David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha
“Then spake Solomon … O Jehovah God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember thy lovingkindness to David thy servant” (2 Chronicles 6:1, 42 ASV).
By Jim Parkinson
The lovingkindness, or mercies, shown by God in His covenant with Abraham extends more than a dozen generations to the great kings of Israel, and, also to His servants, the prophets. Consider first David, for whom both his strengths and weaknesses are recorded for all to see.
David showed uncommon mercy toward his enemies on a number of occasions:
(1) King Saul was the Lord’s Anointed, but he had thrown a deadly spear at David. Later, when David had a chance to kill King Saul, he did not. Instead, he simply cut off part of Saul’s coat for evidence (1 Samuel 18:10-11, 19:2, 9-12, 24:1-22).
(2) Saul again hunted down David. But David waited until Saul and his men were sleeping, then grabbed Saul’s spear and canteen as evidence of David’s mercy towards Saul (1 Samuel 26:1-25).
(3) King Saul was killed in battle; yet David mourned for him as Jehovah’s Anointed (2 Samuel 1:1-16).
(4) Abner was the General for Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, and he came to give David the entire kingdom. Yet David’s nephew killed Abner for a grudge. Still, David mourned for Abner (2 Samuel 3:31-37). Similarly, David mourned for the death of Ishbosheth, David’s rival for the throne (2 Samuel 4:9-11).
(5) David’s son, Absalom, had taken the throne to himself. As David fled, Shimei threw stones and mud at him. But when David returned victorious, he showed mercy to Shimei rather than spoil the day of God’s victory (2 Samuel 16:11-12, 19:22-23).
(6) Absalom grabbed power from David and tried to have him killed, but David’s strict order was to deal gently with his son Absalom. When David’s nephew Joab killed Absalom, David mourned for him (2 Samuel 18:5, 33, 19:4).
David also committed three great sins: (1) Adultery (with Bathsheba), (2) Plotted Uriah’s death, (3) Numbered the people for war— looking to his own strength, rather than to God’s (2 Samuel 11:3,15, 24:1- ). Yet he repented of each (2 Samuel 12:13, 24:10-17).
In all, there were three gross sins repented of, but six times he showed uncommon mercy to others. Let us ask ourselves, do we have such love for our enemies? (Matthew 5:44.)
Thus was David “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). Question: Am I?
The Three Anointings of David
David was anointed three times. Samuel anointed David while he was but a youth, and long before he became a king (1 Samuel 16:11-13). After the death of Saul and Jonathan, the men of Judah anointed David king over the house of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-4). After Ishbosheth, son of Saul, was slain by his own captains, all the tribes of Israel anointed David king over Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-4). David is thus typical of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was anointed at his First Advent, long before his reign begins. At his return, he resurrects the faithful saints who have finished their life of sacrifice and begins his reign over them. When the faithful church, the Bride, is complete, and the present evil world will be destroyed, then the whole world will be blessed by King Jesus (and his Bride). Thus is typified the development of the Seed of Abraham, who will bless all the families of the land.
That David typifies Jesus, is suggested by his age of 30 when he became a king, just as Jesus began his ministry at age 30 (2 Samuel 5:4-5, 1 Kings 2:11, 1 Chronicles 29:27, Luke 3:23). The kindnesses seen in David foreshadowed both Christ and the church, while the church alone can be typified in his weaknesses. David’s 40-year reign typifies the period in which the everlasting priesthood is trained, before the world is restored to life and human perfection — the Gospel Age, before the Millennial Age. David reigned over Judah for seven years and six months. The seven years suggests the Gospel Age, which is divided into seven periods of time (e.g., Revelation 2-3). Perhaps the additional six month’s time (extending to Spring or Summer) suggests a period of time after the church is complete, during which the damaged world will piece-by-piece come into harmony with Christ’s Kingdom (Zechariah 14:16-21, 2 Samuel 2:11).
Near the end of King David’s days, Solomon’s half-brother, Adonijah, attempted to usurp the throne. However, by the wisdom of David, Solomon became king as promised (1Kings 1).
When God asked Solomon what He might give him, Solomon asked not for long life nor riches nor power, but for an understanding heart, wisdom (1 Kings 3:4-13). God promised him that, and then added riches and honor to it. As a result, his was a forty-year reign of peace.
His greatest single work was the construction of the Temple, from the preparation by his father, King David. It was built in seven years, from Solomon’s 4th year to his 11th year. The actual time was six years and six months, but since the time span crossed seven New Year’s Days, it is reckoned as seven years. Interestingly, the number seven (7) is the Hebrew word sheba, which also means “oath.” This then connects the construction of the temple with the oath bound covenant Jehovah swore to Abraham in Genesis 22:16. The covenant would be fulfilled through the class established throughout seven stages of the Gospel Age.
It may also be noted that the Temple was dedicated in the 7th month (1 Kings 8:1-11), though it was not completed until the 8th month (1 Kings 6:38). This is suggestive of some intervening period after the church is complete but before it can go into operation. Similarly, in Revelation 15:5-8, the temple is dedicated before the church is complete (shown in Revelation 16:17). When Solomon’s temple was dedicated, “the cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud” (1 Kings 8:10-11). In Revelation 15:8, “the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and none was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels should be finished.” This signifies that the resurrection of the sleeping saints is not sufficient for the new priesthood to administer the blessings of the New Covenant. The seven plagues must then bring down Satan’s empire.
King Solomon had 700 wives, reigned in peace, and “exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom” (1 Kings 10-11). These things typified the great thousand-year Kingdom of Christ; then “shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves.” Solomon’s multitude of wives typifies Jesus’ bride of 144,000 (Revelation 14:1, 19:7-8). In the resurrection, Jesus’ earthly children will gain everlasting life, which is the basis of Jesus’ title, “Everlasting Father,” or life-giver. The name Solomon means “peaceful,” picturing Jesus as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Solomon’s riches and wisdom are but a small representation of our Lord’s elevated position. “Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).
Saul, David, and Solomon
Kings Saul, David, and Solomon each reigned forty years, the only kings to reign over the undivided kingdom (Acts 13:21, 2 Samuel 5:4, 1 Kings 11:42). These three reigns appear to typify three great ages in the outworking of Jehovah God’s promise to Abraham. King Saul started well but faltered, and finally, was rejected by God. His reign then well typifies the Jewish Age, which ends with the Jewish leadership motivating the crucifixion of the Son of God. King David had a good heart, then he faltered but was repentant each time. His reign well typifies the Gospel Age, which trains the faithful, but still sinful, church for work in the coming age. King Solomon was the wisest of all kings, and reigned in peace and prosperity. Thus, his reign well typifies the 1000 year Kingdom of Christ, the age of Restoration.
Therefore, in three succeeding ages God’s plan has progressed, leading to the eventual fulfillment of the Covenant with Abraham. The Jewish Age, with the Law given by Jehovah God, was to show people that they themselves need to change, that it is not only Adam’s fault that people will sin and die. The Gospel Age is to develop the seed of Abraham, which will bless all the families of the earth. Finally, the Millennial Age is to retrain the world, to restore the people to the perfection lost in Eden.
There are eight miracles recorded in Elijah’s life: (1) Elijah called for a drought (1 Kings 17:1, James 5:17); (2) Ravens fed him at the Brook Cherith;1 (3) The Zarephath widow’s food never ran out (17:16); (4) The widow’s dead son was raised (17:17-24 ff.); (5) Elijah won the contest against 450 false prophets on Mt. Carmel (18:19-40); (6) Elijah called for rain after 3½ years of drought (18:41 ff., James 5:18); (7) An angel fed him (19:5-8);1 (8) Elijah smote the Jordan River and divided it (2 Kings 2:8). Most (or all) of these incidents appear to typify Gospel Age events during which the seed of Abraham is developed.
(1) Some may question whether #2 and #7 should be included among miracles done by Elijah.
Yet, Elijah also typifies more. The Old Testament concludes with, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of Jehovah come. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6 RVIC). This Elijah work was fulfilled in John the Baptist only for the faithful Christians in the Gospel Age. “And if ye are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, that is to come” (Matthew 11:14, 17:10-13 ASV). For the rest of the world, the faithful church will do the Elijah work of announcing Christ’s Kingdom; when the “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves” (Genesis 22:18 RVIC) will be fulfilled, the promise that God swore to Abraham.
The Calls to Come Out
The 3½ year drought that Elijah had prophesied were understood by 19th-century Protestants to be the same as the 3½ times, or 42 months, or 1260 days of Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 11:2-3, 12:14, etc. They recognized these to be fulfilled in the 1260 year from the time the Roman Pope became a civil ruler in A.D. 538 over Rome and 539 over all Italy, to the time the Pope was driven from Rome in 1798 and died in 1799 at Valence, France (with no successor allowed to be elected in Rome). This recognition spurred the Second Advent movements in Great Britain and America (perhaps notably beginning with publication of the Albury Prophetic Conference proceedings in 1828-1829). That movement was a necessary preparation for the faithful to recognize Christ’s Second Advent and the consequent call to “Come forth, my people, out of her [Babylon], that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4 ASV).
The last days of Elijah’s life may be instructive to us today. “When Jehovah would take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven … Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal” (2 Kings 2:1 ASV). Jehovah called Elijah to go down to Bethel, and Elisha went with him. Jehovah called Elijah to go to Jericho, and Elisha went with him. Then Jehovah called Elijah to go down to the Jordan River, and Elisha went with him. In the “last day” the faithful church is called to come out of “Babylon,” that we have no fellowship with her sins. But if we come out and then again partake of her sins, will the faithful not then be called to come out of Babylon #2? (Just as Lot in Genesis 19 was called out of Sodom and went to Zoar, but then had to leave Zoar also.) If again we practice the sins of Babylon, will not the faithful be called to come out of Babylon #3? (When Elijah left Jericho, there was no more city to be called to, which suggests that the last phase of the faithful church on earth may find it difficult to work with others to encourage one another and to witness to the world of Christ’s ransom sacrifice and His coming thousand-year kingdom on earth.) Whatever the experiences, they are for the training of the priesthood, who are to bless all the families of the land (Genesis 12:3 RVIC).
Consider the way Elijah’s life ended. While horsemen and chariots of fire separated Elijah from Elisha, it was a whirlwind that took Elijah upward towards the heavens. This typifies that the faithful church will have a heavenly resurrection.
There are sixteen mighty deeds recorded for Elisha (including one after he died): (1) Elisha smote the Jordan River and divided its waters for his return (2 Kings 2:14). (2) He cured the toxic waters of Jericho (2:21). (3) He denounced the youths who mocked him, then bears hurt them (2:24). (4) Elisha caused waters to fill dry trenches (3:17-20). (5) He caused a widow of a prophet to have oil that never ran out (4:1-7). (6) Elisha foretold that a great Shunammite woman and her old husband would have a son exactly a year later (4:16-17). (7) He brought the Shunammite’s son back from the dead (4:32-36). (8) He used meal to detoxify poisonous pottage (4:40-41). (9) He fed a hundred men with only twenty barley loaves (4:42-44). (10) Elisha healed the Syrian captain Naaman (5:10-14). (11) Gehazi sinned and his master, Elisha, made him leprous (5:27). (12) Elisha rescued a borrowed axe-head from Jordan’s fast-running waters (6:1-7).2 (13) He spied on the Syrian army for the king of Israel (6:9-10). (14) He blinded the Syrian army that came against the Israelites (6:18-19). (15) Elisha promised Samaria their famine would end the next day — and end with abundance (7:1-20). (16) After Elisha died, a dead man was thrown onto his bones and came back to life (13:21).3 These incidents appear to typify Millennial Age occurrences, the time when all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves.
(2) Perhaps more Elisha’s skill than a miracle.
(3) In addition are three remarkable prophecies: 2 Kings 8:1-15, 9:1-37, 13:14-19.