Jude 1:10-16; Enoch 1:1 – 2:1 (12/2/13)
Get ready to tackle our coolest topic yet:
Famous Angels Not Found in the Bible
Jude 1:10-16; Enoch 1:1 – 2:1
Genesis 6:1-4; Enoch 7:1-14
Exodus 31:1-6; Enoch 8:1-9
Deuteronomy 10:17; Enoch 9:1-9; 1 Timothy 6:14b-15, Revelation 17:14, 19:16
Enoch 10:1-20; 2 Peter 2:4-5, 9
Enoch 12:1 – 13:11, 1 Corinthians 6:3
Enoch 15:1-7; Matthew 22:23-30
Enoch 19:1 – 21:6; Revelation 20:9-10
Enoch 22:1-15; Luke 16:19-26
Enoch 23:1 - 24:11; Revelation 2:7, 22:2, 22:14
Enoch 31:1 – 32:4
Enoch 46:1-4; Revelation 1:13-14
Enoch 53:1-7; Matthew 25:41
Genesis 1:14-19, Enoch 71:1, 73:1
Enoch 74:1-7, 79:1-2
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Just for fun we’re going to spend this month reading about some famous angels not found in the Bible. The book of Enoch is considered to be authentic scripture only by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (45,000,000 members), the Eritrean Orthodox Church (3,000,000 members), and Beta Israel (150,000 members). The assessment of other Christian and Jewish denominations ranges from “useful or interesting, but not scripture” to “Enoch who?”
Nevertheless, much of what we know about angels from the New Testament appears to have its origin in the book Enoch, and many of the angels we know of by name are described only in Enoch. Sometimes Enoch reflects what is in the Old Testament, and sometimes the New Testament reflects Enoch.
Is it often assumed that Jude (an authentic New Testament writer) was quoting from Enoch in today’s reading. Other ideas are that both Jude and Enoch were saying something that was “just in the air,” or that they were both quoting from the same source. In addition to the “quoted” verse, notice how similar Enoch’s experience is to Daniel’s – both men have a vision, and both visions are interpreted by angels.
Chances are that you don’t have a copy of the book of Enoch; you can read it online.
Note that Enoch has a lot
of chapters, but many of them are short
. Today we are reading all of Chapters 1 and 2.
Genesis 6:1-4; Enoch 7:1-14 (12/3/13)
You know that I sometimes refer to a book (e.g., Gospel of Thomas) or idea as “non-scriptural.” I’m calling Enoch “semi-scriptural,” because millions (about 2 or 3 percent) of our fellow-Christians and Jews do consider it to be scriptural.
Those of you who have read Genesis carefully have probably been interested, confused, or troubled by Genesis 6:1-2, in which angels consort with human women to produce offspring in the form of Nephilim, usually assumed to be giants. Enoch took this idea and ran with it.
Exodus 31:1-6; Enoch 8:1-9 (12/4/13)
Even among the rebellious angels Enoch writes about, many personal names end in –el
, just as we saw for the two named angels we read about earlier – Gabriel and Michael. Some human names also end in –el
, like “Bezalel,” which probably means something like “in the shadow of God.”
Enoch differs from scripture in attributing the origin of many human skills to the rebellious angels, rather than to God. God, however, says in Exodus that he has given abilities to the able-hearted so that they can do his work. Some of the skills on the two lists are exactly the same, e.g., metalwork and stonework. Possibly this is an example of why most Christians and Jews do not accept Enoch as canonical.
Deuteronomy 10:17; Enoch 9:1-9; 1 Timothy 6:14b-15, Revelations 17:14, 19:16 (12/5/13)
Some people say that Paul and John, the writers of 1 Timothy and Revelation, were quoting from the book of Enoch when they call Jesus the “King of kings and Lord of lords” or vice versa. Note, however, that this is not Enoch’s exact phrase. “King of kings” is used a few times in the Old Testament, but always to refer to a human king. The OT has “God of gods” six times and “Lord of lords” twice, always referring to God. This similarity between Enoch and the New Testament looks to me like a case where the wording was just “in the air,” and nobody is particularly quoting anybody.
Anyway, today we see two really famous angels who aren’t in the Bible, Raphael and Uriel, looking down from heaven with Michael and Gabriel.
Enoch 10:1-20; 2 Peter 2:4-5, 9 (12/6/13)
Noah, as we all know, was saved from destruction. The rebellious angels and their giant offspring, however, were in deep (hahahaha) trouble. According to Peter, the lesson we should take from this is that if God didn’t spare the sinful angels but did rescue righteous Noah, the rest of us had better be righteous and not sinful.
Enoch 12:1 – 13:11, 1 Corinthians 6:3 (12/9/13)
At first I thought the Watchers were the rebellious angels, and then I thought they were the obedient angels. Finally I realized that Enoch uses “Watchers” as another word for “angels.” It always pays to read carefully, no matter what book of the Bible you’re studying. Enoch spends some time hanging out with the obedient Watchers, but then God sends Enoch to deliver a message to the rebellious Watchers. The Watchers in turn ask Enoch to intercede for them with God, which seems a little strange to me, but maybe this is where Paul gets the idea that we will judge the angels. Enoch’s intercession is not successful.
Enoch 15:1-7; Matthew 22:23-30 (12/10/13)
I thought it was a little odd that the rebellious angels asked Enoch to intercede for them with God, and apparently God thought the same thing. God gives the angels an explanation that is similar in content to the answer Jesus gives to the Sadducees.
This morning I woke up with the phrase “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones” ringing in my ears. The whole verse goes, “Ye watchers and ye holy ones, Bright seraphs, cherubim, and thrones, Raise the glad strain, Alleluia! Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
Virtues, archangels, angels' choirs, Alleluia! Alleluia!” I have no idea who I thought the “watchers” in the hymn might be, and I suspect I had no thought at all. But clearly they are angels – just like the cherubim and seraphim, duh. The King James Version, which is what all the old hymns quote, has “watchers” only twice, and only in one of these (Daniel 4:17) could the watchers be angels. I strongly suspect that the lyricist, Athelstan Riley, was familiar with the book of Enoch!
Enoch 16:1-5 (12/11/13)
I always had the impression that the primary sin of the fallen angels was arrogant ambition, as when Milton has Satan say: “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.” Of course, after our exhausting study on the Devil and demons
, we know that Satan never said that, and that Milton just made up much of the wrong stuff we “know” about the fallen angels.
Enoch says, in contrast, that the fallen angels’ primary sin was fornication with human women, and their secondary sin was getting all of us into trouble when they should have known better. God is not pleased with them.
Enoch 19:1 – 21:6; Revelation 20:9-10 (12/12/13)
The books of Enoch and Revelation agree that angels who deceive us will be punished. Notice, however, that it must be possible
for these angels to deceive us! Maybe that’s why Paul said, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
Enoch 22:1-15; Luke 16:19-26 (12/13/13)
Enoch and Jesus agree that a great, impassable chasm will separate the saved from the unsaved after the day of judgment. This Christmas season, let each one of us reach out to someone to pull them back from edge of the abyss.
Enoch 24:1-11; Revelation 2:7, 22:2, 22:14 (12/16/13)
Both Enoch and John hearken back to Genesis in describing a tree of life in the center of a beautiful paradise. The angel Michael explains to Enoch that the fruit of the tree of life is intended only for God’s elect, and John agrees.
Enoch 31:1 – 32:4 (12/17/13)
Raphael instructs Enoch about the tree of knowledge, and Enoch writes down the names of all the animals as Uriel tells him what they are.
Here’s something I probably should have said right at the beginning. The man Enoch was a 4th-great-grandson of Adam (Genesis 5); however, most scholars agree (there’s just about nothing “all” scholars agree on) that the writer
of the book
of Enoch was not
the man Enoch the 4th-great-grandson of Adam. For one thing, the book was written around the second century BC, whereas Enoch was a distant ancestor of Abraham.
For another thing, parts of the book of Enoch are apocalyptic in nature. As we have learned earlier, most apocalyptic writing is pseudonymous, that is, the real writer (who is usually unknown) takes the name of some historical figure who is much more famous. The writing pretends to be prophetic and then “sealed” until “end times.” In fact, it was written and published at about the same time, which is why the political parts of the “prophecies” in apocalyptic writing tend to be really, really accurate.
Enoch 40:1-9 (12/18/13)
In this passage, Enoch outlines the specific jobs of four of the angels. Accounts vary, though; for example, we saw earlier in Revelation that Michael seems to be a leader in God’s battles, and in Luke and Daniel that Gabriel seems to be God’s chief messenger. Maybe they rotate.
Enoch 46:1-4; Revelation 1:13-14 (12/19/13)
The “son of man” is a messianic figure in the book of Daniel, in intertestamental literature like Enoch, in Revelation, and, of course, in the Gospels. Elsewhere – more than a hundred times in the Bible – a son of man is just a person. I was struck by the similarity of the descriptions of the son of man in Enoch and Revelation.
Enoch 53:1-7; Matthew 25:41 (12/20/13)
Enoch and Jesus agree that the eternal fire has been prepared for the devil and his fallen angels. It wasn’t prepared for you and me, but we could go there if we wanted to. Let’s not.
Enoch 60:10-14 (12/23/13)
It’s Christmas week, so this is going to be short. I assume
that the “Elect One” that the Lord seats upon his throne of glory is the Messiah, the Christ, and that the “other Power,” who was over the water, is God the creator, but I could be wrong. Mainly I want you to notice that Enoch introduces a whole new kind of angels that we don’t see in the Bible, the Ophanin; your guess is as good as mine, although the word has something to do with serpents, I think.
Enoch 67:2 (12/24/13)
The rebellious angels received a terrible and eternal punishment. Even though they earned what they got, the angel Michael pities them. Let us remember throughout the year that God’s pity for our sinful human condition is the reason for Christmas.
Enoch 70:1-16 (12/25/13)
On Christmas and Christmas Eve, we see angels everywhere: on the tree, in the Christmas play, on wrapping paper. This is probably appropriate, because not only are there more kind of angels than we knew about before, but there are millions of them. Merry Christmas!
Genesis 1:14-19, Enoch 71:1, 73:1 (12/26/13)
In the book of Genesis, God creates the sun, moon, and stars for a specific purpose: “to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.” Other than that, not much is said about them. The book of Enoch, in contrast, gives a huge amount of astronomical detail (mostly correct) and attributes Enoch’s information to the angel Uriel, as we will see today and tomorrow.
Enoch 74:1-7, 79:1-2 (12/27/13)
This astronomical information from Uriel is the last we’re going to read from the book of Enoch, which goes on for many more chapters with little or no mention of angels.
A fellow reader asked me, “your thoughts on Enoch? scriptural?” In this case I have to go with the opinion of the vast majority of the Church, i.e., no. There’s too much in it that seems to contradict other scripture.
Now, you know I’m not shy about disagreeing with the majority opinion of the Church if that opinion seems to contradict the Bible, and you know that scripture occasionally appears
to contradict itself.
But in this case I think there are real contradictions between Enoch and scripture, e.g., human abilities coming from fallen angels rather than God, and overall I haven’t seen anything so valuable as to outweigh that. Also I read that Enoch’s “prophecies” did not come true, although I didn’t do enough study to determine for myself whether that’s the case.
However, my position has moved from “Enoch who?” to “interesting and potentially useful,” which is a pretty big step.
More on Angels
Gabriel and Michael
Cherubim and Seraphim
Armies of Angels and the LORD of Hosts
Angels say “Fear Not!”
Guardian and Ministering Angels
Angel of the Lord - "The" or "An"?
Angels not in the Bible
Final Tidbits about Angels
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