Recently I’ve had Enoch on the mind. Now Enoch isn’t someone who gets a lot of attention usually. The Bible has very little to say about him outside of Genesis 5:24:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Additional scripture and revelation available in my church has somewhat more to say about him, however. He was the leader of the city of Enoch, also known as Zion, and he and his people were able to achieve a level of righteousness that Christ would visit them from time to time. Eventually the entire city was taken up into heaven.
We discussed Enoch and his city in our adult Sunday School class recently, and since then I’ve been thinking a lot about just what it would take to achieve that type of society. We are told there were no poor among them, and that they were ” of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness.” Now, it seems difficult these days to find even one person of one heart and mind, let alone a town full. I don’t think that’s something they could accomplish by pressuring or guilting one another, or through passing and enforcing laws. Everyone had to voluntarily do the right things–and everyone had to agree on what the right things were.
I wouldn’t be surprised if some people left on their own accord, simply because they did not want to live that way. There wouldn’t be room for petty jealousies, selfishness, or class divisions. That’s not to say an outsider couldn’t have identified various classes, but they wouldn’t have been the ones to do it. If there were some who were more wealthy they wouldn’t have looked down on those with less, and those with less wouldn’t have envied those with more. That sort of thinking–in either direction–would have had no place.
In short, I don’t think this is a change that came about overnight. What little scriptural information we have suggests that it took several hundred years during a time when people lived well beyond half a millenia. In that light it may not even be possible today. Perhaps a mere 70 years is insufficient to overcome our human failings. I suspect we’d have to unlearn a lot of things we think we know, break a lot of habits that get in the way of putting others first. There would be a quite a few people who would be annoyed that they wouldn’t get things their way.
There are very few scriptural accounts of groups of people achieving anything close to what the people of Zion were able to do. Some were able to keep it going for several generations, some for only a few years. Certainly it would be a good goal to work toward. It would have to start within each individual and work outward. Each person would need to experience a change of heart to become someone who would put the needs of their friends and neighbors equal to or ahead of their own. It would require a new variety of myopia: instead of “Me, me, gimme!” it would need to be “Is it me? Am I the problem? Am I not in alignment with everyone else?”
It sounds wonderful, but also excruciatingly difficult.