READ : 2 Kings 2:1-11
Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. (v. 11)
The book of Genesis says that Enoch “was not, for God took him.” Moses was buried by the Lord himself, no one knew where (Deuteronomy 34:6). Elijah completes a biblical trio of servants of God whose earthly lives ended in strange and mysterious ways, with his servant and successor Elisha the only witness to his passing.
Many today try to cope with loss and bereavement by finding some sort of “closure” – a funeral, a grave, a memorial. God’s Word offers something better, namely a hope beyond death. In both the Old and New Testaments we find people who have died being brought back to life, three of them in connection with Elijah and Elisha. All of these would die again, but their “resurrections” were signs pointing to God’s ultimate power over death.
What happened to Elijah foreshadows another New Testament promise. There will be many “whose eyes shall behold God, and never taste death’s woe,” as the poet John Donne puts it. He has in mind the blessed generation that will be here when Christ returns, and “will be caught up . . . to meet the Lord in the air,” to be with him and the rest of his people forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). But however the end of this life comes, it is for us only the end of the beginning.
Lord, teach us to “encourage one another with these words.”