TODAY’S READING: EZRA 5-7
The phrase “God of heaven” appears 24 times in the Bible. Only twice is it found in the New Testament – both in Revelation. But, I find it interesting that two of the 24 appearances, both in the Old Testament, say “God of heaven and earth.”
Why do I find this so interesting?
Well, Genesis 1:1 says that God created the heavens and the earth. Yet, throughout the Bible, God was consistently referred to as the God of heaven. It was as if everyone believed that God ruled heaven but man ruled earth. God was the God up there but not down here.
Twenty-two times various men called God the “God of heaven.” That’s an interesting number, 22.
There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The last letter is tav, which written in early Hebrew looked like a cross. Indeed the letter means mark, sign, or cross.
Jesus quoted Psalm 22 from the cross. While most men viewed God as the God of heaven alone, verses 27-28 say, “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.” On the cross, Jesus let everyone know that God was not just God of heaven but God of the earth as well.
Therefore, the number 22 has to do with the suffering of the son of God, Jesus, the one who came down from heaven. It was his suffering on the cross that rent the veil and made a way for heaven and earth to be connected.
So, what about the other two uses where men say “God of heaven and the earth?”
The first occurs in Genesis 24:3 when Abraham is sending out his servant to find a bride for Isaac. This entire chapter is a picture of the Father sending out the Holy Spirit to find a bride for Jesus. That marriage of Christ and the church is a mystery. The head, Jesus, is in heaven while the body, the church, is on the earth. This marriage connects heaven and earth. Currently, is through the church that Christ’s kingdom is displayed on the earth.
The second occurs in today’s reading in Ezra 5:11. Some men who were in the government under King Darius asked the elders of the Jew who told them they could build the house of the great God. The elders of the Jews said, “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth.” The building of this house is a picture of the building of the house made without hands, the temple of God, which we are. We are the true dwelling place of God so that God can dwell on the earth not just in heaven.
One of the meanings of the number two is union.
So, we see the suffering of Christ on the cross (22) united (2) heaven and earth. Therefore, God is the God of heaven and the earth.
In Acts 17:24, Paul told the Greeks at the Areopagus, “The God who made the world and everything in it [Jesus], being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man.”
It is truly amazing how much of the Bible speaks directly to who Jesus is.