The Book of Enoch
Text: I John 4:1-3
I. I received a letter that objected to a lesson in one of the workbooks posted on our website.
A. There was an explanation of Genesis 6:4 that this person found objectionable.
1. “Sons of God” can refer to angels (Job 1:6) or to the righteous (Hosea 1:10)
2. Some claim angels intermarried with humans to produce giant half-breeds, but Jesus stated that angels do not marry - Mark 12:25
a. Makes sense since angels are spiritual, not physical beings.
3. “Nephilim” does mean “giants” but it can mean giants in stature or giants in fame, as in “he was a giant among men.” Genesis 6:4 tells us which at the end of the verse.
4. Also notice that the Nephilim came first, then the “sons of God” married the “daughters of men.” Most purposely ignore the time order.
5. Thus the conclusion is that righteous people intermarried with worldly people giving the predictable result of less and less godly people in the world, as stated in Genesis 6:5
B. What this person couldn’t believe is that the Book of Enoch was not considered.
1. “Why did the church suppress the Book of Enoch? After all, there are various references to Enoch throughout the Old and New Testament ... There are those who believed all the giant offspring and offspring of the fallen angels were destroyed during the flood. Not true. The Philistines were hybrids, giants i.e. Goliath. As were most of the races that Joshua and Israel had to conquer once Israel were freed from Egypt. The giants never went out of existence, they just went "underground" to return later, now, during these last days. ...”
2. As the letter continued it got worse, showing an inability to separate fantasy from reality. For example, at the end he was claiming that Nephilim were shape-shifters and that the recent X-men movie proves they are making a re-appearance.
C. But I wanted address the question regarding the Book of Enoch. Why was this book rejected as Scripture?
II. The History of the Book of Enoch
A. Listed as a pseudoepigraphal work. i.e. a work with a false author (or written under a pen name).
1. There are a number of these works dating from the time between the Old and New Testament through the first few centuries.
2. It appears to have been a writing fad for a while.
3. People used the names of famous people, such as characters from the Bible, to lend credibility to the work – to make it appear more authentic.
B. Very few people actually believe the book to have been written by Enoch.
1. For it to have existed all those years, it would have had to survive the flood.
2. "I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch, which has assigned this order of action to angels, is not received by some. For it is not admitted into the Jewish canon, either. I suppose they did not think that, having been written before the deluge, it could have safely survived that worldwide calamity, the destroyer of all things. If that is the reason for rejecting it, let them remember that Noah, who survived the deluge, was the great-grandson of Enoch himself ... There is still this consideration to warrant our assertion of the genuineness of this Scripture: [Noah] could equally have rewritten it, under the Spirit's inspiration, if it had been destroyed by the violence of the deluge." [Tertullian, about 198 A.D.]
C. Tertullian admits that the Jews never accepted the Book of Enoch as authentic and that Christians of his time also rejected it.
1. Some apologists for the Book of Enoch state that the book was well known by early Christian writers.
2. True, but they neglect to state that most rejected the book as being from God.
3. Athanasius, Origen, and Jerome all argued against the book being considered Scripture.
4. In fact it appears that only Tertullian and Augustine thought the work was inspired and Augustine waffled on the point.
5. Though the Roman Catholic Church added twelve books to their Old Testament, this book wasn’t considered – likely because of the early rejection.
D. Actually, there are several books that go by the name “The Book of Enoch”
1. Most refer to copies of a book found in 1773 in Ethiopia.
2. These copies are a translation of a Greek text that was in turn a translation of an Aramaic or Hebrew text.
3. Small fragments of this large book were found among the Dead Sea scrolls
a. Parts of chapter 2, verses 12-14 and chapter 3 verse 13-16
b. But the book has 108 chapters.
c. There were also other documents which cited portions of the Book of Enoch, showing that the book existed.
d. But with such small amount of text, it must be emphasized that we don’t know how the complete book of Enoch read in Aramaic.
4. Most scholars date the book to between 300 B.C. and 100 B.C.
5. Larger portions of the book survived in Greek, but again, not nearly the whole. They also date from a later period (after the church was founded).
6. The only whole version are the Ethiopian translations.
a. A comparison of the Ethiopian translations to the Aramaic and Greek fragments show the Ethiopian translation is fairly, but not entirely, accurate.
E. Most scholars note that the Book of Enoch, as it currently exists, is a disjointed work.
1. It doesn’t have a unifying flow, such as would be found in the writings of one author.
2. It is generally agreed to be a composition of several works by multiple authors, but exactly who wrote which portions is heavily debated.
III. Why are people interested in the Book of Enoch?
A. Jude 14-15
1. Notice that Jude doesn’t state he is quoting from a writing of Enoch
2. Since multiple Enochs are mentioned in the Bible, he clarifies which one he is quoting.
B. How could Jude know what Enoch said 4,000 years later?
1. Jude is inspired, so therefore the obvious answer is that God told him - I Corinthians 2:12-13
2. Same reason how Moses, ascribed to be the recorder of Genesis, was able to write words of people who lived hundreds of years before him.
C. Enoch 1:9: “And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all, and to destroy all the ungodly: and to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
1. People get all excited by this line. Jude must be quoting from the Book of Enoch!
2. Note that the quote is not a literal reproduction, even allowing for multiple translations.
3. Jude says God will judge all and convict the ungodly among them.
4. The Book of Enoch says God is judging all and will convict all of their ungodliness. Not quite the same.
D. Is the Ethiopian copies a bad translation? Then can we trust the rest?
E. Do we say Jude is bad at quoting? Then it wouldn’t be an inspired book and then what happens to the support for the Book of Enoch?
F. Did the Book of Enoch record Jewish oral tradition and Jude supplied the correct quote? If it was from oral tradition, then it is amazing that the Israelites managed to preserve the statement that close to accurate for so long.
G. Interestingly, none of the fragments, Aramaic or Greek, contain Enoch 1:9.
1. The only version to have it are the Ethiopian copies.
2. There is insufficient evidence whether the phrase is in the original Book of Enoch or whether a person knowledgeable of Christianity “enhanced” an older version.
H. Because the quote in Jude is unstable evidence, people have tried to prop up their cause by stating that the New Testament is filled with allusions to the Book of Enoch.
1. By this, they mean that they compiled a set of catch phrases and conclude that books using similar catch phrases must come from the Book of Enoch.
2. For example, several cited the use of the phrase “son of man.”
a. But this phrase is used heavily in Ezekiel.
b. It is used in the Psalms a few times in reference to the Messiah
3. A person trying to forge the biblical style will of course use wording similar to the Bible. However, it doesn’t serve as proof. You can’t conclude who borrowed from whom.
IV. Could the Book of Enoch be Scripture?
A. If the date of 300 B.C. to 100 B.C. is correct, then it comes during the years of silence.
1. Amos 8:11-12 - God said He would stop talking to the Israelites.
2. Micah 3:5-7 - It was because of all the false prophets. It would prove who was true and who was false.
3. Malachi was the last Old Testament prophet. Until the coming of John and Jesus, prophecy disappeared.
a. The Jews knew this.
b. I Maccabees 9:27: “So there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them.”
c. I Maccabees 14:41: “The Jews and their priests have resolved that Simon should be their leader and high priest forever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise.”
4. If the Book of Enoch was written in the years of silence, then it follows that it could not have been an inspired book because no prophets existed.
B. Could it have been truly written by Enoch?
1. This would make it the oldest piece of Scripture – long predating the writings of Moses.
2. But there is not one mention of the Book in the Old Testament. Nothing until the years of silence.
3. How could ancient writing of God disappear? Would God have allowed it?
4. Psalm 119:152 - God’s words are forever.
5. Isaiah 40:8 - God’s words do not fade away.
6. Matthew 5:17-18 - Jesus stated that not the smallest mark of the Old Testament would disappear before it is fulfilled.
7. Yet the Book of Enoch apparently was gone for thousands of years, showed up for a few hundred years and then disappeared again for another 1,500 years or so. This isn’t what God said about His word!
C. If it was written during the years of silence, then it’s claim to be written by Enoch is a falsehood.
1. John 17:17 - God’s word is truth
2. II Timothy 3:16 - Scripture comes from the breath of God
3. I Corinthians 2:12-13 - God gives the very words
4. Titus 1:2 - God cannot lie
5. Thus God would not record a message under a false name, nor would there ever have been a need to do so. God doesn’t need the reputation of Enoch to enhance His message!
D. Does it match the Bible?
1. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 - God’s messages are always consistent.
2. Time line wrong
a. Using Genesis 5, we know that Enoch was born about 622 years after the creation. He lived 365 years before God took him - Genesis 5:23-24
b. Enoch 107:2-3 (Enoch speaking to Methuselah): “'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.”
c. Noah was born about 1056 years after the creation, 69 years after Enoch left the earth!
d. According to the Bible, this event could not have happened!
3. Knowledge about angels wrong
a. The Book of Enoch has angels marrying earthly women (chapter 6)
b. Mark 12:25 - Angels don’t marry
4. Knowledge about the origin of sin is wrong
a. The Book of Enoch states that the intermixing of angel and human seed created sin and the angels spread sin by teaching forbidden topics to men. Lamech is told to hide so that his pure seed could be preserved. God would then wipe the world with a flood, thus removing sin (chapter 8-10).
b. I John 3:4 - Sin comes from breaking the law
c. Romans 5:12 - Sin began when one man broke God’s law and continued because all sin
d. By the way, the questioner’s statement that the mixed seed was not completely wiped out by the flood contradicts both the Bible and the Book of Enoch. Only eight people were saved and the Book of Enoch says that none of the mixed race survived. In fact they were supposed to have wiped themselves out before the flood in some epic battle.)
5. Knowledge of the realm of the dead is wrong
a. The Book of Enoch states that the grave is divided into four realms:
(1) Righteous martyrs, such as Abel
(2) The righteous who were not martyrs
(3) Sinners who died without suffering the consequences of their sins
(4) Sinners who died after suffering from the consequences of their sins.
b. Of the last group, it says, “but their spirits shall not be slain in the day of judgment nor shall they be raised from thence” (Enoch 22:13)
c. Luke 16:19-31 shows hades divided into two states.
d. John 5:28-29 - All the dead, good and bad will be judged
e. Acts 24:15 - This was Paul’s hope, a resurrection of the just and unjust
E. It has internal contradictions
1. Enoch 6:7-8 gives a list of 19 angels who lead the fall of man.
2. Enoch 69:2-3 gives a list of 21 angels who were supposed to be the same group. Not only are there more names, the names are almost completely different!
3. God could not be behind such a book!
V. The Book of Enoch is the product of man
A. It was rightly rejected as uninspired writing.