Elijah Ascends to Heaven

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Blessing

 

 

As this chapter begins, Elisha was still accompanying Elijah whose home base was in Gilgal (v. 1). They leave this site and go down to Bethel (v. 2). Elijah went to visit two schools of prophets for the last time. Three times Elijah, as a test, asked Elisha not to follow him, but each time Elisha was persistent to stick with him (vv. 3-4). Elisha had learned somehow (perhaps from Elijah himself) that this would be Elijah’s last day on earth (v. 5). Determined to be with his father in the faith till the very end Elisha refused Elijah’s suggestio. As they approached the Jordan River, 50 of the young prophets from Jericho, realizing that Elijah’s departure was imminent, followed at a distance to observe what would happen to him (vv. 6-7). Elijah rolled up his cloak and struck the water (v. 8). The cloak symbolized his authority under God.  Miraculously the water divided and the riverbed dried up so the two men could walk across on dry land just like the Israelites had done years earlier.

 

Elijah then asked Elisha what he would like to have from him before he would be taken away. Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit (vv. 9-10). Suddenly a fast-approaching chariot and horses of fire separated Elijah from Elisha (v. 11). Elijah did not ride into heaven in a chariot of fire but a whirlwind snatched him up and Elisha was left standing on his own.  In an act of mourning Elisha tore his clothes (v. 12). As Elijah had been snatched away, his mantle had fallen to the ground. Elisha then tests his power by striking the cloak on the Jordan River and the waters parted again (vv. 13-14). This was an obvious confirmation of God’s approval and blessing.

 

Application

 

 

Elisha’s reason for requesting a double portion (blessing) of Elijah’s spirit was not to be better or more powerful than Elijah, but to accomplish more for God. If my motives are pure, I don’t need to be afraid to ask great things from God.

 

II Kings 2:1-14 (English Standard Version)


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