Elijah Ascends to Heaven

Thomas J. Watson, Sr. , died six weeks after naming his son as the new head of IBM, the company the elder Watson had led for more than forty years. The junior Watson said his promotion made him “the most frightened man in America.” But he took the helm and led IBM i … More

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)

Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, "Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?" And he said, "Yes, I know it; keep quiet." Elijah said to him, "Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?" And he answered, "Yes, I know it; keep quiet." Then Elijah said to him, "Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, "Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?" And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »