Enoch and Elijah: Mysterious Bodies :: By Mark A. Becker

Though the Two Witnesses are not the topic of this article, and because we are discussing Enoch and Elijah, we need to point out up front that we have ruled out any past historical candidates for the Two Witnesses in Can We Know the Identity of the Two Witnesses?

What this article attempts to investigate, however, is a rational answer to a question that has always intrigued me, and that is, what exactly is the bodily state of Enoch and Elijah in heaven ever since their translations? Said a little differently, when Enoch and Elijah were translated to heaven, never to taste of death, in what state were their bodies in when they were translated, and what state are their bodies in now, if there is even a difference?

Have you ever wondered this?

Two Popular Positions

There seem to be two popular thoughts regarding this question:

  1. Enoch and Elijah are both in heaven in their human bodies of flesh and blood, being supernaturally preserved and awaiting their glorified eternal bodies.
  2. Enoch and Elijah received, at their translation, glorified eternal bodies when they ascended to heaven.

Position number one seems to be the most popular of the two, primarily because many believe Enoch and Elijah may be the Two Witnesses. (Please see Can We Know the Identity of the Two Witnesses? and Elijah and The False Prophet for why Enoch and Elijah, as well as any other historical figures, cannot be the Two Witnesses.)

Both positions, though, in my thoughtful analysis, appear to have difficulties, and we should examine them both.

Enoch and Elijah in Their Natural Bodies?

The theory that Enoch and Elijah are supernaturally protected in heaven while in their natural flesh and blood bodies is certainly possible with a God who can do anything, but there is an immense obstacle with this proposition.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…”1 Corinthians 15:50

We discussed this verse in our series on God’s Kingdoms in God’s Kingdoms – Part 4 – Acts Through Revelation and Conclusion and discovered that fallen flesh and blood bodies can never enter the presence of God in the Kingdom of God/Kingdom of heaven.

Naturally, it would have been impossible for Enoch and Elijah to enter heaven in their flesh and blood human bodies. It just is not possible. Even though these two were exceptional human beings, they still had their fallen sin-natures and were far from perfect in the eyes of a holy and righteous God.

Based on this one criterion alone, we can adequately reject this position.

Enoch and Elijah in Resurrected Eternal Bodies?

The idea behind this position is that both Enoch’s and Elijah’s bodies were changed into their resurrected eternal bodies just as the church will be at the resurrection/rapture of the church.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”1 Corinthians 15:20

Now, I realize that this verse is speaking of Messiah as being the first to have a resurrected glorified body of those who have died – and in Colossians 1:18 it also says that He “is the firstborn from the dead” – but it really is hard to imagine that anyone, including Enoch and Elijah, would be allowed to have a resurrected and glorified body apart from, and prior to, our Lord and Savior and His finished work on the cross. Would the reader not agree?

I also understand that some might suggest that there is a difference between being resurrected and glorified. In a sense, this is true as the unsaved will be resurrected at The Great White Throne Judgment just before the creation of the new earth and new heavens, but we certainly would never say that they will be glorified.

I do believe, however, when it comes to the resurrection of Saints, that they are both resurrected and glorified immediately together. In other words, when the Saints of God are resurrected in their proper order, they are also glorified; hence the term: resurrected, glorified, and everlasting bodies.

With Christ being the first to receive a resurrected, glorified, and everlasting body from the dead, I see no harmony with supposing that Enoch and Elijah would have their resurrected, glorified, and everlasting bodies upon their translations to heaven – even though they did not die – before Messiah Yeshua ever finished His work on the cross and received His. Jesus Christ must be first and preeminent in all things.

“For it pleased the Father that in him [Christ Jesus] should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”Colossians 1:19-20

Again, there is no absolute Scriptural support either way for Enoch and Elijah to have or have not obtained resurrected, glorified, and everlasting bodies upon their translations, but logically and rationally, regarding Christ’s future work on the cross and His obtaining His resurrected, glorified, and everlasting body, I just do not see this as a viable option.

So, what may have happened to them if they could not enter heaven in their flesh and blood bodies and were ineligible at that time to receive resurrected, glorified, and everlasting bodies?

A Theory Regarding This Mystery

I will say up front that what I am proposing here cannot be reinforced by Scripture, but the Word of God does not preclude the possibility either. As with most of my suppositions that lack Scriptural support, I try to be honest with the reader in attesting that we have no alternative but to apply common sense, logic, and rational thought.

When it comes to this theory, it should be remembered that the rapture of believers who are living on earth at that time will have their bodies changed. There will not be a natural body left behind, but rather, our natural bodies will be instantly changed from mortal to immortal.

The dead in Christ, however, will have the molecular structures from their decomposed bodies regenerated and recreated into immortal bodies, where the spirit/soul complexes will be reunited with those new, glorious, and eternal bodies. This same process will also accompany other Saints who will be resurrected later in their proper order.

These two distinctions, regarding the resurrection/rapture of the church and the resurrections of others in their proper order, should be clearly understood as we move forward.

Even Though Enoch and Elijah Did Not Die, Death May Be the Key in Answering Our Question

In Instantly Changed and Caught Up, we investigated what happens to a Saint upon death. Here is what we observed regarding those who died before Messiah offered Himself on the cross for our salvation:

What ‘Change’ Do the Dead in Christ Experience?

One may ask how exactly the dead in Christ will be changed. The answer lies in what the dead appear to be when they die and are taken to heaven. We know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Therefore, do we have any idea what that looks like? We do! One example in each Testament.

We went on to briefly look into the story of Saul, the witch of Endor, and Samuel in 1 Samuel 28 and remarked:

The reader can read the entire account in 1 Samuel 28 for themselves. But, suffice it to say, Samuel was allowed by God to come up from a place called Sheol. What we learn from this account is that people, in their spirit/soul complex, have a recognizable form upon death. What kind of a temporary spiritual body this is that houses our spirit/soul complex can only be known by the Lord.

Then we pithily examined Messiah’s teaching on The Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16 and noted:

Notice that the Rich Man not only recognized Lazarus, but he even recognized Abraham, who he had never seen before!

We then discerned what happens to believers at death today, ever since Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, when our spirit/soul complexes go to be with the Lord in heaven.

Thus, when we die, we will join the others in heaven in what appears to be some sort of temporary spiritual body awaiting our resurrection with the uniting of our spirit/soul complex with a new, glorious, and everlasting body. Our Lord will bring those who are dead in Christ with Him at the resurrection/rapture for this union with their resurrected eternal bodies.

This is the spiritual body that I expect Enoch and Elijah possessed as they were translated to heaven and still have today as they are awaiting their resurrected, glorified, and eternal bodies. These would be the same spiritual bodies all believers who have died, from creation on, have as they all wait in heaven together in the presence of our Lord for their resurrections to occur in their proper order.

How Might This Have Happened?

I suspect the answer would be very similar to what those who die experience, except Enoch and Elijah did not die!

When a person dies, it appears their spirit/soul complex exits their dead flesh and blood bodies – essentially shedding those bodies from their spirit/soul complexes as they exit – and are evidently immediately clothed with a temporary spiritual body when they are taken to heaven. The same would apply to Enoch and Elijah, though, again, without the natural process of dying.

In respect to our topic, I deduce that the earthly bodies that Enoch and Elijah shed as they were translated to heaven disintegrated back into their basic molecular elements – H2O, carbon, etc. – and fell to the earth unobserved awaiting to be reunited into newly resurrected, glorified, and eternal bodies at their resurrection as only our mighty omniscient God can! After all, the basic elements from everyone’s dead bodies – some for thousands of years – whether buried, destroyed, or cremated, will be miraculously resurrected into like forms as our Savior’s resurrected body exhibited.

“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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”1 John 3:2-3

Considering Elijah’s Translation into Heaven

This hypothesis may also help to explain the sons of the prophets who desired to retrieve Elijah’s body after his translation. They obviously knew the Lord was taking Elijah to heaven, and they evidently assumed that his natural body would have been left behind as his spirit/soul complex was taken to the Lord.

Here is the account:

“And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him [Elisha], they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.”2 Kings 2:15

Notice that the sons of the prophets, after Elijah’s translation, knew that the Spirit of God that rested on Elijah was now on Elisha.

The same sons of the prophets had also viewed Elijah’s translation from Jericho.

“And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.”2 Kings 2:7

Earlier, they had told Elisha that “the LORD will take away thy master [Elijah] from thy head to day.”

“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 to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.”2 Kings 2:5

There was no confusion about what was to take place: God was going to take Elijah.

Later, they asked Elisha a very interesting question after Elijah’s translation:

“And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.”2 Kings 2:16

The sons of the prophets knew “the Spirit of the Lord hath taken [Elijah] up” because they had already told Elisha that they knew the Lord was taking Elijah away that day (vs. 5) – they even saw it from afar (vs. 7) – but they wanted to find Elijah’s body, if perhaps God had “cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” Their intent was obviously to give Elijah’s body a proper burial!

Elisha knew, though, that the body would not be found, for he seemed to know something that they did not. He finally gave up his protest and allowed them to search for Elijah’s body, and then we read:

“They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?”2 Kings 2:17b-18

Remember, Elisha was there when Elijah was translated, and it appears that he either knew exactly what had happened to Elijah during his translation or he was informed of what had actually transpired when the Spirit that was on Elijah had rested upon him.

One last observation: When Elijah was translated up to heaven, his mantle fell off of him.

“He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan…”2 Kings 2:13

Why? Why would Elijah’s mantle fall off from him?

Twice, it speaks of “the mantle of Elijah that fell from him,” or literally, “the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him” (vs. 13-14). Granted, Elijah “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (vs. 11), but there seems to be more here than meets the eye, especially when one considers that Elijah’s cloak or mantle fell from off him during the whirlwind and landed, seemingly, at Elisha’s feet.

If Elijah indeed shed his flesh and blood body as he was being translated, and his natural body was altered into his unique foundational molecular structure we all possess, then the mantle – or cloak or prophet’s garment – surely would have fallen off.

And, if this was the case, Elisha certainly would have perceived that Elijah’s body would never be found by the sons of the prophets because it obviously would have returned to the earth in unseen molecular elements.

Furthermore, our hypothesis helps to explain the concern of the sons of the prophets that, in their view, it was more than possible that Elijah’s body would have been left behind if Elijah was to be translated into heaven in the presence of God.

They seemed to understand that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…” (1 Corinthians 15:50), and that no one would be able to acquire a new, glorified, and everlasting body until the Messiah of God came to earth to fulfill the prophecies of His First Advent.

Therefore, our proposal that Enoch’s and Elijah’s spirit/soul complexes were instantly clothed with the temporary spiritual bodies that the spirit/soul complex of all human beings possess after they die is more than likely the bodies they procured in their translations to heaven and are the bodies they are possessing now as they await their resurrections in their proper order.

Lastly, the whirlwind would have scattered these molecular components of Elijah’s natural body in the general vicinity where Elijah was taken up.

“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, 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

A Mysterious Link?

This may also explain the miraculous event that occurred immediately after:

“And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.

“And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.

“And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.

“So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.”2 Kings 2:19-22

Could it be that some of Elijah’s molecular components made their way to the “springs of waters” and, when combined with the salt that Elisha threw into the spring, created a miraculous chemical reaction that healed the waters?

Fascinatingly enough, Elisha’s decaying bones brought a man back to life some years later:

“And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.

“And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.”2 Kings 13:20-21

The bodies of both Elijah and Elisha seemingly produced life, just as The Miraculous Body of Messiah Jesus would yield eternal life for those who put their faith and trust in Him after His selfless, loving, and perfect sacrifice on the cross, His death, burial, and His glorious resurrection!

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”2 Corinthians 9:15

Thank You, God, indeed! And Amen!


May we all keep Answering the Call of The Great Commission, and giving an answer to every man and woman who so desperately needs Jesus and asks us, “Why Am I Here and What Is It All About?

Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!

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