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Since Tell Mar Elias is the place where Elijah “departed,” it only made sense Christians would make it a burial site as well. The Book of Kings tells us the prophet did not die, but rather entered heaven alive “by fire,” “in a whirlwind,” carried away in a chariot of fire. Alongside Enoch and the Virgin Mary, he is the only other biblical character taken bodily into heaven. This passage is known as “Elijah’s departure,” and is also interpreted as a prefiguration of Jesus’ own Ascension into Heaven alive, once resurrected.

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