Elisha succeeded Elijah as God’s prophet. Herbert W. Armstrong was a type of Elijah. A lot can be learned from the Elisha example now that Mr. Armstrong has passed from the scene. Elisha carried on the work of Elijah. So must we today.
The books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings comprise what are called the former prophets. If you study these books you will see that Bible history repeats itself. That is why they are called prophets—they contain prophecy which applies throughout the ages. Much of their prophetic message is for this end time.
The Elijah Work
The history of Elijah’s work is included in the book of Kings. So is that of Elisha’s work. Elisha succeeded Elijah as God’s prophet. The whole story of both prophets is included in the book of Kings.
There are many examples in the book of Kings—good and bad. If you follow them today you will get very similar results—good or bad. Therefore these books are certainly prophetic. That’s why they are called former prophets. The Elijah work anciently was very successful. So was the Elisha work, which, again, was a continuation of the Elijah work.
Herbert W. Armstrong was a type of Elijah. And he followed Elijah’s example and the work was very successful (Matthew 17:10-11; Malachi 4:5-6). The Philadelphia Church of God (pcg) today is a type of the work Elisha did anciently. The pcg tries very hard to follow the works of Elijah, Elisha and Mr. Armstrong, and we succeed accordingly.
Elijah means “my God is God.” That says a lot. Elijah revealed the true God. At the same time he exposed all religions, except his own, as false! Mr. Armstrong did the same work. The pcg also follows that tradition. Whether people realize it or not, the pcg is the only Church that reveals the true God!
Elisha performed far more miracles than Elijah. John the Baptist, who was also a type of Elijah, didn’t perform miracles; yet Christ said there was none under heaven greater than John. So we can’t judge righteousness by miracles.
Scholars today have labeled Elisha a “peripheral prophet.” That means he was not deeply involved in society, just as we aren’t today because you can’t be and still serve God.
7,000 Not Bowing to Baal
“And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:13-14). Elijah was discouraged and thought he was all alone. Near the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong said to the wcg members, “I believe most of you just don’t get it!” He felt most of the Church members were not with him spiritually. He, like Elijah, felt somewhat alone.
But neither Elijah nor Mr. Armstrong were alone. “And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room” (verses 15-16). Elisha was anointed as a prophet to replace Elijah. “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (verse 18). There were 7,000 men who didn’t bow their knees to Baal at the end of Elijah’s reign, and at the beginning of Elisha’s reign.
Since the Philadelphia Church of God is doing a type of the same work that Elisha did, that number 7,000 could be very prophetic! We must not forget that the book of Kings is a prophetic book.
“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him” (verse 19). Elisha received the mantle of authority. He was to minister to the 7,000. There were 12 yoke of oxen with Elisha. The pcg began with 12 members. Twelve is the number of new institutional beginnings.
Elisha was a farmer plowing the field when the mantle was passed. Elijah didn’t go to some scholarly seminary to find a replacement!
One Worldwide Church of God evangelist didn’t think God would use Gerald Flurry as the physical leader to “hold fast” to His truth. He said if God chose another leader it would be from Pasadena. Who knows the kind of man God will choose for a job and from where he will come? Only God knows.
‘My Father, My Father’
What kind of an attitude did Elisha have toward Elijah? If we can determine this, we can see the kind of leader God would choose to follow an “Elijah.” “And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal” (2 Kings 2:1). It was almost time for Elijah to be removed. Elisha wouldn’t let him go alone to Bethel. He insisted that he would go with Elijah.
“And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho” (verse 4). Elijah had to finalize some business in Jericho. Elisha again would not let Elijah go alone.
“And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on” (verse 6). This time Elisha would not let him go to Jordan alone.
Repeatedly, Elisha said “I will not leave you!” He had great love and loyalty toward Elijah. Three times Elisha said, “I will not leave you!”
This is the kind of love and loyalty a leader must have for God and Mr. Armstrong (also his memory) to succeed today! This prophecy says just that! This prophecy reveals how the pcg and wcg will succeed or fail. Elisha’s attitude will bring a very great success. The opposite attitude will be equally disastrous!
You can see this prophecy being fulfilled by the pcg. And we continually remind you of the horrendous failure the wcg is experiencing. It’s no secret. It is clearly prophesied.
Elisha continued to be loyal to God and Elijah after Elijah was removed. We see just the opposite in the wcg today. They continually make contemptuous and degrading remarks about Mr. Armstrong—and God!
“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so” (verses 9-10). Elisha asked for and received a double portion of God’s Holy Spirit. Today we feel this has been fulfilled in type within the pcg. First, we have all of the revelation God gave to Mr. Armstrong. Secondly, we have all the revelation God has given the pcg since Mr. Armstrong’s death. So in that sense, we have been given a double portion of God’s Holy Spirit too.
“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” (verse 11). Elijah was taken to another part of the Earth. Elisha saw him depart and received a double portion of God’s Spirit. He was now in charge.
Notice what Elisha said as Elijah departed. “And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces” (verse 12). He said, “My father, my father.” Why did Elisha say that? Elijah wasn’t his physical father. But God did use Elijah to raise up His Work at that time. So Elijah was a spiritual father to all of his followers. That is because they came into God’s truth through him. Elijah was the instrument God used to call all of the other members. That is all it means.
But never forget Elisha’s statement, “my father, my father.” His fruits prove that this was a heartfelt statement. It revealed Elisha’s beautiful attitude toward God and Elijah!
“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:14-15). Paul said he was a father to them! That is because they received God’s gospel through Paul.
Mr. Armstrong said many times that he was the father of us all either directly or indirectly! All of us were brought into God’s Work through his teachings. Today the wcg is destroying the very teachings that brought their members into the Church!
That doesn’t mean Mr. Armstrong was or is to be called “father.” It is not a title. It’s just a spiritual fact. It just means that God used him to help convert the rest of us. Elijah and Paul both understood this truth. However, neither Elijah nor Paul were addressed as “father.” That is forbidden by God’s law (Matthew 23:9). But God still used them as a “father figure” to call people into His truth.
Elijah, Paul and Mr. Armstrong were all used by God to raise up His Work. Then all the people came into the truth through them directly or indirectly. Only in that sense are they “fathers.”
Here is the vital prophetic lesson. If we are going to succeed as Elisha did, we must look upon Mr. Armstrong as our spiritual “father,” in terms of our calling. Then we will hang on to the truths God taught us through him.
The wcg has made over 35 major changes since Mr. Armstrong died! They are not saying “my father, my father”! They are destroying what God built through him because of their rebellious and disrespectful attitude.
That is not an attitude of faith. It shows they don’t believe God used Mr. Armstrong as the end-time “Elijah.” And their work is faltering badly because of their rebellious attitude. They blame their failing income on the economy. God says it is because they are rebelling against Him!
Satan knows that if he can get us to have a bad attitude toward God’s Elijah, that he can destroy our faith.
The true followers of Elijah, like Elisha, won’t leave what Elijah taught. They say, with Elisha, “I will not leave you” or what God taught through you! And they say “my father, my father,” in their love and respect for the man God used to give us His precious truth! They see the depth of what this expression means. It gives them the love and respect that they should have toward Mr. Armstrong.
People who have this attitude will continue the Elijah work. That is a prophecy! People with this attitude really see God the Father behind “Elijah.” They accept Mr. Armstrong as God’s end-time “Elijah.” This is where the Laodiceans fail. And what a price they pay!
“A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?” (Malachi 1:6). People who fail to honor a spiritual father on Earth won’t honor their real spiritual Father in heaven!
It’s a very simple example to reveal the Laodiceans’ real problem. They don’t want God the Father and Christ to rule them!
We are not talking about worshiping Mr. Armstrong. He was just a fallible sinner like all of us. Still, all of us came into God’s truth through him. That is reality. God the Father just used a man to direct our attention to the Godhead.
Sons of Levi
“And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart” (Malachi 2:1-2). The centerpiece of our work is Malachi’s Message. God in effect says to the Laodicean ministers, “If you will not hear” Malachi’s Message , then you will be cursed! And that prophecy is even now in the process of being fulfilled!
The people who deliver Malachi’s Message comprise the Elisha work, which is only a continuation of the Elijah work without “Elijah.”
“Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts” (verses 3-4). God has sent a commandment (better translated decree or sentence) about a “covenant.” We know this book is for the end time (Malachi 4:5-6). And Malachi is discussing a covenant with Levi. How does that apply to us now?
What these sinning ministers don’t understand is the covenant with Levi. God’s covenant is with His end-time Bride today (Revelation 19:7)—and nobody else!
Levi was the father of the Levites. And there is a father of the end-time ministers of God—spiritually. That is, a man through whom all of God’s ministers and members were called, directly or indirectly. All of God’s converted people were brought into God’s truth through Mr. Armstrong. That’s all it means. Our calling from God came through him. God’s covenant was first established with Levi—typed by Mr. Armstrong in this end time.
The Elijah work today is comprised of people who understand what Mr. Armstrong’s role was! The great sin of the Laodicean ministers is their rebellion against the Elijah office!
When prospective members come to the pcg, the first and perhaps most important question we ask them is, “Do you believe Mr. Armstrong fulfilled the role of the end-time Elijah?” If they don’t believe this then we don’t invite them. This is not done maliciously. We simply know they don’t have the understanding to be a part of the Elijah work.
If they don’t believe Mr. Armstrong was the end-time type of Elijah, then what basis is there to even believe we are God’s Church? God began and sustained His Elijah work through Mr. Armstrong. We learned about God’s covenant through him. So in that sense, he is our father.
Those people who understand the father role of Elijah, Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong do the same work Elisha did. In terms of their calling from God, they say of Elijah, “My father, my father”—as Elisha did!
Talk to any wcg minister today and see what bitter contempt they have for this belief, and you’ll see why God has cursed them! And that attitude is what they must repent of to ever be in God’s Kingdom! This is not some man talking. This is the Word of the living God!
The Elisha work fully supports the role Mr. Armstrong fulfilled for God.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:1). Christ applied this to John the Baptist (Mark 1:1-4; Luke 7:27; Mark 11:10). He prepared the way for Christ’s first coming. This is a great calling. But God is not only talking about His first coming.
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap” (Malachi 3:2). This could only apply to Christ’s Second Coming. So there has to be an end-time messenger as well. It was “Elijah the prophet” or Herbert W. Armstrong in these latter days. God sent him to prepare for the more important Second Coming of Christ.
“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” (verse 3). It is a time when God also has to purge the end-time “sons of Levi.” Who are they? They are the ministers who are the spiritual sons of Levi (Mr. Armstrong)! That means God brought them into His Church through Mr. Armstrong. And now they reject Mr. Armstrong’s father role. In the same process, they reject God!
They are ministers only because God called them into that office through Mr. Armstrong. And God has to purge them until they finally understand the father role fulfilled by Mr. Armstrong! This is their great foundational sin.
Elisha Group Remembers
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name” (Malachi 3:16). The Elisha group remembers what they were taught. Every wcg minister and member should remember what Mr. Armstrong taught them about his father role—based on God’s Word!
The Laodiceans have forgotten what they were taught. That’s why they must go through the Tribulation (Revelation 3:17-18). Virtually every change the wcg makes is destroying what God revealed to Mr. Armstrong.
The Elisha group has a great work to do. We will be severely opposed at times. But there is no need for us to worry. There is a mighty army supporting us!
Army of Angels
“Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:14-15). The servant of Elisha saw a gigantic, powerful enemy army surrounding them. But there was a far greater army that he didn’t even see!
“And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (verses 16-17). Here were two men. One saw only the enemy’s army. But Elisha saw God’s army of angels as well.
Do you see a gigantic army of fiery angels protecting the Elisha work today? You can see why we must have faith to do God’s Work! We must see the invisible!
“And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver” (verses 24-25). Elisha had a very alarming message against Israel, just as we have today! And it was very upsetting to the king and rulers of Israel.
“And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day” (verses 30-31). The king reasoned that Elisha’s prophecy actually caused the collapse of Israel! The king was determined to kill Elisha. So you see it can be very dangerous to speak God’s prophecies. But we must not forget God’s unconquerable angelic army is fighting for the Philadelphia Church of God. We, like Elisha, are going to impact the lives of kings and nations! Nothing can stop the living God!
We Win in the End!
Elisha sent one of his disciples to king Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kings 9:1-8). The messenger delivered a frightening message. “And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled” (verses 9-10). The message said that the dogs were going to eat Jezebel. That is exactly what happened (verses 30-37). She became dog dung! She could no longer deceive and force others to embrace her false religion. Jezebel is a type of the great religious whore of Revelation 17. So this is really a prophecy of that church’s end. They are going to become dog dung!
We are going to see the end of Satan’s great rebellion. We have seen how this great false religion has even made heavy inroads into God’s Laodicean Church today. Soon this satanic religion will be history.
Do you know deeply where the Elijah work is today? God praised a great woman for perceiving that God was doing His Work through Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-10).
Those who perceive where God’s Elijah work is today and support it are going to be rewarded with a headquarters job with God for all eternity! If we support God and His Work we can’t lose. What a glorious opportunity God has given us!