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Genesis 5:24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
It is easy to see how some Bible scholars have gotten confused over this text. The difficulty arises when we consider that there are only two men in the entire Bible whom God chose to inspire authors to say, “walked with God,” Enoch and Noah. Even Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Paul are not described in this way. Moses wrote of Enoch and Noah walking with God, so he may have wondered if God felt the same way about him, knowing that he was not inspired to utter the exact words about faithful Abraham. Therefore, when we have one verse say that Enoch walked with God and was no longer found because God took him, it is easy to see how one might conclude that God took him to heaven. How did the end come for Enoch? In what way did God take Enoch?
Hebrews 11:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 By faith Enoch was changed so as not to see death, and he was not to be found because God had changed him; for before he was transferred he obtained the witness that he was pleasing to God.
Some Bible translations say, “By faith Enoch was taken up.” (ESV, NASB, LEB, CSB “taken away”) The Message Bible reads, “By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely.” GOD’S WORD Translation reads, “Faith enabled Enoch to be taken instead of dying.” Worse still the James Moffatt translation states, “It was by faith that Enoch was taken to heaven so that he never died.” All the original says is that “Enoch was taken;” (why), “so that he did not experience death.” It should be noted “so as not to see death” is different than the interpretive translation “instead of dying.” The phrase “so as to not see death” simply means that Enoch did not have to experience death like all other humans, which would include Jesus Christ himself. Even Jesus saw death at the hands of his enemies. Would Enoch see death at the hand of his enemies? In what sense was Enoch changed so that he did not “see death”?
The Greek word (metatithemai) rendered changed in the Updated American Standard Version literally means depart, change, and transfer. The sense of change is that of going from one state or place to another. This lexeme so defined occurs in three places in the Greek New Testament. In the same book, Hebrews 7:12 tells us, “For when the priesthood changes (metatithemenēs), of necessity there is a change of the law also.” Again, Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was changed (metetethē) so as not to see death …” Finally, Jude 1:4 reads, “Certain men have crept in among you who were long ago appointed for this judgment, ungodly men who change (metatithēmi) the grace of our God into an excuse for licentiousness …”
2 Kings 2:11 OTBDC: Did Elijah Go to Heaven?
We need to work within what was written and no subject the text to our preconceived doctrinal ideas. Let us look at what Jesus adds to this . . .
John 3:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 And no one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
This is stated by the Son of God, who existed in heaven at the very time “Enoch was taken away so that he did not experience death.” We know two primary points from Jesus’ exchange with Nicodemus: (1) Jesus had been in heaven before coming to the earth, and (2) no one was to ever ascend to heaven but those who were ‘born again.’ Only by faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice can one be born again.
Since only Jesus himself had been in heaven before coming to earth, he speaks with authority. Tenney offers a great line here: “Revelation, not discovery, is the basis for faith” (Tenney, EBC, p. 48). Some Jews of Nicodemus’s day taught that great saints would attain heaven by their godliness and righteous living. But no one ever sees heaven apart from the new birth.
Here again, digging deeper we look to another New Testament writer, the Apostle Paul, who wrote . . .
Hebrews 11:13, 39 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land. 39 And all these, having obtained a testimony through their faith, did not receive the promise,
All prior faithful followers of God prior to Jesus’ ransom sacrifice would “died in faith.”
The promises for which believers eagerly waited appeared only in Christ. Old Testament saints did not experience the eternal inheritance. Their faith earned for them a remarkable reputation and favor with God. They lived and died in the hope of a fulfillment which none of them saw on earth. The reaping of the benefits did not occur until Christ opened the box of spiritual treasures.
Why would these ones not receive a heavenly inheritance at death, prior to Jesus’ ransom sacrifice? All of humankind has inherited sin from Adam, including Enoch. (Ps 51:5; Rom. 5:12) As man would come to find out in the era of the New Testament, the only means of salvation is by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. (Ac 4:12; 1 John 2:1, 2) Enoch lived three thousand years before Jesus’ days on the earth, and that ransom had not been paid at that time. Therefore, Enoch was simply asleep in death, awaiting a future resurrection. – John 5:28-29
How then are we to understand the phrase, “he did not experience death”? Enoch was an outstanding example of faith. “Enoch walked with God, and he was not there because God took him.” (Gen. 5:18, 21-24; Heb. 11:5; 12:1) He was a prophet of God, prophesying of God’s coming “with thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment on all, and to convict them of all their ungodly deeds that they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against Him.”―Jude 14-15.
Enoch only lived 365 years in an era where everyone lived over 900 years because God “God took him.” Why would God take the only man walking with him at the time? There is no doubt that this evil world was about to persecute Enoch for his prophecies, to the point of executing him. Instead of letting Satan and the wicked men of that day torture and kill this one faithful follower, God chose to take him in such a way, so as not to experience death. It seems likely that God changed (metetethē) Enoch gently from the state of life to the state death, sparing him any pains of death. We do not know how God did this. However, let’s offer a possible inference based on the verse. “By faith Enoch was changed (metetethē) so as not to see death,” meaning that he was changed from life to death in such a way he did not see or rather experience death, “ and he was not to be found because God had changed (metethēken) him; for before he was changed (metatheseōs) he obtained the witness that he was pleasing to God.” It is possible that God could have placed Enoch in a trance, showing him how he had pleased God. He had done so for others for other reasons. (Ac 22:17-18) A trance (Gr. ekstasis) is a state of mind in which normal consciousness is withheld. This is so God might often reveal or transmit something to a person. While in that trance, God changed Enoch from the state of the living to the state of the dead, so that he would not have to experience the pains of death. God had chosen to do a similar thing with Moses as well, disposing of his body. (Deut. 34:5-6; Jude 9) Like some other Bible details, we cannot be dogmatic. However, we can be certain of the following: (1) God changed Enoch, (2) so he would not experience death, (3) but he did enter the sleep of death in such a way as not to experience that entry, (4) and had the hope of a future resurrection, (5) based on Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.
 Septuagint was not found
 Lit irreverential (ones)
 Kenneth O. Gangel, vol. 4, John, Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 53.
 Lit on the earth; the Greek (ges) literally means “earth, land, region, humanity,” and it is the context that determines our word choice. The Greek here means the surface of the earth as the habitation of humanity. (BDAG) Dods and Lane, take it in reference to the land of Canaan. (Dods, “Hebrews,” 357; Lane, Hebrews 9–13, 357) See vs 16 note.
 Thomas D. Lea, vol. 10, Hebrews, James, Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 206.
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