Were some people in the Old Testiment times taken to heaven?
It was because of his faith that Enoch was taken up and did not have to experience death: he was not to be found because God had taken him. This was before his assumption it is attested that he had pleased God. Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists, and rewards those who try to find him.
“taken up” and “assumption”, can these words mean that he was not taken to heaven even tho these words were used? In other words, could the words mean that he was taken up to the Limbo where all the good people who had died went and were waiting for the saviour? Because we find Lazarus, the beggar, in Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man was not in Abraham’s bosom but rather looking up at Abraham.
Or do these words mean Enoch actually went to heaven and not to Limbo?
Any logical insights, references or documentation?
According to the 18th cen. theologian Robert Witham:
In Ecclesiasticus (Chap. xliv.) he is said to be translated into paradise … but in what place, or in what manner God preserveth him, we know not. See St. Augustine, lib. de pec. orig.[on Original Sin] chap. xxiii.; St. Chrysostom; &c.
It’s a similar case with Elijah in 4 Kings (2 Kings) 2:1 – “And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elias, into heaven, by a whirlwind…” Concerning what “heaven” means, there is no consensus among Church Fathers and theologians. St. John Chrysostom writes (Hom. 21 on Genesis) that to decide where the paradise which they inhabit, is situated, would be “rash”. Nevertheless, various theologians have speculated that it was a region in the sky or in some unknown part of the earth. See Haydock’s commentary on Heb. 11 and 4 Kings 2 for specifics.
The gates of heaven were closed due to our first parents’ sin. This may be spiritually infered by Adam and Eve being kicked out of the garden of paradise after they sinned and cherubim were stationed to guard the way to the Tree of Life. Jesus Christ opened the gates of heaven by his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Before Jesus Christ then, the holy men and women of Old Testament times did not go to the heaven of the blessed. As the scriptures tell us and as we recite as an article of faith in the apostles creed, when Jesus died, he descended into hell to free all those people detained in ‘limbo’ who were worthy of heaven. Enoch and Elijah, though they did not experience death, were not transplanted to the kingdom of heaven or the blessed as Jesus Christ by his passion, death, and resurrection had not opened the gates of heaven yet. Some of the fathers of the Church say and St Thomas Aquinas that Enoch and Elijah were transplanted to the earthly paradise where, as some say, they are believed to live until the coming of the AntiChrist.
As he Presumably kept his human body, he would have been taken somewhere that bodies can live (like the new earth?). But then, he could just as easily have been placed in an abeyance of sorts, where he would not be dead, yet not experience the “waiting” for the life everlasting.
ROMAN CATECHISM **. . . **Wherefore before His death and Resurrection heaven was closed against every child of Adam. **The souls of the just, on their departure from this life, were either borne to the bosom of Abraham; or, . . . were purified in the fire of purgatory.
I don’t think we know for sure. Jesus mentions “Abraham’s bosom” as an afterlife state in His parable of Lazarus and the rich man, so “someplace nice where the righteous could be together in a state of reward that was not the Beatific Vision” seems likely. Catholic theology has generally called it the Limbo of the Fathers.
I don’t think oxygen would be an issue. Even though they were not, properly speaking, in Heaven, the “assumed” of the OT period could have been given glorified bodies or simply kept from experiencing bodily needs by God’s power.
…there are complicated passages in Scriptures… that Heaven thing is one of them…
Now, lets separate the parable of Lazarus and the rich man since it is simply a learning tool…
Enoch and Elijah (and the “good” thief) on the other hand do place a “bend” on theological exegesis… Scriptures, which are the Word of God, do attest that these men were separated from humanity… Enoch and Elijah were depicted as men that were granted privilege relationships with God… why would God remove them from their human experience just to store them up in Limbo (I know this is somewhat what the Church holds)… I rather see the experience contained/unfolding in God’s Omnipresence…
Scriptures tells us that we were elected for Salvation prior to the Beginning (Creation) of the world, in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-11).
Scriptures also tell us that God is YHWH, the I AM (with respect to the various takes on the actual definition) which means He is Omnipresent–it is the reason why Jesus corrected the Jews when He adamantly stated that God is the God of the Living… because all who die, in Him, are alive to Him (expanded on St. John 11:25-26–also note the Transfiguration).
So since God exists both in time and outside of time, why would He not do exactly what Scriptures tells us He did?
If our Salvation was Hidden in Christ before the creation of the world, why could assumption into Heaven not be able to also take place within God’s Will, even if the chronology of the Incarnation of the Word and the Ascension of Christ took place hundreds of years past the event?
Sacred Scriptures are God’s Revelations to man about God–they are not meant to contain or confine God.
…but isn’t that just another one of those unknown?
…we do not know if Enoch and Elijah had been changed into a glorified existence (as with Christ’s human body); there was a change in the vision of Christ’s Transfiguration–since Moses was clearly dead and buried, it could not be the simple human body… and because it was an Inspired Vision Jesus’ Disciples were able to recognize these two men that had been out of the human experience for hundreds of years prior to their own time frame.
If you want an idea of what a Jew from the 2nd temple period believed about Enoch read 1 Enoch.
Here’s what chapter 12 says:
Before all these things Enoch was concealed; nor did any one of the sons of men know where he was concealed, where he had been, and what had happened.
He was wholly engaged with the holy ones, and with the Watchers in his days.
I, Enoch, was blessing the great Lord and King of peace.
And behold the Watchers called me Enoch the scribe.
Then the Lord said to me: Enoch, scribe of righteousness, go tell the Watchers of heaven, who have deserted the lofty sky, and their holy everlasting station, who have been polluted with women.
And have done as the sons of men do, by taking to themselves wives, and who have been greatly corrupted on the earth;
That on the earth they shall never obtain peace and remission of sin. For they shall not rejoice in their offspring; they shall behold the slaughter of their beloved; shall lament for the destruction of their sons; and shall petition for ever; but shall not obtain mercy and peace.