Because I think the Father often uses the foolish things of the Earth to teach us, I decided to explore the Bible and find verses or chapters that contained ‘forty-two.’ Why 42? In the book The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, forty-Two was the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” The book made the number 42 famous. There has been a lot of speculation about what the author meant by this arbitrary number. None of those include seeing a connection with the Bible, but I was curious! The answer may be 42!!
There were several instances where I found insight from doing this exploration! I was amazed! I suggest you see for yourself. I especially liked what I found in Psalms 42 and Chapter 42 in Isaiah! I think they will bless you. In addition to those, I found many ways to associate this number with the Bible. It presents several interesting rabbit trails!
For this article, I am going to explore a couple of those rabbit trails. Could Forty-Two lead to anything other than Psalm 42 and Isaiah 42? As in most things that grab my attention, this excursion into ‘what if…’ yielded some surprising things to think upon. Is it a ‘message from God?’ Perhaps! I didn’t hear a voice from heaven, but a message was found all the same!
NOTHING BUT A FLASK OF OIL
I am not usually a big fan of plucking out single verses to make a point. However, it is interesting to contemplate what a verse might lead us to understand. Take the following ‘4:2’ verse:
2Ki 4:2 Elisha responded, “What shall I do for you? Tell me what you have in your house?” She replied, “Your servant has nothing in the entire house except for a flask of oil.”
The widow owed a debt she could not repay and a flask of oil was all she had! The prophet told her to send her sons to collect all the pots and vessels they could find. Then she was to shut the door behind her and her sons and was blessed with a miracle when the oil in a single flask was multiplied to fill all the pots! With it she was able to save her children from slavery. The oil saved and sustained her!
What has this to do with 42? Hang in there! Let’s explore the meaning behind a flask of oil and how it might connect to other verses with the numbers 4 and 2. Along the way you may understand why I believe a flask of oil is all we need!
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF OIL?
Oil is often mentioned in the Bible. During the rededication of the Temple (see Hanukkah article) it is traditionally believed that a single cruse of olive oil lasted for eight days to enable the Temple to be cleansed and sanctified again after it was defiled by paganism. Oil shows up again and is of vital importance in the parable of the Ten Virgins! Only five of them had sufficient oil when the Bridegroom came.
When I looked up ‘oil’ in my e-Sword, there were well over 200 matches for the word! The first mention is in Genesis following Jacob’s vision of the ‘ladder”:
Gen 28:17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
Gen 28:18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.
Gen 28:19 He called the name of that place Bethel (House of God)
The oil has something to do with making things holy or set-apart. The oil was used to anoint the stone that Jacob had put at his head; the stone at the gate of heaven! Later verses show oil is used to anoint altars, kings and priests. In addition to anointing, oil is used to light the lamps of the Menorah.
Exo_27:20 “You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn.
Exo_40:9 “Then you shall take the anointing oil and ANOINT THE TABERNACLE and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it MAY BECOME HOLY.
The apostles performed miracles with anointing oil. Oil is also a symbol for the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helps us learn to walk as Yeshua walked. With the help of the Holy Spirit we may become holy!
Lamps? Light? Oil? What does it all mean?
Olive oil is used to fuel the light of an oil lamp. Where do we find an allusion to a lamp?
Pro 6:20 Keep your father’s commands, my son, and never forsake your mother’s rules,
Pro 6:21 by binding them to your heart continually, fastening them around your neck.
Pro 6:22 During your travels wisdom will lead you; she will watch over you while you rest; and when you are startled from your sleep she will commune with you.
Pro 6:23 Because THE COMMAND IS A LAMP AND THE LAW A LIGHT,
What is it that makes the light shine? In a Lamp it is the olive oil. If the Commands are a Lamp, and the Law is a Light, then the Oil that keeps the lamp burning is that which enables the light (law) to be seen. Still confused?
Connect the dots!
Let’s look at the symbolism, allegorical meanings and plain explanations given to us in the Bible. Come along and follow the train of thought.
What is the fuel that enables us to follow the Law? What animates our desire to walk as Yeshua walked? We are told to be born again, and that is associated with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can draw us into a desire to follow YHVH. It is the Holy Spirit that animates our walk in the way.
The oil used in the Temple Menorah was the oil pressed from olives. Israel is described as the Olive Tree. Yeshua is the Root and also the Branch (Netzer) of the Olive Tree. All of the life of the tree comes from the root, and it is manifested in the olives and the oil pressed from them. One olive grove was frequented by Yeshua! “… it was in the Garden of Gethsemane (Gat Shemen in Hebrew, literally, the place of the “olive press”), where Yeshua spent much of His time in Jerusalem with His disciples.” 1
To what end did Yeshua pray in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion? Was it to fill up his oil (Holy Spirit) in the ‘olive press’ so that he could remain strong for the physical trial before him? Was it to demonstrate how we are to keep our own oil tanks filled? He promised his disciples he would send them His Spirit.
Joh_14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Mar_1:8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
What’s the Fruit of the Spirit?
Yeshua told us he would send us a helper so that we could walk in all His ways. He sent us the fruit of the spirit (olive oil) to help us walk in his footsteps. Only those who have a lamp filled with the Holy Spirit can be a light to the nations. The Holy Spirit enables us to follow the law. It is manifested in what we Do.
In the parable of the Ten Virgins some were foolish and had not stored up oil for their lamps. In other words, they held onto the commandments but didn’t do them! They carried the lamp, but they didn’t utilize it as a light. No oil, no Light. No Holy Spirit, no Law-keeping.
Act_5:32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Psa_32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Go Buy a Clue
The foolish virgins didn’t have light because their lamps were not filled. When they asked the wise to share their oil with them, they were told to go and buy their own. In today’s vernacular they said, “Go buy a clue.”
What were they told to ‘buy?’ They needed Oil (the Holy Spirit)! Can you ‘buy’ the Holy Spirit? Isn’t the Holy Spirit the spirit of truth? (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13). We find an answer in Proverbs!
Pro 23:23 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
So, it sounds like if we will ‘buy’ oil for our lamps, we must find the store where we can find wisdom, instruction and understanding. Where is the most likely place to purchase these tools for Truth?
It is clear that our ‘store’ is found in the Bible. Truth comes with wisdom, instruction and understanding. Some assembly is required! We must put forth some effort to make it whole. If we are to buy a clue, we need to take the gift of His spirit, and spend some time in understanding how to operate with it! We need to read, study, pray, praise, seek His face, and learn what it is He needs us to know. That hasn’t changed.
What is the point of buying truth? Isn’t it to learn from His Word and to teach others?
Deu_4:10 how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them HEAR MY WORDS, so that they may LEARN to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may TEACH THEIR CHILDREN so.’
Deu_5:1 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall LEARN them and be careful to DO them.
Isa_26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Isaiah said that when His judgments (commandments) are in the earth, all the world would Learn Righteousness! He wants the whole Lamp Lighted! It requires a flask of oil. A flask that will be multiplied until the entire household is saved! (see 2 Kings 4)
Act_1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
IS IT ENOUGH?
Will a single flask of oil be enough? More and more I understand that we are filled only to the amount we seek Him. Do we only want a day’s supply of oil, or do we want enough to light the entire Lamp? If Yeshua needed to top up his supply of the Holy Spirit before he was tried, what makes us think we don’t have to? Do we only want to burn a single light (keep one or two instructions) or do we want to fill up His entire Lamp (Keep all the commandments!) and light up the nations!?
Will we be found with our oil lamps filled? How can the Light shine in the darkness if we fail?
May we all learn His Commandments (Lamp) and be guided by the Holy Spirit (oil) to Do them as a light to the end of the earth!
IS THE ANSWER 42?
Daniel 4:2 It gives me great pleasure to tell about the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.
Psalms 119:42 Then I can answer the one who insults me, for I place my trust in your word
Deuteronomy 4:2 Do not add or subtract a thing to what I’m commanding you. Observe the commands of the LORD your God.
Proverbs 4:2 I give you sound teaching, so do not abandon my instruction.
Mic 4:2 Many nations will approach and say, ‘Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the Temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk according to his directions.’ Indeed, the Law will proceed from Zion, and the message of the LORD from Jerusalem.