“And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:23-24).
Chapter five of Genesis contains a list of people who lived and died. It reads like an obituary page in a newspaper. One name stands out from all the rest, and that is “Enoch” – the man who lived but never died. In a record of death we find life. “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” (Hebrews 11:5). He was taken to Heaven in the prime of his life, for he was only a youngster compared with many others who died at a grand old age. His was the first family who did not have a body to bury. He literally disappeared from the earth and no one saw him again!
Here was a man who loved God with all of his heart, and so the Lord marked Enoch out for special treatment. A person who truly walks with God is rarer now than it was in Enoch’s day. Paul tells us that Enoch “pleased God”, but what exactly does he mean by this? Undoubtedly he lived a holy and righteous life in obedience to the revealed word of God. This is what faith is, and it is only this kind of faith that is acceptable unto God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Enoch went unto God because he had the faith that pleased Him; we cannot come unto Him unless we have it too. His entire life was a demonstration of faith in action.
He stood out as a true man of God in his generation. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude :14). This means then that Enoch heard from God and preached the word to those around him. Notice that he, as all true prophets should, prophesied about the Second Coming of Christ. To speak of Jesus’ Second Coming, he must have known about the First. He warned of the coming judgement upon an unrighteous world. “The first coming of Christ was revealed to Adam; his second, glorious coming, to Enoch; and the seventh from Adam foretold the things which will conclude the seventh age of the world” (John Wesley).
Here also we see Enoch’s belief in a literal resurrection, in which all the ungodly would experience God’s wrath. “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude :15). Therefore he spoke out against sin.
Enoch lived in difficult times. People refused to accept the truth and mocked those who called them to repentance. They were full of their own self-importance and were determined to live as they pleased. “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude :16). The world was ripe for judgement, and before too long that judgement would come upon it in the form of a global flood. Enoch was special in the eyes of the Lord, so He raptured him into His presence. While we do not know all the reasons why God took Enoch, we can be sure that he was greatly loved by Him. “God often takes those soonest whom he loves best; the time they lose on earth, is gained in heaven, to their unspeakable advantage” (Matthew Henry).
One minute Enoch was standing on the earth, but at the next he was before the Throne of God in Heaven. At death all are immediately transported into God’s presence. “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8) … “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). From that moment he was the new resident of Heaven.
It will be no different for all who truly believe in Jesus. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). We will be in a better place than we could ever imagine. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:21-23).
The only thing that Enoch was not surprised by was the fact that he could walk and talk with God in Heaven, for he had maintained a consistent walk with Him here on earth. He was ready to go at any moment. What about us? Are we so earthbound that we do not want the Lord to take us yet? “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).