or the Rapture
Illustrated by Elijah & Enoch
10/27/22 By Tim Buck
O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-56
Elijah – 2 Kings 2:9-12
(9) And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
(10) So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
(11) Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
(12) And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.
Enoch – Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5; Jude 1:14-15
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
The Rapture was a mystery, unknown to the Old Testament saints and prophets. God illustrated it in the two prophets of Enoch and Elijah, to assure us of its certainty.
Enoch served as a prophet for over three centuries preaching future “unwelcome judgment” according to Jude 1:14-15. He was out on his daily routine of walking with God one day and without warning he was caught up and disappeared from off the earth.
The Hebrew word “walked with God” in Genesis 5:24 is “hithaleich.” It’s the same word used of God walking in the garden of Eden. It emphasizes “fellowship and communion.” The phrase “walked with God” and “pleased God” means the same thing. That was the point of the Hebrews writer – without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Methuselah was the oldest man to have ever lived. He died at the age of 969! However, you could say that his father outlived him. How? Because his father, Enoch, never died!
Elijah’s rapture is the most dramatic rapture in scripture with a chariot of fire and horses of fire sent to pick him up. I would have loved to have seen it! From these thrilling details, his rapture gives us a taste of how much God enjoys rapturing his children. What a ride! It’s exciting, rare and something the church should be looking forward to as much as Elijah was!
Just as we’re told in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Enoch and Elijah did not taste death but were translated and snatched up into the air. God includes the accounts of these two raptures to give us a baseline as to how the rapture is possible and to show us how glorious of an event it will be.
These are two of the greatest Old Testament saints in the Bible who were raptured. Can there be any greater experience than having this happen?
Their rapture illustrates how wonderful the status of the church is in the eyes of God. We stand as a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle as the bride of Christ and the only GROUP ever chosen by God to collectively be raptured together enabling us to enjoy the trip to heaven together, with Jesus as our tour guide!
There’s nothing to fear about death or the rapture for God’s children. God has it all planned and ready for you on the other side. Neither the believer’s death or the rapture will be a surprise to God!
Let me offer a surprising suggestion as to why we should not fear death. Instead of fearing death, we should anticipate the incredible trip.
At death or at the rapture, we begin a trip like we’ve never experienced before. We become other-worldly travelers through the universe to heaven!
When you die, you’re not going to be alone in some dark realm. Death isn’t like you’re on your own and you have to search for a map to get to heaven.
God will dispatch His angels at just the right time, and they’ll meet us at the moment of death and carry us to the heights of His glory.
Though we don’t often see them, our lives are surrounded by angels; and they have more to do with our daily progress and protection than we realize.
Lastly, they were removed so that they wouldn’t see death – an allusion to our rapture. The rapture will occur unannounced and is imminent. Our spiritual responsibility today is to be watching, warning and praying to be ready.
Even So Come Lord Jesus!
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