When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.
Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. II Kings 2:9-12 ESV
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:21-24 ESV
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV
Ever since our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into sin, everyone in the whole world has to die at some point. But there are two people who never died. One of these was a man named Enoch. He lived in the long-ago time after the Garden of Eden but before Noah and the flood. The Bible doesn’t tell us very much about Enoch, except to tell us that he walked with God. He was extra-close to God, and God gave him the gift of not having to die. One day he disappeared, and none of his friends or family on earth saw him again. God had taken him straight into heaven.
Elijah is the other person who never died. When his time of serving God on earth had ended, God took him straight up to heaven. Elisha was there and saw what happened. A chariot of fire with fiery horses came rushing by, and separated the two men. Elijah was taken up to heaven in this chariot with a mighty whirlwind, and Elisha knew he wouldn’t see him again on the earth. He called after him, “My father! My father!” He also tore his clothes in half, which was a sign of grief. Elijah had been a mentor to him, teaching him as they walked and worked together day by day. He would no longer have Elijah with him.
Jesus wasn’t like Enoch or Elijah. He died on the cross and was put in a grave. But on the first Easter Sunday, he came out of the grave again. Because Jesus rose from the dead, everyone who believes in Jesus doesn’t have to be afraid to die. They will also rise from the dead someday, when Jesus comes back at the end of the world. But there are some people who, like Enoch and Elijah, will never die. These are the people who believe in Jesus and are still alive when he comes again. When Jesus returns, he will call all his people who have died out of their graves and gather them to him, and then all his people who are still alive will be caught up, just like Elijah was, to heaven, to be with the Lord forever. Whether we are dead or alive when Jesus comes back, what matters is that we will be with him always!
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying and rising for me. Thank you for the heavenly home you are preparing for me. Amen.