Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. Genesis 5:24 NIV
When Moses wrote the genealogies of our first fathers, he came to the sixth generation from Adam and recorded a curious and stunning entry. He says simply, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). So what happened? One old preacher explained it like this: as Enoch and God walked together, along towards evening they were a long way from home and God said, “Enoch, it’s closer to my home than yours. Why don’t you just go home with me?”
What a beautiful picture of coming to the end of life on Planet Earth and hearing the gentle voice of the Shepherd saying, “We’ve come through the valley together; why don’t you join me where I have a special place prepared for you?” That in reality is the New Testament picture that the Apostle Paul described in the Bible book of 2 Corinthians 5 saying, “we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
Notice that when Enoch went home with God he still walked with the same person; he only changed the geographic location. This, of course, brings us to the issue of whether or not heaven is a literal place or simply a figurative kind of imaginary one. Jesus answered that question once and for all. In the week before He was killed, Jesus met with the disciples and said, “I am going to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself.” The word Jesus used was topos, a Greek word from which we get the word topography. It always referred to a specific location, one that was an actual measurable distance from the person who spoke of something.
It is also important to know that if you do not walk with God here on Earth, you won’t walk with Him on the other side, the heaven that Jesus went to prepare. John, one of Jesus’ disciples, said, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). Walking with God pictures a personal relationship that you have with Jesus—not a state of being religious, but a relationship of trust and intimacy. It is knowing and loving God. You would never want to even ride in cab with someone who is hostile towards you, to say nothing of going home to spend the night with that person.
A Christ-follower of many years was once visiting his doctor when the doctor commented about him being a very religious person. “No,” he corrected. “I’m not a religious person; I’m a Christian and I have a relationship with Jesus.” “Well,” said the doctor, “doesn’t that make you religious?” He explained that vast numbers of people are religious—Muslims, Buddhists, Animists, and many others–yet have no relationship with Jesus Christ whatsoever.
A relationship with Jesus Christ isn’t something like joining a club where you have dues and attend meetings. Enoch, who walked with God, gives us a picture of what the Christian life is all about. A walk implies a starting point where you meet a friend at the beginning of the trail and then start off together. A real friend doesn’t turn back when the going gets tough. He’s there for you, and that’s exactly what Jesus Christ does. He promised, “Never will I leave you nor forsake you.”
Like Enoch, who walked with God, you will eventually come to the end of your earthly trail. If you have accepted God’s gift of forgiveness, He has forgiven you and removed the barrier of sin that kept you from a relationship with Him. Then you will hear Him say, “Come on home with me; I’ve got a place prepared just for you.”
Resource reading: I John 5:1-12