2 Kings 2:1–12—Elijah was one of the greatest of the prophets of God, remaining faithful and proclaiming God’s Word even when nearly all of Israel had apostatized. He is one of only two people in Scripture who didn’t die; rather, God took him—in a fiery chariot. The last verses of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5-6, prophesy that Elijah would appear before the coming of the Messiah. Jesus said that John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy (Matt. 11:14); later, Elijah appeared with Jesus at His transfiguration.
Elijah was trying to leave for heaven apart from Elisha to save him a sad farewell, It was a leave for Elijah, for here on earth we have no abiding place. Life is only a sojourn, a short pilgrimage. Earth is not our permanent home. Elisha was determined not to leave Elijah. Three times he swore he would not let Elijah out of his sight. Here we see the extent of Elisha’s love and devotion to his spiritual father. His persistent loyalty was rewarded by witnessing Elijah’s dramatic departure.
The final destination of God’s people is heaven. The only sure thing we know about heaven is that we are with God. And to be with God is to share in His life, light and glory. Heaven is where the soul lives eternally. This is confirmed by Elijah’s appearance at the Transfiguration.
Prayers for the Epiphany Season: Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 Lectionary Preaching Workbook, John Brockhoff © 1991 CSS Publishing, Lima OH
 Collects for the Epiphany Season, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis
Illustration from the woodcut “The Transfiguration” by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872 copyright © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.