Elijah’s Last Prophecy and Chariot Ride to Heaven (2 Kings 1:1 – 2:18)

Two stories from the life of Elijah are especially dramatic.  First, Ahaziah had an accident, falling through a lattice, and was seriously injured.  He asked his servants to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if he would live or die.  God revealed this to Elijah, who sent word to Ahaziah, “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?  Now therefore, thus says the Lord:’you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'”  His servants told him what Elijah had said, and the king sent a captain of fifty to get Elijah.  When they asked him to come down from the hill on which he was sitting, he called down fire from heaven to consume them.  This happened to a second captain, and then a third came to Elijah, fell on his knees, and pleaded with Elijah not to take their lives.  The Lord told Elijah to go with him.  He told Ahaziah the same message, and Ahaziah died.  Since he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place.

The second major story concerns Elijah’s ascent to heaven.  When Elijah knew this was going to happen, he asked Elisha to stay behind while he went to Bethel.  Elisha perceived something was going to happen, and refused to leave Elijah.  As they traveled, the sons of the prophets confirmed to Elisha what was going to happen, and he silenced them.  Elijah asked Elisha to wait in Bethel while he went to Jericho, but Elisha refused again.  The sons of the prophets in Jericho confirmed the ascent as well.  Elijah asked Elisha to stay in Jericho while he went to the Jordan, but Elisha refused a third time.  At the Jordan, Elijah rolled up his mantle, struck the water, and it was divided so that they could walk across on dry ground.  After that, Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before he was taken away.  Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.  He promised that–if he saw him taken–he would receive what he asked.  As they walked on, a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.  Elisha tore his clothes, and took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him.  He went back to the Jordan, and struck the water, which divided before him.  The sons of the prophets perceived that the spirit of Elijah was upon Elisha, and they bowed before him.  They asked to go search for Elijah, and three days later they returned without finding him, which Elisha had foretold.

Ahaziah was an evil king.  He did not walk in the favor of the Lord.  When he was facing death, he wanted to hear from someone about his prognosis.  He sought an idol rather than God.  When the prophet called him out, he wanted clarification, but it cost many men their lives.  Don’t ask the wrong people what you should do or expect.  Spiritual people of God should never consider the advice of the world to be more valuable that the word of the Lord.

Elijah, knew that his translation from earth to heaven was about to happen.  I believe he tested Elisha to see just how dedicated he was to the work to which God had called him.  Elisha passed the test, and received a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah.  Many people have taken this story and proclaimed the principles of impartation and passing the mantle from one prophetic voice to another.  I think sometimes this principle is overused and abused, and people make far too much of the individual possession of a particular anointing.  There is, however, a truth hear about passing down our faith, and even a sincere appreciation of and submission to the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.  Don’t take the knowledge and the work of the Holy Spirit to the grave with you.  Pass on the faith and the operation of the Holy Spirit to your children and to those who follow you in the faith.  The church of tomorrow needs to inherit right belief and submission to the power of the Spirit in their lives.  If we do not pass down the faith, then the faith may die in our generation.

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