Class Notes: 2/27/2013
Elijah snatches personal defeat from the jaws of God's victory; Background of the Gospel of Mark
Last time we started a study on the two antithetical approaches to problem solving on a national scale that we will refer to as pivot politics and power politics.
Under the principle of the Divine solution is the only solution it is useful for us to discuss the issue of what believers do to try to solve the problems that they face in the devil's world. So we started a brief study on the topic of "Pivot power versus Political power.
Problems of life demand solution. These problems are both individual and collective. Self-righteousness is the motivator for power politics, which is the satanic system for problem solving on earth.
While man cannot solve his personal problems, he likes to compensate by trying to solve collective problems in his society or nation and he does this by using power politics.
Power politics is the believer on a crusade, filled with self-righteousness, scar tissue of the soul, and locked in arrogance parlaying human good into evil, and distorting law through the advocacy of change by means of tyranny, terrorism or revolution.
Power politics means disruption of normal life in the name "change" in the form of human good, and self-righteousness. It is the use of arrogance and self-sacrifice to destroy freedom.
With power politics, legitimate responsible government is changed to illegitimate irresponsible tyranny. Power politics uses human good to produce evil. Pivot politics uses doctrine to produce divine good.
An example of power politics versus pivot politics is Elijah and Obadiah in 1Kings 18:1-40; In this passage we have a division that occurs in the decline of a client nation that is similar to what is happening in the USA today.
Ahab and Jezebel represent the evil progressive pleasure seeking rulers.
The priests of Baal represent the mainstream media and the proponents of progressivism.
Elijah represents believers with establishment and doctrinal viewpoint who are being attacked.
Obadiah represents believers who want to do the right thing and sometimes do but most of the time just compromise to preserve their status and prosperity.
The people represent the "low information voters" who just want what the government will give them.
1Kings 18:1 Now it happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, "Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth."
v2 So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria.
1Kings 18:3; Ahab called Obadiah who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly;
v4 for when Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water.)
1Kings 18:5; Then Ahab said to Obadiah, "Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the valleys; perhaps we will find grass and keep the horses and mules alive, and not have to kill some of the cattle."
v6 So they divided the land between them to survey it; Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.
1Kings 18:7; Now as Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him, and he recognized him and fell on his face and said, "Is this you, Elijah my master?"
v8 He said to him, "It is I. Go, say to your master, 'Behold, Elijah is here.' "
1Kings 18:9; He said, "What sin have I committed, that you are giving your servant into the hand of Ahab to put me to death?
v10 "As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent to search for you; and when they said, 'He is not here,' he made the kingdom or nation swear that they could not find you.
1Kings 18:11; "And now you are saying, 'Go, say to your master, "Behold, Elijah is here." '
v12 "It will come about when I leave you that the Spirit of the Lord will carry you where I do not know; so when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth.
1Kings 18:13; "Has it not been told to my master what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, that I hid a hundred prophets of the Lord by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water?
v14 "And now you are saying, 'Go, say to your master, "Behold, Elijah is here" '; he will then kill me."
1Kings 18:15; Elijah said, "As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today."
v16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
v17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, "Is this you, you troubler of Israel?"
1Kings 18:18; He said, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and you have followed the Baals.
v19 "Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table."
1Kings 18:20; So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel.
v21 Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.
1Kings 18:22; Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.
v23 "Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it.
1Kings 18:24; "Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea."
v25 So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it."
1Kings 18:26; Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, "O Baal, answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made.
v27 It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened."
1Kings 18:28; So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them.
v29 When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.
1Kings 18:30; Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord which had been torn down.
v31 Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."
1Kings 18:32; So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed.
v33 Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood.
1Kings 18:34; And he said, "Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time.
v35 The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water.
1Kings 18:36; At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.
v37 "Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again."
1Kings 18:38; Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
v39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God."
1Kings 18:40; Then Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape." So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
Obadiah's failure was the failure of a reversionistic believer who was involved in power politics. Elijah's failure was the failure of a mature believer who misused his power and became involved with power politics.
Obadiah failed to use the faith-rest drill, because he did not apply doctrine in reverse concentration. 1Kings 18:7-16;
Elijah failed with his abuse of power after his great spiritual victory over the prophets of Baal. 1Kings 18:38-40;
Obadiah entered power politics by refusing to apply Bible doctrine at a critical moment. He built up scar tissue of the soul, which intensified his arrogance. This resulted in self-righteousness when in prosperity and self-pity with pressure combined to form a complex of guilt and fear.
Elijah entered power politics by abusing his spiritual authority and distorting the proper use of power when he killed the 450 prophets of Baal.
The Lord had won using Elijah but Elijah had lost when he violated the principle of pivot politics by using violence on the prophets of Baal.
Elijah had placed himself under the power of Jezebel, for he is now a part of power politics. As long as Elijah refrained from killing those prophets, they were already discredited by the Lord. It was better to leave them alive and discredited than to kill them and make them martyrs.
Elijah used violence to enter the sphere of power politics. By entering into power politics he made himself vulnerable to intimidation from Jezebel who was a master of power politics. 1Kings 19:1-3; Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
v2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time."
v3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
When a mature believer resorts to violence, he places himself into the power politics system where someone with greater power, authority, and proclivity for violence can intimidate, threaten, and finally cause fear in the soul and neutralize him. This is what caused Elijah to run for his life from Jezebel's threats.
We see from this that the power of the believer does not reside in human force, violence, intimidation, and tyranny. Force and violence always create more problems.
The power of Jesus Christ resides in the Word of God and the doctrinal principles that He has provided, and these principles are related to the fact that Jesus Christ controls history. Col 1:17;
The power of the believer is the power of thought. Victory does not mean that the believer stops thinking. When Elijah ordered the execution of the 450 prophets of Baal he stopped thinking and started functioning in emotion.
Other than the legitimate violence that is used by legitimate government to control crime and defend the nation violence is not the solution to the problems of life.
Elijah was the greatest man of his age as a spiritual leader and was doing well until he gave that order to kill the prophets of Baal. That switched him from pivot politics over to power politics and left him completely vulnerable because it placed him into a position of weakness.
When you take the law into your own hands you are no better than lawless problem you are trying to cure. It is rejection of legitimate authority and whether that authority is weak or strong or fulfilling it's responsibilities is not the issue.
When you ignore authority in order to cure a problem in a national entity you merely create lawlessness, tyranny, and dictatorship.
Obadiah received his authority from Ahab, but Elijah received his authority from God.
Obadiah rejected God's provision of logistical grace and trusted in Ahab even though he was supported by it, while Elijah abused logistical grace.
Obadiah was a reversionist; Elijah was a mature believer. Obadiah compromise when he refused to apply doctrine; Elijah compromised when he distorted doctrine.
Both reversionistic Obadiah and mature Elijah failed in their relationship to power politics. The compromise is that they went into power politics even though they were both sustained by the pivot principle of logistical grace.
Obadiah forgot that he was supported from the integrity of God. Elijah enjoyed logistical grace but abused his privilege.
Obadiah's occupation with Christ was destroyed by his fear of Ahab. Elijah's occupation with Christ was destroyed by his success. One was destroyed by fear, which is lack of faith-rest, while the other was destroyed by success that resulted in the distortion and malfunction of faith-rest.
We see from this how extremely easy it is for believers to compromise and move from pivot politics to power politics.
Each believer must choose for involvement in the plan of God or try to improve Satan's world through human viewpoint systems.
Pivot politics uses the mind of Christ to function in God's agenda under the policy of grace producing divine good. Power politics uses human good to function on satan's agenda under the policy of works producing human good and evil.
Our Lord was rejected by his own people and betrayed by Judas Iscariot because he used pivot politics rather than power politics. They would have accepted him if he had incited the mob and led them against Roman rule but doing that would have violated the grace principle of pivot politics.
We see this in Matt 26:52; where Jesus said to Peter the vigilante: "Put your sword back in its sheath. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword."
This is a reference to crime, not to military function and not to the function of the police officer in the line of duty in shooting a criminal. This is the function of crime itself that Peter was engaging in by trying to kill Malchus the high priest's servant.
In order to understand what Jesus said and to relate it to 1Kings 19:1; where we also have the mention of the sword we must understand that
Matt 26:52; is a reference to crime, to illegal violence, vigilantism, or any system of using power to destroy the freedom of others. This verse, in effect, parallels the verse in 1 Kings 19:1 "by means of the sword" .
Matt 26:52; does not refer to military function or law enforcement which are legal uses of force and violence within the framework of their professional function as part of Divine Establishment under nationalism.
The principle of Matt 26:52 applies to Elijah who resorted to violence after the victory had been won by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord God of Israel when he ordered the murder of the 450 prophets of Baal and turned the Lord's victory into personal failure.
This leads us to our next study; a study on the book of Mark where we will see the contrast between our Lord's authority and identity as the Messiah and King and his role of being the servant of God that creates an enigma because of the paradox that is created when Jesus Christ who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords is simultaneously the suffering servant.
We will see that pivot politics as represented by the Servant instead of power politics as represented by the King is to be the believers present role in the devil's world because just as our Lord's kingdom was not of this world. John 18:36; and neither is ours Phil 3:20;
The writer of the book of Mark is technically anonymous but the evidence strongly supports the conclusion that John Mark with direction from Peter is the author. It is possible that the book of Mark was the first gospel. It was written sometime between 64-69 A.D. and was likely started before Peter's death and finished after his death.
John Mark's mother Mary is mentioned in Acts 12:12; as being the owner of one of the houses where the church in Jerusalem gathered. Mark's mother Mary was the aunt of Barnabas because Col 4:10; refers to Barnabas as being John Mark's cousin.
Mark would therefore was most likely a teenager when Jesus was captured and crucified and he would probably have attended the meetings that were held at his mother's house.
Early tradition states that initially John Mark traveled with Peter and that the Gospel he wrote recalls the stories that he heard Peter tell about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1Pet 5:13; Peter refers to Mark as his son and we see that he was with Peter when the book of First Peter was written.
Acts 12:25; states that he went with Paul and Barnabus on their first missionary journey but for some undisclosed reason he left them and went back to Jerusalem after they got to Perga in Pamphylia. Acts 13:5,13;
Barnabas wanted to take John Mark along on their second missionary journey, but Paul would not permit it because of his previous defection, so Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways and Barnabas took Mark with him to Cyprus. Acts 15:36-39;
Paul was later reconciled with Mark and he was with Paul during his imprisonment in Rome Philemon 24; and he traveled to Asia Minor for Paul. Col 4:10;
During his final imprisonment Paul instructed Timothy to bring Mark back to Rome with him because he was helpful to him. 2Tim 4:11;
We see from this that Mark was intimately familiar with the apostles Peter and Paul and was in a position to be able to write the book even though it was not immediately attributed to him.
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