AND HE WAS NOT
BY: ANTHONY IDEMUDIA ASAKPA
DECEMBER 5, 2006
The scriptures say that, ‘ Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.’ Gen 6:24.
In the New Testament this statement is then clarified, ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.’ Heb 11:5.
The writer of ‘Hebrews’ decides to emphasize this 3 times by saying ‘translated’. So this is very important.
I believe that ‘he was not, for God took him’ simply means: he ceased to exist physically, and was taken into the spiritual sphere to continue his service to God.
I know some hold to what George Lamsa (An Aramaic Bible translator) writes in his book ‘Idioms in the Bible explained’. It is a good book to help clarify some idioms, but the New Testament writer is saying: This is no idiom!
Lamsa says, ‘God took him’ – means he died painlessly. But I will take ‘scripture interpreting scripture’ any day above the wisdom of a man! This is the caution we must have with everything we read: including what you’re reading now!
We’ll look at 2 other ‘was nots’ in the scriptures. But first, is there any other Old Testament reference about ‘taking’ someone?
The Hebrew word for took/take is Laqach. And it simply means that. ‘Take’. Its use is ‘to get hold of.’ See Gen 2:15 (where God got hold of Adam and brought him to the garden), Gen 5:24 (God getting hold of Enoch), Gen 17:23 (Abraham getting hold of Ishmael), Exod 13:19 (where Moses got hold of the bones of Joseph).
The greek word for ‘translated’ is ‘Metatithemi.’ It means ‘to transfer,’ ‘to change sides.’ Used in Acts 7:16 (carried over into Shechem), Gal 1:6 (so soon removed from Him that called you), Heb 7:12 (for the priesthood being changed), Heb 11:5 (By faith Enoch was translated), Jude 1:4 (turning the grace of Our God into lasciviousness).
Let’s see the other ‘was nots.’
Ps 37:35-36 – ‘I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found’.
So here the wicked ceases to exist (very different from dying painlessly!). The context in Psalms is about the rule of the wicked being temporary -like a passing wind – while God establishes the righteous man.
Isa 23:13 – ‘Behold the land of the Chaldeans [Babylonians]; this people is not, till the Assyrians found it for them that dwell in the wilderness…’
So here the Babylonians cease to exist because the land has been overrun by the Assyrians.
So we ask the question: Does Enoch ceasing to exist on the physical plane because God takes him to another plane – negate the fact that in Adam ALL die, as in 1 Cor 15:22?
The Greek word for ‘All’ is ‘pas’. Strong’s concordance says it means: all, any, every, the whole. It’s also been translated as ‘whosoever,’ ‘whatsoever,’ ‘anything’ in KJV. I have looked at the 1071 New Testament verses with ‘pas’ in it (I mean that. Thank God for Bible software!). The verses I did see that used ‘pas’ as ‘any’ had the negative particle ‘no, not’ (ou) before it in the sentence – implying ‘not at all.’ e.g., Eph 5:5, Rev 21:27.
But ‘pas’ does not mean ‘any,’ that is ‘an unspecified number’ (e.g., Rev 9:4, Eph 5:5) when looking in the context of each scripture. (The greek word ’tis’ means ‘any.’) ‘Pas’ means ‘all’ i.e. ‘the whole’. But it will always give an exception that is not included in the ‘every’ if this is necessary . That doesn’t negate the ‘all’. It just means instead, ‘all these…except.’ e.g., Matt 12:31, Matt 19:11, Matt 24:39, Matt 26:59 (but Nicodemus was part of the council), Matt 27:25 (what about Mary, John etc?) Mark 4:11, Mark 11:32 (the scribes didn’t), Luke 12:41, 1 John 4:1.
This is not the same thing as ’tis’ which is the actual ‘any particular person or number’ word, e.g., ‘But if any [tis] have caused grief…’ 2 Cor 2:5; John 6:46; John 6:51. (‘Tis’ is seen in 426 verses. No, I didn’t check all of them!) The context of ‘all’ must always be looked at in every case, just as when Paul clarifies his statement in 1 Cor 15:27 ‘ When He saith all things are put under him it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him’.
Bible scholars say that ‘as in Adam all die’ is in the present continuous sense – ‘as in Adam all are dying, even so in Christ all are living.’
So back to Enoch.
Does the fact that Enoch was taken before his final breath mean he wasn’t dying? I’m not yet advanced in years but my cells are dying daily – I am ageing! For in Adam I am dying, and if peradventure, I complete the physical process of dying, that still does not negate the fact that in Christ I am living. But if, on the other hand, I don’t complete the dying process that still does not negate the fact in Adam all are dying! Also if all are dying at present, that does not negate the fact that all will be living in Christ eventually. (Bit of a round-about paragraph, but I hope the point is taken.)
So why was Enoch taken? We see the reason when He became 65 years old – Gen5: 22. He had a son, and called him Methuselah.
Methuselah means ‘man of the dart’. From Math (Man) and Shelach (Spear). Others say it means ‘his death shall bring’. From Muth (from a root meaning Death) and Shalak (To bring forth). [There are no vowels in Ancient Hebrew] Either way, something happened when he died? The Flood. The year Methuselah died the flood came. That was the dart (judgment) that this man would bring!
So Enoch knew the flood was coming. It was time to really get serious with God. God saw this and having already limited Adam’s life to a day -Gen 2:17 (1000 years, though Adam died spiritually that same day), He knew Enoch would outlive even his own son if he wasn’t taken out of the scene; for he walked so closely to God the death process was being stopped. He was turning over to the other side!
So after Methuselah’s birth for the next 300 years Enoch walked with God, warning the people of God’s judgment. He even prophesied of Our Lord’s return in judgment – Jude 14-15. Till God saw it fit to take him over so Noah would be the only righteous one left alive.
But you say Hebrews 11:13 says ‘these all died in faith’. True, but it is evident Enoch is excepted (i.e., is not included) because he did not see death. You’ll probably notice that ‘these’ refers to Abraham, Isaac, Sarah, Jacob in the preceding verses – unto whom the promise of the land of Canaan was given (verse 8-12).
‘See’… Greek ‘Eido’ – seeing with physical eyes (Matt 4:18, Luke 7:13, Rev 21:2); knowing (Matt 6:8, Luke 8:53, Luke 9:27, Luke 9:33); perceiving (Matt 2:16, Luke 9:47).
What happened to Enoch’s physical body? It ceased to exist and no one could find it.
We are ending soon.
Rom 10:13, Acts 2:21 ‘Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. 3 words were used here to make up ‘Whosoever’: Pas (All) Hos (Who) An (Wishes). (This is different from the ‘Whosoever’ in John 4:13 or John 8:34 which is just ‘pas.’)
The question is: How many will wish [an active choice] to call upon the name of the Lord? Not out of coercion, but out of a desire to really be saved: to truly know Him? Will we be like Enoch and get ‘super serious’ with Our Lord and King? Not because of fear of hell but because we want to please Him and serve Him? Consider this today.
Just thought I needed to add a little to the previous message.
Someone asked about John 3:13. ‘And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is [present tense] in heaven’.
The ‘ascended’ here refers to an act of effort – ‘a bodily act by a person’s own effort.’
The Greek word is ‘anabaino.’ Some of the verses include: Matt 3:16 (went up straightaway out of the water); Matt 5:1 (went up into a mountain); Matt13:1 (thorns sprung up); John 7:14 (Jesus went up into the temple); John 10:1 (climbeth up some other way); Rom 10:6 (who shall ascend into heaven); 1 Cor 2:9 (entered into the heart).
So it’s quite clear that when used for a person’s physical action -it is an upward motion of one’s own effort. I would say that ‘anabaino’ in relation to Jesus Christ speaks of His physical glorified bodily ascension into heaven. Yet Jesus speaks of Himself as being in heaven while He talked to Nicodemus! (So it’s even much more than that).
Notice in Acts 1:9 how He was taken up and a cloud received (separated) Him from their sight. Take note no cloth fell from Him as He went up.
A glorified physical bodily ascension did not happen to Enoch. I don’t know what happened to his body. The death process was stopping, but his body was not glorified; it was his spirit that God took. This ensures that the above scriptures are not broken. His physical body ceased to exist.
You ask, ‘What about Elijah?’ ‘Didn’t he ascend physically?’ Yes he did. But again not a glorified body. 2 Kings 2:1, ‘And it came to pass, when the Lord would take Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind…’ In Elijah’s case, a chariot of fire separated him from Elisha (just as the cloud separated Jesus from the disciples) but the whirlwind helped him up into heaven -Verse 11(but Jesus required no help). This was no glorified body that could ascend without assistance! Notice how his robe (mantle) falls as his physical body ceases to exist and he is taken as spirit into heaven (Verse 13).
Verse 12: ‘…And he saw him no more.’ Now I know that Elijah is mentioned again in 2 Chron 21:12. What? Is he still alive? Was it just a visit to heaven? Before we get all excited, I don’t think he came back. What the king receives is a letter by Elijah. That doesn’t mean he is alive on earth. One can always receive a letter from a person posthumously (i.e. written before they die). But even this is not the case here.
But lets see when Elijah wrote this letter. I’ll go into genealogy a little. I’ll be as clear as I can. By the time Elijah is due to go up in a whirlwind, there are two Kings both called Jehoram. One in Israel and one in Judah.
1. Israel: Ahab’s 4th year. Judah: Jehoshaphat’s 1st year (1King22:41)
2. Israel: Ahaziah’s 1st year Judah: Jehoshaphat’s 17th year (1King22:51)
3. Israel: Jehoram’s 1st year Judah: Jehoram’s 2nd year (2Kings1:17)
Remember Ahaziah dies because of Elijah’s word in 2Kings 1:17. Elijah ascends in 2Kings Chapter 2.
Now lets go to 2 Chron 21.
It’s looking at Jehoram’s reign in Judah – Jehoshaphat’s son. He decides to kill all his brethren soon after he had gotten the throne (verse 4). His reign is a total of 8 years.
Elijah’s letter (Verse 12-15) comes somewhere within those 8 years. I believe its in his 2nd year at most, as Elijah is still around then. Notice the judgment in the letter – ‘and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.’ So basically he gets a diseased bowel that will eventually prolapse!
Notice in verse 16-17, before the disease starts, the nation of Judah is raided by foreigners. Then he gets the diseased bowel which lasts for 2 years before it eventually prolapsed in verse 19 and he dies.
So to sum up: shortly after Jehoram starts reigning – he kills his brothers; Elijah writes him a letter before he ascends to heaven; the disease in his bowels starts in his 6th year and he dies in the 8th year.
So back to John 3:13 No man has gone up to heaven in a glorified physical body by his own power except Our Lord Jesus Christ! Enoch and Elijah were received by God but not in glorified bodies or by their own power. For the promised Rest (Jesus) had not yet come! This does not negate the fact that ‘in Adam all are dying and in Christ all are living’. For dying and living is much more than the physical aspect.
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. – Eph 4:10
Stay blessed in Him,
AND HE WAS NOT, Parts 1-2 [Anthony Idemudia Asakpa] 12-5-06 1