God had many great prophets with various credits to them, some have written books which comprise what is recognized as the “major” and “minor” prophets of Old Testament writings. The terms ’major’ and ‘minor’ are not in reference to their work or place in the plan of God but only to indicate the longer books as opposed to the shorter books written by prophets. Several of the most notable ones, did not write books but their activities are written in books of Kings and Chronicles, etc.
Elijah and Elisha were prophets at the same time and Elijah was considered Elisha’s master. As with most names of that age, both of these prophets had meaningful names. Elijah means “My God is Yahweh” and Elisha means “My God is salvation”.
Elijah may have been the most revered prophet of them all as far as the Israelites were concerned. Yet he did not write a book. Elisha, is a lesser known man than was Elijah even though his works as a prophet were many and great. In fact, God informed Elijah that Elisha would succeed him when God would take him to heaven in a whirlwind. (1 Kings 19:16 KJV)
The story of God taking Elijah up into heaven and of Elisha asking for, and receiving, a double measure of the power of Elijah is a fascinating one. Following is the King James Version of the account:
And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. (2 Kings 2:1-12 KJV)
It would be far too lengthy to describe even a few of the miraculous things that Elisha accomplished but he certainly built a reputation for himself. Perhaps the best known act that he performed, which has been used as a sermon topic by many preachers, was the story of the king of Syria’s captain of hosts name Naaman. This is recorded in 2 Kings chapter 5. The first verse of chapter 5 explains who Naaman was:
“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.”
I hope all readers will take the time to pull up the fifth chapter, linked above, and read the story of this leper. Again, this may be the most famous of his miracles but was certainly not the only one. A sermon outline can be found under the Preachers Files which lists numerous miracles and numerous prophecies of Elisha with the scripture reference for each of them. However, to simply read of them, they can be found in 2 Kings chapters 2 through 6.