The Bible in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Reepicheep Goes to Aslan’s Country
I’m back! *smile* And today, we’re discussing Reepicheep’s last appearance in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader for the God in Narnia Series. If you missed any (or all) of the earlier posts, you can find them all here!) Enjoy!
About two o’clock in the afternoon, well victualled and watered (though they thought they would need neither food nor drink) and with Reepicheep’s coracle on board, the boat pulled away from the Dawn Treader to row through the endless carpet of lilies. The Dawn Treader flew all her flags and hung out her shields to honour their departure. Tall and big and homelike she looked from their low position turn and begin rowing slowly westward. Yet though Lucy shed a few tears, she could not feel it as much as you might have expected. The light, the silence, the tingling smell of the Silver Sea, even (in some odd way) the loneliness itself, were too exciting.
There was no need to row, for the current drifted them steadily to the east. None of them slept or ate. All that night and all next day they glided eastward, and when the third day dawned -- with a brightness you or I could not bear even if we had dark glasses on -- they saw a wonder ahead. It was as if a wall stood up between them and the sky, a greenish-grey, trembling, shimmering wall. Then up came the sun, and at its first rising they saw it through the wall. Then up came the sun, and at its first rising they saw it through the wall and it turned into wonderful rainbow colours. Then they knew that the wall was really a long, tall wave -- a wave endlessly fixed in one place as you may often see at the edge of a waterfall. It seemed to be about thirty feet high, and the current was gliding them swiftly towards it. You might have supposed they would have thought of their danger. They didn’t. I don’t think anyone could have in their position. For now they saw something not only behind the wave but behind the sun. They could not have seen even the sun if their eyes had not been strengthened by the water of the Last Sea. But now they could look at the rising sun --was a range of mountains. It was so high that either they never saw the top of it or they forgot it. None of them remembers seeing any sky in that direction. And the mountains must really have been outside the world. For any mountains even a quarter of a twentieth of that height ought to have had ice and snow on them. But these were warm and green and full of forests and waterfalls however high you looked. And suddenly there came a breeze from the east, tossing the top of the wave into foamy shapes and ruffling the smooth water all round them. It lasted only a second or so but what it brought them in that second sound, a musical sound. Edmund and Eustace would never talk about it afterwards. Lucy could only say, “It would break your heart.” “Why,” said I, “was it so sad?” “Sad!! No,” said Lucy.
No one in that boat doubted that they were seeing beyond the End of the World into Aslan’s country.
At that moment, with a crunch, the boat ran aground. The water was too shallow now for it. “This,” said Reepicheep, “is where I go on along.”
They did not even try to stop him, for everything now felt as if it had been fated or had happened before. They helped him to lower his little coracle. Then he took off his sword (“I shall need it no more,” he said) and flung it far away across the lilied sea. Where it fell it stood upright with the hilt above the surface. Then he bade them goodbye, trying to be sad for their sakes; but he was quivering with happiness. Lucy, for the first and last time, did what she had always wanted to do, taking him in her arms and caressing him. Then hastily he got into his coracle and took his paddle, and the current caught it and away he went, very black against the lilies. But no lilies grew on the wave; it was a smooth green slope. The coracle went more and more quickly, and beautifully it rushed up the wave’s side. For one split second they saw its shape and Reepicheep’s on the very top. Then it vanished, and since that moment no one can truly claim to have seen Reepicheep the Mouse. But my belief is that he came safe to Aslan’s country and is alive there to this day.
Reepicheep, the brave, over-sized mouse, is most definitely the Enoch of the Narnian Chronicles. Who was Enoch? He was the first type and shadow of the rapture or “catching away” of the saints in the Old Testament.
Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch….Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:18, 21-24)
Aslan’s country is most obviously Heaven. And in case there was any doubt, hop on over from “Jack’s” The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to The Great Divorce where Heaven is described in much the same way, with many of the same characteristics.
For those who are unclear, the rapture is a concept continually found in the Bible. Like the words “Trinity” or “abortion” (the condemnation thereof) “rapture” is another word not specifically found in the Bible, yet is made abundantly clear in Scripture. As aforementioned, Enoch walked with God and was no more. He was on earth, did not die, yet transitioned--entirely--to Heaven. Elijah, “a man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17) was ushered from earth to Heaven in a fiery chariot, again, without dying. In the New Testament, we hear the Apostle Paul say things like,
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:51-53)
Note: The rapture school of thought, as the Bible teaches, shares with us that we who belong to God (sooner than we can imagine!) will be “caught up” and “gathered together” in the sky, changed from corruptible, mortal forms to incorruptible, glorious, immortal forms fit for Heaven and eternal life. This, according to Scripture and all types and shadows of the Old Testament, will happen before the seven-year Tribulation where the ultimate AntiChrist will rise to power and dominate the entire earth. Just as Noah and his family were saved from the Flood, just as Lot and his family were saved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, just as Jacob and his family were saved from the famine in the land, just as Daniel was saved from the lion’s den, and just as the infants Moses and Daniel were saved from the wrath of a godless monarch, so will the Bride of Christ be saved from the godless Time of Trouble.
Back in the Narnian Chronicles-and we’ll touch on this when we discuss The Last Battle--but Jill (who we’ll meet in The Silver Chair) and Eustace; Tirian, the last king of Narnia; Jewel, the Unicorn; and everyone in their little band of fighters were in a sense “raptured” into Aslan’s country. They never die, yet the waltz into the eternal world. (I’m trying not to give away too much here for those who haven’t already read it.) Granted, the entrance of the characters in The Last Battle to Aslan’s Country was not nearly as peaceful as Reepicheep’s coracle ride over the waves, yet the concept thereof is the same.
C.S. Lewis gets pretty darn deep when you truly recognize and delve into the layers of his works. And just as with Enoch, the seventh from Adam, so was it equally important (either consciously or subconsciously) for Jack to implant the type and shadow of Reepicheep’s rapture before we see it again in the final book of the Series.
And when the time comes for us to meet our Maker, like good old Reep, we too shall be in awe of the Great Lion and embark on the greatest, “neverending story” of our everlasting lives!