This Hebrew New Year began at sundown on March 17th, and continued until sundown, March 18th, 2018.  As I began writing in my journal 3/18/18, the Pastor told us to go to John 18. The Holy Spirit grabbed my attention to the number 18.   It is fascinating to me how God’s Word lines up with numbers that share His heart and timing in matters that concern His Kingdom come.

The number 18 in the Bible signifies oppression or bondage.  The 18th time Abram is mentioned in the Bible is in Gen. 12:18, which is when Pharaoh is asking Abram why he had lied to him by not telling him Sara was his wife but rather his sister:

“And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me?  Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?”

Pharaoh and his house had been plagued by great plagues because he had taken Sarai into his house. Abram was afraid that he would be killed if Pharaoh knew Sarai was his wife.  So he asked Sarai to lie and say she was his sister. Pharaoh then took her into his house (to be one who is prepared to be his wife) because she was beautiful.  And because Pharaoh liked Sarai, he treated Abram well, giving him much livestock that produced great wealth.

God alone protected Sarai, but it wasn’t until Pharaoh confronted Abram was she released.  Abram had to confess and tell the truth.  He was forced to confront his fear, and trust God in that moment that He would turn the heart of Pharaoh.

“The kings’ heart is in the hand of the Lord.  Like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes”(Prov. 21:1).

Not only did Pharaoh let Abram and Sarai go, but he also sent them off with all that Abram had acquired in wealth.  Afterwards, they left Egypt and went back to the Promised land. The plagues were halted against Pharaoh as well, and it was shortly afterwards that God releases a “kingly” anointing over Abraham as he led 318 of his trained servants to go against all the kings in the land to save Lot (Gen. 14:14-17).  This victory earned Abraham the respect of all the leaders in the land.

Abraham is mentioned for the 18th time in Gen. 18:19, when the Lord is speaking to him about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, a picture of bondage and sin.  This is the chapter where Abraham stands in the gap for his brother Lot, and God promises to save him out of the destruction coming to the city.  Lot is pulled out by the angels of God.

In the New Testament, a woman who was bound for 18 years was finally set free:

“And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.  But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, ‘Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”  And He laid His hands on her, and IMMEDIATELY she was made straight, and glorified God” (Luke 13:11-13).

These Old and New Covenant scriptures give us some clues as to the number 18. It is God’s desire to show us that we may put ourselves in bondage through our own sinful choices (Abram lying to Pharaoh), or we can be under oppression because of the nation we live in (Sodom and Gomorah), or we can inherit bondage (18 years of infirmity), or we may be oppressed by rulers who despise Godly laws (Pharaoh), but in all situations, when it’s God’s time, THE LORD DELIVERS HIS PEOPLE OUT OF BONDAGE and sets them apart for His service. AND, when they come out, they come out better off than they were before.  More provision, more freedom, more authority, and more opportunity to move ahead.

John 18 is the chapter when Jesus is arrested by the Roman soldiers through the help of Judas, the betrayer.  Even though Jesus is about to go into bondage by the Chief Priests and Pontus Pilate, the real people in bondage were those who cried out for him to be crucified.  In all that time, Jesus was in control.  He knew the Father’s plan, and He executed it perfectly.  On the other side of the cross, Jesus would then set us all free from the bondage of the debt of sin.  The point is, that whatever bondage we are in, if we are seeking the Lord’s help in humility, there is a time appointed by God to set us free. We must remember, GOD IS IN CONTROL!

With all of this in mind, how amazing it is that we are coming into a year of God’s timing to break free His people from the bondage of the enemies strongholds.  This is a personal release that is tied to a corporate release.  Nationally, God is breaking down the “Mystery of Babylon” that has strangled the nations under its control.  This will shake also our nation.

In all these situations where the Lord moved to set His people free from oppression, there was seen a huge distinction between those who are His, and those who His enemies.

Lastly, God Himself is removing these barriers that He has placed upon His remnant to keep them hidden until HIS RELEASE.  As we go through Passover this year, hear by faith God’s command once again, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”  See the seas parting, and cross into this year with the hope of new beginnings birthing forth.

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