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Did Elijah Go to Heaven?

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Did Elijah Go to Heaven?

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Does the Bible contradict itself saying that Elijah was taken up to heaven?

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[Steve Myers] Timothy, one of our BT viewers, sent in a question. He asked about Elijah, "Did Elijah go to heaven?". He cited 2 Kings 2:11 2 Kings 2:11And 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.
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, where it says that Elijah was taken by a whirlwind into heaven. And then Timothy asked if it contradicted John 3:13 John 3:13And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
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, because in John 3:13 John 3:13And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
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it says, "No one’s ascended to heaven, but He who came down from heaven", talking about Jesus Christ. So what about this - did Elijah go to heaven?

Well, it really depends on what you mean, because when you examine what the Bible says about heaven, there’s actually three heavens that are mentioned in the Bible. Let’s look at the examples that are given in the Bible. In Deuteronomy chapter 26, we find one example of that. It’s in verse 15, and it describes heaven as God’s throne. And so it says there, "Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven (Deuteronomy 26:15 Deuteronomy 26:15Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel, and the land which you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land that flows with milk and honey.
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). So God’s dwelling place, His throne, is one heaven that’s mentioned in the Bible.

Now, there’s also a second heaven that’s mentioned in the Bible, and you can find that reference in Psalms 8:3 Psalms 8:3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
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. Psalms 8:3 Psalms 8:3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
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says, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained." So that points to something different than God’s throne. What is Psalms 8:3 Psalms 8:3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
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talking about when it speaks of heaven? It’s talking about outer space. So when we talk about the stars and the moon and the sun - all of those things are in outer space. Well, did Elijah go to God’s throne? Or did Elijah go to outer space? Or is there another possibility? Well, there is.

There’s a third example of heaven that’s mentioned in the Bible. And this example - one of the places that you can find this - oh, is not in Exodus - it’s in Genesis, Genesis 7:11 Genesis 7:11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
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. And this is in the account of Noah and the flood. And in Genesis 7:11 Genesis 7:11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
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it says, "The windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was on the earth." Well, what heaven would Genesis 7 be talking about? Well, where does the rain come from? Well, it comes from our atmosphere. It comes from the sky. And so, earth’s atmosphere is also called heaven in the Bible.

So, which heaven did Elijah go to?

Well, remember 2 Kings 2:11 2 Kings 2:11And 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.
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says he was taken up in a whirlwind. Well, if you think of a whirlwind, what is it that comes to mind? Well, in my mind, it’s one of those things that kind of look like this, kind of looks like a tornado. Was taken up – would he have been taken to God’s throne, outer space, or into the atmosphere? You’re right. He was taken up into the atmosphere, into the sky.

Now, can we prove that, that he didn’t go to God’s throne? That John 3:13 John 3:13And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
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is correct, that no one’s ascended to God’s throne? Well, there’s a couple of things. If we read just a little bit farther in 2 Kings 2:16 2 Kings 2:16And they said to him, Behold now, there be with your servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray you, and seek your master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up, and cast him on some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, You shall not send.
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, after Elijah was taken up into the sky, it says in verse 16, "There are fifty of us here, all strong men. Let us go and look for your master. Maybe the spirit of the Lord has carried him away and left him on some mountain or in some valley". What did the people think that were with Elijah at the time he was taken up? What did they say to Elisha? Well, they said, "Let’s go look for him". You see, they didn’t have the impression that he went to God’s throne or that he went out to the stars or to the moon or something like that. They understood that he was carried away and put down somewhere else.

In fact, there’s one other proof of that that becomes pretty specific, and that’s over in 2 Chronicles. In 2 Chronicles 21:12 2 Chronicles 21:12And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus said the LORD God of David your father, Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
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, we find the story beginning, where the Bible records that Elijah wrote a letter to one of the kings of Judah. And the interesting part about this letter in 2 Chronicles is it was written several years after this whirlwind took Elijah to heaven.

So when you put all of these things together, you put the three different heavens that the Bible mentions - becomes very clear, John 3:13 John 3:13And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
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is right. No one has ascended to God’s throne except Jesus Christ. Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind, and he was placed down somewhere else - taken up into the sky, into the earth’s atmosphere, and then placed down, where later he writes a letter to the king.

And so, when we put all the passages together, the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. And so we can be assured that the Bible is true, and no one has ascended to heaven.

That’s BT Daily . We’ll see you next time.