Enoch – The Man Who Walked With God
Friday, December 2, 2016
Excerpts from the writings of E. G. White
The condition of our world.
The world over, cities are becoming hotbeds of vice. On every hand are the sights and sounds of evil. Everywhere are enticements to sensuality and dissipation. The tide of corruption and crime is continually swelling. Every day brings the record of violence—robberies, murders, suicides, and crimes unnamable.
Life in the cities is false and artificial. The intense passion for money getting, the whirl of excitement and pleasure seeking, the thirst for display, the luxury and extravagance, all are forces that, with the great masses of mankind, are turning the mind from life’s true purpose. They are opening the door to a thousand evils. Upon the youth they have almost irresistible power.
One of the most subtle and dangerous temptations that assail the children and youth in the cities is the love of pleasure. Holidays are numerous; games . . . draw thousands, and the whirl of excitement and pleasure attracts them away from the sober duties of life. Money that should have been saved for better uses is frittered away for amusements.
Through the working of trusts, and the results of labor unions and strikes, the conditions of life in the city are constantly becoming more and more difficult. Serious troubles are before us.1
Today, crime of every kind is practiced in order to obtain money. Selfishness, deceit, robbery, and bloodshed are making this world a veritable Sodom, and its inhabitants as the inhabitants of the antediluvian world. In the greed for possession, God’s law is transgressed.2
Already the doctrine that men are released from obedience to God’s requirements has weakened the force of moral obligation, and opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, and corruption are sweeping in upon us like an overwhelming tide. In the family, Satan is at work. His banner waves, even in professedly Christian households. There is envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy; estrangement, emulation, strife, betrayal of sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall to ruin. The vilest of criminals, when thrown into prison for their offenses, are often made the recipients of gifts and attentions, as if they had attained an enviable distinction. The greatest publicity is given to their character and crimes. The papers publish the revolting details of vice, thus initiating others into the practice of fraud, robbery, and murder; and Satan exults in the success of his hellish schemes. The infatuation of vice, the wanton taking of life, the terrible increase of intemperance and iniquity of every order and degree, should arouse all who fear God to inquire what can be done to stay the tide of evil.”3
The men of the world are ambitious for fame. They desire houses and lands and plenty of money, that they may be great according to the measure of the world. It is the height of their ambition to reach a place where they can look down with a sense of superiority upon those who are poor. These souls are building on the sand, and their house will fall suddenly. Superiority of position is not true greatness. That which does not increase the value of the soul is of no real value in itself.4
By spiritual pride, a desire to dictate, an ambitious longing for honor or position, a lack of self-control, by the indulgence of passion or prejudice, by instability or lack of judgment, the church may be disturbed and her peace sacrificed.
Difficulties are often caused by the vendors of gossip, whose whispered hints and suggestions poison unsuspecting minds and separate the closest friends. Mischief-makers are seconded in their evil work by the many who stand with open ears and evil heart, saying: “Report, . . . and we will report it.”5
The enemy will come in and try to draw our minds away from the important work to be done for this time. He will seek to keep us engaged on trivial matters, make us think that it is our province to criticize and condemn others; but our work is to deal faithfully with our own souls. We must search our hearts and see if we are right in the sight of God. Peter said to Christ in regard to John, “Lord, what shall this man do?” But the Lord answered him, “What is that to thee? follow thou me.” We each have a work to do for ourselves, and while we are criticizing others, we are neglecting the most important work of all.6
For years I have felt deep anguish of soul as the Lord has presented before me the want in our churches of Jesus and His love. There has been a spirit of self-sufficiency and a disposition to strive for position and supremacy. I have seen that self-glorification was becoming common among Seventh-day Adventists and that unless the pride of man should be abased and Christ exalted we should, as a people, be in no better condition to receive Christ at His second advent than were the Jewish people to receive Him at His first advent.7
Among the peculiarities which should distinguish God’s people from the world is their humility. That man is nearest God and is the most honored of him, who has the least self-importance and self-righteousness, the least trust and confidence in self, who waits on God in humble trusting faith. Instead of being ambitious to be equal with each other in honor and position, or perhaps even higher, we should seek to be the humble, faithful servants of Christ. . . .
In self-love, self-exaltation, and pride, there is great weakness; but in humility there is great strength. Pride and self-importance, when compared with humility and lowliness, are indeed weakness. It was our Saviour’s gentleness, His plain, unassuming manners, that made Him a conqueror of hearts. But in our separation from God, in our pride and darkness, we are constantly seeking to elevate ourselves, forgetting that lowliness of mind is power.8
Enoch was the first prophet among mankind. He foretold by prophecy the second coming of Christ to our world, and his work at that time. His life was a specimen of Christian consistency. Holy lips alone should speak forth the words of God in denunciation and judgments. His prophecy is not found in the writings of the Old Testament. We may never find any books which relate to the works of Enoch, but Jude, a prophet of God, mentions the work of Enoch.9
Those who feared the Lord sought out this holy man, to share his instruction and his prayers. Enoch labored publicly also, bearing God’s messages to all who would hear the words of warning. His labors were not restricted to the Sethites. In the land where Cain had sought to flee from the divine Presence, the prophet of God made known the wonderful scenes that had passed before his vision. “Behold,” he declared, “the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds” ().
He was a fearless reprover of sin. While he preached the love of God in Christ to the people of his time and pleaded with them to forsake their evil ways, he rebuked the prevailing iniquity and warned the men of his generation that judgment would surely be visited upon the transgressor. It was the Spirit of Christ that spoke through Enoch; that Spirit is manifested, not alone in utterances of love, compassion, and entreaty; it is not smooth things only that are spoken by holy men. God puts into the heart and lips of His messengers truths to utter that are keen and cutting as a two-edged sword.
The power of God that wrought with His servant was felt by those who heard. Some gave heed to the warning and renounced their sins; but the multitudes mocked at the solemn message and went on more boldly in their evil ways. The servants of God are to bear a similar message to the world in the last days, and it will also be received with unbelief and mockery. The antediluvian world rejected the warning words of him who walked with God. So will the last generation make light of the warnings of the Lord’s messengers.10
[Enoch] also saw the corrupt state of the world at the time when Christ should appear the second time—that there would be a boastful, presumptuous, self-willed generation arrayed in rebellion against the law of God, denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ, trampling upon His blood, and despising His atonement. He saw the righteous crowned with glory and honor, while the wicked were separated from the presence of the Lord, and consumed with fire.11
In the case of Enoch, the desponding faithful were taught that, while living among a corrupt and sinful people, who were in open and daring rebellion against their Creator, if they would obey Him and have faith in the promised Redeemer, they would work righteousness like the faithful Enoch, be accepted of God, and finally exalted to His heavenly throne.
Enoch, separating himself from the world, and spending much of his time in prayer and in communion with God, represents God’s loyal people in the last days who will be separate from the world. Unrighteousness will prevail to a dreadful extent upon the earth. Men will give themselves up to follow every imagination of their corrupt hearts, and carry out their deceptive philosophy, and rebel against the authority of high Heaven.
God’s people will separate themselves from the unrighteous practices of those around them, and will seek for purity of thought, and holy conformity to His will, until His divine image will be reflected in them. Like Enoch, they will be fitting for translation to Heaven. While they endeavor to instruct and warn the world, they will not conform to the spirit and customs of unbelievers, but will condemn them by their holy conversation and godly example. Enoch’s translation to Heaven just before the destruction of the world by a flood, represents the translation of all the living righteous from the earth previous to its destruction by fire. The saints will be glorified in the presence of those who have hated them for their loyal obedience to God’s righteous commandments.12
Enoch was a holy man. He served God with singleness of heart. He realized the corruptions of the human family and separated himself from the descendants of Cain and reproved them for their great wickedness. There were those upon the earth who acknowledged God, who feared and worshiped Him. Yet righteous Enoch was so distressed with the increasing wickedness of the ungodly, that he would not daily associate with them, fearing that he should be affected by their infidelity and that his thoughts might not ever regard God with that holy reverence which was due His exalted character. His soul was vexed as he daily witnessed their trampling upon the authority of God. He chose to be separate from them, and spent much of his time in solitude, which he devoted to reflection and prayer. He waited before God and prayed to know His will more perfectly, that he might perform it.13
Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. Multitudes leave to institutions and organizations the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. They become self-absorbed and unimpressible. Love for God and man dies out of the soul.
Christ commits to His followers an individual work—a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel.14
Day by day we are to fight the good fight of faith. Day by day God will give us our work; and though we cannot see the end from the beginning, we are to examine ourselves daily to see if we are in the path of righteousness. We must strive to overcome, looking unto Jesus; for in every temptation He will be at our side to give us the victory. Every day should come to us as the last day in which we may be privileged to work for God, and much of it must be given to prayer that we may work in the strength of Christ. This is the way in which Enoch walked with God, warning and condemning the world by manifesting before them a righteous character.
We profess to believe that Christ is soon coming to the earth, and a solemn responsibility rests upon us; for a lost world is to be warned of the hastening judgment. We must not lay off our responsibility; we must carry the burden of the work. Self must be out of sight, and Christ must appear; as faithful, obedient children, we must follow the light, and reflect its precious rays to others. . . . O, could we realize how all heaven is interested in the salvation of the world, we should rouse up with holy zeal to be followers of Jesus. . . .
The professed followers of Christ are held responsible for the warning of the world. How are we doing this solemn work committed to us? We must humble ourselves before God and not follow the ideas of men. We must come before the world, speaking the words of God, that the world may know that God has sent us.15
Enoch faithfully rehearsed to the people all that had been revealed to him by the spirit of prophecy. Some believed his words and turned from their wickedness to fear and worship God. Such often sought Enoch in his places of retreat, and he instructed them and prayed for them that God would give them a knowledge of His will. He finally chose certain periods for retirement and would not suffer the people to find him, for they interrupted his holy meditations and communion with God. He did not exclude himself at all times from the society of those who loved him and listened to his words of wisdom; neither did he separate himself wholly from the corrupt. He met with the righteous and the wicked at stated times, and labored to turn the ungodly from their evil course and instruct them in the fear of God, while he taught those who had the knowledge of God to serve Him more perfectly. He would remain with them as long as he could benefit them by his godly conversation and holy example, and then would withdraw himself for a season from all society—from the just, the scoffing and idolatrous, to remain in solitude, hungering and thirsting for communion with God, and that divine knowledge which He alone could give him.16
The Lord loved Enoch because he steadfastly followed Him and abhorred iniquity and earnestly sought heavenly knowledge, that he might do His will perfectly. He yearned to unite himself still more closely to God, whom he feared, reverenced, and adored. God would not permit Enoch to die as other men, but sent his angels to take him to Heaven without seeing death.17
The message preached by Enoch and his translation to heaven were a convincing argument to all who lived in his time. These things were an argument that Methuselah and Noah could use with power to show that the righteous could be translated.
That God who walked with Enoch was our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.h He was the light of the world then just as He is now. Those who lived then were not without teachers to instruct them in the path of life; for Noah and Enoch were Christians. The gospel is given in precept in Leviticus. Implicit obedience is required now, as then. How essential it is that we understand the importance of this word!
The question is asked: What is the cause of the dearth in the church? The answer is: We allow our minds to be drawn away from the word. If the word of God were eaten as the food for the soul, if it were treated with respect and deference, there would be no necessity for the many and repeated testimonies that are borne. The simple declarations of Scripture would be received and acted upon.
Its living principles are as the leaves of the tree of life for the healing of the nations. . . .
When Satan presses his suggestions upon our minds, we may, if we cherish a “Thus saith the Lord,” be drawn into the secret pavilion of the Most High.
Many fail of imitating our holy Pattern because they study so little the definite features of that character. So many are full of busy plans, always active; and there is no time or place for the precious Jesus to be a close, dear companion. They do not refer every thought and action to Him, inquiring: “Is this the way of the Lord?” If they did they would walk with God, as did Enoch.18
1 The Ministry of Healing, pp. 363, 364.
2 The Signs of the Times, June 21, 1899.
3 Ibid., July 4, 1899.
4 The Youth’s Instructor, November 2, 1899.
5 Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 241, 242.
6 The Review and Herald, August 18, 1891.
7 Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 727, 728.
8 The Signs of the Times, October 21, 1897.
9 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. W hite
Comments], vol. 1, p. 1088.
10 Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 86.
11 The Signs of the Times, February 20, 1879.
13 Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 54.
14 The Ministry of Healing, p. 147.
15 The Review and Herald, August 18, 1891.
16 The Signs of the Times, February 20, 1879.
17 Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 57.
18 Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 392, 393.