One of the last things Elijah did before he was taken up to heaven by God was to ask Elisha what he could for for him. When Elisha responded that he wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to be upon him, Elijah told Elisha that he had asked a hard thing.
Yet, who exactly would this task be hard for? Would it be hard for God? Would it be hard for Elijah, a man who had raised the dead and called down fire from heaven? No, it was going to be hard for Elisha! This was something he would have to obtain for himself because Elijah did not have the ability to empower his servant with a portion of the Spirit residing within himself. Only God can impart His Spirit to man.
But Elijah replied, “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” (verse 10). It is important to note that the words “when” and “am” in this verse do not appear in the original Hebrew. They were inserted later into the text of the King James Version. Thus, I believe Elijah was saying to Elisha, “If you see me as being taken from you.”
Elijah was saying, “The Holy Spirit cannot do a special work in you as long as you are still leaning on my memory. You have to consider me gone. You don't need me, Elisha. Turn to the Lord, whose Spirit also worked in me, and He will answer your cry.”
The moment Elisha saw his master whisked away in the heavenly chariot, he assumed his responsibility to carry on God’s work to his generation. And as he stood at the Jordan River and struck the water, the words he cried out were, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). The young prophet was saying, “Lord, all my spiritual forefathers are dead and gone. And this awful hour requires even more than You have given so far. Work again, Lord, this time through me. I have to be empowered with more of Your Spirit.”
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon