What About Enoch?

Is Enoch one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation? Learn more about this interesting question here.

Most of what the Bible tells us about Enoch is in Genesis 5:18-24*. Here is that passage:

Genesis 5:18-24

“18 And Jared lives 162 years, and fathers Enoch.

19 And Jared lives 800 years after fathering Enoch, fathering sons and daughters.

20 And all the days of Jared become 962 years, and he dies.

21 And Enoch lives 65 years, and fathers Methuselah.

22 And Enoch walks with Elohim (God) 300 years after fathering Methuselah, fathering sons and daughters.

23 And all the days of Enoch become 365 years.

24 And Enoch walks with Elohim (God), and is gone--God took him.

It is the idea in the last sentence,

“and Enoch walks with Elohim (God), and is gone--God took him” (Genesis 5:24),

that Christians are most likely to remember about Enoch. What does it mean that Enoch walked with God, and then was “gone”? What does it mean that God “took” Enoch?

In the Letter to the Hebrews 11:5, Paul the Apostle explains it this way:

Hebrews 11:5

“By faith Enoch was [a member] of the Transferred, not experiencing death; and was not found because of the transfer. For before his transference, he was witnessed to be well-pleasing to God.”

The “Transferred” are those people who are “transferred” (moved) from Earth to Heaven without dieing. So Enoch never died--did “not experienc[e] death”. Enoch was very pleasing to God, and God took Enoch to Heaven without death. (Note: many English versions of the Bible use the word “translated” rather than the word “transferred”.)

What happened to Enoch is unusual, of course, but it is not entirely unique. The Bible also claims that a chariot of fire took the prophet Elijah up through a whirlwind to Heaven (2 Kings 2:11-12). So Elijah, like Enoch, was “transferred” to Heaven. And Elijah, like Enoch, was also “not found” (2 Kings 2:12,16-18). Therefore, it is widely accepted among Christians that Elijah, like Enoch, did not experience death.

Christians accept that both Enoch and Elijah never died; however, they also accept another verse from the Letter to the Hebrews:

Hebrews 9:27

“And just as it is appointed for people to die once, followed by judgment”.

The phrase “it is appointed for people to die once” is understood by many Christians as a statement that every person must die. Thus, many believe that Enoch and Elijah must die, too.

From Revelation 11:7, we know that the Two Witnesses of Revelation will die. Therefore, if the same Elijah that was transferred to Heaven without death is also one of the Two Witnesses, then Elijah will indeed die. Some people use this reasoning to give an explanation of how Elijah could go to Heaven without dieing, and yet still die.

Some people extend this reasoning to explain how Enoch could also go to Heaven without dieing, and yet still die. If Enoch is also one of the Two Witnesses, then he would die. These people feel that, just as Enoch and Elijah shared the same rare way in which they went to Heaven, they may also share a rare return to Earth, and a rare way to die.

If this reasoning about Elijah and Enoch was correct, it would explain how Hebrews 9:27 relates to these two men: that both men will die, someday. They would not have escaped death: their deaths would only have been “postponed”. We would also know who the Two Witnesses of Revelation are: Enoch and Elijah.

However, there are problems with this reasoning.

First, Paul tells us in Hebrews 11:5 that Enoch was spared from death for a reason:

“…for [or “because”] before his transference, he was witnessed to be well-pleasing to God.”

Since Enoch has seen Heaven with his own eyes, Enoch has more to motivate him to please God now than he did before he went to Heaven. Surely Enoch will NOT be less pleasing to God in the future, as “being less pleasing” would be “falling away”, as Paul wrote about in Hebrews 6:4-6. No one on Earth could possibly know more about the goodness and power of God than someone who has seen it with their own eyes, like Enoch has.

Second, although the Bible explicitly states that Elijah, or someone like Elijah, will again be on Earth (e.g. Malachi 4:5-6), there is nothing in the Bible that explicitly states that Enoch, or anyone like Enoch, will be on Earth again.

Third, John the Baptist was not the original, first “Elijah”--the “Elijah” that went to Heaven without dieing (John 1:19-28). Nevertheless, John the Baptist was an “Elijah” that was prophesied to come in Malachi 4:5-6 (Matthew 11:2-15, and Matthew 17:10-13). From this, we know that a prophecy involving “Elijah” may involve a different “Elijah” than the original, first “Elijah”. Therefore, when the Two Witnesses of Revelation die, it may be that neither of the dead men will be the first “Elijah”. Since the first “Elijah” may not die as one of the Two Witnesses, but continue to live, it is unreasonable to think that only Enoch must die.

Fourth and finally (and most importantly), the idea that every person must die is NOT correct. The same Paul that wrote Hebrews 9:27 also wrote 1 Corinthians 15:51, which says:

1 Corinthians 15:51

“Look, I’ll tell you a secret! We will NOT all die; but, all of us will be changed”.

This is Paul himself
stating explicitly that some people “will NOT die”.

So what does Paul mean when he writes “it is appointed for people to die once, followed by judgment” in Hebrews 9:27? The complete thought is actually Hebrews 9:27-28, namely:

Hebrews 9:27-28

“27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once, followed by judgment,

28 likewise Christ was offered once, bearing the sins of many [people]...”

Paul is telling us that, just as we will only be judged for one life (“die once, followed by judgment“), likewise Christ only needed to be “offered” [die] one time. The one DEATH of Jesus paid for the sins of our one LIFE: there is no need for Jesus to die multiple times for our multiple sins. Paul writes more like this in Hebrews 10:11-18.

Since Hebrews 9:27 is simply telling us that people do not need to die multiple times before being judged (rather than saying anything about people being required to die, even one time) there is nothing about Hebrews 9:27 that suggests Enoch (or Elijah, or anyone else) must die.

Taken together, these four points show that there is no reason to believe that Enoch is one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation.

*The Bible also tells us that Enoch was an ancestor of Noah (1 Chronicles 1:1-4; Luke 3:23-38); therefore, Enoch is an ancestor of all the people alive today, just as Noah is. Further, we are given a prophecy by Enoch in Jude 14-15.


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