‘ ...God took him’
Cliff Jones, Cardiff, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
We read in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 5 that, ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God’. Enoch and Elijah were godly men of great faith, and did not pass through death but were taken directly to be with the Lord in heaven, Gen. 5. 24; 2 Kgs. 2. 11. In a coming day two very different men, the Beast and the False Prophet, will not die either but will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire, Rev. 19. 20. They will be the first to enter that dreadful place.
Enoch as a type of the raptured believer
Enoch’s translation prefigures the return of the Lord for believers. Those believers who are alive at the coming of the Lord for His saints will not be found for they, together with those believers who have already died, will have been taken to be with the Lord for ever. As to the time that Enoch was taken to heaven it was before God sent the judgement of the flood, and so he is a type of the saints who will be raptured to meet the Lord in the air as taught in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 13 to 17. This is clearly before God sends the judgements of the tribulation period which will begin shortly after this rapture.
Noah and Enoch as typical of God’s dealings with men
Noah and the seven people with him in the ark were preserved during the flood and are a type of the Jewish remnant that will be preserved and yet go through the great tribulation.
When Enoch prophesied saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints’ he was referring to the Lord’s coming with His saints to judge the ungodly, Jude 14, 15. It is clear then that Enoch’s experience when he was translated, that is when God took him, prefigures the rapture, which is the first stage of the Lord’s second coming. Enoch’s prophecy, which was the first ever given through a man, refers to the second stage of the Lord’s second coming, when He will come to the earth in glory.
In Genesis chapter 4 the posterity of Adam is traced through Cain to Lamech. In Genesis chapter 5 his posterity is traced through Seth to Noah. Noah was the great grandson of Enoch, and we read of Noah that he, ‘walked with God’, Gen. 6. 9. Enoch, whose name means ‘dedicated’, or ‘initiated’, was ‘the seventh from Adam’, Jude 14. Using the information given in Genesis 5 we can calculate that Adam lived for 308 years after Enoch was born, and so Enoch might have had the benefit of what Adam would have been able to tell him concerning the nature, attributes and ways of God. It is said of Enoch that, like Noah, he too, ‘walked with God’, Gen. 5. 22, 24, and his life can be contrasted with that of Lamech who was also seventh in line from Adam. Lamech was boastful, a bigamist and a murderer, Gen. 4. 19-24.
Death, which is both physical death and the second death, which is eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire, are consequences of sin, Rom. 5. 12. Eight times in Genesis 5 we read the words, ‘and he died’. Enoch, however, was the exception, for of him we read, ‘and he was not; for God took him’, Gen. 5. 24.
Enoch, his steadfast testimony
Enoch lived for 365 years. His was the shortest lifetime recorded in Genesis chapter 5. He was 65 years old when Methuselah was born, and we read that, ‘Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years’, Gen. 5. 22. For 300 years he walked with God, and two cannot walk together if they are not in agreement, Amos 3. 3. Enoch lived in conscious, consistent and habitual communion with God.
Enoch walked with God, learning of Him, obeying, witnessing and testifying for Him in days when evil prevailed on every hand, just as it does in the days in which we live. It would seem that Enoch was made aware of coming judgement for he named his son ‘Methuselah’, Gen. 5. 21, which might be translated as ‘his death will bring it’, or ‘when he is dead it will be sent’. The ‘it’ can be assumed as a reference to coming judgement. Methuselah lived 969 years, and it was at the end of the life of this man, who lived for longer than any other, and whose name includes a reference to his death, that the judgement came. We know that after this God sent the flood.
Enoch and walking with God
Enoch believed God and lived a life that was separated from the evil world around him. He was dedicated to obeying and serving God. He walked with God in such a remarkable way that God Himself declared that he pleased Him. How much the more then for us in the day in which we live. Empowered by the Holy Spirit who dwells in every believer we are well able to regulate and control our manner of life in the light of what God has graciously revealed to us in the scriptures.
The time when the Lord will return for His people draws nearer every day. We should concentrate on the things that matter and appreciate the wisdom of walking with God in this world while we have the opportunity. Soon, ‘we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ . . . So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God’, Rom. 14. 10, 12. All who stand before the judgement seat will have been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and will be judged there not for any sins but for things done in service for the Lord during their earthly lives, 2 Cor. 5. 10.
Looking to a day of account and review Living in anticipation of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of appearing before His judgement seat, concentrates the mind. We avoid drifting aimlessly through life for we know that there our ‘salvation’ will not be in question, but ‘service’ with a view to rewards that will be given or withheld reflecting the faithfulness or otherwise of that service. These truths encourage us to use our time and other resources in accordance with the will of God and to His glory alone. We should take great care regarding the things we do and say so that, ‘when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming’, 1 John 2. 28.
Enoch lived in a period that preceded the pouring out of judgement by a holy, righteous, sin-hating God. We too live at a time when judgement is being withheld only out of the love, longsuffering, grace and mercy of God, 2 Pet. 3. 9. Opportunities are being given to people to repent and be saved. It is behoven upon those of us who are believers to live lives that are separated from the world and dedicated to God, 2 Cor. 6. 14, 17. Now is the time to be witnessing, communicating to others and showing to them the love of God who did not spare His only Son, but delivered Him up for us all, Rom. 8. 32.
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Enoch was a man of outstanding faith and he pleased God; his life and works were evidence of his faith. To please God, our deeds and words must reveal the reality of our faith, Heb. 11. 5; Jas. 2. 17.