The Apple Of God's Eye

June 9, 2011

Enoch Was Translated, But Did Not Go To Heaven

Filed under: Biblical Characters,Heaven — melchia @ 5:23 am

Enoch was translated that he should not see death. Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Yet the Bible reveals they are not in heaven today! Where are they? Here’s the astounding truth.

Enoch was “translated,” but where did he go? Was he immediately taken to heaven? No! Because Jesus Himself said: “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man” (John 3:13). Here are Jesus’ own words that no man, except Himself, had ascended into heaven! And how did He know? Because, He came from there! Then where is Enoch? Let’s see what the Bible says.

Enoch Walked With God

At the age of 65 Enoch had a son named Methuselah. “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and he begat sons and daughters” (Gen. 5:22).

Here was a man that pleased God, a man that walked with God.

Enoch had to have faith, for in Hebrews 11:6 the apostle said, “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.” So Enoch walked with God. He obeyed God, and followed Him in His paths by faith.

No one can walk with God unless he is in agreement with the will of God and doing it. Amos the prophet said: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3.) So in his generation Enoch was the only recorded person who followed the ways of God — even though it took him sixty-five years to learn to walk with God!

But how long did Enoch walk with God? The scripture says that he “walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years.” So Enoch followed God’s ways for three hundred years. Notice that Moses did not record that Enoch is still walking with God. The scripture says that Enoch walked with God for three hundred years and not one year more! Then Enoch is not still walking with God! Why?

Because “all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years” (Gen. 5:23). All the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Not just part of his days, but all his days! If Enoch did not die — if he were changed to immortality — and thus continued to walk with God, then his days would have been more than three hundred and sixty-five years. But the Bible plainly says that all his days were just that many, and no more!

This expression “all his days” is used in the same fifth chapter of Genesis about a dozen times and always it means that the person lived for that length of time only “and he died.” So Enoch lived no more than three hundred and sixty-five years because “all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.” As he lived only for this length of time then he must have died!

But what about his translation? Does that mean he didn’t die? That’s what some people carelessly assume without proof.

What Really Happened at Enoch’s Translation

Remember, Moses didn’t write that Enoch did not die. Rather Moses wrote that ” Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). Paul records the same event by saying that he “was not found, because God had translated him” (Heb. 11:5).

Thus the scripture records that Enoch was not found because God took him, or “translated” him. The Bible does not say that Enoch went to heaven when he was translated. Instead it says he was not found.

Certainly Enoch was “translated,” but what does the word “translate” mean?

The original Greek word for “translate” is metatithemi. According to Arndt-Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1969 edition, the primary meaning is to “convey to another place… transfer” (p. 514).

This same Greek word is rendered “carried over” in Acts 7:16. Here we read that after Jacob died his body was “carried over” — transported, translated — to Sychem where he was buried! That’s what your Bible says! Jacob was transported or translated to the place of burial!

That is why Moses said that God took Enoch. God removed — translated — him so that he was not found. God took Enoch and buried him!

In Deuteronomy 34:6 we read also how God took Moses from the people after which he died and was buried by God. “But no man knoweth his sepulchre unto this day.” God removed Moses — God translated him — and he was not found either!

So Enoch was not made immortal after all! He was taken away and was not found. All his days were three hundred and sixty-five! That’s as long as Enoch lived.

Notice another proof that “translate” does not mean to make immortal. It is found in Colossians 1:13: the Father “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Here the Bible says that Christians are already translated — but Christians still die! We are not immortal bodies, but mortal flesh and blood. Although we were once part of the darkness of this world, now we are translated, removed from darkness into the light of the Kingdom of God.

Didn’t Receive the Promise

Enoch is included by Paul (in Hebrews 11) among the fathers who obtained a good report through faith; but “these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise” (Heb. 11:39). What promise? The “hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2).

So Enoch therefore is one of “these all” who have not yet obtained the promise of eternal life and inheritance. Enoch and all the worthies of old will receive the promise of eternal life at the return of Christ, the same time Christians obtain it (Heb. 11:40). That is yet future!

Since Enoch has not yet inherited eternal life he must be dead! This is exactly what Paul writes in Hebrews 11:13. Paul says Enoch died! Notice it. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises.” Who were these “all”?

Paul tells us: Abel, Enoch, Noah, and the patriarchs and their wives. Hebrews 11:1-12 lists those who had faith and Enoch is included among them. Then in verse 13 Paul proved that they had not inherited the promises by saying: “These all [including Enoch] died in faith.”

But what about Paul’s saying that Enoch “should not see death”?

Which Death Did Enoch Escape?

Enoch lived only three hundred sixty-five years. Then what could Paul possibly have meant by saying: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him”? This verse nowhere says that Enoch did not die. Rather, it says that Enoch “should not see death.” But what does it mean?

Remember, there is more than one death mentioned in the Bible. There is a first death, and there is a second death (Rev. 20:6).

Which death did Paul mean? The first death is appointed unto men (Heb. 9:27). That death cannot be humanly evaded. It is inevitable. That death Enoch died, as we have already proved.

But Paul was not writing about that death. The phrase “should not see” is in the conditional tense of the verb, having reference to a future event. It is not in the past tense, that he “did not see” death — but that he “should not see death.” So this death that Enoch escaped by being translated is one that he can escape in the future on certain conditions!

Did Jesus ever speak of a death that might be escaped? He certainly did! In John 8:51 Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death” — shall never see — that is, suffer — the second death! And again in John 11:26, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” — or “shall not die forever.”

This death is one that can be escaped on condition that men keep the saying of Jesus and believe Him. This death is not the first death, because Christians who keep Jesus’ sayings die this first death. Then the death which Enoch should escape must be the second death which will never touch those who are in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6). And Enoch will be in the first resurrection because he met the conditions!

Enoch had faith. He believed God and walked with God, obeying Him. In keeping the sayings of God, Enoch kept the sayings of Jesus too; because Jesus did not speak of Himself, but spoke what the Father commanded Him (John 14:10).

Thus Enoch met the conditions so that he should not see death. The second death shall never touch Enoch, because of his faith and obedience.

Two Translations

Now we can understand Hebrews 11:5: “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.”

This verse plainly mentions two translations.

Examining this verse fact by fact, we notice that Enoch had faith and was translated. This translation — removal, transference — was on condition of faith. Now what translation mentioned in the Bible is on condition of faith? Why, the one we read about in Colossians 1:13. The Father “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”

This is a figurative translation — a figurative removal or transference from the spiritual darkness of this world to the light of the family or Kingdom of God and Christ. In verse 10 Paul shows that to abide in this Kingdom we must “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.” This is exactly what Enoch did. He walked with God, and pleased God.

Then Enoch, the same as Christians, was delivered from the power of sin and darkness in which he had been living for sixty-five years. He was removed (translated) from the ways of the world and lived three hundred years according to God’s ways so that he might inherit eternal life at Christ’s return, and should not suffer the second death.

By faith Enoch was separated — removed or translated — from the world, the same as Christians who are not to be a part of the world, although living in the world.

Not only was Enoch figuratively taken from the society of his day, but he was also literally removed — translated — so that he was not found.

God took him physically away from the people, just as He later took Moses. And God buried each so well that neither has ever been found since!

A Premature Death

We have already read that “all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years” (Gen. 5:23). Now look at the entire fifth chapter of Genesis. The shortest lifespan described, aside from Enoch’s, is the seven hundred and seventy-seven years lifetime of Lamech. The longest is Methuselah’s nine hundred and sixty-nine. But Enoch lived only three hundred and sixty-five. Why?

Clearly Enoch died a premature death! He did not complete his normal life cycle. He was cut off, as it were, in the midst of his days. But what happened? Does the Bible give us any clue?

Lamech’s Boast

Lamech, a descendant of Cain (not the same person listed in the genealogy of Genesis 5), boasted to his two wives: “I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold” (Gen. 4:23-24). The “man” was Cain. Hence Lamech’s reference to the fact that God would take vengeance on anyone who dared to murder Cain. But who was the “young man”?

Enoch at age three hundred and sixty-five would certainly be considered a young man by his generation.

Enoch walked with God. Furthermore, he prophesied of the coming of Christ to execute judgment and to convict the ungodly (Jude 14-15). He was in effect a “preacher of righteousness” (compare II Peter 2:5).

But God’s message has never been popular. As a servant of God, Enoch undoubtedly convicted and enraged many by his message. His life was in danger. Finally that ungodly generation tolerated Enoch’s preaching no longer. By comparing Lamech’s saying with the age of Enoch at his death, we may deduce from Scripture that Lamech (by himself or with a mob) stilled Enoch’s voice by murder.

Don’t think this strange or unusual. Hebrew tradition reveals that Noah, the great grandson of Enoch, had to flee for his life in order to carry out the Work of God.

“But Noah was very uneasy at what they [the pre-Flood world] did; and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded [urged] them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better: but seeing they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; so he departed out of the land” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book I, chapter 3, section 1, Whiston translation).

God allowed Enoch to be martyred. But He would not permit his body to be desecrated or publicly displayed. God physically removed his body, very likely in the sight of his murderers — before they could defile it. Otherwise how would anyone have known that God had taken him?

A Sign from God

God gave this sign of physical removal as a type for all those who should later follow Enoch’s example of faith. He was taken physically from the people just as Christians are to be spiritually removed from the ways of this world. The physical translation or carrying away of Enoch was also a sign from God that his faith had been accepted — God often gives signs (Isaiah 38:7).

The question may arise, why did God allow His righteous servant Enoch to die? The Bible contains — if you have eyes to see — a chronicle or obituary of the death of the prophets and apostles of God throughout history. Many of the greatest men of the Bible were martyred.

God is concerned with one’s physical welfare. But He is more concerned with one’s spiritual state and one’s eternal life. Enoch had to be willing to die for the truth he preached.

Like every true saint, Enoch is awaiting the hope of the resurrection and the return of Jesus Christ, the Messiah (Jude 14, 15).

Source:1957, 1973 Ambassador College

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