“When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, ‘Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?’ ‘Yes, I know,’ Elisha replied, ‘so be quiet.’ Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ And he replied, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So they went to Jericho. The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, ‘Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?’ ‘Yes, I know,’ he replied, ‘so be quiet.’ Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ And he replied, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them walked on. Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied.” — 2 Kings 2:1-18 (NIV)
In my travels to Israel, I have learned that Elijah is a highly respected prophet in Judaism. During the Seder meal for Passover, many Jews set a place at the table for Elijah. According to the Torah, he was caught up in a whirlwind by a chariot and horsemen of fire. He is known as a prophet of miracles.
The story of Elijah’s ascension is one the miracles in Scripture. Along with Enoch, Christ Jesus, the church, the tribulation saints, the two witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of the book of Revelation, Elijah is one of seven ascensions mentioned in the Bible.
His servant Elisha, who was being groomed to replace Elijah as prophet, refused to leave his side on that day because he knew it was Elijah’s last day on Earth. Each of the local prophets they visited on the way to the Jordan also was aware that Elijah was leaving Earth on that day. Elijah pleaded with Elisha not to follow him as he traveled, but the young prophet refused to leave his spiritual father and mentor.
Earlier in Scripture, the prophet found him working in his father’s field and threw his cloak around him. The cloak represented a mantle of ministry for Elisha, who knew God had selected him to replace Elijah. On the final journey, Elijah was asked what he wanted, and said, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” The inheritance of double portion in Scripture denotes double blessing and usually is given to the firstborn son in the family by a father.
The proof of Elisha’s desire is evident in his pursuit of Elijah. As the other prophets watched from afar, a chariot of fire appeared and separated Elisha and Elijah before taking Elijah to heaven. Elijah’s cloak fell from him, and Elisha caught it. The cloak represented the double portion that Elisha requested, and when he caught it, he received the mantle of miracles. Just as Elijah had done when they crossed the river earlier, Elisha struck the river’s bank with the cloak. The river divided, and he walked through on dry ground.
The spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha. The Bible records that Elisha was used to perform 28 miracles, which is twice as many as Elijah’s 14. God granted him the “double portion” he wanted.
Here is my final point. When anointed people leave Earth, the spirit on them still is available to those who desire to be used of God. If you want God to use you, find a man or woman of God who is willing to mentor you and serve them. Like Elisha, you will learn what it takes to be a world-changer and a history-maker. Shalom.
Deason is the senior pastor of Liberty Prayer Chapel and executive director of the Liberty County Manna House.