THE first Study presented the last related acts of Elijah and Elisha. We will now discuss some additional details to make the subject more clear and complete. We recall that the first smiting of Jordan took place from the Fall of 1914 to that of 1916. It was a much smaller work than the Harvest work had been, because only Little Flock members performed it unto a completion, whereas both Little Flock and Great Company members – who were manifested in 1917 and beyond – were engaged in the Harvest work.
Walking and Talking Together Ended
Elijah and Elisha walking and talking together represent the harmonious relation, cooperation and peaceful discussion of spiritual subjects on the part of the Lord’s people represented by Elijah (the Little Flock) and Elisha (the Great Company). But in the Summer of 1917, great disharmony came into existence among God’s people. The separation that occurred at that time divided God’s people into two groups, which put an end to their harmonious walking and talking together. That separation is what is typed by the separation between Elijah and Elisha, which began nearly eight months after the Jordan’s first smiting ended (2 Kings 2: 11).
Elijah’s Suggestion and Elisha’s Reply
Let us now consider Elijah’s suggestion and Elisha’s reply, as recorded in 2 Kings 2: 9: “Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” The last part of this verse is translated improperly in the Authorized Version. The correct translation is: “let there be two parts [classes] in thy spirit [power, office].” Elisha’s reply was a request to be Elijah’s successor as the chief prophet of God to Israel. He wanted the firstborn’s share among the prophets, considered as sons of a figurative family (Deuteronomy 21: 17). This would make him Elijah’s successor; for Elijah was the chief prophet of the Lord to Israel, and Elisha, as having the firstborn’s share, would be the chief one among the Lord’s prophets to Israel. In other words, the prophets in Israel are represented as the figurative children of their chief – Elijah – and his successor would thus be the chief, and, accordingly, the figurative father of the other prophets, yet all the time remaining a (figurative) son (subordinate) to Elijah. This made him the firstborn in the prophet family, which is what his request meant.
But how did antitypical Elijah suggest that antitypical Elisha request some boon from him before his separation from the latter? And how did antitypical Elisha make his reply? In both cases it was by acts, not by words. We now ask: What were the acts that God regards as the suggestion to ask for a parting boon and as the reply to that suggestion?
The acts whereby antitypical Elijah suggested that antitypical Elisha make the request for a final boon before their parting were in the efforts that antitypical Elijah made to secure a record of the Truth talents, experiences, trials and opportunities of those whom later events proved to be antitypical Elisha. The effort to secure this record was begun by the earthly leader of the Elijah class at that time – “that Servant,” and the rest of the faithful Elijah class followed him in this work. But what was the purpose for gathering such information? It was wanted that there might be a record of the brethren according to their capabilities for the various features of the service. And what was that work? It was a future, hence the second, smiting of Jordan, since the first had been going on for a year and a half.
The acts whereby antitypical Elisha replied to antitypical Elijah’s suggestion was first, by their desiring a share in what proved to be the second smiting of Jordan; second, by giving to Bro. Russell and to others of the Faithful a record of their Truth talents, experiences, trials and opportunities for what proved to be the second smiting of Jordan; and, third, by holding themselves in readiness for what proved to be the second smiting of Jordan.
Separation of Elijah and Elisha
In the type, the fiery chariot is shown to be the instrument that separated the two prophets, by its running between them, after which they were never together again. The two prophets were not separated by the whirlwind, but by the chariot alone before the whirlwind occurred, though the latter followed the former shortly.
What is the fiery chariot? It is the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in its organizational aspects, involved in, and then producing a fiery trial among God’s people. According to Scripture usage fire, burning, is used to represent severe trials as well as destruction, while a chariot represents an organization. The Society’s Board of directors is what is meant by in its organizational aspects.
What do the horses and horsemen represent? Horses represent doctrines, secular or religious. In this type, they represent the doctrines, supposedly legal, but actually illegal, that J. F. Rutherford, the Society’s president, hitched to the Society. The horsemen, representing doctrinal leaders, symbolize the present management, the three directors who used these illegal doctrines to gain control of the Society. This proved to be very trying to both classes in the Church; and is what caused the brethren to split into two parts.
The Whirlwind Experience
The antitype of the whirlwind experience represents the Church leaving this earth. According to the antitype, there was a parenthesis of a number of years duration between the separation of the Little Flock from the Great Company, and the departure of the Little Flock from this world; and within this parenthesis, not only all that is the antitype of Elisha’s acts in vs. 12-14, but all that Elisha did later occurs.
(to be continued)