Did Enoch Die?
9/05/2002 (addendum 7/31/2012)
A casual reading of the texts in Genesis 5:21-24 and in Hebrews 11:1-13 has often given way to fanciful ideas about Enoch and what happened to him. People like to learn about extraordinary things and have an innate predisposition to want the miraculous. Haven't we been created by the very miracle of God speaking and it came to pass? (Psalm 33:6) Consider with me the following and let us examine the whole picture around Enoch while using God's own word to explain itself.
In the reading of Genesis chapter 5 we have a listing of individuals and events in their lives and a summation of the duration of their lives. Enoch is placed in this very list and an additional statement is made about "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (vs 24) Then the list continues with more individuals and pausing with a special person, Noah, about whom much more is to be written before stating he also died in 9:28-29.
Let us look at Genesis 2:15-17 where it states, "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Here we have a pronouncement of a penalty for specific conduct by man. Then in 3:9-12 we read of the man Adam confessing that conduct deserving of the penalty, "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Finally, we have the acknowledgment of the penalty carried out in 5:5 where it says, "And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died."
Now we need to turn to the affirmation of Apostle Paul in Romans 3:21-23 which says, "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Here we note that Enoch was born into Adam's family too! Now in 5:12-19 Paul explains God's reasoning in placing the penalty for sin universally upon all men by saying, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, (Paul includes Enoch here!) even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Paul has restated that sin came into this world by one man (5:12, 14, 15, 17, 19), it has universal implications with all mankind under the penalty for sin (3:23 & 5:15, 17, 19) and its release is also by one man (5:15, 18, 19), Christ Jesus. Again in Galations 3:22 Paul states, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin (emphasis mine), that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." Is there any doubt that these texts speak about Enoch, too?
The writer of Hebrews 11:4-13 lists Old Testament individuals who died saying, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died (emphasis mine) in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Note that all of these are plainly stated as dying, while including Enoch in the list.
What then is meant by the expressions "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" and "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."? Let us compare some other unique circumstances and find their parallel here using God's own word to explain itself. In Deuteronomy 34: 4-7 "And the LORD said unto him (Moses), This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Moses ascends the mountain, looks across the Jordan river to view the land and then dies. God causes his body to be buried and then a summary statement is given clearing up any speculation about Moses dying from natural causes. He died because God caused him to die, not because his body ran down until it quit working anymore. God simply took him.
Another place hidden away is in 1 Kings 14:1 "At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick." Verses 7-13 say "Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back: Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone. Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it. Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die. And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam." What an indictment of Jeroboam, and what a remarkable commendation of Jeroboam's youthful son, Abijah! God pledges to destroy Jeroboam and his progeny by very shameful methods, yet he spares this son from any shame by causing this illness to bring the youthful Abijah to the grave. God uses death to spare Abijah from the public disgrace of coming events.
In John 11:1-14 we read, "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead." "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God," Jesus explained.
Then what do we make of God causing people to come to death? First, it is for His glory with Lazarus. Second, death comes when God decides for Moses. Third, death comes to prevent shame with Abijah. And, of course, death comes as a penalty for sin for Adam and all mankind. And that brings us again to Enoch. God has promised a catastrophic penalty upon mankind for their abundant sins with an escape made for Noah's family. Enoch is included as a sinner under the bondage of Adam's sin and curse and is commended by God for his character. "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Gen 5:24) says the same thing as the accounts of Moses, Abijah and Lazarus in which they also specially died. They all died in God's timing. But both Abijah and Enoch died early to prevent shame. Chronology places Enoch's death near the time of the Great Flood. The statement that "Enoch was translated that he should not see death" (Heb 11:5) simply means he certainly did not endure the special death of those destroyed in the great flood just like Abijah did not endure the terrible curse upon Jeroboam's family. You see, God did take (or translate) Enoch by death for His glory!
- vs 5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
- vs 8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
- vs 11 And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
- vs 14 And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
- vs 17 And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
- vs 20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
- vs 23-24 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (No more days means no more life!)
- vs 27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
- vs 31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
- Genesis 9: 28-29 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
More scriptures where God caused death
Genesis 38:6-10 - And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Exodus 12:29 - And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
Joshua 11:8 - And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining. [This is one of many similar verses of the effects of a battle over-ruled by God.]
1 Samuel 5:6 - But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
1 Samuel 6:19 - And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.
2 Samuel 12 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David ... Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth ... And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. (David's infant son)
1 Samuel 25:38 - And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.
2 Samuel 6:3-8 - Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
2 Samuel 24:17 - And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people (of Israel).
2 Kings 7:1-20 - A lord on whose hand the king leaned doubted God's ability to bring grain for those suffering in famine. Elisha said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.
2 Kings 19:35 & Isaiah 37:36 - And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
2 Chronicles 21:18-19 - And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases.
Jeremiah 28:1-17 - Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, (condensed) Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, ... I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two full years will I ... break the yoke of the king of Babylon. [Jeremiah replied] The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him ... The LORD hath not sent thee ... this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.
Acts 5:5-10 - But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
Acts 12:21-23 - And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
In John 3:10-15 Jesus clearly states that up to that moment "no man hath ascended up to heaven," not Enoch, not Elijah, not anyone! (In 2 Kings 2:10-18, Elijah's event and death is somewhat similar to Moses' event.) And in 1 Corinthians 15:22 Apostle Paul affirms, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Dan 5:26-20 - This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.