Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, You have seen well: for I am ready to perform My word”
Resurrection always brings a message of hope. There is nothing more hope-boosting than knowing that the dead, yes the DEAD, may rise again!
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the single redemptive event that perfected mankind’s salvation and deliverance from sin, at the same time proving that faith in Him that holds the indisputable power over death is not useless.
Jesus, the Son of God, had to taste death to give His sinless life as a sacrifice for all the transgressions of mankind (Isaiah 53: 3-6; Hebrews 2:9). When He cried out on the cross: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) every requirement for the forgiveness of the sin of every man, under the Law and the Commandments, was satisfied! Every work needed to be done to set man free from the dominion of the evil one was indeed finished!
The Lord Jesus was the Lamb of God who, by His sacrifice on the Cross, had taken away the sins of the world. The Heavenly Father proved to all that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was accepted as payment for man’s debt when He raised Him from the dead after three days of being in the grave. Because of the resurrection, those who have received Jesus as their Savior and Lord are now assured of eternal life, and just like Him, will also experience their own bodily resurrection (I Corinthians 15:12-22)!
The resurrection was also the message of God to Israel in the time of the prophets. Every time the Israelites were chastised by God because of their collective sin and backsliding from their covenant with God, the Lord raised up prophets to bring His message of restoration to their nation. One such prophet was Jeremiah.
In the beginning of God’s call to Jeremiah, the young prophet, the Lord showed him a vision. It was the vision of an almond branch (Jeremiah1:10-12). The almond tree in Israel is the very first tree that awakens to life after the long winter season. It is the very first tree that would burst forth with beautiful white flowers in the early spring while the rest of the trees are still barren and sleeping. It is a symbol of the powerful phenomenon: The Resurrection!
God was saying to the prophet Jeremiah: “Even if Israel, My very own nation, dies because of My discipline and judgment, I can raise her back to life again and restore her glory among the nations!” The Lord told Jeremiah that the vision of the almond branch spoke of His willingness to fulfill all His promises to Israel if they would return to Him with all their hearts and walk in obedience to His will and purposes (Jeremiah 3:12-22), and that it was for the sake of the glory of His name that He was going to do this (Ezekiel 36:21-23). Israel was a nation covenanted with God bearing the name of Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent God of covenants.
The Philippines today needs to experience the power of the Resurrection! Like the nation of Israel, we are also a nation that bears the glory of the name of Christ! Being the first and only Christian nation in the Far East, we are today dying in shame and reproach being known today as the most corrupt country in Asia. From being one of the most prosperous countries in the region in the 1940’2 up to 1960’s, we have sunk to our destitute state today. Many of our people are going out of the country just to find jobs. In the time of relative global prosperity, we are among the hungriest in the world. Unprecedented moral and spiritual degradation, especially in places of authority, has brought our people closer and closer to the grave. Systemic corruption is all over the land.
Is there hope? Because of the Resurrection, I dare say, yes there is hope! Like Jeremiah, we must receive a vision of the almond branch!
The Philippines in fact was first named “Archipelago of Saint Lazarus” before it was named the Philippines. This could be a prophetic pronouncement; that this nation would be resurrected in due time, because Lazarus, the closest friend of Jesus for whom He wept when he died, was raised from the dead by Jesus Himself. Jesus prayed to the Father that life would return to the body of Lazarus which had been dead for four days. Everybody was mourning for Lazarus and had given up hope until the voice of the Lord Jesus broke the silence of the grave with the loud shout of command: “Lazarus come forth!” (John 11:43).
Lazarus rose back to life! He was released from the burial clothes (representing murderous, hindering works of the Enemy like poverty, chaos, rampant sinfulness, among others) that bound him hand and foot by a simple command the Lord gave: “Loosen him!” (John 11:44).
As we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, let us fill our hearts with the message of hope for ourselves, our people, and nation! Let us look unto the Lord Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the One who holds the keys of death and hell (Revelation 1:18). Because Jesus has risen, the Philippines, the Archipelago of Saint Lazarus will also rise! Let us not lose sight of the vision of the almond branch, the vision of hope in the worst of situations!
Let every God-fearing and nation-loving Filipino believe God for our nation’s resurrection! Let it be said, the Philippines will RISE and be great again!
BABANGON NA ANG BAGONG PILIPINAS!
Encouraging notes from JIL Canada local church Pastors and Coordinators!
Alness (North York)
Jesus Is Lord Church is a Philippine-based, Christ-centred Full-Gospel Christian Church that is doing ministry work since 1978. It is currently present in 55 countries around the world. In 1987 Jesus Is Lord Church started its ministry work in Canada and found a home in 8 of its provinces today - British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.