Enshrinement In The Hall Of Fame Of Faith
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval-.By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Heb. 11:1-2, 5-6 (NAS)
In our search of Old Testament quotes found in the New Testament, we’ve arrived at the Bible’s hall of fame of faith, Hebrews chapter eleven.
In this chapter we get the Bible’s definition of faith, those decorated who decided to live by faith, and the description of the impact of those who lived faithfully.
The writer here cites an Old Testament passage about Enoch, one of two individuals, who have never tasted death upon the earth. The other, of course, being the prophet Elijah. The quote is from Genesis 5:24, the last verse of four total verses in the Old Testament record that speaks of Enoch’s life. “And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Gen. 5:21-24)
The only other glimpse we get of Enoch is in Jude’s citation of a quote attributed to him but not found in the canon of Scripture concerning Enoch prophesying of God’s coming judgment upon the ungodly (C. f. Jude 14, 15)
Seven generations from Adam
To understand Enoch’s enshrinement, as recognized by the writer of Hebrews as he was moved by the Holy Spirit of God, we need to understand the times in which he lived.
Enoch, as Jude pointed out, was the seventh generation from Adam through Seth. Conversely, among his counterparts, his cousins through the lineage of Cain, the seventh generation from that direction was one Lamech. This guy was the original humanist in all its forms. He is the original polygamist in the Bible taking two wives rejecting the LORD’s program of monogamy (Gen. 4:19). He followed in his forefather Cain’s violent footsteps and it seemed he liked to “double down” on Cain’s dubious deeds. He didn’t kill just one man, but a boy as well in seeking his vengeance for when he had been injured. (Gen. 4:23)
He was the original arrogant head of the household of those whom the apostle Peter would call “daring, self-willed” those who “despised authority” (2 Pet. 2:10), revilers and railers against God. Of his seed was Tubal-Cain, “the forger of all implements of bronze and iron” (Gen. 4:22) These were most likely not just implements for agriculture, but for forging into weapons of war. This is not a stretch to infer this, as the world grew increasingly violent according to the Biblical record.
Enoch’s accomplishments and enshrinement
Now, in contrast to Lamech, let’s take a brief look at Enoch. Seth, the son of Adam, gave birth to Enosh. It was during Enosh’s time that “men began to call upon the name of the LORD.” (Gen. 4:26) This was the announcement of a return to reliance and faith in the LORD, in contrast to the profligate seed of Cain.
Notice the way Enoch’s forefathers’ lives are described, “So and so lived x amount of years and died.” Look again closer at how Enoch’s life is described. It appears Enoch was like his generation up until the birth of his son Methuselah. “Enoch lived sixty-five years-” But notice how the verbiage changes in the way his life is described and defined after Methuselah’s birth. “Then Enoch walked with God…“.
Enoch came to know with full assurance and conviction that there was the True God and He was the rewarder of those who sought after Him. How? Most likely through seeking out the personal testimony of his forefathers, from Adam on down who would all still be alive at the time of Methuselah’s birth. Imagine the “living oracles” they were able to pass along personally to Enoch, helping him to develop a faith that would place him at the pinnacle of the patriarchal antediluvian chain of the faithful! When the LORD became real to him, his faith was the real force in his life that made him different from his contemporaries. Enoch walked with God, communicating He had a desire for the spiritual things while the vast majority around him scurried about concerned of the things of life on earth until they died. Because he sought God and valued greater the things of God, he was rewarded with not having to taste death, and being taken by the LORD to be with Him.
Guaranteeing our enshrinement
The things written in earlier times are all there for our example, instruction, perseverance and hope. All the Old Testament as well as the New Testament is designed to produce a faith that garners the approval of our Lord. We have the entire testimony of God from divinely selected spokesmen to help us live as Enoch did— in a manner pleasing to Him. Enoch was once part of his world but then chose to walk with God. How about us? “you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:8-10) God has told us what is good, amen? So what does the Lord require of the faithful? “But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 ) The hall of fame of faith awaits our enshrinement!