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Sunday, November 25 2012
"Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me"
Elisha was the young man who was chosen, by the LORD ("... Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room" 1 Kings 19:16 KJV), to carry on the prophetic ministry of Elijah (see The Prophets: Elijah; also The Moses And Elijah Vision). After some time of learning and preparation, the day came when Elijah made his famous departure on a "chariot of fire." Elisha was then on his own.
"2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD [see Who Is The LORD?] would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind [see Are We In Heaven Now? and the Fact Finder question below], that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2:2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel [see also The God Of Bethel].
Elisha's ministry was marked by numerous miracles. One of the first was a "healing" of waters at Jericho ("for he tarried at Jericho" 2 Kings 2:18 KJV).
"2:19 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 nought, and the ground barren.
Elisha's defending himself by miraculous means of bears has been one of the most controversial miracles of the Bible, mainly because of the word "children." The Hebrew of the Scriptures of 2 Kings 2:23-25 actually has 2 different original words, both of which are translated as "children" in the King James Version. The first, in verse 23, is (pronounced) nah-ar, and means a boy in general, aged from infancy to adolescence. The other original Hebrew word, in verse 24, is (pronounced) yeh-led and is more specific as to the sort of "children" that were harassing the prophet; it means a lad, or young man. Elisha was being "swarmed" by a gang of teenage thugs - a very big gang, larger than just the "42 of them" that were mauled. Human nature being what it is, Elisha was about to be attacked, and so he responded to a deadly threat with deadly self-defense force. If it were wrong, the LORD would not have provided the miracle.
"2:23 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. 2:24 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. 2:25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria." (2 Kings 2:23-25 KJV)
Without rain, Elisha brought about the filling of water ditches. Notice however, as with the "spirit and power of Elijah," the miracle was accomplished by the Power and Spirit of the LORD i.e. "Thus saith the LORD."
"3:14 And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah [see Jehoshaphat Of Judah], I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. 3:15 But now bring me a minstrel.
Elisha's filling many jars with olive oil that a poor widow could then sell is one of his most well-known miracles.
"4:1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
Not many people were followers of the LORD in the time of Elisha. The kings of both Israel and Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah) most-often were, or became, corrupt and heathen with their idolatry, however there were always believers among the people. A woman in Shunem provided Elisha with a place to stay when he was in the area.
"4:8 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread.
The woman had no children, despite her wanting to be a mother, so Elisha told her that "thou shalt embrace a son." That was the first miracle. Years later, when the son died suddenly, Elisha provided a second miracle - restoring the lad back to physical life.
"4:14 And he said, What then is to be done for her?
As we've read, Elisha's miracles were practical in nature, from self-defense, to purifying water and food.
"4:38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
Elisha did a miracle that the Messiah would also do - multiplication of loaves of bread.
"4:42 And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
The "practical" miracles even included the recovery of a lost, borrowed axe.
"6:1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. 6:2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. 6:3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. 6:4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. 6:5 But as one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. 6:6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. 6:7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it." (2 Kings 6:1-7 KJV)
Elijah's departure on a "chariot of fire" was not the only existence of them - if one could see them. One of Elisha's miracles was to enable others to see that "the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
"6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
All of the miracles that Elisha did were by means of the Power of the LORD. Elisha was a normal human who, like all humans, eventually died.
"13:14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." (2 Kings 13:14 KJV)
The most obvious proof that Elisha's power was that of the Holy Spirit was after his death, when a man was resurrected to physical life just by touching Elisha's bones.
"13:20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. 13:21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet." (2 Kings 13:20-21 KJV)
Fact Finder: Elijah the prophet ascended into heaven on a "chariot of fire" during the reign of Jehoshaphat (i.e. Jehoshaphat was still king after Elisha had succeeded Elijah - 2 Kings 3:11). How then could King Jehoram, who succeeded Jehoshaphat as king, have received a letter from Elijah after Elijah was taken away into "heaven"? Where did Elijah really go?
This Day In History, November 25
571 BC: Servius Tullius, king of Rome, declared victory over the Etruscans (the Roman Republic grow out of that earlier Roman monarchy; Imperial Rome, which was a restoration and expansion of the Roman Monarchy, from King to Emperor, grew out from the Roman Republic; see The Politics Of Rome).
1177: During the "Crusades" between the Church of Rome against the Muslim nations for control of Jerusalem (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and Libya In History And Prophecy), Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and Raynald of Chatillon defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard.
1644: Ole Romer was born. The Danish scientific researcher and astronomer was the first to accurately determine the speed of light - 186,000 miles per second. Light can travel around the entire earth 7 times in 1 second, or travel from the earth to the moon in just over 1 second.
1513: Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa became the first known European to sight the Pacific Ocean. He claimed the entire Pacific Ocean, and all lands anywhere that were touched by it, for Spain.
1555: In Germany, the Peace of Augsburg was declared. It was the first effort in The Holy Roman Empire to allow Lutheranism (Protestantism) and Catholicism to exist together in the Holy Roman Empire (not a difficult task because the doctrines of Roman Catholicism and "Protestantism" are practically identical; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1703: The Great Storm of 1703, with winds up to 120 mph (the most powerful windstorm ever recorded Britain) killed over 9,000 people.
1741: Forces supporting Elizabeth, daughter of Peter I the Great, staged a coup d'etat to seize the Russian throne from Ivan VI. Elizabeth was empress of Russia from 1741-1762.
1759: A Mediterranean earthquake devastated Beirut, Lebanon and Damascus, Syria; approximately 40,000 people died.
1818: The first human blood transfusion took place at a hospital in London, England.
1839: A cyclone struck India with a 40-foot storm surge; 20,000 boats and ships were destroyed and an estimated 300,000 people were killed.
1867: Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. The fortune that he made from the explosive and his other weapons-of-war manufacturing interests (i.e. cannons) was used to finance the Nobel Prizes that are named after him - including, ironically (some say hypocritically), the Nobel "Peace" Prize.
1914: German General Hindenburg called off the Lodz offensive 40 miles from Warsaw. The Russians lost 90,000 to the Germans' 35,000 in 2 weeks of fighting.
1917: The National Hockey League (NHL) was established, in Montreal (i.e. the "national" referred to Canada). The original 5 teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Arenas. Quebec had a franchise but decided not to operate that season. The Boston Bruins became the first U.S. team to join, in 1924.
1936: The "Anti-Comintern Pact" was signed between Germany and Japan; it provided for collaboration between them in opposition to Communist International. Italy joined the next year.
1940: 240 Jews and a dozen British policemen were killed in the sinking of the Patria in Haifa harbor. In order to prevent the removal of the Jewish refugees on the ship from "Palestine," the Haganah (a Jewish "resistance" group; in today's terminology, they would be defined as "terrorists") arranged to blow a hole in the ship's hull, intending to force the disembarkation of the passengers. Tragically however, the ship sank almost immediately. Ironically as well, the Jewish "resistance" were fighting the British who liberated the land of Israel from centuries of Ottoman (a Muslim empire of Turkey) rule (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration).
1941: A Japanese naval armada left their home ports to carry out their attacks on numerous Australian, Dutch, British and U.S. targets (the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was just one of many Japanese near-simultaneous attacks on nations all across the Pacific in December of 1941).
1941: In the Mediterranean, the British battleship Barham was sunk by a German U-boat (German Unterseeboot, meaning "undersea boat" i.e. a submarine) off Sollum, Egypt, killing 848 British Navy seamen.
1956: The first transatlantic telephone cable between Europe and North America went into service.
1984: William Schroeder became second human to receive an artificial heart. After 18 days with the mechanical heart, he suffered a series of strokes that left him in a vegetative state. He died August 7 1986, from a lung infection, 620 days after receiving the artificial heart.
1996: Israeli troops and Palestinian (a word that originated from "Philistine") security forces exchanged gunfire in Jerusalem and in other areas in Israel, set off by Palestinian opposition to an Israeli historical research tunnel dug in Jerusalem in the area of the Temple Mount (see What Was Holy About Herod's Temple? and The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today). The confrontation was described as the heaviest fighting in Jerusalem since the area was captured by the Jews during the 1967 Six Day War (see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).