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I am building on a previous question located here.

I am not satisfied with the answers to the question and want to ask specifically if the text describing the manner in which Enoch and Elijah went to heaven are actually different than how Jesus went to heaven?

My thought was this - John 3:13 specifically says 'ascended'. Enoch and Elijah were taken up. Doesn't the word 'ascended' imply that Jesus himself earned his way or by his own power took himself to heaven? While on the surface it appears to be a contradiction between the New and Old testament that in fact Jesus is the only being to ascend (by his own power) into heaven?

Do Hebrew or Greek text support this concept, or is it just me forcing my own thoughts into the explanation?

Reference Text:

John 3:13-14 (KJV) (Jesus said) “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”

Gen 5:22-24 (KJV) And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

2 Kings 2:11 (KJV) And 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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  • Jesus says this: "[17] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. [18] No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." -- John 10:17-18 (KJV) You are not coercing the text in any way. Neither Enoch, nor Elijah, nor any other man has such power and authority.
    – enegue
    May 7, 2017 at 10:57
  • +1, I think. And, I voted to leave open - assuming the best case: If your question leads to "Do the underlying texts demonstrate clear 'active' or 'passive' verb tenses?", (Where someone is acting, or being acted upon), then I think this is a very straightforward - simple - question to answer. However, if you are headed in a different direction then, I think this is unclear - or at least a duplicate of the question you are referencing. Sep 26, 2017 at 16:19
  • Doesn't the word 'ascended' imply that Jesus himself earned his way or by his own power took himself to heaven? This is question focuses on the impact that verb forms have in the original language, but it evaluates multiple passages leading to a unified conclusion, which approaches systematic theology. It's already shaky. Answers would be highly subjective. Moreover, this could affect other doctrine questions, depending on the concluded interpretation. If Christ can't ascend on his own, then there might be no trinity for example. Doctrinal implications are fine as long as we say so up front.
    – Jesse
    Aug 22, 2022 at 4:11
  • My answer to the question you cite goes into more detail. The simple answer is seen in the different tenses of the verbs. Jesus uses the active voice, the others are in the passive. What Jesus describes is performing the action. The other two describes what is done to them. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/11451/… Apr 8 at 16:27

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The contradiction disappears if neither Enoch nor Elijah went to heaven. Genesis says God took Enoch away, but nobody knows where. The passage doesn't say he was taken to heaven. Where ever he was taken, he eventually died like all men do. The Epistle to the Hebrews also confirms that Enoch eventually died.

By 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...

...These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Hebrews 11:5 & 13

The author says that every man he just described has died. Enoch was one of the first humans and surrounded by people who would eventually live for hundreds of years. If God took him somewhere that he would be alone, it would mean he never witnessed a death.

Elijah was taken up into the heavens by a chariot of fire, but this was not some inter-dimensional world. He was simply taken into the sky and transported somewhere else. After Elijah was "taken into the heavens", he writes a letter to Jehoram:

In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king.

Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots.

So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken YHVH God of his fathers.

Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.

And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith YHVH God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,

But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself:

Behold, with a great plague will YHVH smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:

And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day." 2 Chronicles 21:8-15

Yeshua is the only human that has ascended into heaven.

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    I'm not so sure we can assume Enoch died. While the passage may not say Enoch was taken to heaven, it doesn't say he died either. In all of Genesis, every forefather, from Adam through to Joseph, clearly died; the only exception is Enoch. May 7, 2017 at 13:38
  • @JohnMartin Enoch didn't go to heaven/wherever by his own power, he was taken. A chariot was sent to pick up Elijah. Jesus, as he says himself, took up his life again by the power that was given to him before he died. This is what distinguishes him from the others. He died completely confident that he could defeat death, and his confidence was vindicated. What he did for himself, he will do for those who have the same confidence in what he gives them, that he had in what the Father gave him.
    – enegue
    May 7, 2017 at 22:58
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    @enegue I believe Enoch and Elijah were taken by God whereas Jesus ascended on His own. May 8, 2017 at 2:00
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    Elijah did not go to heaven. 7 years after he was taken into the sky a king received a letter from Elijah personally. This means Elijah was still on earth. New within your understanding on the meaning of samayim... It is dualistic according to context and never in relation to afterlife as the Jews never believed in afterlife until well into the 4th century. John 11 speech by Martha with Christ evidences this understanding.
    – Rhodie
    Jan 8, 2019 at 5:32
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    @Andrew, Enoch didn't see death at that time. It doesn't mean that he didn't eventually die many years later, which Hebrews 11:13 explicitly states: "these all died". And even if we ignore that inconvenient fact, there is still no mention here of anyone going to God's Heaven. Jun 29, 2022 at 13:47
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Enoch

Bible neither claims that Enoch "lived" nor that he left the earth. It clearly and pointedly states exactly the opposite on both those counts :

ALL these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles ON THE EARTH.

Hebrews 11:13 NASB
referring to Enoch in verse 5

'... and Enoch walked (וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֨ךְ) with god ...' Genesis 5:22

'... and Enoch walked (וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ) with god ...' Genesis 5:24

Elohim had walked or 'fellowshipped' with Adam and Eve in the garden :

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking (מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ) in the garden in the cool of the day ...

Genesis 3:8 NIV

Direct interaction between elohim and the faithful, and the wicked, was a feature after the ejection from Eden :

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24 NIV

Then the Lord said to Cain ...

Then the Lord said to Cain ...

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence ..."

Genesis 4:6,9,13-14 NIV

However this fellowship, or judgement, was withdrawn before the flood :

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with (or judge - יָד֨וֹן - as with Cain) humans forever, for they are mortal (בָשָׂ֑ר - corrupt); their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Genesis 6:3 NIV

The tree of life being lost to us in this flood, the cherubim no longer being required.
Concomitantly, elohim became infrequent visitors.

'Enoch was translated ...' Hebrews 11:5

'... was not found because God had translated him ...' Hebrews 11:5

'... before the translation ...' Hebrews 11:5

Translation in this case - μεταθέσεως - indicates a geographical move. Same word in Acts 7:16 referencing the movement of human remains from Egypt to Shechem.

Moreover, the span of Enoch's life is clearly stated.

And Enoch lived 65 years - and begat Methusaleh ...

... and Enoch walked (there's that word 'fellowshipped') with God after he begat Methusaleh, three hundred years - and begat sons and daughters ...

... and ALL the days of Enoch were, three hundred and sixty-five years ...

Genesis 5:21,22,23 Rotherham

After Enoch had produced the next heir in the line of Seth when he was 65 years old, his participation in that process no longer being necessary, he was 'translated' or moved away from that environment, to a location not specified, where from that point on, he walked or 'fellowshipped' with elohim as Adam and Eve had, and so lived out the remainder of his days, being another 300 years, in which time he had further sons and daughters.

I don't even know how anyone could even accidentally miss all those "words" ...

Why?

Witness protection elohim style.

Lines of Cain and Seth.

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain ... Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them ... and of all the defiant words ... they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

Jude 1:11,14,15,16 NIV

Enoch, seventh from Adam via Seth - Genesis 5
Lamech, seventh from Adam via Cain - Genesis 4:16-18

'... all the defiant words ... they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage ...' :

Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed (הָרַ֙גְתִּי֙) a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

Genesis 4:23,24 NIV

The AKJV has a marginal reference for "have killed" being "would kill".
From elsewhere :

I would certainly have killed (הָרַ֖גְתִּי) you by now ...

Numbers 22:33 NIV

These are defiant words and nothing else.

It's Genesis 3:15 playing out. There being a distinct separation of those that obeyed elohim - styled the sons or children of god, and those that followed the way of Cain.
That distinct division being punctuated by violence and ultimately broken in Genesis 6 (verses 1 through 8) with regard to intermarriage. Hence god's disappointment and final judgement.
This entropy further increasing in the threefold division after the flood in the descendents of Noah and the scattering at the tower.

ALL these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles ON THE EARTH.

Hebrews 11:13 NASB
referring to Enoch in verse 5

Died in faith when he turned up his feet, and not by the hand of Lamech 300 years earlier in spite of his boast.
Moved, out of harms way, away from the grasp of a man who would recompense the wounding he inherited from Cain, on the line of Seth.

Enoch was translated, so as not to see death, and was not found, because that, God, had translated him ...

Hebrews 11:5 Rotherham

Was not found by Lamech and therefore did not see death by the hand of Lamech at that time.

I have to assume the scapegoat for this oversight is the repetition of the distinctive feature of Enoch's life provided as summary.

... and Enoch walked with God,––and was not, for God had taken him.

Genesis 5:24 Rotherham

The casual reader perhaps concluding that at the end of Enoch's life he walked with god.
However, this is clearly a revisiting of earlier events :

And Enoch lived 65 years - and begat Methusaleh ...

... and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methusaleh, three hundred years - and begat sons and daughters ...

... and all the days of Enoch were, three hundred and sixty-five years ...

Genesis 5:21,22,23 Rotherham

A plain, unambiguous record of the pertinent features of his life and then a declaration of death.

This distinctive feature of his life belonging to the events immediately following his fathering Methuselah provided in summary.
Indicated by :

'... and Enoch walked with God, after he begat Methuselah, three hundred years,––and begat sons and daughters ...' Genesis 5:22

'... and Enoch walked with God,––and was not, for God had taken him.' Genesis 5:24

This verse 24 being a summary.
To suggest otherwise is to suggest that Enoch was translated twice.

Genesis and Hebrews agree in these matters.

And Enoch lived, sixty–five years,––and begat Methuselah ...

... for, before the translation, he had received witness that he had become well–pleasing unto (εὐαρεστηκέναι - rendered service to) God ...

Genesis 5:21, Hebrews 11:5 Rotherham

... and Enoch walked with God, after he begat Methuselah, three hundred years,––and begat sons and daughters ...

Enoch was translated, so as not to see death (at that time), and was not found (by Lamech who consequently, was unable to make good on his threat), because that, God, had translated him ...

... and Enoch walked with God,––and was not, for God had taken him.

Genesis 5:22, Hebrews 11:5, Genesis 5:24 Rotherham
verse 24 being a re-statement of verse 22 as the defining feature of his life

... and all the days of Enoch were, three hundred and sixty–five years ...

... all these died––not bearing away the promises, but, from afar, beholding and saluting them, and confessing that, strangers and sojourners, were they upon the land (or earth - γῆς) .

Genesis 5:23, Hebrews 11:13 Rotherham

... sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned ...

... death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses ...

Romans 5:12,14 NIV

This Enoch stuff is a nonsense. Always has been and always will be.

Elijah

Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Elisha then ... stood on the bank of the Jordan.

2 Kings 2:7,11-12 NIV

Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water ... And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:36,38-39 NIV

There are many direct and indirect parallels between these two events.

'As they were walking along and talking together ...'

'As they traveled along the road ... and told him ...'

Both events record the pairs "going on together" - ἐπορεύοντο also in the LXX and both strongly figure horses and chariots.

'... suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared ...'

'“My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”'

'And he gave orders to stop the chariot.'

Philip - from philos and hippos - that is 'lover of horses' - and the eunuch, in a chariot - with horses of its own, obviously.
There are many further instances of this in the accounts of Elijah and Elisha :

'And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.' 2 Kings 6:17

'Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”' 2 Kings 13:14

Both also feature baptism.

The circumstances of the departure of Elijah a re-enactment, not only of the entry of Israel into the land under Joshua - dividing the Jordan and walking across on dry ground - where the later spirit of Elijah in John would baptise into the new promise, but obviously also the dividing of the sea in the exodus under Moses :

'Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him ... Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.' (Matthew 17:12-13)

'For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors ... were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.' (1 Corinthians 10:1-2)

There are also parallels in the circumstances of the baptisms.

'Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan.'

'Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.'

'Elisha ... stood on the bank of the Jordan.'

Both Elijah and Elisha, but then Elisha on his own after the departure of Elijah.
This is paralleled in the departure of Philip.

'When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away ...'

However more pertinently, there are considerable parallels between the station and conversion and baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch and Naaman, the Syrian, the later gentile "convert" of Elisha.

Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded ...

2 Kings 5:1 NIV

... on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”).

Acts 8:27 NIV

The conversion and baptism of Namaan being recorded thusly :

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan ..."

2 Kings 2:9-10 NIV

A significant difference being the willingness of the eunuch in that regard :

... the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”

Acts 8:36 NIV

There is also a concomitant significant parallel between the operation of the spirit and its transfer.

Elijah is the archetypal prophet, and one of two, the other being Elisha, that had the spirit or power of the father given to them in a manner where they seemingly used it autonomously, but certainly they were the only two that had the capacity to raise the dead (Elijah at 1 Kings 17:17-24 and Elisha at 2 Kings 4:8-36 and 2 Kings 13:20-21).

Elisha receives the spirit - a transfer between prophets, but cannot transfer it himself. The spirit of Elijah ceases with Elisha.

'Elisha died and was buried.' 2 Kings 13:20

This is a mirror of the circumstances surrounding the spirit gifts in the period following the ascension of christ.

'... the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands ...' Acts 8:18 - concerning Philip's ministry.

Although Philip was one of "the seven" (Acts 6:5), and had the capacity to perform miracles, the Apostles were the chosen vessel for granting that power (Acts 8:4-25).

This generational transfer and no futher, being communicated by Peter at its inception.

'... you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children ...' Acts 2:38-39

'... where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.' 1 Corinthians 13:8

'For, in part, are we gaining knowledge, and, in part, are we prophesying,–– But, as soon as that which is complete is come, that which is in part, shall be done away.' 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 Rotherham

The fullness or completeness spoken of being the revelation delivered to John - the fullness and completeness of the prophetic word and the oracles of god.

Ultimately, neither Namaan the Syrian, nor the Ethiopian eunuch, receive spirit power, and return to their separate gentile kingdoms after their conversions and baptisms.

In the case of Elijah and Elisha, there is a request for a reception of Elijah's power by Elisha and a resultant transfer depending on a condition :

'When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”' 2 Kings 2:9-10

'Elisha saw this ...' 2 Kings 2:12

'The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.”' 2 Kings 2:15

There are no conditional requests involving the eunuch witnessing the airbone extraction of Philip and there is no transfer of spirit.

There's a confluence of two "ceremonies" here. The baptism and operation of the spirit involving Elijah and Elisha being found in the interaction between the apostles and Philip.

But, the baptism recorded of the Ethiopian eunuch having an analog in the washing of Namaan the Syrian, both of these performed by the successors, Elisha and Philip, and neither involving a transfer of spirit power.

Ultimately we are told of both :

'And Elisha saw him no more.' 2 Kings 2:12

'... and the eunuch did not see him again ...' Acts 8:39

It should be noted, that although these direct parallels strongly tie the events in Kings with those in Acts as a type, it is also indicated that Elijah encountered circumstances similar to Philip in his taking to a geographically divergent place and identical with Philip in that he continued his work for some time afterward - both with the kings relevant to their dispensation.

'When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away ... Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.' Acts 8:39-40

'... Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.' 2 Kings 2:11

The "went up" applicable as in english in the general sense of going somewhere but more pertinently "to heaven" - הַשָּׁמָֽיִם - being the same word used to signify not only the abode of the father, but also the sky generally.

'... the birds in the sky (הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם) ..." Genesis 1:26

'... the floodgates of the heavens (הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם) were opened.' Genesis 7:11

Etcetera.

Perhaps critically, we are also informed that some years after the whirlwind, when Elisha had come into his own, that the subsequent king of Judah received a letter from Elijah.
The progression being :

'... and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.' 2 Kings 2:11

'And Elisha saw him no more.' 2 Kings 2:12

It is clear at this point, some time after the disappearance of Elijah, that Jehoshaphat is king of Judah :

'Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you.' 2 Kings 3:14

'Then Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king.' 2 Chronicles 21:1

'Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet ...' 2 Chronicles 21:12

Philip likewise continuing "preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea." Caesarea being the "city of the king". A gentile king.

Elijah continued his ministrations to the community.

But, along with the geographical movement there is a concomitant transfer of focus from the kings of Israel to Judah - a message being sent both literally and figuratively - foreshadowing the removal of the lampstand from the children of Isaac, and that while there was a continuance of the kingdom under the law in Judah, there was a spirit operating outside all, that would become the greater manifestation.

A process being revisited in Philip and his work in Caesarea, with the gentile kings in a figure. The supplanting of law by the greater Abrahamic faith and lowering of the "sheet" from heaven and the way being opened for all.

'So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.' (Galatians 3:24 NIV)

'... since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.' (Hebrews 11:40 NIV)

This victory over the law through the operation of the spirit of the father and faith - the man Moses by contrast having a publicly decreed and observed end.

These Moses and Elijah both appearing later as the great types of the law, which pertained to the flesh and brought death, and the prophets, as emblematic of the operation of the father, through which life came.

'... not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.'

'Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!'

2 Corinthians 3:6-9

Of necessity, while the scripture is eloquent to the death of Moses, it is silent as to the ultimate fate of Elijah, emblematic, of life.

A Melchizedek figure.

'This Melchizedek ...'

'Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God ...'

(Hebrews 7:1,3)

And as we are plainly informed, this Melchizedek of necessity, also died.

'... why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek ...'

'And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.'

(Hebrews 7:11, 15-16)

There is every indication directly and indirectly that Elijah was deposited elsewhere after being taken up to the sky. To suggest otherwise is contrary to the direct testimony of scripture and contrary to all the indications from the type and the significance of both.

Regardless. The fanciful notions put forward as alternatives - one can only guess as to the motivation to do so - require an incredible wresting of bible doctrine with regard to the fate of all the children of Adam and Eve.

John 3:13 stands.

As does the entirety of the rest of the bible as to these matters.

'Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.' (Romans 5:14)

That pattern typified in Jesus. We are explicitly told numerous times that death is the end of all the children of Adam, christ being the firstruits of redemption, the way and the life.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 NIV)

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death ... and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way ...

Hebrews 2 : 9, 10-11, 14-15, 17

Etcetera.

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In terms of physical motion Jesus ascended Space-X style and is was slated to return in Space-X style (within the next 40 years as described in Jeremiah 33 and Zechariah 14). However, the Greek of "taken up" is in the passive indicating that he was drawn, as if by a heavenly tractor-beam:

http://biblehub.com/text/acts/1-9.htm

John 3:13 uses a different Koine word in the active voice (hence the question) but since it points to event described in Acts 1:9 must be understood that he did so under God's power, not his own.

http://biblehub.com/text/john/3-13.htm

The passive word "taken up" is used for an inanimate anchor as well as a lifeless corpse:

Act_20:9  And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. ... Act_27:40  And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.

"To the Hebrews" reads from the LXX (Koine Greek) Enoch's experience which uses a different word altogether so there is no reason to think it was accomplished in the same fashion.

Elijah's flight is described as being accomplished by a divine whirlwind. The NT makes no mention of a whirlwind in connection with Jesus' ascension so there is a notable difference. And has been pointed out, his flight was apparently more local since he is involved in local politics later on in his life.

So to answer your question Jesus' flight, while an action by God and not a self-powered flight was in fact unique and it was only he that went all the way up to where God was, there to sit at God's right hand.

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Yes, Jesus went to heaven while no person from Earth has ever been there. John 3:13 clarifies this. Furthermore, nobody can ever follow Christ to heaven either as he testified in John 7:33,34; 8:21-27; 13:33, 36 &14:2,3.

The apostles knew this also and proved their Christ given knowledge in Acts 2:24-36 about king David.

This particular point brings the modern world to a crisis in afterlife doctrine that must either deny Christ and accept the world view or reject traditional teaching and follow Christ by denying afterlife teaching.

I say choose life. Believe in Christ and live again because his teaching is consistent with resurrection and prophecy from before creation in Job to God descending to live on earth forever in Rev 21.

Elijah sent a letter to a king 7 years after he was taken up in a chariot so he was still alive on earth but somewhere else.

Enoch just disappeared from mama knowledge. If he is alive it is somewhere hidden like Eden. To all mankind he's dead but good can hide anything from us and we would still be ignorant fools thinking normal ways are right.

As good God said, "My ways are not your ways..."

Jeremiah 11:9 hrs to mind

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There is an interesting piece of text in this regard in the 3rd part of the old Latin version of the Gesta Salvatoris (aka Evangelium Nicodemi). Although that piece is nowadays regarded as spurious or just another apocryphic “literary composition” of an unknown 4th to 6th century author by all scholars, there are many passages and expressions that lead me to believe that we have elements here of an older version about what happened before, during and after the Savior’s resurrection, that has somehow escaped the early censorship which might have been applied to certain sections of the canonical gospels.

Whereas various characters in the Gesta Salvatoris testify of seeing Jesus ascend into heaven -and the normal gospel expression “vidimus eum ascendentem in caelum > we saw him ascending into heaven” is used - at the end of part three Enoch and Helias appear in paradise after Christ had brought up the dead there from Hades, the lower world.

Enoch then says:

Ego sum Enoch, qui verbo DN̅i hic sum translatus; iste autem qui mecum est, Helias est Thesbites, qui curru igneo hic est adsumptus. > I am Enoch who has been transported here by the word of the LORD, but that one who is here with me, is Elias who was taken here by (means of) a fiery chariot (or vehicle).”

After shortly talking about their future battle with the Antichrist (as in the book of Rev.), the text continues:

“postque triduum & dimidium diei, iterum vivi in nubibus assumendi. > after three and a half days, being alive again, to be taken up into the clouds.”

Up to here, the text with respect to the physical ascension does not very much deviate from other known canonical passages, leaving one to wonder though what the nature of that “currus igneus” really is. But towards the end of the twin brothers Karinus’ and Leutius’ account things are getting more explicit. The text is corroborated by the oldest manuscripts of the Gesta Salvatoris.

Here the brothers talk about the dead that had been resurrected by the Savior and were permitted to celebrate his resurrection with their parents living on earth for three days:

"Quia tantum tres dies permissi sumus, qui resurreximus a mortuis, celebrare in Hierusalem pascha DN̅i cum viventibus parentibus nostris, in testimonium resurrectionis XP̅i DN̅i; et baptizati sumus in Sc̅o Iordanis flumine, accipientes singuli stolas albas. Et post tres dies celebrantes pascha DN̅i, rapti sunt a nubibus omnes qui nobiscum resurrexerunt; & perducti sunt trans Iordanen, & iam a nemine visi sunt. > as we, who were resurrected from the dead, are only permitted to celebrate the Pascha of the Lord with our living parents for three days, bearing testimony to the resurrection of Christ the Lord. And we are baptized in the holy river Jordan, each receiving a white robe. And after three days of celebrating the Pascha of the Lord, they who were resurrected with us (Karinus and Leutius), are taken away by clouds, and are led away across the (river) Jordan, and no (more) seen by anyone.”

Only the later Paris codex BNF 3784 has replaced the preposition “a” with “in”. Einsiedeln SBE 324 has an even weirder variant:

“ ... reper(ti) sunt a nubibus, omnes qui nobiscum resurrexerunt, & perducti sunt trans Iordanem, & iam a nemine visi sunt. > were spotted / found out by (the) clouds and led away .. "

People may say that those are scribal errors in earlier manuscripts that have been copied down, but I am not so sure. If you connect that to Acts 1, 9 “et nubes suscepit eum”, one begins to wonder what the heck those clouds were.

One explanation is to give to the reader a pleasant image in which Christ is gracefully lifted up, blending gently with some kind of mist, which a cloud is in the last analysis, but that image is in stark contrast to the use of the verb “rapere” in the Gesta which means to take away by force. In the end you are left with your very own ideas you have about hell, paradise and heaven, and early public air transport.

For the agnostic things are abundantly clear, but for somebody who believes the resurrection to be a real thing, the ascension we are going to celebrate tomorrow becomes either a metaphysical or an astrophysical problem. It must also be said that the resurrected dead in the Gesta do appear to possess bodies that are not entirely material. In my opinion, Were all this a made-up story, one would expect them to be described as having normal bodies.

Update:

"fiery chariots" The passage in 2 Kings 2,11 should also be read in the version of the LXX, which is quite different to the Hebrew text. In fact the whole chapter is pretty astonishing. There is a good English translation by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton which most people in the U.S. possess who are interested in the subject. It is a very precise translation, as far as I can judge. I am using the Latin translation by cardinal Ximenez, Rome 1588, which has a good apparatus, although I understand the translation is based in large part on the Greek Text of the codex Vaticanus.

In what concerns the Gesta Salvatoris, the only passage in the New Testament that refers to the dead being risen after the Lord’s resurrection is found in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27, 51b – 53. This theme is picked up in the Gesta Salvatoris, but since this piece itself is not a canonical text, the moderator may well delete my post, as I did not realize that only passages from the canonical scriptures may be quoted from on this platform.

On the other hand, had the evangelists known in their own time that most of material they did not include in the gospels for reasons of space and conciseness would later be regarded as not genuine they might have attempted to enlarge their accounts considerably.

Reference text:

Gospel of Matthew, Old Latin Codex Vercellensis, edition Gasquet; Chapter 27 (there are few variants in this portion of text with respect to modern recensions)

“51b [Et ter]raemotum factum est magnum et petrae fissae sunt! 52. Et monumenta patefacta sunt, et mult(a) corp(or)a sanctorum dormi(ent)ium sur(re)xerunt. 53 Et (ex)euntes de (m)onumen(tis p)ost resur(recti)onem ipsius uene(runt) in sanc(tam) civitatem (et mul)tis appa(ruerunt)“

51b "And a massive earthquake took place and rocks were rent asunder. 52. And graves were opened, and many bodies of believers who had passed away were risen. 53. Leaving the graves after the resurrection of Him they came into the holy city and appeared unto many.

Tyndale 1526 ".. and the earth did quake, and the stones did rent, and graves did open, and the bodies of many saints which slept, arose; and came out of their graves after his resurrection, and came into the holy city, and appeared unto many"

In what concerns the question that Mr. Heeg poses, it appears difficult to judge from scripture alone what the metaphysical implications are for his question. The chapter in II Kings is a good example. Either one interprets the events told therein as mere tales or one believes them to have taken place in the way they are described in text. In the latter case a number of problems arise that cannot be solved with the help of biblical texts alone.

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    Welcome to BH. Please take a few moments to Tour the site here: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour. I've set off para. for easier readability, and italicized certain quotes to separate them from your comments. But, as the material relies upon non-canonical apocrypha it cannot be considered Biblical Hermeneutics. This site is concerned with exegesis of the scriptures. Can you support this position from within the scriptures?
    – Gina
    May 10, 2018 at 12:54
  • Thank you very much for the formatting, Gina! I'll read the guidelines and will come back. Yours, Mischa May 10, 2018 at 13:48
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God took Enoch, a chariot came and took Elijah. Of the account of Jesus going beyond the sky we read:

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward the sky as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into the sky? This same Jesus, which is taken from you beyond the sky, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:9-11

That account says Jesus comes back in the same way he left, and that a cloud received him out of their sight.

Matthew 24 and Revelation 19 gives details of his return.

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in the sky: and then shall all the tribes of the earth morn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30

And I saw the sky opened, and behold a white horse and he that sat on it was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness does he judge and make war. Revelation 19:11

And the armies in the sky followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Revelation 19:14

Everyone will see him coming 'in the clouds of the sky'. The sky opens and Christ returns bodily on a horse, with an army of saints behind him also on horses.

Therefore using Acts 1:9-11 together with Matthew 24 and Revelation 19, we can conclude that Christ ascended up bodily beyond the sky, the clouds covering him as he went up.

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Enoch is The Word "I AM" The Angel who spoke to Moses in the bush before he broke the law/Tablets. He is The Recording Angel and head of All Angels, taking the position of Michael. Metatron is the name assigned to "I AM". He is named our True Messiah "The Son of Man born unto Righteousness"! He records your deeds and non Deeds, we are Judged by what is in the heart. Jesus means hail Zeus bright Mourning star lucifer ✡️ all stars are fallen angels, no matter how you translate his name it's still hail Zeus. Lord means baal in the bi baal bibell. Re legion New Test, new rules under the new Satan of this World. He never went back on his word, he is unchanging. He didn't make any mistakes. 2nd Enoch 20:3 is The True Most High Creator, Father of All life. Enoch returned in 2017, The Tribulations are almost over. Salvation is ours alone on judgment day, "No man shall die for another man's wages" Exodus 23:21 tells you His Name "I AM" is in Him. Not Jesus yahweh Ys Ra Ba Joshua yahoo Yahushua. No matter how you translate his name it's still hail Zeus and he is a star. He tells you that in Rev. He threatened to do horrible things to you if you don't follow him. I have soon much more to say about that Evil... it's easier to see through scripture on my youtube shadowe knows 76 if you want actual truth. Enoch wasn't Forsaken and he Never Suffered Death. He's here now with his 10k Army and you need to think again about what you speak against our True Messiah named. Sealed scriptures and Our Creator called it good.
The god of the bibell is lucifer 💯 facts. Our Creator never asked for sacrifices, "Thou shall not kill", means All Life, including the animals people eat. Sunday is sungod worship and feeling sorry for the devil. Translate Hallelujah, it's lucifer in Latin helel means bright Mourning star lucifer ✡️ all stars are fallen angels. Christ means marked, cross means cursed and its a graven image. The Lord is baal.

Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh is assigned to Metatron. It is written for those who seek truth in The Most High. Faith is to follow blindly and a sin, rooted is to rot and death, also a sin, he asked us to seek him only, and to Never Stop Seeking Him Only. Belief is to doubt and Disrespectful to the Most High. Blessed means cursed. It's the god of confusion. "He was Sent to seat upon HIS Father's Throne, with iniquities to confuse you". You can't just stop at the first translation, you have to actually seek for yourself. If it's in your heart to do so. This is how we are judged.

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Elijah is The Archangel Sandolphin and considered Metatrons twin in the Heavenly Palace. He was also translated. Enoch was translated into the word made flesh. 2nd Enoch 20:3 is the True Most High.

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