Beyond Today

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow | Learn more...

You are here

Did God take Enoch and Elijah to heaven?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

Hebrews 11:5 Hebrews 11:5By 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.
American King James Version×
tells us, “Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death.” The verse continues with a quotation from Genesis 5, saying that he “was not found.” The wording implies that someone was looking for him to cause him harm, and that God protected him by removing him to a safe place. Some assumed that God took him to heaven, but the verse does not say that. “Taken away” (“translated” in the King James Version) is from the Greek word metatithemi and it means “to transfer to another place” ( Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words , 1985).

What of Elijah—did God take him to heaven? Without reading the full account of the history of Judah and Israel, one might easily assume that 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×
reports the death of Elijah and his subsequent removal from earth to heaven. Actually, the prophet did not die, as is borne out by the astonishing record of a letter that he wrote some years later! You can read this letter in 2 Chronicles 21:12-15 2 Chronicles 21:12-15 12 And 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, 13 But have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the prostitutions of the house of Ahab, and also have slain your brothers of your father’s house, which were better than yourself: 14 Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite your people, and your children, and your wives, and all your goods: 15 And you shall have great sickness by disease of your bowels, until your bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.
American King James Version×
.

What was the “heaven” to which Elijah was taken? Scriptures speak of three heavens:

  • The first, the atmosphere that envelops the earth (Genesis 1:8 Genesis 1:8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • The second, what we call “space” (Genesis 15:5 Genesis 15:5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if you be able to number them: and he said to him, So shall your seed be.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • The third, the location of God's throne (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×
    ).

  

The prophet was supernaturally transported to a different location—through the “heaven” of earth's atmosphere—allowing his associate, Elisha to step into the office of the chief prophet to Israel.

The Bible teaches that “no one has ascended to heaven” (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×
). What we find in Acts 2:29 Acts 2:29Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day.
American King James Version×
and 34 clearly illustrates this fact. It says that righteous King David was still in his grave about 1,000 years after his death! Remember Jesus' comment in John 10:35 John 10:35If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
American King James Version×
, “the Scripture cannot be broken.” That is, its teachings are consistent throughout. The biblical teaching is that heaven is not the reward or the destiny of the saved.

A more complete explanation of all that the Bible teaches about the afterlife is available in our booklets Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach? and What Happens After Death?

You might also be interested in...

What does Revelation 6:9-11 mean? How is this passage related to end-time...
Was Paul saying he expected to go to heaven to "be with Christ" immediately...