Friday, January 25, 2013 (All day)
[Steve Myers] We recently did a program on the rapture and Dan wrote us on our BeyondToday.tv website with a question. He wrote, "I saw your program about the rapture and a question came to mind. Wasn't Elijah the prophet raptured to heaven?"
That's a really good question. In fact, that points to this particular passage in 2 Kings 2:11 and so some get the idea that somehow Elijah was carried up to the throne of God in heaven. So let's read that passage and begin to see if that's really what it says. It says, "Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." And so what happens is people assume that Elijah was whisked off to heaven in this whirlwind or this tornado, and yet that can't be because we know in John 3:13 it says no one has ascended to heaven.
So what we've got to decide is what heaven was Elijah taken to? Or what was he taken up in? And the Bible actually mentions three different heavens : one is the atmosphere, the sky that surrounds the earth (Genesis 7:11-12; Genesis 7:19; Job 51:11; Jeremiah 16:4), another is space where the stars and the planets are (Genesis 26:4; Exodus 32:13; Deuteronomy 1:10; Deuteronomy 28:62; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 8:3; Isaiah 12:10), and then there's a third heaven that the Bible mentions and that is the heaven of God's throne (Deuteronomy 26:15; Hebrews 8:1; 2 Corinthians 12:2; Revelation 4:2).
Now which one is referred to here in 2 Kings 2:11? Well we can find that out if we continue to read our Bibles. There's an amazing section in 2 Chronicles. If you were to look up 2 Chronicles and in this particular passage, it's in 2:12. Here we find the prophet Elijah mentioned again. And here's how the passage goes in 2 Chronicles chapter - oh, I wrote the wrong passage - 21, 21:12. It says, "A letter came to him," and that's Jehoram the king of Judah, "From Elijah the prophet saying, 'Thus says the Lord God of your father David'" (2 Chronicles 21:12). And then that letter goes on.
Now you might not think that's such a big deal, but what's interesting this King Jehoram is many years after the event where Elijah was taken into heaven. So what does that tell us? Well, five to ten years after that whirlwind took Elijah up, it set him down - not years later, but it took him up into the sky and set him down in a whole other location and it was on earth. Years later he's writing to the king to tell him what God has to say, and so it becomes very clear he wasn't taken to the throne of God. He wasn't taken to the stars. He was taken up in the air and set down in another location and later writes to the king to tell him what God has to say.
So I think it's very important when we see and hear things about the rapture that just cannot be true, it is easy to explain these things when we take the whole picture. So remember the context. Read carefully. Don't jump to conclusions and make sure you get the whole story.
That's BT Daily . We'll see you next time.