Proving the Assumption of Mary: Part One, The Assumptions of Elijah and Enoch

"The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory" (Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus 44).

But can we prove this using Scripture? Also, who else was assumed into Heaven according to Scripture? And how do these other assumptions point to Mary?




Let's start with the obvious: Elijah. Elijah rode his fiery chariot in Heaven at 2 Kings 2:

And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Eli′jah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Eli′sha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. (2 Kings 2: 11-12)


This last phrase also points to another assumption, namely, that of Enoch. Enoch's assumption occurs in Genesis 5, where the descendants of Adam are described:


When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methu′selah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methu′selah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24)

The two phrases match: "And he saw him no more" & "and he was not." 

This is called the Assumption of Enoch and Elijah of Santo Piatti.
The depiction of these two assumptees together demonstrates the
long-standing Biblical tradition of their assumptions.
Some modern Biblical commentators understand the descriptions of these scenes merely as euphemistically describing the deaths of Elijah and Enoch. But ... there's a big problem with that interpretation! This is contradicted by the rest of Scripture (maybe those commentators haven't read the rest of the Bible). 

For example, check out the following from the Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 11, where the author is describing faith through the examples of Abel, Enoch, and Noah:

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.

This passage directly refutes the idea that Enoch's death was described in Genesis. It actually says that Enoch was taken up so that he "should not see death." 

So there's the New Testament proof that Enoch was assumed into Heaven, but where's Elijah's proof?


Where do we see Elijah in Heaven in the New Testament?

Or, another question, where do we see Jesus in Heaven in the New Testament and WHO IS WITH HIM?

The upper portion of The Transfiguration by Raphael
The Transfiguration, of course! And who is beside Jesus at the Transfiguration? Elijah and ... Moses. Wait, Moses? Hold onto that thought for a second. 

We know that Elijah is in Heaven because we see him there! And with Jesus, of all people! 

That's not the only time we see Jesus in Heaven in the New Testament? Where else? At Christ's Ascension, right? And again, who do we see beside Christ? Two men. See, for example, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1 (also Luke 24):

And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

These two men are in white robes, just like the "dazzling white" of the Transfiguration. To read more on why these two men in white robes are Moses and Elijah (or two angels), check out St. John Chrysostom's homily here and here and here.

So, what's Moses doing in Heaven?

At the Transfiguration, we see Elijah in Heaven beside Jesus and Moses. This is taken as further proof of the Elijah's assumption into Heaven described in 2 Kings 2. But, if this is proof of Elijah's assumption, does that mean Moses, too, was assumed into Heaven? YES!

For Part TWO of this post, "The Assumption of Moses & The Ark", click here.

2 comments:

  1. Wait a minute, I thought Elias and Enoch never died and still walk the earth. I'm getting that from this homily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yv1Ddd9GTs&t=16m42s

    Also, was Heaven open before Christ? Didn't the OT Saints go to the Limbo of the Fathers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your question! Elijah and Moses' presence at the Transfiguration revealed that neither still walked the earth. Also, Malachi 4:5 talks about the return of Elijah - if he were still on earth, his return wouldn't make much sense. Does that help?

      Right, the OT saints went to the "bosom of Abraham," but according to Jewish tradition, God made some exceptions to this rule.

      Delete