Was Enoch Taken to Heaven?
Some people believe Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5 declare that God took Enoch to heaven. But is that what these verses say?
The Bible simply says that God “took him.” It does not specify where he was taken.
Genesis 5:24 tells us that "Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." Hebrews 11:5 adds: "By faith Enoch was taken away 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."
Some erroneously jump to the conclusion that Enoch was taken up into heaven, but notice the Bible nowhere says this. It simply says that God "took him." It does not specify where he was taken.
Jesus Christ later states in the Gospel of John that "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). One of the points He makes is that one passage of the Bible cannot contradict another passage.
This same Gospel of John reveals a startling fact very pertinent to this matter: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven" (John 3:13).
Clearly, Jesus Christ was the only one who had ascended into heaven. The phrase "who is in heaven" lets us know that this was written by the apostle John after Christ's return to heaven. So even as late as this statement, no human being and that includes Enoch had ascended into heaven.
We later read about Enoch's fate in Hebrews 11:5: "By faith Enoch was taken away 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." The word rendered "taken" can also mean "transferred elsewhere." And the New American Standard Bible says this was done "so that he would not see death"—a better translation than "did not," as we know from the same chapter of Hebrews that he died.
Notice in verse 13 the summary given of all of the men and women of faith listed here, including Enoch: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13). So Enoch definitely died as well as all the rest.
How, then, can it be that Enoch was transferred elsewhere so he wouldn't see death? God doesn't give us all the details of what happened, but a few scenarios have been proposed that do not conflict with the fact that Enoch died as the Bible says.
It may be that God transported Enoch elsewhere to keep him from being killed at a certain time perhaps protecting him from martyrdom at the hands of angry persecutors who didn't like his announcement of coming divine judgment (see Jude 14-16). God likewise supernaturally transported Elijah and Philip to other places on earth (see 2 Kings 2:11; Acts 8:39).
On the other hand, we should observe that Enoch died young for his time at age 365 while those before and after him lived into their 800s and 900s. Because of this, some speculate that God "took him" from life prematurely so that he would not have to live out his remaining centuries in a miserable world (compare Isaiah 57:1-2). His next moment of consciousness will be the resurrection. In this case, "so that he would not see death" would refer to his not having to experience the process of dying his life ending instantly.
Still others, putting the likelihood of Enoch experiencing persecution together with his early death, have concluded that Enoch was murdered martyred for his preaching. Enoch being taken and not found would then refer to God removing his body and burying it as happened with Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5-6).
In this case, Enoch being taken or transferred so that he would not see death is taken as separate matter that of him being spiritually converted, transferred from the world's ways to God's way of living, so that he would not see ultimate death in the lake of fire (compare Colossians 1:13; John 8:51).
Again, we don't have enough details to know exactly what is intended. But we do know that Enoch did not skip death and go to heaven. He died, and no man has ascended to heaven except Jesus Christ.