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Elisha takes over from Elijah

Elijah is taken up into heaven and the mantle falls to Elisha.
Contributed by Richard Gunther
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A long time ago, in the land of Israel, there lived two prophets of God - Elijah and Elisha. The two prophets were on their way to Gilgal. Elijah, after many years of faithful service, had been told by God that he was about to be taken up into heaven and was enjoying his last few hours with his friend Elisha. – Slide 1
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‘The Lord told me I am to go into heaven in a whirlwind,’ Elijah explained.<br/>‘A whirlwind!” exclaimed Elisha. ‘I will not leave you.’<br/>Elijah thought about this and decided to test his friend. He said, ‘You stay here at Gilgal and I'll walk on, to Bethel.’ – Slide 2
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‘Oh, no,’ said Elisha, ‘I'm coming with you! As the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you!’ So they walked from Gilgal all the way to another town called Bethel. When they got there, a crowd of young prophets came to meet them. – Slide 3
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‘Elisha,’ they said, ‘the Lord is going to take your master away from you today.’<br/>‘I know,’ said Elisha, ‘Please don't talk about it.’<br/>Then Elijah said, ‘Now, my friend, you stay here at Bethel while I go on to Jericho.’<br/>But Elisha wouldn't be put off. ‘I'm coming with you,’ he said. – Slide 4
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When they got to Jericho, another crowd of young prophets came to meet them, and they told Elisha the same thing - that Elijah was going to be taken away that very day. ‘I know,’ said Elisha, ‘Please don't talk about it.’ – Slide 5
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Elijah decided to test Elisha a bit more. ‘I'm going to Jordan now,’ he said.<br/>Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you live, I'm not going to leave your side!’ So away they went, and finally they reached the bank of the Jordan river. – Slide 6
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They stood beside the river for a while. Elisha looked at the deep, flowing water and wondered what Elijah was going to do. Were they going to have to swim across? But Elijah had no worries. He knew what he was about to do. He slipped his mantle off his shoulders … – Slide 7
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Elijah twirled his mantle into a rope and thumped it down on the water of the river. Immediately, the water sprang back and split into two parts, leaving a nice dry path right across the riverbed. The two men walked across without getting their feet wet. – Slide 8
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Elijah was satisfied now. He had been testing Elisha to see how keen he was. Three times he had tried to put him off but Elisha had stuck close by. Elijah now turned to Elisha and said, ‘Tell me, what can I give to you before I die?’ – Slide 9
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Elisha knew straightaway what he wanted.<br/>‘Give me a double portion of your spirit!’ he said. ‘Make me your son!’<br/>Elijah was thrilled at his friend's attitude. ‘If you see me die,’ he said, ‘then you will be my son. But if not, then I cannot give you what you ask.’ – Slide 10
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Suddenly, a mighty wind began to blow, and high in the sky a chariot and horses appeared! They came nearer and nearer, and now Elisha could see flames coming from the horses. And a fire crackled and burned around the chariot! The wind blew harder and harder and Elisha gasped as the fearful sight came closer. – Slide 11
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Eventually, the wind was too fierce, and Elisha staggered away. He was terrified! He shielded his face from the blazing, fiery vision, and fell to the ground. The chariot roared even closer, and swept between him and Elijah. Then the wind began to whip around Elijah, tugging harder and harder at him. – Slide 12
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Then, with a final roar, the wind lifted Elijah right off the ground and carried him higher and higher into the sky!  Elisha watched as Elijah went up and up, until Elijah was nothing but a tiny dot.  And then he was so far away he disappeared.  Elisha was very sad. ‘There goes my father!’ he cried. ‘He was like an army to Israel … but now he's gone!’ – Slide 13
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But something fell from the sky and landed on the ground. Elisha ran to pick it up. ‘The mantle!’ he shouted. ‘I really am Elijah's son! The Lord has let him adopt me! Praise God!’ – Slide 14
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Elisha was thrilled! Not only was he now Elijah's son, but he was also the new prophet of the Lord! This was a tremendous blessing! He ran and skipped joyfully all the way back to the Jordan river. – Slide 15
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When he arrived at the river, he rolled up the mantle, just as Elijah had done and struck the water with it.‘Where is the God of Elijah?’ he shouted. Immediately, the water rolled back and made a dry path from bank to bank. Elisha ran across. – Slide 16
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The young prophets came to meet Elisha as he walked into Jericho. They already knew about how Elijah had gone up into the sky in the great wind. ‘Where is Elijah?’ they asked. ‘Let us send 50 strong men to go and look for him . . . he may have come down somewhere!’ ‘Don't waste your time,’ said Elisha, ‘he's gone to heaven!’ – Slide 17
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But the young prophets were sure that Elijah must have dropped out of the sky somewhere. So they pestered and pestered Elisha until he finally said, "Ok, go and look for him if you must, but don't blame me if you find nothing!" Off went the searchers, and they looked everywhere … but of course they didn't find Elijah. – Slide 18
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You see, when a prophet of the Lord speaks, his words are to be trusted. Don't you be like the silly young prophets, who went searching for something that wasn't there. Trust what the Bible says, and do what Jesus, the great Son of God, tells you to do. If you listen to Him, you can never go wrong. – Slide 19
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