THE closing associated experiences of the Prophets, Elijah and Elisha, contain typical and prophetical truths that should be of interest to all Bible students. Before going into details, let us be aware of certain principles:
Typical and Prophetical Principles
(1.) No Scripture can be understood until due; for no matter how learned, consecrated or richly used by the Lord one may be, it is impossible for him to understand any Scripture until in due time the Lord has broken the seals from the passage (Revelation 5: 2-7; 6: 1, etc.).
(2.) Prophecies and types are usually not clearly understood before fulfilment.
(3.) A prophecy or type connected with a trial of character cannot be understood until the trial is met.
The reason for this is the following: To give in advance of fulfilment a clear understanding of such a prophecy or type would defeat the Lord’s purpose in making the experience indicated by it testful. It is for this reason that the Lord did not permit “that Servant” to see clearly the antitypical details of the last related acts of Elijah and Elisha. But the Lord used him to shed much light on the general subject. What he has given us on this subject is sufficiently clear for us to decipher the fulfilled details that were undecipherable before the trial connected with the fulfilment.
The First Smiting of Jordan
Let us begin with the smiting of Jordan (v. 8, first part: “And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters.”). The antitypical first smiting of Jordan – that typed by Elijah’s smiting – occurred between the Fall of 1914 and the Fall of 1916. In harmony with “that Servant’s” thought, the Jordan typifies the peoples undergoing a condemnatory sentence; for Jordan means “judged down,” condemned; and waters in the symbols of the Scriptures are used to represent peoples in their organized capacities (Revelation 17: 15). Hence the passage refers to the nations, viewed from the standpoint of their political, ecclesiastical, financial and industrial organizational aspects; and by Jordan are meant the rulers, the clergy, the aristocrats, the labor leaders and their supporters. Thus, the nations as organized in these four relations would be severely censured and given a condemnatory sentence by antitypical Elijah. This censure and sentence are what is implied in the Smiting of Jordan.
The Mantle of Elijah
“That Servant’s” thought was that the mantle of Elijah was an emblem of his power as God’s Prophet to Israel. His thought was correct as proven by the fact that the Hebrew word translated mantle in v. 8 is adareth, which is a different word from that which means robe; adareth carries with it the idea of an insignia of honor, power and splendor. Accordingly, “that Servant’s” definition of the antitype – that the mantle represents God’s power in antitypical Elijah to be the Lord’s mouthpiece to nominal spiritual Israel – is correct. This power consisted of the following seven things: (1) the Divine authorization, that is, the anointing of the Spirit; (2) the Church’s authorization, that is, its approval of the service and its agents; (3) the Truth itself; (4) the controllership of the Truth work, which the Church exercised in its representative, “that Servant”; (5) the controllership of the Truth literature, through which the message was sent forth; (6) the controllership of the channels of service, that is, the Colporteur, Pilgrim, Volunteer, Photo-Drama and Newspaper work; and (7) controllership of the finances for the furtherance of the work.
The Mantle’s Wrapping
The mantle’s wrapping is also symbolic. This would represent the combination and concentration of all the above seven things in use for the purpose at hand; that is, it would mean that the Lord’s people, as New Creatures, approving of the service and its agents, would use all of the truths, controllership of the work, pieces of Truth literature, branches of service and financial resources necessary and applicable to the public work implied in the Smiting of Jordan; but it would exclude the use of all features of the powers in the hands of the Lord’s people not necessary nor applicable to such work. Furthermore, fulfilled facts regarding the service performed toward the public during the years mentioned above prove the above interpretation of the mantle’s wrapping to be correct.
The smiting of Jordan involves several things: (1) a truthful and irrefutable presentation of the evils, violations of the Golden Rule, committed by the rulers claiming to govern by Divine right; by the clergy claiming to exercise office by Divine right, by the aristocrats claiming positions, titles, possessions and special privileges by Divine right; and by the labor leaders claiming certain powers by Divine right; (2) a passing of the sentence of destruction upon all present institutions claiming Divine right; and (3) the announcement of dismissal from office of, and the sentence of punishment upon, all officials who claimed to possess and exercise their authority by such right.
This smiting by the saints is accurately, literally and figuratively described in Psalm 149: 5-9: “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all the saints.” The work that the Lord’s servants did during those two years proved that the doctrine of the Divine right of kings, clergy, aristocrats and labor leaders was largely responsible for the wrongs that they committed, whose horrible result was the plunging of the world into World War I.
Another Picture of the First Smiting of Jordan
That which is symbolized by the smiting of Jordan is pictured from another standpoint in Leviticus 16: 20, 21: “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.”
Here we are told that the high priest while in robes of sacrifice, hence before the last members of the Church went beyond the veil, confessed over the live goat’s head all of Israel’s iniquities and transgressions. The antitypical Israelites are Christendom’s rulers, clergy, aristocrats, labor leaders and their supporters. The wrongs referred to are their willful violations of God’s law, the Golden Rule, especially against the Christ. The Great Company class paid attention to these exposures from the Fall of 1914 to that of 1916, thus fulfilling the antitype of the high priest’s confession of Israel’s special sins over Azazel’s goat.
The Division of the Waters
The waters, representing the “peoples” organized as rulers, clergy, aristocrats, labor leaders and their supporters, may be grouped into two classes: (1) the conservative elements of society, consisting of the rulers, clergy, aristocrats and their supporters; and (2) the radical elements of society, consisting of the labor leaders and their supporters. The division of the waters into two parts symbolizes the separation of the peoples into these two classes. The truths used in the smiting, that is, those censuring the evils of Christendom in its present organized condition, reopened the division between these two classes, which had been healed at the opening of the war on account of its dangers.
Elijah and Elisha Crossing Dry Shod
The waters on both sides of them represent the two contending classes of Christendom. Their walking dry shod through the bed of the river represent that their antitypes were not injured as New Creatures by and during the Little Flock’s reproving, sentencing and dividing the peoples. The fact that they were separate from the waters pictures the thought that their antitypes did not take sides with either of the contending classes. Their walking together symbolizes agreement in, and sympathy with, the work that antitypical Elijah did. Their reaching the other side was antityped in antitypical Elijah’s work coming to an end.
(to be continued)