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Who was Enoch in the Bible?

There are actually four men named Enoch recorded in the Bible (Genesis 4:17; 5:18; 25:4; 46:9), but there is only one that the Bible gives much description of. The Bible interrupts a genealogy to tell us a little about this Enoch: "When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him" (Genesis 5:21–24).

Enoch was one of the two people recorded in the Bible who did not die but were taken up into heaven by God, the other being Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). Later in Hebrews, we get more insight into his disappearance: "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch's life was significant in that he walked with God, a description that few people in the Bible receive. Enoch is not recorded as having done any miracles or other great acts for God; God was pleased with him simply because Enoch lived his life in relationship with God.

Enoch is a man with a lot of mystery and legend surrounding him, but other than the biblical account, the rest is just legend and tradition. Some rabbinical literature claims that God took Enoch to prove that God was not cruel; others say that he was taken up so that Enoch would not do the evil he had potential to. However, the Bible gives us no indication that either of these reasons were God's motivation for taking him up. Some believe Enoch and Elijah, being the only people who were taken up by God (2 Kings 2:11), will come back to earth as the two witnesses that come in the end times (Revelation 11:3–12). The book of Revelation, however, is not specific on who the two witnesses will be.

There are also three pseudepigraphal books associated with Enoch's name that are not included in Scripture; the most common is 1 Enoch or the Book of Enoch. These books were likely based off oral tradition about Enoch passed down for generations before it was written. Interestingly, the first one is quoted in the book of Jude: "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'" (Jude 1:14–15). Because the Bible attributes these words to Enoch, we can know that this portion was truly prophesied by Enoch. In early Christianity some church fathers, like Origen and Clement of Alexandria, accepted the Book of Enoch as Scripture, but it was later rejected as part of Scripture. The Jews, having the Book of Enoch since before the first century, also keep it separate from the Torah. Like other Apocryphal books, we cannot read the Book of Enoch as though it were the infallible Word of God. It may contain insight and wisdom, but it is not perfect.

Very little is actually said about Enoch in the Bible, and those few verses give us all God decided was important for us to know. Enoch walked with God. May we do the same.


Related Truth:

Why were Enoch and Elijah taken to heaven without dying?

Who was Methuselah in the Bible?

What is the biblical account of Abraham?

Who are the biblical patriarchs?

Why is knowing about the various characters in the Bible important?


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