Along with Melchizedek, Enoch is one of the most interesting and enigmatic figures in sacred Scripture. What do we know about this man? Why did God take him? By examining the scant references in Scripture, perhaps we can understand a little more about this unknown man, Enoch. We are first told about Enoch in Genesis 5:18-24, which says, "When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. 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 lives a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God, then he was no more, because God took him away."(Picture credit to: KKBoss.)
Now, "he was no more, because God took him away" has for some indicated that Enoch died, but this phrase used of Enoch is not used of any of the other individuals in this early genealogy. As a side-note, Enoch was the "seventh from Adam," (Jude 1:14) and in the narrative is the great, great, great, great grandson of Adam and Eve. Enoch's family line is also covered in Luke 3:37, which says, "the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch...". Now, the book of Hebrews also talks about Enoch. This is where we find the early Christian interpretation that Enoch did not die, but was taken by God. Hebrews 11:5 says, "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: 'He could not be found, because God had taken him away.' [quoting Genesis 5:24] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God." From this we can gather that Enoch, son of Jared, truly was taken to heaven, just as the prophet Elijah was in 2nd Kings 2.
But perhaps what Enoch is most famous for is the books of Enoch. In the New Testament, Jude 1:14-15 tells us, "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'" The question arises - if Enoch was a prophet, where did Jude find the words of Enoch? The most common answer is that these words are derived from 1st Enoch 1:9, part of the Pseudipigrapha, and considered non-cannon. The first book of Enoch is referred to as the "Book of the Watchers." It tells us about names and functions of the "seven archangels," the final place of punishment for fallen angels, Sheol, the Tree of Life, how the fallen angel "Semjâzâ" told the fallen to mate with women, the creation of Nephilim, it speaks of the chief fallen - Azazel, and speaks of the appeal of the archangels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael.
It also speaks of Raphael's imprisonment of the fallen Azazel, and the binding of the fallen angels by Michael. Now, from a Christian standpoint, 1st Enoch is not considered part of the accepted canon, and there are a number of discrepancies. For example, 1st Enoch says that a fallen angel named Gadriel tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the New Testament, however, Revelation 20:2 portrays Satan as being the tempter of the Genesis narrative. On another note, there are several other works of Enochian literature: 2nd Enoch and 3rd Enoch. 3rd Enoch relates how Enoch was taken up to Heaven in a chariot of fire (3rd Enoch 6:1;7:1), similar to the assumption of the prophet Elijah. But what is of more interest is 3rd Enoch 9:1-5; 15:1-2, which talks about how Enoch is transformed into an angel. Many people today, following the passing of a loved one, say that he or she has gone on to become an angel. This concept is not found within the Christian canon, but it may derive in part from these Enochian references. Further, it was these three books of Enoch that promoted the Jewish interpretation of the Nephilim of Genesis as referring to the offspring of fallen angels, a notion similar to the demigods of Greek lore. The 2014 film Noah, in its portrayal of the fallen angels, is inspired in part by these books of Enoch.
From the sacred Scripture, at least, we can gather that, Enoch was a man of faith. Enoch, like Elijah, was taken up to Heaven in some fashion - whether it was by a "storm chariot" (3rd Enoch 6:1; 7:1), a chariot of fire like Elijah (2nd Kings 2:11-12) or means, we do not know. But this later Jewish and Christian interpretation of Genesis appears to be fairly consistent insofar as Enoch being taken away by God did not refer to his physical death, but rather to some kind of translation or rapture into heaven. It is for this reason that many scholars hold that the Two Witnesses in the Apocalypse of John refer to either Enoch and Elijah or Moses and Elijah. Moses and Elijah both appeared at the Transfiguration of Christ, whereas Enoch and Elijah are both depicted as men who did not experience physical death - something the Two Witnesses come to experience. Further, although later pseudipigraphal literature fleshes him out as the angel Metatron, unfortunately, the scant references from Genesis, Hebrews and Jude do not convey much about this enigmatic figure. It is this mysterious nature that makes the figure of Enoch so compelling to so many. Regardless of how one interprets the life and later influence of Enoch, however, Hebrews portrays him as a man who lived a moral and faithful life, and can serve as an inspiration to Christians, and as a continual source of curiosity.