The Book of Enoch is a mysterious writing whose origins and authorship are unclear. It contains fascinating insights into the Apocalypse and the Messiah. But who wrote the Book of Enoch?
Authorship of the book of Enoch is attributed to Enoch the Biblical patriarch, although it is widely accepted that he did not actually write it. Written between 200 BC and 200 AD, it is not considered part of the Old Testament canon, and was probably written by a Jewish Christian, perhaps a member of the Essene Sect.
The Book of Enoch describes a group of angels coming to earth and mating with human women to produce the Nephilim. Unlike other churches, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church does recognize it as being of divine origin, and includes the Book of Enoch in their version of the Bible.
The Book of Enoch is Not Part of the Old Testament Canon
The Book of Enoch is known as “pseudepigrapha”, which are religious writings that are not a part of the recognized sacred canon of writings. This was very common from 200 BC to 200 AD, which is when the Book of Enoch is believed to have been written.
The Book of Enoch contains writings about astronomy and cosmology, the messiah, and the soul after death. It is called “First Enoch” because there are other later writings also attributed to Enoch. There is also 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch. It widely known by early Christians and also popular amongst Jews during that time.
Today it only exists as an Ethiopian translation from a Greek translation from the original Hebrew or Aramaic. It was initially accepted by the Christian Church but then excluded from the biblical canon, with the exception of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
By 130 BC the canon of writings now regarded as the Old Testament was established and accepted as being uniquely sacred and divinely inspired. The Old Testament follows the same shape as The Hebrew Bible, which consists of
- Torah (Law)
- Nevi’im (prophets)
- Ketuvim (writings)
Enoch is The Great-Grandfather of Noah
Enoch is a character in the Bible who is described in Genesis. He is the great-grandfather of Noah, as well as the descendent of Adam, seven generations later. He was a preacher and prophet. According to the Bible, Enoch lived for 365 years, before being taken away by God. He was also written about in Judaism during the Hellenistic period, and it was believed that he received secret knowledge from God.
It is Generally Accepted that Enoch is Not the Author of The Book of Enoch
Although he is attributed as the author of the Book of Enoch, Bible experts do not believe that he actually wrote it. For him to have been the author, it would mean that the Book of Enoch was written before the Great Flood. Also, the Book of Enoch refers to other writings, such as Isaiah and Daniel, that were created much later.
It is speculated that a 2nd century Jewish Christian wrote it, and attributed it to Enoch in order to give the writing authority.
The Book of Enoch May Come from the Essene Sect
The writings may come from the Essenes, a religious sect that existed in Palestine from 200 BC to 100 AD. Numbering around 4000 members, they lived in monastic communes and were exclusively male. They believed in immortality and lived an ascetic life of manual labor.
In 1946 ancient religious manuscripts were found in a cave in what is now the Palestinian region. Known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were a huge collection of previously unknown ancient religious manuscripts, which shed new light on the origins of Christianity and Judaism.
Amongst these discoveries were fragments of the Book of Enoch. In fact, four out of the five major sections of the Book of Enoch were discovered amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. The archeological evidence also suggests a relationship between the Book of Enoch, and the community of Essenes that had lived there.
The Essene Sect existing during the believed historical time of Jesus. They were distinctly different than the other Christian and Jewish groups of time, practicing a mystical theology that some have described as being somewhere in the middle of Christianity and Judaism. Their organization involved a hierarchy of levels within their group in which members had to be initiated into. Helena Blavatsky the famed psychic and mystic of the 1800s even said that Jesus had been trained by the Essenes, before embarking upon a life as a travelling healer.
The Book of Enoch is a Collection of Writings
The Book of Enoch consists of a variety of writings and has five distinct sections. The section called The Book of Watchers is the core of the book. It describes a group of fallen angels called the Watchers, who come to earth and marry human women. They created the Nephilim, a group of giants who lived on earth. The Watchers also taught humanity advanced technology, which lead to the great flood and destruction. The book also has astronomical and cosmological descriptions of heavenly bodies.
Enoch Visited Heaven and Received Revelations
The Book of Enoch also describes Enoch visiting heaven and receiving revelations. He is one of only two people to have ever visited heaven without dying (Elijah is the other). During his visit to heaven he is shown prophetic visions of a future messiah. He is told that this figure will be a light to the nations, all will worship him, and the righteous will have salvation in his name. However, this messianic character is not Jesus, it is Enoch, which puts the writings in conflict with Biblical teachings.
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