Struggle for the Birthright
The birthright is a sorter, a sifter, a judge, and a rewarder.
Why did Elisha ask for a double blessing from Elijah? Is Elijah’s mantle not enough to indicate transfer of position? Is replacing Elijah not enough? How is the double blessing related to the birthright? And why and how should the African church respond to the birth right?
Sometimes, the birthright chooses its candidates, “The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). Sometimes, it proffers the opportunity; for example, Jacob giving Reuben’s firstborn rights to Joseph in Genesis. It pursues its candidates with determination. But they run, they hide, they give excuses. Because its most distinguished accomplishments happen in the dark days of oppression when people run and run and know not where to turn. And the birthright is after Africa. The days are trying. There are frustrations with rife racism from all corners of the world, leadership gaps, and the wanton exploitation of its natural resources to feed a world hungry to enrich the powerful and, “adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.” Would the African church respond? Pure gold purified in the crucible shows more brightly.
The Elijahs have come and gone. The Elishas must follow.
It was so in the days of Ahab. Baal worship was prospering. And the Ashtoreth had been elevated to a dizzying height by Jezebel, Ahab’s wife. As in all pagan societies, the spirit of lies and deceit make bondage sound liberating. Paganism muffles the spiritual reality and deep questions about the ultimate meaning of life. It gives its adherents and subscribers enough rope to enjoy transient successes, quick fixes, and some stability on a false foundation of false ideas. And African religion along with its cults are no exception. “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Because lying is second nature to us, people generally, are easy bait to the fallen philosophies of this world.
The sorcerers, wizards, wisemen, and prophets of the world order: its scientists, philosophers, and scholars are making bold pronouncements and confident predictions against God’s moral law, as in the days of Ahab. And the illusive benefit of its bold entertainment world of male prostitutes, female prostitutes, and child sacrifices is the extermination of the voices and lives of Truth subscribers — the folly of a people in a drought ignoring a living spring in plain sight. It was so during Ahab’s reign.
Their confident, misleading, ignorant, and arrogant pronouncements alarmed Truth subscribers. Jezebel was in a rage, “So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Because for a little while they succeed, “And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them.” (Revelation 13:7). But as Spurgeon points out “God’s woes are better than the devil’s welcomes.”
The prophets cried out to God, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalm 130:1). “My soul, too, is utterly terrified; but you, O Lord, how long…?” (Psalm 6:4). Obadiah was the answer to their prayers. He hid the prophets and fed them secretly. And the prophets were vindicated when Israel in terrified wonder proclaimed, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” as the Lord’s fire from heaven consumed Elijah’s sacrifice on Mount Carmel.
The three-and-half year drought pronounced by Elijah did not generate repentance. Rather, it infuriated King Ahab. And fury awaits those who possess the birthright from the Ahabs of this world. A drought has been pronounced by the Lord in these Last Days. Not a drought of food and water but of Eternal Truth. “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land — not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
A drought sent Israel to Egypt in Africa and into bondage. Signs and wonders by the hand of Moses freed them from physical bondage. However, in these last days, Africa will not be plagued, rather, by the signs and wonders of its priesthood ministry, many people of Jewish heritage in every part of the world will be restored to their Messiah. Africa’s role has always been critical to Israel’s call!
Elisha was draped in the mantle. “Those who listen for God’s voice know that it is not in the power to break rocks and earth, nor in the fire, but in the ‘still small voice’ that speaks to the heart of man.” “Elisha took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.” 1Kings 19:21.
But ‘One’ better than Elijah is here.
Is the African heart feeling the mantle over it, warming to it, and counting the cost? Is the church in Africa willing to sacrifice the oxen and yokes of convenience to sacrificially disciple communities and nations, following the Lord into his ‘strange work’, “The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim, he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon — to do his work, his strange work, and perform his task, his alien task (Isaiah 28:21). To such, a double portion of anointing awaits. With mounting intensity of resistance rolling out with fury this latter part of the Last days, the double portion that enabled Elisha to perform twice the miraculous works of Elijah will characterise the work of the priesthood leadership.
Are you ready? Where are your captains of 50s, 100s, 1000s and 10,000s?
The spiritual encounter with transition is necessary. You must see what Elisha saw, “Still, if you see me taken up from you, your wish will be granted; otherwise not.” As they walked on still conversing, a fiery chariot and fiery horses came between the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind, and Elisha saw it happen. He cried out, “My father! my father! Israel’s chariot and steeds!” Then he saw him no longer. He gripped his own garment, tore it into two pieces, and picked up the mantle which had fallen from Elijah. Then he went back and stood at the bank of the Jordan” (2Kings 2:10–13).
And when you see the glory of the Lord, take your mantle, and strike the waters, as Elisha did. “Wielding the mantle which had fallen from Elijah, he struck the water and said, “The LORD, the God of Elijah — where is he now?” He struck the water: it divided, and he crossed over.” Then you would have passed the test of conviction, endurance, and faithful devotion.
Once again, a door stands open in heaven. The birthright and its double blessing stare right into the heart of the African church again. “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not’, he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir’, but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first”, they answered. (Matthew 21:28–32).
The request, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard,” proffered during the very Dark Days of fierce resistance to the gospel still stands today? Africa said it would go, but in the end it did not. Europe said it would not go but ended up going with a tithe of priesthood who conquered the world on their knees and in discipleship, touching every corner of the world. It cost them. They cried out, “For I endure insults for your sake; humiliation is written all over my face. Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me; they treat me like a stranger. Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” (Psalms 69:7–9). They translated the Scriptures into ‘unholy languages’ on pain of death. They were burned at the stake. They led church revolutions. They resisted empires, and all that with only a sprinkling tithe of Christians, a very insignificant number.
Small wonder that their blood and sacrifice is still reaping benefits of individual rights and stable governments for Europe, a majority who now deny the source of their blessings. Who knows the names of these unsung heroes bereft of earthly fame? Small wonder, too, that in God’s household a place is set for the African tithe of priesthood in anticipation of their work in this latter part of the Last days.
This assignment of the birthright deals with the reasons the prophets are rejected by the people of their day. Is the African church ready? The birthright assists in bringing judgment and restoration of God’s kingdom on earth. Would African Christ followers respond? Would the African priesthood arise? God is waiting.
Your priesthood has been sealed by the blood of the Lamb. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
“There can be no greater healing than the redemption of the human soul.”
There are greener pastures in the Kingdom of Christ!