The Great Commission

The following day on Friday, April 26 at 8:58 p.m., 3 hours and 19 minutes (199 mins) after sunset, God brought the town of Capernaum in Galilee, Israel to mind, and I was led to August 14, 2024 as the date to visit it – 3 months and 19 days away. Amazingly, the length of time it was after sunset matched the exact time in months and days it was away until my visit to Capernaum! (3 hours, 19 minutes / 3 months, 19 days). I didn’t actually discover that until starting to write this paragraph the following day! So, yet again, that was just another way that God proved that He was the inspiration behind this visit, and it didn’t just come from my head!

Capernaum was the location next to the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived and performed many of His miracles in the surrounding area during His ministry. He also famously condemned it for not repenting, despite the many miracles performed there (Matthew 11:23 & Luke 10:15).

This visit was inspired in the 3rd hour of the Jewish night, and as it was after sunset, it was also the start of the Sabbath Day, and the 5th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As it was after nightfall when this visit was inspired, it was also the start of the 19th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and my visit would fall during the 19th week of Ordinary Time in the Catholic liturgical calendar. Given the number of nineteens that started appearing in this story (3 hours, 19 minutes, 3 months, 19 days, the 19th of Nisan and the 19th week in Ordinary Time), that got me wondering whether there was something significant about the number 19 in this story. And sure enough, there was!

In Joshua 19:32–39, the tribe of Naphtali was allocated 19 cities and villages in their allotment of the Land of Israel. Interestingly, the town of Capernaum falls within the territory of the tribe of Naphtali. Naphtali was the sixth son of Jacob, and the sixth lot fell to his tribe in the remaining seven allotments to be made.

Thus, my visit to Capernaum on August 14 – the hometown of Jesus while He performed His ministry, fell in the historical borders of the tribe of Naphtali.

Fascinatingly, there is an ancient prophecy in the book of Isaiah, which predicts the location of the Messiah’s ministry. This occurs in Isaiah 9:1–2:

“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

This was written approximately 700 years before Jesus’s birth in the 7th–8th centuries B.C. The chapter goes on to describe the birth of the “Prince of Peace” in verses 6 & 7.

The tribe of Zebulun as mentioned in the above quote, borders the tribe of Naphtali to the south. The tribe of Zebulun includes the city of Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. This therefore fulfilled the prophecy of where Jesus would perform much of His ministry!

This is confirmed in the book of Matthew:

“Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:12–17

One of the more unusual aspects about this visit to Capernaum, is that it occurs on my second day in Jerusalem, two days before departing for Nazareth on August 16. There is no logical reason to leave Jerusalem and visit Capernaum two days before visiting Nazareth, when Capernaum is just a short 45-minute drive from there. As it happens, Capernaum is a two-hour drive from Jerusalem each way (approx. 190 km/120 mi), so there is no logical reason to visit it in this order, other than the fact God inspired it this way! If it were up to me, and I was designing this itinerary, I would have visited it while in Nazareth or the surrounding area.

So the question then becomes, why did God want me to visit Capernaum on this particular day?

This visit was inspired exactly seven weeks to the day since He inspired my visit to Jerusalem on my birthday, March 8, 2024, from Sabbath Day to Sabbath Day (Friday night to Friday night). August 14, 2024 is the 10th of Av in the Hebrew calendar – the day when Jeremiah 52:12 and the Jewish historian Josephus said both the First and Second Temples were destroyed. The First Temple was destroyed in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar according to Jeremiah. Jesus in fact said of Capernaum:

“And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” – Matthew 11:23.

Thus, His condemnation of Capernaum was even greater than that of Sodom!

The previous day on August 13, I was due to visit Jesus’s birthplace in Bethlehem, followed by being baptised in the Jordan River where Jesus was baptised, and then arriving in Jerusalem where He was both crucified and resurrected from the dead. This was all due to occur on the 9th of Av, the 3rd day of the 33rd week of the year, the 333rd day since Rosh Hashanah / Feast of Trumpets, and 9 Hebrew months to the day since this trip was inspired! There is absolutely no way I could put all that together myself, and it is clearly the work of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

If you deny that, you are denying God Himself, and I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes! You take your life and your soul into your own hands!

All the events of the preceding day follow the chronological order of the events as they occurred in the life of Jesus: birth, baptism, death and resurrection. And so the question then becomes, what happened after that?

According to Matthew 28:16–17, Jesus wanted to meet with His disciples on a mountain in Galilee:

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.”

That mountain is sometimes identified with the Mt. of the Beatitudes, located a very short distance from the town of Capernaum. And it may have been there that He gave them the Great Commission:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19–20

And so ends the book of Matthew.

And that is the reason why I am writing this book, as part of the “Great Commission” given to all believers to spread the word, in whatever way it is given to us to do. For me, that has been given to me through numbers, signs, dates, events and the like. It is not something I chose, but rather something that God gave me to do.

Thus, it would appear that my visit to Capernaum was given to me to continue the major events of Jesus’s life in the order that they occurred. The Great Commission is why Christianity is the largest religion in the world today, numbering approximately two billion adherents! It is sustained through the power, direction and blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ! And it is incumbent upon all of us who are believers to continue in that great tradition.

Amen.

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