THE BOOK OF ENOCH—KNOWING THE END AT THE BEGINNING
The word of the blessing of Enoch, with which he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed… Concerning the elect I said, as I began my story concerning them: The Holy Great One will come out from His dwelling, and the eternal God will tread on the earth, [even] on Mount Sinai, and appear in the strength of His might from heaven… And the earth shall be wholly torn apart, and all that is on the earth shall be destroyed, and there shall be a judgment on all… And behold! He comes with ten thousand of His Holy ones [saints] to execute judgment on all, and to destroy all the ungodly [wicked]; and to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
(Enoch 1:1, 3, 4, 7, 9)
ENOCH, THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE RAPTURE
The passage in Enoch predicts that the ‘Lord will come with 10,000 of His saints to execute judgment.’ This pronouncement repeats the same concept from the Hebrew prophets (remember Enoch was not a Hebrew—he came before Jacob/Israel), who also lived hundreds of years before the time of Christ. Several examples follow:
- I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, [even] them that rejoice in my highness. (Isaiah 13:3)
- Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. (Joel 3:11
- I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (Daniel 7:13)
- And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)
Important also: we must learn the meaning of Enoch’s ‘mysterious vanishing.’ While Enoch’s book discusses many topics which we do not have time to cover here (such as the ‘Watchers’ and the ‘Nephilim’), we must make mention of his disappearing act.
Consider Enoch’s fascinating account of his ‘whirl wind tour’ of the earth aboard a flying vehicle. Enoch describes angels which escort him to heaven and guide him on this tour. Not only did Enoch travel around the world, we learn he also moved ‘to and fro’ between heaven and earth. Significantly, one of his rides was a one-way ticket to heaven. Only Elijah the prophet experienced the same type of trip—and his journey ‘upstairs’ was precisely in the form of a real whirlwind ride (II Kings 2:11). Do not be distressed, however; neither Enoch nor Elijah experienced death to make the trip!
We learn from both Moses and the writer to the Hebrews (recall tradition states the author was Paul), that Enoch was a righteous man who walked with God. Because of this righteousness, God ‘took him.’ Paul says it this way: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5) Just as the rapture is described as ‘snatching up’ or ‘catching up’ in the twinkling of an eye, so God’s grab of Enoch seems to be an event that happened in a split-second. Here we have a real case of Enochian magic!
M.R. De Haan (1891—1965) was a great ‘old-time’ evangelical preacher, founder of the Radio Bible Class, and scholar who wrote many pamphlets as well as a ‘mere’ 25 books, many of which focused on the Second Coming of Christ. It was De Haan’s view that Enoch embodied a foreshadowing of what happens to the Church (true believers) before the time of tribulation (aka, the Great Tribulation). Just as ‘in the days of Noah,’ there will be three groups of people: (1) God’s people which pass through the judgment (Noah and his family represent the Jewish people); (2) unbelievers who perish during the judgment (those who scoffed in Noah’s time like those who scoff before the future Great Tribulation—who will be removed from the earth in a most undesirable manner!); and (3) believers (the saints) who please God (as did Enoch) and are translated before the judgment commences. Being righteous in God’s eyes (since they embraced the salvation Jesus Christ offers by His substitutionary atonement), they are been removed from the earth before the Great Tribulation—the time of judgment—which is equivalent to Enoch being ‘taken’ before the Great Flood in De Haan’s view of an authentic and intentional biblical analogy. The strategic principle: God removes His righteous elect before He executes His wrath. The Lord preserves His chosen ones.
Few prophecies are the subject of as much derision as the concept of the rapture of Christians. But the story of Enoch points out several interesting concepts that substantiate why the rapture is no pipe dream:
- The rapture is not without precedent. Enoch was ‘taken’ by God and did not experience death just as Elijah was taken up by the whirlwind. It has happened before. It can and will happen again.
- The translation of Enoch is connected to the Flood of Noah and should be included in the epoch Jesus implied when He speaks of “As in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man…” Both of these experiences are unique times of judgment. God is directly intervening in the affairs of men. There are many attributes that these epochs share, but a rapture of the righteous appears most certainly to be one of them.
- Enoch prophesies the coming of God, the Mighty One from Heaven, who comes to earth with ten thousand of His saints. It is intriguing and no small coincidence that the first prophet to predict the rapture was the first person to experience it. Since coincidence is a word that does not exist in the Hebrew Bible, we can assume this connection is no coincidence either.
GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE OF HIS ELECT
One of the Bible’s most amazing psalms is Psalm 139. The psalm speaks of God’s foreknowledge, His ‘knowing beforehand,’ about every aspect of our lives. God knows where we are all the time. We cannot escape His presence no matter where we go in the world. Before we speak, God knows what we are going to say. Additionally, the Psalmist relates how God thinks about the Psalmist (King David in this case) far more than the Psalmist thinks about God! We read: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (verses 17, 18). We learn our very form and features are all part of God’s plan for us. Perhaps the most staggering thought: to learn God picked out a specific time in the history of the world for our life to be lived. The fact that we live during the twenty-first century comprises no accident. “And in your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (verse 16). God knows the ‘book of our lives’ from cover to cover. He knows how our story concludes before the moment we are born. Nothing is left to chance! And yet, we are free to choose (and be held responsible for those decisions).
As we approach what appears to be the culmination of this present age, especially as the times grow tougher and the ominous portents signaling the end come to pass, it is crucial we remember this amazing truth. Days gone by, whether easy or hard, are in God’s pre-written biography authored by Him for each of us. Today’s experiences, although difficult, are contained within the plan of God. The days which lie ahead are as ‘foreordained’ as the moments already passed, moments we know testify to God’s providence. Whenever despair or fear grips us, we should recall God has brought us each step of the way so far and will carry us the rest of the way home. God never deserts His saints in mid-stream!
The Book of Jeremiah discloses one of the most comforting verses in the Bible. This book tells the story of a greatly revered prophet living just prior to the captivity of the whole Hebrew nation of Judah in the sixth century BC. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, busied himself carting off the Jews to Babylon. This was not a highlight in Jewish history—it was the very worst of times. Yet, there was hope. The New American Standard Version translates Jeremiah 29:11 with these words: “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope!” The King James Version brings a different sense to the meaning of Jeremiah: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” However Bible translators choose to express it, the message remains clear: God thinks about us constantly. God remembers His Plan. He continuously thinks good thoughts toward us, assuring us that our ‘end’ happens just as expected. God remains our Father—to the very end of the age, until we are called and caught up into His presence to be forever with Him.
AND GOD REMEMBERED NOAH
Perhaps the most powerful statement in the entire Bible illustrating that God’s providence constitutes a ‘personal matter’ concerns Noah’s time spent in the ark. When Noah was tossed to and fro by the greatest storm in the history of the world, he might have been puzzling over whether the ark was sufficiently ‘waterproof’ and stout enough to withstand the raging tempest. He could have assumed the worst: Sure, God carefully oversaw the ark’s loading but will He still look after all the inhabitants during this treacherous voyage? Will He forget us? After all, how could God’s plan include the horrifically frightening sounds, the creaking, and the threat that this ark would be torn apart? If Noah only considered his circumstances solely relying upon ‘sense data,’ it would have been logical to figure his family would face the same fate as the rest of humanity now destroyed in the devastating flood, their screams drowned out by the waters beating up against his giant boat. And yet, the Bible calmly asserts the basis for Noah’s assurance: “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark…” (Genesis 8:1).
“And God remembered Noah.” The LORD was thinking about every creature, big or small, whether superbly human or a mere creepy crawler. He kept watch—making sure that each and every one was safe and dry. Jesus said “every hair on your head is numbered” (Matthew10:30). God’s providence is personal! Noah knew that God remembered. Noah realized despite the fright the animals and his family experienced, they all remained safe, being held firmly in the arms of the Almighty God. Noah knew God’s plan would not be thwarted.
God knows the end at the beginning. He sees the day we will join Him even if we cannot see such a time in the midst of today’s troubles. And God is fully capable of assuring, no matter what end He has in mind, it will come to pass exactly, in every detail, just the way He planned. That is why we must remember, despite the worst things we can imagine, nothing confronts us that God has not first filtered it through His fingers.
Paul reminds us in Romans 8:35-39,
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To paraphrase Paul’s admonition: whatever we experience at this time or anytime in the future remains powerless to separate us from the love of God. We have that promise. As the days progress, we will be challenged to remember this promise even as God remembers each one of us. Likewise, we will not lack our daily bread, the provision He refreshes every day pledging to meet our most urgent needs. God stands always attentive to His children.
He knows the end from the beginning.
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure (Isaiah 46:9, 10)
God’s plan ‘will out’—whether we are talking the whole world—or just one small solitary life of His elect. God has a plan for each of us. And He continues to monitor that plan every moment of every day.
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This is drawn from BLOOD MOON: BIBLICAL SIGNS OF THE COMING APOCALYPSE. Click here to learn more about the book or to purchase from Amazon.
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