Pass the Torch       2 Kings 2:1-3, 7-14 (HCSB)
HCSB 1 The time had come for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal, 2 and Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the Lord is sending me on to Bethel." But Elisha replied, "As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" He said, "Yes, I know. Be quiet."

7 Fifty men from the sons of the prophets came and stood facing them from a distance while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the waters, which parted to the right and left. Then the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell [me] what I can do for you before I am taken from you." So Elisha answered, "Please, let there be a double portion of your spirit on me."

10 Elijah replied, "You have asked for something difficult. If you see me being taken from you, you will have it. If not, you won't." 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire suddenly appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up into heaven in the whirlwind. 12 As Elisha watched, he kept crying out, "My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!" Then he never saw Elijah again. He took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. 13 Elisha picked up the mantle that had fallen off Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle Elijah had dropped and struck the waters. "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" he asked. He struck the waters himself, and they parted to the right and the left, and Elisha crossed over. HCSB

Introduction
Six weeks ago we had about 140 people attending our Semi Annual Associational Meeting. Very few were under 50 years of age. We need to be concerned about passing the torch of Baptist Life on to the younger generation. Our lesson points out many experiences in Elijah's life where he shares with Elisha in a mentoring manor. God planned for the torch to be passed from one prophet to another, and Elisha eagerly received the ministry.

1.    Pass the Torch Because Of God's . . Design. v 1
    God designed for a prophet to follow Elijah, and He timed it so that Elisha would be the new prophet.. Elisha traveled with Elijah, and no doubt Elijah taught Elisha directly as well as through what Elisha observed in the ministry of his elder. Elijah will be taken from the earth, and this is the same term used of Enoch's translation to heaven. The prophecy of Elijah's being taken by the Lord was know by several, and is referred to in verses 1, 3, 5, and 8-10. Many see this "Taking" as a foreshadowing of the rapture when Christ appears in the clouds. God used whirlwinds on at least six occasion in the Old Testament. God took Elijah in a whirlwind further demonstrating He; not Baal controlled the winds.

    A.    God's Design and the . . Timing. v 1 a
           The time had come for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind.

    B.    God's Design and the . . Traveling. v 1 b
            " Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal,"
 

  2.    Pass the Torch Because Of Elisha's . . Desire. v 2
        Knowing his time was short Elijah wanted to visit the other places where the prophets of God gathered for teaching. He pleaded with Elisha to stay behind, but Elisha persistently expressed his desire to be with Elijah. The older prophet may desire to test the younger, and the younger demonstrated his desires and discipline.

    A.    The Desire of Elisha and the . . Plea of Elijah. v 2a
           2 and Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the Lord is sending me on to Bethel."

    B.    The Desire of Elisha and the . . Persistence of Elisha. v 2b
           But Elisha replied, "As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.
 

3.    Pass the Torch Because Of Elisha's . . Discipline. v 3, 7-11
    Prophets from the schools of the prophets intruded into the thinking of Elisha to see if he knew what they knew. I like his answer as he said "Yes, I know. Be quiet." Have you noticed some people like to know things so they can be the first to tell? Of course that is not true of you or me. In the mentoring process I suspect Elijah already informed Elisha about the Lord's revelation to him concerning the details of his being taken, He could not be detoured in his desire to stay with his mentor even with fifty sons of the prophets standing facing them.

    A.    Elisha's Discipline Kept Him from being . . Distracted. v 3
            1.    Refused to be Distracted by the Prophets . . Intrusion. v 3a
                    3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said,
            2.    Refused to be Distracted by the Prophets . . Information. v 3b
                    "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" He said,
                    "Yes, I know. Be quiet."

    B.    Elisha's Discipline Kept Him from being . . Detoured. v 7
            7 Fifty men from the sons of the prophets came and stood facing them from a distance
            while the two of them stood by the Jordan.
 

4.    Pass the Torch Because Of Elisha's . . Dedication. v 8-14
        Elisha's action in following Elijah demonstrates his dedication to his mentor. If the torch is passed there must be one willing, and worthy to receive, Elisha is that man. When asked by Elijah what could be done for him Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. He wants the miraculous, and is told he asked for something difficult, for only God gives these kinds of gifts. It is interesting to note the oldest son was given a double portion. (Deut. 27:11). Elijah tells Elisha is he sees him being taken up he will receive his request. He did see, and receive. Dakes Study Bible list 16 miracles by Elijah, and 32 by Elisha which could be an expression of the gift given to Elisha. We see his dedication to the prophetic mission as he immediately picks up Elijah's mantle and proceeds to expect the miraculous. Truly the Torch was passed! Amen? Amen!

    A.    Dedicated to His . . Mentor. v 8-9a
            8 Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the waters, which parted to the right and left. Then the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 After they had crossed over, "Elijah said to Elisha,

    B.    Dedicated to the . . Miraculous. v 9b - 10
            "Tell [me] what I can do for you before I am taken from you." So Elisha answered,
"Please, let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." 10 Elijah replied, "You have asked for something difficult. If you see me being taken from you, you will have it. If not, you won't."

    C.    Dedicated to His . . Mission.   v 11-14
            11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire suddenly
appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up into heaven in the whirlwind.
12 As Elisha watched, he kept crying out, "My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen
of Israel!" Then he never saw Elijah again. He took hold of his own clothes and tore them
into two pieces. 13 Elisha picked up the mantle that had fallen off Elijah and went back and
stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle Elijah had dropped and struck
the waters. "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" he asked. He struck the waters himself, and
they parted to the right and the left, and Elisha crossed over. HCSB