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Sunday, June 3, 2012

II Kings 2:11

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.

For further study - II Kings 2:1-11

This Biblical account of a living creature being taken into the heavens, alive, is the second such incident of this kind to be recorded in 6,000 years of history. The first man to be taken to heaven alive was Enoch - an event recorded in Genesis 5:24. Enoch and Elijah are the only two men that have never died - and are now in the presence of God in the Third Heaven.

I’ll discuss these two men more in a moment but first please notice the trip that Elijah and Elisha made to the spot where God would take Elijah into the heavenlies. They started their trip at "Gilgal", verse 1, which is a place of "safety". They passed through "Bethel", verse 2, a place of "commitment". Then the two men went into "Jericho", verse 4, a place of "battle".

Before Elijah was taken up to heaven in a "chariot of fire", verse 11, the two Prophets would cross the Jordan River, verse 8, into the country of "Jordan", verse 6, a place of "departure". In Jordan, Elijah would give his "mantle" and "ministry" to Elisha.

Then the Lord sent a "chariot of fire" that had "horses of fire", verse 11, and took Elijah "up by a whirlwind into heaven", as Elisha stood there watching. Jordan is indeed a "place of departure". Thus, Elijah became the second man, after Enoch, to go to heaven without dying.

The New Testament writer of Hebrews says that "it's appointed unto man once to die",Hebrews 9:27, and yet these two men have not died, which leads us to other passages of Scripture for an explanation.

Revelation 11:3-12 foretells of two witnesses - two men who will have a preaching ministry from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the coming 7 year Tribulation Period. Malachi 4:5-6 tells how God will send Elijah back to earth before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

It is reasonable to say that Elijah, one of the two men who have never died, will be one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. The current popular Christian song, "we're living in the days of Elijah" speaks to this issue. This is evidence that the Rapture, which must happen before the appearance of Elijah, must be close - let's keep looking up!

PRAYER THOT: Lord, help me to recognize the evidence that the Rapture is close at hand and live my life as if it could happen in the next moment, which it could.