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chroNICHOLLS October 2016 – June 2017 is now available for download (8.3MB) as a PowerPoint file.

A PDF file is also available here (7.7MB).

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elisha-elijah

Today in Hebrew Grammar class we were going through 2 Kings 2 (Elijah and Elisha), and when we got to v9 where Elisha asks Elijah for a ‘double portion’ of his spirit, our (Jewish) professor claimed that this doesn’t mean ‘2x Elijah’s spirit’, but ‘2/3 of Elijah’s spirit’.

Well, we were all a bit shocked, so he showed us the other times in the Bible that the term is used, and lo and behold, it supported his claim.

Deuteronomy 21:17 “But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.” This isn’t saying to give him a ‘double portion’ of all that the father has, but to give him ‘two thirds’ of what he has, and ‘one third’ to the other son (you can’t give someone two times what you own anyway, it doesn’t make sense).

Zechariah 13:8 “It will come about in all the land,” declares Yahweh, “that two parts in it will be cut off and perish, but the third will be left in it.” This is clearly talking about 2/3 and 1/3.

Our professor thinks that asking for a ‘double portion’ would be like saying, “Teacher, I want to be twice as smart as you!” It’s kind of rude. And, if we look at Elisha’s prophetic ministry, he’s not really considered twice the prophet Elijah was. We usually think of Elijah as the greater prophet (after all, he’s the one who appeared with Moses on the mountain with Jesus, and the one whom people thought John the Baptist might be).

Our professor thinks that by asking for two thirds of Elijah’s spirit, Elisha was saying something like, “Elijah, I wish to be half the prophet you are.” It’s a respectful way of asking to carry on Elijah’s ministry.

In the van on the way home tonight, all of us translators were discussing this (the Africans were very animated, thinking about all the churches in Nigeria and Ethiopia that might be called ‘Double Portion Assemblies of God’ etc 🙂 ). We started to think about what it means to be a firstborn and receive 2/3 of the inheritance, and came to the conclusion that perhaps Elisha was saying, “Elijah, there are many young prophets in Israel, and you could pass the ‘baton’ on to any of them, but I want to be your ‘firstborn’, the one who inherits your ministry, the one who gets the 2/3, and someone else can have the 1/3.” This seems to fit the meaning of Deuteronomy 21:17, the context of respect toward one’s mentor, and the fact that Elijah was always considered the greater prophet.

Oh, the fun you can have in Hebrew Grammar class!

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“If it’s only 2/3, then why did Elijah say it would be difficult?” Who knows, maybe transferring your prophetic ministry to someone else isn’t straightforward. I would need to check with a prophet.

“Didn’t Elisha do twice as many miracles as Elijah?” I don’t know, I’ve never counted. Perhaps he did. I’m not sure that prophets are qualitatively assessed by number of miracles though. But good question. 🙂

“Does this mean we shouldn’t ask God for ‘double portions’?” I don’t know! I’m a translator, not a spiritual adviser! 😉 I think God likes when we ask for stuff, especially if it’s an increase in our ministry and service to him.

“Does this mean our translations are wrong?” Sometimes. 🙂

“Who comes up with these questions?” Why do you want to know?

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chroNICHOLLS June-October 2016 is now available for download (4.1MB) as a PowerPoint file.

A PDF file is also available here (6.0MB).

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chroNICHOLLS February-May 2016 is now available for download (4.8MB) as a PowerPoint file.

A PDF file is also available here (5.5MB).

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As I was reading Zechariah today a passage caught my attention that got me running off in all different directions that finally all led back together to one idea, and it’s fascinating.

Zechariah 6:11-13 says to “make a crown and set it on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Then say to him, ‘Yahweh who rules over all says, “Look—here is the man whose name is Branch, who will branch up and build the temple of Yahweh. Indeed, he will build the temple of Yahweh, and he will be clothed in splendor, sitting as priest on his throne.”

Joshua in Hebrew is Yahshuah יהושע, and it means Yahweh-saves, and in Greek it is Iesous Ἰησοῦς, aka Jesus. Son of Jehozadak בן-יהוצדק means son of Yahweh-makes-righteous.

Therefore this passage says Yahweh-saves (Jesus), son of Yahweh-makes-righteous, will be crowned king and high priest and will build God’s temple! Isn’t that exactly who Jesus was?

Branch in Hebrew is zemach צמח. In the Greek Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) I was surprised to learn that branch is translated as anatole ανατολή, which actually means rising. It probably means a shoot that rises up out of the ground, but it’s usually used for the rising of the sun, or the east.

In Matthew 2:1-2 the Magi from the anatole ([place where the sun is] rising) say “where is the king of the Jews, we saw his star in the anatole” (east-rising). Interesting.

In Jeremiah 23:5-6 God says, “I will raise up a righteous branch צמח צדיק (lit. Branch of Zadik) (The Septuagint writes, “I will raise up a righteous anatole” (east-rising)) … and his name will be Yahweh is our righteousness יהוה צדקנו” (lit. Yahweh Zadokenu). In the Septuagint this is actually written kurios Iosedek κύριος Ιωσεδεκ (lit. lord Jehozadak!). The Septuagint didn’t translate Zadokenu צדקנו as our righteousness, it actually wrote Jehozadak (remember the father of Joshua, priestly king who rebuilt the temple from Zechariah 5:11).

Are you still following? 🙂

In Luke 1:78 Zechariah prophesies about his son John the Baptist and says John will bring knowledge about salvation because of God’s kind mercies, concerning which an anatole will appear to us, that is, a rising will appear to us. This is a quote from the very last chapter in the OT, Malachi 4, which talks about the spiritual coming of Elijah, aka John the Baptist. In v1 it says God will set the evildoers ablaze so that there remains no שרש וענף, (sheresh v’anaph root and branch, but these are different words from the root and branch he’ll raise up).

In v2 it says “the sun of righteousness שמש צדקה (shemesh zadakah – is shemesh שמש, sun, a play on sheresh שרש, [bad] root?) will rise with healing in its wings.” In the Septuagint it’s, “the sun of righteousness anatelei” (will rise), the verb form of anatole.

Ok, so did you catch all of that?

To sum it up, Jesus, the Son of Yahweh-makes-righteous, is the Branch that rises up and brings healing to his people and will function as high priest, reign as king, and will build God’s temple.

And it’s all foreshadowed there in prophecy. The riches of studying Scripture in the original languages.

chroNICHOLLS November-February 2016 is now available for download (4.2MB) as a PowerPoint file.

A PDF file is also available here (4.6MB).

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