Where are they now?

Posted in: 2009
By Tom L. Ballinger
Jan 20, 2009 - 1:34:05 PM



Part I


Where are they today? Enoch will be considered first. Some believe he never died, and he was whisked away to heaven. So, we can presume to think that those who believe this would insist that Enoch is now in heaven. Several passages of Scripture would seem to give credence to this belief.

Genesis 5:24
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (KJV).

“Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (NIV).

“Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer here …” (New American Bible).

“ …he disappeared for God took him” (Some other translations).

We remember a very precious story of the little girl who told others about Enoch. She said, “Enoch walked so far with God that he never came back.” Yes, indeed, “Out of the mouth of babes.”

“ …And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” (Matt. 21:16).

Hebrews 11:5 is used by many as a proof text that Enoch was “raptured” to heaven, even though the verse doesn’t say that he was transported to the celestials.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11:5).

Because of Enoch’s faith, he was translated, “metatithemi,” that he should not see death. Strong’s Number 3346 is “metatithemi,” and it means, “to transfer, i.e. (literally) transport, (by implication) exchange, change sides.” Note that “Vine’s New Testament Dictionary” says it means “a change of position, to change.” Based on the words, “translated” and “translation,” it doesn’t state, emphatically, that Enoch’s place on earth was changed to a place in heaven. Or, in plainer words, the Bible doesn’t, specifically, say that Enoch was translated to heaven. Another version refers to Enoch as being “conveyed to another place.”

“By faith Enoch was CONVEYED to another place, with the result he did not see death, and he was not found because God CONVEYED him to another place …” (Heb. 11:5) Wuest’s “The New Testament”.

Wuest translated “metatithemi” as “conveyed,” twice, in Hebrews 11:5. We are not told where Enoch lived, unless it was in the Land of Nod, East of Eden (Gen. 4:16). But, wherever Enoch lived, or wherever he walked to, he was removed from it and conveyed to some place where he could not be found. There, he probably died; thus, not living to see the “death” of every living creature. The LORD probably buried him, and no-one knew where his grave was. A search-party was probably organized and went looking for him. But, he was not found.

And Enoch Was Not

Looking, again, at Genesis 5:24, we note, “And Enoch walked with God: and HE WAS NOT; for God took him.”

The Concordance informs the student of Scripture that “he was not” is the translation of the Hebrew word, “ayin,” meaning, “to be nothing or not to exist, a non-entity.” Does this sound like God took him to heaven? No, it doesn’t. The truth of the matter is that “all of the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years” (Gen. 5:23). After his 365 years, he did not exist. He died in a secret place where God transported him. God buried him—only God knew where Enoch rested, in sleep. If he were conveyed to heaven, he would still be alive and existing in the heavenly realm, and it could not be said that Enoch “does not exist.”

The fate of Enoch was a gracious act of God. The same was, graciously, administered to Moses.

“And the LORD said unto him [Moses], This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day: (Deut. 34:4-6).

The examiner of Scripture must, also, consider Jude’s reference to Enoch.

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14-15).

This “coming” is not a reference to the “Parousia” of Christ as mentioned in the New Testament. The word, “cometh,” is “erchomai” and is used 650 times in the N.T. It is translated a number of ways, none of which is remotely associated with the word, “Parousia.” Some of its translations in the KJV are: “accompany, appear, bring, come, enter, fall out, go, grow, X light, X next, pass, resort, be set” These are from Strong’s Concordance # 2064.

Inasmuch as Enoch “was not,” that is to say, did not exist anymore, he died, and God buried him in a secret place. Therefore, he did not “see death.” He did not see the “death” which was the result of the world-wide-flood in Noah’s day. All died. The Lord did execute judgment [justice] UPON ALL because “all flesh” became corrupted, with the exception of Noah’s family.

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for ALL FLESH had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of ALL FLESH is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them [all flesh] with the earth …And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy ALL FLESH, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die” (Gen. 6:11-13,17).

The LORD did not inform Enoch in what manner His judgment would take. This judgment fell in the sixth-hundredth-year of the life of Noah.

The repetition of the word, “ungodly,” in Jude 14-15 is very forceful. Enoch was a spokesman for God amid the fast-spreading corruption throughout the world. Enoch warned the “ungodly” of their “ungodly” ways. His prophecy foretold of the LORD’s impending judgment in which “ALL FLESH” would die. God must have told Enoch about the judgment and told him what to say. Enoch’s message came by means of a special revelation; otherwise, how could he have known about it?

Is Enoch dead? A great many Bible students believe he still lives. Some teach that he is alive in the lower regions of heaven—not where God’s throne is. Some admit that even though he did not die, he is now living in a state of “suspended animation” which is “temporary suspension of the vital functions” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). This is, really, the state of being “inanimate.” This is “Christian-speak;” it is really “gobble-de-gook.” “Inanimate” means destitute of life. So, which is it? Is Enoch dead or alive?

A look at Hebrews Chapter Eleven and the great cloud of witnesses should speak volumes. We call the reader’s attention to the first five of God’s witnesses, including Enoch. The passages mention what they all had in common—they all believed God …such as; Abel believed (i.e., by faith) God.

Heb.11:4 ─ “By faith Abel …”
Heb.11:5 ─ “By faith Enoch …”
Heb.11:7 ─ “By faith Noah …”
Heb.11:8 ─ “By faith Abraham …”
Heb.11:11 ─ “Through faith Sara …”
Heb.11:13 ─ “These all died in faith …”

Another thing which they all had in common is that they ALL DIED IN FAITH. Notice, Hebrews 11:13 as it appears in the NIV; “All these people were still living by faith when they died” (NIV). “All these people,” including Enoch, “were still living by faith WHEN THEY DIED.” Enoch’s mortality is settled in Hebrews 11:13.

We had never had an opinion, one way or the other, as to where ENOCH IS NOW, before we began this study. After our search of the Scriptures, we have concluded that Enoch is where God buried him, unless the ravages of the Flood re-positioned his body, or bones.

January 15, 2009



Part II


Where is Elijah now? In our many years of Bible study, we have never expressed an opinion on where Elijah is now. We have been aware that many Bible students believe that a whirlwind took Elijah to heaven. They believe he remains there to this very day. Likewise, we know many others, who are excellent expositors of Scripture, who believe Elijah continued his ministry after his “whirlwind experience.” I have friends in both camps. Up until now, I had never sought an answer until I began studies on “He Appeared in Another Form” which examined the Mount of Transfiguration texts. Elijah, appearing on the Mount, along with Jesus and Moses, convinced me that now was the time to come to the conclusion of WHERE IS ELIJAH NOW?

Elijah burst upon the Old Testament scene in the pages of the Bible in 1 Kings 17:1. All we know is that he was a Tishbite. Yet, he is in the presence of the King of the Northern Kingdom, Ahab. Here, he told Ahab that there would not be dew, or rain for three years on the Kingdom of Israel. Chapter Seventeen skims over the three years of the drought. We read that Elijah hid himself where God told him to go. The ravens were commanded by God to feed Elijah twice a day. The birds brought him fish and bread. Then, the word of the LORD came to him that he should go to Zarephath where “a widow woman” would “sustain” him. Her small amount of flour and a little oil, miraculously, lasted three years while she used it to feed Elijah, her son, and herself. In Verses 17 through 24 is the account of the widow’s dying son, and Elijah’s prayer prompts the LORD to restore the son’s life.

In 1 Kings 18:1, “it came to pass” that the Word of the LORD came to Elijah, telling him to go and show himself to King Ahab, and the LORD would send rain upon the earth. Elijah left the “widow woman” and her son to go and show himself to King Ahab, and the LORD would send rain.

The famine was great in Samaria due to the three-year drought. Elijah went to reveal himself to Ahab. Ahab had searched for Elijah all during the three-year period. He wanted to find the prophet and, perhaps, torture him until he would rescind the curse of “no rain” which was pronounced on Samaria. Ahab’s other alternative, and probably preferable, would be to kill Elijah, the hated Tishbite.

We meet up with a God-fearing bureaucrat; Ahab’s Chief of Staff, a man named Obadiah. He is not the Obadiah who wrote the shortest book in the Bible—“Obadiah.” King Ahab tells Obadiah that they must find grass and water so the king’s livestock will be preserved. Ahab tells Obadiah to go in one direction, looking for grass and water, and Ahab will go searching in another direction (1 Kings 18:2-6).

Elijah Divinely Conveyed to Meet Obadiah?

While the Word went out to Elijah, Ahab and Obadiah went in search of grass and fountains of water in hopes of saving the livestock. Now, notice carefully.

“And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he [Obadiah] knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?” (1 Kings 18:7).

Elijah, the Tishbite, was well-known throughout the Northern Kingdom of Israel. While Obadiah may not have ever met Elijah, he must have seen him because he recognized him.

After reading the Biblical account of Elijah’s Old Testament ministry, over-and-over again, I was impressed with the fact that, in all likelihood, Elijah had been translated a number of times. While pondering the chronicles of Elijah and the miraculous events linked with him, I had to pause as I re-considered 1 Kings 18:7. The word, “behold,” stands out. It grabs the reader’s attention. It is a figure of speech which is used to catch our attention, or give special credence to the fact that while Obadiah was walking along, BEHOLD, Elijah met him. This meeting was not a mere coincidence. It was not a meeting by happen-stance. It wasn’t by accident. This was God’s plan. There seems to have been many such “sightings” over the three-year period. Such “sightings” would indicate that the LORD “translated” Elijah from one place to another. And the word of such sightings was spread abroad in the Kingdom of Israel.

Obadiah fell on his face and asked, “Art thou that my lord Elijah?”

The Prophet acknowledged that he was, indeed, Elijah, and he told Obadiah to go and tell Ahab, “BEHOLD, Elijah is here” (1 Kings 18:8). Obadiah was not willing to do as Elijah asked.

Obadiah answered Elijah by saying, “What have I done wrong, that you would hand me over to Ahab for him to put me to death” (paraphrased:1 Kings 18:9).

We might ask, “Why?” The reason was simple. If Obadiah arranged the meeting, and when Ahab arrived, there was no Elijah, it would cost Obadiah his life. Ahab would have assumed Obadiah was lying. It was apparent that for three years, every-time there had been a “sighting” of Elijah, Ahab sent his agents to find him. But, they found him not.

Obadiah said to Elijah, “As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord [Ahab] has not sent to seek you. And when they said, He [Elijah] is not here, he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they had not found you. And now you say, Go tell your lord [Ahab], Behold, Elijah is here. And as soon as I have gone out from you, the Spirit of the LORD WILL CARRY YOU I KNOW NOT WHERE; so when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared and revered the Lord from my youth” (1 Kings 18:10-12). Amplified New Testament.

The Spirit of the LORD probably did, on occasion, carry-away Elijah to another place in order to avoid Ahab’s pursuit (see 2 Kings 2:16; Ezekiel 3:12.24). When Ahab heard of a sighting, he would send delegates to other nations, or kingdoms in search of the Prophet; only to learn he was not there. He made the nations, or kingdoms swear an oath that Elijah was not there. Obadiah knew Ahab was furious when he was sent on a “wild- goose-chase.”
Elijah did meet with King Ahab, 1 Kings 18:17-24, and the meeting led to Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal.
Elijah Taken Away
“And it came to pass,” about fourteen years later, while Elijah and Elisha were on their way to Bethel, “WHEN THE LORD WOULD TAKE UP ELIJAH INTO HEAVEN by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal” (2 Kings 2:1).
Here, it is noted that Elijah was aware of his impending translation. Elijah told Elisha to wait for him while he went to Bethel, as the LORD had instructed. Elisha insisted that he would accompany Elijah (Verse 2). So, both of them went to Bethel. The “sons of the prophets” at Bethel, also, knew that Elijah was due to be taken-away. In fact, they said to Elisha, “Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master [Elijah] from thy head to day? Yea, I [Elisha] know it, hold ye your peace” (2 Kings 2:3).

Then, at Jericho, we read of another group of “sons of the prophets.”

“And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today?” (2 Kings 2:5).

The “sons of the prophets” even knew the LORD was going to transport-away Elijah that very day. After doing his business at Bethel, the LORD, then, told Elijah to go to Jericho. Both at Bethel and Jericho, the “sons of the prophets” knew Elijah was to be removed by the LORD that day.

The “sons of the prophets” were a group of students. Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha seemed to be part of this group. A “school of the prophets” was developed during the ministry of Samuel (cf. 1 Samuel 10:5-12). There were different schools in various localities. The leaders were referred to as “Prophets” and were called, “Father.” Elisha, when he saw the translation of Elijah, “cried, My Father, my father (2 Kings 2:12). Elisha had been a student of Elijah. The students were called “sons;” therefore, “sons of the prophets.” C. I. Scofield classified them as “theological students” (2 Kings 2).

Elijah knew he was to be taken away, “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me” (2 Kings 2:9). Elisha, also, knew of Elijah’s departure, as did the sons of the prophets, and maybe, even others knew that the LORD was going to take Elijah away, even into heaven. This knowledge was bound to have been the result of Divine revelation.

Furthermore, as Elisha pleaded for Elijah to bestow upon him a double portion of the spirit which Elijah possessed, Elijah said, “Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not [i.e., if you don’t see me taken from you], it shall not be so” (2 Kings 2:10).

As Elijah and Elisha walked and talked, “BEHOLD, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11). The chariot of fire did not bear Elijah to heaven, as many teach. It was the “whirlwind.”

And Elisha saw it happen. Therefore, he received the double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

The “sons of the prophets,” also, witnessed the removing of Elijah. Then, the “sons of the prophets” said to Elisha that they had “fifty strong men;” let them go and they would look for Elijah ─ think this through. They did not see Elijah disappear into blue heavens via a whirlwind, nor does the Scripture say that he disappeared into the clouds of heaven. The following was their response to what they saw:

15 The company [sons] of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching [the carrying away of Elijah], said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.” (2 Kings 2:15-16) NIV.

It never entered their minds that Elijah was taken into heaven and deposited there. If they had thought Elijah was in heaven, their search would have been in vain to start with. Fifty strong men went and searched for Elijah over mountains and in the valleys, below. They searched for three days. They did not think the whirlwind took Elijah to heaven and left him there. Did they see Elijah being transported through the heavens, beyond the horizon?

It, very well, could have been the case. They believed the Spirit transported him to a secret place—because they could not find him. Elijah didn’t de-materialize; no, he was transported away via a whirlwind and was seen leaving—to where, no-one knew.

Years Later

Jehoram, the King of Judah for some fourteen to twenty years after Elijah was translated, received a letter from Elijah (2 Chronicles 21:12). (Remember, Elijah was a Prophet to the Kingdom of Israel, not Judah). This raises the question as to whether or not Elijah wrote this letter before he was translated many years earlier, or did Elijah write the letter and send it to King Jehoram from an unknown place?

Many well-recognized students of the Word believe that Elijah wrote it prior to his translation. As the Companion Bible notes, “It [the letter] might have ‘come’ as Holy Scripture comes to us today, though written in the past …it could have been written at anytime; probably a prophetic writing to be delivered at this particular time” (CB, Page 592). If they believed this, it would be because they believed Elijah was translated to heaven and remains there to this very day. Consequently, this belief rules out Elijah writing it from heaven. Of course, it could be more fanciful to say that Elijah wrote the letter from heaven, and it was delivered by an angelic messenger. Others simply believe Elijah was prompted by the Spirit to write it to King Jehoram as his earthly ministry continued after his “whirlwind” episode. I suggest that the reader study Elijah’s letter to Jehoram:

2 Chronicles 21:12-15:

12 Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said: “This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: ‘You have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. 13 But you have walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your father's house, men who were better than you. 14 So now the LORD is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.’” NIV.

Does this read like a prophetic writing? Or, more like a pronouncement of doom? I’m just asking. As I considered Elijah’s letter, what comes to mind is that most prophetic writings are, “If you do so-and-so, you will suffer thus-and-such.” This letter is not a warning, but rather, it is a pronouncement of an impending “heavy blow.” The more I have reflected upon this, the more I believe that this letter to Jehoram was written years later by Elijah after his translation. But this, in and of itself, does not give us any conclusive evidence as to when, or from whence, it was written.

This article has pointed out that it seemed, on different occasions, that Elijah was seen in places, and that many believed he had been transported there by the Spirit. A clear example of this is seen in the case of Philip and the eunuch in Acts Chapter Eight.

“And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea” (Acts 8:39-40).

Philip was found after his translation. Enoch was not found after his. Nor, was Elijah found by the fifty strong men of the “sons of the prophets.” Being “not found” does not have to mean they went to heaven. It could mean they were removed to a place where they could not be found. God hid them.


If these two men of God, Enoch and Elijah, were translated up to heaven and left there, does that contradict our Lord Jesus Christ, in John 3:13?:

“No one has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven, the Son of man” (RSV).

We believe “no one” means NO-ONE, except the Lord Jesus Christ.

If these two saints are in heaven, have they “put on immortality?” If so, does this contradict the Scripture?

“Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:16)

Dear friends and persistent Mountaineers, I will quarrel with no man concerning what he believes, concerning Enoch and Elijah and—WHERE ARE THEY NOW? But, as for me, I have to conclude that they are in the state-of-death, awaiting their resurrection.