Enoch, Patriarchal Prophet of Faith
Enoch, Patriarchal Prophet of Faith
The story of Enoch is contained in only three passages of Scripture. His courage is an example to the faithful today who may be overwhelmed by the world’s corruption. Counting Adam, Enoch is 7th from the Creation (1 Chronicles 1:1-3). His life’s story spans the Bible to show us the timelessness of his example.
= His Walk: Genesis 5:18-24 =
His era began with the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3) and ended with the complete destruction of the earth (Genesis 6-9). They all knew physical death was a consequence of the first sin (Romans 5:14), but they learned that God’s total destruction was a consequence of their own total sin (Genesis 6:13).
His biography shows he fathered Methuselah, the oldest man ever to live (Genesis 5:21); he was the first man who “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22, 24); and the first to have prophesied (Jude 14). His “walk” lasted 300 years (Genesis 5:22), and, among the patriarchs, he was the only exception to the rule of physical death (Genesis 5:24). To “walk with God” meant he lived life going in God’s direction. Amos asked: “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3) Though his world grew increasingly sinful, Enoch believed and obeyed what God expected of him. There is little doubt Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew about Enoch’s example (Genesis 6:9; 17:1; 48:14-15), for they also walked before the LORD.
= His Worth: Hebrews 11:5-6 =
He lived “by faith,” by doing God’s will. The New Testament equivalent of “walking with God” is to “please God” (Hebrews 11:5), which reveals God’s judgment of Enoch. Enoch was one of “the elders” who “obtained a good testimony” from God (Hebrews 11:1-2). Enoch believed in God’s existence, and in God’s grace to the faithful (Hebrews 11:6). Thus, he came to God when those around him were abandoning God, going against the moral flow of his time because his guiding convictions demanded it.
Enoch was the first person on record who refused to follow a crowd to do evil, so God made him the first person on record who did not die. His exceptional life was rewarded by an exceptional “death.” He was “taken away so that he did not see death,” meaning he went from life to life. Enoch was spared the agony and actuality of the separation of the soul from the body (Cf James 2:26), with all the accompanying pain and anguish, and “translated” or changed instantly into a resurrection body. All people will one day be raised from the dead, bodies will “all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Corinthians 15:51-53). God shows us that a similar reward awaits those who serve Him, both in this life (Cf Matthew 6:24-34) and that to come, not that we will not die (Hebrews 9:27-28), but that we shall live beyond this earth.
= His Words: Jude 14-15 =
God did not record Enoch’s words on page until this New Testament reference. But neither was the dispute written of “Michael the archangel” with “the devil…about the body of Moses.” Moses died and God buried him (Deuteronomy 34:1-6), but evidently there were words between the archangel and the devil over the matter not referred to until Jude 9. God was there and knew what had been said, so He inspired this mention to be recorded. One need not look for a “Book of Michael” as if there was more to be known. Likewise, what Enoch had said to his generation was recorded in Jude 14-15 by the God who inspired both him and the New Testament writer. One should not accept a “Book of Enoch” as though there was more to be known. The Old and New Testaments are all of God’s revealed will and it’s all we need to know to please Him.
Enoch’s message included a threat and a condemnation, both from God:
The Threat was to look for the Lord to “execute judgment on all.” There was no exception to be made. Surely there were:
(1 loved mothers, fathers, children, and neighbors considered by humans then to be above reproach;
(2 those who lightly regarded any “god” who would permit such immorality to exist;
(3 those who felt any and all religions should be accepted by the God who had made mankind;
(4 those grossly in error who needed another chance to change.
Though Enoch preached the certainty of judgment, the “how” and “when” later were revealed through Noah. God’s judgment was “The end of all flesh has come before Me” (Genesis 6:12-13); and, “everything that is on the earth shall die” (Genesis 6:17). It was “the LORD” who shut the ark (Genesis 7:16) and made it final. It was the LORD’s judgment, all Enoch did was preach it to sinners.
The Condemnation was because of their own behavior, which Enoch condemned with the word “ungodly.” It means “to be without reverence or worship” toward God. If there had been a Lord’s Day, they would have taken it back for their own purposes; if there had been regular worship, they would have neglected it; if there had been a church, they would not have entered it; if there had been a gospel, they would have perverted it; if there had been a cross of Christ, they would have ignored it! He said they were “ungodly” because of their “ungodly deeds,” “committed in an ungodly way,” and of their “ungodly” language “spoken against” God. The people were identified by their deeds (Cf Galatians 6:7-8). There is no godly way to do “ungodly” things (Cf Titus 1:16; 2:11-12). “Ungodly” language demonstrates an ungodly heart (Cf Matthew 12:34-37). There is no way those who think, act, and speak in an “ungodly” manner are acceptable to God (Cf Psalm 1:4-6; Romans 1:18-19; 1 Timothy 1:8-11). No doubt in his day some told him:
(1 he was a mere man, so why should he judge them (Cf John 7:24);
(2 the devil’s doctrine – that everyone’s going to be saved (Cf Genesis 3:4, 14-19);
(3 they wouldn’t believe in a “god” who rejects anyone (Cf Romans 1:28-32);
(4 the foul-mouthed can still praise God (Cf James 3:8-12);
(5 to repeat “God Bless US” and all immorality would be excused (Cf Acts 3:26)!
These, and more, the ungodly still use to “justify” their ungodliness. But God’s wrath “is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18-24). God’s condemnation is the same throughout time, whether Cain, Balaam, or Korah (Jude 11-13).
Enoch paved the way for Noah, and neither was heard. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ, and both were put to death! They were not the failure, their audience was the failure. However, God’s message was heard and heeded by some. So it is today. People of faith cannot “walk with God” and refuse to warn the erring of their ways (Cf Ezekiel 3:17-21). Jesus will judge the world (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10), and they must be warned.
—–John T. Polk II, Dover, TN 37058