Even as Adam and Eve brought forth a Cain as well as an Abel, so Seth and his sons brought forth unbelievers as well as they, those whom God was pleased to make believers. We always bring forth unbelievers. We give to our children a depraved nature and cannot give them anything else. When they have spiritual life, it is not because they had spiritual parents, but because God caused them to be born again. Spiritual life never comes to us by any physical connection we have with our parents, but by a spiritual union with Christ by His Spirit.
This fact, that some of the children of Seth and his sons were not given this new spiritual life, explains the sad truth that also in the covenant community, in the little band that stayed there at the gate of paradise, sin developed. All the sin in the world is not to be found in heathen nations. Much is to be found in the so-called Christian nations. On Sunday all the sin is not committed by the unbeliever out on the lake or golf course, but much is committed right in the pew and on the pulpit of the church. And we only add to sin, and prove the point, when we deny this.
What happens when, in the covenant sphere, unbelievers appear (and believers often are enticed along with them) is that the ungodly in the world and the wicked in the covenant sphere seek each other’s company. And it did not take long before Cain’s wicked descendants and the unbelieving element of Seth’s descendants began to seek each other’s company. We read of that in Genesis 6:1, 2, “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” As we said, the unbelievers in the covenant sphere often enticed along with them those who were weak in the faith. And it became quite a common practice for the two camps, which once were quite distinct, to seek each other. Defection had definitely set in also in the covenant community.
Cain and his descendants were still in their city in the land of Nod, and far outnumbered the little band that lived with Adam near the paradise from which he and his wife had been ejected for their sin. But sin was practiced in both areas; and the flesh of the covenant community sought the joys of the worldly city of Cain’s building.
It was on such a background that God raised up for Himself a prophet, a preacher of righteousness by the name of Enoch. And we may believe that his preaching was to the wicked in both communities. He rebuked the sin in Seth’s descendants, and he spoke out openly against the rapidly developing sin among the descendants of Cain. We read of him in Jude 1:14, “and Enoch also the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, 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.”
Genesis 5:21-23 states of Enoch that he walked with God, and was not because God took him. Hebrews 11:5 speaks of his translation which prevented him from seeing death. The passage also speaks of him not being found because of this translation, and it tells us that before the translation he had the testimony that he pleased God. And although we find his name mentioned in other places in Holy Writ, these three passages, in Genesis, Hebrews and Jude, give us all the information that we have about his life and God’s dealings with him.
It would not be out of order to say that Enoch was the prediluvian John the Baptist. He, above all others, stands out in that period before the flood as one who called for repentance and spoke of the coming wrath of God. It does not take a great deal of imagination to see Enoch stand and use the words of John the Baptist, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” One can just imagine Enoch, as well as John the Baptist, crying to the wicked, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Jude says that he was a preacher of righteousness, and that ‘he rebuked ungodly men of their ungodly deeds. He, no less than John the Baptist, struck out at the evil doers with severe condemnation. He, as well as John the Baptist, cried out of a coming judgment.
For this his walk with God was essential.
And on the background of this fiery preaching of righteousness and judgment we can also understand that phrase that he “walked with God.” It certainly indicates quite clearly that he did not walk with those whom he condemned so severely. He, living in the community of the covenant, walked in harmony with the condemnation which he voiced concerning all the ungodly deeds which men had ungodly committed. These ungodly were walking with Satan. Enoch was walking with God.
We do well to bear in mind that fact, and to live in the consciousness of its awful reality. Either we walk with God and turn our backs upon Satan, or we walk with Satan and we turn our backs upon God. No, we state it better by saying that either we turn our backs upon Satan and walk with God, or else we keep our backs turned against God and walk with Satan. For we are born that way! Ever since Satan turned Adam and Eve around by the lie, what is brought forth every time a child is born is one whose back is turned against the living God, and one walking with Satan. “There is none that doeth good, no not one!”
It is for that reason that Scripture speaks of conversion, which literally means to “turn with,” and thus indicates a change of direction. That is also why the call appears upon the pages of Holy Writ so often, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?” It also explains Asaph’s cry in Psalm 80“Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
Enoch walked in the way of God’s commandments. Enoch walked in love toward God, and that is what infuriated the ungodly of that day, both those in the covenant community and in Cain’s city.
All this is to be understood and not to be thought of as being strange. Walking with God means walking where He walks, that is, walking in the path of righteousness, walking in love and seeking to glorify Him. Enoch in word and in deed showed himself to be of the party of the living God. To see Him walk was to see God’s righteousness reflected in the life of a man. It was to see a friend-servant of God, a seed of the woman in whose heart there was enmity against the serpent and his brood and all their ungodly deeds which they ungodly committed, and all their hard speeches against God.
Yes, they spoke hard speeches against God, and not simply against Enoch. Enoch uttered pure speech. Speech that praised God. No wonder then that this infuriated those who had not been delivered from their enmity against God and against the seed of the woman that represented Him. No wonder was it that they in their fury intended to silence that voice by bringing Enoch to his death. But their hard speeches were first of all against God. Cain’s sneering contempt for God, which he expressed upon hearing his punishment, was a hard speech against God. Lamech’s boast to his wives and his ridicule of God’s vengeance upon the murder he committed, again, was hard speech against God. And sin develops! Men became bolder and bolder in their blasphemy, in their mockery of things spiritual and in their words of defiance against the living God. They did not simply break the second table of the law and commit murder and adultery, violence and deceit. One never breaks simply the second table of the law. His breaking of it reveals that he has already broken the first table and has another god whom he worships and serves.
Their hard speeches against God brought forth powerful speeches from Enoch of condemnation and warning. Hating God and hating this one who walked with God and kept reminding them of the God they hated, they plotted to kill him in order to have freedom to walk against God without being told off, and without being exposed as ungodly in their wickedness.
That only can be the meaning of Hebrews 11:5, when it states that he “was not found.” He was not simply missed. And it was not his dead body that was never found. He was not found, and Genesis 5:24 says that he was not. Hebrews 11:5 speaks not only of his translation, but adds “that he should not see death.” Combine the two: Enoch was not found, which means that they looked for him, and he was translated that he might not see death, and you have nothing else than the work of God whereby He snatched His faithful prophet away from those who were looking for him to make him see death.
And this little notice in Genesis 5:24 that he walked with God and was not; for God took Him is placed here for our comfort as well as instruction. Not that you and I can expect to be snatched away from the viper’s brood and their hatred towards us, because we represent God’s cause in the midst of the evil world. No, but it does show us His concern for His people. It does underscore what the psalmist says when he says that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” It does show us that there is a reward of grace for a stand of faith. It teaches us not to fear the enemy, even when you do have to stand alone. For you never do actually stand alone. Enoch walked with God, and that means that God was right there beside Enoch. God was upholding Him in His grace to make that walk possible. And God was there in His grace in Christ, Who. walked not only with God, but was God walking with us, was God in our flesh walking all the way to Calvary and down to the depths of hell, so that when this righteous judgment of God of which Enoch spoke comes to pass, Enoch and all who walk with God will escape every bit of that holy wrath.
It means that when, by God’s grace, in the midst of the ungodly with all their ungodly deeds, we as the godly who with godly deeds witness, testify, and hold forth the banner of Christ our King, we are already more than conquerors.
For Enoch did not simply escape the sword or the fists of the ungodly against whom he testified. He was translated. God did not hide him in some comer of this earth that still is under the curse. He was translated to glory. We are again reminded of the words of the psalmist—and how true it is that God’s word is one, and that these first eleven chapters of Genesis are fact, not fiction and belong to infallible Holy Writ—”Thou wilt guide me with Thy counsel,—and afterward receive me to glory.” Asaph said that after he was sorely tried. But Enoch could have said it, and does say it today in the glory to which he was translated.
That assurance we have in the midst of the fight. God will guide us not only, but afterward will receive us to glory, translating us from the whole world of the curse to the whole realm of glory.
Cain’s descendants, together with the defectors from Seth’s children, walked against God, and they will not only see death but the awful woe that follows it. Those who walk with God may see death, but surely will enjoy a life of glory with God to walk with Him in the new Jerusalem. If now you walk with God, you will walk with Him in a more wonderful way when life is over, and in a still more delightful way when His Son returns to translate our bodies from the grave and death into the kingdom of light and glory.