Some have been taken up to Heaven already, Enoch, Elijah, and assumedly Moses, certainly Jesus.Jesus Yes! Enoch, Elijah and Moses... not even close!Believe Jesus,
(John 3:13) No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.Yes, you may say... What about 2 Kings 2:11: "And Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind."
This verse has of course been taken to mean that Elijah went to heaven and then so will we when we die. The Jewish word that is translated as heaven literally means, "sky."
I will explain this verse by saying that what happened to Elijah was not that he was taken up to heaven where God dwells, but that he was translated to another location on earth. This explanation is very easy to prove
. Read 1 Kings 18:7-16 where Elijah is speaking to Obadiah, King Ahab's vizier. We see in verse 8 that Elijah asks Obadiah to go and tell Ahab that Elijah is here. Obadiah replies that there is no nation or kingdom that Ahab has not searched for Elijah in, and that they could not find him. In verse12 Obadiah says to Elijah that he is afraid to go and tell Ahab that Elijah is here because when he leaves, the Spirit of the LORD will carry him off somewhere that he does not know, and Ahab will have him killed."After I leave you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you to some place I do not know, and when I go to inform Ahab and he does not find you, he will have me killed." Being translated is not too common in the Bible but it does happen. Philip was translated in Acts 8:39:"When they came out of the water, The Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away and the eunuch saw him no more."
Another excellent verse to show that Elijah is still on earth after the event on the chariot of fire is that he writes a letter
to King Jehoram in 2 Chronicles 21:10-13 telling him that the LORD will strike his people with a great plague. Verse 12 is worth quoting:"He (Jehoram) received a letter from the prophet Elijah with this message."
The crucial point in these verses is that Elijah wrote a letter to King Jehoram who was the son of King Jehoshaphat. Elijah was transported during the reign of King Jehoshaphat. Jehoram came after Jehoshaphat, and it was Jehoram that received a letter from Elijah. The obvious conclusion is that Elijah is still alive here on earth. If Elijah did go to heaven, then how could we explain Jesus' statement in John 3:13
: "No one has gone up to heaven." Is Jesus wrong? Or is it that man's interpretation of this verse is wrong?What about Enoch?
The problem with Enoch is two-fold. The first is in Genesis 5:24, it states:"Then Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer here, for God took him."
In order to understand this verse you will have to read all of chapter five. People claim that since of everyone else it is said, "then he died"
and of Enoch it is not, but instead it says that he "walked with God, for God took him,"
then that means that Enoch went to heaven with God. If you read the paragraph that talks about Enoch without this preconceived idea, you will come to the conclusion that Enoch died
. It says in verse 23:"That the whole lifetime of Enoch was three hundred and sixty-five years."
To me that implies that Enoch's whole lifetime was three hundred and sixty-five years and then he died. I do not see any hint that Enoch did not die. It says that "Enoch walked with God," but so did Noah in Genesis 6:10:"Noah, a good man and blameless in that age, for he walked with God."
"Walked with God," means that the person follows God's will. "God took him," means that God took his breath of life and that person died. We still use this saying today, we commonly say that God took a family member or a friend when we mean that someone died. The word translated as "took" is the Hebrew word laqah
. It means:laqah
– of removal by death (The Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon).
An excellent example of the usage of this word is in Ezekiel 33:6:"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and fails to blow the warning trumpet, so that the sword comes and takes (laqah) anyone, I will hold the watchman responsible for that person's death, even though that person is taken (laqah) because of their own sin."
Notice how it is used, the sword comes and takes someone, in other words, kills someone. This is why the watchman will be held responsible for that person's death.
So why is there a difference between the phrases of all the other people mentioned and Enoch? There is no clear-cut answer, but my opinion is that something happened to Enoch that cut his life short. Either an accident or illness, but something that prevented him from dying of old age like the others. Everyone mentioned lived to over nine hundred years old, except Lamech who lived to almost eight hundred years old. However, Enoch only lived to be three hundred and sixty-five years old. Something happened to Enoch that cut his life short; this is why it is said, "God took him."
The second verse is in Hebrews 11:5 where Paul is speaking about the faith of the ancients. It says:"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was found no more because God had taken him."
The problem that we arrive at if we say that because of this verse Enoch did not die, is that the same author in the same chapter in verse 13 says that all the ancients that he was talking about (which Enoch was one of) have died: "All these died in faith."So Abraham and Noah and Enoch and all the others mentioned died
. So how do we explain verse 5? The clue is in knowing what the author meant when he said "That he should not see death."
Obviously he does not mean that he did not die because he writes a few verses later that he did die.
In John 8:51 Jesus says:"I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death."
This is identical to Hebrews 11:5. I do not think that Jesus meant that whoever keeps his word will be taken to heaven without ever experiencing death. It is more likely that Jesus means that whoever keeps his word will not experience eternal death. That they will be resurrected on the last day. Hebrews 11:5 meaning is probably along these lines.
For me, I am convinced that Enoch did die. I cannot let one verse that I cannot explain fully counter all the evidence in the massive amount of verses that are very specific on death.
Paul who wrote Hebrews says in Romans 5:12:"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." Death came to all men, that includes Enoch. This statement of Paul also strengthens the position of Hebrews 11:13 "They all died in faith."
If we isolate Enoch from all the evidence on death, the preponderance of the evidence is about 75% in favor that Enoch died, and 25% that he did not see death. If we do not isolate Enoch from all the other Scriptures on death Enoch is really not a factor. If Enoch went to heaven, then again, we have to assume that Jesus was wrong in John 3:13: "No one has gone up to heaven."Paul