The experience of Enoch and of John the Baptist represents what ours should be. Far more than we do, we need to study the lives of these men–he who was translated to heaven without seeing death, and he who, before Christ’s first advent, was called to prepare the way of the Lord, to make His paths straight. – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pg. 329
We need to study whose lives? Who’s the first one mentioned? Enoch. And who else? John the Baptist. In today’s class, we will begin a two-part study about Enoch. Enoch – he who was translated to heaven without seeing death.
–Enoch Walked With God–
Has anybody else ever been translated to heaven without seeing death? Elijah. Anybody else? No. That’s all. So far, two men have gotten out of this world alive. Will anybody else ever get out alive? Yes. We believe the 144,000 have that great destiny, that high privilege. Think of it, friends. What happened before to only two men is going to happen now to thousands of people. Are any of them around now? We hope so. We remember that wonderful appeal from the messenger of the Lord, “Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred forty-four thousand.” So you and I have a special reason for studying the life and experience of Enoch.
Let us turn to Hebrews, the 11th chapter, and notice what it said about Enoch. There aren’t a great many things in the Bible about Enoch, but there’s enough so that we can get a picture of his work and experience, and apply it to our own.
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. – Hebrews 11:5
What was God’s attitude towards Enoch? He was pleased with him. Did he know it? Yes. He had this testimony. When did he find it out? Before he was translated. Right here in this world, Enoch pleased God and knew it. That’s a wonderful experience. We can have, we must have, the experience that Enoch had. Gospel Workers, page 54, after quoting this text I’ve read from Hebrews:
“To such communion God is calling us. As was Enoch’s, so must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord’s second coming.” – Gospel Workers, pg. 54
Will you have an experience like Enoch? You will unless one of two things happens to you. You will have an experience like Enoch’s unless you are lost, or unless you die before Jesus comes. Not a one of us wants the first to happen to us; we don’t want to be lost. And I am sure that we cherish the hope of translation. Of course, I recognize that it’s all in God’s hand whether we rest in the grave or whether we are alive to be translated. But we are invited to cherish that hope and make that our goal, our objective. Is that right?
Now, we will go back to Genesis and notice what this first book of the Bible says about this man. His father was Jared according to the Genesis 5:19. When Enoch was 65 years old, he begat Methuselah. It is interesting that there are people in the world who know more about Methuselah than they do about Enoch. What was Methuselah famous for? Yes, his age. But I think the end of Enoch is far more interesting than the end of Methuselah, don’t you?
Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 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. – Genesis 5:22-24
What does it mean “he was not”? He wasn’t here in this world anymore. He left this world. We are told that people hunted for him. They couldn’t find him. He was not. Just as somebody goes to a home and knocks. Someone comes to the door. Is so and so here? No, he isn’t here. Where is he? He’s gone. Enoch was gone. Where did he go? He went with God.
I like the story the way the little boy told it:
“Enoch and God used to walk together. Sometimes they would take long walks. One day they got so far away from Enoch’s home that God said to Enoch, ‘It’s closer to where I live. Come on home with Me.’”
Ah, dear ones, such a walk with God. In Gospel Workers, page 51:
Enoch’s walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in all the duties of his daily life. – Gospel Workers, pg. 51
Did Enoch have any duties to do? How could he find time for that? Wasn’t he busy walking with God? Well, that’s where he walked with God.
He did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world. – Ibid
What is a hermit anyway? Well, back in the early ages of Christianity, after the apostasy came in, there were men who had the idea that the way to be holy was to get off in a cave somewhere and do nothing but just read and pray and read and pray – hermits. They got clear away from all society – out in the desert or way out in the mountains. Enoch did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the steadfast, unwavering servant of God. Enoch was a worker. Enoch was a preacher. We are given a view of his preaching in the book of Jude:
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed. – Jude 14-15
What was Enoch’s great subject, according to this text? The second coming of Christ. What kind of a preacher would he be called today? An Adventist preacher. Back there, his eye was focused upon that grand event, the coming of our Lord with all the angels of glory to reward his saints and execute the judgment upon the wicked. No wonder he’s set forth as a type for you and me to study. We have the same message to bear that he had to bear.
What do you gather from this verse which I have just read as to the conditions around him? What kind of people were there? Ungodly. You notice how that word is spoken again and again. Yes, it was an ungodly world. In fact, if you want to get a picture of how wicked it became in Enoch’s time, go to Genesis 6:5 and you will note that it became so wicked that God finally said He saw the imaginations of men’s hearts were only evil continually. The flood had to come upon the world as a consequence. The judgments of God came upon that ungodly race of people. How many got out alive? Eight.
Is God going to destroy this world again? This time, instead of being a deluge of water it will be a deluge of fire. Is anybody going to get out alive? Yes. The righteous are going to be taken out of this world and preserved as Noah was preserved. Enoch’s message is as appropriate for this hour as it was back then. I cannot study with you everything about Enoch, but there are two things especially that I want you to notice. First, I want you to notice separation in Enoch’s life. He walked with God. He didn’t walk with the world. He walked in the world, but not with the world.
In Amos 3:3, God asks, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” No, they can’t do it. If you want to go to Washington and I want to go to New Orleans, we cannot move together. It’s impossible. If you are headed for the North pole and I am headed for the South pole, we’ll just have to say goodbye. To walk together, we must be agreed. And the fact that Enoch walked with God is evidence that he agreed with God. That’s what holiness is. Holiness is agreement with God. That’s all it is; that’s all it needs to be. If you and God agree, then you’re living the life of holiness. If you don’t agree, that isn’t holiness. No matter what ecstasy of feeling, no matter how men may be able to shout and sing and pray and praise, if their lives are not in agreement with God, that’s not holiness, is it? No. Holiness is agreement with God.
–In The Beginning–
I want to study this life of holiness that Enoch lived and what he felt led of God to do in order to attain and maintain that life of holiness. Let’s look at the background a little. In the beginning, according to the early chapters of Genesis, God had placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He gave them His law. They broke it. They were cast out from the Garden. They were put in this world to learn by hard toil the lesson of real repentance and obedience. It was the grace of God that would enable them to do it, but the grace of God is not a substitute for the individual effort of the individual man. He must choose. His efforts without God can never save him. He can be saved by grace and grace alone. But oh, that men might know and learn fully the lesson: If all there is to this plan of salvation is for men to say, “I believe, and that’s it, that’s done, that’s over with now,” why weren’t Adam and Eve allowed to stay in the Garden of Eden? Didn’t they get sorry for sin there in the Garden? Yes. Didn’t they hear about the promise of the Redeemer? Yes. Didn’t they accept it? Yes. But with all that, God said, I am sorry, but you will have to go. Oh, how they pled. If they could only stay in that Garden. It was a good place. But God said, No.
It seems to me I see the tears falling down God’s face as He has to take His children and lead them out of that beautiful Garden home, out into a world that was to more and more bear the curse of sin. Ah, think of it, friends: sweat and toil, thorns and briars – these are part of the lesson book in which you and I are to learn how terrible sin is and what a long road it is back. Not that we can earn our way, oh no. Jesus paid the price, and He paid it all. But the price that He paid is for the purpose of giving you and me an experience into which we must enter. That’s the thing I want you to see in the experience of Enoch.
Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel was righteous; Cain pretended to be, but he didn’t do what God said. He had his own ideas, just like a lot of people today. As the result, Cain finally became so angry because Abel was accepted and he wasn’t that he rose up and smote his brother and slew him. He was the first murderer. Abel was the first martyr. Think of it: the first two boys ever born in this world – one was the first murderer; the other was the first martyr. As the result of that, Cain fled away from Eden. He went way off into another part of the world. And there, the Bible says, he built a city (Genesis 4:17). That’s the first use of the word “city” in the Bible.
The Lord gave Adam and Eve another son to take Abel’s place, and that boy’s name was Seth. As he grew up, he was righteous like Abel. He gladdened his parents’ hearts by walking in the commandments of God. His descendants were given the glorious privilege of maintaining the truth of God. At the head of those two great divisions stood those two sons of Adam – Cain and Seth. I want you to notice something very interesting. Reading from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 81:
Cain withdrew from his father’s household. He had first chosen his occupation as a tiller of the soil, and he now founded a city, calling it after the name of his eldest son. He had gone out from the presence of the Lord, cast away the promise of the restored Eden to seek his possessions and enjoyment in the earth under the curse of sin, thus standing at the head of that great class of men who worship the god of this world. – Patriarchs and Prophets, pg. 81
You can read this story in the early chapters of Genesis. Those were great men. Never get the idea that they were some half-ape-like-looking creation like these cave men and stone-age men that you see pictured by the evolutionists. That is a bunch of nonsense. The people who lived back there were noble, majestic-looking beings, more than twice the height of people living today. And we are told there were more arts and sciences lost at the time of the flood than men know today. They could do all kinds of things. They had wonderful wisdom. They were great men, both the sinners and the righteous. They were descended from Adam and Eve, who had been made in the image of God. They didn’t know disease like we know it today. They didn’t know degeneracy and imbecility and deformity. No. They were great men. Any one of those men would be a wonder if he were turned loose today, not merely physically as a giant, but mentally, intellectually. He’d be looked upon as a wonder. He would be a wonder! But let me tell you something: Being wonderful is not enough. The more wonderful a man is, the worse it is for him if he’s in the way of Cain, the way of sin, the way of the devil. That’s the way most of the men went.
Notice, while Cain was building his city, and those who followed after him were developing the arts and sciences that made them so great:
Abel had led a pastoral life, dwelling in tents and booths, and the descendants of Seth followed the same course, counting themselves ‘strangers and pilgrims on the earth,’ seeking ‘a better country, that is, an heavenly. – Ibid
Abel dwelt in what? Tents, or booths. What is a booth? It’s a house made with vines or trees. Is that the kind they had in Eden? Yes, only they were all living. Maybe some of these were. I don’t know. My point is, they were not extravagant man-made structures in which millions of dollars were piled up. No. Cain went to his city program where the works of man were continually exalted. Abel, and later Seth, led out in a pastoral country life.
For some time the two classes remained separate. The race of Cain, spreading from the place of their first settlement, dispersed over the plains and valleys where the children of Seth had dwelt;… – Ibid
What happened? These Canaanites moved right in where the Sethites had been living. What did the Sethites do? Did they say, “We’ve got all our investment here, and everything is like we want it. It’s too bad we have all these neighbors around us that are so wicked and diabolical in their attitude, their conversation, and their influence. It’s hard on the children, but we were here first, and they’ve moved in; there’s nothing we can do.” Is that what they did? Listen:
… and the latter [the children of Seth], in order to escape from their contaminating influence, withdrew to the mountains, and there made their home. – Ibid
What do you think about that? Isn’t that interesting? If you and I had lived back there under the influence of Seth, and had gone along with Seth’s program, when the Canaanites moved in, what would we have done? Moved out. We would have moved out and up into the mountains.
So long as this separation continued, they maintained the worship of God in its purity. But in the lapse of time they ventured, little by little, to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys. – Ibid
Oh, what a picture. Do you see them? At first, they can’t bear the thought of the wickedness, the idolatry, the blasphemy, the polygamy, the adultery, the fornication. They say, “We must get our children out of here.” And away they go up the mountains. For some time, they maintain the worship of God in purity up there. But as time goes on, year after year, they venture, they venture, they venture. They didn’t have radio and TV back then. Today, you can have all the influence of Cain right up in the mountains, if you want to pay out a few dollars. But back then, they could escape. Thank God, we can escape today if we’re willing. Can’t we?
But they ventured little by little to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys.
This association was productive of the worst results. ‘The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair.’ Many of the worshipers of God were beguiled into sin by the allurements that were now constantly before them, and they lost their peculiar, holy character. Mingling with the depraved, they became like them in spirit and in deeds; ….’ The children of Seth went ‘in the way of Cain’ (Jude 11); they fixed their minds upon worldly prosperity and enjoyment and neglected the commandments of the Lord. – Ibid
Do you see the picture? They got to thinking that they had to have all those things that the descendants of Cain had. And if they were going to have them, they had to get down there into the race with them. So, little by little, many of them became contaminated with that awful influence. Later, Enoch, the seventh from Adam, comes. The Spirit of God comes upon him, and he cannot bear that thing. What does he do? He repeats the experience of Seth. He gets away from those abominations. He gets away from those idolatrous customs and influences. He says, “I can’t bear it. I’ve got to get out and away from all this. I want to walk with God, and God is not in this sort of thing.”
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.