Did Enoch go to Heaven?

Hebrews 11:5 By trust Enoch was moved so that he would not see death, and he could not be found, because God moved him, for before he was moved he obtained the testimony that he pleased God.

“moved.” The record of Enoch is in Genesis 5, and this verse specifically refers to Genesis 5:24. The Greek word translated “moved” is metatithēmi (#3346 μετατίθημι), and it means “to convey from one place to another, put in another place, transfer.” [1]

There are a few things to consider when studying Enoch. First, the word metatithēmi means “to move from one place to another.” It does not mean “take up,” or that Enoch was taken up into heaven. That is theological tradition, not what the Bible actually says. Similarly, to say that Enoch was “translated,” is only confusing. We do not use that word today of anyone or anything being moved.

It is also theological tradition to say that Enoch was taken into heaven, where he still is living. The Bible does not directly say where he was “moved” to, but we know from the scope of Scripture it cannot be into heaven.

We know this for a couple of reasons: First, Hebrews 11:13, speaking of the heroes of the Faith who were mentioned in the chapter, says, “These all died.…” It does not say that most of them died, or that all except Enoch died, it says they all died. So Enoch did not live forever in heaven. Secondly, if Enoch (or Elijah) could go to heaven and live forever before Christ paid for their sin, then anyone could live forever without Christ paying for their sin, in which case Christ died for nothing; he did not need to suffer and die. The truth is that no one could go to heaven until Christ paid the price for their sin.

Enoch lived three generations before Noah and was prophesying of judgment to come upon the wicked people of his time Jude 14.

Jude 1:14-15 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Just as wicked people tried to kill Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Jesus himself, and many others who prophesied boldly for God, so it is possible that Enoch’s evil contemporaries tried to kill him. God protected him from an untimely death by moving him from place to place, just as God moved the boat that Jesus and the apostles were in (John 6:21), and as he moved Philip to Azotus (Acts 8:39-40). In spite of the fact that God was able to protect Enoch on earth for a while, he eventually fell asleep even as all the others listed in Hebrews 11.

[1] “could not be found.” Cp. Nyland, The Source New Testament; W. Lane, Hebrews 9-13 [WBC]; Hendriksen and Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Thessalonians, the Pastorals, and Hebrews.

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