Enoch, Elijah and Moses

Tonight my priest talked about Enoch, Elijah and Moses. How can they be in Heaven when they weren’t glorified? Are they just in their earthly bodies flying around in space for thousands of years or…
I’ve posted about this before long ago and didn’t receive a satisfactory answer.
I did then, at the time find an online article in Our Sunday Visitor by the late Fr. Ray Ryland J.D. who said Enoch and Elijah did not go to Gods dwelling place. He said Enoch died and that God had removed Elijah to another place where he eventually died.

Between Adam’s sin and Christ’s Resurrection, nobody went to Heaven. Are you talking about that time frame or the present? If that time frame, they are in the pleasant part of the underworld - if the present, they are in Heaven just as much as any saint, which is to say that their souls are privileged with special graces related to Beatitude and knowledge but lack the full breadth of salvation because there is not yet a body united with their souls.

JOHN 3:13 (NIV) 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

Faith1960. The late Fr. Ryland is correct.

Enoch and Elijah did not go to Gods dwelling place.

ROMAN CATECHISM . . . Wherefore before His death and Resurrection heaven was closed against every child of Adam.

Nor had anyone else entered before our Lord and Savior Jesus opened the gates to God’s dwelling place.

Jesus Christ and Jesus alone after His death and Resurrection is the one who opens Heaven to mankind.

Hope this helps.

God bless.


At this point many may wonder WHY the Bible says Elijah DID go to “Heaven”!?

Because in a sense, he did (but not in the sense we often think).

The Bible says Elijah went to the Hebrew word, “hassamayim” (Greek “ouranos”)

haš-šā-mā-yim is the Hebrew word for Heaven AND the sky. (see here for more details)

“Hassamayim” can be merely “the sky”.

For example rain falls from clouds in the sky.

Here is a passage in Deuteronomy discussing rain falling from . . . “Hassamyim”.

DEUTERONOMY 11:10-12 10 For the land which you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it with your feet, like a garden of vegetables; 11 but the land which you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven (haš·šā·ma·yim), 12 a land which the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

From the wikipedia entry…

In Christian theology, the Harrowing of Hell (Latin: Descensus Christi ad Inferos, “the descent of Christ into hell”) is the triumphant descent of Christ into Hell (or Hades) between the time of his Crucifixion and his Resurrection when he brought salvation to all of the righteous who had died since the beginning of the world (excluding the damned).

After his death, the soul of Jesus descended into the realm of the dead, which the Apostles’ Creed calls “hell” in the old English usage. The realm into which Jesus descended is called Sheol or Limbo by some Christian theologians to distinguish it from the hell of the damned.

Of course, this will lead to a LOT more questions than answers…like how far back into human history would salvation be possible…

It is worth bearing in mind that the Book of Enoch is an apocryphal work and there is no reason to believe in contains any truth.

Genesis 5:24 - “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” This is traditionally understood as a kind of assumption, rather than a mere death.

I think that time frame.

Fr. Ryland didn’t speak of Moses. What about him?

The only way I could imagine Enoch, Elijah and Moses could’ve been sent to heaven would
Be if they’d been glorified but Scripture doesn’t say that.

My priest, the one whose homily started this newest wave of posts on the topic, just emailed me saying Fr. Ryland “is 100% wrong”.

My priest also said Enoch, Elijah and Moses were unglorified, taken to a place like Eden but not heaven.

I’ve read theories like this on CAF and want to know:

  1. is this place on planet Earth?

  2. is this place somewhere in space, like in another dimension, making it impossible to find?

  3. if it’s on Earth, why hasn’t it been found since virtually every place has been explored?

  4. or are Enoch, Elijah and Moses no longer in a place like Eden but NOW in heaven?

  1. Possibly Earth, but not the Earth of their contemporaries - it would be a “time travel” kind of thing, much like the event we celebrate today: the Transfiguration
  2. Yes
  3. See #1
  4. Now they are fully in Heaven, with glorified bodies (but not Moses, presumably, because there is no tradition that he was assumed)

Please explain #s 1, 2 and 3.

My priest . . . said Enoch, Elijah and Moses were unglorified, taken to a place like Eden but not heaven.

You priest is correct.

Fr. Ryland didn’t speak of Moses. What about him?

Just what your priest said. Moses when he died, was “unglorified, taken to a place like Eden but not heaven.”

This is often referred to as “The Bosom of Abraham” because of Luke 16.

I’ve read theories like this on CAF and want to know:

  1. is this place on planet Earth?

You will have to wait until the next life to find out such answers.

Just remember and concentrate on what we DO know . . . .

Before the time of Jesus’ death and Resurrection heaven was closed against every child of Adam.

ROMAN CATECHISM . . . Wherefore before His death and Resurrection heaven was closed against every child of Adam.

Faith, the church does NOT have a teaching on this. It is pointless to ask this question because we just don’t know and anyone who says Moses, Elijah, Enoch etc. are X Y or Z is stating their opinion only and speculating.

From St John Chrystosom:

many ask whither Enoch was translated, and why he was translated, and why he did not die, neither he nor Elijah, and, if they are still alive, how they live, and in what form. But to ask these things is superfluous. For that the one was translated, and that the other was taken up, the Scriptures have said; but where they are, and how they are, they have not added: For they say nothing more than is necessary. For this indeed took place, I mean his translation, immediately at the beginning, the human soul [thereby] receiving a hope of the destruction of death, and of the overthrow of the devil’s tyranny, and that death will be done away; for he was translated, not dead, but “that he should not see death.”

See e_c’s post, #12

My priest said they were taken to a “place like Eden… not heaven”. That threw me because virtually every place on Earth has been explored. I then looked up possible locations for Eden and something I found stressed that after all this time, it would look entirely different, covered in sediment etc.

1 - If a person is assumed bodily before salvation is possible (or even after), his body must actually go somewhere. Either there is a place reserved apart from our world, or the translation occurs through time as well - like Moses and Elijah were translated through time (as is a common interpretation). If it is through time, then it seems it could maybe be Earth. I’ve not thought this all the way through though - I do see some problems (like when specifically? New Creation or not? If so, do they have two bodies, or a place set apart? And the questions go from there). I strongly favor the opinion that it is through space, to a place in which there is a special grace to behold the Lord darkly but without the full grace yet available or in the full New Creation context.

2 - If it’s “extradimensional,” then yes, it would be impossible to find. Even if it is a translation through time but not space, it would be impossible to find.

3 - See #2

Mary, for example, is certainly experiencing the Beatific Vision, but it’s not clear that this is in the context of the New Creation. It seems to be a special place set apart.

Genesis 5
21 And Henoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Mathusala.
22 And Henoch walked with God: and lived after he begot Mathusala, three hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.
23 And all the days of Henoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.
24 And he walked with God, and was seen no more: because God took him.*

Haydock Commentary

Ver. 24. Walked with God. Septuagint, “was pleasing to God,” by continual recollection and watchfulness over himself. Thus he became perfect.

— Was seen no more; or, as St. Paul reads, after the Septuagint, he was not found. (Hebrews xi. 5.)

— God took him alive to some place unknown, which is commonly supposed to be Paradise, conformably to Ecclesiasticus xliv. 16, though in Greek we do not read Paradise. Henoch pleased God, and was translated [into Paradise], that he may give repentance to the nations. To him, that of Wisdom iv. 10, may be applied: He…was beloved, and living among sinners, he was translated. He will come again, when the charity of many of his children (for we all spring from him) shall have grown cold; and shall at last suffer death for opposing Antichrist. (Apocalypse xi.) (Haydock)

— “Though it be not an article of faith, whether Henoch be now in that Paradise, from which Adam and Eve were driven, or in some other delightful place; yet the holy Scriptures affirm, that God translated him alive, that he might not experience death,” St. Chrysostom, hom. 21, with whom the other fathers agree, cited in the Douay Bible; so that it is a matter of surprise, how any Protestant can call it in question. He is the other witness, who will come with Elias, before the great day of the Lord, to perform the same office to the nations, as the latter will to the Jews. (Malachias iv.) God preserves these two alive, perhaps to give us a striking proof how he could have treated Adam and his posterity, if they had not sinned; and also to confirm our hopes of immortality, when we shall have paid the debt of nature. (Worthington)

Faith, as I already stated what your priest said is speculation only. The Church has no teaching on this. You are asking for an answer that no one can give you. We don’t know. No one does.

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