Bone of Life

“And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.” 2 Kings 13:20-21 (KJV)

Elisha’s death was not a good thing for Israel. It spoke of their death, their future captivity. Just as Elijah was honored after his departure, and during his departure (2 Kings 2:11); so too was Elisha honored following his death.

In Elisha’s life and ministry there had been resurrections (2 Kings 4:31-37), and other great miracles (chapter 5 Naaman is healed of leprosy).

Here is a man being buried by his family possibly. The Moabite invaders are coming suddenly, and in haste they put the body of the man in an already prepared tomb; which is the tomb of Elisha. They get more than they expect, and as the body of the dead man touches the bones of Elisha; showing all that there is life after death; the man is resurrected.

This power shows us that Elisha is still living. It shows us that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12:26-27).

Jesus the living Son of God, and God the Son came out alive after 3 days in the tomb. He Himself is the giver of life. Believe Him to be delivered from death; and to live eternally with Him.

Open His Eyes That He May See

“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15-18 (KJV)

Any time the king of Syria made a move against Israel the plot was spoiled. He believed, at first, that there could be a traitor in their midst. It was revealed to the king that the prophet Elisha was the spoiler of their plot; and sent soldiers to catch the prophet and bring him in.

In Dothan the servant of Elisha sees the army, sent to fetch one man; and becomes frightened asking Elisha, “How [What] shall we do?” Elisha answers, “Fear not…” and explains, “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Elisha was seeing a far greater host surrounding themselves, and the Syrian soldiers. It was a heavenly host of angels with horses and chariots of fire. Elisha prayed for his servants eyes to be opened that he might see; then prayed to blind the eyes of the Syrians; and the LORD did according to the word of Elisha.

God’s protection for His people is beyond any protection we can provide for ourselves. When we walk in the power and fear of God; there is nothing else we need to fear.

Open our eyes Lord, that we might see and know that YOU are with us.

The Peril of Mocking God

“And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.” 2 Kings 2:23-24 (KJV)

Elisha, like Elijah whom had just been caught up to God in a whirlwind (2:11) was a prophet to the northern kingdom. Israel was an idolatrous people. They hated God, and the “old ways”. They had been led in this way by godless leadership. Because of this the children grew up mocking God, God’s word, and God’s messengers [prophets].

It is believed that the “children” mentioned in the text were most likely in their teen years. They were old enough to be apart from their parents, and any form of guardianship to be where they were. We also need to realize there were probably at least 50 of them. Today (2015), we would call them a “Gang”, and evidently an unruly one; so for anyone to start blaming God, His prophet or whatever you like would be foolish.

These people were mocking God, God’s prophet and His word. They were an immediate threat to the prophet. To blame God, or Elisha for this tragedy is indeed foolish. The blame lies with the children/youth, their parents and the culture in which they lived.

In the New Testament it is written;

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7

There is judgment for mocking God, His word, and His messengers.

For Sale: One Soul

“And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.” 1 Kings 21:20 (KJV)

The confrontation of Ahab by God’s prophet Elijah was following one of the most horrendous acts of murder and treachery in history and Scripture. With the direct scheming, plotting, and lies of Jezebel; to which Ahab was complicit; to murder, and rob citizen Naboth the Jezreelite, of his vineyard.

Note that Ahab considers Elijah an enemy. That in itself speaks volumes of Ahab’s heart. King David; even following his heinous acts of deceit and the murder of Uriah; welcomed the prophet Nathan into his courts (2 Samuel 12:1-14). Anyone who speaks the word of God should be our friend.

How does one begin to sell themselves? The selling of oneself to evil or good is up to that individual. To sell oneself to evil begins with the lust of the eye; the lust of the flesh; and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Jesus Himself was tempted in these three things; from which all sin comes; when He went into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)

All it takes to sell yourself to evil is to see God and His word as antiquated, and without merit in the world; or personal life and living. To see God as a liar; or even non-existent; and to make your own deities.

Hear the words of Jesus,

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37

Sell yourself rather to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has paid for you with His own life.  Call upon His name, trusting in His death, burial and resurrection, and He will deliver you from your sin and condemnation.

Stand for Righteousness

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

The Nation was under the rule of a godless king, who was ruled by a demonic, and godless woman. God would show Himself strong and reveal Himself; but who would be the man who would stand before this godlessness?

How would the man of God stand? Upon what would he stand? First of all he would confront the king. Secondly he would stand upon the word of God; and take the message of God to this ruthless, evil ruler.

Christian there is no other thing for us to stand upon with a sure and strong foundation than the commandments, the statutes, the law, the judgments, the precepts, the testimonies, and the way of God. When we begin to rob the power of the word of God, by putting it below technology, science, finance, homes or family; then we have a major problem. Society weakens, culture worsens, and evil flourishes.

Stand of the word of God; begin by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who bled and died for your sins; and was raised again bodily from the grave. He is returning to earth one day to put away sin forever.

God Does Not Lie

“He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.” 1 Kings 13:18 (KJV)

The North and South has divided into two kingdoms. Judah is ruled by Rehoboam, a son of Solomon. Jeroboam rules the northern kingdom called Israel; and has led Israel into idolatry, even to the worship of calves set up in Bethel and Dan.

There are two unnamed prophets in this text. One has come with the word of God to Jeroboam of his fall, and as a sign the altar was torn, and the ashes on it spilled onto the ground, just as the man of God had said.

The man of God had been given a direct commandment from God to turn and go home without eating or drinking, and to go home a different way than that which he came.

The prophet of our verse above had heard of the prophet from his sons who were present at the altar when it was torn, and went to him with a lie.

As I read this today I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to the Galations,

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galations 1:6-9

One way to discern what is from God; He never changes His word. God’s Word is stable, steadfast, and sure.  Men lie. God does not.

A Prophet of the LORD

“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 3:19-21 (KJV)

At this point of time with the people of Israel God is not pleased with those who are the spiritual leaders of the nation. Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phineas who were very immoral with them and treated the Lord and His offerings with contempt. This was so even to the point of the judgment of death, the taking of the ark of the covenant by the Philistines; and the departure of the “glory of God” from Israel (4:10-22).

Before this judgment came upon them the LORD provided them a prophet, Samuel. The word of the LORD came to Samuel. He was not familiar with the voice of God, and needed instruction. The LORD God still reveals Himself through the word of the LORD.  The LORD will do nothing accept He reveal through His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).  His Word speaks quite clearly to all who will read it, believe it and heed it; an today.

His Living Word is Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. The crucified, buried, resurrected, and coming again King of kings and Lord of lords.

The glory of God may be gone from the nation, but not from His prophets, and His faithful people. Believe His word. Believe God. Believe His Son.

Putting Evil Away

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)

The prophet or preacher of God, the man of God is to speak the word of God. Anything contrary to the word of God is a lie. The man or woman who says God said something which God has not said is worthy of death.

I would say that God gave these verses partly due to men like Balaam who sought reward from Balak the Moabite king and people who sought to curse the children of Israel, and to lead them astray at Baalpeor (Numbers 25).

I have in my mind another prophet who stood against the prophet of God, Jeremiah. Hananiah stood against Jeremiah, and the word of God. Jeremiah pronounced that Hananiah would die within the year; and Hananiah the false prophet died that year (Jeremiah 28:11-17).

Putting evil away is through the preaching of the Word of God, and doing what God says.  The man of God has a great responsibility with the word of God. We are not to twist it to please people; including ourselves. We are to proclaim it as God has spoken it. Pleasing the people to draw a crowd does not please God. The word of God is written for us to read, to hear, and to heed. See 2 Timothy 2:15.

Cause of Prayer – To Recognize the False Messiah

“…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:26b-27 (KJV)

In the ninth place we see the SEVENTIETH WEEK; THE PRINCE TO COME; AND HIS COVENANT OF PEACE WITH ISRAEL (vv. 26b-27). The ‘prince that shall come’ is speaking of a deceiver. Some time following the disappearance of the saints of God, this man will come on the scene and make a peace covenant with Israel for seven years “One week”.

In the midst of the week – 3.5 years – this prince will break that covenant, and set himself up in the temple of God – “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

He will desolate the temple. Really just his presence in the temple will be worse than the pig which Antiochus Epiphanes placed on the altar. In his desolation he will call for the people of the world to worship him. That is when he begins running into problems. The last 3.5 years will be a time of judgment upon the earth such as no one has ever seen.

Not only will Israel be delivered during this time, but when Jesus comes to put an end to sin, they will look upon Him whom they have pierced (Rev. 1:7). In John 19:37 it says, “And again another scripture saith, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced”.

The seven years of ‘tribulation will end with Jesus coming in the clouds with His saints, conquering the rebellious nations of earth, ‘the inhabitants of earth’, cleansing the land; and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords.

There is no torment on earth today that can compare to what will come when the earth comes under the final judgment of Jesus Christ. One day, every knee will bow to God, and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS. MARANATHA.

Cause of Prayer – For the Restoration of Jerusalem to the Messiah – Jesus Christ

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself…” Daniel 9:25-26a (KJV)

In the eighth place we are told of THE RESTORATION OF JERUSALEM UNTO THE MESSIAH – WHO IS CHRIST JESUS (vv.25-26a). A decree would go forth for the restoration of Jerusalem from a Gentile king. There was such a decree that went forth from a king to Nehemiah to go and rebuild the walls of the city (Nehemiah 2).

The restoration of Jerusalem was done in 49 years. This period of time equals the ‘seven weeks’. There are 7 days in a week times 7 weeks equals 49 days. Each day equals 1 year. After the restoration of Jerusalem it would be 62 weeks until Messiah was ‘cut off’ this would equal 483 years. The Messiah, that is Jesus Chris, would be crucified on a cross in Jerusalem.

NOTICE – Seventy (70) weeks times 7 equals 490 weeks. This means that only 69 weeks have been fulfilled. The first 483 have been fulfilled exactly as God told Daniel. There have been approximately 2000 years since the completion of the 483 years. There remains 7 yet to be fulfilled. That seven years is known by at least two different titles; first, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7); secondly, we know it better; as Christians today by “Tribulation period” – “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (Rev. 2:22). It is also known as the “Day of the LORD” in many Old Testament passages.

I for one am anxiously awaiting the second coming of Jesus to restore His kingdom on earth, and rule from His throne in Jerusalem. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Cause of Prayer – Understanding the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” Daniel 9:24 (KJV)

In the seventh thing we see the angel giving DANIEL THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS (v. 24). This is the thing Daniel read from Jeremiah concerning Israel (Daniel 9:2). In the prophecy each seven day week represents seven years, thus the seventy weeks would represent a total of 490 years. What was the purpose of these years – one week of which or seven years, has not yet come to pass.

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:10-11

The purpose of the seventy weeks has a six fold purpose; 1) “To finish the transgression” ie., to bring an end to Israel’s transgression – their sin and rebellion against God in worshipping idols; 2) “To make an end of sins”; 3) “To make reconciliation for iniquity”, ie., that is to reconcile the nation to God; 4) To bring in everlasting righteousness; 5) To seal up the vision of the prophecy; and 6) To anoint the most Holy.

The power of God in prayer will be revealed to those who love the Lord, and love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

Cause of Prayer – To Receive Skill and Understanding in the Word

The following verses were used previously. Here they are used to make another point.

“And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Daniel 9:20-23 (KJV)

The sixth thing we see is, that while DANIEL PRAYING, THE ANGEL GABRIEL CAME AND GAVE HIM UNDERSTANDING (vv. 20-23). Daniel prayed; confessing the sins of the people of Israel and his own sins, and lifting up supplications unto the Lord for their land. While he was praying the angel Gabriel appeared to him once again.

Gabriel said he had come to give Daniel “Skill and understanding”. I do not think it is too bold of a statement to say that it was because of Daniel’s devotion to God and His Word that God chose him for “Skill and understanding”. Daniel was fervent in prayer. He was consistent in his prayers. He was devoted to the Word of God. He was an obedient servant to God. He fasted. He wept. He mourned. I find it no surprise that God chose Daniel to give “Skill and understanding”.

Notice, the angel said, “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee..” Daniel’s prayers were heard from day one. His faith was strong in the Word of God.

The angel also tells him, “Thou are greatly beloved…” What a decree to come from the mouth of one of God’s angels.

When the Christians of the world today will be in fervent prayer, and have a devotion to God, to Christ Jesus, and His Word; as was Daniel, then, God will give to Christians “Skill and Understanding” in the word and prophecy.

Cause of Prayer – There is a Fervent Need

“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:19-27 (KJV)

In the fifth place we see that, DANIEL’S PRAYER WAS A FERVENT PRAYER. Daniel’s heart yearned for the day of deliverance. Even though he probably knew he would never see it – he would die in Babylon – still longed for that day when the people would return to Jerusalem, rebuild its walls, streets, temple and everything that goes with it all.

He fervently prayed – ie., with passion, commitment, and fire. Here are some things which accompany fervent prayer:

Humility – Change of garments – to garments of mourning ;; shaving off the hair on the head;
Crying – almost uncontrollable weeping;
Tearing of clothes – an outward sign of sorrow;
Fasting – committed to seeing God’s will done, even to the place of denying one’s self the physical needs one may have;
Sighing, groaning, even the sweating of blood.

Fervent prayer cares nothing for the negative opinions of others – the things listed above will seem fanatical to others who are less devoted, and unconcerned.

Daniel fasted.

Reasons people in the Bible fasted; 1)Private problems; 2) Hannah for a child; 3) Public disasters; 4) The death of a king and his sons (1 Samuel 31); 5) Personal grief; 6) Grief for personal sin; 7) Pity for friends or others; 8) Searching for the will of God. It would do the Church of Jesus Christ wonders, if we would begin doing some fasting. We, today, are more familiar with feasting.

Jesus Through the Bible – Greater Prophet

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.’ And the LORD said unto me, ‘They have well spoken that which they have spoken.  I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.'”  Deuteronomy 18:15-19

Jesus, a prophet?  Yes!  But so much more than just a prophet.  He is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke.  Deuteronomy 34:10 tells us that when Moses had “died” (no man knowing his burial place) that “…There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.”  No one after Moses except for Jesus could have laid claim to speaking with God “face to face”.

Jesus was like Moses in several ways

  1. He was spared death as a baby (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13-23);
  2. He  renounced a royal court (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 11:24-27);
  3. He had compassion on His people (Numbers 27:17; Matthew 9:36);
  4. He made intercession for the people (Deuteronomy 9:18;  Hebrews 7:25);
  5. He spoke with God face to face (Exodus 34:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:7);
  6. He was the mediator of a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1; Hebrews 8:6-7).  These are from the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes for Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

Jesus a prophet?  Definitely.  So much more than a prophet; the Prophet, the Lord, The Saviour, the Redeemer of mankind.  The Mediator of a Greater Covenant – The Gospel of grace.

The Least in the Kingdom of Heaven is Greater than John

“What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.  For this is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.’  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.  And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 11:7-15)

GOD Will Rise

PLEASE NOTE:  The following article was posted January 18, 2008.  My prayer is for God’s people to hear God’s Word and repent.

Can you imagine being born into a family of priests. Can you imagine even more, that after you have grown to be a man, that you receive a call from God to be His prophet. You are told that you will be a prophet to the people of God, that you will be a prophet to the nations. You are also told that you will speak whatever God puts in your mouth.

“The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.”  Jeremiah 1:1-3 (KJV)

The name Jeremiah means, “Jah will rise” and “Jah” is short for “Jehovah”. That name is given to us in one of the Psalms. In Psalm 68:4 it is written, “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH [Jah], and rejoice before Him.” The use of the name Jeremiah and of JAH seems to be that even though the Nation has fallen into ill will with God, that He is raised, He is exalted, and He will be praised by His people.

Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry takes place during some of the roughest of times, especially for a prophet. The people were so secure in their beliefs, that they were living under falsehood. They were thinking that because the temple was present in Jerusalem, then they would never fall.

The task of a true prophet of God would have been quite difficult for Jeremiah, as he was also a priest, and being from a family of priests, that would mean confronting some of the sins and discrepancies of the priesthood. Because of this he would not be very popular. But then, no prophet is ever popular, or well thought of while they are living.

Jeremiah probably prophesied during the latter years of king Josiah’s rule in Judah. Josiah was a good king, who brought reform that could even be called a revival to the nation. It is said of king Josiah, “He did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD” 2 Chronicles 34:2; but it was only shortlived so it was only temporary reform, which grieved the heart of this prophet of God.

When the people only put on a temporary change, because it has been legislated, rather than having a personal relationship with God, and a change of heart, it should grieve the hearts of those who know God.

This heart for God from this prophet would bring much sorrow, pain, and persecution from his family, friends, and the people. There seems to be only one who is faithful to Jeremiah and the Lord throughout this prophecy, and his name is Baruch (Chapter 45). We are each called, as a child of God, to be faithful to God, and support all those who are also faithful to God in proclaiming His Word.

God will rise and be exalted.

Elijah’s Confrontation of Evil

There is evil in the world.  I do not think there is anyone with a clear and sober mind who would deny that is true.  The definition of evil may be different for some people.  Some who call evil good; and call good evil (Isaiah 5:20).  Our understanding of evil must be based upon how the Word of God explains evil.

It is quite clear from our understanding of Scripture that what Ahab has done is evil.  He has hated, and despised God, His Word, and His prophet greatly.  There are some who would call the victory of Mount Carmel over the prophets of Baal, “evil”, because they were all put to death.  Those who would call that evil are probably haters of God and righteousness.

Ahab was an evil king; the king of the Northern kingdom called Israel; and he had a very wicked wife.  This all become more and more apparent as we get into chapter 21 of First Kings.  There are a couple of verses I want to post in this article 21:20 and21:25.

First let me give you some background.  It seems that the wicked, vile and evil king saw something he wanted, and he sought to get it.  It was a beautiful vineyard owned by a man named Naboth.  Now, Naboth had reverence for the commandments of the LORD,

“And Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.” verse 3

Naboth was thinking of the law of the LORD concerning land ownership and the law of God (Leviticus 25:23).  When Naboth refused the land to the king, Ahab went home flopped himself down on his bed, because someone stood his ground; and he pouted and moaned; and I would not be surprised to know that he also cried like a baby who did not get what he wanted at the candy store.  Guess what.  His wicked wife Jezebel, set him straight, and promised him that she would get that vineyard for him.

Jezebel set about with a scheme – a wicked and vile plan – by which she would break the ninth commandment.  “Thou shalt not bear false witness…”  She set Naboth up; set up liars against him, accused him of blaspheming God and the king.  It is not like she cared for God; because she hated and despised him as did her precious hubby.  The accusations stuck, and they took Naboth out of the city and stoned him to death (v.13).  Then, she tells Ahab, “Naboth is stoned, is dead, now go and claim your vineyard.

The prophet of fire hears of this evil deed the king and queen has devised and performed; because “the Word of the LORD came to Elijah”; and God’s Word to Ahab is this,

“And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD, ‘Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?’ And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD, ‘In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.” 1 Kings 21:19 (KJV)

The Word of the LORD is spoken thus it shall be done.  Notice how the wicked king responds, and Elijah’s response to that,

“And Ahab said to Elijah, ‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ And he answered, ‘I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.” verse 20

He sees Elijah as an enemy.  It should be quite clear to all that if Elijah was his enemy; Ahab hated the Word of God, hated God, and he hated God’s prophet; thus Ahab considered God his enemy.  The love of God for Ahab is quite apparent in these verses.  He has sent Elijah time and time again to warn him, give him direction, and prove Himself to Ahab, but Ahab refuses the mercy, grace and love of God.

The two verses I mentioned at the beginning, was verse 20, and the last part of that verse,

 “I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.” verse 20

and verse 25,

“But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.”

Elijah tells Ahab, “You have sold yourself to work evil in the sight of the LORD”.  Just what does it mean to “sell yourself”.  When one sells themself; they are no longer the one in control.  Their owner is in control.  The owner of Ahab, and his wife Jezebel was their lustful, vile, and evil desires for possessions, power and prestige.  Ahab sold himself to do evil.  He loved evil and hated righteousness.

When Ahab hears the word of God he humbles himself (vv. 27-29).  My first thought would be to say that he only humbled himself because he knew he was caught; but God knows the man’s heart.  Nevertheless the word of God is true.  It will not be voided; it will come to pass just as the LORD has spoken (1 Kings 22:27-29 and 2 Kings 9:30-37).  It has been said, “Some sow their wild oats, then pray for a crop failure”.  Some may sin against God, His Word and His prophets again and again, but judgment is coming.

O hear the Word of God.  Repent of your sins and be saved through the blood of God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  Confront the evil of your life today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah and Elisha

Sometimes these two men can be confused; at least they used to be to me.  Elijah was the prophet who confronted Ahab, and the culture of the time; and the departure from the LORD God for man made idols; human imagination run amok.

Elisha is a young man when Elijah is called by GOD to anoint him “in thy room” (1 Kings 19:16).  He was still in his father’s home, because he was plowing with the oxen when Elijah came to him (vv. 19-21).

I ask myself what the reason is for GOD calling another prophet to take Elijah’s place.  Is GOD angry with Elijah, thus getting another?  Is the ministry of Elijah coming to an end?  Maybe soon?  If we read ahead we find that Elijah would confront Ahab another time; concerning Naboth’s vineyard.  We will look at that sometime later.

The LORD wants to put to rest Elijah’s assumption that he is the only true prophet of God.  The LORD tells him,

“Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18 (KJV)

Elijah obeyed and went as the LORD commanded him.  He finds Elisha plowing with twelve yoke of oxen.  That seems to be a plenty of ox power, and more than necessary; but that is what we are told.  It probably means that there were twelve teams of oxen plowing – a yoke containing two – and with a man leading  each yoke; and Elisha taking up the rearward.   The mantle of Elijah is mentioned in Scripture at least five times; the first in 19:13; the second in verse 19; then the other three in 2 Kings chapter two.

The mantle seems to be used as a token or symbol of the power of God upon Elijah.  With it Elijah covers his face when he hears the still small voice, he cast it upon Elisha, he smote the waters of the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:8), Elisha receives it as Elijah is taken away (2 Kings 2:13-14); and then Elisha divides the Jordan using it as well.  More on that will come later in future study.

When Elisha passes by Elijah; Elijah cast his mantle upon him.  Now Elisha left his oxen, asked Elijah to go and tell his parents he was leaving, then he would follow him.  He would be Elijah’s student as a prophet; being prepared to take Elijah’s place in ministry of the Word of God.

“And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.’  And he said unto him, ‘Go back again: for what have I done to thee?’  And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”  1 Kings 19:20-21 (KJV)

Elijah’s telling Elisha to “Go back…” was telling him to do as Elisha had requested, but to not reject his calling.  Elisha goes and tells his parents of his calling in life, and they have a celebration, by the killing of Elisha’s yoke of oxen, and having a feast.  In his training as a prophet he was a servant unto Elijah.

Elijah was a faithful prophet of God.  Though he was weak in some points the LORD still used him.  In human weakness GOD is strong.  In our weaknesses God is glorified.

Be strong in the LORD and the power of His might.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, and a Still Small Voice

Following the victory at Mt. Carmel Elijah has ran from Jezebel, in fear of losing his life; then, prays for God to take his life.  Depression, fear, and doubt has crept into the man of God’s life.  However, as I can look at this and see it God is by no means silent with Elijah.

God sends an angel and provides food and water for him (1 Kings 19:5-8), and then, he goes for forty days and nights in the strength of that bread and water.  Now, only God can give a man the physical energy and strength to make that type of journey with no other physical bread or water.  Moses did it on Mt. Sinai, evidently twice at least (Exodus 24:18; 34:28).

The LORD led Elijah to Mt. Horeb called the Mount of God, which is Mt. Sinai where Moses had been with God.

Elijah was in need of a learning experience, as many of us are at times.  We are pretty given to believing that God only moves dramatically, and visibly, and always powerfully; but that is not always so.  God will move in His own way and His own time; and it may not be through answering by fire.

The man of God, the prophet came to a cave, and he made his lodging there.  That is when the word of the LORD came to him again,

“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said unto him, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’  And he said, ‘I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’  And He said, ‘Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.’  And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  1 Kings 19:9-12 (KJV)

Maybe, after the victory Elijah was expecting God to remove Ahab and Jezebel from the kingdom, or some kind of powerful and miraculous thing; but it did not happen.  We do not know what was in the mind of the man of God, but he ran for his life.  God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?”.  It is kind of like He asked Adam in the garden, “Where are you?”  Have you ever had someone ask you a question they knew the answer to; only to get you to think things through.

The LORD and His prophet are in session together, and Elijah tells the LORD that he is the only one of the prophets of the LORD left.  He has felt that way since before the victory on Carmel (1 Kings 18:22).  He had much to learn yet.

The LORD sends the prophet out of the cave, to stand and witness events the LORD would cause to pass before him.  A strong wind which tore the mountain, and broke the rocks of the mountain; then, an earthquake; then a fire.  In all three of these catastrophic means we are told, “the LORD was not in” them.  There came that “still small voice”, and Elijah covered his face;

“And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?'” 19:13

The wind, the earthquake and the fire did not spark much action from Elijah; but when he heard the still small voice he covered his face.  Surely he must have realized his fear, and realized the voice was that of God at work in his life.

He was still feeling as though he were the only prophet of God left in the land.  God tells Elijah to go and call Elisha the son of Shaphat (19:16) to be prophet in his place.  He also tells him that there are “seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal…” (v. 18)

It would seem that God is about to do something spectacular in the life of Elijah.  Even in our doubts and fears God is with us.  He still speaks to us.  Just because there is nothing dramatic with falling fire happening in our lives does not mean that we are forsaken; it is really the time for us to hear that “still small voice” and believe.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Sound of Abundance of Rain

Elijah had faced the greatest trial of his life, and won the greatest victory for the name of YaHWeH/Jehovah.  He had prayed a simple prayer to God,

“LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word.  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the LORD God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.”  1 Kings 18:36-37 (KJV)

The LORD God heard Elijah’s prayer, and did just what Elijah asked for.  Fire fell (v. 38), burnt the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licked up the water in the trench which Elijah had placed around the altar to display the power of God.  This was no magicians trick; no wizards wand was needed; it was the fire of God falling just as the man of God had requested.

The people of the Northern kingdom of Israel fell on their faces declaring, “The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God.”  At that moment in time there was no doubt in their minds who the God of Israel and the earth was.  Now these prophets and priests of Baal needed to be dealt with; and they would be dealt with unto death.

“And Elijah said unto them, ‘Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.’ And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” 18:40

When the LORD is God there is no room for false prophets and teachers.  They will be dealt with quickly.  The prophet Jeremiah was confronted by a false prophet, who prophesied differently from his own prophecy, and the LORD told Jeremiah to return to Hananiah and tell him that due to his lies he would die within the year (Jeremiah 28).  That prophet died by the hand of God Himself; just as the prophet had said.

Why deal so harshly and directly with false teachers and prophets?  These had in large part been responsible for leading the nation into apostasy, turning their backs on the GOD of Israel, leading them into all kinds of debauchery and rebellious living against the GOD  of all creation.  It needed to be seen by Israel that this will not be tolerated.

In this the Christian of 2012 can learn that the LORD God will not tolerate false teaching in the Christians life; and we are to weed out those teachings from our lives that distract us from Him; the LORD of the universe.  We are to keep our individual lives free from false teaching, teachers; from unholy living; and keep these things from our local congregations.  When a church begins propagating lies, heresy, and distracts from the Word of God and from our Lord Jesus Christ that church will fall, and its fire will go out.  No matter how large the attendance is, how great the crowd is at their weekly gatherings; it can still be without the fire of God.

When Elijah had dealt with the false prophets, then he told Ahab,

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, ‘Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” 18:41

For 3.5 years there had been no rain.  The land was parched, dry, brooks were dry the rivers were low, water was in short supply.  Now without even seeing a cloud, the  prophet tells the king, “…There is a sound of abundance of rain”.  The fire of God had fallen from the heavens.  The people had seen the fire of God fall, and they had fallen on their faces crying out, “The LORD, He is the God” and the liars had been put away.  Now rain was coming.  Refreshment, renewing and restoration to the land was coming.

You can turn to the LORD God today, and live forever.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He died for your sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; and is one day returning for His own.  He is the fire that John the Baptist spoke of in Matthew 3:11.  “…He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire…”

When God’s people return to the LORD there will be and we can hear “…The sound of Abundance of Rain”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, Obadiah, and the King Ahab

The prophet received word from the LORD that it was time for the rain to come on Israel.  That meaning in essence that it was time to call the nation to repent of their sins; and it was to begin with the king, and the false religion he and his wife espoused in the land.  The worship of Baal was a vile and evil religion which was an earthy, self-centered, pleasure oriented religion; and led the children of Israel away from the God of all creation.  That was partly why Elijah had prayed for no rain; to show that Baal was powerless.

Elijah meets Obadiah, and tells him to take message to Ahab that he  was ready to meet with him,

“And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, ‘Art thou that my lord Elijah?’ And he answered him, ‘I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.'” 1 Kings 18:7-8 (KJV)

Now, Obadiah was a bit cautious, and knew that the LORD was protecting Elijah, and feared that the LORD might just go back to moving Elijah around, hiding him from the king, but Elijah convinces Obadiah to get the message to  Ahab that he wants to meet with him (18:9-15).

Notice the king’s words to Elijah when he does meet him,

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel?’  And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.'”  1 Kings 18:17-18

It is accusation of dividing the nation, causing trouble.  I find it aggravating, insulting, and almost blasphemous to hear those who cry against the holy and righteous as always being the ones who are the “Troublers” of a nation or people.  That is what Ahab was charging against the prophet.  That is the cry of our post modern culture against those who stand against the unholy promotion of unholiness, and ungodliness.  Those who stand against same sex marriage are accused of being bigoted, haters, mean spirited, trouble makers.  We are supporters of what is holy, righteous and good.

Just as Elijah faced the king and told him “I have not troubled Israel; but thou and thy father’s house…”  You have troubled Israel.  Those who stand against God, righteous living, holy conduct, Biblical teaching, and Biblical conviction; they are the troublers of our nation and lives.

We are faced with a challenge.  Will we live for God?  Will we live by the words of the Bible, the words and life of Jesus Christ; or will we go along to get along?  I choose to live by the words of Jesus, the words of the Bible;

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  John 8:47 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

YAH is God

I have become fascinated with the prophet of Elijah in the past few years, and maybe so in the past few months.  He is known as the prophet of fire, and the reason for that title becomes apparent as you read the Scriptural accounts of his ministry and life.

The name Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah [YHWH]” or “YAH is God”,  and thus the title of this post.  I want to spend some time looking more into the life of Elijah who seems to just appear on the scene in the days of the rule of Ahab and Jezebel over Israel; the Northern kingdom.

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.'”  1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

The above verse is the first mention of Elijah in the Bible, but certainly not the last.  According to my check, Elijah’s name is mentioned at least 108 more times through the New Testament with thirty in the New Testament.  Being a “Tishbite” and since it seems that no one knows the location of a city by this name, then maybe the Strong’s application may be of service to us,

“tishbı̂y  tish-bee’  Patrial from an unused name meaning recourse; a Tishbite or inhabitant of Tishbeh (in Gilead): – Tishbite.”

Notice the word “recourse”, and that could apply more to the person’s; the prophet in this case; interest and heart.  Recourse meaning,

“1: a turning to someone or something for assistance or protection: Resort  2: a source of aid.”  MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

So could this not mean for us that Elijah was from Gilead, and had a burden for the children of Israel to turn to the One whom they were refusing for the protection and aid they really needed?  I think it is a great possibility.  The  prophet was a man who had a heart for God and for the Northern kingdom to turn to God.

Elijah told the king Ahab that there would be no rain, or dew until he called on the LORD God to give it.  We know from the epistle of James that was three and one half years without dew or rain (James 5:17).  Oh, how the people of God today need a heart like Elijah who will spend time with the LORD, know His heart, preach His Word, even to the kings of the earth; and tell them what God is about to do.

-Tim A. Blankenship