The Book of Enoch

Genesis 5:24: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (KJV)
This page is part of an ERW course: Historical figures of faith and inspiration.
By John Eagles, August 6, 2007.

Counting Adam as the first generation, Enoch was born in his lineage in the seventh generation (Genesis 5). Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah, the father of Methuselah and the grandfather of Lamech. Genesis tells us that Enoch lived 365 years and he walked with God and he was not, for God took him.

Early Christian church fathers considered the writings of Enoch to be apocryphal, meaning secret or hidden. Like several other writings, also the Book of Enoch never made it into the canon of the Bible, but the book was known to both Jews and Christians some two thousand years ago.

The origin of the book is clouded in mystery. It probably was written a few centuries before the birth of Jesus. In literature of Christian church fathers we find several references to the book (among them Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (115-185 AD), Origin, Clement of Alexandria (150-220 AD). Tertullian (160-230 AD) called the book of Enoch 'Holy Scripture.'

We even find a quote from the Book of Enoch (Enoch 1:9) in the New Testament in Jude 1:14-15: "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand 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." Is is interesting to speculate whether Jesus has read or studied this book.

The Ethiopic Church added the Book of Enoch to its official canon. For some centuries the book was widely known and read but together with many other secret books was discredited and left out from the official Christian canon. After this, the book gradually got out of sight.

The book was restored for the Western world by the famous explorer James Bruce who found three Ethiopic copies. Richard Laurence published the first English translation in 1821. Later several portions of a Greek text surfaced. Seven fragmentary copies were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The book prophesies about the coming of a judgment over the world and the coming of a figure called 'the Elect One,' 'The Son of Man,' 'the Messiah,' 'the Righteous One,' and 'the Chosen One.' I will elaborate on details given in the book concerning this judgment. The book tells us that the revelations were not meant for Enoch's generation but for a future one and it seems to me that some of these texts are quite relevant for our age.

The reason that both many Jews and Christians have discarded the book apparently has something to do with revelations about the fall of angels. The book describes in some length how certain angels became evil and how they will be punished at the judgment. Also this topic i want to bring further under your attention.

The Judgment

The Book of Enoch tells about the visions that Enoch received. Much of the language is rather poetic and symbolic and leaves room for different interpretations. Throughout the book we are told about a great judgment coming. One part of the book deals with a judgment of water and appears to refer to the flood in the time of Enoch's great-grandson Noah. Most of the visions seem to tell us about a judgment in the time that a formidable figure comes, the Son of Man or the Elect One.

The Book of Enoch does not only give us the content of the visions, but also tells us about Enoch's conversations with angels. The book mentions the names of four heavenly archangels, Michael the merciful and long-suffering, Raphael set over all the diseases, Gabriel set over all the powers, and Phanuel who is set over the repentance unto hope of those who inherit eternal life. The book gives the names of many more angels, both good and fallen ones.

The visions about the last judgment are interesting for their great detail.The prophesies are very similar in content to those written in the Bible, like for example in the books of Daniel and Revelations.

The general tenure is that when the day of tribulation comes, the Holy Great One will rise up and bring separation between the righteous ones and the wicked and godless. There shall be judgment upon all, the elect will be protected and for the godless there shall be a curse. Upon the elect shall be bestowed wisdom and there shall be forgiveness for them.

Elijah and Enoch - 17th century icon 17th, Poland

The Elect One will take place on a throne of glory and judge all the works of the works of the holy above in the heaven. The Son of Man will first be hidden and then be revealed to the elect. The kings and mighty ones will then worship and set their hope upon that Son of Man.

Not only people will be judged, but also fallen angels and stars. There will be a sentence for fallen angels to put them in bond and they will be chastised. In one vision we are told about seven stars bound in a place like great mountains and burning with fire, neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth but a chaotic and horrible place. An angel tells that these are the stars of heaven who have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and that they are bound there till ten thousand years.

The place of judgment for fallen angels is pictured as one of great fire burning and blazing with great descending columns of fire. The angel Uriel, who often speaks to Enoch, has fear for it. It is the prison for angels and they will be imprisoned there forever. Chains are prepared for the fallen angels. A vision shows the place of punishment for fallen angels, for the angels who descended to the earth and revealed what was hidden to the children of man and seduced the children of man into committing sin. The archangels Michael and Raphael are astonished at the severity of the judgment. Michael exclaims to Raphael: "Who can endure the severe judgment which has been executed?"

The spirits of the souls of the dead who were put in the underworld or Sheol are assembled there to be received at the day of judgment. The word Sheol is Hebrew and in the Bible is usually translated as (lowest) pit or grave and is there understood as the future home of the wicked. The Book of Enoch describes it as four hollow places, deep and wide and very smooth and dark.

The Elect One, with a head white like wool, shall arise and separate good from evil. Elect and holy children will descend from heaven and their seed will become one with the children of man. The Son of Man shall loosen the reigns of the strong and break the teeth of the sinners. The righteous shall be victorious in the name of the Lord of the Spirits (throughout the book the name for God). The earth will give back what was entrusted to it and Sheol shall also give back that which it received.

The place of judgment is described as an accursed valley near a blessed place with trees with branches abiding and blooming, a holy mountain and a flowing stream. In the valley of the accursed, a deep valley with burning fire, the evil ones shall be gathered, most notably the kings and mighty ones.

The Book of Enoch also mentions the two trees as we know them from the book Genesis. The Tree of Life is on the highest of seven mountains, resembling the seat of a throne and fragrant trees encircling the throne. The Tree of Life is one of these trees with beautiful fruits. The archangel Michael tells that the high mountain is the throne of God where the Great Holy One, the Lord of Glory, the Eternal King will sit when he comes down to visit the earth. No mortal is permitted to touch the fragrant tree until the great judgment. The Tree of Life shall be food to the elect and it shall be transplanted to the temple of the Lord.

The other tree is also beautiful. Raphael tells that it is the tree of wisdom from which Enoch's old father (Adam) and aged mother (Eve) have eaten and they learned wisdom and their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked and driven out from the garden.

Fallen angels


The Book of Enoch describes in many verses the details of the fall of certain angels. These passages may well be a major reason why the book was banned by certain Jewish and Christian groups, who did not believe in the existence of angels.

The book tells us that in the time after Adam and before Noah, fallen angels saw the beautiful daughters of men and they lusted them. Semjaza was their leader. They swore an oath to commit this sin. They were two hundred and descended on the summit of Mount Hermon. The names of the chiefs of these angels are given: Samiazaz, Arakiba, Rameel, Kokabiel, Tamiel, Kokabiel, Danel, Ezeqeel, Baraqijal, Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaqiel, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel.

They angels took wives and went into them. The women became pregnant and gave birth to great giants. The angels taught the women charms and enchantments and the cutting of roots and made them acquainted with plants.

We find similar texts in the Bible, Genesis 6:4: "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown."

And in Numbers 13: 28-33, detailing the reports of Israelite spies into Canaan: "But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan. Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.' But the men who had gone up with him said, 'We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are.' And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, 'The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.'"

Imagination of Nephilim

The Book of Enoch tells about the giants that they devoured mankind and sinned against birds and beasts and reptiles and fish. They also devoured one another's flesh and drank the blood.

The sins of angels and giants apparently has led to the flood in Noah's time. The Book of Enoch says that the angel Uriel went to Noah and told that the whole earth will be destroyed and a deluge will come upon the whole earth and destroy all that is on it. Noah was instructed to escape so that his seed would be preserved.

According to the book, fallen angels brought godlessness and fornication, taught enchantments, root-cuttings, astrology, the constellations, the knowledge of the clouds, the signs of the earth, the course of the moon. There appears to be something like a contradiction here in the book, as we find many parts that are teaching about the constellations and the courses of the sun and the moon.

From several angels the book informs in detail what their sins were.

Azazel taught men to make "swords, and knives, and shields and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids and all kind of costly stones and all coloring tinctures."

Jeqon led astray the sons of God through the daughters of men.

Asbeel gave evil counsel to the holy sons of God and led astray Eve and showed the weapons of death.

Penemue taught about the bitter and the sweet and all the secrets of their wisdom. He also instructed mankind in writing with pen and paper.

Penemue taught the children of men the bitter and the sweet, all the secrets of their wisdom. he instructed mankind in writing with ink and paper

Kasdeja showed "the wicked smitings of spirits and demons, and the smitings of the embryo in the womb that it may pass away and [the smitings of the soul] the bites of the serpent,..."

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