Elijah and Enoch

This entry is part 391 of 394 in the series Inquiring Minds

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Why did the Old Testament describe in detail how Elijah was taken but not Enoch?

I have never really thought about the difference between how the Bible presents the glorious gift that God gives to these two righteous men. In both instances, much folklore exists because of how God took both of them.

First of all, let it be said that these men were given this privilege because of the righteous lives they lead. We have much more information about Elijah than we do Enoch. I suppose this is why he became one of the subject matters during the intertestamental period, with a book bearing his name.

We tend to have the inability to let the Bible speak for itself when it only speaks a tiny bit. We have only a few verses in the Bible devoted to Enoch. And yet much speculation has been given about him. On the other hand, entire parts of the historical books have been given about Elijah and his prophetic ministry.

Perhaps one of the reasons the Bible devotes less detail to the story of Enoch is that it is in the middle of a genealogy. Genealogies don’t tend to break too much away from giving the list of the lines of a family. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but in general a genealogy continues on with little comments either way.

You could say that for a genealogy, it speaks volumes about the life of Enoch because it gives him a couple of extra sentences or verses in Genesis. Because they generally do not give any notation about any of the people in the genealogy, it’s interesting that the Bible expands on Enoch’s life and reward.

Still, all it says is that Enoch walked with God and God took him (Genesis 4:24). His son, Methuselah, may speak to his life as well because he lived the longest of any human being. Although it cannot be proven, one would think Enoch taught his son everything he knew about God.

I would imagine that for a man to live that long, he must’ve known God in an incredible way just like his father. Methuselah lived a long time because he was a righteous man like his father. This is a credit to Enoch.

But we don’t know any more than this. The Bible does not tell us exactly how God “took him.” We all know that he was one of two men not to die in Scripture. He did not experience death because of the righteous life he lived with God.

I would imagine without further study that to “walk” or live for God and with God for just 365 years (a small amount compared to the others in the genealogy), meant something more special than it means when it is used elsewhere.

Adam walked with God in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8), another place where to “walk with God” means a physical and intimate relationship they shared together. I would imagine the same type of relationship was in view here with Enoch.

Whatever the case may be, he knew God in a special way compared to many around him. The same is true of Elijah whose ministry we can follow in the book of the Kings. Elijah knew God in such an intimate way that he knew God’s voice even when all of the other indications of his presence could have thrown him off on Mount Sinai (1 Kings 19:11-13).

So we see from both their lives, no matter how much Scripture reveals about the ending of their physical lives on earth as God takes them to be with him without them experiencing death as the rest of us do, that they were privileged to be with him in this way because of their extraordinary righteous lives that they led.

While any of us would like to know more about how God took them from the earth, the lesson is already taught. A righteous life brings us closer into the presence of God. As we live a holy life for him, God is preparing a place for us.

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