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Defending the Book of Enoch

The following are actual objections to the Book of Enoch, along with responses.

 

Objection: “To the Biblically ignorant reader, the Book of Enoch might have an appeal; but to a believer grounded in the Scriptures, the Book of Enoch is packed full of heresy.”

Response: Many have claimed the Book of Enoch to be “full of heresy,” but few offer any factual evidence to support this claim. The fact is that the Book of Enoch was hidden away from the Roman church for centuries. The result of this is that there is much in the Book of Enoch that did not directly influence the doctrines that make up the beliefs of the modern church. As such, it is not the Scriptures themselves that the Book of Enoch is “contradicting,” but the beliefs of the modern church that were formed over the span of time that the Book of Enoch was absent from the libraries of church literature.

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Objection: “If the Book of Enoch were valid, composing well over 100 chapters, there should be numerous New Testament references to it; but there aren’t… In sharp contrast to the Book of Enoch, the New Testament often quotes the Book of Genesis.”

Response: Contrary to popular belief, the Book of Enoch is referenced in the New Testament at least 40 times. Several of these are even direct quotations, though not specifically attributed to Enoch. One of these instances, Jude 1:14-15, is a direct quotation, attributed specifically to Enoch himself. Several “New Testament” concepts are found to have their source in the Book of Enoch: the springs of living waters, (John 4:13-14 / Enoch 48:1) the new heaven and new earth, (Revelation 21:1 / Enoch 91:16-17) and several of the Beatitudes. (Matthew 5, Luke 6 / Enoch 5:7, Enoch 94:8)

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Objection: “The Book of Enoch uses unfamiliar terminology, referring to the ‘Lord of Spirits’ and the ‘Head of Days.’  These terms are foreign to the Word of God.”

Response: An avid scholar would understand that the Book of Enoch has gone through several linguistic filters that are foreign to the Hebrew Scriptures. Terms like “Lord of Spirits” and “Head of Days” are found in the Word of God, but in different forms; “Lord of Spirits,” for instance, is translated from the Hebrew as “the Lord of Hosts;” “Head of Days” is likewise found in the Bible translated as “Ancient of Days.”

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Objection: “The Messiah is not directly mentioned… It is worthy to note that Christ’s deity is not evidenced in the Book of Enoch.”

Response: This objection is not remotely true; in fact, huge portions of the text are directed toward exalting the character and personage of the Messiah. The following Messianic titles are referenced in the Book of Enoch:

  • Elect One (Enoch 39:6, 40:6, 45:3-5, 49:2-4, 51:1-3, 52:6-9, 53:6, 55:4, 56:6, 61:5, 61:8-11, 62:1)
  • Son of Man (Enoch 46:2-4, 48:2, 60:10, 62:5-9, 62:14, 63:11, 69:26-30, 70:1, 71:14-16)
  • Anointed / Messiah (Enoch 48:10, 52:4)

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Objection: “Many terms from the Biblical Book of Revelation are quoted in the Book of Enoch…”

Response: The Book of Revelation was written about 90 A.D. The best of Biblical scholars date the Book of Enoch to the second century B.C.. Even the portion of the book reckoned as being part of the very latest authorship is now considered to predate the New Testament. In the words of James H. Charlesworth in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament, “…no specialists now argue that I Enoch 37-71 is a Christian and postdates the first century.” So, if anything, the Revelation of John is quoting from the Book of Enoch. I prefer to think that both the Revelation of John and the Book of Enoch are quoting from God.

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Objection: “The King James translators, 48 scholarly men skilled in the Hebrew and Greek languages, didn’t believe the work was inspired by God.”

Response: The King James translators worked from 1604 through 1611. The Book of Enoch was considered “lost” from approximately through 1773, when it was rediscovered in several Ethiopian manuscripts. Hence, the King James translators did not even have access to any manuscripts of the Book of Enoch.

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Objection: “The sons of God are the godly line who have come down from Adam through Seth, and the daughters of men belong to the line of Cain. What you have here now is an intermingling and intermarriage of these two lines, until finally the entire line is totally corrupted (well, not totally; there is one exception). That is the picture that is presented to us here.”

Response: The above thought process is an interpretation of Genesis 6:2 that is not based in reality. The passage states, “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”  In the above thought process, the “sons of God”  are understood to be the descendants of Seth, whereas the “daughters of man”  are considered the descendants of Cain, but there are a handful of reasons why this thought process is not accurate. First, the phrase “sons of God”  is used elsewhere in Hebrew literature only when referring to angelic beings. Second, the action taking place in Genesis 6:2 was so grievous in God’s sight that it caused Him to say only a few passages later, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground… for I am sorry that I have made them.”  Yet this destructive proclamation is on the back of God having commanded mankind to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”  (Genesis 1:28) It is inconceivable that God was so grieved by human reproduction that He saw fit to destroy the world.

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Objection: “Jesus and the apostles never called it scripture.”

Response: There is actually a very strong example of Yeshua referring to the Book of Enoch as Scripture. In Matthew 22:29-30, Yeshua first chided the Sadducees for their lack of understanding of “the Scriptures,” then proceeded to teach a concept that is only found in the Book of Enoch.

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Objection: “A few early church fathers highly valued the book of Enoch but they never referred to it as scripture.”

Response: This statement is simply incorrect. Church father Tertulian writes as follows in his 2nd century work, On the Apparel of Women I 3:1-3, “I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch…”  Church father Origen appealed to the Book of Enoch as having the same canonical authority as he does the Book of Psalms in De Principiis IV. Irenaeus, in his work The Proof of the Apostolic Preaching 18, records a condensed retelling of Enoch 6-8. Lastly, the author of the Letter of Barnabas (not the Barnabas mentioned in the book of Acts) quotes Enoch multiple times along side the canonical Scriptures. To say that the early church fathers unanimously did not regard Enoch as Scripture is a blatant misrepresentation of historical fact.

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Objection: “One reason most Christian do not accept the Book of Enoch is that the Jewish teachers did not accept it as part of the Bible. It is not part of what Christians call the Old Testament.”

Response: This is yet another baseless objection. Of the Jewish sects of the first century, the ideas of what exactly constituted the “canon” of Scriptures varied from group to group. The ancient Pharisees used a set of books that is very similar the books that make up what we call today the Tanakh, or Old Testament, plus perhaps the Book of Sirach. The Essenes, on the other hand, accepted in their sacred library at Qumran an entire collection of holy texts, among which were the books of Tobit, Jubilees, Sirach, and even Enoch. To suggest that the ancient Jews did not accept the Book of Enoch is erroneous; it is better said that while some ancient Jews did not accept the Book of Enoch, others, in fact, did.

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