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Song Sung Before the Sermon: “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” (by Larry Norman, 1947-2008; altered by Dr. Hymers).


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.,
Pastor Emeritus

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, May 31, 2020

“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24; p. 12 Scofield).

Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

“It is from this section [of Scripture] telling us that men once were able to live almost a thousand years, that we deduce something of the marvelous nature of the world’s primeval environment” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, p. 151).

John MacArthur gave a useful note on this,

“Unusual length of life [is] accounted for by the pre-Flood environment provided by the earth being under a canopy of water, filtering out ultraviolet rays of the Sun and producing a much more moderate condition…thus extending life” (The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997 edition, notes on Genesis 5:5 and Genesis 1:7).

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And here, in the days before the Flood of Noah’s time, we read about the life of the patriarch Enoch. It was an evil time. Men forgot about God, and left God out of their lives. It was a time of secular humanism, unbelief, anarchy and sin. It was quite similar to the way people think and live today. Jesus said,

“But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe [Noah] entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39; p. 1034).

I. First, the life of Enoch.

Twice it is said, “Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:22; p. 12) and again, in Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God.” This phrase means that Enoch was a man of faith, in a time when most everyone else had no faith in God. In Hebrews 11:5-6, we are told,

“By faith Enoch…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 them that diligently seek him” (p. 1301 Scofield).

While everyone else was thinking only of this life, making more money, hoarding up material things and “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38; p. 1034), Enoch took a different view, like Robert Frost, who said,

I shall be telling of this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”).

Enoch chose to walk with God. It was not an easy road for him.

As a teenager I knew I was lost. I knew that there was no one to help me – no one to give me a bed to sleep on – no one to help me pay for the tuition and books – no one to help me get through college and seminary. Everyone thought I was a dreamer. Why would a “normal” young man sacrifice his youth by working 16 hours a day to become a lonely missionary? The people in my family said I was a fool. But God told me not to listen to them. God told me to walk with Him, no matter what it cost! Thus I learned as a youth to walk with God in a naturalistic world of self-seeking materialism. As they pursued sex, gambling, and fun, I trudged on alone with God. My cousin said to me, “Robert, I’m going to take you to a whorehouse in Tijuana. The girls are beautiful!” I said, “I can’t do it, Johnny.” Pretty soon Johnny was dead and I buried him. After a while, the others were dead too. I conducted their funerals as best I could. I worked my guts out to go through college at night, while working eight hours a day. But I walked on with God. Enoch was a special friend of mine. I often thought about him, walking with God through the rubble of a dying world. And at last I had a beautiful wife and a big house given to me by my mother – who was saved at the age of 80!!!

Others left the Chinese church – Wilkie Haw, his friends, and others, who thought that Dr. Lin was too strict. But still I walked on a different road – the road not taken. Kreighton felt that he had to grab our young people so he could “preach” to them. I have never done that, and I never will! I preach – and they come – and some of them are converted. Young men like Jack Ngann are my glory and my joy! I am not a perfect man, by any means. But I have walked with God, and God has not disappointed me! Kreighton and Waldrip thought they could stop me! What fools! They forgot that I was like the “Terminator.” They could shoot the legs out from under me, but my arms would keep crawling forward – reaching for the people! By God’s grace, I can say with Enoch, “I will walk with God!”

II. Second, Enoch’s sermons.

For the first sixty-five years of his life, nothing is mentioned in Scripture about Enoch. But then his son Methuselah was born. Our text says,

“Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah…” (Genesis 5:21-24; p. 12).

It is not said that Enoch walked with God before his son was born. The verse implies that the birth of his baby was the thing that brought Enoch into this close fellowship with God.

Also the name he gave his son Methuselah indicates what God had revealed to Enoch about the coming Flood. Arthur W. Pink was an English Bible commentator. Relying on the commentator Newberry, Pink said,

The name of Methuselah strongly implies that Enoch had received a revelation from God. The name Methuselah signifies, “When he is dead it shall be sent – that is the Flood”…a divine revelation is memorialized in this name… God said to Enoch, “The world will last as long as he lives and no longer! When the child dies…the windows of heaven will be opened. The fountains of the deep will be broken up and humanity will perish” (Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, Moody Bible Institute, 1922, p. 78).

Enoch knew that from the moment of his son’s birth that, “When he is dead it shall be sent.”

I can understand Enoch’s experience because I was converted as a young man when I heard Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge preach on the end of this present world from II Peter, chapter three. As Dr. Woodbridge spoke I knew that what he said was true. Judgment was coming to this world, and my only hope was in Jesus Christ! That is a great thing to see in the Bible! When a person sees that, he will flee to Christ, as Noah fled to the Ark! It will inspire you to talk with God as Enoch did. Have you seen the truth of the coming judgment? The Bible says,

“The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:17; p. 1322).

Enoch knew that through faith. It does not surprise me that I John 2:17 is Dr. Cagan’s life verse! This illumination makes Dr. Cagan a man apart. Loud-mouthed preachers don’t like Dr. Cagan because they live in a superficial world. Dr. A. W. Tozer said,

“The Christians I meet who really amount to something for the Saviour are very much out of key and out of tune with their generation” (I Call It Heresy, p. 41).

Dr. Tozer was a man of prayer. So is Dr. Cagan. No wonder that the unconverted preachers did not like Dr. Tozer. No wonder they don’t like Dr. Cagan. And I am sure that they did not like Enoch either. Enoch was a contemplative man – a man that God could trust with eternal truths. Enoch alone knew that the Flood was coming. And God also showed him the Second Coming of Christ and the Last Judgment!

Turn to Jude 14-19 (p. 1329). Please stand as I read it.

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, 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. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 14-19).

You may be seated.

Enoch went up and down the earth preaching that message about the final judgment. What he said was carefully handed down by the old teachers and rabbis and incorporated in an apocryphal book. But Jude, the brother of James, was led by the Holy Spirit to quote those words in the Holy Scriptures. This authenticates them as the actual words of Enoch, which had been preserved in the apocryphal book that bears his name. These words have the apostolic imprimatur of the Holy Spirit upon them. Thus we know today that Enoch was a fiery preacher. He preached on the coming Flood. He preached on the Lord coming

“…with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment”
(Jude 14-15)

on this wicked, unbelieving world. He preached on Heaven and Hell, and on salvation by the Blood of the pre-incarnate Christ. He did not have many converts. Few believed what he said. But Noah heard Enoch’s son, Methuselah, repeat his father’s sermons. Undoubtedly Methuselah told Noah what his father had preached. He must have told Noah, “My father Enoch said that God would judge the earth with a great flood in the year that I die. When I am dead, then it will come. That’s what God showed my father Enoch, and that’s why he gave me that name.” As a young man Noah was deeply moved as Methuselah gave long quotations from his father Enoch’s sermons. And I believe it was through the sermons of Enoch, that Noah first heard from Methuselah, that God spoke to him and he

“moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house”
(Hebrews 11:7).

Others thought that it was just the preaching of a crazy old man. But Noah believed what Enoch had preached, and was saved. Many a man has been moved and shaken by an old sermon from an earlier time. Our Baptist forefather John Bunyan was largely led to Christ by reading an old copy of Luther’s Commentary on Galatians with the cover falling off, because the book was so ancient. Bunyan said,

After many such longings in my mind, the God in whose hand are all our days and ways, did cast into my hand, one day, a book of Martin Luther, it was his comment on the Galatians – it also was so old that it was ready to fall piece from piece if I did but turn it over. Now I was pleased much that such an old book had fallen into my hands; the which, when I had but a little way perused, I found my condition, in his experience, so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book had been written out of my heart. This made me marvel for thus thought I, This man could not know anything of the state of Christians now, but must needs write and speak the experience of former days…I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience (John Bunyan, “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,” The Works of John Bunyan, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991 reprint, volume I, sections 129-130, p. 22).

How I wish that your generation would hear the patriarchs and the prophets, the Apostles, and Christ Himself. How I wish that you would listen to these men of old, and to Luther and the other Reformers, and the Puritans, and the great evangelists of the First Great Awakening, Edwards and Whitefield and John Wesley. How I pray that you will hear John Bunyan and great Spurgeon. Oh, yes, I know, they lived before your time, but they, through their writings, can tell you more about God and conversion than anyone I know who is living today. Be wise like Noah, who heard of old Enoch’s message and moved with fear to build the ark, lest he and his family should be drowned in the great Flood. Hear the old men of another time, men who walked with God, and preached on the coming judgment, who preached on Hell, and salvation through faith in Christ’s holy Blood. That is the kind of preaching we so desperately need today in our churches and in our nation – but which is so tragically missing! May you hear from the old preachers, as Noah did. May you read Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Thomas Hooker, and Joseph Alleine and Richard Baxter, and especially Jonathan Edwards, the great Biblical psychologist of the human spirit in its unconverted state. May you move with fear and flee to Christ as you read what these men wrote in another age. As the Apostle Peter said,

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Are you saved? Have you been united to Christ? Are you washed from your sins by Christ’s Blood? Are you a real Christian? Are you in church every time the door is open? If you are not a real Christian, you will be left behind and miss the glory prepared for those who know Christ by a personal encounter with Him. You will miss the glory prepared for those who are washed clean from their sins by Christ’s Holy Blood.

III. Third, Enoch’s end.

Please stand and turn to Revelation 11:3-12 (p. 1320), as I read it.

“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them” (Revelation 11:3-12).

You may be seated.

Who are the “two witnesses” in verse 3? Most commentators say they will be Moses and Elijah. But I think they are wrong about Moses. Yes, Elijah will certainly be one of them. But I have become convinced that the other one is Enoch. Here is why I believe that.

Moses died (see Deuteronomy 34:5). Only two men in the Bible did not die: Enoch and Elijah! Dr. Timothy Lin said, “It is interesting that the same word that described Enoch’s [rapture] was used to tell of the taking up of Elijah” (Genesis: A Biblical Theology, page 80). Both of these men were taken up to Heaven without dying. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27; p. 1299). The two witnesses in Revelation 11:7 are killed by the Beast. They are then resurrected and then raptured, 11:12. I may not be right, but I think I am. Dr. MacArthur says that Moses is probably one of them. But if he is, then Moses died twice, but “It is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). So I think the second witness is Enoch.

What a man he was! He walked with God. He predicted the Flood in his preaching. That is how Noah knew about the Flood – from Enoch! He was “translated that he should not see death” (Hebrews 11:5; p. 1301). He preached on the Second Coming of Christ – before the Flood! And he was likely one of the two witnesses who will preach to the world right before the Second Coming of Christ! What greater honor could any man have?

“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24; p. 12).

Be like Enoch in this godless world! Walk with God in this godless world! Speak for God in this godless world! Then you will be prepared to reign with Christ in His coming Kingdom!

Stand and sing our song!

Life was filled with guns and war,
And everyone got trampled on the floor,
I wish we’d all been ready.
Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread would buy a bag of gold,
I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind,
How could you have been so blind?
The Saviour called, but you declined,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind,
You’ve been left behind,
You’ve been left behind.

Man and wife asleep in bed,
She hears a noise and turns her head – he’s gone.
I wish we’d all been ready.
Two men walking up a hill,
One disappears and one’s left standing still,
I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind,
How could you have been so blind?
The Saviour called, but you declined,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind,
You’ve been left behind,
You’ve been left behind.
     (“I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by Larry Norman, 1947-2008;
          altered by Dr. Hymers).