Book of Enoch Rebuke
A fable that has become rather popular in modern times is the (so called) Book of Enoch. This book is written in the name of the Genesis character who is in the direct lineage between Adam and Noah (not the other Genesis character named Enoch who was Cain’s son). The writing called the Book of Enoch is a work of sensationalized fiction which attempts to elaborate on the Biblical narrative, supposedly providing a deeper, more elaborate, behind the scenes account of what is contained in the Bible. Some would even point to a quote from Enoch in the Book of Jude to justify the Book of Enoch’s authenticity (and to perhaps also even say that it should be included in the Bible).
In analyzing such a claim, it is necessary to understand that the Jews in Jesus Christ’s time had an established canon (i.e. a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine). Even right in the midst of a very harsh rebuke of the vast majority of Jews for their superficial adherence to God’s Word and their uncircumcised hearts, the Apostle Paul spoke of the great spiritual advantage of having God’s Word which belonged to the Jew. In stating this, he saw no need to dispute the Jewish canon’s accuracy and reliability. He is basically saying that though the Jews generally don’t heed their own Scriptures from the heart, they did indeed have the Scriptures committed to them, that this was a great spiritual advantage, and there is no dispute that what the first century Jews regarded as God’s Word is indeed God’s Word (no additions, no subtractions).
Romans 3:1-2: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
The Jews then did not regard the Book of Enoch as Scripture. They did not regard any of the Apocryphal books as Scripture either. They regarded the very same books as Scripture that Christians regard as the Old Testament (except that in many cases the Jews condensed more than one of these Old Testament books into a single book). Of the multitude of things which Jesus severely rebuked and contended with the Jews over (especially the Jewish leaders), one thing which He never disputed was the list of books which the Jews accepted as being inspired by God. Jesus even implied the accuracy of the Jewish canon right as He gave one of His most scathing rebukes to the Jews.
Matthew 23:29-36: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.”
This basic rebuke was also given by Jesus at another point in Luke 11:47-51. And in mentioning the last righteous man killed in the Jewish Scriptures (Zacharias the son of Barachias), this was a reference to the Book of Chronicles. The 1st century Jewish canon (including all the same books as the Old Testament yet it in a different order) began with the Book of Genesis and would have ended with the Book of Chronicles (which we know as the Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles). Jesus is thus affirming the list of books in the Hebrew Bible, which the Jews would have called the Tanakh. Jesus would often say that He was upholding the Scriptures in everything He taught and that He was fulfilling them in His mission of redeeming man to God from his sins. In all of His references to the Jewish Scriptures, Jesus never saw the need to correct the Jews’ definition of the books which define Scripture.
Matthew 5:17-18: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
Luke 24:44-47: “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
There is also no evidence that the Apostles of Christ regarded the Book of Enoch as Scripture. Yet in considering this, there is something that must particularly be addressed. And that would be the reference to Enoch in the Book of Jude from a quote which is featured in the Book of Enoch.
Jude 14-15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Just because this quote which Jude cites is in the Book of Enoch does not mean that Jude regards the book of Enoch as authoritative. One reason for this is that when Jesus and the Apostles cited Scripture, they would usually say things like “It is written” or some other phrase to express an appeal to God’s Word. Very nearly every book in the Old Testament was cited, or alluded to, at least once like this in the New Testament. Yet Jude does not do this with the Book of Enoch. Jude actually doesn’t make reference to the particular Book of Enoch at all, though he gives a quote which is featured in the book. At the very most, Jude was citing one true statement from the Book of Enoch to make a point. That would be no different than how the Apostle Paul quoted heathen poets to make a point, or no different than how someone now might cite a well-known quote, that is not from the Bible, to help illustrate a Biblical truth. And it also does not seem unlikely to me that the phrase which Jude quotes from the Biblical patriarch Enoch was something which oral tradition accurately regarded the Biblical Enoch as saying. Whoever then forged the Book of Enoch, around the 2nd or 3rd century BC, could very well have taken this phrase, which the Biblical Enoch actually said, and incorporated that into the forgery which is known now as the Book of Enoch. Regardless, Jude certainly does not give this quote as if he was quoting from the Hebrew Bible. Jude never even mentions, let alone endorses, the book which we know as the Book of Enoch. And it is even possible that many of the ungodly false Christian teachers, whom Jude is rebuking, were using the Book of Enoch to turn people away from the Word of God and its truths. Jude then could be taking this particular true statement in the Book of Enoch and turning it against these false teachers who were subtly denying that living ungodly will surely cause one to be judged and condemned by God in His wrath (and you just have to read the Book of Jude in its entirety to know that Jude wrote his epistle to confront the denial of this truth by subtle false teachers who had subtly crept into Christian assemblies).
And it does make sense that the ungodly would be drawn to a book like the Book of Enoch. It is sensationalistic entertainment which has the potential to provide some with a sense of attainment of (supposedly) hidden spiritual knowledge. And things that people find entertaining, and which provide a feeling of spiritual enlightenment (especially without actually confronting people with the true God and His requirements) would scratch the itching ears of many who want to feel good instead of supremely wanting what is true no matter how it makes them feel (and we should supremely want what is true no matter how it makes us feel).
The Apostle Paul gave Timothy the following admonition in 2 Timothy 4:1-4: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Paul had just prior to this spoken of the need to follow the Scriptures and of their total sufficiency. Paul implicitly said again here that the Scriptures recognized by the Jews do indeed sum up God’s inspired Word from pre-Christian times.
2 Timothy 3:14-17: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is 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.”
Jesus affirmed in John 17:17 that God’s Word is truth. Anything then which turns from the truth is evil. And closely related to that, adding and/or subtracting from God’s Word will result in an insufficient and wrong view of God. And adding to the Scriptures will surely leave a person with a false and degraded view of God where He is seen as something other than He actually is. There is nothing more dangerous than that.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
And Isaiah 8:20 says: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
I’ve heard it speculated that the Catholic Church is suppressing the Book of Enoch because the book is a threat to its power. My reaction to that is that if the Catholic Church was really eliminating books from the Bible which ought to be in it, then why hasn’t it eliminated the multitude of things which are indeed in the Bible which oppose its teachings? Anyone who just reads the Bible and doesn’t heed the extra Biblical Catholic tradition can see that the Catholic sacraments, ministered through the Catholic Priests, appointed through the Catholic hierarchy culminating in the Pope, is not something anyone needs to get to heaven. It is rather an alternate authority to Jesus Christ which offers an alternate justification system to the one set forth and prescribed by God’s Word in the Bible. Since this has not stopped the Catholic Church from having the power, influence, and wealth which it has accumulated, then putting the Book of Enoch into the Catholic Bible would surely not stop that either. Extra Biblical tradition, extra Biblical authority, and extra Biblical writings (the Catholic Church now recognizes many Apocryphal books) are actually at the foundation of the Catholic Church’s apostasy and key ingredients of its power.
To understand and come in line with the books of the Bible, the Scriptures given before and after Christ came (i.e. the Old and the New Testaments) is a sobering, earth-shaking pursuit which will turn one’s world upside down when they actually pursue it wholeheartedly as their principal intention. True faith in Christ must involve turning to Him and coming under the authority of His Word, being surrendered to the discipline of observing whatsoever His Word commands (i.e. being Christ’s disciple). Yet when there is resistance to truth by attachment to sin and any refusal to follow the Bible’s instructions, then that is unbelief in Christ and blatantly going down the broad road to damnation. And when people recognize alternate authority to His Word, then they have an alternate faith opposed to authentic Christianity which inevitably will not lead them down Christ’s narrow way to eternal life. It is essential then to rebuke and oppose pseudo-graphical books like the Book of Enoch and the Apocryphal books (which are not Scripture for the same basic reasons that the Book of Enoch is not- none were quoted as authoritative by Christ and the Apostles, none were not recognized as authoritative by the Jews of Jesus and the Apostle’s time, their authorship is unknown or dubious, and they are full of foolishness like the Book of Enoch is).
Whoever wrote the Book of Enoch was obviously familiar with the Biblical Prophets who came long after the Biblical person of Enoch was gone. There is even a reference to Mount Sinai in the very first chapter of the book which is obviously a reference to Moses’ time, even though Moses came thousands of years after the Biblical person of Enoch. Many other obvious references to Biblical prophecies, prophecies which came even later than Moses, are seen throughout the Book of Enoch also. And the Book of Enoch’s later sections even give stories related to Israel’s history which deal with things which happened even after the last books of the Old Testament were written. And that is why it is reasonable to believe, like many scholars do, that it was written around the 2nd or 3rd century B.C. There is even a passage in the book which seems to clearly say that Enoch himself is the Messiah (comparing 1 Enoch 71:13-14 with 1 Enoch 46:2-3). This book is a forgery which the Biblical person of Enoch would be ashamed of.
I recently heard a proponent of the Book of Enoch talking about how appealing it is due to how it portrays fallen angels as the great culprits which were the ultimate reason God destroyed the earth by a flood. She seemed to find this to be a wonderful thing about the book. She went on to say how the Book of Enoch thus challenges the common view of the flood- the view that God is wrathful against man and that He sent the flood in His wrath over man’s wickedness. However, whatever role fallen angels may or may not have had in corrupting the earth before the flood, God did indeed send the flood in His wrath against man. In reading Genesis chapter 6, it is clear that it is man whom God is grieved about and it is man whom the judgment of the flood was intended for.
The very saying which Jude did acknowledge as coming from Enoch (the righteous man, not the book attributed to him) was spoken as a guarantee of God’s wrath coming on all who are ungodly before Him in word and/or deed. You can take that to the bank. And those who don’t wholeheartedly give heed to what God actually spoke and walk in that light are not going to be ready to meet Him when the time of His wrath has come.
1 Timothy 1:3-4: “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”
Jeremiah 23:16-29: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]