The mantle

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Toad Lily

13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; He realized he needed the mantle, that it belonged to him now. He pondered what to do next and decided to see if he could do what Elisha could do.

14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where [is] the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. This power was promised to him but he did not know he had it until he could use it. When the water parted he had the proof. He went back over to begin the work.

15 And when the sons of the prophets which [were] to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. They watched to see how it would go. They were pleased the spirit was with Elisha as it was with Elijah for it was God’s power. They had respect for him because God approved his role as prophet in the room of Elijah. These were large shoes to fill.

16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. The question of what happened to him was an open one. They thought by searching they might resolve it. Elisha said no, there was no good reason to search for he was gone and would not be found.

17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. He relented in the end and they searched only to prove he was right. There was nothing but the verbal report. That they sought for three days is of interest.

18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not? He came to a place and began his work from there. He argued with them for not listening to him first but then let it rest.
It was important that they see him go up into heaven. They had to be eye witnesses. They were aware of his going and this is why they asked was it now he would restore again the kingdom to Israel. There was to be a delay, which we know to be about two thousand years.

Some, who had the power of Prophecy, informed them he would be taken from them this day. Elisha said he knew and told them not to say anything. In someway they were tested to see if their resolve was firm. Peter was tested as we discover in John 21. But all were determined to stay to the end.

It is important to notice that three times Elijah said he would go away and three times Elisha said, I will not leave thee. The connection is with Peter, who before the cock crew twice had denied his Lord three times. The Lord knew he would. Was it a divine revelation that gave him this insight, or knowledge of this parable?
Three times they are told it was to be that day and all were prepared. All of them saw him depart. They gazed steadfastly into heaven and he was taken as if in a whirlwind.

The sons of the prophets were the first century believers and we are told there were up to five hundred who saw him at one time. Elisha was to witness what was to happen to Elijah, but the others were to witness what happened then to Elisha. There were many miracles done by the Lord, but what was to happen now?

Elisha asks for a double portion of Elisha’s spirit. He knew it would be difficult for him to work in Elijah’s room except he have something to testify to his authority. The double portion was the power to use, and the power to pass on, the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was reserved for those who saw him ascend into heaven. If they were not among those who saw, they would not get the double portion. Only the disciples had the power to hand on the gifts of the spirit.

The Lord Jesus Christ was taken up from them into heaven, and the disciples were left alone. They were bewildered. What were they to do now? This was a signal that all responsibility fell on them, and they were afraid. But the Lord sent the Comforter. The disciples were distressed but took up the mantle of the Lord and proceeded with the work. All others watched to see what would occur.

The question was “where is the God of Elijah?” The answer was “He is with Elisha.” They saw the miracles and believed. The work would go on into another phase.

Pilate was reluctant to support the Jewish cause at the first, but in the end he allowed them to put a watch on the cave. They searched for three days and found nothing. The fifty represent more than enough to conduct the search and complete it. The parable presents the men searching for three days, where the opposite was true. They had the body of the Lord knowing exactly where he was for three days, and then they lost it.
This brings us to another story.

19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city [is] pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water [is] naught, and the ground barren. If the water is naught then no one is going to live there. If the ground is barren then it will be hard to grow your food or your crop. It was impossible to live there. But it was vital they live there, so the problem must be solved.

2nd Kings 2

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There was a regular circuit of cities that Elijah attended to in his ministry. Gilgal was one and Bethel another. Just as we have been told at the start of this chapter that it is the time when Elijah would be taken so they had some sign that this was the day.

1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. We remind you that these events are about information we need to apply to another time and place.

2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said [unto him, As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth- el. So when Elijah suggested he might stay at Gilgal while he went to Bethel Elisha refused. He wanted to be there when he was taken. In fact he swore that he will not leave him, which is a strange thing to do. He was determined.

3 And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your peace. The sons of the prophets worked closely with both of them and expressed surprise that Elisha seemed not to know what they knew about what was happening. It was not a thing they discussed because it was hard to know how things would go when Elijah was not there. Elisha is reluctant to open the subject up and tells them to be quiet about it.

4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, [As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. Elijah tried to leave Elisha behind once more at Bethel saying he had to go on to Jericho. But it happened again. Elisha swore he would not do it because he was afraid.

5 And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your peace. It happened again when they arrived at Jericho. The sons of the prophets asked him if he knew what was about to happen. A little exasperated Elisha told them he knew and he wanted then to keep quiet about it.

6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. It all happened a third time. Elijah tried to get him to forsake him and he refused with an oath and the two of them went together.

7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. Fifty stood afar off to see what  would happen. There was some unfinished business with Elisha and they stood before Jordan.

8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped [it] together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. Parting the Jordan so they could go over has an echo of the journey of Israel under Moses. Their going together is underlined.

9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. So the thing they did not discuss is mentioned openly now. Elijah is leaving and he wants to know what he can do for him to help him carry on the work in his absence. Elisha does not hesitate. He will need something special. Elijah could do miracles to prove his credentials before the people. Elisha insisted he be able to do more than that. A double portion should be enough.

10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: [nevertheless], if thou see me [when I am] taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be [so]. It was not something easily given. It was a special thing this double portion and it would only be given on condition he saw him when he went. This point is made again. If you do not see me you will not get the double portion.

11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. It was a complete surprise. It happened with a flourish. It was done in the most dramatic and significant way, and it was all over in little time at all.

12 And Elisha saw [it], and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. We are told that Elisha saw it all. He mentions the chariot and horsemen, so he did not miss anything. About the double portion it would be given to him. But it did not alter that Elisha felt alone and distressed that he would have to go on without him.

The leaders in Israel

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"Hippopotamus - 04" by Kabacchi -
“Hippopotamus – 04” by Kabacchi –

17 So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son. The text is seemingly corrupt owing to the error of a transcriber putting the name Jehoram twice. Ahaziah died in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat (see further) chapter 3:1. Jehoram son of Ahab reigned in his stead because he did not have a son.

18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? We will go to the parable now. With the change from the first book of kings to the second we continue the parable with some startling connections. We are still dealing with the time of the Lord, that is the period of three and a half years, though verse one speaks of the way the Gentiles gained their freedom after the death of the king.

The Lord was approached by messengers representing the king. The sickness of the king speaks of the state of the leadership that was about to die. The messengers accused the Lord of being in league with Beelzebub.

The opposite is true in this case. They accused the Lord of being in league with Baal-zebub. He was not the one, but they themselves who called on the power of Baal-zebub for support. This is born out in Matthew chapter twelve where the Lord asked by whose power their children cast out devils. He proved he cast them out by the power of God. So the children who failed to cast them out must be in league with Beel-zebub.

Baal-zebub was Lord of the flies and therefore was thought to have power to inflict disease and clearly advise on the state of someone’s condition.

So God gave the answer so eagerly sought. He had not answered for a longtime and they had given up asking, but now was the time to break his silence and this he did in John the Baptist. For all the prophets were until John.

John the Baptist was a man who looked and dressed just like Elijah. There was no mistaking the man or his message. And Herod was terrified of him because it was clear he was from God. In the days of John there was no God in Israel, or not one the leaders could find.

Now you will say the parable breaks down, for the characters get mixed, but there is no inconsistency in the story for there is rarely an exact parallel between the story and the things to which the story points, but enough to make the connection. The Lord Jesus is Elijah and as we will see the disciples are Elisha and John the Baptist appears with a connection to Elijah only briefly as he did once before.

What we have here is the meeting of the Lord with the Scribes and Pharisees. There were several over the course of his ministry but three notable ones. They came publicly and intended to humiliate him before the people but were destroyed before him.

The first battle is recorded in Matthew 9:11-15. The Leaven of the Pharisees is said to be hypocrisy because this is what Mark says, but the leaven was their teaching and it was hypocritical because they said one thing, and did another. The Lord made this clear, and seriously embarrassed them. No one would be game to do this to such powerful men.

Matthew 3:7 records their coming and chapter 21:45 records the slaying of them at the hands of the Lord. It may seem the slaughter was not real, but then Elisha did not slay any with a literal sword, but he did with the sword of his mouth, and none escaped.

This final battle matches to the garden, where he went with them, though they were afraid he would not. But then they approached him in a different way.

He knew the victory over them would come in a different way, and he went without hesitation.

When they got him in their clutches the message was the same as before, and the king died according to the word of Elijah. It happened to Herod as Acts records. His sickness took him away in a most unseemly manner. Herod had no son to succeed him because he had him killed.

2nd Kings 1

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It is chronological but we move on to another story. This is about Moab.

1 Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. 2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that [was] in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. Why would he go to the God of Ekron to find out what was going to happen in the future?

3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, [Is it] not because [there is] not a God in Israel, [that] ye go to inquire of Baal- zebub the god of Ekron? He was not going to get away with this. He was going to hear from the God of Israel for the first time in his life. So the messengers of the king were interrupted in their journey.

4 Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed. He got the answer. It was clear and to the point. This was the end.

5 And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back? He expected they would take longer to do what he asked, and was surprised.

6 And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, [Is it] not because [there is] not a God in Israel, [that] thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. The question was, would the king live. The answer was, No. So the next question is: who was it that told you? What manner of man was he?

7 And he said unto them, What manner of man [was he] which came up to meet you, and told you these words? 8 And they answered him, [He was] an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It [is] Elijah the Tishbite. The king recognized him immediately. There was no doubt in his mind, so why did he need further proof. The answer to the question did not suit him and he thought he could have it changed.

9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. So they tried to seize him. They had all the authority of the king, but Elijah had all the authority of God.

10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I [be] a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. It seems drastic and would only serve to anger the king, but Elijah was unconcerned. If they want another answer then they need to find another prophet.

11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. This approach was a bit different. It was an issue of haste, not authority so much and the soldier was a little apprehensive.

12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I [be] a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. If I be a man of God or not was the question. The answer came with the miracle and another group were consumed.

13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. This time the approach was entirely different. The captain besought him to come with him. And a request was made to save their lives, because they knew he had the power to take them.

14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight. It was a different occasion. The question was not whether he was a man of God or not. They knew he was, it was more a question of what to do with him.

15 And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king. God told the prophet to surrender to them.

16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, [is it] not because [there is] no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. The message had not changed. The offense was spelled out and the outcome announced.

The spirit of the age

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The parable of Mark chapter twelve presented three classes of people affected by the coming of Messiah. The Jews who died before Messiah, represented by Ahab who was slain by a chance event, can be raised from the dead by having expected the one to come. The Jewish believers, represented by Jehoshaphat who are saved by faith after the death of the king, and the Gentile believers, represented by the Edomite king, who also were saved by faith after the death of the king. These three classes of people could well feel abandoned by God, as if they were brought to this to be slain in the wilderness.

The part of the story where council is taken in heaven is given to illustrate how a nation with the truth could be so universally wrong when it came to the question of Messiah. How could they all be wrong, even the disciples? The answer is an evil spirit. This spirit was a product of a faulty way of looking at the law. If you imagine that God will help you by reward if you do well, then you are apt to think every time things are looking up that you must be doing the right thing. Since this is not the way God deals with us, the spirit or attitude that produces this thinking is evil.

The story is not given to show how God relies on advice from his angels, but to give information to us in advance about the spirit of that age. Even today the Jew will cry foul for the way God handled the Messiah incident. They were expecting something different but will not admit it was because of their own evil attitude.

God knew the lying spirit would prevail, because he knew the people. He knew what would happen when they saw the miracles. Unless the Lord matched the image of Messiah everyone had in their mind, he would be despised and rejected. And so it was. No one challenged the result, until he rose from the dead. The lying spirit captivated all their minds until it was shown to be false by his resurrection.

Micaiah was the only one to know and hear the truth. The leader of the false prophets smote Micaiah across the face for daring to contradict the Lord’s appointed one. They smote the Lord and mocked him for insisting he was right and they were wrong. Micaiah spoke plainly of the judgment that would come on the guilty, and the Lord Jesus Christ left no doubt where he stood.

All Israel will mourn one day, every man apart, in an inner chamber, where no one can see them. Then they will know which way the spirit of the Lord went.

Ahab commanded he be taken to Amon the governor of the city, and Joash the king’s son. The Lord was arraigned before Herod the son of Herod the Great king and Pilate the governor of the city.

They made all arrangements for his affliction the four soldiers being at the forefront of the assault. The proof of the death of the king would be beyond doubt in a short time. All the Lord had to do was wait out the time of his imprisonment. If the king returned Micaiah would be proven wrong. And if the Lord returned from the dead the lying spirit would be seen for what it was.

The events rolled on, and the words of Micaiah came to pass. They tried to avert the outcome by setting a watch on the tomb, by having him thrown into Gehenna, but it was all to no avail.

The believers were the target until it was seen that they were not the ones they had to destroy. The focus was to be on the king of Israel not the disciples. The instruction was given that he alone was to be killed. And so it was.

They would have destroyed the followers but decided it was enough to destroy their king. But it was out of their hands. God was in charge of these events. God directed attention away from the disciples to the Lord. It was not done by their skill or planning, but by a chance event determined by God.

He suffered all that day and died at even propped up in his chariot. And the blood and water ran out of his side. An announcement was made that they all go away to their city and country. It all happened exactly as Micaiah said it would. The disciples were scattered like sheep not having a shepherd.

They buried him in a cave outside Jerusalem. And the Gentile dogs experienced the great blessing of life apart from law. If you want to read of these events then it is recorded for you in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is all there in the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah.

The ivory house may refer to Herod’s temple, and the cities, to his great works in the land of Palestine. But I favor the view that it refers to the building work performed by Messiah.

It would be some time before the believers walked uprightly. They did not immediately do all the things they should. Even Peter had to be converted, and so they continued to do some of the things they had always done with the Jews in the land.

Amid a discourse about Jehoshaphat comes this little information. There was no king in Israel in the days of Messiah, an Edomite was deputized. Herod was an Idumean, an Edomite, and he had himself appointed king. When you realize the part the Edomite plays in the scheme of God you accept it as no surprise.

Eventually the believers realized they had no future associating with their Jewish brethren. It cost them dearly, but they severed all ties with the nation.

The Jehoshaphat class will be saved. They did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.

Served Baal

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Two white statues

51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. This was not true of Ahab’s son who survived a short time.

52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. There was little change in Israel after the death of Ahab and Jezabel.

53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done. Another parable concerned this time with the reaction of Jewish believers in the period after the death of Messiah. Jehoshaphat represents the truth in the nation and Ahab the Jewish people who worshiped Baal.
There was confusion in this period about the way the arrangements were to work. Those in the truth came down to Ahab. This should not have occurred. The result was disaster for the truth. The difference was not clear. Peter had difficulty seeing this difference, how much more the other Jewish believers.

He should never have joined forces with them. His people were not like them. They were two separate people.
Those who worship God ask him what they must do. Baal worshippers ask Baal, and avoid asking God, for they know what God will say.

These prophets claimed to answer for God and their voice was with one consent, which made Jehoshophat wonder if it was a lying spirit, that is, one that agreed together for the benefit of the group. He asked for one who was clearly not in league with them, for he had experience of this lying spirit before. Anyone who has been in the truth has had the experience of it.

Anyone who stands alone, who does not belong to a group, who speaks the word of God plainly and without concern for holding the party line, is going to be ignored.

This one will not be asked to speak, even though his words have power, for he cannot be trusted to avoid controversy.

He will say it as God would say it, and will not yield to pressure from any quarter. They are likely to exist in the ratio of four hundred to one.

We are still dealing with the period of Elijah so the prophet Michaiah is the Lord Jesus amidst the four hundred prophets of the grove. He is called to give his view of things. They sat in a void place. It was vacated by the judges who should have occupied it, but they had left it empty.

They all advised the Kings on what would occur. They claimed they could defeat the Roman power and set up their own administration, and that God would be with them.

All the advice was in favor of the righteous cause. God loves a right cause so he will not fail to support the zealots. It was for this reason they wanted the release of Barabus. His imprisonment threatened the program of disruption planned before the final push. Caiaphas decided the Lord had to be removed so his plans could go forward without interruption. It was expedient that one die and the whole nation perish not.

They warned Micaiah not to rock the boat. Support the party line or suffer the consequence. Micaiah gave them no reason to believe he would do anything but support the word of God. He mocked them with the words they wanted to hear, and it was plain the words were not from God.

It was not until the Lord was adjured that he answered the interrogators anything. What he had given them was no answer at all. And so it was until he was adjured, and he then spoke plainly.

These words refer to the death of the Lord and the manner in which the disciples and all Israel lost their shepherd. Everyone returned to his own house. It is not necessary to remind the reader that this illustration was used by the Lord. He told his disciples just before he was taken that this is what would happen.

How could Jehoshaphat account for the false message of the four hundred prophets. Micaiah tells him that all he witnessed was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. All Israel were against the Lord to have him slain because they believed a lie. The nation was a lie. The whole system was a lie. What was Jehoshaphat doing there? And why could not Jehoshaphat discern the spirit?

The king is dead

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32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it [is] the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. Jehoshaphat realized he was getting too much attention and cried out in alarm.
33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it [was] not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. I cannot think how the Syrian concluded it was not the king of Israel, but there you are. It might have been because he was running away fast.
34 And a [certain] man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. It did not matter. What Micaiah has said would happen, occurred and Ahab was smitten.

35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. The king showed great bravery and the battle continued all day. Take note of the way the blood is mentioned specifically.

36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country. So it happened. And Israel returned from the battle having been defeated and the king was dead.

37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. He was treated with due reverence in death and yet the prophecy concerning him came true. The dogs licked up his blood.

38 And [one] washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake. 39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? The King is dead, long live the king. It is such an unusual expression I thought I would use it here.

40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead. 41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. The story turns to Jehoshaphat. It is not finished. There is more to tell.

42 Jehoshaphat [was] thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. There is only good to report about this man. He was favored of God.

43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing [that which was] right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; [for] the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. These high places were places you go to be seen to pray. They were not appointed but became places where you were noticed.

44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. 45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? There is a lot more to know about him and it is all written down.
46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land. These people were engaged in immoral practice and he would not have it.

47 [There was] then no king in Edom: a deputy [was] king. Who is this deputy?

48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber. This event is cited as one of his greatest follies, though they hasten to add, that he finally learned his lesson.

49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not. They parted company and Jehoshaphat was better for it.

50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead. Testimony recorded of him is positive all the way.

A lying spirit

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Tornado über Ozean

17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. The king was dead. They had no leader. The army was in disarray and the enemy had won the day.

18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? I told you he would go against me, because he always goes against me.

19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. Micaiah told the rest of the story. The vision was of the throne of God and the angels gathered around. The question was, how should they get Ahab to go to battle at Ramoth-Gilead so he is slain there.

20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. The idea that this is the way things are done in the court of God’s house is not the issue here. This is the way things are done in the court of Ahab the king. The affect of telling it in this way was to have Ahab dress up as a normal soldier to disguise himself and go to the battle anyway.

21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade [him], and prevail also: go forth, and do so. So it was agreed that this was the way to get him to go. With all this information about what would happen Ahab still thought he could change the result.

23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. With the result you were bold enough to go. He might have said, I will not go then. That would have been the prudent decision.

24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? But Zedekiah knew what was needed. He added a little drama to the mix and told a lie of his own. What a bazaar way to run his affairs. But this was Ahab. This is what he had always done.

25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. God gave Micaiah further insights and he told Zedekiah of what God told him.

26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; He was to be held pending the outcome. With instructions to make his end similar to Ahab’s if it does not work out.

27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this [fellow] in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. If Ahab does not come in peace then the affliction would continue. 28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you. Micaiah got the last word. This was the proof of his message.

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle. You would have to be a bit slow to go to the battle looking like a king under the circumstances. But Jehoshaphat did as he was told.

31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. The same thirty two were there. They were told by the king of Syria to target the king of Israel. This was the strategy he had devised for this effort.

1st Kings 22

The image is of a lady using sign language to get her message across



We begin another chapter and another story

1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. There was a serious break in hostilities. It did not last long, but at the time it was important.

2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. Why did Jehoshaphat get involved with these people? The short answer is he could not see the differences between them.

3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead [is] ours, and we [be] still, [and] take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? Gilead is on the eastern side of the Jordan and was always a difficult territory to defend against Syria.

4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I [am] as thou [art], my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. It was not true. He was not like them. In fact he was less like them than many other people around.

5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. It was a common practice for Jehoshaphat to inquire of God. So for him to ask that it be done by the king of Israel was not unusual. It shows that he genuinely thought they were the same.

6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver [it] into the hand of the king. But there was something wrong with the way the enquiry went, and the confident manner in which the four hundred responded was off color. He had probably never seen so many prophets in agreement before. Something alerted him to inquire further.

7 And Jehoshaphat said, [Is there] not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him? You can say he knew they were different and wanted confirmation from another source, but I do not think this was the case. It was just so unusual for God to speak through so many.

8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, [There is] yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good about me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. The king must not say so because prophets do not lie when they speak for God. There is a naivety about Jehoshaphat, because he had just heard four hundred lies and was a bit suspicious.

9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten [hither] Micaiah the son of Imlah. They knew where they could find him and it was not long before he was in their presence.

10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. There was a parade where each prophet gave their view of things. Four hundred answers from people who were just trying to impress the kings would have taken some time.

11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them. As you can see some employed graphic arts to press their point.

12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver [it] into the king’s hand. You can not miss. God is going to be with you and all will be well.

13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets [declare] good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak [that which is] good. This messenger was a political appointee. He knew the mood of the court. He wanted Micaiah to be aware of the way things were. The idea that he might have a message from God was beside the point.

14 And Micaiah said, [As] the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. 15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver [it] into the hand of the king. Reading their faces he decided to mock the other four hundred. However he did it, it was obvious he was mocking them.

16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but [that which is] true in the name of the LORD? When you are adjured you must tell the truth and so he gives the message he received from God. It was in the form of a vision.

The circumcised

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The people who are the real power in any system will believe what they are told by the possessor of credibility. The nobles and elders loaned this to the cause and everything appeared kosher. Do you see now why the leaders in the Lord’s day are described as worshippers of Baal.

He was taken out of the city because such a heinous crime should not stain the city streets. In 2nd Kings 9:26 we discover that Naboth and his sons were slain. The inheritance would have gone to them, so this obstacle had to be removed as well. No trouble, just invoke the-guilt-by-association provisions in the Baal system and you can commit any crime. The Baal system is obliging and appears justified for the greater good. It is made up of half-truths, lies and criminal intent.

His obsession results in calamity for many, and realizing his dream makes him happy. Here is a man who can ignore anything he wants to ignore. No conscience to interfere here. You need to believe the Baal system is a good system before you can sell your soul to this extent.

The Baal system would not condemn him, but God would. Ahab had nothing to do with what happened. He did not devise the scheme, he did not implement it, he did not do anything wrong according to any of the rules, just looked away when his authority was misused. God holds him responsible for all of it. He might claim to be innocent had he refused to possess it, but possession was what this was all about.

It did happen to the Lord, at another time and place, as described by Elijah with an interesting twist. Israel’s place and nation were taken away. This is what Caiaphas feared. One should die for the nation and the whole nation perish not. The whole nation perished and the dogs received the benefit. The truth went to the Gentiles based on faith.

The religious system was destroyed as well. The Gentiles ate the remains except the head, the hands and the feet. It did not think like Jezebel, it did not do as she did, nor did it walk in the same path. This was literally true, for the whole system changed. The law was done away, and faith became the way of the truth.
The dogs and fowls of the air were other peoples who enjoyed a blessing from the death of the Jewish system. It was a system so corrupt in the days of the Lord it surpassed any other age for evil. That is, the generation who killed Messiah were the most degenerate.

The staggering thing was that judgment on the system did not happen until the next generation. And so it was that in AD 70, one generation after the death of the Lord, Israel was destroyed by the Romans.

This does not mean the leaders of Israel repented and regretted their action in slaying Messiah. It simply informs us there would be a time for the truth to grow in the nation of Israel before the nation is taken away. In this period many of the priests however believed. In this period many repented and were baptized.

So reference to Ahab in this section speaks of the repentance of many of the Jews.
After the death of Messiah in the midst of the week, or after three and a half years from the beginning of the ministry, there was to be a further period of similar time before the persecution would begin in earnest. It appears the death of Stephen introduced this renewed hostility.

You want to know about that expression we do not use. Ahab was the nation and the descendants tried to turn Gentile believers back to the law. These people were known as the circumcision. They had the mark of the law in their private parts. So you draw attention to these people by referring to their need to relieve themselves, when they are reminded that they are indeed circumcised. All the descendants of Ahab who insisted believers turn back to the law were to be cut off.