by Tom Burns
(Editor’s note: This is the 2nd post in a series through Hebrews 11 called “In the Shadow of the Cloud.” We will be exploring what we can learn from those mentioned in this clouds of witnesses section.)
However, after the sin of Adam, the Bible seems to bear this grim view out at first. In Genesis 5, we find the genealogy of Adam’s descendants.
5 Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died
8 Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.
11 Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died.
14 Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died.
17 Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.
20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.
Then with the 7th from Adam we are shocked by a break in the pattern:
23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
Hebrews 11:5 records, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.”
In an era when the first six generations lived on average 919 years, Enoch at the relatively young age of 365 is taken up by God, body and soul. He didn’t die; God had taken Enoch to be with Him in heaven.
So what was it about Enoch that he could escape death and be taken up by God? The Bible tells us precious little. And I do mean ‘precious’ little because it is all we really need to know.
The only thing Genesis tells us, and it tells us twice, is that Enoch walked with God. And what is it to walk with God, but to walk through life in close fellowship, agreement, and intimacy. Enoch walked in a manner that always set God before him, always acting as if under God’s eye.
To walk with God is to walk in step with God’s will for him. Enoch walked under the rule of God. Hebrews 11:5 adds this note: By faith Enoch was taken up…Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
Enoch walked faithfully in this world as if he was already in heaven and so God made that true. Enoch walked right into eternity with God without passing through death.
By faith we please God. Hebrews 11:6 adds, “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.” Enoch believed God existed and that God rewarded those who seek Him. So Enoch walked accordingly. The good news of the gospel is that this same opportunity is available to you and me.
- When Jesus came into this world to save us, His first invitation in John 1:39 was to “Come and see.” When we seek Jesus we will also be rewarded. In fact, Jesus told us in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the way to the Father and to eternal life. We are invited to be like Enoch and seek God.
- Jesus’ second invitation in John 1:43 was “Follow Me.” Jesus invites us to be His disciple, to put our faith in Him, and to follow His way, His teachings, and the way He lived. We are invited by Jesus to walk with Him.
- Jesus’ third invitation in John 15:4 is “Abide in Me.” Just as the branch remains in the vine and draws life and bears fruit, so Jesus invites us to abide in Him, to remain with Him, to “Come and be with me!”
No matter how we have walked in the past, the good news of the gospel is that God so loved the world that He sent His Son to take the punishment for our sin, conquer death, and reconcile us to the Father. All we have to do is believe in Jesus, and we too can walk with Him into eternity. By faith, Enoch walked with God. By faith, we too can walk with God!
Tom Burns is a chaplain at the Chicago O’Hare Airport Chapel, ministering to travelers and the over 40,000 employees working at O’Hare Airport. He is an executive coach and consultant, working with Christian business executives and church/nonprofit leaders.