Genesis 5 records ten generations of descendants through Adam’s son Seth, and seventh in the list is this guy named Enoch (Gen 5:21-24). His story stands out for at least four reasons:
- (1) The people listed before and after him all die, but he does not. The narrator says “God took him,” and this was not a “taking” in physical death. Hebrews 11:5 tells us Enoch never saw the earthly end of his mortality.
- (2) Those in Genesis 5 lived extraordinarily long lives, but among the whole lot Enoch’s life is the shortest. Granted, his 365 years (5:23) is still a long time, but not compared to his son Methuselah who lived 969 years (5:27)!
- (3) We’re told Enoch “walked with God,” which doesn’t mean no one else in Genesis 5 did, only that Enoch’s devotion stood out. The writer of Hebrews says, “Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God” (11:5b).
- (4) Enoch, being seventh from Adam through Seth, contrasts with Lamech who is seventh from Adam through Cain (Gen 4:17-24). Lamech boasts in his wickedness, but Enoch is known as the man who walked with God.
Enoch’s story is remarkable not only for the quality of his devotion which the biblical text highlights and underlines, but also for its duration. The Lord took him at age 365 (Gen 5:23-24). Enoch didn’t walk with God for mere months, a few years, or several decades. He walked with God for hundreds of years.
Year in and year out, Enoch walked with God. Decades turned into centuries, and he walked with God with relentless devotion, commended for faith that pleased the Lord (Heb 11:5). What loyalty and love! A man after God’s own heart, Enoch followed his Maker until one day “he was not” (Gen 5:24). Suddenly at a precise latitude and longitude, God suspended the law of gravity, and just like that, Enoch was gone.