So I now come to the second installment of my prophets of the Bible series (based on what I shared at my church) (check out here for the first and an overview). Enoch may have been the very first prophet referred to in the Bible (although Abraham was the first named as a prophet) and what he prophesized is very important for the here and now. The book of Jude and the book of Enoch are both relevant to our study (noting the first is in the “canon”, although largely ignored by many Christians today, and the second is not and as such we will make only brief reference to it). It was not a book Jude planned to write and while he was reluctant and it was painful to do so given it touched on unpopular subjects, it was one he felt needed to be written: Verses 1-16 talk dangerous corruption that has crept into the church and 17-25 addresses how to correct it.
5 “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. Hebrews 11
Genesis 5 18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. 25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died. 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died. 32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth. … Genesis 6 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. 5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord…Genesis 7 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
How old was Methuselah (the first son of Enoch)? If we set a maths problem (involving when Lamech his son and Noah his grandson was born) we can work out that Methuselah died just before the flood begun and that was significant given his name. Methuselah means when he dies it will happen and also arrow. The Book of Enoch and how we might view it is a contentious subject and opinions are divided as to whether this well known book was divinely inspired. It covers glimpses into heaven and hell, fallen angels and their mating with women on earth (ref. Genesis 6 1-6) and future judgment (both Noah’s flood and when the Messiah later returns to earth). Yet it appears that Jude quotes verbatim from the Book of Enoch (1v8) … 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
4-5 God didn’t let the rebel angels off the hook, but jailed them in hell till Judgment Day. Neither did he let the ancient ungodly world off. He wiped it out with a flood, rescuing only eight people—Noah, the sole voice of righteousness, was one of them. 2Peter 2. It should be noted that this chapter has many parallels with the book of Jude.
Jude was keen to “exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” v3 and much of what follows is about this. He gives six examples of how God dealt with ungodliness and this needed to serve as a warning: Israel wandering in the desert after being delivered from Egypt and yet not being allowed to enter the promised land, the judgment of fallen angels, and the stories of Sodom and Gomorah, Cain, Baalim and Korak. He mentions a dispute over the burial of the body of the Moses (also not found in scripture) and as an example of the need for godly fear when engaging with the spiritual realm. He warns of last day apostasy and encourages readers to be built up in the faith. Despite his stern tone, he urges a kindly yet forthright approach on the waverers and those who fall away and reject, for his concern is they be brought back to the path of godliness. He ends with his wonderful doxology: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever” v24,25.
One of the recurring themes of Jude is godliness, the importance and need for it and the mocking and rejecting of godliness by the scoffers of this world. He encourages us to stand strong in Him who gives us strength. And if there is a central figure it is that of Enoch, the man who walked with God and who, right at the beginning of the history of man, gave warnings of the impeding flood nearly a 1000 years before it happened and provided revelations into what would happen at the end. While we may look with awe on this man who walked with God his entire life, the invitation to do so is for us all.