Only two people in the Bible - Enoch and Elijah - appear to be taken straight to heaven without having to experience death (if you don’t speculate that these two people are the witnesses in Revelation who do in fact experience death briefly in Revelation 11:7-12).
Most of us know the second one, Elijah. This famous prophet received a heavenly chariot of fire that took him to heaven after his ministry had finished, leaving Elisha to carry on the mission (2 Kings 2).
But what about the Enoch? Most of us don’t know much about Enoch, the other person to be taken straight to heaven. He appears in Genesis, and just as soon as he steps onto the scene, he enters heaven.
In this article, we’ll discuss what the Bible says about Enoch, the extra-biblical information we have about Enoch, and why this matters to us.
Who was Enoch in the Bible?
From the Bible, we know that Enoch was Adam’s great-great-great-great grandson (and Noah’s great-grandfather) who lived a holy and faithful life to the Lord (Genesis 5). He also becomes the father of Methuselah, the longest-living man (Genesis 5:27). He has numerous other offspring Throughout his three-plus centuries on earth.
After 365 years on earth, God “takes (him) away” (Genesis 5:24). The verb for “take” appears to mean snatched up or carried away. Perhaps similar to the way God had taken away Elijah, the prophet.
Because of his great faith, he appears to escape death.
But why? The other greats in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith had to experience death. Why did this enigmatic figure escape it (if we don’t assume that Enoch is one of the two witnesses)?
Christians differ in opinion as to where exactly the Rapture will take place during the End Times timeline (before the seven-year tribulation, halfway during the seven-year trial, after the seven-year tribulation, etc.), but at one point during the End Times, God will rapture believers, just as he had with Enoch.
Second, Enoch lived a few hundred years before the Flood. We see the earth's inhabitants descend into utter moral depravity during this period.
Considering that the people back then lived for hundreds of years, some Christians have speculated due to a vapor canopy that surrounded the earth that blocked out harmful Gamma rays and produced a temperate climate that, perhaps God took Enoch into heaven to avoid the Flood that would come a few hundred years later.
Third, we see a faithful man living amongst a wicked generation, like Elijah, during the time of Ahab.
Elijah is the only prophet of God left (1 Kings 18:22), outnumbered by 450 prophets of the enemy.
What Extra-Biblical Information Do We Have on Enoch?
Depending on what Christian tradition you came from, you may consider the Book of Enoch to be canonical. But in this article, we’ll assume that the canonical Bible comprises 66 books, placing the Book of Enoch in the pseudepigrapha.
In other words, an author who called himself Enoch wrote the Book of Enoch, but it was likely just a man going by a pseudonym.
We do see that the Bible actually quotes from the Book of Enoch. We see such references in Jude 1:14-15 and 2 Peter. Both of these passages appear to be plucking portions of tradition from the Book of Enoch. We do have to keep in mind, though, that the apostles did quote from extra-biblical sources, as discussed in this video.
In either case, the Book of Enoch is an apocalyptic text that discusses the end of the world, angels, the Nephilim, prophecies, and punishments for the wicked post-Flood. It’s somewhat of a parallel text to what we see happening in Revelation. As Christians, we live in an increasingly morally depraved world, which will come to an end.
You can read a copy of the Book of Enoch here. But make sure to do so with caution and discernment.
Why Does Enoch's Bible Story Matter?
We can see parallels in Enoch’s story with the story of Revelation yet to come. In a wicked world, we are called to be righteous and to walk in faith with God. Although many of us (if not all of us, as we do not know the true time Jesus will come back) will experience the pangs of death, Christians in the End Times will experience a rapture. It’s also important to note that in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Christians who have previously died and those still alive will participate in this event together.
So, in either case, we will experience the rapture. Like Enoch, Christians will be caught up in the air during that time.
We can also see God being able to speak through even non-biblical sources (operating under the viewpoint that the Book of Enoch is a pseudepigraphical work). We do have to exercise discernment to siphon what is true and what is not. But as the apostles quoted from secular philosophers and poets, we can also find kernels of God’s truth in other literature.
What Can We Learn from Enoch?
In the Bible, Enoch is a fairly mystifying figure who is mentioned in the genealogies and narratives of the Old Testament. Enoch's story can offer several lessons and insights for Christians:
Walking with God: Enoch is described as a man who "walked with God" in Genesis 5:24. This suggests a close and intimate relationship with God. Christians can learn the importance of cultivating a deep and personal relationship with God through prayer, faith, and righteous living.
Faith: In the New Testament, in the Book of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:5), Enoch is commended for his faith. His faith pleased God. Christians can learn that faith is a fundamental aspect of their relationship with God and that it is through faith that they can please Him.
Transcendence of Death: Enoch is one of the few individuals in the Bible who did not experience physical death. Instead, he was "taken" by God (Genesis 5:24). This event suggests the idea of life beyond this earthly existence and the hope of resurrection and eternal life for Christians.
Prophetical Voice: In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which is not part of the canonical Bible, Enoch is portrayed as a prophet who received divine revelations. While this book is not considered canonical by most Christian denominations, it reflects the idea that God can reveal important truths and prophecies to individuals. Christians can learn to be open to God's guidance and revelations through the Holy Spirit.
Holiness and Righteousness: Enoch's righteous and blameless life is highlighted in the Bible. Christians can learn the importance of living a life pleasing to God by striving for holiness and righteousness, even in a world characterized by ungodliness.
Preparation for God's Presence: Enoch's close relationship with God and his "translation" to be with God serve as a reminder that Christians should live their lives in preparation for God's presence. This can involve moral and spiritual purification and striving to harmonize with God's will.
It's important to note that Enoch's story is relatively brief in the Bible, so much of the understanding of his character and significance is based on interpretation and tradition. Different Christian denominations may place varying degrees of emphasis on Enoch's story and its lessons.
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Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, and the author of almost 30 books. More than 1500 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at hopebolinger.com for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids.
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