Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thoughts on Elijah and Elisha

Today my devotions led me to a brief contemplative study of the Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Elisha which punctuated for me the continuity of Scripture throughout the Old and New Testament. Here go my thoughts:

In II Kings 2, we learn that after a long season of being God's messenger to Israel, Elijah passed his cloak of responsibility to Elisha. In verse ll, I quote: "As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind....and Elisha saw him no more."

In II Kings 13:14,20, I read the fate of Elisha, and I quote: "Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died...Elisha died and was buried."

What is amazing to me is the fact that the Bible indicates that both Elijah and Elisha possessed life in one form or another after they disappeared from the earth. First, we see Elisha's bones that lie in his tomb brought life back to a dead man who was thrown into the same tomb (II King 13:21: "Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders, so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet." WOW!

Elijah's appearing again after being swept into heaven by a whirlwind is more subtle. In the New Testament in Matthew 17, Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them to a high mountain. There Jesus was transfigured before them and with him appeared Moses....and Elijah! A bright cloud enveloped the three of them and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him."

Does that statement sound familiar---do you remember where you heard it first? At Jesus' baptism when he was being baptized by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:17: "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Back to the Mount of Transfiguration---Jesus tells his three disciples an amazing thing: "But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way, the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was talking with them about John the Baptist."

Wow---John the Baptist, the incarnate Elijah????

After Jesus was resurrected and while Peter was in the midst of his ministry as Jesus' disciple, Peter retells the story of the events on the Mount of Transfiguration. II Peter 1:16: "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain."

Then during my study, I got to wondering---who are the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11 that lay dead in the streets of Egypt for 3-1/2 days, then were made alive again by the breath of life of God and went up to heaven in a cloud?
Could one of the witnesses be......Elijah? I don't know, the Word doesn't say, but....just wondering.

The Bible is electrifying to me when you see the truth of God's Word mesh so beautifully from the Old Testament through the New Testament with hundreds of years separating the writers. How could anyone doubt the gospel of God as stated in Romans 1: "the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding the Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through His Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord."

I'm sure there is bound to be much more study on the subject of Elijah as related to Jesus Christ. If you have any thoughts on the subject, please let me know.

Let's thank God for His Word today.


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