Book Review: The Book of Enoch 2


Title: The Book of Enoch

Author: R. H. Charles (Translator)

Publisher: Defender Publishing (Reproducing this work) with original publication by Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge (London 1917)

 

 

Back Cover: The Book of Enoch

The Bible, as we hold it today, is esteemed by many religious institutions and especially conservative Christians, to be the inspire, inerrant Word of God. This doctrinal position affirms that the Bible is unlike all other books or collections of works in that it is free of error due to having been “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). 

While no other text can claim this same unique authority, The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work—ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah—that played a crucial role in forming the worldview of the authors of the New Testament, who were not only familiar with it, but quoted it in the New Testament, the Epistle of Jude, Jude 1:14-15, and is attributed there to “Enoch the Seventh from Adam” (1 Enoch 60:8). The text was also utilized by the community that originally collected and studied the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

While some churches today include Enoch as part of the biblical canon (for example, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church), other Christian denominations and scholars accept it only as having historical or theological noncanonical interest and frequently use or assigned it as supplemental materials within academic settings to help students and scholars discover or better understand the cultural and historical context of the early Christian church. The Book of Enoch is therefore intended to be an important supplemental resource for assisting serious researchers and students in the study of the Bible and the early Church Age. 

 

Book Review: The Book of Enoch

The Book of Enoch is bound in a handsome hardcover. This is small in size and light in weight, but heavy in content. I don’t often comment on the covers (though it’s one thing I always notice about books), but this one is especially pleasing to the eye and I believe fits well with the writing it contains.

The Book of Enoch, also known as 1 Enoch, is divided into sections, as follows:

  • The Book of Enoch 1-36
    • End-Times Events 1-5
    • The Watchers 1-6
    • Enoch’s Tour 17-36
  • The Parables 37
    • The First Parable 38-44
    • The Second Parable 44-56
    • The Third Parable 58-59
    • Book of Noah—A Fragment 60-71
    • The Book of The Courses of The Heavenly Luminaries 72-82
    • The Dream-Vision 83-90
    • The Concluding Section of The Book 91-105
    • Fragment of The Book of Noah (Noah’s birth) 106-107
    • An Appendix to The Book of Noah 108

As one that had never read The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch, prior to reading this one, I was very thankful to learn that a publisher I trust—Defender Publishing—released a version that I believe is as trustworthy copy.

A quick and important point of interest for those that are new to The Book of Enoch, I’d like to share that there are three versions of Enoch out there and only one is believed to be the most reliable. Let’s go over those:

  • The Book of Enoch (1 Enoch or Enoch 1); dated from 300 BC (the Book of the Watchers) to the first century (Book of Parables)
  • The Book of the Secrets of Enoch or Slavonic Enoch (2 Enoch or Enoch 2); dated in late 1st century.
  • The Hebrew Book of Enoch (and also goes by various other names) (3 Enoch or Enoch 3); believed to be dated in 2nd century, but only traceable to the 5th century.

The oldest and most reliable (least corrupted) version, is agreed upon by scholars to be 1 Enoch. This reliability comes from the fact that it was found in among the Dead Sea Scrolls. So, if you are looking to read the books of Enoch, please be aware that there can be some corruption among what you may find online or in print. The most trusted among serious Bible students, Pastor, Preachers and scholars is 1 Enoch, translated by R.H. Charles.

Finally, this book only contains a Forward and the Book of Enoch, no commentary, no references…just plain and simple. It is 104 pages long, but depending on how many times you turn to your Bible, pray, and pause to scratch your head at some of things you read, it can either be a quick or a long read. It’s not difficult to understand, it just can be difficult to grasp all that is said. I’ll explain further in the next section.

 

My thoughts about The Book of Enoch

I’ve heard mixed information over the years about the books of Enoch. More recently, various people who I respect and trust have mentioned some of the things that can be found in 1 Enoch, so I decided to explore it and I’m glad I did.

Without a doubt, there were many times that I had to pause and try to process what I was reading. Do I believe it is canonical material, yes and no. I believe it has a place, but honestly that’s not even an important question in my mind. What I find interesting is that we will read and believe—in blind faith—so much of what is printed today, without looking up any information for ourselves to determine if it is true or not…this is to include text books on history, science, religion (of both the Christian and non-Christian categories) and so much more!

Think about it, when was the last time you heard a piece of history shared, on the radio, a tv show, in a book, magazine or from another person and took the time to check to see if what they were saying is correct? Maybe you’re like me, sigh, I tend to believe what I hear, if it sounds reasonable. I would believe the history and science books simply because they were in print and taught by someone in authority that declared the information to be fact. But, what if that isn’t and hasn’t been the case for a very long time now? What if… what we were and are being told is what they want us to know, rather than what is the truth of the Bible? Case in point, creation vs. evolution.

Whether or not 1 Enoch is or ever was meant to be canonical, does not prohibit it from being used like a history book. There is not one book outside of the Bible that I would deem as canonical, and yet, we rely on those books and the information they provide to help us better understand the Bible and the history behind some of the more complex passages. 1 Enoch serves this same purpose in my mind.

1 Enoch was used by the early church fathers and perhaps even by the disciples of Jesus—the writer’s of the New Testament. It’s said that it was around the late fourth century that it was deemed absurd and heretical, by some church fathers. Why? Who will ever know the exact reason(s), but it’s postulated that there are several… one of which being that it was around that time that angel worshipping became more prominent and anything that spoke ill of them, could not be true, for they were not to be spoken bad of…which is hard for me to grasp on a few fronts, not the least of them being that we should not worship angels (Col 2:18) and angels have proven to be capable of sin and rebellion (Lucifer/Satan). Another reason is that around that same time began monkery. It was believed that not putting faith in 1 Enoch was, somehow, able to influence more men into the monasteries than anything else of that time. It is said that monkery did not exists prior to this time. Interesting to say the least.

The view that came into belief, after centuries of differing views, is the Sethite Interpretation of 1 Enoch. This is, to this day, from the late 4th century until now, the most believed version of Genesis 6:1-4. In its simplest form, the Sethite proponents believe that Genesis 6:1-4, specifically 2-4, is speaking of the Sons of God, as being the righteous men of Seth, that decided to “sinfully” intermarry unrighteous daughters of Cain. This view holds a lot of difficulty for me. One difficulty is what would cause—and where can it be found in the Bible—that such a marriage would cause God to bring a flood so severe that it would wipe out every man and beast (of land and air)?  Also, what would lead someone to believe that the joining of two humans (even in sin) would produce supernatural offsprings called giants? This would be like me saying that two turtles mating would somehow breed a hippopotamus! Though, in fairness to this view, they’ve conveniently removed the supernatural and believe the giants were merely supermen, greater intelligence and stature and strength. That’s the thing, so much has to be reworded and re-worked and the supernaturalness of God’s Word has to be either minimized or eliminated to support such theology. I simply find it hard to believe that the intermarrying of two tribes, that I don’t believe really had much to do with each other, because Jesus’ genealogy was able to trace all the way back to Adam, via the bloodline of Seth, not Seth/Cain. I can concede that there may have been some intermarrying, but I would not conclude it was widespread and certainly not to the extent that would ever cause God to wipe out the entire world, save eight people on the ark and the animals God commanded Noah to watch over…that would, one year later, be needed to repopulate the earth. On this note, some do believe it was a localized flood, not a worldwide flood, but that seems unlikely that God would ask Noah to take two of every kind of animal, male and female, clean and unclean, if they were already still on the earth, somewhere else. And, it’s unlikely that God would tell Noah, his sons and their wives to repopulate the earth, if it was a local flood. The language God uses makes it clear to me that this was truly a worldwide catastrophic judgement and not a local event.

As you can see, I tend toward the Angel Interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4. This view is that it was fallen angels, called Watchers—to me more accurately called unholy Watchers (as all angels are referenced as Watchers, even holy ones), rebelled against God, descended to earth, on top of Mt Hermon, in the days of Jared (or possibly earlier), and took human women for wives, which conceived and gave birth to giants. These giants were not good in any sense of the word. The unholy Watchers mated with human women, crossing the species barrier that God ordained, that humans are to only mate with humans and angels…as Jesus said, aren’t given in marriage. Why? Because they are eternal and have no need to procreate, which is why when we are eternal, and like the angels, we will also not be given in marriage.

The unholy Watchers also taught their wives and children many things that lead mankind to sin as never before. They were taught things that God never intended for mankind to know, things that lead to seduction (and the art of it), mixing of roots, astrology, astronomy, witchcraft, greed and war, to name a few. The sin was so prevalent on the earth that there was only one option, bind the unholy Watchers in Tartarus until their day of judgment, but only after they see their children go to war with other and kill one another.

If this was not to be read, studied and taught, then surely Jesus would have told His disciples so. Instead, we find that He apparently didn’t do that, because they quote from 1 Enoch in the New Testament (see Jude 14-15 and 2 Peter 2:4). The early church father knew this and read this book too, for the history it provided. The question becomes, why all of a sudden in the late part of the fourth century, until present time, is it suddenly believed to be so absurd and heretical? What does it contain that the enemy doesn’t want God’s people to know about? Time, surely will tell.

Whether you come to the same conclusion as I have or not, the point is to not to let what other people interpret as truth, be your truth, without searching these matters out for yourself and allowing the Holy Spirit to be your guide in all matters pertaining to truth. Right or wrong, at least we searched and prayed and did our best to give God our best effort to find out the truth, as best we could…not merely listening to the opinions of others and forming our beliefs based merely on what others say. It would be like only believing the Bible through what others tell you, rather than searching out the truth for yourself…it’s in the search that we find what God has for us, which is more of Him. And if a book points us to Jesus, rather than away from Him, then that is not a book that I’d be quick to call heretical, simply because it goes against my theological views. It will be very interesting if one day, we get to hear Enoch’s first hand recount of the events he experienced and it will be quite interesting if that sounds a lot like what we see before us today.

 

Would I Recommend The Book of Enoch

Yes, if for no other reason that to see what could have caused the flood of Genesis 6 and where did these giants come from. Where did demons come from? Who were the Watchers and what sin(s) did they commit that was so bad that they got not only cast out of heaven, but locked up in darkness, beneath the earth, until their time of judgment?

As always, I urge everyone to read for themselves and not to take all that is said as fact, because the fact remains that we live in a fallen world and the intentions of this world are to lead us astray, even by good meaning people. That is not to say, one has to agree with my interpretation of 1 Enoch and Genesis 6, but that they look into these matters for themselves.

1 Enoch, The Book of Enoch, will open your eyes to things that will astound you, things we see happening throughout history and why God is so admit in the Bible that we don’t do certain things for our own good. So much more of the Bible will make sense once we have a better understanding of what led God to give the laws and commandments that He did. It’s kind of like the warning label on the hair dryer to not put it near water…it’s likely that label went on there, after the hair dryer did go into water. God has a reason for what He says in His Word, likely it’s because something has happened in the past that hurt mankind and our relationship with Him and it’s His heart’s deepest desire to love and protect us. To better understand why He says some of the things He does, we rely on books like 1 Enoch to give us a bit of back story.

We read, we search the Scriptures, we pray, we wait and listen and trust that God, through His Holy Spirit will lead us in the ways that are true to God’s Word and His nature.

 

And, that’s a wrap… The Book of Enoch

I hope you found this review helpful. If so, please share it with your family and friends, so they can learn about this great book too. You can click here or on any image of the book on this page to see it on Amazon. Thanks for taking the time to read this review and God bless!

Ally

 

“For those to whom 1 Enoch sounds unfamiliar, this is the ancient apocalyptic literary work known popularly (but imprecisely) as “the Book of Enoch.” Most scholars believe that 1 Enoch was originally written in Aramaic perhaps as early as the third century B.C. The oldest fragments of the book were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and dated to roughly the second century B.C. This places the book squarely int he middle of what scholars call the Second Temple Period (ca. 500 B.C. — 70 A.D.), an era more commonly referred to as the “Intertestamental Period.” 

-Michael S. Heiser, Reversing Hermon, quoted in the forward of The Book Enoch

 

“And he (i.e. the angel) came to me and greeted me with His voice, and said unto me:
This is the Son of Man who is born unto righteousness;
And righteousness abides over him,
And the righteousness of the Head of Days forsakes him not.
And he said unto me:
He proclaims unto thee peace in the name of the world to come;
For from hence has proceeded peace since the creation of the world,
And so shall it be unto thee for ever and for ever and ever.
And all shall walk in his ways since righteousness never forsaketh him:
With him will be their dwelling-place, and with him their heritage,
And they shall not be separated from him for ever and ever.
And so there shall be length of days with that Son of Man,
And the righteous shall have peace and an upright way
In the name of he Lord of Spirits for ever and ever.” 

The Book of Enoch, (1 Enoch) 70:14-17

 


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Book of Enoch