The Faith of Enoch

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:5-6).

We know very little about the deatils of Enoch’s life. All that we know comes from a geneology that spans from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5:18-24):

When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch. Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

Here are some additional statistics that can be gleaned from this chapter: Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam through the line of Seth. Adam was still alive, at the ripe old age of 622, when Enoch was born. Adam died 57 years before Enoch was taken up to heaven, which means Adam and Enoch had 308 years on earth together. In the line of Seth, Enoch is the second patriarch to either die (so Adam) or be taken (so Enoch). When Enoch was taken, Seth (2nd generation) was 857, Enosh (3rd generation) was 752, Kenan (fourth generation) was 682, Mahalalel (fifth generation) was 592, and Jared (sixth generation), his father, was 527. His father would live another 405 years, which means that Enoch departed just a little past the halfway point in his father’s life.

We are told that it was after Enosh (3rd generation) was born that “people began to call upon the Name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:25-26). This means that when Enoch was born, his family had been calling on the Name of the LORD for 387 years over the course of four generations.

So, while it is true that we do not know much about Enoch specifically, God has preserved an intriguing mix of information for us to consider. Let us focus on three particular points.

First, Enoch knew Adam. Of course, we do not know for sure that he knew Adam, but I believe that we can speculate with some certainty that in the 308 years that they shared on the earth, they made a point of meeting and interacting with one another. I mean, honestly, given the chance, who wouldn’t want to meet the first man? And, from Adam’s point of view, who wouldn’t want to spend time with a grandson from the “good side” of the family (Seth contra Cain)? What do you imagine Enoch and Adam talked about? I’m sure Eden came up once or twice. As did the Fall and life after the Fall. Without question, Enoch had a profound theological education from a man who had actually walked with God. This must have impacted his faith. Take home: If we are to have a faith that is pleasing to God, we must talk with men and women who have “walked” with God.

Second, Enoch was from the seventh generation of humanity. Seven is God’s favourite number. On the seventh day of Creation, God rested (Genesis 2:1-3). God commanded that the seventh day of the week be a day of Sabbath rest (Exodus 20:8-11). God commanded that every seventh year farmers ought to let the land rest unplanted (Leviticus 25:1-7). God commanded that the year after seven weeks of years (49 years) should be a year of Jubilee, an occassion for celebration as everyone’s debts are forgiven and their inheritances are restored (Leviticus 25:8-22). And, in Genesis 5 we are told that in the seventh generation of humanity, Enoch was spared death and taken into heaven alive. Enoch was taken on account of his faith and on account of a bigger point that God was making to the world by taking him in the seventh generation. Takehome: Our faith intersects with the sovereign will and plans of the almighty God in a way that is beyond our control or understanding.

Third, Enoch inheritated a four-generation Faith. Many generations contributed to his faith. He was able to speak to his father (Jared), grandfather (Mahalalel), great-grandfather (Kenan), and great-great grandfather (Enosh) about faith because it was from the time of Enosh that people began to call on the Name of the LORD. Of course Adam and Seth were also faith-resources to him, as it seems that these two men also called on the Name of the LORD. Takehome: We work so hard to give our children and grandchildren an inheritance or a legacy. There is no greater legacy than faith in the LORD God.

Enoch believed that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Therefore, God spared him death. Likewise, Jesus promises (John 6:40): “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Enoch did not have to die, and unless the Lord returns first, we will. Nevertheless, by faith we can enjoy eternal life with him because Jesus has promised to raise us bodily from the dead if we have faith like Enoch. Amen.

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