Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Elijah Leaves Earth Alive II Kings 2

II Kings 2:11 "And it came to pass as they still went on and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

Many people say it, over and over, Elijah went to heaven in a Chariot of Fire. He did not. Look at this verse again and the first verse.

v1 "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal."

Elijah was trying to 'shake Elisha off' so that he could be translated out of his sight but Elisha would not leave him alone. Some of the younger prophets told Elisha that his master was leaving and he kept telling them 'I know'. In a manner, he was telling them to leave him alone because he did not want to loose sight of Elijah. Why?

v10 "And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee it shall be so unto thee but if not, it shall not be so."

Elisha wanted a double portion of the spirit that Elijah had. Elijah is the one who called fire down from heaven and consumed the offering and the altar in was on and all the stones and water. Elijah was the one who called down fire and consumed the fifty sent by the king to force him to come to him. Elisha wants a double portion of that spirit. It was indeed a hard thing he asked. Still he persisted and Elijah finally was content with the situation and they went on talking.

Here are the places Elijah went before he was translated and one preachers idea of the symbolism in them:
-Gilgal-salvation, the place where Israel was circumcised and the reproach of Egypt was cast off.
-Bethel-a place of prayer or the house of God
-Jericho-a place of victory
-Jordan - often thought of as death, the crossing over also of the Christian life where we put off the old man and put on the new.

There is not enough about Elijah as far as I am concerned. He is often compared to John the Baptist and is called Elias in the New Testament. But Elisha is on the scene. He is a former 'plow boy' who answered the call and followed Elijah. One place described him as the one who washed Elijah's hands.

Elijah had used his mantel to part the Jordan river and so Elisha did the same thing on his way back saying:

v14 "And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and smote the waters and said Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters they parted hither and thither and Elisha went over."

The scene was witnessed by the sons of the prophets Elisha continued on his journey. He came to a city that had a bad water supply and used salt to restore it to sweetness. He then went on his way and a lesson was taught that the man of God was to be respected. Elisha had a bald head but it was not to be laughed at.

v24 "And he turned back and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood and tare forty and two children of them."

It was a very dramatic way to make a point but we could use a few bears around our churches in our day. People have lost respect for the house of God and those who minister. God is an awesome God. He will be our friend but he must be respected as the ultimate power.

Psalm 1:6 "For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Israel, Elijah, Elisha. Elijah translated and Elisha calls out the bears to teach reverence for the man of God.

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