What Did Early Christians Think
The first Book Of Enoch
The Book Of Enoch In the Bible
The argument about including Enoch in the Bible goes back to the first century AD, and many argued for and against the book being the inspired word of God and therefore scripture, but first things first, let’s get definitions out of the way. When in this article I mention or talk about the Book of Enoch, 1an ancient Hebrew apocalyptic religious text, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch contains unique material on the origins of demons and giants, why some angels fell from heaven, an explanation of why the Great Flood was a moral necessity, and prophetic exposition of the thousand-year reign of the Messiah. The older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) of the text are estimated to date from about 300–200 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to 100 BC I am referring to what is known as The First Book of Enoch. There are other “Books of Enoch”, but the First Book of Enoch is what is being discussed here, as it is the only Book of Enoch of the Second Temple2between 516 BCE and 70AD Jewish Period.
It should come as no surprise to you that first-century Christians, as well as later periods of Christianity, were very familiar with the Book of Enoch, even the early Church Fathers were very familiar with the Book of Enoch as well. Some erroneously believe that the Book of Enoch and other Books were removed from the Bible by the Roman Church at the Council of Nicea, the Council of Nicea had nothing to do with what was church canon as far as to do with what books were and were not to be included in the scriptures, perhaps that will be a future article.
New Testament Authors
It evident that the Book of Enoch was important during the Second Temple Period. Among the dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Enoch Seemed to be a favorite amongst the Essenes as both Aramaic and Greek fragments were very numerous. Then take into consideration that New Testament writers either presupposed the Book of Enoch or utilized its content in their writings, specifically Peter and Jude particularly, but not exclusively. Many may overlook the watcher’s story of Enoch in the New Testament theology, so the early Christian reader, especially that of Jewish background would have been familiar with their source material. The Book of Enoch was not some esoteric hidden writing, anyone educated had the book accessible to them.
Did Jews Accept The Book Of Enoch
Im sure this will surprise many people, but during the Second Temple period, there were some Jews who looked at the figure of Enoch (and therefore this material that bared his name on it) was more important to the revolution to the believing community than the Torah, so, therefore, Enoch trumped Moses in status.
The Book of Jubilees is an account of God giving Moses a revelation on Mount Sinai, the book begins in the third person account with God warning Moses that the Israelites will become apostate and eventually repent. The Book then shifts into the first person with an angel giving Moses an account of all that has happened since the creation of man till the Israelites arrive at Mount Sinai and so Jubalies is a rewrite of Genesis one through Exodus 19. The Book of Jubilees is believed to be dated somewhere between 150 and 200 BC.
So this is a book that shows that during the Second Temple period that Jews were ok with expanding and building on to the Torah, even though it was not considered canonical, it was acceptable to do so. And in some of the texts of Jubilees, you actually have the First Book of Enoch material, which is why it sounds Enochian to those who’ve read both books. In Galatians 3 and 4, especially Galatians 3:19 “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.” But whos transgression was it? The book of Enoch informs the reader on this, If you assume that Paul had in mind the transgression of the watchers and read this it comes all to clear about the identity of who transgressed and why the law was given. And the Book of Jubilees also brings this Enochian material into its rewrite of the Torah.
One should remember, there was not one single Judaism but several different Judaisms during the Second Temple period. here’s a mental exercise. Jesus condemned both the Pharisees and the Sadducees, two prominent sects of Judaism, Which sect did he not criticize? A sect that had Enochian material, a sect that believed both Pharisees and the Sadducees, had corrupted the temple and the Torah? Now Im not saying as fact that Jesus was of the Essenes, but it would make sense. Qumran was an Essene monastery, but there were communities of Essenes
The Church Fathers On encluding Enoch In The Bible
SO, the question is. Were any of the Church Fathers in favor of including Enoch in the Bible? Well, I guess if none were in favor I wouldn’t be writing this article. Some Church Fathers believed it should, and there was much discussion and debate about it being inspired or not. The Church fathers eventually said no and the book was then forgotten for hundreds of years. Only the Ethiopian Church kept it and made it part of their canon. But let’s see what early Christian documents and some of the church fathers said about the book of Enoch
The Epistle of Barnabas
The Epistle of Barnabas is dated to 70 AD and 130 AD, It is not known who wrote the book, or if it was The Barnabus written about in the gospels, but this is the earliest Christian source that cites the First Book of Enoch as scripture and Pro inclusion of Enoch in the Bible. Of course, Jude and Peter are older sources, and they definitely draw material from the Book of Enoch but they do not have opening lines like “for the scripture says” and then directly quote the Book of Enoch, or “as it is written” and quotes Enoch.
Helmut Koester3Helmut Heinrich Koester (December 18, 1926 – January 1, 2016) was a German-born American scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School. His research was primarily in the areas of New Testament interpretation, history of early Christianity, and archaeology of the early Christian period. considers the Epistle to be earlier than the Gospel of Matthew: in his Introduction to the New Testament he says of the author of the Epistle: “It cannot be shown that he knew and used the Gospels of the New Testament. On the contrary, what Barnabas presents here is from ‘the school of the evangelists’. This demonstrates how the early Christian communities paid special attention to the exploration of the Scripture in order to understand and tell the suffering of Jesus. Barnabas still represents the initial stages of the process that is continued in the Gospel of Peter, later in Matthew and is completed in Justin Martyr.
In his second apology written4 around 150 AD presumes the watcher story, that cohabitated with human women. According to Justin, it is the fallen angels and demons who incite such hatred and evil against the people of God – the ones who know the Son of God and have responded by faith to the Word of God. This view accords with the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch), which Justin viewed as scripture. These demons are the spirits of those offspring born through the union of fallen angels and women before the Flood and who were destroyed by the Flood. They control humans through magic arts, libations, and such intimidating systems that hold people in bondage. They are exercised by the Christians from people in the Name of Jesus.
Justin never comes out and says Enoch is inspired, but the fact that he picks the Jewish version of the book of Enoch and the watchers over other versions of why the world was the way it was, and over the greek version shows clearly he believed the Book of Enoch was superior and was the true reason for the fallen world and that the book of Enoch as authoritative.
Irenaeus 5139 – 180 BC, again, very familiar with the watcher story. In the tenth chapter of what is called Irenaeus against Heresies, writes:
“the church though dispersed throughout the whole world, even unto the ends of the earth have received from the apostles and their disciples this faith, she believes in one god the father all mighty the maker of heaven and earth, and the sea and all that is in them, and one Christ, Jesus who is the son of God who became incarnate for our salvation, and the holy spirit who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of god and the advents and of the birth of a virgin and the passion, and the restriction from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord and his future manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father to gather into all things one. And to raise up in new flesh the whole of the human race in order that Christ Jesus our Lord and god and savior and king according to the will of the invisible father that every knee should bow, of things in heaven and thinking earth and under the earth and that every tongue should confess to him and that he should execute just judgment towards all that he may send spiritual wickedness and the angels who transgressed and became apostates together with the ungodly and unrighteous and wicked and profane among man into everlasting fire”Irenaeus
Throughout this he quotes prases of scripture, summarizing doctrines of the church with these phrases, then he adds “and the angels who transgressed” This is an Enochian phrase from the first book of Enoch, This takes us back to the lake of fire in Enoch and connects to the watchers. Where does anyone get “angels who transgressed” from any book in the old testament? It is found In the Book of Enoch.
Tertullian6Latin in full Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus, (born c. 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia]—died after 220, Carthage), important early Christian theologian, polemicist, and moralist who, as the initiator of ecclesiastical Latin, was instrumental in shaping the vocabulary and thought of Western Christianity. is probably the most outspoken proponent of inclusion of the First Book of Enoch in the Bible, in his work called ‘on the apparel of women” he outright calls the first book of Enoch scripture and defends its status using 2 timothy 3:16. In his work, “on the apparel of women,” he writes
“I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch, which has assigned this order (of action) to angels, is not received by some, because it is not admitted into the Jewish canon either. I suppose they did not think that having been published before the deluge, it could have safely survived that world-wide calamity, the abolisher of all things.
If that is the reason (for rejecting it), let them recall to their memory that Noah, the survivor of the deluge, was the great-grandson of Enoch himself; and he, of course, had heard and remembered, from domestic renown and hereditary tradition, concerning his own great-grandfather’s grace in the sight of God, and concerning all his preachings; since Enoch had given no other charge to Methuselah than that he should hand on the knowledge of them to his posterity.
Noah therefore, no doubt, might have succeeded in the trusteeship of (his) preaching; or, had the case been otherwise, he would not have been silent alike concerning the disposition (of things) made by God, his Preserver, and concerning the particular glory of his own house.”Tertullian on the apparel of women
Need I say more? Follow the link and read this work, it is worth the time to get into his head, he mentions Enoch several times, His rant against decorating doors is very informative.
Origen, or Origen Adamantius7c. 185 – c. 254 is kinda all over the place on his stance on including Book of Enoch in the Bible. He is for, then against, then for again only to be ambivalent about it in the end. Origen does however In De Principiis, names and quotes Enoch as “Holy Scripture” and notes that the church did not accept the several other books called “Enoch” were at all “divine” (Against Celsus). However, Enoch is missing in the quotation of a canonical list from Eusebius’s Church History attributed to Origen.
Have I proven my case for the inclusion of the Book of Enoch in the Bible? Absolutely not. The argument for the inclusion of the Book of Enoch in the bible has been going on for nearly two millennia now. And only the Ethiopian church has included the Book of Enoch in the Bible. It shouldn’t really be about is the Book of Enoch scripture or not, but does have a place in the church? I believe we should include the Book of Enoch in the bible for several reasons, first being those early church fathers fought so hade to include the book of Enoch in the Bible. Furthermore, I would ask these questions, and if the answer is yes, then I think we should include the Book of Enoch in the Bible.
Does the Book of Enoch Point To The Christ?
1 Enoch 1:9 Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him.
This is confirmed by John
John 5:22-23: “For the Father judgeth no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which has sent him.”
John 14:6-7 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: NO MAN comes unto the Father, BUT BY ME. If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from henceforth you know him, and have seen him.”
John 5:26-27 “For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself; And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”1 Enoch 1:9
Does The Book Of Enoch Agree With The Return Of The Christ?
Enoch gives us quite important “elements” that will accompany the arrival of the Holy Judge.
- Eternal God, The Judge will come in the company of His host and saints.
- Holy and Great God will reveal Himself in the power of his power.
- During the coming of the Eternal God, there will be unprecedented cataclysms that have never happened before!
- The Holy and the Great God, by his coming, will scare the inhabitants of the earth and the Watchers (angels – fallen)
Matthew 24:27-31 “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and is seen even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”Matthew 24:27-31
Jesus himself testifies that
during the coming, there will be unprecedented phenomena like supernatural cataclysms
He, testifies that he will come with great power and glory!
He also testifies that he will come with his angels, whom he will send to gather their chosen ones
He further testifies that peoples will complain when he comes again, which is not a sign of joy but the opposite!
Revelation 19:11-16 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, he judges and makes war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that NO MAN knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth proceeds a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he has on his vesture and on his thigh, a name is written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.Revelation 19:11-16
John testifies that Jesus will come with a host of angels
John testifies to the glory and majesty of Jesus as God because he is called titles belonging to God Himself – King of kings and Lord of Lords!
John testifies that the one sitting on the horse is the judge
The Prophet Joel And Isaiah Also Confirms This
Joel 3:12-17 “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the nations roundabout. Put you in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall you know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”
Joel 2:30-31 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”
Isaiah 24:17-23 “Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that comes up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage, and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients GLORIOUSLY.”
Isaiah 30:27-30 “Behold, the name of the LORD comes from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. You shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goes with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.”
And finally I give you this to answer this question
1 There I beheld the Ancient of days, whose head was like white wool, and with him another, whose countenance resembled that of man. His countenance was full of grace, like that of one of the holy angels. Then I inquired of one of the angels, who went with me, and who showed me every secret thing, concerning this Son of man; who he was; whence he was, and why he accompanied the Ancient of days.
2 He answered and said to me, This is the Son of man, to whom righteousness belongs; with whom righteousness has dwelt; and who will reveal all the treasures of that which is concealed: for the Lord of Spirits has chosen him, and his portion has surpassed all before the Lord of spirits in everlasting uprightness.
3 This Son of man, whom you behold, shall raise up kings and the mighty from their dwelling places, and the powerful from their thrones; shall loosen the bridles of the powerful, and break in pieces the teeth of sinners.
4 He shall hurl kings from their thrones and their dominions; because they will not exalt and praise him, nor humble themselves before him, by whom their kingdoms were granted to them. The countenance likewise of the mighty shall He cast down, filling them with confusion. Darkness shall be their habitation, and worms shall be their bed; nor from that their bed shall they hope to be again raised, because they exalted not the name of the Lord of spirits.
5 They shall condemn the stars of heaven, shall lift up their hands against the Most High, shall tread upon and inhabit the earth, exhibiting all their acts of iniquity, even their works of iniquity. Their strength shall be in their riches, and their faith in the gods whom they have formed with their own hands. They shall deny the name of the Lord of spirits, and shall expel him from the temples, in which they assemble;
6 And with him the faithful, who suffer in the name of the Lord of spirits.Enoch 46:1-4
Is Jesus The Son Of God and God Himself
Should we include the Book of Enoch in the Bible? Is the Book of Enoch scripture? Maybe, maybe not, but more importantly I believe is does The First Book of Enoch help us understand the sources the writers in the new testament were drawing from and even the words of the Christ Jesus himself? Does the Book of Enoch need to be signed by God himself for us to include the book of Enoch in the Bible? Again I will quote 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,. Does the Book of Enoch teach, reproof, and correct us? Does the book of Enoch train us in righteousness? Should we include the Book of Enoch in the Bible? Does it not support the other scriptures in the Bible? Does it not support the words of Jesus and the Apostils? Can you think of any reason why we should not include the book of Enoch in the Bible? Does the book of Enoch include the prophecy of God’s anointed one and for that reason shouldn’t we include the book of Enoch in the Bible? Shouldn’t we include the Book of Enoch in the bible because it both edifies God and His Christ?
Although I have made what I believe is a strong case for the inclusion of the Book of Enoch in the Bible there are still some that would disagree with having the Book of Enoch in the Bible, But whether or not we put the book of Enoch in the Bible or not, I would urge everyone to at least read it, study it and see for yourself how it agrees with scripture. So the last judge to whether or not you want the Book of Enoch in the Bible is you. It is up to you whether or not you believe it to be of divine inspiration or not, and if its teachings are consistent with the teachings of Christ and the prophets of God.
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- 1an ancient Hebrew apocalyptic religious text, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch contains unique material on the origins of demons and giants, why some angels fell from heaven, an explanation of why the Great Flood was a moral necessity, and prophetic exposition of the thousand-year reign of the Messiah. The older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) of the text are estimated to date from about 300–200 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to 100 BC
- 2between 516 BCE and 70AD
- 3Helmut Heinrich Koester (December 18, 1926 – January 1, 2016) was a German-born American scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School. His research was primarily in the areas of New Testament interpretation, history of early Christianity, and archaeology of the early Christian period.
- 4around 150 AD
- 5139 – 180 BC
- 6Latin in full Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus, (born c. 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia]—died after 220, Carthage), important early Christian theologian, polemicist, and moralist who, as the initiator of ecclesiastical Latin, was instrumental in shaping the vocabulary and thought of Western Christianity.
- 7c. 185 – c. 254