The Lord said to him [Elijah], “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu, the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. (1 Kings 19: 15 – 16)
Elijah had one of the greatest days in the whole Bible when he called fire down from heaven, executed four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and prayed for rain. Now, forty-three days later, after struggling with fear, depression, hopelessness, and then, finally hearing the voice of the Lord in a cave, Elijah was directed to do three important things.
Interestingly enough, how many of the three things did Elijah actually accomplish?
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him. (1 Kings 19: 19)
This is the only recorded time in the Bible where a prophet passed his mantle and anointing to another prophet. There are other examples of transference of power in the Bible, such as Moses laying his hands on Joshua, but this is the only recorded time for this particular type of transference.
So how can I positively say that Elisha was an Elijah-type prophet?
Because Elijah only did one of the important things the Lord commanded him to do and that was anointing Elisha. But it was Elisha who then fulfilled the other two important things: by anointing Hazael king of Aram and anointing Jehu king of Israel.
And finally, Jesus Himself linked Elisha with Elijah in His discourse at the synagogue in Nazareth.
But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah…and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman, the Syrian. And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things. (Luke 4: 27 – 28)
Yes, like Elijah, Elisha was a prophet of power. Also, in terms of signs, wonders and miracles as recorded in the Bible, Elisha’s ministry was second only to Jesus.
But once again, what sets Elijah and Elisha apart from the other prophets in the Old Testament? And who are the other three Elijah-type prophets?
(Continued in Part 5)