When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha
“Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.”
And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
He said, “You have asked a hard thing.
Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you,
It shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
2 Kings 2:9-10
In this study of 2 Kings Chapter 2, we will examine two major events which occur, Elijah is taken alive up to heaven and Elisha receives a double anointing of our Beloved LORD GOD’s Holy SPIRIT as his successor. We will also carefully consider several events surrounding the two aforementioned events. But let’s first look at some historical background, to provide more understanding of details that might be missed.
Samuel was both a prophet of GOD, and a Judge of Israel (1 Sam 3:19-20, 1 Sam 7:15). He presided over companies of prophets (1 Sam 19:20) who lived in Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah (the towns which were part of his annual circuit as a Judge―1 Sam 7:16-17) as seen in the attached map.
Elijah who now presided over the prophets in these towns, knew our Beloved LORD GOD was going to answer his prayer to end his physical life (1 Kin 19:4). He was traveling from Gilgal to the other side of the Jordan River (2 Kin 2:1-9), perhaps traveling home to Gilead on the other side of the Jordan to die (1 Kin 17:1, Jug 12:4, Num 26:28-29).
Elisha who had been anointed by GOD to replace Elijah as HIS prophet (1 Kin 19:16), was traveling with Elijah. Elijah became Elisha’s master (boss), at the moment he threw his mantle on Elisha, symbolizing the transference of the power and authority of his ministry to Elisha (1 Kin 19:19).
Points to Consider:
- Though Elijah tried to talk Elisha out of following him to his death, Elisha refused to leave his master’s side. Elisha, like Ruth who refused to leave Naomi (Rut 1:15-16), and Ittai who refused to leave King David (2 Sam 15:19-22), declared that only death would separate him from Elijah (2 Kin 2:2-6). Each one of us should be this determined to follow our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST. We should cling to HIM and HIS WORD the way a belt clings to a waist (Jer 13:11, Psa 119:31, Rom 12:9). As faithful servants we should follow our Beloved MASTER wherever HE goes (Jhn 10:1-9, Jhn 10:27); including death, for HIS NAMESAKE (Rev 12:11, Php 3:7-8, Act 21:13, Mat 16:24-27, Mat 10:37-39).
- Our LORD makes known HIS plans to HIS prophets (Amo 3:7) and to those who do HIS will (Jhn 15:14-15, Pro 3:32, Psa 25:14, Gen 18:17-19). That is why in 2 Kings 2:1-6, Elijah, Elisha and the prophets who lived in the places they traveled to, knew our GOD was going to take Elijah.
- When Elijah used his mantle to strike the waters of the Jordan river (2 Kin 2:8), it was the third recorded time our Beloved LORD GOD parted the waters for HIS anointed to walk miraculous through them on dry ground (Exd 14:15-30, Jos 3:5-17, Jos 4:1-24). This powerful work of our Beloved LORD GOD occurred for three reasons. First, it confirmed GOD’s choice of the individual for service (Exd 14:31, Jos 3:7, 2 Kin 2:13-14). Second, it demonstrated that our Beloved GOD is The Almighty to those who didn’t know them (Jos 4:23-24). And third, those who knew HIM, would honor and revere HIM (Psa 76:7, Jer 10:6-7). Just like, HIS people who came before us, HE will not let the waters overflow us (Isa 43:2), take a moment and reflect on and thank HIM for the situation(s) in your life, HE prevented from overtaking you (Psa 18:1-19).
- When Elisha requested a double portion of the Spirit that was on Elijah be upon him (2 Kin 2:9), he was not asking for twice as much of GOD’s Holy SPIRIT that dwelt on Elijah. He recognized the magnitude of Elijah’s ministry, and was seeking to be qualified to continue Elijah’s ministry with the help of GOD. Remember Elisha was not among the prophets, he was a farmer, out plowing in the field, when his divine call came (1 Kin 19:20-21). Two things, we should consider. First our Precious Savior and LORD JESUS CHRIST can use anyone, as demonstrated by HIS call of Elisha. And two, HE has promised, that each one who trusts in HIM, will carry out HIS mission of preaching The Gospel; not just in Israel but throughout the world (Jhn 14:12-14). Do you trust HIM to go forth in all the world, doing what HE has called you to do? (Mrk 16:15-18).
- Elijah knew that Elisha’s request to have a double portion of GOD’s Holy SPIRIT was something only GOD could give (Num 11:16-17). And only if GOD allowed Elisha to see Elijah be taken up to heaven, would Elisha’s request for a double portion be granted (2 Kin 2:10). As it was in 2 Kings 2:12.
- Elijah like Enoch was take to heaven without dying (2 Kin 2:11, Gen 5:21-24, Heb 11:5). Being translated (changed in the twinkling of the eye) will also be experienced by the living faithful at the time of our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST’s second coming (1 Cor 15:51-52, 1 Ths 4:15-17).
- GOD gave both witness and confirmation to Elisha. HE gave witness that HE was with Elisha, just as HE had with Moses, Joshua and Elijah before him, by parting the waters of the Jordan River (2 Kin 2:13-15). HE also confirmed Elisha’s new ministry when the leaders of Jericho came to him for help (2 Kin 2:19). Our GOD confirmed Elisha’s ministry through two symbols and a miracle (2 Kin 2:20-22). A new jar containing salt. The new jar symbolized, the new ministry bestowed on Elisha; the salt symbolized a binding and eternal union between our Beloved LORD GOD and HIS prophet (Lev 2:13, Num 18:19-20, 2 Chr 13:5↔2 Sam 7:12-16). Furthermore, The WORD of GOD in the prophet’s mouth purified the waters, symbolizing the salt in the new bowl. Is your faith united to HIS WORDS bringing you eternal life (Heb 4:2), or does unbelief keep you in darkness, destined for death?
- Elisha’s new ministry was challenged by both the godly, and the ungodly:
- The godly (the prophets) challenged Elisha’s ministry, questioning his insight (2 Kin 2:16). Elisha saw Elijah taken up to heaven, so he knew the prophets would not find him. But instead of standing firm on what our Beloved LORD had made known to him, he allowed them to shame him into giving approval to go and seek for Elijah (2 Kin 17-18). Has our Beloved LORD GOD revealed something to you, that instead of standing firm and trusting HIS WORD, you gave in to the crowd?
- The ungodly (a large number of young men) mocked Elisha as he was leaving Jericho (2 Kin 2:23). Our Beloved LORD GOD confirmed Elisha’s ministry twice, yet, this ungodly group followed him with mocking and harsh words. When Elisha turned and cursed the ungodly men (2 Kin 2:24), it was not because of his pride, but their disrespect of our GOD and HIS WORD (Jud 1:14-16). Those who persist in mocking GOD’s WORD and HIS messengers will eventually suffer GOD’s wrath and death (2 Chr 36:15-16). Those who speak harsh things against GOD in ignorance are forgiven (Heb 5:2, Heb 9:7, Act 17:30-31, 1 Tim 1:13), but when it is done with knowledge of WHO GOD is; it is blasphemy and brings death (Eze 20:27, Eze 18:24, Mrk 3:28-29↔Jhn 4:24, 1 Cor 3:16, Rom 8:9-10, Jhn 14:23).
Then we who are alive and remain
Will be caught up together with them in the clouds
To meet The LORD in the air
And so we shall always be with The LORD
1 Thessalonians 4:17