Sunday March 25th 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
Part Thirty Eight
1). Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 4 ? By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 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. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
a). We have seen in previous weeks that it is by having faith to the saving of the soul, which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, that we can understand that the ages of eternity past, this present age, the age to come and the endless ages of eternity future were set in place in an orderly arrangement in order to bring to fulfillment God?s plans and purposes for these ages. And then within this broad sweep of unending ages we see that God has His particular focus on the coming Kingdom of His Son, the Millennial Kingdom, the age to come, when the present system of rulership under Satan and his fallen angels in the heavens and Gentile world power on the earth will be replaced by a new system of rulership with Christ and His co-heirs in the heavens and Israel at the head of the nations on the earth ? Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
b). Heb 1:1 ? God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;[ages]
c). And we will know that with respect to the coming Kingdom of Christ God has established an unchangeable pattern of 6 days of work followed by a 7th Day of rest at the very beginning of scripture as the perfect means by which a ruined creation is restored ? whether it be the original creation that was ruined through Satan?s rebellion as we see it in Genesis 1:2, or the ruined creation, Man, through his fall in the Garden - 2Pe 3:8 ? But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
d). It is on the 6th day in the Genesis account that we see a Man created from the dust of the ground and a Woman built from a part of the Man?s body in order that they might have dominion together in the 7th Day ?
Ge 1:26 ? Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
e). Ge 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
8 ? The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. ????.21 ? And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
f). And in fulfillment of the type presented here in Genesis it is in the last hours of the 6th day, the 6000th year, that God will gather together the dust of the ground, Abraham?s descendants through faith, to form the body of Christ in the heavens and from Christ?s complete body gathered in the heavens, all the eternally saved from this dispensation, Christ?s Bride, a part of His body, will be removed so that together they will have dominion in the 7th Day, the Day of Rest, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
g). And we will remember from last week that it is the removal of all the eternally saved from the earth to the heavens that is pictured for us in the foundational type given in Enoch, the 7th from Adam, who was translated without seeing death because he had the testimony that he pleased God. And also from last week that Enoch was the second of four individuals presented
at the beginning of Hebrews Chapter 11 that laid out for us God?s dispensational framework for this last 2000 years, these last 2 days ? A framework that has its beginning in a sacrifice that is acceptable to God involving death and shed blood, seen in Abel, picturing the death of Christ on the cross; which then moves to the rapture of the Church, pictured in Enoch; followed by the Great Tribulation, the redemption of the inheritance, pictured in Noah and concluding with the new beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, pictured in Abraham who leaves the land of his birth to go to the land that God would give him as an inheritance.
2). Ge 5:21 ? Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. 25 ? Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. 26 After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.
a). We see from the original account of Enoch from the lineage of Adam through Seth in Genesis Chapter 5 that he ?begot Methuselah? at the age of 65. Now although he lived another 300 years beyond this point and had ?sons and daughters?, it is only Methuselah who is singled out for mention.
b). We will also note that it is after the birth of Methuselah that we see Enoch walking with God for 300 years ? and from this we can know that something happened around the time of Methuselah?s birth with respect to his relationship with God that caused him to have the kind of faith associated with the salvation of the soul.
c). So, the intriguing question would be, ?What happened?? ? can we possibly know?
d). Well, yes, I think we can ? the name that Enoch gives his son will certainly provide us with a strong indication. The name, ?Methuselah? literally means, ?When he is gone it will be sent? ? in other words, once Methuselah died ?it would be sent? ? and to find what the ?it? is we only have to look at the scriptures.
e). After Enoch was ?taken? Methuselah lived another 669 years and then died. The year of Methuselah?s death coincided with the 600th year of Noah?s life; and this is what the scripture records with regards to Noah - Ge 7:6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.
f). Upon the death of Methuselah then judgment is sent upon the earth in the form of the world wide flood of Noah?s day.
g). And so we can conclude that God had revealed to Enoch that destruction was to come upon the earth because of the wickedness and violence that filled it, and that this destruction would happen after the death of his son, hence the name ?Methuselah?, and that he, Enoch, would be taken alive into the heavens before the death of his son and therefore before the events surrounding this judgment would come to pass. And this is the foundational picture that would confirm for us a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.
h). Enoch acted by faith and this could only be in response to that which God had revealed to him. It is impossible to act by faith apart from acting in accordance with that which God has said, and that which God had said had to do with his removal from the earth and an impending judgment that would follow.
i). Not only this, but we also have the record of a prophecy given by Enoch which we find in the Book of Jude - Jude 1:14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 ? "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
j). So as we look at this prophecy let?s remember what the scriptures say about prophecy - 2Pe 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
k). Clearly then God had revealed to Enoch His plans and purposes for Man that would include a translation into heaven followed by a time of worldwide destruction.
l). Now here is the intriguing thing, although we could see Enoch?s prophecy relating to the coming flood of Noah, it is actually given in the scriptures with regards to the judgment of the apostates and false teachers who are described in Jude as - Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
m). These are the same individuals we saw in 2 Peter ?
2Pe 2:1 ? But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift
destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 ? By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
n). And then contextually within the Book of Hebrews these would be those described as follows - Heb 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
o). And all these that we see in Jude, Peter and Hebrews are Christians, those who have acted apart from faith and have been rejected as Cain was ? those pictured in Orpah, the experience of Lot and his family, the 5 foolish virgins etc.
p). Then in 2 Peter it is the historical reality of God?s past judgments that are given as witness to the certainty of the judgment that is to come upon the unfaithful Christian - 2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [tartarus] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;
q). And when is it that this judgment of Christians will take place? ? Immediately following the rapture of the Church at the Judgment Seat of Christ ? the very event that Enoch presents to us in the type.
r). So, we can conclude then, that in the few short verses that record the life of Enoch in Genesis Chapter 5 is contained a wealth of spiritual truth for those with eyes to see.
3). We will no doubt remember this from the end of Hebrews Chapter 10 - Heb 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
a). So, what is the promise that we see here? ? ?For yet a little while and He who is coming will come?? ? the rapture of the Church will happen.
b). As with Enoch, God has revealed to us His plans and purposes; He has revealed to us that there is a time of judgment coming upon those Christians who are found unfaithful and that a separation will take place between them and those who are faithful; and that there is a time of judgment coming upon Israel and the Gentile nations - And just as with Enoch He has revealed to us that those Christians still alive at the Lord?s coming will be taken alive into the heavens and those who have died in Christ will be resurrected, and all for a particular purpose - 2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;
c). And so, because of the certainty of the rapture of the Church to stand in judgment, the certainty of that judgment demonstrated in God?s actions in the past and the certainty of the events that will follow this judgment, we are now to live by faith, we are to progress from faith to faith, believing, having faith, to the saving of the soul and this is to be done with seriousness and urgency. And if there should be any of us who are still clinging to the things of this world, including the things of the Laodicean church, then the words of the angel to Lot should provide both encouragement and warning ? ?Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."?
d). Ro 13:10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 ? And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
e). As we reflect upon Enoch then, not only does he provide us with a type of the rapture of the church, but he is also a picture for us of the Christian who will believe, who will have faith, to the saving of the soul.
f). Through the experience of Enoch and giving an admonition to our own way of living we can see the following - Heb 12:1 ? Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our
faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
4). 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
a). Noah is the 3rd of the individuals that are presented to us at the beginning of Hebrews Chapter 11 and we will see from our verse that which should now be a common theme for us ? he was ?divinely warned of things not yet seen? ? he believed that which he was warned about and as a consequence ?moved with godly fear? ? his actions were governed by those things that could only be seen with the eyes of faith.
b). And this is exactly how it needs to be with us doesn?t it? It is believing God about that which He has said concerning the future ? things that cannot be seen or fathomed with the natural senses or the natural mind ? things that can only be seen by faith and then organizing our lives accordingly.
c). Again this is what we see with Noah, as a result of that which he believed he ?prepared an ark for the saving of his household? ? and because of his actions in building the ark he ?condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith?.
d). And this is the same righteousness we had looked at a couple of weeks back, exemplified in the experience of Abraham - Jas 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.
e). Now Noah is the 10th generation from Adam, and through the use of the number 10 we know this denotes a complete period of time. This is exactly the same spiritual truth that is taught through Enoch being the 7th generation from Adam; 7 being another number of completion. So, after a complete period of time, pictured in 7 generations, Enoch is taken alive into the heavens; then after another complete period of time, pictured in 10 generations, Noah is to pass through the flood.
f). After a complete period of time, 2 days; the 2000 years of this dispensation, the Church will be raptured ? then after another complete period of time, the final years of the previous dispensation ? Daniel?s 70th week ? Israel will pass through the Great Tribulation.
5). This is how the account of Noah begins in Genesis - Ge 5:25 ? Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. 26 After he begot
Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. 28 ? Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. 29 And he called his name Noah, saying, "This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed." 30 After he begot Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and had sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died. 32 And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
a). So then Methuselah was Noah?s grandfather and Enoch his great grandfather and of course Noah and Methuselah overlapped on the earth together by 600 years.
b). In our verses here we see that Lamech called his son?s name ?Noah? because, ?This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed?. And this reference to the cursed ground would of course take us back to Adam at the time of the fall - Ge 3:17 ? Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
c). So why would Lamech make a statement like this about Noah unless God had revealed something to him that would cause him to say it? And in the name that Lamech gives his son we might find our answer ? the name Noah means ?rest? ? looking not only to that time beyond the flood when there would be a new beginning, but also millennia into the future to that time beyond the Great Tribulation, of which the flood is a type, when the earth will enter the Day of the Lord, the Sabbath Rest of God.
d). We might well be amazed by exactly what these first humans through the lineage of Seth knew of God?s plans and purposes and how they would have to wait for the fulfillment of those plans millennia beyond the extent of their physical lives.
e). And it would most definitely be because of the extent that God?s purposes were know that we see the action of the enemy of our souls so close to the beginning of the human race.
6). Ge 6:1 ? Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
a). And so because of the mixing of that which should never be put together ? Ge 6:11 ? The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 ? And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
b). And here we will close for this week, returning to the days of Noah next time ? if the Lord is willing.