To heaven in a whirlwind
If you knew it was your last day on earth what would you do? Elijah had to think about that. 2 kings 2 tells us about it.
1/. The Farewell tour verses 1 - 8.
He spent his last day doing Doing God's will. God commands, Elijah obeys.
Will Elijah's servant Elisha follow him?
Elijah tells him to stay behind. Remember Elisha has followed Elijah for years. Here on his last day Elijah is wanting to go alone. Is he putting Elisha to the test.
The day that Elijah is going to go up, is he testing Elisha to see if he'll step up.
Elisha passes the test.
They arrive in Bethel. The prophets take Elisha aside as asks him if he knows what is going to happen today. Elisha knows but would rather not speak about it.
He rejoins Elijah and they move on to Jericho. Again Elijah asks Elisha if he wants to stay here and he'll move on. The same thing happens again. Prophets again speak to Elisha. Do you know what's going to happen today. Same again. I know but don't want to talk about it.
The same happens again toward the Jordan River.
This time about 50 prophets follow them at a discreet distance. They watch as he takes off his cloak and strikes the Jordan with it. The river divided and they walked across on dry ground.
Now they are in the place where God wants them.
2/. The whirlwind exit. Verses 9 - 12.
Elijah wants to leave a blessing for Elisha before he is taken. What can I ask God to do for you Elisha.
Elisha knew exactly what he wanted. He wanted the blessing of a firstborn son. He's not wanting to be twice as powerful as Elijah.
Elijah tells him he has asked for a difficult thing. He is recognising it is God's place to endow God's power. Elijah knew he couldn't do it. It would be up to God.
They continued on. Suddenly verse 11 describes what happens. The chariots and horses don't take Elijah to heaven. No. They only separate the two men. The whirlwind takes Elijah up. Elisha sees it and that is the sign he will pick up Elijah's mantle.
This is a great preview of Jesus coming and breaking the power of death. The same Jesus who went to heaven that day will return. Those who are still alive willie taken up to heaven must like Elijah.
3/. The follow on ministry. Verses 13 - 23.
Elisha is now standing in Elijah's sandals.
The first evidence is Elisha parting the waters of Jordan just as Elijah had done hours earlier.
He asks in verse 14, where is The Lord, the God of Elijah. The 50 prophets witnessed this great miracle.
The second evidence was the healing of the waters. Verses 19 on tells us the story. The contaminated waters are healed when Elisha throws in the salt.
The third evidence is from 23 on. Elisha is of course doing the route in reverse that he and Elijah had already travelled. He is following on from Elijah.
As he walks through Bethel he is mocked by a mob of youths. They mock Elisha. They call him baldy. Elijah was described as a man with lots of hair. Elisha was more folic-ally challenged. To mock God's prophet was to mock God Himself. He calls down a curse on these youths. He doesn't specify what it was. He left it to God. God sent to bears who mauled 42 of them.
God is a holy God. Elisha is nor proved to be God's true representative.
God's plan is better than our plan.
Elijah had once sulked under a broom tree and wished he could die. What he would have missed. He turned out robe only the second man in history who wouldn't die. God's plan for our lives is much better than what we could ever imagine.
God's plan leads to Jesus Christ.
Going back the way this has many parallels with the succession of Moses to Joshua.
But going forwards this previews the great succession of John the Baptist to Jesus.
Joshua mean The Lord saves. Jesus saves. The OT points forward to the coming of the Messiah.
My saviour can be seen right through the whole Bible.
What if you don't believe. What if you believe the Bible is a work of fiction.
This remarkable continuity could never be fiction.
If this would be your last day would you be ready to meet with Him???
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