Elder Beebe — Dear Brother: Will you, or some of your many correspondents, please give an explanation of II Kings 20:1-6. It has perplexed me so long that I feel now that I must have an explanation of it. Yet knowing, as I do, how you must be daily harassed by such enquiries, I hesitate even now in sending my request. But if you, or any other kind brother, will grant me an answer, you will be favoring one who, at least, desires to know and to love the truth.
March 1, 1869.
Reply: To our unknown friend in Owensville, Ind. We have published our views on the text proposed in years which have passed, but as many of the present readers of the “Signs” were not then taking our paper, we will, briefly as we can, repeat substantially what have been our views for many years. The text proposed, and the whole chapter in which it is contained, with but little variation, is recorded in II Kings 20, and in Isaiah 38. In II Kings 20:1-5, it is thus written: “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Thin again and tell Hezekiah, the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears; behold I will heal thee; and on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.”
Hezekiah, as the king of Israel, as the son of David, and as the captain of the people of the Lord, was a type of our Lord Jesus Christ; and only as a type in personating the Savior, could he have used the words of intercession, which were based upon his own personal righteousness, in an acceptable manner before the Lord. The house of Hezekiah, was his family, his affairs as the king of Israel. He was occupying the house of David, which figuratively means the people and church of the Lord. Isaiah, the son of Amoz, represents the law and the prophets which were until John; for all the prophets, and all the law had faithfully declared by the word of the Lord, that Jesus Christ, the anti-type of Hezekiah, should die, and not live. That he should be put to death in the flesh, and then be known no more in the flesh. And he was held by all the law and the prophets bound to set his house in order; whose house, the apostle says to the church, ye are; and in doing so his death was inevitable. Heaven and earth could sooner pass away, than the death of Christ could be avoided.
When the testimony of all the law and the prophets was brought to bear on him, showing that it behooved him to suffer all these things and then to enter into his glory, his soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death. With such overwhelming sufferings was he to be baptized, that he was straitened until that dreadful immersion should be accomplished. Like Hezekiah, he turned his face to the wall [Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks], and prayed. Thus in meeting the message of his God, as the High Priest of our profession, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” Hebrews 5:7. Thus answering to the deep emotion, and dreadful pressure of distress evinced by Hezekiah in the type, he plead with his heavenly Father, with fervency, and being in agony, cried, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass.” And he could plead as no other being could. In truth, the words of Hezekiah belonged alone to Jesus. “I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.” This language could only be used typically by Hezekiah, or only so far as he personated Christ; but in all their force they were used by our anti-typical Hezekiah, and they were heard and approved in heaven. He had loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even his God, anointed him with the oil of joy above his fellows.
Scarcely had the law and the prophets concentrated the full force of their message upon the devoted Lamb of God before a message was dispatched from heaven’s high eternal throne announcing that his intercession was heard, and that the son of Amoz must not retire until he had declared from the mouth of God that Jesus our Lord should arise and go into the house of the Lord on the third day. It was not enough that the holy prophets should predict the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, but they must also tell of the glory that should follow. Thus when our risen Lord opened the understanding of his disciples, he explained to them in all the Old Testament Scriptures, the things concerning himself; that thus it was written, and therefore thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise on the third day.
In the type, Hezekiah came only to the doors of death; but Jesus, of whom he was the type, “Entered its iron gates, and took its bars away.” The fifteen years added to the days of Hezekiah shows in the figurative import of the type that Jesus our Lord should arise from the dead on the third day, and go into his Father’s house which hath many mansions, and that the gospel dispensation should be added to his Mediatorial days. “He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken, And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he bath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:8-11.
In these brief remarks we have not attempted to meet the silly lucubrations of Arminians, nor the daring presumption of those who dispute the immutability of God, by laboring to make it appear that the prayers of men have power to change the decrees of God; but we have labored rather to elucidate the subject so as to afford instruction and comfort to those who fear the Lord and delight in the knowledge of the truth.
March 15, 1869.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 382 – 384