Enoch and Elias are in the "Atmosphere"…They will return to battle the Antichrist


I have a fascination with Enoch and Elias. Enoch (or Henoch) is the inspiration for the apocalyptic work called “1 Enoch” cited by Saint Jude in his epistle. Elias (or Elijah) is considered to be the Old Testament founder of the Carmelites and the greatest of the Old Testament prophets before Saint John the Baptist. Best of all, neither of these prophets ever died!
Scripture only knows two men who never experienced natural death. (The Blessed Virgin Mary did experience death before her glorious Assumption, as explained in this post.)
Enoch lived before the great Flood. We read the following about him:
“And all the days of Henoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And he walked with God, and was seen no more: because God took him.” (Genesis 5:23–24, D-R)
Concerning Elias we read that he was taken up in a Chariot of Fire:
“And as they went on, walking and talking together, behold, a fiery chariot and fiery horses parted them both asunder: and Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11, D-R)
As you can see, these two men did not die. According to St Thomas Aquinas, they are preserved in the atmospheric heaven (which is identified with earthly paradise), but not in the empyrean heaven (Heaven proper). See Summa theologiae III, q. 49, a. 5.
Saint Thomas, in agreement with the Church Fathers explains why Enoch and Elias are waiting out there in outer space. Saint Thomas writes these two men will return at the end of time to do battle with the Antichrist. It is unthinkable that these two men would never die since this is contrary to the Apostolic teaching:
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27, D-R)
Enoch will evangelize and organize the Jews who will seek baptism and convert to the Catholic Faith during the reign of the Antichrist. Elijah will evangelize and organize the last wave of Gentiles that will convert to Christ during the Antichrist’s reign of terror. Both prophets will be slain, rise again, and ascend to Heaven as explained in Apocalypse chapter 11.
I cannot help but wonder about the identity of “atmospheric heaven.” Saint Thomas Aquinas sees it as synonymous with “earthly paradise.” This could be a location in “outer space.” It could be a place hidden on earth. Or perhaps it is the Garden of Eden transferred to another place. There state, I imagine, would be one of natural paradise without the beatific vision.
Do you have any thoughts on this puzzle? WHERE are these two prophets given what we know about the geography of outer space and the atmosphere? Please leave a comment.

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  • Chris F.

    Inner Space as some have termed is not a material state of being. Strange how no one brought up the the supernatural domain of paradise, where Adam & Eve were stricken from because of their disobedience. A supernatural state has no ties with this dimensional finite universe.

    Part One:

    If the Catholic Church be compared to an army drawn out in battle array
    (“Canticles 6:9”) we have reason to believe that Jesus Christ, it’s captain,
    would reserve the best soldiers to withstand the most terrible shock in the
    Great Day of Tribulation in (“End Times”).

    But the people who know and serve the True and Living God shall be victorious
    in their Faith. God shall send teachers to instruct his people; they shall rush
    into the midst of fire and sword; they shall be made prisoners and their
    possessions will be confiscated; some of those teachers shall be cast into a
    fiery furnace, there to be purified, (“Daniel. 11:32, etc”) Not only the saints
    but also the angels will hasten to the standard of the Cross and aid the Church
    in this her Great Tribulation; and Saint Michael the Archangel shall rise and
    engage in furious combat against the enemy of the people of God (“Daniel
    12:11), St. John represents Saint Michael fighting against the dragon (“Satan”)
    unchained, (“Apoc. 12:7”). Finally, God shall prepare a safe retreat for his
    faithful children in the desert (“Apoc. 12:14”) which means that God will not
    allow the demons, all powerful as they will be, to reveal to the emissaries of
    Antichrist the hiding places of the great number of Christians, who though
    faithful to God, yet have not the courage enough to confront the enemy or brave
    the dangers of so terrible a persecution. All this aid will certainly be
    greater and more abundant in this last struggle, though quite the same in all
    ages of the Church: God directs all things by His benign Providence, and He
    will send Elias and Enoch to aid and sustain His spouse in her last trying
    ordeal.

    It is certain that neither Elias nor Enoch are dead. It is written; Enoch
    walked with God and disappeared. (“Gen. 5:22-24”). Enoch, according to the wise
    man, was pleasing to God, who placed him in paradise. (“Ecclesiasticus 44:18”).
    And St. Paul says Enoch was removed, that he might not see death. (“Heb.
    11:5”). Scripture is still more explicit relative to Elias. He is said to have
    been walking in company with Eliseus us on the banks of the Jordan when he was
    carried off in a fiery chariot to heaven. (“4 Kings 2:11). Eccelsiasticus
    (“48:9”) and Machabees (“Book 1, 2:58”) allude to the same fact. All the Church
    Fathers are in perfect accord on this point and teach it as an apostolic
    tradition.

    To deny that Elias and Enoch will return in person would be, according to
    Jesuit (“Doctor of the Church“1542-1621”) Saint Bellarmine and Catholic
    theologian Francisco Suárez “1548-1617”, if not heterodoxy, at least erroneous.
    Elias and Enoch’s coming is announced by Sacred Scriptures in four different
    places. The prophet (“Malachias 4:5”) says: “I will send you Elias the prophet
    before the great day of the Lord, and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to
    children and the heart of children to their fathers.” Again, in Ecclesiasticus
    48:10, it is said that Elias was (“predestined in the judgments of times to appease
    the wrath of the God, to reconcile the heart of the father to the son, and to
    restore the tribes of Jacob.”) Finally, we read in the Gospel according to St.
    Matthew (“17:11”) “Elias indeed shall come and restore all things.

    Relative to the return of Enoch, the Sacred Scriptures speak only once in a
    formal manner. Enoch pleased God and was translated into paradise, that he may
    come and give repentance to the nations. Ecclesiasticus (“44:16”). And although
    they are nominally specified in the Apocalypse, still it is plain to be seen
    that they are designated as the two prophets who will be adversaries of the
    Antichrist. (“Apoc. 11:3-12”). Elias and Enoch will come in person and not in
    spirit; such is the obvious meaning of the Sacred Scriptures and upheld by the
    holy Fathers of the Church. For why should God wrest them from common lot of
    mankind and give ordinary mission at the end of the world? And moreover, would
    it not be most useful in God’s design to mankind whose faith begins to waver to
    have a clear no-law, and of the law of grace, especially when that knowledge is
    obtained from men who bear witness to the time of Elias and Enoch in which they
    lived, to the fidelity and veracity of our God.

    Some of the Fathers of the Church, as also some theologians, have thought that
    Moses, Jeremias, and St. John the Evangelist (“beloved disciple of Jesus”);
    would return on the earth before Our Lord’s Great Day of Tribulation in the
    World. Saint Hilary, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Ambrose all allude to
    this, though some theologians argue it being simple conjecture.

    Part Two

    In the Church’s infancy, St. Peter and St. Paul received, individually, a
    special mission, though not exclusively so; St. Peter was destined to
    evangelize the Jews, and St. Paul became the Apostle of the Gentiles.
    (“Galatians 1:16”). In the latter times of this world, two new Apostles will
    divide between them the work of evangelizing the people of this world. Enoch
    will preach to the Gentiles, whose faith and charity will stir up and revive
    (“Ecclesiasticus 44:16”). While Elias, Jew by birth, will be charged with the
    conversion of the Jews. (“Ecclesiasticus 44:10”).

    Here we meet with the difficult task of reconciling two prophecies which are
    apparently in contradiction: Antichrist will be received by the Jews; and Elias
    charged with converting the Jews to Christianity. Still it becomes an easy task
    by making use of a distinction furnished by Sacred Scriptures. (“And at that
    time shall thy people be saved, everyone shall be found written in the book of
    life”) (“Dan. 12:1”) “And all who dwelled upon the earth adored him, whose
    names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb” (“Apoc. 13:8”) According
    to these texts, a portion of the Jews will remain obstinate and will adhere to
    Antichrist, but the greater part will hear the voice of Elias and will be
    converted. The final conversation of the Jews is spoken of in various places of
    the Bible. The prophet Osee speaks of it (“3:4-5”): (“For the children of
    Israel shall sit many days without a king and without a prince, and without
    sacrifice, and without altar, and without ephod, and without seraphim: and
    after this the children of Israel will return and shall seek the Lord their God
    and David their king; and they shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the last
    days”). Even Moses expresses the same prediction. (“After all the things
    aforesaid shall find them in the latter thou shalt return to the Lord thy God
    and shalt hear His voice.”) (“Deut. 4:30”) Saint Paul speaks in similar terms;
    (“Hath God cast away His people? (“Rom. 11:25-26”) And again St. Paul adds:
    (“That blindness in part has happened in Israel until the fullness of the
    Gentiles should come in, and so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written”)
    (“Rom. 11:25-26”). In light of language so clear and formal of the sacred text,
    Saint Augustine and Saint Gregory do not hesitate to affirm that this
    conversion of the Jews is a truth of divine faith.

    In order for Elias and Enoch to discharge the duties of their mission with
    greater efficiency, the two patriarchs will be invested with the power of the
    Most High God. Saint John, speaking of them in the Apocalypse (“11:3-6”) says:
    (“I will give my power unto my two witnesses; and they will prophesy…clothed in
    sack-cloth. These are the two olive trees and two candlesticks that stand
    before the Lord of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire will come out
    of their mouths and shall devour theirs enemies; and if any man will hurt them,
    in this manner must he be slain. Elias and Enoch have the power to shut heaven,
    that it rain not in the days of their prophecy, and they have power over the
    waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with plagues as often
    as they will.”)

    In virtue of this power they will be able to console the Church and diminish
    the evils with which she will be afflicted in those last days of sorrow and
    desolation. Saint Peter and Saint Paul were not deterred from announcing the
    Gospel to pagan Rome, the mistress of idolatry. In the last days the two
    prophets Elias and Enoch will also come and attack with intrepidity the enemy
    of Christ. They will attack him at Jerusalem the center of the Antichrist’s
    empire. This assertion seems to be founded on the Apocalypse, (“11:8”), (“And
    their bodies shall lie in the street.”) By this passage they are represented as
    Elias and Enoch dying in the city of Jerusalem.

    The mission of Elias and Enoch will last for 1260 days; that is to say, three
    years, five months, and fifteen days; in other words, about the length of the
    Antichrist’s reign. (“Apoc. 11:3”). The Antichrist and these two patriarchs
    will probably appear simultaneously. The Sacred Scripture, Tradition, in
    writings of the Saints and the Holy Fathers of the Church all concur in
    corroborating this opinion.

    Having fulfilled their mission, the Beast will prevail over them. The career of
    these two holy apostles will be similar to that of Our Divine Savior, who
    during three years was inviolable: His enemies dispatched soldiers to take Him
    prisoner (Jn. 7:32”); they endeavored to stone Him to death (“Jn. 10:31”); and
    they brought Him to the brow of a hill whereon their city was built that they
    might cast Him down headlong. (“Luke 4:29”).

    Part Three

    But their courage failed them, and (“His passing through their midst went on
    His way.”) (“Luke 4:30”) But their came a time when He suffered Himself to fall
    into their hands. “Your hour and that of the powers of darkness has arrived.”
    (“Luke 22:53”). Elias and Enoch will be invulnerable during their 1260 days.
    Then God will suffer them to fall into the hands of the Antichrist that they
    may win the crown of martyrdom- their time for working miracles having ceased-
    while the Antichrist will still perform more striking wonders. And [when] they
    shall have given their testimony, (“The Beast that ascendeth out of the abyss
    shall make war with Elias and Enoch, and the Beast shall overcome them, and
    kill them. (“Apoc. 11:7”) A pious legend has it that they will be crucified
    like Our Divine Savior. Their holy bodies shall lie in the great city where
    their Master has been crucified. This is the city called mystically Sodom and
    Gomorrah. A great number of people from every tribe and nation will see the
    bodies of these martyrs during three days and a half. At this sight the people
    will rejoice and make merry and shall send each other presents because these
    two prophets are dead who tormented them that dwell upon the earth. (“Apoc.
    11:8-10”)

    Then the Antichrist will boast and glory in his victory. He will open his mouth
    in blasphemy against God, cursing His holy name, the tabernacle, and the Saints
    of heaven. (“Apoc. 13:4”). His glory will surpass that of all other divinities
    (“2 Thess. 2:4”), and his language shall be that of a boaster. (“Dan. 11:36”)
    The universal acclamations which he will receive on all sides will flatter his
    pride; all will exclaim, (“Who is it like unto the Beast, who can withstand
    him?”) (“Apoc. 13:4”).

    Finally, prosperity shall attend all movements up to the time when the
    vengeance of God shall overtake the beast. (“Daniel 11:36”)

    Part Four

    According to the hypothesis (“which seems certain”) that the Antichrist will
    appear simultaneously on the scene with Elias and Enoch. The Antichrist will
    survive them only thirty days, which gives Tertullian occasion to say that the
    impious will perish by the blood of Elias and Enoch. In order to destroy the
    good effect which the ascension of the two martyrs produced in the hearts of
    men, the Antichrist will proclaim to the world his design of ascending to
    heaven.

    With a view to carrying out of this project, he will pitch his tent on Mount
    Apadno, situated between the Caspian and Persian Sea’s where according to some
    writers Antiochus Epiphanes, figure of the Antichrist, perished and form which,
    according to others, Christ ascended into heaven, it being then called Mount
    Olivet. (“Dan. 11:48”). Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, and Saint Thomas Aquinas
    say that the Antichrist will ascend from the top of this mountain into the air,
    as did Simon Magus at Rome. But God shall overwhelm the Antichrist by the splendor
    of His glory and shall precipitate him to the earth by a simple puff of His
    breath. (“2 Thess. 2:8”) And when he shall fall, the earth will open and
    swallow up the beast and false prophet amidst flames of fire and sulphurous
    smoke while his emissaries shall perish by the sword of Him seated on the White
    Horse. (“Apoc. 19:11-21”) Thus shall vanish like smoke the power and glory of
    the Antichrist, to whom we may very appropriately apply these words of Holy
    Writ: (“I have seen the wicked highly exalted and lifted up like the cedars of
    Lebanon and I passed by, and lo he was not; and I sought him and his place was
    not found (“Psalm 36:35-36”) The end of the world will take place almost
    immediately after the death of the Antichrist. An interval of forty-five days,
    however, will be granted, in order to give many a chance to do penance. This
    assertion is probably founded on the following words of Daniel the prophet.
    (“Happy those who wait on the Lord and full of hope in His promises thus await
    Him 1335 days. (“Dan. 12:12”) According to the Fathers of the Church there is a
    question here of those who await the second coming of Our Savior during the
    last persecution, which will last 1290 days. (Dan. 12:11”) leaving the
    remainder forty-five days before the arrival of the Son of God.

    It is probably during this interval that the accomplishment of the prophecy of
    Saint Paul shall be realized in the conversion of the Jews who were followers
    of the Antichrist.