During my Bible study this morning I meditated on Hebrews 9:27 “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
“No one lives forever,” I said aloud, “at some point everyone will die and leave this earth.”
Then I thought, “Um Enoch and Elijah didn’t die”.
I pondered that reflection…But they did depart this life …They just didn’t leave the way most humans have departed this earth. When their days were up and it was time to meet their maker, Enoch just walked into glory and Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God…………………………Hebrews 11:5 (NIV)
Enoch did not experience death as most earthlings. He didn’t die of old age, sickness or disease. He didn’t experience the process of declining age that eventually leads to death. I imagine Enoch on a dusty road walking and talking with God as he did every day, but the day that he could not be found by his family, because God had taken him away, I envision him stepping once, twice, and the third step took him right into the kingdom of God. He walked right up into heaven, into the hand of God and the arms of Jesus.
When you think about it, all of us are just one step away from going to heaven or hell, because none of us knows the day or hour God will call us home.
Genesis 5:24 (NIV) tells us the same story: Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
One of the greatest prophets that ever lived had such an intimate relationship with God that he was not allowed to ‘see death’ either. …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…………………. 2nd Kings 2:11 (NIV)
Just like Enoch, Elijah didn’t die of old age, sickness, or death as we know it; nor experience the signs and symptoms of getting old. I imagine Elijah was in the prime of his life spiritually – doing signs, wonders and miracles. He had such a dynamic and anointed connection with God that he even knew that God was about to remove him from the earth. This is what he said to Elisha, his protégée, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
Elijah and Elisha were walking and talking and the miraculous happened – Elijah was separated from his apprentice and taken up to glory in a whirlwind.
Can you visualize this?
Imagine that you are walking with an anointed man or woman of God and out of nowhere a chariot of fire and horses separate you and you see your mentor whirling around as they ascend into the throne of God.
This is how the Bible describes the incident. “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. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two……………………………………2nd Kings 2:11-12
So no one lives forever on this earth but we can live forever after the judgment. We are all destined to die once…Don’t you want to be there when Christ appears a second time?
26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. ……………………………………………………………………………………….Hebrews 9:26-28 (NIV)