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"Old Testament Survey"

1 Kings through 2 Chronicles


Steve Bader in this session continued his Old Testament Scriptures in adult Sunday School class with the books of 1 Kings through Ezra. This article provides a brief summary of the content. I recoomend you either download the audio in it's entirety from sermons page or order the CD's.

1 Kings

  1. Prosperity for Israel was born out of a wisdom that was planted in the fear of the Lord. This wisdom is a gift of God.
  2. The prosperity and wisdom of Solomon was a foreshadowing of Christ and his kingdom. However, like all types and shadows, Solomon is imperfect and his wisdom will falter.
  3. With the presence of Solomon as King, it was now time for the Temple to be built. As the warrior king, David, brought peace through the conquering of God's enemies. It was time for God's house to be built under that peace and divinely granted wisdom of Solomon. This Temple was to be built on the very threshing floor where David stood before the angel. This symbolizes Christ's future sacrifice.
  4. Because Solomon is fallen, his wisdom waned. His polygamy caused him to be compromising where he should have been strict. The permissive attitude towards his pagan wives' worship of other gods would be a stumbling block for the Israelites./li>
  5. This marks the beginning of Israel's decline. God told Solomon that his kingdom would be torn from him after his passing away. So it was under Solomon's foolish and oppressive son, Rehoboam.

2 Kings - 2 Chronicles

After Solomon, the political realm of Israel was in shambles. Jeroboam created a religion out of thin air and merely attributed it to Jehovah. Only an indescribable and incomprehensible longsuffering and sovereignty kept the left hand of God from crushing him instantly. If Nadab and Abihu were burned alive for offering strange fire before the Lord, what did Jeroboam earn for himself?
  1. If Solomon's marriages to pagan women were at best a stumbling block, the King Ahab's marriage to the daughter of the High Priest of Astarte was a declaration of war against the people of Jehovah and His prophets.
  2. In this period comes the prophet Elijah. His ministry comes during a time of great apostasy. The prophets and worshipers of Jehovah are being slaughtered and the people have turned to Baal worship as their state religion
  3. Worse yet, instead out outright rejection of Jehovah as their God, the people combined Baal worship (the basest and lowest of all religions) with Yahweh worship (the highest). This is a greater offense than outright rejection because Jehovah has demanded over and over again that He is Holy and His people are to be so as well. A rejection would have at least preserved that. Instead, the name of Jehovah was associated with the most perverse and sinful practices the fallen mind of man has ever conjured up.
  4. Baal was considered to be a god of water, fertility, thunder, sun etc. Essentially, he was the producing factor. So when Elijah, through God, caused a three-year drought, Jehovah was demonstrating who had true command over nature. All the rituals in their wicked religion didn't produce a drop. Even Ahab, who had allied himself with this pagan god, asked Elijah if he was the one who troubled Israel. This is because even he did not have enough faith in Baal to believe that this pagan god could overcome a mere man.
  5. All this culminated to one of the grandest scenes in the Old Testament concerning the supremacy of Jehovah. Elijah had issued a challenge to gather the people on Mt. Carmel for each of them to make a sacrifice to their god. After hours of prayers and pleadings by the Baal worshipers nothing happened. Elijah even began mocking them. In desperation, the priests of Baal began to shout and cut themselves in the hope that this added sacrifice would prompt Baal to react. Still nothing. Knowing that Baal was the god of the sun and of water, Elijah drenches the altar in water and waits until the sun had set before calling on the Lord to reveal Himself. The immediate burning up of the drenched altar and trench surrounding it was an explicit demonstration that all power belonged to Jehovah. The priests of Baal were slaughtered.
  6. King Ahab would not submit to God even when his own destruction and the destruction of his house were prophesied. Ahab had rationalized his way out of true repentance (e.g. Jehovah is a god of calamity and that is all). After finding victory in battle, Ahab became confident in his own power and collaborated with the King of Judea, Jehoshaphat, prompting him to help in an attack against a Syrian outpost. Despite his clever machinations for evading the Lord's plans, a "random" arrow guided only by the sovereign hand of God struck him between his armor and he perished exactly in the manner that was prophesied to him.
  7. Because of Israel's constant apostasy, God foretells of a great calamity that is to come unlike anything Israel had seen before. But because God is true to His word, a faithful remnant of seven thousand would be preserved. God never breaks His covenant no matter how often we break ours. Yet, that does not absolve the consequences of that breaking.
  8. Israel lived during a time when miracles were almost a common occurrence. This was done to show the spiritual blindness of the people. Even after the miracle at Mt. Carmel the people still turned back to Baal. Israel habitually bowed to any novelty but it was to their lustful desires to which they truly bowed.
  9. Since the death of Ahab, Elijah had been training his successor Elisha. After Elijah is translated into heaven, Elisha took up Elijah's mantel and struck the waters of the Jordan River and it parted, just as Elijah had done. This symbolized Elisha's successor to Elijah's office.
  10. Many of the miracles Elisha performed were later repeated and surpassed by Christ. Elisha multiplied food in time of need, and raised children from the dead just as Christ had done. But where Elisha was a type, Christ was the fulfillment and the magnification of the same miracles reveals His exceeding nature.
  11. Because of Israel's transgressions, God had sent a plague to chastise them. Yet, though there was a faithful remnant, that remnant was not rescued from the trial. The reward of faith is not an exemption of trials, but a grace that surpasses them. Where for one trial may harden one heart, for another it may strengthen it. The only difference between the two is Grace.
  12. Naaman was a captain of the Syrian army. He was also a leper. When he requested to King Joram to see Elisha to be healed, Joram was in despair because he was powerless to grant his request. It is during times of despair that men are most willing to turn to God. Yet even this is of grace, for man left on his own would rather wallow in misery and despair than turn to God. Joram preferred to tear his royal garments asunder before bending his head in prayer.
  13. With no help from Joram, Naaman was allowed to visit Elisha. Elisha told him to dip in the Jordan River seven times and that he would be healed. Seven symbolizes the number of the covenant, so when Naaman did so it was granted to him that he should not only be healed outwardly but inwardly.
  14. There is a precursor to the fall of Judah when the Syrian king laid siege to Samaria. The wealthy were reduced to eating the boiled heads of donkey (an unclean animal). Still, the worst was yet to come.
  15. Elisha's anointing of Jehu marked the end of Jezebel and her family. Jehu was not a man after God's own heart, yet did not prevent the Lord from using someone for His own purposes. The King and Ahaziah were killed and Jezebel was thrown from her window at the petition of her servants; leaving her body to be eaten by dogs and trampled by chariots.
  16. With the death of the king and Jezebel finally deposed, Jehu took the throne. Despite Jehu adopting the invented religion of Jeroboam, he did have zeal against Baal worship. He destroyed the priests of Baal by deceiving them into believing that he was a fellow worshipper, only to annihilate them when they congregated together.
  17. The daughter of Jezebel became Queen in Judea. After seeking out the complete destruction of the line of David (even at the death of her own grandchildren), she herself was executed after it was revealed that one child in the line of David had evaded her grasp. Therefore, we have the North and the South going through an outward reformation, but not yet inward.
  18. With no true inward repentance, the outward cleansing of the vilest parts of their apostasy was only temporary. From that slight bump in the downward trend onward, the people would return to different apostasies and eventually adopt the worship of Molech and allow their children to be sacrificed to the fire.
  19. Eventually, the Northern Kingdom and the Southern kingdom waged war with one another. The Syrians decimated Judah's army, and the Temple was sacked. Its doors were shut.
  20. With the coming of Hezekiah, Israel was finally seeing a return to the old order of worship. Seeing all the problems that idolatry brought to them, Hezekiah chose to follow the only one who could rescue them and what a rescue it was! The Temple doors were reopened, the high places were torn down. Even Moses' bronze serpent that God used to save the people in the wilderness had been turned into an idol.
  21. Yet, as usual, the proceeding king was tyrannical and cruel. All the old vices that had plagued them in the past returned in spades. The Temple was defiled, the pagan religions flourished, and the prophets (including Isaiah) were killed by the rebellious hand of Manasseh. The destruction of Jerusalem was set.
  22. Despite the work of good and righteous kings that came after him, God declared that the sins of Manasseh had not been cleansed. Not even Josiah's defilement of the original altar to Molech could dissuade judgment. However, because of Josiah's faithfulness he would be spared from seeing it come about.
  23. After Josiah's death, the people of God turned away yet again. They allied themselves with foreign nations and hardly gave a passing thought of turning to God for rescue.


  1. In the book of Ezra, the people had been exiled from the promise land. It has a parallel with the expulsion from Eden since Canaan was seen as a new Eden. Thus, the return to the Land out of captivity was seen as a second exilic journey.
  2. Jeremiah states that "the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia" to allow a small remnant to return to rebuild the house of the Lord.
  3. As in election, all those who returned to the land were those whom the Lord inspired to do so.
  4. The rebuilding of the Temple was seen as a restoration of Solomon's Temple, not a new endeavor. In this way, the people would always be connected with the God of their forefathers in a way that preserved their identity as a nation. No matter how small the remnant may be, the same nation of the past has been preserved by God and His covenant remains.
  5. The practice of worship was done in strict accordance to the Law of Moses. Signifying a growing realization that the worship practice God ordains is the highest of all practices.
  6. The Samaritans learned the Temple was being rebuilt and offered to help the Jews in their efforts. However, the Jews rightly saw them as a representation of the syncretism of Jeroboam and rejected the offer.
  7. When this was not allowed, the Samaritans succeeded in halting the construction of the Temple by claiming that the Jews were rebuilding the walls. Seeing Jewish history, the king recognized them as a rebellious people and forbade reconstruction.
  8. As a result, the people's enthusiasm for reconstructing God's house and the restoration of the people's identity eventually faded. The response from the prophets was a lashing out against the people for their lack of concern for the things of God in favor of self-interest.
  9. They understood that the very reason why this disaster fell upon them was because their fathers had angered God. Apathy was no less a crime than outright rebellion.
  10. The rise of the scribe was a response to the deadly habits that kept reappearing. A fervent study of the law and treating it as Law preserved the people and their identity from foreign influences.
  11. When Ezra returns, he mentions twelve families who went with him. This symbolized the twelve tribes. Their faithfulness assures the covenant maintained by God. It also symbolized wholeness, but not completeness. While everything that made the nation was still there, it was still a remnant, much like the church today.
  12. When Ezra arrives, he is told that Jews have intermarried with foreign people. The people that they had married were from the very nations that had plagued Israel for hundreds of years. Ezra was astonished and baffled at how the very same mistakes that caused their misery were immediately repeated! Ezra tore his clothes in frustration.
  13. Ezra makes it clear to the Jews that their punishment was not the full punishment they deserved. That in the midst of this catastrophe there was still mercy. So how was it that the people could commit themselves to the same sins that brought them judgment?
  14. In repentance, the people did put away their foreign wives (most likely by letting them return home to their father's land).
  15. The remnant of the people returning from exile symbolizes the elect who are but a remnant, called out of exile into the gracious hand of God. Just as the Jews were, we are too strangers in a strange land and this world is not our home.

- Jason Bader

You can listen to this series here.