June - Reading 17

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Jun 17, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  3. Clint Kritzer

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    Jesse -

    I'm very grateful that you want to contribute and my hope is that you continue your reading with us (yes, us, I know a few others that are reading too. I guess they're just shy. [​IMG] ) Please feel free to comment anytime and if I have not started the topic, you are more than free to do so. The internet was down in my area here today and I finally gave in and signed on to AOL where I have to pay by the hour. Thanks, Jesse.

    Good evening -

    Our reading in 2Kings tonight shows us a turbulent time in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Our story tonight begins with the execution of Ben-Hadada of Aram being executed and succeeded by Hazrael, just as Elisha says it would happen. Jehosaphat's son, Jehoram takes over the throne from his father in the southern kingdom of Judah but he acted in the same way as Ahab. Meanwhile, Edom and Libnah in an act of revolt, set up their own kings. After seven years of Jehoram's reign, Ahaziah ascended to the throne. Finally, Jehu is annointed by on e of the prophets as God decides to set a king back upon the throne of the northern kingdom. Jehu seems doubtful at first but his compatriots immediately recognize what has happened and together they lead a coup on Judah and Jezreel. He kills Joram, Ahazia, and Jezebel. As we will see tomorrow, this blood bath has just begun.

    In our reading in Luke we read the account of the paralyzed man who's mat is lowered through the ceiling that he can get close enough to Jesus to be healed. This is the first account in Luke of a run in with the Pharisees. I would like to share with you what my NIV footnotes say about this group:
    Phillipians 2:6-11 is considered by some to be an early hymn that Paul was quoting. Definitely a very beautiful and moving testimony and one of the more inspiring passages of the Bible.

    May God bless you

    - Clint

    [ June 17, 2002, 11:04 PM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  4. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth
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    Dear Clint,
    Psalm 119 verse 136 - sums up how I feel about much of what is going on in this world. When I started reading with this group back in January, I told you that the Old Testament was difficult for me to follow, and that I had trouble sticking to reading in there. Since I have been following the plan laid down, I am finding more and more to delight my soul in Gods word, and........ I sometimes continue reading beyond the given passages, and have the pleasure of going over them when they come up as the days reading.
    Thank you for all the time and work you put into this project, I, for one, am reaping great benefit, and learning so much.
    Gwyneth [​IMG]
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Psalm 119:136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law. (KJV)

    Gwyneth -

    I am so glad that you have stuck with the program. One gets a whole different flavor of the Scriptures approaching them as a whole. It has been a blessing for Margie and me as well this time around and the fact that you are sharing the experience means a great deal to me.

    In a little over two weeks we hit the biggest hurdle in the program, the first 9 chapters of 1Chronicles (I am looking for resources that may liven it up a bit). After that, though, in the next few months we read the history of the kings from the perspective of the Chronicler, the return of the exiles as told by Ezra and Nehemia, and a great personal favorite of many who enjoy stories of intrigue, Esther.

    The Epistles even at this slow rate are worthy of much deeper study, but reading through them and gaining an insight of them as a whole tightens up the theology presented and discourages poor exegesis and proof texting.

    Stick with it and finish the course! Not every Christian can make the claim that they have read the entire Bible. It is a noble effort.

    Your brother in Christ

    - Clint
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture 9/21/03 continued

    Philippians 2:1 – 2:11

    Philippians 2:1-4 Exhortation to unity and humility (self-abnegation) towards others in the church with the Supreme example: the Mind of Jesus Christ –

    Paul now moves from unity in the face of adversity to unity in the face of internal church problems. Paul begins this section with four incentives. He uses the word “if” but we can assume that these conditions are true, so it would be accurate to read them as “since.”
    1. If there is any encouragement in Christ – The word “encouragement,” or KJV “consolation,” comes from a hard to interpret Greek, paraklesis. Literally, it translates “calling alongside.” Most scholars render this meaning as a “summons.” If we render the word this way, Paul is pointing to an accountability we have to Christ, and it is Christ who is summoning the Philippians to unity.
    2. If there is any comfort in love – The comfort provided by love (agape) is an incentive to unity and an encouragement to be single-minded in their purpose.
    3. If there is any participation in the Spirit – The fellowship in the Spirit is shared by all believers and therefore acts as a unifying hub to the community. Paul told the Corinthians that they were one in the Spirit as well in 1Corinthians 12:13.
    4. If there is any affection and sympathy – These two elements would make unity the normal and expected practice. Once again we see the KJV using the term “bowels” in the place of affection. As we discussed two weeks ago, this was a cultural view of the emotions being contained and controlled within the major organs.

    By recognizing, conceding and acknowledging these four incentives, the Philippians would complete Paul’s joy by becoming unified and like-minded. Paul is quite clear that he has already experienced joy from his association with this church, but this element of unity was lacking. This would not be a unity at the expense of truth, rather it was a call to a unifying attitude, a recognition of the commonness of purpose among the various members.

    Paul now gives instructions that will bring about an environment in which unity will flourish.
    1. Be of one mind
    2. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit
    3. Count others more significant than yourself
    4. Look to the interest of others

    As these instructions are self-evident and I am eager to get to the final reading today, I will leave them without comment.

    Philippians 2:5-11 This final Passage for today is possibly one of the most beautiful Passages in the New Testament. This Christology (theological interpretation of the person and work of Christ) is considered by some to be a hymn of the time, possibly even composed by Paul for this purpose. The weakness to this theory is that no one has ever really come up with a satisfactory meter for the phrasing. Nevertheless, the poetry is truly inspiring and reminiscent of Paul’s encouragement toward the “more excellent way” of 1Corinthians 13 where Paul gives his moving description of love.

    Christ is being held up as the Supreme Example for these believers as a call to humility. While no one could ever completely imitate the ministry of Christ, as Christians we should emulate His attitude.

    Many, if not most, see verse 6 as referring to Christ’s preincarnate state but this interpretation raises some problems. We know that Christ did indeed exist with God since the beginning as is accounted in John 1:1; John 17:5; and Revelation 22:13 so that is not the dispute. The problem with this interpretation lies in Christ making Himself nothing or literally, “emptying Himself” (kenoo - ken-o'-o) or as the KJV phrases it “made himself of no reputation.” This interpretation has given rise to a form of Christology called “kenotic” theology which has some flaws in its logic.

    If the verse is referring to Christ preincarnate state, then the emptying of Himself implies that He shed his divinity, like one would shed a coat, in order to take human form as accounted in verses 7-8. We know that this is not so in the fact that He forgave sins and performed miracles. Further difficulty is presented in that verse 9 by this view would make Christ’s exalted state superior to the state He had before his human birth. We also see no other evidence of Christ making any decisions before his incarnation.

    Christ’s incarnation was not an emptying of Divinity, but a Divine Manifestation as we see in 1Timothy 3:16. Therefore, we must seek a more logical conclusion. It is obvious that verses 7 and verse 8 refer to Christ’s human form. A strong case can be made that verse 6 is referring to a contrast between Christ and Adam. In Genesis 3:5 we see that the power of satan’s temptation to the first couple was that they wished to be like God. Also drawing on the Adam interpretation, “in the form of God” could easily apply to Christ’s earthly form. Paul contrasted Adam and Christ also in Romans 5:14-15 and 1Corinthinas 15:22.

    Paul’s point is made in verse 8. Christ, who was all man and all God, took the form of a servant. There is no greater contrast and no greater example of humility. It is the essence of Christ’s mind that He remained in the form of a servant even unto death, never seeking to grasp equality with God. This is the humility that Paul wishes to awaken in the Philippians. It was through this humility that Christ was exalted. We see this same thought in John 10:17-18. Just as Christ Himself taught, he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12)

    The name that is above every name is best understood in realizing that in Biblical thought names were not just for designating one individual from another but were used to show character and status. We may presume that the name given Christ, in Paul’s context, is “Lord.” It is a name that shows Sovereignty, Power, and Magnificence. “God exalted the One who emptied Himself. God made Lord the One who took the form of a slave.” Broadman Bible Commentary, Volume 11, © 1971.

    That every knee shall bow and every tongue confess does not show universal salvation, but it does guarantee Universal Lordship by Jesus Christ. This example of Christ becoming Lord, through His obedience to death, after being a slave certainly makes any quarrels or disagreements the Philippians may have had seem petty. The example is Supreme and universal even today.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lesson 7/4/04

    2Kings 8-10

    2Kings 8:1-6 Further Consideration for the Shunammite Woman


    Chapter 8 opens with a final glimpse at two characters we first met in chapter 4. The Shunammite woman who had been so hospitable to Elisha in the past is now warned of a coming famine upon the land by the prophet and is instructed to leave her home in order to escape the hardships that are to come. It is not clear from the text whether this famine was related to the one that the besieged city of Samaria faced in the last chapter or not, but in both cases the people of the Northern Kingdom should have recognized it as a covenant curse put on them because of their sins. Thus, Elisha states that the Lord had decreed it.

    The faithful and obedient woman heeds Elisha's warning and moves with her family to Philistia. At the end of the seven year period she returned and found it necessary to appeal to the king for the return of her land and house. From this we deduce that the woman may have been widowed prior to or during her absence. When we were introduced to the husband in 4:14 we were told of his advanced age. If he had indeed died then the land could have reverted to the state or been claimed by a kinsman as allowed by Mosaic Law. If the husband was not dead at this point, her home was being unlawfully occupied. In either case the resolve of the woman shows just as it did when she sought Elisha at the death of her son.

    The scene now shifts to the king and Gehazi talking, presumably in the royal court, about Elisha. The king was asking Gehazi about the prophet and his deeds. This may indicate that the king being spoken of at this juncture is not Jehoram who had many contacts with Elisha, but was instead Jehu, whom we will meet in the next chapter. Gehazi had just spoken of the resurrection of the Shunammite boy when, lo and behold, in walks the woman and the son. This scenario serves several functions in the narrative. (1) We are left with a more positive image of Gehazi as he was obviously testifying favorably of Elisha. (2) The woman serves as a witness to Gehazi's story about the reanimation of the boy. (3) The king restoring not only the woman's property but also the profits that were made off of it serve as an example of God's provision for those who are faithful to Him through His prophets.

    2Kings 8:7-15 Elisha's Role in the Aramean Coup

    This Passage closes the accounts of the Aramean wars with Ben-Hadad II that began in 6:8. To fully understand the events that transpire at this point, an analysis of 1Kings 19:15-17 is warranted. The Lord had given certain instructions to Elijah which had not been carried out before his translation. The time was now ripe for these events to come to pass. Further, the political climate in the Middle East was now becoming very disturbed as the Assyrian Empire was gaining power and stability, becoming the most formidable conquerors the world had yet seen. The annals of the Assyrian ruler Shalmaneser III record Assyrian victories over Ben-Hadad in 846BC and Hazael in 841BC. Therefore, most scholars lean towards a date of 842BC for the assassination of Ben-Hadad as accounted in this story.

    The scene opens with Elisha arriving in Damascus, as Ben-Hadad II lays ill in his bed. When the ailing king of Aram hears that Elisha was there he sends Hazael loaded down with gifts to meet him and inquire whether the illness that he had was terminal. Hazael tells Elijah that the king, Elijah's "son," had sent him with the inquiry. We see here that Elisha's political scope had widened beyond the borders of Israel and Judah and was now recognized by leaders in neighboring nations as well. The use of the term "son" demonstrates Ben-Hadad's recognition of Elisha's superiority. The offer of gifts was likely due to Ben-Hahdad's belief that a bribe would favorably influence the oracle. The irony of this scene is that it is the exact opposite of 2Kings 1:1-4 where an Israeli king seeks an oracle of a pagan god about his health. Now a pagan king seeks an oracle of the true God over the same matter.

    Elisha's answer is enigmatic. Under other circumstances the king would recover but God in His Sovereignty had revealed that Hazael would assassinate the king. The "fixed gaze (steady countenance - KJV)" that the Scriptures record of Elisha has been interpreted by some as the rigid facial expression associated with a trance. The gaze embarrassed Hazael perhaps indicating that he had already plotted the murder. As Elisha began to see the future of Israel sufferings at the hands of the usurper, he began to weep. The reference to ripping up pregnant women reflects a savage act often commited in ancient warfare (Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13). The reasoning behind such an act was so that there would be no male children born that would rise up in the future as a remnant of the conquered people and reclaim the land. It is important to note that Elisha does not sanction the act but simply recognizes it a s a coming event.

    Hazael's reply is quite interesting. Rather than being ashamed or protesting the atrocities, he wishes to know how such a thing would come to pass. Part of this doubt may have arisen from the fact that an Assyrian inscription calls Hazael "the son of nobody." Scholars believe that Hazael was a commoner with no real ties to the throne. His rebellion against Ben-Hadad was truly a coup of the highest order. However, Elisha confirms to him that he will become the new king of Aram.

    Hazael returns to Ben-Hadad's chambers and gives him the answer to the original question: the king's illness was not terminal. However, the next day he takes a cloth soaked in water and suffocates the king. He then uses whatever political maneuvering was necessary and ascends to the throne.

    The Rebellion of Jehu and the Purge of Baalism 2Kings 8:16-10:36

    At this point in the narrative, the Historian is concerned with demonstrating the purge of Baalism from Israel. While in one respect the actions of Jehu are not as significant as Elijah's battle with the prophets of Baal on Mount Caramel, they are nonetheless of primary importance in showing the strength of the prophetic revolution that was occurring under the leadership of Elisha. This section begins with the theological appraisal of Jehoram and Ahaziah, both Judean kings, because of their solidarity with the apostasy in the Northern Kingdom.

    2Kings 8:16-24 The Reign of Jehoram, Son of Jehoshaphat

    At this point in the commentary, I would be remiss if I did not define what could be some very confusing text on a cursory reading. First of all, we are now dealing with two characters, both kings, named Jehoram. Many versions including the KJV in verse 16 rename Jehoram, son of Ahab, Joram, which is the Hebrew equivalent of the name. However, this is Jehoram to whom we are introduced in 1Kings 22:50 and again in 2Kings 1:17 and 3:1. The new character, for clarity's sake, is Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.

    Shifting our attention to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, we are now introduced to Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, who co-reigns with his father for 5 years but now begins his reign as sole king in 848BC, the fifth year of Joram. There is further confusion in that there is also more than one Jehoshaphat in the Books of History, the first being in 2Samuel, Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, a recorder for David. The Jehoshaphat being referenced here is Jehoshaphat, son of Asa first introduced in 1Kings 15:24.

    Despite the fact that Jehoram, king of Judah, was not related to the Ahabian Dynasty by blood, he practiced Baal worship in the same manner as his northern neighbors. He married a "daughter of Omri" indicating that the woman was a descendant of Omri, possibly a granddaughter. While we know much of Omri from extra-Biblical sources, the Historian all but dismisses his reign with a mere eight verses in 1Kings 16. The review is not favorable at all as he is cited as doing "more evil than all who were before him." The marriage of Jehoram and Omri's daughter may have even been for cultic purposes in the Baalistic system. However, despite all this, God did not destroy Judah because of the Davidic Covenant.

    The Historian tells us that Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, did not enjoy very much political success as Edom rebelled against Judah and defeated his forces at Zair. In verse 22 the phrase of "unto this day" can be used to support either the theory of multiple writers in various time periods for Kings or the direct quotation of the Historian's sources since we will see Judah regain control of Edom in chapter 14. Libnah is believed to be a city-state close to the Philistine border near Lachish, a critical site in the Assyrian campaign.

    2Kings 8:25-29 The Reign of Ahaziah

    Once again, we have here a conflict in names. 2Kings begins with an account of an Ahaziah falling through a latticework that surrounded his roof and becoming very injured. That particular Ahaziah was the son of Ahab and ascended to the throne in Israel. Now in chapter 8 we are dealing with Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat. Like his father, Jehoram, he was evil in that he perpetuated Baal worship in Judah. At this point the "daughter of Omri," wife of Jehoram, is named as Athalia.

    In his one year of kingship, Ahaziah allied himself with Jehoram, king of Israel in order to wage war on the newly ascended king in Aram, Hazael, at the border city of Ramoth Gilead. In 1Kings 22 this same site was where Ahab had joined with Jehoshaphat to wage war against the Aramaens and was consequently killed. Now two generations later Ahaziah joins with his uncle by marriage, Jehoram, son of Ahab, who receives a severe wound during the campaign. He retreats to Jezreel in order to recuperate and is joined by Ahaziah there later. The two apostate kings of God's Covenant people are now in the same location after suffering military losses at the hands of the newly anointed Hazael and the stage is set for one of the most violent rebellions recorded in the Scriptures.

    2Kings 9:1-13 The Anointing of Jehu

    Though the two kings had left the battlefield, their troops remained in position. Elisha, whom we had left in Damascus in chapter 8, sends one of the sons of the prophets to carry out the final task commissioned to Elijah in 1Kings 19:15-17: the anointing of Jehu as king of Israel. Telling the man to "tuck in your cloak (KJV - gird up thy loins") shows that he would need to run to the Ramoth Gilead where Jehu was. Taking the flask of oil from the prophet, the younger son of the prophets goes to the commanders' assembly and finds Jehu, son of Nimshi. Nimshi is mentioned nowhere else in the Scriptures except as a designation for Jehu. This leads us to speculate that Jehu, like Hazael in the kingdom of Aram, was a commoner and usurper, albeit through the providence of God.

    The son of the prophets successfully pulls Jehu away from his company and when they are alone, Jehu is anointed and commissioned with a two-fold command. (1) He was to kill all of the house of Ahab, God's final earthly judgment on the apostate royal dynasty and (2) this would avenge the blood of those who had remained faithful to God and been martyred as a consequence. Jehu had certainly heard when this task had been prohecied by Elijah in 1Kings 21:20-24 and now he learns that he is the instrument that God will use to bring the prophesy to fruition. As we will see in the remainder of the lesson, he takes the task to heart. The young prophet hurriedly exits as he had been commanded to do by Elisha.

    Upon returning to his peers, Jehu tries to downplay what had just come to pass. That one of his company refers to the son of the prophets as a "madman (KJV - mad fellow)" sounds harsher to modern ears than it would have to the original exiled audience. We see in Jeremiah 29:26 and Hosea 9:7 that prophets were often considered mad and the term does not carry the same connotations of possession as it does in the New Testament. Jehu's response to his fellow officers ("you know the man") may indicate that this particular prophet was well known among them.

    The officers do not let the issue lie and press Jehu further about what had transpired. In a single sentence Jehu reveals that he had been anointed king over Israel. The reaction of the military company included blowing a trumpet, which often accompanied acts of worship or war. In this context, the fellow officers knowing of the prophets, knowing the oracle spoken against Ahab by Elijah and recognizing the tumultuous political climate that was becoming so unstable throughout the Middle East blew the trumpet to signify that Jehu was entering a sacral office. They concluded the anointing with the coronation shout of "Jehu is king!"

    2Kings 9:14-10:27 The Assassinations That Purged Israel of Baalism

    Though the bloody purge of Baalism from Israel began as a genuine prophetic concern and was an act instituted and sanctioned by God, we learn from these Passages that the motivation that spurred Jehu was not as pure and a general discontent is left in its wake at its conclusion.

    2Kings 9:14-26 The Assassination of Jehoram

    Jehu wastes no time in fulfilling his commission. The obvious target of Ahabian succession, Jehoram, son of Ahab, still lay in Jezreel recovering from the wounds he had received in Ramoth Gilead. Jehu urges his compatriots, who had just celebrated his ascension, to secrecy and sets out on his chariot accompanied by a troop of men to the city of Jezreel approximately 50 miles due west of him.

    When Jehoram is informed of the approaching company of men, he orders that a messenger be sent out to meet him to learn his intent. When the messenger reaches Jehu, he is enlisted into the company. Jehoram then sends a second horseman out to meet the unknown column of men and the scene is repeated. Though the text is not specific, we are left to assume that these messengers sympathize with Jehu's cause and also know of Elijah's prophecy. The watchman now recognizes that the furiously advancing party seems to be led by Jehu who was obviously known for his cavalier chariot driving. Upon hearing this, Jehoram orders that his own chariot be hitched up so that he may go out to meet his former general. Ahaziah also rides out onto the plain to meet Jehu, both men ignorant of the treachery that awaits them. They may have expected news from the battlefield at Ramoth Gilead and were curious as to why Jehu himself would be delivering it. As the three men converge on the plain, Jehu is asked a third time if he comes in peace.

    Jehu curtly replies that any talk of peace is impossible while the idolatry and witchcraft that Jezebel had brought into the land still abounded. At this point Jehoram recognizes the danger he is in and with a cry of "treachery" he turns to flee. Jehu draws bis bow sights down the shaft at the back of the fleeing apostate king and let's the arrow fly. It strikes Jehoram between the shoulders in the back, piercing his heart and the faithless offspring of Ahab and Jezebel slumps forward dead in his chariot. At this point in the narrative Jehu repeats part of the prophecy of Elijah first cited in 1Kings 21 and we are reminded that this occurred on or near the site of Naboth's vineyard. This story relayed to us in 1Kings 21 is, briefly, an account of Ahab absconding a piece of property when Jezebel set up false witnesses against the owner in order that he might be stoned. This incident prompted Elijah to curse the evil royal couple and this day that curse was coming to fulfillment. Jehu has Jehoram's body uncerimonally disposed of by throwing it on the plot of the ill-gained real estate.

    2Kings 9:27-29 The Assassination of Ahaziah

    Seeing the scene unfolding before him, Ahaziah turns south towards Bethhaggen and begins to flee. Jehu commands that he also be slain and his company finally wounds him during the chase on the way to Gur near Ibleam. The assassination of Ahaziah was not mere circumstance resulting from his being with Jehoram at the time. He, too, was descendant of Ahab as his mother, Athaliah was Ahab's "daughter." The mortally wounded Ahaziah somehow eludes his pursuers and turns north towards Megiddo. He dies in that city many miles from his home of Jerusalem but is carried by some of those who were loyal to him back to the holy city and was interred in the royal tombs there. The power vacuum left by this assassination will be addressed in chapter 11.

    2Kings 9:30-37 The Assassination of Jezebel

    Though not an active character in the Historian's narrative since the 21st chapter of 1Kings, we now learn that the evil Baal propagandist, Jezebel, is still alive and was within the walls of Jezreel. Jehu arrives, proceeded by the news of his coup by this time, and finds the queen waiting for him in an upper floor in her residence. The text tells us that she had painted her face and done her hair in anticipation of his arrival. This was more than an act of vanity. In the Baal cult it was believed that the condition of the body before death would characterize the nature of existence after death. Jezebel knew what was coming.

    Jezebel hurls a taunt at Jehu from her upper story window calling him "Zimri." About 45 years earlier, Zimri had taken the throne from Elah by assassination and annihilated the house of Baasha. We find this story in 1Kings 16:8-20. The taunt lies in the fact that Zimri's rule lasted a mere seven days before Omri laid siege to the city he was in and the ill fated king commited suicide by setting fire to the building he was occupying.

    Jehu does not even dignify Jezebel's taunt with a response but instead calls out, "Who is on my side? (KJV)" Two or three eunuchs who were in attendance for the queen took up the call and at Jehu's bidding, they threw Jezebel from the window, splattering her body on the street and wall below as horses trampled her.

    Jehu then in a character of ruthlessness strides into the same house and eats a meal. While some think that this may have been a communal meal binding the town's leadership to Jehu and his campaign, there is little evidence to support this. It is far easier to imagine this callous anti-hero showing his total disregard for the long-standing enemy of God's Covenant. He seems to reconsider after his meal, recognizing that Jezebel was royalty and probably deserved burial on that status alone. However, the detachment he sent to carry out the task found the body of Jezebel all but completely consumed by the dogs in the town. The prophecy of 1Kings 21:23 concerning Jezebel's demise had been completely fulfilled.
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture 9/26/04 continued

    Luke 5:17-26 The Healing of a Paralytic

    As this particular Passage opens, we are introduced to the Pharisees for the first time in Luke's Gospel. The term "doctors of the Law" is believed to be a sect of the Pharisees that taught by oral instruction as opposed to the scribes who taught by written. The Pharisees were, of course, the group that posed the primary earthly opposition to Christ. For further study of the origins and positions of this religious sect, please see:

    http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/pharisee.htm

    http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/pharisees.html

    The gathering that had assembled of these religious leaders is described as being from "every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem," indicating that much curiosity and possibly animosity had developed concerning this emerging new leader. The news of the masses that followed Him and the miracles and other messianic indicators had certainly reached the Pharisees.

    We see the healing miracles of Christ performed in a variety of ways and in the case of the paralytic man Jesus responds to the faith of both the victim and the men who brought him. We gather from this account that the community of believers is instrumental in bringing wholeness to the afflicted. Up until this point the healings and exorcisms we have seen in Luke were defeated by directly addressing the malady. Now, however, we see Christ address a deeper illness that, though not necessarily as apparent, is also in need of healing. With the onlooking audience of Pharisees, Jesus forgives the paralytic man's sins.

    For the Pharisees, this was the highest order of blasphemy. They correctly believed that only God could forgive sins and now a Man standing before them had done so. However, Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, points out the fallacy of their logic. The Pharisees also believed that healing and exorcisms were accomplished through the forgiving of sins. All the other acts He had performed were acknowledged as coming from Divine authority. Forgiveness and healing were, in essence, two sides of the same coin.

    Then to show that He was meeting the challenge of the established religious community head on, He turned to the paralyzed man and told him to rise and walk. As every kid who ever went to Sunday School knows, the man did as he was told and left praising God. So that the Pharisees would clearly get the point, Christ tells the man "I say to you." The Christ had now demonstrated that His authority stemmed from God and was indeed God's.

    Indeed, the people who witnessed these events that day in Capernaum had indeed seen strange things. Not only the miraculous healing, but for a Jew, a Rabbi, to so deliberately challenge a gathering of Pharisees was, to say the least, unusual.
     
  9. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth
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    Hello Clint,
    I am still in the group, it is a few times now that I`ve read through the bible, but every time something `new` speaks to me. Thanks for your continued help and support with the commentaries/maps/sunday school readings etc. I appreciate it all very much.
    06/07
    Gwyneth
     
  10. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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