Eternity in Hell or Forever Dead Part 8: Enoch Was Not or Was He?

Genesis 5:24
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him.

These two passages are often cited by traditionalists as proof the immaterial souls of saints ascend to heaven immediately upon their death.  Given everything we have seen in this study thus far though, we would be wise to question the traditionalist’s interpretation of these two texts.  Things may not be so simple as they at first appear.

Jesus tells us in John 3:13 that “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.”  He told us this many, many centuries after Enoch had been taken.  The standard traditionalist response to this verse is that Jesus was referring to the body; that is, that no one has bodily ascended into heaven except He who has descended from heaven.  One of the biggest problems with this interpretation is that Jesus spoke these words well before He had risen and then physically ascended.  Had He been speaking to physical ascension, then He would have had to have excluded even Himself.

Still though, we do have the two texts in question, and although we might well rule out the traditionalist’s interpretation as a Biblically consistent one, we cannot simply let the argument fall silent here.  Rather, we must explain it from a conditionalist point of view, and our explanation had better be Biblically consistent.

Let’s begin examining our interpretation by considering another passage in which Enoch appears.

Jude 1:8-16
Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.  But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”  But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.  Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.  These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.  It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,  to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

Jude tells us that those who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality are like those who in Enoch’s time walked in the way of Cain.  Let us be reminded, what did Cain do?  He murdered his brother.  Says Jude, the men today who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality, they are like those men of old who murdered their brothers and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and therefore perished in Korah’s rebellion.

Korah, just to quickly remind us, was a man who along with his family challenged Moses’ authority to lead the people of Israel.  We find his story in Numbers 16.

Numbers 16:1-3
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men.
  And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men.  They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”

As punishment for their rebellion, God opened the ground beneath these men’s feet and then caused the earth to swallow every man, woman, child who belonged to the family of Korah, as well as all their possessions.

Numbers 16:30
But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.”

Jude also tells us something else very interesting that is nowhere else mentioned in Scripture.  He says Enoch prophesied against these men of his day.   Enoch, it would appear, was a prophet.

. . . . it was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,  to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

In actual fact, if we follow Enoch’s lineage in Genesis 5, we discover something truly incredible.  Enoch fathered Methuselah, who fathered Lamach, who fathered Noah.  Noah was none other than Enoch’s great grandson.  Furthermore, as I have pointed out in a previous study (https://cornbreadandbourbon.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/the-name-of-jesus-lesson-notes/ ) Methuselah actually means “at his death it comes.”  What comes?  The flood, of course.  Less than one year after Methuselah’s death, the rains fell and the floodgates of the earth opened.  Enoch had given his little son a prophetic name, “when he dies it comes.”   Can you imagine what the wicked of Enoch’s day thought about this?

If the wicked truly did walk in the way of Cain, and we have no reason to believe they didn’t,  then surely they would have sought to kill Enoch!  So why didn’t they?  Our texts tell us why.   Because God had taken Enoch away from that place where they had been lying in wait to murder him so that he did not see death at their hands. 

By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him.

Given everything the Bible tells us about immortality, everything about what the Bible tells us about the wicked during Enoch’s day, the conditionalist’s interpretation is the only one which remains Biblically consistent.

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About David Bishop

Gospel of Grace Church http://www.gospeldefense.com/about.html
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2 Responses to Eternity in Hell or Forever Dead Part 8: Enoch Was Not or Was He?

  1. Pingback: Eternity in Hell or Forever Dead Part 7: Tripartite Vs Bipartite People | Cornbread & Bourbon

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