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"THE BONES OF ELISHA!""

"And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

2 Kings 13:20-21

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

Verse 20 ... Lesson 1 (posted thursday, july 22, 2004)

It consists of only three short little words. A conjunction, a proper noun and a verb. It is a sentence, but just barely.

Our verse for today begins: "And Elisha died!" It is found in 1 Kings 13:20.

While it is not unusual for a man to die (quite the contrary) ... for Elisha to have died just might be a bit surprising!

He had worked so many miracles (twice the number of Elijah)! Don't I remember something about "a DOUBLE portion of thy spirit" being granted this great Prophet? (2 Kings 2:9)

In fact, Elisha's predecessor and mentor Elijah did NOT die! He was taken to heaven miraculously! (2 Kings 2:11 --- "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.")

Another Old Testament saint was allowed to by-pass death also! Genesis 5:24 tells us: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."

How strange are the ways of God! (Isaiah 28:21)

It's like Paul says in Romans 11:33 --- "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

We are not told Elisha's age when he died!  Nor is there a hint of the cause of death! We do know that it was from a "sickness."  For 2 Kings 13:14 tells us:  "Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."

The verb "fallen sick" has the idea of being "rubbed or worn!"  (Sort of "worn out!") That's what these bodies do!  (In fact, that exactly what the Daniel says the devil tries to do to God's people!  Read Daniel 7:25 --- "And he (anti-christ) shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.")  And the noun for Elisha's sickness is a word ("choliy" in Hebrew) that (in the King James Bible) is translated "disease" and "grief" as well as sickness.

Now think about this today.  Elijah went to heaven in a whirlwind, thereby "cheating" death!  But Elisha died and was buried!

Friends, they are "types" or symbols of how we shall all leave this old earth!

Most of us, like Elisha shall go through the "valley of the shadow of death!"  (But not alone!)

However, some shall leave without dying.  Being (as Elijah) "caught up" into glory! Paul says it in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 --- "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Preacher, what's your "point" today?

Exactly this:  One man goes to heaven miraculously.  One man goes to heaven via the cold dark grave!  It's all in God's hands!

Each of us shall die some day (apart from the Rapture of the Church)!  Hebrews 9:27 tells us:  "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

Or ... each of us (who is saved) will leave when the Trumpet sounds!  1 Thessalonians 4:16 begins:  "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God ...."

What's a body to do?

Leave all that (one's death) in God's Hands!

HE decides if we'll use the grave or the Rapture in leaving this old earth!

We are HIS children!

GOD decided Job would suffer and Abraham would live a rather luxurious life (for his day and time)!  God decided Daniel would be a statesman and Hosea a forsaken husband!  God put Peter in a ship and Paul in a tentmaker's shop!

Jesus expresses  this truth well in Matthew 20:15 where He said:  "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?"

After all, HE is the Potter and we are the clay!  Jeremiah 18:6 --- "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."

It's best if we adopt the attitude of the Virgin Mary and say:  "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."  Luke 1:38

"Lord, in life and in death, have Thine Own Way!"

May that prayer rest on all our hearts and lips as we seek to live for Him Who loved us and died for us on Calvary!

After all, Elijah and Elisha have today taught us this great lesson!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 20 ... LESSON 2 (POSTED FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2004)

I heard a preacher say this:  "The Bible talks very little about the burial of the dead!"

I had not thought a lot about that, I guess.  And the statement made me want to do some investigating!

I do know one man who was properly buried: godly old Elisha!

Here's the proof: "And Elisha died, and they buried him."  2 Kings 13:20

The verb for "buried" is (in Hebrew) "qabar" and means "to inter."  The definition comes to us via Latin.  "In" means within and "ter" is a shortened form of "terra" which means earth! (Into the earth!)

I believe "burial" is God's plan ... because the first time the word is used in the Bible God said it!  He was speaking to Abraham and He made him a promise:  "And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age."  Genesis 15:15

As far as a  total Bible history of the word, one will find "burial" 6 times and "buried" 106 times and "burying" 4 times.

This all adds up to what I'd call "frequent" usage!

I've been reading a book this week on the dead.  It has been talking about the future of burial in our country.  It takes a dim view of "wasting" the land by littering it with cemeteries and grave plots! 

Bring on cremation?  No!  No!  That's too environmentally unsound.  (Mercury into the air!)  At least that's what today's new young crop of atheists and activists are telling us!

Here are some of their suggestions. 

Give one's body to science. And not just for "organ donation" either!  Did you know that some dead bodies are used in automobile crash tests.  This is done to see how much impact force one can stand before breaking into pieces!  In fact on occasion scientists (and soldiers) have fired live ammunition into "donated" bodies to see how much damage is done!  They say they're looking for a safer bullet!  And companies that develop proper safety wear for "land mine" areas have used dead bodies to see just what happens when one of those mines is detonated!  But this one "tops" them all.  (And it's gaining ground in Europe and is already "in place" in America!)  It involves turning of bodies into "compose" to feed a tree or plant or bush!  (And no, I am not "kidding!")  They tell us that we need to give ourselves back to mother earth who is responsible for our being here anyway!  (Again, no mention of God!)  What better way to "live eternally" the book says!  Feed a tree for the next few hundred years!

Now hear me.  All this may be coming.  I just don't know.  BUT I still believe God had the best idea!

According to Paul if one is saved, his or her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God!  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  That calls for some reverence I believe!  The body is sacred in that sense!

It's not designed to be chopped up or shot to pieces or ground into fertilizer.

The argument of course is going to be that the world's ways are cheaper!  And more friendly to the earth!

How about just being obedient to God?

One more thing:  I believe this may be the real REASON behind God's burial plan. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that when we died these bodies of ours are "planted" into the earth!  Literally "sown" into the ground!  "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It (the body) is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power."

Why burial in the earth?

Planted, sown!  So says the Bible!

And, you know what?  Anything planted is obviously assumed to do what?  To come up!  To burst forth some day through the soil into newness of life!  AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE LORD IS TEACHING US BY BURIAL! 

Jesus is coming again!  And when he does, he will call forth from the grave all the dead bodies of his children!  They will literally burst forth as glorified bodies ... being re-united with their souls and spirits ... ever to be with their Lord!  "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

That's God's plan!

If you don't believe it ... ask Elisha when you get to heaven!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 20 ... LESSON 3 (POSTED SATURDAY, JULY 24, 2004)

Does anyone to whom I'm writing believe that the Real Protector of people (and things and nations and for that matter all of creation) is God Almighty Himself?

I believe there have been military battles where the army with the best armor lost!  And Generals with the most skill died!  Or the troops with the vast numbers were defeated by some skimpy little fighting force!

What makes the difference? 

I'm sure the war strategist would tell us that there are many variables in such contests ... BUT I believe GOD is the Difference!

Here's an example of what I mean: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7   The verse implies that what chariots and horses can't do ... God can do!

All this brings me to my text for this Saturday. When the great Prophet Elisha died and was buried we are immediately told something significant.

2 Kings 13:20 --- "And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year."

Look at that!

No sooner had this godly old preacher died ... that the "enemy" came roaring in ... to plunder and destroy!

The little noun used here for "bands" (in Hebrew = gedud) is elsewhere in the King James Bible translated army (5 times) and troops (11 times) and a company (only 4 times)!  So ... it's a pretty good group of fighting men!

Earlier in Elisha's ministry, by means of a miracle and a great act of kindness, we are told:  "So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel."  2 Kings 6:23  (Elisha was a veritable defense force!)

Get this:  When Elisha, the man of God is with Israel ... no invasions!  When he dies ... invasions resume!

I wonder Who sends these "bands?" 

Let Scripture again speak:  "And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets."  2 Kings 24:2

The Name "Moabite" means "of his father!"  The original Moab was a son of Lot by his own daughter in a filthy incestuous relationship  (Genesis 19:37).  His descendants became vile wicked people who hated Israel!  This definition reminds me of something Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 8:44 --- "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."  And there are those today in this land who so hate God's people!

(Here is God controlling the actions of an ungodly heathen tribe!)

The "tense" implications of the verb "invaded" suggest that this may not have been the first Moabite raid either!  These invasions are described in such a way to lead one to believe they had been happening for a while.  (Likely since the first day of the new year!)  That specific verb in Hebrew is "bo" and is a Qal stem imperfect (ongoing, incomplete action).

Here's a verse the Lord showed me as I typed these very words!  In Deuteronomy 11:12 we are told:  "A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year."  God can protect a land from harm!

Then also notice that the attacks took place on a time schedule!  "At the coming in of the year."  Does anyone remember WHEN David committed his great sin of adultery with Bathseba?  "And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle ...."  2 Samuel 11:1   (At this very same time of the year!)

Preachers, this would be a good text to use at a Watch Night Service!  At the time of the "coming in of the new year!"

Think a minute!  What SHOULD have been happening in Israel at the first of the year?  I'll tell you ... Passover (the Blood of the lamb) should have been observed. But there's no mention of it!  These Israelites are "backslidden!"

Here's my point today.

Elisha died!  The enemy came!

There was just something about the presence of that precious God fearing old preacher that had protected the land from the hands of the enemy!

(By the way, Elisha is a TYPE of Christ!)

Now some of you will hesitate at this!

You do not believe that the presence of the godly can halt the advance of the enemy!

(Salt retards rot!  The godly are the "salt" of the world!  They "hinder" the unimpeded development of evil!  "Light" scatters darkness!  Jesus said we are the light of the world!)  See Matthew 5:14.

Had Abraham found just 50 (make that forty ... thirty ... twenty ... even ten) righteous people in Sodom, God would have spared the city!  Righteousness is a protecting shield for a people or nation!

I believe Jesus uses this analogy in John 17 where he prays to His Father:  "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." John 17:19

We are sanctified because He is sanctified!

America, listen to me! 

Our future safety is NOT in tanks and missiles and "smart" bombs!  It is in being righteous before God!   Our greatest national treasure is NOT in the Smithsonian or in the National Archives or in the nations Capitol Building BUT in the many GODLY and holy and Spirit-filled believers scattered throughout our land!

Thank God we still apparently have fifty (or more) truly righteous folks!

Maybe Solomon says it best in Proverbs 21:31 --- "The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD."

Did you get it?

"SAFETY IS OF THE LORD!"

When Elisha died the wicked King Joash truly sorrowed and lamented!  Let me tell you what words came out of his mouth as the Prophet died!  Listen to what he called the great godly preacher:  "Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."  Yes, here in 2 Kings 13:14 Elisha is literally called the "army" of Israel, the chariot and horsemen of the nation!  This King knew the powerful protective hand of God worked through his precious servant!

I fear today ... as the months and years progress ... that America is loosing her army! Not her army of skilled marksmen and healthy young pilots ... but her army of godly prayer warriors and Bible preachers and clean living believers!

As that happens, get ready!

The Moabites are coming!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 20 ... LESSON 4 (POSTED AUGUST 2, 2004)

I just had not seen this truth until someone clearly pointed it out!

When?

When did this miracle occur?

I mean what time of the year?

The answer is:  "At the coming in of the year."   2 Kings 13:20

This would be the beginning of the (Jewish) calendar year.

This is "Passover" time.

It is in early Spring!

It would have been around our months of March - April!

The whole world would have been blooming and bursting forth with new life! Flowers, grass and trees all clearly illustrating God's great truth of life out of death! (Springtime is a sermon on the resurrection!)

What a great example of using a giant "object lesson" to illustrate a message!

By the way, that's the same time of year that Jesus was raised from the dead!

Thank God for "the coming in of the year!"

Preachers, this might make a good Easter type text!  Or (for us Americans) a good "New Year's Day" thought!

Ponder it this Monday!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 1 (POSTED SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2004)

"And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."    2 Kings 13:21

This is a miracle!

I mean this event with the "bones" of Elisha!

However, before we get to that headline:  "Dead Man Touches Bones of Elisha ... Is Resurrected" ... I must mention another truth.

I see something that reminds me of the times in which we live. 

The man who has died (no doubt, a Jew) is being taken to his burial plot.  Those carrying him (his "pallbearers") are frightened by a band of enemy soldiers! As a result of that event, they throw the deceased into some strange grave!  No doubt they then ran and hid!

Look at this please.

As soon as the man of God (Elisha) is dead, Scriptures seems to emphasize for us the fickleness and cowardice of men!  Elisha died in verse 20.  This happens in verse 21. I am assuming that NOT a lot of time has passed between the two incidents.  (Even if enough time has lapsed to expose Elisha's "bones" completely ... the Bible places the events adjacent to each other for a reason!)

Let me say this:  I hope your pallbearers are a little more loyal to you that these were to their friend!

The verb "cast" is a Hebrew word ("shalak") that means to hurl, to throw or to fling! These men became fearful and (no doubt pulling back a grave cover) threw their "charge" into a random grave!  That word "sepulchre" is a derivative of the verb "to bury."  It is an underground vault of some kind.

Here's my point:  if ever there was a man of boldness and courage, it was Elisha! (His life proved the truth of Proverbs 28:1 --- "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.")  He feared no man!  Not even Kings!

But ... when that godly man is gone ... people religiously and spiritually (the crowd that "buries" in formal fashion) began to lose their boldness!  (Not to mention their loyalty!)

Even if those in the funeral procession thought it wise to suspend the service and bury the man later ... they could have carefully placed him somewhere ...not just have thrown him into some grave!  Or they could have carried him back home for a few more hours!  But ... no, "cast" him here, boys!  Let's get out of this place! (Likely this was a small "band" of enemy soldiers, what's wrong with this group of "pallbearers" fighting them?  There had to be several men carrying the deceased and probably even more accompanying them!)

Today I fear we have a generation that's spiritually in the same condition!

Now folks will run rather than stand!

Just as the pallbearers wouldn't stay by their "job" (just doing their duty), so today many preachers, teachers and Christians flee their convictions at the slightest provocation!

Friend, today as you go to church, look around!

Thank God for your preacher who still stands for the Truth!  (If he doesn't, you might want to consider relocating yourself!)

Thank God for a Church that still doesn't drop everything and run when the old devil (the enemy) reveals himself!

Remember 2 Timothy 1:7 --- "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

To some preacher today reading these words:  Brother, if the "battle" comes your way ... don't run!  Don't throw away your God given responsibility!  PREACH! STAND!  FIGHT!  DON'T RESIGN!  God will bless you for it!

I'm tired of a generation of spiritual "scaredy-cats!" 

Paul told us best.  He said in 1 Timothy 4:1 that "In the latter times some shall depart from the faith."  They have!

God, give us a holy boldness once again!  Help us to stand and fight!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 2 (POSTED MONDAY, JULY 26, 2004)

It's one of the most unusual miracles of Scripture!

A dead man was hurriedly dropped into the grave of Elisha!

Naturally he came into contact with the dead body of the old Prophet!

And when the corpse "touched" the man of God's "bones," it was resuscitated!  It "revived!" (That's the King James Version word.)

Here's what our Bible says word for word: 

"And they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."  (2 Kings 13:21)

Now, folks, there's no way around this event!

If the Bible is true, it happened just as recorded here!

And that brings us to the issue of the day.

What do we do with the MIRACLES of Scripture?

I can answer that immediately:  Believe them!

I accept them as true and accurate happenings ... just as the Bible describes them!

If one believes in the Creator (and Redeemer) God ... one MUST believe in miracles!

But, preacher HOW did a dead body bring life back to a cold inanimate corpse?

I do not know the how!

I just know that God cannot lie!  And He just said it happened!

But, preacher, WHY would God do such a thing in that day so long ago?

I do not know the why!

I just know that God saved my soul (a miracle of miracles) ... and if He can do that ... He can do anything!

But, preacher, what independent PROOF do you have that such a miracle occurred?

I do not know of any independent proof.  I have only one source to study for information concerning this particular miracle:  the Bible!

But the Bible is a book of Truth!  Jesus said so!  In John 17:17 our Saviour, praying to His Father, said:  "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

Much of one's faith hinges on this vital fact!

To believe in God, His Son Jesus, and our whole system of truth ... one simply MUST accept the Bible's miracles as literally true!

I do!

(How about you?)

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 3 (POSTED JULY 27, 2004)

The Bible actually says that a dead man's body was raised to life ... after just "touching" the bones of the deceased godly Prophet Elisha. 

2 Kings 13:21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

I've been thinking about this for a few days.

 What's this "miracle" teaching us?

Here's one thing.

It's absolute proof that all Elisha's miracles were done NOT in his own power ... but the Lord's!

You see, Elisha could not possibly have done this "on his own!"  He has already gone to heaven!  He could no longer speak, touch, pray or heal!

But GOD worked the miracle ... using the bones of Elisha simply as a "means" of doing so.  (As we shall see tomorrow, God partly did this as a "teaching" tool!)

Friends, let's learn a lesson here.  None of our good works is done in our own ability or from our own resources!

Even Jesus, with all His miracles, said "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."  Matthew 28:20

Isaiah 42:8 gives us further insight here.  "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." 

God Himself performed this unique miracle at Elisha's grave in such a way that ONLY HE could have received the glory!

That's the way it must be!

Brothers and Sisters, let us be careful that ALL we do brings proper glory to God as well! 

Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31 --- "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

The truth of Zechariah 4:6 is absolute!  "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

Let's be sure that we (as do the saints in heaven today) ascribe all POWER to Him: "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."  Revelation 5:13

Just as Elisha had nothing to do with his "post" death miracle ... so do we have nothing to do with the power of God that flows through our lives!  We're just the vessels!  We're just the channels through which He can flow to meet the needs of others!

Praise His good Name!

And that's at least ONE thing this miracle teaches!

I know that this is an extreme case, but remember wicked old King Herod in Acts 12:23.  "And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost."

Enough has been said!

Yet it seems I cannot quit today!

Even the great Apostle Paul, when speaking of his life work, said:  "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."  1 Corinthians 15:10

Maybe we could adopt the attitude precious old John the Baptist had about all this.  John 3:30 --- "He must increase, but I must decrease."

                                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 4 (POSTED JULY 28, 2004)

Some time after the "death" and "burial" of Elisha, something uniquely unusual happened!

His grave was somehow opened ... and as a result of that a another dead man (who is nameless in Scripture) was brought back to life by means of simply "touching" Elisha's "bones!"

The exact verse in 2 Kings records it this way: "And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."

Yesterday I saw something.

Read this verse about the death of our Saviour!

Just as soon as Jesus died ("yielded up the ghost"), we are told:  "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose." (Matthew 27:52)

Did you get that?

Jesus died!

An earthquake came!  (Matthew 27:51 --- "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.")

And some graves were torn open!

Then (after Jesus' Resurrection) ... once dead but now resurrected saints (also unnamed) got up out of their graves and went into Jerusalem, appearing to many!

Matthew 27:53 reports of these once dead saints: --- "And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

I believe this miracle in Jesus' day is "foreshadowed" by the smaller miracle in Elisha's day!

(The saints whose graves were torn open at Jesus' death ... had to wait until Jesus' Resurrection to be raised themselves ... because Jesus is the FIRSTFRUITS from the dead!  1 Corinthians 15:20 --- "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.")

Let's see now:

Elisha dead ... Jesus dead!

Elisha buried ... Jesus buried!

One grave opened (Elisha's) ... many saints' graves opened (at Jesus' death)!

One nameless man raised!  Many nameless people (saints) raised!

A little miracle (Elisha)!  A bigger miracle (Jesus)! 

BUT Jesus has a yet bigger one planned!  He's coming again and will raise all the sainted dead at the Rapture!  1 Thessalonians 4:16 --- "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

Surely Elisha here is being "linked" to Jesus in a not-too-small way!

Anyone can see the similarilty!

I'm prepared to say this in closiong today.  We shall just have to return to it sometime later.

Elisha is a TYPE (a picture) of Christ!  (Even in his death!)

I realize he is an incomplete picture ... but still a picture!

For example, Elisha stayed dead!  His bones lay in that grave until completely decomposed!

Jesus did not decompose!  He could not have done so!  (Peter said of Jesus in Acts 2:24 --- "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

Jesus was raised from the grave ... and is alive yet today, having ascended to Heaven to sit at the Father's Right Hand!

Furthermore, He is alive for evermore!

Thank God for Elisha!  Even more so ... thank God for Jesus!

I wonder if there's any old (formerly dead in trespasses) sinners out there this Wednesday who got around the Cross where Jesus died ... touched Him by faith ... and came away living for evermore too?

And this great miracle of salvation continues to this day!

Glory to His Name!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 5 (POSTED JULY 29, 2004)

Here's the thought I had:  "God in a Graveyard!" (That's what we used to call cemeteries when I was a boy.  Now they are "memorial gardens!")

But preacher, how could God do anything in a graveyard?  Everyone knows that it's too late then!

Our text verse today (and yesterday) describes God at work in just that ... a graveyard!

It happened after the death of the godly Prophet Elisha.

He had been buried for a while it seems.

Another funeral procession was coming that way ... and behold, a band of enemy soldiers were approaching!

The folks in the funeral "ditched" the dead body of their loved one, throwing him on top of the "bones" of Elisha!

Then it happened!

God, as soon as the yet unburied man "touched" the bones of Elisha, raised him from the dead!

That's "God in a Graveyard" for sure!

Here's the exact Old Testament description. 

"And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."  2 Kings 13:21

That set me to thinking!

When else in Scripture did God work in a graveyard?

Ezekiel immediately came to mind!

The old Prophet Ezekiel saw (in the spirit) a whole valley full of dry dead bones!  I would call that a graveyard for sure!

God told Ezekiel to preach to those dry bones!  To declare to them the Word of God! And God promised to then breathe life into those old dead bones, putting muscles and flesh and skin upon them!

So Ezekiel preached!

Next the Prophet heard a shaking noise, followed by the sounds of bones coming together!  Once recreated, the bones and bodies received breath from God Himself as the four winds began to blow!

All this is a prophecy of Israel, who had lost all hope!  God resurrected a good-as-dead nation!  He has placed them back in their own land and has great plans even yet for their future!  He's going to "save" them some glorious future day!

God in a graveyard!

Then one day Jesus stopped a crowd ... on the way to a graveyard!  (They never got there because He raised the dead young man back to life!)  Here it is word for word!  "And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.  Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.  And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people."  Luke 7:11-16

But, you know what?

Trying the best I can, I can only think of one time Jesus actually visited a graveyard for any stated purpose!

It was the burial site of His friend Lazarus!

And, guess what?

It was not Lazarus' graveyard for very long!

Yes!  Jesus raised him too from the dead!

See John 11:43-44!

Other than that I think Jesus stayed away from graveyards!

I believe we know why too!

Dead people just could NOT stay dead around Jesus!

Every dead person He ever met ... came back to life!

In addition to the two I've just described (the widow's son at Nain and Lazarus) ... Jesus also raised a little 12 year old girl from the dead!  (Mark 5:41-42)

Had Jesus gone to numerous graveyards in Person ... He would have presumably emptied them all!

Glory to God!

He is yet going to tear up an awful lot of graves on Rapture day!  Read 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18!

God in a graveyard!

You don't reckon that miracle in an Old Testament graveyard (the Elisha's "bones" incident) could be just a "hint" of another coming graveyard resurrection do you? The one in which the "dead in Christ" shall rise at the sound of the trumpet!  That will happen because by faith they have "touched" a Greater than Elisha, the Lord Jesus Christ!

I am so glad God was in that graveyard back in Elisha's day!  (It sure was not Elisha that raised that man from the dead!  It was God!)

I've got to close ... but just as I typed these words ... God showed me another graveyard He attended!

You can read about it in Deuteronomy 34:4-6.  It deals with God and Moses!  "And the LORD said unto him (Moses), This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.  So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.  And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." 

God buried Moses!

What a graveyard!

Proof!  Again, Bible proof that God goes to graveyards!

Here's some comfort!

When you die, dear believing friend, your soul and spirit will be with the Lord already (2 Corinthians 5:8 --- "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.")!  But your body remains here on earth to be buried!

Isn't it comforting to know that as your family tearfully takes you to that gravesite ... the Lord can be with them every step of the way!  He can comfort their sorrowing souls!  He can meet their every need! 

He even goes to graveyards!

Truly He meant it when He said:  "And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  Matthew 28:20

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 6 (POSTED FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2004 FROM MYRTLE, MS)

The word "bone" or "bones" occurs in the Bible a total of 118 times (King James Version).

The human body has 206 bones.

They form our skeletal system.

The Hebrew word for bones is "etzsem" and is derived from a root word meaning "strong!"

The Greek word is "osteon!"  Ever heard of "osteoporosis?" (That describes bones with little holes in them!  It's a disease!)

I believe the reason "bones" are on my mind this Friday is the Scripture Passage we have noticed lately!

2 Kings 13:21 --- "And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."

Don't you remember the BONES of Joseph?

Prior to his death he made his children promise to take his bones with them OUT of Egypt at the Exodus!  Genesis 50:25 --- "And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence." Many years later they did so.  Exodus 13:19 --- "And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you."  And finally, in the Promised Land, Joseph's bones were laid to rest!  Joshua 24:32 --- "And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph."  And for some reason this is so important that's we find it mentioned again in Hebrews 11:22 --- "By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones."  Therefore I can safely make this statement.  Bones in the Bible are teaching tools! Joseph's very bones were object lessons to augment the faith of the children of Israel until they reached Canaan.

Then think of the bones of a little lamb, the Passover lamb!  It is believed that no bones of that little lamb were to be broken!  Not in its killing or in its being roasted or even in its being eaten!  Of course this is a picture of the Saviour as He dies on Calvary!  Not one of His bones was broken either!  Here's the prophecy I have in mind: Psalm 34:20 --- "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken."  Here is Jesus thinking on the Cross: Psalm 22:17 --- "I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me."  And again in Psalm 22:14 --- "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels."  His bones were on His mind!  And here's the actual account of His death: John 19:33 --- "But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs." 

Again I say, bones are teaching tools in the Bible!

The Bible even mentions sick bones!  Psalm 6:2 --- "Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed."  (These are worried anxious bones!)  And Proverbs 3:8 suggest that sick bones may be made well:  "It (Wisdom) shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."  See Proverbs 16:24 --- "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."

We are being taught that the very health of our bones (which, incidentally, produce our blood) depends upon our God in Heaven!

I have even found a case in Scripture of burning bones!  Jeremiah experienced this when he tried to quit preaching!  Here, let's let him tell it.  "Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."  Jeremiah 20:9  Probably every single one of you Believers in Jesus has known this "burning bones" feeling!  God's Word affects our bones!

Bones still teaching!

And think of this.  Even after we leave here and receive our glorified bodies ... we shall still have bones!  Our bodies will be just like Jesus' body!  Paul tells us that at the Rapture our vile bodies will become like His glorified body!  It's in Philippians 3:21 --- "Who (Jesus) shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."  And here is how Jesus described His post-resurrection body to the disciples:  "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."  Luke 24:39

We've been consider the topic of "bones" in the Bible!

I've learned some things I do believe!

Well, look at this!

Bones ... still teaching!

Oh!  I nearly forgot!

The first mention of bones in the Bible is in Genesis 2:23.  It is spoken of Adam's Bride, Eve! "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."  Now listen to Paul in Ephesians 5:30 as he describes our relationship as Blood washed Believers to our Bridegroom!  "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."  We are members of His (Jesus') flesh and bones!

I think we might all best spend some time today thinking about bones!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 7:

I sat down with my Bible and a pen.  I wanted to see if I could find a few ways Elisha just might be a type of Christ. 

Well, here are some of them:

1.  Elisha had a "forerunner" named Elijah who was HARD on sin!  So did Jesus have a forerunner (John the Baptist) who was hard on sin as well.

2.  Elisha received a "double portion" of the spirit!  Jesus had the Holy Spirit without measure!

3.  Elisha had an incident with salt!  (A miracle!)  Jesus preached sermons about salt!

4.  Elisha cursed 42 children who mocked the man of God!  Jesus blessed the little children!

5.  Elisha cared for the widow ladies (the pot of oil)!  Jesus did too!  (Even raising a widow's son from the dead!)

6.  Elisha raised a child (a little boy) from the dead!  So did Jesus (a little girl)!

7.  Elisha fed many with a little food (hundreds)!  Jesus did too ... except Jesus fed thousands!

8.  Elisha healed a leper (Naaman)!  So did Jesus (several times)!

9.  Elisha had to deal with a rebellious servant (Gehazi)!  So did Jesus (Judas)!

10.  Elisha often displayed supernatural knowledge!  So Jesus was (and still is) omniscient (knowing all)!

11.  Elisha predicted a seven year famine!  Jesus predicted a seven year tribulation!

12.  There are some "silent" years in Elisha's life.  So are there in Jesus' life (ages 12-30 ... eighteen years)!

13.  Near his death Elisha taught the King to "keep shooting" at the enemy!  Near His Ascension Jesus taught His followers to keep preaching the Gospel!

14.  Overall one could say Elisha "went about doing good!"  That's even more true of Jesus!  See Acts 10:38. 

15.  Elisha performed miracles even after he was dead!  Our text this week proves that!  So has Jesus!  He's still saving lost souls!

What do you readers think?

I believe the evidence is conclusive!  Elisha is like Jesus in many ways!

                                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 8:

There is a part of this account that the Bible purposely leaves untold!

Think about it with me today.

The dead man, whose soul and spirit are already in "eternity" is suddenly resurrected!  He certainly did not expect such a miracle!  (Jesus knew in advance that He was to be raised from the grave, for example!  I base this on abundant Bible evidence.)

Immediately "back" from the dead, what did the man do?

He is all alone!

His pall-bearers have fled!

The Moabite band of soldiers would have been gone by now also!

Nobody is there but the living dead man and Elisha, whose bones are glistening in the daylight!

What's the man to do?

No doubt he walked back home!

Think of the reaction anyone would have had who met him on the roadside that day!  Isn't that the dead man?  How can this be?  What a stir this no doubt caused!

And going home ... what a thrill that would be!

Mama would have been maybe fixing a meal.  A lonely sad meal.  Then ... out the window she sees a man approaching!  She can't tell much at a distance.  She thinks "that man walks like my husband ... my dead husband!"

The children run in and say, "Mama!  Daddy is walking down the road!"

What a reunion!  What joy!  What happiness!  What a new beginning that would have been!

BUT isn't it the very same when a old dead sinner gets saved?

Does that not cause surprise in town?

Does that not bring joy at home?

Does that not convert tears into shouts?

I believe here we have a "parable" in the making!

And it is all because the formerly dead man TOUCHED Elisha!  Elisha the Prophet who is also a beautiful picture here of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Has anyone reading these words ever TOUCHED Jesus?

Better yet, has HE touched you?

If so ... like this man .... you have never been the same again!

Glory to God!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 9:

Jesus said it in Matthew 22:32 --- "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." 

Now when the Lord uttered those words Abraham and his son and grandson had been dead and buried for centuries (as far as their bodies were concerned anyway)!

BUT they were not dead in soul and spirit!

How do you know, preacher?

Jesus just told us so!

In fact, Scripture teaches us that we shall yet some day in the future see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and all the departed saints)!

So ... when Elisha's "bones" touched that dead man in 2 Kings 13:20-21, the old Prophet (Elisha) was somewhere alive and well!  It was just his bones that rested in that grave!

I am reminded of something the Bible says about Abel, the first martyr!  "He (Abel) being dead yet speaketh."  Hebrews 11:4

Elisha too was physically dead ... but he was yet speaking!  Or should I say still "raising the dead?"

This encourages me with a well-known truth!

My loved ones who have already gone to heaven are not really dead either!  Their bodies remain in a tomb or mausoleum somewhere ... but they're really with Jesus!

I can't talk to them (yet) or enjoy their company again ... BUT some day I can!

Oh, let's praise the Lord today for eternal life!

Brethren, "comfort one another with these words!"  1 Thessalonians 4:13

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 10:

When I first learned about this last miracle of Elisha's, I was amazed!  It was years ago and I was still a young student of Scripture.  I could not get over what these verses taught!

Among many other things, here is an absolute illustration that those who have already died and gone to be with the Lord CAN and DO still influence us!

I do not mean influence us by their actual presence.  Paul takes care of that thought when he says that for the saint "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."  2 Corinthians 5:8  They are now with Jesus!

I do not mean influence us by any conversation or communication either!  Our communion as Believers is to be with the Holy Spirit!  Again, let's let Paul tell us: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."  2 Corinthians 13:14

BUT I do mean influencing us by the lives they lived and the testimonies they left and the work they did for our Lord!

Hardly a day goes by that I do not think of my sweet Daddy!  He lived a quiet godly life in front of me day after day.  He was faithful!  He loved the Lord!  Whatever I am today ... my Dad had a great influence on it!

And my precious Mama!  I don't ever remember a Sunday (for 18 years) that we were not in church!  She loved her Bible and taught us to do so too!

And I have 2 Uncles who are preachers.  One is now with the Lord and another still lives and preaches regularly! 

The first book in my library was given me by one of those godly men.  The other Uncle added to that small library regularly! 

Today take some time and thank God for your heritage.  (Remember that someone does not have to be in your birth family to have impacted you spiritually and be a part of your godly heritage!  There are "spiritual" fathers and mothers also!)

Here's how Jesus put it in Psalm 16:6 --- "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage."

Brethren, think on these things!  Luke 2:19 tells us:  "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 21 ... LESSON 11:

We have been studying the effects of the "bones" of Elisha.  (Even some time after he had died, they were still conducting a "ministry" for the Lord!)

Many Preachers, now long with the Lord, are also yet  helping us!

How?

Not just by the lives they lived or the family they fathered ... but by their very words!  By their BOOKS I mean!

In a sense books have a "life" of their own!

Charles Spurgeon still speaks to me regularly (through his books)!

So do the old Puritans Thomas Manton and Jeremiah Burroughs.

My Uncle (Dr. Oliver B. Greene) used to preach to me often when, as a young preacher, I read those old paperback sermons published by The Gospel Hour.

I recently read the best commentary on Psalm 22 that I've ever seen.  Spurgeon recommended it to me and the author (James Frame) has been dead for many years!

One Preacher I know strongly recommends that you men of God read one sermon a day from the pen of a deceased (but now in Heaven) Bible expositor!

Yes, Elisha had an "on-going" ministry.

So do many others ... through their books!

Sometimes when I go into a godly library I almost seem to hear their voices!  A great cloud of witness preaching the precious truths of the Word of God!

Preachers, let's go grab a book!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

FINAL LESSON:

It's just an account of one miracle.  Elisha worked a number of them (double the number of Elijah)!

It's quite short too. 

"And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.  And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."  2 Kings 13:20-21

Today let me comment on one last aspect of this Bible event.

Look at how abruptly the text ends!

The next verse goes on to another subject altogether!

We are left here with a dead man, just having been "resurrected," with no further description of the event whatsoever!

Again, I say the Holy Spirit has (purposely) given us an abrupt conclusion!

That means He wants us to learn something from it!

Here's another abrupt ending.  The Book of Acts seems to end without completing the story of Paul's life.  He has arrived in Rome and is teaching the Word in his own hired house.  The end!

The Book of Jonah does that too ... ends abruptly!

Jonah is left outside Nineveh with a bad attitude and we have no idea if he ever gets things "straight" or not!

The Prodigal Son parable is indefinite in its ending too.

The older brother is upset.  No solution is in sight.  What happens next?  God does not choose to tell us!

Here's my point.

I believe God deliberately leaves some endings "open" like this!

In fact, your "life story" is still "open!"

Will YOU keep serving Jesus?

Will YOU remain faithful?

Will YOU get (and stay) bitter and angry?

Will YOU help (or hurt) the cause of Christ?

And, by the grace of God, the only one who can determine that ending (the one to YOUR life) is YOU YOURSELF (with the help of the Holy Spirit of God)!

I don't know what the once dead man did in Elisha's miracle.

I don't know what Paul next did in Rome either.

Neither have I been told what Jonah said to the Lord after Jonah 4:11.

And I have no idea if the Prodigal's older brother ever get things right with his Dad.

BUT I DO KNOW THAT MY DESIRE AND GOAL (AND PLAN) IS (WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY) TO KEEP ME RIGHT TO THE GLORY OF GOD!

How about YOU?

THAT'S what WE can learn from these "abrupt" endings!

Thank God for them!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

OUR PRAYER IS THAT THE LORD WILL HAVE BLESSED YOU FOR STUDYING IN DETAIL THIS GREAT PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE!  PSALM 1 SAYS THAT HE WILL!

 

 

 

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