A Trip Out of This World

Have you ever thought about being an astronaut? Not just being a stargazer with your feet firmly planted on the ground, but to actually travel among the stars and galaxies? The Bible tells us of a few good men who have been given this privilege. Who were they and what qualified them to be the world’s first space travelers?

A Life of Continual Perfecting

Enoch was the first man to travel in space. This is what the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy tell us about him.

“And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:24

“Enoch continued to grow more heavenly while communing with God. … The Lord loved Enoch because he steadfastly followed Him and abhorred iniquity and earnestly sought heavenly knowledge, that he might do His will perfectly. He yearned to unite himself still more closely to God, whom he feared, reverenced, and adored. God would not permit Enoch to die as other men, but sent His angels to take him to heaven without seeing death.” The Story of Redemption, 59

“His faith waxed stronger, his love became more ardent, with the lapse of centuries. To him prayer was as the breath of the soul. He lived in the atmosphere of heaven. …

“For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of heart, that he might be in harmony with heaven. For three centuries he had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued on earth, continued, and he passed through the gates of the Holy City, the first from among men to enter there.” Reflecting Christ, 320

What qualified Enoch for translation? He abhorred iniquity and continually grew more heavenly, earnestly seeking to perfectly do God’s will. He purposed to unite himself more closely to God.

We also find that Mrs. White had occasion to meet and talk with Enoch during one of her visions.

“Wings were given me … . Then I was taken to a world which had seven moons. There I saw good old Enoch, who had been translated. … I asked him if this was the place he was taken to from the earth. He said, ‘It is not; the city is my home, and I have come to visit this place.’ He moved about the place as if perfectly at home.” Early Writings, 39, 40

A Life Restored

For 40 years, God had prepared Moses to lead His children out of Egypt into the promised land of Canaan. For another 40 years, he led the children of Israel through the wilderness. He withstood their rebellions, their whining, and their anger. And through it all, he remained faithful and obedient to God, until he, the meekest man in the world, was driven by frustration to strike the rock in disobedience to God’s instruction. With a contrite heart, Moses confessed his sin, and he was forgiven, but denied the privilege of leading the people into the promised land.

He stood before the congregation and spoke to them his last words.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him; for He is thy life, and the length of thy days. That thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” The Signs of the Times, March 24, 1881

That same day God commanded Moses to go to Mount Nebo.

“When Moses had ended his last words to Israel, he turned from the congregation, and in silence and alone he made his way up the mountain side. … To Nebo, the highest point on that ridge. Upon that lonely height he stood, and gazed with undimmed eyes upon the scene spread out on every side. …

“Angels of God presented to Moses a panoramic view of the land of promise. Every part of the country was spread out before him, not faint and uncertain in the dim distance, but standing out clear, distinct, and beautiful to his delighted vision. …

“As the glories of the promised land faded from his sight, a scene of deeper interest passed before him. He was permitted to look down the stream of time, and to behold the first advent of our Saviour. He saw Jesus as a babe at Bethlehem. He heard the voices of the angelic host break forth in that glad song of praise to God and peace on earth. He beheld Christ’s humble life in Nazareth, His ministry of love and sympathy and healing, His rejection by a proud and unbelieving nation, the agony in Gethsemane, the betrayal, the cruel mockery and scourging, and that last crowning act of nailing Him to the tree. Moses saw that as he had lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of God must be lifted upon the cross, to give His life a sacrifice for men … .

“Then, like a tired warrior, he lay down to rest. ‘So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.’ …

“Satan exulted that he had succeeded in causing Moses to sin against God. For his transgression, Moses came under the dominion of death. Had his life not been marred with that one sin, in failing to give to God the glory of bringing water from the rock, he would have entered the promised land, and would have been translated to heaven without seeing death. But the servant of God was not long permitted to remain in the tomb. Christ Himself with the angels who buried Moses, came down from heaven, and called forth the sleeping saint, and bore him up in triumph to the city of God.” Ibid., March 31, 1881

Romans 5 tells us that death reigned from Adam to Moses. Moses was the first human being to die and be resurrected. He was also given an immortal, sinless body at his resurrection.

Moses didn’t need a spaceship. Christ Himself woke Moses and took him, with a retinue of angels to the city of God.

A Life of Perseverance

“Elijah the Tishbite … entered upon his mission confident in God’s purpose to prepare the way before him and to give him abundant success. The word of faith and power was upon his lips, and his whole life was devoted to the work of reform. His was the voice of one crying in the wilderness to rebuke sin and press back the tide of evil. And while he came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message offered the balm of Gilead to the sin-sick souls of all who desired to be healed.” Prayer, 133

A man of prayer and enduring faith, God used Elijah to deliver—during one of the most grave crises in the history of the children of Israel—a message of much-needed repentance among His people and judgment to King Ahab. We all know the Bible account of Elijah and the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel, and the extraordinary and miraculous display of God’s power.

“Elijah had walked with God. His work had been painful and trying, for the Lord through him had reproved the sins of Israel. Elijah was a prophet of God; yet he was compelled to flee from place to place to save his life. His own nation hunted him like a wild beast that they might destroy him. But God translated Elijah. Angels bore him in glory and triumph to heaven.” Early Writings, 162

“In the desert, in loneliness and discouragement, Elijah had said that he had had enough of life and had prayed that he might die. But the Lord in His mercy had not taken him at his word. There was yet a great work for Elijah to do; and when his work was done, he was not to perish in discouragement and solitude. Not for him the descent into the tomb, but the ascent with God’s angels to the presence of His glory.” Heaven, 102

“Suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them [Elijah and Elisha]; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” 2 Kings 2:11

Elijah didn’t need a spaceship. God sent a band of angels in a whirlwind to carry him up to heaven.

The Perfect Example

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He went back to heaven to present His sacrifice to His Father. That same day, He returned and remained 40 days with His disciples before He was taken up from the Mount of Olives.

“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men [angels] stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’ ” Acts 1:9–11

“They saw Moses, representing those who will be raised from the dead at the time of the second advent; and there also stood Elijah, representing those who at the close of earth’s history will be changed from mortal to immortal and be translated to heaven without seeing death.” Heaven, 103

Christ ascended from Olivet. He didn’t need a spaceship. He slowly began to rise, not subject to the law of gravity. He engaged in interplanetary travel without any worldly assistance. Jesus was received into a cloud, disappeared from sight, and went up into the kingdom of heaven.

Soon-to-Be Space Travelers

Jesus is coming again soon, in clouds of glory surrounded by an innumerable number of angels to take His children home with Him for eternity. What do the examples of Enoch, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus tell us about this glorious event?

The purpose of this 6,000-years-long controversy is two-fold:

  • to prepare a people, restoring the image of God in those whom He created, and
  • to demonstrate the heinousness of sin and its ultimate and utter destruction.

“The Lord here teaches a lesson of the greatest importance by the translation of Enoch, a descendant of fallen Adam, that all would be rewarded, who by faith would rely upon the promised Sacrifice and faithfully obey His commandments. …

“Enoch, separating himself from the world, and spending much of his time in prayer and in communion with God, represents God’s loyal people in the last days, who will be separate from the world.” The Story of Redemption, 59, 60

“To such communion God is calling us. As was Enoch’s must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord’s second coming.” Reflecting Christ, 320

“God shut Moses out of Canaan, to teach a lesson which should never be forgotten—that He requires exact obedience … .” Heaven, 101

“Moses was a type of Christ. He received the words from the mouth of God, and spoke them to the people. God saw fit to discipline Moses in the school of affliction and poverty, before he could be prepared to lead the armies of Israel in their travels from Egypt to the earthly Canaan. The Israel of God who are now passing on to the heavenly Canaan have a Captain who needed no earthly teaching to perfect Him for His mission as a divine Leader. He manifested no human weakness or imperfection; yet He died to obtain for us an entrance into the promised land.” The Signs of the Times, March 31, 1881

When Jesus returns to this earth, the Bible says that all of His children, those who have died and those who are living, are going to take a space trip. It says, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Those who have died in Christ, those who were His disciples and followers, will rise first. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” Verse 17

Notice that when He comes, there will be a shout, and when Jesus shouts, graves all over the world will open and the dead in Christ will be alive again. Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28, 29

Paul said, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:50, first part. A person cannot go to the kingdom of God in their present and sinful body. His body must be changed to an immortal, sinless body. He said, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep [we will not all die], but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Verses 51, 52

This immortal, sinless body is not bound by the law of gravity and will be able to lift off and travel into space. “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20, 21

There are just two things needed to make this trip—a sanctified character and a new, transformed body. There is no need for reservations, visas, tickets, luggage, rental cars, planes, ships, or trains. The perfecting of character will have been done, and that perfect character will be carried in the heart as the new body rises up into the clouds to meet Jesus.

“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:30, 31

People who look to the world do many things to look better. They visit their barber or beautician, they go to a tailor or dressmaker, buy cosmetics, and maybe even have a face lift or some other cosmetic surgery. All this is done to make the outward man look more pleasing. All the while they remain inside the sinful, mortal creatures they are.

But God offers a new, sin-free character and a new body that will never age to everyone who is willing to believe in and surrender their will to Him. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12

Friend, sin does not have to control your life. You can be free from your evil habits and sinful ways. The Bible says that if you receive Jesus, He will give you the power to be victorious. The Holy Spirit will transform you, on the inside, to become a new person, and that changes everything. If you want to be a space traveler, you must surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and ask Him for a new heart and a perfect character. Only God—because of His Son, and through the working of the Holy Spirit—can do this for you.

Have you opened the door of your heart to let in the heavenly Guest who wants to transform you into His likeness as you cooperate with the Holy Spirit? To experience the greatest space trip ever, we must be born again. The kingdom of God, a land with no sorrow, no sickness nor death, no pain, no suffering, no disappointment, is awaiting its citizens.

“A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 332

“The character we cultivate, the attitude we assume today, is fixing our future destiny. We are all making a choice, either to be with the blessed, inside the City of Light, or to be with the wicked, outside the city. …

“When Christ comes, the balances of heaven will weigh the character, and decide whether it is pure, sanctified, and holy. …

“Happiness is the result of holiness, and conformity to the will of God. Those who would be saints in heaven, must first be saints upon the earth; for when we leave this earth, we shall take our character with us … .” Reflecting Christ, 303

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at 316-788-5559.