That’s a good story all by itself but there’s more that doesn’t immediately meet the eye. To being with, Elijah is carried to heaven in a chariot of fire (verse 11). Like Pastor Josh said, “God sent a ride and a chauffeur to pick him up.” Elijah does not die. He’s just carried away. It says in James 5:17 that Elijah was a man of like passions. Regular guy, really, so what sets him apart?
Not so fast. From the very first mention of him in the Bible, Elijah is a great warrior for God. First Kings 17:1 Elijah meets Ahab the King of Israel head-on. Ahab has provoked the Lord and Elijah has stepped up to the plate. Like Pastor Josh says, “It’s not enough to sit around on the seat of do-little or do-nothing and think about heaven and think about Christ; but, we must be witnesses of him.” Jesus says to be witnesses throughout the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Elijah, a great man of faith, who is swept up to heaven. He’s not the first though. Jude verse 14 tells us that Enoch prophesied of the Lord coming with his saints to execute judgment. It also says he walked with God (Genesis 5:22,24) and that he pleased God for his faith (Hebrews 11:5,6). He, also, doesn’t see death.
Two great examples of men of faith in the Old Testament who were ‘caught up’ to heaven. There are two similar men of faith in the New Testament, too. Each one of them is ‘caught up’ into heaven but they are returned. Their work isn’t finished. Paul, the Apostle, in II Corinthians 12:1-4 speaks of being ‘caught up’ to the third heaven (paradise) and heard unspeakable words not possible to utter. Then there’s John in Revelation 4 who witnessed a door opened in heaven and a voice that invited him to come in.
The day is coming and no one knows exactly when, except for God, everyone will be called for an accounting. “We’re only here for a little while but we’ll be there for a whole eternity.” said Pastor Josh. “Have faith in God, don’t measure your faith by how much fire you can pray down. But, measure your faith by how close to God you walk, by how much like Jesus you are.”