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Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 5:21-24
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Intro: Language is a funny thing. Most of the time we understand what we hear in our own language, but when languages are translated sometimes the results are very humorous. Consider the following examples:
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
In a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
- English well talking.
- Here speeching American.
On a Malaga freeway: Locals for sale or rent.
In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
Sometimes the true meaning of what is being said is Lost In Translation. Our text speaks of translation three times. It refers to the translation of a man name Enoch. When Enoch was translated, he was also Lost In Translation. He was lost to the world, but he was found in another.
I want to look at Enochs experience because it speak to us. There is a coming a day when we will also be translated. What happened to Enoch will happen to us, so we would do well to heed the truths we will encounter here. Lets notice these truths as we consider the thought Lost In Translation.
I. THE MEANING OF ENOCHS TRANSLATION
The words translated in verse 5 mean to transfer, to transport, to change sides, to carry over, to remove.
The word translation in verse 5 refers to a transposition. It carries the idea of moving something from one place to another.
So, when the Bible says that Enoch was translated, it means that he was transported from one place to another. He changed sides. He was carried over. He was removed from this world and transferred to a new world.
The passage in Genesis 5 lets us know that Enoch was alive when this event took place. According to Gen. 5:24, Enoch walked with God. It leaves the impression that Enoch was going about his day to day walk, and God simply showed up and removed him from this world and carried him over.
This was the same thing that happened to Elijah. 2 Kings 2:11 says, And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. The phrase went up, is often used to describe the Old Testament burnt offerings. It refers to the smoke that rises off the altar and goes up into the sky. Just like the smoke off the altar, Elijah ascended up into Heaven. By the way, like Enoch, Elijah was alive when he left this world.
Every child of God lives with the same hope. We live under the promise that one day the Lord Jesus will return to claim His Bride. Before He died on the cross, Jesus left this promise: In my Fathers 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also, John 14:1–3.
He promised to return for HIs people. As time went by, the Lord revealed more about this blessed event through the pen of Paul the great Apostle, 1 Cor.15:51–54; 1 Thes. 4:16–18.
Both of those passage describe the same event. It is an event we call the Rapture. As you know, the word Rapture does not appear in the Bible. It comes from the Latin word rapto. When the Bible was translated from Greek into Latin, the word harpazo, which is translated caught up, in 1 Thes. 4:17, was translated into the Latin word rapto, which means the same thing. So, the Rapture. Is a time when Gods people will be caught up.
The phrase caught up is a military term. It means to seize with force, to take for oneself eagerly, to carry off. When the Lord Jesus comes in the clouds for HIs Bride, He will stop in the air, which is the very domain of Satan, (Eph. 2:2), and He will eagerly seize His people and carry them off to glory to be with Himself for ever.
It needs to be understood that the Rapture of the church will be a SUDDEN event. There will be no previous warning. One moment the people of God will be going about their day to day live, the next moment, they will be caught up to be with the Lord. That is why the Bible says, Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh, Matt. 24:44.
It should also be noted that Jesus isnt coming for everyone. The Rapture will be a SELECTIVE event too. 1 Thes. 4:16 says that He is coming for the dead in Christ. Verse 17 says that the ones going with Him are we which alive and remain.
I would also mention that the Rapture of the church is a very SERIOUS event. Where a person stands at the moment of the Rapture will determine where they stand in eternity. If you have heard the Gospel and rejected it, you will be left behind to face the Tribulation and eventually Hell, 2 Thes. 2:11. If you have believed the Gospel, you will be translated and carried off into glory.
The Rapture of the church will be a glorious moment for the people of God. When Jesus comes in the clouds, we will be delivered from the bodies of flesh. We will be delivered from this world of sin. We will fly away to a place that is far better, Phil. 1:23. We will see our Blessed Redeemer, and we will join Him in His glory, to worship our Father in the glories of that celestial city. No wonder the Bible calls the rapture the blessed hope, Titus 2:13.
I. The Meaning Of Enochs Translation
II. THE MEANS OF ENOCHS TRANSLATION
Heb. 11:5 says that Enoch was translated and that God had translated Him.
Gen. 5:24 says, God took him.
The point of those two verses is that God was behind Enochs translation. It was the sovereign power of Almighty God that took Enoch alive from this world and took him alive into the presence of God. God was in control of this whole event.
God controlled WHEN Enoch was translated - The Bible simply says in Gen. 5:24, And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. This seems to imply that there as no advance warning. Enoch was just living his life, walking with the Lord one moment, and the next moment, he is carried off, alive, into Heaven. Enoch had no control over when this event took place.
God controlled HOW Enoch was translated - God could have allowed Enoch to die like all the others in this chapter. He could have chosen death as the means by which He took Enoch home to be with Him. In Enochs case, God chose to deliver him through a translation, through a rapture.
God controlled WHERE Enoch was translated - Enoch had no say in where this event took place.
All of this reveals a very important truth. When it came time for Enoch to leave this world, God chose the means, the method, the time and the place.
The same will be true for us! I cant speak for you, but I would like to go to Heaven in the Rapture. I would love to cheat the undertaker, bypass death and go alive into glory. That may by what happens. If it does, I will rejoice. However, it may not be the case. It may be that I will have to leave this world through the door of death. If that is my lot, then in that I will also rejoice. The Lord knows what is best for me and He will do always do what is right.
God knows WHEN we will leave. He knows WHERE we will leave. He knows HOW we will leave. It is all a part of His perfect plan for us. You see, our lives are planned for us before we ever begin to live them. Here is how the Bible says it.
Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass, Job 14:5.
Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth, Psalms 104:9.
LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am, Psalms 39:4.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, Heb. 9:27.
We all leave this world right on time. I pray that we will leave together in the Rapture. I may be that we will. However, if it is the Lords will for us to die, He will be in control of that as well. God has a plan for His people. That plan involves our salvation. It also involves our home going. One day, the Lord Jesus will fulfill His promise you to. He will come and receive you unto Himself, and you will be with Him in glory! The whole point being, it doesnt make any difference to me whether I go in the Rapture or in death, the end result is the same. I am going home!
We are going to a land where:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away, Rev. 21:4.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever, Rev. 22:3–5.
I am headed to a land which is far better, Phil. 1:23.
I dont yet know how I will make the trip, but I know Who does. I am content to trust Him with the details of my home going. I believe I am in good hands!
I. The Meaning Of Enochs Translation
II. The Means Of Enochs Translation
III. THE MESSAGE OF ENOCHS TRANSLATION
There are many lessons that arise out of Enochs experience. When we study this story, we are reminded that the day in which Enoch lived was:
A Time Of Grace - Enoch was a sinner living in a sin cursed world, but grace was extended to him, and Enoch was saved, Gen. 5:22. The change in his life was so complete that He lived a life that was pleasing to the Lord, Heb. 11:5. According to Jude, Enoch was a prophet, Jude 14-15. The grace of God manifested itself in the life of Enoch. God saved him and changed his life. It was the grace of God that made Enoch a candidate for translation.
Like Enoch, we become candidates for translation when we are made partakers of the grace of God. When the Lord saved you, He made you Rapture ready. It is the grace of God alone that fits us for participating in the Rapture.
A Time Of Death - A quick look at Genesis 5 reveals a world plunged into death because of sin. Verses 5, 8, 11,14, 17, 20, 27, 31, all contain the words and he died. In the midst of all that death, Enoch was not; for God took him. One man made it out of this world alive.
Our world is still a world of death. Every one dies! The only exceptions to that rule will be when the Lord comes for His church. Those who know Jesus will cheat death, and will leave this world in the Rapture. By the way, even those believers whom we say have died, arent really dead. They are alive in the presence of the Lord, and when He comes, He will bring them with Him, 1 Thes. 4:14.
A Time Of Judgment - Besides the obvious judgment of death, there was also the issue of Enochs son, a boy named Methuselah. His name means his death shall bring. Methuselah lived 969 years, longer than any other human in history. The very year Methuselah died, the flood that destroyed the world came. The year Methuselah died, the judgment of God fell on the world.
Our world is a world slated for judgment. In fact, the judgment of God has already fallen on this world, Rom. 1:18-32. There is coming a terrible time of judgment known as the Great Tribulation, when the wrath of God will be poured out on all those who have rejected God, His Son Jesus, and the Gospel of grace. We who are saved will miss that judgment, because we have the promise that we have shall be saved from wrath through Him, Rom. 5:9. Whether we leave this world through death, or through the Rapture, we will leave before the final wrath of God falls on this world in judgment. Hallelujah! We are going home!
Two primary lessons stand out here.
Walk with God - Enoch walked with God and it pleased God. Life is short, and we ought to see to it that every moment is lived with that in view. Every minute of our lives should be lived to the glory of God. That is the only life that will please Him, and that is the only life that is ready to face HIm without shame.
Be ready to leave this world - Enoch didnt know when he would leave, but he was ready when his time came to go. We need to be ready as well. Life is fleeting. James 4:14 reminds us that it is like the morning fog. It is up to us to make every moment count for God and to be ready when He comes.
Conc: A English sign in Tokyo, translated from Japanese, warning motorists to watch for pedestrians says: When a passenger of the foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet at him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigor.
Sometimes, the real meaning of words can be Lost In Translation. But, those who are translated by the Lord need never fear being lost by Him.
Church, we have a blessed future! The world is falling apart around us. Our government has lost its bearings. Our economy is in the tank. Our morals are bankrupt. Our churches have abandoned truth. Our families are in trouble. Things look bad. But, the redeemed saints of God still have their blessed hope. Our God is still on the throne, and our Lord is still coming for His people. In that we can and should rejoice!