When you read the Bible, you will notice that most of the people who extensively served the Lord died and were buried somewhere. Jesus died after being crucified and laid in the tomb for two days. However, he rose on the third day because he had power over death. While you may think everyone in the Bible died after completing what God had assigned them to do, two people are recorded to have never died but went to heaven. This leaves many bible readers wondering, who went to heaven without dying?
According to the Bible, only two people went to heaven without dying: Enoch and Elijah. The book of Genesis talks about the life of Enoch and what happened to him, while the book of Kings tells us what happened to Elijah.
So, how did Enoch go to heaven? How did Elijah go to heaven? Why did God take Elijah and Enoch? Read on to learn the answers to these questions.
How did Enoch go to heaven?
Enoch’s end on earth is the most debatable and exciting story in the Bible because of the mystery surrounding how God took him to heaven. We first meet Enoch in the book of Genesis 5:18, which reveals that Enoch was had by his father, Jared, when he was 162 years old.
The book of Genesis goes ahead to reveal the life of Enoch, how he lived, and the age that he was when he finally died. The scripture also indicates that Enoch did not die, as he disappeared after God took him away.
Genesis 5:21-23 says, “when Enoch was 65, he had a son, Methuselah. After that, Enoch lived in fellowship with God for 300 years and had other children. He lived to be 365 years old. He spent his life in fellowship with God, and then he disappeared because God took him away.” From the explanation above, it is only fair to believe that God took Enoch to heaven, as there is no way he could have taken him to hell.
How did Elijah go to heaven?
While we are told little about Enoch and how God took him, the Bible is evident about how Elijah was taken to heaven and the events that were happening at that time. 2nd Kings 2:1-18 reveals that Elijah was taken as the time had come for the Lord to take him up to heaven in a whirlwind.
Elijah and the other prophet Elisha had just left Gilgal when Elijah requested Elisha to stay where they were, as the Lord had ordered him to go to Bethel alone. Elisha refused and told Elijah that he would not leave him and would go wherever he went.
They then proceeded with their journey when a group of prophets approached Elisha and asked him if he knew that God was to take his master, Elijah, away from him today. Elisha responded he knew that that was going to happen and requested the prophets not to talk about it.
Elijah requested Elisha to stay back two more times, but Elisha would not have it. They walked until they reached river Jordan, where Elijah took his cloak off, rolled it, and struck the water with it. The water was divided into two, and Elijah and Elisha crossed to the other side while the 50 prophets remained on the other side.
Elijah then turned to Elisha and asked him what he wanted to do for him before he was taken away. Elijah had already known that he was going to be taken but did not know how. Elisha responded by informing Elijah that he wanted to receive the share of his power, which would make him his successor as 2nd Kings 2:9 records.
However, Elijah informed him that his request was quite tricky for him but promised him that he would receive the power if only he were to see him being taken away. Suddenly, a chariot of fire being pulled by horses appeared between them, and Elijah was taken up to heaven by a whirlwind.
When Elisha saw this, he cried out, saying, “My father, my father! Mighty defender of Israel! You are gone!”
Elisha then tore his cloak into two, picked up Elijah’s cloak, went back to the river, struck the waters which dived, and then walked over to the other sides where the prophets were standing. The 50 prophets bowed before him, knowing Elijah’s power was now with Elisha.
The prophets did not believe that Elijah had been taken to heaven and even suggested that maybe God had left him on some mountain or valley. They searched for him everywhere for three days but did not find him, as he was in heaven.
Why did God take Elijah and Enoch?
Many faithful servants of God in the Bible, like David, Abraham, and even Moses, died commonly and were buried. Due to this reason, many scholars and theologians keep wondering why God chose only Enoch and Elijah to go to heaven the way they did and not anyone else.
To start with, Bible scholars from Got Question ministries suggest that God took Elijah and Enoch to prepare them for the role of two witnesses during the second coming of Christ, as recorded in Revelation 11:3-4. “I will send my two witnesses dressed in sackcloth, and they will proclaim God’s message during those 1260 days. The witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lamps standing before the Lord of the earth.”
Additionally, the book of Hebrews also reveals that Enoch was taken up to heaven by God because of his faith. It further shows that Enoch had spent his life pleasing God, a good reason God took him. Hebrews 11:5-6 says, “It was faith that kept Enoch from dying. Instead, he was taken up to God, and nobody could find him because God had taken him up. The scripture says that before Enoch was taken up, he had pleased God. No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him.”
Dick Ditullio, a theologian, also implies that God could have taken Elijah from the earth to give Elisha his powers so that he could take his role over Israel for another fifty years. We see that before he was taken up in the chariot, Elijah begged Elisha several times to stay behind and let him go alone, but Elisha never accepted.
Elisha even tells Elijah to share his powers with him to become his successor once he is gone. True to his wish, we see Elisha diving into the river Jordan using Elijah’s cloak, a sign that he now possessed Elijah’s powers and was ready to take over the leadership.
2nd Kings 2:14-15 says, “He struck the water with Elijah’s cloak and said, “where is the Lord, God of Elijah?” then he struck the water again, and it divided, and he walked over to the other side. The 50 prophets from Jericho saw him and said, “the power of Elijah is on Elisha!” they went to meet him, bowed down before him.”
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.