Fathers and Sons

For even if you have ten thousand trainers in connection with the Messiah, you do not have many fathers; for in connection with the Messiah Yeshua it was I who became your father by means of the Good News. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. This is why I have sent you Timothy, my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord. He will remind you of the way of life I follow in union with the Messiah Yeshua and teach everywhere in every congregation.

1Co 4:15-17 CJB

Before Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians, he stopped and talked with Timothy:

“Timothy, I got notice that the Corinthians have major problems. They are a wonderful church, they lack nothing. But some things are just not right. I know I should go there and help them, but I can’t.”

Maybe Paul was tied up, maybe in a very literal sense, as it happened to Paul on occasions. He continued:

“You are a great son to me. You have grown so much and have been so faithful to me in all those years.” Paul knew exactly, that Timothy needed the encouragement for what layed ahead of him. “I am going to send you!”

Timothy immediately recognized the pattern that was played out here: when God heard the Israelites in Egypt call for His help, He appeared to Moses in a burning bush and told Him: “I have heard the cries of my people and will help them. So I send you”. This was biblical, which did not make it any more comfortable.

Paul knew that Timothy as a real son would perfectly represent him. Not as a carbon copy, with his own personality, but in the same spirit. He trusted Timothy. But how did this develop? What was necessary on the way for Timothy to reach this spot?

Abraham and Melchisedek

Prior to Abraham’s meeting with Melchisedek, Abraham had but promises from God. Wonderful, powerful promises, but nothing had happened so far. Well, not exactly nothing. He had wandered from Ur to Egypt and back into what would become the home land of his offspring. But there was no offspring yet. He had undergone problems with family, especially Lot.

Yet after he met Melchisedek, was blessed by him and submitted to his leadership by paying the tithe, things changed. Hebrews tells us that the higher blesses the lower. Seeing Melchisedek as higher in spiritual rank, as a father figure, unleashed the promises and turned them into blessings. Soon after God cut covenant with Abraham, and then a son was born. Submission to an elder unlocks blessings.

Moses and Joshua

When Moses knew he was to die he asked the Lord who to appoint as his successor. The Lord answered him to place part of his anointing on Joshua. Why Joshua? Kaleb was a spy with Joshua, had the same answer and attitude when coming back from spying out the land as Joshua did, and – according to other sources than the bible – was the one training the army, especially the youth. Why not him? Because Joshua had a father – son relationship with Moses. For 40 years he served Moses. And he had a relationship with God and did not leave the tent of meeting.

When Joshua fought against the Amalekites, a chore that Moses placed on him fairly early, he did not see what happened on the mount where Moses was with Aaron and Hur. For Joshua it looked as if he was winning the battle through sheer power. He knew that Moses was on the mount and drew strength and confidence from it, but he did not know that he was only winning when Moses’ hands were stretch up to heaven, and that Aaron and Hur helped Moses to keep his hands up. God commanded Moses to write this down on a scroll and make sure that Joshua read it, so Joshua would know that he was walking in delegated authority and won through his father’s blessing. A son accomplishes things far outside his own anointing in relationship and submission to a father.

But why did God say that Moses should only place part of his anointing on Joshua? Because part had to be given to the high priest. Moses did high priestly duties, such as set in Aaron as high priest. This part had to remain with Levi, while the kingly anointing of leadership had to go to Juda.

Elijah and Elisha

Elisha served Elijah for 20 years, pouring water on his hands. He was faithful from the first moment, when called in a very peculiar way: Elijah threw a mantle over him, passed him and told him to follow if he wanted to. And even in the end, when Elijah told him to stay, Elisha knew that he had to keep following. And at the end he got his double blessing. Could it be that this was his part from his heavenly father that he would have had if he did not follow Elijah, and the anointing that was on Elijah added on top of it? Sons can inherit their father’s anointing.

Jesus and John the Baptist

When Jesus walked this earth, he was blessed and grew in wisdom and understanding to the point that as a 12 year old he astonished the priests and pharisees in the temple. But he did not commence his ministry before somebody that was in ministry before him, somebody that had the explicit call to pave his way – what a description of a father – had blessed him in the Jordan. It was but then that the Father in Heaven acknowledged Jesus’ sonship and expressed His approval.

Conclusion

Pastors for ages had the same career path: conversion, bible school, ministry. And all they were was educated children. I do not blame any of them. It was not the time prophecied in Malachi, when the spirit of Elijah would come and turn the hearts of the fathers to their sons and vice versa. But now this time has come. It does not suffice any longer to be an educated child. We have just learned that only the relationship and submission to a father permits the blessings and anointing to flow and turns a child into a son.

When I had been converted for a year, I was depressed because in all the books I read, people – especially in the parts of the world that God was at work like Africa – within 3-6 months founded their own churches. And here I was, not yet a pastor. But nowadays I am so thankful that the Lord did not let this happen. I got to know my spiritual father, and even if I did not get commissioned into my calling with quite the speed that Jesus was – I was not without sin, remember – I started to change rapidly and grew to become a son.

This is not where I want to stay. Even Jesus did grow further and became the eternal father that Isaiah prophecies about. But without being a son, nobody will become a father. Granted, Elijah did not have a father we know of, and God gave grace that in a fatherless generation a father could stand up and beget a son. Not long ago the same happened again, as it did in Jesus’ generation with John the Baptist. Interesting – Jesus told us that Elijah had come in John the baptist, and he will come again before the return of Christ. Now we live, or let’s say I live in a privileged environment where there are fathers around that themselves are sons. So my desire is to become a great son and a great father for others.

Many think that the call was taken from Elijah when he ran from Jezebel. I personally believe that when he was commanded to anoint Elisha as his successor, Elijah came into a great call, maybe the pinnacle of his calling, by becoming a father for somebody else, so his anointing, vision, assignment could live on.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

What do I have to observe? We learned that blessings are passed from father to son. Just like Abraham passed the blessing to Isaac and God acknowledged this by repeating the blessings to Isaac personally, Isaac was to hand them on.

There is one person in the bible that God says he hates. It is not David that broke just about every law there was. It is not Saul, even though kingship and anointing were taken from him. It was not Adam, even though he pretty much blew it. Or Eve, for that matter. It was Esau. But what did he do? He despised his inheritance. He later on wept over the loss of his father’s blessing, but did not realize that the inheritance was both: earthly riches and heavenly blessings.

Why is this story in the bible? The bible is inspired to teach us the ways of God and man. So could it be that we do the same? When we talk about our pastor behind his back, when we leave a relationship as it seems not needed any longer, when we do not take note of prophetic words and follow up with them, when we leave a meeting not remembering a word of what was said – don’t we despise our inheritance and the fathers we are to get it through by God’s setting and plan? We live in an age of grace, and we can repent and do differently. So I did and do. God is faithful and forgives.

Fatherhood

We are all a people of priests, as Peter tells us, representing the people before God. We are all to represent Christ before the people. But fathers represent the heavenly father to their sons. Christ as everlasting father represented the father in that he did not do anything he did not see the father do. He said: if you have seen me, you have seen the father. Representing Christ to the people was why Paul could say: imitate me. But representing the father to Timothy is why he could say: I will send you Timothy. He fully represents me.

We live in an age in which the testator of the covenant has died. The testament is to be executed, the inheritance to be had. Our fathers have died too: died to self by means of the cross and a life lived. We do not have to wait until they die to inherit the blessing.

I want to be all that I can be in Christ. I need the blessings and the anointing of a father to become myself a father for others. I will ask my father to bless me and keep on blessing me by the laying on of hands and will continue in that relationship and submission because and want to be all for others that God planned me to be: a father.

But this is as much about you as it is about me. So what are you going to do? Want to share or add?

About Ralph Rickenbach

Accompanyist | Writer | Son of God — ideation | learner | deliberative | intellection | futuristic