Wasn't Elijah the prophet raptured to heaven?
[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 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.
American King James Version×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 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.
American King James Version×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 7:11-12 11 In 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.
12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
American King James Version×; Genesis 7:19 Genesis 7:19And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
American King James Version×; Job 51:11 Job 51:11
American King James Version×; Jeremiah 16:4 Jeremiah 16:4They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung on the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
American King James Version×), another is space where the stars and the planets are (Genesis 26:4 Genesis 26:4And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give to your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
American King James Version×; Exodus 32:13 Exodus 32:13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
American King James Version×; Deuteronomy 1:10 Deuteronomy 1:10The LORD your God has multiplied you, and, behold, you are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.
American King James Version×; Deuteronomy 28:62 Deuteronomy 28:62And you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
American King James Version×; Nehemiah 9:6 Nehemiah 9:6You, even you, are LORD alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and you preserve them all; and the host of heaven worships you.
American King James Version×; Psalms 8:3 Psalms 8:3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
American King James Version×; Isaiah 12:10 Isaiah 12:10
American King James Version×), and then there's a third heaven that the Bible mentions and that is the heaven of God's throne (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.
American King James Version×; Hebrews 8:1 Hebrews 8:1Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
American King James Version×; 2 Corinthians 12:2 2 Corinthians 12:2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
American King James Version×; Revelation 4:2 Revelation 4:2And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
American King James Version×).
Now which one is referred to here in 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.
American King James Version×? 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 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,
American King James Version×). 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.