Church of God, New World Ministries

Elijah and Enoch - Are They In Heaven?

If you are a self professing Christian you have been told from your minister that Elijah is in heaven. Is this true? Can you prove it from the pages of the Bible?

Over 900 years after Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind, Jesus Christ said: “NO MAN HAS ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man!” (John 3: 13).

Is this a Bible contradiction? Did Elijah really go to heaven where God's throne is, even though Jesus Christ said that he didn't?

If Elijah is not in heaven today, where did he go? Any Bible student knows that the Bible mentions three Heavens-- not just one! And if, as Jesus said, no man, which does include Elijah, has ever ascended to the heaven where He came from, then the heaven into which Elijah was taken was a different heaven! Which one was it?

The third heaven is the heaven of God's throne where Jesus is today. Jesus, being the High Priest of God, is the only one who has the right to be in that heaven with the Father.

Now notice why! Hebrews 8:1-5 explains that the original earthly tabernacle under the Old Covenant, with its most holy place, or compartment, was the type of the throne of God in heaven. Only the high priest - type of Christ as High Priest now- was allowed to enter.

The 2nd heaven represents the expanse of this great universe the space where we find the sun, moon, stars, comets and planets. How often do we find the Psalmist admiring the "heavens, the works of Thy fingers, the moon, and the stars, which Thou hast ordained" (Psalm 8:3)?

Now beside the heaven of the stars, we find that the air that surrounds this earth is also called heaven. Birds fly "in the midst of heaven.” This is certainly not the throne of God in heaven. Genesis 1:20 says "the fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." Now in blessing Jacob, Isaac said, "God give you of the dew of heaven." Also, Moses joyed that the "heavens shall drop down dew" (Deut. 33:28 & Gen. 27:28).

This first heaven from which dew comes simply means the atmosphere where the clouds and the wind roam. Every one of us is right now breathing the air of heaven.

Now, since Elijah could not have gone to the heaven of God's throne, then to which heaven did he go? Does not the scriptures read in II Kings 2: 1, 11 “and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven?”

By just using common sense, the answer should be quite obvious! Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven, not to the heaven of God's throne, but into this earth's atmosphere - the first heaven. There could be no whirlwind in any other place but in the atmosphere that surrounds this planet, in the first heaven, in which the birds fly.

Now just what was God's reason for this unusual act? Why was Elijah taken up into this earth's atmosphere? To give him eternal life? No! Hebrews 11: 32 & 39 tells us that the ancient prophets, and this would include Elijah, would not be made perfect apart from us, and we shall not receive it until Christ returns - I Cor. 15:22-23

Now if Elijah was made immortal, that would give him preeminence above Jesus Christ. But just what does the Bible reveal as the reason for Elijah's removal? II Kings 2: 3, 5.

Notice now what the sons of the prophets said to Elisha: "Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?" "Yes, I know; keep silent!" Now just as Christ is the head of the church today, Elijah was the head or leader of the sons or disciples of the prophets in his day. God had sent Elijah as His prophet to the wicked king Ahab and to his son Ahaziah. God wanted Elisha to direct His work, as Ahaziah the king had died (II Kings 1-18) and a new king would be ruling.

God could not allow Elijah to be among the people with Elisha directing the work now. That would have been the same as disqualifying Elijah! Now since God never takes an office from a person, especially when that person has been performing his duties well, the only thing God could do was to remove Elijah so that another would fulfill the office.

This is what God did. When Elijah was taken up, his mantle dropped from him and Elisha picked it up (II Kings 2: 12-15).

In Clarke's Commentary this mantel was worn by the prophets and the priest as the simple insignia of their office (Vol. 2, page 484).

The real reason God removed Elijah was to replace him with another man who would occupy Elijah's office in Israel for another 50 years. This work had to start under a new king, for Ahaziah had just died. And Elijah was already aging. So as not to disqualify him in the sight of the people, God took him away from the sons of the prophets and the people, allowing the mantle which signified the office of Elijah to drop into the hands of Elisha. This is how God preserved the name and office of His prophet.

Now having ascended into the air, Elijah was borne away out of the sight of the new leader, beyond the horizon, but where did God take Elijah?

Elijah did not ascend to the throne of God. Jesus Christ said so! And yet Elijah could not just remain in the air forever. And God did not say that Elijah was to die at that time. If Elijah had died, then Elisha could have assumed his new office without the removal of Elijah, for we know that Elisha died in office after fulfilling his duty (II Kings 13:14).

Now the sons of the prophets who knew that their master was to be removed also knew that Elijah was not to die then. That is why they were fearful that the Spirit of God might have allowed him to drop "upon some mountain, or into some valley" (II Kings 2:16). Elisha knew that God would preserve Elijah from falling, but at their insistence he permitted men to go in search for him, but to no avail. Elijah was gone.

Just where did Elijah go? To be sure, the whirlwind used by God couldn't have taken him beyond the earth's atmosphere. Neither does the Bible account leave him in the air.

Now the new king of Israel was another son Ahab, Jehoram, or Joram as he is sometimes called. The beginning of his reign marked the year of Elijah’s removal (II Kings 1:18 &3: 1). It was during this period that Elisha was the recognized prophet of God (II Kings 3:11)

Just about 10 years have passed since Elijah was taken from the people. But what do you think was about to happen? God chose Elijah to write a letter and have it sent to this wicked king. You can read the contents of this letter in (II Chronicles 21:12-15). "Because thou hast not walked in the ways of thy father, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself, thou shalt have great sickness by disease.

Now from the wording of this letter, it is clear that Elijah wrote it after these events had occurred, for Elijah speaks of them as past events, and of the disease as future. Two years after the king became diseased the king died, having reigned only 8 years (II Chronicles 21: 18-20).

This proves that this letter was written about 10 years after Elijah had been taken to another location by the whirlwind. God used Elijah to convey the message because he was the prophet of God in the days of the present king's father, and the son was not going in the ways of his obedient father, Jehoshaphat.

This letter proves that he was still alive somewhere on this earth. Just how much longer Elijah lived, the Bible does not say. We know that in (Hebrews 9:27) "it is appointed for men to die once," and this included Elijah. We also read: "In Adam ALL DIE" (I Cor. 15:22). (James 5:17) tells us that Elijah has like passions as we are, subject to human nature and death!

Elijah was not given the power of an endless life. Elijah was mortal, subject to death, and after being lifted into the atmospheric heavens, spent the remaining years at some little known location on this earth, living as every mortal man lives, before we die.

Now the Elijah who is to come in our day is not the prophet Elijah who died over 2900 years ago, but one who comes "in the power and spirit of Elijah" as did John the Baptist (Luke 1:17).

Now the only remaining scriptures that have puzzled people are those relative to the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration with Christ. You can find the record of this event in (Matt. 17: 1-9, Mark 9: 2-10 and Luke 9:28:36).

Leaving the mountain Christ told his disciples: "Tell the vision to no man" (Matt. 17:9). Now a vision is not a material reality but a supernatural picture observed by the eyes.

Moses died, and was buried (Deut. 34: 5-6). Both he and Elijah were still dead in their graves, but in vision both they and Christ were seen in the glory of the resurrection, an event that has not happened yet. God granted this vision to the disciples after Christ had spoken of the glory of immortality in the coming Kingdom of God.

From the Holy Scriptures Elijah is dead in the dust of the earth awaiting the resurrection of the just. Elijah, some years after being removed in the whirlwind went to the grave, but will rise again to live forevermore.

IS ENOCH NOW IN HEAVEN?

The Bible tells us that Enoch was "translated." Just where did Enoch go? Did God immediately take him to heaven? Again we must remember what Jesus Christ said: “No man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man" (John 3:13).

These are Christ's own words that no man, except Himself, had ascended into heaven. How did Christ know this? Because He himself came from heaven. If Enoch is not in heaven, where did he go?

(Gen. 5:22) "And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and he begat sons and daughters." From this verse, Enoch was a man that pleased God, a man that WALKED WITH GOD.

Enoch had to have faith. In Hebrews 11:6 the Apostle Paul said, "But without faith it is impossible to PLEASE Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Therefore Enoch walked with God. He obeyed God, and followed Him in His ways BY FAITH.

The fact is, no one can walk with God unless he is in agreement with the will of God and doing God’s will. Amos wrote, in Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"

How long did he walk with God? The Bible says after he begat Methuselah it was 300 years. So Enoch followed God's ways for 300 years and not one year more. Then he is not still walking with God! Why? Because "all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years," (Gen 5:23). Now if Enoch did not die, if he was changed to immortality, and thus continued to walk with God, then his days would have been more than 365 years, but the scriptures tells us plainly that all of his days were just that many, and no more.

This expression "all his days" is used in the same fifth chapter of Genesis about a dozen times and always it means that a person lived for that length of time and then died. So Enoch lived no more that 365 years, then he must have died!

Does his translation mean that Enoch did not die? Carelessly, that is what most people think without proof. Moses did not write that Enoch did not die. He wrote that "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Gen 5:24). The Apostle Paul records in Hebrews 11:5 "By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him, for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

The Bible does not say that he was taken to heaven, when he was translated. It only says he was not found. Now the Bible does say that Enoch was "TRANSLATED," but what does this word mean?

As much as this self professing Christian world would like for this word, "translated" to mean in heaven or to make immortal, the Bible does not support this.

The original Greek word for "translate" is metatihemi. Now according to Strong's Concordance it signifies: transfer, transport, exchange, change sides. This same Greek word is rendered “carried over" in Acts 7:16. Jacob died and his body was carried over, transported, translated to Sychem where he was buried! So says your Bible, Jacob was transported or translated to the place of his burial.

This is why Moses said that God took Enoch. God removed, translated him so that he was not found. God simply took Enoch and buried him!

Now look at Deuteronomy 34:6, God took Moses from the people after which he died and was buried by God. “But no man knoweth his sepulcher unto this day." God simply removed Moses, God translated him and he was not found either.

The fact is that Enoch was not made immortal and taken to heaven. He was taken away and was not found. All the days of Enoch were 365 years, that is as long as he lived.

Now notice (Col. 1:13) "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Now from this verse Christians are already translated, but Christians still die! We are not immortal bodies, but mere flesh and blood. Although we were once part of the darkness of this world, now we are translated, removed from darkness into the light of the kingdom of God.

Paul tells us in Hebrews the 11th Chapter that Enoch is included among the fathers that obtained a good report through faith; but “ALL these, received not the promise" (Heb. 11:39). Just what was this promise? Why of course the promise of "Eternal Life" which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2).

Therefore, Enoch is one of "ALL THESE" who have not yet obtained the promise of eternal life and inheritance. Enoch, along with all the worthies of old will receive the promise of eternal life at the return of Jesus Christ, at the very same time that Christians will receive it (Heb. 11:40), and that is yet future.

Now since Enoch has not yet inherited eternal life, therefore he must have died! This is just what the apostle Paul wrote in (Heb. 11:13) "These all died in faith, not having received the promises." Now who were "these all"? The apostle Paul tells us: Enoch, Noah, Abel, Abraham, David, Isaac, Jacob, Gideon and Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel and the prophets and their wives, (Heb. 11: 1-40).

The question remains: is Paul's saying that Enoch "should not see death"? We know that Enoch lived only 365 years, then what does Paul mean by saying: " By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God has translated him?" Now notice that this verse does not say he did not die, but rather it says that he should not see death. Just what does this verse mean?

We must remember that the Bible speaks of more than just one death. There is the first death, and there is the second death (Rev. 20:6). Now which death did the apostle Paul mean?

(Heb. 9:27) "The first death is appointed unto men, there is no way we can evade this death, and we know from the scriptures that Enoch died. The Apostle Paul was not writing about the first death. The phrase "should not see" is in the conditional tense of the verb, having reference to a future event. It is not in the past tense, that he "did not see death," but that he "should not see death." So this death that Enoch escaped by being translated is one that he can escape in the future.

Jesus Christ even talked about a death that a person might escape from. Notice what He said in John 8:51 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my sayings, he shall never see death, " shall never see, that is, suffer the second death! And in John 11:26 "Whoso liveth and believeth in me shall never die, or "shall not die forever."

This second death is one that can be escaped on the conditions that men keep the sayings of Jesus Christ and believe Him. This death is not the first death, because we know that Christians who keep Jesus' sayings die this first death. So the death that Enoch will never touch has to be the second death. This second death will never touch those who take part in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6). So Enoch will be in the first resurrection, because he met the conditions.

Enoch had faith. He believed God and walked with God, obeying Him. In keeping the sayings of God, Enoch kept the sayings of Jesus Christ also; Because Christ did not speak of Himself, but spoke what the Father commanded Him (John 14:10).

Therefore Enoch met the conditions so that he should not see death. The second death shall never touch Enoch, because of his faith and obedience.

Now we can understand Hebrews 11:5: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Now after examining this verse fact by fact, we notice that Enoch had faith and was translated. Now this translation or removal, transference, was on the condition of FAITH. Now what translation mentioned in the Bible is on condition of faith? (Col. 1:13). This is a figurative translation, a figurative removal or transference from the spiritual darkness of this world to the light of the family or the kingdom of God and Christ. In verse 10 Paul shows that to abide in this kingdom we must "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing." This is exactly what Enoch did. He walked with God, and pleased God.

Now notice that Enoch, the same as Christians, was delivered from the power of sin and darkness in which he had been living for 65 years. He was removed (translated) from the ways of the world, and lived 300 years according to God's ways so that he might inherit eternal life at Christ's return and should not suffer the second death.

By faith Enoch was separated, removed or translated from the world, and Christians are not to be part of this world, although we are still living in it.

Not only was Enoch figuratively taken from the society of his day, but he was also literally removed, translated, so that he was not found.

God took him physically away from the people, just as He later took Moses. And God buried both of them that neither could ever be found. God gave Enoch this sign of physical removal as a type for all those who should later follow Enoch's example of faith. He was taken physically from the people just as Christians are to be spiritually removed from the ways of the world. The physical translation or carrying away of Enoch was also a sign to him from God that his faith had been accepted. God does often give us signs (Isaiah 38:7).

Just like every true Christian, Enoch is also waiting for the return of Jesus Christ and the hope of the resurrection (Jude 14, 15). Neither he, nor Elijah, has gone to heaven!

 
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