20 February 2016

The Book of Enoch's Influence on the New Testament (Pt 3)

We left off last time in starting to look at the "Son of Man" discussion, so let us now pick up by looking at another example of the Son of Man theme that is beyond what we are told in Daniel. It can be found in 1 Enoch 48:

And at that hour that Son of Man was named in the presence of the Lord of spirits….Even before the sun and the signs were created, before stars of heaven were made, His name was named before the Lord of spirits. He shall be a staff to the righteous and they shall steady themselves and not fall. And he shall be a light of the Gentiles, and the hope of those who are troubled of heart. (1 Enoch 48: 2-4)

Could it be that Paul was drawing from this Enochian storyline when in Romans he speaks of such things as:

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. (Romans 11:11 ESV)

And then he goes on to discuss Gentiles coming to faith along side of the remnant - i.e. the righteous who steady themselves in Christ so as not to fall? Hopefully you are starting to see that there is an uncanny amount of similarities presented in the Book of Enoch.

There are so many other examples of parallel language and scenarios found in the Book of Enoch, and not all of them are necessarily so much of a full expression of whole scenarios as we have seen, some are simply key terms and references that are not clearly seen in the Hebrew Scriptures. These types of thoughts and terminologies are influential in how we now view key doctrines that the church holds as sacred. On this topic, writer E. Isaacs concludes:

There is little doubt that 1 Enoch was influential in molding New Testament doctrines concerning the nature of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the future, resurrection, final judgment, the whole eschatological theater, and symbolism. No wonder, therefore that the book was highly regarded by many of the earliest apostolic and Church Fathers. (E. Isaac, A New Translation and Introduction - The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha)

One of the earliest experts on Enoch and other Pseudepigrapha writings is R.H. Charles, and he went on to list about sixty examples where the language of the New Testament reflected possible Enochian influence, then coming to the conclusion that:

1 Enoch has had more influence on the New Testament than has any other apocryphal or pseudepigraphal work. (R.H. Charles, Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Vol. 2)

Let us now look at a sampling of some of the terminology parallels between the New Testament and 1 Enoch that Charles presents. Again, these are mostly terms and ideas that are found in the New Testament with no real Hebrew scripture correlation, but are almost directly pulled from 1 Enoch:

New Testament
1 Enoch
1 John 1:7 - Walk in the light
92:4 - Walk in eternal light
1 John 2:8 - the darkness is past:
58:5 - the darkness is past
1 John 2:15 - Love not the world nor the things that are in the world
108:8 - love...nor any of the good things which are in the world
Rev 3:5 - clothed in white raiment
90:31 - clothed in white
Rev 3:20 - I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me.
62:14 - and with that Son of Man shall they eat and lie down and rise up.
Rev 7:15 - He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
45:4 - I will cause Mine Holy One to dwell among them.
Rev 20:13 - the sea gave up the dead… and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them.
51:1 - in those days shall earth also give back that which has been entrusted to it, and Sheol also shall give back... and hell shall give back.
Rev 20:15 - cast into the lake of fire
90:26 - cast into this fiery abyss
Rom 8:38 - angels… principalities… powers
61:10 - angels of power… angels of principalities
1 Cor 6:11 - justified in the name of the Lord Yeshua
48:7 - in his (Messiah’s) name they are saved
Col 2:3 - (Christ) in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge
46:3 - the Son of Man… who reveals all the treasures of that which is hidden.
2 Thess 6:15 - King of kings and Lord of Lords
9:4 - Lord of lords… King of kings.
Acts 3:14 - the Righteous One (Christ)
53:6 - the Righteous and Elect One (Messiah)
John 5:22 - He hath committed all judgment unto the Son
69:27 - the sum of judgment was given unto the Son of Man
Matt 19:28 - when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory
62:5 - When they see that Son of Man sitting on the throne of his glory
Matt 19: 28 - ...ye also shall sit on twelve thrones
108:12 - I will seat each on the throne of his honor
Matt 25:41 - prepared for the devil and his angels
54:4-5 - chaines prepared for the hosts of Azazel
Luke 9:35 - This is My Son, the Elect One
40:5 - the Elect One (Messiah)
49:2 - Mine Elect One

This last one here in Luke is a little bit more interesting than how it is listed in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. In those two versions of the story, it essentially just says “this is my son, listen to him.” Here in Luke, we have the addition of the term “the Elect One, ” and as Lumpkin puts it:

The “Elect One” is a most significant term (found 14 times) in the Book of Enoch. If the book was indeed known to the Apostles of Christ, with its abundant descriptions of the Elect One who should “sit upon the throne of glory” and the Elect One who should “dwell in the midst of them,” then the great scriptural authenticity is justly accorded to the Book of Enoch. Then the “voice out of the cloud” tells the Apostles, “This is my Son, the Elect One”.... the one promised in the Book of Enoch. (Joseph B. Lumpkin - The Books of Enoch: The Angels, The Watchers and The Nephilim, pg 15)

Now, list of these kinds of comparisons goes on, but hopefully these give you an idea of some of the similar language and thoughts originating from the Book of Enoch.

Another interesting point of view that scholars have noticed, is that in some instances, we find that some terms have had one understanding in how they were presented or applied in the Hebrew Scriptures, but then those terms have taken on a different meaning and understanding in 1 Enoch. And then it became that new understanding that was presented in Enoch that was then brought over into the New Testament.

R.H. Charles argues that things like the notion of Sheol, demonology and future life which are barely mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures, are given more light and expanded upon in 1 Enoch, and that this expanded view corresponds to the New Testament usages.

Now before I get to the bulk of what I wish to cover, I want to take a quick look at the idea of the Messiah, and what the book of Enoch reveals about him. We know in the Hebrew scriptures that we have a fairly clouded view of who or what he was to be, yet we have a much clearer view once Christ comes on the scene.

So let’s consider what we know about the Messiah from the canon of Scripture, and consider it with what the Book of Enoch tells us about Him. These are scattered bits of information throughout Enoch, and R.H. Charles has done the leg-work to pull them together into a more cohesive view much of what Enoch says about this coming Messiah. From the Book of Enoch we find that the Messiah was going to be:
       Not of human descent, but is a supernatural being
       Given four titles used for the first time in Enoch and then in the NT:
        The Christ (46:10, 52:4)
        The Righteous One (38:2, 53:6 → Acts 3:14, 7:52, 22:14)
        The Elect One (40:5, 45:3, 4ff  → Lk 9:35, 23:35)
        The Son of Man 
       Judge of the world and revealer of all things
       Messianic champion and ruler of the righteous
       As judge, who possesses righteousness, wisdom and power
       The righteous one in an extraordinary sense (38:2, 53:6)
       Possessor of righteousness, and it dwells in Him (46:3)
       Has wisdom which could find no dwelling place on Earth (42)
       Wisdom dwells in Him, and the Spirit of Him who gives knowledge (49:3)
       Secrets of wisdom stream forth from His mouth (51:3)
       Wisdom is poured forth like water before Him (49)
       In Him abodes the spirit of power (49:3)
       Possesses universal dominion (62:6)
       Is the revealer of all things
       His appearance reveals the revelation of good and the unmasking of evil
       Brings light to everything hidden (righteousness and sin) (46:3, 49:2,4)
       Brings life to those that have perished on land and sea, and those in Sheol (51:1, 65:5)
       Evil when unmasked will vanish from His presence (49:2)
       All judgment has been committed to Him (69:27)
       He will sit on the throne of His glory (45:3, 62:3,5)
       Which is likewise the throne of God (47:3, 51:3)
       All men, righteous and wicked, and all angels He will judge (51:2, 55:4, 61:8, 62:2,3)
       By the words of His mouth will He slay the ungodly (62:2)
       He is the stay of the righteous (48:4)
       The avenger of the life of the righteous (48:7)
       The preserver of the righteous and their inheritance (48:7)
       Will vindicate the earth as the possession for the righteous (51:5)
       Cause the face of the righteous to shine with joy (51:5)
       He will cover the righteous with life (62:15)
       He will make the righteous resplendent with light (39:7)
       Make the righteous “become angels in heaven” (51:4)
       He will abide in closest communion with righteous for ever (62:14)
       Will be in the immediate presence of Yahweh (Lord of Spirits) (39:7)
       His glory is for ever and ever, His might to all generations (49:2)
Hoping you see how closely the things mentioned in the Book of Enoch are with what we see and believe from the what we have learned from the New Testament about the Messiah. Now, moving away from the Messiah character directly, and placing him into the overarching prophecy of the works of the Son of Man and history, we find many more similarities with what we find in the New Testament.
       The watchers (angels) fell and lead mankind astray (54:6)
       The were punished immediately, bound for judgment (54:5)
       Held to await final judgment (54:6, 55:3, 64)
       In the meantime mankind sins, and denies Lord of Spirits (38:2, 41:2)
       Kings and the mighty trust in their scepter and glory (63:7)
       They oppress the elect of the children of God (62:11)
       Prayer of the righteous ascends, their blood crying for vengeance (47:1)
       Suddenly the Head of Days will appear, with the Son of Man (46:2-4, 48:2)
       Judgment is declared on all according to their deeds (91:1)
       Fallen angels cast into a fiery furnace (54:6)
       Kings and mighty men given to destruction as they burn and vanish away 48:9-10, 62:12)
       They are tortured in Gehenna by the angels of punishment (53: 3-5; 54:1-2)
       Other sinners driven from face of earth- Son of Man slays them with the word of His mouth (62:6)
       Sins banished (49:2)
       Heaven and earth transformed (45:4-5)
       Righteous and elect have their mansions therein (39:5, 41:2)
       The light of the Lord of Spirits shines upon them (38:4)
       They live in the light of eternal light (58:3)
       They seek after light and find righteousness and peace with the Lord of Spirits (58:3-4)
       They grow in knowledge and righteousness (58:5)
Surely you can see this storyline from Enoch is likewise presented and playing out in our New Testament Scriptures. It is no wonder why those 17th century readers of the rediscovered Book of Enoch supposed it to have been written after the New Testament, the parallels are almost uncanny.

We will stop here for now - more to come!

View the other parts of the topic

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 |