Saturday, November 5
Texts like II Kings 2 can be a problem for us when we are conversing with our friends or family who are convinced that we will go to heaven when we die. They know that we believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and, therefore, when the Bible states that “the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind” they think this “truth” should be evident to us. It says plainly that Elijah went up to heaven, does it not? The trouble is that when we explain to them that our understanding of the word “heaven” now in modern times is different from the Hebrew word “heaven” as it is used in this Scripture, they sometimes think we are changing the Bible to go along with what we believe. How unfortunate. That verse could very easily have been written in our English language to say, “the LORD was about to take Elijah up into the sky in a whirlwind.”
There are many things that we just don’t know. Like, for instance, where did Elijah go? Where did Enoch go? But those questions don’t really need to be answered. We may be curious, but it really isn’t that important. What is important to know is what happens to us when we die. Our God would not leave this as a mystery. We can take our friends and/or family to Hebrews 11:37…”Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.” It seems like that verse could very well be speaking of many prophets, including Elijah. The author here says that “they placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection” (11:35) and “none of them received all that God had promised.” (11:39) We can also trust the words of Jesus who said, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” (John 3:13) It’s almost as if Jesus were trying to make sure this would be clearly understood.