Conversations about books of the Bible sometimes lead to weird books, like the book of Enoch. When was the book written? Was it even written by Enoch? Here is what you need to know.
Who Was Enoch in the Bible?
There are two Enochs in the Bible. The first Enoch is the son of Cain, mentioned in Genesis 4. Cain is the son of Adam and the brother of Abel. Cain killing Abel is the first recorded murder or homicide. In verse seventeen, “Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.”
We read about a second Enoch in Genesis 5. Enoch is the son of Jared, who is the son of Mahalaleel. Mahalaleel is the son of Cainan who was the son of Enos who was the son of Seth. Seth was the son of Adam. So, Enoch was Adam’s great, great, great, great-grandson.
At age 65, Enoch had a son named Methuselah. Afterward, Enoch walked with God for 300 more years and had children. Then, Enoch was not. God took Enoch to heaven. Enoch did not die. He was raptured up.
Enoch’s son Methuselah was the oldest living man who lived to be 969 years old (Genesis 5:26). Enoch is the great-grandfather of Noah. God commissioned Noah to build an ark before the flood that destroyed all humanity and animals except those in the ark (Genesis 6-9). Noah also walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
Enoch is one of two people listed in the Bible who God took and did not die. The other is Elijah, who God took to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Elijah knew he would leave this earth dramatically.
What Happens in the Book of Enoch?
The book of Enoch is an ancient Hebrew apocalyptic religious text. There are three books of Enoch, their contents discussing demons, giants, angels, and why the flood was morally necessary. None of the books of Enoch are included in the traditional Christian Bible. For this article’s purposes, we will focus on the first book of Enoch.
Some translations of the book of Enoch are easier to follow than others. Enoch 1 is consistent with the fall of the watchers, or angels, as referenced in Genesis 6:1-2: “The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair and took them as wives.” Even though this element may be consistent with some references in the Bible, this does not necessarily mean it is inspired Scripture. Many writers often allude to events that are true to reel people in or to give their writing credibility.
The book of Enoch goes on to describe the fallen angels having children with the daughters of man, thus creating giants. Much wickedness comes from the giants (along with other sins mentioned in the book, such as witchcraft).
Enoch 1 also describes dialogues between God and different angels, like Raphael and Gabriel, who are charged to help execute judgment. The book of Enoch lists about 200 fallen angels.
The Bible refers to Lucifer’s fall from heaven in Isaiah 14:12, and Revelation 12:4 describes the dragon (Satan) and his tail drawing a third of the stars from heaven. Based on these two scenes, many Christians believe Satan took a third of the angels with him when he was banished from heaven. However, the Bible doesn’t specify whether that third of the angels was 200 angels or a different number.
It is worth noting that the closest the Bible gives to an exact number of angels in heaven is in Revelation 5:11:
“I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.”
If this is a literal summary of all the angels in heaven, that would make the angel population at least one hundred million (ten thousand times ten thousand), not to mention the thousands of thousands.
The book of Enoch doesn’t only talk about fallen angels. It also describes good angels—archangels like Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel, who keep watch. There are discussions about how humanity would have had eternal life by eating from the Tree of Life.
Lastly, the book of Enoch talks about Noah. Noah is described as being born with white hair, which makes Lamech initially unsure if Noah is truly his son. Noah is described as having a bright disposition, so much so that he blesses the Lord when he is born. Methuselah seeks out Enoch for advice about the child. Enoch reveals that Noah is truly Lamech’s son and that Noah and his three sons will be spared when the earth is destroyed. Again, this passage contains elements that match the Bible with unverified and legendary material. The Bible tells us that Noah found grace with God (Genesis 6:8) and told Noah that He was going to destroy the earth because of the wickedness on the earth. He gave Noah instructions on making the ark and who God would spare on the ark. However, the Bible never describes Noah as having white hair or any of the superhuman features he is depicted as having in the book of Enoch.
When Was the Book of Enoch Written?
Historians put the book of Enoch’s composition date sometime between 300 and 200 B.C. This places it as being written between the Old and New Testaments (The KJV Study Bible, Barbour Publishing 2011). The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the book is a collection of many pieces, so some parts are older than others. There is much speculation about who authored the book—since it has many pieces, it probably has many authors. Regardless, there is no factual evidence that Enoch was the actual author. The fact that the book was written only a couple hundred years before Jesus was born makes it extremely unlikely that anything in it could be from the real Enoch.
Which Bible Writers Mention the Book of Enoch?
Jude, the brother of James, mentions the book of Enoch in his letter in the New Testament. Jude 14-15 reads, “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.”
Again, the fact that the book of Enoch may get one or two things correct doesn’t necessarily mean all of it is correct. The fact that Jude quotes the book of Enoch makes that particular passage accurate, but not necessarily the whole book.
Why Isn’t the Book of Enoch Considered Scripture?
Biblical scholars do not consider The book of Enoch to be Scripture. A book must be considered God’s inspired and written Word to qualify as Scripture. Those books fit into the Scripture canon, which has a long history of being accepted as accurate, true, and authoritative teaching. Various features define the Biblical canon. For example, they need to have teachings that fit the accepted books of the Bible. They also need to be books that the early church consistently accepted. For more on this, read “What Are the Apocryphal Books and Do They Belong in the Bible?”
The Bible collects all the texts that meet canonical tests. It includes the Old Testament books that Jesus accepted as Scripture and the books that his first generation of followers wrote (which make up the New Testament). The third Council of Carthage ratified these books around A.D. 397. There are one or two fringe groups that include extra books like the book of Enoch in their collection of Scripture. Throughout history, the rest of the church has been very consistent in what books they consider Scripture.
The Bible is the revelation of God to humanity, 66 books that work together to tell one story from one author.
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Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith is a Christian and wife to Sylvester Smith. She has one stepson, Greg. Smith lives and resides in Memphis, Tennessee. The University of Memphis alumnae has been in education for about 20 years after receiving the call to teach. Dr. Smith primarily teaches language arts. Prior to education, she worked in local and national television news for 13 years including positions as an overnight news anchor, reporter, and assignments editor at two local network affiliate stations. Smith was also a freelance correspondent for BET news. Dr. Smith has freelanced for the Tri-State Defender newspaper and Contempora magazine. She is the author of the self-published novel GLORY…THE HAIR. Smith is also a playwright and poet. The Tennessee native is a member of Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Golden Key International Honour Society, and Kappa Delta Pi.
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