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 a whole lot 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 steps into 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.
What Does the Bible Say about Enoch?
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). Throughout his three-plus centuries on earth, he has numerous other offspring.
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 get away from it (again, if we don’t operate under the opinion 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 inhabitants of the earth descend into utter moral depravity during this time 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 operate under the assumption that the canonical Bible is composed of 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 which 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 both Christians who have previously died and those still alive will participate in this event together.
So, in either case, we will experience the rapture. During that time, like Enoch, Christians will be caught up in the air.
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 find kernels of God’s truth in other literature as well.
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Hope Bolinger is an editor at Salem, a multi-published novelist, and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,100 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.