† FIRST WEDNESDAY IN ADVENT †
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
To each of you the peace and joy which comes only through faith in our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, the one who was, who is, and who is yet to come.
The text for tonight is from Genesis 5 and Hebrews chapter 11.
“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” “before he [Enoch] was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith, it is impossible to please him.”
On these Advent Wednesdays, I am going to preach on different Old Testament Saints. They've been selected from the list of men and women in Hebrews 11 who were commended by God for their faith. We're doing this specifically because, as I'm certain, we’d all be ready to admit our knowledge of the Old Testament, and the Saints who contributed to the preparation for Christ's Advent into this world, certainly is not as good as it should or it could be, and so tonight Enoch.
You heard it, he was the seventh from Adam, so he was a man born early in the history of the world after the creation. In Genesis five and Hebrews 11 we have this short biblical biography of Enoch who was in the genealogical line that was leading to the birth of our Savior. In other words, Enoch was an early ancestor of Christ. While we know nothing about his social standing or exactly what it was that he did for a living, three things immediately stand out about him.
- That he led a holy life on earth.
- That he was willing to speak, prophetically, against the sinful people of his age, and I'm going to talk about that later.
- That he had a quiet but glorious and almost unique entry into heaven from out of this world.
Genesis 5 twice reminds us, Enoch walked with God. Although like all of us he was born a sinner, born outside the family of God, by birth like all of us under God's wrath because of his original inherited sin, he became, by God's grace, God's especially holy child. The unbelieving wicked, knowingly or unknowingly, are always at war with God but Enoch was at total peace with him, so complete as to be unimaginable to you and me. So at one with God that he had, actual, give-and-take conversation with him, something that had not been seen in the world since before his great, great, great, great, grandfather and grandmother had fallen into sin and lost their perfect oneness and personal conversation with God.
Now it's absolutely true, have no fear about it, you and I have the gracious and glorious privilege of being one with God by baptism. Christ truly lives in you and he has made you one with him in your inner being, in your spirit. But as the scriptures say, while the Spirit is willing the flesh is weak. And so with st. Paul, we lament, the good that I would not, that I do, the evil that I would not, that I do, rescue me from this body that brings me to death. The weakness of flesh wasn't true of Enoch. You and I, you and I must physically die before we can gain entrance into heaven. And for you and me when we die, only our spirit, which is indeed truly one and in with Christ, only our spirit gains immediate entrance into heavens glory, our bodies must await the last day, must await the resurrection of all flesh, and then finally our bodies will also be perfected, like under Christ's glorious body, and only then, only then will our bodies gain entrance into heaven. On that day our body and soul re-joined together for eternity.
But that wasn't true with Enoch, he was one with God, not just in spirit but also in body. In other words, Enoch walked with God, to us, in an unimaginable closeness. Hebrews 11 says Enoch pleased God, he pleased him both in body and in soul. His oneness with God was so complete, so perfectly in sync, Genesis 5 says that one day as Enoch walked with God he was not, for God took him. Hebrews 11 adding, by faith, taken up so he should not see death, and he was not found because God had taken him, and before he was taken commended as having pleased God and without faith it is impossible to please him.
Enoch was rescued, body and soul from this world, and taken directly to heaven. Bodily ascension into heaven without tasting death is known but one other time. Remember the prophet Elijah, there he was, talking with his earthly successor Elijah when suddenly chariots of fire and horses of fire appeared and Elijah was sent up into heaven in a whirlwind. You see, Enoch and Elijah are types of Christ. No, not true God and man as Christ, not Savior, but in this, like him, commended by God, taken directly to heaven, body, and soul by God.
Now from what I've said to you so far, you might think Enoch was some kind of mild-mannered, retiring, holy, Joe’ish kind of man who went unnoticed and mostly overlooked in his time. A kind of religious, overly pious nut people would just kind of shake their heads about when he walked by. But your thinking would be completely wrong. While Enoch, this seventh man from Adam, didn't walk in the way of the sinners of his corrupt age, while he was indeed pious, he was vocal and he was fearless in his rebuke of the godlessness that was around him. Unlike you and me, he followed an unwavering and fearless course of faith, his unbroken oneness with God caused him to hate the unbelief around him with a white-hot, righteous anger, and his righteous anger absolutely found favor with God. Just as your righteous anger will always find favor with God should you have the courage to rightly employ it.
Don't misunderstand, he wasn’t a loaded gun firing indiscriminately into a crowd, he wasn't a reckless, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead kinda guy. His love for God brought forth the righteous pointed criticism of God's Word against the sinfulness he saw, a sinfulness that he saw was leading people to destruction in hell. His prophetic voice was one of a man who speaks with the authority of God's Holy Word. Enoch walked with God and as he took each step his eyes were fixed on God and the will of his Word.
How do we know this, you heard it the New Testament writer Jude tells us, Enoch spoke prophetically. By the way, you don't have to be a prophet and you don't have to be a pastor to speak prophetically. Enoch spoke the truth about God's judgment, about the unrighteousness of his time. Jude chapter 1, Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him [God].” Enochs oneness, in his walking with God, gave him the godly courage that was needed, even though, his was an age when people and governments were hellbent against God's will, even though he must have been nearly alone in his concern, and despite pressure not to do so he was completely compelled according to faith to speak.
Enoch had a uniquely glorious end. He's the only one in the line of Christ's ancestors of whom it is not said that he died, because he didn't, God took him. Genesis 5 says he was not, it suggests probably that people looked around for him, but he was an untraceable missing person. God took him; he was taken so they would not taste death.
You and I will taste physical death unless Christ comes before our day. But tasting the bitter death because of unbelief will not be ours to endure. In the meantime, we pray that God would grant us the courage of Enoch, who walked with God, and that the heavenly Father, by his gracious spirit, would grant this us complete and pure oneness with him, that he would grant this to us through faith in Jesus precious name.