Bible Studies on the Real Heroes of the Faith    

Part 3: Enoch – His walk, witness and wapture!

 

By I Gordon 

 

We have been looking at the heroes of the faith as outlined in Hebrews 11. Last time we looked at a man who, scripture tells us, still speaks even though there is not one word recorded that he spoke. That man was Abel and as we saw, he speaks of what is required to be accepted by God.

 

Today we will look at the next one listed in God’s hall of heroes. And that is Enoch... who is a very interesting case. Again we have nothing recorded in scripture about what he said... well, nothing apart from one sentence. But it is quite a sentence! What we have is one prophecy he gave of the last days and the return of Jesus Christ. So we’ll start in Hebrews 11 for an overview and then step back into Genesis to see what extra we can learn about our hero. We will talk about the three W’s of Enoch’s life: His walk, his witness and his, well, wapture.[1]

 

Enoch – the mystery man

 

Hebrews 11:5  By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 

 

As we go through some of the stories in Hebrews 11 we’ll see that faith governs, or should govern, all aspects of our life. Hebrews 11 will tell us about those that were justified before God by faith. Some left what they knew and walked where God led them by faith. Others were faced with overwhelming or impossible odds but were able to prevail by faith. But Enoch... well, he is a bit different - ‘By faith Enoch was taken from this life’. Now, normally when you hear that, we think of someone passing away but holding onto their faith firm to the end. And we all want to end well do we not? But as I said, Enoch is different. By faith, he was taken, literally, while still alive, from this life. No death... just gone! One moment he had his feet on planet earth and the next moment he was gone. It was the ultimate ‘beam me up Scotty’. There is a saying that there are only two certainties in this life: ‘death and taxes’. That is mostly true... but there have been two exceptions to the death clause and one day there will be millions more added. Enoch walked with God. God liked him. So God took him. The Bible also says that ‘he could not be found’ indicating that people were looking. We need to remember that this was a great man of God who would have been widely known in his time. And then he was gone. But note also that it says that Enoch was taken ‘by faith’. This indicates that in all likelihood, Enoch knew that one day God would take him in this manner. He had had a promise that he held onto. As he walked with God, God must have said ‘by the way, you won’t see death, for one day I will take you to be with Me.’ And Enoch held onto that and walked by faith in that promise. We’ll come back to this later when we see the account in Genesis...

 

Note also that it says that before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God. Or, as the NASB says, he obtained the witness that he was pleasing to God. Just like what we saw about Abel earlier in Heb 11:4 who also obtained the testimony that he was righteous. We see here that those who are God’s people should know that they are. You shouldn’t be in the dark as to whether you are right with God. Abel knew. Enoch knew. And the New Testament tells us in Romans 8:15-16  ‘you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…’  There is a whole topic in that alone. But in short all true believers should have an inner witness and confidence that comes from the Spirit of God that they are in God’s family. They are His children and He is their Father (literally ‘Daddy’).      

 

Want to please God? Walk by faith

 

Hebrews 11:6  And without faith it is impossible to please  Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

 

This verse is still tied in to the thought about Enoch’s life. Enoch was one that pleased God. I like the thought that even after the fall, with humanity desperately wicked and deceitful in and of itself, it is still possible for such a creature to please God. Somehow! You may look at your own heart and think ‘oh, how could God love me?  But He can and does. So how important is faith in our walk and life with God? Well, it says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Not ‘hard’, not ‘unlikely’, not ‘complicated’... but IMPOSSIBLE. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is not optional when it comes to God.[2]

 

We cannot substitute anything else and think it will do. Faith takes God into account and puts Him in His rightful place in our lives. It is through faith that we can please God. I like the quote from the old brethren writer C.H.M who said that faith “glorifies God exceedingly, because it proves that we have more confidence in His eyesight than in our own.” Do you trust your own ability to see things clearly when some unexpected problem or uncertainty comes into your life? Be not so proud. We don’t see clearly. In and of ourselves we are easily troubled and unsettled. But the first step to victory comes by saying ‘though I do not see the way forward at all clearly, there is One whose eye sight has never failed or diminished. He will guide me and I will rest in that.’ This type of simple, relational, child-like faith brings a smile to the face of God. That’s one way that a fallen human being can still please the heart of God. We don’t need to have all knowledge or ponder and solve all mysteries. We do need to have simplicity in our walk with God that allows us to always bring Him into account as a child would trust in his or her Dad. Now that’s not too hard is it?

 

Such faith, the Bible says, is rewarded by God. You’ll be given a late model car, a home to make people envious, a beautiful trouble free family, children that never talk back, health that never fails and neighbours that drop fruit off on your doorstep on a regular basis. Or so say some preachers.[3] Dear oh dear! That you will be rewarded is quite clear in the scripture: ‘He is a rewarder to those that seek Him’. But possibly, just possibly, the reward is related to that which the seeker is said to be searching for above... and that is HIM! We should be seeking Him and that is what we are rewarded with – more of His presence and nature in our life. So let’s read about this man Enoch for he was one that did that very thing.

 

Enoch’s walk

 

Genesis 5:21-24  When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.  (22)  And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  (23)  Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years.  (24)  Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

 

I like the little story Ray Stedman says about this. He writes of a little girl who was describing what happened to Enoch to her mother and said "Enoch used to take long walks with God. One day he walked so far with God that God had to say 'It's too far to go back; come on home with me.' You’ve got to smile at that!

 

You’ll notice in the scripture above that twice it says that Enoch walked with God. So what does it mean to ‘walk with God’? The first mention goes back to Genesis 3:8 where ‘They (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…’ We can take from that and other pre-fall scriptures that humanity was created to be with God and to walk and fellowship together - which they literally did before the fall. When you get into Genesis chapter 5 you read of a lot of names and all it says about them is who they gave birth to and how long they lived and that they died. Until Enoch that is. He was different and the Holy Spirit wanted it noted. So what does it mean to ‘walk with God’? Obviously walking together denotes fellowship, agreement[4] and common purpose. But let’s just think about it in the natural for a moment. What is important when you go for a walk with someone? I’m more of a biker than a walker but it is fair to say that for a good walk it normally helps if both parties are going in the same direction. That is a good place to start! Secondly, you can’t be racing ahead of them of falling behind all the time. You want to be together. My Dad was a racer. He considered any walk like the first 300 meters of an Olympic walking race. He had to pull ahead and show off his impressive walking speed. But in a good walk you are side by side going in the same direction, not racing ahead or falling behind. And most importantly a good walk isn’t just about getting somewhere but the fellowship you have on the way. Does that sound like your walk with God? Are you going in the same direction He is? Do you race ahead and do your own thing or are you fellowshipping with the Lord, side by side, as you go through life?   

 

And let’s face it...There are so many distractions today if you let them.[5] In contrast, when you read scripture you see certain people that were not so self focused but walked with God. They are people that really wanted to know God. People interested in going in the direction that God was going in. Enoch was the first mentioned obviously, but Noah was like that- As was Abraham, who was called ‘the friend of God’ three times in scripture. Moses and Joshua also were. Exodus 33:11 ‘So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend, and he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. What about David – a man after God’s own heart or Daniel, whom the angel said was someone ‘highly esteemed’. They walked with God. In the New Testament I’d put ‘John the beloved’ in that category along with Paul whose number one goal was to ‘know Him’ (Phil 3:8-10)

 

So we need to walk with God. And it starts by knowing what He has done for us. I read a really interesting story this week that illustrated this. It’s about Dindim. He’s a penguin. He was sick and dying being coated with oil when he was found by a retired Brazilian bricklayer who took Dindim in. He washed him, cleaned him, fed him and gave him a home. Quite literally he gave the little bird a new life. Eventually the bird left to go off to mate near the bottom of Argentina and everyone said that the little bird wouldn’t be seen again. But the amazing thing is that every year Dindim makes the 8000 Km journey back to the same beach to see his retired bricklayer buddy. And when he sees his savior he honks with delight and wags his tail. He then stays for 8 months (June to Feb) and will snuggle up to this bricklayer buddy and walk where he walks. But he won’t let anyone else touch him being a one-man bird! You can see the parallels I hope. When we were dying, Christ washed, cleansed and healed us. He gave us a home and a future. We, in return, should know the one who saved us and want to be with Him, walking where He walks. Now, you may think you are smarter than a penguin but are you doing what Dindim does? Oh how we can learn from his actions and devotion!    

 

Enoch’s witness

 

Genesis 5:21-22  When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.  (22)  And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God...’

 

Most commentators agree that it was after the birth of Methuselah that he walked with God. The first 65 years may have been lived uninterested in God. So what changed Enoch’s life? Becoming a father? Most certainly that would have had an impact. It has been said that a person thinks most deeply about their life at the birth of their child or as their death approaches. Certainly Enoch wanted to be a good dad and raise a child who could see in his dad what was right and true. But there is more to it than that. The clue is in what Enoch names his son. Chuck Missler writes: The name Methuselah comes from two roots: muth, a root that means "death"; and from shalach, which means "to bring," or "to send forth." Thus, the name Methuselah signifies, "his death shall bring." It has also been said that his name means ‘when he dies, it shall come.’ So what is the ‘it’? What would his death ‘bring’? When you get your calculator out you find that Methuselah died in the same year that the flood judgement came!

 

The following is a chart that shows the birth and death years of those recorded in Genesis. Have a look at when Methusaleh died in relation to when the flood came and add up all the years recorded in Genesis 5 you find it is the same year. While we are on this topic, also note how many of Noah’s fathers and fore-fathers were alive when the flood hit... You will find it is none.  

 

 

So Methuselah was a living walking testimony of what was coming. People knew that ‘when he dies, it shall come.’ Would kind of make you a tad worried if Methuselah took up extreme sports wouldn’t it? ‘Ok, just take it easy Methuselah... no need to push it. Just put your feet up and relax. Stay indoors... We want you living a long, long life...’ But it also speaks of the grace and mercy of God because Methuselah would become the oldest person in the entire Bible, finally dying at a whopping 969 years old! God held off on judgement... but eventually it had to come. And Enoch knew this. Right from the birth of his son he knew what was coming. This impacted how he lived his life for the next 300 years as he walked with God for that time. And that’s a long walk that is! But we are in the same situation are we not? We don’t know the day nor the hour but we know that judgement is coming. God has again been incredibly patient as he was in the days of Enoch and Methuselah but it is coming. This thought should impact how we live our life as well. 

 

Enoch also witnessed through a prophetic utterance as well. There is only one statement recorded in the Bible that Enoch said (apart from naming his son) and strangely enough, it is mentioned only in the second to last book in the Bible.

 

Jude 1:14-15  Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,  (15)  to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

 

So Enoch saw right down through the ages of time and spoke of the glorious return of the Lord Jesus in power with ten thousands of His saints. Enoch, the 7th from Adam, was shown what we, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, will one day participate in! He not only saw the Lord’s coming but also the saints coming with Him. And not only that but he saw the condition of men’s heart in that time mentioning ‘ungodly’ four times in one sentence! Ok, ok... I think we get the message Enoch! No doubt this prophecy had an application in his day as well, for the conditions of his day leading up to the judgement in the time of Noah are said to be in the same character of those in the last days.

 

Enoch’s wexit, weparture and wapture

 

But let’s look also at his departure. As I mentioned, when you read Genesis chapter 5 completely, this man Enoch stands out like a glistening diamond. You could be excused for thinking that you had opened the death notices as you read this chapter for it follows a familiar pattern all the way through. Please note verses 5, 8,11,14,17 and 20 for they follow this pattern. It goes like this:

 

‘All the days of X were Y years, and he died.’ Nothing is said about any of these characters yet when you get to verse 23 something is missing and something is added... there is no death and he gets an extra verse! Genesis 5:23-24 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.  (24)  Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

 

I said last time that it amazes me that so many stories in Genesis speak prophetically of something still to come. Genesis, meaning ‘beginning’, is the first book to establish God’s truth and it does so by speaking of what was, but it also speaks of what will be through its types and stories. I mentioned some of its characters and stories last time that teach us about the end such as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Jacob and Esau, Joseph etc. Well Enoch is another of those. He is a prophetic pointer to the most incredible event in all of history... The rapture of the saints of God! Hebrews 11 tells us that ‘by faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ Gone. Here one day, gone the next. Look again at the chart above. When Enoch was taken his father (Jared), grandfather (Mahalelel), great grandfather (Kenan),  great great grandfather (Enosh) and great great great grandfather (Seth) are all still alive (along with their other children and families). And you thought you had a large extended family! Only Adam had died at this time from this line. That would be a lot of relatives saying ‘um, anyone seen Enoch?’ 

 

So why did God do this? Why was he taken? Well, we read in Hebrews that Enoch pleased God so God took him. But again, all of these things are in scripture for a bigger purpose. Enoch prophesied about the coming judgement. He gave a warning in his son’s name about when it would come. But he didn’t have to see it himself because God took him. It is a picture of believers in the last days who, according to Paul in 1 Thes 1:10 are waiting for Jesus who will rescue us from the wrath to come. Enoch was ‘caught up’... ‘translated’...  ‘raptured’. The incredible thing is that it will one day happen on a much, much, wider scale.

 

Before going to heaven at His first coming, Jesus gave the disciples this promise concerning His return:

 

John 14:1-3  Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  (2)  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  (3)  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

 

It is the ultimate hope, the blessed hope. Enoch’s friends looked but never found him. It would have been one of the greatest mysteries in that day. How incredible is it going to be when all true believers in Jesus Christ are taken up to be with the Lord?[6]

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17  (16)  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  (17)  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

 

Like Enoch, those who are alive at the return of Jesus will not see death. Believers will be taken and changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:51). And it can happen incredibly quickly. Listen to this account of John from the book of Revelation and note the ‘at once’ comment after hearing the command to ‘come up here’:

 

Revelation 4:1-3  After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."  (2)  At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.  (3)  And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.

 

Conclusion

 

Enoch’s whole life speaks to us... his walk with God; his witness for God, and his miraculous exit from this world. It was all by faith and pleased the heart of God. There has been a few different things covered in this study but just let me say that the most important is our daily walk with God… That is what the Holy Spirit repeated twice concerning Enoch and it equally as important for us. We are to be people that have a heart for God in a world that throws up a million distractions. We shouldn’t complicate it. It is the walk of a child and its parent. It is walking with God, each step of the way, relating all things to Him and relying on Him as you move forward together in the same direction. Don’t race ahead... Try not to lag behind… Walk with God reader! 

 

  



[1] Some may argue that ‘wapture’ is not a real word. There is a slim possibility that that may be true. I may be making words up. Though those who have difficulty pronouncing their r’s may side with me! But, in the slim case you don’t agree with wapture, feel free to call it Enoch’s weaving, weparture or wexit if you like! (Ok, finding words starting with ‘w’ to describe Enoch’s removal from this planet isn’t easy!)
 

[2] I was thinking about this last week when Martin Crowe, New Zealand’s greatest cricket batsman died. At his funeral it was said that the hideous cancer that took his life also held a blessing in that in the last year ‘he found himself’ as he thought about his coming death. He had known that the cancer was terminal for well over a year and apparently thought a lot about life and death... as you would. He was said to have ‘found himself’. Well, I’m glad he was looking for something but did he find God? Did he find a true faith? Did he find Jesus the saviour? That is what matters. Maybe but i couldn’t find any evidence of that. C.S Lewis said ‘Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you’ll find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.’

 

[3] My Mother was once told by a money preacher that if she gave a lot of money, even the white butterflies wouldn’t lay their eggs on her cabbages! I could do with that... especially if it stopped the codling moth in my apples and various diseases in my tomatoes and peaches. Clearly I’m not giving enough! Or, just maybe (well, more precisely!), the advice was pure hogs-wash to begin with! 
 

[4] Amos 3:1,3  ‘Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel…  Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’

 

[5] Here is one example that I read recently. Christian author David Fiorazo wrote about the current distraction of technology and self: ‘This hi-tech, ‘Me’ generation is growing up with distractions and temptations prior generations had not faced. Technology is not all bad, but it is infecting our culture, family time, and our personal relationships... Let’s examine the latest growing obsession: taking your own picture with an iPhone. Two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone, and one report estimated that some 93 million “selfies” are taken every day. Sadly, since 2014, selfies have been the cause of over fifty deaths worldwide. The Telegraph in the UK stated that more people died last year taking selfies than were killed in shark attacks. On a site called Snapchat, 74% of the images shared are selfies. This is a sign of the times in which a self-absorbed portion of the population gets sucked into a meaningless activity unknown to mankind a few decades ago. On Instagram, about 1,000 selfies are posted every 10 seconds. Taking ‘the ridiculous’ to the next level, nearly forty percent of those images are altered or enhanced. This means young people are taking extra time to doctor up their own picture before “sharing” or posting it for friends and fans to see. Ready to add up the hours? Various sources estimate that today’s teens now spend about 168 hours each year taking selfies. Let that sink in a moment: Today’s teenagers spend a full seven days out of the year taking pictures of themselves.’ http://davidfiorazo.com/2016/03/under-the-influence-of-technology/

 

[6] When we can’t find one plane that goes missing with its occupants the whole world is perplexed and a global search begins. What about when all believers are taken?  I remember when I was a young Christian being really excited about these truths concerning the Lord’s return and I tried to explain some of them to a really good friend who was not a Christian. We’d been close friends for about 15 years at the time and even though he went to another University he had heard that I had become a Christian. So when we met up, I, in my youthful exuberance and love of the Lord, told him all about what was to come. He must have thought I was a complete nut because to this day I’ve never heard from him again. And on the surface of it, for those that don’t know the Lord, talk of Jesus’ return and believers being taken to heaven must sound like craziness! But all the prophecies in the Bible concerning Jesus’ first coming, even though they were recorded hundreds of years before Jesus came, were fulfilled precisely. All the prophecies concerning what would happen to the nation of Israel have and are being fulfilled completely accurately. And the promises and prophecies of what will take place at the return of Jesus will be fulfilled in like manner.