Leslie Lyons 08/06/2017
I was reading and researching the word “bear” in Revelation 13:2, which says;
“And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and its feet like those of a bear, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him its power and its seat and great authority” (Rev 13:2).
While I was looking I also came across a Scripture reference to “bear” in II Kings;
“When Elisha went up to Bethel, as he was going up in the way there came forth boys out of the city and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up thou baldhead, go up thou baldhead. And he looked behind him and saw them, and cursed them in the name of Jehovah; and there came forth two she-bears out of the forest, and tare in pieces forty-two boys” (II Kings 2:23, 24).
What is the truth and wisdom to be found in this short story? Or what is the moral of the story? Those children should not be disrespectful to their elders? Perhaps. But could we really imagine a holy prophet of God losing his temper and cursing silly little boys to a cruel death?. Or that two bears could kill forty-two boys before any of them could get away?
There has to be a hidden more spiritual meaning found in these two verses because this thing is just not adding up. If we take the Scripture at face value, the main character in the story is the prophet, Elisha. As a prophet, his main duty is to give revelation from heaven, or what is similar a Word of wisdom from Jehovah he has received to give to other people. So looking at the prophet Elisha he is not the source of the wisdom, but he is the vehicle or vessel in which the Wisdom is disclosed and communicated.
Much like a prophet illuminates the minds of others, our printed WORD (the Bible) imparts unto us important information in which to live life by. This is natural worldly wisdom. And in the highest sense, it illustrates the Ten Commandments of God which is the supreme and ultimate document ever written on earth. This WISDOM comes from above and is the blueprint and image of heaven itself.
So if we establish this as a truth, then the real crime of the boys was not insulting the prophet, it was insulting and mocking the Bible or the holiness of the WORD itself as this is represented by “Elisha”. This is what in the Word is called “Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost” because it says in the previous verse of Revelation 13:1, “..on its heads was the name of blasphemy”.
The boys called the prophet a “baldhead” meaning of course lack of “hair”. On the human body “hair” is the last thing found on the outside of the skin. The hair is even beyond the skin which is a protective cover or container to contain all the vital organs and blood of the body essential to life. Such is the WORD or in our case the Bible. The printed text and words have a natural meaning (the skin and hair) and a spiritual meaning (the inner organs and blood).
Jesus taught that “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Mat 10:30). This confirms the truth that “hair” is the external and least significant part of the body spiritually. But regardless, to God, the very “hairs on the head” are still HOLY, because he made it a point to say His LOVE reaches out to the very extremities of our being for they are “all numbered”!. This means even to what appears to be in the WORD most distant and least of importance it is still most HOLY.
As Jesus taught “For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled” (Mat 5:18).
So even in the time of Elisha, there was a witness of God called the “Word of the Lord”. Or as they knew it, the Law of Moses. Elisha was in the process of returning purification to the WORD in the previous two verses: “And he went forth to the spring of the waters and threw the salt in there, and said, So says Jehovah, I have healed these waters. There shall not be any more death or barrenness from there. And the waters were healed to this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spoke” (2Ki 2:21-22).
Most Christians are familiar that “water” symbolizes the WORD in Scripture.
So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. (Ephesians 5:26-27)
So why did “two she bears” attack the forty-two boys? Because number “forty” signifies a “wilderness” where the WORD is not found or incorrectly interpreted and used. For it is said, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit up into the wilderness, to be tempted by the Devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry” (Mat 4:1-2).
Then to the number forty, we added the number “two”. This signifies the two essentials components of GOD; LOVE and TRUTH. And where the WORD is not found or incorrectly applied, then neither can LOVE and TRUTH is found there.
“I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Since all creatures in Scripture have characteristics found in the natural world, a “bear” symbolizes great strength. But the “feet of a bear” means it is near the earth or ground from where it walks. It is similar to the image of Nebuchadnezzar, feet of clay and iron. For the WORD is being treated shabbily. It is being dragged along the ground and the dust of the earth. It is not high and lifted up. It is not Holy and greatly to be feared.
We have established that Elisha being attacked for his lack of “hair” means the WORD in the natural sense. And that the “hair” is the greatest distance and most remote meaning of the written WORD. But since a powerful “bear” is bringing justice and silencing the accusers, this tells us even the most remote and seemingly vague part of the written Word is essential to the church. The sense of the letter of the Bible, or “natural meaning”, is the foundation upon which the spiritual meaning is revealed.
If this foundation is out of plumb as in Amos; “He made me see this: And behold, the Lord was standing by the plumbline-wall, and a plumbline in His hand. And Jehovah said to me, Amos, what do you see? And I said, A plumbline. Then the Lord said, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of My people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more” (Amo 7:7-8).
So the two verses in II Kings 2:23-24 bring us directly back to Revelation 13:5 “And a mouth speaking great things was given to it, and blasphemies. And authority was given to it to continue forty-two months” (Rev 13:5). Without going into detail here, This reflects the portion of the church which is “forty”, wilderness or lack of TRUTH, and “two” the portion of the church that has genuine truth. The old institutional reformed church will continue until the time of the New Church is ready (Revelation Chapter 21), and the old remnant that does not repent or change will be abolished.
“All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2Ti 3:16).
As important as the wisdom of the sense of the letter of the Bible is in forming a firm foundation for our Christian walk on the earth, if that foundation is off center just a little, then the spiritual house that is to be built on it will not stand the test of time or of eternity. For as it written;
“Therefore laying aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisies and envyings, and all evil speakings, desire the sincere milk of the Word, as newborn babes, so that you may grow by it;” (1Pe 2:1). (Natural sense)
“For indeed because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again what are the first principles of the oracles of God. And you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food. For everyone partaking of milk is unskillful in the Word of Righteousness, for he is an infant” Heb 5:12-13.
This tells us we need to move on from the natural and earthly meaning of the WORD unto an understanding of the spiritual sense. Thereby we make a smooth transition at the end of our days on earth into our everlasting life in heaven!