The answer is Yes and No.The Bible refers to several people who went to heaven but Jesus clearly said, nobody has been to heaven except Him, so what appears to be a direct contradiction is actually a misunderstanding of which level of heaven they were referring to. Yes they ascended toward heaven and No they did not go to the highest level of heaven where the Lord's throne is (there are three levels of heaven mentioned in the Bible-see below). Jesus Christ clearly stated that nobody has went to heaven or will except HIM.
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven John 3:13
John 1:18, 6:46 and I John 4:12 state no one has ever seen God except Jesus; and
Paul stated in 1 Timothy 6:16 that God dwells in unapproachable light, and no one has ever seen or can see him.
Bible verses saying Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 2 Kings 2:12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 2 Kings 2:13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
Three different levels of Heaven Are identified in the bible
The First Level of Heaven: Any place above the ground which includes where birds and airplanes fly as described in Gen. 1:20 where God obviously was referring to the sky as the open firmament of heaven.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. Gen. 1:20
"According to 2 Samuel 18:9, when Absalom’s head got caught in an oak tree as he was leading a revolt against his father, David; Absalom was said to be “hanging between heaven and earth.” Obviously, the writer was not referring to the heaven where God lives, but the sky. Similarly, in Amos 9:1-3, the terms “heaven” and “the top of Mount Carmel” are used interchangeably, as where people will flee to at the time of judgement. Also, it is this heaven that rain (dew) comes from according to Deuteronomy 33:28, Gen 8:2, 27:28, Daniel 4:15; 5:21, Rev 11:6 and Amos 9:6" (Roger, D. M. 2003-2010). The Second Level of Heaven: This is where stars, comets, moons, and planets are in what is commonly referred to as up in space. David stated in Psalm 8:3-4, when I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them. Clearly, David used the term ‘heavens’ and ‘the moon and the stars’ interchangeably. See also Genesis 15:5; 22:17; Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:3; Jeremiah 8:2 (Roger, D. M. 2003-2010). The Third Level of Heaven: This is the part of heaven which is where the Lord established His throne. "The third heaven, several passages such as Psalms 103:19 state that ‘The LORD has established his throne in heaven…’, however, it is Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 that clearly differentiate this heaven from the two levels of heaven described above. Paul stated “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven ... paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell”. Sure, Paul refers to God’s residence as the third heaven (paradise). This third heaven or paradise is the place where God's throne exists and where Jesus came from". .
This is How we know elijah has not gone to the third heaven
"According to 2nd Kings 2:3-5, before Elijah’s went into heaven, some group (sons) of prophets at Bethel and Jericho on two different occasions asked Elisha, the servant of Elijah whether he knew that Elijah would be taken from him on that day?” He responded that he knew. The point here is that Elijah, Elisha and these prophets all knew in advance that Elijah would be taken to heaven. Yet, these sons of prophets did not believe that Elijah was being taken into heaven but to another location because after Elijah had departed, the sons of prophets requested Elisha to send 50 men to look for Elijah as they feared that the Spirit of God might have dropped him "upon some mountain, or into some valley" (2 Kings 2:16). Despite Elisha believed that God would protect Elijah, he still reluctantly agreed to the request and for three days these people searched the mountains and the valley but did not find Elijah. Why did the sons of prophets know in advance that Elijah would be taken up but did not believe that Elijah was going to heaven but would be dropped upon some mountain or so? The answer to this is given in 1 Kings 18 as discussed below. Elijah ministry occurred predominantly during the reign of King Ahab. Whe-12n Ahab married Jezebel, Jezebel became the authority behind the throne. And as a result of Jezebel’s influence, the Baal worship received a royal support and flourished in Israel. However, Elijah and other prophets condemned the practice and this led to a serious confrontation between the royals and the prophets, with many of the prophets killed. However, God always protected Elijah and in some cases, he had to go into hiding. It was in the course of this situation that Elijah prophesied that it would not rain in Israel for about three years. At the end of this period, God asked Elijah to show himself to Ahab before rain would come again. Elijah met Obadiah the chief administrator of Ahab on his way and Obadiah recognised Elijah. Elijah asked Obadiah to inform Ahab to come and meet him (Elijah). Now, read carefully the response of Obadiah in 1 Kings 18:9-12 9 “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me…” Suffice to state that Elijah assured Obadiah that he would surely show himself to Ahab and as a result, Ahab went to meet him. It appears obvious from what Obadiah stated that the Spirit of God had carried Elijah away before. Therefore, it seems that whenever Elijah was in an immediate danger, he was whisked away by the Spirit of God from one place to the other. It appears this was the basis that in 2 Kings 2, the sons of the prophets and Elisha knew in advance that the Spirit of God would take Elijah away and yet, believed that Elijah only would be transported to somewhere else and not to the third heaven. This clearly demonstrates that Elijah might not have been taken into the third heaven as some people assume. In fact, according to Acts 8:26-28, 39-40, Philip was transported physically in the air for about 30 miles from a place near Jerusalem to the city of Azotus. Similarly, the spirit is said to have taken Ezekiel away (Ezekiel 3:12, 8:3, 11:24). However, it appears Elijah might not have been found because he was transported further away than where the fifty men searched for him (2 Kings 2:17). And it was also the will of God to let him disappear from the public eye. It appears therefore clear from the information above that Elijah was only transported within the first heaven and placed somewhere else on this very earth. Elijah delivered a letter to King Jehoram after his disappearance Another vital proof that Elijah did not ascend up to the throne of God but was transported from one place of the earth to another relates to a letter that King Jehoram of Judah received from Elijah several years after Elijah had been taken away; the contents of the letter are found in 2 Chronicles 21:12-15, as reproduced below: Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said: “This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: ‘You have not followed the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. 13 But you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your own family, men who were better than you. 14 So now the LORD is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.” The time period of Elijah's ascension and delivery of the letter indicates he was still alive somewhere First, it is generally accepted that Elijah ascension occurred during the reign of King Ahaziah of Israel, the son of Ahab, who ruled about two years between 911 B.C. and 910 B.C. However, the throne of King Jehoram of Judah, who received the letter did not start until 5 years into the next King of Israel after Ahaziah, King Joram, whose reign begun in 910 B.C. (see 2 kings 8:16-17, 2 Kings 3:1). It is clear that King Jehoram of Judah begun his throne sometime in 905 B.C. Therefore, he received the letter from Elijah more than five years after Elijah had been taken away. Clearly, this indicates that Elijah did not ascend into the 3rd heaven or paradise, otherwise, he could not have written the letter. Concerns that Wikipedia suggested prove false However, as summarised below from the Wikipedia encyclopedia, some have raised concerns about whether Elijah wrote the letter and the time that he might have written it because:
The message begins with "Thus says YHVH, God of your father David..." rather than the more usual "...in the name of YHVH the God of Israel.
The letter concerns a king of the southern kingdom, while Elijah concerned himself with the kingdom of Israel.
The letter was written before Elijah ascended, but only delivered later.
John Lightfoot has suggested that it must have been a different Elijah. Also, Jacob Myers suggests that it may be an example of a better known prophet's name being substituted for that of a lesser known prophet. While John Van Seters, however, rejects the letter as having any connection with the Elijah tradition.
The Real Facts 1. The description “God of Israel” might have been substituted with the “God of your father David”, because after the division of the original kingdom into the south and north, the kings of the south continued to come from the line of David, while the kings of the north came from a different line all together. Therefore, it makes sense that any letter to a southern king would be associated with David in the prologue.
2. The ministry of Elijah occurred predominantly during the time that Jehoshaphat was king of Judah and Ahab and his son Ahaziah also ruled in the Northern Kingdom. Unlike his contemporary kings in the northern kingdom, Jehoshaphat largely followed the ways of God. Therefore, there was not much for Elijah to denounce Jehoshaphat about, hence the concentration of Elijah’s work in the north. It was only when Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat came into power and had followed the ways of the northern kings that Elijah would deem it necessary to also focus on the Southern Kingdom. In this regard, Michael Wilcock, formerly of Trinity College, Bristol, postulates that Elijah’s letter addresses a very ‘northern’ situation in the southern kingdom, and therefore authentic.
3. The suggestion that the letter was written before Elijah’s ascension but only delivered later cannot be true, because the contents of the letter indicate that Elijah spoke against past events. For instance, the letter condemns Jehoram for killing his brothers, and 2 Chronicles 21:4 indicates that the killing occurred only after Jehoram had consolidated his position to the throne. Thus, it was only the punishments that would come upon the king that were expressed as future events.
4. I do not accept that the author of the letter was a different Elijah, as the Bible does not suggest anything like that. Also, if it was believed at the time that Elijah had ascended into the throne of God, I do not believe that his name would have been used to substitute the name of a lesser known prophet, since that would have been useless as King Jehoram and others would be aware that Elijah had ascended into heaven and the authenticity of the letter would have been in doubt. In other words, someone would only impersonate Elijah if it was believed that he had not gone to heaven. In any case, any genuine prophet would not have impersonated another person. In summary, it is seems obvious that Elijah could not have been taken to the third heaven because: • Jesus emphatically stated that no one has ever ascended into the (3rd) heaven. Jesus would definitely not make this statement if in deed, Elijah had ascended into heaven, as the two views are contradictory and irreconcilable.
• The group of prophets though knew in advance that Elijah would be taken away but did not believe that he was going to the 3rd heaven.
• It is explicit from Obadiah’s discussion with Elijah that Elijah had been taken away in a similar manner before to an unknown location.
• The letter that Elijah delivered to King Jehoram indicates that he was still alive somewhere on the earth.
• The Bible states explicitly clear that upon the return of Jesus, he will establish his kingdom right on this earth and that the heaven is for God and the earth has been given to mankind. Therefore, Elijah has no business to perform in heaven as there are angels who minister to God in heaven. Further according to: • Hebrews 9:27, it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the judgment;
• Romans 5:12, therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned;
• Psalm 89:48, what man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?
• Hebrews 2:14, forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
• Acts 17:31, He [God] has fixed (set) a day on which He will have the world judged in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed, It is obvious from the above passages that all men without exception (whether righteous or not) have to go through death and that Jesus himself as a man went through that. As a result, all the prophets and apostles died and are still waiting for their reward when Jesus returns. It is for this reason that Peter stated in Acts 2: 29-3 that David was still in his tomb (in other words, David is still waiting for the second coming of Christ in order to receive his reward). On the basis of the above facts, I can also confidently state that Elijah has not yet ascended into heaven.
Enoch Before I finish writing, I want to quickly touch on Enoch. Just like Elijah most Christians believe that Enoch was taken into heaven by God. The two main passages used to support that view are Gen. 5:24 and Hebrews 5:11. First, there is nothing specific in the first passage to indicate that Enoch did not die and went to heaven. The phrase “he was not” used in Gen 5:24 can actually mean he died. Psalms 37:36 uses the same phrase interchangeably with passing away (death). Further, Moses does not tell us where God took Enoch to, so one cannot conclude that he was taken to heaven. The other passage about God taking Enoch was made by Paul. Paul stated in Hebrews 5:11 that “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him.” Admittedly, one can easily conclude from this passage that Enoch did not die, after all the passage says so. But is this consistent with what we have learnt above that every human being is subject to death. Firstly, many people interpret the word “translate “to mean that Enoch became immortal, but the Greek word for "translate" is “metatithemi” which the VINE'S Dictionary of New Testament translates it as "to transfer to another place." Therefore, does Heb.11:5 actually mean that Enoch never experienced physical? Not really, as after Paul had spoken about a number of faithful servants of God (Enoch one of them), Paul continued to state in verse 13 that "These all died in faith – not having received the promises..." Later in this same chapter, after talking about many more faithful people, Paul stressed again that “and these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise verse 39). Titis 1:2 describes the promise as the "...hope of eternal life , which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Conclusion In concussion, while it appears on the surface that Elijah and Enoch went to heaven, the examination of the whole Bible indicate the view is not consistent with the Bible, particularly, Jesus’ own statement that no one has ever gone to heaven. Thus, the logical conclusion is that Elijah and Enoch were transported by the Spirit of God to locations on this earth where no one saw them again. It appears similar to Moses who died but no one saw his corpse until today. However, Jude 1:9 makes it clear that the angel of God fought Satan over the corpse of Moses. That is all that we know about Moses but perhaps, his corpse was buried in the mountains or in the valley by the angel" (Roger, D. M. 2003-2010).
Ellcott's Commentary Rather, Elijah went up in the storm heavenward, or, perhaps, into the air.Sĕ‘ārāh, properly storm-blast; and so storm, thunderstorm. (Comp. Ezekiel 1:4, seq., where Jehovah appears in a “whirlwind,” which is described as a great fiery cloud; and Job 38:1, where He answers Job “out of the whirlwind;” and Nehemiah 1:3 : “The Lord hath His path in whirlwind and in storm (sĕ‘ārāh), and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”) The Hebrew mind recognised the presence and working of Jehovah in the terrific phenomena of nature; the thunder-cloud or storm-wind was His chariot, the thunder His voice, the lightning His arrow. (Comp. Psalm 18:6-15; Psalm 104:3.) We must therefore be cautious of taking the words before us in too literal a sense. The essential meaning of the passage is this, that God suddenly took Elijah to Himself, amid a grand display of His power in and through the forces of nature. The popular conception, which we see embodied in such pictures as William Blake’s Translation of Elijah, that the prophet ascended to heaven in a fiery car drawn by horses of fire, is plainly read into, rather than gathered from, the sacred text. Went up.—Bähr may be right in asserting that ‘ālāh here means “disappeared, was consumed” (like the German aufgehen). He compares Judges 20:40, “The whole city went up heavenward,” i.e., was consumed, and the Hebrew name of the burnt offering (‘ôlāh). But the same phrase (“to go up to heaven”) is used in Psalm 107:26 of a ship rising heavenward on the stormy waves. As regards the miraculous removal of Elijah and Enoch (Genesis 5:24), Von Gerlach remarks: “All such questions as whither they were removed, and where they now are, and what changes they underwent in translation, are left unanswered by the Scriptures.” It may be added, that the ascension of Elijah into heaven is nowhere alluded to in the rest of the Bible (2).
Did The Man on the cross next to jesus go straight to heaven?
Not likely. The following verses are often referenced by certain churches and religions to show that people go to heaven when they die. In reality, the earliest versions of the Bible (The Dead Sea Scrolls) and the original Hebrew version of the bible did not use punctuation, was read right to left, was not divided into chapters, or verses. Surprisingly, few churches, religions and even ministers of the word know of this, realize what it could mean, or are willing to acknowledge this. However, more of them today are now becoming aware of this little known fact. "At the same time the kephalaia divisions in the New Testament were being made, rudimentary smaller divisions, indicated by simple forms of punctuation (sixth–eighth centuries), were beginning to be marked in the Greek texts that would eventually be reflected in the chapter and verse divisions after the thirteenth century" (Religious Study Center, 2018). Where you put punctuation can change the entire meaning of a sentence: If you look at Luke 23:43 with punctuation this verse implies that one of the malefactors hanged with Jesus would be in heaven that day with Christ. Now read the verse without punctuation to see the difference in the meaning. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. Luke 23:39 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? Luke 23:40 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. Luke 23:41 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. Luke 23:42 With punctuation: And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43 Without punctuation: Verily I say unto thee today shalt thou be with me in paradise. If the comma was actually after the word today, instead of, before the word today and the verse has a whole different meaning. Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.
What really happens when you die? Find out here
There are many misconceptions about what happens when you die. Many people believe if you are good you will go to heaven and if you are bad you will go to hell, while some believe when you die you can come back and haunt someone, and still others believe when you die you are just that..dead. However, if you really look at what the Bible says, none of these things are what really happens.
References: 1. 7. Chapters, Verses, Punctuation, Spelling, and Italics | Religious Studies Center. (2018). Rsc.byu.edu. Retrieved 12 February 2018, from https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/king-james-bible-and-restoration/7-chapters-verses-punctuation-spelling-and-italics 2. 2 Kings 2:11 Commentaries: 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.. (2018). Biblehub.com. Retrieved 13 February 2018, from http://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_kings/2-11.htm 3. Roger, D. M. (2003-2010).The Promised Inheritance: What is the Believer's Reward? http://www.bibletruth.cc/ThePromisedInheritance.htm