Will Elijah Return to Earth?

2 Kings 2:11 – And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 

In what is truly a first-class flight, God sends a chariot with horses to deliver Elijah home as he rides off into the sunset. For Elijah and the other prophets standing below, watching him fly away might have felt like a scene from a Christmas movie with flying reindeer transporting Santa Claus. 

Throughout his life, Elijah honored God. As we have examined, he was not a perfect man, but he was a great “man of God.” God honored Elijah with a very public homecoming unlike anyone before or since. 

The reason Elijah battled ungodly kings on earth was because he was fighting for his God King in Heaven, Jesus Christ. Many years after Elijah went up, King Jesus came down. Jesus was empowered by the same Holy Spirit as Elijah, and the two men were so much alike that some thought Jesus was Elijah come back down to earth (Matthew 16:13–15). 

On one occasion, Elijah did make a brief return trip to earth to a mount other than Carmel, what we now refer to as the Mount of Transfiguration. There, Jesus along with Peter, James, and John were visited by Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1–13, cf. Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36). The inner circle of three disciples, along with the two great prophets, were present to see Jesus, who was living in humility, reveal Himself as God in glory. 

It seems that Elijah will return to earth one last time to finish his ministry, preparing the way for Jesus’ Second Coming. Malachi 4:5-6 says,“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” 

This prophecy has a double fulfilment because Jesus comes to earth not once, but twice. 

What do you think it would be like to be Elisha and see Elijah taken up into Heaven without dying?

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