What’s in a Date?  (Part 1 of 3)

1.  Prologue 

Are dates mere time-markers on a calendar, or could they be more significant than just being numbers?  Is there something spiritual about certain dates and numbers; something psychic, which guides spirits and mortals in their choice of such numbers and dates?  What do some societies know about dates that everybody does not? 

From ancient times, there have always been those for whom dates are much more than mere time-locations; much more than signposts in a diary.  I shall consider two cases from Bible history: one in the New Testament and the other in the Old, both cases involving iconic political leaders; each case an ominous date with national (almost global) implications, with the shrewd and malicious target being the people and purposes of God.  We might find contemporary Nigeria (and maybe your nation also) in those prophetic perspectives. 

2.  Case 1: Herod Agrippa and the Passover 

Herod Agrippa was a bloody New Testament king, who ruled over Judea.  He was descended from a line of ruthless rulers.  His uncle, Herod Antipas, had been the ruler who had beheaded John the Baptist.  Herod Agrippa himself had had Apostle James killed with a sword.  When he saw how that bloodiness had pleased the orthodox Jewish population with which he wanted to ingratiate himself, he went further to arrest Peter the head of the young Church, “intending to bring him before the people after Passover,” and kill him also (Acts 12:2-4, NKJV).  Others cringed at the sight of blood, Herods were intoxicated by it.  

What mystic finger guided the bloody Herod to choose that auspicious season of Passover as when to shed the blood of that apex saint?  Was it altogether mere chance?  Of all the dates on the calendar, how did he settle on the Passover?  

In Jewish history, the Passover Feast marked God’s intervention in human calendar and His radical revision of it.  It was a memorial of divine deliverance from ancestral oppression.  It marked freedom from protracted slavery.  The Passover was when a spotless lamb was killed as symbol of the coming Messiah, its historical hallowed blood serving as the omen by which marked homes were mysteriously spared from an overnight invasion of death in all of Egypt (Exodus 12:1-51).  The Passover was when a vicarious blood spoke deliverance, inspired songs, restored hope at last. 

The Passover dates were the direct initiative and prerogative of God, who was also careful to say, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).  By the Passover, God was revising the calendar and changing times and seasons, and He was inherently announcing to His hitherto enslaved and bitterly abused people, “Happy New Year.”  In other words, a new beginning.  For good reason, God clearly instructed that the Passover was to be an eternal “memorial” from generation to generation (Exodus 12:14). 

By choosing the same season of the blood of the lamb to shed the blood of Peter the head of the Church, whatever spirit was moving Herod must have meant to mock the Passover and the God of the Passover.  The plot had meant to say that God had been unable to deliver His own, even His foremost anointed.  It had meant to change the times and seasons of God; to change the Passover from a time of deliverance to a time of bondage; from a time of singing to a time of sorrow.   

Whereas the Passover was an annual celebration of divine deliverance, Herod’s intended bloody intervention meant to make it a memorial of the defeat of the Church at the hands of one messenger of Satan.  Herod meant to make it a time when God was unable to deliver; when death prevailed over the Church; when the Passover was proven to be a lie and therefore unfit for further celebration.  The implications of Herod’s plot were huge.  The perceptive Church couldn’t take it anymore.  The women promptly met to pray in the house of one of their own, and God as promptly dispatched an angel to get Peter out of Herod’s prison, aborting his wicked calendar.  In the end, it was Herod that died a most shameful public death (Acts 12:1-25).  I ask, did Herod choose his dates by accident, or was he remotely guided by a wicked intelligence that meant to mock the Almighty? 

Notice that the Jewish Passover was Exodus chapter 12, and Herod’s plot to overturn it was Acts chapter 12.  One case was a new nation marching out of an old bondage, the other was a new Church marching out of an old Law, with a political threat to force it back into the old.  Both books and seasons were ‘exoduses’ of a kind.  Whatever spirit had influenced Herod didn’t start with him.  Herod appears to have taken his cues from an Old Testament ally with the same initial letter in their names: Haman. 

From The Preacher’s diary,
March 5, 2023. 

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