Passover to Pentecost – Other Ascension Stories Week 6 Day 3
The Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. 2 Kings 2:1 (NIV)
We will look at two cases where a man was taken into heaven while still alive:
Enoch – His story is found in Genesis 5: 21 -24. It says he walked with God 300 years and God took him. One creative preacher said that they spent so much time walking together that one day when they were close to heaven; God asked him to spend the night and he just never went home. J
Elijah – His story of being taken into heaven is in 2 Kings 2: 1 – 18. This story has a backward connection to the Feast and Joshua’s Fifty Days. Elijah and Elisha started in Gilgal then proceed down the list:
Bethel – House of God
Gilgal – (back to)Place of circumcision, first camp, held Joshua’s first Passover
Jericho – First city taken, it happened during the Counting of the Omer
Jordan River – “Baptism” for all those born in the wilderness
“The Wilderness”- Place where Moses died.
This is a reverse of the locations that Joshua and the Israelites took when they came into the Promised Land.
There is a third case in Revelations 11: 12 where the Two Witnesses will rise into heaven in a cloud. This is after they had been killed by the Beast. The powers of these witnesses match Moses and Elijah while they were on earth. But Enoch and Elijah are the only two people never to die, and it is written that man is appointed once to die (Hebrews 9:27).
Jehu had contact with at least three prophets (four if you count the one who anointed him) during his lifetime: Elijah, Elisha, and Micaiah. Jehu was an army commander during the days of Ahab and if you put together 2 Kings 9: 24 – 26 and 1 Kings 21: 17 – 23 it is apparent that Jehu was present when Elijah spoke the destruction that was to come to Ahab’s house. I find it interesting when someone is present when a word from the Lord is spoken and years later the hearer of that word is part of the fulfillment of the prophecy. No doubt Jehu would have also heard Elijah’s announcement from the Lord about how Ahab had humbled himself and that the word would come upon his son (1 Kings 21: 29).
As a commander of the army, it is also to be expected that Jehu was present when Micaiah prophesied against Ahab and he died. This should have had an impact on him and how he viewed words from the Lord. But his attitude is hard to read in the story of his anointing. At first glance when the young man came with the word from Elisha Jehu seems to downplay his anointing until the other officers become serious about the oil dripping from his head (See Jehu – The Start). But this show of support may have been what he really wanted to see before he would act openly on that word.
Elisha was the other prophet that he would have been around and you have to wonder if he was the prophet who delivered the word in 2 Kings 10: 30. Jehu was promised and received four generation of his family as kings of Israel (See 2 Kings 15: 12). Elisha was present for Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Jehoash (13: 14). It is a shame that even with all of this help from the Lord Jehu would/could not follow the Lord more closely (10: 31) (See Jeroboam- The Lord Your God for the sin that Israel stayed in). But it must be pointed out that God in His love gave Jehu every chance and three solid men of God to help him.
I still am in awe of God for loving Israel so much that He sent Elijah and Elisha to them and not to Judah. God tried hard to get them to change but they would not. In reading the start of 2 Kings it would seem that Elijah’s chariot ride to heaven happened right after Ahab’s death but he wrote a letter to Jehoram condemning his treachery and pronouncing his death. That could add about nine years before the cloak fell to Elisha. So exactly when all of the miracles in 2 Kings 2 – 8 happened we can not tell because the chronicler talks about kings but does not name them. It is possible that Elijah was alive to see the word he spoke against Ahab come to pass.