Gleanings In Genesis

9. Enoch

Genesis 5

In our comments upon the fourth chapter of Genesis, we noted how that the descendants of Adam followed two distinct lines of worship through Cain and Abel, Abel worshipping God by faith and bringing a bleeding sacrifice as the ground of his approach; Cain, ignoring the double fact that he was depraved by nature because descended from fallen parents, and a sinner by choice and deed and, therefore, rejecting the vicarious expiation prescribed by grace, tendered only the product of his own labors, which was promptly refused by his Maker. The remainder of the chapter traces the godless line of Cain down to the seventh generation, and then closes with an account of the birth of Seth the appointed successor of Abel and the one from whom the chosen race and the Messiah should come.

Genesis 5 begins a new section and traces for us the line of Seth. The opening words of this chapter are worthy of close attention. No less than ten times we find in Genesis this phrase, "These are the generations of," (see Genesis 2:4; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12, 19; 36:1; 36:9; 37:2); but here in Genesis 5:1 there is an important addition- "This is the book of the generations of Adam." Nowhere else in Genesis, nor, indeed, in the Old Testament (compare Numbers 3:1 and Ruth 4:18), does this form of expression recur. But we do find it once more when we open the New Testament, and there it meets us in the very first verse! "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ."[1] This is deeply significant and a remarkable proof of verbal inspiration.

Why, then, should there be these two different forms of expression, and only these two- Genesis 5:1 and Matthew 1:1- exceptions to the usual form? Surely the answer is not far to seek. Are not these the two books of Federal Headship? In the first book- "The book of the generations of Adam" are enrolled the names of the fallen descendants of the first man; in the second- "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ"- are inscribed the names of all who have been redeemed by sovereign grace. One is the Book of Death; the other is the Lamb's Book of Life.

"The book of the generations of Adam," "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ," and do we not see the marvelous unity of the two Testaments? The whole of the Bible centers around these two books- the book of the generations of Adam, and the book of the generation of Jesus Christ.

But what is the force of this word "generations"? Here the law of First Mention will help us. The initial occurrence of this expression defines its scope. When we read in Genesis 2:4 "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth" the reference is not to origin but to development. Had Genesis 2:4 been intended to supply information as to how the heavens and the earth were produced, this expression would have occurred at the commencement of Genesis 1, which treats of that subject. Again, when we read of "The generations of Noah" (Gen. 6:9) it is not to give us the ancestry of this patriarch- that is found in Genesis 5- but to tell us who were his descendants, as the very next verse goes on to show. "Generations,'' then, means history, development, and not origin. Try this key in each lock and you will find it fits perfectly. "The generations (or history) of the heavens and of the earth." So here in Genesis 5:1. From this point onwards we have the history and development of Adam's progeny. So, too, of Matthew 1:1. What is the New Testament but the history and development of Jesus Christ and His "brethren"?

As we have stated, chapter five opens a new section of Genesis. Righteous Abel has been slain, and all the descendants of Cain are doomed to destruction by the Flood. It is from Seth that there shall issue Noah, whose children, coming out of the Ark, shall replenish the earth. Hence it is that we are here taken back once more to the beginning. Adam is again brought before us- fallen Adam- to show us the source from which Seth sprang.

Two sentences in the opening verses of this chapter (Gen. 5) need to be carefully compared and contrasted. "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him," Genesis 5:1. "And Adam . . . begat a son in his own likeness, after his image," Genesis 5:3. By sin Adam lost the image of God and became corrupt in his nature and a fallen parent could do no more than beget a fallen child. Seth was begotten in the likeness of a sinful father! Since Noah was the direct descendant of Seth and is the father of us all, and since he was able to transmit to-us only that which he had, himself, received from Seth, we have here the doctrine of universal depravity. Every man living in the world today is, through Noah and his three sons, a descendant of Seth, hence it is that care is here taken at the beginning of this new section to trace the spring back to its fountain head, and show how all are, by nature, the fallen offspring of a fallen parent- that we have all been begotten in the image and likeness of a corrupt and sinful father.

Until we reach the twenty-first verse of Genesis 5, there is little else in the chapter which calls for comment. The intervening verses trace for us the line of Seth's seed, and death is writ large across the record. Eight times we read, "And he died." But in verses 21 to 24 we have a notable exception. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, died not. He was translated without seeing death. And to the consideration of this remarkable man we shall now direct our attention.

Enoch is a striking character. He is one of but two men of whom it is said in Scripture that he "walked with God." He is one of but two men who lived on this earth and went to heaven without passing through the portals of death. And he is the only one, except our blessed Lord, of whom it is written, "He pleased God."[2] He is one of the very few who lived before the Flood of whom we know anything at all. The days when Enoch lived on the earth were flagrantly wicked, as the Epistle of Jude plainly shows. He seems to have stood quite alone in his fearless denunciation of the ungodly and in his faithful testimony for God. Very little is recorded of him, which is another proof of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures- a truth which cannot be overemphasized. Had the Bible been a human production, much would have been written about Enoch and an attempt made to show the cause and explain the method of his mysterious exit from this world. The silence of Holy Scripture attest their Divine origin! But though little is told us about Enoch, a careful examination of what is recorded suggests and supplies a wonderfully complete biography.

"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And 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." (Gen. 5:21-24).

The first thing implied in Enoch's walk with God is reconciliation. A pertinent question is asked in Amos 3:3, "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" Thus two walking together supposes agreement, sympathy, harmony. From the nature of the ease, it is implied that one of the two had been at enmity with the other and that there had been a reconciliation. So that when we say of any man that he walks with God, it implies that he has been reconciled to God. God has not conformed to him, but he has conformed to God.

To walk with God implies a correspondency of nature. Light hath no communion with darkness. No sinner can walk with God for he has nothing in common with Him, and more, his mind is at enmity against Him. It is sin which separates from God. The day that Adam sinned he fled from his Maker and hid himself among the trees of the garden. A walk with God then supposes the judicial putting away of sin and the impartation of the Divine nature to the one who walked with Him.

To walk with God implies a moral fitness. God does not walk out of the way of holiness. Before God would walk through Israel's camp everything which defiled had to be put away. Before Christ commences His millennial reign all things that offend must be gathered out of His Kingdom. The thrice holy God keeps no company with the unclean. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:6, 7. In a sentence, then, walking with God means that we cease taking our own way, that we abandon the world's way, that we follow the Divine way.

To walk with God implies a surrendered will. God does not force His company upon any. "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" The supreme example and illustration is the Lord Jesus. None enjoyed such perfect and intimate communication with the Father as He. And what was the secret of it all? "I delight to do Thy will, O God," supplies the explanation. If, then, we would walk with the Lord, there must be a willingness and readiness on our part. "Take My yoke upon you." He does not force it on any! To walk with God implies spiritual communion. "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" The word "walk" suggests steady progress. It has been quaintly but well said, Enoch "did not take a turn or two with God and then leave His company, but he walked with God for hundreds of years. What a splendid walk! A walk of three hundred years! It was not a run, a leap, a spurt, but a steady walk."

"And Enoch walked with God." What light that one word casts on the life and character of this man! How much it reveals to us. Like every other descendant of Adam, Enoch was by nature a child of wrath, alienated from the life of God. But a day came when he was reconciled to his Maker. If it be asked, What was the cause of this reconciliation? Hebrews 11:5 supplies the answer- Enoch "had this testimony, that he pleased God." If it be further asked, How did he please God? the very next verse informs us, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." Faith then was the instrumental cause of his reconciliation. Again we say, how much that one sentence tells us about this "seventh from Adam"! Born into this world a lost sinner, he is saved by grace through faith. He is born again and thus made a partaker of the Divine nature. He is brought into agreement with the Most High and fitted to have fellowship with the Holy One.

But from the analogy of other Scriptures, by comparing text with text we may learn still more about this man who "pleased God." What would be the result of his walk with God? Would not the first consequence of such a walk be a growth in grace? Walking implies progress, and that in a forward direction. Enoch's life must have been progressive. At the close of three hundred years of communion with God, Enoch could not be morally and spiritually where he was at the beginning. He would have a deeper abhorrence of sin and a humbler estimate of himself. He would be more conscious of his own helplessness and would feel more and more his need of absolute dependency on God. There would be a larger capacity to enjoy God. There would be a going on from strength to strength and from glory to glory.

There would also be a growth in the knowledge of the Lord. It is one thing to talk about God, to reason and speculate about Him, to hear and read about Him, it is quite another to know Him. This is the practical and experimental side of the Christian life. If we would know God we must walk with Him: we must come into living contact with Him, have personal dealings with Him, commune with Him. After such a walk of three hundred years Enoch would have a deeper appreciation of God's excellency, a greater enjoyment of His perfections and would manifest a more earnest concern for His glory. Another consequence of Enoch's walk with God would be a deep settled joy and peace. Enoch's life must have been supremely happy. How could he be miserable with such a Companion! He could not be gloomy in such company. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me." Walking with God ensures protection. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Nothing can harm the man who has the Lord God at his right hand.

A further consequence of Enoch's walk was his witness for God- see Jude 14 and 15. This is something which needs to be stressed. This order cannot be reversed, it is of Divine appointment. Before we can witness for God, we must walk with God. It is greatly to be feared that much of what passes for "Christian service" in our day is not the product of such a walk, and that it will prove but "wood, hay and stubble" in the day of testing. There is something which must precede service, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve."

Having considered at some length the character of Enoch's walk, let us in closing note two other things, the commencement and the culmination of this walk.

"And Enoch lived sixty and five years and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God" (Gen. 5:21, 22). It is not said that Enoch walked with God before his son was born, and the inference seems to be that the coming into his life of this little one God's gift- may have been the means of leading him into this close fellowship. Such ought ever to be the case. The responsibilities of parenthood should cast us more and more upon God.

The name of his son strongly implies that Enoch had received a revelation from God. Methuselah signifies, "When he is dead it shall be sent," i.e., the Deluge (Newberry). In all probability then, a Divine revelation is memorialized in this name. It was as though God had said to Enoch, "Do you see that baby? The world will last as long as he lives and no longer! When that child dies, I shall deal with the world in judgment. The windows of heaven will be opened. The fountains of the great deep will be broken up, and all humanity will perish." What would be the effect of such a communication upon Enoch? Imagine for a moment a parallel case today. Suppose God should make known to you, in such a way that you could not question His veracity, that this world would last only as long as the life of some little one in your home. Suppose God should say to you, "The life of that little one is to be the life of the world. When that child dies the world will be destroyed.'' What would be the effect upon you? Not knowing how soon that child might die, there would come before you the possibility that the world might perish at any time. Every time that child fell sick the world's doom would stare you in the face! Suppose further, that you were unsaved. Would you not be deeply exercised? Would you not realize as never before your urgent need of preparing to meet God? Would you not at once begin to occupy yourself with spiritual things? May not some such effects have been produced upon Enoch? Be this as it may- and it is difficult to escape such a conclusion it is certainly implied that from the time Methuselah was born, the world lost all its attractiveness for Enoch and from that time on, if never before, he walked with God.

"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" (Heb. 11:5). God had translated him.[3] After Enoch had lived on earth the great cycle- a year for a day- of three hundred and sixty-five years, God took him to Himself, as if to show that he was an example of a human being, who had fulfilled his destiny, and a type of what the destiny of all mankind might have been had sin never entered the world (Bettex).

God had translated him. We cannot do better than quote here from Dr. B. H. Carroll's exposition of Genesis- a work from which many original and excellent suggestions may be gathered: "God translated him." This is an old Latin word, an irregular verb, and it simply means carried over or carried across. God carried him across. Across what? Across death. Death is the river that divides this world from the world to come, and here was a man that never did go through that river at all. When he got there God carried him across. God transferred him; translated him; God picked him up and carried him over and put him on the other shore. And walking along here in time and communing with God by faith, in an instant he was communing with God by sight in another world. Faith, Oh, precious faith! Faith had turned to sight, and hope bad turned to fruition in a single moment. The life of faith was thus crowned by entrance into the life of perfect fellowship above, "And they shall walk with Me in white" (Rev. 3:4).

In conclusion, we would point out the fact that Enoch is a type of those believers who shall be alive on the earth when our Lord shall descend into the air to catch up to Himself His blood bought people "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall be all changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:51, 52). Just as Enoch was translated to heaven without seeing death, so also will those of the Lord's people who remain on the earth till the time of His return. May it be ours to "walk with God" during the short interval that now intervenes, and, if it pleaseth Him, may we be among that number which shall be raptured to glory without having to first pass through the portals of the grave.


[1] Students of Scripture Numerics will observe above that there are just thirteen of these “generations” recorded in the Old Testament- the number of rebellion and apostasy (see Gen. 14:4). It is man's ruin fully told out! Thirteen was all that the law could reveal! But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, hence, He added (Matthew 1:1) to the Old Testament. Fourteen gives us double perfection- perfect God and perfect Man. Or, taking the multiples separately, we have division or difference (the significance of two) and completeness (seven). What a complete difference the fourteenth- “The generation of Jesus Christ”- has made!

[2] In this, as in everything, our Lord has the preeminence. He alone could say, “I do always those things that. please Him!”

[3] “God had translated him.” Here again, by contrast we see the uniqueness of our blessed Lord. He alone ascended to heaven (John 3:13)- this by virtue of His own rights and by the exercise of His own power. Of Enoch it is said, “God took him.” Of Elijah it is written, “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” At the second coming of Christ the saints will be “caught up.”

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