47 – Hebrews 11:5-6: The Faith of Enoch

Hebrews 11:5-6

“By faith Enoch was transferred from earth to heaven, but never died. He could not be found, for God had promoted him. Before he was taken to heaven he obtained the witness that he was well-pleasing to God. Apart from faith, it is impossible to please Him. Anyone who draws close to Him must believe He exists and that He reveals Himself to those who earnestly seek Him.”

There is an interesting parallel between Abel’s fate and that of Enoch. Both entered heaven, but one was violently murdered and the other simply walked home with God. All saints will reach their destination, regardless of how they arrive.

Enoch is a role model for everyone who seeks close communication with God. Other Biblical genealogies regarding men end with the phrase, “and he died” (Gen. 5:5-27). But when we come to Enoch, we find unique statements: “Enoch walked with God. He was not. God took him” (v. 24). The writer to the Hebrews adds, “He was not found. God translated him” (11:5).

The name Enoch means “disciplined, well-regulated, instructed, dedicated”. He was instructed by God and dedicated to His service. Enoch kept pace with God, neither running ahead of Him nor lagging behind. He walked with Him perseveringly, proactively, and progressively. Although he was neither a renowned warrior nor a king, the secret of his greatness was the God with whom he walked. The phrase “walk with God” in Genesis indicates a purposeful determination to please Him. Such perseverance is remarkable in an era when no written revelation existed. Enoch never saw death because he was always with the One who had power over death.

Although all human beings sin, the Bible records no sin in Enoch’s life. Only a few things are known regarding him:

~ He was the seventh descendant from Adam (Jude 14).
~ He was the first prophet mentioned in the Bible (Jude 14).
~ He was a prophet of judgment (Jude 15).
~ He began his family when he was sixty-five years old (Gen. 5:21).
~ He walked with God for another 300 years after he had children (Gen. 5:22).
~ He was translated when he was 365 years old (Gen. 5:23).
~ He pleased God (Heb. 11:5).
~ He never died (Heb. 11:5).
~ He was taken to heaven by God Himself (Gen. 5:24).

Prior to the flood, people often lived for hundreds of years. Enoch was the father of Methuselah, who died at age 969. Considering the story from the perspective of longevity, Enoch was translated in the “prime” of his life. He was on earth for 365 years before he left it. If we allow ourselves to entertain the numerical analogy, we should walk with God 365 days a year. Had a memorial stone been erected to honor Enoch’s life, the epitaph may simply have read: GONE HOME.

Enoch and the Book of Jude

Enoch walked with God: he did not casually stroll. In the book of Jude, we find he was involved in a prophetic ministry (Jude 14-15). He predicted God would arrive with ten thousand angels to execute judgment on the ungodly; a term used four times for the sake of emphasis (v. 15).

From the two verses in Jude, the following can be ascertained:

~ He believed in prophecy (v. 14).
~ He believed in the Second Coming of Christ (v. 14).
~ He believed angels would accompany His return (v. 14).
~ He believed God would judge evil (v. 15).
~ He believed in the conviction of the Holy Spirit (v. 15).
~ He believed those who are ungodly will do evil things (v. 15).
~ He believed the ungodly will speak evil of Believers (v. 15).

Cain and his descendants allowed sin to run rampant. If this passage reflects the core of Enoch’s message, he must have faced strong opposition. While men around him remained indifferent, Enoch obtained prophetic information from God. Although his preaching did not please men, his life and ministry pleased the Lord. Had the godless men of that day listened to Enoch and repented, the flood would have been unnecessary.

Enoch and His Walk

Walking requires both balance and sight. Walking is to our physical health what prayer is to our spiritual health. Walking with someone suggests intimacy and communication. Enoch did not walk with a mythological figure: he walked with a Person. To keep pace with God requires desire and determination, for two can walk in harmony only when in agreement (Amos 3:3). A spiritual stride implies obedience, faith, fellowship, love, and trust. The act of walking assumes one has a destination and a purpose. The analogy of “walking” is a popular Biblical parallelism. We are instructed to:

~ walk in love – Eph. 5:2
~ walk in newness of life – Rom.6:4
~ walk in the light – I Jn. 5:7
~ walk in righteousness – Isa. 33:15
~ walk in obedience – II Jn. 6
~ walk in Christ Jesus – Col. 2:6
~ walk in wisdom – Col. 4:5
~ walk in the Spirit – Gal. 5:16
~ walk in truth – III Jn. 3
~ walk in faith – II Cor. 5:7

v. 5
Enoch’s story centers on his unique departure. He entered the gate of heaven without passing through the gate of death. Three different forms of the word “translated” are used in this verse:

<> “Enoch was translated” (metetehe).
<> “God translated him” (metetheken).
<> “He pleased God before his translation” (metatheseos).

The idea of being translated is never used in Scripture regarding natural death, but always expresses the idea of being taken to heaven without dying. It means “to transfer; to transpose; to carry across; to remove; to change from one place to another; to relocate.” In Enoch’s case, this meant being displaced from earth to heaven. The same concept is used by Paul to express how Jesus has “translated (metestesen) us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13). For Believers, crossing over into heaven is a seamless transition.

The writer does not say Enoch died, but that he was “not found” (heurisko). This term implies others tried in vain to find him after a thorough search. When a man suddenly “goes missing,” people naturally look for him. The Greek language here strongly suggests people sought him, but he could not be located.

To answer the question why God took Enoch, we must consider several factors.

~ The wickedness in the world was escalating. Enoch was a preacher of righteousness and made a sharp distinction between those who served God and those who did not (Jude 15). Enoch walked with God, while most men walked with anyone but God. His message would have made him unpopular. It is possible his translation spared him further persecution.

~ God waited 365 years to take Enoch home. Perhaps the delay was to allow time for Enoch to preach and for people to repent. This was certainly the case with Noah, Enoch’s great-grandson, who preached for 120 years (Gen. 6:3).

~ He was taken home as a reward for his faithfulness. After he pleased God by preaching for Him, walking alongside Him, and communicating with Him, he was supernaturally transferred directly to heaven. Consider the difference between the world he was taken from and the world he was brought into.

~ His case demonstrates how effortlessly God can remove all His people from earth. It prefigures the Rapture of the Church (I Th.4:17). Walking with God results in “rapture readiness.”

~ The miraculous removal of Enoch is an object lesson, proving that God will spare the righteous from judgment. This was true regarding Noah and the ark. Enoch’s case reminds us of Elijah, whom God took to heaven in a chariot of fire (II Kgs. 2:11).

~ Enoch proved it is possible for human beings to be well-pleasing to God. Jesus always did those things which pleased His Father (Jn. 8:29). Similarly, we are expected to learn how to walk and to please God (I Thess. 4:1).

~ It helps Believers overcome the natural fear of death. Enoch’s story assures us of a home in heaven. Although he left his former location, he did not leave the close Friend with whom he walked. He continued that relationship in paradise (Rev. 3:4).

v. 6
The writer indicates Enoch’s translation was a special blessing for having pleased God. He now shows how pleasing Him validates faith. Because he expands this verse to include all who desire to walk with God, the following wisdom can be applied to every Believer:

~ By faith comes the knowledge of the existence of God.
~ Faith is necessary to please Him.
~ It is utterly impossible to please God without faith (Rom. 8:8).
~ Believers want to please God and walk with him.
~ We are assured our faith will be rewarded.

This verse helps to further expand the definition of faith:

~ Faith is the substance of hope. (11:1)
~ Faith places trust in the unseen. (11:1)
~ Faith obtains a good report. (11:2)
~ Faith affirms God exists. (11:6)
~ Faith knows God will reward. (11:6)

The term “impossible” is emphatic. No one can please God apart from faith. “Coming to God” is proserchomenon, the same term used regarding one who draws near to Him in worship (10:1). Those who are interested in God must believe He is interested in them as well. People who honestly seek God find that He is real and lovingly responds to everyone who desires to know Him.

A little faith in God means nothing: even demons believe in Him (Jas. 2:19). Belief must be coupled with the assurance He rewards faithfulness. “Reward” in this verse carries the idea of payment. God told Abraham, “I am thy exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1). The Lord told Jeremiah, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). To seek God with diligence means to pursue Him purposefully with determination. One searching for God must also believe He will actually answer their prayers. Walking hand in hand with God begins at Calvary.


Hebrews 11:5-6

1. According to Genesis 5:5, how long did Adam live?

2. According to Genesis 5:8, how long did Adam’s son Seth live?

3. According to Genesis 9:29, how long did Noah live?

4. How long did Abraham live? (Genesis 25:7)

5. What did Jesus promise to those who seek? (Matthew 7:7)

6. “Translated” means to:
A. transfer
B. transpose
C. relocate
D. remove
E. all of the above

7. According to Jude 14-15, Enoch:
A. was a prophet
B. believe in reincarnation
C. believed in angels
D. believed God would judge evil
E. A, C & D

8. According to Amos 3:3, two people can only walk in harmony if they are________________.

Maxim of the Moment

The height of your accomplishment will equal the depth of your convictions. - William Scolavi