Lost in Translation
Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 5:21-24
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.
• On a Malaga freeway: Locals for sale or rent.
• In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor.
Sometimes the true meaning of what is being said is Lost In Translation. Our Scriptures today speak of “translation”. Three times, it refers to the “translation” of a man named Enoch. When Enoch was “translated,” he was also Lost In Translation. He was lost to this world, but he was found in another. Today, I want to look at Enoch’s experience because it speak to us. There is coming a day soon, when true Christians will also be “translated.” What happened to Enoch will happen to us, so we would do well to heed the truths we encounter here in today’s Lesson. Let’s ponder these truths as we consider the subject – Lost In Translation.
First of all let us consider …
THE MEANING OF ENOCH’S TRANSLATION
The word “translated” in Hebrews 11 verse 5 means “to transfer, to transport, to change sides, to carry over, to remove.”
It 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 another, – a new world.”
Our OT reading from 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. In 2 Kings 2:v11 we read there that as Elijah and Elisha “ …went on, and talked, and, 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 of the altar, Elijah ascended up into Heaven.
By the way, like Enoch, Elijah was alive when he left this
world, – both of them were taken in life, not in death?
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 – the Church. Before He died on the cross, Jesus made this promise: “In my Father’s 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, ( I will come again) and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” John 14:1–3.
Jesus 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; and 1 Thess. 4:16–18.
Both of those passage describe the same event. It is an event we call the Rapture. As I‘ve taught you on previous occasions, 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 then speaks of a time when God’s 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; Praise God!
• It needs to be understood that the Rapture of the church will be a SUDDEN event. There will be no previous or preparatory warning. One moment the people of God will be going about their day to day lives, (some in the fields, some in the factories, some in their gardens, and some in their beds) and 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 isn’t coming for everyone. The Rapture will be a SELECTIVE event too. 1 Thess. 4:16 says that He is coming for “the dead in Christ.” Verse 17 says that the ones going with Him are “we which are 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 may determine where they will stand in eternity. If you have heard the Gospel and rejected it, you will be left behind to face the Great Tribulation and the coming Hell, 2 Thes. 2:v11. But if you have believed the Gospel, then you will be “translated” and “carried off” into Gods presence for ever!
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 these bodies of flesh. We will be delivered from this world of sin. We will essentially 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 eternal, celestial and holy city. No wonder the Bible calls the rapture “the blessed hope,” Titus 2:v13.
So then we have considered …
The Meaning Of Enoch’s Translation
Now let us ponder …
THE MEANS OF ENOCH’S TRANSLATION
Hebrews 11:5 says that Enoch “was translated” and that “God had translated Him” while Genesis. 5:24 says, “God took him.”
The point of those two verses is that God was behind Enoch’s translation. It was the sovereign power of Almighty God that took Enoch alive from this world and took him alive into the nearer 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 was 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 Enoch’s case, God chose to deliver him through a translation, through a rapture. And …
• 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 minute and the man.
The same will be true for you and me! I can’t 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 the glory. That may be 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 puts 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 boundary 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 hope that we will leave together in the Rapture. It may be that we will. However, if it is the Lord’s 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 fulfil His promise to you. He will come and “receive you unto” Himself, and you will be with Him in glory! The whole point being, it doesn’t make any difference to me whether I go in the Rapture or in Death, the end result is the same. I am going
Home, for I am only a pilgrim and a stranger here!
The Bible tells us that we are going to a land where:
• “… 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 gives 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 don’t know how I will make the trip, but I know Who does. I am content to trust Him with the details of my departure.
I believe I am in good hands!
So then we have considered …
The Meaning Of Enoch’s Translation
& The Means Of Enoch’s Translation
Finally, let us ponder THE MESSAGE OF ENOCH’S TRANSLATION
There are many lessons that arise out of Enoch’s 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. The change in his life was so complete that He lived a life that was pleasing to the Lord. According to the book of 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 of the Church.
Enoch also lived in …
• 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. Everyone dies! The only exceptions to that rule will be when the Lord comes for His church. Those who know Jesus will cheat death at that time and will leave this world in the Rapture. By the way, even those believers whom we say have “died,” aren’t really dead? Only their bodies have died, they are still alive in the presence of the Lord, and when He comes, He will bring them with Him,
1 Thes. 4:14. …Enoch also lived in …
• A Time Of Judgment – Besides the obvious judgment of death, there was the issue of Enoch’s son, a boy named “Methuselah.” His name means “his death shall bring.” Methuselah lived 969 years, – longer than any other person in history. The very year Methuselah died, the flood of Noah, 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, There is coming soon, 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, rejected His Son Jesus, and rejected the Gospel of grace. We who are saved will miss that judgment, because we have the promise that we “have been saved from wrath through Him,” Rom. 5:9. Whether we leave this world through Death, or through the Rapture, the Biblical Record shows that we will leave before the final wrath of God falls on this world in judgment.
Two primary lessons stand out here. The First is that we need to 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. Are you living for His Glory?
The Second lesson is that we should Be ready to leave this world – Enoch didn’t 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 and prepared when He comes.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
An English sign in a Tokyo by-pass, translated from Japanese, warning motorists to watch for pedestrians says: “When a passenger of the foot have in sight, toot the horn. Trumpet at him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then toot him with vigour.”
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 a mess. Our morals are bankrupt. Many of 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 … and in that we can and should rejoice!
God Bless You. Amen