The Bible describes the ascension of Elijah to heaven as follows: “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 kings 2:11).
The “chariots of God” were clearly the angels of God (Psalm 68:17). These heavenly beings are God’s messengers, “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14).
Angels and divine beings are represented in different forms to mankind. Zechariah saw horses of different colors (Zech. 1:8), which the Bible named as messengers “whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth” (Zech. 1:10). He also saw horses and chariots (Zech. 6:1–3), as the “spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth” (Zech. 6:5). And the prophet Ezekiel envisioned “living creatures” with the appearance of “burning coals of fire” with their movements compared to flashes of lightning (Eze. 1:13, 14).
Horses and chariots are generally depicted in the Scriptures as symbols for the power and glory of God. Habakkuk represents God’s power in the following way: “Thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation” (Hab. 3:8). Isaiah adds that God will come “with his chariots like a whirlwind” (Isa. 66:15). The Bible also tells us that when Elisha’s servant was terrified because the great Syrians army with its horses and chariots (2 Kings 6:14, 15), Elisha prayed that the eyes of his servant be opened. As result, his servant saw the mountain “full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17).
Along with the chariots of fire, the Lord sent a whirlwind (Job 38:1; Isaiah 66:15; Nahum 1:3).
At the end of his life, Elijah was honored by God for his faithful ministry as he endured discouragement and hardships. He witnessed to God alone when the nation rejected the Almighty. So, the Lord did not allow His prophet to face reproach nor perish by those who sought his life. As Elijah stood for God, so the Lord now raised him, not allowing him to die in the grave, but to ascend to heaven.
In His service,
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