This is the sixth in a series of character studies in Genesis by Dr. James T. Naismith of Peterborough, Ontario. These studies were first published in book form under the title, PERSONALITIES IN GENESIS.
Copyright by Everyday Publications; used by permission.
Genesis 5:1 marks the beginning of the third section of Genesis, the generations of Adam, i.e. the history of the development of Adam’s progeny, through the line of his son Seth, the seed appointed by God instead of Abel whom Cain slew, Gen. 4:25. After recording the death of Abel, Genesis 4 gives the succeeding history of Cain and his successors down to Lamech, in whom sin and ungodliness had reached a terrible climax, verses 23, 24. Seth is introduced in verse 25, and the subsequent record of Genesis is concerned with the line of Seth rather than Cain. Genesis 5 gives a list of ten generations in the line of Seth, and introduces us to two of the outstanding men of faith, whose lives we shall study next —Enoch and Noah. The list is characterized by the repeated recurrence of the phrase — found eight times in the chapter — and he died. The only interruption is in the case of Enoch, who shared with Elijah the distinction, out of all the untold millions of human history, of being taken by God without dying. The only references to Enoch in the Bible are the four short verses in Genesis 5 (21-24), two verses in Hebrews 11 (5 and 6); two verses in Jude (14 and 15) and the incidental inclusion in Luke’s genealogy of the Lord Jesus (3:7). Yet, although we know so little about him, sufficient is revealed to present him to us as an example of faith and godliness. We shall note four things that are said of him:
1. He Walked With God (Gen. 5:22, 24)
Twice in this brief Genesis record is this stated. He shared this distinction with Noah, Gen. 6:9, the only other person of whom it is expressly stated that he walked with God. (Of course, others did walk with God, but only in these two cases is it so recorded.) This is indeed the only activity of his life that Genesis records — apart from begetting sons and daughters. There are many things that great men of God have accomplished that are beyond the ability of many of us, but here is something that is open to us all. Note:
A. The Circumstances Of His Walk. Jude 15 indicates the characteristics of the times in which he lived — ungodly; so ungodly, indeed, that, on the death of his son, Methuselah, God brought a flood of judgment upon the earth. Genesis 5:22 indicates another aspect of the circumstances in which he lived —he was a family man with domestic responsibilities. Walking with God is consistent with earthly responsibilities.
B. The Commencement Of His Walk — after his son Methuselah was born, Gen. 5:22. God’s gift to him of that new life led to the beginning of his walk with God.
C. The Conditions Necessary For Walking With God:
1. Faith, as emphasized in Hebrews 11:5, was the basic characteristic of Enoch’s life. How can one walk with an invisible companion — except by faith?
2. Harmony. Amos 3:3, Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
3. Humility. Micah 6:8, Walk humbly with thy God.
4. Light. 1 John 1:6, 7. To walk in fellowship with God means to walk in the light — i.e. in accord with the character of God who is light, v. 5; in obedience to the Word of God, which is light, Psa. 119:105; and in purity and love.
5. Separation from evil and evildoers. 2 Cor. 6:14-17. Enoch walked with God separated from the ungodly world, to which he witnessed.
D. The Consequences Of Walking With God
1. He pleased God — Heb. 11:5. The Septuagint version of Enoch walked with God is was well-pleasing to God.
2. He learned God’s will and so was able to prophesy — Jude 14, 15.
3. He was taken by God into the presence of the God with whom he had walked so long on earth.
E. The Culmination Of His Walk—Enoch’s walk with God on earth reached its climax when God took him, Gen. 5:24, to walk with Him in white, Rev. 3:4, for he had not defiled his garments on earth.
“He ‘walked with God!’ Could grander words be written?
Not much of what he thought or said is told:
Not where or what he wrought is even mentioned;
He ‘walked with God’ — brief words of fadeless gold!
How many souls were succoured on, his journey—
Helped by his words, or prayers, we may not know;
Still, this we read — words of excelling grandeur,
He ‘walked with God’ while yet he walked below.
And, after years, long years, of such blest walking,
One day he walked, then was not, God said ‘Come!
Come from this scene of weary sin-stained sadness!
Come to the fuller fellowship of Home!’
Such be the tribute of thy pilgrim
When life’s last mile thy feet have bravely trod—
When thou hast gone to all that there awaits thee,
This simple epitaph — ‘He walked with God.’”
—J. Danson Smith
2. He Pleased God (Heb. 11:5)
This is perhaps the highest commendation that anyone could receive. It was true of the Lord Jesus that He pleased not Himself, Rom. 15:3, but did always those things that pleased the Father, John 8:29. So it should be our ambition to be acceptable, well-pleasing to Him, 2 Cor. 5:9. The basis of pleasing God is, for us as with Enoch, faith: for without faith it is impossible to please Him, Heb. 11:6 — faith that believes, trusts and obeys God.
3. He Prophesied For God (Jude 14, 15)
The second last book of the Bible records something about Enoch that is not revealed in the first book. He was evidently the first human prophet, though the first recorded prophecy is earlier, in Genesis 3:15. His prophecy, Behold the Lord cometh, has been reiterated frequently in the Scriptures, e.g. Isa. 40:10; Rev. 1:7; 22:7, 12:20. His prophecy related to the Lord’s coming in judgment. Can we trust his prophecy? He made another prophecy that was fulfilled with amazing accuracy. When his first baby boy was born, he called his name Methuselah, which means, When he is dead, it shall be sent, i.e. the deluge (Newberry). When Methuselah was 187, Lamech, his son, was born, Gen. 5:25; 182 years later, Noah was born — Methuselah was now 369 years of age, v. 28. When Noah was 600 years old, the flood came, Gen. 7:11. At this time Methuselah was 969 years old — that was the very year he died, Gen. 5:27. How accurate was Enoch’s prophecy! He was able to prophesy because he walked with God — in constant touch with Him, so that he knew His will. We, too, can only know God’s will by being in constant touch with Him.
4. He Was Taken By God (Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5)
The Septuagint renders this clause, as does the writer to the Hebrews; God translated him —i.e. carried across, from earth to heaven. Death did not intervene. He is thus a type of many saints who will be alive when the Lord comes and will be translated without dying—just before the flood of divine judgment descends upon the earth.