Spirited Away

What did Elijah do after he was taken in his chariot ride in the atmosphere? One thing he did was do something I am known to do from time to time [1]: write a letter. We read of this letter in 2 Corinthians 21:12-15: “And a letter came to him [Jehoram, the son of righteous King Jeroboam] from Elijah the prophet, saying, “Thus says the Eternal God of your father David: Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and have also killed your brothers, those of your father’s household, who were better than yourself, behold, the Eternal will strike your people with a serious affliction–your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day.”

One reason this passage is not well known is that it occurs in one of the most obscure books of the Bible. Few people read 2 Chronicles with the sort of depth that other books of the Bible gain. Those who do read 2 Chronicles and the story of Elijah’s letter come to one of two conclusions. Some people [2], myself included, point out that Elijah’s “going to heaven” was not quite what is often assumed to be the case, because Elijah was transported somewhere on earth that allowed him to send a letter a few years later. Others, who do not agree with that conclusion, argue weakly [3] that the letter was written before Elijah’s chariot ride in order to support a bogus idea of Elijah going to God’s throne, which directly contradicts scripture (namely John 3:13). Is there any other biblical support that we can muster for Elijah being spirited away under the earth?

As a matter of fact, there is. When Elijah met up with Obadiah, the godly steward made the following comment in 1 Kings 18:9-12: “So he [Obadiah] said, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? As the Eternal your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you. And now you say, ‘Go tell your master, “Elijah is here”‘! And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the Eternal will carry you to a place I do not know, so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the Eternal from my youth.”

Elijah had a reputation of being spirited away by the power of God, so much so that his skills at divinely aided flight were already known even before his chariot ride. Of course, that chariot ride is often willfully misunderstood for obvious reasons. For one, the Bible itself tends to focus on God’s work in Israel, but provides enough information that God is interested in areas outside of Israel [4] to demonstrate that God’s focus is more broad than we often understand. The Bible does not state exactly where Elijah went, but wherever he went, he did God’s work for the rest of his life, and then slept in the earth as a loyal servant of God awaiting the resurrection into the Kingdom of Heaven. Wherever he went, though, it was likely to be in the landmass of Asia, Europe, or Africa, as he was able to send a letter to Judah, implying that he was at least somewhere near a trade route.

Nor was Elijah the only biblical believer who is known to be spirited away. In Acts 8:39-40, we read: “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Eternal caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and e went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.” Here we see that Philip too was spirited away after he had finished his task in baptizing the eunuch. We cannot guarantee that we will ever see such an action in our own lives, but we ought to see that God occasionally, for His own purposes, does carry away His servants doing His work. Let us learn from the example of Elijah, and avoid trying to smuggle in illegitimate interpretations of scripture while we seek to understand it as best as possible.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/letters-that-you-never-meant-to-send/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/lest-i-seem-to-terrify-you-by-letters/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/im-going-to-sit-right-down-and-write-myself-a-letter/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/i-feel-a-letter-coming-on/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/a-letter-from-america/

[2] http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/heaven-gods-reward-righteous/did-elijah-go-heav/

[3] http://www.tektonics.org/tsr/letterdead.html

[4] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/scraps-from-the-masters-table/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/deuteronomy-10-12-21-what-does-the-eternal-require-of-you/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/the-statutes-commandments-and-laws-of-god-before-sinai/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/lessons-from-the-book-of-obadiah/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/two-approaches-to-government-part-two/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/two-approaches-to-government-part-one/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/genesis-34-the-rape-of-dinah/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/psalm-45-my-tongue-is-the-pen-of-a-ready-writer/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/divine-providence-in-the-book-of-ruth-part-one/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/exodus-31-12-18-the-sabbath-covenant/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-the-jews-should-have-known-from-the-night-to-be-much-observed/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/deuteronomy-4-5-9-the-evangelistic-mission-of-israel/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/divine-providence-in-the-story-of-naaman-the-syrian/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, History, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Spirited Away

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