Everyone human being alive will die some day. As they say, “Death is the end of all men on earth.” But is it?
In the Bible, we have some people that either didn’t see physical death or defeated it. While I can find two people who didn’t die and who were never buried on earth, there was only one person who died but conquered the power of death forever.
- Enoch didn’t die but God took him.
- Elijah didn’t see death but he was taken up by a heavenly chariot.
- Jesus saw death but He conquered it.
Jesus’ case is a bit different from that of Enoch and Elijah in that unlike Jesus, they both didn’t see death at all. But Jesus ‘saw’ death and He overcame it, eternally.
Let me take on each of the mentioned characters a little deeper.
Enoch – The man taken by God
As great as the patriarchs of faith were, they all suffered physical death. For instance, Abraham died and was buried.
Genesis 25:7-15 has this to say about Abraham’s death,
“Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. 8Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. 9His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, 10the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah”
Isaac the beloved son of Abraham lived longer than his father (180 years) but he too died (Genesis 35:28). So did Jacob, Noah, Gideon, Isaiah, and even Apostle Paul, who was reputed to have been beheaded under Emperor Nero.
But Enoch was an exception. He neither died a natural death nor was he killed by anyone. The Bible says God took Him – so He was never tasted death nor was he buried.
I realise that there are other people called Enoch (or Hanoch) in the Bible. One was the son of Cain (Gen. 4:17), another one was the son of Jared (Gen 5:18). The other two were the sons of Midian and Reuben respectively ( see Gen. 25:4, 46:9).
But the Enoch I’m talking about here is the one that walked with God faithfully and didn’t die till he was taken up to heaven. Here is how Moses recorded it in book of Genesis:
After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Genesis 5:22-35 NKJV
Did you see that: “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
Let me break it down:
- And Enoch walked with God. This means Enoch was faithful to God throughout his earthly work.
- and he was not… This means that Enoch didn’t die, and was never buried. He body was never found.
- For God took him. This means that God personally removed Enoch from the earth so that he never saw death and was never buried like other men of his time.
The writer of Hebrews gives us further insight as well: “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. Hebrews 11:5
What do we know about Enoch?
Genesis chapter 5:21-25 has the summary of the life of the faithful man called Enoch. If you read the story, you will come to realise the following things about him:
- Enoch was the son of Jared. So that makes him a grandson of Mahalalel, the father of Jared.
- Enoch was born when his father, Jared, was one hundred and sixty-two years old.
- Enoch was the father of Methuselah, the one who turned out to be the one who lived the longest ever in human history (969 years);
- Enoch was sixty-five years old when he gave birth to Methuselah.
- In addition to Methuselah, Enoch also had other sons and daughters that we weren’t told their names.
- Enoch lived a total of three hundred and sixty five years before he left the Earth, or rather, before God took him away.
- Enoch didn’t suffer physical death, neither was he buried. God simply removed him from the earth in a chariot.
Elijah – the man carried up by heavenly chariots
Elijah was another person that did not die physically. Once he was done with his assignment on earth, God brought a chariot of fire to whisk him away to heaven in a whirlwind.
Enoch’s departure from the earth must have been a quiet event. No too much ceremonies was required as God simply took him away. But Elijah’s case was different. He was divinely evacuated with heavenly transportation in the grandest style. The full story can be found in the book of Second Kings chapter 2.
Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven2 Kings 2:11
What a spectacular sight it must have been for Elisha, who was right there when Elijah was taken up to Heaven.
What do we know about Elijah?
Elijah was a notable prophet in the Old Testament Bible. Let us mention a few of the documents facts about him:
- Elijah was the prophet of God from Tishbite in Gilead.
- Elijah called down fire in the context between Him and the false prophets of Baal.
- Elijah was the prophet who proclaimed the drought that lasted in the land for three and half years – 1 Kings 17:1.
- Elijah prayed again and the rains returned to earth – 1Kings 18:43-45; James 5:17.
- Elijah was fed by a Raven sent by God during the prolonged famine – 1 Kings 17:2-6.
- Elijah was also provided food by a widow in Zarephath, after which Elijah miraculously multiplied her supplies – 1 Kings 17:15-16.
- Elijah prayed for a dead boy and he came back to life – 1 Kings 27:20-23.
- Elijah was outran the King Ahab who was driven in a chariot of horse – 1 Kings 18:46
Jesus – The man death could not hold down
Unlike Enoch and Elijah, Jesus actually tasted physical death; He was gruesomely killed by crucifixion and buried in the grave. But on the third day, He resurrected from the dead. And now Jesus is alive – forever.
There is a big difference between being raised from the death and being resurrected from the dead. Being raised from the dead is a temporary victory. In the Bible, all those who were brought by back to life, later died again.
But being resurrected from the dead like Jesus did, is a permanent victory over death. Jesus died and resurrected and never to die again,
Speaking about the victory of Jesus over death, the writer of Acts of the Apostles gives us a remarkable insight:
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him – Acts 2:24
and He was taken up to Heaven in full glare of Disciples: “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight” Acts 1:9.
What do we know about Jesus?
Jesus is the centre of the Bible. Of course there are many things we know about Him:
- Jesus is the God-incarnate – He is God in the flesh.
- Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.
- Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed One, the Christ.
- Jesus is the Saviour of the world;
- Jesus performed many miracles while He was on earth.
- Jesus died to redeem mankind from sin and satan.
- Jesus was put in the grave but on the third day, He came out from the grave – alive.
- Jesus conquered death and ascended to Heaven.
- Jesus will come back again to judge and rule the world.
Two people in the Bible did not see physical death. They neither died nor were they buried.
One other person saw death but conquered it completely. He died, was buried but He came out from the grave alive with power and glory.
- Enoch did not experience physical death. God simply took him away from the earth.
- Elijah did not die a physical death. God used a chariot of fire in a whirlwind to evacuate him from the earth.
- Jesus died but He resurrected and ascended to heaven. That means that He conquered the power of death.
There is yet another set of people who will not taste death in this world. These are believers in Christ who would be alive when Jesus returns to earth in the second-coming. It will be begin with an event known as the rapture.
If you like this post, kindly share it on Facebook.