2 Chr 29.1-36 begins to tell the story of Hezekiah (Yehovah strengthens) and he will be a picture of the Messiah, and the Talmud in Sanhedrin 94a says that he could have been the Messiah, and Sennacherib and Assyria Gog and Magog, but pride lifted him up. Now, we don’t believe that Hezekiah was ever going to be the Messiah, but this shows us two things. First, Jewish history does hold him in high regard and it also shows us that Sennacherib and Assyria is seen in Jewish eschatology as Gog and Magog (Russia). That is an important piece of eschatological information to know when you study Bible prophecy. It will also lead us to when the Russian invasion of Israel takes place.
Hezekiah begins to reign and he was 25 years old when he began, and he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name (the givorah) was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He was a good king and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and he was a religious reformer. Ahaz and others had shut the doors to the Temple and put out the lampstands because the priests could not get in to light them. God’s wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this. So Hezekiah opened those doors of the Temple and began to repair it. He cleanses the entire Temple with the ashes of the Red Heifer because his father built an altar to idolatry there and the priests and the people were ritually defiled, so he had to cleanse the Temple and the people before Passover. Ahaz and the fathers were unfaithful and sacrificed horses as a living sacrifice by staking them out to the sun god. They also built altars like the Assyrians did.
As a result of the Temple being closed and the above abominations, the wrath of God is against Judah and Jerusalem. That is why they were having problems with Syria, Israel, Edom, Philistia and Assyria. So, Hezekiah knows that if he wants a true revival they need to return to the Torah. He calls for them to take heed of what is going on. He calls the Levites to be focused on their calling because Yehovah “has chosen you” (v 11). Hezekiah is setting the example and even destroyed the Nechushtan, the bronze serpent that Moses made in the wilderness because it was being used in idolatry (2 Kings 18.4). The Nechushtan (bronze serpent) is a picture of the crucifixion (John 3.14), and the crucifix has been turned into an object of idolatry today, and we believe it is the Abomination of Desolation. We have a teaching on this website called “The Abomination of Desolation” that deals with this, and we recommend that you study it.
So the Levites arose in seven different groups, two each from Gershon, Merari and Kohath, and one from Elitzaphan. They ritually cleanse themselves, but the kohanim (priests) are the only ones who can go into the courts and the Sanctuary to remove the idols. They entered the Sanctuary to cleanse it and removed every unclean thing they found, then the Levites took it all to the Kidron Valley.
The consecration of the Temple began on Nisan 8 and it went on for eight days, and that brings us to Nisan 16. On Nisan 17 (v 20) Hezekiah rose early (a picture of the resurrection of Yeshua who rose from the dead early on Nisan 17-Matt 28.1) and they began to consecrate the Temple according to the Torah (v 21-25). He stationed the Levite musicians in the Temple and they began to offer korbanot on the altar while the whole assembly worshiped (v 25-28). 2 Chr 29-30 gives us a glimpse into what true worship and a true revival looks like. 2 Chr 30 gives us the first account of the killing of the Passover lambs in the Temple. The number of burnt offerings which the assembly (kahal) brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs. For the consecrated things there were 600 bulls and 3000 sheep.
But there was a problem, there weren’t enough priests so they were unable to skin all the olot (burnt offerings). So, the Levites helped them until the work was completed and the other priests had consecrated themselves. There were many burnt offerings with the fat and with the libations, but the service (avodah) of the Temple was established again. Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what Yehovah had done because all of it came about suddenly (v 32-36). Because they missed Passover in Nisan, they decided to celebrate Passover in the second month as prescribed in the Torah (Num 9.6-11).
2 Chr 30.1-27 tells us that Hezekiah wrote letters to all Israel and Judah (all twelve tribes) to come to the Temple to keep Passover. This tells us that they had to come to Jerusalem and the Temple to keep the festival. If it was possible to keep the festivals anywhere they were, like people try to do today, then he would have never invited them to come to Jerusalem and the Temple. The truth is, we can’t keep the biblical festivals today because there is no Temple, priesthood or holy vessels. The purity laws are no longer in force either. From the book, “The Pentateuch and Haftorahs” by Dr. J.H. Hertz, the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, p. 459, it says, “It is to be noted that most laws of purity and impurity apply only in reference to the Sanctuary and the holy objects connected with it. They do not apply in ordinary life, or to persons who did not intend to enter to the Sanctuary.” That is an important concept to keep in mind. For more information, see our teaching on this site called, “Can You Keep the Festivals Outside of Jerusalem and the Temple?”
There weren’t enough priests who had consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers in order to keep the Passover, and they had missed Passover anyway (Nisan 14), so they just postponed it according to the Torah.
When the messengers from Hezekiah arrived in the country of Ephraim, Manasseh and Zebulon in the north, the people laughed at them and mocked them. Hezekiah was hoping to reverse some of the negative side-effects of the exile in the north. Some individuals did come however, even from Ephraim, Manasseh, Asher, Issachar and Zebulon (v 11, 18). This tells us that the ten tribes were not “lost” at this point. Why did the Israelites reject Hezekiah’s message?
2 Chr 30.8 tells us that Hezekiah exhorted the people not to “stiffen” their necks, and this was a term that meant “no faith” (Deut 30.6). But, 2 Chr 30.11 tells us that the people who did come “humbled themselves” meaning they had faith. Remember, 2 Chr 10.16 says that when they established the Northern Kingdom, the people rejected the Kingdom of Heaven, the legitimate Davidic kingly line and the Temple. To answer Hezekiah’s call would have meant that they turn their back on the replacement theology traditions that have been set up in the north. They were not humble enough to come to Passover as a majority, but a few did. They could do this because Samaria was under Assyrian siege and King Hoshea was powerless to stop them. The cities of Bethel and Dan were the spiritual centers in the north and going to Jerusalem showed that they had turned their backs on the false idols there.
So, the Passover was reinstated and the people gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate Hag Ha Matzah also. Pagan altars were removed in Jerusalem, and all the incense altars. They were thrown into the Brook Kidron. Some of the priests and Levites were late in cleansing themselves because they did not believe Hezekiah could do everything so quick. There were many people who had not cleansed themselves and were still “Tamai” (ritually unclean) so they could not slaughter their animal, so the Levites did it instead, but only the priests can sprinkle the blood. The common people ate it in a state of ritual uncleanness, and that was a problem. So Hezekiah prayed for the people and asked Yehovah to forgive them their transgression (v 18-19). Yehovah heard his prayer and healed the people. He did not hold it against them because they were so excited to do it and they caught the “essence” or “spirit” of the Torah (2 Cor 3.6).
Notice in v 18 that they ate the Passover “otherwise than prescribed” and this means the written Torah. There is no hint of an “oral law” here. So, that brings up the concept on how we should approach the Torah and the commandments. They key to this is found in 2 Chr 31.20-21. Should we approach them with a “It doesn’t matter what I do” attitude or how Hezekiah approached them? The purpose of the commandments is to reveal the Messiah to us, the Redemption and things about Yehovah. If it is not accomplishing that then it is going to “kill.” Examples of this can be found in many places in the Scriptures, but let’s look at Luke 10.30-37 with the story of “The Good Samaritan.” The priests and the Levites passed by the wounded man thinking he was dead, but they never checked. The Torah commanded them to not become unclean for the dead. They followed the “letter” of the Torah but didn’t even check on the man to check whether he was even alive. Had they done so, they would have found out that he was not dead after all, and touching him would not have rendered them in unclean. Jewish teachings in the Talmud says that a priest, even the High Priest, can make himself unclean for a corpse if there is no one else around to help, like the Samaritan.
What is the reasoning for this? All mankind comes from the one man Adam. Any man in need of mercy, kindness and justice is our neighbor. Strict observance of the Torah can “kill” the essence and spirit of the Torah, which is mercy, kindness, justice, faith and compassion (Hos 12.6; Mic 6.8; Matt 23.23). We know that they did n ot follow the Torah “exactly” in this instance (30.18) but there is a concept that says that when one is compelled to break the Sabbath out of dire necessity, they are not to think that the Sabbath is lost to them. As long as the consciousness is alive in them, let them keep as much of the Sabbath as possible. This principle applies to all the commandments.
So, they celebrated Passover in the second month, and they also celebrated Hag Ha Matzah (unleavened bread) seven days (v 23) because they were so happy and they had enough meat, but God did not say that could be celebrated in the second month, but he allowed it anyway.
So the assembly of Judah, Israel and the non-Jews who believed in the God of Israel rejoiced during this festival time. There had been nothing like this since the time of David and Solomon (v 26). We also see the three “camps” that came out of Egypt in the first redemption, and we will see the same three groups come through in the second redemption (Isa 11.12), and Hezekiah’s Passover is a picture of that. Then the priests blessed the people and God heard their prayers from “his holy dwelling place in heaven” (v 27).
We will pick up in 2 Chr 31.1-21 in Part 9.