Skip to main content

bible reading oct 21




Bible reading for October 21. 

2 Kings 2.

"Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, 'Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?' And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over." (2 Kings 2:14) 

CHARIOTS OF FIRE. There are many curious features about this chapter, and questions: why does Elisha ask for a double portion of Elijah's spirit? Why does Elijah keep putting Elisha off? Why does Elijah get to go directly to heaven? What's with the fiery chariots and horses? This is history, not a vision. And, no, these were not spaceships. People of that day knew what horses and chariots looked like. (They will be seen again in 6:17.) Apparently, Elisha aspires to a double portion of God's power which was upon Elijah. He's tested in this regard, and his tenacity is rewarded. Elisha will in fact perform more miracles than did Elijah.  Parting the waters of the Jordan recalls not only the parting of the Red Sea but also Israel's entry into the promised land through the Jordan. The same God who led Israel is providing prophetic guidance for the nation. 

BALD HEADS AND BEARS. This is another curious event. The Hebrew word for "small boys" (v 23) in the ESV in my opinion is better translated as in the NIV, "youths". This word is used elsewhere in the OT for young men of a marriageable age, of weapon-bearers, and of younger male servants. The word means youthful not small. This was a gang of 42+ teenagers, not little boys, who were up to no good. Elisha did not curse AT them (like a cranky old man), but rather pronounced God's judgment UPON them as the prophet of God. This event, along with the purified water, demonstrated early on that God's abundant (double) blessing, power, and authority were upon Elisha. 

REFLECT. This event of Elijah's "translation", as some theologians call it, means he changed bodily from an earthly to a heavenly existence, and so bypassed death. This shows the unique place Elijah has among the prophets. Like Moses he later appears with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration (Matt 17:3). He is the forerunner of the day of the Lord (Mal 4:5). John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). In one sense Elijah's ascension foreshadows the ascension of our Lord, who purposefully did not bypass death (Acts 1:9, 11). But further, it foreshadows our own translation at Christ's return, where believers who are alive on earth will be transformed immediately and directly from earthly to resurrection existence, also bypassing death (1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thess 4:17). What do you think about this? Does this seem like science fiction or fantasy to you? Why not pray and ask that the Lord make this hope more real to you? 

===============  

2 Thessalonians 2.

"Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction..." (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS. The Thessalonian believers may have wondered if the day of the Lord, that period of time related to the second coming of Christ, had already come. The Apostle Paul tells them that Christ's visible return would not take place until a great rebellion (Gr., apostasia, or "falling away; apostasy") occurred, and the "man of lawlessness" is revealed. I do believe this is the same person elsewhere referred to as "the little horn" (Dan 7:3, 6) or "the beast" (Rev 13). The word "antichrist" (1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn 7) and "false christ" (Matt 24:5, 24) are both used in a plural sense of those who seek to supplant Christ with their own messianic pretension. There have been many antichrist candidates throughout history, including Antiochus IV and certain Roman emperors. But I think the Scriptures teach that there will be one very powerful individual at the end of history who will perform signs and wonders, make blasphemous claims, persecute God's people, and seek to control the world's commerce. Thankfully, his reign will last only three and a half years (aka, "time, times, and half a time," or 1290 days). He will be completely destroyed by Christ's appearance and by his word of judgment (v 8).  

HOW HUMAN HISTORY ENDS. Many would like to think that humanity is getter better and better. People tend to feel that good leaders and organization -- along with science, technology, and enlightened thinking -- will bring about utopia on earth. But the Bible clearly tells us that all our progress will ultimately result in self-worship, the deification of humanity, and then its collapse. Because people do not want to hear the truth, nor love the truth, the truth shall be hidden from them. Paul's conclusion: "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter" (2:15). 

REFLECT. Do you love the truth? How sad is this: "...they refused to love the truth and so be saved" (2:10). In our fallen nature how quickly we deceive ourselves! How quickly we believe lies, especially if it affirms our unrighteous pleasures (2:12). How we delude ourselves with things, ideas, and promises that have no reality. Our culture exalts feelings rather than facts, personal truth ("my truth, what's true for me") rather than real truth. (Or "true truth," as Francis Schaeffer used to say.) As a result, we believe people who are liars, who spin the truth, who craft their public image with an intent to deceive us. We end up trusting people who aren't trustworthy. This can be true in friendships, marriages, businesses, leadership, politics, and churches. Pray for those around you to recognize that there is truth (just as there are lies!), that God would give them a love for what is true, that they might see the reality of Jesus who said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).  


Image credit. Painting: "Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Fire," c. 1740/1755 by Giuseppe Angeli, at the National Gallery of Art. Public domain. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

bible reading nov 1-2

  Bible reading for weekend Nov 1 -- 2 Nov 1 -- Hosea 7 and Psalms 120-122 Nov 2 -- Hosea 8 and Psalms 123-125 ================   "Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing." (Hosea 8:12) THE RESULTS OF SIN (ch 7-8). Notice the words and metaphors to describe Israel's sinful condition: they are surrounded with, and proud of, their evil (7:1-3); like adulterers in the heat of passion (7:4-5); their anger is like a hot oven (7:6-7); they are like a half-cooked (one side only) cake (7:8); their strength is gone (7:9); they are like silly doves easily trapped (7:11-12); they are undependable like a warped bow (7:16). In spite of all of this they are so proud of themselves! (We might say they have a strong self-esteem.) They have spurned what is good (8:3); they sow to the wind and have no real fruit (8:7); they are a useless vessel (8:8) and a wild donkey wandering alone (8:9); they regard God's law as a strange thing

bible reading dec 3-5

  Bible reading for weekend December 3 -- 5  Dec 3 -- Nahum 1 and Luke 17 Dec 4 -- Nahum 2 and Luke 18 Dec 5 -- Nahum 3 and Luke 19 ================ "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness." (Nahum 1:7-8)  TIME'S UP FOR NINEVEH (Nah 1-3). The prophecy of Nahum is God's word to the people of Nineveh, part two. Jonah was part one, chronicling a city-wide repentance of Assyrians in the capital about a hundred years earlier. The closing bookend is Nahum, and the Assyrian empire is big, powerful, and aggressive. Notice the references to chariots (2:3-4, 13; 3:2). The Assyrians were a militarily advanced culture, and cruel in their warfare. Whatever spiritual receptivity they had at the time of Jonah was gone by the time of Nahum. Nahum may not have actually visited Nineveh, for it seems the book was w

bible reading dec 13-14

Bible reading for December 13 -- 14  Dec 13 -- Haggai 2 and John 3 Dec 14 -- Zechariah 1 and John 4 ================ "Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts..." (Haggai 2:4) THE LATTER GLORY (Haggai 2). The Jews, having returned from Babylonian exile, must get to work and finish rebuilding the temple. For this reason, the post-exilic period is called the "second temple" period. King Herod would later enlarge and add many embellishments to the site. But the beginnings in Haggai are so modest compared to the temple originally built by Solomon, and the people were discouraged. The Lord asks, "Is it not as nothing in your eyes?" (v 3) He tells them that they are to be strong and to keep working, for he is with them, no matter how humble the project may seem. This principle applies to us, as well (Matt 28:20; Eph 6:10). We should not become disheartened at the smallness of the return on our