TODAY’S READING: 2 KINGS 6-8
In 2 Kings 6:1-7, there is an odd, seemingly random story where Elisha is able to make iron float on water. I’ve been reading for hours about this story. Virtually everyone says this was a miracle performed by Elisha. But, I could not find anyone that satisfactorily explained what the miracle was.
Why did Elisha perform this miracle?
What does this miracle have to do with Jesus?
ELISHA AND THE SONS OF THE PROPHETS
Elisha and the sons of the prophets are the characters in this story.
Elisha means “God is salvation,” “God the savior,” or “salvation of my God.” Therefore, I believe Elisha is a type of Jesus in this story.
Revelation 19:10 says, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” So, a prophet is one who testifies of Jesus. The thrust of each Old Testament prophecy is Jesus. And, all the books of prophecy in the Old Testament are about Jesus. Jesus says this in John 5:39-40 and Luke 24.
The phrase “sons of the prophets” is found 12 times in the Bible. It occurs 11 times in the Old Testament, all in the books of 1 and 2 Kings. The phrase occurs one time in the New Testament in Acts 3:25. It is used to describe those that believe in the Lord and his covenant.
Therefore, the sons of the prophets are a picture of the believers.
THE DWELLING PLACE IS TOO SMALL
The reasons the sons of the prophets came to Elisha was “the place were we dwell under you charge is too small for us.” Let’s look at some of these words to see what the inspiration of the Spirit is.
The Hebrew word for place is maqom. This is a generic word for place but is often used with other words to describe a holy or sacred place. Maqom comes from a root word meaning to rise, arise; to get up, stand up; to come to fruition; to endure; to belong to; to stay fixed.
The Hebrew word for dwell is yashab. It means to dwell; to marry; to sit, sit down, remain sitting; to be inhabited.
“Under your charge” is a phrase made of two Hebrew words that literally mean “your head.”
The Hebrew word for small is sarar, which literally means to wrap, envelop, tie/lock up; to be cramped, restricted, hampered, constricted.
We, the church, dwell with Christ and are married to him. He is our head and we are his body. We are to arise, to grow up, to come to fruition, “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13) But, as we are growing into Christ are dwelling place can become cramped.
EACH ONE GET A BEAM
So the sons of the prophets said, “Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” (2 Kings 6:2)
The Hebrew word for log literally means beam. The sons of the prophets are going to go the Jordan where each one of them is going to cut down a beam that can be used to make a larger dwelling place for them. When they got to the Jordan, they cut down trees to get their beams.
What are these trees that were cut down into beams to expand the dwelling place?
Psalm 1 says that the blessed man “is like a tree planted by streams of water.” Jeremiah 17:8 says virtually the same thing.
Trees are symbolic of people in the Bible. But, these trees by the Jordan that are going to be cut down for beams to make a larger dwelling place symbolize the sons of the prophets themselves.
These trees are symbolic of believers themselves. In order to make more room to be under Christ’s headship, each person has to be cut down. The flesh has to be crucified. We must pick up our own cross. We must die daily. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
As we humble ourselves, cutting ourselves down, we make a larger dwelling place for all of us to grow together “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
CUT DOWN WITH IRON
Each person is cut down there own beam. They cut down their own tree to get their own beam with iron.
Iron symbolizes many things in the Bible. But, here I believe it symbolizes power, strength, and irresistibility. Because the iron is being used to cut down are our tree to make a beam for a larger dwelling place for Christ, I believe the iron – the Hebrew actually just says iron with no word for tool or axe – symbolizes the word of God, Jesus.
Psalm 1 says the blessed man that is like a tree planted by streams of water is blessed because “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” The law of Jesus if love. So, we cut down our own tree to make a beam for a larger dwelling place for Christ by meditating on his sacrificial, self-giving.
Interestingly, Numbers 35:16 says that if you struck someone down with an iron object so that he died then you were a murderer. So, we are not to use the strength and power of the word to cut others down, only ourselves. We apply the word internally to our hearts so that the body of Christ can grow larger.
THE BORROWED IRON FALLS INTO THE JORDAN
The iron that we cut down our tree with is borrowed. In other words, the word is not ours. It belongs to God, but he lends the word to us through the Spirit. The Old Testament says that if you borrow something without returning it then you need to make full restitution.
The name Jordan means descending. So,the borrowed iron is descending, which is a picture of Jesus, the word of God, going down to hell for us. But, if he was lost, how could we ever make restitution for the son of God.
ELISHA THROWS A STICK IN THE WATER AND MAKES THE IRON FLOAT
So, Elisha throws a stick in the water and makes the iron float. I believe the stick is a picture of Christ, the branch that was cut off. He goes down to retrieve the word which we had lost in the muddy, murky waters of the Jordan. Jesus makes it float so that we don’t have to go to down to hell to make restitution ourselves. He reconciles us to God.
So, Elisha said to “Take it up.” The word take here can mean exalt or raise up. So, once the word of God has come back from his descent into hell, we exalt him.
All of this is done to enlarge the dwelling place of God with men.
I’m sure there are many that would say this is not a correct interpretation, but this is what the Spirit showed me as I asked what this miracle was about.