“TRANSFERRED SO AS NOT TO SEE DEATH”
How did the end come for Enoch? In a way, his death is even more mysterious and intriguing than his life. The Genesis account simply says: “Enoch kept walking with the true God. Then he was no more, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) In what way did God take Enoch? The apostle Paul later explained: “By faith Enoch was transferred so as not to see death, and he was nowhere to be found because God had transferred him; for before he was transferred he received the witness that he had pleased God well.” (Hebrews 11:5) What did Paul mean by that phrase “transferred so as not to see death”? Some Bible translations say that God took Enoch to heaven. But that cannot be. The Bible shows that Jesus Christ was the first one ever resurrected to heaven.—John 3:13.
In what sense, then, was Enoch “transferred” so that he did not “see death”? Jehovah likely transferred Enoch gently from life to death, sparing him any pangs of death. But first, Enoch received “the witness that he had pleased God well.” How? Just before his death, Enoch may have received a vision from God, perhaps one showing him the earth as a paradise. With that vivid sign of Jehovah’s approval, Enoch fell asleep in death. Writing about Enoch and other faithful men and women, the apostle Paul stated: “In faith all of these died.” (Hebrews 11:13) Thereafter, his enemies may have searched for the body, but it was “nowhere to be found,” perhaps because Jehovah disposed of it, preventing them from desecrating it or using it to promote false religion.*
With that Scriptural reasoning in mind, then, let us try to imagine how Enoch’s life might have ended. Picture this scenario, remembering that it is only one possibility. Enoch was on the run, nearing exhaustion. His persecutors were after him, seething with rage over his judgment message. Enoch found a place to hide and rest for a while, but he knew that he could not escape for long. A violent death loomed very near now. As he rested, he prayed to his God. Then a profound sense of peace came upon him. A vision, as vivid as if Enoch were really there, took him far away.
Imagine that a view opened before him, showing a world wholly different from the one he knew. It seemed to him that it was as beautiful as the garden of Eden, but there were no cherubs guarding it to keep humans out. Men and women—all full of health and youthful vigor—were numerous. Peace reigned among them. There was no trace of the hatred and religious persecution that Enoch knew only too well. As for himself, Enoch sensed Jehovah’s assurance, love, and approval. He felt sure that this place was where he belonged; it would be his own home. As peace stole over him, Enoch closed his eyes and drifted into a deep, dreamless sleep.
And there he remains to this day—asleep in death, carefully preserved in the limitless memory of Jehovah God! As Jesus later promised, the day will come when all those who are in God’s memory will hear Christ’s voice and come out of the grave, opening their eyes to a beautiful and peaceful new world.—John 5:28, 29.