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Don Stewart :: Why Didn't Enoch Die?

Don Stewart
The constant repeat of the phrase and he died in the genealogy of Genesis 5 is interrupted at one point. Enoch, one of the men listed in the family line of Adam, did not die. The Bible says:

So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him (Genesis 5:23,24).

According to Scripture, Enoch did not suffer the same fate as Adam and the rest of his descendants-he did not die. Why didn't Enoch die? What does it mean he, walked with God.

Enoch And Elijah

Enoch and Elijah were the only biblical figures that did not see death. It was said of Elijah:

Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11).

They are the exception to the rule that each of us must someday taste death. The writer to the Hebrews states the norm for all humankind.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

The Two Witnesses

It is possible that someday in the future these two men will experience physical death. The Book of Revelation speaks of two witnesses who will appear shortly before the coming of Christ.

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth (Revelation 11:3).

These two witnesses are eventually killed (Revelation 11:7) but God brings them to life three days later (Revelation 11:11). The identity of these two witnesses is not revealed in Scripture but some Bible teachers assume it will be Enoch and Elijah because they are the only two individuals who have not experienced the general judgment for all humankind-death. However, there is not any way this can be proved or disproved.

Old Testament Examples

The New Testament does say that the accounts in the Old Testament were given to us as examples of things we should expect to experience.

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Therefore, we should look to events in the Old Testament to prefigure things that affect us. Enoch prefigures the rapture of the church. This is when the Lord descends from heaven to take all the believers out of this world and to meet them in the air.

The Rapture

The Scripture speaks of this great catching away. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:

Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-2).

Paul told the church at Thessalonica:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).

Enoch And The Rapture

The New Testament uses Enoch as an example of the rapture.

By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death, and was not found because God had translated him, for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5).

Whether Enoch appears as one of the two witnesses at the end of time, we do know that he is an example of believers who will not taste death. Therefore, one of the reasons for Enoch's translation is that he pre-figures an entire generation of believers who will not taste death.

Victory Over Death

Another purpose of Enoch's translation is that it highlights the truth of Scripture that there is an ultimate redemption for each of us who have placed our faith in the Lord. Though the great majority of believers will experience physical death, Enoch's example provides hope that believers will achieve an ultimate victory over death.

Walked With God

Scripture also says that Enoch walked with God. The Book of Hebrews mentions that his life pleased God. The phrase walked with God is also used of Noah. Walking with God speaks of a way of life in which people conduct themselves.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am Almighty God; walk before me and be blameless (Genesis 17:1).

Walking with God means more than keeping the law of God. Both Enoch and Abraham lived before the Mosaic Law was given. Walking with God, is not, therefore, legalistically keeping a set of laws. It is a heart attitude, a way of life. In the midst of the other individuals mentioned in the genealogy of Genesis 5 Enoch had a continual relationship with God.

Summary

Enoch along with Elijah did not die. He is said to have walked with God. This means his life was one of pleasing God. Consequently God did not allow him to die. Enoch is also a pre-figurement of the rapture of the church-where the Lord translates all believers, living and dead, into His presence.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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