Did Elijah Go To Heaven before Jesus?

Q. I was reading through John last night and had a question about John 3 v 13. “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-, the Son of Man.”

How can that be when in 2 Kings 2 vs 11 says; “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.”

Jesus can’t be mistaken so how can this be? Elijah went up to heaven in the Old Testament prior to Jesus going up in the New Testament but yet Jesus said no one has ever gone into heaven except Him.

A. The English translation of 2 Kings 2:11 is the problem. The Hebrew word translated heaven there is the same word used in Genesis 1:6-8 to describe the firmament, the area between the waters on Earth and the water vapor canopy that was originally at the outer edge of our atmosphere. Today we call this the sky, and that’s really where 2 Kings 2:11 says Elijah was taken, up into the sky. I assume he went to Paradise where all Old Testament believers went to be comforted until the Messiah came, and where Jesus went from the cross.

According to Paul, there are three things we can call heaven (2 Cor. 2:12) The first is our atmosphere, or sky, second is the vast expanse of the universe, and third is the throne of God. This is where Jesus came from and where no one could go until He went back.

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