By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death…he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Hebrews 11:5

The Genesis record concerning Enoch should speak to us of our own troubled times—for that is the purpose of the Word of God. It should be our concern that we hear and that we obey!

The faith and deportment of the man Enoch compose a vivid picture—a powerful object lesson—to encourage every believer in his or her faith. There is only one conclusion to be drawn—Enoch was translated into the presence of God because of his faith, and thus he escaped death!

It is my strong conviction that Enoch’s experience of translation is a type, or preview, of the coming rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ, described in the Scriptures.

It is evident that there was no funeral for Enoch. Perhaps members of his family did not fully understand his walk with God, but they could answer with the facts! “He is gone! We thought he was extreme in his beliefs but now he is gone, and we are still here in a troubled world!”

Lord, some days it is especially good to know that there will be an eternal reward for those who walk in close fellowship with You.[1]

The second hero of faith is Enoch. Whereas Abel exemplifies worshiping by faith—which must always come first—Enoch exemplifies walking by faith.

God never intended works as a way for men to come to Him. He intended works to be a result of salvation, not a way of salvation. At no time has man been able to approach God on the basis of works. Rather, God has always intended that works be a product of the salvation men receive when they approach Him on the basis of faith.

And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other 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. (Gen. 5:21–24)

Here we see a new concept in the book of Genesis. Abel knew what it was to worship by faith, but he did not really understand the concept of walking with God. Revelation in Scripture is progressive. Abel received some revelation, and Enoch received more.

Adam and Eve had walked and talked with God in the Garden, but when they fell and were thrown out of the Garden, they ceased to walk with Him. The ultimate destiny of man is reinstituted with Enoch, who stands as an illustration for all men of what it is to be in fellowship with God. In Enoch the true destiny of man is again reached, as he experienced the fellowship with God that Adam and Eve had forfeited.

I believe Enoch’s faith included everything Abel’s included. Enoch had to have offered a sacrifice to God, symbolic of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, because sacrifice is the only way into God’s presence. He could not have walked with God unless he had first come to God, and a person cannot come to God apart from the shedding of blood. The principle has not changed from the days of Abel and Enoch until today.

Hebrews 11:5–6 shows us five features in Enoch’s life that were pleasing to God: he believed that God is; he sought God’s reward; he walked with God; he preached for God; and he entered into God’s presence.[2]

11:5 Sometime during his life Enoch must have received a promise from God that he would go to heaven without dying. Up to that time everyone had died—sooner or later. There was no record of anyone ever having been taken away without dying. But God promised and Enoch believed. It was the most sane, rational thing that Enoch could do; what is more reasonable than that the creature should believe his Creator?

And so it happened! Enoch walked with the invisible God for three hundred years (Gen. 5:21–24) and then he walked into eternity. Before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. The life of faith always pleases God; He loves to be trusted.[3]

5 Among the human ancestors listed before the flood, Enoch stands out as special. The very brief account of him (Ge 5:21–24) includes twice over the statement that he “walked with God,” an accolade he shares only with Noah (Ge 6:9). He is also distinguished by the relatively short span of his life (365 years compared with an average of some 900 before the flood), which is explained by the enigmatic phrase “he was not, for God took him,” the LXX version of which our author quotes: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away” (TNIV rightly puts these words in quotation marks). In Jewish tradition, this was taken to mean he bypassed death, as did Elijah (2 Ki 2:11) and (according to tradition, though not according to Dt 34:5–7) Moses. As one who was taken alive to heaven, Enoch became a significant figure in Jewish thought, and a rich variety of late Jewish apocalyptic material is presented as Enoch’s accounts of his visions. (There are three lengthy apocryphal “Books of Enoch,” the first of which consists of material probably originating between 200 BC and AD 100.) Our author explains this special privilege of Enoch by the fact that he is twice said to have “pleased God” (the LXX version of “walked with God”). In this case too, therefore, “faith” consists in a close relationship with God that linked earth with heaven in a single continuum.[4]

[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 304–306). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2195–2196). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 150–151). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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