In the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:6,10;ch.7), we read of the priest Melchisedec being a
type of Christ. The writer of that epistle shows how the detailed actions of Abraham, in interaction with Melchisedec, taught important
lessons. The account is a historical event, but it was carefully orchestrated by God to be a "prophetic" message. We are told there
are many other "types" in scripture.
As I've read the accounts of such as Samson, Elijah and Elisha, I have been struck with the details that fairly shout "TYPES!" I've
read them all my life and seen there is much depth to be gleaned. I have also known that if God put those lessons there for us, He
didn't intend for them to be so complex we could never figure the lesson. I have always wanted to know what these lessons were so I
undertook to prayerfully seek God's face to understand these messages. I started with Samson. The messages were so carefully
constructed, I found it amazing. After going through this I decided to tackle Elijah to be followed by Elisha. The message you are
about to read is a perusal of the types found in the life of Elijah. May God bless it to you as you see the intricate workings of
God in the life of His men.
ELIJAH THE MAN?
Elijah: The name itself is a compound name of God as Creator and God of Covenant. The God of all mankind. Gentiles and Jews. Elijah
is a type of God the Father.
The account of Elijah begins in 1 Kings 17:1 and flows through to 2 Kings 2:11. This is where Elisha's ministry takes over.
All we know of his origins is that he was a "Tishbite" in Gilead. It is not known for certain the meaning of the base of "Tishbite".
The term tells us he was from a town that likely had the name of Tesheb. "Tesheb" possibly meaning, "stranger". If this is so, we can
certainly see how God is a stranger, unknown to men and comes seeking to be revealed to those who are strangers to Him.
He was described as an hairy man girded with a leather girdle. This girdle was obviously unique since others trying to describe him
fell upon this particular piece of clothing. If all men, or most, wore a leather girdle in those days, it would have been too
unimportant to use as a distinguishing piece of attire that definitely identified him. The type of Elijah that preceded Jesus Christ,
John the Baptist, was noted for wearing a distinguishing leather girdle. In other words, these messengers were girded about with
the business of the sacrificial lamb that gave its life for that device of girding.
The description "hairy" is also significant. I believe the issue this reveals is the Nazarite commitment Elijah had. He was completely
dedicated to God. Hence, like the long hair we find on Samson, it was a symbol of that separation apart to God. Later we will
see Elisha mocked as a "bald head". Why is this significant? Again it is my expectation that this shows that Nazarite commitment.
Elisha had just taken the position of Elijah's replacement, and having done so, it would have been logical for the taking on of
that office to begin with a Nazarite vow of commitment. That is seen outwardly in the shaving off of the hair at the beginning
of the service. Hence, Elisha started out as "a bald head" and Elijah, after an extended service was "hairy".
LESSON ONE: ELIJAH DEMONSTRATES WHAT GOD REJECTS AND ACCEPTS
(Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 16:30-34 and chapter 17)
The first account is a series of miracles that continue to flow for the unfolding of a single basic lesson.
Elijah makes his appearance immediately following the account of the great wickedness Israel had been going in. The verse preceding
Elijah's entrance is the account of the rebuilding of the forbidden city of Jericho. This city is also the last city Elijah was told
to visit before departing this world. It is a city that is attractive to men but despised of God. Though God forbids, men still build,
no matter what the cost.
It would be profitable to take a momentary look into the setting for Elijah's appearance. In the verse immediately preceding Elijah's
appearance we read:
In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof
in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.
1 Kings 16:34
We need to consider who this "Hiel" is. I see him to be a type of the Adversary himself - Satan. As Satan was "Lucifer" before his
fall. So we see this illustrated in the rebel who built the accursed and forbidden city. "Hiel" means "God is Living". His name bears
the significance that he was one whose purpose was to testify to God's Glory. He cam from Bethel. Bethel means, "House of God". Bethel
was a Benjamite city. Benjamin meaning "Son of the right hand". This Hiel left his position in the "House of God", who focused our
attention on God by his very name. From here, Hiel rebelled against God and laid the foundation of his city of rebellion in Abiram.
Abiram meaning "Father of Elevation". What else is this but the father of pride? The devil is the father of the proud. That is the
very foundation of his rebellion. The conclusion was sealed in the death of Segub. Segub meaning, "might, protection". The devil was
in the place of being one of the covering cherubs in heaven. A position of "might and protection". Satan built his fortress of
rebellion at the loss of his position, just as Hiel put up the gates of his city at the loss of his son of this name.
Upon this verse we see God making His debut amongst men, in the prevailing iniquity, in the type of Elijah. He makes that appearance
with the launching out words of surely holding to what Hiel had once declared, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth".
Starting in 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah comes with judgment from the hand of God. There is to be a period of drought upon the land until
Elijah intervenes in prayer. Upon this pronouncement, he disappears from sight. The king Ahab begins to panic when the process of
time reveals Elijah's words were a sure thing. He begins a search for Elijah, but in the wrong way. He searches as an unrepentant
man who wants to see God, so he can get the hand of judgment lifted. His search is diligent. He even sends ambassadors into other
countries getting oaths from the kings of those lands of not having seen Elijah, when they gave negative reports.
Elijah, however had initially gone to the brook Cherith (which means trench). He is in hiding. God is so near, yet so far to
unrepentant man. Cherith is a brook that is just outside the forbidden city of Jericho. Just as man builds his forbidden ambitions, he
cannot see God, but God can see him. While man walks in that way, God is in hiding from the view of man.
Elijah is cared for by the ravens. Ravens are birds that live in the desolate wilderness. They look like large crows. Crows however
enjoy human companionship. Ravens do not like the companionship and choose to live in the clefts of the wilderness. You could kind of
think of them like a smaller, black eagle. In the wilderness, God provides for Elijah via these birds on the outskirts of humanity.
They can easily bring in the necessary meat and bread. For water, Elijah is provided with the water of this wilderness in the brook.
Eventually the brook dries and God sends Elijah out of the country to a Phoenician city between Tyre and Sidon. The town is Zarephath
(Meaning "a place of refining". Refining is a process of purifying. It uses fire to separate the good from the bad.) It belonged to
Sidon (Zidon - fortress) and was near to the coast, north of Israel.
As Elijah comes to Zarephath, right off he asks the widow he meets for water. She goes to get it. He asks for what she could give, then
for what she couldn't. When he asks for bread, he gets the heartbreaking story of hopelessness. Elijah comes with a message of hope,
but this is not freely given. For her to receive God's supply, she first has to respond in an act of faith. She doesn't have much
left, but that little she does have, must first be given away. If her faith was misplaced, she would lose even that last little
morsel. If properly placed, she would be abundantly cared for. Did this woman of a foreign, Gentile nation have saving faith? She
did! The result was she gave to God's messenger the sacrifice of faith and the supply was miraculously given. Both her and her
son's needs, as well as the prophets were meet for the entire time of need. Not only was meal provided, oil was also provided.
God gives richly!
Shortly we see the widow's son dies. The result, the woman immediately manifests a heart of "the fear of the Lord". This is excellent!
She gets a response of mercy. She had to give her son to Elijah. He did not just take him. She made a choice and sought help in the
right direction and in the right manner.
In her loss of her son, death took the boy. She did not give him. That was out of her control. Her act of choice was to give over what
little she had, the dead son into the hands of Elijah. Upon her relinquishing that sacrifice, Elijah accepted it and took it up on
high into the loft, his residing place. The child was taken and laid in the resting place of the prophet. God takes us, dead and
without hope, and places us in Christ. That is, in His Son in heaven (the prophet's place of rest overhead). That type of substitution
for those dead in sins (the woman's cry), the giving up of faith to Elijah, the sharing the place and then the resurrection.
Taking a brief step back (1 Kings 17:20), I want to note that Elijah did not challenge the woman's cry of distress in her
consciousness of sin. There was no self-righteousness of his little "group" here, just a serious facing of issues and calling
In 17:21 we see Elijah did what seems to be a rather unusual action. Even gruesome from an uninformed perspective. He stretched
himself upon the child three times. There is another lesson to be gleaned in this. This shows substitution in death three days
for the resurrection. Just what Jesus did for all men. In verse 23 we see the answer of resurrection comes down from heaven to
In 17:24 we see a marvelous statement! The miracle the widow had been receiving of bread and oil was one thing, but the miracle
of resurrection convinced - without question - this woman of who he was and the reliability of his words. This is much like
Jesus' supply of bread in the wilderness. The people followed him for the bread, but when He confronted them with the partaking
of His body and blood, they were offended. Bread is one thing, death and resurrection is quite another. To the unbroken, the
bread is delighted in and the resurrection is offensive. To the truly broken, the widow confessing her sins, there is the
delight of the bread but the complete conversion and rejoicing in complete faith when introduced to death and resurrection.
In the entire Old Testament, under great miracle workers, such as Moses and Joshua, powerful men such as Samuel, David, Solomon
and Isaiah and amazing examples such as Job, Noah and Daniel we only encounter three resurrections from the dead. Once with Elijah
and two times with Elisha. These all have strong lessons to be gleaned. Looking just at Elijah now, we need to note some important
points. The child of the widow was a natural child of a destitute widow. God gives life, not to those born of the best lineage
but to those who are destitute and humble in this world. Jew or Gentile matters not. God is looking for the heart state that is
right towards Him. In Elijah's account, the focus is on the kind of person who receives God's resurrection gift. The son was
not a type of Christ. That illustration is to be found in Elisha's account with the child of promise born of a Jew.
This brings us to the close of the first series of events that is a primary lesson God intends us to see.
In summary, we see God hides Himself from the wicked as His judgment begins. On the other hand, He manifests Himself to the
afflicted stranger who humbles him or herself. God comes near and saves the one while hiding and judging the other. May we
never forget this lesson.
LESSON TWO: ELIJAH DEMONSTRATES THE GOSPEL AND PREPARING MAN FOR IT
(Scripture Reading: 1 Kings chapter 18)
1 Kings 18 takes off with king Ahab of Israel launching a search for water with Obadiah. Ahab means "father's brother, or uncle"
and Obadiah means "Servant of Jah". It is at this time that God sends Elijah back to visit Ahab. It is important to note that Elijah
appeared to Obadiah first. We see that he was "in the way searching" for water when Elijah met him and Obadiah knew him. Obadiah was
a "God-fearing man", just as his name declared. We can see the basic lesson that God will meet the man who has a heart for God and
thirsts for Him as he searches.
After Elijah tells Obadiah to get Ahab, Obadiah goes into a panic. In verse 15 he swears to Obadiah by the "Lord of hosts". To swear
by that title indicates a battle-ready position as he will be meeting with Ahab.
In verses 17 and 18 we see Ahab comes placing the blame in the wrong place. The wicked always place the blame other than where it
belongs. He accuses God for his suffering rather than looking at his own wickedness and repenting. Nonetheless, God has sent Elijah
to perform a special task, that of turning the heart of the people back again to the Lord. This is Elijah's special "trademark".
You might notice this phrase from the last two verses of the Old Testament:
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 6 And he shall turn the
heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
In the New Testament, in reference to John the Baptist, we find the following:
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of
Elias (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a
people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:16,17
Unfortunately, the heart of the people doesn't turn for very long and the result is a smiting instead of a blessing.
Going back to the story at hand, they go up to Mount Carmel. Carmel means "fruitful place" and it extends for a ways starting at the
Mediterranean. We are told Ahab comes up with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of the groves' prophets. Those of the groves were probably
the particular worshippers of Asherah - the queen of heaven. Man continually turns to such idolatrous whoredoms. Now mocking is not
necessarily considered good behavior, but from looking at verse 27, we see there are people it is proper to mock and scorn!
Don't think these idolatrous devils they worshipped couldn't perform miraculous signs. They could. In fact these prophets did prophesy
(verse 29) by their devils, but that demonic entities' hands were tied so he couldn't answer by fire.
The fire falls and consumes Elijah's offering and the people momentarily turn back to the Lord. In this moment of victory we can gain
some important lessons. We need to pay attention to what the first thing to do in "turning the heart back again" (verse 37) was.
Elijah gives the command to slay the prophets of Baal at the brook Kishon. Kishon means "winding or binding". In the poetic song,
back in the book of Judges, we see the River Kishon swept away Sisera's army. It indicated the defeat of the oppressor of Israel,
the binding of the enemy. In turning back to the Lord, the first thing to do must be to destroy that which leads into idolatry.
Destroy relics of Baalism and the Queen of Heaven. The pair always seems to go together.
It is only after this is done that the rain can fall and that in abundance.
Let's take a look at the sequence:
1. Elijah to turn the hearts back again.
2. Judgment to fall on the prophets of Baalim and Asherah by the hands of those who turned back to God.
3. Eat and drink. (Act of rejoicing in the act of faith of the rain yet to come.)
Through verses 41-44 we see an amazing thing. It is neither the recent converts, nor Ahab, who goes into spiritual warfare. It is
Elijah. For Israel's supply, Elijah falls upon his knees and places his head between his knees. This indicates bowing and humility.
This also indicates the price the Father paid in the sacrifice of His Son. In this episode, Elijah runs a parallel of a type of
Christ momentarily. Elijah's humbling position for the sake of producing the life giving water is a type of Christ's Gethsemane
experience. Elijah does not stop the warfare to look for the results. He has his servant do the looking. We are told that servant
was instructed to go up to the view point, overlooking the sea seven times. This carries many lessons. The number seven represents
"legal" perfection. That is what Jesus did. He walked in full obedience of the law. He was legally perfect. Christ met the demands
of the law.
What of the little cloud that finally began to arise that final journey? We are told in Revelation 17:15 of waters carrying the
significance of being, "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." In 1 Kings 18:43, we see the servant was to look out
towards that sea. The sea being the impure mass of humanity. It is water all right, but that water could only produce death if
poured on the land as it was. The servant was witness to pure water rising out of the corrupted water. At the seventh time, which
shows both legal perfection as well as God's provided rest, appeared that little cloud of pure water for needed life. It started
out, "like a man's hand". Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 53. We are told in the first verse, "and to whom is the
arm of the Lord revealed?". Christ is the Lord's arm that came for our salvation. It did not just stop at being a tiny hand in
the distance. It quickly grew to fill the heavens and pour out rain. The church of Christ started with the single grain of wheat
that died and came forth to produce many grains. So the water of life multiplied to fill the heavens to God's glory.
From here the type continues strong. Elijah tells Ahab to hurry for the abundance of rain was coming. He heads down to Jezreel.
Jezreel means "God Sows". How powerful a lesson we can glean from this. Jezreel tells us this is God's work, not man's. God
supernaturally strengthens Elijah to run in verse 46. Now I can tell you God doesn't just do such things needlessly. There was
a special purpose for this supernatural feat of speed. Elijah, representing God, ran before Ahab to welcome Ahab into His work
of provision - the town by the name of "God Sows". God does all the work, it is simply for us to obey the Gospel and rejoice
in His provision and labor on our behalf.
LESSON THREE: ELIJAH ILLUSTRATES THE LIFE OF THE CRUCIFIED MAN
(Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:1-18)
Chapter 19 takes us a step further. It immediately follows as part of the first part of initial salvation. Christ bears our cross
but we are also to bear a cross. We will go through a spiritual battle to come out in the resurrection life God has provided in
Christ. The fleeing of Elijah comes with such a burden. His very life being threatened. He flees the murderous hands of Ahab's
wife Jezebel (meaning "without cohabitation"). Is that telling us she couldn't get along with anybody? Anyway, he flees for his
life from her, but we soon see him asking God to kill him. In this action, God does not do all the work. Here it remains for us
to take a long arduous journey. Man takes the journey but God gives the preparatory nourishment to enable us to survive and
continue on. God intends for this journey to be made.
Let's take a closer look. Elijah quickly departs heading south with his unnamed servant. He leaves his servant at a southernmost
spot in Judah - Beer-sheba (meaning "well of the oath"). This is the last we have of Elijah ever seeing this man. At least the
servant can be grateful for being in a pretty safe location.
In verse 4 we see Elijah made another day's journey into the wilderness, which would have been heading further south. There he
rests under a juniper (or broom) tree.
A juniper is a plant of isolation in this barren world. The juniper is only mentioned four times in the Bible. Two of them in
this very passage. Once in Job, telling of its food use, and in Psalm 120. Taking a look at this passage in 1 Kings we see the
angel of the Lord preparing bread for Elijah on coals. It is most likely that the coals were that of juniper since you don't
find much of other wood in that kind of wilderness. We find coals of juniper related in Psalm 120. It was these coals that
supplied the energy to cook his needed food. Psalm 120 clearly expresses the sentiment Elijah was carrying. From Psalm 120,
the coals also seem to indicate an instrument of judgment. The picture here is significant. Consider that the wickedness
of men crucified the bread of life (Jesus our Lord), preparing Him for our food. Christ's crucifixion both saves the God fearing
and condemns the wicked.
A Song of degrees.
1 IN MY distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. 2 Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
3 What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of
juniper. 5 Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth
peace. 7 I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.
1 Kings chapter 19 describes Elijah's grief and view, as revealed shortly on the mountain. Fleeing death by Jezebel's hand, but
desiring death at God's. He has an utter sense of failure. Exhausted, the Lord sent help to strengthen him.
In verse 6 we find a cruse of water provided for Elijah. The word for cruse, used here, is a flask. This time is it used for water,
but in the other three times it is used in reference to Elijah, it always contained oil. We see that Elijah partook of the bread and
water provided from the same source - heaven. After his first meal, he did not rush off immediately. He rested and partook again in
order to be properly strengthened. It is a Hebrew characteristic to express something emphatically by doubling it. Hence, we should
take special note, it is real important! The only thing Elijah had to sustain him was the bread and water given from Heaven. The bread
baked with that which came from the earth.
In 19:8 we see Elijah's destination was Horeb. Horeb means "waste". It is the range of mountains of which Mt. Sanai is chief. To refer
to Horeb is to refer to Sanai. The Ten Commandments were given in Horeb. Elijah was going to where God met Moses and to where God made
the covenant with Israel after coming out of Egypt. Horeb is a very special place.
From where Elijah was under that juniper to Horeb, was a long 40 days foot journey. The number 40 is a number that refers to separation,
testing and judgment. We find it raining 40 days and nights on Noah. Moses was in the Mountain 40 days without food and Jesus was 40
days in the wilderness fasting after His baptism. With Elijah, he had to go through the 40 day wilderness trial of fasting before he
stood before God. God will prepare us for the trial, but we nonetheless must pass through it. The natural man cannot stand before
God except there be a time of deprivation for it. Broken before the Lord and only sustained by Him. Remember, God provided
supernaturally only at the beginning of the journey. He could have just as easily given him food daily just as supernaturally,
but He chose not to.
In verse 9 we are introduced to Elijah's cave. In Genesis we can clearly see caves represented the place of the dead. A place of
burial. The symbolism here is significant. Elijah had indeed passed through a trial. Inwardly, he had died as he came before God.
We see that the 40 days of trial had the final destination of where the flesh goes after death.
I want us to take a jump back, momentarily, to an interesting little detail we skipped earlier. Before the journey, it was a messenger
of the Lord that met Elijah by the juniper tree, not the Lord directly, as on Horeb. After the brokenness and death we see the "word
of the Lord" being directly manifest to him. At that time, God poses the most basic of questions to Elijah, like Jesus did to the
deaf, the blind and the lepers, "What do you want?" God speaks to us in the grave like Jonah in the whales belly. There Jonah didn't
hear God but he did break before God and was heard of God.
In verse 10, Elijah lays out his just grief. He fled from the presence of man into the refuge of the presence of God.
In verse 11, God calls Elijah out of the grave, as we find resurrection life in Christ, to stand before His presence in newness of life.
Remember that what follows is in answer to Elijah's answer of verse 10.
First, the great wind of power and destruction. The wind went before God, but God was not to be found "in the wind". Second - ditto
with the earthquake. Third, ditto with the fire. Fourth, the still small voice.
The first three are purifying judgments. The fourth only comes after the breakup and purifying fire has occurred.
In verse 13 we see Elijah's response, wrapping his mantle over his face. This is a symbol of his standing subordinate before God.
His head is covered. It should be noted that he again comes out of the place of death but remains partway between death and being
out in resurrection.
Again, God asks the same question, but now Elijah's standing is different. Before he saw terror and judgment, now, in the stillness
of the aftermath he hears God in the state of covering his head. Elijah repeats the answer of verse 10 - they have scorned God in
God answers in verse 15 with an assignment.
Before going into the assignment, I want to prepare you to take a careful look at exactly what the commission was. First, we need to
clear our heads of the common misunderstanding in the interpreting this passage. I have seen it posed that Elijah was all angry and
just wanted God to have vengeance. He was looking for God in magnificent displays of judgmental power. God wanted to correct Elijah,
so showed him the sights we have just covered, then to notice the still small voice. They want us to see how God was trying to show
Elijah that He is not really to be found in the preconceived way Elijah had in mind. God is only found in a peaceful way. A gentle
This was not the message at all.
Please don't quit listening at this point, at least hear out the rest of what I intend to
outline on this passage. Let's look at the assignment that explains why:
In verse 15 Elijah was commissioned to make a journey to Damascus, which was north of Israel. He could have gotten there via the east
side of Jordan (bypassing main Israel and the "Jezebel" threat. This was easily a journey of 400+ miles. In Damascus, Elijah was to
anoint Hazael (which means "God sees") to be king of Syria.
The assignment was an expansion of the sights he had seen in answer to his cry of Israel's iniquity. Anointing Hazael king over Syria,
who was to bring a wind-rending judgment on Israel was the first, just as the wind was the first destructive element. The wind comes
from without and blows in, just as Syrian warfare was a destruction that was to come from out of the country into Israel.
Second was the anointing of Jehu as king over Israel (verse 16). Jehu means, "Jah is he". Jehu brought God's judgment on the house of
Ahab and Jezebel. In this we see the earthquake. The earthquake arose from within the land, overturning of the kingdom and slaying
the royal family and those who sympathized with them.
The third part of the assignment was the anointing of Elisha. This was the sweeping fire of judgment. The purifying refiner's fire
which typifies Christ's purifying with fire in the New Testament. We saw the fire falling from heaven from God on Mt. Carmel. That
all-consuming fire. We will yet see the fire falling from heaven on the soldiers who come up to the top of a hill to take Elijah
into custody for the king. We will also see the chariot of fire and the horses thereof when Elijah is taken away in the whirlwind.
The fire is clearly a symbol from heaven.
Verse 17 is the kicker that confirms the conclusion I have been making thus far. Read it carefully. Hazael is the first. That which
remains, Jehu takes care of and what Jehu misses, Elisha will complete.
There is an important essential to be noted in the scene Elijah beheld. With each of the elements of destruction we find the comment,
"but the Lord was not in the ...". We are told, "as the Lord passed by ..." We see the Lord was there, but they did not contain Him.
Why is this so important? I believe the answer is to be found in the tail end of chapter 19. We will take a closer look at that next,
but just now consider that God is dealing with the wickedness of man. He will deal His judgment but that is not an ultimate solution.
It is a righteous action, but it cannot provide deliverance from this course of wickedness. God ultimately wanted the way of
deliverance. That answer was in the still small voice that did contain God. Elijah's covering his face and the absence of the
statement that "the Lord was not in the ..." leads us to a solid conclusion on this. That still small voice was Christ. He was
the final answer to the iniquity that did contain God, for He is God. Jesus Himself refers to the small voice and the final
judgment unto victory:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved,
in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. 19 He shall not strive,
nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not
quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory, 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. Matthew 12:17-21
In God's conversation with Elijah, He answers to the judgment issue first, then the comfort issue. Even though iniquity abounds and
the lights are in hiding, they are still there and God knows every one. They may not be able to shine in the atmosphere of persecution,
but they do not show homage to the wicked idols IN ANY MANNER.
LESSON FOUR: ELIJAH ILLUSTRATES THE FATHER'S CALL UPON THE SON
(Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:19-21)
The tail end of chapter 19, starting in verse 19, gives an important glimpse into the throne room of heaven. As Elijah calls Elisha,
we are shown a tiny view of the counsel of God in heaven in preparing for the redemption of man. Elisha was to be the fire judgment
at that time that God showed Elijah on the mount, but in another way, Elisha, as a type, represented that still small voice yet to
In verse 19, Elijah begins his roundup work, grabbing Elisha to begin his training.
We see Elisha driving twelve yoke of oxen, and being with the twelfth. Here we see the leadership of all the tribes, and being of
one of the tribes himself. Elisha was to work with all Israel as well as Judah. Elisha drove them, pushing them forward. He was
not up front clearing the way.
As Elijah passes by, he casts his mantle upon Elisha. Elisha knew what this meant and he knew Elijah by face. God had clearly been
preparing Elisha for this day.
In verse 20 we see an odd piece of conversation. Now if we were to compare this to Jesus' teaching on not putting your hand to the
plow and looking back, we would tend to misunderstand what was taking place. Elisha was not hesitating between two worlds. Actually
something very significant is being represented in Elijah's rather loose invitation.
First, be aware that Elisha's turning back was to testify and say farewell to that old life. Killing the oxen signified a certain
finality to the old path. It had been a legitimate business but it was not the path of the higher calling. Elijah's question, "what have
I done to thee?" needs to be considered here. It shows strongly that the call was not compulsory, the choice was voluntary.
When a prophet said something to you back then, you had better do what he said, exactly as he said or it could mean death. This
call of discipleship is not so. We have freedom to choose. Even more significant is the typology here.
Elisha means "God is Saviour". Elisha was a type of Christ. Elisha was the son of Shaphat. Shaphat means, "Judge". He was of
Abel-meholah. That meaning "Meadow of the dance". The meadow of the dance can be seen as a type of heaven. The place of rejoicing.
The Judge, who dwells in heaven, has a Son who is God and Saviour. In the natural plane, Abel-meholah is located north of Jericho a
ways and is right along the Jordan.
The important typology lay in the counsel between God the Father and God the Son. In heaven, it had been decided as to what was going
to need to be done to redeem mankind. As Jesus repeatedly said, the choice of going to the cross had always been left in His hands.
The Father did not have a compulsory order requiring Jesus to come and die for us. It was always left to finally be in Jesus' hands.
We will see this between Elijah and Elisha repeatedly. God wanted man to know that God the Saviour always had free choice.
LESSON FIVE: ELIJAH'S RARE APPEARANCES REFLECTS GOD'S POSITION TO UNREPENTANT SIN
(Scripture Reading: 1 Kings chapters 20-22)
After fleeing from Jezebel and the Mount Horeb commission of chapter 19, Elijah operates in the background. The record continues
with king Ahab's life. Ahab does have dealings with prophets such as 1 Kings 20:13, 22, 28, 35-42. It is interesting to note that
the prophet is unnamed. Elijah is staying out of the way and discipling Elisha. You do find an account of him sending a letter to
Jehoram of Judah in 2 Chronicles 21:12-15. He had the daughter of Ahab as his wife, so was the son in law of Ahab. He was also a
wicked king and so Elijah sent a letter announcing the horrible death he was to die, plus some other suffering because of his
Elijah also makes a sudden reappearing to Ahab after the murder of Naboth for his vineyard in 1 Kings 21:17-29. Elijah had another
judgment commission to deliver from God.
Naboth means "prominence". It is important to note that it was for envy that Naboth was murdered. The "prominent" is that which
stands out. When exposed to an Ahab, that spells death. Elijah made his momentary reappearance to pronounce Ahab and Jezebel's
destruction and nasty end.
A quick extra lesson here is found in the great influence of a single evil woman. The kings were not to multiply wives lest they
turned away the hearts of the kings. With such as Jezebel, Ahab nor any man, would need "many wives" to corrupt him.
We also see God's incredible mercy to the most wicked of sinners. 1 Kings 21:28,29 shows God's mercy if He but sees true humility.
The judgment may not be removed, but there may be some extension of grace.
After this, Chapter 22 goes straight into Ahab's death in Ramoth-Gilead. It is noticeable that Elijah never saw Ahab or Jezebel
after this. Ahab had all his false prophets back at hand. There were 400 who apparently rush in to refill the vacancy created by
Elijah on Mt. Carmel. In these closing moments of Ahab's life, one true prophet was called in. His name was Micaiah, meaning "who
is like Jah?". Micaiah's pronouncement wasn't favorable to Ahab either. This was Ahab's last dealing with any prophets.
Rampant iniquity drives God into the background. He is around, but has little involvement in the likes of Sodom. We see that shown
in Elijah's ministry after the wickedness takes leading place over Israel, after its call to return to the Lord.
The next lesson takes us into the next generation in the kingdom of Israel.
LESSON SIX: ELIJAH SERIOUSLY MISUNDERSTOOD - GOD IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER
(Scripture Reading: 2 Kings chapter 1)
This next portion is referred to in the Gospels:
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And
they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this,
they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias (Elijah) did? 55 But he
turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's
lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. Luke 9:52-56
Due to a careless reading of what Jesus said, there has been a great misunderstanding. After Jesus was refused lodging in a Samaritan
village, due to their seeing Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, some of His disciples wanted to see fire brought down from heaven to
consume the Samaritans, just like Elijah had done. Jesus rebuked his disciples. Let's take a closer look this time at what was going
Consider what the disciples' attitude was: "How dare you insult Jesus, you Samaritans!? They were filled with rage, anger and wanted
vengeance. A strike you dead with lightening attitude. What we are about to see with Elijah is that he did not have that attitude or
position at all. Elijah's position was a battle stance in direct warfare to one who had apostacized to forsake Yahweh for Baal-zebub.
Samaritans had never known Yahweh. They had a pagan hybrid with Judaism. Elijah did not have a personal vendetta of insult to the
king and wanted vengeance.
When Jesus rebuked his disciples, He was not saying, "Elijah had a wrong spirit that you are manifesting." They were justifying their
action based on a faulty understanding of Elijah's work. Jesus did not condemn Elijah. He condemned His disciple's vengeful heart
Due to the serious misunderstanding of the gospel account, many take this to mean the God of the Old Testament is different from
the New Testament. They interpret the God of the Old Testament to be violent, judgmental, intolerant and barbaric. The New as loving
and overlooking. The Old Testament of little worth. Even the attitudes of His greatest prophets (Elijah and Elisha) to be contemned.
For those who have been thinking this way, consider the parallel Elijah-type behavior, backed up and enforced by the Holy Spirit
seen by the Apostle Peter in Acts 5:1-11. Peter, speaking by the Holy Spirit spoke identical words to an Elijah and God killed
people - NO DIFFERENCE! What are we to make of this? God stands behind His word of righteous judgment.
Taking a look at the incident at hand with Elijah, we see he makes an appearance in 2 Kings 1:3. He brings the message of judgment
and the death sentence decree. The new king's name is Ahaziah, meaning "Jah holds, possess". It is a true enough statement, but in
the likes of Ahaziah it is as hypocritical as the Pharisees of Jesus' time in its claim of trusting Him. Ahaziah is given the death
sentence because he seeks a Philistine god when it is truly Yahweh who holds his life in His hands.
In 1:8 we see the description of Elijah we pondered at the beginning of these lessons. He was an hairy man and had a girdle of leather.
By this simple description, the king knew who he was.
2 Kings 1:9 begins the drama. We should first of all notice Elijah's position of being "on the top of an hill". We can see this
representing God's dwelling on high. The conflict demonstrates that no man, of whatever position, can command God. The "captain
of 50 with his 50" is a military dispatchment to force God's hand. The unit of 50 seems to be a basic unit of strength and power,
as can be seen in Isaiah 3:3. The kings action was not one of humbly seeking God's face but an attempt to force God's hand. The
fire from heaven will stand for protection and judgment like the fire back on Mount Horeb. By verse 13, the king was still obstinately
stubborn and hardhearted, but the captain was meek and humble. For this, God showed mercy to the captain, but still judgment to the
By reading through this, without the bias of many against Elijah's actions, we can gain a wisdom to continue in the path of walking
in the fear of the Lord.
LESSON SEVEN: ELIJAH'S TRANSFERENCE TO ELISHA
(Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-11)
We emerge here in 2 Kings chapter 2. This takes us through the final course of Elijah walking this earth as the change of covenants is
foreshadowed. In the first verse, we see Elijah was dwelling with Elisha in Gilgal. Just as both the Father and the Son are present in
the Old Testament so we see this indicated through that departure from Gilgal.
Gilgal means, "Circle or Wheel". It relates to Israel's consecration in the covenant of circumcision. That was performed after the
wilderness travel when they crossed the river Jordan at the time of Joshua.
9 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is
called Gilgal unto this day. Joshua 5:9
Gilgal is a symbol of man's satisfying the requirement of the covenant. Since Elijah and Elisha went from there, it indicates they had
been dwelling there. God dwells where covenant is completed with man.
In 2 Kings 2:2, we see they make their move to visit Bethel. We see every step is a voluntary following on Elisha's part. He could
hop off the bandwagon so easily at any point, but he determinedly committed himself, with an oath, to continue to follow in this path.
As we covered earlier, Bethel means, "House of God". It was here that God reached down to man when He appeared to Jacob. In Gilgal,
man responded to God. Bethel represents God's first move in reaching man.
In verse 4, they jointly set out on the journey that Hiel went on. The plan is completely opposite here. Elisha is again offered the
choice to "get off the train" as it were. He reiterates his commitment to the end. Here we see the journey to Jericho.
Jericho means either "fragrant" (also called the city of palm trees) or it is a word attributed to mean, "moon or new moon". Possibly
because of the shape of the plain, in which it was located. Either way, to the natural man, it was an appealing city, but to God, it
was accursed. Besides the lesson of Satan's rebellion, it also shows a lesson in man's aspirations and building in disregard of God.
When God would reach man, He starts with Bethel and must come down to him at Jericho. Elijah started his work (as recorded) upon the
rebuilding of Jericho and leaves the scene with Jericho as the final city he deals with. Even when the three and a half years
(Luke 4:25) of drought were upon the land, he is dwelling just outside of Jericho where they could not see him. (It is of note that
the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3-12 minister for that same period of time. Elijah to come before the second coming is most likely
one of the two witnesses.)
Elijah did not take care of the poisoned water situation we find out about a little later in 2 Kings 2:19. That help had to come
through Elisha. God under the law, could not but dwell in Gilgal (the covenant). He can reach out to man but the answer of man's
rebellion is not taken care of under the Old Covenant. The water still was death. It takes Christ to heal death water and make living
At verse 6, we see the final offer to jump the train. It is interesting to see the way in which the final destination is announced.
Jordan would not normally be called a destination in itself, for when they passed over, they carried on. In another sense, however,
I do not know the meaning of the word for Jordan, but the Jordan is extremely important in its history and its type. It is of note
that the Jordan was dried up by miracle only three times in its history. The first was via Joshua, then Elijah, here at hand, and
then Elisha. Both Elisha and Joshua dried it up to go from east to west. Elijah dried it up to go from west to east. Here Naaman was
cleansed by Elisha and Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This point of crossing was the point of entry to the promised land
through which Joshua (Hebrew for Jesus) led Israel. The river Jordan is from six to ten feet in depth, one must go below water level
to cross it while walking on the river bottom. The symbolism of baptism and cleansing are illustrated here. Elijah had to cross Jordan
so Elisha (following voluntarily) could begin his ministry passing through Jordan like Jesus did, in being baptized by His forerunner,
John the Baptist. John the Baptist, in the spirit of Elijah, prepared the way for Jesus.
In verse 7 we again see the number of 50. The 50 go "to view", which is a bearing witness. "Sons of the Prophets" are those who speak
for God. When Jesus came, the shepherds saw the "heavenly host" bearing witness of God's message to man.
Moving to verse 8, we see Elijah taking his mantle. The mantle representing authority, is not just for display or protection. Elijah
"wrapped it together". That means preparing it for work. It is not simply a beautiful vestment. God's authority is a literal working
might that can split the waters of blockade and death. When God moves to "smite", the waters will split.
Verse 9 - How beautiful is this verse! Glory to God in the Highest! Elisha, went for the greatest he could get. Elijah asked Elisha
what he would have and Elisha asked for that double portion of his spirit. The glory of God manifest under the Old Covenant was
glorious. The New Covenant, however, completed the Father's need to save man. The New Covenant is double in glory. It enabled man to
have the waters of death made waters of life. The Old Covenant did not accomplish that.
Verse 10 tells us a very important principal to Jesus' ministry. Seeing the Father in heaven is the requirement for the double
blessing. Jesus did whatsoever He saw the Father do. That was His blessing! The heavenly focus must never waver.
Verse 11 brings us to the grand finale of the scene between Elijah and Elisha. Elijah is taken up by a whirlwind into heaven. In Job
we saw God spoke out of the whirlwind. Back on Mount Horeb, we saw a great wind that brought destruction, but God was not in the
wind. This wind is different. This is a "whirlwind" like that through which God spoke to Job. (The Hebrew words are different.) It
is through that symbol, that Elijah left the scene for some time.
Here the chariot and horses of fire is a match to the phrase made upon Elisha's departure in 2 Kings 13:14. With Elijah, they are of
fire for they are heavenly, whereas the king, speaking with Elisha, was looking to the physical realm of being the might and defence
of Israel. Elisha came back in Elijah's stead to fulfill that same position.
Here, we come to the completion of Elijah's first time. We know he is to return just before Christ's second coming. He, like John the
Baptist, will be calling to repentance to prepare the way for Christ. He will perform miracles of judgment, be killed and resurrected
and ascend to heaven, this time to be seen by all!
Come Jesus Christ our Lord!
Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible