When last we left the prophet Elijah, he had just accepted the anointing of his successor, Elisha. You can read the full chapters on the book’s page.
Chapter 7: God’s People and God’s Name
Two events toward the end of Elijah’s life show two aspects of God’s care for His testimony. The first is the judgment of king Ahab for taking Naboth’s vineyard–God cares about each of his people, not just the leader or organization. The second is the judgment of Ahaziah for seeking answers from Baal, as if God was not the God of Israel–He cares for the honoring of Himself and His name. Elijah’s maturity shows in his restful stand with God for both of these events, and God’s care for His operation and government shows in His protection of Elijah against the soldiers. God and Elijah were standing together for the testimony of God in Israel.
Chapter 8: Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho, and the Jordan
Elijah was now fully mature and ready to be taken by the Lord. Elisha stayed with him all the way to the end, paying a price to gain his final lessons from Elijah (unlike the sons of the prophets, who were unwilling to act on their knowledge). The four cities through which they passed represent four stations necessary for any servant of the Lord to bear God’s testimony:
- Gilgal–the exposing/cutting off of the flesh and knowledge of self
- Bethel–knowing God’s house as the place for these things to happen, yet where we can also be healed, encouraged, and equipped to fight.
- Jericho–where the fight with Satan really begins
- Jordan–a fuller application and experience of our death and resurrection with Christ, a reality that was in our baptism.
Chapter 9: The Rapture of Elijah
This chapter really highlights the relationship between Elijah and Elisha. Elijah was never jealous of Elisha, even caring for and shepherding him all the way to the end, even as he was being carried up in the whirlwind. Elisha loved and honored Elijah, calling him “father” in life and honoring his protection and leading of God’s testimony as the “chariots of God and his horsemen.”
Most of all, Elisha recognized that bearing God’s testimony was not a matter of doctrine, but of spirit. He received a double-portion of this, being clothed with Elijah’s mantle (and power) outwardly, yet expressing God’s attributes through a fine humanity inwardly. He was Elijah on the outside, yet Elisha on the inside.