Elijah's and Elisha's Mantle

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 7:10, 1 Kings 19:1-19, 2 Kings 2:1-18
Date: 05/07/2011 
Lesson: 6
Elijah was one of the most powerful prophets in Israeli history, but for all his strong faith and godly service, he was not immune to the weaknesses we all face.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for "central study hour." A very special welcome to those of you that are joining us here in our sanctuary, our regular members and our guests alike. And a very special welcome to you that are joining us how you do faithfully every week, through radio, television, however you're joining us, welcome. And I know that you will truly be blessed this morning by sharing God's Word with us. This morning we're going to start singing with hymn number 523, "my faith has found a resting place.

" And this comes as a request from stewart in the bahamas, pedro in barbados, adelia in dominica, loice in Indiana, andrea, nadine and lesa in jamaica, charles in kenya, mabel in the netherlands, lea in New Jersey, onuwah and ebenezer and abaribe in nigeria, nokulunga in swaziland and xebiso in zimbabwe. Hymn number 523, and we'll sing the first, the second and the last verse of "my faith has found a resting place." ... If you have a special request that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at saccentral.org. And there you can click on the "contact us" link. And you can request any hymn in our hymnal and we'd love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath.

I have learned a lot of new hymns by singing with you every Sabbath, so thank you for that. Another hymn we're going to sing this morning, our last hymn is 478, "sweet hour of prayer." And this comes as a request from angie and carmen in argentina, kenyon, felicia and Mark in australia, samu in Canada, nohemi in the cayman islands, carolina in columbia, dorothy in Georgia, priya and erwin in mauritius, warren in Minnesota, miledys in New York, thomas and Sarah in nigeria, vern, sandie, jenny, jamie from North Carolina, sam in norway, ute in Pennsylvania, sandile and jean in south africa, don and lyn in Texas, katherine in Virginia, and vinson in Washington. "Sweet hour of prayer." And we'll sing all three verses... Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for the promise that very soon we will be saying farewell to this cold, dark planet and that we will just spend eternity with you in your brightness and your glory.

We are looking forward to the day--that day, Lord, when we can lay our crowns before you and we can thank you face to face for what you have done for us and how you have saved us. We just thank you so much for giving us life and giving us an opportunity, especially on your holy Sabbath day to come before you and just give back a little bit of our thanks of what we owe you. We can never give enough. But Lord, we just thank you that you gave it all. So be with pastor white this morning as he speaks Your Words, Lord.

And help us to learn from them, that we can leave this place changed, that we can be more like you. And that others will see you through us and they will be drawn to you. We pray these things in your precious, holy name, Jesus. Amen. Our lesson study this morning will be brought to us by pastor harold white.

And pastor harold is the administrative pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you, jolyne. Good morning, welcome. Beautiful Sabbath morning in Sacramento. For all of you who are joining us from someplace else, we wish you were here to enjoy this beautiful day.

And we're glad you're joining us for this lesson study. We are studying this quarter on the garments of grace. And very interesting topics. I was so happy to see when I turned to the lesson that was going to be mine that it was about Elijah and Elisha, two of my favorite Bible characters. In fact, we often hear about Elijah when Elisha--he's one of the best men you can find in the Bible.

You don't really don't find anything negative about Elisha. He's truly a man of God. So wherever you're joining us, from radio, television, the internet, live streaming, we're glad. And we're glad all of you in this sanctuary are with us today. So if you would let me give the free offer first of all.

It's entitled, "blood behind the veil." And you can get that free offer by calling 1-866-study-more, or 1-866-788-3966, "blood behind the veil." Okay? You'll take your quarterly with me and read the memory verse with me, I would appreciate that. It's taken from 2 Corinthians 7:10, "for Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." Now I think it's important that we read a little bit on the introduction this morning, kind of get us into this lesson, starting with the sentence there. It says, "today, in judaism at least, he," Elijah, "still looms large. In fact, in Jewish tradition he has been glorified more than perhaps any other biblical figure. Each passover for instance, a special cup of wine is filled and put on a passover table.

During the passover itself, the door of the house is opened and everyone stands in order to allow Elijah, the prophet, to enter and drink. At circumcisions, a chair," the chair of Elijah, "is set aside as part of the ceremony. Also as the Sabbath ends, jews sing about Elijah hoping he will come speedily in our days, along with the Messiah son of David to redeem us. An example of Elijah's prominence in Jewish thinking is found in the Gospel of Matthew when Peter says that some had thought Jesus himself was Elijah." So as you see back in those days, it's understandable that people were expecting Elijah because--well, let's have someone read first of all Malachi 4:5-6. Who has that? Right over here.

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of The Fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Okay, so if God's people back then didn't have false understandings about what happened to a person when they died, they didn't believe these false teachings that as soon as you died you went someplace, right on up into heaven. They knew that everybody was in their grave except for two people, Enoch and Elijah. These were very special individuals, very special cases that had gone to heaven. So these were the only two.

And so they had every right in their mind I guess to believe that this maybe could be a literal fulfillment. And they were looking forward especially it came time for the prophecies to be fulfilled, for the Messiah to come. They felt that Elijah might come before him. And that's why--and of course Elijah did, because we understand these verses in Malachi to be symbolic. Elijah came in the form of John the baptist.

He was likened unto Elijah. And these symbolic verses would tell us that. And also then just before the coming of the Lord in the last days, Elijah would appear again. And that is God's remnant people. With God's remnant biblical message is the Elijah for our time.

If we were to say, you know, "wouldn't it be nice if Elijah," somebody they liked, "Elijah the prophet could come and be with us in our church today on this Sabbath." My friends, Elijah is here. We are Elijah, giving the Elijah message for this time in which we live. Isn't that exciting really, when you think about? It's no litera rendition as they probably thought it was. So we jump into our lesson where it is entitled, "a still small voice on Sunday." Elijah had God speak to him in very exciting ways. And yet the most important one might have been, of course, when God spoke to him in that still, small voice, because it came at a time when Elijah was what we would say suicidal.

He was wishing to die. And so let us read about it. Somebody has 1 Kings 19. Who has that one? Right up here. Mike has it.

"And ahab told jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, 'so let the God do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.' And when he saw that he had arose and ran for his life, and went to beersheba, which belongs to judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'it is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'" Were this today and we knew this person, we would try to get him some help immediately, wouldn't we? Going through some very strenuous mental. And you can't have--you cannot have a larger picture anywhere in Scriptures or in the world, I think, than this great chasm that exists between that mountaintop experience that Elijah just had had up on Mount Carmel and down into the depths of despair, that valley experience.

They don't come any bigger than that. And probably there are some of you sitting here this morning, or listening, that have had experiences like that where you're really rejoicing the Lord and then something happens. And it just brings you down to the very bottom. The contrast does not get much bigger. And when you think about this, Elijah, this mighty prophet for the Lord, is that encouraging or discouraging? Discouraging in the fact, you know, wow, here's a man of God and it happens to him.

What chance do I have? But encouraging in the sense that it happens to everybody. And I'm not the only one that's going through this. And so I would encourage us to look at the glass half-full, right, and what God can do. And God can bring good things out of bad circumstances. Over and over we see that.

Elijah, mighty man of God, filled with fear. Isn't that amazing? What causes fear? It's a lack of faith, isn't it? Have you ever thought too that anger is brought on by a lack of faith? You want something to happen. It doesn't happen. It fails to happen and you're so angry. It kind of puts it in perspective, doesn't it? That anger is so self-serving and self-centered.

But Elijah lacked faith so badly he wishes to die. He ran from his responsibility, but he didn't end up in the belly of a whale, did he? No, not like Jonah. We all have different experiences. And every time we run from a responsibility, something negative happens. We may not end up in exactly the same place Jonah did or somebody else, but every time we run from responsibility, do you believe something negative will happen? I do.

Something negative. Maybe we won't even see it, or maybe we won't even understand it. But if we neglect responsibility, something negative is going to happen. Now while we're here on Sunday's lesson entitled, "a still small voice," we often comment on this passage that, you know, God doesn't speak to us so much in the catastrophic events, the earthquakes, and the tornadoes and all these things, the still small voice. But does God speak to us through these calamities? I believe he does.

Didn't Jesus say things like that? When you see these things happening that we see on the news every single day, tornadoes ripping towns right off the map. This past week a tornado ripped through mapleton, Iowa. That was 30 miles from where I grew up. Gone, the city is gone. Jesus says, "when you see these things, know that my coming is near.

" Yes, God speaks through those things. And he does get our attention, but it is not those things that make the most important, because fear is not the thing that should drive us to a relationship with God, but that still small voice that speaks to us in chords of love is the most important, don't you think? "Here I am. Follow me. I've given my all to you. I will give you everything.

I will give you eternal life," that still small voice that speaks to us that way. And so lesson brings out, it wasn't until this still small voice that Elijah wrapped himself in his mantle. And that's what we're talking about this Sabbath, the mantle. It wasn't some place you put your trophies. This mantle was a piece of cloth, like a poncho-like cloth that he'd wrap himself in to keep him warm I suppose.

And he wrapped himself, he pulls it around his face. Now the Bible doesn't say exactly why he did that, but we could probably guess. It was probably an act of humility. Here he was in the awesome presence of God, when he was just filled with so much discouragement that he felt humbled. And he pulls it around his face.

It was almost to hide his face. But there's something that he did beside that. He hid his face and stepped forward as a gesture of submissiveness. It's one thing to whine and be whimpy about the bad things we're doing, and "oh, I'm worthless. I can't do anything.

" We ought to own up to the--our shortcomings. But then we should do as Elijah did, step forward to be submissive. And I think that's what made Elijah the great man that he was. I've often witnessed in 35 years of ministry people getting so excited about coming to the Lord. And it is exciting.

The first love experience coming to Jesus is the best time of our lives. And that's why God says we should keep that first love alive. But when they come to the Lord, they're on fire, they want to do something fantastic for the Lord, and they start saying, "well, I'm going to do this, and I'm going to do that." And then after a little while and things don't work out just like they thought they were going to, they get very discouraged. And I've actually seen people throw it all in, throw the towel in, walk away, and give it all up. Now I think it's important to be excited for the Lord.

But I think it's important to be excited in the right way, to see what the Lord can do through you, not what I can do or what we're going to do, but what the Lord is going to do. It's going to be exciting. As long as we maintain that, I think we'll be alright. I believe it helps us to realize that we always shouldn't be looking for something spectacular. We live in a time when people may be not seeking so much as a sign.

Remember that's how it was when Jesus was here, "show us a sign, Jesus." I think today we're in trouble with people looking, "show us a superstar. Bring on a superstar, somebody that will tantalize our ears and tell us something new and exciting and spectacular!" Well, I don't know if that's exactly what we need as much as we need the basic, basics of God's Word in simple, straightforward ways. Sometimes you hear things that are a little bit tantalizing, maybe have a little to do with the basics of salvation. Some people seem to want to be Elijah themselves even today. You know, there's people write to the office all the time, send in to the g.

c., "Oh, I have a special message from the Lord." And the g.c. As I understand it, reviews several of these individuals every year that claim to have special messages from the Lord, as if they want to be Elijah, a prophet or a prophetess for these times. And they study them, and they have to dismiss their messages as being nothing special. Sometimes in fact they are on contrary to the Word of God. And sad to say some of these individuals get a following because they have a little charisma and excitement to them.

They show and they tell something different of nature. When we need to be back to the basics of God's salvation and his truths. It was--i read in the commentaries about this part of Elijah's experience that said this. It was a new Elijah who would go forth not as fire or storm to produce great convulsions, to be witnessed by multitudes of men, but in a more quiet manner, speaking to individuals here and there to produce lasting results in the hearts and lives of men. There was a change in Elijah.

He became a different person, ministering one on one to individuals that were lasting, lasting impressions that were left with these people. Today with technology we can speak to people all over the world. That's what's happening right now. We have people listening from all parts of the world, and that's exciting. And that's wonderful.

We have live-streaming, satellite tv's, computers and all this stuff. But the most important part of our work right here in Sacramento central I can tell you is the day-by-day activities, the one-on-one ministries well, that results in things like, praise God, 100 people being baptized last year and 100 people being baptized the year before last year. That's the most important work that's going on in this world, the one-on-one ministry of all of God's people working together to get the message out. That's the most important thing. Calls that come in, people seeking spiritual guidance and spiritual prayer.

You know, it's easy to speak to a camera. I've never had a camera attack me. I've never had a camera verbally argue with me. I've never had a camera cry out in desperation for some spiritual guidance and support. I've never had to conduct a funeral for a camera.

I've never had to stand by the hospital bed of a dying camera. I've never had to pray for God's help and wisdom to give me some word to help these couples that are having nothing but trouble in their marriage, to bring them back together, to live happily forever. I've never had to come to a camera and say, "I'm so sorry what's happening to your little camera, your little camera boy or girl." No, it's easy to speak to the camera. What I'm saying is that the superstars in the church are the humble, quiet, faithful servants, witnessing to others, serving others, one-on-one. And I know that pastor steve, pastor mike are good examples of this.

When they're not standing here in the camera, they're one-on-one-on-one with people out there in the world. And we are all called to be ministers, aren't we not? One-on-one, trying to reach people's life for the Gospel before it's ever too late. Now this was a breaking point for Elijah. He could accept God's patient direction or give up in dejection because things weren't as high-pitched like they had been on Mount Carmel. I've seen some give up; I've seen others take the direction that Elijah took.

God--praise God. But if it is that still small voice that you hear today calling you to this kind of submissive ministry, one-on-one to somebody, it's time to give in to that still small voice and act upon it. Because you know what happens to still small voices? They become a whisper, even yet fainter until the whisper completely diminishes. A still small voice goes out like a flame of a candle goes out if not acted upon. But let's move on to Monday, entitled "the change of garments.

" As the lesson points out that after this magnificent demonstration of God's power on Mount Carmel, Elijah complained that he was the only one left who loved the Lord. God seemed to ignore his whining and directed Elijah to go anoint two Kings and to anoint Elisha for the work of taking up his work when he would be gone. Somebody has 1 Kings 19:19, right over here. "So he departed then, and found Elisha The Son of shaphat, who was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the 12th. And Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him.

" Okay, thank you very much, got double duty out of you there. Thank you. Passing the mantle, is that something like passing the baton in a race? Well maybe a little bit, but not quite because Elijah kept running the race himself. He became a mentor to his younger individual, Elisha. He led his younger companion.

But giving the mantle was clear evidence of his calling to this sacred office. Many young people, and not so young, struggle with call to ministry. I remember how it was when I joined a church about 24, 25 years of age. A couple years from there I was back in school. I felt God was calling me to something.

I had no idea what. I got into all the religion courses I could take. And as I was in those courses, I kept feeling like God may be calling me to ministry, but I didn't know. And I struggled with it a little bit, but most of the people I was in classes with, they were really nervous about it. "All this studying, all this time, all this money, will I actually get a call to be a minister?" I had none of those stresses or worries.

I just felt the college experience was so wonderful for me, whatever God had in store for me afterwards it didn't matter to me. Well about six months before I graduated I got a letter in the mail, unbeknownst to me a conference had met and they voted to ask me to come and be a minister. So there I was pretty sure that that was my call. And that's how it worked for me. But other people struggle with different.

Am I called to this direction, or am I called to that direction? But when we think about Elisha, it must have been totally clear to him. Here was the prophet laying his mantle on his shoulders and saying, "follow me." Pretty clear. I think that most of us have a sense that being called, to a prophet is a major calling. But I wonder who's to say, who's had more influence on the world, Elijah or that widow with her little mites? She had a powerful--she has had a powerful influence on this world. Has she not? It's not the big things always.

It's not even the most important people, but some people we might not think so important. And the little things we might not think so important can become very monumental. So little things are important. We must remember that any call to ministry is not some kind of call to human exaltation. In fact, it's just the opposite.

Those who truly receive this call quite often they shrank from it. It wasn't like Elijah was campaigning to be the next prophet. In fact he wasn't looking for that at all. But it came upon him and he accepted it. Today our church seems to be bombarded, as I said, with people who crave special positions not unlike the world of politics.

Sad to say that happens. But humans are not superstars, are they? None can be idolized in this world. God only can be worshipped. Now no man. We idolize people to our own detriment.

There's a man by the name of henry newman and the wonderful healer, he retells a tale from ancient india. It's a tale that says if four royal brothers decided each to master a special ability. Time went by and the brothers met to reveal what they had learned. First brother says, "I have mastered a science," said the first, "by which I can take but a bone of some creature and create the flesh that goes with it." "I," said the second, "know how to grow that creatures skin and hair if there's flesh on its bones." The third said, "I am able to create its limbs if I have flesh, the skin and the hair." "And i," conclude the fourth, "know how to give life to that creature if his form is complete." There upon the brothers went into the jungle to find a bone. And as it would be fate would have it, they found the bone of a lion.

One added flesh to the bone. The second grew hide and hair. And the third completed it with matching limbs. And the fourth gave life to the lion. Shaking its mane, this ferocious beast arose and jumped up on its creators and killed all four of them.

That's the way it is when human beings create idols out of other human beings. It's to our own destruction, isn't it? If we set anybody on a pedestal other than God, it's self-destroying. God is the only superstar in this world, folks. None of us are. None of us ever can be.

Let me ask you if you recognize any of these names. You should. Owen d. Young, pierre laval, hugh s. Johnson, James f.

Byrnes,, mohammed mossadegh, harlow curtice. Recognize any of these names? You should, because according to time magazine these individuals were all people who were designated as "man of the year." Amazing isn't it? That during that year they accomplished the most astounding things of anybody on earth. And you and I don't even remember who they were. Dag hammarskjold once said, "around a man who has been pushed into the limelight, a legend begins to grow as it does around a dead man. But a dead man is in no danger of yielding to the temptation to nourish his legend or accept its picture as reality.

I pity the man who falls in love with his image as it is drawn by public opinion during the honeymoon of publicity." I would add I pity the person who puts anybody on such a pedestal as that. Now Elijah or Elisha was neither like this. Elisha relished his time with Elijah. He respected this man, but he certainly didn't idolize him. He used him as a mentor and learned greatly from him.

The mantle was laid on Elisha was a special garment indicating a special call to ministry. Now imagine if you owned that mantle today, and you could prove it, that it was the mantle that Elisha had, oh man. You could sell it for fortunes, or you'd have people flocking to your door wanting to worship that mantle, just like they want to worship this shroud of turin. And this week they found, they said, perhaps the very nails that were put into Christ's hands. Remember, did you see that on the news? People would worship those nails if that was true.

And they'll try to make it true if it isn't. Of course it isn't. Amazing. An ordinary garment became something special though when used for the work of the Lord. Just as an ordinary tree that was burning in a desert because something special, so special that you had to take off your shoes because you were on holy ground.

This building is an ordinary building until it is dedicated to the worship of our Lord and Savior. And then it becomes a holy place. And we should treat this place as a holy place, because it is God's house. We come here to worship our creator. A building is just a building until it becomes a place of worship.

The children of Israel came to worship their temple and its rites more than they came to worship the God who was behind it all, who represented in all the ceremonies. They worshipped the ceremonies rather than the God of the ceremonies. Moving to Tuesday, we're talking about the wearing of sackcloth. Sackcloth is a garment of mourners and someone in dire need. Many people in the Bible were said to have donned sackcloth.

There's one though we wouldn't think would have worn sackcloth, and that was ahab, that terribly wicked king. You remember the story about ahab: whined because he couldn't get naboth's vineyard. And jezebel steps in and says, "what's the matter with you? You're a wimp. You're the King aren't you. You get anything you want.

" Well she steps in and takes control. She has naboth killed, and probably his two sons stoned. And he takes over. So then Elijah catches up with ahab and he really lets him have it. And after that is when we find ahab putting on sackcloth.

The lesson brings out that it appeared to be genuine, but we don't know of course for how long. Verse 29 in the story says, "seest though how ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days. But in his sons days will I bring the evil upon his house." So evidently this sackcloth experience was very genuine for a time at least, or God would not have postponed judgment like he did. This reveals to us that every sincere act of repentance is accepted by God. Now we may change course after that as ahab did.

A garment of sackcloth, how can we relate to this? If we saw a person donning themselves with sackcloths today, we'd wonder what in the world is wrong with them. And we'd try to find them some help. Closest thing I can think about is we wear black to funerals, right? It shows our respect for the dead and for the family of the dead. We wear something that is respectful, not something flashy and gaudy. In fact, you know we have been told we should dress in certain ways.

Ministers specifically have been told we should dress, you know, like in dark suits. I don't own a pink suit, wouldn't look good in pink anyway. Don't even own a white suit. I think suits and clothing have a lot to say about individuals, right? We can give messages we maybe don't want to give by what we wear. Also the tearing of clothes was a symbol of grief in Bible times.

We would consider it perhaps somebody having some mental problems. If we come before God with a contrite heart, do you think he needs to see any special type of garment, or any special kind of action to know what our hearts are really--our minds are really up to? No, I don't think he does. He knows. We can respect our fellow Christians or God's people from yesteryear. And we can learn from them and rent our hearts and cover our minds with sackcloth, so to speak.

My thoughts when I was thinking about this go back to a time in our church, church history, dr. Kellogg. Most pictures I've seen of dr. Kellogg, you know, dr. Kellogg with the cornflake.

Most of you realize that dr. Kellogg was a Seventh-day Adventist at one time. Almost all pictures I saw of dr. Kellogg was where he was wearing white suits. Dr.

Kellogg was a genius of a man, tremendously intelligent, but he apostacized from the truth. He even got so bad that he wouldn't accept hearing the word of the Lord from God's special messenger. He let the work of the medical work, the right arm of the work of the church become all-in-all for him. It became the brain, the heart of everything. It became the work.

And that was the wrong thing to do. And he--I've often wondered if the flamboyant lifestyle of his, I don't know, I can't judge, but white suits might have something to do with that. This is probably the most--this is probably the reason too the Bible warns us not to wear the outward adorning of jewelry and the like. Why? Because it's the opposite of sackcloth, isn't it? It gives a message the opposite of repentance and humility and humbling of ourselves before God. Well, let's move on to Wednesday's.

Somebody has 2 Kings 2, and we want to read verses 11 through 14. We have it over here. "Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Now Elisha saw it, and he cried out, 'my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!' And he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.

He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, 'where is the Lord God of Elijah?' And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over." Okay, thank you very much. This is an amazing moment. But before that, Elijah told Elisha to ask for something, whatever he wanted Elisha to do for him before he went away. Of course you know the story.

He asked for a double portion of his spirit, of Elijah's spirit to fall upon him, kind of like Solomon was asked what he wanted. And he says wisdom, yeah asking for good things. But this was such a monumental request. One was for real. And it's interesting to hear how Elijah responded to that request, "I don't know.

" It's like he didn't really know. It was not a flippant request, "oh, just give me a couple portions of your spirit. That's what I need." No, it wasn't that. It was real. And Elijah knew it was a real request.

And he didn't know if God was going to answer it or not. And it wasn't because Elijah was worried about Elisha coming on the scene and doing more glorious things than he had done. No, he wasn't worried about that at all. He was on his way to heaven, he knew in just a few minutes. And so he really didn't know what God was going to do.

He said, "well, if you see me going up in heaven, then it will be so. If you don't see me, you won't get it." And so when--that's why there was so much excitement in that expression. When Elisha sees Elijah going up into the air, Bible says, "he cried!" And I can expect him crying with a loud voice, "my father! My father, the chariot of Israel and the horseman thereof!" What a moment. I mean that would be just a moment to relish for all the rest of your life. And he tore his clothes.

Maybe in humility again, or as the lesson points out, maybe discarding his clothes and taking upon Elijah's clothes. But he knew that something spectacular had just taken place. And it's at the end of this very same chapter that Elisha now had the experience of some hoodlums came on the scene. And they said, "go up thou bald head, go up thou bald head!" And a double portion of this spirit from Elijah came upon him. And you know what he did, don't you? He called judgment on these young men.

And a she-bear came out and killed 42 of these young hoodlums. And it's interesting that the Bible mentions that it was she-bears, because a she-bear with cubs is probably one of the most ferocious animals in the world, right? And so these boys died a very violent death. What this says to us is the double spirit of God, the double portion of God's Spirit doesn't always come in wonderful things. Sometimes it comes in amazing judgment. And that's why it should be very important for us when we pray for the Holy Spirit that we don't just flippantly pray for the Holy Spirit, because if you are still fostering some kind of sin in your life, the Holy Spirit's going to come alright.

But it's not going to come as a comforter; the Holy Spirit's going to come as a convicter, right? And convicting often comes with chastisement. Am I not right? And so when we pray for the Holy Spirit, we need to pray first of all that everything is right between us and God. The Holy Spirit will come and then maybe use us for wonderful and powerful ways, but he will come and work wonderful and powerful ways to reach our hearts if we're not one with God. Now Elijah was taken up into heaven, and as I mentioned earlier this was a time when religious people didn't have the wrong conceptions about death and the hereafter. They knew that people slept in the graves until the end of the world.

So this was the most amazing event that took place. And the other prophets so much that they couldn't believe that Elijah had gone up as Elisha told 'em. They thought he was just taken away someplace else. And so they spent three days looking for him, even though Elisha had told them not to. To be taken up into heaven.

And only it happened once before with Enoch. Now I wonder, as I was thinking about this, did God's enemy see this event and begin to capitalize on it? Wow, he looked around and he saw how excited people got over somebody who was taken off to heaven. And he thinks to himself, "wow, that's what I'm going to do." His next deceptive plan was, "I'm going to get the whole world to believe somehow that when you die you automatically go to heaven." I don't know if that's what prompted his deception on this world, but he surely has worked it to a masterpiece, hasn't he? He surely has. The whole world seems to believe this false teaching on what happens to you when you die. Whatever we might think, this was definitely an amazing moment.

What an inspiration it must have been for Elisha to be true to his calling. When I say that I say may God help us catch that same spirit to our calling. Now we move on to Thursday's lesson entitled, "the cloak." We are told that the prophets knew Elijah was going to be taken. They just didn't know where. Don't you find it interesting, often time God gives us just enough information not to know everything, just enough to kind of lead us on and lead us on.

Or perhaps it's because we are not close enough to him as to be able to discern spiritual things. But to know that we really aren't where we should have been, one only has to realize that Elisha, as I said, told these prophets not to go and look for Elijah. They spent three days; they wasted three days, because they didn't listen to the word. The Word of God came through a prophet, right? They didn't listen to the word. The parents of Jesus spent three days looking for Jesus because they took their eyes off the word.

Jesus was the word, right? You and I take our eyes off the word and we lose three days of our life, sometimes more, don't we? Takes a while to get back to the word, takes a while to get back to Christ. Every time you lose time with the Lord, you lose valuable, valuable things in your life. Well, somebody has 1 Corinthians 2, who has that one? 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. "Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth but which the holy ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual Judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." Thank you very much. Spiritual things are discerned by spiritual people. And if you're having trouble understanding some things, we just need to become more spiritual.

We need to become closer to Christ. And he will share understanding with us. I'll never forget when I first started studying the Bible that just made--some things just made absolutely no sense until I began praying and studying more. I get very frustrated and probably many of you did. But the more you give your heart to the Lord, the more you study, the more you pray, the more things of the Bible become real and understandable.

Spiritual things are discerned by spiritual people. Have you ever stopped to consider how much we missed by not being close to God all the time of our lives. I mean think of all the time that during a single day during a single week that you spend on other things that you could have spent with God. Do you think we missed out on a lot this week by not doing that? I know I did. I'm sure I did.

Just imagine if all of us spent our time with the Lord as we could, would that make a difference in the world? I bet it'd make a difference in your world and mine if we did that. I'm sure. Jesus, he didn't waste any of his time, not even when he was working in the carpenter shop. I was reading "Desire of Ages" again where it said he did his work with precision there. Would you like to have a rocking chair that Jesus made? It would have been done with precision.

All the life of Jesus, even when he was a child, was never spent in wrong kind of activity. Every free moment, if you call it free moment, he spent with his Father in Heaven, singing to his father, praying to his father, listening to the words of the Scripture when he was real small and then reading it for himself when he got older. Oh how much we miss when we do not take the time with God that we should. Jesus lived in a very evil city as a boy, nazareth. He was filled with the same family stresses and even more so because his siblings didn't even like him.

They were jealous of him. They made fun of him. They ridiculed him. Yet he never lost that personal presence of God, pretty powerful. And Thursday we're talking about the cloak.

We all should be concerned about a cloak. We call it a robe, the robe of Christ's righteousness. How do you get it? How do you get this robe? This robe is what allows us entrance into the Kingdom of God. So it's pretty paramount that we know how we get this robe. You can't buy it.

You can't do enough good works to get it. It comes to you by faith. You accept this robe of Christ's righteousness by believing with all of your heart that God wants to give it to you. And how do you do that? It's as simple as a woman standing there, as husband and wife are ready to go out for the evening, it's a little chilly outside. So the husband grabs the lady's coat for her and puts it around her shoulders.

He does it for her. She doesn't have to do a thing. It's as easy and simple as that. God puts his robe of righteousness around us without us having to do anything except saying, "thank you for doing it, Lord. Thank you for giving me this robe that allows me to inherit eternal life! Help me to wear it rightly.

" And think if we just all every day went around the world, went around our little world with the realization we were covered with this robe, this spotless, pure white robe. We were covered with this. We had this vision in our mind at covering our backs. We don't want to get a spot on it. If you buy a new suit, even if you buy a new tie, if I buy a new tie, man I'm so careful about eating.

I don't want to spill gravy on my tie. I just got a new tie. I don't want to spill gravy on it. If we get this robe of Christ's righteousness, we need to pray to God that he'll give us the same kind of desires. "Oh Lord, help me not to spill any gravy on this robe of righteousness, any polluted sinfulness on this robe of righteousness that you give to me freely.

You offer it to us freely!" And we accept it by faith. Wow, that would be something. I think our world would be pretty exciting if we visualized that in our minds. The enemy tries to break through. We respond immediately to the thought, "I'm covered with the robe of Christ's righteousness, and I don't want to get it spotted.

" Every time the tempter comes to you, "I'm covered by the robe of Christ's righteousness, and I do not want to get it spotted." Well, with Elijah we get both worlds. We have Elijah up on Mount Carmel, that brave, courageous spokesman for God. And God displaying his power in answer to Elijah's prayer of faith, even after he had chided the other prophets, "oh you don't need that. Yell a little louder. Your Gods aren't hearing you.

" And then he prays and one little simple prayer and fire comes down and takes up all--they had saturated everything so much with water. They couldn't have accused them of lighting a match and putting it out. It was fire from heaven that came down, licked it all up. We have Elijah there. And then we have Elijah down in the pits of despair, fearing for his life, wishing he was dead.

But picking up the pieces from that experience and going on from victory to victory for Jesus Christ. That's where we need to be. Our free offer for the week, I'm reminding you this morning is "blood behind the veil," 1-866-study-more or 1-866-788-3966. Thank you everyone for joining us, wherever you joined us from this morning.

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