Chariots of Fire

Ascension of Elijah

One of the craziest scenes in the bible is when the prophet Elijah and Elisha are walking together and talking, then suddenly Elijah is swept up by a 'Chariot of Fire' drawn by 'Horses of Fire' and taken into heaven.

11As 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. 12Elisha 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.
2 Kings 2 NIV

That verse fuels a buttload of speculation about how God gets around. And if you've ever watched the History channel's "Ancient Aliens" then its how the "gods" got around! So what was it and why? We could speculate all day. Some folks like to think it was soma ancient hebrews trying to describe a rocket ship or a jet aircraft, and with the limited language of their time, called it something impossible a "chariot" made of "fire" drawn by "horses" made of "fire". Another line of thinking rejects that concept altogether, because you don't  really need naturalistic explanations for the actions of a supernatural infinite God. He can take whomever he wants wherever he wants in whatever he wants including chariots made of fire!

Georgio Tsoukalos, History Channel's "Ancient Aliens"

After The Epic of Gilgamesh Part 1 and Part 2, I had resolved to look into some of the other prominent flood stories that exist. From Native America to the apocryphal Book of Enoch. In particular the Book of Enoch because it seems to be so often brought up by christians and non-christians alike wondering what exactly it is. And I am doing just that!

But it won't be the next thing coming from the podcast. #1 because it's a lot of stuff to read, #2 it will take some time to digest and corroborate certain bits of less familiar information. This is especially true with the Book of Enoch, since it is outside the canon of the bible, there is far more speculation or "fake news" surrounding it. 

So what's this got to do with Chariots of Fire? For starters, the man Enoch in the Book of Genesis is the only other man besides Elijah to be taken to heaven without dying in the bible. Second, there is a famous or infamous book called "Chariots of the Gods" that takes the ancient astronaut position on things. 

But that has got me going in a different direction altogether. The next bit in 2 Kings after Elijah is taken into heaven:

13Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.14He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
15The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16“Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
17But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
2 Kings 2 NI

Elisha had big shoes to fill. Elijah was after all, Elijah. Even the other men, despite knowing Elisha was picked to be his successor, went off looking for Elijah in disbelief. My weird brain took this, and since we're coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing,  started wondering if in some sense, we're looking back at the glory days when we should be looking forward and continuing to forge the path ahead. So hows that for content? Mashing up moon landings and space travel with some theology? 

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
"Project Orion" Nuclear Rocket Concept by NASA in the 1960s

What I want to do, is "wade in" to the earlier Apollo missions. 1-10, the ones that didn't land on the moon as my own little tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Then we'll skip ahead (or backwards) to some old plans for nuclear rockets, and some future plans that just got announced! If you're a space nerd of some kind you'll want to check it out. And if you made it this far, I'm guessing you are because a bunch of my content is space related!