God’s Final Witnesses

At lunch after church Sunday with some good friends we got to discussing the lesson from our Sunday School study of Hebrews 11. Verse 5 says that “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up” (NASB). this  is based on Genesis 5: 24.

Some have fallaciously assumed that this means Enoch will never return to die. Nevertheless there is no exegetical or empirical evidence, that I can see, which indicates that is the case.

Clearly the Bible doesn’t tell us what God’s ultimate plan for Enoch is (but he may not be finished yet). Nonetheless that does not mean we cannot learn more. What does scripture tell us?

While we discussed our study over lunch our friend Ann stated that Enoch may indeed come back since he did not suffer death. Rick, her husband chimed in that scripture does say, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment . . .” (Heb. 9: 27).

In context Hebrews 9 is speaking of the necessity and sufficiency of the blood of Christ for salvation. Furthermore, “man” here seems to envelop all men since Christ’s sacrifice was necessary for all men to be saved, but sufficient for only those who come by faith.

Additionally in contrasting reincarnation with Christ’s salvific sacrifice it is the case that “rather than being put into a [different] body because of sins [as reincarnation teaches], God judged Adam by introducing death—the separation of body from the soul. Perfection [italics mine] of the body comes when this curse is removed, when sin and all its effects are done away with.”[1]

Back to Enoch. Since Hebrews tells us God has appointed all men to die physically and Enoch has not yet died, therefore perhaps he has a further mission as Ann postulated. I thought that was a very good observation on her part. Speculative yes, but a reasonable supposition based on the exegetical context. Let’s explore that context a bit further.

Now some Christians believe that the two end-time Witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11 will be Moses and Elijah because they were on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Peter and John. Some hold other beliefs, but what is the most logical possibility based on scripture?

Moses died and God Himself buried him in a valley in Moab (Deuteronomy 34: 5-6). What else do we know about Elijah? Elijah, like Enoch, did not die a physical death. We see this in 2 Kings 2:

Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more (vv 9-12).

So the only two men in that did not see physical death in the entire Bible were Enoch and Elijah. As to the identity of the two witnesses in Revelation 11 perhaps a more logical choice theologically and exegetically would be Enoch and Elijah.

Is there further scriptural support for this hypothesis? Referring to the time just preceding Christ’s final advent God tells Malachi the prophet:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes [italics mine].  And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. (4: 5-6).

Personally I don’t think God is speaking in an allegorical voice in referencing Elijah here; rather God is saying He will literally send us Elijah—and He will do it immediately prior to “the great and awesome day of the Lord.”

I believe it is not a stretch to make the case that Elijah is one of the two witnesses. Possibly not, God will do what He will do, nonetheless it is logically probable and the most logical match-up for the second witness would then be Enoch.

It is manifest that we as mere men can know God’s mind only in what He reveals to us, nonetheless I think you would agree that God wants us to use our minds to know as much as we can. I think scripturally Ann’s hypothesis of Enoch coming again as one of the witness is not only perspicacious on her part, but much more probable than other possibilities being bantered about. I like it!

[1] Geisler and Brooks, When Critics Ask, A Handbook of Christian Evidences (Baker Books, 1999), p. 249.

2 thoughts on “God’s Final Witnesses

  1. I’d always thought the same thing growing up for some reason. Don’t think anyone ever taught me that, just made sense since they were the only two people who walked the earth yet never tasted death. Guess we will know soon enough 😉


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