1 Kings Chapter 19: Two Sleeps, Still Small Voice, Elijah’s Commission

Dec 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 1 & 2 Kings, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

1 Kings Chapter 19: Two Sleeps, Still Small Voice, Elijah’s Commission

1 Kings 19:1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

1 Kings 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.

Ahab arrived in Jezreel where Jezebel was and explained to her the events of the day. When he 118

came to the result of the climax of the contest—namely, that “all the prophets” had been slain with the sword—we can imagine the impact on her.

Comment: Jezebel was not thankful for the rain.

Reply: She drew a completely wrong lesson. Instead of seeing that Jehovah had been signally honored and appreciating Him as the only and true God by the miraculous demonstration, she was now determined to slay Elijah.

Incidentally, when Elijah’s sacrifice was consumed, there was a purposed order of consumption, as stated in 1 Kings 18:38. “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” First, Elijah saturated the altar with water from a nearby well to prove there was no deception or any secret fire underneath the altar. Then, to demonstrate the miraculous nature of the consumption by fire, the sacrifice burned first, before the wood, which was the reverse of the usual order. The sequence of consumption was (1) sacrifice, (2) wood, (3) stones, (4) dust (scorching the earth), and (5) drying up the water in the trench around the altar. Thus there was a double emphasis on the miraculous nature of the consumption.

In anger, Jezebel wanted to vent her spleen on Elijah, so she sent a messenger to him there in Jezreel. No doubt Elijah was expecting some positive results from the contest, thinking that the defeat of the 450 false prophets would convince everyone of God’s power. Thus he anticipated the conversion of the nation and even of Jezebel, as he waited to see the results of the communication between Ahab and his wife.

When the messenger arrived, he probably spoke strongly, imitating Jezebel’s wrath. “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them [the slain 450 prophets of Baal] by tomorrow about this time.” Why didn’t Jezebel send messengers out to apprehend and slay Elijah immediately?

Comment: Fearing the reaction of the people, she wanted to kill him in her own way and time.

Reply: The people were still exuberant about the contest, but she felt the enthusiasm and the power of the event would abate enough by the next day that she could pursue her intent. And there is another point. Elijah had to be very bold to even suggest the contest to Ahab, for he was being hunted as a fugitive, and great efforts had been made to apprehend him. Elijah’s going to Ahab of his own volition was almost like going voluntarily to the guillotine. Upon seeing Elijah, Ahab had said in anger, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). Elijah had replied, “No, you and Jezebel are the problem.” Hence, because of Elijah’s boldness and courage, Jezebel anticipated that he would be in Jezreel the next day, but instead he unexpectedly fled (verse 3). And in this flight, other things would happen.

If Elijah had taken advantage of that moment of success following the contest and continued to act with the same power, he might have been very successful. However, the time was not right, and God foresaw how the situation would work out. Elijah’s fleeing was providential, for it was meant to be a picture. In other words, from a negative standpoint, the French Revolution seemed to be Satan’s victory, and from a positive standpoint, the breaking of the chains of bondage was God’s victory. Other pictures show that God stopped the time of trouble back there because it was premature. The great Time of Trouble down at this end of the age will eventually open the doors of the Kingdom. Therefore, by Elijah’s fleeing, his experiences became a type of what has happened since the French Revolution.

Thus Jezebel expected Elijah to be on hand the next day because she felt he was an intrepid person. However, it was overruled that her servant narrated her threat strongly, with spirit and power, so that it would make Elijah fearful. No doubt his fear was based on the expectation that the results of the miraculous contest would bring debasement to Jezebel and honor to him from King Ahab, who had been an eyewitness. Therefore, Elijah was startled by this turn of events, where his life was now being threatened.

1 Kings 19:3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

Elijah arose and fled for his life to Beer-sheba, where he left his servant. Beer-sheba was the southern tip of what was considered the civilized portion of Judah. Stark desert lay beyond. Elijah had nothing to fear in going through Judah because the authority of Ahab and Jezebel was in the northern kingdom. However, in thinking from a human standpoint, Elijah could have reasoned that perhaps they would make overtures to the king of Judah and eventually be effective in snaring him if he did not go all the way to Beer-sheba and even a little beyond. But why did Elijah leave his servant?

Comment: Elijah did not want to jeopardize the life of his servant.

Reply: Yes. Also, he would be less conspicuous if he traveled alone.

1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

After leaving his servant at Beer-sheba, the last civilized outpost, Elijah continued on alone and “went a day’s journey into the wilderness.” There he sat down under a juniper or broom tree and asked to die. A shadow cast by such vegetation was a welcome relief to a person in the desert. Elijah requested, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” He was discouraged at the seeming failure of his mission in spite of the miraculous outcome of the contest.

1 Kings 19:5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

Weary from discouragement and faint in heart and spirit, Elijah lay down and slept under the juniper tree. But as he lay and slept, an angel touched him, and said, “Arise and eat.”

1 Kings 19:6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

As Elijah looked, he saw “a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head.” He ate and drank and then lay down and slept again, as previously. Evidently, the angel disappeared after preparing this meal for him.

1 Kings 19:7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

The angel returned a second time and woke up Elijah and told him to eat because the journey was too great for him. Although this second meal is not described, there was apparently a greater quantity of food, for he needed strength for a long journey.

1 Kings 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

Elijah arose and ate and drank. In the strength of this heartier meal, he went 40 days and 40 nights to Mount Horeb. Before discussing the antitype, we will briefly review the type.

At the end of the drought, Elijah fled from Jezebel and went a day’s journey into the wilderness and slept under a juniper or broom tree. When he awoke, he ate a baked cake and drank a cruse of water, both of which represent dispensational truth. Then Elijah lay down and went to sleep again. The angel woke Elijah up the second time and gave him another meal, a more substantial one, so that he would have the strength to go on a long journey for 40 days and nights. Now we will go back and consider the antitypical events that preceded these two meals.

At the end of the contest with the 450 prophets of Baal, the drought of 3 1/2 years also ended, picturing in the antitype the year 1799, the end of the long 1,260-year period of famine for the Word of God. The time periods indicated after Elijah fled from Jezebel in Jezreel are (1) the day’s journey into the wilderness when he separated from his servant and (2) the 40 days and nights of travel, which represent, respectively, one year and 40 years. What are the 40 years in the antitype?

Comment: The 40 years covered the Pastor’s ministry, which extended from 1876 to 1916.

Reply: In other words, after the second meal, Elijah had to travel for 40 days and nights before he arrived at Mount Sinai.

If the second meal represents the Harvest message, which was a 40-year period, the first meal is comparable to the ministry of William Miller, which began in 1829. Bro. Russell gave him credit, explaining that the little book in the angel’s hand represents truth first unfolded by Miller (Rev. 10:2). However, the picture continues on into the Pastor’s ministry, during which the winds were held back and much dispensational truth came forth. Thus there were two sleeps and two awakenings. In the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, there was only one sleep (Matt. 25:1-13). Thus a time frame is being suggested that needs harmonization. But, first, we will discuss where Elijah ended up, namely, at Mount Horeb, or Mount Sinai, which represents the Kingdom.

The prevailing opinion was that the Church would be complete in 1914, and then, based on the parallels with the Jewish harvest, the date was subsequently changed to 1918. Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple were destroyed in AD 69, but not until 3 1/2 years later, or AD 73, did Masada and another fort fall. Therefore, the Pastor thought the possibility existed that the Harvest might not end until 1918 because the work was prospering and progressing in greater numbers and interest in 1916 than it did prior to 1914. But in the type, Elijah’s life continued after he got to Mount Horeb; that is, the pictures that pertain to Elijah did not end at Mount Sinai. Rather, only one phase of his life ended there. In studying Elijah in 1 Kings, we first hear of him in connection with the drought of 3 1/2 years and his fleeing from Jezebel. He seemingly came out of nowhere, even though his ministry began earlier, and he already had a reputation as a prophet.

Thus far we have a sequence of some dates—for example, 1799 at the end of the 1,260 years and the 40 years of the Harvest. Even though there are time gaps, Elijah’s life, like our Lord’s last week, is a panorama of the end of the age.

The first episode after 1799 pertained to the Millerite movement. Therefore, the broom tree under which Elijah slept is significant. It was suggested at a Future Events Conference that the broom tree indicates the sweeping, or cleansing, of the sanctuary in 1846. Elijah’s being awakened from the second sleep shows that the Lord’s people needed additional dispensational truth, especially after the disappointment of the Millerite movement in 1844 when Jesus did not return. The second meal, which corresponds to the Harvest message, brings us up to 1914.

Q: In Sinai, the Israelites were given a double portion of manna on the sixth day, which fed them on the seventh day. Is there a connection with the two meals here in 1 Kings 19?

A: Yes, there can be a connection. Those who lived during the earlier part of the Pastor’s ministry benefited from the food of both the Millerite movement and the new dispensation. We believe that Elijah ended up in the same mount (Sinai) as Moses when he left Egypt with the Israelites and journeyed to the “mount of God” (Exod. 18:5; 24:13). Since Horeb and Sinai are the same mount, “Horeb” may have been used here in 1 Kings 19:8 to avoid confusion with the Sinai in the Book of Hebrews. “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest” (Heb. 12:18). A few verses later, the Apostle Paul said, “But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:22,23). Paul spoke prophetically of Mount Sinai as being the destination of the Christian’s hope, for when the Church is complete and glorified, there will be a general assembly of the saints at the true antitypical Mount Sinai, which is the same as Mount Horeb. We believe the Holy Spirit used the word “Horeb” because the hope in 1914 that the Church would be complete in that year turned out to be a disappointment. In the type, when Elijah arrived at Mount Horeb, he was disappointed, as will be seen in upcoming verses. Thus Mount Horeb represents the year 1914.

Q: Why does Hebrews 12:22 say, “But ye are come unto mount Zion,” not “unto mount Sinai”?

A: Paul discussed the covenants in the same epistle and contrasted the old Law Covenant with the New Covenant. “Zion” would be spiritual Zion, not the literal Mount Zion. The point is that there was expectation and then disappointment.

1 Kings 19:9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

When Elijah lodged in a cave, God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” The prophet had to give a reason.

1 Kings 19:10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Elijah said in effect, “I am a fugitive. The children of Israel have slain your prophets with the sword, and I am the only one left. Ahab and Jezebel want to kill me; they are seeking my life.”

1 Kings 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

An (implied) angel of the Lord instructed Elijah, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.” Then Jehovah passed by. Before discussing what Elijah saw, we will consider the following similarities in the experiences of Elijah and Moses.

1. Elijah and Moses both fasted for 40 days and nights without food.

2. Both fled for their lives. Moses, picturing the Ancient Worthies, fled from Egypt, a symbol of the world. Elijah, representing the Little Flock, fled from the wrath of Jezebel (Papacy).

3. Both fled to Sinai. (The first time Moses fled in fear for his life; the second time, in the Exodus, he fled without fear.)

4. Both stood up for principle.

5. Both had a vision on Mount Sinai. Moses saw a pattern of the Tabernacle, and Elijah saw the Time of Trouble.

6. Both boldly confronted the king. Moses confronted Pharaoh prior to the Exodus; Elijah spoke boldly to King Ahab.

7. Both saw the Lord God in vision (Exod. 24:9,10; 1 Kings 19:11,12).

8. Both were seen in vision on the Mount of Transfiguration.

9. Both had an experience with a great wind (Moses at the Red Sea when the wind divided the waters, and Elijah at Mount Horeb when the wind split the rocks).

10. Both were prophets. Some have felt that Moses was the prophet of the Pentateuch and the “law” and that Elijah was the prophet of the “testimony” (Isa. 8:20).

11. Their bodies were not found.

12. The lives of both provide chronological experiences of the true Church. Elijah represents the true Church in sequence during the Gospel Age.

Incidentally, there were also similarities in the lives of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. For example, in addition to none of their bodies being found, Jesus’ last week provides a sequence of events for the feet members. Therefore, it is appropriate that Moses and Elijah represent “Christlike” classes of the Old Testament and the New Testament, respectively.

What we are trying to say is that many have read the Old Testament but do not treat the life of Elijah prophetically. Instead they consider it from the standpoint of principles. They fail to see any dispensational truth, whereas Elijah is one of the most prominent individuals along that line. For instance, Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s lives are not prophetic in the same way, and only in certain places does Jeremiah picture the Church at the end of the age—and not in sequence. Thus Elijah’s life stands out as being very, very peculiar in that it has a sequential character.

Elijah had the blessing of seeing the Lord pass by and a mighty and strong wind rend the rocks. Then followed, in sequence, an earthquake, a fire, and a still, small voice. Proof that these were sequential are the words “after the wind,” “after the earthquake,” and “after the fire.” In contrast, the stone smiting the image in Daniel 2:35 is not sequential. “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.” Some overdraw the picture by saying that sequentially (1) the image was smitten in 1914, (2) it is being ground to powder ever since, and then (3) the wind will come and blow the powder away. However, the smiting of the image emphasizes the suddenness and completeness of the overthrow, or destruction, whereas the Elijah vision is sequential. One proof is that the wind is first in the Elijah vision, and it is last in the Daniel picture. The smiting of the image can be likened to the explosion of a hydrogen bomb in which all these things happen in a moment, all at once, and with no particular sequence, for “no place” will henceforth be found for the iron, clay, brass, silver, and gold. Elijah’s vision suggests the passage of a little time, whereas the Daniel picture shows suddenness.

The earthquake and the fire of the Elijah vision will occur in quick succession: earthquake-fire!

We are not speaking of the tremors that precede an earthquake but the earthquake itself. A violent volcanic explosion of a mountain (such as Mount Vesuvius) ruptures the surface of the earth with great force. In contrast, benign occasional tremors can exist in an area for hundreds of years without an eruption.

The great earthquake of Elijah’s vision is still future. What we see today is still the wind rending the rocks—the splitting up and the changing of kingdoms. The wind rends the mountains and breaks the rocks in pieces for a period of time. Later will come the earthquake, of which the fire is a component. An earthquake causes flowing fiery lava that destroys whatever is in its path. The rending of the rocks, the winds of war, have been going on since 1914. Thus there is a sequence, but the stone has not yet smitten the image.

The “still small voice,” the last phase, will follow the fire of anarchy. There is no real time frame as to when the still, small voice will occur. It represents the antitypical time when the Lord will say, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). In another picture, Jesus stood up in the boat on the Sea of Galilee and rebuked the wind and the waves with the words “Peace, be still,” and “there was a great calm,” showing the establishment of the Kingdom (Mark 4:39).

In summation, on Mount Horeb, Elijah received a preview of coming events. The proof is that he was here during all the phases—not only for the first three phases of wind, earthquake, and fire but also for the still, small voice. Since the Little Flock will be beyond the veil from the earthquake phase on, Elijah’s vision has to be a preview. While the Pastor did write on Revelation 12 and 13 and gave some generalities in the earlier part of his ministry, there was nothing explicit. However, at the end of his ministry, he wrote a lot about Elijah and Elisha. Thus the study of Elijah’s life as a type assumes importance.

Q: The “wind” is thought of as being in the plural, but the account says “a great and strong wind” (singular) and “the LORD was not in the wind.” We usually think of three World Wars, but is there a special emphasis on the last one? Is there a significance to the singular “wind”?

A: It is a continuing wind rather than separate blasts. Thinking of World War I as the first wind and World War II as the second wind is an artificial prop for convenience’ sake. The “wind” includes the breaking up of  kingdoms (great and small), strife, conflict, and trouble ever since World War I. Many worldly writers point out 1914 as the beginning of all the problems in modern civilization. But in all of these eruptions, the stone is not coming to the fore. In fact, it is receding because God and the Bible have been given less and less reverence and respect since 1914.

Q: Why was God in the still, small voice but not in the wind, earthquake, and fire? Other Scriptures say that God is in the trouble, so what is the distinction here?

A: God is a God of love. Since that is His preferred disposition, His character is best shown in His peaceable nature. It will be God’s day of vengeance, but when the Kingdom is established, He will be vindicated for having waited so long and for letting so many things happen.

1 Kings 19:13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Elijah had been in a cave, but he went and stood in the entrance when God called him, evidently with the “still small voice.” (He had just seen the Lord pass by and the wind, earthquake, and fire.) Now, out of humility and reverence, he wrapped his face in his mantle. He did not feel worthy of such an experience.

Comment: In comparing verses 9, 11, and 13, we see that Elijah must have retreated back into the cave and lodged there. When he heard God’s voice telling him to come forth, he went and stood at the entrance of the cave. From there, he saw the wind, earthquake, and fire. Because of the awesomeness of these phenomena, he must have gone back into the cave a little way, and now, upon hearing the still, small voice, he wrapped his face in his mantle and came back out and stood in the entrance of the cave.

Reply: Yes, and wrapping his face in his mantle indicates that he hearkened to God’s instruction in a spirit of reverence, godly fear, and humility. Then a voice came unto Elijah, saying, “What are you doing here?”

1 Kings 19:14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Elijah replied, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God because the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets. Now I alone am left, and they seek to kill me.”

Comment: Verse 14 is a repeat of verse 10. Elijah made the same statement both before and after the preview of coming events.

Reply: Not only did Elijah say, “I only, am left,” but he also said, “They seek my life, to take it away.” Before discussing this statement, we will make another observation.

In the Reprints on pages 4211-4212, dated 1908, a letter was printed from Bro. C. E. Fowler, and up to a certain point, it is in remarkable agreement with the comments we have already presented. He wrote that since the 1,260 days represent a time period ending in 1799, couldn’t the subsequent events of Elijah’s life up to when he went to Mount Horeb also represent some sort of dispensational picture? He filled in the gap with the Millerite movement from 1829 to 1844, the cleansing of the sanctuary from 1846, the sleep ending in 1874, and then the Harvest period from 1874 to 1914. With the letter being written in 1908, he was saying that Mount Horeb, 1914, would be the fruition of the Church’s hopes—the time when the saints would meet and see God. And that was the expectation of the brethren at that time. They looked forward to 1914 as being the end of the age and the completion of the Church. Bro. Fowler mentioned the 40-day journey, which Elijah took in the strength of the second meal, as being from 1874 to 1914. Of course he implied that the angel who provided the meal was Bro. Russell. Now we will discuss Elijah’s statement “I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” It so happened that World War I took place between 1914 and 1918, and many brethren in this country and in Europe went to prison for not participating in that war. The brethren believed that the end of the Church’s earthly career and the setting up of the Kingdom were imminent. Meanwhile, the Pastor died in 1916, but when the years 1914-1918 passed and the consecrated were still here, the doctrine was promulgated that the door to the high calling was closed and that only those already consecrated were Spirit-begotten. Hence these brethren felt they were the only individuals left. In addition, many left the truth and went back into the world when the expectations of 1914 were not realized.

If we put ourselves back in that situation, we can see that those who were incarcerated as conscientious objectors thought the end of the age had come. Possibly, therefore, Elijah’s feeling that he was alone in connection with his stay at Mount Horeb represents this type of thinking and the date 1914. In subsequent verses, God commanded Elijah to depart from Sinai and go up to Damascus to do an anointing work.

Q: Since Pastor Russell went off the scene in 1916 and the 40 days and nights (that is, years) of the Harvest period took Elijah up to 1914 or 1918, wouldn’t the work starting with verse 15 indicate a further work to be done by the consecrated after the Pastor’s death? In other words, the Pastor’s work did not include the anointings.

A: The charge was to continue on and do another work, for certainly the anointings of Hazael and Jehu were not understood during the 40-year Harvest period. However, it is interesting that these anointings were discussed in the Society, for it was felt that Jonadab, Jehu, etc., were important pictures. Although the pictures were considered only in a superficial sense, there was interest.

Comment: The commission to do the anointings should be a signal to us now to watch for a special work to be done by the lingering consecrated at the very end of the age. Elijah will get the credit, even though he is off the scene, for he leaves behind a mantle for Elisha.

Reply: Yes, God gave a commission to Elijah to go to Damascus and do the anointings, and the work will be accredited to him.

1 Kings 19:15 And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:

1 Kings 19:16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

God instructed Elijah, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you arrive, anoint [1] Hazael to be king over Syria, [2] Jehu to be king over Israel, and [3] Elisha to be prophet in your place.” In other words, Elijah was to leave Mount Horeb and go to the wilderness of Damascus and accomplish three works.

Later, in 2 Kings 2, four places are mentioned—Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho, and Jordan—but are they in relation to Damascus, Syria? The fact these places are only about halfway shows that Elijah started out on his journey, but his career ended when he reached the Jerusalem area by the Jordan River, so he never got to anoint Hazael. However, since Elisha subsequently anointed Hazael, we would assume that Elijah discussed the matter with him. Elijah must have revealed to Elisha what the Lord had commissioned to be done. Stated another way, Elijah realized that he himself would not be carrying out the commission.

At first, the sequence of anointings, with Elisha being last, seems to be out of order. However, the Pastor gave the clue that Elisha has a dual application: first, the Great Company and, second, the Ancient Worthies.

Also, notice how specific the instruction was with the names being given  in advance. As far aswe know, Elijah had had no previous contact with these individuals. (1) Hazael would be anointed the king over Syria before he came into office. (2) As a result of the anointing in advance, Jehu, the son of Nimshi, would become the king over Israel. (3) Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, would be anointed to occupy the office of prophet instead of Elijah, that is, after Elijah’s departure. Elisha would then act like Elijah.

Q: The “wilderness of Damascus” was a new destination after Mount Sinai. If Sinai represents Kingdom hopes, what does the wilderness of Damascus represent?

A: In the type, the term refers to the route that Elijah would take. He had come down from Beer-sheba to Horeb, but he returned by another route. That route, the King’s Highway, was on the east side of the Dead Sea, and it went up to Damascus. Spiritually speaking, the “wilderness of Damascus” pertains to the end of the age and the troublesome conditions that will take place in connection with the anointings, especially of Hazael and Jehu. There will be a weeding-out process.

Comment: The detail with regard to Hazael and Jehu indicates that God will handpick the individuals who are in power and do these works at the end of the age.

Reply: Yes, for normally speaking, Jehu, a captain in the army, would never be the king of Israel. Nor would Hazael, who was like a private secretary for Ben-hadad, become the king of Syria.

1 Kings 19:17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.

The same sequence is given for the escapees. In other words, the escapees from one class would subsequently be victimized and thinned out by Jehu, and that remnant would be slain by Elisha. Stated another way, those who escape from Hazael will be caught and executed, as it were, by Jehu, and those who escape from Jehu will be caught by Elisha. This class will be apprehended in stages. After the first slaying, there will be a remnant. After the second slaying, there will be a smaller remnant. And when Elisha’s work is done, all of this class will have been slain. It is interesting that the account in 2 Kings does not tell of Elisha’s slaying anyone. However, there is a reason for the omission. There is no record because Elisha is a double type, and the Ancient Worthies will accomplish the final work in the Kingdom Age.

1 Kings 19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Now, after giving the commission to do the anointings, God answered Elijah’s statement about being the only one left. God said, “I have left … seven thousand in Israel … which have not bowed unto Baal, and … kissed him.” Baal was emblemized by two golden calves in northern Israel, one in Dan and the other in Bethel. The people who came to either place of worship kissed the statue of the calf to show their subservience and devotion to Baal worship. Hosea 13:2 tells of the Israelites’ kissing the golden calves: “And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.”

Likewise, Roman Catholics kiss a black bronze statue of the Apostle Peter sitting in a chair. The theory is that Peter was the first pope, so a statue of him was put in St. Peter’s in Rome.

Because so many people kissed the statute, the nose was gradually becoming flat. Therefore, as a way of preventing disfigurement, the statue was put on a pedestal that was about shoulderhigh, and the bottom of the chair rested on the platform, or pedestal. The people continued to kiss the statue, but now they kissed the feet. As a result, the toes were worn away by millions of Catholics over several hundred years.

Q: Do the 7,000 represent the Great Company?

A: Yes. If Elijah represents the Little Flock, then the 7,000 would be those other than the Little Flock who had not bowed the knee to Baal. For a person to bow the knee to and kiss Baal means that he is identified with Baal (Papacy, the nominal system) in spirit. That the 7,000 represent the Great Company is confirmed in 1 Kings 20:15.

1 Kings 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

Elijah found Elisha plowing with “twelve yoke” of oxen, that is, 24 oxen, for two animals are usually in a yoke. Of course other men would have been with Elisha, for it is unreasonable to think that 24 oxen pulled one plow. Elisha was industrious and actively working in the field.

With the 24 oxen being symbolic of the 24 books of the Old Testament, representing the Word of God, Elisha pictures the preponderant number of “Bible Students” that will be of the Great Company class. The Little Flock is little, even among us. The suggestion is that Elisha was behind the oxen, thus being with the twelfth yoke.

Elijah passed by Elisha and “cast his mantle upon him.” This act was not a real anointing, for Elijah only temporarily put his mantle on Elisha and then took it back. (We know that Elijah kept the mantle at this time, for later he wrapped it up and smote the waters of the river Jordan.) Therefore, casting the mantle on Elisha was a premonition of something that would happen later; namely, Elisha became the successor when the mantle fell from Elijah at his translation (2 Kings 2:11-14). At that time, the mantle of authority became the properly of Elisha.

Comment: The prophetic significance fits the antitype because, generally speaking, the Elijah class will be better informed on prophetic matters than the Elisha class.

Q: What is a mantle?

A: It is a cloak, an outer garment. In the antitype, the mantle is the authority of God’s Word.

1 Kings 19:20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?

After Elijah cast his mantle on Elisha and took it back, he continued on. Then Elisha left the oxen and ran after him.

Comment: Some portion of the Spirit of the Lord must have come on Elisha at that time.

Reply: Yes, in part.

Comment: Elijah’s reputation would have been known following the contest with the 450 prophets of Baal. Therefore, it would be an honor for anyone who had holy intentions to be personally recognized by that great prophet.

Reply: An opportunity, a favor, was being extended to Elisha by silent language, or in symbol. Elijah did not stop to instruct him and have a lengthy discussion. He just picked up his mantle and went on.

Elijah’s leaving suggests a silent message: “Elisha, if you do not do something, you are going to lose this opportunity.” What did Elisha do next? He ran after Elijah, but he said, “Let me … kiss my father and my mother [first], and then I will follow thee.” His words show a Great Company attitude, to which Elijah replied, “Go back again: for what have I done to thee?”

Comment: Elisha’s attitude reminds us of what Jesus said in Matthew 8:22, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

Comment: Elijah’s acting silently regarding the mantle shows there is no coercion. We are each individually responsible as to whether or not we have a sufficiency of zeal.

Reply: It also shows that there is no calling to the Great Company. This class will not be recognized in a prophetic sense until the Little Flock is off the scene, for there is only the one high calling (Eph. 4:4). After the Church is complete, a class of the consecrated will be left. The Lord will then deal with the Great Company as a class. In fact, that is another reason for Elijah’s silence—because no specific call is enunciated to the Great Company. In the antitype, this incident with Elisha occurred subsequent to 1914. The account tells of Elisha’s family, but it does not say where he lived. The indefiniteness leaves open the fact that a Great Company class would be born after 1914.

Comment: Since Elisha did not come on the scene until after 1914 in the antitype, the suggestion seems to be that a greater number or proportion of Great Company exists in the Harvest period (that is, in Laodicea) than in the other six periods of the Church. Although they are not recognized as a class until after the Elijah class is translated, the Lord knows who they are, and they predominate.

1 Kings 19:21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

Elisha slew a yoke of oxen as a farewell dinner. Although the Hebrew allows either thought, the two oxen were probably roasted (barbecue style) because boiling would take too long.

Comment: First, Elisha just wanted to go back and kiss his parents good-by, but to take a yoke of oxen and slay, prepare, and roast the animals took time. Moreover, this was a large feast for “the people”—more than his parents. His actions show an entanglement with the world rather than full zeal for the Lord.

The “instruments” were the wooden yoke. The yoke was used as fuel for roasting the oxen.

(1989-1991 Study)

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