Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. — Genesis 5:24, World English Bible translation
By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” — Hebrews 11:5, New Revised Standard Version
All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. — Hebrews 11:13, New Revised Standard Version
There have been many claims made based on the above scriptures. Some have claimed that Enoch is still alive in the flesh on another planet or somewhere; some have claimed that Enoch is still alive in some kind of supsended animation. But the most common claim is that Enoch was taken to heaven, or to “paradise” (based on the later Jewish doctrines adopted and adapted from the Greek mythology, by which they place “paradise” as a compartment of sheol). All of these views claim that Enoch never died. In truth, our conclusion, based simply on the scriptures, is that Enoch died, and was not found, without experiencing death, that is, he did not experience the normal process of dying.
In the World English Bible translation, Paul’s statement in Hebrews 11:5 is rendered in this manner: “By faith, Enoch was translated, so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God.” The New Revised Standard Version demystifies what was said by saying that Enoch was taken. The Greek word rendered “translated” in the World English Bible simply means to change, transfer or to transpose. The King James Version renders it as “carried over” in Acts 7:16; as “removed” in Galatians 1:6; as “changed” Hebrews 7:12; and as “turning” in Jude 1:4.
The scripture does not say that Enoch did not die, but that he did not “see” death. [eidw = to see, (by impl. and in the perf. only) = to know (perfect used as pres.) — John Meggison] Paul doesn’t say that Enoch was translated into heaven, as many assume, nor does he say that he was translated from mortality into immortality as is also assumed by some. Paul certainly did not say anything about Enoch’s soul being immortal at all. All he says is that Enoch did not go through the normal process of dying, thus he did not know death as other people do, and was “translated” into sheol — the realm of death — by God. Paul is not saying that every believer will be like Enoch, so as not to see death, nor does he say anything about an alleged immortal soul or immortal spirit sentiency going to heaven.
We know that Enoch did die, for Paul later says (Hebrews 11:13): “These all died in faith.” And rather than saying that Enoch was taken to heaven, the Genesis account simply says that “he was not.” (Genesis 5:24) Take as it is stated, if one would conclude that if he was taken to heaven, then it would seem to say that his mortal human fleshly body was taken to heaven; however, in reality, this is absurd, since flesh is of the earth, earthly, not of the heavenly. — 1 Corinthians 15:39-41, 48.
Nothing in any of the scritpures says anything about Enoch’s alleged immortal soul or spirit having anything to do with this, or anything about his alleged immortal soul or spirit going to heaven. Indeed, from the way it reads in Genesis, and if anyone would wish to entertain the thought that Enoch went to heaven, then it would appear that he went to heaven in his body of flesh. This, of course, is not at all what the scripture is saying. It simply says “he was not”, which, without the Hellenistic influence of inherent immortality read into this, one would simply reason this to mean that he was in the realm of death: sheol.
We also read of all of the faithful of old, which includes Enoch (Hebrews 11:39,40): “These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn’t receive the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
The Bible says nothing about Enoch’s being translated from life on earth to life somewhere else; it says “he was not.” God took (Strong’s #3947) him into the death condition. — Genesis 5:24
The Hebrew word (Strong’s #3947) is used of being taken into death at Proverbs 24:11:
Rescue those who are being led away (Strong’s #3947) to death! Indeed, hold back those who are staggering to the slaughter!
This is not saying these are being taken away to heaven, they are being taken away from life into the condition of being dead.
The same word (Strong’s #3947) is used in Ezekiel 33:4:
then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and doesn’t take warning, if the sword come, and take him away (Strong’s 3947), his blood shall be on his own head.
Certainly this is not saying that God was taking these away to heaven, but rather they were taken away from life; they were to die.
Again, in Ezekiel 33:7:
But if the watchman sees the sword come, and doesn’t blow the trumpet, and the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes, and take any person from among them; he is taken away (Strong’s 3947) in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
Likewise, this does not mean that these taken away are taken to heaven, but they are taken away from life.
In the New Testament, we read (Matthew 24:39):
and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Those destroyed in the flood of Noah’s time were not taken to heaven, but they were taken away from life — they entered into death.
It is possible that God took Enoch into the realm of death to spare him the suffering that was coming upon him due him to his faithfulness. His walk was not as the world around him, and we can be sure that he suffered persecution because of this. — 2 Timothy 3:12.
Some related links (we do not necessarily agree with all conclusions presented by other authors):
The Epistle of Jude – A Brief Exposition
by T. E. Patmos – We include this for his comments concerning Enoch.
Bible Study – What Happened to Enoch?
by Wayne Blank – This writer claims that Enoch was simply taken or transfered away from his persecutors to another part of the earth, where he lived out his natural life and finally died.
Enoch – In Heaven or Not?
Not I But Christ Ministries
Enoch and Elijah: R.I.P.
By M. Thomas Wark