Many questions....

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Hello, all. I was reading my Women's Devotional Bible last night and have come away with many questions. I will try to break them all up and spread them out.

First one-Gen. 5:21 Now, throughout Genesis we read of many ancesteral lines. This person had these sons and they were named, etc. And at the end of each, it says so and so lived 800 years (ie) and then he died. But when they speak of Enoch, it says "Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." Why put it THAT way and not "and then he died"? Did everyone else die and Enoch went to Heaven? Kind of what I got from that.

-- jackiea (jackiea@hotmail.com), May 08, 2000

Answers

Dear Jackie-- It's understood the Word of God is telling us, Enoch never died and never will die. There's something in the Book of the Apocalypse about his return to earth-- as one of the signs of the last day around the corner. He and Isaiah, I think. Two of them.

-- Eugene Chavez (rechavez@popmail.ucsd.edu), May 08, 2000.

Eugene, allow me to make a small correction: maybe you were thinking about Eliha and not Isiah:

"And if you wil receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come" Jn ll,l4

Enrique

-- Enrique Ortiz (eaortiz@yahoo.com), May 09, 2000.


Jackiea: It is amazing the power of analysis you have while reading the Bible. I think many of us went through the same process when we started not only reading, but also trying to have a better understanding, of the Bible.

I reccomend that you get a copy of LA BIBLE DE JERUSALEM. This Bible was first published in French by the Biblical School of Jerusalem, but it has been now translated to many languages. The team that made the translation and the commentaries was formed by the best Biblical Scholars. The footnotes are for me a continuous source of information and meditation and have answered many of my questions. It has an extraordinary critical work. Almost every verse has an indication of the parallel texts and the corresponding footnotes. Try it and certainly you will not be disappointed.

Enrique

-- Enrique Ortiz (eaortiz@yahoo.com), May 09, 2000.


Dear friends,
Why we need not be troubled when hearing of the Assumption (body and soul) into heaven of Our Lady ...

ABOUT ENOCH

Genesis 21: When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methu'selah.
22: Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methu'selah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.
23: Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.
24: Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Sirach 44:16 -- Enoch pleased the Lord, and was taken up; he was an example of repentance to all generations.
Sirach 49:14 -- No one like Enoch has been created on earth, for he was taken up from the earth.

Hebrews 11:5: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.

ABOUT ELIJAH

2 Kings 2: 1: Now when the LORD was about to take Eli'jah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Eli'jah and Eli'sha were on their way from Gilgal. ...
9: When they had crossed, Eli'jah said to Eli'sha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Eli'sha said, "I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit."
10: And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if you do not see me, it shall not be so."
11: And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Eli'jah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12: And Eli'sha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw him no more.

[Old Enoch and Elijah got that treatment, even though they were not immaculately conceived!]

Enrique, the Bible version of which you spoke is known in English-speaking countries as the "Jerusalem Bible" (JB). It was highly acclaimed when published in English in 1966. It was one of three versions (along with the New American and Revised Standard) from which official English lectionaries for Mass were prepared around 1970. My parents have a copy of the JB, and I remember enjoying the text and notes as a student. Though it was an English translation of a French translation of the original Greek and Hebrew -- seemingly not a wise idea -- I have read that the English was then cross-checked against the original languages, so that improvements might be made.

Opinion ... In English-speaking countries, a person should try to find the original (now-out-of-print) "Jerusalem Bible" in a library or used book dealership, rather than purchase a (now-in-print) "New Jerusalem Bible" (which was amended between 1985 and 1990 to be "politically correct" [i.e., to contain feminist language])

I just found the original JB on CD-ROM, available from England at 99 pounds ($170?). (While the New American Bible text is in almost all U.S. lectionaries, the Jerusalem Bible text is in almost all British lectionaries.) If you wish to look into the CD-ROM, please visit http://www.churchillsystems.co.uk/churchill/jbible.htm

God bless you.
John

-- J. F. Gecik (jgecik@desc.dla.mil), May 10, 2000.

John, as always, you give very good information about the topics in the forum. I have two copies of the Jerusalem Bible, one in French. the other one in Spanish, and I am an avid reader of both; that's why I reccomended it to Jackiea. With all the information you gave I'm sure that she will try to get a copy , and perhaps many others will do the same. Thank you again, John, and keep helping us with your posts.

Enrique

-- Enrique Ortiz (eaortiz@yahoo.com), May 10, 2000.



Your encouragement always warms my heart, Enrique, but especially today -- because I am really suffering at the moment.
I was very busy yesterday, so I did not have a chance to tackle all the new and interesting questions on the board until late at night. I completely lost track of time. When I reached the final words that I wanted to write, I glanced at the clock and was astounded to see that it was 5:30 in the morning. I had to settle for just two hours of sleep before coming to the office this morning for a full day of work.
Please pray for me to have better self-control in the future.
John

-- J. F. Gecik (jgecik@desc.dla.mil), May 10, 2000.

Hi friends!

An interesting perspective on the subject of Enoch that is not often considered is the very likely possibility that he did, in fact, die and also he that he did not ascend into heaven. I realize that consideration of this potential reality is difficult to engage based on most of our traditional understanding of who Enoch was, but consider some of these points from Scripture:

First of all, there seems to be a problem biblically with the idea that Enoch never died. There may be several problems actually, but I will mention a few. One problem is that the author of the book of Hebrews makes mention of Enoch in a list of many of the patriarchs of the faith and following the mention of the patriarchs the author concludes by saying (Hebrews 11:13), "THESE ALL DIED in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."

If we continue on this point in Scripture, we must note also the fact that IF Enoch indeed did not die but immediately went to heaven where he, even now lives and will live eternally, that means that he is immortal. The problem is that Scripture tells us that there is only one who has immortality; that is Jesus Christ:

1 Timothy 6:15-16 - "...the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who ONLY hath immortality, dwelling in the light which NO MAN can approach unto; whom NO MAN hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."

If only Christ has immortality, then it seems that Enoch clearly could not have become immortal or Scripture would contradict itself, wouldn't it? But there seems to be more evidence to this point.

While it is often concluded that Enoch did not die but was taken to heaven with God, Jesus also appears to condemn this idea. Listen what Jesus said to Nicodemus about ascending into heaven:

John 3:13 - "And NO MAN hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."

If Jesus Himself states that NO MAN has ever ascended into heaven except for He Himself, this creates a serious problem with the idea of Enoch ascending into heaven. Not only Enoch one might note, but also Elijah!

Jesus is also in Scripture called "the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29) In other words, Jesus was the FIRST to ever be resurrected in the sense that we Christians will be resurrected to eternal life following this life. Christ was the first. If Enoch somehow attained this privilege before Christ, then Christ was not the first. This appears to be a real problem.

There are many other Scriptures that identify these same points. So if Enoch died, then where did God take him? God only knows the answer to that question, but it is likely that he was merely hidden in death from men, much like Moses (though Moses indeed died also). Hebrews 11:5 mentions that Enoch was "translated". Translated meaning from one place or position to another. God may have taken him to some intimate place, hidden from men, and there he died in the presence of the Lord.

The late scholar Dr. Earnest L. Martin suggested the possibility that Enoch may have been translated to the Garden of Eden and died there. His basis for this idea is that Scripture notes only three subjects that "walked WITH God" prior to the flood (and actually these are the only references of this kind I could find anywhere in the Bible), the first of course being Adam. The second Enoch and the third Noah. Since Genesis reckons that Adam walked in the cool of the day with God, then it is likely to assume that Enoch or Noah "walking WITH God" may have been something God only granted in this garden. You'll note that Scripture does not say that the garden was completely shut off from men. Adam and Eve were driven out and God placed Cherubims around the Tree of Life and a flaming sword; this was on the EAST SIDE of Eden, not the entrance to the Garden! Anyway, perhaps the idea is a stretch but it sounds cool anyway. (smile) Here is this verse from the Good News Bible version:

Genesis 3:24 - Then at the east side of the garden he put living creatures and a flaming sword which turned in all directions. This was to keep anyone from coming near the tree that gives life.

The point being simply that perhaps God took Enoch from the site of men unto a place where men could not find him or go. Perhaps he died wherever God took him.

Of course many will still ask, "well if Enoch died and was actually taken to another place, then why does verse five of Hebrews 11 say that "he did not see death." Surely this means that he did not die, right? Well, not necessarily. Note first of all that the text says that "he did not SEE death," and it does not say that "he did not die." This may be significant for several reasons, but the most significant point may be verse 13 as mentioned earlier which clearly states that ďthese ALL died.Ē To make a further point from this passage, remember that verse 13 also states that these patriarchs of the faith also did not receive the promises. What is one of those promises mentioned in verse 16? It is heaven! The heroes of the faith longed for heaven, but without Christís sacrifice, it could not yet be attained. So not only, by this understanding, did even Enoch die, but he also did not enter heaven for he did not receive this promise!

Hebrews 11:16 - But they were looking forward to a better home in heavenÖ

Now, despite all these points, some will still contend that the Scripture seems to suggest so plainly that Enoch was taken so that he would not see death, and that literally meaning that he would not die a physical death. But consider this possible meaning also. The Bible speaks of, not one, but two deaths. The second death is the punishment of hell. With this understanding it would be quite easy to conclude that when the Scripture said that Enoch would not see death, perhaps the reference was to the "second death" as spoken of in Revelations 20:6. So, Enoch may still have certainly died from this point of view but he will not "see" death (as in the "second death").

As far as Elijah is concerned, I also believe it is possible that Elijah died, just like every man who ever lived (even Christ) has and shall until the Lord returns (if any of us are privileged to see the day). In fact this was Elijah's own request to die in like manner as those before him:

1Kiings 19:4 - But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

Enoch was before Elijah and here Elijah is mentioning that he wants to die as did all of his fathers before him. Keeping this same thought in mind, look what the Psalmist says about ALL MEN:

Psalm 89:48 - What man lives and never sees death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

Why would the psalmist put such a question forth unto God if he had an understanding that Enoch and Elijah both were men and both never saw death or escaped the grave?

Many Jewish people believe that Elijah was merely translated to another place. In fact, it seems peculiar that 7 years after Elijah is taken up in the whirlwind, we find him in the land of Judah authoring a letter to the King! Look for yourself in the following passage:

2 Chronicles 21:12 - And a writing came to him (Jehoram) from Elijah the prophet, saying, "So says Jehovah, the God of David your father, Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah"

The logical question a person might ask is, "how is Elijah writing letters to a king when he is no longer on the earth?" Hmmmmm... Good question.

Well, Iíve rambled on long enough here. I do not mean to suggest to any of you that these are the absolute facts; that Enoch and Elijah must have died and that they did not immediately arrive in heaven, in the abode of God. That much is for you to study and draw your own conclusions. Honestly, I am not certain myself because I have many other questions in regard to this subject. It is a fun and interesting topic to study however. I hope these comments merely stir your interest to study Godís awesome Word. The most remarkable thing I personally find about Enoch, whether it can be proven he died or not, is that he walked with God for 300 years! And he was so devoted in his relationship with the Father that God took him. Whether God took him to Eden or to Heaven, I donít know and Iím not sure itís important, but I do see this intimate picture of a person who pleased the Lord so much and with his whole life. That inspires me! The same can be said of Elijah. The bottom line here is that God is awesome and worthy of our lives being yielded completely unto Him. Praise God and bless you all!

In His grip, David



-- David (Nobody777@hotmail.com), January 31, 2002.


^

-- ^ (^@^.^), January 31, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ