Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.
News isn't good today. And we can be mighty thankful, my friends, that it is prophesied that we're going to have real peace, world peace, and a happy world tomorrow. In the meantime, we have problems we have to work out of. We have a lot of lessons to learn. Because, we're going to have world government. Where's Jesus Christ been these ninteeen hundred years. Of course anybody that knows anything about the Bible at all, knows that the Bible says that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead after being three days and three nights in His tomb. Everybody doesn't seem to know that. They seem to think He was in the grave, only one day and two nights but, actually it was three days and three nights and then He ascended to heaven. Now everybody seems to know that if they know anything about the Bible. Perhaps a lot of people just don't believe it. Why Was Elijah Taken Up? Why Was Elijah Taken Up? The Reign Of Jehoram The Transfiguration
But, what did He do up there? Or did He just go way off and has He sort of disintegrated? Or, is He still around some place — has He had anything to do? What has He been doing all this time? We've been going through a book in the Bible that is as much ignored and misunderstood as that entire third of your Bible which is telling you what is happening now and what's going to happen in the very next few years. The prophecies of the Bible; about one third of the entire Bible, ninety percent or more which is referring to our time today and the immediate present or immediate future, I should say, just immediately ahead of us now.
Jesus Christ is coming again to set up world government. Now, in going through this chapter, the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, the faith chapter, we come to this part about Enoch. About Enoch being translated. Enoch did not go to heaven where God's throne is at all. That brings up the question of the other man that is always thought of in that same category: Elijah! Where is Elijah? Is Elijah dead in the grave or is Elijah up in heaven at the very throne of God? Didn't Elijah go to heaven? You read in II Kings, the second chapter and the eleventh verse, that Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Well, but then Jesus Christ said, hundreds of years after Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind into heaven, you read in John 3:13 that Jesus Christ said,
"...no man hath ascended up to heaven but he that come down from heaven..." (John 3:13)
Now, Jesus said here in John, the sixth chapter and the thirty-eight verse that He had come down from heaven. He said He had come from there and He came not do His own will but the will of the Father. John 6:38.
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38)
Now, Jesus had been there on the Father's throne. We read here in Hebrews, as I have been reading to you going through this book of Hebrews that Jesus is now and has been for 1900 years, right on the very throne of His Father — sitting beside God Almighty, the Father on His throne in heaven; He's been there for over 1900 years.
If Elijah was there, He'd surely know about it. And Elijah, if he were there, had been there for hundreds of years, before Christ was on this earth and yet Jesus Christ said, "no man has ascended up to heaven but He, Himself, who had come down from heaven." Well, He would have known because He was there. Well, then what's the answer?
The answer, my friend, is that there is more than one heaven mentioned in your Bible. The Bible mentions at least three, definite, different heavens. Now, there's the heaven where God's throne is and where Jesus is today and you read of that heaven in Hebrews eight, the first five verses. Then, the word heaven also refers in the Bible to that great expanse of the whole universe; where you find the sun, the moon, the stars, the comets, the planets, the Milky Ways, the galaxies that the astronomers are looking at with their telescopes. And, you'll find that heaven spoken of in the eighth Psalm and the third verse, Genesis 1:15-17 evidently refers to it, although the first part of the first chapter of Genesis is referring to another heaven; the earth's atmosphere.
So, you find the very atmosphere or air, and where the wind currents are in this earth also mentioned in Genesis 27; 28, Deuteronomy 33:28 and other places. But the birds flying in the heavens and they fly where the air is, that's not up where the stars are. And so the air or the wind, my friends, is in this heaven that is a part of this earth. The Bible speaks of our being in the earth not always on the earth; sometimes on the earth; that means on a solid surface but sometimes it speaks of us being in the earth. In other words, when you on the solid surfaces you're in the air because you're breathing air all around you.
Now, what was the reason why God took Elijah up in a whirlwind? It was not to make him immortal. Scripture says no word whatsoever about that. The ancient prophets did not receive any promise of immortality prior to or apart from us and here in Hebrews 11:39 and 40, if you'll remember. All these, including Enoch and Moses; let me see Elijah's is not mentioned, is he here, in this eleventh chapter? But anyway, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, and Enoch and all and even Abel, they're all mentioned and Jesus Christ said to the Pharisees, they would see these Patriarchs and the prophets of old, in the Kingdom of God while they, themselves — that is those scribes and Pharisees would be thrust out! And so, of course, Elijah is among those. Now that applied to Enoch and it says here, 'all these',
"And these all [everyone of them], having obtained a good report through faith [and Elijah was among that number], received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they, without us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:39-40). They cannot be made perfect, they cannot come to their reward, they cannot come to their full salvation, they cannot be made immortal and enter the Kingdom of God until we do. That is what it says, verses 39 and 40.
"Verse thirteen said, "these all died in faith"; "These all died in faith not having received the promise..." (Hebrews 11:13).
The promise of eternal inheritance, the promise of eternal salvation or eternal life and being made immortal. Now, if Elijah was not made immortal, and he was not at that time because I read you the scripture that he was not and Jesus Christ said that no man had ascended up to heaven. And if he'd been made immortal remember this it would have given him preeminence above Jesus, because you read "as in Adam all die so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:22)
It says that all will be resurrected and it's speaking of a resurrection. And it says, Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ's at His coming (I Corinthians 15:23). It distinctly says that Jesus is the firstfruits. The firstborn of many brethren then Elijah couldn't have been born into the Kingdom of God, to inherit the Kingdom prior to that, that would have given him preeminence above Jesus Christ and Christ is the first!
Now, no matter what men say, my friends, that doesn't matter. But what does God say? What does your Bible say? You've heard men believe, of course, that Elijah went up into heaven. I know that's been a popular thing and it's quite a shock when we find some of these old myths and things we've come to believe exploded. But if you really want the truth, you aren't going to be angry at the truth at all, you're going to be very thankful and grateful and you're going to rejoice in it. Now, we've come to this place in II Kings 2, verses 3 and 5, where the answer is plainly recorded, it says here,
"Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day?" (II Kings 2:5)
Now, that is from being your head, is what it means because the Smith and Goodspeed translation words it this way, "Do you not know that today the Lord is about to take away your master from being your leader?"
Now Christ is the head of the Church today as Elijah was the head and the leader of the sons or the disciples of the prophets in that day. But God wanted Elisha to direct his work as Ahaziah the King had died as you read in 2 Kings 1:18. So now, what did He do? He could not allow Elijah to be among the people with Elisha directing the work now. That would have been the same as disqualifying Elijah. And since Elijah was not to die yet, his time had not come to die, and since God never takes an office from a man, when that man has been performing his duty well, the only thing that God could do was to remove Elijah, so that the people would not see him or know where he was. Not that's exactly and precisely what God did.
Now, this mantle of his that dropped off and Elisha picked up, you remember? What was that mantle? And I showed you in according to Clark's Commentary or you can get it in any authority, that it was a cloak that was worn by the priests and the prophets as a simple insignia of their office. And it represented their office — well like a badge shows you that a man as a policeman today. His badge is the insignia that tells you he's a policeman and this cloak, was the insignia that meant that this man was the prophet of God. And so this mantle or this cloak fell off and Elisha, you'll remember, picked it up.
Now, having ascended into the air, Elijah was born away out of the sight of the new leader beyond the horizon. Where did Elijah go? He was caught up in the air in a whirlwind, the wind doesn't go up very high, but where did he go from there? Now, let's go along. That's been a perplexing problem to a great many people for a long, long time, hasn't it? Well, he did not ascend to the throne of God because Jesus said so. Jesus Christ said "no man has ascended up to heaven," the heaven where He was, "except he that came down from heaven." (John 3:13)
And the heaven He came down from was the heaven where God's throne is. So, that's where He had been, He'd been there for hundreds of years. Elijah would had to have been there hundreds of years if that's where he went so he did not go there because Christ certainly knew. Now Elijah couldn't remain up in the air forever, could he? He didn't stay up in the air then where did he go? God didn't say that Elijah was going to die at that time. He didn't die and neither did God say anywhere "I'm going to make you immortal". He wasn't made immortal; he didn't die and he didn't stay in the air. Now, we know that much. Well, now if he had died, Elisha could have just assumed the new office without the removal of Elijah. For, we know that Elisha died in office after fulfilling his duty. Now, that was later on, Elisha died, he died in office, you read of that in II Kings 13:14.
Now, the sons of the prophets, as they're called, that were the students in this school for prophets knew that their master was to be removed. Also that Elijah was not to die at that time. It didn't mean that he would never die, but that his time hadn't come to die. That is why they were fearful that the Spirit of God might have allowed him to drop upon some mountain. Or into some valley as they were worrying about and discussing as you read in II Kings 2:16. Elisha knew that God would preserve Elijah from falling but, at their insistence, he permitted men to go out and search for him — to no avail. They couldn't find Elijah, he was gone. They thought maybe, you know, that he'd be on some mountain where he'd dropped down. They went out to search for him but they couldn't find him. Well, then, where did he go? Certainly the whirlwind used by God could not take him beyond the earth's atmosphere. Neither does the Bible account leave Elijah in the air.
The first he did to establish his kingdom rule was to put his relatives to the sword lest they should claim the throne from him as you read in II Chronicles 21:4. And after that he followed the human ways of the nations about him and he did evil in God's sight. Not in his own sight, of course he did what he thought was right but it was evil in the sight of God. Then Edomites bolted his rule. Ten years had now expired since Elijah was taken from the people, since he went up into this whirlwind into heaven now. But what do you think was about to happen? All of a sudden, my friends, a letter comes from Elijah, believe it or not: Ten years later. Yes, after this wicked rule by the Jewish king, God chose Elijah to write a letter and have it sent to the king. The contents of that letter are found in II Chronicles 21, twenty-first chapter, second Chronicles, verses 12 to 15. Now in part, it read, listen, I'm going to read part of it to you.
"Because thou hast not walked in the ways of thy father, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and also hast slain thy brethren in thy father's house, which were better than thyself, thou shall have great sickness by disease." (II Chronicles 21:12-15 paraphrased)
Elijah sent that notice to him by letter ten years after he was caught up in the whirlwind. Then he was still here on earth to send a letter, wasn't he? From the wording of the letter, Elijah wrote it after these events had occurred for he speaks of them as past events and of the disease as future yet to come.
And this was ten years after Elijah had been taken to another location by the whirlwind. That God should have used him to convey the message is very reasonable. For he was the prophet of God in the days of the king's father and the son was not going in the ways of his obedient parent, Jehoshaphat. Now, what does all this mean? Folding up human ideas and laying them forever aside, we can see from these events recorded in scripture, that God allowed Elijah the prophet to live about, at least ten years on this earth, after his removal as the head of the prophets. He was the president or the dean or the chief director of the college there; the school for the prophets, it's called here the sons of the prophets, the students. The scripture implies that almost no one knew where he was during this time. To be living these years, God must have placed him again upon the earth where few if any others knew of his presences or at least, if they did, they didn't reveal it. Elijah was still a human being, the same as always, but he was removed from his own people. Because God had ordained that Elisha was to take it up at that time.
Now, the letter — he had others deliver — was known to be his, implying that he was considered to be alive someplace. Just how much longer he lived the Bible doesn't mention. But in that it is appointed unto all men once to die, as your Bible says, he must have died somewhere later.
Now, notice here in Hebrews nine, verse twenty-seven, and "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of the many, and unto them that look for Him, shall he appear the second time..." (Hebrews 9:27-28). Well it says in the King James 'without sin unto salvation' that's not a correct translation. He will appear the second time unto those who are looking for him; those without sin, that are looking for Him. You have to be without sin and looking for Him if He appears unto salvation to you.
And then, the dead in Christ will rise first but we, who are alive and remain at that time, as I fully believe a good many of us will be and I hope that God will grant me long life enough that I may be too among those there at that time and I have a feeling that He's going to do that. A number of things have to happen yet before the second coming of Christ. But it's near, it's even at the very doors according to these very prophesies. We can see the events taking place in the world and we know it's very close; it's very near. Well, let's suppose that God gave Elijah the power of an endless life of nearly 3,000 years already is to read into the Bible what is not there! The Bible doesn't say anything about it! So people that think Elijah is made immortal, are just reading it themselves into the Bible. The Bible doesn't say so. The Bible shows that he was taken in a whirlwind, into this first heaven, the earth's atmosphere. It shows a letter came from him ten years later. It shows that his time hadn't come yet to die. Jesus Christ said, "no man has ascended up to heaven but He that came down from heaven" who was Christ Himself. So, Christ said Elijah was not there, in very plain language and Christ knew. And He wasn't a liar. So, we know that that's the truth. Elijah was mortal. He was subject to death. "It's appointed to man once to die." That's what your Bible says if you're going to believe the Bible.
And after being lifted into the atmospheric heavens, he spent the remaining years of his separate life at some other location on the earth. Now, I don't know where it was. God decided not to reveal it. God took Moses and had him buried in a place and no man could find him. I don't know where Moses is buried and neither do you because that's God's secret. God hasn't told me and He hasn't told you and if He'd tell me it was a secret I'd have to keep the secret, wouldn't I? But he hasn't told me. And I don't know and you don't know and I don't know where Elijah went and neither do you. But we do know that man is mortal. And we do know that there isn't one word in the Bible saying Elijah was given immortality then. And we do know that here in this eleventh chapter of Hebrews all of these prophets that are going to be in the Kingdom of God, ... "all having obtained a good report through faith did not receive the promise, God providing some better thing for us that they [that those old prophets of that time, are going to be in the Kingdom] without us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:39-40). Not until we're made perfect at the second coming of Christ.
Now leaving the mountain, Jesus told His disciples, Matthew 17, verse 9, if you just read in Matthew's account right on to the ninth verse, Jesus said tell the vision to no man. It was a vision: Elijah wasn't there, Moses wasn't there; they saw a vision. A vision is not a reality but a picture in the mind, put there supernaturally in this case as visions usually are, by God. Moses died and was buried; you read of that in Deuteronomy 34:5 and 6. And I just read to you here where Moses is mentioned. He received not the promise God having provided some better thing for us that they, including Moses and Elijah, without us should not be made perfect or be made immortal.
Both Elijah and Moses were still dead in their graves, but in vision, they both appeared there with Jesus and it was merely a vision that was seen in the minds of those disciples; that's all. Now the vision was granted to the disciples after Jesus had spoken of the glory of immortality in the coming Kingdom. It was to give them a glimpse of what the Kingdom would be like. And in that sense, they saw Jesus coming in power and glory in His Kingdom because just a few verses ahead of that, you know, Jesus had said there are some of you standing here that will not taste death until you see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom; well they saw it. It didn't say until the Son of Man does come. But until they saw it, and they saw it in vision. Jesus said, if you read right on into the seventeenth chapter because where He said, that some of you will not taste of death until you see this; that was in the latter verses of the sixteenth chapter of Matthew and then read right on into the seventeenth, in verse nine, they saw it and He said, "Tell the vision to no man" (Matthew 17:9). So they saw it, in vision! It was granted to the disciples after Jesus had spoken about the glory of the coming Kingdom of God.
Now, after all these scriptures have been studied, what is the conclusion? If you're going to believe the Bible, instead of the fairy tales of men... of course if you want to believe these fables, Paul said they'd come along, if you want to believe a fable; you go ahead and believe it! That's your right and privilege, but you're believing a myth. You're believing something that has not one part of Bible authority, no authority from God, no authority from any scientist, no authority that anyone could ever prove, if you believe Elijah went up to the heaven of God's throne. You can't prove it, there is not one whit of it in the Bible, and so there is no authority for it. But, the Bible certainly says that it's appointed to men once to die. It say these men didn't get into the glory of the promised reward until we get it too, which is not even yet.
Now, after all these scriptures, we come to this conclusion; that Elijah is dead in the dust of the earth awaiting as all of the other Holy men of old: The resurrection of the just. Elijah, some years after being removed in the whirlwind, went to the grave, we don't know where, the Bible doesn't reveal it. He will rise at the second coming of Christ, immortal, in the Kingdom of God, to live forever. I hope, along with you and me. Now, I've given you the truth about it and the correct Bible explanation, but if you would like it in print, just write in for the booklet about 'Elijah and Enoch'. Where did Elijah go and what happened to Enoch? Was he made immortal and where are they now? What happened to them and where are they now? I think that you'd like to have that in print, so that you can study it in your own Bible. Is there a contradiction when Jesus said, no man has ascended up to heaven, yet you read that Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Just write in for the booklet about 'Elijah and Enoch' and we'll send it to you. Of course now, there's no charge, so I'm sure most of you are going to want that. Write in for it.
You know, so many people say my faith isn't very strong. Or, they say I just can't seem to work up the faith. I don't have faith; why don't I have more faith. So many people have said that to me; hundreds and hundreds of them. People don't know what faith is! They don't know why they don't possess it. They don't how to get it. And yet, my friends, without faith it's impossible to please God. Not only that, listen now, without faith it's impossible for you to be saved. Without faith, you have nothing but eternal death staring you in the face! Because we are saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast! But let's go on and read the next verse. Why? Because we are His workmanship. We're God's workmanship created in true righteousness in holiness unto good works which God before has ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Good works. Not bad works, good works. God has ordained we should walk in good works. But you're saved by grace through faith. If you don't know what faith is, how do you expect salvation?
You know I've got a booklet I want you to write in for; 'What Is Faith?' People don't know what faith is. They've got what they call faith but it's the wrong kind. Most people don't have faith because they don't know what it is! How can you have it if you don't understand it? Write in about this thing, what faith has to do with salvation, and how so many people are deceived with a counterfeit. Maybe you are — maybe it's genuine, it can't hurt you to check up on it. That can't hurt you, it can't do you any harm. Check up on it. Until tomorrow then, goodbye, friends.
Why Was Elijah Taken Up?Now, why was Elijah taken up? There was a reason for this act. Now, the very fact that Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind — wind can only go in this heaven that is the atmosphere or the air around the earth which is really a part of the earth, not the heaven of the stars or the planets and not the heaven of God's Throne.
Why Was Elijah Taken Up?Now, how was he taken up? Well, they'd crossed over Jordan, the Jordan river, near Jericho, and Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind, in what appeared to be a chariot and a horse of fire signifying the very present power of God and the angels in action. The violent motion of the wind pulled the mantle off of the prophet, Elijah, as he was seen to ascend into the sky. Now, you'll probably remember reading the promise of Elijah that Elisha would have a double portion of the spirit of God if he would be allowed by God to see him taken up. All this meant that Elisha was to be the leader, the new head of the sons of the prophets, which was a school for prophets, that Elijah had founded, teaching young men to become prophets and ministers of God. And Elisha was to have that and be the leader just as a double portion was the right of the firstborn as you read in II Kings 2:9.
The Reign Of JehoramNow, the answer is going to begin to unfold. Listen! Let's skip over a few years and see what further events the scripture records. The son of Ahab, the king of Israel, Jehoram, or Joram as he is variously called — Jehoram or Joram — began to reign about 896 BC. Now this was the year of the removal of Elijah, the same year Elijah was caught up in the whirlwind. You find it in II Kings 1:18 and II Kings 3:1. During this king's reign Elisha was the recognized prophet of God, as you read in II Kings 3:11. In the fifth year of Joram, the king of Israel, the son of the king of Judah began to reign along with his father in Judah, II Kings 8:16. His name also was Jehoram. Now, we had a Jehoram in Israel and one in Judah, now notice.
The TransfigurationNow the only remaining passages in the Bible that puzzle people are those relative to the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus when, Jesus was transfigured and the disciples there saw Moses and Elijah. You read of that in Matthew 17, the first nine verses and Mark, the ninth chapter and the first ten verses and Luke nine, verses 28 to 36 inclusive.