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May I God Now?


Enoch and Elijah got to go to heaven without ever dying. Obviously, they were very close to God. Is it possible for anyone—maybe even me—to be that close to God and go to heaven before the Second Coming?

Steve Answers:

As a child I heard people read Genesis 5:24: “Enoch walkedwith God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

Then they’dexplain the text by saying something like this: “Each day Enoch spent timewalking with God, and they got closer and closer. But then they would each goto their separate homes—God to heaven, and Enoch to his house. Then one day Godjust said to Enoch, ‘You know, you’re closer to My home now than you are toyours. Why don’t you just come home with Me?’”

Afterhearing that explanation, I’d think, I want to be so close to God that one dayHe’ll invite me to go home with Him!

In fact,when I’ve felt superspiritual, I’ve told God that He can go ahead and take meto heaven. Obviously, He hasn’t done that yet. So does that mean I’m just notgood enough, or that I’m not close enough to God to go to heaven?

Notice howthis can quickly slip into some type of legalism or contract with God that goessomething like, “If I’m good enough, God has to take me to heaven. If I’m notgood enough, I’ll have to stay here on earth. If I’m really bad, I’ll burn inhell.”

We don’tknow much about Enoch. We know more about Elijah. He seemed to have incrediblefaith and absolutely no fear. He boldly took on the king as well as the 450prophets of Baal (see 1 Kings 17 and 18).

Elijah musthave been very close to God, right? But 1 Kings 19 records that Elijah ran awayfrom the queen. What happened to his closeness to God?

How aboutJohn the Baptist? He had a miracle birth (Luke 1:5-25, 57-80). And Jesus pointedout that John fulfilled the great promise of the return of someone as potent asElijah the prophet (compare Malachi 4:5 with Luke 7:24-26).

Notice thehigh praise Jesus gave John (it’s recorded in Luke 7:28): “I tell you, amongthose born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is leastin the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

This meansthat Elijah wasn’t any “better” than John the Baptist. Yet Elijah went directlyto heaven, and John the Baptist got beheaded (Mark 6:17-29).

Now, Elijahrepresents those who are alive and will go to heaven when Jesus returns. Moses,in contrast, represents those who’ve died trusting Jesus and will beresurrected and go to heaven when He returns. No wonder these significantfigures appeared to Jesus prior to His time of torture (see Luke 9:28-32).

Will you goto heaven without ever dying, as Elijah and Enoch did? Or will you beresurrected and go to heaven, as Moses did? Either way, heaven is your goal.And it’s not a matter of being good enough—it’s a matter of trustingJesus.

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