By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death

Hebrews 11:5
"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death . . . "

This passage is cited to prove that the souls of the righteous depart to heaven at the instant of the death of the body.


It is difficult to see how this passage can prove either that man has an immortal soul, or that at death the soul departs to heaven. The passage mentions neither souls nor heaven.

Enoch was translated that he might not see death, but how can his experience be cited as proof for what will happen to those who have died, or will die?

It is probably, but not certain, that Enoch is dead. Consider the evidence:
The writer to the Hebrews includes Enoch1 when he says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises . . . " (Heb. 11:13).
"Death reigned from Adam to Moses." (Rom. 5:14). No exceptions are noted in the context to this categorical assertion of the kingship of death.

Enoch did not ascend to heaven - the dwelling place of God, since it is expressly stated: "no man hath ascended up to heaven". (Jn. 3:13).

Enoch is an example of the unknown in Scripture. It is not known for certain in what way he was "translated" or changed. Neither is it known where he went, when God took him. (Gen. 5:24). Only the hard pressed will resort to this passage to prove either the immortality of the soul or heaven the home of the righteous. The exhortation of Deuteronomy 29:29 is appropriate: "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us . . . "


It might be argued that Enoch merits exception because of the specific statement earlier in the chapter that he was "translated that he should not see death". (vs 5).

A corpse is a body without life. An idiot is a body with a soul (life), but with only an improperly functioning spirit (mind). It is the person with spirit and soul and body - the whole person, which Paul prays may be "preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

If the body is destroyed, then necessarily the life and mind cease to function. In death there is a dissolution of being. (Ecc. 9:5,6; Psa. 146:4).


Ron Abel