“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.”
2 Kings 2:11
The story of the disappearance of Elijah is an instructive journey on the need to depend on the power of God. On the way that leads to this moment there are three stops leaving from Gilgal: Bethel, Jericho & the Jordan. Bethel means “house of God” and it had a great spiritual tradition, just think of Jacob. During the years the people had given to idolatry and an entire generation fell into unbelief. Elisha must have felt disgust and outrage for that totally lost society, and he maybe understood to not be ready yet to face such a challenge. So they reached Jericho (“place of fragrant”), a land completely fruitless as there was some poisonous water infiltrated into the springs. Here there was a school of prophets and men who studied the Scriptures who couldn’t give a solution to the problem. So here the need to get to the Jordan as experiencing the power of God through the cloak that divided the water first and it went on Elisha’s life later. If Bethel could be a mocker society about the things of God and Jericho a Christianity full of thinking but with no substance, then we are called to reach and cross the Jordan.
In the prophet’s name is explained his mission. In fact the name of Elijah Eliyyahu means "my God is Yahweh", and all of his actions had to demonstrate the truthfulness of it. Through the Tishbite, that is the stranger coming from a small village, at east of the Jordan, from the Upper Galilee, the Bible tells us that in the midst of death God gives life. Elijah wore “loins girded” (1 King 18:46) and a cloak (2 King 2:8-13) and he lived near the Jordan. Elisha followed Elijah keeping on his work under the kingdoms of Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz and Jehoash (from 860 to 780). His story is told in 2 Kings chapters 2 and 3. The name of Elisha Oelysha means “my God is salvation”. Their stories create a thrilling saga between the two books of Kings.