How do you read your Bible? Do you have a yearly reading schedule where you read a certain number of chapters each day sequentially from Genesis to Revelation? I’ve done that several times as well as other systems. Lately, I’ve been digging deep into the book of Revelation and have a binder full of notes and insights. But this past week I decided to take a day away from Revelation and ask the Lord where He wanted me to read. I heard, “John 17.”
At first, I hesitated—was this Him speaking? I’ve read and studied John 17 many times, could there be something in it that I’ve missed? I decided if it was Him I would soon discover, if I read it.
Starting with prayer—”Father, please stop me on what You want me to see in this chapter,” I began to read John 17 slowly and out loud. Most of it is a prayer for His disciples and for those who would receive their ministry in the future.
When I came to John 17:11-12, I stopped. There was a phrase in there that grabbed my attention.
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
While I’d focused before on His request for unity in His disciples, I’d never stopped on this phrase about keeping them in Your name. What was Jesus asking? I decided to look up the word Keep.
Keep in this scripture reference is Strong’s Concordance Greek #5083 and it means to keep, reserve, observe, watch, preserve, or hold fast.
Its primary root is Greek #2334—to see, behold, consider attentively.
This gave me some understanding but I decided to see what Keep meant in Hebrew. I looked for scripture that spoke about God keeping someone. I found this one in Isaiah 42:6 where He is speaking about Jesus.
I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles,
In this verse, Keep is #5341 and it looks like this: נָצַר
It means to guard, protect, maintain, obey, or preserve
And when we look at the meaning of the letters, we gain even more insight. Reading from right to left the letters are:
Nun 50 = Restoration, Holy Spirit, Jubilee. Means: Life or Action
Tzade 90 = Humility. Picture-Fishhook. Means: Righteousness, to pull toward, Desire, Trouble, Harvest
Resh 200 = Insufficiency, Poverty. Picture: Head Means: Head, Chief, Beginning, Highest, Most Important, a Person, Human Reasoning vs. Obedience. (When we allow human reasoning to be our master, our head, poverty of the Spirit results.)
As Head over all, God keeps us. He guards and protects, and helps us maintain obedience to Him in the ways we live and the actions we take. He is constantly drawing us toward humility and righteousness.
Jesus is asking Abba God to keep them together and on course with all He’s taught them and deposited in them. In most cases, when a rabbi dies, his disciples scatter and join other rabbis. Jesus knew they needed to stay together to encourage each other and stand strong in the principles of the new life He gave them. He sent them out with good news and they would face many obstacles. They needed unity to keep them from sin, error, hypocrisy, and especially division.
But what did it mean to keep them in His name?
I went to this scripture to find out. Jeremiah 32:27
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
LORD looks like this in Hebrew: יְהֹוָה It is the proper name for the one true God, and it is used 6,510 times in the Bible. It means the self-existent, eternal God. But looking at the letters will tell us more.
Yod 10 = The outcome or completion of something. Means: Hand, Right Arm, Power, Right hand of God’s power, a Deed Done, To Work, to Cover, Allow, Hollow, Open Hand
Hey 5 = Grace. Means: Revelation – 5 is the number of Torah, Behold, Give Attention, unfold or look upon – (if it comes at the end of a word: the meaning is based on the letter bef
Vav 6 = Man. Means: Nail or Hook, to Secure, Pin together, Connect -Yeshua
Hey 5 = Grace. Means: Revelation – 5 is the number of Torah, Behold, Give Attention, unfold or look upon – (if it comes at the end of a word: the meaning is based on the letter before)
God’s right hand of power is revealed in the nail (Yeshua). Pay attention to Him.
The disciples needed Jesus’ prayer and God’s authority and power to keep them. In the following scriptures, this meaning is highlighted.
Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
John 10:29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Our world today is experiencing a global crisis as prophecies that were written centuries ago are being fulfilled daily. Famines, pestilence, disease, weather events of Biblical proportion, financial collapse, immorality, wicked leadership in government and even in the church are in our news hour by hour. As gas prices soar, food shortages increase, and we are faced with threats on every side we need to know that our God will keep us.
In these next few months, we are likely to experience even more threats. But at the same time, God is speaking through the prophets that we are about to see Him move in unprecedented ways to protect us and remove the enemy’s plans from our world. Rather than be in fear, we are about to celebrate the greatest victory ever experienced—worldwide.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
I especially love this counsel from the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Keep looking up my friends. Keep in the Word. Spend time with the Lord. Encourage each other and do what the Spirit tells you to do regardless of how crazy it may sound. God alone knows what is happening and only He can direct us through it as He directed Israel out of Egypt.
The year of Jubilee is at our doorstep. Don’t quit. Rejoice.