Wednesday, October 31, 2018
By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/D9iy0miJF4E
When David was old, two of his sons plotted to take the kingship after David. These two sons were full brothers sharing the same mother. The older of the two, Absalom, was killed when he attempted to overthrow and murder David to obtain the kingship. The second son was Adonijah whose efforts were more subtle but no less devious. As the oldest surviving son of David, Adonijah decided that he was the rightful heir to the throne of David.
1 Kings 1:5 NKJV 5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
This portion of the scripture is read alongside the Torah portion Chayei Sarah which includes the death of Abraham and the passing of the promise to his son Isaac. What do these passages tell us about the coming and the reign of God’s chosen Son?
David was the first king to fully unite the people of Israel and bring peace to the kingdom. Under his predecessor, Saul, the kingdom was continually at war with the Philistines who claimed land within the borders of Israel in the west along the Mediterranean Sea and inward toward Hebron. It was not until all the tribes of Israel embraced David as king that the borders of the kingdom were secured both from enemies within and without.
1 Chronicles 22:18 NKJV 18 "Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people.
At long last, God’s original promise to Abraham was in sight!
Genesis 12:1-2 NKJV 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
The seed of Abraham had finally taken possession of the land that God had promised to Abraham. The nation had now become a great nation with all the nations around Israel afraid of the might of Israel and King David. The children of Israel no longer lived in tents, so, it was time for them to build a permanent dwelling place for the Tabernacle of the LORD. The prophet Nathan confirmed that God supported David’s desire to build a dwelling place for the LORD.
2 Samuel 7:1-3 NKJV 1 Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies all around, 2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains." 3 Then Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you."
Nathan goes on to tell David that, because of his heart for the LORD, the LORD would establish David’s lineage as kings over Israel forever!
2 Samuel 7:12-13 NKJV 12 "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
Now that David was old, who would be king after him? Who would be entrusted to build the house of the LORD? Who would receive and continue the throne of David’s kingdom? There was more at stake than just who the next king would be! Adonijah thought that he was the obvious choice for that role. So, he went about securing the throne for his own. His father David had never denied him anything that he wanted in the past! He was also quite charming and good looking!
1 Kings 1:6 NKJV 6 (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, "Why have you done so?" He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.)
Like his brother Absalom who was first to aspire to take David’s throne, Adonijah was handsome. He was also just plain spoiled rotten.
David already had a man in mind for who he would select to succeed him. David had already promised Bathsheba that her son Solomon would be the next king of Israel. Bathsheba refers to this promise when she goes to King David about the news that Adonijah had declared himself to be king of Israel.
1 Kings 1:17 NKJV 17 Then she said to him, "My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your maidservant, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.'
Apparently, this decision was widely known. Certainly, we can infer that Adonijah knew. When Adonijah chose who to include in his entourage for declaring himself king, he left out his brother Solomon as well as David’s closest supporters including the prophet Nathan, the high priest Zadok, and Benaih Shimei and Rei, the top three of David’s mighty men. Instead, Adonijah selected those who had a reason to bear a grudge against David and would be willing to go against David’s will.
1 Kings 1:7-8 NKJV 7 Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah.
David’s general Joab had killed Absalom to put a final end to Absalom’s treason. David had expressly told Joab that Absalom was not to be harmed. Instead Joab deliberately made sure that Absalom die for his crime. As a result, Joab had reason to fear David and what would happen to him after David’s death. Rashi tells us that the priest Abiathar’s loyalty was questionable because David had dismissed the priest Abiathar from his duties also at the time of Absalom’s rebellion.
…but because he [Abiathar] had been dismissed from the priesthood at the time when David was escaping from Jerusalem because of Absalom he felt that he had been slighted.[i]
Adonijah did not have the support of those most loyal to David including his mighty men who led his armies! However, Adonijah proceeded as if he did have David’s support and the support of those around him. The presence of David’s general Joab and the priest Abiathar gave the appearance of legitimacy to his actions. Abiathar invited all of his brothers except Solomon to witness his coronation.
1 Kings 1:9-10 NKJV 9 And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah, the king's servants. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.
We can imagine the fate that Adonijah intended for Solomon, Nathan, and Zadok. By deliberately excluding them, Adonijah not only kept news of his actions from reaching David, but he also refrained from breaking bread with them. This opened up the very real possibility that Adonijah had marked them for death.
Adonijah chose the location of his coronation celebration carefully. He chose En Rogel which was southeast of Jerusalem at the intersection of the Hinnom, Kidron and Tyropoean Valleys. This was the site of the camp of David’s supporters during Absalom’s rebellion. David’s supporters waited there outside of Jerusalem while those loyal to David still in Jerusalem would sneak out of the city and deliver the news to David’s supporters.
2 Samuel 17:17 NKJV 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed at En Rogel, for they dared not be seen coming into the city; so a female servant would come and tell them, and they would go and tell King David.
The place would have had a positive connotation and be associated with those who support David. Ironically, the place would play a central role in Adonijah’s defeat, just as it did in the defeat of Absalom.
Despite Adonijah’s plans to conduct his coronation in secret and present it as an accomplished fact, Nathan heard about his plans and enlisted Bathsheba’s help in thwarting them. He encouraged her to go to David and present Adonijah’s action as having been accomplished. Bathsheba reminded David of his promise to make Solomon the next king. Then she went on to describe Adonijah’s actions.
1 Kings 1:18-21 NKJV 18 "So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it. 19 "He has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. 20 "And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 "Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders."
Bathsheba’s words were designed to provoke David, who is described as old and feeble, to act quickly and decisively. He must make a decision. Who would be king after him? Would he allow the spoiled and willful Adonijah to usurp David and God’s plans, or would he act? Would he knowingly place Solomon and his beloved wife Bathsheba in danger by his failure to act? To emphasize the critical need for a quick decision, Nathan enters upon the heels of Bathsheba and asks if David had chosen Adonijah to be king.
1 Kings 1:24 NKJV 24 And Nathan said, "My lord, O king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne'?
Nathan emphasizes the severity of the event by expressing surprise that he had been left out of the decision, by relating the words of Adonijah’s supporters, and, the fact that David’s closest supporters were not included.
1 Kings 1:26-27 NKJV 26 "But he has not invited me-me your servant-nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 27 "Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?"
The succession and the promise of Abraham are at stake as is the building of the temple of the LORD! What will David do? Abraham, when faced with a Hagar and Ishmael’s threat to Isaac, listened to his wife at the confirmation of the LORD, and sent Hagar and Ishmael away.
Genesis 21:12 NKJV 12 But God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.
Isaac, when confronted with the truth about his two sons, finally acted and passed on the promise to Jacob and not Esau.
Genesis 28:1 NKJV 1 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.
David had not acted to prevent the rebellion of Absalom, nor had he acted decisively to end the threat that Absalom also posed to Solomon. When news of the battle between his own forces and those of Absalom’s forces reached him, his first concern was for the safety of Absalom.
2 Samuel 18:28-29 NKJV 28 And Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, "All is well!" Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, "Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!" 29 The king said, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about."
At this time, threatened by the actions of Adonijah, David heeded the words of Bathsheba and his advisor Nathan. He acted decisively to make his own selection of Solomon as the next king clear.
1 Kings 1:28-30 NKJV 28 Then King David answered and said, "Call Bathsheba to me." So she came into the king's presence and stood before the king. 29 And the king took an oath and said, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, 30 "just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so I certainly will do this day."
Where is Solomon in all of this? The decisions made by David impact him the most, yet he is silent. In contrast, his brother Adonijah vocally and adamantly declares that He will be king! Adonijah exalted himself against both David and God’s will. David will confirm, though, that Solomon is God’s choice at the gathering of the officials when he announces his plans for building the temple of God.
1 Chronicles 28:5-6 NKJV 5 "And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 6 "Now He said to me, 'It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father.
In all of this, until David brings him forward, Solomon remains in the background. When Moses chose Joshua to replace him as leader, Joshua remains in the background until after Moses’ death. David’s charge to Solomon echoes Moses’ charge to Joshua.
1 Chronicles 28:20 NKJV 20 And David said to his son Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God-my God-will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
Moses charged Joshua with bringing the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua, like David, fought to take the land and establish Israel as a nation. David completed the work that Joshua began and so we come to a new mission or task, that of building the house of the LORD. The Stone Edition Chumash comments on God’s sure hand in guiding Israel.
Can one imagine how the history of Israel would have been harmed if the king had been the imperious prince to whom monarchy meant lavish feasting amid fawning courtiers instead of the wisest of men, whose legacy was the Temple, and the Books of Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes? But the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.[ii]
David’s declaration that Solomon would be king after him, clinches the matter. The haftarah portion actually ends with Bathsheba’s acceptance of David’s vow. The scriptures continue with the description of Solomon’s coronation which took place at the spring of Gihon within earshot of Adonijah’s celebratory feast.
1 Kings 1:38-40 NKJV 38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David's mule, and took him to Gihon. 39 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon!" 40 And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.
When God’s choice takes the throne in Israel, even the earth will join in the celebration! When Adonijah, the pretender to the throne, heard the clamor and learned that David had proclaimed Solomon as king, he ran and sought refuge at the horns of the altar in the Tabernacle of the LORD.
God had promised David that his descendant would sit on David’s throne and have an everlasting rule. The prophet Jeremiah tells us that a son of David will be raised up to execute judgment and righteousness on the Earth.
Jeremiah 23:5 NKJV 5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In Yeshua’s time, even the people of Samaria who had tenuous claims to being Jews, were anticipating the coming of a Messiah ruler who would establish the true worship of God. Yeshua spoke to a Samaritan woman about these things.
John 4:23-26 NKJV 23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." 26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
Yeshua declared that He was the promised Messiah who comes to establish the truth of all things. But like Solomon, Yeshua was faced with one who would usurp His throne. During His lifetime, King Herod Agrippa desperately wanted to be declared King of Israel. When Yeshua returns, He will again be faced with a usurper who would be King. This usurper is known to us as The Antichrist. Paul tells us that this one who desires Yeshua’s kingship is accompanied by lying wonders.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NKJV 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
When Yeshua returns, those who take pleasure in unrighteousness and follow the lawless one will be deceived; they will follow the wrong king. Those like Nathan, Zadok, and Benaiah who are loyal to David will recognize the coming of their true king and work to bring about the declaration of His kingship. Prophet, priest, and mighty man of God will join together to bring in the reign of Yeshua Messiah!
1. Adonijah chose to hold his coronation ceremony by the stone of Zoheleth (#2120) by En Rogel (#5883). Solomon’s coronation was held by the spring of Gihon (#1521). Look up the meanings of these places. How do the locations of these ceremonies factor into the significance of these events?
2. The priest Abiathar was of the lineage of Eli the priest who raised Samuel. What was the prophecy concerning his line? How does this apply to Abiathar? What was the ultimate end of Abiathar?
3. Discuss the events of Solomon’s coronation. How was Yeshua’s triumphal entry to Jerusalem similar? How will Yeshua’s return be similar to this coronation event?
4. The title of this teaching is “Son of the Promise.” In what ways is Solomon the son of the promise? How is Solomon’s reign prophetic of Yeshua’s reign? How did Solomon fall short?
5. Solomon had the support of prophet, priest and mighty man of God. How are believers representative of those three groups?
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Saturday, October 27, 2018
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Wednesday, October 24, 2018
By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/paCMBj6FtXs
The scripture reading for this teaching is: 2nd Kings 4:1-37
In this portion we read the tale of two women, both in need and suffering emotional and spiritual pain. The first of these women is a widow whose husband died and left her with two sons and a sizable debt yet to be paid. The second woman is not widowed but her son dies and leaves her childless.
What is the common thread between these two women and their particular situations? One woman is a Jew, the other a Gentile. Both are believers in the God of Israel. One is widowed and in great debt, the other is wealthy, but has lost her son. These two women, from diverse and very different backgrounds have an encounter with the prophet Elisha; the one anointed by God to be His servant. How does God, through the prophet Elisha, meet their need at just the right time? What lesson can we learn from these two women and their situations? How is this a picture of the abundant grace and salvation from the God of Abraham Isaac and Israel?
Before Elijah the prophet was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elisha was chosen to replace him as a prophet of God. Elisha took on the mantle or cloak of Elijah and was anointed and empowered with the spirit of God.
2 Kings 2:13-15 NKJV 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. 15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
Endowed with this double portion, Elisha performs miracles. He heals the drinking water source for the city of Jericho. When the king of Moab rebels against Israel, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, seeks council from Elisha.
2 Kings 3:11-12 NKJV 11 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?" So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah." 12 And Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
Moab was soundly defeated by the armies of Israel and Judah with the assistance of Elisha the prophet. We, then, come to our Haftarah portion for this week and the seemingly diverse stories of the two women. The first is a widow.
Jewish tradition says that her dead husband was the prophet Obadiah. She was obviously a Godly woman. She did not seek help from her neighbors, for this was the northern kingdom of Israel where Baal worship was rampant. She sought out Elisha, the now well-known prophet of the God of Abraham.
Not only was this woman a widow, she was poor and in great debt. This would be a very difficult position for a woman to be in in the culture of that day. She had two sons to raise on her own and when the creditors came to collect the debt, she had no way to pay it. Under the Torah, the creditor could demand that the woman “sell” her sons to him as payment for the debt.
Leviticus 25:39-40 NKJV 39 'And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. 40 'As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee.
Demanding that this woman give up her sons in payment of this debt would seem to us in our society to be at the very least cruel if not outright illegal! This woman was most likely still in grief for the loss of her husband. Even the thought of having to give up her young sons to indentured servitude would be unbearable. She was in desperate need for a solution to her problem and an answer to her pain.
Jewish tradition says that she went to the grave of her husband, the prophet Obadiah seeking an answer to her plight where she received an answer.
“Go to Elisha with the little oil that is left, and he will bless you with it… Let the prophet mention my deeds to the Holy One, blessed be He, and the one to whom I lent will repay you.”[i]
In the text we only see that she cried out to Elisha.
2 Kings 4:1 NKJV 1 A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves."
She tells Elisha that all she has of any value is a little oil.
2 Kings 4:2 NKJV 2 So Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil."
This wasn’t just any regular household oil such as that used for cooking. The Hebrew word used in the text to describe the oil is #8081, Shehmen, meaning a grease or liquid oil, often perfumed used for anointing or medicinal purposes. This was special oil used for a special purpose. Her now dead husband, having been a prophet of God, would have had such an item. Elisha, understanding what this special oil is, instructed her in what to do with it.
2 Kings 4:3-4 NKJV 3 Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors-empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 4 "And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones."
She was to borrow empty jars, or vessels from her neighbors. The Hebrew word translated a vessel here is #3627 kelee, having a wide variety of meanings depending on the contexts of usage but would indicate that Elisha was asking Her to gather any suitable container of any size which could conceivably hold the oil.
How was she to fill all these containers, perhaps both small ones and large ones, with the small amount of oil she had in her jar? Did she have doubts about the instruction that Elisha was giving her? What did she expect?
The text of 2nd Kings indicates a great intervention of God on her behalf.
2 Kings 4:5-7 NKJV 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. 6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." And he said to her, "There is not another vessel." So the oil ceased. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest."
The oil only stopped flowing when all the vessels she collected were full! She was able to sell the numerous containers of this special anointing oil for a handsome profit, pay off all her debts, and have enough left over to provide for herself and her two sons. By trusting in God and listening to His messenger Elisha, she was relieved of her physical monetary debts, but was also relieved of her spiritual and emotional burden of facing the loss of her sons on top of the death of her husband. This is perhaps the first miracle of the oil!
I am reminded of the Jewish tradition of the miracle of the oil at the time of the Maccabees when the menorah in the temple remained lit for eight full days even though there was only enough oil for one day. And, also, of the provisions being multiplied when Yeshua feeds the five thousand with just a few fish and some bread leaving baskets full of leftovers.
The second woman in pain in our Haftarah portion this week is not a poor widow, but a wealthy woman with a husband. However, she was barren just like Sarah in the corresponding Torah Portion for this week. She was so impressed by Elisha, this man of God, that she asked her husband to construct an addition to their home that Elisha might stay there when he travels by.
2 Kings 4:8-10 NKJV 8 Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. 9 And she said to her husband, "Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 "Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there."
This woman did indeed recognize Elisha as a prophet of God. Elisha was so grateful for their hospitality which went well beyond what would be expected. One day, while resting in the room provided for him, Elisha asked of this woman what he could do for her.
2 Kings 4:11-16 NKJV 11 And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. 12 Then he said to Gehazi his servant, "Call this Shunammite woman." When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, "Say now to her, 'Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?'" She answered, "I dwell among my own people." 14 So he said, "What then is to be done for her?" And Gehazi answered, "Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old." 15 So he said, "Call her." When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 Then he said, "About this time next year you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!"
Elisha’s servant Gehazi observed that this woman’s husband was old, and she had no child. Elisha assures her that she will bear a son by this time next year. Although the translations are usually different, the Hebrew phrase used in this verse is the same as that used in Genesis where Sarah hears that she will bear a son.
Genesis 18:10 NKJV 10 And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.)
Like Sarah, this woman at first does not accept Elisha’s assurance that she will bear a son. But she did conceive and bear a son just as Elisha said. Later, after the child had grown and was probably in his teenage years, we learn that he died. She places his body on the bed which was provided for Elisha.
2 Kings 4:18-22 NKJV 18 And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, "My head, my head!" So he said to a servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, "Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back."
She apparently does not tell her husband that the boy had died. She hurriedly leaves for Mount Carmel to see the prophet Elisha. She believes that God can raise her miracle son, and Elisha, the prophet who told her that she would have this son, would be the instrument of God to restore her son to her. Her husband questions her but does not prevent her from seeking out Elisha.
2 Kings 4:23-25 NKJV 23 So he said, "Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath." And she said, "It is well." 24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, "Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you." 25 And so she departed and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, "Look, the Shunammite woman!
A conversation between the woman and Elisha ensues with Gehazi as the intermediary. As Godly as this woman was, and even knowing deep inside that her son would be well, she still had a bitterness and disappointment in her soul. She was suffering the emotional pain of his death even though this son was the child of promise to her. Sarah must have felt the same thing as Abraham took Isaac with him to be sacrificed at Mt. Moriah.
As this woman approaches Elisha, she steps around Gehazi and falls at the feet of Elisha and pleads with him.
2 Kings 4:27-30 NKJV 27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, "Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me." 28 So she said, "Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me'?" 29 Then he said to Gehazi, "Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child." 30 And the mother of the child said, "As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you." So he arose and followed her.
The woman’s son needed physical healing, and perhaps she needed spiritual healing and assurance of God’s love and grace. She somehow knew that Elisha was God’s instrument for healing. She understood the power of the spirit of God that was within Elisha. The boy could not be healed by Elisha’s staff which was carried on ahead by Gehazi. When Elisha arrived at the house and the room where the boy lay, they shut the door.
2 Kings 4:31-37 NKJV 31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, "The child has not awakened." 32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, "Call this Shunammite woman." So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, "Pick up your son." 37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.
Just as with the first woman of this Haftarah portion, with the multiplication of her small amount of oil filling many vessels, the healing of this woman’s son takes place behind a closed door. It seems that here with the healing and raising of this woman’s son we have a picture of the Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans which speaks of being dead to sin and alive to God through the Holy Spirit.
Romans 6:4-5 NKJV 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Just as Paul teaches us that we receive newness of life through the glory of the Father, this woman’s son received newness of life from the Holy Spirit within Elisha. Elisha is an image of the promised Messiah for both of these women.
Each of these stories dealt with a woman in distress. God demonstrated that He was the God of both Jew and Gentile. Through His prophet Elisha, God blessed both women. These stories are a picture of a sovereign God who cares for all his people. Finally, these stories illustrate how God uses His servants as His instruments to minister and care for His people.
1. How are the two women of this Haftarah Portion alike? How are they different? Discuss their spiritual similarities and differences as well.
2. How is the Prophet Elisha a shadow of the promised Messiah within the scope of this portion? Compare Elisha’s reputation and actions to those of Yeshua.
3. What are some of the lessons the women would have learned from Elisha’s ministry and his specific actions with each of them?
4. In both of these stories, the miracle was manifested behind closed doors. In the case of the first woman, she and her sons actually performed the “miracle” filling all the jars with oil as instructed by Elisha. In the case of the second woman, the resurrection of the boy was performed by Elisha himself. The mother was not present in the room. What is the significance of this difference?
5. What would be the reason for Elisha to send his servant Gehazi ahead with his staff and place it on the dead boy’s body? What is the significance of Elisha laying on the boy as described in this portion?
© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All Rights Reserved.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service. Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching (available from our website at MoedMinistries.com) and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat. We live stream our service on the home page of our website, Livestream.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is: Luke 24:44-53, John 21:1-25
After Yeshua’s resurrection, He appeared to His disciples and family over a period of forty days. E. W. Bullinger in Numbers in Scripture tells us that forty is a number of probation. As a multiple of eight, the number of new beginnings, the number forty relates to an enlarged dominion, renewal or extended rule.[i] Yeshua prepared for His ministry with forty days of trial in the wilderness; He concludes His ministry on Earth with forty days of preparing the disciples for their increased role in expanding the kingdom of God. The disciples would be responsible for taking the message of the kingdom beyond the borders of Israel.
Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Before the disciples could go, they needed to be prepared and empowered. They needed to be given their mission and the instructions for carrying out this mission. What did Yeshua do to equip them for the days ahead? These days would lead to great joy and fulfillment as well as horrific persecution and death.
The first thing that Yeshua did after His resurrection was to open their eyes to the necessity of Yeshua’s suffering and death and what it accomplished. He was equipping them to be witnesses of His entire ministry. Yeshua spoke to the twelve apostles about this role at their Passover Seder before His arrest and crucifixion.
John 15:26-27 NKJV 26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
In Yeshua’s first appearances to His disciples after His resurrection, starting with those on the road to Emmaus, He explained to them that the entire body of scripture pointed to the necessity of His death before He entered into His glory.
Luke 24:26-27 NKJV 26 "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Later that day, Yeshua explained these same things to the remaining eleven apostles gathered together in Jerusalem. Peter would later recall these words as he explained the need to appoint another in Judas Iscariot’s place.
Acts 1:21-22 NKJV 21 "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 "beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."
Peter testified to the necessity of Yeshua’s death and resurrection to the gathered pilgrims during the Feast of Shavuot when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. Peter explained King David’s prophecies about Yeshua.
Acts 2:30-32 NKJV 30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
Peter expounds on the necessity of Yeshua’s suffering in his first epistle to the scattered believers in Yeshua.
1 Peter 1:10-11 NKJV 10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
After Yeshua’s initial explanations about what had happened during the crucial day of Passover, He went on to call the disciples to be messengers of the good news. When Yeshua met seven of the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He provided a harvest of fish after the disciples had spent the entire night fishing without catching a single fish.
John 21:6 NKJV 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
The situation was reminiscent of an earlier night of fishing when they didn’t catch any fish either. At that time, Yeshua had just begun His ministry and had yet to select His twelve apostles to be with Him full time. Simon, John and James had all been witnesses to Yeshua’s baptism. They knew who He was, but had not yet committed to following Him full time. When Yeshua told them to let down their nets one more time, they willingly followed His instructions and were blessed with nets full of fish. At that time, Yeshua called them to leave their fishing behind and follow Him.
Luke 5:10b-11 NKJV 10b And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
However, the responsibility to be fishers of men did not stop with Yeshua’s death and resurrection. The responsibility was instead increased. Along with sharing the good news of the kingdom of God, they needed to do more. In particular, Yeshua singled out Peter and told him three times to take care of His flock.
John 21:15 NKJV 15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."
The forty days that Yeshua spent preparing His disciples were like the days that Moses spent preparing the children of Israel and especially his chosen successor Joshua for the change in leadership and authority.
Numbers 27:18-20 NKJV 18 And the LORD said to Moses: "Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 "set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 "And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
God, also, prepared both Elijah and Elisha for Elijah’s departure and Elisha taking over the duties of Elijah. Elisha, like Joshua with Moses, was chosen ahead of time to take Elijah’s place. Elijah had fled to the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s plan to kill him. He thought that he had been abandoned and that he would die in the wilderness. God sent an angel to minister to him. When Elijah had recovered, God told him it was time to anoint his successor; his duties as prophet of the LORD were coming to a close.
1 Kings 19:15-16 NKJV 15 Then the LORD said to him: "Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 "Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.
Yeshua also anointed the apostles and passed on His authority and duties as a prophet of God.
John 20:21-23 NKJV 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Yeshua sent the apostles to carry on the work the Father had given to Him. The same instructions applied to the apostles as they applied to Yeshua; they were to speak only the words of the Father and to do the will of the Father. Peter explained his commission to Cornelius’ household.
Acts 10:42-43 NKJV 42 "And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 "To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."
Yeshua prepared His apostles and disciples to go and be witnesses of all that Yeshua said and did.
Acts 1:8 NKJV 8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Yeshua not only told the disciples to go, He told them to baptize others in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What does this mean? What did it mean to the first century Jew? Baptism or immersion was an everyday part of Jewish life. Every Jewish home had its own mikvah or baptism pool. It looked like a modern day bathtub only deeper and sunk into the ground. And, of course, it had no water taps or drain plug! The mikvah was used to maintain ritual purity. A woman immersed each month after her menstrual cycle. Both men and women immersed after sexual relations. Any contact with the carcass of an unclean animal required an immersion. Anyone who went into the temple in Jerusalem had to be immersed first.
A second reason to be baptized or immersed was a change in legal status. When Jacob returned to the Promised Land, the members of his household carried idols with them. After the disastrous events at Shechem, God chastised Jacob and told him to get his house in order. After burying all the idols they had with them, Jacob and his household immersed themselves.
Genesis 35:2-3 NKJV 2 And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. 3 "Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone."
This immersion was to restore the ritual purity of the household, to signal the fulfillment of Jacob’s vow to God, and for the entire household to enter into the covenant promise of God.
Before the children of Israel were given the covenant at Mt. Sinai, they were told to wash themselves and their clothes.
Exodus 19:10-11 NKJV 10 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 "And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
A final reason for baptism was for repentance or confession of sin. John the Baptist was a leading proponent for this type of baptism. He called on the Jewish people to be baptized for the remission of their sins.
Mark 1:4-5 NKJV 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
When Peter testified to the resurrection of Yeshua at the Feast of Shavuot, he instructed the Jews who accepted his testimony to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins.
Acts 2:38 NKJV 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Peter’s instructions are the same as John the Baptist’s instructions: Be baptized for the remission of sins. He added that they were to be baptized in the name of Messiah Yeshua. What does it mean for something to be done in the name of another person? Have you heard the expression on old television shows when a policeman comes to the door and demands that a person “open up in the name of the law?” The authority to demand entrance is the law. In this case, to do something in the name of another person is to invoke their authority to do so. How about when a donation is made in the name of another person? In this case, to do something in the name of another person is in some way for the benefit or glory of that person.
Perhaps baptizing in the name of Yeshua has both elements. Yeshua is the one who has the authority to forgive sins. Yeshua instructed the scribes and Pharisees about His authority to do so.
Luke 5:24 NKJV 24 "But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" --He said to the man who was paralyzed, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house."
Mark records Yeshua’s instructions to include baptism for salvation.
Mark 16:15-16 NKJV 15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
After baptism, our actions reflect on Messiah Yeshua. When we follow His commandments, we bring glory to Yeshua and, through Him, to the Father.
What about baptism or immersion for ongoing confession and to maintain ritual purity? The disciples continued to worship God at the temple as long as it remained standing in Jerusalem. They continued in their Jewish life with the regular practice of immersion. John reminds us that we must practice confession of our sins throughout our walk.
1 John 1:8-9 NKJV 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Paul compares Yeshua immersing us in the word of God to baptism.
Ephesians 5:25-26 NKJV 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
Baptism, then, is more than the ritual cleansing needed to enter into the New Covenant through the blood and authority of Yeshua; it is a practice of maintaining that ritual purity through confession of sins and being cleansed through the power of the Word!
Yeshua continued His instructions to the disciples to make more disciples, to teach them to observe all that Yeshua did and taught. Disciples in Yeshua’s time were expected to stay with and learn from their teacher usually over a period of three years. Yeshua followed this model with His own disciples. They lived with Yeshua, traveled with Him and learned from Him.
As Yeshua’s forty days with His disciples came to a close, it was time for Him to pass on the mantle like Moses passed his authority to Joshua and Elijah passed on his mantle to Elisha. When God took Moses to up to Mount Nebo to die, Joshua took over the leadership of the children of Israel.
Deuteronomy 34:9 NKJV 9 Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.
When Elijah selected Elisha as his successor, he threw his mantle over Elisha. When it was time for Elijah to be taken up into heaven, Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit.
2 Kings 2:9-10 NKJV 9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." 10 So he said, "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so."
Elisha did see Elijah taken up in a whirlwind into heaven. As Elijah went up, his mantle fell from him and Elisha took it up.
2 Kings 2:13-15 NKJV 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. 15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.
A double portion of the spirit that was on Elijah fell on Elisha. The spirit was on Joshua because Moses anointed him. Yeshua also anointed His disciples who would take over for Him. We read in John 20:23 earlier that Yeshua breathed the spirit of God onto them. Then Yeshua took the disciples out to the region of Bethany on the Mt. of Olives. The disciples saw Yeshua ascend into heaven.
Luke 24:49-51 NKJV 49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." 50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
A double portion must have fallen on them as it fell on Elisha because Yeshua said that the one who believes in Him would do greater works than those recorded in the gospel.
John 14:12 NKJV 12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
When God took Moses, the children of Israel wept and mourned his death. When God took Elijah into heaven, Elisha wept and mourned. When Yeshua died on the cross, His disciples wept and mourned. However, when Yeshua ascended into heaven, His disciples rejoiced and praised God! Yeshua had equipped them well for their new mission. Ten days later, they would receive the promised Holy Spirit giving them the power to carry out all that Yeshua had entrusted to them. We, also, are recipients of that same Holy Spirit giving us power to achieve the mission God has given us. It is our responsibility to act as disciples to Yeshua learning from Him and spending time with Him so that we can be true and knowledgeable disciples of our LORD and Master Yeshua. The tools are available for us to be equipped so that, as we go, we can spread the good news of eternal life through the shed blood of Yeshua and His resurrection from the dead.
1. The phrase “Go therefore and make disciples” in Matthew 28:19 is in the grammatical form which we would usually translate as “Going therefore and make disciples.” We have titled this teaching with the phrase “As you go.” How does this change the way we understand the Yeshua’s instructions?
2. If salvation is by faith (Acts 10:43, Eph 1:8), why do we need to be baptized (Matt 28:19, Acts 2:38)?
3. In John 20:23, Yeshua seemingly gives authority to the apostles to forgive or withhold forgiveness of sins. Does a pastor, priest or rabbi have authority to forgive or withhold forgiveness of sins? Support with scriptures please! Consider Peter’s understanding of this in Acts 8:22.
4. To be baptized in the name of Yeshua can mean either by Yeshua’s authority of for Yeshua’s glory. How does our baptism bring glory to Yeshua?
5. Read 2 Kings 2:1-5 about the transference of power from Elijah to Elisha. How can Elijah and Elisha be compared to Yeshua and His disciples/follower? What role does the Holy Spirit play in this? How can Moses and Joshua be compared to Yeshua and His disciples/followers?
© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved.
[i] Bullinger, E. W. Number in Scripture. Eyre and Spottiswoode. ©1894. Cosimo Edition. New York, NY. ©2005. Page 266.