Elijah: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot!
By: Carletta Traylor aka C.N.
I don’t know about any of you, but I love a good rollercoaster ride (I especially love creeping to the top of the rollercoaster, waiting for the BIG DROP!)! While some people have Niagara Falls running down their legs (I sense warmer undies! Haha), I have a maniacal smile on my face (I’m not Joker from Dark Knight levels of crazy; I just love the thrill of it all. Haha), anxiously awaiting the adrenaline-filled dip (as the Road Warriors (RIP) used to say, “Ohhhhh, what a rushhhhhh!!!!!” Arms, hair and spit flying everywhere!).
Once the ride has stopped, and everyone has gotten off (some people feel 15 pounds lighter and 15 years older after getting off. Haha), they usually go potty, go to the next ride, sit down, grab food/drinks/souvenirs, and/or go home (there’s no place like home!). What happens, however, when your ride doesn’t let you off, but instead takes you to your NEW home? This brings us to the story of God taking Elijah to the heavens in the Bible.
If you’ll recall from my previous post, Elijah: Stop Your Complainin’! You’ve Got Some ‘Plainin’ To Do!, Elijah was God’s greatest prophet. In other words, Elijah spent his entire life teaching the Israelites (God’s homies! His homeboys! His home skillet biscuits with butter and jelly on top! His…sorry. Haha) about the Kingdom of God-repent of your sins (ask God to please forgive you of your sins-bad things that we say, do, don’t do, and/or think, that God doesn’t like-and help you to stop sinning), follow God forevermore (put God first in your life; trust and believe in his power; obey (listen to) him at all times), and act like y’all have some home training (did you hear that, Ahab and Jezebel?!?!?!? You delusional, scum-loving dipsticks! Haha)!
Elijah was a glimmer of hope (and God’s light) in a dark, sin-sick world: people loved sin, they hated God (they didn’t care about God; they didn’t fear God; they didn’t worry about the consequences of their sinful, evil actions), and no one could tell them anything (they sound A LOT like today’s kids, don’t they?!?!?! They love to run their mouths (bumping your gums gets you NOWHERE, kids!!!), test your patience, and make you want to extend your own version of the right hand of fellowship (please forgive me, Lord! Please take the wheel, Jesus! Haha)). As such, Elijah (like all of God’s prophets) made his fair share of enemies, and many people wanted him dead. In come King Drizzling Doofus (King Ahab) and Queen Braindead Bat (Queen Jezebel) of Israel to do Satan’s (that lava-loving loser’s) bidding.
Ahab and Jezebel hated God, worshipped Baal (a fake, phony, second-rate “god,” and one of Satan’s buddies. Satan is the main enemy of the Holy Trinity-God the Father (God Almighty), God the Son (our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit)), and they wanted to 1) corrupt the Israelites (turn them against God and toward sin, evil & wickedness) and 2) kill anyone who believed in/followed God (and refused to bow down to Baal). As such, Ahab and Jezebel had all of God’s prophets (in Israel) killed, except for Elijah.
Elijah, being the last prophet standing in Israel (though not the last believer standing, as God had over 7,000 saints still living and spreading his truth throughout Israel), was miserable-he was scared and alone, and he wanted to die (can sugarless Krispy Kreme donuts die instead?!?! No one wants to eat that hot garbage! If I wanted a bland donut, I would have eaten a bagel! DUH! Haha).
Fast forward a few years, and A LOT has happened: King Ahab and Queen Jezebel have died (Ahab was killed by an arrow during battle (and the dogs licked his blood), whereas Jezebel was thrown out of a window and eaten by dogs (they liked their bacon extra crispy…and salty! I need to behave. Haha); their son, Ahaziah (who was an equally worthless piece of God-hating monkey trash as the king of Israel), has been sentenced to death by God (he fell out a window at his house, seriously injured himself, he looked to Baal instead of God to heal him, and God punished Ahaziah (God sent Elijah to relay the message to Ahaziah) by sentencing him to death-he would surely die!
Elijah sees Ahaziah’s messengers on their way to Ekron (those losers didn’t have anything important to do), and he tells them what God (through one of God’s angels) has told him about the fate of their “precious” king, Ahaziah: that royal chump is about to keel over (God just gave that imbecile a divine dropkick to the throat! HIYAH! Say no to violence, kids! Jesus loves you. Haha). The messengers tell Ahaziah what the deal is, and Ahaziah reacts how we’d expect a pompous punk to react-he tries to arrest Elijah.
Ahaziah sends two groups of 50 soldiers (100 soldiers altogether) to arrest Elijah and bring him (Elijah) to him (Ahaziah)…only for God to burn them to death (by fire) before they could touch Elijah (Can’t touch this! *Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh, nuh-nuh, nuh-nuh! Can’t touch this! That’s what I’m talking about! God doesn’t play about his children! Try him if you want to! He’ll roast fools like chestnuts on an open fire for messing with his saints! Who wants s’mores?! I’ll bring the graham crackers. Haha). Ahaziah then sends a third group of 50 soldiers to arrest Elijah, but instead of arresting him, the captain of the soldiers begs Elijah for mercy (he asks for God’s/Elijah’s forgiveness, and for them to please not receive the punishment that they deserve. Good man, good man. He heard about what happened to the other 100 soldiers. Haha). God turns the tables on Ahaziah further, telling Elijah to go with the soldiers (he wasn’t arrested, cuffed or chained in any way; he was just walking freely with the soldiers) and tell Ahaziah what he had initially told him: Ahaziah was getting ready to die.
Elijah obeyed God, he went with the soldiers, he relayed God’s message to Ahaziah (you’ve messed up big time, boy! You’re a dead man walking…or should I say, sitting?!?!?!?!), and Ahaziah died shortly thereafter (ding-dong, the dipstick is dead!). Ahaziah’s brother, Jehoram, would become the next king of Israel (he would reign for 12 years), and upon Jehoram’s death, Ahab’s dynasty came to an end (no more rulers from this wicked family! No more rulers from this wicked family! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus! God is good!). This brings us to the subject of today’s post (finally!), Elijah passing the baton (track references! Who loves track & field?! Haha) to Elisha (Elisha became God’s newest lead prophet in Israel), and God taking Elijah to the heavens.
As the 2nd chapter of 2 Kings begins, Elijah knows that today is his last day on Earth (God has told him so. Haha). Elijah has worked hard for God, he has done everything that God has asked him to do (he has fulfilled his divine calling), and it’s now time for Elijah to rest. Elijah has been mentoring Elisha in the ways of God, and Elisha is now ready to take Elijah’s place as the new head prophet in Israel. Elijah travels to Bethel, Jericho, and the Jordan River during the day, and each time, he insists that Elisha stay back and rest. Elisha isn’t having it, however, and he instead goes with Elijah to each of these three locations (thata’ boy, Elisha! You’re dedicated to fulfilling God’s purposes! BUMP rest! There’s work to do! Haha). Once Elijah and Elisha make it the Jordan River, the following happens:
2 Kings 2:8 (KJV)-And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
Alright now! If we’ll recall from my previous post, I See The Red Sea! Pharaoh’s A Weenie!, God used Moses to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, under Pharaoh. As Moses and the 600,000 Israelites came to the Red Sea, and Pharaoh’s army was coming after them, God put a barrier between Pharaoh’s army and the Israelites (a pillar of clouds and fire so that one side was completely lit, and the other side was completely dark). God then proceeded to part the Red Sea, dry up the waters, and Moses and the Israelites were able to cross the Red Sea on dry land, escaping Pharaoh and his army forever!
God has performed a similar miracle here, through Elijah. When Elijah and Elisha had made it to the Jordan River, God empowered Elijah to divide (part) the Jordan River, creating dry land, and the two of them were able to cross the Jordan River on dry ground (won’t God do it?!?! He’s a miracle worker! Nothing is impossible with God!).
Once Elijah and Elisha have crossed the Jordan River, Elijah tells Elisha to make any request that he will of him, before he (Elijah) is taken up in the skies with God Almighty. Elisha responds by asking for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (please give me a double shot of God’s spirit, which lives within you, Elijah! I want to be ON FIRE for God! I want to preach his truth and represent him in the best way possible!). Elijah responds to Elisha’s request by telling Elisha that if he (Elisha) sees God take him (Elijah) up to glory, then he (Elisha) will receive the double portion of his (Elijah’s) spirit.
As soon as Elijah made his statement, a chariot of fire, carried by horses of fire, suddenly appeared. The fiery horse-drawn chariot took Elijah up, carrying him into the heavenly skies with God (take that, Goku! Your powers aren’t nearly that impressive! Haha). Elisha bore witness to his mentor and friend, Elijah, being carried into the skies by God. As such, Elisha received the double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and he became God’s new primary prophet in Israel (you go, boy! Haha).
There are 2 important points that I’d like to make about this story. Firstly, Elijah went up with God WITHOUT dying first. As we all know (or we’ll now learn), a person usually passes away (dies) before going to his or her final destination. In other words, we will all die one day-we will stop breathing and moving, our bodies will turn cold, our families/friends will hold a funeral in our honor (we’ll be dressed up and put into a casket), and we will be buried (the casket, with our bodies in them, will be put into the ground and covered with dirt. We will have a headstone-made out of rock-that shows our name, what year we were born, what year we passed away, as well as a nice message from our families and/or friends. People can visit our gravesites and leave flowers, teddy bears, and other nice things there) or cremated (our bodies will be burned, and our ashes will be put into a container, which our families can keep, if they so choose to). Here, Elijah went with God without dying first. Elijah is one of only two people (the other person being Enoch, Adam’s great-great-great-great grandson, and Noah’s great grandfather) to go straight into the heavens without dying first.
Secondly, notice that I’ve been saying that God took Elijah up “into the heavens,” instead of saying to Heaven. If you all have been reading my posts for any time, you know that I love to describe the process for becoming saved and dwelling in Heaven when we die. Being saved is as simple as ABC:
- Admit that we’re sinners, and ask God to please forgive us of our sins (bad things that we say, do, don’t do, and/or think, that God doesn’t like) and help us to stop sinning (Please clean me up, Lord! I’m hot garbage, dipped in excrement, sprinkled in chitling grease on the inside (just STANKY!)!).
- Believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son, that he died on the Cross for our sins, that he rose from the dead (3 days later) with all power in his hands, that’s he’s in Heaven with God Almighty, and that he’s coming back to get his children (take all believers home with him to Heaven) and to judge/destroy this wicked world.
- Commit ourselves to following Jesus Christ (listen to him and live for/like him forevermore).
During Jesus’s last days on Earth (he lived to be 33 years old), he made clear to his disciples (his homies!) that he would go and prepare a place for them-he was getting Heaven ready for their arrival (a huge mansion, streets of gold, milk and honey waterfalls, never-ending happiness and joy, bumping Holy Ghost music, and much, much more! Aye! Turn up! Ain’t no party like a Holy Ghost party, ‘cause a Holy Ghost party don’t stop! Party over here! Ooh-ooh! Party over here! Ooh-ooh! Haha). Once Jesus went back to Heaven (after his death on the Cross and resurrection (he rose!)), then, and ONLY then, would anyone be able to enter Heaven after his or her death.
God Almighty (God the Father) took Elijah up with him BEFORE Jesus came to Earth-Jesus had not yet been born of the virgin, Mary, had not yet grown up, had not yet died on the Cross for our sins, and had not yet rose from the dead and returned to Heaven. As such, Heaven had not yet been prepared for God’s children (believers in and followers of Jesus Christ).
With this in mind, God Almighty took Elijah up to a place lower than Heaven-there were lower “heavens” (little “h”) underneath Heaven (big “H”), where God the Father (God Almighty), God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit) will live with all of us believers forever. When God took Elijah up with him, he took Elijah to one of these lower heavens. When Jesus comes back to take all of us home (and to judge/destroy this world), we’ll all be together with him in big Heaven (Yay!!! Yippee!!! Hip-hip, hooray! Hip-hip, hooray!)! Elijah’s coming too! We’ll see you there, buddy!
I absolutely LOVE this story! When we spread God’s truth and do what God says, great things happen (Elijah went up to the heavens on a flaming chariot with flaming horses, for crying out loud! Haha). Regardless of what may happen in this life, when we keep our hands in God’s hands (and keep our eyes on Jesus), he will take care of us and give us rest (let the church say, “Amen!” I already know that I’m a snorer-we’ll talking loud noises, drool marks, gnats flying around the mouth, all that! Haha).
Given the length of today’s story, I will not do a modern-day remix of it. No worries, though (I won’t leave y’all hanging like that! That would be TRIFLING of me!)! I have instead included a wonderful video from The Holy Tales: Bible, which summarizes the story of God carrying Elijah into the heavens beautifully.
The Holy Tales: Bible-Elijah Taken To Heaven (YouTube):
I hope that you all enjoyed today’s post! Tomorrow, we will look at Elisha’s first acts as God’s new head prophet in Israel (spoiler alert! It’s a doozie! Get your popcorn and soda ready! Haha). I look forward to seeing you all there! Until then, I love you all, God bless you all, and I’ll see you all on the next one!