2 Kings 2:1-3 and 6-14
1 And it came to pass, when the LORD was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel.
3 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?”
And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.”
But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.
8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?”
Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
10 So he 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.”
11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.
13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.
|HOME FOR EVERMORE
When a believer in Christ is called away, he or she goes "Home for evermore". That must be a wonderful experience. For those who are left behind, there is great comfort in knowing we will see our loved ones again. The doorway we call "death" will one day open for each of us too and we will be with Christ forever.
Elijah had a different experience. It was unusual in so many ways. It is obvious that God told Elijah it was time to come home. But God also told Elisha and the prophets at both Bethel and Jericho that this was the day of Elijah's departure (vv.3 , 5).
Why was God calling Elijah away? Wasn't he needed? The people were still not following the Lord as they should. Yet God was taking home the most powerful and prominent prophet of that time. It is not always easy to understand God's ways. We can only say it was God's time for Elijah, and God had Elisha ready to replace him. No one is indispensable.
This is one of the best illustrations in the Bible of what is going to happen to a whole generation of Christians when Christ comes the second time. What a moment that will be! Instead of one man being taken, thousands and thousands, even millions will go. First there will be the Resurrection of the bodies of believers. Their souls will come from heaven with Christ and a new body will come from earth for each of them (1 Th 4:16). It will be instantaneous.
Then there will be instant rapture for those believers alive, when Christ comes. Even as they are caught up, their bodies will be instantly changed (1 Th 4:17). These earthly bodies would not suit the environment of heaven. They will be changed so that they will last for eternity.
What a day that will be! Would you be ready if Christ should come today? If he should call you today? Are you ready? If you have never accepted Christ, why not do it now?