2 Kings 2:15 – Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
Until the day the two witnesses return to earth to usher in Jesus’ Second Coming (Revelation 11:3,6-13), as we see Elijah ascending into Heaven, we are to remember that it was a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus’ ascension after his rise from death to forgive sin.
Acts 1:9-11 reports, “…he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’”
Some theologians have referred to the Second and Final Coming of King Jesus as the Parousia, “Parousía was in use as a technical term for the arrival of the emperor or other dignitary when he visited his subjects…This was a great event, sometimes marked by the striking of special coins or the erection of monuments. The word thus has overtones of greatness that should be kept in mind when it is used of Christ’s return.” (1)
On the day of Jesus’ Second Coming following the crucifixion and resurrection of a man who is likely Elijah, all believers will experience the same kind of homecoming that he did when God took him up in the clouds.
To encourage us about believers who have died (asleep) and our own death, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says, “…we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Be encouraged. Your chariot is coming, and you will be riding off into the sunset.
What are you most looking forward to with the return of Jesus Christ, resurrection of the dead, and rule of the Kingdom of God forever?
- L. Morris, “Parousia,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 664.
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