Forgive Them

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’. And they divided His garments and cast lots.” Luke 23:34

It sure seems like they knew what they were doing. And when I’m wronged, that is most likely what goes through my mind too, rather than how Jesus viewed it.

Oh Lord, we desire to be as willing to forgive as You are. And here’s a simple poem . . .

What We Do

Jesus knew they didn’t know
Who He really was
even when they nailed Him
there upon that cross,

and each time we hurt someone
do we realize the cost,
that the road to forgiveness is purely paved
with the blood that Jesus lost?

Your Names Are Written

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20

I love that while we can celebrate each victory, it’s still all about Him and what He’s done.

Oh Lord, thank You that whatever good or bad happens today, it can never overshadow the fact that we are Yours. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Non-erasable

Satan’s constant lies
eat away at our joy
we get knocked down
feeling lower than before

but our names are written
where they can never be erased
by Heaven’s pierced hand
in the blood of His grace.

Is It A Small Thing

Moses: “Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself . . .” Numbers 16:9

Sons of Eliab: “Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you should keep acting like a prince over us?” Numbers 16:13

I read the above exchange and my hand flies to my mouth. Oh no, they didn’t really say that to Moses! But, oh yes, they did.

Oh Lord, teach me how small my circumstances are and how huge is the fact that You’ve brought me near to Yourself through the blood of Jesus. And here’s a simple poem . . .

No Small Thing

Is it a small thing
that You died for me,
can I easily ignore
Your cross on Calvary?
Or do I fall to the floor
each time I see
how much Your blood
has salvaged me?

That God has brought me into such a beautiful blogging community is no small thing to me either. Thank you and God bless you!

One Law, One Custom, One Way

“One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.” Numbers 15:16

If you’ve been involved in a situation where double standards applied, you know that it can be confusing, unfair and hurtful.

Father, I thank You that there is only one way to You through Jesus Christ Your Son and He’s available to everyone. And here’s a simple poem . . .

All Welcome

We may be from different places
but we enter in by the same path

some don’t have to climb higher
others can’t get in around back

the rule applies to all
strangers and sojourners alike

we must pass through the blood
of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.