I already covered a lot of the territory that is covered in 2nd Kings 4 in 1st Kings 17, so I am not going to delve into the issue again. Each of these stories are messianic examples. Yeshua (Jesus) performed similar miracles in His ministry. Every single of the miracles recorded here, Yeshua performed in one way or another as well.
Eliyahu (Elijah) started the work and Elisha finished it, just as Yeshua started His work and Peter finished it. God put these stories in the TaNaKh (Torah, Prophets and Writings, aka “Old Testament”) so we would recognize the Messiah when He came.
In Eliyahu and Elisha’s lifetime, their ministry was in Israel, Yehudah (Judah) had righteous rules so they could take care of themselves. They did many miracles in Israel to teach the people of Israel that Baal was worthless and that only God is true.
Jezebel had wiped out most of the prophets of God in Israel but after Eliyahu’s victory on Mt. Carmel, God raised up more prophets to minister in Israel and the story of Eliyahu’s victory on Mt. Carmel spread all over Israel.
Slavery = Death
The first woman mentioned in 2nd Kings 4 is a widow of one of these prophets. He had passed away and left her with a lot of debt. She already knew who God was but she wanted to save her sons. She was not concerned about her life but her children. Their lives were in peril and threatened with a life of slavery. Slavery and death are synonymous in Jewish understanding, while in the Gentile (non-Israel) world, death was more feared.
The Gentiles were experiencing a famine of God’s word, while the Israelites were experiencing a famine of understanding and comprehension of God’s word. Once the women had the oil, her children were no longer under the threat of slavery.
The next story was about Shunemite woman, a woman from a Gentile city. She did not have a son but God gave her one. Some time after the child was born, he died. Between the three efforts of Gehazi and Elisha, the boy was resurrected. The number three has messianic significance here. The boy was born to die and to be resurrected but Elisha didn’t know that until he died and had resurrected him.
The fact that the boy sneezed seven times is significant too. That is when the lesson ended, because then the Shunemite woman understood that there is only one God, One who gives understanding.
The modern application is that Christians today have the same level of understanding about God as the Gentiles in Elisha’s time did, which is very little. The Jews have a lot of understanding but not much of the Spirit of God. The Gentiles lack understanding, and the Jews lack the Spirit. Both can be saved if they are willing to seek what they are lacking.
Understanding + Spirit = Salvation
In 2nd Kings 4:42, a man brought first fruits to Gilgal. The First Fruits, particularly the barley, was were supposed to be given to the high priest in Jerusalem. He gave it to Elisha instead, who was a non-Levite. That was totally contradictory to teachings in the Torah. For Elisha to give this gift to the people also was against the Torah.
This man had a little understanding, but not a full understanding. Acts 4:32 shows us a similar example. The Torah doesn’t tell us to do that either, yet they were not penalized but honored for it.
The crux of the story is that Elisha is a representation of the Messiah, who is the ultimate high priest. Both Elisha and Messiah gave a profound gift directly to the people. It’s strictly symbolic but it’s beautiful. The story of Elisha happened about 700 years before “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us” (Jn. 1:14). These accounts in 1st and 2nd Kings were recorded so Israel could recognize the Messiah when He came about seven centuries later. Only those the Father draws will have both spirit and understanding.
Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.
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