Updated: May 16
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 Yahweh said to Elijah, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.  Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place."
 So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." Then Elijah said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to you?" He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
This is the Track 2 Old Testament selection that will be read aloud on the third Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 8), Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If a church has set upon the Track 2 path, this reading will be followed by a singing of Psalm 16, which includes the verse that sings, “My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also shall rest in hope.” That pair will precede the Epistle selection from Galatians, where Paul wrote: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” All readings will accompany the Gospel selection from Luke, where we read: “To another [Jesus] said, "Follow me." But [the other] said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”’
In the selection of these verses, verse fifteen-a was the Track 1 Old Testament reading the previous Sunday. While this is a Track 2 optional reading path, the same words will not be repeated on back-to-back Sundays. As such, the whole of verse fifteen is presented today, along with verse sixteen, to show who Yahweh told Elijah to anoint. In this, the root verb is “mashach” (from the construct “tim·šaḥ,” as “you shall anoint”) must be recognized as the root source for the English translation “Messiah.” The word means "anoint" and is the equivalent to the Greek word "christos," from which we get "Christ."
In these first two verses are found several capitalized names, all of which are capitalized in English translation, because Hebrew has no capital letters. Those names are important to know the meaning that is behind them. The name Elijah is not stated, as the Episcopal Church has placed that name as replacement for the pronoun “him” (from “’ê·lāw,” as “to him”) and Yahweh needs no explanation, other than Yahweh IS (“I AM that I AM”). The names that follow need closer examination: Damascus; Hazael; Aram; Jehu; Nimshi; Israel; Elisha; Shaphat; and, Abel-Meholah.
Here is that meaning:
Damascus – “The Beginning Of Salvation” or “The Full Turn Of Being Drawn out”
Hazael – “God Has Seen”
Aram – “Elevated, Citadel”
Jehu – “Yah Is He”
Nimshi – “Rescued From Danger”
Israel – “He Retains God” or “God Is Upright”
Elisha – “God Is Salvation”
Shaphat – “Governor” or “He Has Judged”
Abel-Meholah – “Stream Of The Dance”
In these two verses, it is vital to grasp the story leading up to these instructions from Yahweh to Elijah. That is the story of Elijah praying to Yahweh to end his life, which Yahweh allowed when Elijah “fell asleep under a broom tree.” The angel that came took Elijah’s soul away to Yahweh and then prepared Elijah for what was ahead of him is internal to Elijah's soul. The conversation only makes it appear two separate figures. That angel was the Yahweh elohim that is Adam-Jesus, which became the soul resurrected in Elijah’s soul. When Yahweh told Elijah to enter a cave, that is metaphor for his tomb of death. Elijah’s body of flesh did not exit that cave-tomb, as only his soul was sent to do these anointments. That spirituality must be understood, to discern the truth of this story.
In the story of young David, when the prophet Samuel was told by Yahweh to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, not telling Samuel which one, Samuel was a servant of Yahweh in the flesh (a prophet), who was not a Son of Yahweh. Samuel was married to Yahweh as a boy, when left with Eli to be raised as a priest of the Tabernacle. As a wife of Yahweh, Samuel spoke with Yahweh; and, those conversations were not some loud voice coming down from the sky. Yahweh spoke to Samuel in his mind, so Samuel was hearing Yahweh tell him what to do. Samuel was an obedient soul-wife that did as told. When Samuel anointed David (made him a messiah by pouring oil on his head), that was a human-to-human encounter with David, which pledged David’s soul in his body of flesh to marry Yahweh, as another of His soul-wives. When Yahweh poured out His Spirit upon David’s soul that then made David’s soul not only be married to Yahweh, but it also implanted the Yahweh elohim into David’s soul. That was the soul of Adam-Jesus. That Spiritual Anointment (which made David a Messiah by divine Baptism) made David a Son of Yahweh, like a Jesus reborn (before Jesus was physically born). This story sets apart an anointment by a prophet (a human-to-human exchange) and an Anointment by a Son of Yahweh (a spirit-to-spirit exchange) as different.
The name “Elijah” means “YAH Is God.” Elijah had been a prophet of Israel – the Northern Kingdom. Like Samuel, Elijah could talk with Yahweh; and, Elijah was able to have faith that Yahweh would do as he asked, which was why he challenged Jezebel’s priests of Ba’al to an altar fire burn-off. When Elijah won that challenge and then killed four hundred fifty false priests, he did that as a prophet his body of flesh was sentenced to death by Jezebel. That caused Elijah to run in fear to the place where the stairway to heaven was [Bethel – a name meaning “House of God”], where he asked Yahweh to take his life (or take him up to be with Yahweh.
When Elijah’s soul exited from his cave-tomb, it was as a Son of Yahweh – the soul of Adam-Jesus resurrected. That made Elijah a spirit, as his body of flesh was taken by the angel, in the same way the angel took the body of Jesus’ flesh, leaving his soul to be seen by those whose souls were marked for his divine resurrection [those who would be raised from the dead – the death of their own flesh surrounding their individual souls].
It was this state of soul-being that was told by Yahweh to “anoint Hazael [“God Has Seen”] king over Aram [“Elevated”]. There is absolutely no mention of Elijah meeting Hazael. Hazael would meet Elisha; and, Hazael would become King of Syria (Aram); so, this means the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus entered into the soul of Hazael, making him be “anointed” by the outpouring of Yahweh unto his soul. Hazaek experienced a spiritual encounter like that which happened to David, with the caveat being the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus was that “Anointment.” That made Hazael become the possession of Yahweh, because “God Had Seen” his soul as worthy. It was not a physical anointment that came from a prophet pouring oil from a horn on Hazael’s head. It was an unseen, spiritual anointment. Hazael was made a Messiah by the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus.
In verse seventeen, where the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus was told to also anoint Jehu [“Yah Is He”], the son of Nimshi [“Rescued From Danger”], and make him king over Israel [“He Retains God”], the remainder of 1 Kings (three chapters) and the first chapter of Second Kings says nothing about Jehu. Most of that Scripture deals with Ahab still being the king of the Northern Kingdom. In that text, Yahweh called to Elijah and told him to “Arise” (from “qum”) and then “Descend” (from “rêḏ”), in order “to meet with Ahab” (from “liq·raṯ ’aḥ·’āḇ”). That says the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus was commanded Spiritually to make a stance (“arise”) in the physical realm (the flesh of Ahab) and “to meet” that soul. Once that union took place, the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus denounced Ahab; and, Ahab saw the errors of his ways and repented. Had Elijah the prophet walked in to see Ahab, in order to denounce him, then that prophet would have been chopped to pieces and Ahab would have never repented. In that exchange, there is absolutely no mention of Elijah ever going “to meet” Jehu; but Jehu would not become king until well after Elijah ascended and Elisha took his role in the flesh.
Only when we read that Yahweh told the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus to “anoint Elisha [“God Is Salvation”] … as prophet in your place” does that take place soon after. Still, that needs to be understood as a Spiritual encounter, not Elijah simply walking up to Elisha as he plowed one of his father’s fields, telling his, “You’re my guy! Come with me.”
It reads like this, but this misses the point.
When we read above [NRSV], “Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him,” the construct written that is translated as “passed by” is “way·ya·‘ă·ḇōr,” which can just as easily say “passed through” or “passed over” [as seen in other Old Testament uses of the same construct]. The root verb is “abar,” which is the word used to signify the “passover,” where that “passing by” was Yahweh, or the ‘angel of death’ (to all firstborn males not protected by the blood of the lamb). Here, with Elisha busy doing the work of his father Shaphat [“He Has Judged”], controlling a large plough, pulled by twelve oxen, Elijah spiritually “threw his cloak upon him” (Elisha). The NRSV translated “cloak” as “mantle,” which would have to then be the same “mantle thrown by Elijah” from the chariot taking him away from Elisha. However, the Hebrew word written (“’ad·dar·tōw,” rooted in “addereth”) means “glory, a cloak,” implying in usage “garment, mantle, robe, or splendid.” (Strong’s) When one realizes this is the soul-spirit Elijah-Jesus, which has been told to spiritually “anoint Elisha,” that “throwing of his glory upon Elisha” is the “anointment.” The "cloak" is the unseen "glory" of Yahweh's Spirit being poured out upon Elisha's soul; rather than a physical "garment" placed by a physical prophet over the shoulders of a man working in a field.
This is why we then read [NRSV], “[Elisha] left the oxen, [and] ran after Elijah.” The Hebrew written literally translates to say this: “and he forsake the bulls and ran following behind Elijah.” In that, the “twelve oxen” should be seen as metaphor for some sort of specialty that Elisha had as a prophet, which had been taught to him by his father Shaphat. This says “He Has Judged” can be discerned that Elisha's father was a priest of the tabernacle, who wore the priestly breastplate that contained "twelve" stones. When this is related to the Urim and Thummim [the predecessor of the Kabala], the number "twelve" symbolizes a way to prophesy, one that is relative to “twelve.” That could well be the signs of the zodiac, where an ”ox” is relative to the astrological sign Taurus.
That would be an art of judgment [created by Yahweh, but misused by prophets not sworn to His guidance in the usage of His tool] that demanded the ‘astrologer’ be married to Yahweh to be truly accurate. The “oxen forsaken” would be the tools of divination that were more popular in ancient times [Abram was an astrologer unlike any other – per Nostradamus], when the bull was the idol of Ba’al. As Jezebel had imported priests of Ba’al into Israel (the Northern Kingdom), any prophets utilizing astrological tools would have been granted royal favor. Therefore, to “forsake the oxen” means Elisha immediately stopped being a prophet that ‘channeled’ Yahweh through any external ways for reading signs … such as the symbolic arrangements of planetary orbs. With that sacrifice made, Elisha then “followed behind Elijah.” This "following behind" must be read in the same way Jesus would tell his disciples to “follow me.” That was not intended to instruct one to physically walk behind one, but to be one spiritually reborn afterwards, of the same mold.
To then read Elisha telling the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus that had just possessed his soul, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you,” that suggests that Elisha still recognized his physical parents as his creators. By making a brain-led decision that placed more immediately importance on physical blood, than on the Spiritual blood that just made Elisha become a Son of Yahweh, Elisha was attempting to retain himself as the 'god' of his body of flesh (its lord). It was then self that was calling the shots, not his new inner Yahweh elohim.
To “kiss” says metaphorically “to touch,” which says Elisha’s soul felt the presence of Spiritual Anointment. By expressing his desire to pass that Spirit on to those of his self-will, rather than fully submit himself to the divine Father and do the work assigned as His Son, he neglected that his own soul had become “the mother” of the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus. He became a wife of Yahweh, who then give rebirth to His Son’s soul in his own soul, making him have the Father within, with his own soul-flesh being the mother (spiritually) of Elijah-Jesus. This cause the inner voice he just birthed to say in response [NRSV], “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” That questioned Elisha’s commitment to Yahweh, as His Son reborn. The question asked, “Would you give up eternal life and return to being an ordinary son of a man and his wife, where you are born into assured death?”
The question posed by the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus pointed out that what Elisha proposed was to “walk backwards,” where to go to his human father and mother was to “return” to the flesh.” To give that earthly origin a “kiss” would be to stay in “touch” with the material realm. Thus, the soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus asked if that reverse course could seriously be considered, “for what I have made you?” What Elisha “had been made” was a Son of Yahweh, who was a soul eternally saved. It was a salvation ordered by Yahweh and carried out by His Son soul-spirit – Elijah-Jesus. That voice within Elisha’s brain made him “return to following behind” the soul-spirit possession of Elijah-Jesus.
When we then see the imagery that came next, of Elisha slaughtering the oxen and using the equipment that yoked them together, connecting them to the plough, the aspect of “boiling” becomes confusing. The way this should be seen as Elisha sacrificing the tools of his prophesy trade, because he would never need to use them again. His success with metaphysical-astrological forecasting was led by his insight from Yahweh; but all of that depended on his “boiling” the calculations onto some chart and then praying for guidance. Since there is no mention of the number “twelve” in this sacrifice, that omission means it was only the tools that were gathered up and left for the people to use. Elisha no longer had any use for that which he did not need to know as a Son of Yahweh. The soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus would lead Elisha to walk a path of righteousness, which let that Spirit become his voice, speaking only what the Father wanted spoken, without any calculations necessary. The soul-spirit of Elijah-Jesus would teach Elisha to become like Ezekiel, such that when Yahweh asked a question to his soul, then all he should ever say is: “Yahweh, you know.”
When the last verse says, “[Elisha] followed Elijah, and became his servant,” this can equally say this: “Elijah-Jesus became the Lord [the true meaning of “adonay”] of Elisha.” This says Elisha went into ministry for Yahweh as His Son reborn. Elisha was raised from the mortal status of prophet in Israel to become the next Son of Yahweh, who would then train true priests of Yahweh for their ministry. Elisha would be an “adonay” passing on the Spirit of “elohim” to others, who were married to Yahweh and committed to serving Him.
As the Track 2 Old Testament possibility for the third Sunday after Pentecost, this shows the need to see the spirituality involved in serving Yahweh. One needs to see the story of Jesus having been previewed in the story of Elijah. This spiritual aspect makes sense of the Track 1 reading from Second Kings, when Elijah ascended and again “threw his mantle” towards Elisha. In the same way, every priest of Yahweh must wear the mantle of resurrection, whereby all true priests in ministry are resurrections of Jesus. So often the desire is to “return” to the mortal realm and serve self, rather than Yahweh. That 'fork in the road' is the dilemma all souls in the flesh face. Yahweh allows souls in the sea of the world 'free will.' We like the feeling of being holy, but we prefer retaining the right to be sinful. This story asks us all, “Would you turn away from the gift of eternal life, just to play godlike for a few decades more?” We all must be like Elisha and turn away from our old lives and follow Jesus … which means being Jesus reborn. That path cannot be walked alone. It cannot be navigated by oneself.