Where did Enoch and Elijah go?

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Before the resurrection our bodies rest in the grave and our disembodied souls go to the Lord. After the resurrection we will be reunited again body and soul.

Enoch and Elijah were never...well...disembodied. They disappeared with their bodies.

Are they and Jesus the only "intact" persons there right now? Or did Enoch and Elijah go somewhere else to wait?

The Garden of Eden had no sin but was physical. Could they be waiting there? Or did they precede Jesus to heaven with their bodies even though Jesus is the first-fruits of the resurrection?


Related question: If it is appointed to every man to die once.....well....don't they gotta die? Are they the two witnesses to be killed in Revelation? Seems like they gotta die.

Any thoughts?
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Just one quick thought- Jesus is the first-fruits of the resurrection because nobody else died and was raised in their glorified body… that right? Enoch and Elijah didn’t die, and others who died were brought back to life, but not in a glorified state.
 
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Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I heard in one sermon or teaching that the saints who came out of their graves after Christ was resurrected were in their glorified bodies, and ascended with Christ. Can’t remember who said it, and the reasoning.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I heard in one sermon or teaching that the saints who came out of their graves after Christ was resurrected were in their glorified bodies, and ascended with Christ. Can’t remember who said it, and the reasoning.
I’ve often wondered about this too. I always pictured these saints to have appeared to the believers, hung out for a few weeks, then walked back to their graves and lay back down to “sleep” and await the general resurrection.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
S
I’ve often wondered about this too. I always pictured these saints to have appeared to the believers, hung out for a few weeks, then walked back to their graves and lay back down to “sleep” and await the general resurrection.
I think I did too! But the other explanation does seem to make more sense. If so it would seem to show how Christ’s glorious victory in his resurrection brought others up in its wake.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
If I remember correctly, the sermon or teaching I heard said that these may have been “notable” saints.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Just one quick thought- Jesus is the first-fruits of the resurrection because nobody else died and was raised in their glorified body… that right? Enoch and Elijah didn’t die, and others who died were brought back to life, but not in a glorified state.
ah.....hmmmm....that makes sense.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I heard in one sermon or teaching that the saints who came out of their graves after Christ was resurrected were in their glorified bodies, and ascended with Christ. Can’t remember who said it, and the reasoning.
That is contrary to the catechism, isn't it? Question 37:
Q: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A: The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory;1 and their bodies, being still united to Christ,2 do rest in their graves till the resurrection.3


Question 38

Q: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory,1 shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,2 and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God,3 to all eternity.4
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I’ve often wondered about this too. I always pictured these saints to have appeared to the believers, hung out for a few weeks, then walked back to their graves and lay back down to “sleep” and await the general resurrection.
Like when I wakeup at 4am to go to the bathroom and grab a sandwich and go back to bed.
 

Challer

Puritan Board Freshman
To be clear, God's Word doesn't explicitly state what happened to them. But here are some things for you to think about:

1. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." - 1 John 3:2 (KJV)

The emphasis here is mine, obviously, but I cite this verse in support of the possibility that Enoch and Elijah have glorified bodies after seeing Jesus Christ ascend into Heaven. It is inconceivable to me that they would experience bodily death in Heaven and in the presence of the LORD, so if they're still hanging out up there, they're the exception to the rule (the rule being that it is determined for men to die once followed by the judgment per Hebrews 9:27).

2. Much like Philip in Acts 8:39-40, it is possible that Elijah was taken a short distance away and/or eventually returned from where ever he was taken, as it seems he may have written a letter after being taken from Elisha:


Personally, I don't see that the two witnesses could be construed as being Enoch and Elijah, as there is no precedent of anyone ascending to and descending from Heaven other than our Lord Jesus Christ. The two witnesses in Revelation 11 seem to refer to Zechariah 4:4, which refers to these two (who were part of the first return to Israel from Babylon around the time of Daniel/Ezekiel and followed by Ezra-Nehemiah):



It's also worth mentioning that if interpreted somewhat literally, the only person described in the Book of Revelation who bears any notable similarity to Elijah is the False Prophet who calls down fire from heaven in Revelation 13:13. So the Jewish people may be in for quite the cosmic catfish, given that they still leave a seat, cup of wine and an open door for Elijah to return to this day.

With that being said, our Lord Jesus Christ spoke truly at all times, and He told us that Elijah must indeed come first in Matthew 17:10-17. Interestingly, however, the one who comes in the spirit of Elijah does not need to be self-aware in this respect (as John the Baptist wasn't).

Just my thoughts.

YBIC,
CHS
 
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CovenantWord

Puritan Board Freshman
It is my understanding that God honored Enoch, Moses, and Elijah by transforming them directly into glorified bodies and transporting them immediately into heaven, without having to pass through physical death. This seems the simplest explanation, and the best accounting for the available data: Genesis 5:24 (God taking him, being pleased with him), 2 Kings 2:11 (taken into heaven) and Matthew 17:3 (sudden appearance during a theophany).
 

Challer

Puritan Board Freshman
It is my understanding that God honored Enoch, Moses, and Elijah by transforming them directly into glorified bodies and transporting them immediately into heaven, without having to pass through physical death. This seems the simplest explanation, and the best accounting for the available data: Genesis 5:24 (God taking him, being pleased with him), 2 Kings 2:11 (taken into heaven) and Matthew 17:3 (sudden appearance during a theophany).

Interesting! Two thoughts come to my mind:

1. Didn't Moses die a physical death, in accordance with Deuteronomy 34:1-7?

2. As for the resemblance of Elias and Moses, I don't think they would need to take on glorified bodies (per se) in order for their identity to be recognized. This may be supported by the fact that (1) the apostles had never seen Elijah and Moses to recognize them by mere appearance, (2) Elijah and Moses during the Transfiguration were not physically touched, and so what the LORD says in Luke 24:39 may contain some insight as to what degree a spirit may resemble a human figure. The witch of Endor's conjuring in the OT and the saints under the altar who are given a white robe and told to wait a while in the NT also come to mind.
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
To be clear, God's Word doesn't explicitly state what happened to them. But here are some things for you to think about:

1. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." - 1 John 3:2 (KJV)

The emphasis here is mine, obviously, but I cite this verse in support of the possibility that Enoch and Elijah have glorified bodies after seeing Jesus Christ ascend into Heaven. It is inconceivable to me that they would experience bodily death in Heaven and in the presence of the LORD, so if they're still hanging out up there, they're the exception to the rule (the rule being that it is determined for men to die once followed by the judgment per Hebrews 9:27).

2. Much like Philip in Acts 8:39-40, it is possible that Elijah was taken a short distance away and/or eventually returned from where ever he was taken, as it seems he may have written a letter after being taken from Elisha:


Personally, I don't see that the two witnesses could be construed as being Enoch and Elijah, as there is no precedent of anyone ascending to and descending from Heaven other than our Lord Jesus Christ. The two witnesses in Revelation 11 seem to refer to Zechariah 4:4, which refers to these two (who were part of the first return to Israel from Babylon around the time of Daniel/Ezekiel and followed by Ezra-Nehemiah):



It's also worth mentioning that if interpreted somewhat literally, the only person described in the Book of Revelation who bears any notable similarity to Elijah is the False Prophet who calls down fire from heaven in Revelation 13:13. So the Jewish people may be in for quite the cosmic catfish, given that they still leave a seat, cup of wine and an open door for Elijah to return to this day.

With that being said, our Lord Jesus Christ spoke truly at all times, and He told us that Elijah must indeed come first in Matthew 17:10-17. Interestingly, however, the one who comes in the spirit of Elijah does not need to be self-aware in this respect (as John the Baptist wasn't).

Just my thoughts.

YBIC,
CHS
Wow. That is a well-thought out reply. I need to chew on that for awhile.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well unlike Jesus who was sinless who ascended to the heavens by many observers is different than Enoch and Elijah. They wouldn't have been able to see God without dying. They would have to pass through death to see the LORD as well. Perhaps they "fell asleep" (died) and were brought into the presence of the LORD immediately. Pure speculation.
 
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Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
I do think the Transfiguration needs to be included in this discussion, and it adds even more uncertainty. The most straightforward reading of the Transfiguration accounts would suggest Moses and Elijah appeared in their bodies. But this took place before the final resurrection, and in Moses' case the guy clearly had died and was buried—though Deuteronomy 34 makes his death and burial sound a bit mysterious and like a somehow-unique work of God. Hmm. What does all that mean?

As for Elijah, a bodily appearance at the Transfiguration might fit with never having died, but how clear is it that Elijah didn't die? "Up by a whirlwind into heaven" could mean either "into the sky" or "into the dwelling place of God," right? If we're wondering where he went next or what happened to his body, there's less certainty than we might like.

And with Enoch, Hebrews 11:5 seems to be explicit about him not dying, so there's yet another case where the account is different from the others. How does all this fit with what we know about God's appointed times for death and resurrection, the intermediate state, and how it all goes together?

For me, the main takeaway is that God is not bound by death or time, and his "rules" about death and the resurrection timeline neither hem him in nor thwart our happiness. The uncertainty suggests God's ways are sometimes bigger than the usual boxes we use to understand them. Unexplainably glorious things happen to God's servants, even before the final resurrection, regardless of death or non-death or in-the-body status.

I have sometimes felt that existence in the intermediate state does not sound enjoyable. Although I know there's nothing better than to be with God, the idea of life outside the body and away from earth feels sad. But Moses and Elijah and Enoch teach me not to get too hung up on limitations and what can't happen, but rather to hope in my God who doesn't limit himself when it comes to having a good plan to honor and glorify each of his people. The weird departures from what we expect are strangely wonderful.
 

Challer

Puritan Board Freshman
Well unlike Jesus who was sinless who ascended to the heavens by many observers is different than Enoch and Elijah. They wouldn't have been able to see God without dying. They would have to pass through death to see the LORD as well. Perhaps they "fell asleep" (died) and were brought into the presence of the LORD immediately. Pure speculation.

I see where you're coming from, for sure. But what would we make of those who are translated in the twinkling of an eye as the Holy Scriptures state? They would not have seen death, yet surely no one in a glorified body will see it die. What do you think?
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
I see where you're coming from, for sure. But what would we make of those who are translated in the twinkling of an eye as the Holy Scriptures state? They would not have seen death, yet surely no one in a glorified body will see it die. What do you think?

Can you provide book and verse? When you say this I can only think of Jesus referring to the coming of the kingdom. They wouldn't taste death until his kingdom come. Example (Matt 16:28).
 

Challer

Puritan Board Freshman
Can you provide book and verse? When you say this I can only think of Jesus referring to the coming of the kingdom. They wouldn't taste death until his kingdom come. Example (Matt 16:28).

Of course, Brother.

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." - 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (KJV)

To my mind, I always read these who 'do not sleep' but 'are changed' as an exceptional circumstance and not representative of the aforementioned rules (ref. Exodus 33:20 regarding how no man can see Him and live , Hebrews 9:27 regarding man's appointment to die once and then be judged). That, or perhaps God the Father (who is Spirit) was speaking in Exodus 33:20, and so those in Heaven may only see our Lord Jesus Christ (ref. John 14:9) and not the Father, etc.

What do you think?
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." - 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (KJV)

Those passages appear to dance around the topic and can be viewed in different ways. The first can be taken as: We are aware and not like one asleep... Best evidence is

Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Enoch and Elijah received the honor of being taken directly to Heaven, where their bodies were glorified immediately. They are there now, praising their Savior.

You guys are over-thinking this.

(It would be cool if I could get one of those fiery chariot thingees.)
 

CovenantWord

Puritan Board Freshman
Didn't Moses die a physical death, in accordance with Deuteronomy 34:1-7?
Yes, good point. There goes my simple explanation!
The human failure to find Moses' grave may indicate that God hid it so that it would not become an object of veneration, but another possibility is that it never existed, because Moses' body was immediately transformed.
On the other hand, if we reject the glorified-body hypothesis, we could find support for the idea that the souls of the departed either retain, or take on, their own distinctive features recognizable from their earthly sojourn. This second explanation would account for Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration, the medium at En Dor (1 Sam. 28:13), and the martyrs under the heavenly altar (Rev. 6:9).
The difficulty is that the Bible does not supply sufficient data to distinguish between these two hypotheses. The plausible reason is that we would not understand even were it explained to us. I am under the distinct impression that glorified-bodies/distinctive-souls are not constrained by the laws of physics.
What we do know is sufficient: The departed saints rest in eternal blessedness, untroubled by sin and the results of the Fall; yet, at least a few of them are apparently aware of, and interested in, historical events transpiring on earth.
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Sophomore
Personally, I think it more likely that Enoch and Elijah simply died when they were taken for the following reasons:

1) I don't like the idea of a glorified body before Jesus (for the reasons Jeri pointed out) or before when everyone else is going to get one. Burden of proof is heavily on the one who wants to say that somehow these guys were an exception to the order of salvation.

2) The present human body is not suitable for life after death. Therefore, even if they did receive glorified bodies, would that not involve the casting off of the present one? And if so, isn't that a type of death - the soul separated from the present body? I am thinking of Paul's language about bodies in 1 Corinthians 15 here.

3) The transfiguration is a just a manifestation or appearance, it doesn't necessarily mean they have glorified bodies.

On the other hand, if we reject the glorified-body hypothesis, we could find support for the idea that the souls of the departed either retain, or take on, their own distinctive features recognizable from their earthly sojourn.

I agree with this.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Yes, good point. There goes my simple explanation!
The human failure to find Moses' grave may indicate that God hid it so that it would not become an object of veneration, but another possibility is that it never existed, because Moses' body was immediately transformed.
On the other hand, if we reject the glorified-body hypothesis, we could find support for the idea that the souls of the departed either retain, or take on, their own distinctive features recognizable from their earthly sojourn. This second explanation would account for Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration, the medium at En Dor (1 Sam. 28:13), and the martyrs under the heavenly altar (Rev. 6:9).
The difficulty is that the Bible does not supply sufficient data to distinguish between these two hypotheses. The plausible reason is that we would not understand even were it explained to us. I am under the distinct impression that glorified-bodies/distinctive-souls are not constrained by the laws of physics.
What we do know is sufficient: The departed saints rest in eternal blessedness, untroubled by sin and the results of the Fall; yet, at least a few of them are apparently aware of, and interested in, historical events transpiring on earth.

No, Moses' grave did exist. The Bible explicitly says that God Himself buried Moses.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Personally, I think it more likely that Enoch and Elijah simply died when they were taken for the following reasons:

1) I don't like the idea of a glorified body before Jesus (for the reasons Jeri pointed out) or before when everyone else is going to get one. Burden of proof is heavily on the one who wants to say that somehow these guys were an exception to the order of salvation.

2) The present human body is not suitable for life after death. Therefore, even if they did receive glorified bodies, would that not involve the casting off of the present one? And if so, isn't that a type of death - the soul separated from the present body? I am thinking of Paul's language about bodies in 1 Corinthians 15 here.

3) The transfiguration is a just a manifestation or appearance, it doesn't necessarily mean they have glorified bodies.



I agree with this.

They were the exception in being the only two guys to get taken to Heaven without dying, so why can't they be the exception in also getting their glorified bodies first? God is free to do what He likes.
 
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