Elisha Succeeds Elijah
|An icon of Elijah
from Saint Catherine’s Monastery,
Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?” (2 Kings 2:15-18)
Elijah had been taken up to heaven bodily in a chariot of fire, while his successor, Elisha, looked on. Elisha then took Elijah’s left-behind mantle and doffed it. When the other prophets saw Elisha return wearing it, they knew what had happened, and you see in the verse, they bowed in respect to the new premier Prophet of Israel.
They were also concerned about proper burial of Elijah’s body. They kept asking and asking and asking until they were ashamed to ask any more. Elisha kept saying No, and No, and No, until he was ashamed to say no anymore. He relented and said, Go. He knew they would not find Elijah. Elisha had seen Elijah be taken to heaven alive.
When the prophets returned unsuccessful, Elisha said, ‘Well? Didn’t I tell you not to go?’
Though Elijah’s body was not found in the deserts of Israel long ago, some time in the future, will it be seen by not just the concerned prophets, but all the world?
There will be Two Witnesses in the Tribulation who will come to tell the world of God’s truth. They will prophesy for 1,260 days.
|The two witnesses, as depicted
in the Bamberg Apocalypse, an 11th-century
“Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
“But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.” (Revelation 11:7-11)
The Two Witnesses are not named. I believe they will be Enoch and Elijah, because these are the only two men in the world who have not died. (Genesis 5:23). Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed for man to die once, and then the judgment. Only Enoch and Elijah have been taken to heaven alive, and never died once.
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
“It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:14-15)
|Elijah and Enoch – seventeenth-century icon,
Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland
IF the witness who lays in the streets of metaphorical Sodom is Elijah, and I have no certain information that it is, then the little detail in 2 Kings 2 about where Elijah’s body is becomes even more poignant. The prophets were searching and searching for a body that will not be found … until the far future, in the streets of a city that had become so unholy it is called Sodom, and to be seen by millions upon millions, not just fifty men.
The prophets wanted to honor his body, but instead, it will be desecrated and lay unburied, spit upon, and mocked by all the world.
However, the witnesses’ bodies will become the vehicle whereupon God will show His power. He will call them up to heaven, and their bodies will reconstitute before all the eyes of the world, and be translated to heaven for their eternal rest.
Praise our Holy LORD for His plan, His mind, His perfection. The bible is fascinating.