The New Testament gives us Peter’s testimony that the Christian messiah, Jesus, was taken to heaven (Acts 1:9-11). The gospel of John takes it a step further and tells us “ No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man” (John 3:13). So, Christianity makes the claim that, up to this point, Jesus is the only one that has gone to heaven. Yet, when we read the Tanakh (Old Testament), we have a different story. In 2 Kings 2:1-17 we see the prophets Elisha and Elijah walking together when a fiery chariot pulled up. As 2 Kings 2:11 states “…Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind”. Ok, maybe John overlooked this one, but wait, there is another. Earlier, as we read Genesis 5, we see that Enoch pleased God so much that God had taken him (Genesis 5:24). The Christians couldn’t have overlooked this because it is repeated and their testament (Hebrews 11:5).
Nonetheless, there could be more qualifiers to make the Christian claim congruent. For example, the NLT (New Living Translation) presents an additional criteria:
No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven (John 3:13) NLT.
“Aha!”, in this interpretation John 3:13 tells us that Jesus is the first to go to heaven “and” return. Interestingly, the NLT is the only translation that adds the component of also returning. However, the problem with this is that God tells us in Malachi 3:23 (4:5) “…I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord”. So Elijah was both taken up to heaven and prophesized to return. Likewise, this was written four centuries before John made his declaration. So this recorded mistake in the New Testament is nothing more than a falsehood.
Moses warns us in Deuteronomy 18 that there will be false prophets. In verse 22 he states,
“If the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, and the thing does not occur and does not come about, that is the thing the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it wantonly; you shall not be afraid of him.”
What John says cannot occur, because he is telling us that Jesus was the only person brought to heaven. Likewise, if we look at other translations, Jesus is not the only one prophesied to return. One would have to throw out both the Torah and the book of the prophets to allow John 3:13 to fit. Deuteronomy 18:20 warns us “… if a prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name which I didn’t order him to say, or if he speaks in the name of other gods, then that prophet must die.” Contradicting God’s Word and speaking it as if it was in His name would apply to this verse. Killing the prophet was not vengeful. It would have been a way for the Israelite people to have prevented the slander of God’s Word. This slander could have and has given birth to a new religions. In short, we need to follow the one and only God and His statutes, not three and their new covenant.