Who has ascended to heaven?
There are four occasions in the bible where it appears that individuals have gone to Heaven; Elijah, Lazarus and Thief on the cross and absent from the body present with Yahweh.
2 Kings 2:11 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 heaven.
● John 3:13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
● 2 Chronicles 21:12 And a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, (about 10 years later, this letter proves he (Elijah) wasn't taken to heaven) Thus says the Lord God of your father David: Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
Rich man and Lazarus
● Luke 16:19-23 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
● Luke 16:29 Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” 30 And he said, “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’”31 But he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
Thief on the cross
● Luke 23: 39-42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today,,,,, you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Keep this in mind
1. Hebrew writings did not have commas.
2. It says “paradise”, not heaven.
3. The thief said “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
4. John 20:17 Yeshua said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them,” I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
5. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man Will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
absent from the body present with Yahweh..
I believe scripture is telling us that when we die; Yahweh takes back His spirit, the breath of life, our soul sleeps and our body decays until we are resurrected either to life or to the second death. If we are resurrected to life we will be given a new body as indicated in the next verse.
Assurance of the Resurrection
● 2 corinthians 5:8 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
● Ecclesiastes 12:7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it
● 1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God know no man, but the Spirit of God.
● Ezekiel 37:5-6 Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.