The Ministry of the Firstborn
The Double Portion
“And Elijah said, unto Elisha, Tarry, I pray you, here: for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan.
“And Elisha said, as the Lord lives, and as my soul lives, I will not leave you. And they two went on.
“And fifty men of sons of the prophets went, and stood to watch afar off: and only Elijah and Elisha stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle and folded it together, and smote the waters, and it was divided so that they went over on dry ground. After they were over Elijah said to Elisha, ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken away from you.
“And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion of thy Spirit be upon me.
“And he said, You have asked a hard thing, nevertheless if thou see me when I am taken up from you it shall be so unto you: but if not, it shall not be so.
“And as they went on and talked, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire and parted them both asunder; And Elijah went up by a whirling wind into heaven. And when Elisha saw it he cried, My Father, my Father the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more; And he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan. And took Elijah’s mantle and smote the waters, and said, Where is the God of Elijah? And when he smote the waters they parted, and Elisha went over.”
Symbolically, Jordan always speaks of the crucifixion of the flesh. As we are approaching Jordan it is hard for us to comprehend the blessing and authority of the ministry of the firstborn or the double portion. “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, Oh God, beside you, what he has prepared for them that waits for him,” Isaiah 64:4.
Because we are yet on the banks, we sometimes can see only the mad and turbulent waters before us, even though the Spirit has began to stir the faith of the firstborn company and energize them to move on into the fullness of the call for which they have been apprehended.
Because the desire of the flesh is to produce more and more works of the flesh, the above scripture has been misunderstood by many. When reading the above passage we glimpse a deeper and more glorious meaning of the words spoken by Elisha in Deuteronomy 21:17:“But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath…. for the right of the firstborn is his.”
Elisha was not the natural son of Elijah, and there is no record of Elijah having had a son. So the thing that Elisha asked of him was to be son placed as his firstborn and to receive the right and blessing of his ministry.
We must lose the desire to be greater and possess a more exalted position before we can comprehend the meaning of the call of the firstborn. Then, and only then, can the Spirit reveal unto us the things Yahweh hath prepared for them that love him.
The acceptance of the responsibility of the firstborn must be greater than the expectance of the blessing. In First Timothy 5:17, Paul says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” The word here used as “elder” comes from the Greek word “presbyters” and has the same root word as “ambassador.” Paul, again, reminds us, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though Yahweh did beseech you by us: we pray in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to Yahweh,” 2 Corinthians 5:20. The word “elder” is actually referring to a mature son, one who has grown into the full stature of the Father, who is set over the affairs of the Father and receives his blessings and responsibilities of the firstborn.
Though Yahweh’s love is no greater for his mature ones than for his infants, the responsibilities of a presbyters cannot and should not be placed on a novice (nave’s), neither can it be given to, or borne properly by one who is impatient, moody, emotional, overly sensitive about themselves, and quick tempered or quick to quibble. One cannot endure if they are greedy, self-conscious, and self-centered.
As Hebrews 6:1 says, we should “leaving (radiate from us) the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection (full maturity); not laying “again” the foundation of repentance from dead works (Yahweh has forgiven), and of faith toward Yahweh.” For, if we do not become weary in well doing, we will reap life if we faint not (Gal. 6:9).
Yahweh told Moses to be circumspect in all things: “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth,” Exodus 23:13. I believe we should be no less.