The Book of Enoch
The first Book of Enoch, also named the Ethiopic Book of Enoch, is a pseudepigraphal work (not included in any canon of scripture) whose only complete extant version is an Ethiopic translation of a previous Greek translation formed in Palestine from the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
I Enoch is a collection of few separate works, most of which are apocalyptic. Its oldest part is the “Apocalypse of Weeks,” recorded a little while before the Maccabean uprising of 167 bc. Other parts, specifically those that have to do with astronomical and cosmological speculations, are hard to date. Because of its perspective on messianism, celibacy, and the state of the soul after death, sections of I Enoch may have come from the Essene community of Jews at Qumrān.
However, no fragments of the longest portion of the work (chapters 37–71), were discovered among the Qumrān writings. This has caused scholars to believe that this part was probably recorded in the 2nd century ad by a Jewish Christian who wanted to diffuse his own eschatological ideas with the authority of Enoch, and attached his writings to the four older apocryphal Enoch writings. Fragments of similar writings were discovered at Qumran such as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, a pseudepigraphical work of the dying commands of the twelve sons of Jacob in the 2nd century ad.
The fragments of the book of Enoch were brought to Europe by James Bruce in the late 18th century. Afterwards, they were translated into English in the 19th century. It is interesting to note that no scholar believes that this book was truly been written by Enoch.
Enoch in the Bible
According to the Bible, Enoch, the great grandfather of Noah, was the son of Jared (Genesis 5:18). He lived seven generations after Adam (Genesis 5:1-24). He was a holy man, who walked closely with God. The Bible tells us that he did not die. Instead, it says, the Lord “took him away” (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). Thus, he is one of the two people that were taken up to heaven without dying [the other was Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-18)].
In the Bible, we see the Book of Enoch referenced to in Jude: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him’” (Jude 14-15). However, even this quote doesn’t say that the Book of Enoch we have today is the same book. Nor can we say it was inspired or written by Enoch himself. The next few passages we’ll see why.
Not Part of the Bible
There is little doubt that Enoch made the statements in Jude 1:14. But that doesn’t mean that he authored the entire book (or any of it). The book was not accepted in the canon of Holy books because of its flawed doctrines that don’t line up with Biblical truths. Here are some of the errors it contains:
The Book of Enoch claims that a demon named Gadreel led Eve astray. This demon later introduced weaponry to mankind. But the Bible states that the angel Satan is the one that used the serpent to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13).
Further, the Book of Enoch presents the story of how 200 angels, or Watchers, rebelled against heaven. Then, these fallen angels descended to the plains of earth, married human wives, and fathered the Nephilim. The union of these angles with women produced 450-feet tall giants (chapter 7:12-15).
These fallen angels asked Enoch to plead on their behalf with God after He announced their final judgement. However, this teaching is not scriptural. Jesus clearly taught that angels do not marry. We find this in Mark 12:25: “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”
Also, the first chapter of the book, which claims to have been written before the flood, describes summer and winter. However, the Bible says that the seasons came after the flood: “And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried… While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:14 & 22). Before the flood the earth was watered by dew (Genesis 2:6).
The Outline of the Book
The Book of Enoch speaks of the origins of demons and Nephilim. It speaks of the angels that fell from heaven, and why the Genesis flood was needed. It also gives a prophetic exposition of the thousand-year reign of the Messiah. The book has five major parts:
- The Book of the Watchers – angels and demons (1 Enoch 1–36).
- The Book of Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71) also called the Similitudes of Enoch.
- The Astronomical Book (1 Enoch 72–82) also called the Book of the Heavenly Luminaries or Book of Luminaries.
- The Book of Dream Visions (1 Enoch 83–90) also called the Book of Dreams.
- The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91–108).
The first part of the Book of Enoch presents the fall of the “Watchers.” The “Watchers” were angels who fathered the Nephilim. The rest of the book presents Enoch’s revelations and his visits to heaven in the form of travels, visions, and dreams.
The book also includes “The Apocalypse of Weeks,” which is a brief recounting of human history in a series of weeks. Also, it contains excerpts from the Book of Noah, which is a non-extant Old Testament pseudepigraphal work, attributed to Noah. Most scholars believe that these five sections were independent writings and were later combined into what is now called 1 Enoch.
You can read the Book of Enoch online.
The Book of the Secrets of Enoch
The Book of the Secrets of Enoch is another new pseudepigraphal fragment. This book was part of a group of early manuscripts which were recently found in Russia and Servia. It has been preserved only in Slavonic. Not much is known of its origin only that it was written about the early part of the Christian era. Its final editor was a Greek and it was written in Egypt.
The Book of Enoch was examined and tested by Bible scholars, who determined that it was not inspired or written by Enoch. As a result, this book was not included in the Holy Canon. It appears that the book was authored by someone else after the flood. Most Christian Churches exclude the Book of Enoch from the Bible. Yet, in spite of the evidence against its inspiration, some early Christian groups, like the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, still accept sections or all of 1 Enoch as inspired.
In His service,
This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)