"Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire, which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven." 2 Kings 2:11
Throughout the history of the Christian church the story of Elijah going up to heaven in a chariot has been called his being translated. I was reminded of this on Sunday when I heard a sermon on this verse. It occurred to me that I will probably never have an experience like this. At some point the righteous and the wicked will be translated, but the chariot is a nice touch that I am not expecting. But as the sermon continued on, I thought, "I know how I can be translated", "I know how, on a daily basis, I too can be, as it were, translated". If being translated means coming in to the presence of a holy God, then, it seems there are at least two ways that now, Christians can be translated.
1. The first is painfully obvious: prayer. Prayer brings us into God's presen ce and brings God's presence to us. The golden bowls in Revelation 5:8 ought to give us great encouragement to pray because they, "are the prayers of the saints". And let us remind ourselves where these golden bowls are; they are, "before the Lamb". There is no doubt that prayer translates us into God's presence.
2. The second (and the one I was thinking about in church), is a little less obvious. In Matthew 5:48, we are exhorted to be perfect. This is not given as something that we can obtain, but rather as something that we must aim at. But in that sanctifying process of confession of sin and seeking after righteousness, is there not a kind of translation? I think there is. There is, in pursuing righteousness, an element of becoming more and more Christlike. Even more than an element, that is the very heart of it. And this is nothing less than preparation for heaven, for our translation. Nothing that is unholy can stand before God, and one day, all those who rest in Christ will stand in the presence of God, translated, and clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The process that we begin here, will then be complete.
"When the heart truly repents, it dies to sin. Repentance is compared unto death in the word of God." Jonathan Edwards in a sermon on 1 Peter 2:9.
Soli Deo Gloria,