Today we come to the concluding part of our series on startling accounts of Jewish Tradition, comprising two more eye-openers which would make us glorify our Heavenly Father, all the more...

Bandage...

The story can be found in 2 Kings 20. Isaiah had just told King Hezekiah the grim prophecy of his imminent death. Visibly shaken, the king he prayed fervently, and Isaiah returned to tell him he must apply a fig paste to his boil (presumably cancerous) and bandage it up, and everything would be just fine (See 2 Kings 20:7). Now fast-forward to Matt 1:10, which, whilst giving the genealogy of the Messiah from the Davidic line, makes mention of Hezekiah and also his son Manasseh. We know that Manasseh was born to King Hezekiah three years after Hezekiah's miraculous recovery and subsequent extension of life by 15 years (2 Kings 20:6/21:1). How could King Hezekiah have succumbed to cancer? It would have meant an end of the Messianic line (God forbid), and this is the question which ought to ring loudly in our minds! It would take the Sages to tell us the truth...
 
Before I go any further, let me state categorically that none can play "holier than God" or be kinder than Him (King Saul learned this truth at a great cost -- See Exo 17:8-16/Deu 25:17-19/1 Sam 15). I know the painful lessons I myself learned when I refused to read the "promiscuous" book of Esther early in my Christian life, whereby the good Lord was constrained to expose me for what I was, humbling me consequently in His own inimitable way!

But coming back to King Hezekiah...

The sages teach that when virtuous King Hezekiah was foretold by the Holy Spirit that his son Manasseh would be very wicked (we know how wicked Manasseh was, but we also know he later repented -- See 2 Chro 33:1-13), to forestall the birth of a wicked progeny, this regent adopted a holier than thou attitude and refused to marry. In so doing, he broke very first law (Gen 1:28) of the 613 contained in the first five Books of the Bible. No wonder the good Lord had to use some arm-twisting tactics to get him back on track (in fact, Hezekiah married Isaiah's daughter), so that nothing would go amiss in His greater sovereign redemption plan for the World (John 4:22).

Privilege...

As Apostle Paul points out in 1 Cor 10:4, there was indeed a moving rock typifying Christ during the travel of the redeemed Jews through their Wilderness journey, providing them with refreshing water all along in their 40 year sojourn. My correspondence with the Rabbis enlightened me to the fact that after the Jews reached the Promised Land this Rock slowly descended into the Sea of Galilee (in the northern portion of Israel) and disappeared. In the NT we see that Jesus ascended and disappeared near Southern Bethany after making provision for the Living waters -- See John 7:37/Acts 1:9.

Truth be told, the Trinity was in operation during the Wilderness journey. What a privilege for the Jews! The Father's presence was there by way of the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night, providing the Jews with not only the needed direction (Exo 13:21-22) and the necessary shade during the sweltering heat of the day, but also the needed warmth in the chilly desert nights. Meanwhile, the moving rock symbolized Christ, and the refreshing water which flowed from it typified the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).

Fast forward to John's Gospel and what do we see? Using the right occasion, the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:33-34/John 7:1-39), which was celebrated to commemorate the Lord's presence with the Jews during the Wilderness journey, Jesus ups the tempo as it were on the climactic day of the Festival by making an irresistible offer to His audience: "On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, 'Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, "Rivers of living water will flow from his heart."'" (JJohn 7:37-39 NLT). In effect, He was saying it is good that you are commemorating My presence with you in the Wilderness, for now I am giving you a far better offer...I am willing to live within you and refresh you from within! What a privilege we Christians have today! So much more than the respected Sages and their descendents. Jesus lives in us, refreshing us with His Spirit, the joy of which is at once indescribable (Romans 8:8-9/14:17). Amen and Amen. Let's earnestly pray for the salvation of the Jews the World over in order that they also might taste the "Living waters"...

Suresh Manoharan
An Unworthy Servant
J and SM Ministries


To access the entire "What the Sages Teach" mini-series, please click here.)