Fathers in Genesis (2): Enoch – A Father’s Name

There are two Enochs mentioned in the Bible. One was the third from Adam, the other was “the seventh from Adam” (Jude 14). One is much more famous than the other.

Enoch, the third from Adam

This Enoch was the product of wandering from God. He was the third from Adam, a son of Cain (Gen 4:17). He was born in the land of Nod, which means “wanderer.” Displeased at God’s acceptance of Abel and of his offering, and despising the opportunity from God to sacrifice something acceptable, murderous Cain turned his back on God, went out and began to wander. God had predicted that Cain would be a vagabond (v 12). In his wanderings in Nod, he not only had a son born but also built a city and called it Enoch as well, after his son.

The name Enoch means “dedicated.” This Enoch speaks of people who are dedicated to this world and what it has to offer. It wasn’t just a street named after him, or a subdivision but, imagine, a city! You would think that would make a man famous. In the annals of earth these name sakes count, but they don’t figure in heaven’s records.

This Enoch’s great-grandson was a violent man called Lamech, and his offspring prospered in businesses as varied as tent-making, cattle ranching, musical instruments, and metallurgical inventions. But, there is no trace of this Enoch, or his family, ever seeking after God. Any earthly fame and fortune were swept away by the flood.

This Enoch illustrates the truth in the first part of this statement written by the Apostle John: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world … and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 Jo 2:15-17). We want to dwell on the Enoch described in this last phrase.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam

This Enoch was a prophet that walked with God. Jude, no doubt, was conscious that we might confuse the two men with the same name and labeled this Enoch: “the seventh from Adam” (Jude 14). His fatherhood is intimately linked to his fame. Why?

His Fatherhood

According to Genesis 5 (v 18), when Enoch was 65 years old, his first son was born. The child’s name, Methuselah, means “when he is dead it shall be sent” (Newberry). “It” refers to the Flood.

This son was a signpost. His life-span would represent God’s patience, but his death would be the warning note that God’s wrath was to be unleashed.

Working the math in this story to see the timing of Methuselah’s death and the arrival of the Flood is a faith-confirming assignment.

187 years in Methuselah’s life until the birth of Lamech, his son.

182 additional years in Methuselah’s life until Noah his grandson was born

600 Noah’s age when the flood came (Gen 7:6).

969 Methuselah’s age when he died! (Gen 5:27).

Of course, Enoch believed God without number-crunching. When warned of coming wrath, Enoch began to walk with God, and did so for three hundred years. That was a long walk, wasn’t it?

His Flight

Very succinctly, Moses describes Enoch’s premature exodus from this world when he wrote: “And he was not; for God took him” (Gen 5:24). The writer to the Hebrews said that “Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him” (Heb 11:5).

As a prophet, this Enoch indicated beforehand the truth that some day the Lord Jesus Christ is coming to earth “with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all” (Jude 14). As a person, this Enoch illustrates beautifully the truth that some day Christ is coming to the air for His saints and will rapture them to be with Him, and preserve His people from the outpouring of God’s wrath during the tribulation period, just as Enoch was taken before the flood came.

His Fame

Let’s think about Methuselah’s infancy, adolescence, and manhood. He was reared in a home where his dad walked with God every day, day after day, month after month, year after year! Even in his adulthood Methuselah would probably drop in to visit his father and find him, as always, walking with God!

Do our children notice that we walk with God on a daily basis? As all dads know very well, children are really good at detecting our inconsistencies! Maybe they have already noticed that we walk with God intermittently. Is our spiritual life of the “on-again, off-again” style? Sunday, yes; mid-week, maybe; Saturday, no!

But, what did God think of Enoch? “He had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb 11:5). God and Enoch were in agreement, and walked in step with each other (Amos 3:3). For three hundred years Enoch pleased God, and did so by exercising his faith in God (Heb 11:6).

Sometimes Christian fathers are found in a tug-of-war: we want to please God but we also want to please our children. Sometimes what pleases the children isn’t pleasing to God, but we give in. We even think that by pleasing the kids with things that don’t please God, this will eventually encourage them to please God! Sadly, what often happens is that the children stray farther and farther away into the things of the world.

Enoch’s fame was this: he pleased God, and yet, he raised a family at the same time! Dads, is it still possible to do this in the year 2009? Don’t wander in Nod like the Enoch of Genesis 4! Walk with God like the Enoch of Genesis 5! As far as heaven is concerned, one Enoch has been forgotten, but the other Enoch, “the seventh from Adam,” was a father whose eternal fame will be that here below “he pleased God.”