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As we come again to look in the Word, I remind my heart and your heart that there is one indispensable principle of Bible Study, and that is total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit. This is His book, and in order to see the Lord Jesus, we need the Holy Spirit. Let me share this verse before we go to prayer. 2 Chronicles 15:2, just a phrase out of that wonderful verse, it says, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.” Isn’t that a wonderful verse! “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.” We used to play Hide and Go Seek and let ourselves be seen, so the kids could find us. It tells us at least two things about our Lord. #1 He wants to be found #2 He desires to be desired. He wants to be sought after, and a true seeker will never be denied. With that in mind, let’s commit our time to the Lord.
Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for who You are and for giving us Your Word, and for putting in our hearts Your Life, the indwelling Holy Spirit. We trust You to turn our hearts and eyes to the Lord Jesus in a fresh way. Deliver us from the letter that kills, the cold academics, and take us, we pray, into Your presence. We want to see the Lord Jesus. Thank You in advance that You are going to meet with us, because we claim it in the all-prevailing name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
Let me give a little bit of a review and then we’ll pick up our new material. Once again, we’re studying the Lord Jesus through His servants Elijah and Elisha. I’m calling the series “Elijah and Elisha” but you didn’t come to see them, and I didn’t come to present Elijah and Elisha. We want to see the Lord. I told you last time that to really embrace God’s heart in the study of Elijah and Elisha, that we had to see three things. We had to see the prevailing message of Elijah’s life, and we have to see the prevailing message of Elisha’s life, and then we have to see the distinctive revelation of our Lord Jesus that is given through the prevailing message of Elijah and Elisha. I also told you last week that to do that in one lesson would be impossible. So, we’ve taken two lessons. This is the second.
Last time I broke it up and we looked at Elijah and Jesus. This morning I’d like to look at Elisha and Jesus. That will give us the direction we’re going to go. By way of a quick review, let me state the prevailing message of Elijah’s life. Why does God tell us about Elijah. There’s a big hint because we know almost nothing about him physically. We don’t know his history, we don’t know his family, we don’t know his training, we don’t know his experience, we don’t know the friends he had, we don’t know if he was married or had kids. We know nothing physically, and that’s God’s invitation, then. If you are going to know Elijah, you better study him spiritually, because He blocked out the physical.
So, who was he spiritually? We attempted to answer that question by homing in on a comment that was made by Gabriel, the angel, to Zacharias, who was the father of John the Baptist. It’s in Luke 1 :17 speaking of John prophesy, it says, “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah.” We took that expression, the spirit and power of Elijah, and we just figured that if God would show us, if the Holy Spirit would allow us to discover what that means, what is the spirit and power of Elijah, that we’d be a lot closer to understanding the purpose for Elijah in the Bible.
To get to the heart of that last time, we looked at Elijah’s first recorded words, and that’s in 1 King 17:1, “Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’” And we took those first recorded words and just broke it down into little phrases, and when we broke it down, we got a glimpse who Elijah is, and we got a little closer to the spirit and power of Elijah.
The first mention that He made, the first words recorded out of his mouth, he said, “The Lord, the God of Israel.” So, the first thing we know is that Elijah was a man that believed that God was the God of His people. That’s important because His people had kicked God out, and God said that even though you kicked Me out, I’m still your God. The next thing he said is, “The Lord, the God of Israel lives.” He knew, this is Elijah’s heart, that God was the living God. They had Baal and he was dead. They had Asherah and she was dead. So, what is the spirit of Elijah? It’s somebody who knows that God will not forsake His people. It’s somebody who knows that the Lord lives.
Then the third thing is, “I stand in the presence of the Lord.” You want to know what the spirit of Elijah is? It’s somebody who knows that God loves His people, someone who knows that God is alive, and someone who day by day and moment by moment is living in His presence, and then, finally, he gave the message, and it was a negative message. He announced the famine that would last for several years. Put that together, and what do you have? What is the spirit of Elijah? It’s someone who knows God will not forsake His people, who knows God is living, who is living in the presence of that living God, and who faithfully and fearlessly proclaims the message that he gets from God when He is in the presence of the Lord.
Then we added one more thing to that. By the way, that judgment was a terrible judgment, that famine. 1 Kings 17:1, “There shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” We just sort of say, “Well, they had a famine.” God had warned about this. Deuteronomy 11:16, “Beware that your hearts are not deceived, that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them, or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield its fruit. You’ll perish quickly from the good land the Lord has given you.” He warned them
Again, in Leviticus 26:18-20, “If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit.” In love, God is going to chasten His people to bring them back to Himself. This chastening in Elijah’s day was even more severe. God had warned that He wouldn’t send a rain, but Elijah said, “This time, because you’ve kicked God out completely, there’s not going to be rain or dew.” That’s important because Palestine doesn’t get a lot of rain, but they depend upon the dew, and now the dew is denied, and that famine was to devastate the nation. It lasted several years.
What’s the spirit of Elijah? He’s the one who stands in the presence of the Lord who loves his people, listens carefully to His word and faithfully and fearlessly presents it. We added one more thing to define or describe the spirit and power of Elijah. When Elijah was at his lowest point, when he had fallen into fear and ran away from Jezebel, got very discouraged and even prayed that he would die, he was so discouraged, at that time he ran back to the law. He was under the Juniper tree and then he ran back to the mountain of the law, to Mt. Sinai, and God addressed it and said, “What are you doing here?” His answer is pouring out his heart. He reaches down and says, “This is my spirit.” That’s what we’re looking for; what is the spirit of Elijah? 1 Kings 19:9&10, “He came to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’”
When he said, “I have been very zealous; look what Your people have done to You. I’m jealous for Your honor. I’m doing this for You. I’m jealous with the jealousy of God.” Then it ended with the still, small voice, and God said again, “What are you doing here?” And he answered the same way in verses 13&14, “I’ve been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant.” So, added to 17:1, what’s the spirit and power of Elijah? It’s someone who knows God loves His people, someone who knows He’s the one and only true and living God, one who stands in the presence of that Lord to receive His message, and fearlessly proclaims that message, and one who is driven by a passion of jealousy for the Lord’s honor, for the Lord’s glory, for the Lord’s name, for the Lord’s renown. That jealousy was the same jealousy when Jesus turned the tables over in the temple, and the disciples remembered, “The zeal, the jealousy of My Father’s house has eaten me up.” Elijah was eaten up with the jealousy for the Lord’s honor and glory. So, putting all of that together, in a word, what’s the spirit and power of Elijah? May God help us see it. It’s somebody who knows that God has a heart for His people, who knows that He’s the living God, who stands in the presence of the living God, whose ears and heart is open to the message and ready to proclaim it, and who is driven by an impulse of passion for the jealousy of the Lord.
Pretty much that’s the review. It’s interesting, I was reading that some of the commentators, because there’s nothing about Elijah physically, some say, “Well, he was the angel of the Lord.” Some say that he was Phineas, the grandson of Aaron. This is not in the Bible, but they were saying that. I looked on what they based that, the Rabbis, what did they base that on? They based it on Numbers 25:10&11, “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘Phineas, the sons of Eliezer, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy.” Because Phineas was jealous with the jealousy of the Lord, God withdrew the plague. I think that’s Elijah, jealous with the jealousy of the Lord. When Jesus turned the tables over, it was because He had a passion for the purity of His house. Who is His house? We are the temple. Remember I said when we opened, that the Lord, if you seek Him, He’ll let you find Him? I’ll give you a little clue where He is. Remember when Mary and Joseph lost the 12-year-old son? Where was he? He was in the temple. He’s always in the temple. You aren’t going to lose Him. He’s in the temple. You’ll find Him. He’s in your heart. He’s not going to forsake you.
Alright, that was Elijah, and the spirit and power of Elijah. What was the revelation of Jesus that we saw last week? We’ve got to take our eyes off Elijah, the man of God, and we’ve got to see the heart of the Lord. The days of Ahab and Jezebel were days as bad as they could get. Got was completely kicked out. This is the first record in the Bible of an actual persecution against God’s people, when Jezebel began to kill the prophets of the Lord. She tried to eradicate every name, every thought about Jehovah, and was determined to replace Jehovah with Baal. The revelation of Christ is that God is the One who has a heart to recover His people when they are at their worst. That’s the whole point of Elijah and Elisha. God’s heart wants to recover His people, and in order to do that, He will raise up a man like Elijah and Elisha. The point is that He wants to recover His people. He doesn’t give up on His sinful people.
In that connection I love Psalm 89:30-34, “If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, if they violate My statues and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not break off my lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in my faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.” What a summary of first and second Kings! The great message of Elijah and Elisha is that God loves His people and will not violate the covenant. Understand me now, no matter how bad they get, no matter how far they stray, God says, “My heart is for them.”
What is the covenant that God says He will not violate? It’s not a covenant between God and you. It’s not a covenant between God and me. It’s a covenant between God the Father and God the Son. That’s where the covenant is, and He says that because of that covenant, “I will never let you go. I will never violate My covenant, the covenant that I made with My Holy Father God.” That’s why He’s always faithful. He’s jealous for the purity of His people, zeal for His Father’s house has eaten Him up, and in order to rescue, recover, restore His people that He loves so much, He says, “I’m going to need somebody like Elijah, with the spirit and power of Elijah. I’m going to need somebody like Elisha, so that I can have My people, even when they’re at their worst.
James 5:17 I remind you, James said that Elijah was a man with a nature just like ours. You’ll notice as you go through the Bible and the New Testament, too, that when He talks about the end, He said that it’s not going to come until Elijah comes. Then He said, “John the Baptist is Elijah,” and then John got killed, and they said, “Well, the end won’t come until Elijah comes.” He’s always coming, because Elijah is a man with a passion like you. We are Elijah. The Godly man that God will use when God’s people are at their worst, Elijah is past, but he’s not passing. He continues to come in every age and generation, and God raises up Elijah’s, so he’ll be coming until the end of time. So, that’s who the Lord Jesus is.
My guess is that you’ve already experienced this in full or in part. Maybe there has been a time in your life when you messed up, and we can be pretty dumb and pretty rebellious, and God brought an Elijah into your life, or an Elisha. He raised up somebody. Somebody helped you, some man, some sister, some book, some tape, somebody, some song. God uses that to bring you back and bring you back, and the goodness of God leads you to repentance. He does it over and over and over again. I love Hosea 11:3, “It is I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them in My arms. They did not know that I healed them. I led them with the cords of a man and the bands of love.” God is just saying, “They didn’t know when I sent that person, that sister, that brother into their lives, that that was Me drawing them back into My arms. I did it with the cords of a man, a man like Elijah, a man like Elisha.”
That’s enough review. This morning I would like to do the second part of our introduction, and that is Elisha and Jesus. To get this before you, it’s not going to be so straight forward because it’s more like the meandering of a river. You’ll be able to follow the reasoning, but its not one, two, three. So, stay with me, and if you lose me, turn your eyes to Jesus and scrap anything I say.
Before we get to Elisha the man, I want to show you the link between Elijah and Elisha, between both of those men, because in God’s revelation they aren’t two, they are one. I’m not saying that they aren’t real people. They are. They are two, but the message is not two; it’s one. After Elijah recovered from his slide into depression and was restored, and where was he restored? When we begin, he said, “I’m the one that stands in the presence of the Lord,” but he got out of that presence, so in his restoration, 1 Kings 19:11 it’s the still, small voice, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord,” come on back to the presence of the Lord.
At that time, he was given three commissions. It’s recorded in 1 Kings 19:15&16, “And the Lord said, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram,’ or Syria, ‘And Jehu, the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha, the sons of Shaphat of Abel-Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.’” Three anointings; anoint Hazael, anoint Jehu and anoint Elijah. Those are commands that God gave to Elijah when he was back in His presence. Now, let me fill you in. Did Elijah obey God? Well, we read on, and he anointed Elisha. He dropped his mantle and anointed Elisha. Did he anoint Hazael? No, he never did. Did he anoint Jehu? No, he never did. He was commanded a three-fold command, and he only completed one third of it, and then he was caught up to heaven in a fiery chariot. If God gives me a command and then takes me to heaven before I can obey, whose fault is that?
Anyway, did Hazael ever get anointed? Yeah. Did Jehu ever get anointed? The answer is yes, but who anointed them? The answer is 2 Kings 9, Elisha. Elisha took up the command and fulfilled 2/3 of what God commanded Elijah to do. What do we learn from that? The answer is that they are one. Their ministry is one. It doesn’t matter if he’s doing it or he’s doing it, the ministry is one, and it also sheds a lot of light, and I don’t have time to develop it, on the body of Christ, that we are one. You’ll have a great privilege, do such and such, and if you don’t, someone else will do it. God will never be at a loss.
Elijah and Elisha are a picture of someone greater. We don’t want to look to Elijah and Elisha. Let me describe the one I want you to see. I want you to see the One who cleansed the leper. I want you to see the One who multiplied loaves. I want you to see the One who was filled with the Holy Spirit. I want you to see the One who opened the eyes of the blind. I want you to see the One who answered the cry of the helpless and the needy, the One who wept over Jerusalem, the One who raised the dead, the One whose whole ministry was marked by miracles, the One who after He died brought life. Who do I want you to see? Well, see, that’s amazing, because I was not describing Jesus. I was describing Elisha. All of those things I just said about cleansing the leper and raising the dead, that was Elisha. That’s his ministry. Why? It’s because God wants to show us the man who looked like Jesus. Elisha is the man who looks like Jesus. Why is that important? It’s because Elijah and Elisha are one, and it was his connection with Elijah that Elisha could manifest Christ to him, so he could look like Jesus, so God would have an instrument through which He could recover His fallen people.
When I read 1 Kings 17:1, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years.” When I read that and look at the principles, a man of God is somebody who knows He loves His people, who knows that He’s alive, who stands in His presence, who is ready with alacrity to obey the Lord and deliver fearlessly and faithfully the message, who is driven by a passion of jealousy for the purity of God’s house, when I see that, I’m tempted to say, “He’s pretty much arrived.” I wish I could believe that’s true of me, that I stand in His presence, and so on. The question I have. When I look at 17:1 I say, “He’s mature. He’s arrived. That’s the goal.” And then I read stories about hiding at the brook of Cherith, and about the ravens, and about the widow’s house of Zarephath, and the contest on Mt. Carmel, and his period of discouragement, and his running back to Sinai, and the still, small voice, and calling down fire from heaven, and I ask myself, “If he’s mature in 17:1, why does he have to have all these experiences? What is God doing?”
When we read the record, we didn’t stop at 17:1. We’re going to study the life and the experiences that he had. If he’s mature, is God trying to teach him something? What is God doing in all of these stories? Let me make a suggestion. You remember Elisha’s cry, 2 Kings 2:9, ‘When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you before I’m taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please, let a double portion of your spirit be on me.’” He wanted to be like Elijah. He wanted a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. Did he get it? Did he end up getting that? Well, according to 2 Kings 2:10, he said, “You asked a hard thing. If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but, if not, it shall not be.” Seeing Elijah, and we’ll touch on that a little more, when he was caught up to heaven, “If you see me, then you’ll get the Spirit.” 2 Kings 2:12, “Elisha saw it, and cried out, ‘My Father, my Father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen, and he saw Elijah no more, and he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.” He wanted a double portion of the Spirit, and it was granted.
Now, let’s go back. A double portion and it was granted; he’s the man that looks like Jesus. We’re all familiar with the mantle. 1 Kings 19:19, “Twice Elijah touches that mantle. He departed from there and found Elisha, the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pair of oxen, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.” Then when he was caught up to heaven, 2 Kings 2:13, “He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him.” He received a double portion. He took up the mantle, and he ended up looking like Jesus. How did that happen? How did Elisha come to look like Jesus?
We say, “Well, Elijah ministered to Elisha.” That means that Elijah is going to have to look like Jesus, because you can’t communicate what you don’t have. These life experiences were the process by which God was forming Christ in Elijah, so Elijah could manifest Himself. 1 Kings 17:1 was not enough. Galatians 4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” That’s the purpose of the brook. That’s the purpose of the ravens. That’s the purpose of the widow. That’s the contest on Mt. Carmel. That’s why the juniper tree. That’s why the experience of Mt. Sinai, and on and on, because Elijah had the right direction, but now Christ needed to be formed in him. And how was Christ formed in Him? It’s through the experiences of life. Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters in Christ, you set your heart to know the Lord, you have the spirit and power of Elijah, you have the right direction, and now in the experiences of life God is going to form Christ in you. Because He’s forming Christ in you, you’ll be able to manifest Him to others. The more He’s formed in you, the more you minister, the more they’re going to look like Jesus. The connection between Elijah and Elisha is so vital and so important. He’s going to learn Jesus at the brook. He’s going to learn Jesus at the widow’s house. He’s going to learn Jesus even at Mt. Sinai. It’s all about Elijah becoming like Christ, so that he could manifest Christ, so he could produce an Elisha which looked like Christ.
Are you with me? Now, Elijah, then, and Elisha are not two pictures. They’re one. They’re one picture. They’re linked together. Elijah is an illustration of what God does in a person to produce this. Elisha is the fruit of Elijah. Elijah is going to produce Elisha, and he takes a man like this to make a man that looks like Jesus. I like to picture it with a parenthesis. That’s a couple of brackets or curved lines or dashes, and in between there it’s a word or a phrase or a sentence or a paragraph in order to explain something or to qualify something. Elijah is every man. Elisha is every man. Every generation God raises up an Elijah and Elisha. One time He gives us one picture. Here in 1 & 2 Kings we have the whole picture, all the eggs in one basket, Elijah and Elisha, and then in the next generation, Elijah and Elisha, Elijah and Elisha. So, God in His great mercy has linked these two together, and has given them one ministry, and not two. When we study Elijah and Elisha, I want you to understand that they’re together, the man and the message. It’s the individual and the fruit of that kind of a life. I pray God will help us see that as we go along.
It’s interesting to note that when God selected Elijah and Elisha and put them in a parenthesis to be the picture of the Godly man God looks for, and the fruit of that, that God looks for, at this time there were what they called “schools of the prophets”. Many say that Samuel started some of those schools of the prophets. It’s interesting that the expression “schools of the prophets” is not in the Bible. You’re not going to find any place that says, “schools of the prophets.” They are called, “the sons of the prophets,” but they were in school. They were in dormitories. They had a special place. Basically, it was schools of the prophets.
There are several of them mentioned. One was at Rahman, one was Kirias-jeram, and one at Gilgal, and one at Bethel and Jericho, and so on. But when God wants an example to be forever, “This is who I want to use,” I’m surprised He didn’t dip down into the seminary and pick him up, or He didn’t dip down into the school of the prophets and say, “Here’s a man like that.” That happened to Amos 7:14, “Amos replied to Amaziah, ‘I’m not a prophet, nor am I a son of a prophet. I’m a herdsman, a grower of Sycamore figs.’” When God chose Moses, He reached into the wilderness of Midian. When He chose Joshua, he went to the military. When He chose David, he went out on the field and found a shepherd. These are the kind of people that He uses, and Amos is a picker of Sycamore fruit. So, who was Elijah? He’s a mountain man. Who is Elisha? He was a farmer. He was plowing the fields.
It sounds like I’m blasting Bible schools and seminaries, and maybe I am in way, but the other side is that sometimes, I think, often He will just pick a normal guy, a normal woman, but sometimes, the Apostle Paul came out of a seminary of sorts, I would think, so I’m not knocking that. I think Nicodemus did, as well, but that transformed mountain man and that transformed farmer becomes God’s illustration of the kind of the person God uses when God’s people are at their worst, to satisfy His heart, who longs to recover His fallen people.
The question arises, then, since Christ is being formed in Elijah, and Elisha needs to receive that, to become someone who looks like Jesus, when the mantle first fell on Elijah until Elijah was caught up in heaven, how long were Elijah and Elisha together? 1 Kings 19:19, this shows when he began, “He was plowing with the twelve pair of oxen, and he with the twelfth, Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.” Then we read in verse 21, “He arose and followed Elijah and ministered to him.” In 2 Kings 3:11, look at the end of that verse, “Elisha, son of Shephat, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” Elisha became a personal attendant of Elijah. He poured water on his hands. That is just symbolic to say that whatever he needed, he was there at all times. In a way, Elijah became the mentor, and Elisha was there all the time. I’m sure there is ministry not recorded here that Elisha experienced as he walked with Elijah.
There’s an incident recorded in 2 Chronicles and not mentioned in Kings that give us a little hint at how long they were together. 2 Chronicle 21:12, “Then a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet.” You say that Elijah never wrote anything. Yes, he did; he wrote this letter, and he wrote it to Jehoram. Why is that important? It’s because we know when Jehoram lived. So, that means that Elijah was still alive at that time. Let me fill it in. Ahab, when he died, his son Ahaziah took over, and he lasted two years. Then he died and his other son, Jehoram took over, and he ministered for eight years, and according to the record, you can check it, he got that letter two years before he died. So, if you add the two years of Ahaziah and the five or six or seven years, in other words, Elijah and Elisha were together six, seven or eight years together. That’s important to know because all this time Elijah is being conformed to Christ and he’s passing it on to Elisha.
Elijah and Elisha are not only linked together in the message, but just on the level of earth, they were friends. They were close, and they had that daily contact, seven or eight years, and Elisha is looking and watching and observing and serving and washing his hands and meeting all his needs. If you are in daily contact with somebody, especially husband and wife, you get real close and you know each other inside out. There are things Lillian can tell you, that she better not. If you are close to someone, you see their life and their ministry and you see their heart, and that’s why at the end when Elijah said, “Anything I can give you before I go,” he said, “Oh man, I want a double portion of your spirit. I’ve come to know you and I’ve come to see you and I want to be like you.”
I’ll give you one illustration. You’ve probably heard me mention Frank Sells. He was the one that God used to turn my eyes to Christ. I crashed. I’m not going to go into that experience, but I was married at the time, and I remember going to Mr. Sells because I was eating up everything. You might notice that sometimes I sound like I have a southern drawl. I’m not from the south. South Connecticut, maybe, but this Godly man had that drawl, so I not only listened to what he said, but I picked up how he said it. You just do that. Anyway, I went to him and asked him, “Mr. Sells, can I move in with you? I just want to live with you. I won’t bother you.” I was married. I wasn’t going to leave Lillian and go move in with Frank Sells. He just said, in his kind way, “I think you should stay with your wife.” But that was my heart because he had done so much and given me so much light, and I just wanted to carry his bags and carry his shoes, and I wanted to be with Frank Sells.
As you know, this is an introduction lesson, so I’m not going to give you the details of all the stories, but I want to dip into the last chapter of their life. 2 Kings 2, The Lord had told Elijah that his time on earth was short, 2:1, “It came about when the Lord was about to take Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven,” and it seems like that message got out, I don’t think it was word of mouth, I think God revealed it. He revealed it to the sons of the prophets, the Bible school. 2 Kings 2:3, “The sons of the prophets were at Bethel and came out to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know your Lord is going to take away your master over you today?” He said, “Yes, I know. Be still.” So, the whole class at the Bible school knew. Then he goes to Jericho, 2 Kings 2:5, “The sons of the prophets who are at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know the Lord will take away your master from over you today?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know. Be still.’” But something strange happened along the way.
When they came to Gilgal, now, don’t forget that Elisha has been serving Elijah seven or eight years, “Anything you say, Sir, I’ll click my heals and I’ll salute. I’ll do it.” Verse 2, “Stay here please. The Lord sent me as far as Bethel.” So, Elijah said, “Don’t come with me. You’ve been with me for eight years. Stay here.” Elisha said in verse 2, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” That’s big. He says, “Please stay here.” They go to Bethel, verse 4, “Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” Again, Elisha answers, “As the Lord lives, as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” When they get to Jericho Elijah speaks again in verse 6, “Then Elijah said to him, ‘Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’” And again, the same answer, verse 6, “AS the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.”
Then they cross, and according to 2 Kings 2:7, “All of the sons of the prophets gathered at the edge of the Jordan,” and they’re going to watch. I can’t imagine Elisha refusing a request, a kind request, “please, stay here,” and he said, “No, I’m not going to do it.” All Elijah ever asked Elisha to do, he did with pleasure and alacrity. He wanted to satisfy Elijah, but this was too painful. When Elijah said to Elisha, “I don’t want you to follow me anymore,” that was tough. If you are in that close connection with somebody, then you’ll understand a little bit what was going on in his heart, that he had to stand up against his master and say, “No, not this time. I’ve been your faithful servant for seven or eight years, but this time, as God lives and you live, I am not going to be parted from you.”
Let me stop here and describe what I believe was going on. It’s so natural. As I’ve said, they’ve been servants together and lived together, and Elisha was very much attached to Elijah. I told my testimony, how attached I got to Frank Sells. It was a crisis when God weaned me from Sells, because even after I left Bible school, I’d be calling him up on the phone, and I had some of his tapes that I’d be listening to. The severance where he cut the cord, Lillian can tell you, that was a painful experience, and very expensive. It cost me a lot because everything was going wrong. I’m not going to get into that.
Elijah is trying to shake Elisha loose from that attraction that they had. He said, “Please stay here and stop following me.” He said it at Gilgal, and he said it at Bethel, and he said it at Jericho, “Don’t come; you need to disconnect yourself from me.” Elijah knew the danger of being attached to a human instrument or to a religion or to a church or to a ceremony or to a ritual. Elisha wasn’t rude. He said, “Please,” but Elisha just couldn’t let go, and it was because of his love, sort of like Jesus and Peter.
When he was about to leave, Elijah said, “What do you want?” And he said, “Your spirit; I want a double portion.” And he gave this strange command, “If you see me,” that was his problem, he had been seeing him for eight years, but you’ve got to understand what he’s saying, “If you really see me, if you really honestly see who I am, you want my spirit, but have you ever seen the secret of my spirit? If you see me when I’m taken, I want you to focus this time, you’ve been so concerned to watch me, now watch me. Don’t be distracted, not even by a tornado. Don’t let anything distract you. If you see me,” and I’m weaving this in, “with the eyes of the Lord, if you see me by revelation.”
In Elisha’s mind he had been ministering to Elijah, but really Elijah had been ministering to him, and he did not want that to stop. I believe a big part of what happened next is all about being weaned of looking to men, looking to people. If you want my spirit in a double portion of my spirit, focus. 2 Kings 2:10, “You’ve asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I’m taken from you, it shall be so for you. If not, it shall not be so.” This moment was a great experience for Elijah, but I think it was also a great experience for Elisha. He saw it in verse 11, “Elisha saw it and cried out, ‘My Father, my Father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen,” and we’ll get into that later, but what he was saying is, “I always thought the defense of Israel was Ahab’s great army,” but the defense of any nation is the Godly people in that nation, and Elijah was being carried away, and he said, “The defense of Israel is being lifted up.”
It was painful. Verse 12 says that he rent his garments. It wasn’t easy for Elisha, but a mighty transformation took place there, not only as I said in Elijah, but in Elisha. This is the second time Elisha is connected with Elijah’s mantle. Verse 19, “He departed from there, found Elisha, the son of Shaphath while he was plowing, and Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.” But this time it’s different, because the first time he didn’t understand the mantle. To him that was a call to ministry, a call to faithful ministry, a call to service, and he responded to that call. He was faithful for seven to eight years ministering, but this time he was seeing with God’s eyes, verse 13, “He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank.” Elisha picked up the mantle a second time, but this time his cry changed. He didn’t say, “A double portion of your spirit.” What did he say? Verse 14, “He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’” He finally got it. Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah, not the spirit of Elijah; that’s over.
The secret of the spirit and power of Elijah, and that was recognized. Notice 2 Kings 2:15,” When the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho who were opposite saw him they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.’” They saw it, but his heart was not crying out anymore, “I want a double portion of your spirit.” His heart was now crying out, “I want the God of Elijah.” That’s where he was.
I’ll develop this as we go through, but there are so many pictures here, and God is picturing Elisha ascending, and as he ascended, he dropped his mantle. Do you know anyone else who ascended and dropped anything? Our Lord Jesus when He ascended, “It’s expedient that I go because I want to send my Spirit, I want to drop My Spirit.” You see, the mantle falls twice, and I’m not going to get into the charismatic of the double blessing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and all, but when Pentecost came, the mantle, the Holy Spirit, baptized the whole church. Everybody in this room has been baptized with the Holy Spirit. Usually that leads to a life of service, ministry, business. But when God opens your eyes and you say, “I want the God of Elijah,” let me ask the question, “Did you ever pick up that mantle?” That’s the mantle that needs to be picked up. What I say now is, “All I want is the God of Elijah.”
We’re going to develop that a lot more as we go through this, but this Elisha being weaned from Elijah in an unhealthy attachment, so that he could embrace what was God’s heart, the God of Elijah. So, Elisha is conformed to Christ, manifests Christ, and he ends up looking like Christ because right here he has set a new direction, “I want to live in His presence, and I want to know He loves His people, and I want to be able to deliver His message, I want to have the passion, but it’s by knowing the God of Elijah.” We’ll close there.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, we always have to say that it’s not what we think it means, but everything You’ve inspired it to mean, will you work that in our hearts? And as we get ready to look at the ways, the many ways that Elijah was conformed to Christ, prepare our hearts, so that we might experience that, as well. Thank You, Lord, for loving Your people so much, for raising up men like Elijah and Elisha, and we pray that we might be those people. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.