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The lifetimes given for the patriarchs in the Book of Genesis are Adam 930 years, Seth 912, Enos 905, Kenan 910, Mahalalel 895, Jared 962, Methuselah 969, Lamech 777, Noah 950.
However, one of them—Enoch—who also enjoyed an extremely longevous lifespan (Enoch lived for 365 years) did not die, but was ‘taken’ by God to the heavens.
Written evidence tells us that Enoch was the son of Jared, descendant of Seth, son of Adam, and the father of Methuselah, grandfather of Lamech, and the great-grandfather of Noah.
Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death. He could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God…”
This is interpreted by many Biblical scholars as Enoch entering heaven ‘alive’.
So, who was Enoch, and where did he disappear to?
In the Book of Genesis, Enoch appears as the seventh of the ten pre-Deluge Patriarchs.
Each of these patriarchs enjoyed extremely longevous lifespans before the flood swept across the land. Genesis 5 tells us a lot about the Patriarchs and Enoch. In fact, Genesis 5 offers us the genealogy of all ten pre-Deluge Patriarchs, from Adam to Noah, as well as the age at which each fathered the next one, and the exact age of each figure at death.
However, Enoch is an exception, who is said to “not see death” (Hebrews 11:5)
If we take a look at Genesis 5:22–29, we will find how Enoch lived on Earth for 365 years. This, compared to the other nine pre-Deluge Patriarch is extremely short. Most of them died after the age of 700.
Enoch never died. Genesis 5 ends with the cryptic note that “he [was] not; for God took him”.
A number of ancient texts (apocrypha) suggest that Enoch was taken by god to heaven, and became the chief of the archangels, and was appointed guardian of all the celestial treasures. Enoch was also the immediate attendant of the throve of God, entrusted with all secrets and mysteries of the heavens.
If we take a look at Islam and Enoch, we find a couple of interesting facts.
In Islam, Enoch was identified with Idris. The Quran contains two references to Idris; in Surah Al-Anbiya (The Prophets) verse number 85, and in Surah Maryam (Mary) verses 56-57:
- (The Prophets, 21:85): “And the same blessing was bestowed upon Ismail and Idris and Zul-Kifl, because they all practiced fortitude.”
- (Mary19:56–57): “And remember Idris in the Book; he was indeed very truthful, a Prophet. And We lifted him to a lofty station”.
Mary19:56—57 is of great interest. “And We lifted him to a lofty station”.
Lifted? “…raised him to a high station”?
What are we looking at here? Was Idris raised in a literal sense? The above-mentioned verse has caused great debate among religious scholars.
Interestingly, we find similarities between Genesis and Quran.
In both sacred texts, Enoch—Idris—was lifted. Was taken to heaven.
Ibn Jarir at-Tabari explained: What is meant is that he was taken up to a high, lofty place. Some of the scholars said: He was taken up to the sixth heaven. Others said that it was the fourth heaven. (Source)
In Muslim tradition, Idris (Enoch) is heavily linked with the origin of writing and other technical arts of civilization, including, among other things, the study of astronomical phenomena.
So, we have to ask is why was Enoch (Idris) so important?
Why is it that two of the most important sacred religious text share nearly exact description of Enoch’s fate?
What happened to Enoch? Who took him to heaven? Was he taken in a literal sense? If so, how was he taken and where exactly did he go to?