When reading Scripture, do you ever come across a verse that just stops you dead in your tracks?
For me, Genesis 5:24 is one of those verses.
“And Enoch walked with God, and he was no more, for God took him.”
In stark contrast to the lists of other people, it appears that Enoch was granted the privilege of skipping the usual dying process most human beings are subjected to and taken straight to heaven.
In fact, besides Enoch, only the prophet Elijah was granted such a privilege.
What is this all about?
In some evangelical circles, the story of Enoch is used to teach a pre-tribulation rapture.
They say that Enoch is symbolic of the Gentile Christian church and the flood is symbolic of the great tribulation.
So Enoch being whisked away before the coming flood is prophetic of how the Christian church will be whisked away before the great tribulation, leaving the Jews behind who will then come to a realization that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah. As the popular refrain goes, “The purpose of the tribulation is for the salvation of the Jewish nation“.
As much as I would like for the rapture to occur before the tribulation, I have difficulty accepting this teaching because I don’t believe the Scriptures teach that God has two salvation programs, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles.
I am adamant in my insistence that God for His own good reasons and purposes has chosen to save ONLY ONE group of people on this planet, and that group is the Jews and those Gentiles who join themselves to the Jews by accepting His new covenant through the shed blood of Messiah Yeshua.
So what in the world happened with Enoch?
Why was he so special?
What can be gleaned from the limited information we are given?
What lesson can we derive from the story of Enoch?
It is apparent that Enoch’s walk with God was of such an intimate nature that God made a special exception and took him straight to heaven. Hebrews 11:5 says that “By trusting“, he was taken away without having to suffer the indignities of growing old and dying.
I think the biggest takeaway is that God has special treasures and pleasant surprises reserved for those who TRUST in Him.
We are living in a very cynical and pessimistic world.
We are constantly surrounded by people whose only source of self-esteem is the money they have in their bank account and their place in society. Or the hedonists who live only for sexual pleasure. And lest you think I’m pontificating, I’m just as guilty as harboring these attitudes as anybody else.
The Apostle Paul was right. There is nobody that cares about the things of God or the Word of God.
And I regret to say that such attitudes are just as prevalent among those in the church as well as out.
I believe that what God did with Enoch is a strong statement to an unbelieving world.
God is telling us that everything you think you know about reality and about how this world works is WRONG, DEAD WRONG! God is saying if your value system is NOT 100% based on me, you’re in for a rude awakening. He is essentially telling us that “I am in control of both LIFE and DEATH. And I have the power to take a man who trusts in Me and whisk him away to heaven if I so please.”
And here is the great statement from the Bible that God has left to an unbelieving world.
“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.“-Acts 17:31
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
Luke 3:37: of Metushelach, of Enoch, of Yered, of Mahalal’el, of Keinan,
Hebrews 11:5: By trusting, Enoch was taken away from this life without seeing death — “He was not to be found, because God took him away” — for he has been attested as having been, prior to being taken away, well pleasing to God.
Jude 1:14-15: Moreover, Enoch, in the seventh generation starting with Adam, also prophesied about these men, saying, “Look! Adonai came with his myriads of holy ones to execute judgment against everyone, that is, to convict all the godless for their godless deeds which they have done in such a godless way, and for all the harsh words these godless sinners have spoken against him.”
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN GENESIS CHAPTER 6