3: Genesis 5:24


COPYRIGHT WARNING

365 Prophecies: Prophecy 3

First illustration of the Messiah’s Rapture given in the Old Testament.

Old Testament Prediction:

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

New Testament Fulfillment:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Application:

One of the most interesting verses of scripture found in the Bible is the description of Enoch and his Rapture to heaven, found in Genesis Chapter 5, verse 24.

This event in the Old Testament is intended by the Holy Spirit to typify or illustrate for us a similar event that will occur in the last days, just before the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica and revealed that, The Lord will descend from heaven…the dead in Christ will be raised… then we who are alive will be caught up (Raptured) to meet the Lord in the air…

In this third prophecy found in the Bible where the Rapture is illustrated, we are directed to Enoch in Chapter 5 of Genesis. At first glance, there appears to be nothing worthy of further study— only the simple Genealogy of Adam.

Genesis 5:1-40 includes a list of 10 names describing the descendants of Adam:

Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah.

When a son was given a name in the Old Testament, there was a particular meaning behind that name. When we take the original Hebrew translation of these ten names as found in Genesis 5, we find that the meaning of each tells a story:

Adam: Man
Seth: Appointed
Enosh: Mortal
Kenan: Sorrow
Mahalalel: The Blessed God
Jared: Shall Come Down
Enoch: Teaching
Methuselah: His Death Shall Bring
Lamech: The Despairing
Noah: Rest

“Man, Appointed, Mortal, Sorrow, (But the) Blessed God, Shall Come Down, Teaching, (That) His Death Shall Bring, The Despairing, Rest.”[1]

What are the chances that the Christian Gospel of Jesus Christ would be found in the fifth Chapter of the first book of the Bible?[2] Of course, there is absolutely no possibility that this genealogy with these exact names could have occurred by accident. They are there by design because God placed them there for the diligent seeker.

The seventh name in this genealogy is Enoch, the one whom God Raptured and took to heaven. Enoch was a Gentile who was removed from the earth before the judgment of the great flood of Noah. The illustration that the Holy Spirit appears to make here in the text of Genesis chapter 5 is that a redeemer is coming to the earth who will bear the sins and sorrows of all people, bringing us rest.

Man was appointed mortal sorrow, but the blessed God came down from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ to teach the entire world that His death will bring rest to the souls of everyone who trust in Him.

Before God sent judgement to the world at the time of Noah, He removed Enoch who walked in fellowship with God. In parallel with this illustration; before the judgement of the seven-year Tribulation, God will also remove all those who have been walking in fellowship with Him.

In other words, there is a promise in this third Prophecy of the Bible, that Jesus Christ will redeem mankind and fulfill the promise of the Rapture, as illustrated by Enoch in Genesis 5:24.

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Paul wrote that when Jesus rose from the dead, He was fulfilling the prophecy of The First Fruits. This is an Old Testament feast of Israel in which those who went out to harvest their crops gave back the first part—the best part of their crops—to the Lord.

The Fulfillment of this 3rd Old Testament Prophecy

1 Corinthians 15:20-22 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man (Adam) came death, by Man (Jesus) also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

It is my opinion that Paul is referring to the fact that when Jesus comes for His church at the Rapture, He will be fulfilling the prophecy of Enoch found in Genesis Chapter 5 and that of 1 Corinthians 15:20-22.

The Rapture of the Church

The Epistles of 1 and 2 Thessalonians were written to a church which no longer believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime. The dangers associated with this loss of expectation for the Lord’s soon return are addressed by Paul in his two letters to this church.

When we stop living in a constant expectation that Jesus could come for us at any moment, this lack of hope will affect how we live. Today, many people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and claim to believe that the Bible is the word of God do not believe in the doctrine of the Rapture.

Jesus gave a vivid illustration of the person who is no longer anticipating His soon return or no longer believes that He will return at all.

Luke 12:43-46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find watching for Him when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, “My master is delaying his coming,” and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Jesus said that a person who has begun to believe that He is delayed in His coming, or is not coming at all, will find that his behavior will change for the worse. A person not fully convinced that Jesus is coming soon will first begin to ponder in his heart, Jesus is not coming soon. This thought will translate into the actions of his life.

Notice that Jesus did not state that a person would actually say, “My master is delayed in His coming.” He simply began to ponder this thought over and over in his heart. This is why it is so important to guard our hearts with a steady intake of the word of God and meditate on the coming of Jesus constantly.

A person not living in the daily expectation that Jesus could come at any moment will become preoccupied with his own life and the things that are happening in this world. This mindset will cause the believer to do things that are contrary to the character of someone who is following Jesus. Finally, this lack of expectation will cause a person to be unaware that Jesus is about to arrive, and he will be caught by surprise when He does return.

The person who lives everyday in expectation that Jesus could come at any moment will live a life that is constantly seeking to purify itself of things that are contrary to the Lord.

1 John 3:2-3 …when Jesus is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

The basis for reward for those who are watching for Jesus’ return is their faithfulness in living their lives for Him, while expecting the Lord to come at any moment. Jesus said that He will reward the faithfulness of a person who is watching for His return, with rulership over many cities and people during His one thousand-year reign on the earth, at the end of the seven-year Tribulation.

Luke 19:17 And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.”

We should take this promise of Jesus literally since we know for certain that He is coming to rule over every city and nation of the world when He returns. Those whom Jesus has redeemed, who were Raptured and taken out of the world before the Tribulation begins, will be returning with Jesus at the end of the Tribulation to reign with Him.

Revelation 5:10 And you have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.

If upon His return, the Lord shall find a person who has lost the expectation of His soon return and has gone back into the world to live as non-believer, Jesus said: I will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers (Luke 12:46).

How important is it that we continually teach the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church? According to Jesus, it is one of the most important doctrines that we should continually study, meditate on, and continue to look forward to.

Objection: The Rapture is not taught in the Bible.

One of the points that critics of the Rapture claim is that, The Rapture is not taught in the Bible. When I hear someone say this, I am always amazed. I know that they didn’t come to this conclusion by reading and studying the Bible themselves. This opinion came by what they have heard someone else say or teach. If we simply read the Bible, we will come away with the conviction that Jesus will return for His church at a time just prior to the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation.

Paul’s description of the Rapture in his epistle to the church at Thessalonica is very clear: The Lord will return for His church at a time appointed by Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

In these 6 verses of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul confirms:

  • Verse 13: He does not want us to misunderstand the doctrine of the Rapture, this is why he is expounding the details of what will take place.
  • Verse 14: Paul’s explanation includes a description of what has happened to all those who have already died believing in Jesus as their Savior: When Jesus returns, He will bring with Him all those who have already died. It is important to notice that those who have already died have been with Jesus in heaven, not in purgatory, nor in a soul sleep. The term those who sleep in Jesus was a gentle way of saying that a loved one had died.
  • Verse 15: Those who are alive on the earth at the time that Jesus returns will not rise to meet the Lord in the air ahead of those who have died.
  • Verse 16: How the Rapture will happen: Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, a likely similarity to the shout given during a traditional Hebrew wedding that signals the coming of the Bridegroom. The shout will be made by one of the archangels, such as Michael and Gabriel. The sound of a trumpet or shofar will be heard. The shofar was blown in Israel as a signal for the people to gather together.
  • First, those who have already died, their new bodies will rise from the grave or wherever they have been placed after death. (We know today a person’s body can completely be reconstructed from just one single cell. Just a single cell contains all of the genetic DNA code that is necessary to build an entire body.)
  • Remember, Jesus said He is bringing with Him all those who have already died believing in Him. This confirms the scripture, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Apparently, Jesus is bringing the spirits of all those who have died believing in Him and have been with Him in heaven since their death. They will be joined at the Rapture with their new glorified body. These individuals will rise first to meet Jesus in the air.
  • Verse 17: Then those of us who are alive when Jesus returns in the clouds will also rise while in our present bodies, being transformed into a brand new eternal body, similar to the body that Jesus displayed after His resurrection. (A complete description of this new body is given in 1 Corinthians 15)
  • It is important to understand that the living Christian will be transported into the outer atmosphere of earth to meet Jesus, while still alive. These believers who are alive at the time Jesus returns at the Rapture are a unique group of people who will never taste death. In the same way that Enoch, the subject of this third Old Testament prophecy, was Raptured to meet the Lord while still alive.
  • Both groups of believers will meet Jesus in the air, in the atmosphere above the earth. The Rapture is not the second coming. The second coming of Jesus will not occur until the end of the seven-year Tribulation, when Jesus returns with His church. (See Revelation chapter 19)
  • The fact that Jesus returns at the end of the seven-year Tribulation with His church is one of the proofs that the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation begins.
  • Verse 18: The words of these scriptures are given to us as the church who are waiting for the return of our Lord, for the purpose of bringing us comfort. To understand that Jesus is coming for us at any moment to take us to heaven, before the time of God’s wrath that will be poured out during the seven-year Tribulation, is a great comfort.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain (here on the earth) shall be caught up… The Greek word for caught up is Harpazo.

Harpazo means to be snatched away or taken away by force. This is a Greek word that is used to describe a general who takes hostages by force. Harpazo is sometimes used in the New Testament as translated, and in other places, by force.

When Paul was being questioned by the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the captain of the Roman Guard sent soldiers to rescue Paul and to take him by force from the mob of people, before they tore Paul to pieces.

Acts 23:10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force (Harpazo) from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

When Jesus comes for us at the Rapture, we will be taken away by the force of God’s Spirit, at the call of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (Harpazo) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

When this verse was translated from Greek into Latin, the word that the translators used here for caught up was the Latin word rapturo. This is where the English word Rapture originated from. This is why we use the word Rapture to describe the event of Jesus’ return for His church as described by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

We will be caught up with them (together with our loved ones) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is not the second coming of Jesus that is commonly spoken of in the Bible. At the Rapture, we will meet Jesus in the air, the atmosphere above the earth. When Jesus returns to the earth at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, He will stand upon tera firma, earth itself.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

Jesus is coming for His church prior to His return at His second coming, when He will be returning with His church.

The American Heritage Dictionary suggests that the word Rapture may be defined as the “Transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to Heaven.”[3]

When someone tells you that the word Rapture is not in the Bible, you will know how to answer.

The Three views of the Rapture

The Rapture will happen BEFORE the 7-year Tribulation.
The Rapture will happen IN THE MIDDLE of the 7-year Tribulation.
The Rapture will happen AFTER the 7-year Tribulation.

I believe that if a person will simply examine the Bible without any other outside influence, they will come to only one conclusion: The Rapture must happen before the Tribulation Period begins.

An important fact to remember when studying the Rapture is that the seven-year Tribulation is called by the Bible, The Wrath of the Lamb. Throughout the Old Testament, in every occasion where God was about to pour out His wrath, He always removed His people before He poured out His wrath.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture is well established in the Old Testament by several examples. The following are locations in the Old Testament where God removes His people before He pours out His wrath:

The Rapture illustrated by Enoch

Genesis 5:23-24 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Enoch was a Gentile who lived before the Flood of Noah, who was Raptured to heaven before the Judgment of the Great flood that killed all but eight people.

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Beginning at Genesis Chapter 6, the Lord determined that He would destroy the world by flood because the evil of men had reached a level that required judgment.

Genesis 6:1-8 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. 3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Don’t miss what the Lord is saying here. If we were to apply the text of Genesis 6:1-8 to Jesus’ church and the Tribulation period, we might write these verses as follows:

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…So the Lord said that I will destroy man whom I have created, but those who gave their lives to Jesus, as His church, found grace in the eyes of the Lord… so he took them out of the earth, before the judgment of the Tribulation Period…”

Finally, after Enoch has been removed from the earth, the judgment of the flood arrives:

Genesis 7:4-6 “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

A second location in the Old Testament, where the Lord would not bring His wrath until His people were removed, is illustrated by the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The principle that is established here is that Abraham is asking the Lord if He would destroy the righteous (those who are His) with the wicked (those who do not know Him).

Genesis 18:16-26 Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” 20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26 So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”

Abraham proclaims: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

In other words, it would be unjust for God to allow His people to go through the same wrath that He is pouring out on the wicked. Why is this true? Because wrath and judgement are not required against those who have come into a covenant relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. The saved of the Old Testament were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. The saved in the New Testament and those alive to the present day are looking back to the Messiah.

Saved forward and back[4]

All of us are saved in the same way, by the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. When we come to God through Jesus, we are seen by Him as righteous because all of our sins have been fully atoned for. At the cross, Jesus took the full wrath of God for our sins, so that no wrath remains. The Tribulation Period is the Wrath of the Lamb, as Jesus pours out His fury on those who have rejected Him as their Savior and have instead worshipped the beast, the antichrist.

Removal of God’s people before Judgment

Abraham continues his need to understand the judgment of God by asking how many righteous people would be required before God would spare the city His wrath.

Genesis 18:27-33 Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28 Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” 29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” 30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

When the angels arrive at Sodom and Gomorrah, they do not find ten righteous; they find only one—Lot. For the sake of Lot, the Lord spares him and his family, though it appears that they all may not have been in a genuine relationship with the Lord, as Lot was.

Genesis 19:1-24 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 2 And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” 12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” 21 And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.

The angel informs Lot that they are not permitted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until they remove him. The wrath of God NEVER falls on any place as long as those who love the Lord are still present. It would be inconsistent for the Lord to save us from the future judgment of His wrath through the sacrifice of His life for our sins, while allowing us to go through the The Wrath of the Lamb during the seven year Tribulation period. Jesus will directly pour out His judgment on the earth and very few will survive. The purpose of the Tribulation is for the wrath of God against sinners, not against His redeemed. The Lord would not allow His Bride, the church, to experience His wrath when He died to save us from it.

The followers of Jesus are not appointed to wrath

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…

The purpose of the book of 1 Thessalonians is to bring clarity to the doctrine of the Rapture. This event was clearly not well understood by the church at Thessalonica. For this reason, Paul mentions the word wrath throughout 1 Thessalonians, in context with the removal of Jesus’ church prior to the time of wrath, the seven-year Tribulation.

In the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians, Paul makes a point of telling the believers that our purpose is to wait for His Son from heaven… Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Notice that the event Christian’s are waiting for is Jesus coming for us from heaven, not the arrival of His wrath and judgement.

In similar fashion, Paul mentions the wrath to come in his letter to the Romans, in the context of we, who have been justified by the blood of Jesus Christ, are saved from wrath through Him. Using the reference from 1 Thessalonians and this verse from Romans 5:9, with Paul as the writer of both texts, we understand that he is informing us that the time of God’s wrath that will occur during the Tribulation is not for the believer in Jesus.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Remember that the purpose of these accounts from the Old Testament, that demonstrate the removal of God’s people from the place that He is about to bring His wrath, is so that when we arrive at the New Testament, we will understand why this doctrine is so very important.

“The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”[5]

Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

The Lord has already established through the body of scripture in the Old Testament, that He does not pour out His wrath when His people are present. The exception to this principle is the Jews. Because they have not yet come into a relationship with God, through Jesus as their Messiah, during the seven years of Tribulation, they will be preserved through the Tribulation by their escape to the wilderness during the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation.

Hidden from wrath

Revelation 12:6 Then the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days (3 ½ years).

There is an exciting verse in the Book of Isaiah that speaks of God hiding His people in a chamber, for a little moment, until the indignation has past. The purpose of this prophecy appears to be an advance notice to those who will be saved by the Messiah, to anticipate that they will be hidden by the LORD during the outpouring of His wrath, called the Indignation (anger or wrath).

Isaiah 26:20-21 Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity…

This verse from Isaiah appears to be an Old Testament allusion to the coming Rapture of the church, when Jesus will hide His church in heaven, while He pours out His indignation (wrath) during the Tribulation Period. Notice that this verse from Isaiah speaks of the place where God’s people will be hidden, as being described as your chambers.

Jesus said that He went to prepare a place for us (chamber?), and when everything is ready, He will return to receive us and take us to our place.

John 14:2-3 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

One of the verses in which Jesus seems to be alluding to the Rapture is the text of scripture in John chapter 11, where He is speaking to Martha, the sister of Lazarus, about the resurrection from the dead.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (And the dead in Christ will rise first, 1 Thessalonians 4:16) 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:17.)

When will the Rapture happen?

A big mistake that happens over and over is the attempt of many people to set a date for the Rapture of the church. I believe that the Lord does not want for us to know the exact date, for obvious reasons. If we knew the precise moment of His arrival, we would not be living in a constant expectation of His return. Because we do not know the day or the hour, we must always be ready. Therefore, we must continually be doing those things that please the Lord, so that when He returns, He will find us living for Him.

Mark 13:32 “But of that day and hour of my return no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.”

After we meet Jesus in the air at the Rapture, we will return with Him to heaven, where the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has been prepared for us.
Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.

The precise timing of this supper is unknown, except that it will happen after the Rapture and be located in heaven. All those who have already died believing in Jesus, as well as those who are alive at the moment of the Rapture, will be together with Jesus at this Marriage Feast to celebrate our becoming His Bride. Revelation 19:7 refers to the fact that Jesus’ bride has made herself ready. The way that she has made herself ready is by receiving Jesus as her Savior, and thereby becoming His Bride.

This will be a great reunion and coronation banquet for billions and billions of believers in Jesus Christ, where He is said to be serving those in attendance.

Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.
How will the Rapture happen?

How we are translated from mortal human beings into immortal, eternal beings, is described in detail in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Here, we see the exact process that our bodies will undergo at the moment of the Rapture:

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The Greek word that the Holy Spirit uses here, in 1 Corinthians 15, for changed is Allasso (al-las-so) which means to totally transform. Although your new eternal body will look like you, it will not be anything like your former earthly self. Your new body will be perfect and made up of different elements which will enable you to live anywhere and never become sick, grow old, or die.

No matter where you are on the earth at the time Jesus appears for the Rapture, you will instantaneously be transformed from your present body to an eternal body and meet the Lord in the air. The entire process is said to take place in the twinkling of and eye. Someone with a lot of time on their hands computed that the twinkling of an eye takes 1/100th of a second. Keep in mind that all those who have died before the Rapture will be raised and given the same immortal body before they are translated to meet Jesus in the air. The entire event appears to be very sudden, with no prior warning, and is over in an instant. The world will be left dazed and confused. Various explanations will be offered from so-called experts around the world. Anything from alien abduction to mass suicide will be offered as possible reasons for the disappearance of perhaps a billion people, all over the earth.

The purpose of the Rapture is to:

End the time of the Gentiles.
Begin the time of Jacob’s Trouble.

End the harvest of souls to righteousness.
Begin the harvest of souls to judgement.

End the time of grace.
Begin the time of wrath.

The Rapture will signal the beginning of the final seven years of the present earth. The Lord will first conclude the gathering of His church and then turn His attention back to the nation of Israel, as the time of the Gentiles comes to an end. The seven-year tribulation is also spoken of, in the Old Testament, as being the time of Jacob’s trouble. This will be a period when God will again deal with the nation of Israel and gather the Jews who remain on the earth to a place of safety. From this place of protection, the Jews will be untouchable by the antichrist who will rule the earth during the last seven years of the present earth.

Jeremiah 30:7 Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.

Having concluded the harvest period that occurs between the fourth Feast of Israel, called Pentecost where the church was born, and beginning the fifth Feast, called Trumpets which will occur at the Rapture, God will gather the rest of the world to judgment for their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Savior. For more information on this event, see the chapter in this book called: The Seven Feasts of Israel.

The time of God’s Grace, when anyone can come and find forgiveness of their sins through Jesus’ sacrifice, will be at an end. The Lord will have gathered His bride and taken her back to heaven, where she will be sheltered during this great time of wrath on the earth.

The wrath of the Tribulation period

The last three and one-half years are called The Great Tribulation. According to the judgments of this time, as described by the book of Revelation, nearly two-thirds of the population of the earth will die during these final forty-two months. There will be three sets of seven judgments described as the wrath of the Lamb.

Seven seals will be opened, seven trumpets blown, and seven bowls poured out on the earth. The tribulation begins at chapters 6, verse 3, and continues through Revelation Chapter 18. At Revelation chapter 19, Jesus returns to the earth with His church at the Mount of Olives, where the antichrist is awaiting His return with the armies of the world. Their purpose is to kill Jesus and those who are with Him. The Lord will simply speak and all the armies of the beast will die instantly in a blood bath spread over the 200 miles of the Valley of Megiddo.

The Book of Daniel describes the final prophetic events of these last seven years in vivid detail. The specifics of this prophecy are discussed in Prophecy 309 in this book.

Daniel 9:21-27 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications (Prayers) the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: 24 “Seventy weeks (Of Years= 70X7= 490 years) are determined For your people (The Jews) and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command (Command given by Artaxerxes Longimones, on March 14, 445 B.C.) To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; (483 years) The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, (Jesus is “Cut Off” or Crucified) but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come (Antichrist) Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. (Titus destroyed the City of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.) The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. (This finished 69 of the 70 weeks, 1 more 7-year period of history remains to fulfill this prophecy) 27 (Approx. 2,000 years later… Then he (The antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many (nations) for one week (7 Years) ; But in the middle of the week (3 1/2 years) he (antichrist) shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. (The Temple must have been built) And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

This final seven-year period of time set aside by God to fulfill this prophecy is described as the 70th week of Daniel or The Seven-year Tribulation period.

  • The first 3 1/2 years are called the Tribulation.
  • The second 3 1/2 years are called the Great Tribulation.
  • The first 3 1/2 years begin in Revelation Chapter 6, verses 1 and 2.
  • The last 3 1/2 years begin in Revelation Chapter 6, verse 3 and continues up to Revelation Chapter 19.

In this middle of the seven years, the Abomination that causes Desolation described in the book of Daniel Chapter 9, verse 27 above, which is also described by Jesus in Matthew Chapter 24, will take place.

Jesus said that this abomination would signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation, in which no flesh would survive, unless the Lord shortened this period to just three and one-half years.

Matthew 24:15-16 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Matthew Chapter 24 is written by Jesus specifically to the Jews and the nation of Israel. Jesus warns the Jews that when they see the one who has made the seven-year peace plan go into the temple, erect a statue of himself, and command that all the world should worship his image, they should flee to the mountains. Many of us who make commentary on this event believe that this place of refuge will be in the former nation of Moab, now called Jordan, possibly in the ancient city of Petra.

Departure of the Saints before the Tribulation

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering (episunagoge,) together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (“the day of the Lord”, the seven-year Tribulation) will not come unless the falling away (“apostasia”, a departure) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

The word apostasia has been translated as departure. Many have taken this to mean a departure from the faith. The meaning of apostasia is simply to depart. The term apostasia can also be understood in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 as a departure of the saints, as in departure by Rapture. This would fit the context of the verse in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 as a departure of the Saints (the redeemed) that happens before the man of sin (antichrist) is revealed and the seven-year Tribulation begins.

The abomination that causes desolation, that both Daniel and Jesus speak of, is described by 2 Thessalonians 2:4 above. At the mid-way point or three and one-half years into the new seven-year peace plan that the antichrist has instituted, he will enter the newly built temple in Jerusalem, and sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

From this point forward and throughout the final three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation, the wrath of the Lamb will be poured out, as described in Revelation Chapter 6, verse 3, through Revelation Chapter 18.

During the Tribulation, Jesus will turn His attention from His church back to the nation of Israel so that He can also save a remnant of the Jews. The remainder of the world will experience God’s judgment for their rejection of Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The Tribulation period is the period of time when God will pour out His wrath against those who will not worship the Son of God but instead, choose to worship the beast, the son of satan.

Not appointed to wrath

As previously stated, the New Testament is clear in that those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, before the Rapture occurs, will not go through the seven years of Tribulation, when Jesus will pour out His wrath.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, (orge, pronounced as or-gay, which means punishment) but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…

In His letters to the seven churches, described in the book of Revelation, Jesus promises those who are faithful to Him (the saved) will be kept from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world (speaking of the seven-year Tribulation Period).

Revelation 3:10 The Church of Philadelphia, the faithful church Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

The Greek word for will keep is tereo (tay-reh-‘-o), which means to guard from loss or injury.

This principle could not be any clearer: Jesus is promising His church that He will keep us and guard us from loss or injury, while the wrath of the Great Tribulation is poured out on the rest of the world.

The church purified through the Tribulation?

Those who believe that the church must go through the seven-year Tribulation state that this is necessary for the church in order to purify us of sin. Jesus spoke of tribulations (trials) that we will experience in the world. Our trials often serve to chasten and purify us, but all these trials come from the world that we live in, not from wrath that God is seeking to pour out on us.

The Tribulation that comes from the world is much different from the Tribulation of the last seven years. In this period of time set aside prophetically for the world, it will be a time of Tribulation from God. The Lord has not appointed that His church should ever experience the Tribulation of His wrath. The only tribulation (trials and trouble) that we are to experience will come from living in this present world.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The Tribulation that will occur during the final seven years of this present world is called the wrath of the Lamb and the great day of His wrath.

Revelation 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

The Tribulation that Jesus speaks of in John 16:33 has, as its source, the World. The Great Tribulation has, as its source, Jesus, as He is pouring out His wrath on the world that has rejected Him. Again, it would be inconsistent for the Lord to die for us and take the full measure of God’s wrath for our sins, then allow us to experience His wrath during the Tribulation period.

During the outpouring of twenty-one judgments from God that will occur during last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation, most of the population of the Earth will die.

The last three and one-half years and those who are saved

During the Great Tribulation, the antichrist will have power to kill anyone who has professed faith in Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation describes the Saints (Biblical designation for the saved) as being overcome or killed. Revelation Chapter 20 describes the method of their death by the antichrist as beheading.

Revelation 13:7 It was granted to him (antichrist) to make war with the saints (Christians) and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

Revelation 20:4 …Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Some, today, see this method of death by beheading, as a sign that the antichrist may be of Islamic origin. The common method for execution by Muslim extremists today is to decapitate their condemned, by sawing the head off with a knife during a public execution.

A correct view of the Rapture is important

I realize that I have perhaps overstated the points of the Rapture, the Tribulation period, and the wrath of the Lord. A correct understanding of these details is crucial for those who live in the last days before the Lord returns. For this reason, please forgive me if I have repeated these points ad nauseam.[6]

An incorrect view of these principles will lead a person to a misconception of the grace and the love of the Lord. Because of the love of God, He has not appointed those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, to experience any of His wrath. This was the entire point of Jesus bearing our sins and taking the full measure of God’s wrath for those sins. Jesus took the wrath for us so that no one who has placed their complete trust in Him will ever have to experience the wrath themselves, at any time.

If we believe that the Tribulation must come before the Rapture of the church, what event would we be looking for next? The coming of the antichrist.

The Bible teaches that we are looking for the appearing of our Great God, and Savior Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13 …looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Rapture is the next event to occur before the beginning of the Tribulation period.

Since this third prophecy of the Old Testament speaks of Enoch walking with God, and as a result of his close relationship with God, the Lord took him. The question remains, Why did the Lord take Enoch at this time and for what purpose?

The following chart illustrates the ages of those before the flood of Noah.

Ages before the flood[7]

Notice that Enoch was 365 years old when the Lord took him. This fact was one of the reasons that I chose the number 365 in determining how many prophecies I would include in this book from the Old Testament. Methuselah, listed immediately after Enoch, was the longest living person ever recorded by the Bible. His name means: when he dies, judgment comes.

Methuselah’s name, as it is written in Hebrew, is muwthselah. The Hebrew word muwth is defined as death or to die. The Hebrew word selah means stop and listen, weigh, an interlude or pause, and is used in conjunction with understanding what is to come next.[8].[9]

In this context, it would be reasonable to understand that God has so named Methuselah because He is seeking to illustrate something very important for us in regards to his death, and the coming flood of Noah—a judgement of God.

Methuselah, meaning a mortal who will die before an interlude or pause when God is weighing all men in the balances, therefore, those who understand this should stop and listen.

Eusebius, Samuel Bochart and Henry Ainsworth,[10] all Biblical Scholars, concur with the idea that Methuselah’s name means he dies, in conjunction with the sending forth of the judgement. Hebrew Scholar Dr. Ben Shaw of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary disagrees, stating that It is extremely unlikely that the name Methuselah has the significance that Gill and other give to it.[11]

As you can see, there are great men who are Biblical Scholars that agree and disagree with many of these fine points of Biblical interpretation. It seems to me that when we consider the entire context of the verses that deals with Methuselah, Enoch and the flood account, we come to a conclusion that leans in greater regard to the fact that God was seeking to illustrate a point to the generation of the last days that Enoch, being taken before the flood, carries relevance to our understanding of the church being taken before the Tribulation. In both cases, God was illustrating His grace that is exercised to all those who obey the Gospel and turn to Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

Based on the Hebrew meaning of Methuselah’s name, using this interpretation, we would not be taking too great a liberty in defining his name in this manner. This greatly assists us in understanding what God is saying by his name and the fact that He is the oldest living human being, just prior to the judgement of God at the great flood of Noah.

Enoch as an illustration of the Rapture

Getting back to Enoch, who is taken by God within 40 years of the judgement of the flood, we can see the illustration that God is making. Before a future judgment by the seven-year Tribulation; the Lord will remove all of us who have been walking with Him, as Enoch was taken before the judgment of the flood, and take us also to heaven before judgement of the Tribulation period arrives.

The Lord chose Methuselah as a person who would live longer than any other human being, because He wanted to illustrate an important point. God is very patient and long-suffering towards us. He does not want to bring judgement but rather hopes that we will all turn to Him in repentance and be saved. God chose Methuselah to live longer than any other person, as his name implies (Methuselah means: when he dies, the judgement comes), because the Lord wanted us to understand that He will withhold judgment as long as possible. Enoch is taken to heaven at 365 years of age; Methuselah dies 34 years later, approximately 6 years before the flood arrives.

I believe that this example of the Rapture, illustrated in the Old Testament, is worthy of our attention. The longer that you study the prophecies of the Bible, the more you become aware of all the subtleties of scripture. When Jesus spoke of the fact that not one jot or tittle will pass away until all these things are fulfilled, He was giving us a hint that we should be paying attention to the smaller details of scripture, as well as those which are clearly prophetic.

The Rapture, being such an important event that is widely written of by Paul, and eagerly anticipated by Jesus, it is fitting that we begin to look for evidence of this important fact at the beginning of the Bible, where the foundations for everything in Christianity is established.

If we cannot attribute an earlier example of the Rapture to the Old Testament, we would be in error in seeking to validate the prophetic application of Enoch’s Rapture to a New Testament fulfillment by Jesus, as the Messiah. The fact that there is such a great deal of relevant material, serves to validate this third prophecy as being legitimately a Messianic prophecy.

For these preceding points, I included a detailed study of the Rapture in this third Old Testament Prophecy of the Messiah’s Rapture. It seems to me that Enoch’s account was placed in the book of Genesis, for the express purpose of pointing us to the Messiah as the instrument, by which God will fulfill Enoch’s Rapture in the church, that Jesus died to redeem.

It is my hope that you will realize how important the doctrine of the Rapture is to Jesus. By carefully considering that He has placed many inferences and scriptural illustrations in the Bible, for the purpose of showing us the importance of this doctrine.

My prayer for you is that you would live for the Lord, in such a way that every new morning you will wake in anticipation that Jesus could come for you at any moment. Finally, that this great hope of a coming Rapture would cause you to purify your life of all the worthless things that slow us down and do not add to our growth. When Jesus comes for you and finds that you have set aside your life, specifically for Him, He will speak the words that I personally long to hear: Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.


NOTES:
[1] Missler’s Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4
[2] Ibid.
[3] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
[4] Image created by Rob Robinson
[5] Original source unknown, attribution required upon clarification.
[6] Ad nauseam is a Latin term for something unpleasurable that has continued “to [ the point of] nausea”. For example, the sentence, “This topic has been discussed
[7] Illustration by Rob Robinson
[8] Tony Warren. “What Does Selah Mean”. The Mountain Retreat. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
[9] Notes by Gill: {r} Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 17. p. 419. {s} Thaleg. l. 2. c. 13. col. 88. so Ainsworth
[10] Eusebius, Samuel Bochart a French Bible scholar in the 1600s who compiled an Arabic dictionary, and Henry Ainsworth, commentator and Bible scholar, including Hebrew from the late 1500s and early 1600s
[11] New Testament Greek Lexicon as listed under Methuselah, 3103, from http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/ q=methuselah&s=References&rc=LEX&rc2=LEX+GRK. Back

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