I was reading and researching the word “bear” in Revelation 13:2,
“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” (Revelation 13:2)
While I was looking I also came across a Scripture reference for “bear” in II Kings;
“Elisha went from that city to Bethel. He was walking up the hill to the city, and some boys were coming down out of the city. They began making fun of him. They said, “Go away, you bald-headed man! Go away, you bald-headed man! Elisha looked back and saw them. He asked the LORD to cause bad things to happen to them. Then two bears came out of the forest and attacked the boys. There were 42 boys ripped apart by the bears” (2 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?
Was it that 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 getaway?
There has to be a hidden 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. This is how the people of God should behave and live in this world.
And in the highest sense, it illustrates the Ten Commandments of God. This is the document that is the supreme Wisdom of God. This WISDOM comes from above and is the blueprint and image of heaven itself
But if we wish to see the spiritual meaning of this story, then the real crime of the boys was not personally insulting the prophet, Elisha. It was insulting and mocking the Bible or the holiness of the WORD of God. 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 “baldheaded man”. Which is the lack of “hair” on the head. On the human body “hair” is the last thing found outside the body of people. 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 our 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 “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). This confirms the truth that “hair” is the external and least significant part of the body in the spiritual meaning.
But regardless, to God, the very “hairs of your 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 (Bible) most distant and least of importance is still most HOLY
“I assure you that nothing will disappear from the law until heaven and earth are gone. The law will not lose even the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter until it has all been done” (Matthew 5:18)
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” (2 Kings 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 read or incorrectly interpreted. 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” (Matthew 4:1-2).
Then to the spiritual meaning of the number “forty“, we added the number “two”. This signifies the two essentials components of GOD; LOVE and TRUTH. These are the two main characteristics of our God. Everything inside of Him is pure LOVE. Everything that comes forth from Him is pure TRUTH.
And where the WORD (Bible) is not read or incorrectly taught, then neither can LOVE and TRUTH is found there. For what sheds doubt and mistrust of the Lord is a lie from hell. That is why the church needs the spiritual meaning of the WORD (Bible) to understand that the Lord is LOVE
“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, For the image had feet of clay and iron.
On this day we live, the WORD (Bible) is being treated shabbily. It is being dragged along the ground and the dust of the earth “feet of a bear“. 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 (Bible) in the natural sense. Or how we in the world relate to things around us.
And that “hair” is the greatest distance and remote meaning of the written WORD (Bible). But since a powerful “bear” is bringing justice and silencing the accusers of the WORD (Bible).
This tells us even the most remote and seemingly vague part of the written WORD (Bible) 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 opened up and revealed.
If this foundation of the natural meaning of the WORD (Bible) is not read and interpreted correctly we cannot see our Lord as we should. You cannot build a foundation for a house if it is not all square. For when you then build the floors and walls they will be crooked
“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” (Amos 7:7-8).
So the 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” (Revelation 13:5).
We see the same number “forty-two” in Revelation 13:5 as we saw in II Kings. This symbolizes the portion of the Christian church that is not teaching the WORD (Bible) correctly. They are not seeing God as He truly is, and most importantly what He is trying to say to them.
This old institutional church is in the wilderness (“forty“). They are not seeing the LOVE and TRUTH (“two).
“All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16).
We are instructed to read the WORD (Bible) innocently trusting the Lord to give us the true meaning. Otherwise, we are guilty of putting our own thinking on the meaning of the WORD (Bible). We try to make it fit the way WE think it should fit.
“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;” (1Peter 2:1)
“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” (Hebrews 5:12-13).
The New Emerging Church needs to move on from the natural and earthly meaning of the WORD (Bible) to an understanding of the heavenly spiritual sense. This also helps us make a smooth transition from our days on earth into our everlasting life in heaven!