Jeremy Sanders continues his series on Enoch and walking with God. The views of this author are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employers.
Enoch Prepared the Next Generation
“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. And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” (Genesis 5:21-29)
Enoch’s walk with God was not easy. He not only pleased God through his faith but also preached to a lost generation that had no desire to hear his words. Thus, Enoch had lived honorably in his relationship to himself, His Lord, and the others around him. Yet, he also did not forget the one group that some people are apt to forget while busily serving the Lord; he was a witness to his own children. Preparing the next generation is a sacred and important part of ministry, perhaps the most important part. Far too often it is handled with extreme lack of care. Some, such as the evangelist Billy Sunday, preached to great crowds and saw mass “conversions”, yet failed to reach his own children. Others, such as a plethora of youth pastors and student ministers, adopt childish behavior when “ministering” to church youth. They do a great disservice by assuming young people cannot or will not listen to sound spiritual teaching, and spend the precious time with their flock in pursuit of fun, food, and fellowship, instead of in pursuit of genuine faith. Such are not the traits of someone walking with God. No, God values children, and Jesus spent much time ministering to them. As such, someone walking with God will also place great value on ministering to them. One can usually tell the spiritual depth of a church or a family by the actions, mannerisms, and dress of the youth. They reflect the values of their elders, often to a greater degree than that practiced by their authorities. For the Gospel to reach the world, it must be implanted in the next generation.
Preparing Children to Make A Difference: The Life of Methuselah
“And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Genesis 5:25-29)
Enoch walked with God by preparing his son Methuselah to make a difference for Christ. The very name “Methuselah” means “to be shot out” as with an arrow, or “after this the judgment.” The name meant God’s judgment would be shot out upon the earth. Undoubtedly, the Lord directed Enoch to name his son thus, otherwise, Enoch would not have known to give him such a sober title.
We know Enoch raised Methuselah to serve God by examining their descendants. Methuselah’s son, Lamech, named his own son Noah, meaning “rest”. Lamech saw Noah as a gift from God to help relieve the curse which God had pronounced on the ground after the sin of Adam. Thus, Lamech followed in the footsteps of Methuselah and Enoch in serving God.
Methuselah was the oldest man ever recorded to live, living 969 years. His long life is not just an interesting factoid, but a beautiful picture of the mercy of God. The year Methuselah died, God caused the flood which destroyed the earth, fulfilling the promise in Methuselah’s name. After his death, God rained down judgment. Yet, by allowing Methuselah to live longer than any other human, God gave mankind the longest possible chance to repent. Think about it, if God had wanted, Methuselah could have lived an extremely short life. He could have died as a child, or live to the young antediluvian age of 100! Instead, God permitted him to live the longest possible life to display mercy towards those in rebellion towards God.
The apostle Paul echoes this grace in his seminal letter of Romans. In chapter nine, verses twenty-two through twenty-three, he writes, “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory”. God endures the vessels (men) “fitted” καταρτιζω or prepared for destruction, and displays both his wrath in their judgment, as well as his patience and mercy by delaying the execution of said judgment. Those vessels he fashioned for mercy are spared the judgment, however, both sets of vessels are testaments to His mercy. The concept is not new to Paul’s writing but pictured beautifully in the life of Methuselah.
Noah Walked in Enoch’s footsteps
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:8).
Noah never met his great-grandfather. One day, during his 365th year, Enoch was walking with God, and together, they strolled right into heaven. No death, no pain. One minute walking on earth, the next walking through the pearly gates. What a beautiful story. But, why did God take Enoch? What was the purpose? After all, only one other man never tasted death. Elijah was taken into heaven by a chariot of fire, similarly skipping death. Why Enoch?
Enoch was taken by God for two reasons. First, Enoch is a picture of the rapture of Christ, where He will take His church home prior to the Great Tribulation. Just as Enoch was taken out of this world before the judgment, so will all living believers miss the coming judgment of God upon the earth. The last judgment was with water, the next with fire (Isaiah 66:16, 2 Peter 3:6-7). Enoch is an example for us all.
Furthermore, Enoch’s translation was an example. Miracles are always meant to authenticate the man of God. Enoch had been preaching judgment and repentance for years. His disappearance would certainly have caused a stir. One minute here, the next minute gone and in heaven. Furthermore, when Enoch strolled into heaven, it was not done secretly, there were witnesses. How do we know this fact? If Enoch had entered heaven secretly, people would have assumed he had died and his body had decomposed or been buried. People go missing all the time after all, and the world was full of corruption and murder during this era. Furthermore, when Elijah and Jesus both ascended to heaven there were witnesses to view the event. God did not take Enoch for Enoch’s sake, but to serve as an example to others.
Noah may not have known Enoch, but we are told he too walked with God. The phrase is the same as used when describing Enoch, indicating they lived a similar life. Enoch’s life and final journey were undoubtedly an inspiration for Noah, as they were for all of Israel, who passed the story down for countless generations. Thus, Enoch had a tremendous influence on generations after his departure. Indeed, Noah would be the vessel through which God would save mankind. Enoch’s influence has thus extended to all mankind, a truly wonderful example of someone who prepared future generations for God’s service!
Loser in the Eyes of Man, A Hero in the Eyes of God
“he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5)
In the eyes of the world, as well as in the eyes of many pastors, Enoch would be considered a loser. After all, what influence did he have during his era? We are told he preached judgment and repentance, yet there is no indication anyone responded to his words. No great revival is recorded, and within one lifetime, the world was being judged for their rebellion. If Enoch had embarked to save his generation, turn the tide of his culture, and restore virtue in society, he was most certainly a loser.
Furthermore, Enoch was also was a loser in regards to his own family. We are told in Genesis 5:22 that Enoch “begat sons and daughters”, yet only the line of Methuselah responded in faith. What happened to all of Enoch’s other children, or his descendants aside from Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah’s family? They all died prior to, or during the flood. Thus, even in his own family, Enoch influenced very few for Christ. Perhaps some of his other children followed God, but their children and their children’s children certainly did not. So, was Enoch a loser?
Many parents whose children have abandoned God may feel similarly. And while parents certainly hold responsibility for their children, once those children reach adulthood, their decisions are their own. Certainly, parental decisions can have great influence, as in the case of Methuselah, but everyone will be judged by his own deeds.
By the world’s standards, Enoch was a loser. He failed to have a great following, or even affect the majority of his family. Yet, by God’s standards, he is counted a hero of the faith. Why? Because Enoch followed God’s commands, walked with God, and influenced the one person God chose to use to accomplish His sovereign plan. God is not interested in quantity; he is interested in quality. Enoch did exactly as God commanded him, and by so doing, influenced all of mankind. A loser to the world, Enoch is a hero before God.
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