“. . . Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” II Kings 2:9
It would be difficult to understand and appreciate what a double portion of the spirit of God represents if you don’t understand the effectiveness of the measure of anointing of God upon Elijah. Elijah the Tishbite, popularly known as the Prophet of Fire was not known before. Nobody knew how and when he was anointed as a prophet of God. His prophetic ministry was not known or reported in the Bible before he made an unheralded appearance before the idolatrous King Ahab to prophesy a prolonged drought in Israel. (I Kings 17:1) But one thing important that we must learn from this is that, the anointing of God does not require any advertisement, it is the manifestation of the power of God that announces the annointing of God in his ministry.
Elijah was raised to be a voice of judgment against the detestable abomination of idol worship in the kingdom of Ahab, because those who worshiped Baal believed he was the god that brought rains and bountiful harvests. After the prophetic judgment of the king, the word of God directed Elijah to hide by the brook of Cherith before Jordan. (I Kings17:3-4) God made His divine provision available for His servant, Elijah through ravens (unclean birds) to ensure that he did not partake of the judgment of Ahab. It is a miracle to learn that a bird who does not know how to provides for its own offsprings became the chef of Elijah. “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.” (Job 38:41) The brook that served as drinking water for Elijah became dry but the divine provision of God did not. It only shifted base.
Again a divine direction from God led Elijah to the widow of Zarephath. (I Kings 17:9-16) There were two overwhelming disasters slated to strike the household of the widow. But God had taken care of the disaster before it stroked. However, it required only a step of faith for the accomplishment of victory. Firstly, the famine in the land was so devastating that the widow was preparing the last meal for herself and her son. Elijah confronted the widow with his needs and also gave her prophetic instructions on how she should meet those needs. The widow of Zarephath believed in the word of the man of God and did according to the directive of Elijah, her barrel of flour was not exhausted and her cruise of oil did not dry up. The second disaster was during the sojourning of Elijah with the widow, her son became sick and died. The widow cried to the man of God, Elijah carried the child to his hiding place in the roof-top of the house of the widow and place him upon his own bed and prayed to God that the soul of the child may come back to him. God heard the voice of Elijah and the child was revived. A great lesson here: the salvation of the household of the widow was part of the calling of Elijah. As always, the required cost of salvation is faith. The widow took the step of faith, God manifested His mercy upon her. She attested to the truth of the word of God in the mouth of Elijah and the divine anointing upon him. “. . . now by this I know that thou art a man of God . . .”
The mercy of God endures forever. The word of Elijah that brought forth a judgment against Ahab became a padlock of nature that locked off rain in the kingdom of Ahab. At the fullness of time, in a spate of three years, the awesome mercy of God that endures forever prevailed over the judgment, but the faithful God did not override His servant Elijah in forgiving the kingdom of Ahab. “Go, show thyself unto Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” I Kings 18:1 God that directed Elijah to hide from Ahab also directed him to appear before Ahab to unlock the padlock of nature so that rain may fall in the kingdom of Ahab. The re-appearance of Elijah in the presence of Ahab did not only bring forth rain, it also brought a dramatic and devastating judgment upon the four hundred and fifty idolatrous prophets of Baal. His appearance brought glory to God and established in the hearts of the people of Israel that God of Elijah answered prayer with consuming fire from Heaven.
The power of light challenged the power of darkness. A sacrifice of bullock upon wood without lighting the burnt-offering with fire, was agreed upon. One for the King of Glory, Almighty God and the other for the lord of darkness, the idol god of Baal. The four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal were asked to call the name of their god and Elijah would call upon the name of his God. The God that consumed the sacrifice with fire should be exalted and reverenced. (I Kings 18:23-24) The prophets of Baal called on their god from morning till evening their lifeless idol god did not respond. The very moment Elijah called on his God, fire came from Heaven and consume the offering of Elijah. You know the details of the event. I Kings 18:31-41
PERSONALITY OF ELISHA (Please read I Kings 19:19-21 and II Kings 1-15)
Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmehola was busy plowing in the farm with twelve oxen. Elijah the Tishbite was passing by and he cast his mantle upon Elisha. That was the form through which Elisha was anointed. The anointing of Elisha was not necessarily his desire at the point he was anointed, but it was the will of God concerning his life. The bible does not reveal the type of life Elisha was living before he encountered Elijah. What followed his anointment determines his excellent personality and qualities that people of God want to emulate. “So Elisha turned back from him and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah and became his servant.” (I Kings 19:21) The very yoke of oxen of Elisha was killed as a mark of separation from his past as a farmer to he launched out into the presence of Almighty God as a minister-in-training under the leadership of Elijah. You have to separate from your past to move into your new present.
In all indication his response after his anointing pointed him as an individual that had been walking with God. Immediately after Elijah cast his mantle upon him, he ran after Elijah and forsook the farming activities and the oxen. It reminds us of Abraham the father of faith who followed the finger of God to the Promised Land and also Simon Peter, the way he forgo the fishing boat to be fisher of men when Jesus Christ bade him to come. In obedience to the leading of God, Elisha only made a passionate request from Elijah, “let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and mother and then I will follow thee.” Elijah granted the permission. (I King 19:19-21)
Again much is not revealed to us in the Bible about the master/servant relationship between Elijah and Elisha. But the perseverance of Elisha in staying with his master Elijah at the crucial moment of his life, when he was about to be taken away, which we all believed was borne out of deep love and loyalty in service for his master that made him to say, “As the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” (II Kings 2:2,4,6) They were so attached to each other at that moment so much that he would not allow any distractions to bother him. Their relationship was so cordial and honorable that Elisha called Elijah “my father.” Further, if we consider the insincerity and greediness of Gehazi the servant of Elisha, who went behind his master to Naaman to collect the gift that Elisha rejected, you will appreciate the loyalty of Elisha to his master Elijah.
A brief history of Gilgah revealed that it was a place of faith. It was the headquarter garrison of Israelites when they got to the Promise Land before they conquered the inhabitants of the land. Gilgah was the place where the manna (What is it?) ceased to fall for the Israelites because by faith they knew that God was about to launch them to their Promise land, the land of more than enough. The abundant provisions — the grain — of the land they will conquer will sustain them. In Gilgah the children of Israelites that were born in their forty years journey in wilderness were all circumcised. All the men and women from 20 years up that departed in Egypt died in the wilderness except Joshua and Caleb. The reproach of their slavery in Egyptians as the second class citizens was rolled away. The Israelites as they were the people of God, and God renewed His covenant with the brand new Israelites were about to take the possession of the inheritance that God covenanted with their forefather.
The spiritual lesson of Elisha’s journey with Elijah began in Gilgah. Gilgah was a place where God rolled away the reproaches of Egyptian from the Israel. “And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.” (Joshua 5:9) In Gilgah, Elijah the spiritual father of Elisha pleaded with him, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” This response is interpreted, “I have been faithful to you up to this moment, I will not leave you now when you are about to be taken away from me. I will be your faithful servant to the end.
So they journeyed on to Bethel. The history behind Bethel – When Jacob was running away from his brother Esau after he had robbed him of their father’s blessing, Jacob was so weary and tired of the long journey. He slept and used a stone as a pillow. Bethel was a place where the heaven opened unto Jacob in his dream, and he saw angels ascending and descending into heaven. When he woke up he made an altar unto God and called the place ‘Bethel.’ In Bethel, there were sons of prophet like Elisha. They asked Elisha, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” Again the sons of prophets in Bethel, were living in the comfortable zone of vision. These spiritual leaders of tomorrow who were sensitive to the things of future knew what the future hold for Elisha in their vision. The question is interpreted as, “Do you know that the spiritual covering over you, which is your spiritual father was about to be removed from you today?” Elisha responded to the sons of prophets who were dwelling in the comfort zone of vision but never dream of moving forward, “Yes I knew; hold your peace!”
Elijah again implored Elisha his servant and pleaded persuasively, “Elisha, stay here please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.” Elisa responded as before, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” Jericho was a place of spiritual warfare, The miracle of God brought down the wall of hindrance and obstructing wall that stood between Israelites and her inheritance in the Promised Land. Jericho was a well fortified city protected with tall and strong wall. The city was impenetrable by any natural forces. It was where God arose in His mightiness and gave Israelites victory when the fortified city wall crumbed like a pack of card and the Israelites forces went in against the Jericho forces and conquered them. The spiritual warfare sons of prophets in Jericho reminded Elisha like the sons of Prophets in Bethel did, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” Elisha responded to the sons of prophets who were dwelling in the comfort zone of spiritual warfare victory but never dream of moving forward to the next level of their spiritual growth, “Yes I knew; hold your peace!”
At Jericho Elijah pleaded again to convince Elisha to stay, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.” Elisa responded as usual, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” However, the scripture revealed that Elijah could not convince Elisha to stay behind while Elijah moved on to the next level. Both of them went on. Fifty sons of the prophets stood at distance watching while Elijah and Elisha stood by the Jordan. This reality always occur when men of focus are moving on to the next level, some bystander individuals who are contented with their mediocre comfort zone will stand at the edge of their breakthrough while others are zooming on. We wonder what was stopping these people from moving on. One of the reasons is the fact that they were traveling in group in the spiritual journey and they were comparing their spiritual notes with each other that is why they were at the same stagnant level. What is the spiritual significance of the sons of the prophets? They are not neophytes in the Lord. They were not walking in ignorant and are not far away from the understanding of the things of the Lord. They have common purpose towards Elisha – that he might not grow spiritually beyond them. Their prophetical revelation to Elisha was not to encourage him. It was for the purpose of discouragement and distractions to him so that he could abandon the goal. But Elisha equipped himself with faith in the Lord, divine vision and along with attribute of perseverance he continued to follow the tenet of his goal. When it comes to the issue of spiritual calling, it is the relationship between you and Almighty God that called you that matters.
I have found out that a single person traveling alone travels faster than group travelers. In a group traveling some will stop at different time for lunch, some will stop at different to ease themselves, or some may decide to quickly make a phone call to someone while others are stretching themselves – bottom line there exists distractions and delays in group traveling. But a single individual on the spiritual journey stays on course of the calling, hopes for the manifestation of the calling and focus on the author of life for the achievement of the calling. And so Elisha journeyed on in his calling with Elijah from Gilgah a place of faith. The experience of faith in the Lord and in the leadership of his master, Elijah led him to Bethel, the House of God and a place of vision. Elisha now equipped with divine vision, and with perseverance he saw the need to proceed with his master to Jericho the place of warfare. Staying focus in the time of trouble revealed to him the spiritual victory of warfare and this led him moved on to the next level, the miraculous crossing ofJordan – a place where Heaven opened to Elisha! In Jordan Elisha received his mantle of a double portion of anointing of his master, Elijah. In Jordan he began his fulltime prophetic ministry.
THE MYSTERY OF THE JORD AN
Please note that something strange is included in the statement Elijah, and it is the article ‘the’ that came before Jordan. This article revealed that Elijah knew something unique with the place called Jordan. Jordan is a place of transformation. Jordan is a place of transition. Jordan is a place of miracle and lastly Jordan is a place of open heaven.
Jordan was the place where God confirmed the leadership of Joshua and honor him in the presence of the Israelites. The Levites that carried the Ark were asked to lead Israelites at the bank of River Jordan. The moment they set their feet in the river, the river divided into two and the children of God walked in the midst of River Jordan on a dry ground to the other side of the river. (Joshua 3:7-17)
At Jordan, Elijah rolled his mantle and struck the water and the water divided into two and both men, Elijah and Elisha crossed over on dry ground. After they crossed the Jordan, Elisha was still stocked with Elijah. Elisha is a good example of children of God that focus on Him. When we focus our eyes on an object we see the object clearly. Focusing in relation to the things of the Spirit involves looking beyond the surrounding physical difficult situation to God of possibility who can solve all problems. The Bible directed that we should look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrew 12:2)
The moment of reckoning has come; Elijah was now convinced of the faithfulness and the determination of Elisha to move to the next level in the spiritual ladder. He told him, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Strange, Elijah did not beg Elisha this time around, to wait behind as before. Instead, it is the other way round. It was as if Elisha was presented with a blank check when Elijah his master told him to ask what he could for him before he was taken away. Elisha was an individual that would not settle for less. This should not be interpreted as ‘greediness’ because a spiritual conscious child of God who wants to attain higher spiritual level should not settle for less. Paul did not settle for less, he said, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection …” In the midst of no time to think, within a split second, Elisha made a tall order and it was an excellent choice. The scripture tell us in Psalm 81:10, “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” He asked for a double portion of anointing of his master. “Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” Remember that Solomon asked for wisdom. Elisha responded and said, “Please let double portion of your spirit be upon me.” A faithful son who knows his salt, who also knows his father always make a tall order having known the capacity of the abundance of the father. At times I considered his request as ‘asking for too much.’ Again I would ask myself, “Is there anything like asking for too much from God of infinite power who has all things in abundant? Everything we need on earth to fulfill our spiritual lives and physical needs are in the store house of God. All we need to do is to ask in prayer we will surely receive. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) Brethren, if you are in the shoe of Elisha, what will you ask God to do for you? And do you know that Jesus Christ has engraved your name in the list of the people that will possess double portion anointing like Elisha when He said “greater things will they do in my name …”
“You have asked a hard thing,” Elijah said, “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.” Elijah and Elisha were both spiritually sensitive. They understand the things of the Spirit. The only required price that Elisha was to pay for the tall order is ‘focusing.’ Focusing unto God will make you behold victory in the midst of troubles. Elijah told Elisha, “If you can see me when I am taken from thee you will get it,” because in a split of a second while a faithful child of God is still focusing, spiritual will superimposed physical and the manifestation of the power of God will take place. As they were going on in the Jordan, the heaven opened. A chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated the two of them; Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisah saw the moment of transformation, he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” That was how far he could describe the moment. He picked the mantle of Elijah that fell off when the chariot of fire lifted him up by the whirlwind.
An important need arose in the prophetic ministry of Elisha. (II Kings 6:1-7) Their dwelling place became too small for the man of God and sons of the prophet. Urgent expansion was needed. The prophetic needs of expansion required a prophetic insight. The sons of the prophets, student prophets in training who will become the spiritual giants of tomorrow behold solution to the problem. The need was gigantic but their focus upon solution was awesome. They took the first giant step of faith. In the course of their prophetic training, they knew that the ministry of their master began in the Jordan, the place of open heaven. They presented the first proposal of prophetic solution to the pressing problem to their spiritual father, they said, “Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole, and let us build a place there for us to live.” It was like the sons of the prophets were saying to their spiritual father, “Let us go back to the beginning in order to solve this problem.” The proposal received the approval of Elisha. They thought of someone to lean on in case there was problem on the way and their father in the Lord fit in perfectly into the picture and they requested that Elisha go with them to the Jordan. He agreed.
In the Jordan while they were cutting the tree, the axe-head fell into the river. We do not need anybody to explain this scenario to us that the water was deep and the sons of the prophets could not risk diving into the water to retrieve the axe-head. The servant felt so bad about it. He cried out of concern. “Oh my lord, it was borrowed.” But Elisha was at the scene. He told the servant to cut a stick and threw it where the axe head fell. The iron float on the water but the stick sunk. In the Jordan, the place of open heaven, the anointing of open heaven override the law of gravity and caused the lighter stick to sink and caused the heavier iron axe to float to exhibit the glory of presence of God.
Wherever a miracle occurred, there was an already open heaven that influences the miracle in the spiritual realm before its manifestation in the physical realm. Elisha recognized that there was an open heaven in Jordan. When Naaman came to him for healing his leprosy, he told him to bath in the River Jordan seven times. Reluctantly, the noble man obeyed and his leprosy was healed in the Jordan. (II Kings 5:1-17)
Centuries after miraculous phenomenon of Jordan, John the Baptist chose River Jordan among all the rivers and ocean in Israel to baptize people in the River Jordan without himself knowing the spiritual connotation of open heaven that Jordan represented. Through this uncommon act of cleansing of sin, so many people were delivered before it became one of the important doctrines of Christianity to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ was baptized in the Jordan in order to fulfill all righteousness that existed in His time by John the Baptist his forerunner. Immediately, heavens open and Holy Spirit manifested in form of a dove descended and settle upon Jesus Christ in the Jordan in confirmation of the revelation that had earlier been revealed to John. The voice of the Father in Heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love: with him I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17) in order to endorse the Sonship of Jesus Christ.
RESEMBLANCE OF POWER
There is a remarkable resemblance between Elijah and Elisha. Their names sound alike and the main events of their lives run almost parallel the same way. It is like one was the carbon copy of other. They were both powerful voices of the judgment of God to the wicked and abominable kings and people of Israel. There were also channel of blessing to the children of God in Israel. They all played important roles in the nation of Israel.
Elisha asked for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah and it manifested in his ministry. The following reflected the power but it did not end there.
|Just before Elijah was taken to Heaven by the chariot of fire he smote the waters of the river Jordan and passed over on dry ground. II Kings 2:8
|After Elijah has been taken up Elisha took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and smote the waters and river parted into two. II Kings 2:14
|The prophesy of Elijah unlock the key of nature and rain fell after three years of drought. I Kings 17:41-45
|Elisha healed the water.“This is what the LORD says: ‘I have healed this water. No longer will it cause death or unfruitfulness. II Kings 2:21
|The anointing power of God in Elijah increased the food store of widow of Zarephath I Kings 17:14
|Elisha through the anointing of God increased the oil of a widow to pay her creditors. II Kings 4:3-4
|Elijah raised from death the only son of widow of Zarephath. I Kings 17:17-24
|Elisha raised the only son of the Shunammite from death.
II Kings 4:32-36
|Elijah pronounced judgment of God upon king Ahab for possessing the vineyard of innocent Naboth I Kings 21:19-22
|Elisha made a pronouncement of death upon Benhadad king of Syria. II Kings 8:7-10
|Elijah called fire to consume the unbelieving two captains of fifty with their fifties. II Kings 1:9-12
|Elisha called vengeance upon forty-two children that mocked him and two she bears from the wood consumed them. II Kings 2:23-25
The difference between their powers and their life style was that Elijah lived a solitary life, most of the time hiding because of his enemies and came out of his hideout only when God bade him. There was no record in the Bible that Elisha ever lost courage and ran away from his enemy. Elisha performed a greater number of miracles than any other prophet mentioned in the Bible except Moses. In the list of his miracles is the healing of Naaman leprosy (II Kings 5:10-14); the feeding of hundred people with twenty loaves of bread (II Kings 4:42-44); the rendering of the poisoned pot of pottage harmless (II Kings 4:40-41) Elisha caused a borrowed iron axe to float when he commanded that a stick be cast into the river (II Kings 6:6). Although he was not taken up to heaven by the chariot of fire like his master, Elijah, but at the point of his death, the anointing power of God was still abound in him. He prophesied and issued commands unto King Joash about the defeat of the Syrians. II Kings 13:14-19. After the death of Elisha, his double portion anointing of God was still active in that when a dead man was about to be buried, and the enemies invaded the town. Hurriedly the prople cast the dead body into the sepulcher of Elisha and when the body touched the bones of Elisha the dead body revived and stood up on his feet. II Kings 13:20-21
In applying the thought on this study upon our lives, we should set a higher goal in our Christian life journey. God is not looking for weaklings. In fact, Jesus Christ challenged and assured us in his promise of double portion of anointing. He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works that these shall he do; because I go unto my father. And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:12-13 Our faith may take its course from the past miracles but it must transcend the reachable possibilities. Our faith in God concerning the past miracles should only be a launching pad to the miracles yet to be experienced by man because if it was not existing before, God can create the miracle, just for you, to meet your need if you can exercise faith like Elisha. There is a precedent to substantiate this claim. Moses never looked at the problems he always focused his eyes on God. God made manna available for his children for their forty-year journey in the wilderness. God bye-passed the course of nature and caused water to gush out from rock in order to quench the thirst of Israelites, His people, in the wilderness. He made the Red Sea parted into two in a dramatic salvation of Israelites at the detriment of their enemies. Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from death four days after he had been buried. The shadow of Peter healed the sick at the gate called Beautiful. God asked Serah the wife of Abraham, at the age of ninety years of waiting for the child of Promise, “Is there anything difficult for God to do?” At the appointed time God proved Himself in the situation. If you focus your mind on your problems, you will only see defeat but if you look beyond your problems and needs and you focus on God you will see salvation and breakthrough.
God is tired of seeing His children parading themselves with old miracles. When we do this, we are implying that He can no longer do new miracles better than the times of old. God wants to do new things in the lives of individuals who are ready to challenge Him to prove His Mightiness. Elijah challenged Him and said, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” I Kings 18:37 Fire of the Lord fell from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the people fell upon their faces and they said, “The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” God proved Himself in the life of little David, he killed the mighty and renown giant warrior, Goliath, in the valley of Elah. You are the next candidate that God want to use to do a new thing on earth for His glory. Your faith has to blend with your request for the manifestation of the glory of God in your ministry. Put the mustard size of faith, God pleasing faith to use in your ministry and watch the glory of God manifesting in your endeavors. Match in confidence of the revelation of the word of God.