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What Happened To Enoch?
by Wayne Blank
"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 attested as having pleased God." (Hebrews 11:5 RSV)
What Does "Translated" Mean?
Translated is used by the King James Version in Hebrews 11:5 for the original Greek word of the New Testament, pronounced meta-tith-ay-mee, which literally means removed, or taken away. The Revised Standard Version (which is based on the American Standard Version) uses taken, which provides a clearer picture of what was actually written in the original words of the Scriptures. Enoch was taken away so that he "was not found" and "wouldn't see death."
But, "was not found" by who? And what does "wouldn't see death" mean?
We know, according to the uncontradictory Word of God that "it is appointed for men to die once" (Hebrews 9:27 RSV), and that Enoch, being a man, however righteous and faithful he was, would have eventually died just like all other men.
So what happened?
According to the ages provided in the genealogical account in Genesis 5:21-32, Enoch lived in the era of his great-grandson Noah. And what does the Bible say about the world at that time, when Enoch was taken away?
"Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence." (Genesis 6:11 RSV).
Out-of-control human violence was the reason that God later brought the flood upon humanity:
"And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth." (Genesis 6:13 RSV)
Enoch was a very good and righteous man who was living in a very dangerous, extremely violent world. God took righteous Enoch away, not so that he wouldn't ever see death, but so that, according to the Scriptures, "he was not found" by the evil, extremely violent people who would have murdered such a faithful man. He was taken to a place of safety, on this earth (i.e. many centuries later, Jesus Christ authoritatively stated "No one has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven, the Son of man" John 3:13 RSV), where he would have lived out the remainder of his life before dying a natural death just like every other human.
Fact Finder: Another man, Elijah, was also "taken away" by God. What happened to Elijah?