Translated

Some notable translated beings are prophesied to return. A “translated” human is someone whose body has undergone a physical change, from mortality to immortality without tasting death. They are not resurrected beings; however, they are like them.

Sigmund

People who have toured heaven have seen translated beings and marveled how it was that someone who had not died was yet in heaven:

There were people there who had not died yet. I have heard others say that about heaven. I saw them. And I wondered about this mystery. (Richard Sigmund, My Time In Heaven, Kindle, p. 89.)

Angels

When Paul said to be kind to strangers for they might be an angel in disguise, he very well may have been referring to translated beings who, having lived on earth, would know how to blend in:

2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)

Enoch

The first person we read about who was translated is Enoch:

24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)

5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

There is no direct revelation that says Enoch will return, but there is an interesting prophecy by Enoch of the Lord returning with “ten thousands of saints” which may or may not include him:

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14–15)

Moses

It may seem odd to find Moses among this list but there is some evidence that he too may have been translated.

1. Unknown grave location.

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. (Deuteronomy 34:5–6)

2. Was on Mt. Transfiguration with another translated being – Elijah.

4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (Mark 9:4)

3. Jude said there was a dispute about Moses being translated:

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 1:9)

4. The Assumption of Moses.

The Assumption of Moses is a an ancient Jewish text which is translated “The Ascension of Moses.” (R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Oxford: University Press, 1913, vol. 2, pp. 407-424; see the Assumption of Moses for additional evidence.) 

If God is planning to use past leaders in the days ahead, Moses may be one of them.

Elijah

The next is Elijah:

11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)

Elijah was seen again on Mt. Transfiguration with Moses talking to Jesus:

4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (Mark 9:4)

It was prophesied that Elijah would return:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5–6)

Esdras

The next person we read about who was translated is from the apocryphal account of Esdras:

19 Therefore hear my voice, and understand my words, and I shall speak before thee. This is the beginning of the words of Esdras, before he was taken up. (2 Esdras 8:19)

John

Jesus promised there would be additional translations:

28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Matthew 16:28)

Just because a person is translated does not necessarily mean they will be taken to heaven. John the Revelator is an example of someone who was translated and stayed in the earth:

22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he [John] tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. (John 21:22–24)

11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (Revelation 10:11)

Two Witnesses

Some believe that the prophecy of God’s two witnesses in The Revelation of John will be two translated beings. Of those mentioned above, Elijah and John are the people with prophecies of a return to earth.

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)

The prophecy goes on to say that God’s two witnesses will be killed after they are done prophesying and that their bodies will lie on the streets of Jerusalem for three days before being revived/resurrected and taken up. 

Melchisedec

There is speculation that King Melchisedec may have been a translated being since he showed up on the scene without either a mother or father and did not die:

1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (Hebrews 7:1–3; Gen. 14:18–19)

Some believe that Melchisedec was an angel on assignment and not human. If that is true, it rules out the possibility he was a translated being.

Conclusion

There is a purpose for everything under heaven, precisely what purpose translated beings serve is unclear. Evidence suggests it could be a reward for faithfulness (Enoch), an opportunity to serve longer (John), or a future purpose that may pertain to a yet to be fulfilled prophecy (Elijah). 

If the prophecy of John is yet to be fulfilled, that would mean he will reveal his true identity any day now and give his message as prophesied to “many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” However, the timing is up to God, whether it be before The Sign of Jesus’ Coming or after it.

If Elijah is to return, the same questions on timing apply as with John, plus, how will he return? If he returns the identical way that he left, that would be quite a sight. Would we call the vehicle he departed in a “chariot” or something else?  

It’s possible that people who were translated before Christ walked the earth, were resurrected when Jesus rose from the grave.

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