The Departure of Good Men
2 Kings 2:1-14
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 it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven. Two subjects are here presented for notice -

I. THE DEPARTURE OF A GOOD MAN FROM THE EARTH. Death is a departure from the world; it is not an extinction of being, but a mere change in its mode. There are two facts concerning Elijah's departure which mark the departure of all men.

1. The time is of God. "It came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah." There is an appointed time for man on the earth; when the hour is up, he must go: not before or after. Elijah's time had come. There are no accidental deaths, no premature graves. "Thou turnest man to destruction;" "Thou takest away his breath."

2. The manner is of God. Elijah was to be taken away by a "whirlwind." That was the method God appointed for him. He takes men away by various methods, sometimes by devastating winds, sometimes by scathing lightnings, sometimes by boisterous billows, sometimes by accident or starvation, sometimes by prolonged disease, etc. All that is with him. We are not the creatures of chance. He "careth for us;" for each, for all.

II. THE POWER OF GOODNESS IN A GOOD MAN'S DEPARTURE. See what a grand spirit Elijah displays in the immediate prospect of his exit.

1. A spirit of calm self-possession. When Elijah knew of the solemn event awaiting him, how calmly he talked to Elisha, and wended his way to Bethel, according to the Divine commandment! There was no excitement or perturbation. He moves and talks with a majestic calmness. Religion alone can give this peace. "He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on him."

2. A spirit of strong social interest. See how it affected Elisha. Bow tenderly and strongly he felt bound to him! Elisha says, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy son liveth, I will not leave thee." He repeated this thrice., And when the sons of the prophets spoke to him about it he said, "Hold ye your peace." As if he had said, "I cannot bear to hear it." No doubt these sons of the prophets and all who came under the godly influence of Elijah felt thus bound to him. There is no power by which one man can link another so closely and mightily to him as the power of goodness. Goodness is a mighty magnet.

3. A spirit of far-reaching philanthropy. Elijah goes to Bethel, but wherefore? Probably to deliver a valedictory address to the "sons of the prophets." They were in college there, in the college, perhaps, which Elijah himself had founded. Would that his address had been reported! His great solicitude was that these young men should hand down the religion of God to the men of coming times. The spirit of genuine religion is not a narrow spirit, a spirit confined to a Church, a country; or a period, but a spirit that embraces in its loving sympathies the spiritual interests of the race. - D.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

WEB: It happened, when Yahweh would take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

The Departure of Good Men
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