Was Anyone Allowed in Heaven before Christ?


In 2 Kings 2:1-12, Elijah goes to heaven, but how did anyone go to heaven before Christ paved the way destroyed by Adam and Eve?


In the old testament, heaven can also refer to the sky. If I remember correctly, the first heaven was the sky with the clouds and atmostphere, the second was what we would call outer space, with the stars, moon and the sun. That is where we get the term “heavenly bodies” when refering to them.

It was only the third heaven that refered to union with God.

That is why in some translations of Genesis it says God created the heavens (plural) and the earth.
And St. Paul said he was taken up to the third heaven.

Thus Elijah did not go to the third heaven, union with God, but only up to the sky.


… I didn’t know that. (sorry, there’s a LOT I don’t know)

If you don’t mind a stupid question, then - where do angels reside? Or exist, or whatever the appropriate term is. (thank you!)


The angels are always in heaven, that is in union with God. Heaven is not a place, it is the state of being in union with God. Thus, even when angels appear on earth, they are still in heaven.


pondering Well that makes sense. Now I’ll just have to chew on it for a while…

Thank you so much for answering, and for increasing my understanding! :thumbsup:


Elijah and Enoch are supposed to have been assumed, and I always read that as passing Go and getting $200.


Nope. The creed says of Christ that ‘He descended to the dead’. Obviously he didn’t go to the hell of the damned, nor yet go to heaven (He told Mary Magdalene He hadn’t gone to the Father yet).

So that line means, according to Apostolic tradition, that He went to the abode of the righteous dead (often called the ‘bosom of Abraham’) and preached salvation to the souls there who were awaiting His death to open Heaven to them.


Was anyone allowed in Heaven before Christ? If so, how?

Yes. The same way anyone is allowed in Heaven after Christ: through the grace of God.

– Mark L. Chance.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

#633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the Poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”. “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when He descended into hell.” Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before Him.


This is very incorrect.


I hate answering questions with more questions, but was there ever a time that Christ was not in heaven? Christ was the Word who according to John “was in the beginning”.


I’m not sure “heaven” is the correct word to use.
CCC definition of heaven: Eternal life with God; communion of life and love with the Trinity and all the blessed. Heaven is the state of supreme and definitive happiness, the goal of the deepest longings of humanity.

Are you asking if there was ever a time when Christ/Word was not present in the Trinity? If so, the Person of Christ has always been present in the Trinity. God is Triune in Persons, yet One God. He cannot be separated.
In the Incarnate Jesus there are two natures (Divine and human) but **only One Person **- the Second Person of the Trinity. Therefore He was,is, and always will be in the Triune God.

John 10:38 …that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
John 14
:*11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; *

The human body and soul of Our Lord however, would not have been always present within the Triune God, since they had a definite beginning in earthly time.

I did a little searching trying to find an official source encompassing all the above, but didn’t have any luck. Will search the Catechism further.

The Church does teach that:

  • “Christ’s human soul possessed the immediate vision of God from the first moment of its existence.” *(Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma)

*“Also that knowledge which is called vision, He possesses in such fullness that in breadth and clarity it far exceeds the Beatific Vision of all the saints in Heaven… …in virtue of the Beatific Vision which He enjoyed from the time when He was received into the womb of the mother of God, He has forever and continuously had present to Him all the members of His mystical Body and embraced them with His saving love.” *(Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis”)

Hope this helps.



Gosh. That was convincing. :rolleyes:

So, to be clear, you’re claiming that people who may have went to Heaven prior to the Incarnation did so apart from the grace of God?

– Mark L. Chance.


No human being was in heaven before Christ’s death opened it up for them. He as the first-fruits of death naturally was the FIRST among the dead to enter heaven. But he didn’t do so as a victor over death until after His resurrection.

No other person could precede Him into heaven. All the righteous dead awaited His death and resurrection to free them. And waited in the ‘bosom of Abraham’ which was not heaven, since all were deprived of the Beatific Vision of God’s presence. That is church teaching, plainly stated in the Catechism para 633 which was quoted earlier. THAT is why you’re incorrect.


But I’m not incorrect. Both Scripture and the Church have long held that, at a minimum, Elijah was taken up to Heaven prior to the Incarnation (the convoluted “explanation” of different heavens above notwithstanding).

Where one exception has been made, others are possible (albeit not necessarily likely or actual).

– Mark L. Chance.


No. Elijah was NOT assumed into God’s presence. Like all the righteous before the time of Christ he went to the bosom of Abraham. THAT is where he went after his assumption.

The CCC lists no exceptions to this, not even Elijah. He like everyone else, had to wait for Christ to conquer death and re-enter heaven victorious before he could do so.


No human being ever went to Heaven before Christ’s Resurrection.

Before that, they all went to the Limbo of the Fathers, also known as the Bosom of Abraham. This includes Elijah, Moses, and Enoch.


I’ve been reading this thread and while I do not have any answered backed up via scripture or the CCC, I can say that some of the replies do not make sense when looking at the CCC and scripture.

First off, the bible says that he was taken up to heaven. This can not mean the sky or outer space because what would he be doing up there?

Secondly, it can NOT mean the “Bosom of Abraham” where Moses, Jacob, Isaac, etc.; were because a distinction is made with regards to him. If they were all going to the same place, why didn’t they get a fiery chariot ride? Why was he go while still alive when the others died?

For this reason, I don’t think that he was taken to the “Bosom of Abraham” either.

The only thing that MIGHT make sense is that heaven exists outside of time in eternity. Maybe when he was taken up to heaven the gates up heaven were already opened by Jesus even though here on earth that action wouldn’t take place for centuries later.


That’s the only way it makes sense to me, too.


Sure, Elijah was taken up by fiery chariots, but that is a distinction without a difference.

Put it this way - Mary was assumed into heaven. Does that mean she went to a different heaven than all the other saints who died after Christ? Absolutely not, even though none of them were assumed.

Same with Elijah - his fate was no different to that of any righteous Jew of his time, regardless of the fact that his entrance into the afterlife was a litte more colourful. He did indeed go to the same place all righteous Jews went - the Bosom of Abraham, Limbo of the Fathers or whatever you wish to call it.

It is totally unfitting that ANYONE should enter Heaven before Christ’s death. Heaven is eternal, but His death and Resurrection which opened it to us were real-time events, just as our own death and entry into heaven is a real-time event. We have a definite START date for our heavenly existence, just not an end date. So did Elijah, and that start date had to be a date AFTER the time when Christ died.

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