Walking Through Those Pearly Gates

Enoch told others about what was coming ahead: Jude gave some insight about this part of Enoch’s life, writing, “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 all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Walking with God didn’t make Enoch withdraw from people. It made him reach out to them. In fact, everyone who walks with God has something extraordinary to share in what we know about God, and about God’s plan to rescue people from the penalty and power of sin.
I’ve noticed that when I am not walking that closely with God, I am inevitably accommodating myself to something that is alienating to God, something that is creating a barrier between me and Him, and ultimately between me and others, as well. When I start walking closer with God, I notice a deepening sense of the awfulness of that barrier, whatever it is I’ve been accommodating myself to. I also notice a deepening joy and gratitude for God’s mercy and grace, and a growing motivation to invite others to join me in this beautiful, life-giving communion.
Enoch walked past death and into eternal life with God: Enoch’s story is an illustration of what is still to come. There is a parallel here for you and me. Enoch was taken up to heaven before the Flood, God’s judgment on the utter depravity of that ancient civilization. There is still a day future to us when God will once again judge the world, and take His own to be with Him.
Jesus gave His word to His disciples, that He would come back to rescue believers from the coming wrath of God, and to bring them back with Him, to His “house with many mansions.” When the disciples saw Jesus going up into heaven, angels told them Jesus would come back in exactly the way they saw Him go, riding on the clouds.
According to the apostle Paul, this is going to be a very public event. Jesus will come down from heaven with a loud command. There will be the voice of an archangel, a deafeningly loud, terrifyingly loud, sound like a trumpet. The dead will rise from their graves, the living will rise up into the air, and all Jesus’ holy ones will meet Him in the clouds as He descends. At least, if you read what Paul wrote, that’s how it sounds! Every believer will have a new, spiritual body, just like Jesus’ body, translated from mortal to immortal.[1]
Because of his walk of faith with God, Enoch escaped God’s judgment. Walking with God meant being fully open and receptive to God, observing and living by God’s way and command, being changed by God, making regular offerings and sacrifices in service to God. In contrast, Cain walked out on God rather than surrender to God’s will, even though Cain believed in God and had initially wanted God’s approval.
The only notable thing Seth’s descendants accomplished was to believe in God, to know and call upon His name, to raise godly families, to walk with God and teach His word, and to stay true to God when their numbers were dwindling. Millennia later, as you consider between Seth and Cain, which family legacy has had the most impact on the world over time, up to this day?
I’m getting older now, definitely heading into old age, and I’ve begun to wonder what my life has counted for, so far. Some days, the way I see it, I haven’t left a dent. No worthy contributions to the earth, or to the world, no new wisdom, no inventions, no art to speak of, no legacy really at all.
Then, other days, I remember Seth, and Genesis chapter 5. I remember that when you live with the Lord, every year counts, every year is worth remembering. No year in any of Cain’s descendants was counted; for all their accomplishments, their years didn’t count. But for Seth’s line, though we don’t read about any accomplishments, each of their years was counted and recorded. God preserved His words and the heritage of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through one family, down through the ages, who had stayed in relationship with Him.
[1] There are several key passages which discuss these events, yet to unfold. Though Christians cover a wide spectrum of understanding concerning timing and details, all agree on Jesus’ magnificent return. See John 14:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Corinthians 15
[Pearly Gates, Andrew Gustar, https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewgustar/ | Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)]

Joanne led and taught a Bible class of 350-500 students from 2003 to 2013, and has recently retired as an advisor and mentor to eight Bible classes in the Maryland area with BSF, International. ____________________________________________________________ Joanne continues as a Bible teacher with Ancient Voices, Sacred Stories, LLC, and serves on the pulpit teaching team of her church, New Hope Chapel, Arnold, MD. ____________________________________________________________ A long-time "armchair archaeologist," Joanne joined the Board of Directors for the Biblical Archaeology Forum in 2013 and has participated in two excavations, Tel Kabri and Tel Akko. Another passion for Joanne is the healing work of counseling. She serves as a lay counselor and trainer in affiliation with The Lay Counselor Institute, since 2012. Joanne is currently attending Portland Seminary, working towards a Masters in Theological Studies, with an emphasis in Biblical studies

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