II Kin. 2:1-25
Many years earlier, Enoch, a faithful man of God had been taken up into heaven without dying a physical death. Elijah, also a mighty prophet of God had been informed that his departure from earth would be similar. Apparently, his departure had also been revealed to Elisha and other prophets. Elijah’s work on earth had been completed.
Elisha refused to allow Elijah to travel without his accompanying him on his journey. Upon reaching the Jordan River, Elijah took his mantle and struck the water. God divided the river as He had done for Moses and the Israelites long ago and he and Elisha crossed to the other side on dry ground.
When the time came for Elijah to depart, a chariot of fire with horses of fire came down from heaven and a whirlwind took him away. Elisha had witnessed a great miracle as his friend and mentor had been taken to his glorious reward. However, he was also very sorrowful and he tore his clothes in mourning. Elijah’s mantle of authority had fallen upon Elisha as he was taken up. Taking the mantle with him, he struck the Jordan River as Elijah had done earlier and returned to Jericho upon dry land.
We are faced in the Scriptures with many evidences of the power of God and the saving power of the blood of Christ. However, we are like the apostle, Thomas who wanted to feel the scars and nail prints on the risen Christ before we will believe. The people of Jericho knew of the departure of Elijah, but they thought that he had possibly been dropped on top of a high mountain in the region. Upon their insistence, Elisha allowed them to search for the departed prophet until they were convinced after three days that he, indeed had gone directly into heaven.
Elisha was soon called upon for help. Jericho is possibly the oldest city on earth, but there was a dire problem. It being about 840 feet below sea level, its water was bad and the land was barren. He threw salt into the water and God sweetened it. The land began to flourish.
God does not look kindly upon blasphemy. A group of roguish young men were casting insults toward Elisha. When one blasphemes a man of God, he is also blaspheming God. They were mauled by bears because of their evil deed. Following those events, the prophet returned to Samaria.