“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”Genesis 5:21-24 NIV (New International Version)
Is it possible for someone to go to heaven without having to die? In the Bible there were two instances in which God took a man to be with Him before he ever tasted death. The first person was Enoch, as mentioned in this passage from Genesis; and the other was the prophet Elijah, who you would read about in the 1st and 2nd books of Kings. What made these men so unique that they earned this honor?
Enoch, according to Scripture, walked faithfully before God for 300 years. What does it mean to walk faithfully? It may have something to do with the way he lived his life compared to the rest of the world around him. It was during the generation of Enoch that people lived their lives according to their way and not God’s way. This resulted in an era of violence and depravity that was never before seen on the earth and it compelled God to bring down a flood to fix the problem. Enoch, on the other hand, was described as a bright light in the midst of this dark time. He loved the Lord God with all his heart, mind, and soul; and probably even loved his neighbor as himself. I am assuming this is the case, because Genesis does not describe what Enoch did to show his faithfulness. I am basing this assumption upon what Jesus had said in the Gospels; that by living in the way I have mentioned is the key to having eternal life. I can only suspect that Enoch had followed this train of thinking to show his faithfulness.
Elijah was a prophet whom God worked amazing things through. He caused a drought to come upon the Kingdom of Israel for several years and even brought fire down from heaven to prove that the Lord is God. Like Enoch, Elijah lived in a dark time in history. The rulers of Israel at the time were the wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Under their reign, Israel fell into a state of idolatry that was never seen before. Elijah was God’s light in this darkness, but even his light flickered in the face of the challenge that was before him. When his life was threatened, even after a great victory, Elijah fled and became depressed and wanted to die; he probably thought the mission he was fighting was a losing one. After being shown grace from God in his time of despair, Elijah continued his mission until he was taken by God in a chariot of fire.
So what did Enoch and Elijah do in order to taken up to God before dying? They both walked faithfully in the face of a dark generation. Even though they may have stumbled from time to time, God’s grace was sufficient to carry them on with thier walk and they were rewarded.
With this in mind, what is the Christian to do with this knowledge? Like Enoch and Elijah, the believer in Christ also lives in a dark and twisted generation. Nevertheless, he is called to walk faithfully and be a light to those who are in darkness in order to bring them to the light. He will face opposition and even harm, but the Lord is full of grace and will protect him from these things. Now this is not a guarantee that the Christian will be taken to heaven without tasting physical death, but it does mean that he will be taken up and avoid the final spiritual death reserved for those who are faithless. Therefore, let us continue to walk faithfully before our God.