The name, Elisha, means mighty deliverer [or, my God saves]. Elisha was called by the prophet Elijah to succeed him as a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel. After sacrificing, Elisha left everything and followed Elijah until the latter was taken away in a whirlwind. He picked up Elijah’s mantle of authority and a degree of his spirit and power (1 Kings 19: 16). Elisha immediately performed his first miracle by smiting the waters of the Jordan River, which parted, allowing him to cross on dry land (2 Kings 2: 14). He became so bold and powerful that the theologians of that day (“sons of the prophets”) said, “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha” (2 Kings 2: 15). Elisha’s ministry covered the reigns of six kings.
Elisha’s Wonderful Works
Elisha performed many wonderful works, some of which are the following:
(1.) 2 Kings 2: 19-22: When the men of Jericho informed Elisha that their spring of water was unhealthy, he called for a bowl of salt. He threw the salt into the spring and the water became pure, and according to verse 22, it remains “healed unto this day.”
(2.) 2 Kings 4: 1-7: A widow of one of the sons of the prophets pleaded for Elisha to help her, because her creditors planned to take her two sons for her debt. She had one jar of oil, so Elisha had her borrow several empty containers. She then poured her oil into the empty containers until they were all full. Elisha then instructed her to sell the oil to pay off her debt.
(3.) 2 Kings 4: 8-37: A wealthy family in Shunem had been very hospitable toward Elisha. They regularly fed him, and even built a room onto their home where he could lodge. Elisha repaid their kindness by promising them a son (2 Kings 4: 8-17). Later, when the child had grown, he apparently suffered a heart stroke and died. His mother immediately sought out Elisha, and pleaded for his help. Following prayer, Elisha raised her son, through God’s power.
(4.) 2 Kings 4: 38-41: Elisha met with the sons of the prophets at Gilgal during a drought. His servant prepared a meal for the men, but they recognized that the food was poisonous. Elisha called for some meal, which he cast into the pot. The food became miraculously nutritious, and was then served to the men.
(5.) 2 Kings 4: 42-44: A man brought some loaves of bread and ears of corn to Elisha. Elisha asked his servitor to give the food to a hundred men for a meal, but his servitor was amazed, because the amount of food was not nearly enough. Elisha again asked him to give them the food, which he did, and they all had enough.
(6.) 2 Kings 5: 1-14: Naaman was the general-in-chief of Syria. During one of the conflicts between Syria and Israel, the Syrians carried away a young Israelite girl who became a servant in Naaman’s home. Seeing him afflicted with leprosy, she suggested that the prophet Elisha could heal him of his disease. Naaman informed the Syrian king, who immediately sent Naaman and a letter to Israel’s king, Jehoram. But Jehoram concluded that this only meant trouble. Hearing of this, Elisha asked the king to send Naaman to him. When Naaman arrived at Elisha’s home, he was told to go and wash in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed. Naaman, feeling slighted, became angry and departed, but his servants persuaded him to take the advice, and he became healed.
(7.) 2 Kings 8: 7-15; 9: 1-13: Elisha was more than a miracle worker. He played a major role in Hazael becoming king of Syria, and in anointing Jehu as king of Israel.
The Antitype of Elisha
We may gain insight into who antitypical Elisha is from 2 Kings 2: 9 which reads, “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.” A more accurate rendering of the last part of this passage reads, “let there be two parts [classes] in thy spirit [power, office].” From this verse, we recognize that antitypical Elisha consists of two classes here in the extreme end of the Age, the Epiphany – the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies.