Tonight, we’re going to begin a series on what we’ll call Twelve Unlikely Heroes. It was a couple of years ago that I thought it might be interesting to do a book, since people love character studies - they enjoyed The Twelve Ordinary Men, The Twelve Extraordinary Women – so, why not take a look at some other of the amazing biographies of the Bible, under the kind of the title of Extraordinary - or rather, Unlikely Heroes. This book will be available by the end of summer - it’s finished and it’s on its way, and you’ll be able to take a look at it at the end of summer. You will thoroughly enjoy it; it is - it is a rich and wonderful study.
So, I’m going to kind of go along the pathway of those Twelve Unlikely Heroes, and they follow a flow scripturally. So, we’re going to start in the Old Testament with Enoch and Joseph, and then we’re going to work our way through all the main eras of biblical history on into the New Testament; we’re going to have a great time doing so. But in order to justify titling this series Twelve Unlikely Heroes, we probably ought to talk about the word hero a little bit, and at least get the definition that we’re going to be able to work with - because it might be quite different from the contemporary definition of hero.
In fact, I would say that the word hero is slowly losing its significance. We use and abuse words, and consequently we have a way of diluting their impact; and hero is one of the those words that once was a word isolated for people of very, very unique accomplishment, and very unique achievement. Not everybody could fall into the category of hero; not everybody could be called a hero. Now, just about everybody is labeled a hero - that is partly the legacy of the self-esteem movement.
If your - your six-year-old manages to push the soccer ball past a prone goalie, as he leads the little flock ball group chasing the ball, he all of a sudden becomes a hero. Your ten-year-old is a hero if he gains you a bumper sticker that you can put on the car that says, “My child was student of the week” - only because he gave the teacher less grief than all the other kids that week, I think, so. Now, we have adult versions of that same kind of heroism, don’t we?
We have - we have those adult people who push the ball past the goalie, or hit ball over the fence, or score the touchdown and slam the ball on the ground, the adult version of that, in sports and entertainment. Nowadays, just about anybody with celebrity status can become heroic, and you hear people refer to my favorite person as “my hero.” I was thinking about that, and I went back and looked up the words to a very popular song called The Wind Beneath My Wings.
It’s kind of the - it’s kind of the anthem of contemporary heroism. I know you’ve heard the song; I don’t know if you’ve listened to the words. Here’s the main verse. “Did you ever know that you’re my hero / Because you were content to let me shine, that’s your way / You always walked a step behind / So I was the one with all the glory.” You’re my hero because you made sure I got all the glory - what in the world kind of heroism is that? But it sounds right for our society.
As bad as pop culture’s relentless sentimentalizing and overuse and cheapening of the word hero, our ideas of heroism are even more tarnished by another ridiculous obsession with imaginary heroes - super heroes, whose fantasy exploits fill everything from comics and cartoons to television and movies. And this is the legacy in large part - at least to the level it’s at now - of the improvement in special effects and digital animation and all of that, that has now created bizarre kinds of fantasies, super heroes beyond all imagination.
So, on one hand, you have these who trivialize heroism, and you have the others who mythologize heroism. Our heroes are made up of people who aren’t really heroic; in another case, they’re made up of people who don’t even exist. What is true heroism? There are heroes, there are people who maybe deserve that title; people in the face of war, or in the face of disaster, or treachery, or danger, put their life on the line to rescue other people.
There are people who have been heroic in discoveries that have helped people recover from diseases. There are people who have done heroic things in society for the benefit of society; we all know that. They advance other’s well-being in some world changing way, some significant way, that is epic. The world is different, the world is better, and somebody is alive because of someone’s sacrificial action. But even at best, those heroes who do that in the world can only make impacts that are temporal; that is, their heroism only makes life better here and now, not beyond.
In my judgment, the greatest heroes are those who are the human means that God uses to change people forever; those are the real heroes. They’re the ones that are the instruments that God uses to bring people to Him, into His kingdom, to give Him glory and to serve Him forever. And these true heroes - to be honest - these people who have an eternal impact, are invariably the most unexpected, and they are the most ordinary. We know that God is in the business of using unlikely heroes.
Listen to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:26 and 27: “See your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put the shame the things that are mighty.” In other words, God works through people whom the world regards as weak, and foolish, and unqualified.
They’re not self-reliant, they’re not self-sufficient. They are very unlikely; and yet, when given unique opportunities for eternal impact, become useful to God to accomplish His eternal ends. Now, we can establish just some sort of simple criteria by which these people can be classified. The pages of Scripture are actually filled with a lot more than 12; that’s a very limited sampling, to be honest. But there would be three things that mark these people.
One would be faith, faith in God; and the other would be faithfulness, and that is to say, they had an enduring commitment to God, and it survived every imaginable and unimaginable difficulty; and then, thirdly, fruitfulness; that would be the impact that they had. Providentially these - these people of faith who were faithful, whose faith endured, are providentially used by God in remarkable, remarkable ways; in ways that stretch even beyond their own life, and their own time.
The first such person we meet in the Bible is a man named Enoch; Enoch. And for us to get into the story of this man named Enoch, I want you to look at the 11th chapter of Hebrews, where he is mentioned. As we will see in a moment, he is mentioned also in Genesis 5, and referred to in the epistle of Jude, and a very passing reference of his name two other places in the Old Testament. And by the way, the Enoch that we’re going to be looking at in Hebrews 11:5 and 6 is not the only Enoch in the Bible.
In fact, in the book of Genesis, there are actually two men named Enoch. The first Enoch appears in the fourth chapter of Genesis, and he is the son of Cain. Cain had relations with his wife, she conceived and gave birth to Enoch; he built a city, called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son. So, it was a very common name; it actually became the name of a city. The word seems to mean beginning, or initiation, so, when Cain had a son, he named him initiation or beginning.
But the son that we’re looking at is not a son of Cain, but a son of Seth; son of Seth, the righteous line, the good people. Let’s look at Hebrews 11 - the subject here - we’ll start in verse 1: “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 we understand the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.” He speaks, and what does he say? Abel speaks to us of the necessity of sacrifice; of sacrifice. He offered a sacrifice that God accepted, an animal blood sacrifice as a picture of the coming sacrifice of Christ. He demonstrated his faith by obedience.
Cain was disobedient. He was told what to do. He brought the fruit of his own hands; he illustrates the illusion of salvation by works, by accomplishment, by achievement. Abel illustrates the reality of salvation by sacrifice, and though he is dead, he still communicates that message. Well, after him came a man who had a far-reaching influence. His name is Enoch. And it says of him, in verses 5 and 6, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would 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.” So now, we move to the second man in the list in Hebrews chapter 11 that is often referred to as “the heroes of faith,” and Enoch’s influence is specifically identifiable. Abel, obviously, is a demonstration of what is necessary for salvation: sacrifice, obedience, faith, and subsequent righteousness.
He is the example of faith, the first example. But Enoch, this remarkable individual, had a basically revealed impact in future generations, as we will see. So here we see him listed in Hebrews 11 as one of those people that we can look at as having heroic faith, and to tell you the story of Enoch, we have to go back to the fifth chapter of Genesis, Genesis chapter 5. And in Genesis chapter 5, we have the descendants of Adam given to us. This is the genealogy that stretches from Adam onward down to Noah, and then his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and the genealogy ends there.
The genealogy ends there for obvious reasons; the flood comes after that, and the world is destroyed. This is the descendants of Adam through Seth, and down in verse 21, we read about Enoch; he “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. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
Now, there’s a very definite break in the flow here; very definite. If you read through the genealogy, you will see a phrase repeated again and again. If you go back to verse 5, Adam lived nine-hundred and thirty years, and he died. Verse 6, Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. And then it goes on - verse 8 - the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died. Enosh - verse 10 - lived 815 years, had other sons - verse 11 - nine hundred and five years total, and he died.
And then - verse 14 - Kenan, 910 years, and he died. And Mahalalel - verse 17 - 895 years, and he died. And Jared – verse 20 - 962 years, and he died. And then it says about Enoch, “He walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Here’s somebody who didn’t die; he didn’t die. The and he died shows the effect of the fall. The brief history of Enoch breaks the pattern; it breaks the pattern. And he becomes the father of Methuselah.
Methuselah is a word that means, or a name that means, the man of the sending forth, or the man of the spear, or the man of the javelin; something shot out. He was a God-named prophecy. His name means that he would not die until the judgment was sent forth; until judgment came, he would not die. He is the man that is linked with the judgment. Divine judgment would not come until Methuselah died. So, the demonstration of God’s mercy is, he lived longer than any other person, 969 years.
So, for 969 years, until Methuselah died, the world of people was being warned the judgment was coming. The year Methuselah died - down in verse 27, says, “and he died” - the flood shot forth and drowned the world. God let him live longer than anybody else - grace was extended in the face of judgment - and when he died, the flood came. Now, his father is Enoch. Twice it is said of Enoch that “he walked with God” - that is the definitive description.
Verse 22: “Enoch walked with God three hundred years,” verse 24: “Enoch walked with God.” It’s so amazing that it’s repeated twice. It is so unique that’s why it’s repeated. It stands out from all the rest. And we are told he walked with God for three hundred years. You know, it’s a struggle to make it for 70 or 80, to walk with God faithfully; 300 years he walked with God. Three hundred years, in the midst of a horribly corrupt world.
This is the remarkable characteristic about Enoch. He lived against the grain of his society. Now remember, the entire world - Enoch’s entire world - was drowned and catapulted into eternal hell. This is a profoundly distinct life. In looking at the Old Testament and looking at pre-flood, sort of antediluvian culture, pre-flood spirituality, it is a very bleak picture. There were some godly in the line of Seth, of course, and Seth himself was godly; this is called the godly line.
But by the time it moves all the way down to Enoch, judgment is coming, and judgment - at Enoch’s age of 65 - is only 969 years away when his son, Methuselah, dies. And so, the warning goes on for all that time. When it says that Enoch “walked with God”, how are we to understand that? How are we to understand the remarkable significance of that? And not just the significance of him walking with God, but the consequence of that, the impact of that? He just walked into heaven.
Verse 24 says, “He was not, for God took him.” One day, during this 365th year, while walking with God, they just walked together into heaven. There’s only one other person recorded in Scripture who didn’t die, and that one other person is Elijah, and that’s recorded in 2 Kings chapter 2, and Elijah one day was taken into heaven in a chariot of fire. Enoch is a remarkable, remarkable person. He comes into the world 57 years after the death of Adam. He goes out of the world 69 years before the birth of Noah.
Noah is Enoch’s great-grandson, and in the year of the world 987, he’s taken to heaven. Some 600 years later – 669 - the Flood comes. His disappearance is shocking, sudden, inexplicable. People were people, and people were used to normal explanations; it wasn’t a time of miracles. How in the world did they come to understand that nobody could find Enoch, and nobody was there to explain where he went?
Let’s go back to Hebrews 11, and I want to show you the lessons that can be learned about his spiritual impact, his spiritual influence; and there are just a number of things that are very simple that shape our understanding of this man. Let me just give you the list, and then we’ll work our way through it, simply. His life is an epic life, it is a stand-out life, it is an influential life. In that sense, he’s a spiritual hero, because he has such a profound spiritual effect on those around him - and even on us, because of his example and his testimony.
But here are the components, or the features, that made up that impact. Number one: he believed in the true God. He believed in the true God. Number two: he sought God’s reward. He believed in the true God, he sought God’s reward. Number three: he walked with God. Number four: he set an example. Number five: he preached the Word of God, and as a result, he entered into the presence of God; that was the consequence. So, five things to say about him: he believed in the true God, he sought God’s reward, he walked with God, he set an example, and he preached the Word of God. And as a result, God elevated him into His presence.
Now, let’s start where that little outline starts by looking at verse 6: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God” - and that would certainly be true of Enoch, because God walked with him right into heaven; he had entered into fellowship with God. But “he who comes to God must believe that He is” - well, we’ll stop there for a minute. Believing that God is the God He is; that’s the basis of pleasing God.
It says in the Old Testament twice that he “walked with God”; that he “walked with God”. Here, it says at the end of verse 5, he was “pleasing to God”; really, that’s one and the same. And in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, in Genesis 5, where it says in Hebrew he “walked with God”, the Septuagint, the Greek says, he was “pleasing to God”. So, walking with God is simply an indication that God accepts one; he was acceptable to God, he was pleasing to God.
God was satisfied to be in his company, in his presence, in fellowship with him. And what establishes that is faith – “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” - to walk with Him, to be in His company. You don’t come to God by works, you come by faith; and we know that, and that’s emphasized here. “He who comes to God, then, must believe that He is” - you have to believe in the God who is God. That is such a profound statement, “that He is”.
And what is the name, when God is asked His name back in the book of Exodus; “and what is your name?” What does God say? “I AM that I AM” and He gives the verb to be, and that’s right here again - that He is I AM who I AM, the eternal I AM, the eternal living One. You must believe in the God who is God - the uncreated One, the eternal One - not in a god who is a creature, not in a god who is made with hands, or concocted out of the human mind, an invented god.
Not the god of Islam, not the god of Mormonism - who is not only a god of demonic origin, but a god who is created from another god. You must believe in the God who is God, identified in Scripture as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only faith pleases God, and only when faith is placed in the true God; the true God. There is no other way to walk with God, there is no other way to please God than to identify yourself as a believer in the God who is the true and living and one and only God.
That is why the commandments of Exodus 20 start out with, “You shall have no other Gods before Me.” And the sum of all the law is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”, which is to say, there is no affection remaining for any other deity, for none other deity exists. Enoch believed in the true God, and that pleased the true God, and God then gave Himself in companionship and fellowship and company to this man, Enoch.
In a sense, Enoch recovers what Adam and Eve lost. Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God in the cool of the evening, and communed with God, and fellowshipped with God. And then, of course, when they sinned and disobeyed God, they were thrown out of the garden, to be kept from the tree of life, and also to be shut out from the communion they once knew. Enoch is an illustration of that communion being restored, and so intimate and so complete and so acceptable did this man become to God, that he bypassed death and God just walked with him right into heaven.
He is an illustration of the fact that the only way to walk with God, the only way to please God, is by putting your trust in Him, believing in the God who is God. And for us in the New Testament, there’s no salvation in any other name than Jesus Christ, and He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Him. You cannot believe in the true God unless you believe in the true God who is a Trinity, who is revealed in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit.
And all that is true about the Father, and all that is true about the Son, and all that is true about the Spirit, is true about God and this is the God in whom you must believe. So, that’s the first thing to say about Enoch: he believed in God. He was a man who had put his faith in the true God. Secondly, he sought God’s reward; he sought God’s reward. Now, notice back in this verse - verse 6 - he believed that God is the God He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
He believed that God would reward him for his pursuit. That is to say, this: he believed that God is, and that God is moral; that is, that God rewards the people who seek Him, that God rewards the people who follow Him. And measuring that out, or defining that a little more, that God rewards the people who pursue holiness and righteousness - because to seek a relationship with God is to seek holiness, to seek righteousness, to seek purity.
Enoch did not believe in the deists’ god, some distant cosmic cause, and he would not have been caught up in what we call today intelligent design, that somewhere up there there’s some kind of a vast mind that’s behind it all. But he believed in a personal God, a caring God, a God with whom he could fellowship, and a God who would reward his pursuit. Many people believe in some kind of deity, some kind of god, some kind of power, some kind of divine mind, some kind of heavenly source and originator.
But Enoch believed in a God who was moral, who rewarded righteous behavior; and pursuing that God and believing in that God was a righteous act. David said to his son, Solomon, in 1 Chronicles 28:9, “If you seek Him, He will be found by you. But if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” He is a moral God, He is a righteous God, He is a holy God, and He will reward those who seek Him. Psalm 119:10: “With my whole heart have I sought You.”
Proverbs 8:17: “I love those who love Me and those who seek Me early will find Me.” Jeremiah 29:13: “You shall seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” The most righteous thing that a human being can do is to seek salvation and reward from holy God. Psalm 58:11 says, “There is a reward for the righteous.” Proverbs 11:18: “To him that seeks righteousness shall be a sure reward.”
So, what we have here is a man who understands that you must believe in the true God. He would understand what Abel gave as his life lesson, that the way you come to that God you believe in is through obedient sacrifice. He would also understand that this God responds and rewards to righteous seekers, those who come desiring a relationship with Him. This is what our Lord was saying in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added.”
You know, when a person seeks salvation, they’re seeking righteousness. They’re seeking to be delivered from their sin, they’re seeking holiness, they’re seeking purity. They’re seeking to be washed, to be cleansed, to be forgiven. And God does that and much more - blessing, mercy, grace, peace, joy, love, heaven, inheritance, you name it. So, here we see a man who understood that the way to God was through faith, and he would have understood what the great lesson of Abel’s life was, and the lesson of Abel’s life would have been passed down to him in just a few generations.
He is the seventh generation from Adam, so the lessons of Abel would have been well known and well established and passed down. He knows that God must be approached by faith, and obedient faith, and he also knows that he needs to have a relationship with God, because God will reward that pursuit with righteousness and holiness, and he needs that to escape judgment. And that leads to the third feature of his life: he walked with God - it says it twice.
Because he believed in the true God, because he sought the reward of righteousness, and forgiveness, and holiness, that God gives, he ended up walking with God - walking by faith. Now, what does it mean to walk with God? What does it mean to please God? Well, we could talk a lot about it. First, it indicates reconciliation, ’cause sinners are by nature alienated from God. And Amos 3:3 says, “How could two walk together unless they be agreed?”
And Paul affirms that to the Corinthians, when he says, “Light and darkness can’t get together, they can’t correspond. You can’ put Christ and Belial together.” So, the first thing you can conclude is, that if this man is walking with God, there is a reconciliation that has taken place. He’s no longer - to borrow the words of Paul in Ephesians 4 - alienated from the life of God. He’s now reconciled to God.
I would say a second thing is implied in this union, this communion, this fellowship. To walk with God implies corresponding nature; corresponding nature. That is, light has no communion with darkness; therefore, no sinner left in his sin can walk with God. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness - and that would be true of Enoch. Because of his faith, God imputed righteousness to Enoch, and therefore he was acceptable to God. He had a corresponding nature.
God is righteous, and in order for a man to walk with God, he must be, then, determined to be righteous. He must be given a righteousness not his own; it must be credited to him, applied to him, imputed to him, and that makes that walking together possible. And I think also we could add that there is a corresponding surrendered will. To walk with God implies that we desire His company, we desire His holy company, we desire the demands of that holy company, and we surrender to that.
We give ourselves up to that, and we want that communion, we want that intimacy with God, we want that closeness, we want that presence, we want that spiritual fellowship. That’s Enoch. And this went on for 300 years - think of it. Think of how much - how much influence that man had to the people around him. You know, as we walk with the Lord, 10 years, 20 years, 30, 40, our influence increases for good and for God, as people look at our lives and see the evidences of the work of God in our life.
Just imagine a man who had walked in intimate communion with the living God for 300 years. In every sense, that would be a life to follow, wouldn’t it? Steady progress, unbroken fellowship, sweet communion, and the spiritual progress of that communion evident, as he goes from one level of spiritual maturity to another, to another, to another, to another, to another, beyond anything we would ever see in our life, because no one lives that long.
You might meet a person who has walked with the Lord for 60 years or 70 years, but you would never meet a person who walked with the Lord like this, so this would be a level of spiritual maturity the likes of which we couldn’t even imagine. All of our experiences come together in life, cumulatively, to build our faith, and to build our love for the Lord, and to increase our desire to honor Him and glorify Him. By that measure, relative to us, Enoch would have been off the chart.
A lover of God the likes of which we cannot imagine, obedient at a level we cannot comprehend. What must have been the peace in his life, what must have been the joy in his life, what must have been the level of gratitude in his life - it is incomprehensible what this man was. Think of the most noble, dedicated, faithful Christian you know, and this man is exponentially beyond that person. We’re told to walk as Christ walked. We’re told to walk in the Spirit, and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
We struggle to do that in the few years that we’re given in life. Here is a man who walked what the New Testament calls the truth walk, it calls the honest walk, the love walk, the light walk, the wise walk, the holy walk, for 300 years. What triggered it? Well, it seems to indicate that the birth of Methuselah triggered it. Now, fatherhood does have its motivations, but it probably wasn’t just the fact that he had a baby that catapulted him into this conversion, this salvation, this walk with God.
What do you think it might have been? Well, it might have been the testimony that God must have revealed to him that showed up in the name of Methuselah, because he was to name his son a name that spoke of the coming forth of divine judgment. And it seems as though, at the age of sixty-five, he was giving his son a God-given name, a God-revealed name, and that once he became aware of the judgment that was going to come, and it was going to be inaugurated when that son died, he got his spiritual act together in the face of that judgment.
But here is a man who walked with God for 300 years. He pleased God because he believed in God. He sought the reward of salvation and all its blessings that God gives, and he sought communion with God. You know, I’d have to add one other thing here - two others - to our little outline. He set an example for us; he set an example for us. There’s no question that this is an example, but I want you to see how impactful that example was.
In Genesis, we are all familiar with a man who happens to be the great grandson of Enoch. His name is Noah. Noah was very, very different than all the people in his world; very, very different. Listen to what it says in Genesis 6:8: “Noah found favor” - or “grace” – “in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time” - and then listen to this: “Noah walked with God.” Noah was a righteous man, and Noah walked with God.
What other families could that be said of at that time? None. “He became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. And the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.” It was so bad that verse 5 says that “the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great on the earth, every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, He was grieved in His heart.
“The Lord said, ‘I’ll blot out man whom I’ve created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things to birds of the sky; I’m sorry that I made them.’” And you know what came - the flood and drowned everybody in the world. But there was one man who was righteous and blameless in his generation, and walked with God, and it was the great-grandson of Enoch. And we could say that Enoch’s testimony showed up in Noah; Enoch’s example showed up in the life of Noah.
I suppose, in one sense, it’s a good thing it did, or none of us would be here. He was - he was it. That’s the impact of a life. You don’t measure heroism, spiritually speaking, by the number of people it influences, but by how it influences. We could honestly say that Enoch’s life didn’t have an extensive impact; he did not set an example that masses of people followed. We really don’t know how many followed his life. We do know one man who essentially lived the life that Enoch lived, and that was Noah, and how important was Noah?
You never know how important one life influence is. And there’s another area that causes this man to be a spiritual hero, even in the face of horrendous judgment, and with what might even be soon to be minimal impact, and that is, he preached the Word of God. Turn to Jude, the little epistle of Jude, and here we find reference made to Enoch - verses 14 and 15. “It was also about these men” - what men? False teachers; false teachers.
That’s what he’s been talking about, all the way back, verse 4: “Certain persons crept in unnoticed, who were long beforehand marked out for condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness, deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” These kinds of people, these false teachers. Verse 8: “These men, by dreaming, defile the flesh, reject authority, revile angelic majesties.” Verse 10: “These men revile the things they don’t understand; things they don’t – the things they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these they are destroyed.
“Woe to them! They’ve gone the way of Cain, from pay they rush headlong into the error of Balaam, perished in the rebellion of Korah. These men” - false teachers – “are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, they are carried along with winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been forever.
“It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying” - Enoch was in a world full of false religion, false teachers, in a world catapulting toward drowning and hell, a world rejecting the true God, the God who is, the God who rewards those who seek Him, the God who desires to walk with sinners, to whom He grants righteousness. They had rejected the true and living God, but in His place, there were plenty of others to pick from; and they all had their salesmen, as they always do: the false teachers.
“And Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, preached – preached, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’” Enoch was a preacher of judgment in a time where false teachers proliferated. This is a quote from Enoch - it is taken from an old Jewish source called Enoch – apparently, it’s an accurate quote.
This is not a Bible book but is a book that is a part of ancient Jewish literature, in which Enoch’s message was written down and preserved. Pretty clearly, his message was, “This is an ungodly society.” He used the word “ungodly” four times. This is what makes him so remarkable; he is so out of touch with his generation. He is - he is this paragon of purity, and virtue, and worship, and adoration of the true God, walking in sweet fellowship with God, mature beyond anything he can - we can even imagine.
And he’s caught up in the midst of a vile and corrupt world. I think, sometimes, we assume that the culture has to help us with our spirituality; that we can’t make it on our own, so we need to make sure that we do what we need to do in Washington, and in public education, and in the media to protect ourselves, just so that the world doesn’t become so bad, we can’t make it. Well, the world was as bad as the world could be. We haven’t been burned up by fire yet, so maybe we aren’t exactly where the world that was drowned was.
But Enoch lived against the grain of that, and he set an example that was followed - at least for sure - by his great-grandson Noah and his children, who were protected and preserved by God for the rest of redemptive history. Enoch was a faithful preacher, and he preached an unpopular message. He wasn’t a popular preacher; do you think people wanted to hear him if that’s his message? “Behold the Lord - the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.”
This is the message that the Lord gave him - that would be angels, coming to execute judgment on all you ungodly sinners for the things you’ve spoken against Him. The whole society was against God. It wasn’t that they were indifferent to God; God didn’t drown them because they were indifferent to him, God drowned them because they were against him. And Jesus put it this way: “He that is not with Me is” – what – “against Me.”
He’s a remarkable man, this Enoch. He stands against the grain in the way he lives, and he preaches against it in his preaching; he’s the first judgment preacher. What an amazing man. And, as a result of it, he has a private rapture. He - he had a private rapture. Genesis 5:24 says, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” But in Hebrews 11, it gives us even a more specific description. It says this: “He was not found because God took him” - quoting from Genesis 5.
Then at the end of verse 5, it says, “He was taken up - taken up because he was pleasing to God.” And he didn’t die; he didn’t see death. God was so pleased with this man - maybe one lesson you can draw from this is if you could live for 300 years and reach that level of spirituality, you might not have to die. Why did God do that for him? So that he could become an illustration of what pleases God. He pleased him. He lived against his culture, against the world - like Athanasius Contra Mundum, Against the World - and he preached against the world, and so pleased God that he never died.
God longs for the full fellowship of His beloved, and after 300 years, he was so nearly heavenly - he was as near to being ready for heaven as anybody could be - the Lord just translated him in the process. It’s an incredible story. What do we learn from Enoch? To believe in the true God, to come to Him as the One who will reward those who seek Him, to come by way of sacrifice, to walk with Him.
And by our communion with Him, to set an example for others to follow, so that those in our family, generations after generation, will follow our faith. To proclaim His message of salvation and judgment, and one day - though in our case, through death - enter into His presence. However, there is a rapture out there waiting, isn’t there? And Enoch is an illustration of the fact that before the final judgment comes, the Lord will snatch the church out, and then bring the judgment. I’d like to be in that snatching, wouldn’t you?
Father, we thank You for the testimony of this amazing man, the encouragement that his life is to us - remarkable, so remarkable. Let us, Lord, in the years that we have, the few years that we have, follow the pattern of Enoch, and see him as an example to follow. To believe in You, the true God, the God You are, to come to You as the rewarder of those who seek You with all their heart, the reward being salvation and all its blessing.
To walk with You in sweet communion, and thereby to set an example, and ever and always, to be bold to preach Your message, warning the ungodly of judgment, and calling sinners to pursue You. All with a view toward that day when we take our walk to heaven, whether it’s in the rapture and we miss death, or through the veil of death into Your presence, we’ll one day end up right there, with You, with Enoch, and with Elijah, and all the saints who gather around the throne.
We long for that day with eager hearts in Your time. In the meantime, may we live for the life You give us here, like Enoch lived, and would You use us to be an example that others may follow, who will also be righteous, blameless in their generation, and walk with You. These things we ask in Christ’s name. Amen.
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