Monday, February 01, 2016

The Four Lepers and Symbolism

The Four Lepers and Symbolism
 
As I read this story from the Old Testament in 2 Kings 6:15 all the way through chapter 7, I asked the Lord if He would reveal to me the meaning and the mystery of the passage. Sure enough the Lord is good. He started showing me the symbolism of all the players in this picture that God drew for us.  
These stories in the Bible are like looking at the Word of God with a microscope. You really have to take a close look. Some people reading this know the story and some do not. To be brief one morning the whole Syrian army was facing Elisha.
The Prophet believed that there was more power in God than an army. I think it very interesting that a whole army was trying to surround a man of God. The Devil is relentless.
 
 
He prayed and chariots of heaven became visible to His servant. God gave him affirmation in his trouble.
God still does this in our lives today. Elisha faced his enemy (the Syrians) and prayed. The Syrians became blind. He lead them into prayer before God so they would be able to see and their eyes were opened. A person of God will always pray for his or her enemies to see spiritually. A desire for them to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ is more important than revenge.
When their eyes were opened of course there was panic. When Elisha was asked if they should be killed he said feed the Syrians and send them home.
 
I'm going to explain the symbolism of this in just a moment. They are freed and then they start to plot against Israel. They could have left the whole thing alone and marveled at the goodness and power of God but instead revenge and conquering was far more important to them.
It is amazing how hard the human heart can become. A little time elapsed between the goodness of God and the plot so they thought about this long and HARD. This to me speaks of man's free will. Give God glory or obey the Devil.
Their strategy was to cut off food supplies from Israel and starve them and then conquer them. For a while it did work but they did not factor in the power of God. A person or group that rejects God never really cares about the Word of God. They care about their selfish ambitions. It is interesting that God waited until Israel was desperate.
 
God had to do it this way for Him to accomplish His will. God had to explain through descriptive purposes the symbolism of a sinner that needs to be saved by the grace of God.
To make a long story short Jezebel and her son were going to kill Elisha. This was the perfect excuse to kill a man of God. Jezebel's son changed his mind out of fear (smart move) and Elisha prophesied that there would be an overabundance of food the next day.
The high court officer said he did not believe so I will go on to explain what he symbolizes in the story. The four lepers were so hungry that they risked their lives to go into the Syrian camp to be killed or get food.
 
It is interesting to me that God would not let them go until this part of the story. You see the lepers were now at a point where they could see their own wretchedness. There are other things about the timing of this story that might help you understand the sovereignty and grace of God.  God can save people thought His Son Jesus Christ and spread the message of the Gospel.We as the Church refer to this as the Great Commission.
Nobody was in the Syrian camp. They ate food, told the gatekeeper, Israel sent a small group to check the situation out and it proved to be true.The masses of Israel rushed through the gates to eat the food in the Syrian camp. Israel went on to chase the army but the Syrians thought they were being attacked by thousands of soldiers, horses and chariots. What happened was God made it look like they were being attacked so in panic they ran.
 
Who are the players in this story and what do they represent or symbolize? There was Elisha, Jezebel, the four lepers, the high court officer who did not believe, the masses within Israel and the Syrian army. I believe each person or group has symbolic spiritual meaning attached to them. God does not just tell us an account in the Bible and leave it at that with no real understanding behind the story.
 
Elisha asked Elijah for a double anointing right before Elijah went on to be with the Lord. I really  don't believe Elisha knew what he was asking for but it was granted to him. I do believe he misused it early in his ministry. He had a little bit of a temper but God molded him into one of the greatest servants that ever lived for Him. In this story he is a type of Jesus Christ.
 
The reason why I say Elisha is a type of Jesus Christ in this story is because he gave the Syrians their sight back and fed them and sent them home. Actually God gave them their sight back but you know what I mean. This is exactly what Romans 2: 4-5 says. "Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ( they were supposed to repent after experiencing the goodness of God in the midst of their evil but instead) (5) but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up until thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."
 
Player number 2 which would be the 4 lepers. This one might be pretty obvious. The 4 lepers were starving along with the entire country of Israel. There was a difference between the 4 lepers and the country. They made a decision to do something. Their logic went something like this..."We are starving.We can't continue living like this."
When they went into the Syrian camp they knew that they would either be killed or mercy would be bestowed upon them. This is very important. Notice they had to go into the camp by faith and faith alone. They could not walk into the village, flash their badges and say "You owe us three meals because we are the 4 lepers."
 
They realized their wretched condition and had to come in faith to receive grace." For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph. 2: 8-9. Remember I said in the story the Syrian army had to flee because they thought they were being invaded. When the 4 lepers came by faith to receive grace there were no guards (no law).
 
The law has never saved anybody. In fact the Bible says..."For the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." 2nd Cor. 3:6. They were saved through their faith by God's grace and then started to enjoy their salvation by eating the food and resting in the glories of luxury. The book of Ephesians in the Bible describes our inheritance in Jesus Christ. We cannot separate our salvation from our inheritance and neither could they.
 
They did go to the gatekeeper of Israel and of course this was a foreign message to them. Only a few went out to check the validity of the story. Remember the 4 lepers were testifying of their salvation and inheritance. One of the problems with Christian witnessing is sometimes we just testify of our salvation but that does not mean anything unless they see the inheritance along with the salvation. The inheritance is evidence of our redemption/salvation in Jesus Christ.
It was impossible for the 4 lepers to keep this great news to themselves. This represents the good news of the gospel through Jesus Christ. How can we keep this to ourselves?
 
Let's just call Jezebel player number 3. She was the Queen at that time. She worshipped Baal. She hated God and anyone that was associated with God, especially the leaders. She was notorious for this mindset.
In her life she tried to kill many people of God. She looked for excuses and weakness to kill anybody that was associated with the true Creator of the Universe. She sent an order to kill Elisha the Prophet of God when the people of Israel were starving. Jezebel was in a very exclusive category. Very rarely can anyone talk to a king or queen that is bent on destroying the people of God because of their own hatred. Both love and hate are powerful emotions but with hate you have to keep feeding it over and over.
The Syrian army represented a group that rejected God but as you will soon see they were in a different category. I believe Jezebel was even more evil than the Syrian army. She was in one of those rare classes of evil in a world all to her own.
 
Let us call the cynic (the High Court Officer then later the main Gatekeeper) player number 4. He did not believe Elisha's word from God and was later killed as the masses of Israel trampled over him.
He represents the average person that hears the Word of God but rejects it. He or she does not want to hurt anybody but eventually it is inevitable that this particular individual will get trampled on because even though he was a good law abiding citizen that tried his best to enforce the law, he rejected the Word of God. By doing that he was in essence saying I don't want anything to do with God but also placed himself under the judgment of God.
I would say this person symbolizes a person trying to get to Heaven on their own merit. Usually it is very difficult for this person to be humble because after all they are obeying the law. They do not usually want to hear about God's grace and mercy because they generally speaking struggle with pride. Anybody that reads the Epistles of the New Testament would understand that this is impossible because James 2:10 states, "For whosever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
 
Let us call the masses of Israel player or group number 5. When the 4 lepers approached Israel with their salvation and inheritance you have to understand that they were starving. This symbolizes a person's sin condition in need of a Savior.
When a group hears a foreign message usually there is skepticism at first.That is exactly what happened. A small group investigated the validity of this salvation and inheritance. They did not want to just hear the word of God but wanted to see the power behind it." For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the Salvation of everyone who believes"..., Romans 1:16.
Israel knew their plight. They were starving. This was manifested in them but they had to be shown. "Because that which may be known is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them." Romans 1:19. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain and that is what this salvation/inheritance is all about in Jesus Christ.
 
When they found out the Good News there was a stampede to the food ( salvation; inheritance). This speaks of revival. Mini revivals are taking place in small pockets around the world. This also has undertones of Israel in the future 7 year Tribulation period which we believe is close at hand. Romans 11 speaks of Israel's future. It describes them as eventually recognizing their true Messiah Jesus Christ through a time period called Jacob's Trouble. Jer. 30:7.
 
Maybe we could call the Syrian army player or group number 6. God allowed them to taste of the goodness of God through Elisha. They received their sight, they ate good food and they thought about this goodness of God in their own homes which I believe is significant because it speaks of no pressure or Madison Avenue techniques. The fact that they thought about it for a while to me speaks and points directly to the free will.
 
Their plot was physical manifested evidence of their rejection of a good God. It is very interesting to me that all they could do at this point was make Israel suffer after this choice they made. That is why we have to be careful of the choices we make. On a downward spiral of sin it just keeps getting worse and worse.
What happened to them? In the end they were befuddled, confused and ran away in fear making it almost impossible for them to receive and accept the truth of God. This group represents a Babylonian system of sin that has rejected God. It is very difficult for a person in this system to step out of Babylon and desire the truth of the word of God. It is the rare individual in this group that comes to know Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior and Lord.
 
When I look at many of these religions today that are against Jesus Christ and don't teach the truth and testify of the Word of God properly and accurately I can honestly say only a handful leave (if they are even able) to be a true testifier of that false religion as being against Scriptural teachings. When they testify of Jesus Christ it is usually an incredible testimony.
 
Are you in any of these groups? If you are a Christian and see things around you in the physical realm always remember there is something behind something. There is a reason why all of these things are in our sight. It is our job to go before God and ask Him to reveal what they truly mean and symbolize. God will give us the answer if we are patient before Him.
If you are an unbeliever Jesus said..."I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. John 14:6. Jesus Christ offers mankind the Good News of the Gospel by simply accepting Him into your heart as your personal Savior and Lord." For God so loved the World, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16. 
 
BOB D.
 

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