Gleanings from Enoch

From Faith to Faith, CFP, Watchman Nee

 

Enoch was an Old Testament character from whose

life we can glean something very helpful. We do not

know exactly when he repented or what kind of life he

had lived before he turned 65 years old. We know,

however, from the Biblical record that he began to

walk with God after he fathered Methuselah in his 65th year. From

that moment onward his life underwent a drastic change (“Enoch

lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah; and Enoch walked

with God after he begat Methuselah”—Gen. 5.21,22). Possibly it was

because he had seen a prophecy. He lived on earth a total of 365

years (see 5.22b,23), but during the last 300 of those years he

“walked with God.” And hence, the birth of his son must have had a

deep effect upon him. Moreover, if we carefully compute the years

Methuselah lived, we will discover that the Flood catastrophe began

to occur exactly in the year he died. So that evidently, at the birth of

his son Methuselah, Enoch had been shown by God the terrible

coming tribulation that was to befall the earth. He was awakened and

moved by the fear of God.

 

It is interesting to note that while Noah preached righteousness

Enoch preached judgment. Noah preached the way of salvation

because God told him to build an ark of safety. Enoch preached

judgment because this was what his son bore witness to. We can only

preach that which has affected us inwardly. By faith, Noah prepared

the ark. By faith, Enoch reaped the benefit of walking with God.

We would do well to know that sinners will be judged, the flesh

will be judged, and the world will be judged: “the day of the Lord

will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with

great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat,

and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2

Peter 3.10). Will we love the world if we truly know that such is its

end? Have we ever heard of a man who, knowing that a certain bank

was going bankrupt, would purposely deposit his money in it? If he

knows the impending bankruptcy of that bank, he will never deposit

any money into it. In like manner, then, we who know what the end

of the world shall be—even its being burned up—should never love

it again. Enoch perceived the meaning of Methuselah and was

therefore awakened to spiritual things, walked with God ever

afterwards, and was eventually raptured to heaven, as the Genesis

account of his later life tells us: “Enoch walked with God: and he

was not; for God took him” (5.24).

 

The Environment of Enoch

Can one ever say that because Enoch’s environment was better

than that of others that this was the cause for his walking with God? I

do not believe so, for let us look into his family situation: “Enoch

walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and

begat sons and daughters” (5.22). Some people have the idea that it is

natural for a preacher to walk day and night with God, but for those

who are burdened as they are with many family affairs, it is

impossible to do so. Yet notice what the Bible tells us about the first

man who walked with God: he walked with Him, and yet fathered

many sons and daughters who needed to be cared for. Others

maintain that they cannot walk with God because they must work

long hours in factories and be surrounded by the noise of many

machines. Enoch, however, as he walked with God for three hundred

years, was not without the burden of the noise of many children. The

life we receive is not supposed to be manifested only in a good or

pleasant environment; it is given to be manifested in any and every

circumstance whatever. This is not a matter of merely walking with

God under good environment; it is a matter of being able to walk

with God at all times and under any condition. Many children and

many family burdens cannot hinder a true believer from walking

with the Lord: that no matter how heavy these family burdens and

responsibilities are (and they indeed are not light!) he will not be

entangled by these things as unbelievers usually are: he is able to

walk with God under any such circumstances.

 

Let us notice, furthermore, that the time in which Enoch lived was

a very dark period. In Enoch’s day, Adam was still alive. And from

Genesis 4 we know that the descendants of the seed of Cain were

also still present on earth. What was their condition? “Lamech took

unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of

the other Zillah” (v.19). Lamech was the first man who broke God’s

rule of there being but one husband with one wife. Ever afterwards

throughout the earth the custom of polygamy was to spread. Adah

means “pleasure” or “adornment” or “the decorated.” This would

indicate that the women of that period were becoming fashionconscious;

they were inclining towards luxury. “And Adah bare

Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle”

(v.20). This is the first mention of how men would profit through

cattle raising. “And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father

of all such as handle the harp and pipe” (v.21). By this time men had

already begun to pay attention to music and amusement. “And Zillah,

she also bare Tubalcain, the forger of every cutting instrument of

brass and iron” (v.22). Such cutting instruments of brass and iron

were beginning to be fashioned as weapons of war. Hence war must

have had its beginning at that time too. Now in the midst of all these

conditions, we read that Enoch walked with God.

 

Licentiousness, profit planning, fashion and dress, amusement

orientation, and weapon manufacturing—are not all these the

phenomena of our own days? Yet God shows us here how Enoch in

his day was able to walk with Him for 300 years in such a time as

that! How about us today? Are we walking with God? G. H. Pember

of England was one who knew the Lord deeply. Several decades ago

he prophesied that people in the world would henceforth pay more

attention than before to music, higher knowledge and weapon

manufacturing. We know that all of this is true today. It would be

well if, under such circumstances as these, we could begin to walk

with God today as Enoch did in his day.

 

The Rapture of Enoch

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and

he was not found, because God translated him: for he hath had

witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well

pleasing unto God” (Heb. 11.5). How was Enoch translated or

raptured? By faith, says the writer of Hebrews. Wherein had he been

well-pleasing to God? He had walked for 300 years with Him.

Before his rapture Enoch had already had witness borne to him that

he had pleased the Lord. By walking with God, he had pleased God.

And by faith, he was taken by Him. Each one of us must so walk till

we too will receive the witness that we have been well-pleasing to

God. And then by faith we too shall be raptured.

 

Every believer will be raptured, but the first to be raptured must

be the overcoming believers. Only those who are ready and waiting

for the Lord will be raptured first. If you do not believe, you will not

be raptured. You must believe you will be raptured, otherwise you

will not be raptured. May God give us the faith of rapture!

It is most amazing that Enoch had this faith. One reason for his

faith was because he walked in good conscience with God. Faith and

conscience are connected. When conscience is breached, faith is

destroyed. Faith will leak out through the breach made in one’s

conscience; and without faith, there can be no rapture. Why do many

believers not believe in rapture? Because they do not walk with God.

If we walk day by day with our God, we will be given the faith of

rapture. The words of Hebrews 11.6 follow immediately upon those

of verse 5: “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing

unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that

he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.” We are told here that

we must believe two things. First, we must believe that “God is”—

that is to say, we must believe that God is what He says He is.

Second, we must believe that God will reward all who seek after

Him. By this verse, then, we know that Enoch’s faith had these two

elements: first, he believed that God was what He said He was; and

at the same time he sought diligently to walk with God, believing

that he would be rewarded. Enoch sought to be delivered from the

future tribulation that was intimated to him at the birth of his son,

and so God rewarded him with rapture.

 

Have we ever asked God to deliver us from the great tribulation

which is coming upon the whole earth? Note what Jesus urged his

disciples to do: “Watch ye at every season, making supplication, that

ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and

to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21.36). Many take this word

of our Lord to mean that those who watch and pray God will deliver

from the coming great tribulation. But this is actually a call to

specific prayer; namely, that believers should watch and pray at

every season for God to deliver them from the great tribulation to

come. Now this was truly Enoch’s prayer. And whoever else today

prays such a prayer will also be raptured. In waiting for the return of

our Lord, let us earnestly ask God to deliver us from the coming

great tribulation. With each passing day the rapture is getting closer.

Let us walk before God with a conscience void of offense, waiting

single-mindedly for the rapture. So shall we believe in God, and so

shall we pray to God. Today is the time in which He prepares us.

 

Do we believe we shall be raptured? Do we pray that we may be

delivered from the great tribulation to come? How many of our

prayers have been answered? We should at least have this prayer

answered! Let us keep praying at all times until God answers us this

prayer.

 

Concerning this matter of walking with God, it is good that we

start well and continue well, but it is highly important that we end

well too. Many begin well in walking with God, but unfortunately

their ending is not in glory. Many are frightened when they hear

about the great tribulation and judgment to come. Yet it needs to be

seen that rapture is not something which suddenly happens in history.

The fact of the matter is that rapture occurs only after a walking day

by day with God until you are taken by Him, just as the Genesis

record says of Enoch: “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for

God took him” (5.24). The change which is to come “in a moment, in

the twinkling of an eye”—as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15.52—has

reference to the body, not to life. To be raptured is a matter of

walking together with God and not that of taking flight. Let us walk

and walk and keep walking with the Lord right into glory!

 

One brother has observed that the experience of a Christian is

chain-like—it is the chain-links of death, resurrection and rapture,

repeated over and over again; chain after chain until the Christian

reaches glory: one more death means one more filling of resurrection

life, which in turn means a coming nearer and nearer to rapture. Let

me repeat, that rapture is not merely a historical point-action event in

time: it is additionally an experience that builds up gradually until it

automatically and instantly culminates in glory.

 

Enoch walked with God for 300 years. And by the time he was

raptured, he was unquestionably quite familiar with God. One

brother has said that unfortunately many when they arrive in heaven

will feel strange in God’s presence because by that time they shall

not have conversed much with Him on earth! Oh, day by day let us

walk step by step with God until we are wholly sanctified. May God

be gracious to us that we may walk daily with Him as Enoch did. For

if Enoch could do it, is there any reason why we can not do so too?