A BRIEF LOOK AT THE BOOK OF ENOCH
The Book of Enoch has been attributed to the prophet Enoch mentioned in Genesis chapter 5, Hebrews chapter 11, and Jude chapter 1. The Holy Scriptures mentions two Enochs. The first Enoch was the eldest son of Cain, who built a city east of Eden in the land of Nod, and called it “after the name of his son Enoch.” This is the first “city” mentioned in Scripture. The second Enoch was the son of Jared, and father of Methuselah. The second Enoch wrote the Book of Enoch, according to the oral and written traditions.
Enoch’s father was one hundred and sixty-two years old when he was born. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch “walked with God three hundred years,” when he was translated without experiencing physical death. His whole life on Earth was three hundred and sixty-five years. He was the “seventh from Adam”, as distinguished from the son of Cain, the third from Adam. He is spoken of in the catalogue of Old Testament worthies in the Epistle to the Hebrews. When he was translated, only Adam, so far as recorded, had as yet died a natural death, and Noah was not yet born. Mention is made of Enoch’s prophesying only in Jude 1:14.
The Book of Enoch is a collection of apocalyptic writings the lengthiest work included in the Pseudepigrapha. The book is ascribed pseudonymously to the Hebrew patriarch Enoch. It is also called the Ethiopic Enoch, because it is preserved in its entirety only in Ethiopic, a Semitic language formerly spoken in Ethiopia. This book is a collection of distinct sections written by different authors at various times during the Second and First centuries BC. Scholars have concluded that the original collection was written either in Hebrew or in Aramaic. Soon afterward, it was translated into Greek. The Ethiopic translation is thought to have been made from the Greek about AD 500. Portions of the Ethiopic Enoch survive in Greek, Latin, and Aramaic, the last discovered at Qumrân, in Jordan.
The book consists of seven sections. The first section introduces the underlying theme of the book, God’s coming judgment. The second section recounts the plight of the fallen angels and Enoch’s journey into the places of final punishment and reward. The third section predicts the coming of the Messiah, who will pronounce judgment on all angels and humans. It also describes the future heavenly kingdom of God. The fourth section contains revelations about the heavenly bodies-for example, the disorders that will occur among them when the last evil days are at hand. The fifth section contains Enoch’s visions of a flood sent to punish the world for its wickedness and of the establishment afterward of the messianic kingdom. The sixth section consoles the righteous, admonishing them to remain faithful, and condemns the unjust, predicting their end. In this section, all human history is divided by Enoch into ten unequal weeks (symbolizing ten epochs), each one characterized by a special person or event-for example, the fourth week is typified by Moses; the seventh week, by a universal degeneration. In the tenth, and culminating, week, the old heaven is to be replaced by a new and eternal one. The final section speaks again of the flood, of the recurrence afterward of wickedness, and of the punishments and rewards to come when the Messiah establishes his reign.
The early Christians esteemed the Book of Enoch highly; it is quoted in the book of Jude, verses 14 and 15. Except for these infrequent references to it, however, little was known about the work until three complete manuscripts in Ethiopic were discovered in northeastern Africa in the late 18th century. Like other apocalyptic writings, the Book of Enoch describes the vindication of the persecuted righteous by divine judgment; the primordial rebellion of the angels is reflected in the oppression of the poor by the rich and mighty. This emphasis on the distinction between the righteous and the sinners suggests that the book originated with the Qumrân community, although certain characteristic traits of the Qumrân writings-references to the Jerusalem temple, a pronounced dualism, and use of the term elect-are all absent.
ANALYSIS OF ENOCH’S BOOK
The Book of Enoch is an elaboration of the history of fallen angels and Nephilim giants found in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 6:4). The Book of Enoch focuses on the fallen angels and their creation of the Nephilim. The Nephilim were an early group of gigantic human hybrid race, mentioned in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. The Greek
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