Three Attesting Signs of Elisha… Elijah pt 17

And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not? ( 2 Kings 2:15-18)

Elisha has received the mantle of the Prophet Elijah. He returns back over the river Jordan, smiting the Jordan with the mantle and walking over it on dry land, to continue the ministry which God had begun through Elijah.

The “sons of the Prophets” greet him and perceive the Spirit of Elijah upon him, but they wonder about Elijah himself. Did he really ascend in a whirlwind to heaven? Or had the LORD simply taken the Spirit from him and left him out in the wilderness somewhere to return? They perceived something spiritual had happened in Elisha, but simply didn’t believe his account about the ascension of Elijah.

But the disciples of the prophets at Jericho were so unable to realize the fact of Elijah’s translation, although it had been previously revealed to them, that they begged permission of Elisha to send out fifty brave men to seek for Elijah. פּן־נשׂאו : whether the Spirit of the Lord has not taken him and cast him upon one of the mountains, or into one of the valleys. פּן with the perfect is used “where there is fear of a fact, which as is conjectured almost with certainty has already happened,” like μὴ in the sense of “ whether not ” (vid., Ewald, §337, b.). Kiel and Delitsch

So they wanted to send a search party of the fifty heartiest among them, to try and locate Elijah. Elisha, who had now been appointed in the place of Elijah, and who was thus their obviously God appointed leader, forbade them to do so. But they wouldn’t let up, to the point where He felt he must allow them to do this, lest they assume He cared not for Elijah.

After thirty days, they satisfied themselves, that Elijah must have truly been taken to heaven, and from that point on, they gave complete deference to their new leader, Elisha.

This corresponds to the unbelief of the disciples, initially, in the resurrection of Jesus.

The second sign concerned the city of Jericho. Remember that Jericho had been cursed by Joshua, the one who rebuilt it would do so at the cost of his first and last Son, A man named Hiel did so, in defiance of God’s Word, and paid that very price.

But God redeems. Now the former cursed city would for the time being be the location of Elisha’s ministry and school of prophets. But there was a problem, the Water was bad, it was undrinkable.

And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake. ( 2 Kings 2:19-22)

“The Water is naught and the ground is barren”, is a mistranslation. The brackish waters of Jericho caused( both herds and people )to miscarry, in the Hebrew, making the city to be unlivable.

The Prophet called for a “new cruse”, one never used before, a symbol of a vessel absolutely devoted to Jehovah, and salt also, which is a symbol for purity and incorruption. All sacrifices were to be salted, so salt is also a symbol of sacrifice and the power of life to destroy death.

By going to the very Spring for the water, Elisha in symbol is going to the root of the problem. he then proclaimed in the name of the LORD , “I have healed these waters this day”.

What a perfect symbol of the salvation of all mankind. Messiah, a vessel totally devoted to Jahweh, applied his pure and sunless life to the source of all of our problems, (The fountain of Sin) and by his stripes, He has healed us.

To this very day there is a spring of fresh sweet water that is in the vicinity of Jericho, Ain es Sultan.

In the same manner as Elijah, Elisha also seems to be carrying on the ministry of Moses, as we see a similar miracle in Exodus 15.

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lordthy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.( Exodus 15:24-26)

In that case the symbol was the tree. In this brackish, poisoned world which we pass through, sin cursed, and crippled, it is the tree that makes the waters of life sweet again. That tree is in truth, the cross of Jesus.

Finally the third sign, given to establish the continuity of Elijah’s ministry in Elisha, and to let Israel know that indeed God was in her midst and could be turned to rather than Baal.

 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria. ( 2 Kings 2:23-25)

This is a very much maligned and misinterpreted story, but very important and full of prophetic import.

“He went up from there to to Bethel”– Remember , Bethel is one of the two shrine cities, where Jereboam had turned Israel away from Jahweh at the very beginning of his reign after the split. In Dan and Bethel, He set up alternative temples to Jahweh, and set up golden calves as symbols for the LORD.

He made that the national religion, and set up his own priests, holidays and the King was in effect ‘the head of the religion’.

” Little Children out of the city”-this is a terrible and misleading translation. The same word translated “little children” here was used of Solomon in I Kings 3:7, when he was twenty. It was also used of Rehoboam’s advisers when they urged him to raise taxes on Israel leading to the split in the Kingdom.

These were a large group of twenty somethings, who accosted Elisha on his way. They came with a deliberate purpose, they were mocking the prophet of God, in a dark and suspicious fashion.

“Go Up, Go Up Baldy!” -There is much more to this than meets the eye of many commentators. The admonition to the Prophet of God to “Go Up”, has to be considered in light of the location, Bethel.

Bethel was the site of an idolatrous shrine. One of the two golden calves was there.

One ascends to worship, He goes up, in a sense, to Zion, to the temple, to Jerusalem, “Lets go up to Zion…the city of our God”.

But here these young men are urging the Holy prophet of God to “Go up” to worship at the site of the golden calf in Bethel, ie to participate in apostate worship.

“Baldy” may be a mockery of the prophet’s appearance, although I doubt it. “Baldy” refers to the fact that the Prophet, who was well known for walking with Elijah, washing his hands, and serving him, is now without a covering. His covering is gone, he is now free to apostasize.

That is the nature of the mockery, and it brought immediate and stern rebuke from the LORD, in such an unusual manner that the word of it no doubt spread quickly throughout the land, and giving Divine credence to Elijah’s successor.

Two She Bears-Two She bears came out of the wood and slew 42 of them. Bears were not uncommon in Israel at that time, but such carnage and the fact that the bears slew them, but didn’t eat any of them, would certainly indicate supernatural intervention.

The two She bears, ( Beasts) may be a prophetic correspondence to the troubles of an equally apostate Israel at the end of time, for in the Revelation, we learn that Israel will be persecuted and slain as a consequence of two Beasts. The number 42, then, would correspond to the 42 months of such tribulation that they would endure.

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