Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Your Amazing Future

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Watch Nancy teach this series.

Leslie Basham: If you’ve come to faith in Jesus, you have an amazing future ahead. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Our bodies do not go into the ground and stay there forever. Ultimately our bodies will be with our spirits in the presence of the Lord.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, for March 1, 2019.

Today Nancy will wrap up our current series, “Walking with God: The Life of Enoch.”

Nancy: Well, have you enjoyed our little study of the life of Enoch? Have you learned some things? I know I have. It’s just amazing when you put a microscope on these little passages of Scripture how much you can mine just by meditating.

I have found myself throughout my days while I’ve been working on this series just thinking: What it is like to walk with God? And as I’m thinking about making a certain decision or what I’m going to do with my time: Is this walking with God?

What does it mean to walk with God? It’s not just when I’m in my study reading my Bible, but all the rest of the day—what does it look like and mean to walk with God?

We’ve seen that Enoch walked with God—Genesis 5—when others didn’t. He swam upstream.

And we’ve seen in Hebrews 11 that he believed God and that he pleased God by faith.

Walking with God, believing God, pleasing God, faith—those all go hand in hand.

And then we saw in the last session, as we looked at the book of Jude, that Enoch warned his generation of coming judgment—both the judgment of the flood and then the later judgment that would take place at the return of Christ, the final ultimate judgment of the wicked. And he warned them, “Repent! Believe the gospel.” Well, those aren’t the words we’re told he said, but he warned them that Christ was coming with tens of thousands of His angels to execute judgment.

And so we have here a picture of the life of this amazing man. Google for Charles Spurgeon’s message on the life of Enoch. It’s wonderful. He has thirty insights, in typical Spurgeon style, on things we can learn from Enoch’s walk with God, but I pulled this little quote that I that was so meaningful. He said,

No life can surpass that of a man [or a woman] who quietly continues to serve God in the place where providence has placed him.

This man was not flashy, but Surgeon says, “No life can surpass that of a man who quietly continues to serve God in the place where providence has placed him.” I think that’s a beautiful description of the life of Enoch.

Well, today we come to the end of Enoch’s earthly life. And it could be a sad story, but actually, it’s going to be a really happy ending.

Go back with me, if you would, to the book of Genesis—we’ve been there several times over the last several days—the book of Genesis, chapter 5. This is a genealogical record, one generation after another. Many of these are names with which we’re not familiar. Some of them names that we read nowhere else in the Scriptures—they come and they’re gone. But we see the passing of one generation to the next.

I want to read several verses, beginning in verse 3, from this genealogy because it gives us insight into the end of Enoch’s life.

Genesis 5, verse 3: “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

So Seth was the beginning of the godly seed that replaced the line of Cain who was opposed to God, who did not humble himself and believe the gospel. There’s a line of Cain, and now the godly line of Seth.

Verse 4: “The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.”

In fulfillment of what God had told Adam there in the garden, “If you eat, if you do what I say not to do, if you disobey Me, you will surely die.” And as we said in an earlier session, at the moment Adam sinned, he was spiritually separated from God. His spirit was separated from God. That’s the ultimate death. His body didn’t die right away, but the time came, 930 years after Adam came into this earth, was created by God, 930 years later, he died.

God fulfills His promises. Death is a consequence of sin.

Look at verse 6: “When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.”

Verse 9: “When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years [say it with me], and he died.”

Verse 12: “When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years [say it with me], and he died.”

Verse 15: “When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.”

Verse 18: “When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Jared [the father of Enoch] were 962 years, and he died.”

Now, would it be stretching to say that these verses are repetitive? Maybe monotonous? Predictable? Like, do you, maybe tend to skip over those when you come to those in your reading? The second day of the year you start through the Old Testament again, and chapter 5, you come to this repetitive, monotonous, boring list.

It reminds me of the passage in Ecclesiastes 1, “A generation goes, and a generation comes. The sun rises, and the sun goes down. All things are full of weariness. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (vv. 4–9).

Now, the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes looked at those endless, monotonous, dreary cycles of birth and death, and he began to despair. It led him to depression. And you can see why: because you live; you have kids; you live a long life; you have more kids, and then you die. And then your kids live; they have kids, and then they die. And then their kids live, and they have kids, and they die. And you say, “Isn’t there anything more to life than this? Is it all just about death?”

So, Genesis 5, so-and-so lived, had kids, and died. People are born. People die. Over and over again, century after tiresome century . . . until you get to verse 21.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years.

Now, this is the first break in the pattern here. It’s the first time we’ve seen that term, “He walked with God.” The others just said, “He lived; he had kids, and he died.” But this one says, “He lived; he had kids. He walked with God.” And we’ve looked at that over the last several days.

He “walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.”

This is a distinctive life, and if you walk with God—during however many or few years God gives you here on earth—your life will be different. He walked with God.

“Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years.”

Now, if you’re continuing in the patter that’s been set all through this chapter, what would the next phrase say? “And he died.” But, look—it’s not there. Like, this is jolting! This is revolutionary. This is crazy. This is out of the pattern. This, like, wakes you up from your genealogical slumber here. (laughter) It doesn’t say, “And he died.”

Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. [Next verse] Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

The story Enoch’s life, both in how he lived his life here and how he left this life and went into the next life, broke the pattern of everyone else who came before or after him.

A little note here: Enoch lived 365 years, which, compared to some of the others we just read about, was relatively short. It would be like someone dying around thirty-five years of age today, if you put it in the typical life expectancy of our day. And Adam’s son Seth, the second generation, would have outlived Enoch (his great-great-great-great grandson) by more than fifty years.

So Enoch’s was not a long life, by the standards of his day, but what a fruitful life, what a beautiful life, what a powerful life, what an impacting life, and what a life worthy of our emulating.

Well, Hebrews 11, and we’ve been going back and forth between Genesis 5 and Hebrews 11, adds this word to that comment. It says, “By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death. And he was not found, because God had taken him” (v. 5).

New American Standard there says, “God took him up.”

The Christian Standard Bible says, “God took him away.”

The King James says, “God had translated him.”

If you’ve been around the Scripture and studying it for a long time, you’ve probably heard that the “translation of Enoch,” that doesn’t mean, like translated into another language. That means, translated, moved from this earth to heaven. That word translated or God took him up, God took him away, it’s a word that means “to transfer, to transport, to remove a person or thing from one place to another, to transfer to another place.”

God transferred Enoch. God took him away. God took him up. God translated him from one place and one life and one existence to another.

Now, beyond that, Scripture doesn’t give us a lot of details about what happened or how it happened. Commentators—I’ve read quite a few in the last week—really differ on this, and there’s some actual really wild speculations. I don’t pay a lot of attention to that. But what we do know is that he did not die. He was translated from earth to the very presence of God.

“For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 3:23). That’s what we’ve just seen in this genealogy. “And he died.” Romans 6 says, “The wages of sin is death.” But thank God that’s not the end of the verse! “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 23).

All these other people—they were born, they had kids, and they died. They were born, they had kids, and they died. They were born, they had kids, and they died. Enoch was born. He had kids. And—he didn’t die. He lived. It’s a foreshadowing of the gospel, the hope that we have of eternal life in Christ.

He’s one of two people in the Bible that apparently God took to heaven before their physical death, the other being Elijah, in 2 Kings chapter 2. Now, that translation of Elijah from this life to the next was much more dramatic.

Second Kings 2:11, “As Elijah and Elisha [his successor] went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” He went up in a storm into the heavens.

That’s not what you read about with Enoch. With Enoch there’s no dramatic description, no record of any witnesses, just, “he was not for God took him.”

Everyone else around him, everyone else before him, everyone else after him, everyone else in his generation died. Their spirit was separated from their body. Their body remained on earth. It was buried or disposed of in some way, and their spirit departed from this earth.

But when it came to Enoch, his body and his spirit never separated. They were suddenly removed from earth, transplanted to heaven—where all believers will be someday—body, soul, and spirit.

So for Enoch, there was no funeral, no burial, there was no grave. Can you just imagine that people who knew him . . . He had sons and daughters. He had a wife. He had friends. He had neighbors. He had coworkers. “Where’s Enoch?” They missed him. He didn’t show up. He didn’t come home after work. They didn’t see him. “Where is he?” They go looking for him. He was not found. They couldn’t find him. They looked for him, but they couldn’t find him.

But they knew the testimony of his life. They knew that this man had walked with God for 300 years. So they knew that he was with God. His being translated—taken up out of this earth, out of this life into the next—was the result of his walk with God in this life. He walked with God. He pleased God. He believed God. He had the message and the ministry that God gave to him in his life, and then God was done with him here. His journey here was done, and God took him home.

One commentator says this, what I think is a beautiful observation about this passage. He says,

The finality of death caused by sin, and so powerfully demonstrated in the genealogy of Genesis, is in fact not so final. Man was not born to die; he was born to live, and that life comes by walking with God. [And I would add, “By faith.”] Walking with God is the key to the chains of the curse.

He comes to reverse the curse, to give life to those who deserve death, to translate us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of life—from death to life. This is the miracle of regeneration, the miracle of the new birth. And Enoch experienced it literally and physically as his body, soul and spirit were translated, taken, from earth to heaven.

So Enoch walked continuously with God on earth, by faith, for 300 years. And he just kept right on walking with God into the next life, his eternal home. There was no interruption in his fellowship with God. He was here one moment and the next he was there. He moved from mortality to immortality, from this unholy earth to the presence of the holy God.

Campbell Morgan was a great Bible expositor of the 1900s, and he tells in one of his messages about Enoch about a little girl who heard about the story of Enoch in her class at church. And she went home and told her mom, “He used to go on long walks with God.”

And the mom said, “Well, that’s wonderful, sweetheart. How did it end?”

“Oh, Mommy, one day they walked on and on, and got so far, God said to Enoch, ‘You’re a long way from home. You’d better come in and stay with me.’” (laughter) And that’s a pretty good description, I think.

Enoch’s translation, his being taken up . . . We can’t say, “He died.” He didn’t face death. His body was translated from here to there. It reminds us that this life is not all there is. It points to the reality of the afterlife and the foolishness of living just for this life.

Eternity is something a lot of people don’t think about today. It used to be that when you wanted to witness to somebody, to tell them about Jesus, you could ask the question, “If you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” What would you say to Him?”

You ask that question today—I don’t think it’s a bad question. I think it’s a great question, an important question—but you ask that to people today, and the vast majority of people don’t really care because they’re not in any sense gripped with the reality of the next life, the reality that this life is not it, the reality of eternity. We need to ask God to seer that concept into people’s hearts.

God has put eternity in their hearts—Ecclesiastes tells us. But because we have rejected God, resisted Him, rebelled against Him, our consciences have become dull and defiled, and we’re not sensitive anymore to the things that God has put in our hearts. So I think the vast majority of people today could not care less about what happens after this life. That’s why we need to tell the stories of people like Enoch. That’s why we need to teach the Scripture—from the time they’re little—so that they care about what happens after this life.

Enoch’s life shows the foolishness of living just for this life. It reminds us that walking with God by faith in this life is the best preparation for the next life, the life to come.

But we look at Enoch’s translation, and we think, Well, what about us? Wouldn’t it be great if followers of Jesus could be translated to heaven just like Enoch was—no death, no dying, no end of life pain, no suffering? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Well, the fact is, unless we’re still alive when Jesus returns for His Bride, we will all die physically. Our bodies will die. But the New Testament teaches us that physical death is not final. It is not the end.

In fact, many times in the New Testament you see death referred to as “being asleep.”

Well, lying down for a nap, or lying down for a long night’s sleep, that’s not so final. You’re going to wake up from that.

You’re going to wake up from death. It’s not final. Jesus said in John 11, “Our friend Lazarus” (who’d been lying buried in a tomb for four days)—he’s not dead. He’s ‘fallen asleep’” (see v. 11).

There is life after this. There is a resurrection of the body. Our spirit and our soul will go on living forever. For those who die in Christ, it will live in the presence of the Lord. For those who die apart from Him, there will be eternal judgment, forever separated from the Lord. But our physical death is not final.

And yet, unless we’re here when Christ comes back to rapture His Church, we will not be translated to heaven as Enoch was. But—and maybe this is even better yet—as we walk with God here on this earth, we are being transformed—not translated, but transformed—into His likeness, into His image (that was broken at the fall) from one degree of glory to another, Paul says in 2 Corinthians, chapter 3.

So, having said all that, Enoch is a prototype. His translation, from earth into the presence of God in heaven, foreshadows our hope as followers of Christ and reminds us of two powerful promises that God has given us.

The first is the promise of the resurrection of our physical bodies. These physical bodies that go into the earth, or disposed of in some way, but that burial is not final. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, beginning in verse 51. He says—and this is the chapter, by the way, where he’s been talking about the resurrection. Then he gets to verse 51, and he says,

We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and our dead bodies will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

Much like Jesus’ glorified body when He rose from the dead. It was the same body, but it was in a different condition than the body that came off that cross. We will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on [like a new set of clothes] immortality. Then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (vv. 54–55).

So we have the promise of the resurrection of our bodies, and we see this in Enoch. We see it foreshadowed. We see Enoch being a prototype of the fact that our bodies do not go into the ground and stay there forever. Ultimately our bodies will be with our spirits in the presence of the Lord.

But there’s a second promise, and that’s the promise of the return of Christ for His Bride, the rapture of the Church, where those who are in Christ will be taken up to be with the Lord, translated—that one generation will be translated as Enoch was—one moment here, the next there with Christ. That could happen at any moment.

And we read that description in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, beginning in verse 16,

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (vv. 16–17).

Does that remind you of Enoch? He walked with God. He believed God. He pleased God. He walked by faith, and he was not for God took him. “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

That’s what I’m trying to do for you today, what we can do for each other as we go through the hard things of walking with God in this broken, fallen world, the hard things of believing God when sometimes reason says, “How can this be true?”

We live in a very rationalistic age. If you can’t see it, if science can’t prove it, you can’t believe it. How do you believe God in this kind of age? How do you please God when you know you aren’t pleasing to Him, that you’ve sinned, you’ve sinned greatly? We please God by faith because we know that we are in Christ, and Christ is well pleasing to the Father. So in Christ we are well pleasing to God.

So in those hard days and the moments of tears, for we can’t see beyond what’s just right around us. It feels like we live and walk in a fog sometimes, doesn’t it? We think, What? Are we crazy? We’re trying to walk with God and believe all this stuff when the whole world is imploding and going nuts and screaming and yelling and ranting.

We can get caught up in all that, or we can faithfully walk with God and believe God and please God, knowing we have His promise that one day these bodies will be raised incorruptible, and we will be forever with the Lord. We have the promise of the return of Christ—one day—soon.

That’s the promise that kept Enoch walking with God. He only saw it dimly. We really only see it dimly, and we know more about it than he did, but there’s so much we can’t see and we don’t know, but we believe. Having not seen Him, we believe Him. Having not seen Him, we love Him. We trust Him. We cling to Him.

And we know that we have this promise that gives hope and security and stability to our souls in unstable times. “Therefore, encourage one another with these words.”

Leslie: I’m encouraged by what Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shared today about finding hope for eternity in Jesus. She’ll be right back to pray.

This message is the final program in the series on the life of Enoch. You can listen to previous programs at ReviveOurHearts.com.

I hope this series helped you better understand what it means to walk with God, but maybe you could use some help putting that concept into practice. Let me recommend a book by Nancy that will help you get started. It’s called A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms.

Each day this book will direct you to one of the psalms, explore its meaning and content, and help you apply it to your life. Then you’ll discover how to turn what you have learned into a prayer to God.

When you give a gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you a copy of the 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms as our way of saying “thanks.”

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Be sure to request the 30-Day Walk with God book.

On Monday, we’ll hear from a woman who achieved success in business, went to nice parties, and owned beautiful clothes, but inside, she was empty. Find out how she filled that emptiness. Please be back Monday for Revive Our Hearts. Now, here’s Nancy to pray.

Nancy: Thank You for the life, Lord, of this amazing man, the life of Enoch. It’s not been too many weeks that I started thinking about him, and You’ve spoken to me so sweetly, so richly from his life. I want to walk with You as he did. I want to believe You. I want to please You. Thank You that, by faith, we can.

And thank You for the promises we have of the resurrection of these mortal bodies and of the return of Christ to take His Bride home. Help us to live in the light of these promises and to know that, as we ponder Enoch being translated from this earth, this life, to the next, so we, too, shall be with him forever, together with the Lord.

So we thank You, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to have hope for eternity. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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