Summary: God will remove certain individuals from earth just as they are alive and well and He will take them up or to Heaven for some undisclosed purpose. These abductees are still human but not eternal and God will use them at a later date.
The title of today’s message may be one that some of you have a hard time putting into context.
By taken away I do not mean that my wife has called Tom Millard’s co-workers to come and pick me up and take me away to that special hospital in St. Thomas Ontario.
While she may have considered that course of action in the past I do not discount that she will act upon the impulse at some time in the future.
No, what we want to look at today is how people mentioned in the Bible have been and will be “Taken Away” from earth to heaven.
It is a complicated subject that can also be controversial as there are many opinions concerning who is taken and just where they were taken to.
To further muddy the waters Christian scholars today still differ on the finer points of this “Taken Away” subject.
For those reasons we will not get into the so called finer points and instead we will look at what the Bible has to say and we will leave opinion out of it.
This passage of scripture which refers to the subject of being taken away happens to fall on our liturgical calendar for this Sunday so I did not want to skirt around it.
On top of that my wife reminded me that this past Wednesday was Extra-terrestrial Culture day.
It is celebrated in a big way in of all places Roswell New Mexico to recognize the past, present and future relationship of extra-terrestrials in our world.
Extraterrestrial Abductions Day is observed on March 20, 2015. It is also called Alien Abduction Day. The skies are carefully watched on this day by those expecting or wishing to be abducted by an alien life form.
I say all this to exaggerate the point that our current culture is deeply fascinated by this subject and I want to show you that the Bible speaks about people being taken away long before Stephen Spielberg ever made the movie E.T.
Today we will look at Enoch, Elijah, Moses, Jesus and Christians both dead and alive in an effort to sort out who has, is and will be taken away.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Here we have Jesus the Son of God clearly telling us that Heaven is for real and that He is coming back for us some day to take us to be with Him there.
Not too many people in Christendom have a problem with what Jesus is saying in this passage but they do dispute the how and when of our being taken away.
But we are staying away from the debaters and will instead examine the word of God.
The Bible records that:
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
Here we have the New Testament confirming the Old Testament about Enoch.
You will notice that the Bible does not tell us how Enoch was taken away, just that God took him.
You will also notice that the Bible does not say that Enoch died.
In fact the New Testament reference makes it a point to tell us in no uncertain words that Enoch did not die – yet.
But he was translated from earth – taken away - by God to a place called – Up.(Heaven?)
Now we have a theological issue here that Enoch’s disappearance creates.
If Enoch died and was given eternal life it would mean that Jesus was not the first to die and rise again.
That would make Christianity a lie.
The Bible says;
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.