The Bible says, “Elijah went up in whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11); Enoch was translated by Yahweh (Hebrews 11:5); and Moses appeared in the transfiguration with Yeshua (Matthew 17:3). Do these scriptures prove that the three were in heaven while Messiah Yeshua was alive on Earth? No!

John 3:13 – “And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the Son of Man.”

These words were spoken by Yeshua himself in regards to being “born again” or resurrected from the dead (vss 3-12). These words cannot be denied or misunderstood.

We also have the Apostle Paul’s witness; Colossians 1:18 – “that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Yeshua had to be the firstborn from the dead; the first to be resurrected unto eternal life; the first to ascend into heaven and stand before Yahweh. If anyone preceeded him then he wasn’t the firstborn from the dead. Since some people believe Enoch and Elijah did not die, but that Moses did die, then that would mean Moses had the preeminence over Messiah.

In light of these two powerful verses, John 3:13 and Colossians 1:18, how can we explain what happened to Enoch, Elijah and Moses? Let’s begin with Moses;

Deuteronomy 34:5,6 – So Moses the servant of Yahweh died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Yahweh. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knows of his sepulchre unto this day.

There cannot be any doubt that Moses died and was buried. Therefore, for him to be in heaven, he had to be resurrected from the dead. According to I Corinthians 15:52 that will not occur until the last trumpet sounds.

What about Michael and Satan disputing about Moses’ body? Jude 9 does not say Michael won the dispute and then took Moses to heaven. Since there is no mention of heaven here we should not assume he was taken there.

Matthew 17:1-9 – And after six days Yeshua took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an high mountain apart and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Yeshua, Master, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear you him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Yeshua came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Yeshua only. And as they came down from the mountain, Yeshua charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Notice verse 9 says, “Tell the vision to no man.” a vision is not reality. The same Greek word for “vision” was used of Peter’s vision of the abominations on the cloth in Acts 10:17. They were not real but a supernatural picture. In the case of the transfiguration it was a prophetic vision which would take place in the distant future.

Matthew 16:28 – “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

This was quoted by Yeshua six days before the transfiguration. He was speaking to the disciples, but what did he mean? Surely he didn’t mean they would live for almost 2,000 years until his coming at the last trumpet. Those that would not “taste of death” were Peter, James and John who saw the Son of Man glorified in the Kingdom through a prophetic vision.

Hebrews 11:23-28 – By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of Elohim than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.

These verses talk about Moses living by faith. Verses 39,40;

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because Elohim had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

Moses did not receive the promise of a resurrection unto eternal life and perfection. What about Elijah? We have already seen that the transfiguration was a prophetic vision which does not prove that he was in heaven.

Hebrews 11:32 – And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,

Here we read about the prophets who lived by faith and died without receiving the promise. Eliyah was surely one of those prophets. But to be certain let’s look at what happened to him in 2 Kings 2:1,11 .

And it came about when Yahweh was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal…As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

If Yeshua the Messiah said “no man has ascended to heaven,” then what heaven are these scriptures talking about? The Bible mentions three heavens. The first heaven is Earth’s atmosphere where birds fly (Genesis 1:20); The second heaven is outer space where the planets and stars exist (Genesis 1:16,17); The third heaven is what the Apostle Paul calls “paradise” in II Corinthians 12:2-4. It is where Yahweh and the heavenly sanctuary exist.

Eliyjah was caught up to the first heaven where birds fly and was transported to another location on Earth. Notice vss. 15 & 16;

Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him. They said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men, please let them go and search for your master; perhaps the Spirit of Yahweh has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.”

The sons of the prophets, who knew Elijah would be taken away (vss. 3,5), believed that Elijah was taken to another location. They didn’t think he went to the third heaven.

A similar incident to Elijah’s took place in Acts 8:39,40;

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

Phillip was caught up into the first heaven, as Elijah was, and was transported to another location approximately 3o miles away. Elijah may not have been found because he was transported farther away than the fifty men searched (vs. 17).

Proof that Eliyah did not die, but was transported, is found in II Chronicles 21:12-15.

Then a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet saying, “Thus says Yahweh Elohim of your father David, ‘Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot as the house of Ahab played the harlot, and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you, behold, Yahweh is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives and all your possessions with a great calamity; and you will suffer severe sickness, a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day.'”

From the wording of this letter it is clear that Elijah wrote it after the events occurred for he speaks of them as past events, and of the disease as a future event.

This letter was written by Elijah more than four years after he was taken up to the first heaven. The Bible does not reveal how much longer Elijah lived after writing the letter but it does say in Hebrews 9:27 that it is appointed unto men to die once.

Hebrews 9:27 would also include Enoch among the dead. Based on that verse and Yeshua’s statement in John 3:13, “no man has ascended to heaven”, how are we to understand the account of Enoch?

Genesis 5:21-24 – Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with Elohim three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with Elohim; and he was not, for Elohim took him.

These verses do not tell us much except that Enoch’s days, alive on Earth, ended at 365 years old. The question is, did he die, was he taken to heaven alive, or was he transported to another location on Earth as Elijah was?

Consider Psalm 37:35,36 and Psalm 39:12,13;

“I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.”

“Hear my prayer, O Yahweh, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.”

The Hebrew for the underlined phrases is the same Hebrew as Genesis 5:24; “And Enoch walked with Elohim: and he was not; for Elohim took him.” As in the Psalms, the phrase means the person “passed away” or would eventually die. Consider also Genesis 42:13 and Genesis 44:20;

“And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.”

This was spoken of Joseph by his brothers. What did they mean by “is not”?

“And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.”

Here the brothers recount their previous discussion about Joseph with Pharoah. When they first said, “and one is not,” they meant Joseph “is dead.” Finally, consider Matthew 2:18;

“In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

Where are Rachel’s children? Dead.

Hebrews 11:5 – By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because Elohim had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased Elohim.

Does the phrase “should not see death” mean Enoch never died? Let’s read the first three words of Hebrews 11:4,5,7,8,11 and 13; “By faith …”, “These all died” . Everyone mentioned in the previous verses died including Enoch. But not only that, verse 13 goes on to say that they did not receive the promises. One of the promises was a heavenly country (vs. 16). If Enoch were in heaven, wouldn’t he have received that promise? The fact is, Enoch is not in heaven but is dead in the grave awaiting his resurrection along with every other saint.

Psalm 89:47,48 – Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?  What man is he that lives and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

Why would the Psalmist ask such a question concerning physical death if he believed Enoch did not see a physical death? The fact is, the Psalmist believed Enoch was in the grave and therefore asked the question.

So what does the phrase “should not see death” mean? In Luke 2:25-29 we see that phrase to mean that Simeon would not die a physical death or what is known as “the first death.”

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen Yahweh’s Messiah.

Without any further Bible study we would be led to believe Enoch never died and is still alive in heaven. But let’s look at John 8:51.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

Here the phrase “shall never see death” must mean “the second death” since all the Apostles, including Paul, kept Yeshua’s sayings and yet died the first death.

Now we must decide whether the phrase “should not see death”, as it applies to Enoch, means the first or second death. Based on Hebrews 9:27 and 11:13 we must conclude that he died the first death prematurely so that he should not see the second death.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

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.

To believe Enoch did not die is to deny the plain word of many other scriptures as well. For example, Romans 5:12,14 says all men die because all have sinned. Are we to believe that Enoch did not sin or that the curse for sinning did not apply to him? Are we to believe that a man who was not yet cleansed of sin by the blood of Messiah could enter heaven and dwell in Yahweh’s presence?

If Enoch did not die and was not taken to heaven, then where was he translated to and what does “translation” mean? According to Strong’s, Thayer’s and Bullinger’s Greek Lexicons, “translate” means “to put or place in another place, to transport, to transfer.” The same Greek word was used in Acts 7:16 where Jacob’s body was “translated” or “carried over” to Sychem to be buried. Yahweh took Enoch and buried him somewhere so as not to be found just as he did with the body of Moses in Deuteronomy 34:6. Moses’ body was never found and neither was Enoch’s because Yahweh hid them for reasons known only to Him.

I Corinthians 15:20-23 – But now is Messiah  risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah’s at his coming.

All die and all shall be resurrected, but Messiah must be first in the order. Enoch could not possibly precede him, especially if he were still flesh and blood as it says in verses 49-52.

And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

To be able to dwell in heaven we must be changed from a flesh and blood natural body to a spiritual heavenly body. That change does not take place until the last trumpet.

In conclusion, let’s read John 3:13 again.

And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Are we going to believe Yeshua based on the evidence just presented or are we going to hold onto a false doctrine? The choice is yours.