2 Kings 2-7: “There Is a Prophet in Israel” (July 4-10)

The Prophet Elisha and the Woman of Shunem” (detail) by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

In a Whirlwind

Elijah didn’t die. Instead, he was carried to heaven by a whirlwind in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). This places him in a unique category of prophets who were translated, changed into a state where they no longer experience pain or death until the resurrection. Some other people who experienced this change are Enoch (and his city), Moses, John the Beloved, the three Nephite disciples, and possibly Alma. This is not merely a reward for good behavior. Instead, it indicates that their ministry on this earth is not complete, that they need a special connection to mortality in order to fulfill their unique missions. Here’s a blog post about translated beings: Was Alma Translated?

Elijah’s Mantle

After Elijah ascended to heaven, Elisha picked up his mantle, or cloak (2 Kings 2:13-14). For those who witnessed the event, this gesture symbolized a transfer of Elijah’s authority to Elisha. Subsequently, Elisha performed a number of miracles which mirrored events from the ministry of Elijah. For example, both Elijah and Elisha:

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we sometimes speak of a bishop receiving a “mantle” when he is called to serve. (See, for example, Elder Robert D. Hales, “The Mantle of a Bishop,” General Conference, April 1985.) It might be appropriate to think about this principle more broadly—every time we receive an assignment from the Lord, we receive corresponding gifts to help us fulfill that assignment. Here’s a blog post about those gifts: Gazelem – Alma 37:23.

Chariots of Fire

Elisha saw Elijah ascend into heaven in a chariot of fire. Sometime later, he found himself in an apparently hopeless situation. The city where he was staying was surrounded by horses and chariots sent by the king of Syria. Elisha’s servant was in despair. “Alas, my master!” he said, “how shall we do?” Elisha responded, “Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Then, he prayed, “Lord…open his eyes, that he may see.” Immediately, the young man saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:15-17).

There is an important message for us in this story. When we feel alone or outnumbered, we may be missing the big picture. We may have numerous allies who we simply can’t see. Here are some blog posts about that message:

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