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And he was not - part 2

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5th December 2006 (evening)

Hi Guys,

Just thought I needed to add a little to the previous email.

Someone asked about John 3:13.
'And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is [present tense] in heaven'.

The 'ascended' here refers to an act of effort - 'a bodily act by a person's own effort'.

The greek word is 'anabaino'. Some of the verses include: Matt 3:16 (went up straightaway out of the water); Matt 5:1 (went up into a mountain); Matt13:1 (thorns sprung up); John 7:14 (Jesus went up into the temple) ; John 10:1(climbeth up some other way); Rom 10:6 (who shall ascend into heaven); 1Cor 2:9 (entered into the heart).

So it's quite clear that when used for a person's physical action -it is an upward motion of one's own effort.
I would say that 'anabaino' in relation to Jesus Christ speaks of His physical glorified bodily ascension into heaven. Yet Jesus speaks of Himself as being in heaven while He talked to Nicodemus! (So it's even much more than that).

Notice in Acts 1:9 how He was taken up and a cloud received (separated) Him from their sight. Take note no clothe fell from Him as He went up.

A glorified physical bodily ascension did not happen to Enoch. I don't know what happened to his body. The death process was stopping, but his body was not glorified; it was his spirit that God took. This ensures that the above scriptures are not broken. His physical body ceased to exist.

You ask, 'What about Elijah?' 'Didn't he ascend physically?'
Yes he did. But again not a glorified body.
2Kings 2:1, 'And it came to pass, when the Lord would take Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind...'
In Elijah's case, a chariot of fire separated him from Elisha (just as the cloud separated Jesus from the disciples) but the whirlwind helped him up into heaven -Verse 11(but Jesus required no help). This was no glorified body that could ascend without assistance!
Notice how his robe (mantle) falls as his physical body ceases to exist and he is taken as spirit into heaven (Verse 13).

Verse 12: '...And he saw him no more.'

Now I know that Elijah is mentioned again in 2 Chron 21:12.
What? Is he still alive? Was it just a visit to heaven?
Before we get all excited, I don't think he came back.
What the king receives is a letter by Elijah. That doesn't mean he is alive on earth. One can always receive a letter from a person posthumously (i.e. written before they die). But even this is not the case here.

But lets see when Elijah wrote this letter.

I'll go into genealogy a little. I'll be as clear as I can.

By the time Elijah is due to go up in a whirlwind, there are two Kings both called Jehoram. One in Israel and one in Judah.

1. Israel: Ahab's 4th year.        Judah: Jehoshaphat's 1st year  (1King22:41)
2. Israel: Ahaziah's 1st year     Judah: Jehoshaphat's 17th year (1King22:51)
3. Israel: Jehoram's 1st year    Judah: Jehoram's 2nd year        (2Kings1:17)

Remember Ahaziah dies because of Elijah's word in 2Kings 1:17. Elijah ascends in 2Kings Chapter 2.

Now lets go to 2Chron 21.
It's looking at Jehoram's reign in Judah - Jehoshaphat's son. He decides to kill all his brethren soon after he had gotten the throne  (verse 4). His reign is a total of 8 years.
Elijah's letter (Verse 12-15)comes somewhere within those 8 years. I believe its in his 2nd year at most, as Elijah is still around then.
Notice the judgment in the letter - 'and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day'. So basically he gets a diseased bowel that will eventually prolapse!

Notice in verse 16-17, before the disease starts, the nation of Judah is raided by foreigners. Then he gets the diseased bowel which lasts for 2 years before it eventually prolapses in verse 19 and he dies.

So to sum up: shortly after Jehoram starts reigning - he kills his brothers; Elijah writes him a letter before he ascends to heaven; the disease in his bowels starts in his 6th year and he dies in the 8th year.

So back to John 3:13
No man has gone up to heaven in a glorified physical body by his own power except Our Lord Jesus Christ! Enoch and Elijah were received by God but not in glorified bodies or by their own power. For the promised Rest (Jesus) had not yet come!
This does not negate the fact that 'in Adam all are dying and in Christ all are living'. For dying and living is much more than the physical aspect.

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. - Eph 4:10


Stay blessed in Him,

Tony A.