We'd like to start a new series that takes a look at a rather controversial topic in the church today - the rapture. There are several camps when it comes to the event that has come to be known as the rapture. Some say that it is a modern invention, cooked up by Western Christians to give them an excuse to be unresponsive to the sufferings of other Christians in the world. They don't believe that this event is spoken of in Scripture and they certainly don't believe that anything like it will happen. Then there are those who believe that the rapture will happen but are at odds with each other over the timing of the event. Some think it will happen prior to the coming period that we call the tribulation. Some feel that it will take place in the middle of that seven year period. Still others feel that it will take place after the tribulation.
I firmly believe that God doesn't do something without telling His children about it. I also believe that through His Word we can know not only what God has done in the past, but also what He is going to do in the future. In His Word we can find examples, patterns and types of what is yet to come. I'd like to look at some of these as they relate to what we call the rapture. Our first stop is Genesis 5:21-24.
“When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was born. Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].”
Enoch must have been quite a guy. His son Methuselah was marked as the one whose death would bring the beginning of the flood and the end of the lives of all people on the Earth, save Noah and his family. It is also interesting to see that Enoch walked in habitual fellowship with God. Oh, that we would follow his example!
Now, when we look at the flood account we can see that there were three distinct groups of people at that time in relation to the flood. There were those who perished in the flood - mankind. There were those who lived through the flood - Noah and his family. And there were those who were removed by God prior to the flood - Enoch. I believe this is the first example we have of how God operates when pouring out His wrath. In this instance He removed Enoch to keep him from the coming wrath. God provided a way of survival for Noah and His family and shut them up in the Ark Himself. Then and only then did God pour His wrath out on the Earth.
These three groups could correlate to the population at the time of the rapture as follows: those who will incur God's wrath - mankind; those who will live through the wrath - the tribulation saints; and those who will be removed by God prior to His wrath being poured out - the body of Christ.
Could this really be an example for a generation to come? Come back next month as we do a little more exploring in the greatest Book ever written!