Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
—2 Kings 2: 6–14

Then Elijah said to him (Elisha), ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
— 2 Kings 2: 6-14

This is one of the great moments in all of scripture; the prophet Elijah and his disciple/apprentice Elisha are together for one final time. Elisha would not leave his mentor’s side, as he knew that their time together was short. Elisha’s final request of Elijah is a “double share” or “double portion” of his spirit. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Elisha expects to have twice as much spiritual power as his mentor. His request of Elijah may just be similar to what an elder son asks of his father. In biblical times, the eldest son of a family typically received a “double portion” of his father’s inheritance, while the other sons split the remainder. So perhaps Elisha’s desire was simply to be the natural heir of Elijah’s prophetic ministry. And it is clear by watching the rest of Elisha’s life that he certainly received Elijah’s spirit. In fact, オンライン カジノ Elisha’s life mimicked that of his mentor’s in many ways. Both served as prophets for many years; performing miracles, healing the sick, raising the dead, curing diseases, and offering prophetic leadership.

The story of Elijah being taken up to heaven in a whirlwind is the inspiration for the old Negro spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” — a song that has been recorded by hundreds of artists from every musical genre; from Benny Goodman to Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong to Joan Baez, and Johnny Cash to Dr. Dre. Anyone who longs for salvation, hopes for heaven, and believes that there is something better waiting for us on the other side, can sing this song with joy:

Chorus:
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

Sometimes I’m up and sometimes I’m down
Coming for to carry me home
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Coming for to carry me home

The brightest day that I can say
Coming for to carry me home
When Jesus washed my sins away,
Coming for to carry me home.

If I get there before you do
Coming for to carry me home
I’ll cut a hole and pull you through
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I’m coming too
Coming for to carry me home

[Editor’s note: Originally published December 29, 2009.]

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