Was Enoch Taken to Heaven?

Was Enoch Taken to Heaven?

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Genesis 5:24 Genesis 5:24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
American King James Version×
tells us that “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Hebrews 11:5 Hebrews 11:5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
American King James Version×
adds: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

Some erroneously jump to the conclusion that Enoch was taken up into heaven, but notice the Bible nowhere says this. It simply says that God “took him.” It does not specify where he was taken.

Jesus Christ later states in the Gospel of John that “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35 John 10:35If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
American King James Version×
). One of the points He makes is that one passage of the Bible cannot contradict another passage.

This same Gospel of John reveals a startling fact very pertinent to this matter: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13 John 3:13And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
American King James Version×
).

Clearly, Jesus Christ was the only human being who had ascended into heaven. The phrase “who is in heaven” lets us know that this was written by the apostle John after Christ’s return to heaven. So even as late as this statement, no human being—and that includes Enoch—had ascended into heaven.

We later read about Enoch’s fate in Hebrews 11:5 Hebrews 11:5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
American King James Version×
: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” The word rendered “taken” can also mean “transferred elsewhere.” And the New American Standard Bible says this was done “so that he would not see death”—a better translation than “did not,” as we know from the same chapter of Hebrews that he died.

Notice in verse 13 the summary given of all of the men and women of faith listed here, including Enoch: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13 Hebrews 11:13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
American King James Version×
). So Enoch definitely died as well as all the rest.

How, then, can it be that Enoch was transferred elsewhere so he wouldn’t see death? God doesn’t give us all the details of what happened, but a few scenarios have been proposed that do not conflict with the fact that Enoch died as the Bible says.

It may be that God transported Enoch elsewhere to keep him from being killed at a certain time—perhaps protecting him from martyrdom at the hands of angry persecutors who didn’t like his announcement of coming divine judgment (see Jude 14-16). God likewise supernaturally transported Elijah and Philip to other places on earth (see 2 Kings 2:11 2 Kings 2:11And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
American King James Version×
; Acts 8:39 Acts 8:39And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
American King James Version×
).

On the other hand, we should observe that Enoch died young for his time—at age 365 while those before and after him lived into their 800s and 900s. Because of this, some speculate that God “took him” from life prematurely so that he would not have to live out his remaining centuries in a miserable world (compare Isaiah 57:1-2 Isaiah 57:1-2 1 The righteous perishes, and no man lays it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
American King James Version×
). His next moment of consciousness will be the resurrection. In this case, “so that he would not see death” would refer to his not having to experience the process of dying—his life ending instantly.

Still others, putting the likelihood of Enoch experiencing persecution together with his early death, have concluded that Enoch was murdered—martyred for his preaching. Enoch being taken and not found would then refer to God removing his body and burying it—as happened with Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5-6 Deuteronomy 34:5-6 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knows of his sepulcher to this day.
American King James Version×
).

In this case, Enoch being taken or transferred so that he would not see death is taken as separate matter—that of him being spiritually converted, transferred from the world’s ways to God’s way of living, so that he would not see ultimate death in the lake of fire (compare Colossians 1:13 Colossians 1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
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; John 8:51 John 8:51Truly, truly, I say to you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
American King James Version×
).

Again, we don’t have enough details to know exactly what is intended. But we do know that Enoch did not skip death and go to heaven. He died, and no human being has ascended to heaven except Jesus Christ.

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