In one of my previous posts, I wrote about my struggle with genealogies, and here I am again in Genesis 5:1-32. This time looking at a list of names that begins with God, proceeds to Adam and concludes with Noah and his three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Along the way, these 32 verses catalog 11 generations and 13 individuals and nestled right in the middle at number seven is Enoch the man who
walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24)
This really is an amazing passage for the list of names begins with God, reminding us that all of life originates in God Almighty and we know from John 1 that Jesus is the one who was intimately involved in the creation of the world. In fact it is his world. Let us hold fast to this truth. Then it progresses through the normal cycle of raising children and dying, which exists in our world, but which was not part of the original creation and instead found its way into the world through our sin (Genesis 2:17).
And in the middle we find mention of Enoch. Now I am not a numerology kind of guy, but there is significance in certain numbers in the Bible. Seven and twelve are special numbers that God refers to over and over (seven days of creation, seven years, seventy sevens and the twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, twelve gates into the heavenly Jerusalem). We are going to bypass the number 12 and look at the number seven today.
In our case seven fits nicely between 1 and 13, falling right in the middle, a great memory aid for helping those memorizing the ancient texts to know what the point of the story or passage is. Here, walking with God is the key to life. Walking with God, I love it. Enoch pictures what happens when we walk with God, death has no claim upon us. Enoch never died, he was taken by God, that simple. He was saved from death and in our passage that ushers us on to the story of Noah, another story about how God saves his chosen people from judgment, wrath and death.
And all of these stories ultimately point us to Jesus Christ the one who walked with God, the one on whom God’s Spirit rested, the one who went to the Father and opened up a way for us to approach the Father as well. Did you know, Enoch is mentioned 4 other times in the Bible, once in a genealogy recounting the generations from Adam to Abraham (1 Chr. 1:3), once in the genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:37), once in the Hall of Faith recorded in Hebrews 11 and finally in Jude?
Lets look at the Hebrews and Jude passages respectively, Hebrews 11:5-6
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Here we find faith being extolled as the means by which Enoch pleased God. This is similar to Abel and his sacrifice earlier in Genesis 4:4 and all the life of God’s elect people as recorded in Hebrews 11. In fact, faith in God’s provision of a savior, and that savior being Jesus Christ is the sole means of salvation from death that occurs according to the Apostle Paul and the book of Romans.
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (Rom. 3:22)
The other passage where Enoch’s name is mentioned is in Jude 14-15
14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:42-43)
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)
This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Rom. 2:16)
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2Tim. 4:8 )