As we walk through the graveyard of Genesis Chapter 5, we come across something rather strange. We see a headstone that tells us about Jared, how long he lived, the fact that he was Enoch’s father, and then we read that he died. Then, a few feet away, we see another headstone that tells us that beneath it is buried Methuselah. It says that Methuselah was the son of Enoch and that he himself lived 969 years (longer than anyone else in the Bible) and then he, too, died. It seems that Enoch’s grave, however, is nowhere to be found.
We are not told very much at all about this mysterious person who “walked with God.” Yet it is interesting to note that when we compare what the Bible does say about him compared with the first “Enoch” that we read about back in Genesis 4:17-18, we are really told a great deal more. Cain intended the name of his son Enoch to live on forever, naming the city that he founded after him. Though that Enoch was the namesake of an entire city and although from him would descend great pioneers of the arts and humanities, the Word of God barely gives him a passing glance.
This Enoch, however, this Enoch was different. No city bore his name nor did any great civilization descend directly from his offspring, but this Enoch is given great prominence because he “walked with God.” He was faithful to the Lord and walked with Him. This is what God considers important. It wasn’t the Christian College that he founded, it wasn’t the huge megachurch that he pastored, it wasn’t the jam-packed stadiums that he preached to. Enoch is remembered and his name is recorded forever in the Scriptures because he walked with God. I can think of no higher aspiration than one day seeing those very words written by our own names in the Lambs Book of Life.: “He walked with God.”
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
Enoch was not found. People looked for him, but he had vanished. There was no trace of where he had gone. We know from the Book of Jude that Enoch was a prophet who unflinchingly warned of God’s judgments (Jude 14-15). This must have garnered him many enemies in a world that had already sunk into such depravity. I wonder what they thought when they sought him out and could not find him.
“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
I believe that the translation of Enoch is a picture of the Rapture of those who are in Christ that will occur before the Tribulation. The Tribulation shall be the final judgment of God on an unrepentant world; the Flood was the first. As God took His own out of the world before He moved His hand in judgment with the Flood, so shall He do again before the final judgment. It has been calculated that the Flood came upon the Earth the very year that Methuselah, Enoch’s son, died. I do not think that this is a coincidence. God in His wonderful Grace spared Enoch from the wrath of judgment and even waited until his son was gone before releasing the flood waters.
Some well-meaning Christians have discarded the teaching of the Rapture of the Church because they do not see any Biblical precedent where God has taken His own out of the way of harm, only that He has given them the grace to go through it. I would suggest that what He did in the life of Enoch would definitely be such a precedent. While God certainly does not shield us from the troubles that are in the world (John 17:15), He has not appointed those who trust in Christ to receive His wrath and judgment (Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:9). When we understand that the events of the Great Tribulation described in the Book of Revelation (e.g., Revelation 15:1, 16:1) are God’s judgments on an unrepentant world, we can see how the Lord will take His own out of the world before He releases His wrath upon it; just as He did with Enoch, the man who “walked with God.”
To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,
[This post was originally published October 2, 2009]
**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.
[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]