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This article is from
Creation 41(4):24–25, October 2019

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Enoch: The man who walked with God

by

Enoch

The genealogy in Genesis 5 repeats the melancholy refrain, “and he died”. While the lifespans recorded are much longer than any person today experiences, the continuation of death is the emphasis. No one in the list makes it to one thousand years old before succumbing to the curse of death—with one startling exception.

Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, was born in the seventh generation from Adam (Genesis 5:21–24). Like Noah, Enoch is said to have walked with God (Genesis 6:9). The Septuagint elaborates what this means when it says that he “pleased God”. The patriarchs of Israel are said to have walked before the Lord (Genesis 48:15), as David also did (1 Kings 3:6).

Walking with the Lord implies a righteous life, and faith in God. Even though the Mosaic Law had not been given, there would have been some sort of sacrificial system (see Genesis 4:2–5), and some basic moral code. Scripture implies that Enoch lived in line with whatever revelation he had. We also know that he had faith, because “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Enoch’s entry in the genealogy does not end in his death; rather, Scripture says, “and he was not, for God took him”. While non-biblical writings speculate about what Enoch did to make him worthy of this, and how exactly God took him, Scripture does not satisfy our curiosity.

However, we can say that Enoch was not ‘special’; he was a fallen son of Adam and Eve just like all the other people who have ever lived and died. He sinned, and was in need of the salvation that would come through the promised Offspring of the Woman (Genesis 3:15, Matthew 1:18–23). He did not make himself worthy of walking with God by being holy enough on his own—no human can do that. Rather, God was pleased to do something very unusual in Enoch’s life, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear from this narrative on its own.

When we look at the wider context of Scripture, however, perhaps God took Enoch to foreshadow the future defeat of death—to show that “and he died” will not have the final say over the fate of the people of God. God remains sovereign over death, and we see a glimpse of things to come in Enoch.

We see Enoch mentioned three times in the New Testament. He is included in the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3, which affirms his historicity. The author of Hebrews says, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.

And Jude says, “It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him’” (Jude 14–15). This is one of very few places where the Bible quotes information from a non-biblical source.

What can we learn from Enoch?

Enoch teaches us that salvation worked essentially the same way for everyone, even before the Mosaic covenant. Trusting God and believing His revelation about Himself was always central. Enoch also points to the reality that death is not the natural order of things, and that God will one day put an end to it. Those who are in Christ are promised the resurrection.

Does the quotation of a source in Scripture make it Scripture?

Some wonder whether Jude’s quotation of the Book of Enoch authenticates it as Scripture. However, this is not the only time when Scripture quotes a non-biblical author. Paul quotes two Greek philosophers in his Areopagus address in Acts 17, and he certainly does not mean to canonize them into Scripture. Also, sometimes when a NT author quotes Scripture, he references specifically the Septuagint translation which is different from the Masoretic text. In these cases, the quote becomes part of Holy Scripture because it is now part of a biblical book, but the source it came from remains non-biblical.

Readers’ comments

Lucas W.
I would just like to point out that when Jesus said that 'no man ascendeth to the Father,' the difference is that Christ was the only one to ascend Himself, the others were taken. Enoch is in a different class than Christ (obviously) and even Moses, but it is because God had a special purpose for him (meaning I agree with the author). Just as everything else the Holy Spirit chose to include in the Old Testament, this story is meant to illustrate either Christ or His Divine Purpose for the ages. Enoch is a picture, shadow, type of something, although the story is actually true in history. The Book of Enoch was not included in the canon because it lacks this essential property (as well as others). It does not testify of Christ the way the OT does. It lacks the depth and complexity required for proof of Divine Authorship. Great article!
Russell L.
Concerning whether or not what Jobs three friends said was Scripture or not, it was but this does not mean that what they said was truth. Everything in the Scripture that the Scripture affirms as truth is true. Elihu refutes their words as not being true and is not reprimanded by God. It's important to study all of the Scripture to gain a proper understanding of it's truths.
Lita Cosner
Of course Scripture records people saying things that aren't true and so those things should be interpreted in context.
Chuck R.
A prerequisite to salvation is to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit and given the gift of faith and no doubt those great men were Spirit-led as well as all the contributors to the Bible and why we consider it Divinely inspired, yet the Spirit was not limited to just those few as God demonstrates when he reserved an un-named 7000 to Himself and likewise the many references to the remnant of Israel.
Hebrews gives us examples of the faith we are to aspire to, faith that even the 'common' people exhibited (chapter 11).
While the priesthood has changed and the law changed regarding the temple and sacrifices, as we are now all priests, we New Testament priests can be just as errant as the Old Testament priests were and as we see with the many professing 'Christian' churches whose hearts are far from Him, thinking of ourselves as special is dangerous, just as dangerous as OT Israel thinking they were special and God chose them (they were special because God chose them) and causing their hearts to be far from God.
John Z.
Why must Jude quote from the Book of Enoch? Enoch said those words while on the scene, and much later the Holy Spirit moved Jude to record what had been said. It need not be necessary for Enoch's words to be written down or passed down throughout the generations. God is in charge of the Bible.
Lita Cosner
I emphatically agree that God is in charge of the Bible, and He providentially oversaw its composition. Part of that is He occasionally allowed an author to quote from a contemporary source that was not inspired, like Jude quoting from the book of Enoch.
John H.
This is in addition to David B's comment. Apologies for this to be in any way insulting, but the silhouette to me is a dead ringer for Spielberg's ET !
Lita Cosner
Yes, we have had several people say that.
Greg A.
I have tried to study a translation of the Book of Enoch before. I lasted about an hour. In my opinion, Jude likely did not use it but rather there must have been some other common source that is now lost to us. Like a song taught to children etc. That book of Enoch is not worth any time spent on it.
Lita Cosner
The book of Enoch is worth a look as something that would have been widely read by early Christians, but not as Scripture.
Russel L.
I have read the book of Enoch and found many astounding references that are familiar not only to biblical references and history but secular as well. The book is lengthy butI feel a must for any Christian. As far as canonship goes from what understand is that only the proof of authorship could not be established which excluded it from the current bible. This occurred in the 16th century at the council of Trent. Now if Enoch wrote the book it would have had to be in Noah’s possession or the flood would have destroyed it. That would then make it the oldest known inspired words / observations of God. And authorship Then becomes irrelevant.
In my opinion the book of Enoch should be considered part of the bible for the simple reason that it is quoted from and referenced to through out the bible.
Lita Cosner
1 Enoch is clearly dependent on Genesis, so was written after it reached its final form. So Enoch was written after Moses compiled Genesis.
Caroline M.
Even though the Mosaic Law had not been given, there would have been some sort of sacrificial system (see Genesis 4:2–5), and some basic moral code.
He sinned, and was in need of the salvation that would come through the promised Offspring of the Woman (Genesis 3:15, Matthew 1:18–23).
I would suggest that even though it was not called the "Mosaic Law", the commandments were in existence and known from the very beginning. And to say "some basic moral code and some sort of sacrificial system" is to down play the importance and perfection of what God created. It wasn't basic - it was the 10 commandments! A description of God character.
You cannot say Enoch was a sinner without the law already being known - because awareness of sin can only come about by a breaking of the law and thus first knowing about the existence of such.
And from the very beginning - the fall of man - sin became known through the breaking of it. Adam and Eve and those who followed knew God commandments from the start.
Dirk B.
Great knowledge from you all.
I just trust God and know he is always right So I do not need all the proof, However it is interesting that we have proof that the world only excist about 6500 year. If we see how much the world has changed over the last 300 years, even 50 years it was always unrealistic that the world was 150 million years old as some scientist were trying us to believe.Now with this knowledge there is no reason not to believe in God ,Jesus and the bible.
John M.
In Heb 9:27 we find that we all have an appointment with death. Only one person did not earn the wages of sin (Rom 6:23) and that was Jesus. Yet he freely chose to die, shedding his blood as the innocent for the guilty. All the rest of us have sinned, including Enoch, and have fallen short of the (sinless) glory of God. Enoch is included among the heroes of faith in Heb 11:5 and like all of them he died Heb 11:13 & 39 & 40 without having received the promises. Jesus himself said that no one has ever ascended to heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man. John 3:13. When he said this it was thousands of years after the time of Enoch. Jesus should be a reliable witness in this matter. The "translation " of Enoch is probably comparable with that of Moses after he died, Deut. 34:5 & 6, in other words, God buried him somewhere but no one knew the location. Moses does not write that Enoch did not die, in fact he says that all the days of Enoch were 365 years. He walked with God for 300 years and presumably stopped walking with him after that. The reason for this is simple, he died. The word "all" has a meaning and 365 years has a meaning. Also in 1 Cor 15:22 & 23 we read that the resurrection has a specific order with Christ the first fruits, then at his coming, those who are asleep in Christ. If Enoch has already been resurrected centuries ago and is immortal this verse is meaningless. Enoch will be in the first resurrection (Rev 20:5 & 6) and as such will not see the second death because it has no power over those in the first resurrection. So really it's this second death that Enoch will escape, not the first. Now If Enoch went to heaven without dying he must still be in mortal human form and now be well over 5,000 years old. Unlikely!
Lita Cosner
Thanks for this comment. However, Hebrews 11:5 specifically says that Enoch was "taken up so that he should not see death". As far as being a 5,000 year old mortal human, if God wanted to keep him alive for whatever reason, obviously the Creator could do that.
David B.
This is kind of a silly side note, but I can't make out what the photo is at the top of the article. It almost looks like a picture I'd seen of an alien. Sorry, trying to funny, but seriously, I cant make out what that is.
Lita Cosner
You're not the first person to say that! However, it's a silhouette of man wearing a turban.
Richard A.
I like to speculate that Enoch represents how life might have been on the earth had sin not entered the world. It is actually a very simple model: we would be given a thousand years to live on this Earth and at some point during that thousand years we would "walk with God" demonstrating that our focus is to live with him forever and not this Earth. At some point during our walking with God we would be taken up. I realize that can be no more than speculation but it seems like a plausible scenario
Lita Cosner
This contains some good thoughts. However, God created the earth to be our home, and if Adam had never fallen, and sin had not been introduced to the creation, there would have been no reason to have to take away Enoch or anyone else.
Dennis P.
What is the source of the Book of Enoch? Was it really written by Enoch?
Lita Cosner
No, it was written a long time after Enoch actually lived.
Pratha S.
Most Bible scholars agree that Enoch was taken up into Heaven the same way that Elijah was -- in a what we would call a 'mini-rapture'.Both were taken-up into Heaven without dying a physical death.It doesn't mean that they won't die though.Many believe that the two witnesses mention in the book of Revelation{who will be killed} will be these two individuals.
Lester V.
As Lita points out, not everything in the Bible is Scripture. In particular, in Job 42:7, God rebukes Job's three "friends" for speaking falsehoods. Therefore, the quotes of their diatribes against Job are not God's Word, except to the extent that the Bible says "This is what THEY said." They are included in the Biblical record, but they are not inspired Scripture. (It is interesting that Elihu is not rebuked along with them, so his speeches were not condemned as false.) A non-Biblical source may be saying something that is true, but we can only accept it as such if it is verified or validated by an accepted Scripture - in which case, it doesn't stand alone (as authoritative), but only confirms (or repeats) what is already known to be God's Word.
Lita Cosner
Lester, I believe you've misunderstood. Everything in the Bible is Scripture. I was talking about the few instances where a NT author cites a work that's not Scripture. When that happens, the quote becomes Scripture because it's included in a canonical document. But the work the quote is extracted from is not Scripture.
Norman P.
I love those biblical references to Enoch. To me, he represents the mystery of the Church, saved by grace, through faith: hence he is 'the seventh from Adam', hinting at perfection in Christ. Indeed, Paul directs us to follow that same path: 'As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving' (Col 2:6-8: Titus 2:11-15). He elaborates on that mystery concerning bodily redemption: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Cor 15: 50-52). David saw corruption; but Christ did not: our blessed hope is in Christ alone!
How fitting that Enoch should reappear right there in Jude, in an allusion to that great event described in Revelation 19:11-16. The mystery of Enoch thus authenticates the mystery of the Church in Scripture, from beginning to end (Cf. Romans 16:25-27)
Jeremy F.
The book of Enoch should still be in the modern bible in my view , it has far to much of a message to be left by the wayside.
Lita Cosner
While the Book of Enoch is a fascinating piece of literature that has been respected by Christians throughout church history, it has never been included in the canon of Scripture.

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