Chapter 11: Elisha: Carrying the Mantle of Elijah
Elijah had a mantle—some sort of cloak that distinguished him as a prophet of God. Even some of the leaders of the land seemed to understand this; they had more respect, or at least more awareness, of the prophet of God than they do today. Lange’s Commentary calls this mantle “The insignia of the office of the prophetical leader.”
In 1 Kings 19:13, Elijah wrapped his face in his mantle when God spoke to him. Later in that chapter, Elijah cast his mantle upon Elisha when he called him.
Some time after, just before God took him, Elijah struck the Jordan with his mantle and the river opened up so he and Elisha could walk across (2 Kings 2:8). So obviously there was a lot of power emanating from that mantle.
You can read in 1 Samuel 15:22-28 how Samuel’s mantle being rent symbolized the Kingdom of Israel being ripped away from Saul. God’s power is associated with that mantle, and so is the fate of the nations of Israel!
How does this apply in our day? Who picked up the mantle of the end-time Elijah? The answer to this question is obvious to anyone who looks into it honestly. In so many ways, God has made it clear where the Elijah work is being done today. The Philadelphia Church of God holds fast to the instruction of Herbert W. Armstrong. We publish and freely distribute all of Mr. Armstrong’s major books and booklets, of which God has given us the copyrights. God has opened doors for us to continue some of Mr. Armstrong’s humanitarian efforts, most notably by allowing us to carry on with archaeological excavations in the City of David in Jerusalem. On top of that, God has even committed into our care certain physical treasures from Mr. Armstrong’s work, including a Steinway concert grand piano from Ambassador Auditorium, some brass lettering from an inscription and two exquisite candelabras that were on display in the lobby of that building, and an inspiring sculpture by Sir David Wynne, Swans in Flight, that Mr. Armstrong commissioned for the Ambassador College campus in Big Sandy and that now graces the front of Armstrong Auditorium. These physical objects are nowhere near as important as Mr. Armstrong’s spiritual legacy, which we hold, protect and perpetuate, but they are certainly additional signs God has given that demonstrate the continuation of the Elijah work after Mr. Armstrong died.
God is repeatedly reminding the pcg that we are still doing the Elijah work today. There was not one work under Mr. Armstrong and then a separate work today. The two are tied together into a single work. This is not the “Elisha work.” It is the Elijah work in the Laodicean era of God’s Church.
Note the importance of the symbolism in that mantle! Again, the prophet’s mantle has everything to do with the fate of Israel! Today the nations of Israel are hurtling toward disaster, and God’s prophet is the only one on the scene to warn them. Modern leaders are going before the pope and other religious leaders in a supposed effort to learn God’s view. But, as presumptuous as this may sound, the only place they will find God’s perspective today is from me and this Philadelphia Church! They can only find the answers where the mantle is. That may seem like the wildest exaggeration, but it is truth of God that you can prove from your own Bible.
The time came when Elijah was taken away in a whirlwind to another part of the Earth. Elisha cried “My father, my father …” and tore his clothes (2 Kings 2:12). Then something else significant happened: “He [Elisha] took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan” (verse 13). Elijah’s mantle fell, and it was obvious to everyone that it fell on Elisha. This was an outward sign that the responsibility of being God’s man had shifted.
There are types here. Mr. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah. God gave him a tremendous amount of revelation, which he wrote into numerous books and booklets. After he died, we held on to those works and then printed and distributed them for free. When the Worldwide Church of God sued us for copyright infringement, we fought six years in court for the right to keep printing that literature—and eventually bought those copyrights. Now we make all of Mr. Armstrong’s most important material freely available to anyone who asks for it. It makes sense that there would be some outward symbolic signs of where his mantle is now.
Soon the whole world will be educated in the works of Mr. Armstrong that we fought for. In fact, this process has already started! What good is having all that truth if we don’t deliver it to the world?
Elisha had to take some action—he took up the mantle of Elijah. Spiritually, I had to do the same thing. All of God’s faithful people have had to take up the cause of that mantle. Nobody pushed us to do this. We must reach out and take some aggressive action, or nothing happens.
The copyright victory showed what God will do for us when we do as Elisha did! This means accepting God’s form of government.
Where Is the God of Elijah?
After Elisha took up Elijah’s mantle, notice what happened: “And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters [the first time], and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters [a second time], they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over” (2 Kings 2:14). Elisha had the mantle, but the first time he smote the waters, nothing happened. Then, after he said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” and smote the waters again, they parted!
I believe God was giving Elisha some subtle correction here: Elisha, there will be no parting of the waters until you get your priorities straight. He wanted him to acknowledge the God of Elijah!
There is a precision in the way we have to do things, or that mantle won’t empower this Church. We have to put God first, or it won’t work. If we don’t get on our knees first, the waters will not part for us. This is about God using a man—but it is God’s power. That is what He was reminding Elisha about. Of course, Elisha realized his mistake very quickly and corrected himself.
God does give that mantle to a man. Someone had to step out and say, We are going to print Mystery of the Ages! Then a group of people had to stand behind that decision and say, Amen! That message must be taken to the world! It takes God’s government to get that done. It takes a man who has the spiritual mantle.
But it’s not about the man—it’s about the God of Elijah! Is He really alive? The same God who gave Mr. Armstrong that enormous work? Yes, He is!
Do you want to know how to do the Work of God today? How to have doors open for you—even rivers, if necessary? Here is the formula. Elisha knew where the God of Elijah was, and he was following his spiritual father. So God opened up the river for him, just as He had for Elijah.
The problem with the lukewarm Laodiceans is that they don’t honestly ask where the God of Elijah is! God did a powerful work through Mr. Armstrong. So where is that God today? He did not die with Mr. Armstrong. Yet none of the Laodicean groups have that kind of power. They don’t receive and proclaim God’s revelation. They don’t have the right government. We must find and remain with the God of Elijah and continue doing the Elijah work! The Laodiceans will be held accountable for the fact that they were with that God for so long and now they have left Him and rejected the Elijah work. The fact is, they are not interested in where He is! If they wanted to know, they would submit to God’s government and end up in God’s true Church.
Our copyright victory is an outward sign of exactly where the mantle is and where the God of Elijah is! This is something people can’t ignore.
Here is something else extraordinary: The wcg agreed to sell us the copyrights of that material on January 16, 2003. That was the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986—a date that God has emphasized repeatedly. The fact that the wcg agreed to that deal on January 16 was a sign in two ways: First, it pointed to God’s end-time Elijah; second, it pointed to the Church today that has the mantle of Elijah. God wants to make sure people know where that mantle is—which is where the God of Elijah is! This is something anyone can see.
The Laodiceans will have to come to where the mantle of Elijah is, because that is where God is! God really wants them to see where the God of Elijah is.
There is only one reason God has the “mantle” of Elijah: to get people’s minds focused on the God of Elijah. When we stop looking to the God of Elijah, the revelation and miracles will stop. The major proof of where the God of Elijah is, is new revelation. God is speaking to His very elect through new revelation! What a blessing to be in the Church where God is speaking.
God has repeatedly shown with power that the mantle of Elijah is here!
Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle and then went to cross back over the Jordan. He smote the waters with the mantle, and the waters parted. This was a clear sign that God was now using Elisha. “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” (2 Kings 2:15). These young students were deeply submissive to God’s government. It is sad that more of Mr. Armstrong’s “students” do not have this kind of attitude.
God used miracles to show these students who His man was. Today, He shows us who His man is by giving him new revelation for the very elect. Malachi’s Message is the greatest single book in the world to show you where God is working today. It points you to what is really the greatest book in the world after the Bible: Mystery of the Ages, written by Herbert W. Armstrong, the end-time type of God’s Elijah. God makes clear where He is working.
When these 50 students realized Elijah was gone, they wanted to go and look for him (verse 16). Elisha told them they wouldn’t find Elijah, but they kept insisting on going after him. Young people can be quite insistent at times. “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?” (verses 17-18).
The point is, Elisha didn’t use a heavy hand with these students. He used the same loving family government that Elijah had. They were learning about their new leader. They came to him for counsel and didn’t want to heed it, so they went on a worthless search for three days. But they learned, the hard way, that Elisha could be trusted.
Elisha performed far more miracles than Elijah. John the Baptist, who was also a type of Elijah, didn’t perform miracles; yet Christ said there was no man greater than John (Matthew 11:11). So we cannot judge righteousness by miracles.
Scholars today have labeled Elisha a “peripheral prophet.” That means he was not deeply involved in society, just as we are not today because you can’t be and still serve God.
Elijah established colleges in Gilgal, Bethel and Jericho (2 Kings 2:1-5). Mr. Armstrong taught that the original Elijah will lead the educational system in the World Tomorrow. Then John the Baptist will work under him, and Mr. Armstrong, who taught so much about true education, will work under John. The Philadelphia Church will work under Mr. Armstrong. We will be teaching the world very soon. God wants to motivate us by getting our minds on this future.
Looking at how important education was to Elijah, don’t you think, if you could find the mantle of Elijah today, you would find people who were interested in having a college like Elijah had? After all, Elisha took over the schools of Elijah. It makes sense that they would be training their youth to replace the older people—training dedicated people who will fight and even die for the truth.
This is another instance where we are demonstrating that we will not leave Elijah! We refuse to leave what he taught! We teach just like Elijah did and get our students grounded in what Elijah taught—which is the foundation of tomorrow’s education. Herbert W. Armstrong College and Imperial Academy are tied directly into the return of Jesus Christ!
An interesting side point is that some of these “sons of the prophets” were married students (2 Kings 4:1), just like I was when I went to Ambassador College.
Verse 38 shows the students in a classroom-type session: “And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth [famine] 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.” Where it says they were “sitting before him,” the verb sit implies a session or school. Again, God wants us to be educated. If you seek to become educated, then the same God who parted the river for Elisha will educate you—one way or another.
As these students were preparing the food, one gathered some wild herbs and put them in the pottage. When they ate, they realized something was wrong with the food. Here is how Elisha handled this problem: “But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot” (verse 41). This was a great miracle performed for these young people.
God has given this Church many miracles, and opened many doors for this Work! I believe that with our increased understanding, God holds us more accountable than He did those students of Elisha. They did not have near the amount of truth that we have.
“And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, 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” (verse 42). Here was a layman who brought his firstfruits to the college. Everybody wanted to serve God.
“And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord” (verses 43-44). By this time there were 100 students, so the college was growing. And notice: There was plenty of food left over after these young people had eaten. That too was quite a miracle!
Realize that if you are loyal to God and submit to His government, He will perform miracles for you—great and small. He did it for these students time and time again. Let’s look at one more example.
The Floating Ax
“And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us” (2 Kings 6:1). The sons of the prophets were facing a problem. The college building was getting too small, and the students wanted to build a bigger place for themselves. They didn’t have enough land. So they asked Elisha if they could build in another area, down by the Jordan. They were clearly subject to God’s government.
Elisha consented to their plan. The students wanted Elisha to come with them, so he did. The group was by the river, chopping down timber for the new building. Then an accident happened: “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” (verse 5). That iron ax head fell straight to the bottom of the river.
This son of the prophets had character, which he was taught by Elijah and Elisha. (Mr. Armstrong also taught his students how to live first, then how to make a living.) The young man lost an ax that was borrowed, and it troubled him intensely. Because of his character, he was very emotional over this loss. He went to his master, or boss, and asked for direction. God’s family government was obviously there.
Anyplace where you find God’s family government, you will find many inspiring miracles! “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 [float]. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it” (verses 6-7). Because this student was so faithful and obedient to God, the ax swam to him! Probably only four to six people in the whole world ever saw this event. But it was still a spectacular miracle from God—performed before His little flock!
This certainly must have been inspiring for these students. God wanted these young people to learn that if you are loyal to Him, He will work amazing miracles in your life. If you back God’s Work, you can expect miracles because they will happen!
We know that most people scoff at such miracles. But God has always performed mighty miracles for His own Family. He always has and will forever do so! This ax miracle is a prophecy that God will continue to perform miracles for those submissive to His family government!
The swimming ax is trivial compared to God’s miraculous plan to build His Family. The world knows almost nothing about God and His Family today. They reject His family government and, as a result, lack the faith to ever experience such miracles. This is why the firstfruits are called out now. Soon the world will understand about the miracle of the ax. We will teach them. We must understand that this is why we are called today. We are not called just to be saved. We must qualify to teach the entire world, or we won’t even be a part of God’s Family!
The Apostle Paul got upset with the Hebrews. At a time when they should have been teachers, someone had to go back and teach them the basics—again (Hebrews 5:12).
God’s true Church is a college to train teachers. A new civilization is being prepared right now. And only a small minority of God’s own people grasp this vision. Only they will become pillars in God’s headquarters temple. Only they will be qualified to administer God’s loving government.
A God in Israel
Elisha became famous throughout Israel for the miracles that were happening within his schools and beyond. Eventually that fame spread beyond Israel’s borders.
The captain of the Syrian army, Naaman, was a great man, but he was a leper. He had probably been all around the world trying to find a cure for his condition. During one of his military strikes, his men captured an Israelite woman who then served Naaman’s wife. This woman told Naaman about Elisha, saying the prophet of Israel could heal Naaman’s leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-4). The Syrians were no friends of the Israelites; I don’t imagine Naaman was terribly excited about this.
Nevertheless, the Syrian king sent a letter to the king of Israel. “And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy” (verse 6). When Israel’s king heard this, he thought he was being personally asked to heal Naaman. He assumed the Syrian king was trying to provoke a war and became angry. He knew he couldn’t heal anyone.
But when Elisha heard about the letter, he sent a message to the king saying, “[L]et him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (verse 8). That is a bold statement! Bring him to me, and I’ll show him there’s a God in Israel. He can’t learn that from you, O king!
So Naaman came to Elisha’s house and stood at the door. Notice what happened: “And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (verse 10). Elisha didn’t even come to the door himself. He sent one of these college students, no doubt, to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times.
Elisha wanted Naaman looking to God, not to any man. Mr. Armstrong did the same thing throughout his ministry.
The messenger’s directive didn’t sit well with Naaman, this great warrior. He got angry over the fact that Elisha didn’t deal with him directly, and he left in a rage. But his servants were able to cool him down and convince him to do as the student had instructed. “Then went he [Naaman] down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (verse 14). He wouldn’t have been healed had he dipped six times. You must do it God’s way if you want to be healed.
Naaman recognized that a miracle had occurred. “And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him [this time he met directly with Elisha]: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel …” (verse 15).
Here is what God’s Work must teach the world! This impressive Gentile leader learned from Elisha that the only God in all the Earth is Israel’s God. This is what we will teach the whole world!
Remember, this is prophecy. Sometime in the near future, God is going to begin to pound the heads of the kings of today’s world, and they will come to recognize that there is only one God, and everything else is just a dumb idol. God is only leading the faithful little remnant of spiritual Israel, or God’s true Church—the one doing the Elijah work! The whole world will be educated about God by us and all of God’s firstfruits!
Naaman was so appreciative of the healing that he wanted to give something in return. “I pray thee, take a blessing [or a present] of thy servant,” he said (2 Kings 5:15). He wanted to donate silver and gold and physical goods.
Of course, Elisha flatly refused. “But he said, As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused” (verse 16). You can understand why. If someone is anointed by a minister and then wants to pay him for that healing, that would be very dangerous. God performs the healing; the minister just prays and anoints as God directs. The ministers are not in it for money; they are here to bring people to God the Father.
After Naaman left and traveled a short distance, notice what happened: “But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him” (verse 20). Gehazi had to be one of the outstanding college students to be Elisha’s servant. But he got materialistic here. Elisha didn’t take anything, the student thought. I’ll go and get something.
“So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me [that was a lie], saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets [this may have been a lie, too]: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments” (verses 21-22). Gehazi wanted silver and gold, and was willing to lie to get it, clearly going against Elisha’s wishes.
Naaman complied, giving him what he asked. It took two of his servants to help Gehazi bear the huge load back home. Of course, Gehazi dismissed the servants some distance from the house and stashed the wealth before coming back to Elisha—very unethical behavior. “But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither [another lie]” (verse 25). This outstanding student had a serious lapse here and became spiritually weak.
Then Elisha started asking his student some hard questions. “And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow” (verses 26-27).
It is very serious to work against God’s Holy Spirit and His Work, whether you are young or old. This was a terrible punishment for Gehazi. But the same will happen to anyone who makes his mistake. You may think you won’t get leprosy by doing something along these lines, but consider those who leave the Church and don’t come back. The Tribulation is much worse to experience than leprosy—and they will know while they are in it that they could have escaped! Young people who have been taught by God’s type of Elisha today and who act this way are displaying spiritual leprosy. They will pay a severe penalty.
Is it a time to receive money? To get caught up in things? Everywhere you look in this world, there are things to distract you. It’s not that God does not want you to have those things, but you had better never put any of them before God!
Instead, be careful to stay with God and with what His Elijah taught. Make sure you understand the wonderful instruction and lessons Mr. Armstrong taught for years. Make those teachings a part of your thinking! That will help protect your mind from materialism and other such spiritual traps.
Our Spiritual Army
God’s Work is the greatest endeavor any of us could be involved in. But as Elisha’s students learned, sometimes the work can be dangerous.
An example in 2 Kings 9 illustrates the point. Elisha gave one of his students the honor of anointing the next king of Israel. But notice his instructions: “Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead: And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber; Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not” (verses 1-3).
Elisha was living in a dangerous time. He got involved in some dangerous warfare. Those young people had to be courageous to serve him. They had to trust God, because they could have lost their lives. But what an honor to be associated with that Work! In this case, the young student changed the course of history.
In another instance, Elisha had incurred the wrath of the king of Syria, and the king sent a whole army to kill him. The story is related in 2 Kings 6. The king of Syria was angry because he thought one of his servants was revealing secrets to the Israelites. But there was no spy in Syria: The informer was the Prophet Elisha!
In the middle of this traumatic series of events, one of the sons of the prophets had a faith problem. But he knew he had to go to God and Elisha to build his faith. He was clearly submissive to Elisha, his “master”—or God’s government.
The Syrian king asked which of his servants was betraying him. “And one of his [the Syrian king’s] 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. 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. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about” (verses 12-14). This was a massive army—come to capture one man!
It appeared Elisha was in grave danger. “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?” (verse 15). That great army surrounded the city where Elisha was staying, and when this young college student saw it, he quaked with fear.
The student saw this vast Syrian army and believed there was no hope. All he needed was more faith in how God protects His Family, those who are subject to His government.
This is what most people fail to grasp. This is why most of God’s people and the world are deceived. Because they rebel against His government, they don’t see God as a great miracle worker. This is such a difficult lesson for humans to understand. Thankfully, this servant went to Elisha for help. He followed God’s government.
How did Elisha respond? Today, how should we respond when we are besieged by seemingly insurmountable problems? Think about this: If you saw a huge mechanized army surrounding Edmond, looking to kill me, that would be rather frightening! That is exactly what happened to Elisha.
This was an opportunity for this college student to learn a great lesson of faith. Elisha spoke up, “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (verse 16). Here were two men. One saw only the enemy’s army. But Elisha saw another army that the young man didn’t.
“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” (verse 17). God showed His young son a vast army of angels with chariots of fire, ready to attack the Syrians. Then that student realized how helpless the enemy was against God’s army! That made the student feel very secure!
This army is still protecting us today! I wonder how well we see it. Why do we win court cases? Why do great doors open for us? Why do we have so much new revelation? Because there is a real, spiritual army fighting for us and for God’s Work! We must see that reality as Elisha did.
Remember the lesson Elisha taught this student: We never have to fear marching into battle. The Elisha group has a great work to do. We will be severely opposed at times. But there is no need for us to worry. To keep ourselves from faltering, we have to know that we are being protected and looked after. There is a mighty army supporting us!
Do you see a gigantic army of fiery angels protecting the Elijah work today? You can see why we must have faith to do God’s Work! We must see the invisible!
How did the story end? The Syrian soldiers became blind, and Elisha led them back to Israel as captives. One man led a whole army of blind soldiers back to Israel! Can you imagine that? What a powerful miracle!
Then the prophet convinced the Israelite king to let them go, and that army never attacked Israel again (verse 23). They knew that God was in Israel. Do you know that God is in Israel? Do we understand that deeply? The living God is in spiritual Israel—doing His Work through the Philadelphia Church of God!
What an awesome testimony. What a faith-building example for that student! Elisha was a magnificent educator.
This is how God has always protected His obedient Family. It is a prophecy of how God protects His Elijah work today. That is why Mr. Armstrong did such a towering work in spite of his many enemies. This is the reason God’s Philadelphia Church today does such a powerful work with only a tiny group of people!
God’s mighty army with chariots of fire is always there to support His Work! There will always be many battles. Some battles may be lost—but God’s people always win the war if we are obedient to God’s family government.
Why wouldn’t the all-powerful, omnipotent God always protect the Family He loves? God always has. But only a few people have ever believed God!
In future crises, we need to understand this truth profoundly. Then we can have relaxed faith and not be continually stressed out in our spiritual war. We must continue to build the faith to see God’s army! Again, God always protects the Family He governs.
This is the foundation of our future civilization! This is the heart of God’s educational system in the World Tomorrow. Soon God’s Family will be comprised of every obedient human being who ever lived. Christ’s Bride will be used to teach them by example and instruction. The Bride is a critical part of God’s Family and educational system. That is why these lessons are taught in the former prophets. It is prophecy of our marvelous future. This is not new. God’s Family has always understood that He protects them. God promised He would “reveal it unto babes”—to those who are childlike and submitted to their Father (Matthew 18:1-3).
God’s army is real. These prophecies are real. We must build the faith to believe God. That kind of faith will revolutionize any person’s life.
Prophecies Affect the Nation
Elisha did his work in the midst of difficult and dangerous times. He had a very alarming message against Israel, just as we have today! And it was very upsetting to the king and rulers of Israel, as we will see.
2 Kings 4:38 says that when Elisha was visiting one of the colleges, “there was a dearth in the land”—a great drought, a sign of curses being on the nation. In recent years, terrible drought has hit Oklahoma, where God’s college is today. Heavy droughts have also hit Texas and California, the sites of the two Ambassador College campuses in the United States. God takes care of His people, but just as in Elisha’s day, we do sometimes feel the effects of God’s wrath on national Israel.
After that harrowing incident with the Syrian army, the Bible records, “And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. 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” (2 Kings 6:24-25). This famine was so grievous that people were eating the worst parts of unclean animals.
Israel’s king passed by a woman who called to him for help, and she told him about unimaginably abominable cannibalism that was going on in the nation (verses 26-29). This tragedy directly fulfilled God’s warning prophecy in Deuteronomy 28:53 and 57!
“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. 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” (2 Kings 6:30-31). The king reasoned that Elisha’s prophecy actually caused Israel’s collapse! The king was determined to kill God’s prophet.
It can be very dangerous to speak God’s prophecies. But we must not forget that God’s unconquerable angelic army is fighting for the Philadelphia Church of God. We, like Elisha, are going to impact the lives of kings and nations! Nothing can stop the living God!
It was in this context that Elisha sent one of his disciples to King Ahab and Jezebel on that dangerous mission (2 Kings 9:1-8). The messenger delivered a frightening message, saying that the dogs were going to eat Jezebel (verses 9-10). That is exactly what ended up happening (verses 30-37). She became dog dung! She could no longer deceive and force others to embrace her false religion.
Jezebel is a type of the great religious whore of Revelation 17. So this is really a prophecy of that church’s end. It is going to become dog dung!
We are about to see the end of Satan’s great rebellion. We have seen how this great false religion has even made heavy inroads into God’s Laodicean Church today. Soon this satanic religion will be history.
The Chariot of Israel
Toward the end of his life, Elisha had a good relationship with the king of Israel. Notice this astounding passage: “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). King Joash said the same thing about Elisha that Elisha had said of Elijah! (2 Kings 2:12).
What a wonderful thing for a king to say of a religious leader! The king knew that Elisha was the only “chariot” that would bring Israel (and the world) to success. God brought that king to this realization.
God’s Elijah work is “the chariot of Israel.” If we don’t “hitch our wagon to this star,” we will go no place. That king was a type of all the prominent people who will be brought to David during the World Tomorrow and then instructed in what Elijah taught and pointed to God the Father. Here God gave us an example of a king who knew where to look to solve his nation’s problems: the chariot of Israel.
This isn’t just another work. It is the Work that will save the world! God will bring all the world to this “chariot of Israel,” and He will do so through His people. Soon we will educate the whole world! We will build the Family of God like Elijah and Elisha did. We are learning today to tell people how to solve their problems, how to be kings and priests, how to look to God and build His Family.
That is why God’s very elect are the true royalty of God. We are the most honored people on Earth today! We honor God the Father, and He turns around and looks after us in miraculous ways.
God records one final statement about what He thinks of Elisha, the man who served Him so well, the man who continually pointed his students back to Elijah.
“And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. 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). Here a dead man just touched the bones of Elisha, and he was instantly brought back to life!
We are part of the same work that Elisha did. We continue the Elijah work. What a fabulous history we have. Yet we understand more truth today than God’s people ever have in the past! There has never been a greater opportunity to learn God’s truth than today!God has great plans for us. He wants to educate us to be kings and priests! Take advantage of the opportunity and the education available to you. Use this truth, build your faith, and let God work miracles in your life! Then, when we reach a successful end, we will be able to look back on these times today with great joy!