Ge 5 22 Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.
Here in v 22 the Hebraic phrase walked with God replaces the word lived in the other verses of Ge 5. The author is reminding the reader that there is a difference between walking with God and merely living. We better understand that difference between walked with and lived when we read the other texts where the author uses the same phrase walk with God. For instance, walk with God was also used by the priestly writer to talk about Noah in Ge 6 1 and Abraham in Ge 17 1. The context of walking with God in these two passages is that Noah and Abraham were blameless and therefore well-pleasing to God.
So in v 22 Enoch was one who in a very special way had walked with God, who was therefore well-pleasing to God. The question then becomes, “How and why was God well-pleased with Enoch?” For us Christians the answer to that question is found in our NT. That, is, Enoch was well-pleasing to God by faith as we see in He 11 5. That is, the author of He further clarifies the whole of the book of Ge with his letter to the Hebrews.
Understand that what it means “to be well-pleasing to God” does not mean to be perfect or sinless. Instead, in the context, well-pleasing means to have true faith and trust in God. That also means that faith and trust in God has everything to do with how we live out our Christian lives even though we continually fail. Faith and trust in God involves the heart that seeks to follow God, that seeks to obey God, that seeks to please God, but all the while knowing that will always fall short. That’s what Christ’s forgiveness was all about and why it was necessary.
So, Enoch – even though he was sinful like all of us – was one who by faith (He 11 5) trusted in God. As such, Enoch was well-pleasing to God, so much so that, as we see in v 24, he was taken (translated) by God into heaven.
The author of He wants us to again notice that Enoch is our model that we are to imitate, just as are the several others who are mentioned in the letter to the Hebrews. We are to be well-pleasing to God just as was Enoch. When we live the Christian life, we’re following in the ways of Enoch; we’re treading the paths of Abel. We’re shunning the ways of Cain. We’re following the ways of those who were well-pleasing to God like Abel, Enoch and all the rest that we read of as examples in the book of Ge. This is our heritage, our religious ancestry. These are the holy church fathers and the OT saints we follow seeking to be well-pleasing to God like they were.
Ge 5 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.
… For he was translated because God took him.
The phrase then he was no more because God took him away replaces the phrase and then he died found in the other paragraphs of Ge 5. Like Elijah who was taken away to heaven in 2 Ki 2 10, Enoch was taken away (cf. also Ps 49 15; 73 24) to the presence of God without experiencing death (He 11 5).
Ps 73 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Notice what the text here says about Enoch: he was not, for God took him (v 24), or, as the Septuagint says, was translated and was no more because God took him. This seems to be a reference to a miraculous event. Enoch, as a holy saint of God who trusted in God, was bodily assumed into heaven. Theologians talk about this as him having been taken or translated into the presence of God in heaven. Although it’s not explained why, Enoch’s bodily assumption without first experiencing death is some special exception, just as we see with Elijah in 2 Ki 2 10. The idea here that Enoch was bodily assumed into heaven.
But when we look at this text armed with an understanding of typology, a more clear picture begins to emerge. Notice that in Ge 5 that the one place where death was overcome was with this situation with Enoch. Hence, to theologians Enoch is a type or a foreshadow of the resurrection. The great central theme of the Bible is going to become, through the resurrection of Christ, our hope of resurrection. We don’t know about the resurrection yet because that doesn’t come into the OT world until Dn 12 2 many centuries later following this account in Ge. But already here, it’s as though the Holy Spirit put this little vignette here in Ge 5 as a pointer toward that great central theme of the Bible, the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
So another way to see this is that already here in Ge 5 we get a little glimpse of how God is going to overcome death; we get a little glimpse that death is not the last word. In fact, it would not be illogical – based on a reading of Ge 5 – to conclude on the basis of Ge 5 that death does, in fact, have the last word. However, Enoch’s assumption without having first died says that “no, death is not the last word.” And from the standpoint of the typological examples we see throughout the whole of the OT, this translation of Enoch into God’s space, heaven.
So, when reading this account of Enoch’s bodily assumption into heaven without having first died, we see it as a very mysterious individual episode and we wonder why it’s even in the text. Fortunately, the author of He says it’s all explained in the events and ministry of Christ in the NT. Enoch’s assumption was a type or a foreshadow of Christ’s resurrection and of our resurrection to come. Wow! And all of this happened many centuries before resurrection itself was more explicitly talked about in Dn 12 which was probably composed around the third century BC.
He 11 5 By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.”
For Enoch we now go to Ge 5 and we see that the sacred author of He is taking us right through the pages of Ge in Scripture. The author began with the beginning of the story with Ge 1 and the Creation; then he went to Ge 4 for Cain and Abel and now he goes to Ge 5 for Enoch.
The author of He is actually echoing the Septuagint translation when he says before he was translated (taken [to God]), he received testimony that he was well-pleasing to God. Ge 5 22 Enoch walked with God …
mete,qhken verb indicative aorist active 3rd person singular from metati,qhmi (aor. mete,qhka ; aorist passive metete,qhn) remove, take back; take up (of Enoch); change (of priesthood) ; distort (Jd 4); midd. desert, turn away (Ga 1.6)
metaqe,sewj noun genitive feminine singular common Father meta,qesij, ewj f removal change; taking up (of Enoch)
So we see that Enoch was taken up to God’s presence is the biblical idea here. This verb is one of those divine passives in which God is the assumed actor of the sentence. God by himself is doing this thing.
So we see that the author of He is referring back to this passage about Enoch in Ge 5 21-24. See notes there. The author of He makes a point of referring us to Enoch so as to remind us of how Enoch did not see death because God translated him. We’ve talked before about how these events and saints are not just examples for us but that they are types of the salvation that will come in Christ. In light of the great theme of the chapter that we’ve seen thus far and in light of how the author has encouraged us in our hope in things to come, this bodily assumption of Enoch into heaven is a type of resurrection of the dead, the core event that’s in the author’s mind here in He 11. That’s why the author uses language like: Enoch did not see death and so on here in v 5.