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Michael Hardt

Shadows Of The Church

Very little is said in the Scriptures about this interesting man, but the few facts we do know provide us with a number of striking features. Some of these are typical of the Church and others, though not directly typical, are deeply instructive for every believer composing the Church[1]. Both groups are listed briefly below.

1. Enoch was a descendent of Seth

After Abel had been slain by his brother Cain, God provided a replacement: Eve had another son. She called him Seth 'for God, said she , hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew' (Gen. 4:25). If Abel was a picture of Christ as the martyr, being slain for his faithful witness, Seth typifies Christ as risen, the One given 'instead' of the One who was slain. As Enoch was a descendent of Seth, so the origin of the Church goes back to Christ risen and glorified (who received the promise of the Spirit (Acts 2:33) and 'built' the Church (Matt. 16:18).


2. And Enoch walked with God

This brief statement is found twice (Gen. 5:22,24). How was it possible that a man should walk with God, and that in a world already filled with violence and corruption? It seems that the answer is given in Hebrews 11:5 where it says that it was 'by faith'. He believed in God, acted on His Word and trusted Him. This should be true of every believer composing the Church.


3. Enoch was translated

Genesis 5:24 reports that Enoch 'was not'. Suddenly, this man had disappeared. The reason was that 'God took him'. We can only mention in passing (but it is too beautiful to be skipped over) that this verse, in the early chapters of Genesis (!), opens up heaven as a place for man to be. So, Enoch never went through death. This is so much more remarkable as the constantly repeated phrase of the chapter is 'and he died'. More light is shed on this in Hebrews 11:5 which says that 'Enoch was translated that he should not see death' and that 'God had translated him'. Does this not remind us of Paul's words: 'Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up in the clouds' (1 Thess. 4:17). The terms 'caught up' and 'alive' are aptly illustrated in Enoch. This is the hope of the Church: not to die, but to be caught up, or raptured, out of a scene to which she never belonged, to be with Christ for ever.

The timing of Enoch's 'rapture' is interesting in that it happened before the flood (Gen. 6-8), just as the Church will be 'caught up' before the great tribulation that will come over the whole earth (Rev. 3:9). Noah was preserved from the flood as well, but in quite a different manner. He was saved during the flood (by being in the ark), just as the Jewish remnant will be preserved by God during the tribulation (Matt. 24:22-31; Rev. 12:6).


4. Enoch was not found

Hebrews 11:5 adds that 'he was not found'. Why is this piece of information given? Does it not beg the question whether others looked for him? One is also struck by the fact that he only lived about half as long, or less, as most others mentioned in this chapter. Perhaps this faithful man was persecuted (see 2 Tim 3:12) but 'translated' by God so that those who pursued him could not 'find' him. If this is so, it would be another parallel with the Church, which has been persecuted from very early days (founded in Acts 2 and persecuted as soon as Acts 3 and 4!). And it is still the case in many countries today.


5. Enoch lived by faith

This statement is a monument to Enoch's faith that still stands today, recorded in God's Word (Heb. 11). While - as Hebrews 11 demonstrates - a life of faith has been the part of believers at all times it is also true that the Church dispensation is characterised by faith in a special way. Thomas, in John 20, typifies the remnant of Israel who will 'see and believe' whereas the Church has the special blessedness of 'not seeing and believing'.


6. Enoch pleased God

It is also stated in Hebrews 11 that Enoch 'before his translation had this testimony, that he pleased God.' The family of Cain (Gen. 4) had a record of achievements, ranging from architecture to agriculture and music. They had done something to make the world a better place (without God). The lives of those who belonged to the family of God (Gen. 5) seem pale and insignificant by contrast. They lived, had a family and died; no claims to fame and no monument of a material kind. But there is a monument to Enoch's faith and life in Hebrews 11. Enoch might have been a disturbing man in the sight of his contemporaries, but he pleased God. Can you think of a higher commendation?

This little phrase 'pleased God' is pertinent to the Church in three ways:

•  in God's counsels the Church is always perfect and beautiful. She is the perfect complement for Christ as Man - the 'fullness of Him who fills all in all' (Eph. 1:23). Christ saw her as the 'goodly pearl', sufficiently valuable in His sight that He should 'sell all he had' to possess her.

•  practically, the Church should also please God. Christ uses the water of the Word of God to purify and cleanse her (Eph. 5:25) to remove anything that might be there that would not please God.

•  in the future, Christ will present the Church unto Himself - glorious, without spot and wrinkle (Eph. 5:25).


7. Enoch witnessed of Christ's coming

We would not know about this from Enoch's short biography in Genesis 5. It is only once we reach the Epistle of Jude that we find out:

'And Enoch also .prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.' (Jude 14)

The fact that Jude wrote this without it having been revealed in Genesis should not worry us. The writers of the New (and Old) Testament were inspired, and if it pleased God only to reveal this piece of information a few thousand years later then this was good and is no reason for concern. But one is amazed by the amount of truth Enoch knew, no doubt from God Himself. He spoke about Christ's appearing. And when He says that the Lord would come 'with then thousands of his saints' this, really, supposes a rapture before that time. However, the central point of Enoch's prophecy is that judgment will be executed on this world. Again, this is the position of the Church in the world today: her task is not to try to improve a world that rejects Christ but to warn others of the judgment to come and to point them to the salvation that is offered in Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:11.20).


8. Enoch was the seventh from Adam

It is interesting that we read of two men who were 'the seventh of Adam' (Jude v.14) in the sense of the 'seventh' generation. The first one was Lamech, and we read of him in Gen. 4:19-24. He was the first bigamist and his song shows a remarkable degree of arrogance. He is the seventh - the full manifestation - of man in the line of Cain, in the line of the flesh.

On the other hand there is Enoch, a man of faith, pleasing God, walking with God and then taken by God out of a scene to which he never belonged. Is this not the full manifestation of the family of faith? And this should, and to a degree is, seen in the Church.


9. Enoch means 'dedicated'

The lessons above leave little doubt that Enoch's dedication was not divided between God and the world, but was for God only. Should this not be true of the Church practically, that she should be here, dedicated to Christ? Paul said, 'I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ ' (2 Cor. 11:2).





[1] Just for the avoidance of doubt: Enoch was not part of the Church (it did not even exist before Pentecost) but his life shows features that are, or in some cases should be, true of believers composing the Church.