Mark 911

Mark 9:11 (KJV) And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

As a stand-alone verse, Mark 9:11 will leave you high on a mountain and confused. There was history, prophecy, and current events in that question. I will try to be focused, but there is so much to be talked about.

Scribes In the simplest explanation, scribes were people who used pens to write things. Many times, they worked in the palace documenting the business of the royal court. It is reasonable that Herod had scribes. The scribes in Mark 9:11 would have been the ones associated with the Pharisees and Sadducees, each group had its own. The Sadducees were more focused on the Five Books of Moses than the history and prophets.

Jentezen Franklin preached a sermon about scribes. He used Deborah and the tribe of Zebulun (the mountain may have been in their land) in the sermon. Judges 5:14 talks about the tribe of Zebulun either being scribes or having a commander’s staff. The translators are all over the battleground with that one.

The Question Just to be clear Elias = Elijah. The three disciples had just seen Elijah, so this question just had to be asked. The root of this question is in three scriptures:

  • Isaiah 40:3-This verse does not name Elijah but does describe what John was doing in the wilderness. It also made a great song.
  • Malachi 1:3-Again no mention of Elijah but a messenger who will have the people give righteous offerings. John did come before and prepared the way for Jesus by preaching righteousness and baptizing the people as a sign they had repented.
  • Malachi 4:4-6-This mentions Moses and Elijah. Elijah will be sent before the day of the Lord to restore our hearts. This will lead to the question of the two witnesses in the Book of Revelations. Personally, I believe Elijah will be one of the two, he never died but was taken in the chariot of fire. Moses will not be one because he died and was buried.

Jesus with Moses and Elijah Since I was born again, I have heard that these two men appeared at the transfiguration to represent the Law and the Prophets. Luke 9:30+31 adds that they were there to talk about His death in Jerusalem.

May I add another layer (possibly) to this story? From the test, that they failed, these men had a testimony. In Numbers 20 Moses did not honor/trust God’s holiness enough to speak to the rock. Elijah, in 1 Kings 19, feared for his life at Jezebel’s threat and ran for his life. (That makes me wonder if Satan showed up in the Garden to make Jesus afraid of dying.) I believe both of these men spoke to Jesus about not being afraid because His Holy Father would bring Him through this ordeal. Your test, pass or fail, will be part of your testimony.

Luke has a word in 9:32 that is nowhere else in any of these narratives- synestōtas. It is translated as standing with or together. This comes from the root word- synistēmi. In many of the places where forms of this word are used, it may be “recommend”. (Mounce Interlinear was a reference for this thought.)

Before the Mountain of Transfiguration (See Luke 911) Jesus fed the 5,000 and is in a private time with the disciples. Peter proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus tells them He is going to Jerusalem to die and Peter argues with Jesus. (See Jesus Knew and Told the Disciples) He ends the conversation by saying that some of them would see His kingdom’s power before they die (James died first as part of the prophecy). Matthew, Mark, and Luke document this event.

6 or 8 Days Each of the three Gospel writers have slightly different details. Matthew and Mark say six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a mountain. Luke has eight days later. None of these writers were present for this meeting on the mountain. (I am sure the tale was told during Jesus’ last forty days on earth.) Matthew and probably Mark were present with the group that was left behind. So, who did Luke talk to in getting his version of the story? We do not know. My guess is that they were praying for two days before Jesus was transfigured and talked with Moses and Elijah. That would make all three of them right. Metaphorically, six is the number of man and eight presents new beginnings. Add these to your sermon thoughts. This location was probably “the mountain” in Galilee that the disciples were to go to after the crucifixion (Matthew 28:16).

God Spoke-The Father spoke to the three disciples from the cloud that surrounded them. Moses had that experience several times. Elijah had God speak to him in the cave. It is left to our imaginations as to how Jesus and the Father communicated when they were together.

The Gospels record three times when the audible voice of God was heard.

  1. At Jesus’s baptism-Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, and Luke 3:22. The message was you are/this is my Son, and I Am pleased with Him. It is really hard to tell how many, if any, of the Twelve Disciples were present for this.
  2. On the Mount of Transfiguration-The message is much the same as at the baptism except that the three writers all have, “Listen to Him”.
  3. The third time is in John 12:28. Jesus has just fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah for Daughter Zion and rode into Jerusalem. The Voice agreed with Jesus about glorifying the Father. Jesus added that this was for the disciples and that the world and its prince were now open for judgment.    

After the Voice, Elijah and Moses were gone from sight and the question of Mark 9:11 was asked. So, what did John the Baptist restore that Elijah had given?

I believe that the road John was paving for Jesus was one of righteousness; so, we would return to the Father. God loves righteousness, our being right with Him on His terms not on ours. 1 Corinthians 5:18-21 states that we are to be reconciled to God as righteous. Jesus walked that road and paid the price so we could be with the Father again in righteousness.

Luke, once again, has a specific thought about when they came down the mountain. In Luke 9:37 he adds “the next day”. I have a feeling that we got a summary statement for what was a great time of fellowship.

Mark 9:15 is when Jesus approached the crowd. I believe that he was in that crowd and was “overwhelmed” or ekthambeō with them. (Mark seems to be the only writer that uses this word. This is the first use and he uses various forms of the word three more times, ending in the Garden with the angels speaking to the women. I have to wonder if Jesus was still glowing. Moses had to wear a veil when he was in God’s presence. Another question to ask when we get to see Him.

Going to the next level. Start with Mark 9:11 and build a narrative of your own using all of the Gospel accounts.  

Bible 911-Amos 

Amos 911 has been a great Bible study for me. The “minor prophets”, only because of length, have amazing stuff in them. I took this time to learn more about Amos and his place in history. Because of a visit to a Bible Museum, I am reminded that chapters and verses were not in many early Bibles. With that said 9:11 starts as a promise to David and his fallen sakkut. 

Amos was a shepherd and grew figs for a living; he was sent to the northern kingdom to prophecy. He is from Tekoa and the region of Carmel, which is below Bethlehem and Hebron by the Dead Sea. This is not Mount Carmel in northern Israel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. He is from the tribe of Judah but is a distant relative of David. His family line goes from Perez to Hezron, to Ashhur, then to Tekoa (1 Chronicles 2:24). 

Carmel-There are two places with this name in the Bible. Amos 1:2 may be referring to the area that overlooks the Dead Sea. I think it is referring to Amos and why he went to Israel, the northern kingdom, his pastureland was in drought. 9: 3 is in the section that promises Israel to be destroyed, so it seems like that should be Mount Carmel. In the NIV the second line refers to “hunting them down and seizing them”, just like Elijah did to the false prophets. 

Tekoa and the men and women of the region are mentioned in other places in the history of Judah.  

  • 2 Samuel 14:22-Joab sends for a wise woman. 
  • 1 Chronicles 11:28-one of David’s mighty men. 
  • 1 Chronicles 27:9-a division of David’s army. 
  • 2 Chronicles 11:6-fortified by King Rehoboam. 
  • 2 Chronicles 20:20-King Jehoshaphat blessed the people before leaving to go there. 
  • Jeremiah 6:1-said to sound the trumpet there. 
  • AMOS 
  • Nehemiah 3: 5 and 27-the men of the area rebuilt two sections of the wall of Jerusalem (not the leaders).  

The conflict in Nehemiah between the people and the leaders opened up a few questions. Ezra does not specify men from that region coming back (good maps to compare cities are few, I may be wrong). Did this region get exported? Were the leaders opposed because they sided with Sanballat? 


Amos 1:1 uses an earthquake as part of the timestamp for his ministry. The king of Judah was Uzziah, and the king of Israel (where he ministered) was Jeroboam (the second one). This earthquake may be referenced in Isaiah 29:6. It is definitely talked about in Zechariah 14:5, which is several hundred years later. It must have been quite a quake. 

Fellow Prophets 

To find Amos’s contemporaries you must use the kings of Judah and Israel. The king of Israel is Jeroboam (II), the grandson of Jehu. Look at 2 Kings 13:1 and 10:30; he was the fourth generation if you start with Jehu, the wild driver. The other prophet with Amos in the north was Jonah, who got a ride in a fish. Uzziah or Azariah is king in Judah, so using the introduction in Isaiah and Hosea makes Amos at the same time. Isaiah shares the warning of “the day” with Amos, and Hosea has a lot to say about Israel/Ephraim. Based on similar topics Joel could have been ministering at the same time.  

The Day 

The day (of God’s judgment) is mentioned 11 times in Amos (2:16; 3:14; 5:18,20; 6:3; 8:3,9,10,11,13; 9:11 NIV). Chapter 8 is the metaphor of Israel being a ripe basket of figs, whose time has come. “Day of the Lord” is found in 5:18 and 20. The “day” in Isaiah covers more “territory”, but 61:2 is clear about a day of vengeance and a year of favor. 2 Kings 17 and 25 are (the first) days of fulfillment for the north and the south kingdoms. 

For three sins of…, even for four, I will not relent. 

This is an Amos-only statement. There are eight of these in chapters 1 and 2. The first seven are for Israel’s neighbors and the last one is for Israel. God calls out: 

  1. Damascus 
  1. Gaza-selling slaves from Israel to Edom. 
  1. Tyre-selling slaves from Israel to Edom. 
  1. Edom-Judah’s neighbor to the south and “family” members. They were not very friendly. 
  1. Ammon 
  1. Moab 
  1. Judah 
  1. Israel  

For numbers 1-7 there is only one sin listed. Okay, this is probably why I have not read Amos very much; what are the first three? Israel*, the northern kingdom, however, seems to have four listed (2:6-12): 1. selling the righteous and needy; 2. trampling the poor and denying justice, while profaning God’s name; 3. lying down by every altar of foreign gods; 4. making Nazirites drink wine and silencing prophets. (*In Amos 3:1 and 2:10, it talks to ALL of the children of Jacob. Most of the time Israel refers to the north.)   

Chapters 3 through 9:10 

3:2 states that you cannot walk together if can agree, and 3:7 states that God uses His prophets to speak His intentions. For the most part that is a summary of this section. Except for 7:10-17 which is a narrative between Amaziah the priest of Bethel and Amos, and Amos tells him what will happen to him and his family. This section is directed, mostly, at the northern kingdom (Israel), but the Father does call out the southern kingdom also. Please see Psalm 89: 30-37, it is a reference to David and his sons but could be extended to all of Jacob’s children. Psalm 89:20-51 are Messianic in nature and describes Jesus’ time on earth quite well. 

God says what He has done to get their attention, how they have ignored Him, and what will happen to them if they continue to ignore Him. Chapter 8 shifts into visions and conversations with/from God. The words, that we tend to skip over, about how God is telling His people may be a study in the future (you will need a concordance like the Zondervan Exhaustive Concordance, that has says/said, declares, etc.). 

To take a study of Amos to another level, may I suggest that you use the alternate meanings and metaphors of the names: David (2x) = beloved, Judah (4x) = praise, Jacob (6x) = deceiver, Israel (30+ times) = struggles with God (in the NIV). Israel is the most interesting, frequently it means the north, but at times it may be all of the descendants of the man Jacob, *both north and south (see 6:1). Using “struggles with God” does put a different light on some of these passages. This concept carries both positive and negative connotations.  

 My Points of Interest 

  1. What we call Chapter 4 starts with a rebuke of the “cows of Bashan” (the east bank of the Jordan River) “on the Mount of Samaria” (the west bank). The end of the chapter (12 +13) is an introduction to Chapter 5; verse thirteen is a reminder to a nation who has forsaken God, who He is, and His abilities. 
  1. Chapter 5 has two “seek and live” verses-6 and 14. The Father is offering them a chance to be saved from the wrath that is coming. 
  1. Justice and righteousness (God loves these) are in 5: 7, 12, 24, and 6:12. 
  1. The poor are mentioned six times in Amos (NIV), especially in 5:11+12. They have been trampled, bought and sold, and oppressed. 
  1. 6:1 has a reference to the south (Zion or Jerusalem) and the north (Mount Samaria).  
  1. 6:8 and 8:7 use the term “pride of Jacob”. The first one references the attitude of the people, while the second one is talking about God. Thank God for translators and the work they do, the word pride is the same in both verses. 
  1. How God interacts with Amos is also worth some time in your study. The words used will vary with the translation you use, but say/said, declares, spoken, sworn, showed and asked, hear and I will, are terms that show changes in how God deals with the message(s) He gives to Amos to deliver to the people. 

Extra study- How many minor prophets were divided into nine or more chapters? Find a reference to when the land was divided into two kingdoms?

Because of the length of this post, I placed Amos 9:11-15 in a second post. 

Jehu and the Prophets

Jehu had contact with at least three prophets (four if you count the one who anointed him) during his lifetime: Elijah, Elisha, and Micaiah. Jehu was an army commander during the days of Ahab and if you put together 2 Kings 9: 24 – 26 and 1 Kings 21: 17 – 23 it is apparent that Jehu was present when Elijah spoke the destruction that was to come to Ahab’s house. I find it interesting when someone is present when a word from the Lord is spoken and years later the hearer of that word is part of the fulfillment of the prophecy. No doubt Jehu would have also heard Elijah’s announcement from the Lord about how Ahab had humbled himself and that the word would come upon his son (1 Kings 21: 29).

As a commander of the army, it is also to be expected that Jehu was present when Micaiah prophesied against Ahab and he died. This should have had an impact on him and how he viewed words from the Lord. But his attitude is hard to read in the story of his anointing. At first, glance, when the young man came with the word from Elisha Jehu, seems to downplay his anointing until the other officers become serious about the oil dripping from his head (See Jehu – The Start). But this show of support may have been what he really wanted to see before he would act openly on that word.

Elisha was the other prophet that he would have been around and you have to wonder if he was the prophet who delivered the word in 2 Kings 10: 30. Jehu was promised and received four generations of his family as kings of Israel (See 2 Kings 15: 12). Elisha was present for Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Jehoash (13: 14). It is a shame that even with all of this help from the Lord Jehu would/could not follow the Lord more closely (10: 31) (See Jeroboam- The Lord Your God for the sin that Israel stayed in). But it must be pointed out that God in His love gave Jehu every chance and three solid men of God to help him.

I still am in awe of God for loving Israel so much that He sent Elijah and Elisha to them andJehoshaphat's Timeline not to Judah. God tried hard to get them to change but they would not. In reading the start of 2 Kings it would seem that Elijah’s chariot ride to heaven happened right after Ahab’s death but he wrote a letter to Jehoram condemning his treachery and pronouncing his death. That could add about nine years before the cloak fell to Elisha. So exactly when all of the miracles in 2 Kings 2 – 8 happened we can not tell because the chronicler talks about kings but does not name them. It is possible that Elijah was alive to see the word he spoke against Ahab come to pass.

Jehoshaphat – A Warning For Today

Jehoshaphat – A Warning For Today

Jehoshaphat was a godly king who did good and tried to have his people follow in the Jehoshaphat's Timelineways of the Lord. He took measures to protect against Israel (2 Chronicles 17:1), had the people taught from the Book of the Law by priest (vs. 9), rid the land of false worship (vs. 6), reformed the judicial system (19:4-10), lead Judah’s army against a huge invading army (20: 1-30), and took care of his family (21:3). I think it is fair to say that he loved God and personally choose the “high road” but he did have a really alarming mindset.

This mindset shows itself in four things Jehoshaphat did. In 2 Chronicles 18:1 he aligned himself/Judea with Israel (the Northern Kingdom) by marriage; he allowed/arranged the marriage of Jehoram to Athaliah (Ahab’s daughter). In 2 Chronicles 18: 2 he agreed to go with Ahab to get Ramoth Gilead back from Aram and he went with Joram in 2 Kings 3 to attack Moab.  Then in 2 Chronicles 20: 36 it talks about a trade agreement with Ahaziah Ahab’s son. (In the passages below I combined Kings and Chronicles where these books cover the topic. The book of Kings talk about both Israel and Judah while Chronicles primarily covers the kings of Judah.)

I and II Kings with I and II Chronicles From the Conservative Version

  • 1Ki 22:45 2Ch 20:34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he showed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah and written in the history of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is inserted in the book of the kings of Israel.
  • 1Ki 22:46 And he put away out of the land the remnant of the sodomites, who remained in the days of his father Asa.
  • 1Ki 22:47 And there was no king in Edom; a deputy was king.
  • 2Ch 20:35 And after this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined himself with Ahaziah king of Israel. The same did very wickedly.
  • 2Ch 20:36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish.
  • 1Ki 22:48 2Ch 20:36 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold in Ezion-geber, but they did not go, for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
  • 1Ki 22:49 Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
  • 2Ch 20:37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou have joined thyself with Ahaziah, LORD has destroyed thy works. And the ships were broken so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
  • 1Ki 22:50 2Ch 21:1 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chronicles 19: 2 states the problem, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord.” (NIV) Right away many Christians would say what about evangelism or how can we ever be a witness to the unsaved? I think with a little meditation it is easy to see this is not what Jehoshaphat was doing, he was “yoking” himself to people who had rejected much of the Laws of God on purpose and set up another religious experience. The most destructive of these four acts was the marriage alliance with the royal family of Baal-worshipping Ahab and Jezebel. The three “business deals” are bad because it mixed the unbelievers into his nation that he was trying to change to follow God. So the warning is to pastors and heads of households – watch what you allow/bring into your lives and that of your charges. In a future post, I will look at the results of Jehoshaphat’s choices.

Tribes of Israel – Thoughts on the Family

Thoughts on the Family

Jacob – Just when you think you “know it all” you actually study someone and there is more (see What Was His Name). First thing I found was he was a lot older than I thought when he got married (see Timeline). He, like his dad, certainly played favorites with his children. It is easy to understand him being mad at Rueben, Levi and Simeon but he seemed determined to elevate Rachel’s children in the inheritance area thus cutting out Leah’s children. I guess we can always wonder if some of the contention in the family wasn’t his fault. But getting a wife you did not want and then two concubines so you can appease two warring sisters really does not add up to a blissful home life. But through all of the trials in his life I think he found God in a deep way and profound way that amplifies the blessings in Genesis 49.

Leah – When you look at her over the years she really was a faithful wife who watched out for her husband and the family. She probably did not get the respect she deserved until after Rachel died. You get the idea that she had a crush on Jacob when he was working for Rachel because she definitely claims him as HER husband. I guess I now think that Jacob loved the wrong one because Leah is the one who seemed to have really wanted to Leah_w_Rachel_67-63be his wife.

Rachel – The “beloved” wife that was Jacob’s dream girl/trophy wife that he favored above all else. She was real-handful and pretty self-centered the classic example is her stealing the family “gods” and hiding them. Image Jacob’s blood pressure when he finds them and has them buried under a tree. But in her defense I might be a little miffed about my father and sister messing up my wedding and my life.

* I think both Rachel and Leah at the end of their time in Paddan Aram realized that daddy was just out for a buck and that they were better off with each other and Jacob. I wonder how these things affected their relationship as sisters it is definitely competitive after they are married.

The Concubines – Bilhah and Zilpah are the two slave girls who were used to increase the number of children in the family. I have no doubt that they remained just that slave girls. Jacob did not ask them about leaving Paddan Aram and they were put in front when Esau was about to show up. And was Bilhah just trying to up her status when she slept with Rueben?

The Boys – They have provided a lot to think about and some really good lessons.

Rueben is the picture of someone who messed but still part of the family. All of the sons took part in selling Joseph and the years of covering up the deed; can you image how Jacob felt about them when the wagons rolled up to take him to Egypt. I said it before but big or little, leader or not being part of the family is important.  It seems like Jacob even with four women each wanting their children to be the standouts managed to raise a group of children who could work together. But the stress and contention in the camp must have been thick enough to cut with a knife or everyone knew their status in the family and that was enough.

The composition of the family provides some interesting comparisons for the Body of Christ.

All are true sons but some are:

  • Sons of a loved wife
  • Sons of an unloved wife
  • Children of free, true wives
  • Children of slaves
  • Some were born in Egypt (Joseph’s boys)

The picture is Leah with Rachel from: