Elijah and Enoch, the only two prophets to be translated, had something in common. They both hated sin and cried out against it. They walked so closely with God that they could not help sharing His hatred for ungodliness.
The undeniable effect on all who walk with God is a growing hatred for sin—and not only hatred, but separation from it. If you still love this world and are at home with the ungodly, a friend to those who curse Him, then you are not walking with God. You are sitting on the fence, putting Him to open shame.
“Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). We know from Hebrews that this speaks of Enoch’s translation, the fact that he did not taste death. But it also means something deeper than that. “He was not” as defined in Genesis 5 also means “he was not of this world.”
In his spirit, in his senses, Enoch was not a part of this wicked world. He was taken up in his spirit to a heavenly realm. Each day as he walked with the Lord, he became less attached to the things below! Day by day, year by year, he was going up, heading home, getting closer to glory. Like Paul, he died daily to this world. Yet Enoch undertook all his responsibilities. He cared for his family, worked and ministered—but he was not earthbound! None of the demands of this life could keep him from his walk with God. Every waking moment his mind went back to Him. His heart was attached to God with what seemed like a huge rubber band. The more you stretch a rubber band, the quicker it springs back when you let it go. Enoch’s heart always “sprang back” to the Lord.
As mankind grew more ungodly all around him, as men changed into wild beasts full of lust, hardness and sensuality, Enoch became more and more like the One with whom he walked.
In this day, many Christians are running for the hills to hide from the mounting calamities. So-called prophets are telling people to come to their safe havens. Christian Jews are being warned to get back to Israel to escape the financial collapse anticipated in America.
I know where I want to be when things fall apart. When the financial market crashes, I want to go back to Wall Street where I was during the crash on October 19, 1987. I want to be there like a modern Enoch, walking and talking with God, without fear—a peaceful, fearless witness, preaching Jesus to a people whose world has collapsed.
Jesus said, “Go ye!” not “Hide ye!” I want to be where the Holy Ghost is and you can be sure He will be on the frontlines of the battle, calling the troubled and fearful to Himself.
Enoch saw this world as ungodly. His own society was wicked, and as he looked down through all of history to the very last days, all he could say was, “Ungodly! Ungodly!” Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14-15).
Are you walking with the Lord? Then you must see the world as Enoch saw it: ungodly and full of the spirit of antichrist and hard speeches against your God. How can you be a part of what is ungodly? How can you associate with those He is coming to judge? He is coming with ten thousands of His saints to judge a sinful, lost world. Which side are you on?
If you are arm in arm with Jesus, talking with Him, listening to Him, then you will hate this ungodly world system. You will take His side against those who talk against Him. You will hear Him say, “He that is a friend to the world is an enemy to me” (see James 4:4).
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:5-6).
The original Hebrew meaning for “walked” implies that Enoch went up and down, in and out, to and fro, continually conversing with God and growing. Enoch’s father, Jared, lived to be 962 years old and his son Methuselah lived to be 969. But Enoch lived 365 years—or a “year” of years! For 365 days every year for all his years, he walked arm in arm with the Lord. The Lord was his very life!
Enoch learned to walk with God in the midst of a wicked society, yet he was an ordinary man. He “begat sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:22) and was involved in everyday life with a wife, children, obligations, and the same burdens we carry. He walked with God while raising his family and providing for them.
Those who walk with God are translated out of Satan's reach, out of his kingdom of darkness and into Christ’s kingdom of light. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossian 1:13). We are translated out of the devil’s snare and into the very heart of Jesus.
The Greek word for “translate” here suggests that Christ personally comes and carries us away from the devil’s power and sets us in a heavenly place. But God translates only those who walk close to Him as Enoch did. Those who are held captive at Satan’s will cannot be taken up and delivered from darkness. You truly are not saved until you firmly set your heart on walking with God. You can claim to be saved and to love Him; you can tell the world you belong to Him; you may even pray, weep and read His Word. But unless you walk every day with Him, you will never change. You will fall deeper and deeper into bondage.
“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:3-4, ESV).
Paul was urging Timothy to stay in Ephesus even though it appears that he frowned on that idea. The reason Timothy may not have wanted to stay is because of problems the Ephesian church was facing. The people appeared to be living in self-righteousness—trying to look good and appear righteous. When you are self-righteous, however, often you are deceived and this can lead to you becoming greedy and ambitious.
At this very time there was a famine in Macedonia. There was also a famine in Jerusalem and extreme poverty. While Macedonia and Jerusalem were struggling, apparently the economy in Ephesus was good. They had a lot of resources but they were clinging to them for themselves.
Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17-18: “Charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”
Look at Paul’s first word—charge—which means to “command or give strict orders.” In some translations it says, “Command those who are rich in this present age to be generous.”
Why would Paul say something like this—to command people to be generous, to no longer cling to things for themselves? It sounds legalistic and it is—because it’s the Law. The Law shows us where we are off grace, where we are wrong. The command that Paul said Timothy should give to the Ephesians was not to get them just to give an offering but to get them to see that something of grace was missing in their lives.
“And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee? And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master” (1 Samuel 20:35-38).
Consider for a moment David’s journey leading up to this difficult point in his life. It must have seemed an ordinary day as he tended his father’s sheep out in the field. All of a sudden he was called inside to meet with the prophet Samuel, who took a vial of oil and anointed David to be the next king of Israel. Before taking the throne, David began to win some marvelous victories in secret, followed by an incredible victory in public against a giant called Goliath. David’s heart must have burned within him as he walked in an anointing that produced such faith and boldness in his life.
Shortly after, Saul took David in as his attendant, and David began to worship the Lord with songs that drove the darkness out of Saul’s life. David continued to fight the battles of the Lord, all the while experiencing the supernatural power of God, as seemingly no enemy could stand against him. Eventually, however, Saul’s heart turned against David for no apparent reason other than envy—which brings us to our passage in 1 Samuel. Saul’s son, Jonathan, says to David, “I am going to talk to my father. Hide out in the field, and I will come back and shoot an arrow. If I say to the lad with me, ‘The arrow is beyond you,’ that means you must flee, for harm is determined against you.”
Here is how I see this situation: God was trying to speak to David, but David was only partially listening. The Lord was telling him, “I have a plan for your life that will fulfill all the desires I have placed in your heart. A transition is coming from a system that failed under Saul’s leadership to something that will usher in a season of renewal in Israel, and you are going to lead it. But until that day comes, I am going to take you through some dark places. You must follow Me through these mountains and valleys—even though you will not be able to understand them fully.”
That is what I believe to be the deeper meaning behind “the arrow is beyond you.” It is a sign and a reminder from God that His ways are higher than ours, and all He asks is that we follow Him!
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.