Biblical Last Words: Elijah Offers

Biblical Last Words: Elijah Offers

Biblical Last Words: Elijah Offers.

“When they reached the other side of the Jordan River, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘What can I do for you before I’m taken from you? Ask Anything.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.’ Elijah said, ‘You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.'” (2 Kings 2:9-10).

After a turbulent, faithful life as a single-minded prophet of God, Elijah has come to the end of his life. He evidently has received a vision from the Lord that he will be taken from this earth, and not die. Elijah has already named Elisha as his successor, in obedience to God’s directive (1 Kings 19:16). Elijah is waiting for the end, whatever that might look like. Both men walked toward the Jordan River. Once there, Elijah strikes the river with his famous cloak, and they both walk to the other side on dry ground. Elijah sensed that the end was near, and he graciously asked Elisha if there was anything he could do for him.

Elisha immediately asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit. This can mean two different things. First of all, more than anything, Elisha wanted to be the spiritual heir to Elijah in word and deed. The double portion is the biblical inheritance of the oldest child, who is the primary heir. Elisha dearly wanted to inherit Elijah’s prophetic ministry, and be Elijah’s primary spiritual heir. Elisha wants to pick up where Elijah left off. Secondly, Elisha knew that Elijah left some big shoes to fill, and that he will need more ability, more strength, more faith to continue Elijah’s ministry. So he asked Elijah for an extra portion of his character and spiritual capacity. We can be sure that Elisha’s request came with pure motives. He wasn’t seeking more power or fame or success for himself. He wanted to be found worthy as Elijah’s successor, and he wanted to accomplish great things for God. So God granted Elisha’s request. God enabled Elisha to carry on Elijah’s prophetic work and serve as God’s mouthpiece and miracle worker.

Elijah’s last offer to his anointed disciple reveals what every worthy mentor offers to his or her follower. The mentor asks, is there anything I can do for you before I die, before I retire, before I move to another location? The good mentor doesn’t selfishly say, you’re on your own. Good luck. Elijah was generous and gracious to the end. After a lifetime of ministry, Elijah ministers to his disciple right to the very end. And then, the end came for Elijah with a flourish. Instead of tasting death, Elijah enjoyed the thrill of being taken to the heavenly realm in a whirlwind of horses and chariot made of fire.  Like Enoch long before him (Genesis 5:24), Elijah didn’t die, he was translated, he simply moved from residence to another. Elisha witnessed this miracle, undoubtedly dumfounded, and then faithfully picked up Elijah’s “prophecy cloak” and started his unique ministry in the spirit of Elijah.