The Book of Enoch

Enochic literature is made up of a number of different texts (numbered 1, 2, 3, etc.) although usually when referencing “the book of Enoch” it’s referring to 1 Enoch only or the first 36 chapters only. The book of Enoch has grown in popularity among many but we should make sure we distinguish it not as a canonical text on the same level as the Bible itself. This doesn’t mean 1 Enoch is of no value, or should not be read, it should just be set in it’s proper place.

Content

1 Enoch is also called the “Book of The Watchers,” it tells how certain angels called Watchers came to earth, engaged in depraved sexual acts with human women, and introduced more evil into the world — teaching men the art of war and women the use of cosmetics, for example. For these acts, God had the angels chained in a prison and used Enoch as a go-between for communicating with them. 1 Enoch directly links the activities of the fallen angels (Watchers) to the flood of Noah, which was needed in order to eliminate the offspring of the Watchers (Nephilim). The Nephilim were also judged, and it was determined that their bodies were to return to the earth in peace, but their souls were doomed to wander the earth forever as wandering spirits. The speculation then being that these wandering spirits are now demons, always seeking to inhabit a body again.

It is believed to have been composed around the 3rd century BC (Hoffmann, Zweiter Excurs). 1 Enoch is divided into the following:

  • 1-5. Parable of Enoch on the Future Lot of the Wicked and the Righteous.
  • 6-11. The Fall of the Angels: the Demoralization of Mankind: the Intercession of the Angels on behalf of Mankind. The Dooms pronounced by God on the Angels of the Messianic Kingdom.
  • 12-16. Dream-Vision of Enoch: his Intercession for Azazel and the fallen angels: and his Announcement of their first and final Doom.
  • 17-36. Enoch’s Journeys through the Earth and Sheol: Enoch also traveled through a portal shaped as a triangle to heaven.
  • 17-19. The First Journey.
  • 20. Names and Functions of the Seven Archangels.
  • 21. Preliminary and final Place of Punishment of the fallen angels (stars).
  • 22. The Underworld.
  • 23. The fire that deals with the Luminaries of Heaven.
  • 24-25. The Seven Mountains in the North-West and the Tree of Life.
  • 26. Jerusalem and the Mountains, Ravines, and Streams.
  • 27. The Purpose of the Accursed Valley.
  • 28-33. Further Journey to the East.
  • 34-35. Enoch’s Journey to the North.
  • 36. The Journey to the South.

Quotations & Why It’s Not Canonical

Enoch is mentioned 3 times in the New Testament, one being Jude 14-15.

“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

St. Ireneaus in Against Heresies, wrote the following in 4:36:4:

He [Jesus] causes the unfruitful fig-tree immediately to dry up; and in the days of Noah He justly brought on the deluge for the purpose of extinguishing that most infamous race of men then existent, who could not bring forth fruit to God, since the angels that sinned had commingled with them, and [acted as He did] in order that He might put a check upon the sins of these men, but [that at the same time] He might preserve the archetype, the formation of Adam…

In Demonstration 18, he wrote:

And wickedness very long-continued and widespread pervaded all the races of men, until very little seed of justice was in them. For unlawful unions came about on earth, as angels linked themselves with offspring of the daughters of men, who bore to them sons, who on account of their exceeding great were called Giants. The angels, then, brought to their wives as gifts teachings of evil, for they taught them the virtues of roots and herbs, and dyeing and cosmetics and discoveries of precious materials, love-philtes, hatreds, amours, passions, constraints of love, the bonds of witchcraft, every sorcery and idolatry, hateful to God; and when this was come into the world, the affairs of wickedness were propagated to overflowing, and those of justice dwindled to very little.

The Epistle of Barnabas twice cites 1 Enoch. He introduces one set of quotations with, “for the scripture says” and the other with, “for it is written” (16:6, 6). “For the scripture says, it will come to pass in the last days that the Lord will deliver up to destruction the sheep of the pasture, with their sheepfold and their watchtower.” St. Justin The Philosopher, St. Ireneaus and other church fathers do give reference to 1 Enoch as well. However, this does not mean it is canonical scripture. Paul quotes from Epimenides in Titus 1:12 but that doesn’t mean we give any extra authority to Epimenides’s writings.

Furthermore, neither the Greek Septuagint nor the Hebrew Masoretic Texts put the Book of Enoch in it’s canon (Emanuel Tov and Craig Evans, Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective Archived 2016-06-15, Acadia 2008). Nor any of the councils that helped determine the canons as well. Again, this doesn’t mean 1 Enoch is not of historical and theological interest, but it should not be a point of focus ahead of the fully inspired books. It would fall under a category of additional reading along with things like The Didache.

Enoch 2-5 & Contradictions Argued In Enoch

2 Enoch – The Book of Parables of Enoch (Enoch 37–71) (also called the Similitudes of Enoch).
3 Enoch – The Astronomical Book (Enoch 72–82) (also called the Book of the Heavenly Luminaries).
4 Enoch – The Book of Dream Visions (Enoch 83–90) (also called the Book of Dreams).
5 Enoch – The Epistle of Enoch (Enoch 91–108).

These other books of enochic literature do not have a place even in additional reading, for they contradict the Bible. Arguments have also been made about 1 Enoch itself, these contradictions weigh heavily on why it is not inspired.

{1} Enoch Chapter 10:8 (1 Enoch) states, “and the whole earth has been corrupted through the works of Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.” However, Romans 5:12 tells us that sin entered the world through one man, Adam. {2} In Genesis 6:14, 22, 8:6 the Bible tells us that Noah built the ark, yet in Enoch 67:1-3 (2 Enoch) it states that angels built the ark. “And in those days the word of God came unto me, and He said unto me: “Noah, thy lot has come up before Me, a lot without blame, a lot of love and uprightness. And now the angels are making a wooden (building), and when they have completed that task I will place My hand upon it and preserve it, and there shall come forth from it the seed of life, and a change shall set in so that the earth will not remain without inhabitant.”

{3} Another issue appears to be inconsistency in the fact that chapter 10 states that the fallen angels will be imprisoned “for seventy generations,” chapter 18 states that it will be “even for 10,000 years” and chapter 21 specifies that it will be “ten thousand years.” {4} Enoch 6:6-7 (1 Enoch) lists the 19 fallen angels who were the leaders of the 200 total who fell, then Enoch 69:2 (2 Enoch) not only has a different number of angel leaders, 21, but some different names as well.

{5} Enoch 107:2-3 (5 Enoch) has Enoch speaking to Methuselah and stating: “And now, my son, go and announce to thy son Lamech, that this son who is born is really his, and that this is not a falsehood.” And when Methuselah had heard the words of his father Enoch—for he had shown him everything that was secret—he returned, after his having seen him, and called the name of that son Noah, for he will make glad the earth for all destruction.” The problem with this is in Genesis 5 we learn that “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah…So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.”

Additionally, “Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.” And then, “Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah…” 5 Enoch has Enoch speaking to Lamech about Noah when Enoch was already taken by God. If my timeline is correct this would put Enoch at 434 years old when Noah is born but the Bible tells us he was only on earth for 365 years and then walked with God.

{6} Enoch 7:2 (1 Enoch) states “and they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells.” An ell was the same as a cubit, about 18 inches. This means the giants were 4,500 feet tall, 10 times the size of Noah’s ark. While this example isn’t necessarily a contradiction or necessarily untrue, it does not seem likely.

In conclusion, the book of Enoch (1 Enoch – the first 36 chapters) is an interesting historical work to be read, but it does not qualify as canonical as both evident of history and of content. 2-5 Enoch has no place as even to be read as an additional reading in my opinion. The Bible and what we know as true scripture would be of much more worth of your time.

(Sources Not Mentioned: Ken Ammi, Fr. Stephen De Young – Ancient Faith ).

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