2 Kings 2:9-12 (NKJV)
2 Kings 13:20-21 (NKJV)
Referenced 1 Kings 19
While the miracles of Elisha the Prophet and his predecessor Elijah exhibited a spectacular account of God’s power, research shows there were subtitle differences between the two men of God.
Elisha the Prophet, born 885 B.C., was a follower of the Prophet Elijah in Israel. Elisha prophesied during the reigns of the kings of Israel from around 850 B.C. to 798 B.C. He prophesied to Kings Ahaziah, Joram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Jehoash. Despite Elisha’s efforts to faithfully speak to the people and the kings of Israel, all of the Kings during his time were evil. (Jehu began his reign serving God but he did evil in the sight of God in his latter days so history remembers his reign as being evil.) (http://timeline.biblehistory.com/home)
Elijah the Prophet was born in 904 B.C. and he went up to heaven in 850 B.C. We first hear about Elisha in 1 Kings 19 when Elijah is told to go find his successor. The prophet Elijah sought out Elisha, found him working in a field, and Elisha immediately burned his equipment (showing he would not return) and followed Elijah. He didn’t look back. Elijah was his mentor for eight years. Just prior to the time Elijah left earth, Elisha asked him for a double portion of his power. As a result, Elijah told Elisha IF he could see Elijah ride to heaven on a chariot, he could have double his power.
In 2 Kings 2:9-12,“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.” 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.” 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. 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.”
Elisha did see Elijah’s final chariot ride to heaven and he did receive a double portion of Elijah’s Spirit.
Elisha was promised twice the Spirit of His mentor Elijah.
Biblical history does show Elisha performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. It also shows the miracles he performed showed great mercy. Elisha never faltered or grew weary, like Elijah did, and his ministry lasted twice as long. Also, who have studied miracles performed by both found evidence that there were differences in practice. (https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/howat/contrast_between_elijah_and_elisha.htm)
Elijah was known as the prophet of fire. His first miracle was a miracle of judgment prophesying a drought in Israel.
In contrast Elisha’s first miracle was one of mercy when he sweetened the waters of Jericho.
Both set the stage for the miracles that would follow.
There were also differences in personality and practice.
Elijah lived a secluded life and suffered times of despair. He was known to hide while regaining strength.
Elisha on the other hand reveled in social interaction. He performed holy healing acts that converted others to turn to God.
Elijah was well known for fire, storm, and upheaval.
Elisha was remembered for his holiness and peaceful interactions with others.
Elijah has been compared to John the Baptist.
Elisha’s ministry is more like that of Jesus.
Both prophets were preparing the Hebrew nation for what was to come. The historical accounts of both prophets in Israel were ‘part of’ Israel’s history when the nation was taken into captivity by Assyria in 722 B.C. Israel had no good kings and they never returned to their homeland. They were assimilated and joined to other cultures. For example, the Samaritans at the time of Jesus were not considered pure because the were only part Hebrew. Jesus (being God) had compassion on all, including Samaritans (the Samaritan woman in John 4 is a perfect example of Jesus’ compassion and love for Samaritans).
Both prophets became an essential part of Israel’s history.
I would say while Elijah spoke with fire, Elisha healed with water.
That brings us to the final miracle of Elisha involving his bones placed in his tomb.
In 2 Kings 13:20-21. “Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 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.”
Even in death, Elisha’s bones performed a miracle. (https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Elisha.html)
Ultimately, God had a plan for Elijah, for Elisha, and for Israel that was assimilated and never allowed to return to Israel. We must also remember the Southern Kingdom (of Israel) called Judah that was conquered by the Babylonian Empire in 597 B.C. At that time, the young and capable Hebrews were taken to Babylon. Prior to captivity Judah had at least three good kings that worshipped Yahweh God. They were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Hebrew nation (remember Daniel was of Judah).
God had a plan for the Hebrew nation, both assimilated and those who returned to Jerusalem. It is a bit of a puzzle, and I love solving that kind of puzzle (non-jigsaw). I love seeing the historical pieces of God’s great plan because, the plan points to Jesus.
God planned the coming of His Holy Son, Jesus. Jesus had it all covered. Jesus HAS it all covered. ALWAYS AND FOREVER.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Consider the Power God gave to Elisha
The power of the Spirit of God is in us today. We may not perform the same exact miracles, but miracles still exist today. Today, ask God to bring a miracle to you...then watch and wait. My dad used to tell me miracles are everywhere. He reminded me that I just need to notice them.
In God, Deborah