Hebrews 11:5

Saturday, 2 March 2019

By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5

The author now turns to Enoch. Very little is said of him in Scripture, and yet what is said speaks volumes. His life is recorded in Genesis 5. Other than a verse noting his birth, genealogical references in 1 Chronicles and Luke 3, and a reference to him in the book of Jude, this is all that is recorded of him –

“Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:21-24

The reference in Jude will note that Enoch was a prophet. It will also cite a portion of his prophecy. He is one of only two people in the Bible who never experienced physical death, the other being Elijah. With so little information on him, it is remarkable that he is recorded here in the Hall of Fame of the faithful. But despite the limited information about him, the author understood that the little said is actually of great importance. Like Melchizedek, a few words are enough to know a great deal.

And so, the author says, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death.” The word “taken away,” simply signifies a change of place, circumstance, etc. Paul uses it in Galatians when speaking of those who turned to a different gospel. And again, the author of Hebrews used it in verse 7:12 when speaking of the change of the priesthood from Aaron to Christ. Here he notes that Enoch was so changed “by faith.” His life was a walk of faith, and in this, the Lord changed him from the state he existed to one where he would “not see death.” In this, he “was not found because God had taken him.”

What must be inferred from the verses of Genesis, but which is made explicit here in Hebrews, is that Enoch did not die. The records of Genesis 5, and elsewhere, give the birth record, any life information deemed necessary to explain the life of the man, the number of years he lived, and the record of his death. By specifically not recording the death of Enoch, Moses was – in fact – implying that Enoch did not die. The author not only agrees with the implication, but states it as a fact. And this was done for a reason. As the author says, “for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

The Hebrew says “he walked with God.” It is a way of saying that his life was one which was pleasing to Him. Because of his faithful walk, God took him so that he would not see death. However, this does not appear to be all there is concerning Enoch. Inferences can be made.

As there are two that never died, Enoch and Elijah, and as there are references to two who stand before the Lord and minister to him, it can be inferred that Enoch and Elijah are those two. A particular reference to them is found in Zechariah 4 –

Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?” 12 And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?”
13 Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?
And I said, “No, my lord.”

14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:11-14

Two who are with the Lord are also found in Daniel 12 –

“Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” Daniel 12:5, 6

Daniel specifically records one on each side of the river. As the term “Hebrew” means “to cross over,” it appears to be a reference to one being a Jew, and the other a Gentile. Between them, above the waters, is a third. The symbolism is that of Christ being the One above the waters who unites the two (Jew and Gentile) as one. As this appears to be what is being conveyed, then it makes it clear that the gospel message in the end times tribulation period is still being called out to the whole world, Jew and Gentile. This is because the same two who were seen in Zechariah 4 are also seen in Revelation 11 –

“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.” Revelation 11:3-6

As with Melchizedek, much can be inferred from a few scattered references elsewhere in Scripture. Some of it is made explicit by the New Testament writers, other tidbits must be inferred. However, it appears that Enoch is still walking with his God, and he will be back to fulfill that walk, along with Elijah, in the days ahead.

Life application: Simply stated, Enoch had faith and his faith was pleasing to God. And so it will be for all those who are alive and have put their trust in Jesus at His coming – they will never experience physical death. The precedent for this future moment was set in Enoch and Elijah. Enoch isn’t a Hebrew and Elijah is, and yet both were taken away because they pleased God. This pattern was certainly given in part to demonstrate to us that it is not heritage, but faith, that will bring about our eventual glorification. It is believed the world will see more of Enoch and Elijah during the tribulation period when they come to testify to the nations, but until that day Enoch is remembered by us as a true father of the faithful. May we, like him, walk with God all of our days.

O Lord, what a wonderful gift you have given us in the story of Enoch. In it, you have shown us that faith is what is pleasing to You. You have also shown us that by faith we can walk in harmony with You. Thank You for this wonderful example found in the person of our ancestor Enoch. Amen.

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