Hebrews 11:5

Hebrews 11:5

By faith Enoch was translated
Which is to be understood, not of a spiritual translation from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of Christ, as all converted, persons are translated, and doubtless Enoch was; nor of a rapture, or removal from one part of the earth to another, or from one part of a country to another, as Philip was caught away by the Spirit, after the baptism of the eunuch; but of a translation from earth to heaven; and not for a while only, as Paul was caught up to the third heaven; but as Elijah was, there to continue, and as the living saints will be at the last day; and this was a translation of him, soul and body, to heaven, to eternal glory and happiness, by a change from mortality to immortality, which passed upon him; and which is a pledge of the resurrection of the dead, and a proof of the Old Testament saints knowing, expecting, and enjoying eternal life. And with this agrees the sense of some of the Jewish writers concerning this affair. Jonathan ben Uzziel, in his paraphrase on ( Genesis 5:24 ) has these words:

``and Enoch worshipped in truth before the Lord; and behold he was not with the inhabitants of the earth, (dygnta) , "he was translated", and ascended to the firmament (or heaven), by the Word before the Lord.''

And the Jerusalem Targum to the same purpose;

``and Enoch worshipped in truth before the Lord; and lo, he was not, for he was translated by the Word from before the Lord;''

or by the Word of the Lord, which went out from him; for this translation was of God, as our apostle afterwards asserts. R. Eleazar says F13:

``the holy blessed God took Enoch, and caused him to ascend to the highest heavens, and delivered into his hands all the superior treasures, &c''

He is said F14 to be one of the seven which entered into paradise in their life; and some of them say F15, that God took him, (vpnw Pwgb) , body and soul; see the Apocrypha:

``He pleased God, and was beloved of him: so that living among sinners he was translated.'' (Wisdom 4:10)

``Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated, being an example of repentance to all generations.'' (Sirach 44:16)

And this translation is said to be "by faith"; not through any virtue and efficacy in that grace to procure it; nor through faith, in that particular point; but God put an honour upon the faith of Enoch, and on him as a believer, this way.

That he should not see death;
meaning not a spiritual or moral death; nor an eternal one, though some have suggested this to be the sense; and which is favoured by the character some of the Jewish writers give of Enoch, which will be hereafter taken notice of; but a corporeal death, which he died not; to which agrees the Targum of Oukelos on ( Genesis 5:24 ) ,

``and Enoch walked in the fear of the Lord, and he was not, for the Lord, (tymh al) , "did not kill him", or cause, or suffer him to die:''

though an exemplar of that paraphrase is cited F16, without the negative particle, thus,

``and he was not, for the Lord killed him,''

or inflicted death on him: and it is the sense of several of the Jewish commentators, that he did die a common death, as Jarchi, Eben Ezra, and others; who by the phrase, "God took him", understand death, for which they cite the following places, ( 1 Kings 19:4 ) ( Ezekiel 24:16 Ezekiel 24:18 ) .

and was not found, because God had translated him;
that is, he was not found among men, in the land of the living; he appeared no more there, for God had removed him from earth to heaven; so Elijah, after his rapture and translation, was sought for, but could not be found, ( 2 Kings 2:16 2 Kings 2:17 )

for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased
God:
he did those things which pleased him; he walked with God before, ( Genesis 5:22 Genesis 5:24 ) which the Targumists explain by worshipping in truth, and walking in the fear of the Lord, which are things well pleasing to God; he walked with God by faith in the ways of his worship and service; and he was acceptable to him in Christ; the same phrase is used in the Apocrypha:

``He pleased God, and was beloved of him: so that living among sinners he was translated.'' (Wisdom 4:10)

``Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated, being an example of repentance to all generations.'' (Sirach 44:16)

This testimony he received from God, from men, and in his own conscience, and which now stands in the sacred Scriptures, ( Genesis 5:24 ) . Some of the Jewish writers very wickedly, and without any ground and foundation, give a different character of him; some of them say that he was a hypocrite, sometimes righteous, and sometimes wicked, and that the holy blessed God removed him, while he was righteous F17; and others F18, that allow him to be a righteous and worthy man, yet represent him as fickle and inconstant; and, therefore, God, foreseeing that he would do wickedly, and to prevent it, made haste, and took him away, by death, before his time: and which is not only contrary to what the apostle here says, but to the account of Moses, concerning him; from whence it appears, that he was a walker with God; that the course of his conversation was holy and upright; and which was the reason of his being taken, or translated; and which was an high honour bestowed upon him: and upon the whole, he has obtained a better testimony than those men give him.


FOOTNOTES:

F13 Zohar in Gen. fol. 44. 3.
F14 Derech Eretz Zuta, c. 1. fol. 19. 1.
F15 Juchasin, fol. 134. 2.
F16 In Tosaphta in T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 16. 2. & in not. ad triplex Targum in Gen. v. 24. Ed. Hanov.
F17 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 25. fol. 21. 3.
F18 Zohar in Gen. fol. 44. 2. 3. Jarchi in Gen. v. 24. Wisd. c. iv. 11, 12, 13, 14.
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