John 3:13

And no man hath ascended up to heaven,
but he that came down from heaven,
even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Anne wrote:

I have read your article on Enoch and Elijah. Can't comment on Elijah, but the Bible is quite clear about Enoch. He was taken directly to heaven. The very context of the verse makes it clear that Enoch was an exceptional person in the eyes of God. Every other individual in that passage is described as being XXX years old, and then he died"...Enoch is a clear exception. By stating anything else, you are denying the infallibility of Scripture. I am not a scholar, just an ordinary person, the kind that the Bible was written for.  I know what I read about Enoch is true because it is in the Bible. Your article is ex-Scripture.

From: Anne

Dear Anne,
God Bless you, and thank you for writing. We know this subject is very difficult for many believers in that they have been taught all their lives that when a believer dies (or in the case of Enoch, even before he died), they are taken to heaven. You claim we are ex-Scriptural, but let's look at a couple of Scriptures we believe are The Word of God. Everyone knows John 3:16, but very few know John 3:12-13:

John 3:12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

John 3:13  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Where would this place, Enoch? Or would we rather believe the Scripture is in error or just a poor translation? How did Jesus know that no man had ascended to heaven? He knew because He came from heaven, He is The Lord of Heaven, He is The Resurrection and The Life, and He knows everyone who is and ever has been in heaven and would and could not lie. The Faithful Jews of Jesus' time understood that no human had ever gone to heaven, and from their teaching, no prophet or servant would ever go to heaven for the promise to Abraham's seed is to inherit the earth and a heavenly city (Rev. 21:2-3) on earth; The people of God believed that, when a person died, they were dead, awaiting the Resurrection on the last day (John 11:24-25).

Enoch Walked With God

At the age of 65, Enoch had a son named Methuselah. "And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and he begat sons and daughters" (Genesis 5:22).

But how long did Enoch walk with God? The scripture says he "walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years." So Enoch followed God's ways for three hundred years. Notice that Moses did not record that Enoch is still walking with God. The scripture says that Enoch walked with God for three hundred years and not one year more! Then Enoch is not still walking with God! Why? 

Because "all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years" (Genesis 5:23). 365 years, is not just part of his days, but all his days. If Enoch did not die, if instead he was translated into an immortal and thus continued to walk with God, then his days would have been more than "three hundred and sixty-five years." But the Bible plainly tells us that all his days were exactly that many and no more. The Scripture uses the expression "all the days" to tell us the exact age of an individual, and this expression is used in Genesis chapter 5 nine times, and in every case (except for Enoch?) always means that the person lived for that length of time "and he died" (except for Enoch where it says "God took him", but what does that mean?)." So Enoch lived no more than three hundred and sixty-five years because "all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years." As he lived only for this length of time, then he must have died or become immortal!

What Happened at Enoch's Translation?

Remember, Moses didn't write that Enoch did not die. Rather, Moses wrote that "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Genesis 5:24). Paul records the same event by saying that he "was not found, because God had translated him" (Hebrews 11:5). Thus The Scripture records that Enoch was not found because God took him, or "translated" him. The Bible does not say that Enoch went to heaven when he was translated. Instead, it says he was not found.

Certainly, Enoch was "translated," but what does the word "translate" mean? The word many translate as heaven is actually the word metatithemi, which means:

Strong and Thayer Definition: To transfer, that is, (literally) transport, (by implication) exchange, (reflexively) change sides, or (figuratively) pervert: - carry over, change, remove, translate, turn.

The same Greek word is rendered "carried over" in Acts 7:16. We read that after Jacob died, his body was "carried over" or transported, translated to Sychem, where he was buried. That's what The Bible says, "Jacob was transported or translated to the place of burial." That is why Moses wrote that God took Enoch. God removed, carried, or translated him so he was not found. God took Enoch and buried him. In Deuteronomy 34:6, we read how God took Moses from the people, after which he died and was buried by God. "But no man knoweth his sepulcher unto this day." God removed Moses, or God translated him, and he was not found either.

So Enoch was not made immortal; he was taken away and was not found. All his days were three hundred and sixty-five which is as long as Enoch lived.

Notice another proof that "translate" does not mean to make immortal. It is found in Colossians 1:13: the Father "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Here, the Bible says that Christians are already translated, but Christians still die. We are not in our immortal bodies but remain in mortal flesh and blood. Although we were once part of the darkness of this world, now we are translated, removed from darkness into the light of The Kingdom of God.

Enoch Didn't Receive The Promise

Enoch is included by Paul (in Hebrews 11) among the fathers who obtained a good report through faith, but "these all, having have obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise" (Hebrews 11:39). What promise? The "hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2).

So Enoch, therefore, is one of "these all" who have not yet obtained the promise of eternal life and inheritance. Enoch and all the faithful of old will receive the promise of eternal life at the return of Christ, the same time Christians obtain it (Hebrews 11:40). That is still future. Since Enoch has not yet inherited eternal life, he must be dead, and this is exactly what Paul writes in Heb. 11:13. Paul says Enoch died, read carefully: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off," Who were "these all"? Paul lists Abel, Enoch, Noah, and the patriarchs and their wives. Hebrews 11:1-12 lists those who had faith, and Enoch is included among them. Then, in Heb. 11:13, Paul proved that they had not inherited the promises by saying: "These all [including Enoch] died in faith."

But what about Paul's saying that Enoch "should not see death"? Which Death Did Enoch Escape? What could Paul possibly have meant by saying: "By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him"? In this verse, nowhere does it say that Enoch did not die. Rather, it says that Enoch "should not see death." But what does it mean?

Remember, there is more than one death mentioned in the Bible. There is a first death, and there is a second death (Revelation 20:6). Which death did Paul mean? The first death is appointed unto all men (Hebrews 9:27). That death cannot be humanly evaded. It is inevitable. That death Enoch died, as we have already seen. But Paul was not writing about that death. The phrase "should not see" is in the conditional tense of the verb, having reference to a future event. It is not in the past tense that he "did not see" death—but that he "should not see death." So this death that Enoch escaped by being translated is one that he can and will escape for he met the conditions.

Did Jesus ever speak of a death that might be escaped? He certainly did! In John 8:51, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death," "shall never see," that is, suffer the second death.

This death is one that can be escaped on condition that men keep the saying of Jesus Christ and believe on Him. This death is not the first death because Christians who keep The Lord Jesus' sayings die this first death. Then the death which Enoch escapes must be the second death which will never touch those who are in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6). And Enoch will be in the first resurrection because he met the conditions.

Enoch had faith. He believed God and walked with God, obeying him. In keeping the sayings of God, Enoch kept the sayings of Jesus Christ because The Father and The Son are One God. The Lord Jesus did not speak of Himself but spoke what the Father commanded Him (John 14:10). Thus, Enoch met the conditions so that he should not see death. The second death shall never touch Enoch because of his faith and obedience.

If you can share some Scriptures that add more light to this subject, we are always ready to learn.

All God's Blessings,
The Believers

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