MIRACLES can HAPPEN even AFTER we DIE: "Then Elisha died, and they buried him. And the raiding bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year. So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet." (2 Kings 13:20-21)
When the writer of the book of Hebrews started listing the great stalwarts of faith, this is what he wrote about Abel (the second son of Adam and Eve): "…God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks" (Heb. 11:4). What this means is that God continued to testify of Abel’s gifts, and through these gifts continued to speak about this saintly man even after he was dead. In the similar manner, the above scriptural passage highlights an incident that took place after the death and burial of Prophet Elisha. This incident speaks to us that ‘miracles can happen even after we die’!
When we attempt to get a clear picture of Elisha’s ministry, it is surprising to note that the writer (of the book of Kings) is silent about the last 45 years of Elisha’s ministry from the time Jehu was anointed to be the king of Israel in 841 B.C. (chapter 9) until Elisha’s death in 795 B.C. (13:20). Elisha was an old man at this time, and it is ironic that this great giant of faith who had done so many miracles in his lifetime would die from illness (13:14). Even though Elisha was a dying man, yet he was able to communicate the power of God to the king. Elisha’s final prophecy given from his deathbed to Joash, the king of Israel, was one of victory (13:17). In fulfillment of Elisha’s prophecy, Joash recaptured the cities which Hazael had taken from Israel, and this was accomplished by three successive victories (13:25). King Joash recovered all the cities that the Syrians had taken from Israel!
However, Elisha’s final miracle was accomplished long after his death (13:21), and it was a final validation of his messages and ministry to Israel. Following Elisha’s death and burial, Israel was invaded by a band of Moabites. On one occasion some Israelites were burying a man when they spotted a band of Moabites. In fear of the Moabites, they abandoned their plans to dig a grave for the man and hurriedly opened the tomb of Elisha and threw the corpse inside. The dead man returned to life as soon as he came in contact with the bones of Elisha. The purpose of this miracle was to confirm that Jehovah was the God of the living, and to seal the witness of Elisha with a final supernatural manifestation.
Even in death the mere presence of Elisha’s body was sufficient for a miracle. There was no magic in Elisha’s bones, but a demonstration of God’s power associated with His servant. This miracle authenticated Elisha’s final prophecy, and should have reassured King Joash that God intended to rescue Israel from the deadly grip of Syrian domination. As Elisha’s body had brought life to the dead, so would his prophecy attest God’s provision of new life for Israel in the coming days! Even though Elisha died of old age, his dead bones resulted in a miracle that holds a unique position throughout history. In his life and death, a total of fourteen miracles are attributed to Elisha, which was twice as many as attributed to Elijah. Can the reason be that Elisha was endowed with a double portion of Elijah’s spirit?
Let us be assured that miracles can happen even after we die. Elisha is a good example for us from the Old Testament. In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus rose up from the grave on the third day, walked on this earth for forty days and ascended to the heavens in the presence of His disciples. He has commissioned us to witness to the lost people, and win them for God’s kingdom. We should then baptize, disciple and teach them the commandments given by our Lord Jesus (Matt. 28:19-20). They will be the miracles who would remain on this earth even after we die. Just as Elijah’s dry bones brought life to a dead man, our faithful life and witness will prove miraculous to many people dead in sin, so that they would rise up like the mighty army in Prophet Ezekiel’s vision (Ezek. 37:1-10). Can we be faithful to our call like Elisha today?