The Fifty Prophets

After Elisha had smitten the waters of Jordan with Elijah’s mantle in demonstration of power, immediately he was met with the unbelief of the sons of the prophets, who questioned whether Elijah had indeed been taken to heaven. They suggest he might be cast down in the wilderness. There were fifty of them, the same number of those who had told Elisha about this event beforehand. Fifty is the number of the present dispensation — Pentecost. We learn from their behavior that knowledge of truth is not enough; we must believe it and walk accordingly. Elisha needed no search party to convince him where Elijah had gone. We see a parallel to this in the Book of Acts; Stephen, the first Christian martyr, believed the record of God and saw Jesus in heaven.
The fifty (strong) prophets did not believe the report of Elisha and insisted in sending out a search for Elijah. They said, “Lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley” (2 Kings 2:16). They are like those today who see Jesus only as a Man on earth. Christianity is about a Man in heaven. “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:99But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)).
Elisha tarried at Jericho, the city that had been rebuilt in spite of being cursed. He began ministering where men were found under the curse. Jericho represents this world, which man would rebuild under a curse rather than look for a heavenly city, as Abraham did. The healing of the waters at Jericho is an example of the result of new birth; it enables the believer to maintain a sanctified life in this world in spite of the curse of sin. The remedy was to put salt into a new cruse and cast it into the water. The new cruse is a picture of the new nature. Salt is what preserves and gives savor. These thoughts combined remind us that salt is the moral “separative power of holiness.” The new life in the believer gives the ability to drink from the wells of nature, in holiness, without being degraded into the barrenness of mere self-gratification. Men reverse this order, seeking for life from the things of nature, but without distinguishing the fallen character of the creation and its inability to satisfy the vast need in man’s heart.
D. C. Buchanan