I finished the James White Church History course as a requirement for my Unschooled Master of Theology program, and thought I would post the assignment, a Biography paper on an individual from Church History.
So, lets see who I chose and what the Bible and history have to say about them…
The Mysterious Enoch
Not to be confused with the son of Cain (Gen 4:17) who decided to go out and build a “city” in Nod, east of Eden, and named it after his son (Enoch II), the Enoch I’m writing about is the son of Jared (Gen. 5:21; Luke 3:37), the father of Methuselah (which means “his death shall bring”). Granted, Cain’s Enoch just so happened to be the man who built the first “city” in Scripture, but Jared’s Enoch accomplished something altogether more impressive, or mysterious. Then again, it really wasn’t something Enoch did himself, but something that was done to him.
Back during this time in history, the Bible purports that the lifespan of humans was much, much longer than it is today. Some were living into their hundreds before they had their first child, and many of these men listed lived nearly 1000 years.
Enoch was no different. But something happened to him when his son, Methuselah, was born that prompted him to, as the Masoretic text states, “walked with God” (Gen. 5:22–24). I mention the particular Hebrew text here since the Greek LXX states that Enoch, “was well pleasing to God” rather than “walked”with him, though today both are somewhat synonymous.
The incredible thing to happen to Enoch, though, occurred after 300 years after the birth of Methusaleh, when he was abruptly “not” for God “took him.” This kind of terminology is not typical in the Bible and is implicit of Enoch not experiencing a natural, physical death, much in the same way Elijah left the earth (2 Kgs. 2:1–12). It does not specifically say he did not die or did die, but that he simply was no longer present. God took him. As the notes in the NET Bible explain, “the text implies that God overruled death for this man who walked with him.”
This, of course, is all that is mentioned of Enoch directly. He is later referred to in the Hall of Faithful in Hebrews 11, where Paul chooses to quote from the LXX over the Masoretic precursor by stating Enoch “pleased God” rather than walked with him. He is again found as the “seventh from Adam” in Jude 1:14. In this particular passage, he is not only identified as a prophet but one of his prophecies is recorded by Jude, stating, “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” He is mentioned in another genealogy found in 1 Chronicles 1:1–9 and an interesting reverse genealogy in Luke 3:23.
Enoch is a fascinating character. Having not tasted death along with Elijah, these two are often used as a type for the Raptured Church in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (or Enoch for the Church and Elijah for Israel).
Yet, there is much more to the story of this peculiar fellow. He is among the few perplexing individuals found in the Scriptures (such as Melchizedek and the Witch of Endor) where not much detail is given, yet that which is could contain volumes. Enoch, though, is the only one of these enegmatic individuals who is not only quoted directly in the New Testament, but we have many of his so called texts available to us today.
Of course, none of these texts are considered canonical. It was accepted by the Epistle of Barnabas, by Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, and Tertullian. It is claimed that the writings of Enoch have been rejected by Judaism predominately because it’s prophetic content support Jesus as the Christ.
It is considered canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (who claim to have the Ark of the Covenant), yet, surprisingly, they do not subscribe to the angel view of Genesis 6:2 (they hold to the Sethite View).
There are actually several texts categorized as Enochian. There is 1-3 Enoch, Astronomical Enoch, Book of Giants, and Jubilees to name a few.
It is a brief outline in Genesis 5 where Enoch is found among scantily recorded patriarchs, of their names, lifespans, marriages, and offspring and deaths are provided. Only Enoch is provided details on how he died (or, did not die).
Quite fascinating is it that he was quoted by Jude, which links not only the pre-Noahic world with second temple culture, thought, and theology but, likewise, can infer that Jude not only quotes Enoch in verse 14-15, but he also refers to Enoch’s writing (more specifically 1 Enoch or “the Book of the Watcher) in verse 6. This would also insinuate Peter’s reference to Enoch in 2 Peter 2:4 and Paul’s Enochian oriented worldview in 1 Co 11:10.
There is some debate over the state of Enoch’s character before and after the birth of his son, Methuselah. Was Enoch somewhat immoral or at least not as pleasing to God before the birth of his son? Or was he a moral and closely “walked with God” from birth? Of course, most orthodox evangelicals would want to keep the up appearances and make him as devout as they. But, the text does not elaborate. If not and a change took place at the birth of his son, what was it exactly? The name he gave his son might be a clue, since Methuselah supposedly means “his death shall bring.”
Methuselah lived 969 years and died the same year the flood began. He was the grandfather to Noah and, apparently, as much as can be inferred from the text, something occurred before, during, or immediately after the birth of Methuselah, since Enoch not only described the coming flood in the naming of his son, but also appears to have either changed his level of devotion to the Lord or at least increased it.
It’s interesting that the phrase “walked with God” or “was pleasing to God” is repeated twice in this section. It was “after” the birth of his son that he “walked with God” and he continued to do so for 300 years. Can you imagine what he did for all that time? We know he still had children, so he did not shirk his husbandly responsiblities. He certainly did something as entailed by “walked” or “pleased.” It was before the Noahetic covernant. Before the Abrahamic covenant. It was certainly before the New covenant with Christ and the Church. This was even before the order of Melchizedek. Was this the order Enoch was part of? Did he follow the same pattern of worship and service as the King and Priest of Salem? Did he know of his standing with God? Or was that insight held from him like our standing before God is held from us today?
There is a lot that can be said about many individuals in the Bible, some will required books and books to accurately capture their descriptions and feats and impact on Church History and the world. Paul certainly is one of those individuals. About Jesus Christ, John wrote, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).
Enoch, though, is not one of these individuals. He does not have a multitude of books written about his exploits, though it might be possible to conclude he could fill that many. After all, 300 years is a long time to live for the Lord.
But, what we do have of him we have quite the mystery. If not for the 365 years he lived on the earth, then certainly for what he must have experienced during and immediately after his translation, as well as his account of what has transpired for him between then and today. Has he been in the presence of Jesus and the Father this whole time? Has he been somewhere else, doing other things for the Lord? Is he part of the Divine Council? Is he now like the angels, having an immortal body? Why did God take him when he did rather than just have him live out his life and die like the others before Noah? Why include such a cryptic statement within an otherwise common place genealogy, but leave out the remaining details? Will we get the rest of his story after the Judgment? If there are a multitude of books in heaven that contain everything everyone has ever done or thought, would that include Enoch’s story? Will it include all that he’s done after his rapture? Will we be privy to it?
Once thing is for certain, when it comes to the message of the Bible, it is anything but complete. There are many, many missing pieces to the bigger puzzle, with many unanswered questions, even more puzzling actions taken by imperfect individuals. Some we have very little information about at all. More I think have been lost to time altogether and we will know nothing of them until all is said and done at the great white throne. Only then will all things be made known that was hidden and all things will be revealed.
Until my next assignment…
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Excerpt from The Light Aurora:
The door’s lock released and Dr. Lewis looked around at each of them.
“Stay close, and be ready for anything. I’m not sure if they’re all in the Command Center or if they are trying to secure Level 4. Hell, they could all be evacuating.”
He stared at Scott as he came up onto the landing.
“Let’s go,” Scott said.
Dr. Lewis pushed the door open and walked out into the hall, followed by the others – in ones and twos.
Level 2 was similar to the other level, with a long corridor, doors on either side, all with security displays recessed into the wall next to them.
But, as they entered the corridor, Scott’s breath caught in his throat.
As he stood there with the others, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
In front of them, probably no more than a few yards away, were three bodies lying on the floor. One was sitting up against the wall, the side of his face melted, exposing his right eyeball and a good portion of his right skull.
Another one was laying face down, his entire back opened up at the spine, as if his spinal cord had been ripped out of him from behind.
The last one was a few more feet away from the others, on his back, his eyes seared from his head, black, burnt flesh where his eyes used to be.
The intercom came back to crackling life.
Derrick said over the intercom.
“Don’t worry. You can answer,” he said. “I can hear you.”
Scott looked up, then fixed his gaze on the security camera at the end of the corridor.
“Yes?” Scott finally asked.
There was a pause, static.
“What are you doing, Derrick?” he asked. “Did you do this?”
“Indeed,” Derrick said, coming back on.
“They refused to help me.”
“What are you trying to do, Derrick?” Scott asked.
There was another pause.
“I want to go home, Professor,” the boy said.
“Yes,” Derrick said, his tone soaked with some other-worldly confidence that did not belong in an innocent, ten year old boy.
“I want to go home, Professor,” he said again. “Would you be interested in coming home with me?”
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