Gnostic Doctrine

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Elisha, bones relic-worshiping 2Ki 13:20, 21

 Through God’s spirit upon Elisha, he had performed 15 miracles up to this point. But even after his death he is used by Jehovah for a 16th miracle. Elisha had been faithful till death, approved by God. The record relates that after Elisha’s burial another man was being buried when a marauding band of Moabites caused the burial party to throw the man into Elisha’s burial place and flee. Upon touching Elisha’s bones, the dead man came to life and stood upon his feet.—2Ki 13:20, 21.

A miracle performed in connection with Elisha (posthumously) was the immediate raising to life of a man whose dead body was thrown into Elisha’s burial place and touched his bones. This was proof that it was God’s power, not Elisha’s, that performed the miracles Elisha had accomplished, and it was a powerful attestation or a seal of God as to the genuineness of his faithful prophet.—2Ki 13:20, 21.

Certain advocates of the veneration of relics cite 2 Kings 13:21, which says: “It came about that as they were burying a man, why, here they saw the marauding band. At once they threw the man into [the prophet] Elisha’s burial place and went off. When the man touched the bones of Elisha, he immediately came to life and stood upon his feet.” This was a miracle involving the lifeless bones of one of God’s prophets. But Elisha was dead and “conscious of nothing at all” at the time of the miracle. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) Hence, this resurrection must be attributed to the miracle-working power of Jehovah God, who effected it by means of his holy spirit, or active force. It is also noteworthy that the Scriptures do not say that Elisha’s bones were ever venerated.

The account at 2 Kings 13:21 tells how a dead man came to life after coming in contact with the bones of the prophet Elisha, but there is no record that Elisha’s bones were worshiped either before or after that miracle. It was God that performed that miracle, not the bones; so it was proper that all veneration, worship, glory, honor and praise be given to God and not to the lifeless bones.

Some in Christendom advocate devotion to relics because of what is said at Acts 19:11, 12, where we read: “God kept performing extraordinary works of power through the hands of [the apostle] Paul, so that even cloths and aprons were borne from his body to the ailing people, and the diseases left them, and the wicked spirits came out.” Please note that it was God who performed those extraordinary works through Paul. The apostle himself did not perform such works independently, and he never accepted veneration from any human.—Acts 14:8-18.

It is not a matter of having bravery or pluck to defend a theological dogma, right or wrong. Instead of hardihood, who has the honesty to examine God’s sacred and infallible Word of truth on the matter? Those who have will find that the Scriptures do not support the relic-worshiping practice at all. In the particular cases mentioned in Acts 5:15 and Acts 19:12 there is no question that God performed great miracles by the hands of Peter and Paul. Nevertheless, those men did not allow other creatures to bow down to, worship or venerate them as long as they were alive. Why, then, would anyone want to worship their bones after they are dead? (Acts 10:25, 26) 

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