“He Took Up … the Mantle of Elijah”
Elisha succeeds Elijah as the prophet.
Elisha heals Naaman of leprosy.
Elisha guides Israel in a war with Syria.
A study of this lesson will help us understand how the authority (mantle)
passes from one prophet to another, to encourage us to obey the words of the
prophets, and to assure us that the power of God is greater than any other
Scripture references for study: 2 Kings 2;
2 Kings 5–6
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 29 Handout (PDF
Elisha Succeeds Elijah As The Prophet
2 KINGS 2:1-10. Elisha stays with Elijah.
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 fall upon him. In the previous chapter we read,
"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." (1 Kings 19:19)
Elisha was humbled by the prophetic calling for he asked Elijah to "let
a double portion of thy spirit be upon me" (2 Kings 2:9).
Elisha probably wanted to feel the spirit of this great man before he was taken.
2 KINGS 2:14-15. Elisha parts the waters
of the Jordan.
"He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell
from him" (v13).
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, p64)
WHAT HELP MIGHT ELIJAH'S MANTLE HAVE BEEN?
In reality, there were two mantles:
The physical mantle - it would have been a symbol to others that Elisha
carried 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.
WHO HAS THE MANTLE OF THE PROPHET TODAY? HOW IS THIS MANTLE TRANSFERRED
WHEN THE PROPHET DIES?
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, 3:155)
President 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, 3:156)
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)
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 FIFTY MEN CAME BACK WITHOUT
AFTER SEEING THIS MIRACLE PERFORMED BY ELISHA AND RESPONDING AS THEY DID
IN VERSE 15, WHY DO YOU THINK THESE PEOPLE THEN WANTED TO SEARCH FOR ELIJAH?
It would appear 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, there are many testimonies
that also die. Like those who went in search of Elijah, their faith
is placed in the man and not in the priesthood and the keys of authority
which he holds.
HAVE YOU EVER STRUGGLED WITH THE CHANGE OF 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"
"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
"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
It is always sad to see the loss of our prophet. As we listen to
his words and heed his counsel, we 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 anointed. 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 presidents of the Church. Consider the following names. Each was a faithful, dedicated servant who served the Lord and
helped the Church progress in an amazing way. What other organization
has done that?
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 - Thomas S. Monson.
"Did I not say unto you, Go not?" (2 Kings
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF THE FIFTY 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?
Elisha Heals Naaman of Leprosy
2 KINGS 5:1-4. Captive Israelite maid tells
of a prophet.
2 KINGS 5:9-12.
HOW DID NAAMAN, CAPTAIN OF SYRIA'S ARMY LEARN ABOUT ELISHA AND HIS HEALING
A maid who had been brought captive out of Israel.
Prophets, like Elisha do many great works. Those who direct people
to the prophets, and thus to the Lord, also do a work that is important.
The young Israelite girl who testified of Elisha is 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" (v11).
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.
"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" (2 Kings 5:13-14).
"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 perished." (1 Nephi 17:41)
Elder 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)
Elder 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. 1994, p80)
Consider the words of 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 satisfying to experience." (Ensign, Nov. 1976,
Elisha Guides Israel In A War With Syria
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?" (2 Kings 6:15)
HOW DID ELISHA HELP THE KING OF ISRAEL IN THE WAR AGAINST SYRIA?
He sent a warning regarding the Syrians.
WHAT DID THE KING OF SYRIA DO WHEN HE LEARNED WHAT ELISHA WAS DOING?
Elisha's response: "Fear not: for they that
be with us are more than they that be with them." (2 Kings 6:16)
WHAT DID ELISHA MEAN?
Elisha was speaking of the Lord's host that had been sent to protect them.
"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." (2 Kings 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?
Elder 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."
(Ensign, Nov 1992, p39)
When Heber C. Kimball and his 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, 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
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 Heber C. Kimball, pp131-132)
"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." (D&C 84:87-88)
President Gordon B. 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 helm, 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.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- We live in a time when prophets once again direct the work of the Lord
upon the earth. How blessed we are to have modern prophets 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
- Record your thoughts on Elisha. What lessons can you learn from his story
that may be applied to your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Report, Munich Germany Area Conference 1973.
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney.
Old Testament Student Manual - Religion 302.
Gospel Doctrine Class
Page created by: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please E-Mail comments.
Changes last made on:
06 July 2014