Was Elijah Still on Earth After Being Taken Up in a Whirlwind?

Hi F____,

Thank you for your questions about the timeline of events surrounding the taking up of Elijah into heaven. The fact that there are two Jehoram’s involved in this story makes it a bit hard to follow. Add to that the fact that there appears to be a discrepancy in the time of the ascension of Jehoram the son of King Ahab, and it becomes even harder to follow. But we will be careful to pay attention to every word and it will be very clear that Elijah was still on earth after being taken up into heaven in a chariot of fire.
In 2h 18:34 we are told that King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel died immediately following his battle against the Syrians at Ramothgilead:

2Ch 18:34 And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.

It was the prophet Elijah who the Lord had spoken through to wicked King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel. It was from the threat of Queen Jezebel to kill Elijah that Elijah fled to the wilderness and was fed of the ravens. This was all the result of Elijah having killed the 400 prophets of Baal.
After the death of Ahab we are told this about Ahab’s son Ahaziah, who was Ahab’s immediate successor:

1Ki 22:40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
1Ki 22:49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
1Ki 22:51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
2Ki 1:2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.

After less than two short but wicked years of reigning, Ahaziah falls “through a lattice” and instead of going to a prophet of God to inquire of his fate he sends his messengers to inquire of Baalzebub and Elijah meets the messengers and tells them”

2Ki 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of [ Ahaziah, the son of King Ahab] the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?
2Ki 1:4 Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

So Ahaziah dies just two years after his father Ahab died, and he is succeeded by his brother, Jehoram.
According to this verse, and the fact that Ahaziah died after only a two year reign, we know that he died in the 19th year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.

1Ki 22:51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. (17+2=19)

Elijah is still on the scene in Israel during the 19th year of Jehoshaphat when Ahab’s son Ahaziah died.
So Ahaziah died in the 19th year of Jehoshaphat, and Elijah was still on the scene. But how long did Jehoshaphat reign?:

1Ki 22:42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.

Jehoshaphat reigned 25 years and Ahaziah, king of the northern kingdom of Israel, the son of the deceased King Ahab, died in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat. So Jehoshaphat reigned for another 6 years after Ahaziah’s death in the 19th year of Jehoshaphat.
Now we need to ask, when was Elijah taken up into heaven?
We read above in the first chapter of 2 Kings the story of how Ahaziah fell through the lattice and was told by the prophet Elijah that he would die of his afflictions. Here it is again:

2Ki 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of [ Ahaziah, the son of King Ahab] the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?
2Ki 1:4 Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

This is the king, and it is the story of Ahaziah going to inquire of Baalzebub, which occasioned the death of two separate “captain[ s] of fifty and his fifty”. The third captain wisely begged for his life and the life of his fifty men, and the Lord told Elijah to go on down and go with that captain and deliver his message of doom in person. Son 2Kings one ends with these words:

2Ki 1:16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to enquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
2Ki 1:17 So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he [ Ahaziah the deceased king] had no son.
2Ki 1:18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

The very next verse of scripture is this:

2Ki 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

So we know that Elijah was taken up into heaven after the death of Ahaziah. Ahaziah died in the 19th year of Jehoshaphat’s 25 year reign, and we know that Jehoshaphat reigned for another 6 years after Ahaziah’s death which, as it is presented in scripture, was very soon after the death of Ahaziah.
Here is the last verse of 2Ki 1:

2Ki 1:18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

And this is the very next verse of scripture:

2Ki 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

Jehoshaphat has six more years to reign after Elijah is taken up into heaven. Then after Jehoshaphat’s death and after the ascension of his son Jehoram, and after Jehoram, Jehoshaphat’s son, kills off all of his brothers, he gets this “writing from Elijah the prophet”, who had been taken up into heaven apparently 6 years earlier immediately following the death of Ahaziah, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel.
Yes, it is true that we are also told that Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat began his reign in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat:

2Ki 1:17 So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram [ also the son of Ahab. This ‘Jehoram’ was Ahaziah’s brother] reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he [ Ahaziah] had no son.

This apparent discrepancy in the scriptures is easily explained by simply taking note that King David permitted the coronation of King Solomon before his death and they co reigned in Jerusalem until King David’s death. So even if we take 2 years off of the six years that Jehoshaphat reigned after the death of Ahaziah and the taking up of Elijah into heaven, this “writing from the prophet Elijah” which camt to Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, was still four years after Elijah was taken up into heaven:

2Ch 21:12 And there came a writing to him [ to Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat] from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah

When did this writing come from Elijah the prophet? Here is the timeline:

2Ch 21:1 Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
2Ch 21:2 And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.
2Ch 21:3 And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn.
2Ch 21:4 Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.
2Ch 21:5 Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
2Ch 21:6 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD.
2Ch 21:7 Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.
2Ch 21:8 In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king.
2Ch 21:9 Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots.
2Ch 21:10 So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.
2Ch 21:11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.

All of this was done before this writing came from Elijah the prophet who had been taken up into heaven at least four years earlier.
So either there was a heavenly postal system at work, or else Elijah, just like Enoch, “died in the faith, not having received the promises”:

Heb 11:5 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 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Heb 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
Heb 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Heb 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
Heb 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

So the writer of Hebrews had not illusions of Enoch’s being translated that he should not see death” as Enoch never dying or Enoch going to heaven. He tells us plainly that “these all died in faith not having received the promises”.
This is how the New Testament apostles saw everything that happened in the Old Testament:

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

The Greek word for “ensamples” is the word “tupos” meaning ‘types’. These things happened as types of us, as the Concordant Version reads:

1Co 10:6 Now these things became types [ Greek – tupos] of us, for us not to be lusters after evil things, (CVL)
1Co 10:11 Now all this befalls them typically. Yet it was written for our admonition, to whom the consummations of the eons have attained. (CVL)

These things are all “types of us”. They were not types of themselves.
These things all happened and are written for our admonition because it is we upon whom the ends of the ages have come. It was not them. “The ends of the ages did not come upon either Enoch or Elijah, or any one else in the Old Testament.
Peter clears this all up with this amazing statement to which all who think anyone is now in heaven need to see and understand. These words include the words and works of both Enoch and Elijah:

1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1Pe 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

I hope all these verses of scripture serve to demonstrate that “The dead know not anything… all these died in faith… David is not in heaven… [ and] the soul that sinneth it shall die” and that King Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, received a letter from Elijah at the very least, four years after the taking up of Elijah by a whirlwind into the heavens in which the fowls of the earth fly.

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Heb 11:13 These all [ including Enoch] died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Act 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Act 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand

If physical bodies are all Peter references here than what point is there in saying “and his sepulcher is with with us unto this day”?
There is not one word about the type of body involved. Rather the subject is King David, and the conclusion is that he “is not in heaven”, and that Enoch “died in faith not having received the promises”.
The obvious conclusion is that of the prophets who wanted to go and search for Elijah. God had translated him to another location on this earth from which a writing came 4-6 or more years later to King Jehoram of Judah.

Your brother in our Lord’s service,
Mike

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