Listen:  104 Question 2

In 2 Kings, chapter 2, we have the incredible account of Elijah being taken to Heaven without seeing death.  2 Kings 2:9-13 says, “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan.”

Of course, this is not the first time the Lord took someone to Heaven without going through the experience of death.  Genesis 5:24 tells us, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”  Hebrews 11:5 expounds upon this and tells us, “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.”  What a wonderful testimony: Enoch pleased God, and because of this, he did not see death, but was translated by God.  The Greek word for ‘translated’ means to be carried over.  Enoch was carried over to Heaven without dying.  Hebrews tells us that Enoch was not found.  We read similarly of Elijah in 2 Kings 2:17 that, “…They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.”

The account of these two men being carried away to Heaven without death is seemingly complicated by the words of the Lord in John 3:12-13, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”  However, the context of this portion shows that the Lord is simply saying that no one has ever ascended to Heaven by his own power to gain knowledge to share with others here on earth.  To speak of Heavenly things would require intimate knowledge of the Glory, and no man had ever gone up to Heaven to retrieve knowledge and returned to share that knowledge.  To ascend simply means to rise.  Neither Enoch nor Elijah rose under their own power.  It’s said of Enoch that God took him.  It’s said of Elijah that he was taken.

Did Enoch and Elijah go to Heaven?  Scripture tells us that they did.  Was it a strange thing that these men were able to enter into Heaven?  No, it’s not.  Four times in the scriptures, in Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23 we read that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  It was faith that caused Enoch and Elijah to be counted as righteous.  Indeed, it is faith that makes us righteous.  Being righteous, these men were taken directly into Heaven without seeing death.  If the Lord comes soon, many of us will also go to directly to Heaven without seeing death as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  Those believers who are alive at the coming of the Lord for His church will not experience death, but will be changed and called up to meet the Lord in the air.  (104.2)