Had Ye Believed Moses
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Enoch, Translated into Heaven
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. (Hebrews 11:5).
Hebrews 11:5 refers to events seen in Genesis 5:21-24. Enoch, along with the few brief experiences enumerated about him, is introduced in a genealogy extending from Adam to Noah. Enoch, within this genealogy, is seen seven generations removed from Adam; and the genealogy terminates with Noah, ten generations removed from Adam.
Calling attention to events occurring during the time covered by this genealogy, Scripture continues with three things: 1) that which began to occur very early in the human race and reached an apex during Noahís day (6:1-4), 2) Godís attitude toward and action concerning the matter (6:5-7), and 3) events surrounding Godís action (bringing the Flood to pass), which occurred in the six hundredth year of Noahís life (chapters 6b-8 [1,656 years following the creation of Adam]).
The Spirit of God, moving an individual emanating from the loins of Noah through Shem to pen the book of Hebrews, drew from the experiences of three individuals in this genealogy ó Abel (the second from Adam), Enoch (the seventh from Adam), and Noah (the tenth from Adam). Through this means, chapter eleven of Hebrews would not only form commentary on the salvation of the soul, continuing from preceding chapters (ref. chapter 8 of this book), but a dispensational framework of events could be set forth as well.
Within this dispensational framework of events, Enoch is seen being removed from the earth (translated) between two points in time ó between Abelís offering near the beginning of the human race, and the Flood during Noahís day. He was removed following Abelís offering but preceding the Flood.
The sequence of events seen within this dispensational framework points to a removal from the earth of those who have appropriated the blood of the one typified by Abel (something seen more specifically in Cain slaying Abel rather than in the slaying of the lambs that Abel brought); and this removal will occur preceding a coming time of trouble affecting the whole world, typified by the Flood during Noahís day.
The One Whom ďAbelĒ typified is Christ. Both were slain by their brothers, with the blood of Abel crying out to the Lord from the ground, but the blood of Christ speaking ďbetter things than that of AbelĒ (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24). The one whom ďEnochĒ typified can only be Christians during the present dispensation, and ďthe FloodĒ during Noahís day can only point to the coming Tribulation (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26, 27).
That is the dispensational scheme of the matter, as set forth in both Genesis 4-8 and Hebrews 11:4-7. And within this dispensational scheme, the account of Enoch forms a foundational type pertaining to the future removal of Christians from the earth. Subsequent types provide additional information, remaining in complete agreement with the original type. Then, the existence of these types necessitates an antitype which would be in complete agreement with all of the types.
The preceding is simply the manner in which Scripture has been structured. Though the experiences of individuals throughout Old Testament history forms the basis for numerous spiritual lessons, Godís revelation of Himself, His plans, and His purposes in this part of Scripture goes far deeper. God, throughout Old Testament history, has interwoven all the various types, which have corresponding antitypes. And the heart of the matter, when comparing Old and New Testament revelation, lies in this realm.
The type has been given to shed light upon and help explain the antitype. This is the way in which God has seen fit to structure His Word in order to make known His plans and purposes to man. And if man would come into a correct understanding of Godís revealed plans and purposes, it can be done only one way. Man must study Godís Word after the fashion in which it has been structured. Nothing short of this will suffice.
The coming removal of the Church from the earth is a vastly misunderstood subject today, both as to the time when it will occur and exactly who will be removed when it does occur. And the reason for this misunderstanding can be traced back to one central issue: The typical structure of Scripture has been ignored, resulting in the multiplicity of interpretations and erroneous thoughts that man has come up with concerning that future event commonly called, ďthe rapture.Ē
And because this has been done, one could only expect the multiplicity of thought presently seen throughout Christendom relative to the rapture, resulting in confusion. Error is rampant in this realm because man has not compared Scripture with Scripture after the same manner in which God structured His Word. The whole of the matter can be stated in terms that simple.
(The preceding would be true relative to any realm of biblical study. Ignoring the types has always been to the detriment of those not availing themselves of this vast wealth of information that God has provided to shed light upon and help explain the antitype.
Biblical teachings surrounding salvation by grace through faith would form a good example of the preceding. The multiplicity of answers to the question, ďWhat must I do to be saved?,Ē can be traced back to one thing. It can be traced back to individuals failing to avail themselves of the foundational and explanatory material provided in the types.)
The Old Testament Types
The three main Old Testament types dealing with the rapture can be found in the opening book of Scripture, the book of Genesis. The first is seen in the experiences of Enoch, the second in the experiences of Lot and his family, and the third in the experiences of Rebekah. And each of these three types present different facets of the same picture, together forming an Old Testament composite word-picture of the rapture.
Enoch, as previously stated, is seen being removed from the earth between two points in time ó following a blood sacrifice and prior to the Flood. This points to those whom Enoch typifies (Christians) being removed from the earth at a time following that which Abelís death typifies (Christís death) but preceding that which the Flood typifies (the coming Tribulation).
Thus, both the participants and the timing of the rapture are introduced in the foundational type. The rapture, according to this type, must have to do with those of the present dispensation (with Christians). It cannot pertain to any other than the ones who have appropriated the blood of the individual dying in the antitype of Abelís death. And it has to occur preceding that time typified by the Flood during Noahís day (i.e., it has to occur before the Tribulation).
Then, subsequent types reveal other things about this event (e.g., the inclusion or non-inclusion of all Christians, etc.). If the foundational type shows a selective rapture of faithful Christians alone, so must any subsequent type that deals with this aspect of the rapture. And the antitype, dealing with this same aspect of the rapture, must show a selective rapture as well.
But, when one turns to Scripture alone, the preceding is not seen to be the case at all. Something other than a selective rapture of the faithful is clearly seen in subsequent types. And the antitype must deal with the matter after the same fashion as it is dealt with in the type, which it does.
The foundational type in Genesis chapter four deals centrally with the participants and the timing of the rapture (Christians, and a pretribulational event). It has nothing to do with selective or nonselective rapture. Subsequent types deal with this matter, along with the antitype.
2) Lot and His Family
Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters were removed from Sodom prior to the destruction of the cities of the plain. And the manner in which the New Testament handles this event leaves no room to question that which is in view from a typical standpoint. The destruction of the cities of the plain can point only to the coming destruction of this present world system, and the removal of Lot and part of his family can only point to a removal of certain individuals from this world system (from the earth) prior to this destruction (a destruction occurring during the Tribulation).
This account forms a subsequent type of that previously seen in Genesis 5-8, and the account is dealt with in the New Testament in a parallel manner. The destruction of the cities of the plain during Lotís day is dealt with in the New Testament alongside the destruction produced by the Flood during Noahís day, introducing a parallel type. Both destructions in the two types point to the same destruction in the antitype.
And as it was in the days of NoahÖ
Likewise as it was also in the days of LotÖ
Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26a, 28a, 30).
Then Christ ó relating the accounts of these two destructions occurring in history, which point to the same destruction in prophecy ó sounded two main warnings. And the warnings were directed to two groups of people ó to Israel, and to the Church (about to be brought into existence).
The account surrounding Noah and the Flood was given first (v. 26). And, accordingly, Christ sounded the warning to Israel in connection with this type first (v. 31). Noah and the Flood, not Enoch and his removal from the earth, are in view; and the matter has to do with those typified by Noah going through the Flood ó Israel going through the Tribulation.
The same statement, comprising the warning, is later seen within a more lengthy warning that Christ provided in the Olivet Discourse. Christ, in this discourse, warned the Jewish people to flee for their lives when they see a particular man (Antichrist) do certain things during this coming time of destruction (Matthew 24:15ff).
Immediately following the warning that had to do with the days of Noah, Christ sounded a warning that had to do with the days of Lot (v. 28). Rather than dealing with individuals going through a time of destruction, the days of Lot had to do with individuals removed prior to this destruction. And the warning that Christ sounded was in connection with Lotís wife and the salvation or loss of oneís soul.
Remember Lotís wife.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life [soul] shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life [soul] shall preserve it (vv. 32, 33).
Lotís wife, along with her husband and two virgin daughters, was delivered from Sodom. And, though delivered from Sodom, she lost her soul. She looked back toward Sodom rather than out ahead toward the mountain to which Lot had been told to flee (Genesis 19:17, 26; Luke 9:62).
Lot, in similar fashion, failed to realize the salvation of his soul as well. Lot is contrasted with Abraham; and though Lot later found himself on the mountain to which he had been told to flee, his portion on the mount was diametrically opposed to that of Abraham. (ďA mountainĒ in Scripture symbolizes a kingdom [cf. Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:35, 44, 45; Matthew 16:28-17:5].)
Lot found himself dwelling on the mountain, but in a cave on the mountain, in a place separated from the Lord (Genesis 19:30; cf. Matthew 22:10-14). Abraham, on the other hand, found himself also dwelling in the high country, but standing before the Lord ó a place where, unlike Lot, he had been both dwelling and standing for quite sometime (Genesis 19:27; cf. Genesis 18:22).
The accounts of Lot and certain members of his family being delivered from Sodom add additional information to the type surrounding Enoch in Genesis chapter four. This second type makes it quite clear that faithfulness or unfaithfulness of Christians and the consequent salvation or loss of the soul have nothing to do with the rapture itself. These are issues that will come into view following the rapture, as seen in Godís dealings with both Lotís wife and Lot following their deliverance from Sodom. These are issues that have to do with the judgment seat following the rapture, not issues which have to do with the rapture.
Then there is a subsequent type that deals with the matter from a different perspective yet, building upon that revealed in the previous types and providing additional information. And that type is found in Genesis chapter twenty-four.
Genesis chapter twenty-four relates the story of Abraham sending his eldest servant into Mesopotamia to procure a bride for his son, Isaac. This chapter is the fourth of five consecutive chapters in Genesis (chapters 21-25) that form one overall type consisting of numerous individual types. And within the complete typology seen in these chapters, God has set forth exactly the same thing seen in previous chapters (chapters 4-8) ó a dispensational framework of events surrounding Christ, Israel, and the Church.
Throughout these chapters, ďAbrahamĒ is seen as a type of God the Father, ďIsaacĒ a type of God the Son, and ďSarahĒ (Abrahamís wife) a type of Israel (the wife of Jehovah). ďAbrahamís servantĒ sent into Mesopotamia in chapter twenty-four is seen as a type of the Holy Spirit sent into the world; and ďKeturahĒ in chapter twenty-five (who Abraham married following events in chapter 24) is also, as Sarah (in chapter 23), seen as a type of Israel, though within another frame of reference than Sarah.
Typology after the preceding fashion becomes evident as one works his way through these chapters.
Isaacís birth in chapter twenty-one was via supernatural means, typifying Christís subsequent birth through the same supernatural means. The offering of Isaac by his father in a designated place in the land of Moriah in chapter twenty-two typifies the subsequent offering of Christ by His Father in a designated place in the same land. Abrahamís wife, Sarah, dying in chapter twenty-three (following the offering of the son) typifies Godís wife, Israel, subsequently being set aside (following the offering of the Son). And Israel, as Sarah, is looked upon during this time as being in the place of death (Jonah 1:17ff; John 11:6ff).
Next in the dispensational structure and overall type are events in chapter twenty-four, where the search for and procurement of the bride is seen prior to Abrahamís remarriage in the following chapter. Chapter twenty-four details the work of the Spirit in the world today, searching for the bride, following Israel being set aside (chapter 23). And this search will occur and be completed before the time God resumes His dealings with and restores Israel (chapter 25).
In the past, Israel, as Sarah, was barren (Genesis 16:1, 2). And because of Sarahís barrenness, Isaacís birth required Godís supernatural intervention. But when Israel is one day restored, typified by Abraham marrying Keturah in chapter twenty-five, conditions will be reversed. Keturah bore Abraham six sons (Genesis 25:1, 2). Keturah was very fruitful, as Israel will be during that coming day following the nationís restoration.
It is between these two dispensational points (Israel being set aside [chapter 23] and Israel being restored [chapter 25]) that God procures a bride in the antitype for His Son, Jesus. And as Abraham sent his eldest servant into Mesopotamia to search for and procure his sonís bride, God has sent the Holy Spirit into the world to search for and procure His Sonís bride.
Thus, within the dispensational structure of the things seen throughout Genesis chapters twenty-one through twenty-five, there can be no question concerning that which is involved in the typology of chapter twenty-four. This chapter has to do with the mission of the Spirit in the world during the present dispensation.
The servant arrived in Mesopotamia with ďten camelsĒ laden with his masterís goods. ďTenĒ is the number of ordinal completion, showing all of the masterís goods (Genesis 24:10), and the master had given all these goods to his son (Genesis 24:36; 25:5). The servant was to show the prospective bride, from Abrahamís family, all the glories that the father had given to his son. Then the invitation to become the wife of Abrahamís son was to be extended (Genesis 24:3, 4, 53, 57, 58).
This points to that which is occurring during the present dispensation. The Spirit is in the world showing those from Godís family (Christians) all the glories that the Father has given to His Son. And He is doing this through opening the Word to their understanding, revealing these things to them. Then, as in the type, the invitation is extended to Christians to become the wife of Godís Son.
Rebekah, in the type, said that she would go (Genesis 24:57, 58). And once the purpose for the servantís mission had been accomplished, he removed Rebekah from Mesopotamia (Genesis 24:59ff).
In the antitype, exactly the same thing will occur. Once the purpose for the Spiritís mission has been accomplished, He will remove the bride from the world. And the manner in which Isaacís bride was removed, along with that which followed, forms the pattern for the manner in which Christís bride will be removed, along with that which will follow.
Abrahamís servant removed the bride on camels, and the bride was accompanied by damsels. All of them together rode on the camels, and they all went forth together to meet Isaac.
Though the number of the camels at the time of the departure is not stated, the inference would clearly point to ten camels. The servant entered the land with ďten camelsĒ to search for the bride, and the reference to camels upon his departure with the bride would clearly point to the same ten camels.
Rebekah and her damsels leaving on the camels show ordinal completion once again. All went forth to meet Isaac, but only Rebekah was later presented to Isaac as his bride for whom the servant had searched. Rebekah was the one seen putting on her veil when she and the damsels accompanying her came into the sonís presence, typifying the wedding garment to be worn by Christís bride when Christians find themselves in the Sonís presence.
As they all went forth to meet Isaac in the type, so will they all go forth to meet Christ in the antitype. And, as a distinction was made between Rebekah and the damsels accompanying her in the type, so will it be in the antitype.
Rebekah was the one who had responded positively to the servantís mission in Mesopotamia; and she was the one who, following her removal from Mesopotamia, was separated from the other damsels and presented to Isaac as his bride.
In like manner, those Christians forming Christís bride will be the ones who respond positively to the Spiritís mission in the world; and they will be the ones who, following their removal from the earth, will be separated from other Christians and presented to Christ as His bride.
The New Testament Antitype
There are not really that many verses in Scripture (Old Testament or New Testament) that pertain to the rapture per se. Scripture, dealing with Christians, centers on two main areas: 1) issues surrounding faithfulness or unfaithfulness during the present time, preceding the rapture; and 2) issues surrounding the results of oneís faithfulness or unfaithfulness, following the rapture. Scripture provides a great deal of information in both realms; but, from a comparative standpoint, Scripture does not present that much information concerning the rapture itself.
The rapture though, as has been demonstrated, is dealt with in several of the types. And the existence of the types demands the existence of an antitype. An individual could really go to only two places in the New Testament to view the rapture in connection with the events set forth in the three Old testament types under consideration ó 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:10 and Revelation 1:10-4:11 (though the rapture is presented in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, details surrounding the events seen in the types are not presented here).
Each of these two sections provides information peculiar to the passage, but only one provides the complete sequence seen through comparing the types ó Revelation 1:10-4:11. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:10 provides everything except a reference to the Tribulation. And since this is provided in the context of Revelation 1:10-4:11 (chapters 5ff), this section of Scripture will be used to show the antitype, with reference back to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:10.
It is sometimes stated that there is no place in Scripture that shows the sequence of events having to do with all Christians being removed preceding the tribulation. But thatís not true at all. This is seen in the Old Testament types, and this is also seen in the New Testament antitype as well.
Again, the only possible way to properly deal with the rapture from the standpoint of Scripture is to call attention to the matter after the fashion in which God has set it forth. One simply calls attention to the types and the antitype, leaving the matter to rest upon the foundation of Scripture itself.
1) Christians in the Lordís Day
John, in the book of Revelation, was taken to the Isle of Patmos and then transported into the future Lordís Day (or Day of the Lord [1:10; 4:1, 2]). And, in this future day, John was told to record that which he was being allowed to see (1:19), which dealt first with events surrounding the Church in Christís presence in heaven (1:10-4:11), then with events surrounding Israel and the nations on earth (5:1-18:24).
The Lordís Day follows Manís Day, whether for the Church or for Israel and the nations. Once Manís Day has been allowed to run its course, the Lordís Day will begin; and the Lordís Day will begin at least seven years earlier for the Church than it will for Israel and the nations.
Christians removed from the earth preceding the seven-year Tribulation will no longer be living in Manís Day. ďManís DayĒ has to do with man upon the earth during an allotted 6,000 years of time (with the foundation upon which the whole of the matter rests seen in the six and seven days of Genesis 1:1-2:3). Christians, at the time of the rapture, will be removed from Manís Day and transported into the Lordís Day. Thatís what is seen through John being transported into the Lordís Day in Revelation 1:10 and seeing seven churches in Christís presence, in heaven, in that future day.
This is also what is seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:2ff, following the removal of the Church into the heavens (4:13-18). A removal of the Church into that future day will overtake many Christians ďas a thief,Ē though this will not be true for other Christians (5:2-4).
Christians in the Lordís Day, in connection with either faithfulness or unfaithfulness, resulting in either salvation or wrath, is the subject at hand in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9. And this is the same subject set forth in the opening chapter of the book of Revelation (in conjunction with that revealed in chapters 2, 3), though seen from a different perspective.
(The actual rapture of the Church itself, if shown in Revelation 1-4, would have to be seen in Johnís experience [removed from earth into heaven, into the Lordís Day in 1:10, with the same event repeated in 4:1, 2]. If, on the other hand, the rapture of the Church is not seen in Johnís experience in these opening chapters of the book, then the rapture itself is not dealt with in these chapters.
The rapture though would have had to occur at the time of or preceding Johnís experience, for John saw the complete Church in Christís presence, in heaven, in the Lordís Day. Thus, relative to the timing of the rapture, whether or not the rapture can be seen in Johnís experience would be immaterial. The rapture is plainly shown in a companion passage [1 Thessalonians 4:13-17], preceding the same mention of Christians in the Lordís Day as seen in Revelation 1:10-20 [cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4].)
2) Christians in Christís Presence
Thus, as clearly stated in the opening chapter of the book of Revelation, this book begins with Christians in Christís presence in the future Lordís Day. And two things are seen in this chapter relative to Christians in that future day: 1) All Christians will be present, together, at the same time and place; and 2) all Christians will appear before Christ at this time to be judged.
The complete Church is seen in Christís presence at this time, shown by the number ďsevenĒ ó shown by all seven churches from chapters two and three appearing in Christís presence at this time (1:12, 13, 20).
ďSevenĒ is one of several numbers used in Scripture to show completeness. It is used more specifically to show the completion of that which is in view. In this case, the Church is in view, with ďseven churchesĒ showing the complete Church (all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike).
Not only is the church in Ephesus seen in Christís presence (the Church that left its first love), but the church in Laodicea is seen there as well (comprised of ďlukewarmĒ Christians, of whom Christ said, ďI will vomit you out of my mouthĒ [3:16]).
Or, perhaps it would be better to draw the contrast between the Philadelphian and Laodicean churches. All Christians represented by both will be there, along with all Christians represented by the other five churches. All Christians ó shown by the seven churches seen together in Christís presence ó will be there, awaiting judgment.
A separation of Christians on the basis of faithfulness occurs in Christís presence alone, at the judgment seat. Scripture knows nothing of a separation of this nature occurring at the time of the rapture.
And all Christians will appear in Christís presence to be judged in this manner preceding the search for One worthy to break the seals of the seven sealed scroll (chapter 5). Only when these seals begin to be broken will the judgments of the Tribulation begin (chapter 6).
Everything about the description of Christ in Revelation 1:13-16 depicts a Judge, not a Priest. The Church will no longer be on earth, and Christís high priestly ministry on behalf of the Church throughout the dispensation will, consequently, have ended. Following the removal of the Church and the termination of Christís high priestly ministry, Christ will then judge those for whom He ministered throughout the dispensation, which will have proceeded.
Thus, the antitype, in complete accord with the types, presents the rapture as both all-inclusive and pretribulational. All Christians will be removed together, at the same time; and this will occur preceding the Tribulation.
This is simply what Scripture has to say about the matter, viewing the types and then going to the antitype. What man may have to say is of no moment at all. Scripture alone contains the correct, necessary information to properly address the issue at hand. And that is where the matter must be left.