Elisha, The Prophet With Double Portion

Those were days of unprecedented happenings, when God dealt with the nation of Israel through His prophets and their performed miracles. We see this in the lives of Elijah and Elisha. Like no others, these were both actively involved in the lives of people. However, Elijah was a prophet of judgment; he shut the heaven and stopped the rain for three and a half years; he brought down fire and on Ahab’s soldiers. He is more like John the Baptist, a loner; Elisha, a prophet of mercy. A prophet that mingled with the people. His ministry parallels that of our Savior, YAHSHUA. Elisha’s name means God’s salvation; YAHSHUA’s name YAHWEH will save. Elisha’s ministry started in the Jordan River, after Elijah is translated to heaven. He takes his mantle and parts the Jordan’s water; YAHSHUA started His ministry after being baptized in the Jordan River. They both raised a woman’s son from the dead; both fed the multitude with small resource, with food leftover. Elisha’s bones brought life to a dead man, after his body touched his bones. YAHSHUA resurrection brought many to life, when the earth shook, the rocks were split, the tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints were raised to life (Matt. 27:51-52).

Elisha was a disciple of Elijah and his successor, as Joshua was to Moses and succeeded him after Moses’ death, to continue leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. Following his master to the place where he was to be translated, Elisha asked him for a double portion of his anointing, to which Elijah said, You have asked a hard thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you (II Kings 2:9-10). Elisha saw Elijah’s departure to heaven in a chariot of fire and horses of fire, as he went up by a whirlwind into heaven. He threw his mantle to Elisha, confirming the double portion of his anointing.  Elisha, then took the mantle and parted the waters of the Jordan River. Elisha, when called to the ministry, left everything behind, including his career to follow Elijah. A young man from a well to do family, never looked back. To start with, he severed the links of his life style by slaughtering the oxen he was ploughing with at the time of the call, the wood he used as fire wood to cook the oxen for his friends and family, perhaps to say goodbye. Off he went to pursue his new career as a prophet. YAHSHUA said, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9: 62). Elisha mastered on this one. Still very young when called, he persisted to the end looking ahead, never backward. He was a hero of the faith in every sense of the word. “A man of whom the world was not worthy.”

In the Year King Uzziah Died

The Prophet Isaiah registers a beautiful experience he had with God after King Uzziah died. King Uzziah was a very successful king in the early years of his career as king. The secret laid on the fact that he sought the Lord. It was his desire to seek God (2 Chron. 26: 5). God blessed him and he became very successful in all he did. He was a distinguished and successful politician. He went against the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, of Jabneh, and of Ashdod, and built cities near Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines, and God helped him against the Philistines and the Arabs who dwelt in Gur-ball and the Meunim. That Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread abroad even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong (II Chron. 26: 6-8).

But King Uzziah’s successes turned him into a prideful king. The Bible says, but when [King Uzziah] was strong, he became proud to his destruction; he trespassed against the Lord his God, for he went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (vs. 16). Burning incense by other than the sons of Aaron was a terrible breach of the Levitical Law. He well knew about it, but for whatever reason, he was driven to commit this evil against the word of the Lord. His pride arouse when the priest Azariah confronted him. He was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord. King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper, he dwelt in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Lord’s house (II chron. 16:18-21).

YAHSHUA, the Head of His Church

The head (brain) is the control center of the body. From controlling the breathing, the heart beating, and helping us to think and learn, to the control of all our actions and functions, it controls the muscles, facilitating the movements of the body. Together with the spinal cord it sends messages to the body through a network of nerves, called the nervous system, where information is evaluated and decisions made. An amazing organ the brain is! Behind it, there is yet the Creator, even more amazing than what He has created. YAHSHUA is the Word that spoke creation into existence, and it happened. He, for the sake of love for men, His most important creation, died to bring them back into relationship with Him once more, as it was in the days of the Garden of Eden.

When YAHSHUA went through His ordeal unto death, and death on the cross, receiving there the sentence of the curse in our instead, He then established His church at the same time, of whom He is the head, the Cornerstone, the Rock in Whom His church is built. As the head, He has all the right to control all that pertains to His body- the church. The intellect or mind, with its great ability of intelligence, is the battle field between good and evil. It is part of the soul, which is comprised of emotion, and the will also. YAHSHUA, being the head of the body, constitutes the spiritual function of the brain. His Holy Spirit communicates to the church -the body of Christ, sending messages through the study of God’s word and through prayer. But YAHSHUA is not only the invisible head of His church; He is also the visible. For every true believer reflects Whom He is, His attributes through our behavior. Every normal created being has only one head; In its normal way in which it was created, the body functions in harmony with every member of the body. Controlled by the head-brain, each member of the body responds accordingly to what the brain commands it to do. In the spiritual sense that YAHSHUA is the head of His church, the members of the body of Christ should follow the same principle in his everyday life. Otherwise, YAHSHUA’S body will be a dysfunctional body, and chaos will disturb the harmony of its unity. A thing He prayed for before His death in the John 17:20-21:  Neither for these alone do I pray, but also for all those who will ever come to believe in Me through their word and teaching, that they all may be one, as You Father, are in Me an I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You sent Me. Paul said, Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of the Spirit in the binding power of peace. [There is] one body and one Spirit- just as there is also one hope to the calling you received- there is one God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all pervading all and in all (Eph. 4: 3-4).

The Man Abram (part 2)

ANGELS OF MERCY

When Abram stretched out his hand to slay his son, angels of mercy came before the Lord pleading for him and Isaac, saying, O Lord, You are a merciful and compassionate King over all that You have created in heaven and in earth, and You support them all; give therefore ransom and redemption instead to your servant Isaac, and pity and have compassion upon Abraham and Isaac his son, who are this day performing You commands; have You not seen Isaac the son of Abram Your servant is bound down to the slaughter like an animal? Now, therefore let Your pity be roused for them, O Lord.

At that time the Lord appeared to Abram and called him from heaven saying, Lay not your hand upon your son, for now I know that you fear God in performing this act, not withholding your son from Me. Abram lifted up his eyes and behold a ram God had prepared for the sacrifice. Satan, however, kept the ram from coming to Abram. But Abram took hold of the ram and sacrificed it to the Lord. While Abram was engaged in sacrificing the ram to the Lord, Satan went to see Sarah, his wife in the form of an old man. He stirred up her heart’s emotions by telling her the lie that Abram had merciless killed her son. She lifted up her voice and wept and cried bitterly for her son. She threw herself on the ground and cast dust upon her head, weeping saying, O that I had died in your stead; my joy is turned into mourning over you. But I console myself with you, my son, in its being the word of the Lord, you performed the command of your God. She rose up afterward and went looking for Abram till she came to Hebron, inquiring of all that she saw and no one could help her. Satan came to her again in the form of an old man and said to her, I spoke falsely to you, for Abram did not kill his son; he is not dead. Hearing these words, she became extremely excited to the point of her soul leaving her.  She died then without seeing her son alive. When it was all over, Abram returned home and looked for his wife, but he could not find her. After making inquiries about her, he found out she had gone to Hebron; when they got there, they found out that she had died. They wept bitterly over her; Isaac fell upon her face and wept over her, saying, O my mother, my mother, how you left me, and where have you gone? O how, how you have left me! Every one mourned for Sarah for several days a great and heavy mourning. The love of a mother is beyond what one can imagine, but Sarah’s love for her son and vice-versa touches one’s heart deeper than any other human’s love would do. YAHSHUA’S mother suffered greatly the death of her son, as the prophet Simeon warned her saying, Behold, this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against; and a sword will pierce through your own soul also – that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed (Luke 2:34-35).

Iniquity, As Ice On God’s Love

Iniquity, the condition of men’s heart, runs deeply into generations from the beginning of time. Its roots reach far into generations, controlling men’s behavior and bringing them generational curses of diseases. Because men sinned, they are the recipient of its evil fruit. Iniquity is the inherited weakness in men’s DNA and in his soul. Therefore, Paul said, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, because all men sinned (Rom. 5:12). The transfer of sin from generation to generation constitutes the sin of iniquity.  It is its power taking over our desire to do good. David said, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me (Ps. 139:5). Iniquity, is above all other definitions, the root of evil. It remains with a generation even to the third and fourth generation. (Ex. 34:7). Iniquity is willful sin; it is the hardness of the heart toward following what is right. The Prophet Micah gave this warning: Woe to those who devise iniquity and work out evil upon their beds! When the morning is light, they perform and practice it because it is in their power (2:1).

Mankind under such condition, is hopeless, and seemly without a way out of it. That’s why man needs a Savior, a Redeemer to uproot this evil from all of us, for we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23); we are condemned to die spiritually when without our Savior YAHSHUA’S redemption. Paul said, For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am doing… O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from this body of death? O thank God!  He will…(Rom 7:18-19,24).

Your Dead Shall Live

(Isaiah 26:19-21)

Your dead shall live [O Lord]; the bodies of our dead [saints] shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For Your dew [O Lord] is a dew of [sparkling] light [heavenly, supernatural dew]; and the earth shall cast forth the dead [to life again; for on the land of the shades of the dead You will let Your dew fall] (Isaiah 26: 19). Resurrection unto life with YAHSHUA is the promise that rings eternally in the heart of all believer. Here the Prophet Isaiah assures the promise with words that connect to the words of our Lord when He said, I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, although he may die, yet he shall live; and whoever continues to live and believes in Me shall never die at all (John 11:25-24b). For the believer, death can only touch the physical part of the body. It has no power over the spirit. Life is in the spirit of the believer, although physical death has been ordained for men because of sin. Paul said, the body that is sown is perishable and decays, but [the body] that is resurrected is imperishable; it is sown in dishonor and humiliation it is raised in honor and glory. It is sown in infirmity and weakness it is resurrected in strength and endued with power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a supernatural body. [as surely as] there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body (Cor. 15:42-44). Paul referred YASHSUA as the first born from among the dead because He was the first to experience birth after death through His resurrection, so we will too. He will die no more. Many people experienced resurrection but had to die again. In the book of Revelation- the revelation of YAHSHUA the Messiah, John also referred to Him as the faithful and trustworthy Witness, the First-born of the dead… (Rev. 1: 5a). Because we were given the right to become the children of God by believing in His name, we owe our birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh nor to the will of man, but to God [we are born of God] (John 1:12), even though we died physically, we shall live.

“For Your dew is a dew of light” That implies life coming from heaven in a supernatural dew. When YAHSHUA rose from the dead in the powerful resurrection power, the tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep in death were raised to life and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people (Matt. 28: 52-53). We know that these people were not resurrected in their glorified bodies, either to eternal life and like the rest who came to life, they died again. That was not the “heavenly, supernatural dew.” The impact of the resurrection of our Savior YAHSHUA- the author of Life, was so great and so powerful that caused life to enter into the lives of those saints. If they were recognizable, I presume they were saints who had died recently. I am just speculating, of course, for the Bible does not tell us whom they were. 

Who Do People Say I Am and How About You?

(Matt. 16:16; Luke 9:20; John 19:19)

After having healed all those that had come to Him and fed the multitude of thousands with seven loaves of bread and a few fish, YAHSHUA asked a very important question in two folds: Who do people say that the Son of Man is, but Who do you say that I am? The conjunction but emphasizes the importance in the clear understanding of the knowledge the disciples must have of Whom YAHSHUA was. He directs the first question in the third person – the Son of Man is, but when directed the question to them, He asks them in the first person, but Who do you say I am? Or How about you?

The Samaritan woman, after talking to YAHSHUA, went to town and she began telling the people, “Come, and see a Man Who has told me everything that I ever did”! She concluded with a curious question, Can this be the Christ? Many believed the words of the Samaritan woman enough to come and meet Him. And perhaps out of curiosity they came. But when they heard Him, they said, Now we no longer believe just because of what you said; for we have heard Him ourselves and we know that He truly is the Savior of the world, the Christ (John 4:42). Hungry for more of His words, they asked YAHSHUA to remain with them and He did stay there two days (John 4:40).  Two days represent the period of two thousand years God was giving to the Gentile nations to hear the Gospel and turn to Him. In contrast with these Samaritans, the Jews of those days, in spite of all that they had witnessed in miracles, they could only conclude that He was perhaps John the Baptist, Elijah or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets (Matt. 16: 14).

Miracles at YAHSHUA’S Crucifixion

In the midst of chaos, YAHSHUA performed yet great miracles as He was letting go of His life to prove men that He was Whom He said He was. Embed by pains from His head to His toes, from His inner soul to His spirit, He, even though God, suffered as man in every sense of the word, for He was condemned as man by His Father, when He took upon Himself the sins of the world. However, He never stopped being God. Nature knew and reacted in the form of trembling. It was as if it could understand and perceive what was happening to the One Who had created it. The miracles that surrounded the atmosphere were vividly proclaiming to men that that Man was not an ordinary man, He was God! Nature could not be quiet about it.

First, the sun, the chief light of the day, decided it would not shine its Creator’s agony to sinful men. For the three hours YAHSHUA suffered His worst pain; it was as if God was hiding from the eyes of men the sufferings of His Son by turning the sun’s lights off. He had already suffered enough physical pain from the hands of sinful men. But His last agonies were hidden from the world, so that it would be a moment when they would stop mocking and making a spectacle of Him through the cruelty of their sinful nature. Three hours of darkness must have made men ponder about the meaning of it. Except for the Roman Centurion and his guards, nothing we read about men’s reactions that showed significant meaning toward knowledge of YAHSHUA’S divinity and their repentance.

The number three shone during the trials and crucifixion of our Lord. That meant that the “Three in One” all suffered the ordeal YAHSHUA suffered. He was crucified at nine o’clock in the morning; nine is 3X3. From twelve until three o’clock in the afternoon darkness ruled the land. Twelve is 3X4. On the third hour of darkness, YAHSHUA cried with a loud voice, expressing the worst pain He ever suffered in that ordeal- the separation from His Father, when He suffered hell for us. It affected the religious site of the Jewish nation when the curtain of the temple was torn in two opening the door for all to enter the presence of God, that is, those who would accept Him. Interesting thing is that YAHSHUA being God, even there on the cross was the one Who tore the curtain, as He took the position of our High Priest. The curtain of the temple was six feet long and thirty feet wide, with the thickness of the palm of a man’s hand. It was made from 72 squares woven from thick material. No man could ever tear it with bear hands. It was without a doubt the work of God. The most fascinating fact was that it happened at the time when YAHSHUA died and also when the priests were in the place of the Holy of Holies performing their priestly duty, facing the curtain. It was torn in two equal parts. It just happened right in front of their eyes. As a result, the Bible reports that great many priests accepted their Messiah. Acts 6:7 says: And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in YAHSHUA as the Messiah, through whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].  YAHSHUA not only reconciled men to Himself, but also opened the door for them to enter into His presence at any time. That is a great honor given to men. Undeserved as we are, punishment should have been ours, not blessings. With His death, even when we were his enemies, He reconciled us to God (Himself) (Rom. 5:10a). When He tore the temple’s curtain, He gave us full freedom and confidence to enter into the [Holy of] Holies by the blood of YAHSHUA (Heb. 10:19). It happened by the power of His blood, not the blood of animals, which were being sacrificed at the same time.

Earth revolted when it witnessed the death of its Creator, sending shock waves radiating to its surface from underground as in an earthquake, splitting the rocks, creating panic in many people who did not understand the cause, especially those who had rejected Him and given Him up to be crucified. It even brought to life saints, who had died some time ago. The power of YAHSHUA’S life, even when physically dead, shocked the earth and it stirred up the dead saints to life. Where His presence is there will be life, no matter what. That was a powerful miracle. No one should ever have doubted the reason for it; no one should ever have doubted the meaning of it. We see here YAHSHUA’S power of resurrection, which will happen in the future at the time of the rapture of His church, when only those “in Christ” will come to life. Note that not all dead came to life in His death, only the saints; and not all will be brought to life in the first resurrection, only His bride. YAHSHUA, when facing the death of Lazarus, introduced Himself to Martha as the Resurrection and Life. He was and is the solution for every problem man has. He said, I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, although he may die, yet he shall live (John 11:25).

Another significant miracle that happened at the death of YAHSHUA was the conversion of the Roman Centurion and his guards. Interesting to note is that those Romans had no knowledge of Whom YAHSHUA was; YAHSHUA, when they were crucifying Him, said a prayer of forgiveness we must not forget to whom it was directed. It was directed to those soldiers who hammered the nails in His hands and feet, who speared His side, who carved His brains with a crown of thorns, who whipped Him to the point of breaking His body through the skin, muscles reaching the bone, causing His body to be out of joint. It was to these cruel and godless Romans to whom YAHSHUA’S prayer of forgiveness was offered. Ingrained in their culture and religion, they were lost without YAHSHUA’S prayer on their behalf. But because God so loved the world to the point of giving His only begotten Son, these Romans were part of the plan of salvation, even if they were the ones killing God’s Son. They well represented the “world” and that prayer was necessary to bring them in too. Matthew reports that when the Centurion and those who were with him keeping watch over YAHSHUA observed the earthquake and all that was happening, they were terribly frightened and filled with awe and said, truly this was God’s Son! What a proclamation coming from a pagan, godless mouth! No longer had that, now these men witnessing the miracles at the foot of the cross, believed YAHSHUA to be the Son of God. Salvation is a result of a confession that YAHSHUA is Lord; Paul said, For with the heart a person believes and so is justified, and with the mouth he confesses and confirms [his] salvation (Rom. 10:9a-10). When our Savior YAHSHUA went to the cross, He went with the purpose to save men from eternal death. He took our cross and with His shedding blood He washed all who wanted, clean, including the thief on the cross, who had acknowledged Him as Lord and to be an innocent man. After he defended YAHSHUA against the other thief, He then asked Him, Lord, remember me when You come in your kingly glory! And YAHSHUA answered him: Truly, I tell you today you shall be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:40-43). This was a promise for a thief at the end of his life for having believed YAHSHUA, and for all of us who will receive Him.

Blood and Water Flowed Out From His Side

(John 19:32-35)

What’s the meaning of blood and water flowing out from YAHSHUA’S side? Have you ever wondered why and the meaning behind it? The truth of the matter is that we never stop to wonder why and what’s the significance behind it; we go on with minimum knowledge, not perceiving how little we care to know the reason behind it, to understand the extent of YAHSHUA’S suffering on our behalf. I believe that knowledge, as a glass window, will make possible for our eyes of understanding to see clearly and to change the way we see Him in His sufferings, and in relation to blood and water flowing out from His side when He was pierced. There is much to consider in the case of blood and water being flown from His side that is very important in the physical and in the spiritual realm to all those who are called believers in YAHSHUA.

John reports that, since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from hanging on the cross on the Sabbath- for that Sabbaths was a very solemn and important one- the Jews requested Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first one, ad of the other who had been crucified with Him, but when they came to YAHSHUA and they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs, but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out (John 19:31-34)

The Prophet Isaiah prophesized that YAHSHUA’S sufferings inflicted by Jews and Gentiles were marked on His appearance. His face and His whole appearance were marred more than any man’s, and His form beyond that of the sons of men-… (52:14a); He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, and a man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him (53:3). David, in his poetic writings, prophetically described the extent of YAHSUA’s physical as well as emotional sufferings in Psalms 22: Eli, Eli lama sabachthani? (My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?)  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is softened and melted down with me. My strength is dried up like a fragment of clay pottery my tongue cleaves to my jaws and You have brought me into the dust of death, for [like a pack of] dogs they have encompassed me; a company of evildoers has encircled me, they pierced my hands and my feet, I can count all my bones, …they part my clothing among them and cast lots for my raiment… (Psalm 22).