It happened, as they still went on, and talked, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both apart; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven [the sky]. — 2 Kings 2:11, World English.
God took Elijah into the sky in the whirlwind, in doesn’t say that ELijah was taken into the sky in the chariot, as many have assumed. The chariot of fire is only stated to have separated Elijah from Elisha. The scripture does not state that Elijah got into this chariot and then God took both the chariot and Elijah into the sky.
Elijah’s ascension into the sky does not mean that Elijah’s terrestrial body (1 Corinthians 15:40) was taken into invisible heavens where God dwells. Evidently, Elijah did not die when taken into the sky by means of a whirlwind, since Jehoram some years later received a letter from Elijah. (2 Chronicles 21:12) Thus, we conclude that Elijah did not die in the whirlwind, but was simply moved to another unnamed location on the earth. The Bible does not relate when Elijah later died.
Many refer to Elijah’s ascension into the sky with the thought that this somehow, in some vague unstated manner, supports of the Greek mythological teaching that the human soul/spirit is immortal and cannot die — or the idea that when man’s body dies, there is a part of the man that continues to live (dualism). In reality, this “inherent immortal soul/spirit” doctrine is nowhere found in the Bible, and thus many who wish to believe that doctrine seek to find scriptures which supposedly support the doctrine, although when one examines closely the scriptures cited for such support, one wonders how what is stated actually gives support to that doctrine.
Looking at 2 Kings 2:11, this is what we also find related to this verse. We do not see anything about Elijah’s soul leaving the body and ascending into heaven. It was Elijah’s terrestrial body (1 Corinthians 15:40) that ascended. If “heaven” here meant that Elijah’s terrestrial body actually ascended to where God and angels live, then Elijah sure did die, since Yahweh says: “Man may not see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20) Additionally, John stated: “No one has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) It is obvious from the context that John, by his words recorded in John 1:18, was speaking of humans, not the invisible angels who always see God’s face. — Matthew 18:10.
We know that Elijah did not ascend to where God’s throne is because Jesus plainly told us that up the time he was on the earth, “No one has ascended into heaven.” (John 3:13) Thus, despite the Hellenized Jewish writings that claim otherwise, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah did die, and are not alive anywhere to this day. The appearance of Moses and Elijah in the “transfiguration” scene was a vision, depicting the time of the glory when Christ returns and his glory is revealed (Matthew 19:28; 25:31; Luke 9:26; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 4:13), and was not meant to imply that Moses and Elijah never died, or that Moses and Elijah was still alive in some spirit form. — Matthew 16:28; 17:2,3,19.
If Elijah never died and is still alive somewhere, then Elijah escaped the death penalty, something which many scriptures say that we cannot do without absolute obedience (which man condemned in Adam cannot do under his present condition), and that is why justice had to first be satisfied by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. — Job 14:1,4; Psalm 22:29: 49:7-9; 146:4: Ecclesiastes 3:19,20; Romans 3:23; 5:11,17-19.
See “How God’s Son Condemned Sin in the Flesh”