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Elijah Ascends to Heaven


Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all recognize the prophet Elijah in both scripture and folklore.  Elijah ascended to heaven and, according to legend, his reappearance heralds the arrival of a Greater One.


How is it possible, you may ask, for a man who lived in ancient times to return hundreds or thousands of years later?  Whether you believe Elijah was admitted into heaven or merely ascended to heaven, we are told that – one way or another – he is up there and ready to return as a messenger at the appropriate time.


In Kings 2 2:11-12, Elijah and his disciple Elisha were beside the Jordan River:


11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.  12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”  And Elisha saw him no more.  Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.


Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind?  Really?  Well, okay – many remarkable events occur in the Bible, so maybe it was inevitable that sooner or later someone would be swept up to heaven in a whirlwind.


Except that was not the first time this sort of thing happened.


In Genesis 5:21-24, the patriarch Enoch (Noah’s great-grandfather) had a similar experience:


21 When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah.  22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  23 So Enoch lived a total of 365 years.  24 Enoch walked with God, and then he was no more because God had taken him away.


Okay, that’s two.  And then there was Ezekiel.


The Book of Ezekiel, told in the first person, describes in incredible detail Ezekiel’s encounter with a fiery flying vehicle of glowing metal – a “wheel chariot” – inside of which were beings with the “likeness of man.”  Ezekiel tells of flashing lights, noise, clouds, and a whirlwind.


Could it be that these biblical passages are actually tales of alien abductions and an encounter with an extraterrestrial spacecraft?


In the 1970s, a leading NASA scientist by the name of Josef Blumrich thought the idea was preposterous and spent months of intensive reading and research in the hope of proving that Ezekiel’s eyewitness account was nothing more than an imagined heavenly vision.  Much to his surprise, Blumrich ended up concluding that Ezekiel had in fact witnessed a type of spacecraft, and chronicled his findings in his 1973 book The Spaceships of Ezekiel, which is still on sale (as an audio book) many decades later.


The Bible is not a history or science textbook, and it is easy to fall into the trap of taking biblical passages literally and jumping to outlandish conclusions.  At the same time, however, we should allow for the possibility that ancient writers may truly have tried to describe technology beyond their comprehension, things that seemed like divine magic to them but which now make sense in the context of today’s technologically advanced world.


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