Menu

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.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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)

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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)

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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.

4 Responses to “Defending the Book of Enoch

  • Hi, after reading your page I was very intrigued by the possiblity of an Extra-biblical book being inspired. I recieved the book of Enoch as a gift recently, as translated by Dr. Ken Johnson. Enoch 5:7 seems to imply that “salvation is for the elect, not for sinners”. The author even left in brackets “Salvation [Yeshua] shall be for the elect…” The full verse may have similarities to other scriptures. Yet I found a contradiction, which seems blatant. And it also should raise flags for the true born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Yeshua had said “I came NOT for the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.” The book of Enoch seems to flip this around. How would you address this:

    Contradiction A)
    Enoch: Salvation for the elect
    Jesus: Salvation not for the righteous
    Contradiction B)
    Enoch: Salvation not for sinners
    Jesus: Salvation for sinners

    The scriptures say that the elect are sinners saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

    Yet Enoch 5:7 seems to imply even a sinless perfection kind of salvation.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Yosef!

      Thank you for your comment on this page. As far as I am aware, the translation by Ken Johnson is a good one. (If nothing else, you can’t go wrong with the classic translators either, like Schodde or Charles.)

      If I am understanding you right, there are two passages which seem to contradict. One is Enoch 5:7,

      “But for the elect there shall be light and joy and peace, and they shall inherit the earth. And for you the godless there shall be a curse.” (Charles trans.)

      The other is Matthew 9:12-13,

      “There is no need of a physician to heal the healthy, but to heal them that are sick. Therefore, go and learn what is written, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ (Hosea 6:6) for I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.”

      Now there are a handful of things to keep in mind when we examine these supposed contradictions. The first question I would ask is this: when Enoch speaks of “the elect,” who is he speaking of? Torah gives us the answer, in Deuteronomy 7:6,

      “You are a Set-Apart people unto YHWH your Elohim; YHWH your Elohim has chosen you to be His own treasure, out of all peoples that are upon the face of the earth.” (HRV)

      The language might be a bit different- and certainly, part of that is the fault of translators and linguistic differences- but look at the who and the what that is actually being discussed in both passages: the people whom YHWH has “chosen” in Deuteronomy 7:6 are the “elect” of Enoch 5:7. This is an easy conclusion to make, as “chosen” and “elect” are interchangeable terms for all twelve tribes of the House of Israel.

      Now let’s look at the scope of Yeshua’s ministry: the lost sheep of the House of Israel. (Matthew 15:24) These are the elect of Enoch 5:7, and the chosen people of Deuteronomy 7:6. Now what is meant by “I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners?” Notice how this passage ends: “to repentance.” Enoch is absolutely correct when he says that salvation is not for sinners: because salvation is for sinners **WHO REPENT.** This is why in the preceeding verse, Yeshua said that “There is no need of a physician to heal the healthy, but to heal them that are sick.” Yeshua came to heal the sick- to turn the lost sheep of the house of Israel back to Torah.

      I hope this helps you in your studies!

  • Hi, I just found your website and I’m glad someone out there is trying to defend the Book of Enoch! The reason I came across your site is because I’ve been searching for someone who can tackle the subject of supposed “contradictions” within the Book of Enoch itself. Now I’m not talking about questions regarding its origins, or authorship. What I want to see is someone explaining some of these textual discrepancies that numerous anti-BOE sites are dedicated to pointing out..some examples would be
    1. Why God tells the angels to build the ark, whereas in Genesis Noah is told to build it?
    2. The Fallen angels are bound for 10,000 years whereas in another part it says 70 generations. What’s the difference?
    3. Why do the leaders of the angels have different names in the different sections where they are listed?

    These are just a few of the many discrepancies that some websites, like paradoxbrown.com point out. I was hoping that maybe you could tackle these issues on your website. I do believe Enoch to be inspired, I just want assurance that we’re not being led astray… Hope you can help! Thanks and God Bless

    • Hello Priscilla! I am glad this article is of help to you.

      I read through a good portion of the site you suggested. My initial reaction is that a good portion of the article is pure conjecture, and inconsistent at that. For example, the author appeals to the same “scholarly” dating system to date the Book of Enoch that also dates the prophetic book of Isaiah as having been written in three different sections, by multiple authors, over the course of several centuries. Now we know this is false, because Yeshua quoted from all three of these portions of the Book of Isaiah, and cited the prophet Isaiah as his source every time. The same logic should hold true for the Book of Enoch: if we accept it as a work of Scripture, then we accept it on faith, in spite of the opinions of secular scholars.

      That having been said, I would be glad to take a stab at the following specific questions you posed:

      1. Why God tells the angels to build the ark, whereas in Genesis Noah is told to build it?

      In chapter 67, God speaks with Noah, telling him that the angels are working on a wooden building. It does not say that God commanded the angels to build the ark; simply, it says that the angels were performing a function. God did command Noah to build the ark in Genesis 6; however, there is nothing wrong with the assumption that the angels simply helped Noah to build it. All throughout the following accounts in the Genesis narrative, angels are seen helping humanity.

      2. The Fallen angels are bound for 10,000 years whereas in another part it says 70 generations. What’s the difference?

      One thing to keep in mind when studying the Book of Enoch, from an academic and linguistic perspective, is that we are handling a text that has gone through several layers of transmission. The Book of Enoch was likely originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, or something even older; but the English translations we have today have been also filtered through the Ethiopian liturgical language. In the prologue to Sirach, the author expresses it this way: “What was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when translated into another language. Not only this book, but even the Torah itself, the Prophecies, and the rest of the books differ not a little when read in the original.” Keeping that in mind, we do have three public domain, fairly good translations of the Book of Enoch, to be able to easily study out these translation errors. Most of the time, when people have issues with something in Enoch, they look only at one translation of it- likely, the Charles translation- when in fact, there are two others that offer very satisfactory explanations. For example, concerning the 10,000 years in chapter 18, where Charles translates “ten thousand” as a concrete number, Schodde translates “the year of mystery,” and Laurence translates “the secret year.” Further, in chapter 21, where Charles again translates “ten thousand” as a concrete number, Schodde translates “ten thousand worlds,” and Laurence translates “infinite number of days.” Backing up a few chapters, in chapter 10, all three translations have “seventy generations.” There is no real discrepancy here; chapters 18 and 21 are discussing time in abstract terms, whereas chapter 10 gives a slightly more concrete (though not definite) time frame.

      3. Why do the leaders of the angels have different names in the different sections where they are listed?

      Why do the Apostles have different names in each of the Gospels? Bartholomew in Matthew and Mark is also called Nathaniel in Luke and John; Thomas is also called Didymus in John; Matthew is called Levi in Mark and Luke; Thaddaeus in Matthew and Mark is called Jude in Luke, and Jude “not Iscariot” in John; and the same Simon who is called “the Cananite” in Matthew and Mark is called “the Zealot” in Luke. The point I’m getting at is that we have to keep an open mind about things, and not get caught up on details that have very plausible explanations. We can make mountains out of molehills, or we can get past the minutiae and focus on the big picture of what YHWH is trying to say to us.

      I hope this dialog has helped. I wish you the very best in your pursuit of the truth, and hope that your studies of the Book of Enoch help to further your faith!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *