Book of Revival: WHY STUDY II CHRONICLES
Now all theses things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come — I Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV)
He had everything going for him. Solomon, wisest man who ever lived, took the throne of Israel at the apex of its history. Yet, despite all his advantages, the temple that bears his name, the magnificence of his capital at Jerusalem, the fact that he attracted the attention of oriental queens, he failed to live up to the spiritual standard of his father David. His throne was meant to be greater than his father David’s (I Kings 1:37, 47), but he fell short. That is why a ‘greater than Solomon’ came (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31). He will also be greater than the temple Solomon built. Someone who is wiser, holier, and faithful to fulfil all God’s will.
II Chronicles is the important story of Israel’s history from wise king Solomon to the benevolent Medo-Persian ruler Cyrus, Israel’s long history is told from the priestly view. Its leadership is assessed by fidelity to God, not economic policy, military prowess, or charismatic presence.
II Chronicles is not just a history book. It is a manual for revival. In the midst of lukewarmness and backsliding also there also comes periods of mass repentance and turning back to God. Revival is where God’s people, in humility and faith, change their wayward ways and return to a whole-hearted commitment to God. As the word ‘revival’ implies, they are coming ‘alive again’ to God. To be revived is to be dead to the world and alive to God. Carnal living is the opposite.
II Chronicles, which is the last book in the Hebrew Bible, ends with the hopeful words in the decree of Cyrus ‘Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.’
We study II Chronicles to hear of God’s perspective of leadership, keys to revival, and despite His people’s unfaithfulness, He proves to be faithful no matter what. It helps us understand that even chosen people need a Saviour, the ‘greater than Solomon.’
Dibere Hayyamim meaning ‘The words or accounts of the days.’ We get the name ‘Chronicles’ from the Latin Vulgate Chronicorum Liber which speak about sacred history of the time of the Judean kings.
Author is anonymous but most likely candidate is Ezra. Some of the sources include Isaiah, Iddo, Ahijah, Gad, and Nathan the prophet.
PORTRAIT OF CHRIST
Christ is ‘greater than Solomon, greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6; John 2:19 [body is the temple]; Revelation 21:22 no temple because the lamb is the temple), and the root and branch of the indestructible Messianic lineage. The tenacity of this bloodline is all the more remarkable because it is threatened by captivity, battles, murder, and treason.
THEME OF I CHRONICLES
Israel’s history from the time of Solomon, through the Babylonian captivity, and to the time of King Cyrus’ decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem. The focus is on Judah alone.
II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) f
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 16:9 (KJV)
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
II Chronicles tells the history of Israel from Solomon to Cyrus from a priestly point of view. That is why there is emphasis on the temple. Solomon is the last king of the united kingdom. After his time, the nation was divided into two entities: Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Unlike the books of I & II Kings, II Chronicles focuses primarily on Judah.
Every leader is assessed on whether he did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. It did not matter how impressive the king was in the eyes of people; all that matter was his standing with God. From chapters 10-36, 70% of the narrative is devoted to the 8 good Judean kings and the other 30% to the 12 evil ones. As the king went, so did the nation. Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Judah’s covenant relationship with God is what preserved it through the ups and downs of the ancient Middle East; its survival despite diminutive size and largeness of neighbours has to be considered miraculous. Covenant with God preserves and blesses; violation of the covenant brings judgement and dispersion.
In addition to the leadership inventory and emphasis on revival, II Chronicles speaks of some famous Biblical events, like Solomon’s dedication of the temple (6), the visit of the Queen of Sheba (9), Jehoshaphat’s miraculous victory over 3 armies (20), Hezekiah’s miraculous deliverance from the Assyrian army (32), evil Manasseh chastened by being sent to Babylon (33), good king Josiah slain at Megiddo (35), Jerusalem captured, Solomon’s temple destroyed (36), and Cyrus gives a decree for the Jews to return home (36).
REVIVALS IN II CHRONCILES
Revival: It literally means ‘coming alive again.’ This term applies to God’s people, who are meant to be alive to Him and dead to the world. To be from God’s people and yet alive to the world means one is simultaneously dead to God. This condition is known as ‘back-slidding’ and the only remedy is repentance, faith, and returning to the Lord. This was a constant challenge in Israel’s Biblical history. In II Chronicles there are 5 revivals, as listed below:
1. Asa (II Chronicles 15);
2. Jehoshaphat (II Chronicles 20);
3. Joash (II Chronicles 23-24);
4. Hezekiah (II Chronicles 29-31);
5. Josiah (II Chronicles 35).
OUTLINE OF I CHRONICLES
I. Kingdom of United Israel: Solomon Reign (1-9)
A Commencement of Reign (1)
B The Temple (2-7)
C Other works (8-9)
II. Kingdom of Judah: Rehoboam to Ahaz (10-28)
A Rehoboam (10-12)
B Abijah (13)
C Asa (14-16)
D Jehoshaphat (17-20)
E Jehoram (21)
F Ahaziah (22)
G Joash (23-24)
H Amaziah (25)
I Uzziah (26)
J Jotham (27)
K Ahaz (28)
III. Hezekiah to Babylonian Captivity (29-36)
A Hezekiah (29-32)
B Manasseh (33)
C Josiah (34-35)
D End of Kingdom of Judah; Cyrus’ decree (36)