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Wednesday, June 11 2014

2 Kings 6: Did Elisha Have Chariots of Fire Too?

"Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha"

Humans have dreamed of flight since the earliest times - perhaps at first simply by watching birds. The illustration below shows an actual ancient Persian stone carving that portrays flight in a very curious way. Although the "bird" obviously has feathers, the leading edges of the wings seem rigid like metal wings of a modern-day aircraft. It has wheels for feet (keep that point in mind as we read the Scriptures below), and the passenger (or pilot?) seems not be holding reins, or something similar, as would be expected to be used to guide a "living creature," but rather seems to be holding a mechanical control wheel, or yoke. Considering that the carving is about 3,000 years old, it seems at the very least to have anticipated modern flying machines very well.

The Holy Bible has a number of similar curious references to flying machines, sometimes also described as "living creatures." A "fire" flying vehicle example, as witnessed by the parents of Samson:

Ancient Flight

"13:20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground." (Judges 13:20 KJV)

Another example - Ezekiel's "cherubim" that were as mechanical as they were spirit:

"1:19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 1:20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels." (Ezekiel 1:19-20 KJV)

After Elijah's departure on a "chariot of fire," Elisha's own miracles began with simple practical matters (see 2 Kings 4: The Beginning Of Elisha's Miracles) - even finding a lost metal axe head by making it float.

"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 axe 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 shewed 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)

Although the "chariot of fire" is most well-known from the incident with Elijah (see 2 Kings 2: Where Did That Chariot Of Fire Take Elijah?), Elisha thereafter became encircled by them for protection - although they remained unseen except by Elisha and those to whom the LORD permitted them to be seen i.e. "Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

"6:8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.

6:9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. 6:10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

6:11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?

6:12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

Light 6:13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. 6:14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

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?

6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (2 Kings 6:8-17 KJV)

From that time on, Elisha's miraculous abilities were increased along with his responsibilities in his service to the LORD.

"6:18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

6:19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.

6:20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

6:21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?

6:22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. 6:23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel." (2 Kings 6:18-23 KJV)

Elijah had been declared an enemy of the state for rebuking a corrupt king with the Word of God. It didn't take long before other kings regarded Elisha in the same way, for the same reason.

"6:24 And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. 6:25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

6:26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.

6:27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? 6:28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee?

And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.

6:29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

6:30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. 6:31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.

6:32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?

6:33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?" (2 Kings 6:24-33 KJV)

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This Day In History, June 11

1184 BC: According to calculations by Eratosthenes, Troy was sacked and burned on this date during the Trojan War.

173: During the Marcomannic Wars, the Roman army in Moravia was encircled by the Quadi (a Germanic tribe), however during a severe thunderstorm the Romans under Marcus Aurelius broke the lines and defeated them.

The Roman Empire

631: Chinese Emperor Taizong of Tang dispatched ambassadors to the Xueyantuo with gold and silk for the release of enslaved Chinese prisoners captured during the transition from Sui to Tang from the northern frontier. The mission resulted in freeing 80,000 Chinese people.

1346: Charles IV of Luxembourg was elected Holy Roman Emperor in Germany.

1488: King James III of Scotland was murdered after his defeat at the Battle of Sauchieburn. He was succeeded by his son, James IV.

1509: King Henry VIII of England married the first of his six wives, Catherine of Aragon (the youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, the employers of Christopher Columbus). It was Henry's later divorce of Catherine that triggered the break from the Church of Rome and the creation of the Church of England.

1727: King George I, the first Hanoverian king of Britain, died and was succeeded by his son George II.

1788: Russian explorer Gerasim Izmailov arrived in Alaska. The area remained in Russian possession until the mid-twentieth century.

1770: English explorer Captain James Cook ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

1847: John Franklin, British explorer, died in the Arctic after his ships became frozen in the ice. The details of his death were in a note found by a search party in 1859.

1903: King Alexander and Queen Draga of Belgrade were assassinated by members of the Serbian army.

1920: During the Republican National Convention in Chicago, party leaders gathered in a hotel to decide on their candidate for the presidential election. As first written by the Associated Press, it produced the political term "smoke-filled room."

1963: Quang Duc, 66, a Buddhist monk, committed suicide by burning himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest treatment of Buddhists by the U.S.-backed Diem regime. The picture was front-page news around the world the next day, and was followed by other monks in the weeks afterward.

1967: Israel and Syria accepted the terms of a U.N. cease fire.

1987: Margaret Thatcher won her third consecutive term as British Prime Minister.

1997: An official Italian commission approved a move to allow Vittorio Emanuele, son of Italy's last king, to return home after 50 years of exile.

2001: Timothy McVeigh, 32, was executed at a U.S. Federal prison at Terre Haute, Indiana. The U.S.-born terrorist confessed to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19 1995 that killed 168 men, women and children. It was the most deadly act of terrorism in the U.S. prior to the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington.


Copyright © Wayne Blank