27 Sept. 2 Kings 2:1-15

27 Sept.  Elijah is taken up to heaven

“It was almost time for the LORD to take Elijah by a whirlwind up into heaven. While Elijah and Elisha were leaving Gilgal, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Please stay here. The LORD has told me to go to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you live, I won’t leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel.”

“The group of prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know the LORD will take your master away from you today?’ Elisha said, ‘Yes, I know, but don’t talk about it.’”

“Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here, Elisha, because the LORD has sent me to Jericho.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you live, I won’t leave you.’ So they went to Jericho.”

“The groups of prophets at Jericho came to Elisha and said, ‘Do you know that the LORD will take your master away from you today?’ Elisha answered, ‘Yes, I know, but don’t talk about it.’”

“Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here. The LORD has sent me to the Jordan River.’ Elisha answered, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you live, I won’t leave you.’ So the two of them went on.”

“Fifty men of the groups of prophets came and stood at a distance from where Elijah and Elisha were by the Jordan. Elijah took off his coat, rolled it up, and hit the water. The water divided to the right and the left, and Elijah and Elisha crossed over on dry ground.”

“After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha said, ‘Leave me a double share of your spirit.’ Elijah said, ‘You have asked a hard thing. But if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours. If you don’t, it won’t happen.’”

“As they were walking and talking, a chariot and horses of fire appeared and separated Elijah from Elisha. Then Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw it and shouted, ‘My father! My father! The chariots of Israel and their horsemen!’ And Elisha did not see him any more. Then Elisha grabbed his own clothes and tore them to show how sad he was.”

“He picked up Elijah’s coat that had fallen from him. Then he returned and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Elisha hit the water with Elijah’s coat and said, ‘Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?’ When he hit the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and Elisha crossed over.”

“The groups of prophets at Jericho were watching and said, ‘Elisha now has the spirit Elijah had.’ And they came to meet him, bowing down to the ground before him.”

          (2 Kings 2:1-15)

 

 

Elijah was nearing the end of his life. In c.853BC, he set off from Gilgal with Elisha and made a farewell visit to the prophets at Bethel and Jericho. At each place, Elijah asked Elisha to stay behind, but Elisha refused to leave Elijah.

Elijah then struck the River Jordan with his cloak and the water divided so the two men could cross over. As they climbed away from the riverbank, Elijah was taken up to heaven by a whirlwind in a chariot of fire.

The hill to the east of the River Jordan opposite Jericho – believed to be the site from which Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire – is known as Tell Mar Elias (‘Elijah’s Hill’).

Visitors to Elijah’s Hill (see 4 on the map on 15 September) can examine the excavated remains of a large 7th century Byzantine church built to commemorate the life of the Prophet Elijah.

Nearby, where Elijah parted the River Jordan with his cloak, is the site of Bethany beyond the Jordan. Here, over 800 years later, John the Baptist fulfilled the role of the ‘promised Elijah’ (see Malachi 4:5) by baptising Jesus in the River Jordan and proclaiming his coming as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The photo shows Tell Mar Elias (Elijah's Hill) near Bethany beyond the Jordan.

You can read more about Elisha’s journey back to Samaria @ https://thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/32-the-divided-kingdom-amp-journey-into-exile/elijah-is-taken-up-to-heaven/


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