I was immediately stunned, after long overdue, I began reading the Book of Enoch. Halfway into the text the exhilaration had yet to subside due to it’s resounding resemblance in phrases unique to the Bible and themes only a seasoned Bible student would recognize like a picture painted in real time. Before undertaking it’s study, I would see echoes of the story of the Fallen Angels in details of scripture and get the feeling the ancient Jewish people knew something we didn’t. It was almost as if the content of Enoch was so well known back then, that it’s knowledge serves as the hidden backdrop to understanding things we still have difficulty coming to grips with today. I’m very well convinced of the legitimacy of this text, but want to provide you with information to make your own decision.
The initial reason why the Book of Enoch is even a topic of discussion amongst the christian church is the fact that it’s quoted in the book of Jude:
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
Jude 1:14, 15
All references of Enoch and thematic parallels we see in scripture serve as our anchor to taking this subject seriously.The quote from the Bible and the Book of Enoch are by a few words not exact. The differences are easily chalked up to a transliteration issue. This is also seen within scripture, when someone in the New Testament quotes in Greek, a verse from the Old Testament originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew. The essence remains, but it doesn’t differ so much as to negate it’s validity. I bring this up because some people writing on this subject state that the above verse does not validate the idea that it was taken from the Book of Enoch, because “the Bible doesn’t specifically state there is a book called Enoch.” The testimony of the person of Enoch in Genesis, his prophecy in Jude, and all other references we see in scripture weigh the argument out in the opposite direction and serve as our anchor to taking this subject seriously.
A valid question that comes up should be addressed before we continue: “Why is it not in the Bible?” The answer is in what we know of it’s history.
The King James Version of the Bible was produced from 1604 to 1611. When King James commissioned his 40 scholars to translate the manuscripts we now consider to be our Bible, the book of Enoch wasn’t known to be in existence, at least in Europe. It wasn’t until another century had passed, in 1773 the Scottish traveler James Bruce rediscovered the text’s in the official canon of the Ethiopic Christian Church. The list of Church Fathers who reference the Book of Enoch is extensive, Tertullian being just one. They claim their version survived from the 1st century and there are a number of early church father’s referencing the book to back that up. That said, while it’s not in our canon, it is in others, and many of those historical references deem it as inspired.
In the second century, Tertullian, who some consider the father of western theology, defended the legitimacy of Enoch when he wrote:
“I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch, which has assigned this order (of action) to angels, is not received by some, because it is not admitted into the Jewish canon either. I suppose they did not think that, having been published before the deluge, it could have safely survived that world-wide calamity, the abolisher of all things. If that is the reason (for rejecting it), let them recall to their memory that Noah, the survivor of the deluge, was the great-grandson of Enoch himself; and he, of course, had heard and remembered, from domestic renown and hereditary tradition, concerning his own great-grandfather’s “grace in the sight of God,” and concerning all his preachings; since Enoch had given no other charge to Methuselah than that he should hand on the knowledge of them to his posterity. Noah therefore, no doubt, might have succeeded in the trusteeship of (his) preaching; or, had the case been otherwise, he would not have been silent alike concerning the disposition (of things) made by God, his Preserver, and concerning the particular glory of his own house.
If (Noah) had not had this (conservative power) by so short a route, there would (still) be this (consideration) to warrant our assertion of (the genuineness of) this Scripture: he could equally have renewed it, under the Spirit’s inspiration, after it had been destroyed by the violence of the deluge, as, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian storming of it, every document of the Jewish literature is generally agreed to have been restored through Ezra.”
(On the Apparel of Women, Chapter 3, Lines 23-30)
Found only once in the Old Testament, where does the term “The Son of Man,” obtain it’s depth?Traveling further down the rabbit hole, in the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to Himself as “The Son of Man,” a specific term solely reserved for a description of the Messiah, but where did that term come from? It’s only found once in the Old Testament, in the book of Daniel? In addition, other very specific terms like the tribulation, the elect, and Sheol (unique to the Bible), the Book of Enoch uses the phrase “The Son of Man” extensively in reference to a messianic figure. Furthermore, the context that phrase is used lines up perfectly with the Christ of the New Testament and His physical description described by John in Revelation. Interestingly, the term “The Watchers,” is also only found once in the entire Bible, in the book of Daniel, and also developed rather extensively in Enoch in reference to angels.
The list of striking parallels doesn’t end there, and it’s illustrative power to speak to some of the deepest most misunderstood themes of scripture are setup to view like relics from the halls of a forgotten museum. The great white throne judgement, the millennial reign of Christ, the tree of life the righteous will partake of, bringing the hills low and melting the earth with fervent heat during the recreation of the new heaven and new earth is all there. Not to mention, the garden of Eden, the paradise of God, and the fascination continues. People wonder if the Book of Enoch has stolen these ideas from the New Testament and is simply a forgery, but bearing the fact that fourteen fragments written in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic were found in the caves of Qumran in 1947, and the earlier manuscripts date back as early as 300 B.C., it would be impossible for the Book of Enoch to be a fraud in that regard.
It gnawed at me every time I’d read about the angels in scripture or some theme that echoed a worldview foreign to our basic Christian doctrines. I kept thinking, The Book of Enoch had something to do with it. Then one morning I asked God’s guidance as to what I should read and felt the gentle nudging to begin my study. I took the fresh copy off my shelf and the first paragraph summed up my view of eschatology that took years to understand; I couldn’t believe Enoch shared my sentiments!
When you feel it’s the right time, hopefully sooner than later, don’t fall for the fakes produced hundreds of years A.D. having no relation to what’s now considered Enoch 1. Also, use the ultimate measuring stick, the Word of God as we know it, the Bible, to compare when you consider it’s validity. Finally, realize with all it’s dealings of weightier matters of the faith, the end times are upon us and therein rest’s it’s true relevance.