W W W W  World Wide Web Witness Inc.  Home Page   Contents Page for Volume  What is New


Chapter 3

Concerning the Scope
of Divine Intervention
in History

and the Special Significance of



These lessons are first of all to encourage KNOWLEDGE of this period of Israel's history, since it is closely allied to words of counsel and evaluation from the Lord. It also enables us to raise the crucial question of HOW and HOW OFTEN the Lord intervenes in human history. It will be shown that this is discretionary, multi-level, sometimes judicial, merciful, and yet always it is guarded from spoliation of the significance of earth's ways and their outcome, as also from ruin through effectual obscuration of the witness to the divine in His ways, words and oversight.

Thus it is a wise and gracious way, like a mother, sometimes with many protestations, actions to change, sometimes with watchful patience; sometimes like a father, dire, sometimes tender and solicitous: sometimes there is a terminal connotation for some people or place, sometimes a flurry of fatherliness, before doom, or inviting and invoking blessing.

When the central phase, specialising in these two prophets as illustration,  is complete, we are then enabled to consider the prelude to our current Age, in those days where Israel (the Northern kingdom, then separate from Judah) became subject to exquisite divine dealings, with astonishing power, considerable perseverance, expenditure of patience and numerous calls and appeals, translated into the history of that kingdom and its eventual decline to ruin. After this, we seek to consider the MEANING of divine intervention in this world's history, and of the forbearance of God from so doing, at other times, in the scope of history.



 and the days of the


How discrete has been the way of the Lord in the dealings with His creation, neither to annul its reality by governing it like a child, nor to evacuate it of the testimony of His power and will, like a drunkard trying to find his way home in the dark! *1

The Lord in His creation made the preliminary movement to institute history with our kind of time. When man became intensively wicked, the flood was a further intervention. Abraham was selected as a standard bearer, and through him came the race which would be the repository for the scriptures, the word of God to man, with all their precepts and predictions, their covenants and their orientation for man.

To the promised land went Abraham, and there the patriarchs eventually found themselves leading a considerable nation. Famine led them to Egypt where the considerable endeavours of the blessed Joseph, elevated to become in effect Prime Minister under Pharaoh, helped the people of Israel to have ceded to them a rich pasture land. Several hundred years passed, so that a new ruling set decided that the Jews should become slaves, being now so numerous as to constitute a real force. Moses, who had access to the court, was called to deliver them, and with direct confrontation with Pharaoh, did just that, the famous ten plagues partially destroying Egyptian society, as well as giving a delicious irony at the expense of the Egyptian gods! (See The Exodus Escape.)

The Exodus of Israel was one of the most amazing episodes in world history, leading to an equally famous failure of Israel to have the courage and faith to ENTER their promised land, even after such miracles as that. For 40 years they therefore walked in the desert, until God, who insists on FAITH in all dealings with man, allowed the next generation to go in with Joshua, in which there were some miracles of the first order, including the timely stopping of the Jordan for their national transit towards the assault on Jericho (for which see SMR pp. 1185ff.), the falling of the walls of that city at the time required as the army marched under divine direction through Joshua, this providing a vast triumph, and later the elongation of the day of their triumphant warfare (cf. Joshua Chs. 3, 6 and 10) by supernatural means.

Thus there were continued, but not grossly numerous, episodes of divine intrusion, especially at crucial phases of the assault.

In the days following, with Judges to rule, there were many failures to complete the conquest, many errors in religion, but again and again God raised up people with power to accomplish things to ameliorate the judgments which arrived according to covenant, for their remissness. Samson is one of the more famous, Gideon another. Each had a combination of strength or wisdom, and divine assistance on occasion, or in terms of particular spiritual gift, in Samson’s case, predicted, with the requirements for its operation divinely specified.

Eventually Samuel anointed a king who failed in faith and obedience, Saul, and then David, whose faith access to God was of the most intimate.

In David's day, the Lord on occasion intervened with wise counsel that led to victory (cf. II Samuel 5:23ff.) or led to deliverance (II Samuel 23). His presence was sought by David, more than water for life! Hence a cherishing intimacy was made manifest in ways that are deep and wise. Of this, much is seen in the Psalms, many of which are written by David in the various stages of his illustrious career, from shepherd boy to shepherd under God, to Israel itself!

Vast developments in organised worship came in the time of the godly King David who did not cease to seek the Lord with sensitivity and reality in these developments. However, as is so often found in the word of God, though this King was a wonderful example, he did not fail to fall ONCE with special  vigour for all that, a slip for which he paid in the coin in which he gave, but this amidst the mercies of the tender-hearted Lord, who does not willingly afflict His people, and is slow to anger. After his most blessed day, in which the Lord was sought and found freely,  many crucial developments came.

Solomon, his son, inherited the results of David's faithfulness, energy and devoted heart as King, his father having kept nearly all the time exceedingly close to the Lord. Wealth and power were his. Like many a rich son, however, while Solomon utilised the power his father gave, gradually he allowed inroads of self-indulgence or inappropriate majesty.

Hundreds of wives may have been a status symbol, but of what was it a symbol ? Certainly not of godliness (cf. Proverbs 5:15-20). In that they had false religions, he allowed personal satisfaction to eclipse spiritual purity, in this, and paid heavily - of course! (cf. the account in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 31). He built them places for their worship, and even made an altar to Chemosh (I Kings 11:5-7). In seeking to satisfy them, he was disloyal to the Lord! That is a good example of the need, in this by default, for Christians to marry or become business partners ONLY with those of like faith, since otherwise the Lord's work suffers, as does unity and purposeful alliance! (II Cor. 6:14).

These sins, amidst all the glory of his kingdom, and despite the great wisdom in practical affairs which he asked for and was given, led to opposition arising in the kingdom (I Kings 11:26ff.), one part of which led to an eventual rebuke from the Lord, who allowed Jeroboam who left the service of Solomon, to be prophetically given 10 of the 12 tribes, if they might seek the Lord and do right. When Rehoboam, son of Solomon, took power, his lack of wisdom and restraint, in such marked contrast to that of his grandfather David, led directly to a rebellion in which the prophecy of Ahijah the prophet, was fulfilled, and the 10 tribes left with Jeroboam as king. His lack of care is shown in his famous answer to request for a lightening of the taxes which Solomon had levied as the magnificence of the kingdom was built up. His doltish reply ? This: "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's waist" (I Kings 12:10).

Thus divided, the kingdom now lacked the great power it had gained, just as Britain did after World War I, and especially World War II, this kingdom alike having compromised increasingly with the word of God and true adherence to it, even in the Church of England (cf. A Question of Gifts VI, The Other News 13). Just as Britain is now increasingly merging with the thought patterns and ways of Europe (cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ...Ch. 3), so Israel then merged in spirit increasingly with the foolish ways of surrounding nations. It is not that they formally renounced the Lord, but that they frequently actually compromised His truth, multiplied worship to add other gods and ways, and became so accommodating to other nations' religious proclivities and indeed declivities, that they brought on the one hand weakness in battle, and on the other, pliable vagueness on the other.

Numbers of excellent kings came, some outstanding, but the drift was all too apparent over time. Right at the start of the Northern Kingdom, there was a deliberate and impactive miracle, showing the end from the beginning (cf. Isaiah 46:10), one of God's unique prerogatives (and there are many more!).

A prophet was sent to stretch out his hand, prophesy against the new idolatrous altar built in Samaria, the northern capital, so that ashes would pour out. He was also to announce the coming in due time, of a king, whose name was even given, JOSIAH (II Kings 23), of the house of David, who would burn on this altar men's bones, sacrificing priests in their falsity, upon it (cf. Deuteronomy 18). This announcement the prophet duly made, and of course, this deed Josiah in his time, duly executed, for the word of the Lord is ALWAYS done (cf. II Kings 23:15-20). The sign to the listeners in Samaria, who heard his announcement, was that the altar would split apart and ashes pour out; and this happened.

It was thus a spectacular and an historic announcement of the eventual end of this pagan outrage in the newly appointed site for reformation! Instructed NOT to stay or share with those to whom he would make this announcement, and provide this display of divine intention and power, the prophet refused all refreshment and set out to return to his place, his work done.

However, another religious person hearing of it, went to meet him as he was returning, pretending that an angel had instructed him to invite him to take refreshment with him. Foolishly, the prophet allowed this talk of angels to lead him astray, did as he had explicitly been warned not to do, himself attesting it earlier, and was eaten by a lion.

In this way, God was making it expressly clear that

1) idolatry is intolerable, especially if possible the more, if it is MIXED with His own worship, as if a man could be a bigamist!

2) when you deal with it, take heed not to MIX WITH IT AT ALL. Jude  17-23 is extremely clear on this point similarly. You cannot work WITHIN a church which has openly flouted the commandments of God! The fact that this is now becoming quite a highway to many, among neo-evangelicals and other bodies, this very thing, is one testimony of the eclipse of the times, as if the sun had grown dark before the storm, and it is no minor one to come! (I Thessalonians 5:3).

Eventually Israel, the Northern Kingdom, fell. It was this that which had gone with Jeroboam, the ten tribes minus Jerusalem and the temple, which FORMALLY DID have their own manifest reliance on fraudulent religion, even being equipped with golden calves for worship, in a way rebelliously and impudently reminiscent of the religion of Egypt from which they had been delivered when God Himself, the living God, had rescued them from literal slavery in that land. For all that, they would not infrequently call on the Lord in trouble, and their baneful influence had often touched Judah in the South.

Before however this calamity befell the North, as a formal unit in the Lord, as a kingdom, to be exterminated (some of course would go later to Judah to continue their Jewish inheritance), God sent two amazing prophets. It is not to be thought that He did not send many prophets; but it is on these two, for the moment, that we wish to dwell, for they exemplify some important aspects of divine intervention in the history of this world.

It is apparent that if He obviously and directly (as in the case of Christ, in the feeding of the 5000 miraculously, which led to a desire to make him a political king, which He did not desire, for His kingdom is not of the type of this world - John 6), were to to perform routine miracles, then many would be impelled to follow Him merely for His power. If on the other hand, He hardly ever intervened at all, in any obvious fashion, then some might be inclined to favour the other line of 'criticism' and pretend He did not care or even could not act.

In fact, God acts in multiplied ways in answers to the prayers of His saints, often most dramatically as this writer can empirically attest, but as to the most publicly manifest ways, He acts at times with enormous manifestations of His will, but at others, He does not so 'perform', just as Christ did not perform for Herod, who for the mere sense of the spectacular, vainly sought from Him that He should do miracles. The wickedness of that king showed the insincerity of his religious excursions, and God is not mocked. Christ was silent there (cf. Luke 23:6ff.).

Let us, however, return to the particular case of the spiritually and indeed militarily declining Kingdom of Israel, in the North, and her 'sister' to the South. The follies in Judah were somewhat slower in developing, as they had the Temple with its crucial patterns of what God was planning to do, and did at the date prescribed (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), in the way defined in the Messiah,  and with the data supplied beforehand, incorporated now into actual history and with some little clumsiness from Rome in its day, providing our major date structure of A.D., 'in the year of the Lord'.

As is apparent from the Bible, when Elijah and Elisha came, there was a mighty explosion of divine power, to a level rarely seen at least in such a sustained way over years of involvement with His people, indeed such that one is forced to recall the days of the Exodus for parallel! This manifestation in such detail and clarity of the divine will, through these two prophets, served as an antecedent to the declines coming, from which eventually the notable and in some ways notorious history of the Jews has sprung.

As to that, if you look at the Middle Ages and beyond, right up to the days of Hitler, Europe in particular has not seemed especially superior in many ways, being like the school bully in its ceaseless depredations, persecutions and assaults on Jewry, the thing merely summitting in Hitler, until for many, one has had to wonder how human beings could, over the centuries, have remained worthy even of that name, with such sustained practices of gross and revolting evil so much practised. But to all this there was a hinterland, climaxing, on the other side, in the crucifixion by national authority, of Christ Himself.

These things did not come in a moment, but their trend had been set centuries before. In that day, they culminated, after many further episodes for Judah, but far more quickly for Israel of the North, in such a hissing, such contempt, in their first dispersion (Judah) in the 6th century B.C., and in their far greater one following the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in A.D. 70,  that the story of the Jew is surely one of the most gripping, just as it is one of the most severely predicted, to amazing depth and detail (cf. SMR Ch. 9, Galloping Events, The Biblical Workman et al. ).

For the Gentile world of today, similarly, there is such an outpouring of fulfilments of prophecy, made millenia ago (cf. Matthew 24, Luke 21, SMR Ch. 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5), that it is like having the word of the Lord through Elijah and Elisha,  not in a letter, as came once from Elijah to a wicked king (II Chronicles 21:12ff.), but in the Bible itself, kept for so long, that being unleashed in all these data now, as was the word of God in the days of those two prophets, it is a stark warning as well as a heart-warming manifestation of mercy to the people of the Lord. This, it is now. But let us return to the illustrations from the past, the better to comprehend the ways of the present in setting and significance.

This parallel from ancient times shows one of the vast purposes of God in the Jewish preliminary to the dispersal of the world-wide Gospel among Jew and Gentile alike. We must at that, remember, how often in the Old Testament it has spoken most clearly of this day, then to come (cf. Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Psalm 2, Jeremiah 16:19-20, Isaiah 66).

What then must be said of this ? Israel is a TEACHING NATION for non-Israel (cf. I Corinthians 10). What happened there, is a lesson for the present. As such, it is in its parallel testimony to the clear, coherent enterprise of God Almighty towards man, in this, that He not only predicted what has come to pass, for both the Jew and the Gentile (cf. SMR 8-9), but He has exhibited the Jew both as ground of testimony and appeal to the Gentile (I Corinthians 10, Romans 10-11), first because His words have indeed taken hold there, as they will with the Gentile, and secondly that His words should be heeded.

But what has 'should' got to do with Christian Apologetics here ? This: that the love of God which has been stressed repeatedly on this site, in Biblical terms (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4, directly, Ch. 8  indirectly, and Spiritual Refreshings ... Chs. 9, 10, 11, 12, 15), is here exhibited yet once more in practical terms, all being consistent, persistent, like the knocking on the door of one who is debarred, but who, for all that, carries the one antibiotic which could cure the rebel within.

  • He speaks IN PRINCIPLES, He speaks in PROPHECIES, being most diligent to ensure that without exception they are PRECISELY fulfilled, and protesting to hard-hearted man this fact as a ground for turning to Him (Isaiah 41:21ff.,. 43:8ff., 48:3ff.) and He speaks through people, until Christ and unto the apostles and their entourage, inscripturating His will, so that in one place, one book, one volume, what is His will, what are His dealings with man, what are His intentions, what is His mercy and where it may be found, are all clearly, consecutively and essentially presented.


  • Thus also He speaks in ONE PERSON, as in one book, and the two mutually attest each other (cf. Isaiah 52-53, Matthew 5:17-20). Of this, see SMR Ch. 9 at the outset.

When He speaks, He does not remove the natural order. The laboratory for life, the testing ground for man, is not voided by interference. He does however, like a Father visiting his son's school, make His presence felt, His wishes known and His eye apparent! Miracles are such because they are NOT the way the natural order proceeds; and because, secondly, they ARE the way the Lord chooses to proceed, at His own will and discretion, keeping the testing ground stable, but not allowing any thought that it is sovereign, rather than a stage setting for all that!

Let us now consider our two chosen prophets for special attention at this time, Elijah and Elisha.
About this time, at the outset, Judah had a fine and remarkable King, Jehoshaphat, who had a weakness in allying himself with the Northern Kingdom, at a very zenith of wickedness morally, religiously and regally. He even married into it, yes into a family whose religious adventuring included the daughter of the king of Sidon, Jezebel, fully equipped with zeal for her idolatrous religion, a queen famous in the chronicles of unremitting evil. Was she not a type for Lady Macbeth, this as if Ahab needed anything more to make him yet more obtrusively foul.

We shall now follow some of the developments of the scene, scenario and spiritual movement.

A. ELIJAH - "The LORD is GOD"! - I Kings 17.

That is the meaning of his name, just as one of the basics of the Gospel is this, that the LORD (Jesus Christ) is GOD (John 8:58, Philippians 2). It is always the same, the LORD having now come to earth not only in revelation of word, but to make manifest His very life (I John 1:1-4). Let us however resume with Elijah's great work.

Ahab was confronted by the prophet Elijah who advised him that rain would cease until he, Elijah said so, this being the word of the Lord to the sinning King of Israel. After years, and much impoverishment of the nation, years during which Ahab unremittingly sought to find the prophet Elijah, for no good purpose, and failed to do so (I Kings 17), Elijah appeared to the King. YOU troubler of Israel! ranted the King, on seeing him. YOU are the one who through your sins, and those of your fathers, have troubled Israel, retorted Elijah. Quickly to the point, he sought and obtained an engagement with the false prophets on Mt. CARMEL.

The thing was to be put to a simple test. After all, was not the Kingdom of Israel at last ostensibly committed to the Lord ? Was there not a recognised law in Deuteronomy 18, allowing for the slaying of false prophets misleading the people, as these of Jezebel undoubtedly were ? Was not God the One who had brought the Jewish people out of Egypt ? Was not Israel of that day the direct descendant of those who came out ? Was God changed ? Could not He who acted then, act now ? Was it not a national emergency ?

Was not Israel descending to the point even of conforming to the evil practice of such false religions, even having child sacrifice, putting children in the fire before the idols ? (specifically forbidden, Deuteronomy 18:9 cf. II Kings 17:17, 16:3, Psalm 106:37). What more could be
asked ? The case required action, and if there was any who would in the name of the Lord act and speak, now was the time. Of course, for that, commission is required, and Elijah had it. Indeed, if he did NOT have it, then HE would be one of those falsely speaking in the name of the Lord, and would deserve death (Deuteronomy 18:20).

The case was clamant, the conflict inevitable, and faith rose to meet it. Elijah delivered the challenge. To Mt Carmel then, and let us see which 'god' will bring fire from heaven, so that man need not light the fire to burn the sacrificed animal ? That god would be God indeed.

The case is famous, was public, notorious. 400 of Jezebel's religious dervishes ranted away at a Baal, or lord of their religion, who was not there, and he accomplished all that nothing can. He neither heard nor concerned himself, as is the nature of nothing.

"But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made."

Elijah drifts around about noon of that day, and ironically questions them:

"Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy,
or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened."

At light grew dim, Elijah came, asked for much water to be poured in trenches about the sacrifices, a good experimental safeguard, and then asking God to bring repentance to the people, sought the fire which of course came, just as the plagues of the Exodus had come, and then the false prophets were killed, right under the eye of the King! Elijah of course then had to have the rain resume, which was a labour and a test in itself, but it came after a waiting on God, and a number of sendings of his servant to look for the tell-tale small black cloud. Indeed, it came in torrents, and Elijah had reason to move with some speed down the mountain, and not to avoid getting wet!

Here then, we have seen DEATH to 400 prophets by Deuteronomy 18:20

The case: Elijah in the name of the Lord versus King Ahab, and Jezebel. The action, notoriously public, decisively dramatic, simple and clear, demonstrative and double-edged, fire and rain in that order!



After Mt. CARMEL, then, rain comes, Queen Jezebel raves SHE will bring a quick end to this detestable prophet who has caused the death of the priests of her vain religion.  Elijah flees from the murderess (from SIDON!) to Mt Sinai (otherwise called Mt Horeb), where he has an interview with the LORD, not found in tempest or fire or earthquake, but in the STILL SMALL VOICE. Here (I Kings 19), God directs Elijah on the scenario: he must anoint someone king of Syria (Hazael by name), something to be for confrontation with the erring Israel, anoint a new prophet as well, to serve as initial apprentice (Elisha), then to continue his own life's work, and Jehu, to become a new king of Israel (one at the first, equipped with reformatory zeal!).

The test for Elijah himself was his loneliness in his spiritual mission. I ONLY AM LEFT! he mourned to God, at Horeb. In fact, the Lord showed him, He still had 7000 who had not followed the idolatrous religious invasion, who had not bowed the knee to Baal. On reflection however, one cannot but consider how TINY a percentage that represented of those free from idolatry in the failing land at that time, of Israel, the North!

Small wonder that action in mercy would help people to consider. After all, if you son is on a skiff wandering while he croons of his lady love, or latest guru, down the Niagara River, even if you had often enough warned him, you might be inclined to try once more, if not in certainty that he would hear, yet in the tenderness of a vast concern! If your action were manifest and clear, then that would be a parallel to what in divine things, is called a miracle! In fact, sometimes people have heard literally thousands of times, nations been exhorted millions of times, and there is always the divine discretion, which knows what mercy would do, and what mere repetition will not. It is for His own wisdom, and He acts as He pleases, being longsuffering, merciful with intensity, loving with passion, but not at all susceptible to manipulation, or folly.

by social murder of NABOTH  - I Kings 21

This action of God in rebuking the evil and showing His power once again, was not met with repentance by Ahab, just as many will respond neither to power or tenderness, to things evident or things more subtle. Ahab wanted a particular piece of land, was denied by its owner, was in a royal pout about it, found his Lady Macbeth, Jezebel, willing to help her 'lord', and leaving it to her, he finds that she engineers the death of the land owner, by calling a public meeting ostensibly to praise him, securing false witnesses to intrude with condemnations while he is in focus, then causing him to be stoned for the imaginary offences.

against the house of Ahab

I Kings 21:19-24

While Ahab
is thus supported by his able but thoroughly evil wife, he moves to the plot of ground to gloat in his attainment of his desire. GOD MEANWHILE, telling Elijah, whom Ahab had already had cause enough to know quite well ... to go and meet him at that very time in that very place where he was, engaged in royal solace that murder had gained him his regal desire.

Have you found me, my enemy ? asked the aghast and annoyed king. Elijah started his answer with these words: "I have found you because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord" (I Kings 21:20). Elijah proceeded to tell Ahab that his entire royal house, his progeny, would be cut off, and where he was gloating over the blood of Naboth, the landowner, where dogs licked that blood, his own blood would also be licked by dogs. This was very thoroughly fulfilled, as of course true prophets' words had to be, in attestation of their infallible source (Deuteronomy 18:22). If it does not happen, the Lord did not speak it, and if that is so, then the prophet is false, misleading, speaking NOT in the name of the Lord, while ostensibly doing so; and for that, the penalty is death!

Before we look at the Lord's further intervention with Ahab and his family, let us look at the Kingdom of the South, the land of Judah as it was called, where lay Jerusalem and in which was the temple, filled the patterns of salvation (cf. Hebrews 7-10).


married into the house of AHAB!


a) This fine king exhibited his one known great weakness, for false unity with the enemies of the Lord!

This, it is as common as dirt in our own generation amongst the churches (cf. News 121). It was so then also, with many. It had its results then; it will have its results now (Revelation 13 illustrates well!).

Illegally and immorally, then, King Jehoshaphat mixed life with Ahab
first by marrying into his family,
and then by helping him in battle against the king of

He was betrayed by Ahab, who put off his royal robes for the battle. Left alone as a special target, Jehoshaphat was nearly killed, and when surrounded, called on the name of the Lord, and escaped by the skin of his teeth. Ahab however, for all his subtlety and guile, was killed, starting the impact of the sanction against his house, for its extermination, already noted above. MICAIAH the prophet showed the true way most pointedly in this battle, predicting that Ahab would die in it!

In this, he spoke contrary to all the false prophets of Ahab. IF YOU COME BACK AT ALL, he said, THE LORD HAS NOT SPOKEN BY ME! This he said when confronted by Ahab who could have had him put to death. Truth, however, in the Lord, is not afraid to speak out. What, after all, as Isaiah 2:22 tells us, is man, whose breath is in his nostrils. If you have work for the Lord, in all truth and consistency, then do it! It is this which makes glory in the history of the church, for all the Judases. These are the weeds. There is still plenty of wheat.

Then we find that Jehoshaphat is challenged again.

b) He foolishly married into the house of Ahab, complete with Jezebel of Sidon! He was already rebuked for his alliance with Ahab, in the nearly deadly betrayal. Now he acted in unity with Joram, Ahab's son, king after sickness-slain Ahaziah. This is precisely the sort of evil which the Uniting Church and many others have followed, towards Rome and other bodies. It is forbidden in Romans 16:17, I Corinthians 5:11, 6:9, II Corinthians 6:14.

Thirsty animals dramatised the fact that the Lord was not with them, but Jehoshaphat again had the wisdom to seek a prophet of the Lord. Elisha was aghast, sought music in his horror, sought the Lord however, and  the answer came and they were delivered.

But Jehoshaphat was REBUKED by JEHU son of Hanani - II Chronicles 19:1-3. Not being a hypocrite, Jehoshaphat now put things to rights on all sides, being a zealous, capable and godly king, knowing how to arise when he fell, and trusting in the Lord. We shall return to his mighty victory after all these things, and this godly living, in II Chronicles 20, shortly. Here it is the REBUKE which is the divine intervention. GOD ACTED specifically by a person, no less in this Jehu, than the King Jehu, for a time. Rebuke can be sweet: it shows personal care, concern and opportunity; for who rebukes dirt for being dirt!

E. ELIJAH CONFRONTS  ...                

Ahab's son Ahaziah and helps deliver Jehoshaphat in a further false alliance:
but rebuke is coming

Intercepting Ahaziah in his efforts to apply to a Baal for help in his sickness, Elijah meets the messenger sent for this religious fraud. Death is divinely proclaimed for the sick King, as Elijah is sent to meet the messenger.

"Is it not because there is not a God in Israel that you send to enquire of Baal..."  The battle on the hill of Samaria ensures, groups of 50 men being sent to capture Elijah, resulting in their incineration until one captain has the wisdom to seek mercy. Ahaziah dies. II Kings 1.

This is yet a further divine intervention. When there are so few left, He uses what He will to ensure in His mercy that the realities are kept before the people. After all, not Twin Towers are here in question, but the entire NATION, which would come to entire destruction at the hands of Assyria, though Judah with a king who sought the Lord was at that time delivered, again by specific divine intervention, associated with a ringing word of challenge from the Lord (Isaiah 37). The result, again, was of the order of the Exodus, for it entirely ruined the invading Assyrian king's army (II Kings 18:17-19:37).

You might have thought that Jehoshaphat, seeing wicked Ahab's death, nearly finding his own in the betrayal in battle, and noting the arrow which being sent vaguely into the battle by an enemy soldier, amazingly hit and led to the death of King Ahab, while perceiving perhaps Elijah's meeting of sick Ahaziah, Ahab's son as he did, would take heed. You might have thought that these things being so, he would cease his erroneous ways, his wrong alliances. But no! In almost the same words that he had used to Ahab, in consenting to fight WITH him against an enemy, he agreed to fight alongside Ahab's son, Joram (II Kings 3:7 cf. I Kings 22:4).

TEXT: Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned safely to his house in Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat (II Chronicles 19:2-3),

'Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?
Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you.
Nevertheless good things are found in you,
in that you have removed the wooden images from the land,
and have prepared your heart to seek God.' "

See Isaiah 55:6-7.

How many now INSIST on insufferable falseness in CONTINUING in liaison, association and even membership in churches which have strayed so far from the Bible and keeping strictly to its text, that they are close to becoming joint authors of it with God, in their pomposity and folly! (See Keys to the Comfort of the Kingdom of Christ ... Ch. 3  The Holocaust of Morals and the Coming of Christ the King Ch. 5 and with some parallel to Ch. 4; and especially Separation.)

As we shall see, Jehoshaphat, being a man of God, though slow to realise his error, DID DO SO, and changed radically, with tremendous results. The power, principles, precepts and presence of God DID avail for some! He IS interested in sheep and goats, and the finding of the former. Such is the transformative power of God, that some animals (in the figure) change their nature before judgment!



JEHORAM, Jehoshaphat's son is a COMPLETE ROTTER.

Killing all his brothers, he pursued evil with both hands and received a letter from Elijah (II Chronicles 21:12ff.), and was told of his coming death from intestinal troubles. These duly developed and the death proceeded. It should be realised that this too was a divine intervention, making the future plain that the present should be the better interpreted, not in some outlandish way, but according to the always clear word of the Lord, whose commands were written and chronically being violated.

Like the case of Judas Iscariot, this murderous Jehoram ended with his bowels out, as if the "bowels of mercy" being forgotten, so the sin was exposed!

He died after a sickness of intense pain. So the judgment from the Lord through Elijah continued on the house of Ahab, for Jehoram, Jehoshaphat's son,  thus appears to have been a descendant of Jezebel! The marriage affinity and the walk affinity between Jehoshaphat and Ahab was leaving a strong black mark on the road of life! These frank histories are given, enabling some understanding of the ways in which the Lord may intervene, or stay His hand, as you see later in the case of Jeroboam II, the last stand of any kind before Israel was demolished (that is, the Northern Kingdom, at that time, so named).


AHAZIAH of JUDAH, corrupt Jehoram's son, Jehoshaphat's grandson, heeded evil advice and came to a dramatic, famous and pathetic death. This happened while he was helping JORAM of ISRAEL!

II Chronicles 22.  This was the notorious death of the two kings, Joram and Ahaziah. It leads as we shall see to the slaying of Ahab's 70 sons and Ahaziah's 40 brothers (II Kings 10). The whole house, near and far, of Ahab was being exterminated. The word of the Lord was having its effect, as always. Sometimes mercy, sometimes judgment is to be seen. Appeals in the prophets are numerous, as later at length seen inscripturated in Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel for example; and earlier in Micah, Amos, Hosea, Joel, Samuel and I Kings.

The review in I Kings 17, when the end for the North comes, is correlative to the divine action in word and deed, beforehand. It is all of one piece, showing the same principles, whether in action, or waiting, in rebuke by word, or by being far away, while the people ponder their paths, if perhaps they might seek Him (cf. Isaiah 32:14-17, 27:5, Hosea 5:15).



It was, as noted earlier, Jehu who was to be anointed king of Israel by prophecy, and this was done through Elisha (II Kings 9). In his great early zeal, it was this king who exterminated many of the Baal worshippers in his own not so pleasant way (II Kings 10), but himself went from moral reformer to religious idolater, moving from Baal to the old calves of Jeroboam in Samaria, where Jeroboam has erred, after being given the 10 tribes for a new nation! Soon it was worse, and went earlier to its own doom.

Meanwhile, however, Jehu, in view of his many early reforms,  was promised a line of 4 kings in his dynasty, who came and went, and with their going, the days of Elijah and Elisha past, Israel greatly warned and Judah cautioned, we find the downhill run in Israel accelerating. Soon the falls themselves would be its lot, all heed being discarded.


II Kings 19:5ff., and

These things together with some of the other works of Elisha.

They are gripping, instructive and dramatic. From these events, lessons and principles clearly emerge, and this is one of the stated purposes of God providing His word (cf. II Timothy 3:16). Let us consider them, in their impact, in accord with the coherent and unchanging revelation of God, found in the Old as in the New Testament. This, it is what you would expect of one God with total wisdom, speaking to man, and as such always provides verification. The case, logically, could have been far different; but it is not so.

It is the same.


  1. Don't forward what is wicked (remember the judgment on the house of Ahab).


  1. Don't help someone you love to do wrong, as if this helped (Jezebel for Ahab with Naboth).


  1. Don't take on the LORD by being defiant against what you know He wants (Ahab with Elijah, Ahaziah with Elijah).


  1. Being corrected, don't repeat the performance (Jehoshaphat both ways, in II Kings 3 foolishly, but also on the good side, in II Chronicles 20).


  1. Always expect the new step (II Kings 3). God specialises in DELIVERANCE TO LIVING FAITH. HE LIVES!



Now we need TO DO A LITTLE MORE ON Numbers G and H above,

namely, the dual death of two kings, Ahaziah, the son of wicked of Jehoram of Judah, murderer of his brothers, and Joram of Israel, son of Ahab, whose other son had died as Elijah decreed from the Lord, when sick. You will recall that before that death, Ahaziah of Israel had sought to capture Elijah, but lost 100 men in the attempt, and fire from heaven, as at the sacrifice on Mt Carmel, showed in this case, whether or not he was a man of God, as he said (II Kings 1).

After battling together (again! and again as forbidden), the kings of Judah and Israel, this time against Syria, Joram being wounded, they were recuperating when Jehu, freshly anointed through the offices of Elisha (II Kings 9), approached. As he did so, he took the messengers sent from the 2 kings with him, collecting them on the way, so that instead of giving information of his coming to the two doomed kings, the messengers themselves increased the advancing troop!

Jehu, famous for his furious driving, shot Joram fatally as he sought to escape. Ahaziah of Judah fled, but was found, despatched and died in Megiddo. So this tragic insistence on false religion, false ties and doing what they willed, came to a single end, from a single work from Jehu, who slew as we have seen, 70 more of Ahab's house as well as more of the king of Judah's relatives, the two lines being alike related through Jezebel and her children.

Then came Jehu's trickery, not pleasant to behold, but perhaps in itself a moral judgment on the trickery of those who SAID they worshipped the Lord, but added their own devious other religious commitments, sometimes more, sometimes less openly. Pretending to join with Baal worshippers, he thus gathered them in a meeting place and set fire to it, incinerating them. The law rules such an end to them (Deuteronomy 18), but the manner of it was as crooked as the cause of it!

You see something similar in Jacob who, being tricky with his father, was tricked repeatedly by Laban! God likes people to be STRAIGHT as an arrow (cf. Hosea 7:16, Isaiah 33:14ff., and note especially 33:17, the blessing). Jehu's errors were advanced as the promised line of 4 on the throne continued to its eventually inglorious end. Impetuosity is not enough; it is patient perseverance which provides care for the people (cf. Hebrews 6:12, Colossians 1:11).



Now we come by contrast to the REVIVAL OF LIFE under Jehoshaphat. As it is an important topic we shall look back on it, for review.

This was noted in E) above.

The case starts here with the rebuke (E above, note the text, II Chronicles 19:2-3), from the prophet Jehu, son of Hanani for that King's second failure, fashioning his ways in a DUAL RELIGION, as if he had never read the text Christ used in rebuking the devil (Matthew 4:10, from Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20 with Exodus 20:3-6, part of the 10 commandments!). YOU ARE TO SERVE GOD ONLY! Mixing God with others is abominable morally, gross spiritually, condemned divinely, like adultery in the prophets (cf. Ezekiel 23, Hosea), and one of the shoddiest, most slippery pieces of impudence towards the burning fire of divine purity that could be devised! It contradicts from the 10 commandments early, from the Lord late (Exodus 20, Matthew 23).

Note how Jehoshaphat had TWICE agreed, once with Ahab, once with his son Joram, that he was as they were, and they would go and act together as a matter of course (I Kings 22:4, II Kings 3:7).
In this case, he did not adopt their religion, or sanction it, or approve it as Bush appeared to do of Islam in his notable talk in a Mosque as he sought Moslem support! However, by fighting with them, against an enemy, he made their lot and his to be assimilable, whereas the Lord makes an absolute difference. This in the end comes to indifference to the difference, and the source of it, the Lord, which is simply a gratuitous insult as well as a spiritual deadness.

If you do not KNOW the One whom you are talking about, what is your interest ? But if you DO, then you will not talk about Him as if another, or equatable in any way. There is NONE like the Lord (Psalm 89:6-8), and imagining that the name 'God' in some way removes this fact, is as close to wilful blindness as one could imagine!

Thus when Jehoshaphat made his SECOND error in the same way, it was all too clear, when the kings lacked water for the beasts, the food source (as in II Kings 3) for their joint armies, on their way to battle, that ONLY ONE PROPHET would do from ONLY ONE GOD, and that their ways could go together ONLY if they ALL worshipped and FOLLOWED HIM! who alone COULD provide, since He alone is THERE.

On this, note the parallel New Testament principle in II Corinthians 6:14:

  • "DO NOT be unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
    shall light have communion with darkness ?"

Paul remonstrates! Elisha’s actions implied rebuke, in his dismissal of Joram’s presence (II Kings 3), just as Jehu, son of Hanani’s earlier rebuke had been most forceful (II Chronicles 19).

The King, Jehoshaphat wisely accepted this rebuke of the prophet Jehu, son of Hanani, and sought to educate Israel in the word of God, to forward justice and care of his people. After thus seeking the Lord, and observing that clean fear of the Lord, it was that the next test came, Therefore Jehoshaphat was altogether ready in the Lord, for the challenge this time. It became an historic, spiritual and for that matter, military triumph! It reminds one of Israel in 1967, returned according to the word and will of God (as in Ezekiel 36-37), now fulfilling Zechariah 12-14 in detail!

In this battle, note the stages, as seen in II Chronicles 20.

  • When Jehoshaphat heard of that armies of several nations were invading his country, Judah, he was

·       a) afraid and

·       b) ready to seek the Lord, which he did!

In 20:6-12, you see that he presents a sound and carefully thought out prayer, covering the reasons for his request.


  • He finishes with this wonderful statement of faith:

"O our God, will You not judge them ?
For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us:
nor do we know what to do,
but our eyes are upon You ?"

Jahaziel then prophesied to them, as the Spirit of God led him, and said:


"Do not be afraid no dismayed because of this great multitude,
for the battle is not yours, but God's."


With words which relate even to salvation itself, in this image, he declared:


"You will not need to fight in this battle.
Position yourselves,
stand still and see the salvation of the LORD
who is with you …" (20:17).

Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground.
He worshipped the Lord in faith.

His next words are also wonderful:

  • "Believe in the LORD you God, and you shall be established,

 believe His prophets, and you shall prosper" - 20:20.

That is like 20/20 vision! You have faith, but according to His word; you have His word, but you receive it with FAITH! Of the way they went to battle PRAISING GOD, having complete faith in Him, and of the amazing victory and its method, you can read in II Chronicles 20:21-30.

We turn now to ELISHA's works, to consider some of these. One emphatic exhibit of his way is found at the time of the departure (bodily in this rare case) of Elijah from this earth.


Note in II Kings 2, how Elisha WOULD NOT LET ELIJAH out of his sight, as death beckoned. It was well that he had this insistence. It was through this that two sequences of profoundly significant things happened.

1) He saw Elijah removed from the earth directly, one of only two other than Christ, who were so to go: with Christ Himself this came 40 days after His resurrection, something essential since as a sacrifice for sin, displaying His body was part of showing it acceptable to His Father who sent Him,  so to deliver Himself to the Cross for such a purpose. Thus He showed Himself bodily in its human reality even to eating (Luke 24:42), and specialising on the physical feat involved (Luke 24:38-39 cf. John 20:27ff., 21:12ff.). Enoch was the other to go as did Elijah.

2) What in the meantime had Elisha sought, by accompanying Elijah, despite the latter's protestations that he not come further ?

A. He asked for a "double portion" of Elijah's spirit, and was to be given it IF he saw him go, which he did.

B.  He used the cloak of Elijah to part the river, as the elder prophet had done on the way to his ascension. This of course was reminiscent of Joshua's deliverance in crossing the Jordan by miraculous means, divine intervention at precisely the time needed for the invading purpose then in hand, for God had sent them to replace a nation long wicked, in a dramatic and open way, at the first (cf. Joshua 3, Genesis 15:16).

Then began those amazing testimonies from God to the sinning nation.



(II Kings 2:19-25),

and the



  • Fouled water supply was a problem to the school of the prophets, so Elisha put salt into the waters.  The waters were miraculously cleansed. Why ? It was an historic act, as so often, with a symbolic meaning, not in the fashion of religions, but from God, who in power does the thing, and then, with the security of seeing it real, interprets it to the point He has in mind, rather like a Lecturer in science, who does a demonstration in front of the students, while also teaching the principles which this in practice exhibits.


 Let us hear the actual account.

"Then the men of the city said to Elisha, 'Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.' And he said, 'Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.' So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, 'Thus says the Lord: "I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness. ” So the water remains healed to this    day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke."

So it was that Elisha wanted a NEW bowl of salt, and went to the SOURCE of the water, and put the salt there. Then came the important part. He cried out, "Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness."

Security and productivity were thus granted in one act on the water source, in the name of the Lord, by the salt which signified cleansing, health and savour alike. Thus was the love, compassion and concern of the Almighty, who after all was the source of the miracle and in whose name expressly it was wrought, so that provided one went to the source of bitterness, unproductivity, dysfunction and death, in His power and name, one could find the answer to the blight of man, his lack, his poison and his anguish, his frustration and his dereliction. Indeed, instead of such things could come a sustained collaboration with the Almighty, bringing peace and the appointed blessedness. The water stayed pure. The thing was by the word of the Lord for those concerned.

In this way as so often, and famously in the temple "patterns", you see the spiritual source of spiritual provisions, such as the prophet school here received, for pilgrims who follow Him. It is NEW, and it is to be taken from the NEW BOWL, to the sure; it must reach the SOURCE of the evil, and then, instead of a fouled supply of the waters of life from cultural and traditional sources, comes the pure supply of life-giving water, suggestive of the Holy Spirit by normal biblical typology. (See Mark 7:7ff., Isaiah 1.)

So we find it declared in that glorious combination of action and teaching, so like the works of Christ to come, later, and an introduction to it, that there now came forth from this source, the RIGHT source for man, now found where and how it should be, pure water, even where fouled had been. Thus is signified His cleansing water for the thirsty tongue of those who wait for Him! (Isaiah 64:4-5.)

A complementary action is described in II Kings 4:38ff.. Here in a time of food shortage, the "sons of the prophets", the training school, suggestive of pilgrims in this world, for the Lord, or those who would be such, they gather gourds, from a wild vine, and on tasting it find it poisonous (as one well might!). Now the important point to notice is that Elisha ASKED them in this distressing time, to set a large pot on the fire to make the pottage. On doing this AT HIS BIDDING, they found the peril, "O man of God, there is death in the pot."

You will recall Christ's bringing of the bread miraculously to the 5000 (Matthew 14:15ff.). Imagine if the bread He created from the small supply given had been poisonous! HE applied the provision, Himself to show its spiritual significance: HE was the bread of life! (John 6). Such a thing as poisoned bread ? It would be monstrous, and of course did not occur. It does however let us see the significance in the action of Elisha.

What would he do ? He took flour or meal, and put it in the pot, so healing it, or remedying the poisonous content. The meal is the source of bread, and here a new form of good, meal, is placed in a wild food taken from its vagrant source, and the new overcomes the old. So Christ as the bread of life was to come; to be sure the lives that He was to heal in spirit, had the wrong wild cultural source, poisonous in its proclivities, but His addition, symbolical of His very self, would overcome. Is not God by His own creative power able to turn the poison of sin, cancelled in sacrifice, to the beauty of holiness ?

You see this most clearly in the double emphasis of Christ in John 6, where specifically He was applying the symbolism of bread to Himself (6:48-50 - with reference to the life giving manna in the wilderness). On the one hand is to be found the LIFE GIVING nature of this ‘bread’ from GOD (6:50), and the SACRIFICAL breaking of it (6:51-54), by which alone it could come in its therapeutic power and vitalising resource for man. Moreover it had to be taken personally, as much so, as intimately to life as is the case of consuming food.

Is not His dynamic which made the universe able to make a new 'universe' back to the design components, and blessed with His own specific presence, out of the old ? Does not the Old Testament as well as the new repeatedly so affirm (cf. Ezekiel 11:19, Jeremiah 31:31ff., 32:38-40, John 3, Titus 3, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:21-25), in concert, one message, one principle, one result, at first like the stirrings of a spring, later like a vast river (as in Ezekiel 37). If anything could conceivably more gravely emphasise sacrifice, moreover, or more dramatically, God’s own coming sacrifice in His Son, it would be daunting to contemplate how it could do so! (cf. Psalm 22, Isaiah 52-553, Hosea 13:14, Ezekiel 34 for example).

    • For completeness, we add here the reference in II Kings 4:42ff., where 100 men are in need of refreshments in the presence of the prophet, and someone brings 20 loaves. What ? Is THIS enough for 100! is the cry.

" 'Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the Lord: "They shall eat and have some left over." ’ So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord."

In this way, in yet closer resemblance to coming demonstrations of Christ, so acutely interpreted by Him (John 6:50ff.), you see the power of the Creator Himself, at work in the affairs of men, in meeting their need abundantly ('some left over' - the point being the PREDICTION that this would be so), by supplying a new manna, not physically descending from above, like the old one in the desert, but granted through the direct and present power of one in the name of the Maker of the heavens.

This is a type of Christ, and it is an action which He fulfilled and interpreted. In this way, Elisha is acting as a sort of red carpet for the coming footsteps, in that gloriously coherent, progressive word, one constant in principle, cumulative in teaching and consummated in Christ.


 (II Kings 4:1ff., 6:1ff.)

Here are two illuminating cases which should also be noted, since in the one, the raising of the valuable axe-head as it was in those days and in that situation, speaks of God’s ability to redeem crucial loss in life, even life itself, as One who is not dependent on means, but  able to recover them and continue constructively in His work; while the filling of the empty vessels which the indebted widow brought for the prophet, with unfailing oil from her last vessel of it, so that the debt could be paid, reminds us that being an empty vessel, without ulterior motive, ready for help, pining for Christ as the hart for the water-brooks is the condition in which blessing is available (cf. Psalm 42:1, 57:2).

No appetite is not the signal for much food! When the appetite is sufficient, the limit does not arrive to stop the need being filled; but when it is met, the supply is finished. SO when the last vessel was filled, the miraculous supply of oil ceased with it. Thus we are taught the principle which Christ declared, "Blessed are  you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for you shall be filled," written in Matthew 5.

·       Let us consider the axe case first.

First consider the situation. The sons of the prophets need an axe; the supply is short; the need of housing is great. Wood is necessary and for the shaping of the thing, an axe. Error leads to the loss of the axe, and its falling into water, inaccessible to them, reminiscent in the prophetic setting, of the results of sin, which blights the gifts and renders them no more to the point for which God has made them.

Of what then did this miracle speak, of what was it symbolic, what was its
portent ?

Death in the depths, is the place of the axe. The sinner is lost, alienated from the life of God, no more able to be used by Him. The work is stricken, the thing astray.

The prophet cuts wood and throws it in. So what is there suggestive of wood for
interpretation ? It is in Psalm 22 that we see one slowly dying in public shame, and of the pangs so easily interpreted in terms of crucifixion, not least because of the hands and feet being pierced (Psalm 22:16).  This is one of the Messianic Psalms, for which series see Joyful Jottings 22-25. Here is seen the wood which bodes blessing, which must be CUT from its tree (cf. I Peter 2:21ff.), and thrown into the vexatious situation of man, so that the lost is found, the buried is raised and the dysfunctional again becomes serviceable to God.

What happens ? The Axe floats, the asking is satisfied, the need is met. Now the wood floats of itself, as Christ is pure and never hidden from His eternal Father with whom from eternity He has been (John 1:1, Micah 5:3, Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 12:10). It is however the PRESENCE of the wood, thrown in, which leads to this change in the NATURAL failure of iron to float in the waters of life. So is sin met, frustration turned to joy, and recovery enabled by the power of God, the prophet a type of Christ.

The sinking of the axe suggests that man could not be taken down to death and kept there. The rising is indicative of the fact that though indeed buried in waters beyond recovery by the agencies of man available, man can be raised by the simplicity of the Gospel, the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), the old prediction of the Messiah's coming and glorious redemption (Psalm 72), typified, symbolised, speaking in this most integral of books. The wood must be taken from elsewhere, so that the axe may be found. So Christ has to come from heaven to meet the needs of earth (Psalm 40 cf. Joyful Jottings22).

It is no part of the axe which is needed. Wood must enter from outside the sinful system, for the iron to find its former usefulness, delivered from its hiding cover. The sacrifice concerned is as symbolised in the earlier sacrificial system, but the reality concerned, the living God within one by His Spirit. The RAISING is the miracle; the WOOD symbolises the way!

Obviously, then,  very explicit scriptures elsewhere attest the detail (Psalm 2, 22, 16, Isaiah 49-55, for example), but this symbol had a striking effect because of the dire need, the dramatic answer and the fascinating method used, which cried for the ascertainment of the meaning inherent in such a choice of method. Just as you do with children, God often does things which show their profound meaning in due course! He tests the spirits, stirs the hearts, lodges considerations, evokes questing and provides answers as you seek. As He Himself says in Proverbs, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of kings is to search out a matter" - 25:2.


We should observe that the need of a widow in this case was about as great as it could be, at the human level at least. Her two sons are about to be taken in the cruellest way, as slaves because of her inability to pay a debt, and with her husband dead, placed as she is, no way is found to cover the case, and deliver, you might virtually say 'redeem' her sons from this slavery.

Their liberty is arrested in spirit already, their case on the trash-heap, hope forlorn. What is to be done ? Can God act ? The presence of the prophet is indicative of this willing ability, this active concern. What is the step to be taken ? SHE ASKS! that is the first step. SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND, ASK AND IT WILL BE GIVEN YOU.

The terms (as in John 14:13) indicate that the glory of God is to be paramount, and of course it is done within His covenant, now the New One predicted so often in the Old Testament, one which by no means changes the principles, but implements all in the personal incarnation of the second person of the Trinity, God expressive, God the Word, His everlasting companion and manifestation, shown as Jesus Christ in the flesh.

Then as now, what is sought ? The prophet considers. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT ? She has some oil. It is not enough as an asset for payment. What is to be done ? EMPTY VESSELS are to be found. HOW CAN you get what God gives if you are not emptied enough to be receptive ? She gets them. But what can emptiness contribute when filling is the need ? Nothing but preliminary conditions!

Hence the prophet tells her to pour, she does so, the valuable liquid comes forth without stopping till all is filled. THEN IT STOPS. We receive what we are empty enough and ardent enough to have ready. Then it stops. What is given ? More of what was there.

What was there ?

An inadequacy, for who can stand before God and requisition Him! What was given ? What was adequate, for when God acts, who can stop Him, or demand more! The symbolism therefore comes, the oil another symbol of the Holy Spirit as you see for example in Zechariah 4, for example, that where there is deficiency, you can receive all you need. It is spiritual first, but God who made man knows the our spirits are operators of mind and body, so that He declares (Matthew 6:33),

o      "SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."


·       So it was. Further result of the provision of divine adequacy to man: Her two sons did not need to become slaves for she made use of the provision, gains new assets and used these to pay off the debt and redeem her sons from a deadly fate. So the Spirit of God does not come alone, but presents to us the reality of Christ's payment, His riches at our service, His gift of life through His sacrifice, His power for our deliverance, His resurrection for our assurance, this the very temper of His power towards us (Ephesians 1:19).

·       THE CASE OF FIGHTING MOAB as in II Kings 3. We have already noted that, but here we see it as a further and most instructive great feat, to which we may shortly look in some detail.



  • 1) God says this (Psalm 18:26-27):

"With the pure, You will show Yourself pure,

And with the devious, you will show Yourself opposed.

For You will save the humble people,

But will bring down haughty looks."

Although Jehoshaphat erred, he was sincere and was corrigible; cleansed, he was serviceable. God blessed him immensely, while to cunning Ahab, He brought adverse judgment in His own inimitable way - a stray arrow.


2) Elisha gives us our second lesson.

PERSEVERE with ALL your heart

(cf. Jeremiah 29:13 - If you seek Him with ALL your heart, He will be found …).

The word of God, what does it say on this ?

"Do not become sluggish,

but imitate those who through faith and patience

inherit the promises" - Hebrews 6:12.

Thus, "…we count those blessed who endure," says James (5:11).

HOW do you INHERIT THE PROMISES ? It is a matter of abiding closely in Christ, as Abraham knew God, and keeping close and constant companionship, with obedient heart, constantly cleansed, always aspiring to draw nearer in holiness, to His kindness and His grace, and to be better at dispersing it outwards. It is a course with no reverse gear, seeking with all your heart to do the will of God, by faith, and expecting to get it DONE.

  • PRAISE GOD in every trial, expectation and relish based on faith!

    • Remember this, His adequacy.

Hear this from Isaiah 64:4-5:

"For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways."

Thus did Jehoshaphat conquer, alight with prayer, reasonable in his protestation to God, alert to the word from the prophet, adding his own, determined on faithfulness to God WHO IS FAITHFUL!

So did Elisha meet cases of apparently distant relationship to God, with central and fascinating instructive meaning, as he answered the various needs. The wisdom and the power of God, made most conspicuous in the cross, all its preliminaries in prophecy, in heaven, on earth, the resurrection and the grace with it, is always the source for each detail, and nothing is too hard for the Lord (cf. Luke 1:37, Genesis 18:14).

It was so then; it is so now; and now that we have seen the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, the entire integral reality is exhibited, the principles in person, the person with principles, the compassion with personality, the tenderness with truth, the inseparable character of truth from love, power from purity, sacrifice of God Himself, not only episodically or symbolically, but substantially and to the blood of the incarnate Son of God, this is before us, life is before us, blessing is before us, the inheritors of the end of the Age (cf. Hebrews 11:39-40):

  • "And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us."


We have seen the wood and the water, the presence at the departure of Elijah, the smiting of the River Jordan, reminiscent of Joshua, but in revival rather than arrival!

We have likewise noted the presence of Elisha at the battle of Joram of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah, in  I above. Moving to act against Moab, which had rebelled against Israel, they were in practical trouble together, they and their armies. Then it was that lack of water threatened the very arrival of the army at the place where the Moabite armies were;  and the massive miracle wrought, consisting of ditch-digging (by faith) and a filling of these with water (a sort of Elijah at Carmel in reverse), led to thirst quenching for man and beast. This is not all, said Elisha, this is a simple matter with the Lord, for "He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand" (II Kings 3:17-18).

Having brought much water to the area, now in the pools, the Lord allowed the morning sun quite naturally to give the appearance of blood, so that the Moabites thought there had been a clash between the opposing kings, requiring only that they do and plunder the remains.



1)  Not so! Unprepared and preoccupied with lust, they met a very undead joint army and were overcome. Moab was subdued, but Jehoshaphat had no business being in such an army, fighting the battles of Israel. It was for this reason that he was rebuked as noticed previously, by Jehu, son of Hanani.

For the moment, however, our interest is in the participation of ELISHA in this matter, and the manner of it, the power of it, the consecutive character of his dealings in the Lord's mercy. Deliverance and rebuke alike played their part, and as Elisha was used in the former sphere, while another prophet, at the time of the earlier deliverance, was used in the latter one. Victory is NOT ALL: its meaning is always meaty, and should be sought, not simplistic imagination that winning is the point. It is only one part.

Thus in this case of Joram and Jehoshaphat, in the presence of the prophet Elisha as they proceeded to do battle against Moab, we come to some intensely interesting and instructive spiritual components, and indeed find SIX potent lessons.

Let us see this matter proceed. In II Kings 3:13-14, we come to a double spiritual attack on the proceedings by Elisha.

"If it were not," he declaimed to the king of Israel, "that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, I would not look at you, nor see you."

First, so asinine is seeking or using help that alien from the Lord, in time of crisis, that it is as if your purpose is partner is divinely ignored in delivering counsels of the Lord. At best, he/she then becomes a mere appendage, like cumbersome and unnecessary baggage. "I would not look at you, nor SEE you!" is the word.

Nor does this mean that that wrongful partner may not suffer a fitting rebuke, or you directly or indirectly, for joining with him. To be told that your partner would be invisible to the deliverance of God if it were not for your presence, is scarcely a commendation for good choice! Rather does it make your foolishness appear. This has application in business partnerships, marriage, close friendship and all the real crises of life. Let GOD be your ROCK (II Samuel 22:32) and Him alone, and the household of faith be where your belonging, in Him, is to be found!

Secondly, we learn of the burdens sin brings to others, and that the family of faith has its way made harder when you yourself fall! Thus Elisha called for a musician (II Kings 3:15). It is grievous and vexatious so to ally yourself with the enemies of the Lord, with those who reject His counsel (Romans 16:17, Ephesians 5, II John 2, II Cor. 6:14). That then is the first lesson with emphasis coming on the extent and depth of such an error, that it relates to the grace of the Lord, and your doing evil in His very own presence.
This call for a musician on the part of Elisha indicates the depth of revulsion and perhaps personal grief  at Jehoshaphat’s foolishness as well, for this was a complex scenario of pastoral disappointment, acute need in the sinning King Jehoshaphat, with rebuke to darkness wherever found in the work of the Lord, so that light had to penetrate into two different sorts of darkness, differently, that of the sinning saint and that of the glooms of the wily reprobate.

Thirdly, there is a profound spiritual light cast amid this gloom, reminding us that for all the sins that are, there is no lack of wisdom of God in dealing with them. Thus even when Pharaoh tried to prevent the deliverance by divine power, of God’s chosen people from Egypt, his endless seeming vacillation and rebellion, pursuit of his cheap labour and perhaps pride, it only made the escape the more glorious, the plagues the more impressive, the lesson more profound. God is not mocked. So the victory here for the two Kings showed the profound FAITHFULNESS of God to deliver His child, Jehoshaphat the King, even though he was here found in error (cf. Psalm 57:1-4, 145:18-19, Psalm 50:14-15, John 14:13).

Did Christ not tenderly reprove Peter and kindly restore him ? (John 21). He is near to those who are of a contrite spirit, poor in spirit and aware of their failure (Isaiah 66:2).

Fourthly, Elisha’s taunt to Joram (II Kings3:13), is pregnant with meaning. "What have I to do with you ? God to the prophets of your father, and to the prophets of your mother."

In other words, you found idols profitable in the days of your ease, so now find them productive in crisis if you can. The whole point of Elijah’s Mt Carmel demonstration now comes to the fore. If they are NOT THERE, why serve these false gods, values and priorities ? It is only lust. Can lust save ? As Jeremiah puts it (Jeremiah 10:11): "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens." What good are they!

Fifthly, notice that Elisha prefaces his chiding of Joram, to the effect that he would not even SEE him if it were not for King Jehoshaphat’s presence, with these words: "As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah …". In other words, the matter is of the most PROFOUND spiritual significance. It is not an opinion, it is no mere reaction, or personal response. It is a matter of direct tilt at the KING OF KINGS, and in HIS name this repudiation of the erring king is made, and from HIM comes this condemnation, like a rushing stream from the melting snow.

Sixthly, we come to a beautiful core to the issues. It is this. As water often appears in scripture a symbol for the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 47, markedly, John 4:13-14, 7:37-38, in which case it is directly interpreted, and apparently in Revelation 22), so here its blood-red, perhaps dawn tinted and certainly light-illumined deep colour suggests both the power of the Lord to work and to act by His Spirit upon this earth, and the relationship of this to a divine donation of complete deliverance, associated  with blood!

The sacrificial system had long made this an integral part of life in divinely called Israel, and here was a symbol of a blood past the horizon of sinning man,  brought through the light, and from One who could and would deliver those whom God claimed and named, from all circumstances, even those appearing quite fatal: for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life eternal (Romans 6:23).

This light-wrought blood on water could have been the blood of the abandoned kings, Jehoshaphat and Joram, so that it is here seen as a substitute for the loss they avoided. Hence it is clear that the immense STRESS on the NON-RELATIONSHIP of wicked Joram to this boon, to the fact that NOTHING related to him, that he was virtually irrelevant to the scene, is seen in an even greater significance.

The vision of Ezekiel shown in Ch. 47 applies such themes most delightfully, the streams of water there, proceeding from the area of the altar, and then in power-liberating might, sweeping the prophet along, swimming with the current, while fishermen fished (cf. Mark 1;17) and the waters healed what they touched - but not the marshy places (cf. Joram!)!
Sins of slipping into the slime, and here in particular, joining a king in a marshy place are thus exposed acridly by Elisha, while the source of deliverance is not only exposed, but applied for the erring king Jehoshaphat.

·       Thus do we find scenes evocative of meaning from the patterns and practices of the past, and cumulatively signifying with the various usages and visions, consummations in the future. Indeed, as you see in Hebrews, there is a vast panorama of type and symbol, which inhabits the scripture as the water the clouds.

·       As to spirituality, godliness, separation and faith, with faithfulness and expectation from the power of God for the purity of life in the present, these find continual expression. We have seen some of these preliminary preparations above, and will come to more shortly.


2) Just as there is a past, so there is a future, and principles are applicable both ways! the same ones ... This is the expectation from the unchanging God, and it is also the eventuation. As He is, so it happens. Now comes a fascinating duo. In I Kings 17 and II Kings 4, you see each of these amazing prophets, Elijah and Elisha, involved in raising the dead. In the former case, Elijah, during the enforced drought announced to Ahab, of course suffered himself (in this way, a type of Christ). He also lacked water, and stayed by a brook, the famed Cherith, until the water went.

Always with these prophets, the power has meaning, and the meaning has instruction. The point there is simple: WHEN you need the help, if you are serving the Lord, you get it. You COULD not imagine what it might be, so trust. Even if you have an idea, do not trust in it: as Proverbs 3 puts it:

  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
  • Do not lean to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him,
  • And He shall direct your steps."

Thus the Lord directed Elijah to Zarephath, belonging to Sidon, where a widow had her heart prepared, despite the lack of food, to look after him. As she was baking from her last supply at that time,  a miracle ensured that the little reserve of meal she had left, being augmented, remained in constant supply (in one way, like the feeding of the 5000 by Christ).

As a boon, Elijah actually announced that the supply of grain would not cease until RAIN came. The faith of the widow was challenged, but it held, and assured of the miracle, she acted; and indeed, faith is a normal prerequisite for blessing. So Christ, the bread of life, is here figuratively as so often, discernible as the One whose spiritual refreshing through His sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection, will not cease till HE come. It is He, who as he declared, is the BREAD of LIFE! (John 6:48ff.), conferring thereby eternal life on those who receive Him*1A. Moreover, we may apply this truth yet further.

  • On this earth, it lasts, that presiding and sustaining power of the Lord, not as in the prophetic parable, worked in miracle, till the RAIN COME, but on this grander and epochal scale, summarising the preliminaries, till CHRIST COME!

Hence, in the Messianic outcome which consummates all, HIS bread, HIS symbolised presence, actual indeed, lasts throughout all the preliminary time, even till the relevant end of this epoch, " to the end of the Age" . As Christ declared in Matthew 28:19-20, quite explicitly, His presence would go with His servants till the Age ended, when HE HIMSELF returns as in I Cor. 11:26, Acts 1:7-11. His power and presence NOW, till His PERSON returns THEN, is the scenario, which many find in their lives now, as the disciples from His lips then. Yet there  is much more to be seen, so let us return to the inspired record of the great prophet Elisha.

She had been blessed with a son; but then as time passed for the widow, her son died, and she lamented, indeed found trouble in this, that as she served, her family hearth was so broken, herself already a widow.

It was Elijah who heeded her word - if he were from God was it to bring her sins to remembrance or for blessing ?

"O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son ?"

he asked the Lord, by faith and not in bitterness. Then he miraculously raised her son as described in I Kings 17:8ff..

The portent is staggeringly accurate and exact what one might expect of the divulgement of an author as his book progresses, in this case, the history of the world, with its accompanying celestially wrought manual, the Bible. Thus there are many blessings in this Church Age, which we who know Him receive. However, as death, before the general resurrection at His appearing (John 5:19ff., Matthew 24:36-51, I Thess. 4) is a further event, what is to be said of this ?

We know now just how it was with the raising of Lazarus, that most blessed preliminary in Christ’s raising the dead (as Elisha and Elijah also did, nor did the apostleship fail in this! Acts 9:36ff.). It was surpassed in the redemptive necessities in Christ being raised from the dead by the Spirit of God without human intermediary, the classic assurance of the purity of His claims in His human ABSENCE, as miraculously attested so often in His PRESENCE (Romans 1:4).

Back in the day of Elisha and Elijah, however we can see the meaning quite clearly.
What ? are blessings to be given to secure life from drought, as the woman, the widow and her son are receiving the righteous man in the name of the Lord, the prophet Elijah, only for solemn tragedy to afflict the household ? Is death itself then to dismiss the blessing, to annul the harvest of happiness ?

Yes it may, for all being sinners, it is only in the redemption of Christ, consummated at His return, that the body is eventually delivered (cf. Romans 8:23, John 21:19). What then is the sign, the symbol, the historical signal of both the care and the grace of God inserted into the program of Elijah, wrought by the LORD no less than the miracle of sending fire from heaven onto the sacrificial test at Mt Carmel, as shown in I Kings 17 ?

This: the boy is indeed to die, symbolising the pangs of death to face all till Christ returns, but he is THEN to be raised from the dead, signifying the care, knowledge, capacity and cherishing of God. In the first case, he is saved from death by famine, just as those spiritually, are dead without the light of Christ in this world, and then find the bread of life in Him! THEN the boy dies; and so, to apply it to our own time,  death is not for this Age excluded, merely defeated, its weakness now shown categorically;  and it takes its place till finally dismissed (cf. I Corinthians 15:25-26).

·       Next, however, the prophet LISTENS to the widow’s grief and protestation.

·       Finally, he raises the boy in a most deeply concerned and personal way, showing the depth of his empathy most dramatically (I Kings 17:21ff.). So at length are those, now that Christ has come as Saviour, who have now received the crucial blessings of salvation, just as the widow and her son had His deliverance from a famine of food, to receive the finale. As these are now delivered from a famine of the word of God, of the knowledge of God in their salvation, so in His time of return, they are to receive the precious prize of resurrection.

This is the parallel: the first blessing to faith, and then the finale of the resurrection for faith, with physical death intervening, if need be.

As Christ said at the time of the raising of Lazarus (John 11), having delayed expressly His coming so that the glory of God might be the more manifest (as when Elijah had water poured in the trenches about the sacrifice, in order the more obviously to manifest the power which is God's alone):

·       "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall lie. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.

·       "Do you believe this ?"

Lazarus, a much loved friend of Christ, was allowed to suffer and show this wonder to all for all time, even before the resurrection of Christ Himself, without any human instrument at all! Let death arrive, in other words: it can and will be dismissed for the servants, the friends, the saved people of the Lord. It does not rule. Let it come: it will go!

As the child in the day of Elijah was dead at the widow's household, so also those who die before the return of Christ as the Age ends, will die. As the child was raised by direct and concerned intervention, close and wonderful, so is the Christian to be raised from the dead at His coming; and the dead in Christ will rise first, as Paul declares in His exhilarating description of this ‘mystery’, this wonderful opening out of the coming consummation.

Later,  a parallel test came to Elisha. Had he indeed been given, as requested, a double portion of the spirit of Elijah ? In this occasion, Elisha had been in the custom of moving through a special area, in transit, and a lady (of Shunem), neatly observing this, decided to ask her husband if she could make a room for his refreshment when he went on these journeys, since the prophets had great blessing for the people.

This was done, Elisha could thus use the spare room which they had built to facilitate his journeys. Since she had been so kind, the prophet sought what blessing he could bring to the woman. He learned that she needed a son, and told her that in about one year, she would have one. This she did, and this son died. At this time, unlike the case with Elijah earlier, the prophet was living at quite a distance from the lady whose son had died, so she had to act quickly, her travel to the prophet to seek his aid being dramatic.

She went AT ONCE. She let NOTHING DELAY HER. When at length she drew near to the place where Elisha was, she did not deal with the prophet's servant, whom he sent ahead to meet her, seeing her afar off, but insisted on SEEING Elisha PERSONALLY. His servant was then sent ahead to the dead lad, but failed to raise him. Then Elisha himself came and stretched himself out on the dead body of the child, basically as Elijah had done, and the Lord raised the boy from the dead.

Here of course is more lesson through historic actuality, symbolically shown: power leading to precept. SEEK the Lord directly; do not be SIDE-TRACKED in your urgency (cf. Luke 11:5-13 shows the principles most explicitly). Seek Him personally, not being satisfied simply with pastor, sacrament or priest. God is not unaware of well doing, and in the midst of judgment, remembers mercy, being slow to anger. So it all as always, coheres, New and Old Testament, this and that principle, for GOD DOES NOT CHANGE (Malachi 3:6). This is only part, if a dramatic one, of the historical exhibition of that fact.

A further exhibition of divine consistency is this: just as Elijah showed the restoration of life amid other blessings; so Elisha in his raising of the dead lad case, showed that DISTANCE does not deflect, nor time diminish the power of God to act according to His purpose, yes even in life and death situations.

So dramatically exhibited in the case of Lazarus, this time-space additive is eloquent. It is a prelude to Lazarus in this, and a symbol of what follows in the thrust of the whole plan of salvation, leading to all things be gathered up together in Christ (Ephesians 1:10), while as to heaven and earth, no space is found for them, and the lost, they go to their desire. All is ordered, all in its time.

Let the prophet not be near, as with Elisha to the dead lad; let the case be far from the horizon of apparent events; let there be frustrations first in the line of duty, as when Gehazi failed to raise the lad: yet it all comes back to the immediate access to God, who over space and time altogether, ordains His good pleasure.

As to that: Did time diminish either God's interest or power to deliver Israel from its ancient Egyptian bondage ? Nor did it do so, in the case of the lad whose mother had a hard, long drive to find the prophet, who indeed had first to face the failure of the other, preceding the entire deliverance Elisha himself would bring:  just as many false prophets, failures one and all, will arise, did arise, have arisen (Matthew 24:24) prior to the coming of Christ in person.

No this case with the dead lad and Gehazi, did nothing to allay the divine action of raising the dead, when He was ready for it. Nor will 2 millenia or so, diminish the attention of the Christ to the drama of His return, the power of it or its total efficacy, when the time comes, and His plan arises to its promise, to fulfil it.

These things then become on a smaller scale, like Christ in His feeding of the 5000, compared to Elisha's miracle of extending a small amount of food to cover the needs of 100 men (II Kings 4:22-24):  an introduction, a pointer, an exhibit of what was to come. These episodes of divine aid and pity,  wrought through the prophets in the dangerous early days of Israel, would be expanded in Christ to raising the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), bringing back Lazarus from the dead after 4 days (John 11), a subject which became a national phenomenon, raising the daughter of Jairus to life (Luke 4 8:40-49), and then transcendently, in his own resurrection, to the very issuance of life itself from death in the covenant of God, the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28-29).

This earlier pulse of divine power, in compassion granted intimately to the people of the sinning nation, was an index to the time when Christ would personally, not through some intermediary, defeat death itself, and bring about the general resurrection IN ITS TIME.

Elisha was not heeded then by the nation, in point of faith; nor was Christ when He came, though in each case many were blessed where the body of the nation itself, failed. Thus a progressive and expansive presentation awaited the people, and through them and God's word, the world, prepared thus not only in word (as in Isaiah 52-53) for what was to come, but in deed also. In this also, it pointed to Christ, full of grace and truth, whose words and works alike induced utter amazement (John 15:21ff., 7:45ff.). Again, they will from afar, await the return of Christ with the same failure as that with which the Saviour in His humiliation was greeted, though it was for them; and when He comes, they will be as unready.

Since after Him, nothing, it is well that the world is prepared. There is time for a beginning, and for an end of what is partial, preliminary; and the time of the end is now. As Hebrews 2 puts it, How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation! and as Paul declares, God will gather up in one, all things in Christ (Ephesians 1:10), yes things in heaven and in earth (cf. Colossians 1:19ff.). It is very wonderful that such sobering spiritual realities are accompanied by such portents and preliminaries, warnings in history and helps to realism, grounds for repentance and gratitude for opportunity to this day.



3) Many other things, and further miracles attended the prophet Elisha, including the famed healing of the Commander of the enemy King of Syria's forces.

Naaman was told by a captive girl of Israel, of the prophet, demanded healing of the King, through whom his desire was rapidly transferred to the prophet direct. Told to bathe seven times in the Jordan, Naaman was in his official splendour, incensed: were there not better rivers in Syria. However those in his entourage persuaded him to realise that the point was authority and deliverance, not geography and vying, so he consented to do as required, and on the 7th washing was healed, his flesh being pure as a child's.

The lessons here are numerous but include these. First, when God speaks, LISTEN. Do not confuse human means with divine power. If you need to humble yourself, what are you anyway, to refuse! Is not God divine, and you, are you not a sinner needing help ? Do good to your enemies: for you should be hating their evil, not themselves.


4)  These things are the more immediately apparent. What followed is also instructive.

 The servant of Elisha, seeing such spectacle of human wealth and power before him (as if a President of a nation elected to go to a certain church!) decided to find personal gain from it. Pretending that Elisha now had visitors, he went after Naaman, told the lie, and got money and clothes richly.

On his return, he pretended not to have done anything, to Elisha, who however said this:
"Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you ? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, male and female servants ? " The servant in penalty himself caught the leprosy from which the Syrian commander had just been miraculously cleansed!

With the nation's sins clamouring to God for judgment, is a man of God to be interested in what he can GET ? If London Bridge is about to fall, are you to be interested in the type of track on it ? There is need for a sense of priorities and realities! God is a Spirit, but His knowledge is keen and sharp on the material world which He has created, and spiritual considerations, as with a TV director, when the cast is on set, are not limited to or determined by the set, which is merely an expressive agency for the scene!

The message is partly this, the question of realities and priorities, and partly no doubt, the need to have a single-motive, unblurred by mixtures! SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness and these things will be added to you! said Christ in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:33). The message, it is one; it does not change from century to century, Testament to Testament, only the stage of instruction varies, not the point, pith or content conveyed. This is what one expects from the unchanging God; and finding it pervasively in the Bible, it is pervasive verification.


Another fascinating facet of Elisha's evidences of DIVINE INTERVENTION in this very conspicuous historical phase of the same, is found in his help to the (far from righteous) king of Israel, in his troubles with invasions from Syria.

a) The first point to note is this, that the KING for all his errors, was WILLING to listen; and thus he was helped! The message there is too obvious to need articulation: seek and you will find.

Secondly, this happened so often that the king of Syria felt sure he had a mole, relaying from his 'bedroom' what he resolved to do, so frustrating his plans of assault upon sinning Israel, suffering for her sins. In this way, God was showing Israel, and indirectly us, that even in judgment, He remains merciful, for this is His desire, His nature, His longing. He seeks to insert it, and when one begins to open the eye, is quick to assist. When it was revealed to the king of Syria that in fact it was a PROPHET who was helping the king, he not unnaturally ... resolved to capture or kill the prophet.

Besieging the city of Dothan where Elisha was, he planned a sure extermination of this divine aid. With God, however, nothing shall be called impossible, then as now (Luke 1:37). After all, as the text just noted indicates, the epitome and zenith of all these divine interventions was the incarnation in which God not only DID divine works among men, not only ACTED with grace and personally intrusive compassion among men, but BECAME ONE OF THEM IN ORDER TO DO IT, being directly personally interrogable, and able therefore to bear the sin of man, as a man, and do justice to justice in dying for it (I Peter 2:22-23).

Thus, in addition to the point of divine intrusion already made, its teaching effect, its governing attestation, with its encouragement and witness of judgment as the case deserves, there is this. These events, these divine actions are a scent on a trail, a flair of great things on the breezes of history, attesting the greatest of all. Grace is shown; power is shown, sympathy is shown; suffering by the prophets is shown; and then, when God as announced beforehand for a millenium and more, CAME to earth Himself, not merely the exact predictions of this, but the very feeling and nature of the case is already long exposed.



First, He may be seen moving in the interests first of love and compassion, mercy, but then in truth and with judgment. In a sense, He pre-empted all in the New Testament event, fulfilling masses of Old Testament prophecies (cf. SMR Ch. 9, Joyful Jottings 22-25), and brought out all these features, except that as for judgment, it was on HIMSELF alone it came, in Christ. It is only later, for this generation in the end, which comes to the end, that the judgment will come in full force.

Indeed, it will come on all, later, who have not had their sins hidden in the depths of the sea, removed as far as is the East from the West (Psalm 103, Micah 7), and even this generation which is the last one before He comes, its judgments will themselves be only preliminary to the final judgment on sin. It is in terms of the longsuffering and gracious mercy of God, that this should be so, for He does everything which may be done, to deliver people, and only in the end when light is jettisoned for darkness, when preference blows is scorning nose, or its indifferent one, that judgment which HE was willing to intercept, in all justice (which NOTHING will abort) comes in its final thrust to hell (John 3:16-19,36 cf. Ezekiel 33:11, Lamentations 3:33).

IF YOU HAD NOT HEARD ... SEEN, says Christ, the works, the words, YOU WOULD NOT HAVE HAD SIN, but now YOUR SIN REMAINS (John 15:22-25).

Blatant unbelief before the light of the world, Christ, is the end of the journey, unless there be repentance.

Such is the principle of the insistent, persistent and consistent testimony of the Lord throughout history, in His word, over millenia. Nothing changes with Him who does not change, who knowing all, needs no change, who being what He would be, refuses any change, who is eternal, immutable and beautiful in holiness, without cease, the light in which is no flickering (James 1:17) or cause for mutability.

Meanwhile, let us note the outcome of the siege of Dothan, where Elisha was staying, with such lethal intent against him, by the King of Syria. The young man with Elisha was afraid at the onset, but Elijah prayed to the Lord to open the young man's eyes (II Kings 6:17).

"Alas, my master! What shall we do ?" the young man had asked. When his eyes were 'opened', he "saw. And Behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." There is around the glory, a defence as the case may seem to require (Isaiah 4:5-6 - a cover). Elisha then sought the Lord to smite the army. This he did in a merciful way - strike them with BLINDNESS! How instructive! The young man with him had to have his eyes OPENED, but the attacking army, they needed them closed!

Intelligence and wisdom are with God, and wisdom is His to give to His children (Proverbs 8, James 1:5-7,17-18).

They of the army sent to capture the prophet,  were blinded. Then Elisha, with a grave sort of humour,  undertook to lead them to himself (whom of course, not least because they were blinded, they did not recognise).

"Follow me," he said, "and I will lead you to the man whom you seek." He took them to the city of the king of Israel, not a trap but a protection and a rebuke! Accordingly,  he insisted that they be well treated, fed, clothed and sent back. Thus was the mercy of the Lord shown: He desired to protect His people as grace was sufficient, but this was not the same as obliteration of the enemy, which is another question.

God reviews all things on the case involved, and does nothing laxly. as it is written (Psalm 11:4). Readily can He both deliver and teach what glorifies Him, and He invites the children of men!


Later, Syria besieged Samaria (II Kings 6:24ff.), and here we find the king nauseated by his own sins finding him out, in that his failure to seek the Lord led to this embarrassment, and this in turn to the grotesque occurrence of eating children (in Leningrad during the World War II cannibalism also has been reported). Famine raged like a roaring lion. Instead of repenting, the King vowed to extinguish Elisha, the living exemplar of the need to seek God, an action which the majestic sovereign foolishly refused to take.

Now the king had the prophet in the very city where he was: murder would be
easy ? Far from it. It appears that the Lord instructed Elisha of the coming of the king’s messenger, so that on his drawing near, the prophet asked for the door to be locked, stating clearly that he expected the king to follow his servant in pursuit of himself. "Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent someone to take away my head ?" he asked the company with him.

When the King arrived, Elijah predicted that on the next day, about that time, food prices would fall, for there would then be plenty. A triumphant army would not take the city it had humbled to its knees, about to starve. An officer of the King scoffed at this. Far was he from believing any such thing would happen! Therefore the prophet told him that for this he would not see the relief for the city. How often it comes to this: According to your faith, let it be done to you! Here ? According to his lack of faith, would be the lack of results, except … the death of the unbelieving officer, for HE would not see the deliverance, or find the relief at which he so mocked!

In practice, this occurred when the surging mass of people, hearing the siege was lifted, from some lepers who had been outside the city, and of the flight of the Syrians, sought quickly to get food freely available outside the walls.
So great was the desire for food after the famine, that the servant of the king was killed in the crush! The miracle of deliverance had to possess many features. It had to be timed to the hour to meet the prediction of the prophet; it had to bring relief in food to the entire city. Indeed, this had to occur therefore as a result of unquestionable public knowledge of the categorical change in the situation, and in some way the army had to be removed.

The method the Lord chose was to cause the invading army to hear sounds resembling vigorous battle, which was frightening the invaders who had already seen enough of the supernatural in the earlier works of the prophet, who was one of the many who had for centuries worked in Israel, from Moses on! Led to their assumption that other kings had been hired to deliver Israel, they fled. If the servant of the king had lack of faith, these, the attacking soldiers had fantasy. Each brought its results.

In this way mercy and judgment alike are exhibited, warning and loss, deliverance and welfare, both at the word of the Lord, showing in stark simplicity what many seek to make more complex. When as with Elisha, you KNOW the Lord, many things bound in bundles of apparent incoherence, begin to form like the dragon fly when newly presented to the world, the wings drying, the power provided  in the sun. (Cf. Psalm 1:5ff..)

Who knows to what extent such lessons helped oncoming kings like Hezekiah and Josiah, hearing of them, to be stronger and to be even more conscientious in dealing with the things of God, by His power. However we DO know that Hezekiah’s prayer when confronted by an Assyrian army was strikingly similar to, and perhaps a development from the words of Elisha (II Chronicles 32:7 cf. II Kings 6:16). So many things in history interact, things correspond, and lessons of a day are often also for tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow! How good it is therefore to sow in one’s own life, through the strength of the Lord, things which like a ricocheting stone, skip on and on, doing good even in another day, by their example.


6) Finally, let us notice this, that Elisha even when dying, was still filled with desire for mercy, to GIVE IT as a servant of the Lord (II Kings 13:14). This total testimony, then, is one of judgment (such as witnessed on the 50 soldier groupings - II Kings 1) when God has intentions which man resolutely refuses, and which mean loss to many; and of mercy, even as here, to the uttermost point, even when His prophet is DYING! This reminds us that Jesus Christ even as He was being murdered slowly, slowly, kept on crying, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!" (Luke 23:34).

Thus Elisha asked the erring King of Israel, at his death-bed, in view of that royal person’s need, to fire an arrow. This he did. That, indicating the prophet, this time personally interpreting the symbol, is the arrow of the Lord's deliverance from Syria.

This being clear, the prophet applied the lesson. Take the arrows, he cried, and strike them on the ground. The king, not in accord with the point, no doubt through some degree of spiritual blindness, struck with them three times. Not at all, the prophet protested! The king should have struck seven times, been more definite, decisive, seeing what the symbol MEANT; he should have shown his embrace of its cause with total passion. One sees this even in a dog. Where we sometimes have lunch, there is a delightful sheep dog. It is a master of finding the stick when it is thrown suddenly and even far, bringing it back with relish, giving one before the throw, that look of exquisite partnership in the joy.

When he gets it, and brings it back, before presenting it again at one's feet, he is apt indeed very apt, to wrestle with it, to break its neck apparently, and with no small vigour and vim does he move it violently this way and that, satisfied when and if it breaks.

So the King should have shown real zeal. Because he did not, instead of massive deliverance from Syria, for the sinning Israel, there would be just three victories, the prophet announced. Elisha was angry because of sadness about this. The faith is there or it is not. So did Christ often enough declare, "According to your faith, let it be done to you!" It is the same.  You need to have a faith in Christ which simply trusts Him and expects Him fully, to do what He says. It is not a magic formula but an inter-personal integrity. (Cf. Mark 11:23.) Observe carefully the linkage between power for God’s will and faith in God Himself. The issue arose when Christ was challenged, centuries later.

Thus Christ was once asked (Mark 12:18) a testing question, by His enemies. It was this. If each of seven brothers, according to the custom of so-called levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25), married the same woman, brother after brother dying while she lived, who would be her husband in the resurrection. His reply has force (bold print added):

·       Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Sciptures not the power of God ?

·       "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

·       "But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken."

Finally, for perspective,  note that Malachi (4:5ff.) spoke of Elijah coming to turn people’s hearts back to the Lord, and Christ identified John the Baptist as the one who fulfilled this figure, one historical name being here used  to designate the person who would act in similar scope (in the spirit and power of Elijah - Luke 1:17). It was this John who right at the start of Christ’s ministry, declared (John 1:29): "Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" and this led to many being added to Christ’s followers. THIS was the ONE for whom they had waited over 1000 years, to fulfil hundreds of prophecies, the Messiah.

These things being done by Christ, as divinely forecast in the prophets, now we see the words of His own lips being fulfilled before our own eyes. Death has no more pangs to those who are in Him, whose resurrection was the light that dazzled the Roman Empire of His day, and whose words and life have proved more powerful than any empire of any day, lasting through and beyond all, till He comes.

EPILOGUE to the works of Elijah and Elisha

So continued this vast reservoir of power, meaning and portent from these great prophets. Once someone tried to present a view that Elijah had Mt Carmel and the confrontation on Baal and that sort of thing, and then went back to normal living.

The concept was this: that one has to meet intruders, intrusions, introductions of various kinds, and do the right thing, but when once the necessities are met, one resumes one’s normal, pleasantly casual form of life, and the drama going, there is now scope for real advance.

Not so are the facts with these prophets. Thus in the case of Elijah, after Mt Carmel, instead of saying, ‘Ho hum, time to get back to normalcy, what!’, he in fact felt he was no better than his fathers, and pursued to the death by Queen Jezebel, that virtual compere or might we say, commere of the sorcerers, the false prophets, he asked to die (I Kings 19:4), not of course at her pagan hands, but in terms of the Lord’s release.

The Lord had other ideas. An angel appeared, the prophet was strengthened, ran to Mt Horeb, ancient site of Moses’ communing before the Lord, and reception of the 10 commandments, and there he saw a great wind, fire, earthquake from the mouth of his protective cave; but the Lord did not speak to him through these natural phenomena, but rather (I Kings 19:12) with a ‘still small voice’.

With this, he instructed Elijah HOW HE MUST CONTINUE his ministry, and gaining a new prophet to follow on with his work, Elisha, anoint a King of Syria, namely Hazael, whom the Lord would use to further his rebuke to the sinning nation, and a new King for Israel, namely Jehu, both of whom would be used to bring destructive power against the sinning nation.

Two further points are notable. The basic ISSUE was false gods in lieu of or in functional correlation with the true one, like riding on a bike with one tyre and one vacuum! (cf. Jeremiah 10:11, 16:19). The basic cause of calamity  was dramatised in Mt Carmel, but defined in Hosea 2, 8, 12:1-11 for example, as in the later days, in Jeremiah 2:13, 2:23-28, 3:12-13, 5:12-13, 7:8ff., 8:18-22; and of course in Jeremiah 9:12-16 the whole matter is explicit and concise, a brief in brief against the alienated nation, fixed on its spiritual fixations and the immoralities resulting.

Thus Elijah left nothing untouched, even sending a letter in due course reaching the wicked son of Jehoshaphat (II Kings 21:12ff.), like an unexpected meteorite, using the normal figure for false gods  -harlotry, in his rebuke. That issue is central and dramatised by Hosea’s marriage in the total coverage of that prophet! It is also prominent and acrid in Ezekiel 23 in its review of the case, using harlots to symbolise Israel and Judah.

As for Elisha, it was he (II Kings 9) who set in train the proceedings actually to anoint Jehu king of Israel, an event which led to a vast and devastating assault on Baal worship, in line with the stated purpose of the instructions to Elijah. So the spiritual war was seen in continuing battle against corruption in the land: in word, in deed, in faith.

It was imperative that purity be wrought, and as to the prophets in the midst of much mercy, as we have seen in our detailed review, and often tender mercy at that, and even evocative mercies to sinning kings on occasion, as in II Kings 3 and 6: they relented nothing at all. If you have spiritual cancer - and what is more cancerous than false religious dynamic - apart from and contrary to the Lord who invented human life and made man, there is no part-time policy available. To ignore it is like hatred; to expose it is the office of light. To bring remedy is the path of love (John 14:21-23, Titus 3:10, II Timothy 1:8-14, 3:23-26,, 4:2, I Timothy 1:20, Jude cf. News 43, 88).

It is the same now. The relationship between the many forces which want to bypass Christianity, the Bible, the Christ, remodelling the Messiah despite Galatians 1:6-10, revamping the word of God, adding to it, despite Proverbs 30:6 (cf. SMR Appendix D), evacuating from it and retaining selected considerations, or anon to blast a way to the human heart with protoplasmic cum nail bombs and the like, all of them: it is not one of peaceful SPIRITUAL co-existence. You cannot shrug in the church, or in a church school, and pretend it to be some part of ‘liberty’ to deny your mandate, foul the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and have a sunny relationship, as if it were not treachery to God and betrayal of the Church. Truth must be sought, to be found; taught to be understood readily, and never sold (Proverbs 23:23).

Love your enemies you MUST, as Christ commands it (Matthew 5:43ff.), this being central in the divine initiatives (I John 4:7ff., John 3:16, Titus 2-3, Ezekiel 33:11), and exemplified by Elisha in the return of the marauding enemy force which, after being blinded, was at the mercy of the King of Israel. Not so! in effect said Elisha, back they go, treated kindly (II Kings 6:8-23). TREAT with them you MUST NOT, for the same reason; for God provides the peace of purity, and invites all to it; but is more zealous than any quarantine for the deliverance of His people from mere unholy living. HE is holy; we MUST be; that is the nature of life, its wonders replete, its texture a sacred trust.

The precepts are the same in their essence; they do not wander, though man may! (cf. Psalm 102: 26-28, James 1;17, Romans 16:17, II John, I Corinthians 5-6, II Cor. 6:14, Ephesians 5). See also The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7; and indeed in Ch. 8 of that work, you may observe something of the SPIRITUAL forces allied against the Church, just as in News 121, 122 you see a vista of the engines of destruction, which if sometimes unduly profitable for a time, this only because there is such apathy, such ease that one can only be reminded of Jeremiah 5:13, or of II Peter 2, or of II Timothy 3!

Such is not the way of the LIVING Church of the living God, against which the gates of hell will not prevail. They have not prevailed, but history is littered with their debris. As to the Church of the Lord, HE IS IN IT, and His words, so like those of John the Baptist (Matthew 23:33, 3:7-10), do not lose their sting, so long as the wound is open! Not reeling but healing is needed (cf. Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11 - where ‘slight healing’ is the order of the day, form fraudulent prophets and people). Strength is in abiding and obeying (John 15:7, Acts 5:31).

His principles do not change (Malachi 3:6), and His power performs His word faithfully, in heart, as in history (Joel 2:11, Isaiah 44:24-28, 41:21ff., 43:8ff.,44:6ff., 48:3ff.)  - and as to the Isaiah challenges, meet them! As stated, so they stand; as proclaimed, so are they verified. Even the enemies, and their type, come en scène, as per script! (cf. SMR 873, 857ff., 685ff., News 74, p. 104, Joyful Jottings  8, Divine Agenda Ch.   4; Answers to Questions Ch.  5). Indeed, frequently they leave it in the same way! (cf. SMR pp. 712ff.).

All this is as it must be, but to be asleep is not for the day! It is time to be awake, and more fascinating than any ski trip is the work to be done, since He with whom it is done, is greater than the mountains, being their creator! (cf. Amos 4:13, Isaiah 43:10-11, 45:12). His service is exquisite joy!


For the Christian there are lessons here, which being in the whole chain and challenge of faith, and example, are valuable.

The same underlying principles now as then, apply,
for God does not change.

Today MEET the CHALLENGE as the prophets did; EXPECT the power as they did; CONFESS your weakness as Elijah did, but be VERY VALIANT FOR THE LORD who blesses without stint.

Do not worry, saying, HOW CAN I do this or that ? Rather REJOICE, saying, How may I now best use and show the power of God to His glory in this circumstance!

If your place is famished, seek the LORD, and do not DISBELIEVE - as the lord with did, with the King, to be trampled by circumstances - not seeing the mind of Christ.

EVEN IF you seem faced with doom, trust God and do good, for this life is eternal, as Elisha did at his death-bed.

OBSERVE the importance of faith, not to let challenges engulf you, but to engulf them in the love and grace of God, knowing that HE IS ABLE and NEVER FAILS (Zephaniah 3:5).
OPEN your eyes, like the young man with Elisha,  and see that the spiritual powers are greater than the earthly ones: your time is not to fear man, indeed "cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils" (Isaiah 2:22), but to fear God and love Him, delighting to do His will, seeking with zeal to do it lovingly, faithfully and well.

SEEK FIRST God’s kingdom, not slushing about with the snails in the odious glamours of this world, as if these things were to your taste. MEANS are from God; make sure of His purpose for you, and then DO IT with all your heart. Never engage with Gehazi, or ask this world for its valuable counsel!

NEVER be wise in your own eyes, like NAAMAN, and refuse the simply requirement of God, as if you were some savant all-knowing, rejecting the counsel of God, remembering this (Proverbs 3:5-6):


The RED is added for danger is here. It must be ALL. Indeed, it is as useless to try to be a part-time Christian, being blessed with this and that, while your heart is still unborn, or as if you want to have a God shorn, without glory, and to serve Him in shame. As well try to set up an electrical circuit, with one strand missing between two points.


A. On to Christ

This is, of course, not a survey of all that the Lord has done, for what library could contain it, even in history!

We are however looking at principles relevant to Christian Apologetics and so far have found many, and we have indeed already looked at that key feature, the Incarnation.

Before that, however, we could mention the divine outrage at the sins of Judah, not removed even after Israel in the North fell completely (on which see Ezekiel 23). While Hezekiah and Josiah were delightful moral and reforming Kings, there were few such.

It is necessary to observe that not only was Hezekiah a great moral leader, a godly king, but in his day two substantial miracles came, of enormous significance. When he was sick, nearly to his end on this earth, having called most mournfully upon the Lord in his affliction, he was heard, his life explicitly and prophetically, through Isaiah's ministry, being extended for 15 years.

Here was one of those cases, as in the ministry of Jesus Himself, where it was sudden death. The word spoken would be the fact seen, or else the prophet would be repudiated; and if the prophet, much more He whose word was that He was, as He is, the Son of God!

Indeed a sudden or any other death to Hezekiah less than 15 years away would once and for all show the falsity of the prophet who spoke. It was not just the death penalty for presumption in daring to speak in the name of the Lord, without being commissioned to do so; it was a test of purity of the word spoken, for what God says, He does. He loves due tests, and one reason is this, that in such cases they alert the wanderers to the facts! (cf. Isaiah 48), to Himself, thus to His mercy, if by any means they might escape a judgment all too well deserved from Him whose word is truth, whose way is light, who eschews darkness.

What then was the miracle used to ASSURE King Hezekiah that he would indeed live ? This in itself was both a further test of the authenticity of the prophet, and a grand signal to the faith of the king himself. It was to be a matter of changing the shadow on the sun dial from its normal positioning.

Would the king like the shadow to advance or retard 10 degrees as a sign ? asked Isaiah. It is relatively easy for it to go on, but to go back, that would be a miracle of height! was the sense of Hezekiah's reply. Thus it was caused to go back. More was in this than health, since associated with this assurance was an allied one, that the Lord would deliver the nation (Judah, of which Hezekiah was king) from the King of Assyria.

In this way, the Lord’s transcendence over astronomical magnitudes and actions was made plain, whatever method He may have used in alterings the goings or angles or incidences of forces, or whatever miracle even more sublime. After all, it is as has been noted, just like a child stretching out his hand to steady a toy train so that it does not yield to forces which would overturn it, at some corner.

The importance of this astronomical fact, in view of the grandeur of that domain, however, is intense (cf. TMR Chapter 7, Section F). Nothing is too hard for the Lord; nothing is beyond His power; nothing is outside His creation, and even sin, the spoliation by the freedom He created by will against truth and righteousness, is not beyond Him as He showed on the Cross, a far more profound exhibition of power, even that over death, than any other. It is for this reason that we find in Romans 10:9, such a thing implicitly: If you confess with your lips the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved! It is the invisible which motivates man, whether it be invisible priorities or invisible love or hatred, ambition or sense of sacred, or the Lord Himself: all his works are under his own invisible thought and hope, and this, with all else,  is under the Lord!

Let us then consider what further Isaiah had to say, with that sweet counsel which is not limited, from the Lord, but can add to specifations at will, God literally knowing all! It was to be an arithmetical addition.

Thus there came an addition of subtle and deep kind in the word of the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah, the sort you find from the counsel of the Lord, which adds exquisite flavour to it. It would be on the THIRD DAY (from the announcement of the healing) that the King would be well, able to go to worship. This of course is a type of the third day on which Christ would rise from the dead as forecast in Hosea and indicated in Leviticus, something which He Himself so often announced when He came (cf. SMR Ch. 6, pp. 472ff., Matthew 16:21, 17:23).  So did the power and grace, the pity and tenderness of the Lord, shown in a way incalculable to man, both as to the healing and its sign, alight on the ailing King.

How such a king as Manasseh could follow so closely on Hezekiah is a warning against any automatic considerations in natural heritage! (See II Kings 18-21.) However, before him, was Ahaz, one of the most torturously and ably double-minded speakers you could wish as you see in Isaiah 7, where his refusal to ACCEPT national deliverance, by faith, led to a heavy rebuke, and the glorious announcement of the virgin birth of the Messiah to come (cf. Isaiah 2, 7, 9, 11, 32, 42, 49, 50-55, 61 and see SMR pp. 770ff. ), long after his time! for which he rejected the hope of due deliverance. Only the Saviour would suffice!

As to Manasseh, he even managed that atrocity of atrocities, putting children through the fire in the 'interests' of sick religion, rather as South Australia does in its inveterate plague of the irrational teaching of evolutionism ONLY as theory on biology, re the institution of living creatures, and relativism ONLY in social science in the same sort of field! (See TMR Ch. 8 with Ch. 1.)

The divine intervention in the deliverance of godly Hezekiah from that same cruel, Assyrian nation which had swallowed up Israel in the North (Isaiah 36ff.) has already been mentioned; and to this must be added the reforming zeal of Josiah, that zestful and compassionate sovereign, whose attention to detail in the fulfilment of prophecy and cleansing of alien influences that corrupted the people, made him appear like Abraham, a very friend of God, whose work in power and quest, radiant energy and perspicuous faithfulness he executed (cf. the initial review in this chapter, and see II Kings 23:5-25 esp. v. 16).

This, it also was the power of God in action, as opportunity to repent, leadership and purging occurred, at the hand of a young king of great integrity and real pity (cf. II Chronicles 34:29-35:19). His efforts came like a heavy rain in drought, but the sins were not contained, merely distanced, while true righteousness was again given to view. So did the Lord show the truth, exhibit the distance from it and their communings with evil, and prepare their conscience for the disaster to come, yes, and the restoration to follow the discipline, 70 years later (cf. Jeremiah 25).

The removal of King Josiah then came, at a comparatively young age, a divinely moved evacuation from the humiliations which Judah was about to suffer, before she had a prophetically announced 70 year exile in Babylon for many of its people, starting around 586 B.C.. She had been  given over a century to repent, even after Israel to the North, was destroyed, that  a land with prodigiously outrageous and defiantly provocative golden calves used in religion!

Josiah's death was an explicit MERCY (cf. Isaiah 57:1 and II Kings 22:10-20 23:28-30), and it is a lesson that when someone delightful and young passes away early, there are worse things that could happen, and that God has purposes profound and delightful, not understood if you are foolish enough to be immersed in culture and money and such things.

Later the Maccabees, that amazing warrior family, threw off the yoke of Syria and gained a virtual empire of their own, thus fulfilling multiplied prophecies (cf. Obadiah 17ff., Zephaniah 2:7), and meeting a Syrian blasphemy of a high order in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes, with military precision. Of those things, some mention is made in our coverage of the vast and long-range prophecies of Daniel (see Highway of Holiness Ch. 3 and esp. *1), but here they are noted merely as a prelude to the coming of Christ, serving as a witness to pre-specified divine intervention,  in the FULFILMENT of prophecy, after the canon closed, and a preparation, through continued divine intervention on a stated program, for the coming of Christ for the date assigned (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), itself most precise!

However, one cannot wisely omit the declarations of Daniel, in the divine name, concerning the date of the death of Christ (Highway of Holiness - HH - Ch. 4), and the sequence of Empires to come, specified from Babylon through Media-Persia to Rome, and the events leading on to the very end time of the general resurrection following the death of the Messiah, which he, a captive in Babylon, also foretold in great pathos and precision (cf. HH Chs. 2, 3 and 10). In this way, the coming of Christ was not only heralded, but the intervening imperial series, with much detail even on Antiochus Epiphanes’ time, when the national crisis overflowed, but to victory as also exhibited in Daniel (cf. HH Chs. 2, 8, 10).

The sufferings were by no means omitted, and thus the preliminary coverage and preview, clear in many things since Moses (Deuteronomy 18, 32-33, Leviticus 26), and David (e.g. Psalm 2, 16, 22, 40, 110 cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25), as in Isaiah (cf. With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength) went on from multiple sources to the actuality that was Christ. The foothills were shown, the mount itself, sun-crested, and the results, all were there, right to the offer of the Gospel SO made available in Christ, to the Gentiles! (cf. SMR Ch. 9).

B. From Apostles to False Apostles

After Christ's plenary session and cover of sin for ever (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 3, Repent or Perish Ch. 2,Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix IV, SMR Ch. 6, Biblical Blessings Ch. 16), like the unveiling of the sun in imagery, and the unveiling of the Son in fact, there came the Apostolic Age (Acts) with its own prodigies of DIVINE INTERVENTION. Later, when Romanism came to swallow things up with merciless political and military power wielded agaisnt its opposition (John 16:2, I Timothy 4:1ff. alerting God's people to this heresy, predictively) , as Islam did also (part of Christ's warning in Matthew 24:24), God delivered His people again and again, earlier with the Franks (Battle of Tours 732 A.D. against Islam), and later with the Reformation.

This last was a spiritual war with a spiritual result which went past all armies, though there was indeed a 30 years war especially involving Germany; for it brought hearts in many nations to God, people many of whom co-operated as Rome's evil waned at the blood-letting level, so apparent in the centuries of the Inquisition.

Reinforcing, they prevailed; prevailing, they reinforced.

Later came the liberals, with the declining sun of the Age setting more and more on neo-orthodox and increasingly formalistic and dysfunctional neo-evangelicals, with the stress on the NEO, the sects, and  the last while they had predecessors over the Age, were ideally satanically suited in the multitude of churches, for invasion purposes, snatching the unguarded and weak, where form rather than faith worked, the blatant, the arrogant.

Weaknesses in contemporary churches were readily exploited by grandiose schemes if not schemas, foisting works into salvation, philosophy into truth and evanescent dreams into the everlasting Gospel. The Bible received these distortions, contortions and additions, subtractions and extractions, as a rainproof coat receives rain.

All these have been exposed*2, but they serve as tests, for the fine line cracks appearing in the tails of modern aeroplanes remind one that wind-tunnels have a purpose, to FIND OUT weaknesses. What calls itself faith is tested (cf. I Peter 1:6-12, 4:12ff., I John 4:1ff., II Peter 2, II Timothy 3, Matthew 7:15ff., 24:24).  So do these wolves and invaders of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, tear in vain, for what they gain is but skin.

But what is it like ? It is like those who would skim off the flotsam from the oceans of faith.
Exposed, the continue their work; shamed, they continue in guilt. Their gain is small; their loss is infinite.

Predicted, they proceed to their end. The word of God continues to be fulfilled by their errors, rushing like storm waters to the drains as it foretold, by its own predictions, its own reviews and findings, which never cease to stand, when all else falls. The Church of Jesus Christ, which loves His word and neither alters not adds to it, reduces nor invades it, but rests in Him upon it, this continues as it has continued from apostolic times, in faith, in His word, in truth, now as it has from the first.

The gates of hell did NOT prevail, as Christ predicted of those founded on Him as the Rock (Matthew 16:17-19 with Psalm 62:1-4, Isaiah 44:8, 26:1-4, 17:10, Deuteronomy 4, 15, 18, 30-31), for as the Bible continually asserts, besides Him is no other Rock; and by faith alone can He be reached for that security and stability which is one of the prerogatives of spiritual placement by covenant, in God (Ephesians 2:1-10, Hebrew 11:6, Romans 3:23ff., Galatians 3, 5).

How they tried, these gates to overcome those in Christ the Rock (I Corinthians 10:3-4), there placed through faith by grace, itself the gift of God: how they laboured, these erratic assessors when they tried to change the rock to a sinner called pope, or to a prophet called Muhammad, both of whom HAD to be followed, though alas, only to doom deserved for misplaced faith in those who acted as if to displace the irreplaceable, to imitate the power and place of the inimitable, or to relegate the Lord by their words, indeed by their swords and inquisitorial implements of torture.

They tried, the world was agape; they drew near to totalitarian control: but they failed, and the Church escaped.

This is merely one phase of the conflict, for there is indeed spiritual war (Ephesians 6), though for the Christian, it is fought with spiritual weapons, as Paul says, not with armies as Christ forbad (John 18:36 with Matthew 26:52-56). If, said Christ, My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would fight; but now My kingdom is not of this kind!

Nations may fight to protect their shores, but the kingdom of heaven is of another kind. The warfare here is both more profitable and more enduring (cf. Isaiah 33:6, 17ff.). Indeed, just as the sorts of flagellation of Romanism and Islam are in the first case depicted particularly (see I Timothy 4:1ff., Revelation 13 , with Regal Rays … Ch. 9),  and in the second generically (Matthew 24:24), as shown by the prophecies appointed for that Church which is the body of Christ, and hence obeys its head, so it is a long time before His return.

Yet the Gospel does not change (Romans 1:16, Galatians 1:6-9, Ephesians 1:10, TMR Ch. 3, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17), its transformative power is not dulled, its grief at Christ’s sacrificed and joy at the resurrection of His very body do not set, but rather continue to glow like a sunset that does not end, till the dawn comes. If the darkness intervene for a little, it is that its quality be exposed, for all things are tested, just as all will be judged.

Thus the time is not short, and the test endures like a 3 hour examination for the student; for now for this world, the time covers  these last 2000 years. This in II Peter 3:9 is explicit. If in this eschatalogical context, a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, we have had two of them!

The Lord is not slack, says Peter of this very thing predictively, but longsuffering. He has plans fit for eternity. They are not hurried, because His people are harried. Faith is tried (I Peter 1:6-8); and antifaith is exposed, indeed disfaith shows its wares for what they are (cf. SMR pp. 172, 774, 999ff.).

It is intriguing how this is shown. Peter declares that the time will come when many will mock: Where is the promise of His coming ? (II Peter 3:3-5), they sneer; and indeed this they do, like marionettes following the prophetic script, just as it is written.

That signifies a long Church Age. Yet it is one, as we shall see, whose last times are so well defined that one may be well prepared, well in advance for its termination!

Again, the apostle directly declares that people will think it long, that the Lord has not come back in His regal glory; but the fact is, he continues, that God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. As Christ put it, the world in this Age has to continue till the Gospel has gone to EVERY NATION: it is THEN that "the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).

The end ? His return for His people, yes and in His time, for judgment (Matthew 25:31ff., 24:30-51, I Thessalonians 4, II Thessalonians 1, 2).

In the interim, the gifts would operate AT HIS discretion (I Cor. 12:1-11), for He is "distributing to each one individually, as he will". Sufferings would mount for His people (Matthew 10:16-26). "It is enough," said Christ, "that a disciple be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub {a horrendous devil idol, witlessly worshipped by some, cf. John 8:48}, how much more will they call those of His household!"

Abundantly has the blood of the saints been shed, in the Inquisition in England, in Spain, in Italy, in France, in such atrocities as that of St Bartholomew's Day, a breach of honour and a blood letting of monumental social and political proportions, celebrated by a papal medal (cf. SMR  755, 954); and is it even now being shed by Islam, as in Ambon. The sufferings and blood of the missionaries is part of the picture gallery of the church, painted in red, but on a stark white background (cf. Revelation 7:13-15); and not all who are missioning for Christ, are in jungles or foreign lands. The paintings continue to be hung, more and more in the capacious galleries!

If you can't win fair, thus in this world, the endeavour often is to win foul; and mighty and numerous have been the efforts from this and that religion and ideology, such as the godless pagan depersonalising Communism, the earlier rampages of the Roman Empire before Constantine, and the slaughters in Africa from Islam. It is not by accident that Islam now virtually controls so much of its North of that impoverished land; for it is by arms they have initially seized it, religiously oriented arms.

C. From Vile Violence to Insidious Subtleties

But the power of the Lord has not been dimmed. In England for long, the power of an Empire, far from Christian, but at least with much of the trappings and some of the people like salt giving it taste of the same, aided the spread of the Gospel by missionaries willing to be slain, not to slay; and their testimony is like a flower-bed in the Church, the China Inland Mission in its day having some 600 sacrificial souls, bringing Christ to the world. In the United States in the 19th century there were 'revivals' so vast, so impelling, so amazing that they seized the nation, became high-profile subjects for the secular press, and exhibited in changed lives and lasting continuities, the power of God (cf. Dr Edwin’s Orr’s  The Second Evangelical Awakening cf. Sprague's Lectures on Revival). It has been a long cross-country race, not a Tour de France with bicycles, but a Tour du Monde with lives at stake, bringing the Gospel ,as  must be, and has been, and is being done (Matthew 28:29-20).

Then there was to be - and there has of course duly come, as is the unbreakable custom of the word of God (cf. SMR pp. 623ff.) - a vast delusion, an inrush of insult to Christ within bodies called Christian, false wolves roving in lamb's clothing as had to be, and now is (cf. Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2, II Timothy 3), a time expressly foretold in terms of the end of this Church Age, as having characterisability, a symptom that His return is near. Indeed, in Revelation 13, in that arena specialising in the developments to the return of the Lord (Revelation 19), we see a potent and influential beast looking like a lamb, dressed as one (that is, ostensibly Christian), but speaking like a dragon.

How has this been fulfilled as the day approaches, in type and in spirit! (cf. SMR pp. 684-706, News 121 -122),  and indeed the very aggregation of powers in the WCC and the Unification of Religions, in the UN seeking an accommodation in the various religions, and so on, this is a tribute to the time of the End, when misused religion will with force, from international authority, seek to impel all men to ONE religion with ONE spirit and ONE authority, vested in an earthly power, biblically depicted as alight from hell itself (cf. SMR pp.. 750Bff., Revelation 13, 17). As Revelation shows, this will have authority as its garments, rigour as its rule, demand as its tenor and mastery of mankind as its intention.

To this, then, we move and have moved like a rocket set off on a program, and fascinating indeed are the numerous and increasing ways of the world, as it lurches to the ‘lie’ (II Thessalonians 2:4-10), the fictitious fraud of delusive desire. Now it is seen in culture, now in the secular education system (cf. TMR Ch. 8), now in university tilts in philosophy, more and more assumed, on a pagan basis, illogical but lively for the obtaining of professional posts, dastardly but dynamic, something the author has personally verified intimately enough. It prompts pride and power to replace reason and reality. It is convenient so to act, it feels,  as fly-like, it is enmeshed in the tangled webs of futile philosophy. This is really a sort of streamlining, it thinks, apt for its survival. But what is it like, this screed of the self ? It resembles one who shoots the other occupants of a life-boat, to ensure that one at least survives: in this case ? himself.

One can see the 'logic' of it, but the presuppositions on which it is based, these resemble the lore of rats, the teeth of tigers, the den of thieves. If truth however can be molested, it cannot be murdered; for Christ is He, and once slain, now alive for evermore (Revelation 1:18-19). This is where the power lies, but it is also where suffering is to be found; but who, loving life, would sell what it is, for what is found useful for the puny panache and delusive power of aggressive mutilative 'peace' without glory, earthlings posing as godlets (Psalm 82), their own moral arbiters, judges needing no assessment, self-declared, spiritual vagrants of pseudo-valour, awaiting judgment ?

Who ? Very many, but like an army, the church stands, not to slay, but to be slain if necessary as in the love of Christ, it continues now in this land, in this format, now in that, with the Gospel of Christ, the power of God and the truth which alone is valid, against which nothing can or does stand, experimentally and actually, in conflict (SMR, TMR, A Spiritual Potpourri, Wake up World! Stepping Out for Christ). Some people would rather be alive on this earth, than right. Some would rather live a lie than be slain for the truth. Some would like to worship the god of this world, as Paul calls him, the prince of this world, as Christ depicts him (John 14:30-31, II Corinthians 4:4), who indeed fights against the truth (Ephesians 6:10-12), but in vain.

The laboratory is open; the students work. Soon the test concludes. It is not in the end calamity that it is so; but the conduct of the purpose of history.

This, however, this invasion of viral untruth even into what is called 'church' so that many formerly great organisations fall, is what was foretold, forecast and has come. It does not destroy the church; it filters it, making it once more a great sacrifice to be in it, if you follow the word of God. But that ? is it not what was foretold, is it not the way Christ showed at the outset; and if in one phase of our Age, the sacrifices for many were mainly voluntary, nevertheless they were personal enough. At the end of the Age, however, as with Peter, who went where he would not wish, as Christ foretold of his death, the sacrifices will become more and more widespread in their cost in flesh, in finance and in power.

Yet the power of God is as far beyond this sick spasm of a dying world, a mere mockery, as if health past pep pills in its power. Yes and the contrast between true faith in the One whose power is attested these millenia, and these debilitating delusions which mar man more and more, is greater than this; for the power of God is infinite and eternal, His word continual in its verification, while the way of this world is weak, murderous and deceitful. Even now the masses of corporate fraud astonish it, markets fall, confidence weakens. How could so many possibly be so corrupt ? the investor says to himself! Yet it is so. The world is not religious really, except where it is profitable IN this world. The treasures of God are lightly esteemed now, as they were when Christ, the source of unsearchable riches (Colossians 1:27, Ephesians 3:8, Proverbs 8:12-18), was crucified.

They did it then with nails; they do it now in their hearts, crucifying afresh Him who dies, as if they are fixed on an endless shame. All this was to be, and is now. Not only is the prophecy of Christ being fulfilled, as of the apostles; but even those long-range forecasts of Old Testament prophets likewise are reaching their term, and coming to flower, like those trees which flower only after a long period, but are beautiful when they do, like the tulip tree, when the time arrives (cf. , Isaiah 49:6, Daniel 9, Ezekiel 36-37 with It Bubbles .. 10, SMR Appendix A).

Indeed, just as prophecies written before the Maccabees were fulfilled in their era, so prophecies of Christ and Old Testament prophets concerning our own Age are being fulfilled, so consummating the Age with a continued invisible but highly specific DIVINE INTERVENTION. For in this case, the word is being DONE, to the letter (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8), and even the events centring increasingly in Europe are foretold, and have been rather closely followed on this site (see Index, Empires - Europe).

Again, at His discretion, the Lord unveils gifts which as with Elijah, show His power, though in this case, only the ACT is seen, since the Bible is already written (cf. SMR Appendix D). They are not the less impressive for that, for the Lord loves order; and if He chooses a method, such as writing of it all two millenia ago, just as He wrote of the first coming of Christ over one millenium before He came, in the Old Testament, then that is all the more impressive in this, that so long a time is shown so completely to be under the advance control of the Lord.

Obviously, if any ONE THING went apart from His plan, many would be the mounting consequences; but just as not ONE JOT OR TITTLE will pass from His word till all is fulfilled (cf. Matthew 5:17ff.), so nothing passes in history to frustrate it. What IS frustrated, and that continually, is the revolutionary activity of the 4 imperial conspiracies*3, Romanism, Islam, Communism and religiously advancing Humanism.

Each has had its fray, spilled its all but incredible lakes of blood, shown cruelty beyond almost any imagination, disregard of principles and absence of sustainable truth (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H, More Marvels ... Ch. 4, and *3 below).

The follies of the West and the violences of the West accumulate, in accord with the divine plan (cf. II Peter 2, Matthew 24:24, II Thessalonians 2, SMR Chs. 8, 10, pp. 611ff.), as apostasy  mounts, and  with it the whole urbanely diseased spectacle of rotten morals, human bound, rotten religion, culturally oriented (cf. *3 below, SMR pp. 422Qff., The Other News  5, Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3, Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 7, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 15, *1). The  rigor mortis of the earth, its spasm is setting in, and its mode is settling in, so that its chasm of conscience, often repressed, continues to expand downwards, as if in pursuit of the bottomless pit. The renewal of life remains the necessity, now as in the days of Elijah and Elisha, for Israel and for Judah; now for this whole wide world.

We need no more definitive WORD from God to mankind, because the word has already long covered the case, like some scientist of 1000 years ago, telling us about cloning; except that, of course, this is no scientist, for they seek from natural things, knowledge, but God, who knowing the material, the intellectual, the academic, the scientific, the spiritual and the moral, all indeed, has no slightest difficulty in telling it as it is before knowledge blooms, a small bloom but a fine one, in man; so that man, seeing the hand of God, may believe in Him. Always, there is that combination of discretionary INTERVENTION, verbal, historical, both, more, and PATIENCE (II Peter 3:9). It rather reminds you of fishing ...

D.   The Everlasting does not End:
the Gospel of God does not Move
In Empirical Fact:

Man is Seeking a Bull-dozer in Vain

Always, likewise, there is that atmosphere of  beauty, that bloom of peace, that brilliance of mercy, enshrined in the gospel, that everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14:6), touched at Eden (Genesis 3:15), typified by Moses (Leviticus, Deuteronomy 18), who forecast its scion, spotlighted by David in the Psalms (2, 16, 22, 40, 72, 110 for example*4), exhibited in exactitude by Isaiah (40, 42, 49-55, 61 for example*5), envisioned with delight by Jeremiah (23), exposed by Micah (5), taken to its last elements by Zechariah (3:9, 6, 12:10), who saw past the crucifixion to the return of the pierced Messiah (14), delineated in celestial principle by Hosea (13:14) and deftly declaimed by Daniel (9:24-27) who even dated the time of the first advent of Christ*6.

It has been prepared like the Spring, loved in Winter, proclaimed in the Autumn and continues in Summer; in all the ages and stages, it is there. Of these things, the reader may see more in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17 and TMR Ch. 3; but our present point is simple. The GOSPEL, the CHRIST and the WORD of God alike, have been declared, have come, have been pre-announced, have been culminated with the atonement of the only Saviour, who, being God, after all, is not going to change (Isaiah 43:10-11, Philippians 2).

Hence it is no surprise that Paul in Galatians 6:14 forbids glorying except in the Cross*7, that vast meeting of sin and mercy, judgment and joy, where the sin is borne for all who place it on Christ, who are His, and the sentence is cancelled, the friendship with God for which man was made, restored throughout the eternity which is the glory, with God, for those who become His children, and natural to our estate though sin had robbed it (Romans 5:1-11, 8, 3:23ff., Ephesians 1:11, 2:1-12).

We need no other Gospel than this with a lineage of millenia, the Lord Jesus Christ, that Lord of glory, at its Head as He was at its feet, washing not only the feet of the disciples with water (John 13), but their hearts with blood (Titus 2:11ff., 3:4ff., Ephesians 1:4-7).

But what does this last mean ? It means that blood signifies life poured out, that He poured out His life to death, as Isaiah says (53), and on Him is laid the iniquity of ALL who are to be HEALED, as the prophet insists.

There is nothing more to come (cf. Ephesians 1:10, Hebrews 9:12ff., 9:27ff.), when the blood is given; there is no knowledge past it, no wisdom without it, no addition to it. Thus Paul not only concludes the matter in Galatians 1 with THIS Gospel of THIS Christ for THIS life lived in THIS way and THIS death of this same Jesus, but for all time announces cursedness, not blessing if ANY OTHER Gospel be taken, by angel - Moroni would be a good example - or by man, yes by the apostle himself who did not invent it, but proclaimed it from God as did all the others over millenia, now in this now in that aspect.

There is nothing more to come in Gospel, but there is ONE to come, even the ONE who CAME, and His return presses on the world (Hebrews 9:27-28 cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8), as a dawn on the horizon, tinting it, with a purity untainted, and becoming brighter till the new day is aroused and in the power of God flushes its power upon the earth, as vitally different from the night preceding, as light from the darkness. In the night, the Christians have had to shine (Philippians 2:15, John 9:4, 14:30, II Thessalonians 1, Revelation 20 cf. SMR pp. 502ff.); but now when He comes, the sun arises, indeed its Maker Himself, and the celestial covers the earth with its glory. As Habakkuk put it from the Lord,"The earth shall be covered with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (2:14).

Now is the last phase before Christ's Second Coming (Matthew 24:30-51, Thess. 4, II Thess. 1, Acts 1:7-11). It is reminiscent of the Second Front for so long talked of, in the 1940's. To many, there may have seemed no apparent action, but in fact it was so long prepared for, with many preliminaries, including the confusion of the enemy by fake camps made to appear active in England, in order to distract the enemy from the facts, and so increase the surprise in the actual site chosen for the landing!

So here: the LORD is on RECORD that His coming, His return in regality will be a surprise (Matthew 24:45ff., esp. v. 50, I Thessalonians 5:3), not only to the ungodly, but to fake Christians (Matthew 25:1ff. where in the parable the false ones ALSO are dressed as if part of the group awaiting the bridegroom). Yet WHY does He delay ? some will ask in weakness, others scoffing. Yet that question was already answering some two millenia ago by the apostle Peter (II Peter 3:9). It is that the fulness of the Gospel come first, so that many may be spared.

II Peter 3:4ff. forecasts this reaction (cf. News 74, Answers to Questions Ch.  5, Joyful Jottings  8), this response in terms of a day with the Lord, in this setting, being like a thousand years. It may seem long, this waiting, but to Him there is a purpose, as with an Army General, a strategy, a thing to be wrought, a step, and another, as the word gets out to all the world, as a witness to all regions, even this glorious Gospel (Matthew 24:14). It is Christ who has indicated from His words on this earth when He first came, that it was only THEN that "the end will come"!

When the flood came (cf. News 1), there was a certain finality about it, ws there not!  It would seem that this would be the feeling at the time. When however the LORD comes, not an aqueous inundation, but a Judicial Appearance in the midst of daft scheming and inane endeavours to run the world without Him (cf. Revelation 19:19, II Thessalonians 2), then that would have an even greater finality; for the destruction of flesh is horrendous, but the devastation of the spirit is of an unutterable desolation (cf. Matthew 22:13, Mark 9), an appalling illumination of darkness, to make it all too visible!

It is now, even as it was for Israel. The present parallels the events that led to the destruction of Israel in the 8th century B.C., for that also was preceded by an enormous flurry of prophetic activity, with Isaiah, then Jeremiah and Ezekiel offering, appealing, exhorting, encouraging and warning in all the orchestral tones of human emotion and concern, overlaid with the divine tenderness and charge, with no little addition of miraculous indication, though as the appetite and will diminished, these became somewhat less as the words were fulfilled, and these themselves became the major intervention.

Thus history itself became  the exhibit and warrant from the Lord (cf. Micah 2:6-7, Joel 2:11), both in deliverance where promised (Isaiah 36ff.) and in ruin, where declared, all tenderness rejected, every appeal disdained!

  • Now in our own contemporary period,  there is an enormous multitude of prophecies and these are being so fulfilled in such detail and so recently, and over decades before, that there could be no time in all of history that the author would rather live, than this present, except it were when Christ was on earth, provided one could have been with Him!*8.

  • Certainly there have been miraculous events also, such as that amazing series of miraculous healings in the ten thousands, the incurable a specialty, through Elsie Salmon the Methodist Missionary's wife*9, in South Africa, at the end of and following World War II (along with many frauds elsewhere, in many cases, just as there were false prophets before and many of these are predicted in Matthew 24:24); and Dunkirk has all the appearance of one. Yet as when Israel neared the end, it is the word of God which chiefly speaks, though, to be sure, this also speaks of His gifts to man (I Corinthians 14-15, Romans 12, Ephesians 4).

These have been operative through the ages, so that there is a vast hinterland of Christian writing and action which adorns history, and gives it some sense of humanity, which is one of the results of abiding in the Creator, who made us what we are, and can keep us what we should be, when once again we are in Him, with Him and for Him, through the uncreated Redeemer, Jesus Christ (Philippians 2, Hebrews 1, Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10, Colossians 1 cf. SMR pp. 532ff.).

It is He who,  invested with flesh, endued with power, enabled with grace, evacuating eternity for the needs of time, came and wrought what man needed, and is due soon to return. For that we are seeing a veritable spectacular of fulfilments, inordinate in degree, massive in kind, constant in convergence.

For  a complementary treatment of these two great prophets and the instruction to be gained from their works, the testimony from a considerations of their place,

see Jesus Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God, Ch. 6.

This, with the Appendix in the same volume, gives a continuing historical coverage in sequence, moving through much of Kings and Chronicles, to Christ, and then glancing upward to the coming times, and the present.


*1See also News 87.

*1A This is shown in detail in John 6:41-59:

"The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread which came down from heaven.' And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?"

"Jesus therefore answered and said to them,

'Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

'Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.'

"The Jews therefore quarrelled among themselves, saying, 'How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?'

"Then Jesus said to them,

'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven - not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.'

"These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum."

It is important to realise that in John 6:51, Christ gives the aorist tense in Greek, which indicates that if anyone should ONCE eat of this bread, he would live for ever. It is not in this instance, present continuous but past aorist. Moreover, there is the quite clear contrast between the divinely supplied MANNA given in the wilderness to the wandering Israel, and the passing nature of that, and the celestially donated Christ, bearer of eternal life itself, of whom, as a sacrificial gift on the one hand, and the very life of God provided, on the other (as in I John 1:1-4), one would partake and NOT DIE (6:50). Again, in 6:50 is the aorist.

It is just the same in John 4:14, when the same tense indicates that if anyone should ONCE drink of the water He gave, that person would NEVER thirst again, in fact, the water would be a well springing up, to eternal life. He further specifies meaning  in John 7:37-38. In that case of John 4, there is the obvious contrast: you come often and laboriously for THIS water, thirst again and repeat the whole process; but if you drink of THIS water which I give, never will you thirst again.

It is the same in John 6:51, where Christ further identifies the bread as HIS FLESH which He would give for the life of the world. It is now perfectly manifest even to observation that this world will and can live in no other way. Being the world, it will not do it. Being created, it must do it. Hence its destruction comes (II Peter 3) when its "evil works" will be burnt up with it.

*2 Many are the excellent exposés on such topics, from such authors as J. Oswald Sanders, Van Baleen on sects, while Van Til on Neo-orthodoxy and a whole galaxy of great scholars on Liberalism, not least  Professor J Gresham Machen and Professor E. J. Young and in many regards, Professor Gleason Archer,  mingle with such a crowd of estimable names such as Professor C. S. Lewis and the redoubtable and remarkable scholars,  Keil and Delitzsch, that it might take a work to list and consider them.

God has wrought wonders through his saints through the ages in answering every challenge. The Reformation was merely one of the great ones, in which military power was used to force what neither reason nor revelation could condone, in the case of papal armies and the so-called but alas miscalled, Holy Roman Empire!

See SMR pp. 1032ff., With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Chs. 9, 11, News 121, 122, Things Old and New Chs. 2, 5, 7, Appendix, and Index ‘sects’. See also SMR pp. 68ff., 377ff., 712ff., 1004ff., 1181ff., 1185ff., 857ff.,  with indexes on neo-orthodoxy and neo-evangelicism.

*3 Cf. Beauty of Holiness  7, Deliverance from Disorientation 7, 8, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 30, 18, News 69, Galloping Events Ch. 7, News 121, 122, and Regal Rays ... Chs. 6, 12, 13 with SMR pp. 743, 750Bff.), Little Things Ch. 5.

*4 See Joyful Jottings 22-25.

*5 See With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Chs. 4 and following.

*6 See Highway of Holiness Ch. 4.

*7 See The Kingdom of Heaven, Appendix.

*8  See SMR Ch. 8, Answers to QuestionsCh. 5

 and references therein.

*9 See SMR p. 339.