Hebrews 11:5: "By faith Enoch was translated so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For before his translation he obtained the testimony that he had been well pleasing to God." How was Enoch raptured? He was raptured because of his faith. What did Enoch do to make himself well pleasing to God? He walked with God; before his rapture he obtained the testimony that he had been well pleasing to God. He was well pleasing to God because he walked with God, and he was translated because of his faith. Every one of us should walk to such an extent that we become well pleasing to God, and every one of us should believe in Him to the extent that we become raptured.
Every believer will be raptured. But the ones who will be raptured first are surely the overcoming believers. There is no such thing as the whole church being raptured. Only those who are prepared and who wait for the Lord watchfully will be raptured. If you do not have faith, you will not be raptured. You must believe that you will be raptured, and then you will be raptured. If you do not believe that you will be raptured, you will not be raptured. You have to ask God to give you a faith in the rapture so that you can believe that you will be raptured!
It is amazing that Enoch alone had this faith. He had this faith because he walked with God. Faith is connected to the conscience. Once the conscience has a crack, faith will be damaged. Once the conscience has a hole, faith will leak out. Once faith leaks out, one will not be able to be raptured. Many believers cannot believe in the rapture because they have never walked with God. If we walk with God day by day, He will give us faith for the rapture. Many times when our spiritual condition is good, we are comforted at the thought of the Lord’s coming. This is one side of the story. Does this mean that we are believing in ourselves? No, we are not, for there is still another side of the story.
The word in Hebrews 11:6 follows that of verse 5. Verse 6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him, for he who comes forward to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." This verse speaks of two kinds of believing. The first is that we have to believe that God is, that is, to believe that God is indeed as He says He is. The second is that we have to believe that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. From this we see that there were two steps to Enoch’s faith. First, he believed that God is who He says He is, and second, he sought God’s presence diligently and believed that God would reward him. Enoch surely sought to be delivered from the coming tribulation. This is why God rewarded his seeking with the rapture.
Have we ever prayed for God to deliver us from the coming great tribulation? Luke 21:36 says, "But be watchful at every time, beseeching that you would prevail to escape all these things which are about to happen and stand before the Son of Man." Many people think that this passage tells us that God will deliver those who are watchful and beseeching at every time from the coming great tribulation. But that is not what this passage says. This is a prayer—a prayer that beseeches in watchfulness at all times for God to deliver one out of the coming great tribulation. This also was Enoch’s prayer. Those who pray this way will be raptured. Hence, for us to wait for the Lord’s return, we must diligently beseech God to deliver us from the coming great tribulation. Day by day, we should believe that the rapture is near. We should have good conduct so that our conscience will not condemn us and so that we can single-heartedly wait for the rapture. We should believe in God and beseech Him this way. If we do this every day, we will surely be raptured. Now is the time for God to prepare the Enochs. How many of our prayers are answered? Do we believe that we will be raptured? We should at least have an answer to one of our prayers which is the prayer for deliverance from the coming great tribulation. If we have never prayed this prayer, we have to pray it now until God answers us.
Concerning the matter of walking with God, it is well if we have a good beginning, and it is good if we have a good continuation. But the most important thing is that we have a good ending. Many people begin by walking with God, but unfortunately, they are not able to enter into glory! Many people are afraid when they hear about the great tribulation and the judgment. But they do not have a good ending. The rapture is not a historical event that happens suddenly. Rather, we reach the state of being raptured day by day. The twinkling of an eye in 1 Corinthians 15 refers to the change of our body; it does not refer to the change of our life. Rapture is a walking together, not a flying together; we walk with the Lord into glory. One brother said that a Christian’s experience in the Lord is sequential; first the death, then the resurrection, and then the rapture. One passes from one stage to another and enters into glory at the end. Many times, it is very difficult to obey in some matters. But the more we die, the more the Lord’s life will fill us up, and the more we will advance towards the rapture. I say again: the rapture is not a historical event; it is a gradual rapture which consummates in glory.
Enoch walked with God for three hundred years. By the time he was raptured, he had become well-acquainted with God. One brother said that when many arrive in heaven, they will find God very unfamiliar, for they have never walked with Him on earth. We must walk with God day by day and step by step until we are fully sanctified. The only unfinished part of sanctification should be with our body and not with our spirit. Our spirit must be ready today. May God be gracious to us so that we can walk with God like Enoch did. If Enoch could do it, so can we.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 17: Notes on Scriptural Messages (1), Chapter 7, by Watchman Nee)