OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 29
2 Kings 2; 5-6
- Elisha succeeds Elijah as the prophet.
- Elisha heals Naaman of leprosy.
- Elisha guides Israel in a war with Syria
A study of this lesson should help us better understand how the authority
passes from one prophet to another and to encourage us to obey the words
of the prophets.
Elisha Succeeds Elijah As The Prophet
- READ 2 KINGS 2:1-10. Elisha stays with Elijah.
READ 2 KINGS 2:11-13. Elijah taken up to heaven.
WHAT DID ELISHA DO AFTER ELIJAH WAS TAKEN UP INTO HEAVEN?
- WHY DO YOU THINK ELISHA WAS SO INTENT ON STAYING WITH ELIJAH?
- Elisha was aware that Elijah would soon be taken away. He knew that
the prophetic calling would soon fall upon him. 1 Kings 19:19 reads: "So
he [Elijah] departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was
plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and
Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him."
- Elisha was humbled by the prophetic calling for he asked Elijah to
"let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me" (2:9).
- He probably wanted to feel the spirit of this great man before he was
- "He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him"
- WHAT IS THIS MANTLE THAT ELISHA TOOK UP?
- "Elijah's cloak, or mantle, was a symbol of his authority.
Possession of it symbolized that Elijah's former authority now rested on
Elisha." (Old Testament Student Manual 2, p64)
- WHAT HELP MIGHT ELIJAH'S MANTLE HAVE BEEN?
- In reality, there were two mantles:
WHO HAS THE MANTLE OF THE PROPHET TODAY? HOW IS THIS MANTLE TRANSFERRED
WHEN THE PROPHET DIES?
- The physical mantle - it would have been a symbol to others that Elisha
carried on under the same authority as Elijah. The cloak itself would have
been a reminder to Elisha of his important mission.
- The spiritual mantle - Elisha was blessed with the priesthood authority
to continue Elijah's ministry.
READ 2 KINGS 2:14-15. Elisha parts the waters
of the Jordan.
- Regarding the succession of authority when Joseph Smith died, Joseph
Fielding Smith stated: "The Prophet, in anticipation of his death,
conferred upon the Twelve all the keys and authorities which he held. He
did not bestow the keys on any one member, but upon them all, so that each
held the keys and authorities. All members of the Council of the Twelve
since that day have also been given all of these keys and powers. But these
powers cannot be exercised by any one of them until, if the occasion arises,
he is called to be the presiding officer of the Church. The Twelve, therefore,
in the setting apart of the President do not give him any additional priesthood,
but confirm upon him that which he has already received; they set him apart
to the office, which it is their right to do." (Doctrines of Salvation,
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "There is no mystery about the choosing
of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this
a long time ago, and the senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding
officer of the Church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve
which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency.
The president is not elected, but he has to be sustained both by his brethren
of the Council and by the members of the Church." (Doctrines of
Salvation, Vol.3, p156)
- President Hinckley explained how this procedure was followed after
the death of President Howard W. Hunter:
"With President Hunter's passing,
the First Presidency was dissolved. Brother Monson and I, who had served
as his counselors, took our places in the Quorum of the Twelve, which became
the presiding authority in the Church.
"[A few days later] all of the
living ordained Apostles gathered in a spirit of fasting and prayer in
the upper room of the temple. Here we sang a sacred hymn and prayed together.
We partook of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, renewing in that sacred,
symbolic testament our covenants and our relationship with Him who is our
divine Redeemer. The Presidency was then reorganized, following a precedent
well established through generations of the past. There was no campaigning,
no contest, no ambition for office. It was quiet, peaceful, simple, and
sacred. It was done after the pattern which the Lord Himself had put in
place." (Ensign, May 1995, p69)
READ 2 KINGS 2:16-18. The people go in search
- HOW DID THE PEOPLE RESPOND WHEN THEY SAW ELISHA DUPLICATE ELIJAH'S
MIRACLE OF PARTING THE WATERS OF JORDAN?
- They said that the spirit of Elijah rested upon him.
- They came and bowed themselves before Elisha.
WHAT DID ELISHA SAY TO THE PEOPLE WHEN THE 50 MEN CAME BACK WITHOUT
- AFTER SEEING THIS MIRACLE PERFORMED BY ELIJAH AND RESPONDING AS THEY
DID IN VERSE 15, WHY DO YOU THINK THESE PEOPLE THEN WANTED TO SEARCH FOR
- It would appears that they believed that Elijah was still the man behind
the power and they wanted to find him because their faith was in Elijah
and not his priesthood authority.
- WHY DO MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIFFICULTY ACCEPTING A NEW PROPHET?
- It has been said that with the death of each prophet, their are many
testimonies that also die. Like those who went in search of Elijah, their
faith was placed in the man and not in the priesthood and the keys of authority
which he holds.
- IF YOU HAVE EVER STRUGGLED WITH THIS, EITHER WITH A PROPHET, A BISHOP,
OR ANOTHER CHURCH LEADER, HOW HAVE YOU RESOLVED IT?
- HOW CAN WE KNOW FOR OURSELVES THAT THE MANTLE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO A PROPHET?
- "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17).
- "Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all
his [Joseph's or the prophet's] words and commandments which he shall give
unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
"For his word ye shall receive,
as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
"For by doing these things the
gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will
disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens
to shake for your good, and his name's glory" (D&C 21:4-6).
- It is always sad to see the loss of our prophet. As we listen to his
words and heed his counsel, we seem to create a powerful bond. It is hard
to think that another man can fill the shoes of he who passed away. Prior
to the passing of Presidents Benson and Hunter, it was difficult to visualize
President Hinckley as the prophet. I recognized the greatness in him and
enjoyed listening to him, but he did not seem to be a man who could be
the prophet. And yet, when the mantle fell from President Hunter to President
Hinckley, there was no doubt that this man had become the Lord's annointed.
If we are striving to live close to the Lord, the spirit enables us to
see the passing of the "mantle".
One of the great testimonies of this church
is the amazing succession of men who have become the President of the Church.
Consider the following names. As you do so, you recognize in each man a
faithful, dedicated servant who has served the Lord and by so doing helped
the Church progress in an amazing way. What other organization has done
- Joseph Smith - Brigham Young - John Taylor - Wilford Woodruff - Lorenzo
Snow - Joseph F. Smith - Heber J. Grant - George Albert Smith - David O.
McKay - Joseph Fielding Smith - Harold B. Lee - Spencer W. Kimball - Ezra
Taft Benson - Howard W. Hunter - Gordon B. Hinckley.
- "Did I not say unto you, Go not?" (2 Kings 2:18).
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF THE 50 MEN?
- WHY DO WE SOMETIMES WAIT FOR PROPHETS TO REPEAT COUNSEL BEFORE WE FOLLOW
- WHAT COUNSEL HAVE CHURCH LEADERS GIVEN US IN RECENT YEARS? HOW HAVE
YOU BEEN BLESSED AS YOU HAVE FOLLOWED THIS COUNSEL?
- We all remember the powerful counsel given by President Benson regarding
the Book of Mormon. When I have been diligent in following that counsel,
my spiritual strength and desire to do good has increased. I know my family
has been blessed. Who can doubt his words?
Elijah Heals Naaman of Leprosy
- READ 2 KINGS 5:1-4. Captive Israelite maid tells
of a prophet.
READ 2 KINGS 5:9-12.
- HOW DID NAAMAN, CAPTAIN OF SYRIA'S ARMY LEARN ABOUT ELISHA AND HIS
- A little maid who had been brought captive out of Israel.
- Prophets, like Elisha do many great works, but those who direct people
to the prophets--and so to the Lord--also do a work that is important.
- The young Israelite girl who testified of Elisha was an example for
us. She was not afraid to share her belief in the prophet Elisha.
- HOW ARE WE DOING IN SHARING OUR BELIEF IN A LIVING PROPHET?
WHAT CAN NAAMAN'S STORY TEACH US ABOUT FOLLOWING ALL THE WORDS OF THE
PROPHET--EVEN THOSE WE MAY NOT LIKE OR UNDERSTAND?
- WHY WAS NAAMAN UPSET BY ELISHA'S RESPONSE TO HIM?
- "But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought,
He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD
his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper"
- Naaman did exercise some faith by coming to Elisha. But he seemed to
think that this power of Elisha required no additional faith or effort
on his part.
- V13-14: "And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and
said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest
thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash,
and be clean?
"Then went he down, and dipped
himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God:
and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he
was clean" (5:13-14).
- 1 Nephi 17:41: "And he did straiten them in the wilderness
with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the
Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents
among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might
be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because
of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who
- Marvin J. Ashton: "Any Church member not obedient to the leaders
of this Church will not have the opportunity to be obedient to the promptings
of the Lord.... To obey the gospel law is to yield obedience to those divinely
called to preside over us." (Conference Report, Munich Germany
Area Conference 1973, p.23)
- Rex D. Pinegar: "Are we not sometimes like Naaman, looking
for big or important things to do and bypassing simple things which could
change our lives and heal us of our afflictions." (Ensign, Nov.
- Consider the words of our prophet, President Hinckley: "The
way of the gospel is a simple way. Some of the requirements may appear
to you as elementary and unnecessary. Do not spurn them. Humble yourselves
and walk in obedience. I promise that the results that follow will be marvelous
to behold and satifying to experience." (Ensign, Nov. 1976, p96)
Elisha Guides Israel In A War With Syria
- READ 2 KINGS 6:8-10. Elisha helps the king of Israel.
"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and
gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots.
And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?"
- HOW DID ELISHA HELP THE KING OF ISRAEL IN THE WAR AGAINST SYRIA?
- He received a warning regarding the Syrians.
- WHAT DID THE KINGS OF SYRIA DO WHEN HE LEARNED WHAT ELISHA WAS DOING?
- He made plans to kidnap Elisha (6:11-14).
- Elisha's response: "Fear not: for they that be with us are
more than they that be with them" (6:16).
- WHAT DID ELISHA MEAN?
- Elisha was speaking of the Lord's host that had been sent to protect
- "And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes,
that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he
saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire
round about Elisha" (6:17).
- WHAT MODERN-DAY CIRCUMSTANCES MIGHT LEAD SOME OF US TO BELIEVE THAT
WE ARE HELPLESS AGAINST THE EVILS OF THE WORLD?
- HOW CAN THE CONFIDENCE THAT 'THEY THAT BE WITH US ARE MORE THAN THEY
THAT BE WITH THEM" HELP US AS WE BATTLE AGAINST THESE EVILS?
- Dallin H. Oaks: "When I read this wonderful story as a boy,
I always identified with the young servant of Elisha. I thought, If I am
ever surrounded by the forces of evil while I am in the Lord's service,
I hope the Lord will open my eyes and give me faith to understand that
when we are in the work of the Lord, those who are with us are always more
powerful than those who oppose us."
- When Heber C. Kimball and some of the other brethren were in the process
of opening up the missionary work in England, they had a confrontation
with the forces of Satan. Heber said of this confrontation, "I
cannot even look back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet by it
I learned the power of the adversary, [p.131] his enmity against the servants
of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world. We distinctly
heard those spirits talk and express their wrath and hellish designs against
us. However, the Lord delivered us from them, and blessed us exceedingly
that day" (Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp130-131). Many months later,
Heber asked the Prophet about this incident and wondered if there was something
wrong with him. Joseph replied, "No, Brother Heber, at that time
you were nigh unto the Lord; there was only a veil between you and Him,
but you could not see Him. When I heard of it, it gave me great joy, for
I then knew that the work of God had taken root in that land. It was this
that caused the devil to make a struggle to kill you" (Life of
- D&C 84:87-88: "Behold, I send you out to reprove the world
of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is
to come. And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before
your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit
shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
- President Hinckley: "We have not as yet carried the gospel
to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. But we have made great strides.
We have gone wherever we are permitted to go. God is at the help, and doors
will be opened by His power according to His divine will. Of that I am
confident. Of that I am certain." (Ensign, Nov. 1995, pp70-71)
- I grew up in the Church during the 1950's and 1960's. That was a time
when it seemed impossible that we would ever send missionaries to eastern
Europe and the Soviet Union. It seemed unlikely that we would soon send
missionaries to the African continent, other than southern Africa. And
yet, what has happened in recent years? What miracles have occurred? There
is no question in my mind that the hosts of heaven have been working to
open these lands to the preaching of the Restored Gospel.
We live in a time when prophets once again direct the work of the Lord
upon the earth. How blessed we are to have men like Elijah and Elisha to
lead us. Our responsibility is to follow their counsel. As we do so, we
will invoke the powers of heaven in our battle against the adversary.
Lesson 30: 2 Chronicles 29-30; 32; 34
Additional Reading: 2 Chronicles 31; 33; 2 Kings 18-19; 22-23;
Isaiah 37:10-20, 33-38
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