It is axiomatic that life ends in death. Lions are powerful, but they eventually succumb to the eternal sleep. Dinosaurs were even more powerful, but they have all disappeared — all except the Komodo dragon. Some would be inclined to add the Loch Ness monster, but I am skeptical about its existence.
Death is also the end of human existence. The Bible teaches: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90: 10)
Sometimes people live longer than 80 years. Moses, who wrote the ninetieth psalm, lived to a ripe old age of 120 years. Before the flood, the life span was even longer. Adam walked on earth for 930 years, and Methuselah lived to an age of 969 years, according to the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible.
Nevertheless, everyone died, both before and after the deluge. There were only two exceptions: Enoch and Elijah.
Enoch lived before the flood. He did not enjoy a long earthly life, compared to Adam, Methuselah, and other antediluvian patriarchs. He lived on earth for only 365 years.
Nevertheless, the brevity of his earthly existence resulted from a special blessing. He did not have to die: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”
Elijah lived after the kingdom of Solomon was divided into two kingdoms: one in the north of Palestine, the other in the south. Elijah lived and labored in the northern kingdom. He was particularly noteworthy for his dealings with King Ahab.
His earthly existence ended in an unusual way. While Elisha, his successor, watched, “there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (II Kings 2: 11)
At least as far as we know, these two were the only exceptions. Since the beginning of time, all other mortals had to suffer the pangs of death before leaving this vale of tears.
What about us? Do we have any hope of sharing in the unique privilege enjoyed by Enoch and Elijah? The answer is: “Yes.”
If Jesus returns to judge the world during our lifetime, we shall not taste of death. It will not be a blessing for those who do not trust in Christ. They will, in fact, wish that they were dead so that they would not have to face the judgment. However, to all believers, the Lord says: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21: 28)
I Thessalonians 5: 16-17 describes what will happen when Christ returns in glory: “The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This passage clearly shows that we shall not die if we are still alive when Christ returns.
The Holy Bible; King James Version