The prophet known as Joel knew revival was coming

Joel said he was the son of Pethuel. Otherwise, he was a native to Jerusalem. He was a pious, godly, courageous preacher who came in the hour of opportunity to deliver a powerful Message from Yahweh to His People. He may have been a priest. His preaching centered generally on repentance of God’s People! Joel is known as The Prophet of Revival or Pentecost. The key Scripture is Joel 2:28-32, because a prophecy is given that God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh…to which, we see come in Acts 2 – and I’m glad for this, because it is because of this whole deal that we have His Spirit within us, and are able to also minister His Spirit unto others.

The burden of Joel’s Message is a certain fearful time of judgment which he mentions five times in three chapters – and refers to “the Day of the Lord.” The Key Verse helps explain it, “Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand…” This day is yet to come and will begin with the removal of the Church, as the Lord will judge and interfere in the course of world politics. Joel points out God’s dealing with people as the outcome of their own spiritual condition. Genuine repentance is at the foundation of real revivals, and this was Joel’s burden as he labored to produce revival. He cries out in 2:13, “Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” A rent heart is followed by a rent veil, and access to God and Pentecostal Blessing follow true repentance.

Joel’s message contains the greatest description in literature of a locust devastation, but it also points out the invasion of locusts was only a type of another horrible invasion which was in swarms of heathen invasion in that day and will be further fulfilled in the last days or the days to come. He is scared for what may happen. His heart holds dear the people and his mind is in fear.

The Apostle Peter uses the passage Joel 2:28-32 as a powerful productive sermon on “The Day of Pentecost,” which was fulfilled gloriously in the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon those exercising true repentance and faith unto Salvation. We see Peter’s Message in Acts 2:16-21, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The instructions and background of this book

There is a plague, to begin with, that many older people don’t remember. The whole countryside is bare, and Joel tells the people to tell the story of this to their children and grandchildren. Those that have lived greedily are punished, and they will no longer be drunk with wine, because the vineyards have been destroyed. The people are mourning in misery, especially because of the destruction and that the crops have fallen into ruin. Joel reveals the plague was no accident, but that it is a disaster/judgment from God, to which, the priests must now lead the nation in repentance.

Joel now sees a picture of the swarms coming and compares them to an enemy army. The locusts quickly consume farmlands and the people are helpless. The locusts turn toward Jerusalem in attack, and they swarm the cities and through houses. The clouds of insects brought darkness and made it clear that God’s judgment has come. God sent the judgment so that people would come to a genuine repentance. In repenting, God would restore their vineyards, and they will be able to worship Him again with their offerings. A trumpet is blown calling the people to the Temple to fast and mourn. God then accepts the people’s repentance and promises removal of locusts. Good harvests are to follow and will compensate for all losses. This should bring people into the knowledge of God better, and give people hope for a better future.

People naturally come to God in calamity and then turn away when things are great. Joel hopes that one day God will give His Spirit to each person, not just a few that do His tasks or other purposes and special occasions. This locust plague is only a picture of the last great judgment awaiting the people, to which, believers will be saved but sinners perish. Joel then pictures enemy nations gathering for a final attack to Jerusalem, but these nations don’t know that God brought them together, and He is going to execute judgment upon them for their crimes against Judah. The nations are guilty, wickedness is great, and therefore, they must die. The time of its occurrence is also the time of deliverance of Jerusalem, to which God protects His People.

His prophecy of restoration to Israel

Joel 3:16-17, “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”

The Day of Darkness

Joel pictures the swarms of locusts as a person sees them in Jerusalem, and compares them to an enemy army. The swarms are so thick that they look like black clouds as they sweep over the mountains and farmlands. It appears that the swarm comes quickly like an uncontrollable bushfire and devours farmlands to barrenness. The locusts turn their sights to Jerusalem, attacking them in a cloud so thick that it blots out the sun and demonstrates to people that God’s judgment is upon them. This day was a day of darkness upon the people due to so much swarm of locusts.

Lessons Joel tries to express to all people

  1. Trials and other issues help to turn us back to God and prepare our minds to hear Him.
  2. Judgment day can mean either fear or glory depending on the attitude of our hearts.
  3. National calamities call for a nationwide prayer and repentance.
  4. God has blessings for those that yield their heart unto Him!
  5. You can either abide in Him or abide in the world – and either one will have to be the choice and not both. We are called to abide in Him only, for this will bring true repentance of heart. God knows us very well and understands the things that we do. He hopes that we will realize it and repent of our wrong.

God’s forgiveness is real – Hosea the prophet

The prominent lesson we learn from Hosea is that God will do the same for every sinner, backslider, Jew, or Gentile, who will repent and return, as He has said He would do for Israel. Hosea is called the Suffering Love Prophet. (The text says he’s the Prophet of Suffering Love.) We find Hosea in the New Testament in Romans 9:25 and it relates to us what the Lord will do for the backslider – “As he saith also in “Osee” I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.” The Kings that were on the scene during Hosea’s writing were Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Jeroboam.

All of his writing reflects unfaithful Israel, and he is called upon by God to “live his prophecy.” Hosea was a young man and received a special endowment of soul that caused him to have a keen sensation of God. His sensitive soul gave him a decided advantage of experiencing the deeper mysteries of Grace over other messengers. He was profoundly influenced by Amos, and loved the land, his neighbors, and his beloved Yahweh! He commonly wrote from experience, as well as inspiration.

Gomer, his unfaithful wife, which bore him bastard children, became a parable to the nation of its Spiritual Adultery in forsaking Jehovah and falling down before false gods. She was the daughter of Diblaim, had no way of knowing or understanding the mighty love of Hosea, and many have said this must be an Allegory, however, it’s the truth. Hosea was willing to give his life to be a Message for God to God’s People.

Hosea was called the Prophet of Suffering Love, because he was a broken-hearted man. He was a sufferer, because his wife was unfaithful, but he was faithful. He did his best in the relationship, but his wife decided in her unfaithfulness to have bastard children – which forgone his ability to create heirs.

He lived out the Message as he received Gomer, his wife, back repeatedly, until finally he found her on the slave block in the market, and once more, as Jesus would do, forgave her. He bought her back so she could return to home. Hosea grieves over his love for Gomer; in this we see that God is desperately in love also and keeps sobbing from His heart, as does Hosea, while they continue to repeat their love story and call from their heart, “Come back!” Hosea was of the tribe of Issachar, which would give him the gift of knowing the times and seasons before the normal man; therefore, people were slow to hear, as was the case with the prophecies of Amos.

This is a book of repentance, as backsliders are invited to return to God or suffer the consequences of being cut off. The Lord speaks to Israel through the domestic troubles of the Prophet. Hosea was commanded to take a wife of whoredoms to picture the condition of Israel when God called and married her, bringing her into a covenant relationship with His People.

After having children by him, Hosea’s wife, Gomer, left him to go after old lovers. He was then commanded to buy her back as his wife again, and then to make a contract that she would never do it again. The experience was used to teach Israel that she must now return to God, after forsaking His covenant and going after other gods; He would marry her again and enter into an eternal covenant relationship with her!

The theme could be summed up by two words: “Lo-ammi,” meaning “not my people.” 1:9, “Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God;” and “Ammi,” meaning “My People.” 2:1, “Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ru-ha-mah.” Therefore, she bore one daughter and two sons. The Prophetical Message would concern the restoration of Israel to God, 2:14-23, after the many days of 3:4-5, at which time they will be His eternal people. The Message in 6:1-3 concerns the return of Israel to God by repentance and that in 13:14 He will ransom them. In 14:3-9 God is redeeming them eternally.

The underlying purpose overall is to record and predict Israel’s backslidings from God for many days, during which time they were to be scattered among the nations, and be without a King, a prince, sacrifice, image, Ephod, and Teraphim (1:9; 3:4-5); to reveal the final and eternal restoration of Israel; and to assure them of God’s forgiveness and eternal blessing as seen in the above Scriptures 6:1-3 and 14:3-9.

OVERALL LESSON: We are faithless when we sin, because sin is contagious and a trouble for our soul. Sin can destroy one’s spirit and hurt one’s soul, so it is upon genuine repentance that would ensure ourselves of His full forgiveness. However, God loves us nonetheless, whether we sin or not, for there is nothing greater than God’s love. Repentance is necessary for some, as it heals and delivers them. People should aim, however, to lead sinless lives, because it will always bring more peace and joy.

“God is my judge” – The prophet named Daniel

OVERALL:

  • Daniel was a statesman Prophet as the others were.
  • His name means, “God is my Judge.”
  • He mainly wrote to “The Gentile Rulers in Babylon” – which included the Chaldean, Mede, and Persian.
  • He was a “kingdom” man, because he seemed to always have knowledge of the political realm, but also was given visions of the future coming of the Kingdom of God!
  • He seemed to be the only Prophet who didn’t just picture Christ as just a shepherd, but he pictured Christ as a coming ruler of the world! The other Prophets seemed to picture Christ as being around for a temporary era or some other kind of symbolic form.

Historical background of Daniel

Daniel was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar at the time of the first invasion, which was in the third year of Jehoiakim. Ezekiel was then taken to Babylon in the second invasion, to which, was eight years later than Daniel and eleven years before the complete destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel and Daniel had ministered entirely outside of Palestine, however, Daniel’s Ministry was to powerful Gentile rulers, whereas Ezekiel’s Ministry was to poor Jewish exiles. It was established that Ezekiel and Daniel were Prophets at the same time. Though they did not work hand-in-hand, they still carried out God’s Will.

In Jerusalem overall, the people are in constant turmoil. Jehoiakim is succeed by his son, who reigned only three months before going to captivity in Babylon along with many others in Judah. Daniel was taken in a group along with other captives to Babylon. Zedekiah was left on the throne in Jerusalem as the agent of the Babylonian government, and Jeremiah was the preacher still in the Holy City of Jerusalem to carry God’s message to the people.

Around 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar returned to put down the rebellion of Zedekiah and take the rest of the people to join the exiles by the river Chebar. Many things were destroyed in Jerusalem, and others were taken away to captivity, to which, Jeremiah’s prophecy had happened. In Babylon, conditions were just as horrible. We see Daniel and a few other Jewish boys come in 605 BC, and Ezekiel and the upper class brought in 598 BC.

It is believed that he belonged to a family of high ranking and possibly of the royal house. He was taken, then, in the first group when the aristocracy was deported. He was taken into captivity in Babylon at age 16, and the remainder of his life (which was 69 years) was spent in Babylon, where he lived a saintly life in a sinful court. Ezekiel referred to Daniel as a pattern of piety, a ruler of righteousness. Daniel was of a despised servile people, and yet, he never deviated in his devotion to Jehovah.

Daniel rose to positions of highest power under four absolute monarchs of three different nations – Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar of Chaldea; Darius of Media; and Cyrus of Persia.

He compares with Revelation and Ezekiel as an Apocalyptic Prophet – which would be a writer concerning the end times. It says in Daniel 7:15, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.” He had many visions, especially of the end times, and it took a toll on his mindset (good and bad). He was faithful to God, even in a foreign land to the point of disobeying the King. He was pious, and wanted to keep his piety and was willing to risk his life for it. He also refused to sinfully bow down to the idols they had offered. He ministered to the Gentile rulers by interpreting dreams and visions, to which, he was a true prophet and discerner of things. His warning to those in the future was about the Second Coming of Christ, which involved end-time events people needed to be aware.

The Monarchs ruling in Daniel’s day

  • Nebuchadnezzar of Chaldea – He was the second king of Babylon; succeeding his father on the throne in 604 BC and reigned until 561 BC. Daniel 1:1 says this, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.” Appears Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege Jerusalem, and he seemed to be a power hungry leader – who cared very little for the captives.
  • Belshazzar of Chaldea – A free drinker (he seemed to like the bottle very much as we see in the fifth chapter of Daniel); he was the Chaldean king under whom Babylon was taken by Darius of Median.
  • Darius of Mede/Median – The son of Xerxes (9:1) was reigning now over the Chaldeans. In 6:1, we see that he was placed over the kingdom of a hundred and twenty princes. Daniel was the first (an important figure).
  • Cyrus of Persia – He led Persia in its conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, and was important for bringing God’s purposes in Israel to fulfillment, as we see in Isaiah 45:1. He gave the Jews that were held captive the permission to return to their homeland and rebuild their life and religion (as we see in Ezra 1:1-4).

Jesus sealed this book

Jesus set His seal upon this book as “inspired of God” in Matthew 24:15 – to which, was quoted previously, and His own title, “Son of Man,” was based on Daniel 7:13. Both the Lord Jesus and Daniel prophesy the “coming in the clouds with power and glory” – as we see in Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew 24:30.

Three major divisions of his writings

  1. The Prologue of Daniel (1-2:45) – Daniel as he grew up, and the hard times that he faced were explained, especially under Nebuchadnezzar. Also, we see Nebuchadnezzar’s dream unfold, and Daniel wanted to help interpret it.
  2. The Promotion of Daniel (2:46-6:28) – Because of Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he was promoted to Chief Administrator of the Kingdom and Head over his Council of Advisers. Daniel revealed another dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s and urged him to repent, to which, he finally submitted humbly to God. Later, new leaders over his region not knowing his record with Nebuchadnezzar, he was accused of different things. He also rejected bowing down or attending to the new religious law they made, so he was punished into the lion’s den – to which, God miraculously saved him and it was a sign unto the people that God was great.
  3. The Previews of Daniel (7-12:13) – Daniel has several different apocalyptic visions of Jesus and the end times, to which, he describes in incredible detail.

Dream of the “image” interpreted

What Nebuchadnezzar saw was a huge statue made of a variety of substances, from head to toe, decreased in value but increased in strength. The fee, however, which supported the statue were brittle. A huge stone, which was supernaturally formed, struck the statue at its feet so that the whole thing would crumble to dust and be blown away. The stone, however, grew into a mountain, which covered the whole earth.

The dream concerned the future of the King’s Kingdom, to which, the climax of the coming events would lead. Its main purpose was to show Nebuchadnezzar that God is the sovereign ruler of the world – and that He sets up kingdoms and destroys the same with His Own Will.

Therefore, the Medo-Persian Empire (which was the chest and arms of silver) would soon replace the mighty Babylonian Empire headed by Nebuchadnezzar (the head of gold) as the ruling power. The Medo-Persian Empire would be replced by the Greek Empire (which is typified by the belly and thighs of bronze).

Finally, the Roman Empire will take it last (legs of iron) and also take in more scattered states. However, it wouldn’t be able to holds its empire together in a stable union (symbolized by the feet that were part iron, part clay and brittle).

During such time in the Roman Empire then, God would intervene and the might empires would crumble before the coming of the supernatural king, Jesus Christ. How incredible! The supernatural stone coming to smash the feet typified this. The Kingdom of God introduced by Jesus Christ would overspread the world and last eternally (to which, is finally symbolized by the great mountain that filled the earth).

The values Daniel taught all people

  • The Lord should be glorified, because He is our deliverer. ·        We should encourage each other and build each other up as well.
  • We should resist the forces and enemies of our faith.
  • We should learn and attend to the vision and Prophecies of the end times, so we can get a more glorious picture of Christ.
  • We are to be a witness of the end time revelation, based on how God leads us to acknowledge His glory!
  • Though we face hard times and trial, we must always stand up for what we believe in – because in the end: God works everything out for the good.
  • We don’t have to worry, because God is our provider.
  • He is excellent in every way and will give us opportunities to minister unto people – where He will reveal His glory to that person being ministered to.

The value of chapter 6

Chapter 6 is a favorite chapter, because it shows the most intense fear anyone can face is when they fear for their life – but, ultimately, it shows that Daniel’s uncompromising belief in God, especially His Salvation, would free Him from it and He would be glorified in the end. Even through potentially intense fear, Daniel instead chose to believe in God’s Salvation and knew He would be there in the end!

  • When Daniel returned to his high office, he had troubles because Babylon has just fallen the night he was reinstated to office. The new rulers were aware of his record under Nebuchadnezzar, so they made him one of the three presidents that would help administrate.
  • He had great abilities, and the other two presidents became jealous of him, so they wanted him out. However, they didn’t find any kind of mismanagement or offense to bring against him, so they crafted a strategy to cause him to stumble.
    • The object of their plunder was to bring in a new religious law that Daniel would not obey, because of “religious” or “pious” beliefs.
    • They weaseled their way right into the king’s hand by making him believe that the three presidents came up with the idea together, and therefore, King Darius agreed to the order. o   When Daniel heard of the new law, it was already approved and sealed from the King, to which, he could do nothing. He made no effort to obey it, because of his piety.
    • The other two presidents worked out a way to catch him in the act so they could accuse him to the King. They had him condemned finally and then thrown into the den of lions – even if the King didn’t want it to happen like that.
    • God, however, had a different plan, and decided to deliver Daniel – which showed that God was glad that Daniel did not sin. This also showed that Daniel did not do anything against the King, and that God would be made known to them as merciful and good – therefore, they had believed that the God of David was good and that they approve!
  • Daniel continued to prosper in the administration!

What is Israel’s hope and future? Exploring the prophet named Ezekiel

OVERALL:

  • Ezekiel was called The Exile Prophet of Hope, for he wrote to The Jewish Exiles in Babylon concerning hope for the future of the Israelite Nation.
  • He was one where he wrote in a cause-effect pattern, where he talked about the judgment and sins of Jerusalem for the first half for the book of Ezekiel, and then talked about returning to the land and the new age for the other half.
  • His pattern of writing had to do with showing what the problem is, and what the Lord will do to bring hope to the people!

The background of Ezekiel

He had quite an impressive status, which was an aristocrat of Jerusalem, a descendant from Zadok’s line. He was a proud and confident person as he looked to the future of the Priesthood, involving God’s chosen people. He was called one of the most influential men, and was greatly influence by the preaching of Jeremiah and the reform of Josiah.

As far as personal abilities were concerned, he was an utterly helpless one before the might God who controlled him, for his whole philosophy and utterances were colored because of the Hand of God upon him and vision of “God’s Glory.” He was also a “Mediator” and in deep thought usually. Sometimes harsh, bold, or blunt – he was also uncompromising. He was a man of deep convictions, with a fearless determination, and housed a heart deeply sympathetic with abiding love for his people who needed a pastor – someone to shepherd them back to the Lord (and hope). His education comes through as a careful planning scenario and an orderly dating of all his writings. He outlined things well, and helped many people through his writings.

He was a married man, but his wife died the year of when the final siege of Jerusalem began.  His wife was apparently a symbol of the Temple, as he began a very picturesque, but powerful ministry at 35 – after his captivity in Babylon. At this time, Jeremiah was approaching the end of his valiant, but tragic career.

Now, for the call of God on his life, God laid his hand upon Ezekiel just as he did Jeremiah, and he felt it. He was called to the lonely exiles on the riverbanks of Chebar. In a dramatic way, he describes for us his vision and call to service, which was a vision of God’s glory. In this vision, he beheld the “Glory of God,” and “felt” the Hand of the Lord. He even saw the likeness of God’s being and fell upon his face. A voice spoke to him commissioning him. He received several commissions overall, which had much to do with returning unto God and beholding His Glory.

Historical background of Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, we see the people in constant turmoil. Jehoiakim is succeed by his son, who reigned only three months before going to captivity in Babylon along with many others in Judah. Ezekiel was taken in this group along with 10,000 other captives. Zedekiah was left on the throne in Jerusalem as the agent of the Babylonian government, and Jeremiah was the preacher still in the Holy City of Jerusalem to carry God’s message to the people.

Around 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar returned to put down the rebellion of Zedekiah and take the rest of the people to join the exiles by the river Chebar. Many things were destroyed in Jerusalem, and others were taken away to captivity, to which, Jeremiah’s prophecy had happened. In Babylon, conditions were just as horrible. We see Daniel and a few other Jewish boys come in 605 BC, and Ezekiel and the upper class brought in 598 BC. For several years, ten thousand exiles lived in a concentration camp in Babylon, while Ezekiel and the upper class of people carried on in Jerusalem.

For five years, the captives had no preacher of priest to help them. In this dark hour, Ezekiel hears the call of God and began to serve. For six years, he wanted to break down false hopes of an early return to Palestine, and wanted to prepare the captives of the bad news of the destruction of the Holy City. The Jewish people were in a darkened state with their Temple gone, and very little opportunity for business – false prophets were abundant. Complaints and murmurs, among wails filled the air. Ezekiel dealt with many different kinds of people, particularly negative people.

Ezekiel’s ordeal (his mission)

His mission was clearly revealed by God as the Spirit entered into him and cleansed him of bitterness. He had a revelation of the “Glory of God” to which he was to destroy false hopes of an early return to Jerusalem, interpret the meaning and purpose of the exile to gather up and preserve the teachings of Historians, Psalmists, and Prophets, to organize new forms for worship and life in the restored community, to preserve Israel’s soul in Babylon, and to stimulate new hope for the future Israel. He was to be an effective watchman also in the dark days of captivity. His message was that before they could even hope to return to Jerusalem, they had to return to the Lord.

New Testament fulfillment

  • Israel’s restoration as a nation as they await their Messiah (34:11-31; 36:1-15, 23-38; 37:1-28)
  • The Battle of Armageddon at the return of Christ (38:1-39:20)
  • Rebuilding of the Temple by the Messiah for Millennial and eternal worship (40:5-43:12)
  • The Millennial (1000 years) and eternal river from the Temple spoke about in The Book of Revelation (47:1-12)

Practical things Ezekiel communicated to help all people

  • The heart of God wants His People back, and He longs for their return unto Him.
  • Each person is responsible for their own sins, and therefore, are subject to consequences individually.
  • Each minister that is called is subject to their own troubles, but they cannot let that stop them from continuing the work of the Lord.
  • Love must be expressed in everything we do.
  • Repentance is important and makes alive the reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Good godly conduct and behavior should emanate through us on a normal basis.

Do you see the similarities in what the New Testament authors, apostles, disciples, etc. tried to communicate compared to Ezekiel? Yeah, almost every one of these match.

Jeremiah: A prophet of many sorrows

OVERALL:

  • Jeremiah was a lamenting man, with many sorrows, because he loved God and loved God’s people. Therefore, to see so many suffer and died in front of him (especially those close to him).
  • Many call him the “prophet of love” because of his heart for God and the people.
  • He pictures man as a backslider. He felt the need to preach to the people to return to their Father, their Lord!
  • He sees the people as hopeless, but doesn’t give up on proclaiming the love of the Lord and caring nature of God!

The background of Jeremiah the prophet

At the beginning, there is the reign of Manasseh, which he began to reign after the death of the good King Hezekiah. Manasseh controlled the affairs of Judah for 55 years, wherefore, much innocent blood was shed at his hand and it is likely that Isaiah was executed by Manasseh’s order. Yahweh’s religion was bad in the land at this time, and then Josiah came to rule around 641 or 637 BC, which he was led to change the entire nation and bring them back unto God. He began the temple cleaning and a change to people’s lives – and therefore, the Book of the Law was found in the Temple. Reform was being done vigorously, and it seems Zephaniah had a great part in it. Jeremiah was seemingly interested in the reforms, also.

Soon, Nebuchadnezzar became King of Babylon and Jehoiakim was on the throne of Judah. Both of these men were bad, and Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem because of Jehoiakim’s disloyalty, to which Jehoiakim was on the throne for three months, but his reign ended badly when the city was captured. Many things, such as wealth, etc. was taken.

Socially, it seemed the rich were powerful, unscrupulous, and oblivious to the needs of the poor, as the chasm was there. People lived in misery, and poverty was ridiculous as the rich hoarded many things from the poor. Religiously, the place was deplorable and hideous overall. Jeremiah found a strange mixture of Canaan’s nature religion, Babylonian cults, Jezebel’s Baalism, and other formalisms. Jeremiah felt the people were very bad off morally, and that he had a crisis on his hands, because the people were superficial and weak. People became incapable of understanding genuine spiritual religion, and therefore, Jeremiah lamented for them.

He was trained early in his life, as he grew up in an established village of King David’s great Priest Abiathar in Anathoth. He grew up with scholars, priests, prophets, and other students of Yahweh’s teachings. World affairs had quite an impression on the boy as he great, and soon the Kingdom would change with the ushering in of the reign of King Josiah. This brought many other changes. Through many events that brought fear, Jeremiah stayed healthy.

Suddenly, Jeremiah realized God’s call for him to do His work, and that God had been calling him since birth, which was quite an impression on him. He knew that he was called for sure, and what many believe as a priest by birth! He was called at an early age into Prophetic Ministry (1:4-5). He responded to the Lord with a bit of doubt in verse 6, “behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” However, God told him to not say that, but that he shall go to all what He sends and speak on His behalf. He was commanded then not to marry, and his family and friends, among others, conspired against him. He was beaten and put in stocks, to which, when he was released, he was assaulted and nearly killed. He was imprisoned and suffered much for the call of God on his life, and his obedience to the call.

He was a timid, sensitive (lovingly), emotion, compassionate, and tender natured boy/man, and his character made him particularly capable of identifying himself with miseries, mistakes, and other needs of the people. He was not weak, but rather, he was a “feeler” who could sympathize and empathize with the needs of the people. He knew his task was great and occasionally complained and questioned God’s treatment of him, but always continued to exhort his fellow citizens to turn to God for cleansing and deliverance. He, luckily, belonged to the upper class and was well respected of the aristocratic princes. He was a statesman with a “world mind” as the text describes.

What Jeremiah had in common with Jesus

  • Jesus would be one coming to seek salvation of God’s people – Jeremiah was called to bring God’s people to repentance.
  • Jesus and Jeremiah alike were rejected by their own people.
  • Jesus lamented over His loved ones – as did Jeremiah.
  • Neither of them knew the joy/blessing of married life to help and encourage them forward, even in direct opposition from people.
  • Both knew and felt God’s Hand upon them and helping them in their ministry.
  • They both gave evidence of intimate fellowship with God.
  • Both were despised by “religious” leaders, and their teaching technique was similar.
  • They both despised formalism/ritualism: they loved the temple, but disliked the rituals.
  • They had a tender, yearning heart that wept over sinful people. Each was considered a failure at the end of their lives, but in later days, each also took their place among the victors. They were no instant success, but rather, a delayed success.

Matthew 16:13-14, “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

Chapter 14 is especially important, because it shows the state of Judah in that time – grim

Chapter 14 is quite important, because it shows just one of the examples of the state of Judah, to which, Jeremiah makes an appeal unto God. It starts out with imagery on a severe drought in Judah, as all kinds of people were affected from it. People had difficulty obtaining enough water to keep themselves alive, animals dying because of disease, and many died because of not enough food.

Jeremiah pled on behalf of the people and confessed their sins; asking God to cease acting as if He were just an uninterested traveler passing by. He asked Him to help them, to which, the land is God’s after all, so why wouldn’t Yahweh want to help His People? God makes a stunning reply pointing out that He cannot just ignored the sins they have committed, and that Jeremiah should stop pleading, because nothing can save them now. God claims that He has tried enough and judgment is due to them, which will come by war, famine, disease, and disaster.

Jeremiah then tells God that the prophets have been assuring the people that such calamities will not overtake them, to which God replies that those prophets are false and will perish in shame as will all who believe their lies. The people hunger for prophecies of peace, and became very susceptible to such candy to their ear, but God has the final say in everything, and He will be sure that judgment is done. In lieu of this punishment, Jeremiah weeps publicly to show the people the sorrow he feels for them, because he has foreseen their terrible suffering. Jeremiah feels the need to plead once more with God on behalf of the people, and confesses their faults – asking God to be merciful and bring rain. He prays that God will not forsake His People, but rather, remember His Covenant with them, for there isn’t any other God they can call upon to help.

In this, it goes on to the start of chapter 15, where we see God’s reply that though Moses and Samuel had pleaded for the people in the past, the nation has passed the point where God could extend anymore mercy. Therefore, the false religion of Manasseh still controls the attitudes of the people, and the nation will end soon. God attributes His judgment in the past to not working for the people, and says there is no more pity left for them. Such a judgment is needed, since people resist!

The Lamentations

This collection of five poems expresses the sorrow of Jeremiah over the fall of Jerusalem to the armies of Babylon in 587 BC.

The portrait of Christ in the Lamentations is “The Man of Sorrows,” as we see in 3:1, “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.” Both are very similar, in that, Jesus lamented over His loved ones – as did Jeremiah. They also wept over the sins of the people. We can see similar laments of Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39 as he weeps (similarly to Jeremiah) over the people. The face of Mt. Calvary was Jeremiah’s grotto, where he wrote these poems and wept. Similar to his tears, blood and water flown from Jesus’ side nearby many more years later – the one greater than him.

Five poetic laments

  1. The dirge for the solitary City – a weeping widow (ch. 1). Spoke of the miseries of Jerusalem, and that it being once a busy city was now like a woman who had lost her husband or a princess that became a slave.
  2. The dirge for the sorrowing citizens – a veiled woman (ch. 2). Calamity has befallen Judah and turned her glory into darkness, so she is now veiled. Darkness is widespread as the author describes.
  3. The dirge of the sorrowful Prophet – the weeping Prophet (ch. 3). The Prophet compares Judah’s sufferings as if they were his own. Those sufferings are God’s righteous judgment, and he is like a starving man ready to die. However, even though God punishes, he still has trust in Him!
  4. The dirge of the shattered hope – the gold depreciated (ch. 4). Jerusalem was once great, now is in ruin – and we see so much royal things in the dead areas of the streets: broken. This symbolizes the downfall of the leaders, to which, what was once good in Jerusalem turned into darkness, and now it is gone.
  5. The dirge of the sorrowful appeal – the prayer for mercy and the humble suppliant (ch. 5). He pleads with God for mercy, as conditions in Judah are terrible. People can’t find food and need help, so the cry for mercy becomes louder. The people begin asking for Him back and for Him to restore their nation and give them the happiness they once enjoyed.

With all of the intense sin, war, famine, disease – it’s easy for one to be sorrowful if they want the best for people. There are so many dying folks, and many of whom die an early age in an undeserving death – all because people are sinful and attempt to operate wickedly for their own lusts. Lusts for power, money, and fame – and yet, poor people get the short end of the stick every time.

In the poorest of countries, people are under-developed, because greedy, power hungry leaders have ruled those nations for so long and oppressed those people. Other areas could be developed more, but fail because of bad leadership, sinful oppression, and other forms of wickedness roundabout. It’s time for a change, and if God’s People aren’t people of prayer, then change is not evident. We must all be prayer warriors, who are willing to pray and weep for His People all around the globe, especially in places that are poor with power-hungry greedy leaders.

The man of double portion: Elisha the prophet

Ahab gets his way by murder and obtains Naboth’s vineyard, which brought the occasion for Elijah’s ninth and tenth miracle. There is more Syrian conflict, and Jehoshaphat desires to know God’s Will, false prophets arise, and Micaiah’s true prophecy of Israel’s defeat is heard. The death of Ahab is seen as well as the fulfilling of prophecy of the death of Jezebel, and the accession of King Ahaziah to the throne of Israel.

Jehoshaphat is made fourth King of Judah and reigns for 25 years as the second good King of Judah. Moab rebels against Israel after the death of Ahab, and Ahaziah, the King of Israel, meets with an accident. King Ahaziah takes a bad fall, is injured, and then he gets seriously sick. He sent messengers and said for them to “Go, inquire of ‘Baal-zebub,” the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.”

The Angel of the Lord speaks to Elijah and tells him to meet the messengers and predict the death of Ahaziah because of this great sin…the sin was that “he sought advice from a pagan god and not from God Jehovah.” This is the occasion for the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth miracle of Elijah. The prediction of the King of Israel’s death, fire from Heaven, and the death of 102 men.

Elisha was called from God as we see in 1 Kings 19:16-17 – to which, Elisha would be anointed as a prophet in his room (when Jehu is anointed as king over Israel), and that who escapes from the sword of Jehu then Elisha will slay. As it moves forward to verses 19-21, Elijah casts his mantle upon Elisha, and then Elisha ran after him wanting to pray for him and follow him. Elijah showed his willingness to succeed Elijah by killing his oxen and using them as a farewell dinner for his family and friends.

Elisha was tested three times as Elijah suggests he tarry at certain places while Elijah does the Lord’s work in a different place. Elisha was told to tarry at Gilgal while he (Elijah) goes to Bethel for the Lord. After that, he told Elisha to tarry at Bethel while he goes to Jericho for the Lord. Again, Elisha told to tarry at Jericho while he goes to Jordan.

Each time, Elisha’s answer was, “as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” Elisha knew that the Lord would soon take away Elijah, however, in each of the above cities, Elisha is pestered by the “sons of the prophets” concerning Elijah’s leave. Each time, Elisha answers them, “Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.”

Elijah promised a “double-portion” of his spirit to Elisha if he sees him when he leaves. They cross the Jordan, causing the fifteenth miracle of Elijah as he swings his mantle over the waters to divide them. Elijah then tells Elisha that what he had asked is a hard thing.

Elisha received a double portion of what Elijah had promised, which was the fulfilling of another prophecy of Elijah’s. Of course, a double portion is a double blessing. Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit so he would be doubly blessed in life and ministry. It seems, as I have looked at the lessons, Elisha’s miracles are twice that of Elijah’s (exactly twice the amount).

The story is in 2 Kings 2:11-12, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.” When Elijah was whisked away supernaturally, Elisha knew that, in this one man, Israel doesn’t have him anymore either. However, he soon had a clear proof of the double-portion of the power imputed upon him, because soon he began miracles – as he felt the mantle placed upon him.

The miracles done by Elisha

  1. First miracle, using the mantle that Elijah gave him, he took a stride toward the Jordan and smote the waters saying, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” – to which, the waters part and he walked over on dry land. Maybe he was testing his power…?
  2. Second miracle, healing of the waters as we see in 2 Kings 2:19-22, “And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.” The waters were bitter and terrible, and he made it better and healthier to drink. This was great and helpful to the people.
  3. Third miracle, bears from the woods and irreverence cursed. Little children came out of the city and mocked Elisha, saying, “Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.” Two she bears came out of the woods and tore up 42 children.
  4. Fourth miracle involved waters filling the ditches without rain. This miracle came about from the influence of a minstrel, who played, and then the hand of the Lord came upon him.
  5. Fifth miracle involved the defeat of the Moabites. It was odd to see the Moabite King’s sacrifice, which was his eldest son, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall.
  6. Sixth miracle was an optical illusion, where the enemy saw the water, the sun shone upon it in the early morning, and it appeared unto them as blood.
  7. Seventh miracle, increase of the widow’s oil – this is the curse of oil that failed not. Elisha commanded the widow and her sons to gather up pots and pans (vessels), and then to go and sell the oil – afterward, paying the debt to be able to live with thee and thy children on the rest of the funds.
  8. Eighth miracle involved healing the “great woman” of Shunem of her barrenness, to which, she miraculously bore a child. This was great, and not the only time that God had done this. God had also healed many of their barrenness, so this scene shows His everlasting faithfulness.
  9. Ninth miracle, resurrection of the boy. The child of the woman of Shunem became very ill, and she sought Elisha – to which, Elisha came and lay upon the child – and the child was healed after sneezing seven times. It was great to see the Lord’s faithfulness in healing people, especially that were near death – what a blessing!
  10. Tenth miracle, pottage was healed. The sons of the prophets were having difficulty as there was drought in the land. They gathered herbs in the field and a wild vine was mixed with the herbs and the pottage became noxious, as if it were death in the pot.
  11. Eleventh miracle, bread was multiplied for 100 men – which was evident, once again, of the Lord’s provision for His People. (Just wait till later, when we see Jesus multiplying food for thousands of people.)
  12. Twelfth miracle, leprosy of Naaman healed. The strange act of dipping in the dirty river of Jordan cleansed the leper when he was obedient. That’s how you know it’s a God thing, when you try to make something clean with something that doesn’t appear to be clean (for we know faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1).
  13. Thirteenth miracle, discernment of Gehazi’s disobedience, to which, Naaman offered up riches to Elisha again after his healing. Gehazi disobeyed and accepted them to heap them upon himself. It’s no wonder a servant would become prideful, as he is in the presence of a great man like Elisha – but Gehazi needed humbling to be able to work beside Elisha further.
  14. Fourteenth miracle, leprosy of Naaman given to Gehazi. Gehazi was humbled for his pride, it seems, and reaped what he sowed.
  15. Fifteenth miracle, making iron to swim. The sons of the prophets wanted to make a larger place to live, and they were cutting wood, when the ax head flew off and fell into the water. The one using the ax said, “alas Master! For it was borrowed.” Elisha wondered where it went, so then he cut a stick and threw it into the water – where the iron ax head swam to them so much that they could retrieve it.
  16. Sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth miracles, Elisha is used by God to reveal war secrets, They said Elisha, Israel’s prophet, has knowledge of secrets that the King talked about in his bed chamber. Of course, with this in mind, they must be careful not to divulge them to the enemies – because doing so would bring despair.
  17. (See above)
  18. (See above)
  19. Nineteenth miracle, the eyes of Elisha’s servant are opened. The enemy sought to destroy Elisha, and they sent horsemen and chariots and encamped around where they thought Elisha and his servant were camped. In the morning, the servant arose to see the encampment and the servant wondered what to do. He prayed for that his servant’s eyes be opened, and then the Lord performed it through Elisha. His eyes opened and he saw a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire roundabout – as we see in Scripture.
  20. Twentieth miracle involved the blinding of the Syrian army – which helped avoid war and other issues of wars.
  21. Twenty-first miracle was the capturing of the whole Syrian army – to which, had completely disabled them from hurting His People.
  22. Twenty-second miracle was healing the Syrian army of blindness – which, I guess was a lesson to them not to bug His People.
  23. Twenty-third miracle involved Elisha having knowledge before the Kings act. We see Elisha using the gifts of knowledge and discernment given to him by God. God works miraculously through His People always, and Elisha was no different. He used the gifts of the Spirit well!
  24. Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth miracles involved the miraculous utterances. The evil kings were trying their best to dispose of Elisha, and finally the messenger of the King comes to get Elisha with plans of executing him. There was Elisha…prophesying! He uttered a foretelling of sufficient food for everybody in Samaria soon. Four lepers throw themselves upon the mercy of the Syrians. At twilight, they came into the camp and there was no man. The Lord caused the Syrians to hear the noise of the chariots and horses and the noise of a great company. They had fled in great fear because of it. The lepers did eat and drink, as well as partake of all the things and then went out to hide their treasures.
  25. (See above)
  26. Twenty-sixth miracle, the confusion of the Syrians. The lepers report to the King, and an investigation is made and is true. The Syrians have fled, leaving their riches behind. Elisha’s prophecy of plenty was fulfilled.
  27. Twenty-seventh miracle, involved 7 years of famine. Elisha talks with the “great woman” whose son was resurrected, and he tells her there is going to be a seven-year famine. He warns them to leave so they go and sojourn in the land of the Philistines for 7 years. During the 7 year leave, people took her land, so then she returns to ask the king that her land be returned unto her. Gehazi testifies to the king of the great works of Elisha, and therefore, the king assigned an officer to her so she would be returned to her land.
  28. Twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth miracles – these were more miraculous utterances. They again were gifts given by God, which were revelation and knowledge. We see also the weeping side of the Elisha as he pronounces death upon a Syrian who plots evil against Israel.
  29. (See above)
  30. (See above)
  31. Thirty-first miracle involved the anointing of Jehu by one of Elisha’s children, the sons of the prophets. Jehu comes to the Kingdom ad King of Israel and reigns for 28 years. Elisha calls one of the children to get read and take a box of oil to Ramoth-Gilead. He is told to find Jehu and take him to the inner chamber and pour the oil on to his head and speak over him an anointing as the King over Israel. There was also inclusion into the prophecy of death for Jezebel and prediction that the house of Ahab be no more. Jehu slays Jehoram, King of Israel.
  32. Thirty-second miracle involved something done upon his death. Joash the King of Israel came down and wept upon him. Soon, Elisha said to him to take bow and arrow (Elisha helped him), then open the window eastward, and then to shoot. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria shall smite the Syrian in Aphek till consumed. Then he said to take the arrow and smite upon the ground. When this occurred, Elisha died, and they buried him, and then the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. As they were burying, they cast a man into the sepulchre of Elisha, and when that man touched the bones of Elisha – he was revived and stood up!

Other interesting stories

Elisha enjoys such hospitality from the “great woman” of Shunem. She wanted him to come and eat, and told her husband that she thinks Elisha is truly a holy man of God, to which, she noted him passing by often, so she had asked her husband to build a little chamber on the wall. She placed a bed, table, stool, and candlestick there (which came to be the Prophet’s Chamber). One day, Elisha came by to stop and rest, traveling with his servant Gehazi, and asked Gehazi to call for the Shunammite woman. So, she came and stood before him, so he asked to do something for her because of her hospitality. She did not require anything, though. Gehazi noticed she didn’t have children, so Elisha granted a miracle that her barrenness would be healed. Later, that child became very ill, and she sought Elisha – to which, Elisha came and lay upon the child – and the child was healed after sneezing seven times.

Elisha in the New Testament is “Eliseus,” and it is found in Luke 4:27, “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.”

The death of Elisha

His death is chronicled in 2 Kings 13:14-21, where he had fallen sick. Joash the King of Israel came down and wept upon him. Soon, Elisha said to him to take bow and arrow (Elisha helped him), then open the window eastward, and then to shoot. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria shall smite the Syrian in Aphek till consumed. Then he said to take the arrow and smite upon the ground. When this occurred, Elisha died, and they buried him, and then the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. As they were burying, they cast a man into the sepulchre of Elisha, and when that man touched the bones of Elisha – he was revived and stood up!

The man wise enough to stand up to Jezebel and godly enough to make many miracles | Elijah the prophet

After the death of Samuel, the newly formed kingdom of Israel suffered severely by the Philistines. The greatest invasion resulted in the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan – to which, David came to the throne of the tribe of Judah and finally was elevated to King over all Israel. However, in 931 BC, a division came, to which, Rehoboam was left with the smaller of the two kingdoms. In the North, Jeroboam was given the larger portion, and led the people into idolatry and pagan worship.

After 50 years of disaster and turmoil, we see Omri come to the head of the government to stop the anarchy, conquer Moab, establish a monarchy, build Samaria, and create a treaty with Syria. Ahab had become the successor to Omri. The coming of Jezebel meant more idolatry, especially in Baal worship. To please the strong-willed Jezebel, Ahab built in Samaria a temple for Baal worship, Asherah worship, and Phoenician worship.

Elijah’s name meant “Like God,” and he was given the task to be a Prophet during the era of Baal worship. This worship is of “mere power” or the worship of evil in general. In later days, the Jews designated this “Tyrian deity” the prince of devils. He also dealt with severe immorality, to which, the prophets of Yahweh were persecuted and killed. Many hid in caves for their own safety.

Jezebel then imported priests and prophets to do her bidding, to which, Elijah faced some of the darkest hours of his life. Anyway, Elijah was born and grew up in Gilead on the east of Jordan, to which, he was a Tishbite. He was described as a hairy man and one that wore a leather girdle. The New Testament states that Elijah (or Elias) was a man subject to like passions as we are even today.

Miracles done by Elijah

  1. First miracle, which appears at the court of Ahab, which announces the long drought would be broken only by God’s Word through the prophet. This was good, because it avoided any famine or furthering of famine conditions.
  2. Second miracle, he is fed by the ravens twice a day at the Brook Cherith. God intended that Elijah stay alive and be provided for, and just as the birds were provided for, the birds – by God – provided for him.
  3. Third miracle: God uses Elijah to multiply meal and oil daily. After seeing the Lord’s provision for him, he knew that God would provide for others, so God uses him to multiply for provisions.
  4. Fourth miracle, God uses him to restore the widow’s son to life. She calls Elijah a man of God. Just as Elijah did, later Elisha does a similar miracle – how glorious to see Elisha follow in the footsteps of his predecessor.
  5. Fifth miracle, on Mount Carmel there is a test as to whose God is God…to which, God answers by fire; the prophets of “Baal” are killed and rain comes in to answer Elijah’s prayer. Elijah hated idolatry, and was glad that much of it was rid of here.
  6. Sixth and Seventh miracles, we see rain and a 30 mile foot race is done, where Elijah outruns King Ahab who is driving his chariot. Elijah is equipped by the power of God, and will run the race as God empowers him!
  7. (The seventh is explained just above with sixth.)
  8. Eighth miracle, we learn of the “Juniper tree” experience, which the Juniper tree is well known of the cedar family. Elijah asks that he might die, and an Angel supernaturally strengthens him. Two times the Angel speaks to him and tells him to arise and eat, and finally the Angel speaks to him, “the journey is too great for thee.” Elijah arises and eats for the second time, and then “he went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the Mount of God.” Through this experience, he is challenged by God to return to anoint Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha.
  9. Ninth miracle, Elijah announces doom on Ahab and wicked Jezebel. Once again, Elijah sought to take care of idolatrous ways, and seeking an end to Baal.
  10. Tenth miracle, Elijah promises respite to Ahab, and God will delay punishment to the days of his son.
  11. Eleventh miracle, this is the prophecy of Elijah that pertained to the sickness and death of Jehoram.
  12. Twelfth miracle, this is the prediction or prophecy of death, the death of King Ahaziah.
  13. Thirteenth and Fourteenth miracle, this is the prophecy concerning King Ahaziah, who inquired of another god and Elijah stopped the messengers on their way to ask of their god. Elijah told them there was a God in Israel and because they found out info of the god Ekron, the King would die. They pushed in on Elijah and it resulted in fire from Heaven, which was the death of 102 men.
  14. (The fourteenth is explained just above with thirteenth.)
  15. Fifteenth miracle, we see that this is the miracle of the parting of the River Jordan as Elisha follows Elijah and the translation of Elijah is near. Elijah inquired of Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for thee” – to which, Elisha answers, “let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” Elijah promises this shall come as long as “if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.”
  16. Sixteenth miracle, this is the miracle of imparting a double portion of his own spirit upon Elisha. Elijah spends many quiet years teaching young men, especially Elisha, who would carry on the prophetic work. He is gloriously translated while Elisha looks on and receives the commission to continue the great work.

Elijah’s character

Elijah was a sturdy, virile, daring man from the wilds of Gilead. He had an iron constitution, as the text explains, an austere spirit, majestic somehow, flaming indignation, consuming zeal, and courageous nature which set him forth as a man of romance and mystery. He was strong and yet weak; a zeal so limitless with energy. He had a tremendous grip on the ways of God and he had unusual power in prayer. He hated false religions, among other idolatries. He was unselfish, merciless, and cruel in his treatment of the Baal prophets. He was on fire for God doing His Will! Overall, he was a man of prevailing prayer, a man of faith, and one of the most dramatic appearances and exits. It is said of him, “he went through history like a meteor.”

Jesus spoke of Elijah

Jesus speaks of Elijah (Elias) in Luke 4:25, “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.” He speaks this about Elijah after He talks about healing and other activities to do in that area that He did in another area, and He says that, “no prophet is accepted in his own country.” Palestine was filled with poor people even in times of plenty, it seemed, and therefore, there must have been large numbers of hungry people during the famine. He said that nobody sent Elijah to do miracles over there, so why should He Himself be sent or go Himself to relieve the famine? That’s what He questions in that short explanation.

The point in this Scripture is that many people had compared Jesus to Elijah and vice-versa, because of all the miracles both had conducted. They frequently referred back to Elijah and would generalize that, for example, “if this happens…why you (Jesus) don’t do as Elijah did?” Jesus was calling them out in this questioning, because He knew that He was being faithful to the Will of God, and wanted them to realize that He doesn’t want to continue to be compared to Elijah – but that, He is doing miracles as God Wills them to be done. He reflects the Father in every way and does what He sees the Father doing; therefore, His ways are perfect. However, all this explanation did was anger the people there that He was instructed, and they wanted Him thrown out.

Comparing Elijah with John the Baptist

The answer for this is recorded in Luke 1:5-7; 15-17: “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

As we see here, John the Baptist is similar to Elisha, in that; he received the spirit and power of Elijah, which would be fulfillment of the prophecy that Elijah shall come again. The Jews expected Elijah as the forerunner of the Messiah. John showed the spirit of Elijah in his clothing, in his life in general, and in his messages of repentance.

Elijah was a sign of the coming of the Lord

We see in Malachi 4:5 a prophecy, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Elijah is part of the last prophecy in the Old Testament, which concerns the return of Elijah the prophet to Earth, from Heaven, shortly before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. During this occurrence, there will be a great revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh and all of Israel will be saved because of the ministry of the “Two Witnesses.” It seems the Scripture is worded in a way that Elijah would be one of the “Two Witnesses” mentioned in Revelation 11:2-12. Some believe the second witness is Enoch, because both Enoch and Elijah did not see natural death. Some point to Moses.

We see Elijah and Moses together in Scripture during the transfiguration of Christ to Peter, James, and John his brother on the high mountain. Here is a snippet: “And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

Elijah and Jesus Christ compared

ElijahJesus Christ
Elijah called on God’s People to repent during a period of great unfaithfulness (1 Kings 19:14-18)Jesus announced the Kingdom of God that had come at the exact time God prepared it to do so (Mark 1:15)
Ravens were sent to care for Elijah in the desert, and an angel fed him during a 40 day journey in the wilderness (1 Kings 17:6; 19:3-8)Angels took care of Jesus while He was on a 40 day fast in the desert (Matthew 4:2; 4:11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2)
Elijah raised from the dead a widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17-24)Jesus raised from the dead a widow’s son in Nain (Luke 7:11-15)
Elijah was able to call down fire from Heaven to rain down upon his enemies (2 Kings 1:12)Jesus refused for His disciples to call fire from Heaven to rain down upon His enemies (Luke 9:52-56)
Elijah had one disciple, Elisha, who left his oxen to follow Elijah (1 Kings 19:19-21)Jesus called 12 disciples, who left their lives at home and served and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22)

Seer, Prophet, and High Priest: The extraordinary man that is Samuel!

The political background of Samuel involved the Philistines – whom were especially troublesome and in control of much of the territory controlled by the Israelites. It also involved the Tribes of Israel – who were not united, and each group sought to go its own way and protect itself, even if others of their brethren suffered. Next, we see invasions by Syrians, Moabites, Canaanites, Midianites, and Ammonites – who all caused great havoc and suffering in the land. In critical hours, deliverers arose to help drive out invaders and give the land a temporary ease.

Then, came the time of the judges, to which, came into focus that those Judges were used to overthrow great hordes of evil men who had taken possession of the Land of Israel. Gideon, Deborah, Jephthah, and Samson were some of the main judges. In Egypt, the 21st dynasty was coming to the throne after a weak 20th dynasty had failed completely, to which the golden days of power and influence were gone forever. Assyria was under the reign of Tiglath Pileser, who had built up a mighty kingdom, but had not come in contact with the struggling and suffering Israelites. We see a couple more empires/kingdoms noted, including the Hittite Empire, which was in decay, and the Aramean Kingdom, who rapidly became a troublesome power.

The social background of Samuel included a constant oppression and frequent wars, which kept the people unsettled. The years of conquest and possession had introduced them to uncounted problems. They didn’t have a settled government that could be relied on to organize them together against their enemies. When Samuel came, the Philistines had reduced them to another siege of slavery – and they were even deprived of means of sharpening their farm tools. This was tragic in the life of Israel.

As for the religious background of Samuel – they didn’t see any teaching or preaching for 300 years. We see a people who had a ring of neighbors with idols, many gods, heathen rites, cults, customs, and ceremonies. With those practices came immoral conceptions and a standard that produced a lifestyle that was not conductive to holy and godly spiritual worship. These people intermarried and gathered unto themselves idols as gods. The central sanctuary was at Shiloh, where the ark was kept and a High Priest officiating at the sacred altar. His name was Eli, a grand old man of Israel – and at this moment, Samuel was born.

If Hannah had not obeyed the Lord – Would Samuel had come?

Samuel’s prized possession was a godly mother who spent her years agonizing in prayer for her boy that was left in the Temple. The influence of a godly home, the solemn dedication to the sanctuary, and the fact that he had been given as an offering before God – were great prizes to this boy/man. His mother visited year to year strengthening the impressions that were already made in his tender years. All of this made for a powerful, faithful, and dynamic man of God – Samuel the Prophet.

Samuel’s mother, Hannah, kept her vow that she would dedicate the child to the Lord for service, and therefore, she did so. Samuel was presented to the Lord at the Temple and received as a young servant by the Old Priest Eli in Shiloh. Later, Samuel hears the voice of the Lord calling him to service, as we see in the text, to which was in the night hours. Samuel did not recognize it as the voice of God and ran to ask Eli about it. Eli gave him admonition after Samuel did this a couple times. When Samuel heard the Lord’s voice for the third time, he did as Eli told him to do, and said to the Lord, “speak; for thy servant heareth.” Samuel heard the prophecy against his house, the house of Eli and Samuel had the task as a young lad to pronounce judgment upon Eli’s house. Samuel waits for Eli to inquire for he feared to tell Eli of the conversation, to which Eli pleaded with Samuel to “hide it not from me.” Samuel was then established as the Prophet of the Lord, and the Lord appeared again in Shiloh and revealed Himself to Samuel.

His Work for the Lord

Samuel’s work and ministry included many things, especially being a first leader and “father” of the School of the Prophets. Samuel was the “Seer,” “Prophet,” and “High Priest.” He was a genuine representative of which God was working through in that hour after 300 years of silent religion in the land. He attained the High office of High Priest, which was made sacred by Aaron. He was truly “Yahweh” messenger and God had honored him with a Divine Call that gave him special revelations for the people. He was successful in restoring the kingdom.

He was also the first circuit judge in the Land of Israel. Through 40 years of his adult life, beginning at about age twenty, he did this work. He continued to be a judge after Saul was chosen until the kingdom was established. He judged Israel and exercised the office of a Prophet at the same time. He was used by God to choose and anoint kings, outline the terms of the kingdom, and oversee the king in his conquests. Samuel was highly esteemed as Prophet, Teacher, Priest, and Judge in Israel until his death around 38 years after the reign of King Saul.

Samuel was a deeply religious/spiritual person from childhood, was obedient to Yahweh, as well as to Eli and his parents. He was a magnanimous person in his thoughts and acts, and was a man of outstanding integrity. His burning social passion kept him active in helping his people, and through his long life, he spent himself, carrying the nation of Israel upon his heart.

It is amazing that one person could be such a great leader doing all kinds of things for the Lord. It is inspiring to see that the Lord designed him for such a great purpose, and he was so obedient in all the things that the Lord wanted him to do according to His Will. With what he accomplished, it was great that so many lives were touched because of him.

He was needed by others – see other accounts

In 1 Chronicles 6:28, we see the sons of Samuel, which were his firstborn Vashni, and Abiah. In Psalm 99:6, we see Samuel was among Moses and Aaron & priests as the chief – to which, they would call upon the Lord…and this includes complete worship of the Lord that Samuel led them. Jeremiah 15:1 talks about even though that Moses and Samuel stood before Him just as Jeremiah was doing, He did not want them in His sight (told him to cast them out of His sight and go forth).

We look next in Acts 3:24 in Samuel’s days the word of the Lord was precious or rare. There were many prophets from Samuel, and all have foretold of these days – as it explains. Then, in Acts 13:20, we see after the judges of 450 years, Samuel the prophet came. Lastly, in Hebrews 11:32-33, Samuel was described with others that through faith they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, etc.

Samuel had a great following, and worked great with fellow prophets and leaders, which was very helpful in chronicling all that the Lord had done.

How Samuel compares to Jesus Christ

SamuelJesus Christ
The High Priest Eli blessed Hannah’s son, Samuel, before his birth (1 Samuel 1:17)An angel blessed Mary before the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:30)
Hannah brought Samuel along with a sacrifice to dedicate him to God (1 Samuel 1:24-28)After purification, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple with an offering (Luke 2:22-24)
The parents went to the Tabernacle annually (1 Samuel 2:19)The parents went to the Temple yearly (Luke 2:41)
Samuel became of service to the TabernacleJesus studied and became of service in the Temple
Samuel would be given to Israel after a long silenceJesus would be given to Israel after a long silence
A boy who grew in favor of the Lord (1 Samuel 2:26)A boy who grew in wisdom and favor of the Lord and with men (Luke 2:52)
Samuel partially fulfilled God’s Promise of raising a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15; 1 Samuel 3:19-21)Jesus Christ completely fulfilled God’s Promise of a prophet, but this One was and is better than Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)
Samuel established kingship in Israel (1 Samuel 10:24-25)Jesus is the true Kingship of Israel and the world as a whole (Luke 1:32-33)

Beginning the Major and Minor Prophet work studies | Introductory post

Non-Writing Prophets are prophets that are mentioned but have not written a book in the Bible – versus a Writing Prophet who has written a book in the Bible. There are major and minor ones of each, however, the more prominent Major and Minor Prophets are the ones who are Writing Prophets. A Major Prophet is described as one who contains a large amount of material. A Minor Prophet, though they are not less than the Major Prophets, they usually contain less or are shorter in length for information. All prophets, Writing and Non-Writing; Major and Minor, mattered in the development of God’s Will for His People and other lands.

Elijah was an especially prominent and important Non-Writing Prophet. He was brought into the text suddenly as Melchizedek was, and there is no mention of a father, mother, or any beginning of his days. Little is known of Elijah, and some think he was dropped out of the clouds as if a messiah would be. He grew quickly into a witness of God as a prophet, and would change a good part of history within a fraction of time, and then bestow a royal blessing before being whisked off into Heaven by a chariot of fire.

An outline of Elijah’s prophecy:

  • In 1 Kings 17:1-4, we see his first prophecy – to which, he foretells of a great drought to Ahab, so Ahab is sent to Cherith, where the ravens would feed him.
    • This would be fulfilled shortly after with a terrible famine, which revealed Elijah to be a true prophet of God
  • Another prophecy is recorded in 17:14, which relates to God’s provision during the famine for both Elijah and the poor widow who fed him. God would provide food, and then it was fulfilled (As Elijah blessed the woman’s oil and flour) by the continual provision of food out of the same container for many days.
  • Elijah helped deal with idolatrous activity, especially in 1 Kings 18-22. Elijah’s final act before his ascension to Heaven by chariot of fire was handing the mantle over to Elisha. He desired that Elisha prepare himself, being modest and humble and to hold peace. Honor would be placed on Elisha so suddenly, and Elijah sought to comfort him and bestow the magnificent blessing from God upon him.

Miriam, from the Old Testament, was a prophetess and sister of Aaron; an instructor of praise and service of God to other women. She had the Spirit of prophecy upon her, and showed it through song and dance.

  • In Exodus 15:20-21, we see her with a timbrel in hand leading other women in the same with dances, and she said to sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously – the horse and his rider are thrown into the sea.
    • She was speaking here things that she saw, and declared the glory of the Lord as a result of victory.

Elisabeth, from the New Testament, was barren, until God had chosen her to bear a child of prophecy (John the Baptist). Not much is known about her, except that she was friends with Mary, who would bear The Child of Prophecy (Jesus). One time is recorded when she met with Mary that the child (John) leapt in her womb – to which, Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Outline of her prophecy in Luke 1:42-43: She spoke out with a loud voice to Mary saying that she was blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of her womb. In this altogether, she acknowledges the incarnation of Christ, and for Mary to be His mother.

satan is a false prophet who seeks to mislead people away from the truth. He began in Genesis in the Garden of Eden, as we see in Chapter 3. We also see much of “satan” in Job, as he is used as an accuser of Job. The object of satan is a tool of accusation to speak into people’s lives lies about them, to attempt to mislead and challenge them. That is the role of satan in everyday culture is false but prophetic devices used to lead people astray. If people are reluctant, however, to be led astray, they overcome the satan and such devices.

Moses is definitely one prophet to note. He was raised in the court of the Pharaoh of Egypt, and then led the Hebrews out of Egypt. God spoke to him in a burning bush instructing him to persuade the Pharaoh in releasing the Hebrew people. (More about Moses to come soon!)

Outline of a prophecy, found mainly in Deuteronomy 28:49-52:

  • This prophecy is given after conditions of the Covenant were listed (blessings and curses). The curses involved diseases and plagues upon the Israelites’ families, flocks, herds, and crops. If problems continued, the whole nation would go into humiliating captivity.
  • The foreign invaders would be so cruel as to make people desperate for food so much as to eat their own children. Eventually, as prophesied, the nation would be destroyed and the people would be taken captive into foreign countries.
  • When in foreign countries, they would be treated worse than animals, and would die horribly. Many would be shipped as slaves to Egypt.

John the Baptist was a good Non-Writing Prophet from the New Testament, who was a messenger and a prophet. Prophets foretold the Messiah, and John was a herald to announce Him. John was miraculously born and was the subject of prophecy – to which, he was humble and pointed people to Christ. Jesus spoke of him as well, “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).

Peter’s admonitions on identifying the attributes of Prophets are in 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Peter 3:2: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.”

Biblical Prophets should be uncompromising, which means they are not bound by the opinions of others. For they are conscious of a divine call and realize that they must speak only the Prophetic Word of God – to which, the divine compulsion must be obeyed. They stay on task no matter what and know that they have the privilege to speak, which is by access to the inner counsel of Yahweh. They have immediate contact with God, and He is the bearer of such precious secrets. They have an intense passion for truth, especially in proclaiming it. They know that God is the authority and they trust in Him to provide sound wisdom through them, in hopes that people would be admonished. They are individuals of prayer and communion, to which they must be clean and lead consecrated lives (especially good character). They are outspoken critics of evil and act as God’s agent to correct, reprove, exhort, and reveal the future to the people of God.

We see Peter talking about the presence of the Spirit in the Old Testament Prophets in 1 Peter 1:10-12, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”

Peter speaks that they were filled with the Holy Ghost to speak such things, and then points that into our direction, as we now preach the gospel. We have the Spirit of Prophecy available to us, as he says, and this ensures that God can continue to communicate to His People overall.

Circumcision as a Jewish rite is not required for Salvation | Colossians 2:11-12

“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

Commentary: In a nutshell…Paul is illustrating here a likening of Christian Salvation to the common Jewish rite of circumcision; however, he is also refuting the need for Jewish circumcision for Salvation. Paul was saying that Salvation through Christ is like a cutting away of the flesh, in that a physical part is not cut away, but the old nature where the man sinned was cut away. This would help the man realize that he does not have to sin anymore to fulfill his own desires, for he is charged now to fulfill God’s Desires, his new life in Christ.

Peter and Paul’s argument: You may know Peter and Paul railed against each other over whether Christians, Messianic Jews or Gentiles, should be physically circumcised. What needed to be straight between them two to finally seal the argument is the line drawn between the Law being fulfilled in Christ, and what requirements believers should have in fulfilling the Law. Peter had been stuck in Jewish school for quite some time; however, Paul was an astute scholar in Jewish culture, rites, and overall religious duties – so much that he was a fundamentalist.

Expanded: In Colossians 2:11, we are circumcised in Christ and are made complete. How this occurred was that Christ first had to accomplish this, to which death had been cut off from Him, ceasing the old order of things. Therefore, He died to sin, and lived to God. He no longer serves sin even though He had no sin but could still be tempted as we saw His annoyances in the wilderness especially, but serves God. Sin no more, God wholehearted. This was His model for us and what He does for us (Romans 6:10).

How does this translate to us… We are saved, death comes in between ourselves and the flesh, which allows us to be separate from the flesh so that it can no longer be served (no more serving of sin). Therefore, we do not serve man or serve this world – we serve God!

Verse 11 talks about death, in other words. Then, in verse 12, this shows burial and resurrection. Burial completes and sanctions death, which means that we are buried in baptism, and then risen in Christ through faith just as God raised Christ from the dead.

Include verse 13 as an end-note, but this is important… We pass from what has been accomplished in Christ to our individual accomplishment, which can only be done by Christ. What shall we say then? Our sins are blotted out by the cross, and the legal system controlling man is no longer in control of us – we are no longer under law, but under grace.

What is interesting is that this is actually a parable that the Jews would understand quite well – as long as they believe in Christ and been saved of course. Deuteronomy 10:16 and 30:6 tells us that our hearts should be circumcised so that we do not become stiffnecked, but also that we shall love our Lord thy God with all our heart and soul, which brings us life. My tone changes now, when I read from Jeremiah 4:4, but this is vital, because it is a prophecy fulfilled by Jesus and explained well in Romans 6:6 (please read these references if you have the chance). God is giving a prophecy through Jeremiah that people are to circumcise their own hearts to be rid of sin (something only Jesus could do in Salvation, by the way), and if this is not done, God will bring His fury upon them because of their evil. Jesus fulfills this because our old man is crucified with Him and the body of sin is destroyed so we no longer serve sin and no longer are subject to God’s Wrath.

Another insightful piece is that Joshua was Moses’ minister, and Jesus is the minister to the Gentiles. But Jesus is our minister (Romans 15:8). For Joshua in Joshua 5:2-9, where the Israelites are circumcised in Canaan. Joshua is the type for circumcision, and Jesus is the antitype and author of the true circumcision (of Christ)(also see Romans 2:29).

People continue to sin, even though the sinful nature has been separated from them, because of a weakness to specific lusts. First, believers should know that their struggle against sin is common, because we still have memory of our old self being involved in sin, we characterize that as a normal human activity – so the temptation comes along and we feel urged to resolve it by committing to the action associated with the temptation.

However, that needs put away through confession and repentance of sin. Because we are told that we are to not yield our members as instruments of wickedness to sin (which means that Christians must have the ability to do so). People should yield their bodies for use to God for righteousness sake, and in doing this, sin will not have power over us. You see? Sin nature removed from us removes its power over us; therefore, since we no longer serve sin but serve God, we are much less apt to sin.

This is all shaped by not being under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14). We are delivered from sin’s slavery so that we can obey God, not go back to sinning and committing wicked acts (Galatians 5:1). This explains that freedom has a purpose: to breed obedience to God. Freedom of choice has always been ordinance of man. Even if a Christian is found sinning, there is no shame because Jesus put that shame to death, removing the condemnation from us (Romans 8:1). We would lie if we say we did not have sin, which is why Jesus did what He did to reassure us that we are safe from condemnation (1 John 1:8; 2:1).

Other notes: 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 King James Version (KJV) 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire… (See also: Hebrews 11:26-27).