Elijah had once, in his passion, wished he might die; yet God was gracious not to take him at his word then, but to honour him with this singular privilege, that he should never see death; as with a similar case in point, that of Enoch.
1. God showed how men should have left the world if they had not sinned, not by death, but by a fiery translation.
2. God gave us a glimpse of that life and immortality which is sometimes brought to light by the gospel of the glory, reserved for the saints, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers, as with Elijah.
When Elijah was taken off the earth, the Elisha ministry began. There is not one miracle accredited to Elisha while the Elijah ministry existed. When the day came for Elijah to be translated, all the people of God knew it. The sons of the prophets (God’s people) knew Elijah would be taken that day. So when Elijah parted the waters and he and Elisha crossed over on dry ground. For us once we have crossed that river of death on to dry ground, we must not turn back or even aside. We must keep our eyes on Elijah. (my God, Jehovah).
When Elisha could not turn back or even tarry, then Elijah asked Elisha what he desired. God tells us in the Old Testament, ‘He will give us the desires of our heart.’ (Psalms 37:4)
“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken away from you. And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be on me. 10And he said, you have asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so to you; but if not, it shall not be so.” (II Kings 2:9-10).
Elisha never took his eyes off Elijah. He did not take his eyes off God – Jehovah. He never turned aside, but continued to the end of Elijah’s walk.
Here is, a true spiritual father, as the pupils of the prophets are called their sons. This was the end of a remarkable ministry, one that was in many ways similar to the ministry of Moses. Both these prophets Moses and Elijah teach us important principles:
Elisha saw it: he received a sign by which he was confident of his request for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. He looked steadfastly towards heaven, ‘he saw him no more’ from where he was to expect that gift, as the disciples did, Acts 1:9,10, “ …while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven…” He saw it for awhile, but the vision was at the moment out of his sight; and ‘he saw him no more.’ He rent his own clothes, as a sign he had of his own public loss and as a token of his grief and loss.
Though Elijah had gone triumphantly to heaven, this world would be a lesser place without his ministry. Without doubt their hearts would be disappointed by the taking away of a faithful man, and a call for weeping and mourning.
Though Elijah’s departure made way for Elisha’s eminent ministry even though he was sure of a double portion of Elijah spirit, his loss was great for he loved him, and could not serve him any longer. Elisha had lost his father and mentor of his youth: My father, my father. He saw his own condition like that of a fatherless child fearful of the world, and felt in adequate.
“And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah does rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.” (II Kings 2:15).
“The sons also of them that afflicted you shall come bending to you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you; The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 60:14)
The sons of the prophets recognized the Elijah mantle, that there was a greater anointing. There is no record of the sons of the prophets bowing down to Elijah. But they did bow to the anointing that was upon Elisha, and they will bow to the Elijah mantle and anointing which is coming upon the manifest sons of God.
But before the Elijah mantle can be put on, the old cloth (the flesh) must be rent in two and discarded. The Elijah mantle will not hide the flesh, the flesh must go. When Elisha parted the Jordan, those same sons of the prophets saw a different Elisha.
The Elijah ministry is proclaiming the coming of these sons, but before the Elijah mantle can rest upon anyone, the flesh must be subject to the Spirit. We must become that sacrifice Elijah built on Mt. Carmel. We must be consumed by God. All the prophets of Baal must be destroyed in our lives. Only then will the Elijah mantle fall into place.
When Christ, left his disciples, He did not leave them orphans (John 14:15). When Elijah was taken up in the chariot, he gave them confidence in his prophetic office as if in this chariot; he was the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. Israel did not use chariots and horses in their wars, but Elijah was to them, by his counsels, reproofs, and prayers, better than the strongest force of chariot and horse, and kept off the judgments of God. His departure was like the routing of an army, an irremediable loss.
“Better have lost all our men of war than this man of God.”
Our prayer for today is Lord – give us fathers that have a heart for this generation to raise up sons that will have a heart to pursue that Elijah mantle that will be consumed with the desire to do the will of God and to manifest the power and anointing of Holy Spirit.
EAM LB 20/8/2011