VINSON: No sleigh, a chariot instead

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With the Christmas holiday upon us, this story, from a different angle, should fit the bill. Instead of talking about Santa Claus trekking through the sky in a sled pulled by reindeers, we're going to focus on a chariot pulled by horses.

According to Biblical history, only two mortal men have been translated from earth to Heaven without having to die: Enoch and Elijah. (NOTE: Moses, in fact, was translated to Heaven after being resurrected. He, first, had to experience death on earth for disobeying a direct order from the Almighty.)

Elijah "the Tishbite" was one of Israel 's most revered prophets. He is well known for his feuds with Ahab, King of Israel, and his wife, Jezebel, who was so evil that the name Jezebel is routinely used to describe the most wicked of women. I imagine each of us has heard someone, in a moment of anger, blurt out, "That Jezebel!"

Without doubt, God was one-hundred percent on Elijah's side.  For instance, take the great showdown at Mount Carmel:

Rather than worshiping the true God in Heaven, Ahab and Jezebel worshiped the false god Baal, and, also, had convinced many Israelites-mostly out of fear of being put to death-to worship Baal. Elijah issued a challenge to Ahab: For Ahab to bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah (a female version of Baal, you could say) to Mount Carmel , and there would be a showdown between Elijah and the 850 prophets.

At Mount Carmel , Elijah issued this challenge directly to the 450 prophets of Baal: Each side would kill a bull, cut it into pieces, and place the cut-up pieces on an altar. However, the catch was that neither side could light the altar. Instead, each side had to call on his god to send fire to ignite the altar. Whichever God delivered fire would be the true God.

Well, the day carried on, and the pagan prophets cried aloud to Baal to send fire . . . to no avail. They became so desperate that they slashed themselves with knifes. Meanwhile, Elijah mocked them, saying, maybe, Baal was on a journey or, possibly, asleep, and they needed to scream louder to awaken him.

When the prophets of Baal had exhausted all measures, Elijah took over. First, he drenched his altar with water, in fact, drenched it three times, to make a point, if you will. Then Elijah called on the "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel " to send fire to his altar. Indeed, fire came from Heaven and consumed the altar and the offering on it.

Moving along, Elijah and some other true believers took the 850 false prophets to the " Kishon Valley " and slaughtered them. Still, Ahab and Jezebel met gruesome deaths, and justifiably so.

When Elijah had done about all he could to steer God's Children, the Israelites, back onto the straight-and-narrow path, he chose a farm boy named Elisha to replace him.

Some time later, Elijah, Elisha, and some other prophets were in the vicinity of the Jordan River . Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up, and struck it against the Jordan River . The waters divided to the left and right, leaving a path in the middle, and Elijah and Elisha crossed over to the other side.

Suddenly, from the Heavens there appeared a chariot of fire pulled by horse of fire, and it touched down, picked up good ol' Elijah, and carried him off to Heaven to forever walk with God.

A chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire swooping down from Heaven and picking up a lone rider . . .  what a cool story!

Merry Christmas.


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Christmas, Vinson
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