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Elijah’s Hand-me-down Cloak

Key References: 2 Kings 2:1-15; Prophets and Kings, chap. 17, pp. 217-228; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 5, pp. 55-60; Our Beliefs, nos. 5, 17,14

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“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

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God’s Spirit gives us the power to live and work for Him.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a good friend? Did you want to talk about it? Did you do anything to prepare for what you knew was going to happen?

The early-morning sun brightened the path for the two travelers walking briskly along the dusty highway. The old man who strode fi rmly was the prophet Elijah. Following him was Elisha, whom God had appointed to succeed Elijah as a prophet and spiritual leader in Israel.

Elisha knew that his master would be taken to heaven that day. What an absolutely awesome thought!

Suddenly Elijah stopped. He looked at his friend and said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha was determined not to leave Elijah on his very last day on earth! “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live,” he said, “I will not leave you.”

When they arrived in Bethel, some of the students from the school of the prophets surrounded Elisha. “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?” they asked.

“Yes, I know,” Elisha answered. The crowd jostled him, but his eyes never left Elijah.

Soon Elijah pulled Elisha aside. “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

“As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you,” answered Elisha. The two travelers set out again. The sun was higher and brighter now. When Elijah and Elisha arrived in the bustling city of Jericho, a group of students from the school of the prophets there surrounded Elisha, asking, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, his eyes fixed on Elijah. He was not going to miss seeing this miracle!

Elijah took Elisha aside. “Stay here,” he said. “The Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” Elisha shook his head. and replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”

When they arrived at the Jordan River, Elijah stopped at the water’s edge. He took off his camel-hair cloak and struck the water with it.

Elisha had seen many miracles since he had been called to follow Elijah. Now he watched the water of the river divide—just as when his ancestors had crossed this very same river to enter the Promised Land. Elisha followed Elijah across the river.

On the other side of the river, Elijah turned to the younger prophet and asked him, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

Elisha already knew. He wanted to be treated as elder sons were treated. The custom was that the firstborn son’s birthright was to inherit two thirds of the father’s property. He wanted a double portion. Not a double portion of riches. Elijah had no riches. But Elijah had God’s Spirit upon him. Elisha knew that only with a double portion of God’s Spirit would he be able to carry on God’s work of spiritual reform that was begun by the prophet Elijah.

“You have asked a diffi cult thing,” Elijah answered, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours— otherwise, it will not.”

So they walked on and talked together. Suddenly a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire separated the two travelers from each other, taking Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind.

As his master was being taken to heaven, Elisha cried, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”

Elisha stood gazing into the sky even when there was nothing to see anymore. Finally he picked up Elijah’s familiar cloak. He turned and retraced his steps to the river. Elisha trusted that God’s Spirit now rested on him and would guide him with wisdom and power. Elisha expected that God would accomplish great things through him, just as He had done through Elijah. So he stepped out in faith, empowered by God’s Spirit. When he struck the Jordan River with Elijah’s cloak, the water parted, and he crossed to the other side on dry land (see 2 Kings 2:1-14).