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Discovery Magazine 10/1/1997

A Man Who Went to Heaven Without Dying

After Cain killed his brother Abel, God punished him by sending him away from his homeland and away "from the presence of the Lord." Genesis 4:16 says that Cain went eastward and settled "in the land of Nod" (Nod means "wandering"). Cain married, and had a son named Enoch. Even though he was a nomad, Cain built a city for his firstborn son, and called it by that son’s name: Enoch. Perhaps this was Cain’s way of trying to give his son permanent roots, and a place to call "home." Sadly, he gave Enoch a city, but did not give him a loving respect for God.

After Abel’s death, God gave Adam and Eve another son whom they named Seth. Genesis 4:26 says that during the lifetime of Seth "men began to call upon the name of the Lord." The descendants of Seth turned to God, instead of away from Him, as Cain’s descendants had.

One of Seth’s descendants also was named Enoch. This Enoch was a righteous man because he was "one who walked with God." He enjoyed a special relationship with God because of his devotion to Him. He separated himself from the wickedness around him, and devoted his whole life to God.

When Enoch was 365 years old, God decided that Enoch should go directly to heaven—without dying like all other men. (Enoch was the only man, besides Elijah, to go directly to heaven without dying.)

Enoch was a righteous man. He loved God and wanted more than anything to do what was right. God rewarded Enoch with heaven. God wants us to love Him and do what is right, too. And He has promised that if we choose to do what is right, as Enoch did, He will give us a special home in heaven, too.

How did Enoch know what was right? What does it mean that he "walked with God"? He listened to God, and he talked to God. And he tried to make good choices, based upon what he learned from God. We listen to God by studying His Word, and we talk to Him in prayer. If we want to "walk with God," we will have to make choices about what we say and do every single day, just like Enoch did, based on what we learn from God’s Word.

What is heaven like? We know that heaven is such a beautiful, special place that words can’t really describe it. We do know that God, Jesus, and the angels are there, and all the souls of all the righteous people who have died are promised heaven. We know that there will be no more sadness, sickness, dying, or pain. There will be no bad people, no war, no lying, no murder—nothing bad at all there. We know that in heaven it never will be dark. It never will be too cold or too hot. Everyone in heaven is very happy because they are with God, and always will be with God.

Jesus talked about Heaven as if it were a great mansion with many rooms, enough rooms for everyone who chooses to obey God. He said that He was going on to prepare the way and get things ready for us. Just as God provided a beautiful, perfect home in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve in the beginning, God has provided a beautiful, perfect home in heaven for us.



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