21 February 2016

The Book of Enoch's Influence on the New Testament (Pt 4)


Now, let us return our attention to the passage in Jude that we mentioned earlier. This is one of the few stronger passages that show an even clearer dependence on the Enochian texts.

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 14-15 ESV)

This is a direct quoting of 1 Enoch 1:9, but one thing worth noting is that Jude states here that what Enoch is doing in this verse is prophesying. Referring to a verse from Enoch as being a prophecy sure feels like he is adding much more weight to it than if he was just quoting it as a secular type source like we see occasionally in Scripture. The other thing that is notable in studying both books further, is that Jude does not simply quote a verse and move on, but in fact continues to follow the content patterns of 1 Enoch along with allusions and echoes of its phrases and language throughout his letter.

Both books share the primary apocalyptic theme of the punishment of the ungodly. And they both do so by pointing to an evil in their day and stating it is a fulfillment of a past prophetic proclamation. Not only do both books appeal to ancient judgment examples as a connection to the promised judgment coming to the present ungodly company, but they both look back to the same ancient corruption of the angelic watchers who corrupted humanity.

1 Enoch chapters 1-36 of course deal in great detail with those Watchers that Jude touches upon. And in Jude 13, he condemns “wandering stars,” which is a common Hebrew idiom in both the Hebrew Scriptures and Pseudepigrapha that is referring to divine beings. They are also referred to as the “host of heaven,” a term which also denotes deity. We also find the stars of heaven referred to as “heavenly host” which are likened to pagan deities (Deut 4:19) as well as those angelic Sons of God that surround his throne (Psa. 89:5-7, Job 38:7). So it is of no surprise that Enoch discusses those fallen angelic Watchers using the imagery of imprisoned stars.

The angel said (to me), “This place is the (ultimate) end of heaven and earth; it is the prison house for the stars and the powers of heaven… they are the ones which have transgressed the commandments of God.” (1 Enoch 18:14-15)  

So Jude pulls that similar theme in when he condemns those wandering stars by saying it is for them that “the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever” (v 13). And Jude speaks of these ungodly villains as those who “pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Yeshua the Christ” (v. 4). This aligns with the declaration against the angels found in 1 Enoch 67:10, where it says:

So the judgment shall come upon them, because they believe in the debauchery of their bodies and deny the spirit of Yahweh. (1 Enoch 67:10)

This theme of fleshly defilement and of the rejection of authority that Jude mentions in verse 8 are likewise the traits of those angels in verse 6 that “did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling.” Who are the angels mentioned  in Jude? It is plainly evident, as some scholars point out, that Jude is obviously pulling directly from 1 Enoch chapters 6-19, being the earliest existing manuscript that holds an account of the fall of the angelic Watchers. Enoch plainly states, in talking to the fallen Watchers:

Wherefore have ye left the high, holy, and eternal heaven, and lain with women, and defiled yourselves with the daughters of men and taken to yourselves wives, and done like the children of earth, and begotten giants (as your) sons? And though ye were holy, spiritual, living the eternal life, you have defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten (children) with the blood of flesh, and, as the children of men, have lusted after flesh and blood as those also do who die and perish. (1 Enoch 15:3-5)

Of those Watchers who sinned, Jude says they were “kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day” - which is closely connected with 1 Enoch 10:12:

Bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. (1 Enoch 10:13-14)

A quick note while looking at this verse, and this was touched upon earlier when mentioning that forum post. We note here that the angels were held for 70 generations, at the end of which time would be the day of judgment. In the Gospel of Luke, he counts 70 generations leading up to their present time and the time of Christ. Christ said the judgment would occur within his generation - being the 70th generation, thus correlating to Enoch’s prediction time frame. And the book of Revelation, which discusses the tossing of the devil and his angels into the lake of fire likewise lines up with what Enoch tells us about events surrounding the judgment and timing of the first century.

All of this combined just shows us an additional confirmation for the timing of an event that was to take place in that first century time frame, and not thousands of years later or in our future as many teach today. Now when it comes to Jude 6 and 7, there are a couple ways you can look at that connection. Some modern commentators go through the motions to disconnect any idea of the two verses being comparisons to each other. They’ll say these two verses are just two examples of judgment, and are not being compared to each other.

They will contend that verse 6 speaks of these angels, which they sometimes attempt to make out as mere men and not heavenly beings; and then say that verse 7 is speaking of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah being compared to those cities that surrounded them. So when it says that they “in like manner indulged…” it is referring to those surrounding cities indulging in like manner to what Sodom and Gomorrah had done.

Sadly, such an interpretations does not hold up when examined strictly by the original text, but also even more so it fails when considered in light of other Second Temple texts that Jude is obviously pulling from. What we have here is a condemnation of heavenly angelic beings who left their heavenly abode and sinned and held for judgment. Then we have a comparison of sin to those angels in verse 7. Let’s see these together:

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day-- (Jude 6 ESV)

…just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7 ESV)

So we have angels sinning, and then, just like them, we have a single group being discussed, the collective group of Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding cities. And what about them? They - Sodom, Gomorrah and their surrounding cities - “likewise” or as some translations have it “in like manner” - they “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire.” In like manner to whom? The angels in the previous verse.

So what we have here is a telling of how the angels as well as Sodom, Gomorrah and their cities were all guilty of indulging in sexual immorality.  We see this connection clearly displayed in other Second Temple writings, such as:

Do not become like Sodom, which departed from the order of nature. Likewise the Watchers departed from nature’s order; the Lord pronounced a curse upon them at the Flood. (Testament of Naphtali 3:4-5)

Thou didst destroy those who aforetime did iniquity, among whom were giants, trusting in their strength and boldness, bringing upon them a boundless flood of water. Thou didst burn up with fire and brimstone the men of Sodom, workers of arrogance, who had become known of all for their crimes, and didst make them an example to those who should come after. (3 Maccabees 2:4-5)

Let them not take to themselves wives from the daughters of Canaan; for the seed of Caanan will be rooted out of the land. And he told them of the judgment of the giants, and the judgment of the Sodomites, how they had been judged on account of their wickedness, and had died on account of their fornication, and uncleanness, and mutual corruption through fornication. (Jubilees 20:4-5)

So hopefully, you can now see that a connecting of the angelic judgment with the judgment upon Sodom and surround cities, is not unique to Jude, but is indeed just something Jude has actually borrowed from other non-canonical writings. And that in all places, both groups are mentioned together and are labeled as being guilty of similar acts.

This should also help solidify the argument that these two verses in Jude are indeed being used in comparison to one another, and that indeed the “likewise” in Jude 7 is calling back to compare to verse 6 and the sin of the angels for indulging likewise in sexual immorality. To sum up, I appreciate the way Brian Godawa put it:

Jude’s linking of Sodom with the days of Noah and the sexual sin of the Watchers is a literary doublet that reinforces the Enochian Watcher paradigm. Combined with the other Enochian allusions, echoes, and linguistic memes in Jude this certainly provides a preponderance of evidence of the extensive dependency of Jude upon 1 Enoch far beyond the single quotation in verses 14-15. (Brian Godawa - When Giants Were Upon the Earth, pg. 30)

We'll stop here and pick up in the last part with looking at what Peter says on this topic.




View the other parts of the topic

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