D. M. PANTON.
“The Church of today must be the Enoch of our world. We Christians must show the people of our time what the good life really means: it is the reproduction of the life of Christ by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Such an example will not be popular, but it will please God, to whom one day we must render an account. It may also earn Enoch's reward: translation to Heaven without passing through the portal of death. But we have Enoch's testimony to give, namely that Christ will return to this earth to set up the Golden Age. Two world wars have sharpened the interest of many people in the truth of the Second Coming of Christ; but this interest has been divided into two schools of thought. One of these is linked with the name of J. N. Darby, and holds that the Church will entirely escape the tribulations which precede the Return of Christ. The other school of thought is linked with the name of B. W. Newton, just as brilliant a scholar as Darby, and these friends hold that the whole Church must endure the tribulation. May it not be that the golden mean of these two antinomies is the truth? If we exercise the faith of Enoch in a humble walk with God and a clear testimony to His Word, we may prevail to escape what is coming, upon the world. "Watch ye and pray that ye may be accounted worthy to escape" (Luke 21 :36).” - Frank V. Mildred.
Enoch, the morning star of the world, is a model for us today of extraordinary value as the great prototype of all rapture. For Enoch was, like ourselves, a Gentile; his was the age which saw the birth of scientific invention in the world;* he lived in an age of rapidly deepening wickedness when the earth was filled with violence; his feet stood on the brink of a judgment that was to sweep the whole earth; he was, as the Holy Ghost emphasises, “the seventh from Adam” (Jude 14) - that is, a type of all who, after six thousand years of sin, shall share the Sabbatic Rest; his deliverance - the first of its kind in the history of the world, as ours will be the last - was by a sudden and supernatural removal, through a gateway into heaven that has only twice been opened since, and then only to distinguished saints; and his is the only rapture in the Bible enforced upon us by the Holy Spirit as a model for us. So also the very setting of his record is luminous with spiritual light. For we know absolutely nothing of the physical facts of his life: not a single outstanding event in it is recorded: out of profound obscurity he leapt into heaven. How profoundly suggestive! “Hearken, by beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith.” His hidden diamonds - [R.V.] “to be heirs of the kingdom which He promised to them that love Him?” (James 2: 5). The Church knows nothing of her brightest stars, for she moves beneath the range of their heavenly orbits.
[* Jabal as founder of commerce, Tubal-Cain of manufacture, and Jubal of art (Gen. 4: 20-22), were the dawn of today’s mighty meridian: the early world held in it, even to the rapt saint, a mirror of our own far vaster age. Enoch’s removal many decades before the Flood makes sure (by type) the escape of all latter-day Enochs from approaching judgments, by secret rapture like his.]
Most significantly, it is the Apostle who writes the preface to the Apocalpytic judgments - Jude - that most stresses Enoch’s testimony, and reveals it as exclusively a Second Advent testimony. Enoch prophesied saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all” (Jude 14) - upon Jew and Gentile, Church and world. Here a new truth swims into our ken like a fresh star. Rapture is peculiarly linked with testimony to the Lord’s return: this was Enoch’s express and exclusive witness. So our Lord’s word to the Philadelphian Angel runs thus: “Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from that hour which is to come upon the whole world” (Rev. 3: 10). Of all the saints of Hebrews Eleven, Enoch alone was translated: and of Enoch, alone of them all, is Second Advent testimony recorded; so much so that the Holy Spirit says that it was to men of our dispensation, four thousand years before it opened, that Enoch spoke: “to these Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied” (Jude 14); and so riveted together is a Second Advent mouth and life with rapture, that lo, Enoch himself became the bodily proof of his own testimony. “He was not, for God TOOK him” (Gen. 5: 24). “One is taken, and one is left. Watch therefore” (Matt. 24: 41).
The Spirit reveals a second ground of Enoch’s translation. “By FAITH Enoch was translated that he should not see death” (Heb. 11: 5). The faith which is so enormously emphasised throughout Hebrews Eleven, while it necessarily assumes saving faith, is never only saving faith, but a faith far vaster and more potent. Abraham and Sarah begetting Isaac in extreme old age; Moses renouncing the Egyptian palace; Jericho levelled by marching priests; actual resurrections from the dead; kingdoms subdued, promises obtained, the mouths of lions stopped, the power of fire quenched: all these were the operations of something far beyond saving faith. Therefore see the tremendous truth. The faith for translation, so far from being merely the faith for salvation, is ranked by the Holy Spirit among the great achievements of the world. And so, alone among all these patriarchs, it is Enoch’s experience of rapture that is seized upon by the Holy Spirit to emphasise reward: “for BEFORE his translation he hath had witness borne to him that he had been well pleasing unto God, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is a rewarder.”* For Enoch was rapt when all the patriarchs except two - Adam was dead, and Noah not yet born - were still on earth, and remained so. It was not faith that he would be translated, for it is nowhere said that God revealed to him that he would be removed without death, nor, since the event had never before occurred, could he have imagined it: but faith which made him well-pleasing to God whereby he was translated: the faith which pleased God lay not so much in the creed, as nestled in the heart of a sanctified life, a root of the full bloom which God plucked. Enoch held nine hundred or a thousand years of life on earth, with corruption at the end of it, as nothing compared to a sudden heaven. He ceased upon the noontide of his life: to the youngest of all the patriarchs, for abandoning this life, God has given five thousand years in a better world.
[*"It was God’s purpose to deliver him from the power of death as a reward of his faith in the living God: his deliverance was a manifold reward of the faith" (Delitzech).]
So the Holy Ghost now draws a general lesson of the utmost practical and prophetic importance to us:- that the pleasure given to God by the rapt is not the mere act of conversion, but a whole life of devotion: so that the Old Testament phrase is - “Enoch walked with God” (Gen. 5: 24), in continuous well-pleasing; it was his walk which produced his removal. He changed his place but not his company. For “without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto Him:” that is, whichever phase we choose - he “pleased” God, or he “walked” with God - both imply faith, and continuous faith: “for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder [a renderer of reward; Alford] of them that seek after Him." "God removed him in so unusual a manner from the earth that all might know how dear he was to the heart of God" (Calvin). To a life of extraordinary merit God granted an extraordinary reward; he became Enoch the immortalised because he had been Enoch the sanctified; the very name “Enoch,” with the extraordinary significance of Bible names, means dedicated, consecrated, separated. So our Lord says - “Watch ye and pray always, that ye may be ACCOUNTED WORTHY to escape” (Luke 21: 31); “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to render to each according as his work is” (Rev. 22: 12). Had not God designed to do Enoch special honour, it had been easy to deliver him from the coming translation by ordinary death, as He did Methuselah. It has been said that the utmost reach some Christians attain is that they are pardoned criminals: Enoch is one of the few men in the Bible against whom no sin is recorded. “In all ages it has been universally acknowledged that no higher honour was ever publicly bestowed on any man on earth than that bestowed on Enoch and Elijah, an exalted honour evidently given to illustrate the unalterable principle that God remarkably honours those who are specially honouring to God” (Cornwall) *
[* “Not without Enoch’s
faith, let us rest assured, shall we be deemed worthy of an Enoch-like
translation. Not without Enoch’s walk
shall we be found among the wise and ready virgins. Not without Enoch’s testimony concerning
the coming of the King and Judge shall the precious promise to the
So now all concentrates on the walk with God:- “Enoch WALKED with God” (Gen. 5: 24). This expression occurs only twice in the Bible:- of Enoch, type of the heavenly deliverance; and of Noah, type of the Jewish escape: and it is recorded once of Noah (Gen. 6: 9), but of Enoch twice (Gen. 22: 24); for the heavenly calling involves a double intimacy with God. None will escape from the coming judgments save those who walk with God. There is an exquisite beauty about the phrase discernible only to a sensitive spiritual vision: it implies close intimacy and unbroken communion: an agreement of mind and purpose, a union of heart and soul, a sympathy of sentiment and affection. “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3: 3). It means a lonely life: Enoch walked with God when all men were walking contrary to God: nothing in the world is more valuable than the ability to walk alone, for it is the supreme requisite for walking with God. The man who walks with God becomes exceedingly sensitive to criticisms of Christ, and exceedingly sensitive to the inevitableness of judgment (Jude 15). The universal ungodliness obsessed Enoch like a nightmare (Jude 15), exactly as it did Elijah (Rom. 11: 3): it is most remarkable that the only two men ever rapt before Christ were each distinguished for extreme loneliness, and for fearless testimony in an age of dominant wickedness; that is, the man who stands alone for right is the man whom God delights to honour. It is an extraordinary comfort that Enoch’s sole recorded distinction is his goodness: no administrator like Moses, or warrior like David, or statesman like Daniel; no hero of splendid exploit, or world-shaking achievement; the great prototype of all rapture was simply an ordinary man filled with extraordinary goodness; a morning star flooded with the light of the still un-risen Sun. The law in the natural realm - that like attracts like - rules also in the spiritual: heaven attracts the most heavenly; until, in the set design of God, acting upon ever-deepening heavenliness of character the mighty magnet suddenly works (Mark 4: 20), and the Enochs are gone.