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.
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.
Romans 1:4 – And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Hello readers, new blog today, on the bones of Elisha. It’s a pretty interesting story right here… Elisha died and was buried. And after his death Israel came under attack by the Moabites… and it was during these times of invasion by bands of Moabites that there was a funeral scene in Israel of a nameless man being buried. Quite often when a godly man goes, it leaves a flock, it leaves people vulnerable to attack, and it was no different here. Elisha died, and in came the enemy… and God lets this happen to see what we are made of, whether our walk with him is real, what our faith is truly made of. Well, the people burying him were going about the burial process of this nameless man, but as they were doing so they saw one such band of Moabites coming, so they didn’t have time to dig this man his own grave and give him his own proper burial, instead they they just put him in another man’s grave. And it so happened to be the grave of Elisha that they dumped this dead man into. But no sooner had they put him in, then he came back to life! Imagine their suprise!
It is important to understand what this story means for us today, and what significance it bore and bears today. As with all things in the Bible, when the stories of the Bible are viewed with a Lord Jesus Christ focus, seen through the eyes of the gospel, then they are correctly understood and interpreted. After all, interpretations belong to God, it is he who tells us and shows us how to understand what he has written, and by comparing the Bible with the Bible, spiritual with spiritual… then understanding, knowledge and wisdom can be established. God’s word is a rock upon which we can base our lives. Who better to give us the understanding of then word then the person who has spoken it? The Bible, God’s word, is the testimony of Jesus Christ, it bears witness of him, and cannot be understood without him, without him opening the book to us, and without him revealing it to us. The Bible simply cannot be understood without the Lord Jesus Christ, seeing as the book points to him. Seeing as the book is about him.
What this story teaches us is the victory that Jesus Christ has had over death, and how we can share in that victory over death through him. It teaches the practical truth of the newness of life that we receive when we believe on Jesus Christ, identifying with his death, burial and resurrection personally, and also the promise of the future victory over death when we receive our new glorified bodies at the first resurrection. This man would have stayed dead had he had his own grave, his own sepulcher, his own resting place. But because he was thrown into someone else’s grave… which in fact was Elisha’s sepulcher… when he touched the bones of Elisha, he revived. He made his grave in another man’s grave, Elisha’s grave, and for that reason he came back to life. We find our life also when we partake in what someone else has done for us, a death died for us thousands of years ago… but a death which speaks as much today as the day it was died. Because this was a death that brought life for all. Jesus said in John 12:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Revival is found in the death of Jesus Christ for us. When we touch his bones, when we take the cup of salvation, when we believe in him, when we enter into his death he died… that saves us and we live, because he lives. When we come in contact with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and when we throw ourselves at his feet, upon his mercy, that’s what gives us new life, his life. That’s where personal and corporate revival starts, getting back to the gospel, getting back to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the resurrection and the life after all. Die in him, and you will live, because death has no hold on you if you believe in Jesus… and though it’s hard to believe… it’s true. This story is a picture of what needs to happen in our lives personally, where we place our faith in Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, and are raised in newness of life by him both spiritually and practically in our lives. Where we throw ourselves upon him, who he is and what he has done. Abandoning our grave, our merits, our works, and allowing Jesus to have died for us as a substitute for us, someone who could beat death where we couldn’t. Don’t make your own grave, make your grave in Jesus Christ’s grave, because that is where the power of God is. Jesus died and rose for us, and when we take ownership of that personally by faith, we enter into what he did for each of us.
Jesus said to the Jews in John 8 that those that believed on him would never see death. You will never see death in Jesus Christ, you may physically die one day, but physical death for a believer is just a changing of home, it is in fact going home, to where we already spiritually are in heaven, it is the pathway to an eternal life in and with and through Christ Jesus. To die is gain for a believer in Jesus Christ, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And here in the Old Testament, we see the victory that Jesus had over death. He was slain from the foundation of the world, before he came God knew what was going to happen, how he was going to bless us and redeem and restore us from the curse that entered the world through sin. The Lord died, yet rose from the dead, death was an enemy that conquered all of humanity until Jesus. But death more than met it’s match in Christ Jesus. It swallowed up all before Christ, but could not swallow and hold Jesus forever, in fact 3 days and 3 nights, and it lost all it’s power. Death had no power, had no place for Jesus, a place where Jesus could not be held, Jesus ransacked death, he ransacked hell, he ransacked the grave and rose to die no more. Jesus is God, he did no sin, he was and is perfect, and in dying, he defeated death’s victory, and now he has the keys to death and hell.
If you make a Christless grave, you will stay there, you will stay dead, and be dead forever. And not just physical death, but eternal, spiritual death. The only victory over death is in Christ Jesus. There is victory in none other. Death is a mortal enemy of mankind, it has reigned over mankind since the beginning where Adam and Eve sinned. It is a law, a reality, an inevitability, a consequence. But it doesn’t have to beat you, Jesus took death’s sting, he took grave’s victory. But if you make your own grave, your own grave alone, in your own strength, in your own resources, you standing alone on your achievements, your life, your efforts, your merits… they won’t be enough. Hell has enlarged her mouth, she has no limits, she has enough room for every person who has refused and rejected the Saviour. But just like the whale vomited Jonah out, hell and death could not hold Jesus Christ. But while it couldn’t hold him, it can hold you… you cannot get out of death, but for Jesus Christ… who just as Joseph was head of the prison, Jesus even in death, was in complete control, and over all things.
When Jesus died, he went to hell, he went to the heart of the earth, and preached the gospel, he set the prisoners free, those who died in faith… but conversely those who died in unbelief, well their fate was sealed, they would never experience the victory and deliverance from death like those who believed and obeyed God did. Everyone who had ever died was there, the heart of the earth had two places… hell and paradise, and there was a gulf fixed between them. Jesus sorted things out, and then rose from the dead, having paid for our sins in his death, and bore the judgement of God against sin upon himself. It was a place that could not hold him. For you, dying alone, apart from Jesus Christ, making your own grave with no Mediator, no Saviour, no Intercessor, no Redeemer, no Lord, no hope… would be the ultimate foolish decision you could make. We need someone who has already died for us, who can die the death that we cannot triumph over. Jesus made his grave with the wicked in our place, and when we enter into what he has done for us, we receive life in exchange for death. We don’t deserve it, but Jesus came to take our sin, and give us his life. We can’t make it on our own, no matter how mighty, no matter what life we lived, we must enter into Christ’s victory through faith, we must believe who he is and what he has done, and what he does today. Remember that God is the God of the living not of the dead, he has the breath of life to give and to take.
It was in not getting his own grave that this man lived. He got cast into where some other dead man’s bones were, not the most glorious final remembrance and tributes for him… yet look at what it produced. We have to abandon ourselves, our prestige, our life, and make our life in someone who lived a perfect life, died a death in sinlessness and perfection, and who had power over death in that he rose from the dead. He was a nameless man, because it wasn’t important who he was, but it was important whose bones he touched. They were Elisha’s. The man of God… and it is important for us who we touch and get strength and life from. Our identity only matters if it is made in Jesus. None of Jesus Christ’s bones were broken, our bones break like the thief on the cross, we are sinful, mortal, fallen, created beings, but he is the sinless, perfect Son of God. The unbroken frame of his body, the strength of his life, is enough power for us for all of eternity, strong enough to bear us forever.
It is important to note the state of this man as he was let down into the grave. He was dead. And that’s what we are before we got saved, dead in trespasses and sin. Spiritually dead. There is only life found in Christ, and that starts with spiritual life, being made alive spiritually. No unbeliever has spiritual life, they are blind, dead, lost. That’s why we all need to be saved, and when Jesus Christ hears our cry and saves us and comes to dwell in us by his Holy Spirit, being born again, then we pass from death to life, then we go from this world’s kingdom to his kingdom, then we are made spiritually alive inside. True life starts at the spiritual level, there is no life without spiritual life. And often it takes others to get us there, who planted the seed of the word of God in your heart? Your faith started with someone who was faithful enough to tell you the truth. These men were going to bury him properly, but because of the pressure of an incoming band, they just put him in Elisha’s grave. And there is no time, time is short today, time is running out, night is coming. We need to stop fooling around, and take people to Jesus Christ. Even if these guys didn’t intend for what happened, they didn’t know… and often our motives are always wrong, our understanding flawed. But we make the right call, and have the right impact, when we lead people to Jesus Christ… we can’t solve people, but Jesus can, because he is God.
Another thing this story shows us is that often Jesus is the last resort. It was only because of the incoming band of Moabites that they did this. God allows pressures to be placed upon us to get us to call upon him, to finally go to him. If not for the Moabites, this man would’ve stayed dead. Often we could look at our life circumstances and wish it were better, but it was probably the bad things that made us call upon the name of the Lord. When things go our own way, we so easily forget him, when we prosper it makes us forget God. No wonder the Bible says that … has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith? No wonder the Bible says that … we must through must tribulation enter the kingdom of God. These guys on burial duty didn’t know what was going to happen, and so often we don’t know what God can and will do! We underestimate God, we don’t realize the power in placing our faith in Jesus Christ and just simply leaning upon him in our practical day to day lives. The gospel is where the power is. It is powerful enough to save us and breathe life into dead bones. And so often we are buriers, not livers, we are in defeat, not victorious. God can make you stand up, just like he made this man to stand. God can give life where there is none. It wasn’t actually about Elisha. People can twist these kinds of scriptures. Elisha said… where is the Lord God of Elijah? We should want Elisha’s God, not Elisha. We should want Elijah’s God, not Elijah. It was Elisha’s God that made these bones special.
When someone dies they are gone. This isn’t a call to do what Saul did and contact the dead, because all you’ll end up speaking to is a lying spirit. It’s a call to seek the God of Elisha, the God of Elijah, the God of Abraham… it’s the same God, but many different people. It also goes to show that the graves of those who died in faith… well they are triumphant graves. Death did not conquer Elisha, his life still speaks today, because he obeyed God, his life lasts. The victory that overcomes this world is our faith. And is not faith hearing and obeying God’s word? Yes it is. These people in the Bible who obeyed God, their life speaks today, just like Abel’s blood still speaks today. But Christ’s blood speaks even better, of whom Abel is a picture of. It was when this man touched Elisha’s bones that he revived, and it speaks of the special spiritual event that takes place when we are born again. Marriage is an earthly picture of what salvation is. We become flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones. Our feeble frames are healed and made alive when they are united with Christ. When we get saved we are united with Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. We live because he lives. It’s why sexual sin is so bad, because it is a perversion and violation of the picture of the greater spiritual truth to which it represents. God is Holy above all else. His Spirit is the HOLY Spirit, and holiness marks the life of any true believer who goes on with Christ to glory. You cannot defile the temple of God, (and if you are saved you are a temple of God), and get by with it.
God can make you stand up on your feet, as this man did. He revives you, then he makes you stand, we are able to stand and live a life that counts in the context of eternity. Daniel stood in Babylon, and we are commanded to stand, to make a stand, because God has given us the ability to stand. You can either oversee people making Christless exits from this world, or you can start pointing people to the cross and the finished work and the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. His sepulcher was empty, because he lives. You don’t know what God can do, we really don’t understand the true power of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ… in simple, plain old truth. Just keep the truth, it is that incorruptible seed that can plant something incorruptible forever in someone’s heart. Incorruptible because it corrupts not, it never fades away, the truth of God’s word, God’s word, will stand forever. Jesus did say the truth would make us free and that we would KNOW it. Bring people to Jesus Christ, who he is and what he has done, cast them at his feet, before him… and the dead can revive, the dead can stand. The bones of Elisha speak today, as do the bones of any man or woman of God who has left this world in faith. Those bones are lively bones, because they had a lively hope, they had a living God, and seek the God of these people. We aren’t meant to point people anywhere else but to truth, to the Lord Jesus Christ. Death can not hold you in Jesus Christ, death spat Jesus out just like that whale vomited Jonah out, the prison door has swung open, we can revive like this man did making our bed in the who Jesus Christ is and what he has done for us.