LandMarks Magazine  
   

January 2012 Table of Contents

 
 

Preparing for the Future
By John J. Grosboll

In the first chapter of 1 Chronicles is an account of the family tree of Adam right down to Abraham:
1. Adam, 2. Seth, 3. Enosh, 4. Cainan, 5. Mahalalel, 6. Jared, 7. Enoch. Enoch is the seventh generation from Adam, and although he is only mentioned in four places in the Bible, Ellen White has a lot to say about him.

 

She said, “[Enoch] 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.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 64. Enoch is actually one of the most famous men who has ever lived, although we don’t know a lot about him from the Bible. We do know that he was the first person who was translated. “Enoch lived sixty five-years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:21–24.

 

He is a representative of the people who will be living in the last days and translated when Jesus comes. Would you care to be one of those people?

 

Studying the life of Enoch is a lesson on how to be ready for that time. Let’s look at a few things about him.

 

Enoch walked with God and spent much time in prayer. “Enoch devoted time to prayer and communion with God, and this enabled him to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It was his devotion to God that fitted him for translation.” The Review and Herald, April 15, 1909.

 

“When in trouble, when assailed by fierce temptations, they [we] have the privilege of prayer. What an exalted privilege! Finite beings, of dust and ashes, admitted through the mediation of Christ, into the audience-chamber of the Most High. In such exercises the soul is brought into a sacred nearness with God, and is renewed in knowledge, and true holiness, and fortified against the assaults of the enemy.” An Appeal to Mothers, 24. Daniel also prayed at three specific times each day in a certain place (Daniel 6:10).

 

God’s people everywhere, including people of all ages, are assailed by multiple temptations. It is only through having a consistent prayer life that you will be fortified to deal with each temptation.

 

“To him [Enoch] prayer was as the breath of the soul. He lived in the atmosphere of heaven.” Gospel Workers, 52. He prayed continually. Just as you have to breathe continually, so, if prayer is the breath of the soul, you need to be in constant communication with God. This does not mean he knelt down all the time, for he had work to do just like everybody else in this world. Enoch was a husband, a father and a citizen, and he had to make a living by the sweat of his face just as was pronounced on Adam (Genesis 3:19) and all of his posterity. He had responsibilities and duties, but in the midst of all these things he communed with God.

 

“The infinite, unfathomable love of God through Christ, became the subject of his meditations day and night.” Ibid., 51. He was trying to understand the love of God that had been manifested in the human family by the promise of sending His Son, the Saviour of the world. Then Mrs. White says, “In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers.” Ibid., 52. The more he had to do, the more constant, the more earnest were his prayers.

 

What happens if a person starts living like that? Notice what the apostle Paul says: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18.

 

When you look at the glory of the Lord, you will be changed to be like Him, or as Ellen White says, “It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 91.

 

If you think about it and know what is going on in the world today, and even in the church, this could be a subject of terror. Many people who profess to be Christians spend much of their time looking at sin, watching it, listening to it. It is the natural progression of things that you will think about what you look at. What is the result? There is an interesting text in Isaiah that tells what the result will be. It says, “Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.” Isaiah 8:22.

 

You become what you look at and what you listen to, without exception, because it is a law of the mind. Because it is a law, we can take advantage of it. Enoch took advantage of that law and began to commune on the character of God and His love, and the result: “Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance.” Gospel Workers, 52. Would you like to have an experience like that? There will be some people in the last days who will have the same experience as Enoch. “While still on earth, he dwelt by faith in the realms of light. …

 

“For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of heart, that he might be in harmony with heaven. …

 

“To such communion God is calling us. As was Enoch’s, so must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord’s second coming.” Ibid., 53, 54.

 

As human beings we make plans, have goals and objectives. I say this reverently, but God also makes plans, has goals, and has objectives. He has decided to demonstrate to the whole universe what He can do in human beings through the Holy Spirit if they will yield totally to Him. And He is going to do it in the last generation of people who are the weakest generation that there has ever been. That is a matter of prophecy. (Read Revelation 14:1–5.)

 

If we don’t have the experience, somebody else will take our place. There is a warning in the book of Revelation that says, “Don’t let somebody else take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).

 

How can we have the same experience as Enoch? “God must be ever in our thoughts. We must hold converse with Him while we walk by the way, and while our hands are engaged in labor. In all the purposes and pursuits of life, we must inquire, ‘What will the Lord have me to do?’ ” The Review and Herald, May 30, 1882.

 

In other words, Enoch had a lot to do. He had a lot of responsibilities, but in the midst of all his work, whatever he was doing, he talked to the Lord about it. We have already seen how it had an effect on his countenance. It also had an effect on the way he spoke. “The love of Jesus always leads to Christian courtesy, refinement of language, and purity of expression that testify the company we are with—that like Enoch we are walking with God. There is no storming, no harshness, but a sweet fragrance in speech and in spirit.” That I May Know Him, 198.

 

No one will enter heaven who does not overcome the disposition to speak harshly and unkindly. Heaven has already been ruined once, and the angels that ruined it were cast out. God is not going to have heaven ruined again.

 

In researching the life of Enoch in the Spirit of Prophecy, it was amazing to find all that was written about imagination. In Genesis 6:5, notice what it says: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

 

It says in verse 11 that the earth was corrupt and filled with violence, and this was a result of corrupt imaginations.

 

“A study on this subject will find that one of the principle ways the devil tempts men and women is through the imagination. Before a person engages in open sin of some kind, it has already been formulated in the imagination.

 

With regard to the imagination Mrs. White wrote, “They should not venture on forbidden ground, where Satan can claim control over them. If they in humility entreat God for purity of thought, and a refined and sanctified imagination, He will hear them, and grant their petitions. God has not left them to perish in their sins, but will help the weak and helpless, if they cast themselves in faith upon Him.” An Appeal to Mothers, 22, 23.

 

No one is going to enter heaven with a defiled, impure imagination. This appears to be one of the bigger problems many Christians have. “It is your duty to control your thoughts. You will have to war against a vain imagination. … You are responsible to God for the indulgence of vain thoughts.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 82. “In place of permitting the imagination to fill the mind with day-dreams and air-castles, let the soul cultivate the habit of contemplating the world’s Redeemer.” The Youth’s Instructor, June 7, 1894.

 

Those who do not have the prayer life and the meditations as Enoch did will never get control of their imagination. But once a prayer life has been developed, then the Lord will give you special help. People say, “I would like to be a Christian but I can’t. I can’t live up to what it says in the Bible.” That is very true. In fact, it is impossible, just as it was impossible for Peter to walk on water. But when the Holy Spirit takes control of your life, all things are possible. Then you can walk on water!

 

If the Holy Spirit is not holding you up, you are not going to stay up and will go down immediately. “We cannot keep ourselves from sin for one moment. Every moment we are dependent upon God.” The Ministry of Healing, 180. Enoch understood where to go for help and he communicated with the Lord at all times. The result was that he had power to control his carnal imagination and develop pure thoughts.

 

Enoch was not a hermit. He did not live in a cave somewhere separate from the rest of the world. But he did live separately from the concentrations of wickedness that were present in the world at that time. I am sure that we are all aware that there are some places that have concentrated wickedness. “A separation from the world is required of us, for we cannot remain free from its pollution unless we follow the example of the faithful Enoch.” God’s Amazing Grace, 304. Enoch chose to live away from the center of concentrated wickedness even though he was living in a depraved world. “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.” The Signs of the Times, February 20, 1879.

 

King David learned his lesson the hard way by falling into sin. But notice what he said: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes … .” Why did he say that? Because he knew that if he looked at sin, he would become like that in character. “I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.” Psalm 101:3, 4.

 

Enoch separated himself from the wickedness around him. “Those who follow the Lord are to be firm and straightforward in obeying His directions. Any deviation to follow human devising or planning disqualifies them for being trustworthy. Even if they have to walk as did Enoch—with God alone—His children must separate from those who do not obey Him, who show that they are not in vital connection with Him.” The Youth’s Instructor, April 28, 1898. To follow this counsel, even if they have to walk alone, is one of the great trials that sometimes happen to people who are trying to live for Jesus and be ready for His second coming. These people are scattered all over the world. I often meet people who say to me things like, “My husband [or my wife] doesn’t believe what I believe.” They are alone at home. “My children [or my parents or both] don’t believe what I believe …” so they are completely isolated at home. Others say, “There’s no church anywhere near where I am that is teaching and preaching the Three Angels’ Messages, and I work in a secular workplace, and I am all alone.”

 

I cannot explain why God allows different people to go through different trials. I have learned from reading my Bible that God allows people to be in situations where they have to develop a character, often alone. This is not some new experience. Enoch had it; he had to walk alone, but he decided that even if there was nobody else in the world who believed as he did, he would still believe.

 

While the Lord has been bringing revival and reformation to the second-advent movement, there have been some interesting experiences over the past few years. We have met people in various parts of the world who have been cast out of Adventist churches because they stood up for what they believed was right. They thought they were the only ones in the whole world trying to do what’s right, and we have encouraged them by telling them there are people scattered all over the world in the same situation.

 

Remaining in a church that is in open sin, that will not turn around, will cause you to be spiritually anesthetized. In time, you won’t even know it or be bothered, leaving you in a much worse condition than you were to start with. Enoch refused to compromise and was willing to walk alone.

 

No human being enjoys being alone. Even Jesus didn’t enjoy being alone although He had to walk alone His whole life. His mother didn’t understand Him. His earthly father didn’t understand Him. Neither did His brothers who criticized Him understand Him, making His childhood hard. His disciples didn’t understand Him, and even John the Baptist didn’t understand. There was nobody on earth who understood Him.

 

Enoch walked alone. He was the first to be translated, but while on earth he had to walk alone. Was it worth it? I think so, for Enoch is the oldest human being. He is over 5,000 years old right now. It was worth it!

 

While in vision, Ellen White had a conversation with Enoch: “There I saw good old Enoch, who had been translated. On his right arm he bore a glorious palm, and on each leaf was written ‘Victory.’ Around his head was a dazzling white wreath, and leaves on the wreath, and in the middle of each leaf was written ‘Purity,’ and around the wreath were stones of various colors, that shone brighter than the stars, and cast a reflection upon the letters and magnified them. On the back part of his head was a bow that confined the wreath, and upon the bow was written ‘Holiness.’ Above the wreath was a lovely crown that shone brighter than the sun. I asked him if this was the place he was taken to from the earth. He said, ‘It is not; the city is my home, and I have come to visit this place.’ He moved about the place as if perfectly at home.” Early Writings, 40.  

 

Enoch can go anywhere in the universe and visit places. Would you like to join him in some of those travels some day? Every time the devil tempts you because you have to stand alone, and it seems like nobody understands, it will not be forever. Enoch is not alone anymore. He has far more friends than any wicked man has ever had or will have.

 

In The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, 179, is written: “We want, every one of us, to have an amiable disposition, and unless you have a sanctified, amiable disposition, you will lose heaven entirely.”

 

An amiable disposition is a part of somebody with whom it is easy to get along. There will not be anybody in heaven with whom it is hard to get along. If I’m going to go to heaven, I must develop an amiable disposition. “We do not glorify our Redeemer when we complain of the difficulties of the way, and murmur at the providences of God.” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888.

 

Enoch was involved in evangelism. He did not have a lot of success as far as converts were concerned, but he was still involved in it. Wherever he could find two or three people willing to listen to the word of God, he would teach them. He had very small congregations. “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’ ” Jude 14, 15.

 

Enoch gave warning to people who were living in sin. Some listened to the warning and renounced their sins, but the multitudes mocked and made fun of him. “The servants of God are to bear a similar message to the world in the last days, and it also will be received by the majority with unbelief and mockery. …

 

“Enoch, the witness of faith, held on his way, warning, pleading, and teaching, striving to turn back the tide of guilt and to stay the bolts of vengeance.” Gospel Workers, 53.

 

God revealed to Enoch that the wickedness on the earth was so great that a flood was coming. Because he knew what was coming, even though it was still several hundred years away, he tried to help the people get ready so they wouldn’t have to drown. His son, Methuselah, also warned the people of the coming judgment.

 

“By faith Enoch was taken away [translated] so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5. How could we have a testimony like that said about us?

 

“It is our privilege to carry with us the credentials of our faith—love, joy, and peace. When we do this, we shall be able to present the mighty arguments of the cross of Christ. When we learn to walk by faith and not by feeling, we shall have help from God just when we need it, and His peace will come into our hearts. It was this simple life of obedience and trust that Enoch lived. If we learn this lesson of simple trust, ours may be the testimony that he received, that he pleased God. Then instead of mourning and bitter repining, we shall make melody in our hearts to the Lord.” Historical Sketches, 133.

 

If we live a life of simple obedience and trust in the Lord, we can do the same.

 

“We are required to improve every day. Even in this world of sin and sorrow, we may, by earnest, persevering effort, rise to the highest spiritual efficiency. … We are to please God. This we may do; for Enoch pleased God, though living in a degenerate age.” Sons and Daughters of God, 314.

 

“Enoch walked with God and ‘had the testimony that his ways pleased God.’ This is the privilege of every believer today. It is man dwelling with God, and God taking up His abode with man. ‘I in them and you in Me’ [John 17:23].” The Upward Look, 228.

 

“In all the purposes and pursuits of life we must inquire, What will the Lord have me to do? How shall I please Him, Who has given His life a ransom for me? Thus may we walk with God, as did Enoch of old … .” Our High Calling, 61.

 

We can have that same experience today. In Ellen White’s day the world in general was optimistic. Because theologians and Christians are influenced by the world in which they live, they had theories of perfectionism and believed that you could just come to Christ and be perfect instantly. Perfectionism was a very popular teaching 150 years ago, but Ellen White said it was a fallacy.

 

Today, after two world wars, a big depression and all kinds of trouble worldwide that is increasing, everything has flipped. We are now living in a pessimistic age where people say nobody is perfect and they do not believe anybody can be. Christian perfection is a Biblical doctrine all through the New Testament, even though it is a very unpopular one in our time. Jesus mentioned it in Matthew 5:48 and Paul talks about it in almost every single epistle he wrote and also James and John make mention.

 

“We have fixed our minds upon the exceeding great and precious reward; and, in order to obtain it, we must have a perfect character. … Angels of God are weighing moral worth; and we are to obtain a fitness here to join the society of sinless angels. Do you expect that when Christ comes He will give you that fitness? Not at all. You must be found of Him without spot, without blemish, or wrinkle, or anything like it [Ephesians 5:25; 11 Peter 3:14]. Now is the watching and trying time. Now it is the time to obtain a preparation to abide the day of His coming, and to stand when He appeareth. Do you say that you cannot do it because around you are so much sin and iniquity and corruption? I refer you to Enoch.” The Review and Herald, April 19, 1870.

 

Enoch did it. If we follow the same principles and the same way of life that he followed, we will have the same results. Remember his prayer life, his meditations, his evangelistic efforts, his disposition, his imagination, and the fact that he separated himself from the wickedness in the world, walking with God by living a life of simple obedience and trust. 

               

When Jesus comes there will be a people that have the experience of Enoch, and they will be translated. We have been given the Spirit of Prophecy so we can have explicit instruction and know how to order our lives and be ready for Jesus to come. The Holy Spirit earnestly waits to purify our imagination, and give us the power to live the Christian life. You can become Christ-like.

 

The apostle John says that when Jesus comes we will be like Him (I John 3:2). May the Lord help us to have that same experience of Enoch.

 

[Bible texts quoted are NKJV translation.]

 

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Free Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

 

January 2012 Table of Contents

 

       
 

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