2 KINGS 4
1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear Yahweh: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
The creditor was applying the law of Exo. 21:7; Lev. 25:39.
39 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:
40 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile.
It was by extension of this law and by virtue of another which authorised them to sell the thief who could not make restitution (Exo. 22:3),
if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
so that creditors were permitted to take children of their debtors in payment. Isaiah refers to this in ch. 50:1.
Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
In this incident [1 Kings 4:7] the grace of Yahweh abounds over the law (cp. Rom. 5:20; ch. 6).*
v1. Heb. [avadim (slaves)]. It seems the creditor was misapplying the law
"not compel him to serve as a bondservant [avadim]" -
the sons of Israel should not become bondmen (slaves to do servile work) but as hired men
"as if a temporary resident; he shall serve with you until the Year of Jubilee" AMP
7 Then she came and told the man of Elohim [ Ish HaElohim]. And he said, Go, sell the oil [shemen], and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children [banim] of the rest.
Elisha was there, with
"a double portion of the spirit of Elijah"
resting upon him. The direction of such a man meant the operation of a power not higher than men knew in nature, but than men can ordinarily control, for men see in nature any year the operation of a law that can increase a small quantity of oil to a great quantity; but they have no power to "differentiate" this law. Here was a man who could do what ordinary men cannot. The Spirit of God, abiding with him and working with him, could combine the elements on the spot to any required extent.
The one pot of oil was the laboratory in which the work was done. Consequently, her pot of oil went on pouring without emptying not because there was anything magical in the pot (there is no such thing, in reality, as magic), but because the oil was manufactured in the pot as fast as it escaped into the other vessels. Here, also, is one of
"the powers of the world to come,"
at the command of the saints who will reign with Christ. The supply of what is needful will be an easy matter with those upon whom even more than a double portion of the spirit will rest. Not that this will be the common mode of supply, but it will be an available mode, when requisite. The employment of it will simply be a question of propriety and fitness.
When all the vessels were full, the supply ceased, and the woman, by Elisha's direction, sold the oil, paid her husband's debt, and had a sufficient balance to have a living for herself and children. There will, doubtless, be many such cases of helping the poor in the age to come, by the saints, in the exercise of the power that will reside in them for the blessing of all the families of the earth.
The Visible Hand of God - Ch. 29
31 And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
... the effort of Gehazi is found to be impotent, as the Law of Moses could not bring life to dying Israel.*
34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
The advent of Elisha turned sorrow into joy, and the resurrection is foreshadowed*
38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
The nation was to experience the situation felt in the home of the woman, as famine continued to afflict the land, and "death in the pot" is realised*
40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of Elohim, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
Death in the pot
Job, speaking of "man that is born of woman," says, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" and David, by the Spirit, says, in Psalm 51:5: "Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Furthermore, the annual atonement under the law (Lev. 16.) was appointed even "for the holy place," because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, besides their "transgressions in all their sins."-(verse 16.)
"Sin in the flesh," which is Paul's phrase, refers to the same thing. It is what Paul also calls "Sin that dwelleth in me" (Rom. 7:17), adding, "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." Now, what is this element called "uncleanness," "sin," "iniquity," &c.?
The difficulty experienced by some in the solution of this question, arises from a disregard of the secondary use of terms. Knowing that sin is the act of transgression, they read "act of transgression" every time they see the term sin, ignoring the fact that there is a metonymy in the use of all words which apply even to sin.
Suppose a similar treatment of the word death. Primarily, death means the state to which a living man is reduced when his life ceases. Now we read of one of the sons of the prophets saying, "There is death in the pot." Does this mean there was a corpse in the pot? No, but that which makes a corpse of any living man. "Death" literally meant "that which would lead to death."
Again, "death hath passed upon all men," means the condition that leads to death. So, "Let the dead bury their dead," means, "Let those who are destined to be numbered with the dead, bury those who are actually dead." "Passed from death unto life," means, "Passed from that relation that ends in death, to that which leads to life." A disregard of metonymy and ellipsis in such statements, has led to most of the errors of the apostacy; and is leading some back to them who had escaped.
There is a principle, element, or peculiarity in our constitution (it matters not how you word it) which leads to the decay of the strongest or the healthiest. Its implantation came by sin, for death came by sin; and the infliction of death and the implantation of this peculiarity are synonymous things.
God's sentences are not carried out by hangmen's ropes and executioners' axes, but by the inworking of His appointed law. Because the invisible, constitutional, physical inworking of death in us came by sin, that inworking is termed sin. It is a principle of uncleanness and corruption and weakness-the word and experience conjoining in this testimony.
For this reason, it is morally operative: for whatever affects the physical, affects the moral. If no counterforce were brought into play, its presence would subject us to the uncontrolled dominion of disobedience, through the constitutional weakness and impulse to sin.
The enlightenment of the truth helps us to keep the body under. Still we are not thereby emancipated. Our experience answers to Paul, and leads us to sympathise exactly with his exclamation,
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death."
The body of the Lord Jesus was this same unclean nature in the hand of the Father, that deliverance might be effected by God on His own principles and to His own glory.
Condemnation has been called a cage; and it has been asked how one prisoner can liberate another? The answer is that God never allows His locks to be forced or His prisoners to be unlawfully set free. The doors must be opened legitimately, and the opening of the prison must be for a reason among the prisoners as in the closing.
God accepts no compromise. He provided a prisoner furnished with the key of obedience who could open the door for all who should name themselves after Him.
The Christadelphian, Oct 1874
We conclude from the testimony of Moses, that when Adam was expelled from Eden, he was purely, the Mortal Subject of Good and Evil;-that Immortality resided in the Tree of Life, and that in consequence of his being prevented from eating its fruit, not one atom of it was transferred or to be found in him.
"The wages of sin is death" or mortality.-"As was the Earthy" or Animal Adam, "so also are the earthy," his animal descendants;-they are the Mortal Subjects of Good and Evil, and utterly devoid of the least particle of indestructibility, imperishability, incorruptibility, or immortality, let it be called by what name it may.
The principle which is to sustain the life of the human constitution eternally is a matter of gift, and to be superadded at the Resurrections. This gift of life is a matter also of promise; hence it is termed "the promise of life" on account of which Paul was made an apostle. The gift of life is termed "the gracious gift of God"-"the wages of sin," says Paul, "is death" or mortality; "but the gracious gift of God is eternal life" or indestructibility or immortality.
Now all men, whether saints or sinners, are equally destitute of this indestructible principle; certain of them, however, have the promise of it. Thus it is written,-"the Just shall live" or be "invested" with life eternal or indestructibility; but in the whole Bible there is no such promise to the wicked.
...There being no indestructible principle in Man as man, unless it can be proved, that such a principle is to be superadded to the Constitution of the Unjust at their resurrection, they cannot become the subjects of a punishment in which they will be intellectually, morally, corporeally and eternally conscious. "Most assuredly, unless men eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, they have not life in them."
-Those, then, who do not thus eat and drink, are destitute of the vital principle; and cannot, therefore, either be conscious of happiness or misery eternally. Ultimate Salvation to the wicked from "the pains of hell" consequently, is as impossible, as an eternal consciousness of suffering. "No manslayer has eternal life abiding in him; and "he who rejects the Son shall not see life."
If this doctrine be true, then Matthew and Mark, in the places referred to must be interpreted by it. Death or Mortality is a "punishment," and if that Death be unending, it is an Eternal Punishment.
Now the punishment of Mortality is twofold; the one is death ending in a resurrection; the other, "death ending in death." The latter, is the Second Death, as opposed to that which ends by a resurrection. The rejectors of the Son of Man, will be the subjects of two deaths; whereas, those who obey him will suffer only one.
Apostolic Advocate, July 1838
43 And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith Yahweh, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
Food was multiplied, an expression of the great harvest of the future, when the problems of the present environment is overcome, and the famine for the word of Yahweh is followed by the great outpouring of the Spirit at the coming of the greater Elisha.*