In elaborating further upon our previous ministry letter that we sent out, we had initial apprehensions about making any kind of regular usage of the book of 1Enoch, because we carry enough “loaded” Biblical truths. It would be too easy for someone who takes issue with anything that we teach around here to dismiss what's been taught on the grounds of extra-biblical materials being looked at along the way. Then it began to dawn on me that Bible students usually rely with great regularity upon extra-biblical materials on the understanding that those inform their Bible reading & study, but that the Word of God is first priority & final authority & infallible on all matters of faith & practice when correctly translated, rightly divided, & Holy Spirit revealed.
There are many people who vehemently insist that 1Enoch isn't inspired Scripture because they can't reconcile all of it's indepth &, to them, revolutionary comments that they don't know how to rightly divide according to the acknowledged canon of Scripture. It isn't strictly necessary to understand either a contradiction between the Biblical text or the book of 1Enoch with regards to Enoch's age while receiving certain revelations, since an allusion to his 500th year is mentioned in one of the parables in the book of Enoch that's [contextually] labeled as a parable. Earlier in 1Enoch, there's an allusion to eonian life that's tied to a 500yr time span & evidently both from the nature of that as an earlier qualification & from the fact that Enoch being 500yrs old is mentioned in the middle of a portion of Enoch that's self identified itself as a parable, then there's no need to find difficulty with that passage on the grounds of when Enoch left this earth for the final time, physically.
There are criticisms that I've noticed, online, with regards to the sun & moon being depicted as riding upon a chariot in the middle of the Almanac portion of 1Enoch that some have taken to be a reference to paganism, when in fact ancient cities were often walled cities that had walls large enough to ride chariots on top of the walls, & as that portion of Enoch is making observations about the comings & goings of the sun & moon with regards to the horizon & it's entry into the city square or perhaps the individual home of the person writing the account, then as the sun & moon are traveling back & forth over the wall, it's a child-like observation to say that from some point of reference within the city that it's as though it rode a chariot throughout the year, with it's changing position over the course of the months from more northern to more southern positions on the eastern & western horizons, as it would be seen over the wall of the city!
Others have objected to a reference, in 1Enoch, to the Lord coming to, or from, the south based upon a very very limited view of Scripture where in some Apocalyptic imagery of the Bible, His High Priestly ministry is sometimes depicted as coming from the East to the West, like lightning. But Zechariah 9:14 has our Lord going somewhere from the south, & for those interpreters of Isaiah 14 as though it were speaking of the fall of Satan, within the context of the king of Babylon passage, & envision Lucifer as literally endeavoring to ascend to the North, then for them, within their interpretation of Isaiah 14, there would be a “north/south” relationship between the Lord & the angelic hosts, if one presumed to enter by the southern gate with the intent of traveling north & exalting his throne above the stars of God, whether “literally & historically,” “figuratively & historically,” or “astronomically & historically.”
One of the things that I noticed in examining the Book of 1Enoch for myself after examining all that religious fundamentalists would have to speak against it, online, was how much it's language seemed to favor the fall of Satan as the correct interpretation of Isaiah 14, as though that interpretation had trickled down from when 1Enoch was held in greater esteem!
Additionally, the impression of it's mentioning of “Watchers” being intended with the same meaning as “Watchers” in Song of Solomon & perhaps Ezekiel as well, & analogous with our New Testament understanding of a “Bishop” was equally compelling & as hierarchy structure within the Church began to morph in the Church's earliest centuries into what would become the Catholic & Eastern Orthodox Churches seemed to answer the question as to why it didn't make it into the canon of the Western Catholic, & later “Protestant” Churches. The “Watchers” in 1Enoch are denounced for filling the people with all kinds of false doctrines, & as many quip that the book of Revelation narrowly made it into the canon by one vote as a result of it's supposed anti religious hierarchy stance, as some would interpret it, seems to all too easily explain why the book of 1Enoch fell into disfavor & then was supposedly lost to Western Christianity for 1250 to 1500 years or so.
The book is not an easy read with, [at first glance,] almost requiring the very Dispensationalism that many of us have learned to abandon in favor of more faithful interpretations of Scripture, because you have the author speaking in the person of the 7th from Adam of both judgment by water that was the impending crisis of his “Dispensation” & judgments by fire that were to follow afterwards after the Holy Spirit was poured out upon all flesh, though obviously when interpreted as the death of carnality & the work of Holy Spirit, then both the fire & water passages in 1Enoch easily blend into Christian dialogue as analogies for it. Familiarity with this fact may have inspired 1Peter 3:21 through St. Peter. Faithful readings of 1Enoch require a prodigious knowledge of the acknowledged canon of Scripture & snap judgments based upon a verse here & there from the Bible are usually the quick way to prove to God & the more discerning how shallow one's sanctification to the Bible & to God really are!
1Enoch should be of great interest, in my view, with those who sincerely believe that the Ethiopians may genuinely be in possession of the Ark of the Covenant, because the same Queen of Sheba that brought the Ark of the Covenant to the 3rd [extra-biblical] Jewish nation that existed in Africa at the time, could have easily brought back to Ethiopia copies of Enoch's prophecies since the antiquity of the Ethiopic version of it is generally beyond dispute. The question that remains, [for textual critics,] is how far back the text goes, whether it goes further back than the 3rd Century B.C. or not, based upon fragments of it that have been found in the middle east with Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries & other discoveries along the way since the reintroduction of 1Enoch to the West in the 18th & 19th Centuries. It was in the Abyssinian canon, all along, where it occupies the place immediately before the book of Job in the Eastern Orthodox Churches & perhaps has since the very beginning.
If 1Enoch predated entering into Ethiopia through the Queen of Sheba, then perhaps it served as part of her motivation for visiting Solomon! The stories of Jews having settled in Africa after the Exodus, instead of going on with the rest of the Jews into Canaan under Moses & Joshua are well known to researchers into the history of “Beta Israel.”
Obviously, a number of ancient Egyptian heathen texts that probably predated Greek & Egyptian Gnosticism, by quite a bit, are as filled with names that few besides their Creator in heaven genuinely care about! & were long lists of names the reason for discounting a book's Divine Origins, then many sections of the Hebrew Bible, Matthew, & Luke & perhaps an epistle or two of St. Paul's would have been discarded eons ago as not being a correct reflection upon & representation of the mind of God, were that a worthy criterion for judging a text's worth!
The issue of angels cohabiting with women as men would cohabit with women appears unclear to me without portions of the New Testament that speak of the disrobing of their former glories, & also, even if there were sexual issues between them, whether in the form of incubus & succubus spirits giving people sexual dreams, or whether in 1Enoch we have the beginnings of Temple Prostitution being brought up with it's additional comments about fornication having multiplied greatly in the earth, it still remains unclear how the giants were conceived &/or spawned from those relations, & whether they were exclusively physical beings that became the demons or whether they were psychic forces of nature that later were considered the demons that originated in those days; whether they were born of the origins of human sacrifice with preflood Aztec-like societies, or whether they came into being by other means.
Some would point to their devastation of vegetation & animal life as proof that they were physical beings, but their being physical beings doesn't keep them from having been the forces behind growing unstable weather, bacterial, or in some other way as an organized swarm that were considered to be into the hundreds of cubits, or whether the whole issue is allegorical in 1Enoch & to be understood as a body of pagan pseudo-knowledge that began corrupting & destroying life, longevity, quality of life, & other precious gifts from God as pagan speculation, sacrifices, & agendas multiplied! It definitely does help to read [aloud] through the whole text from start to finish, without opinions & biases [several times] & to not take it as face value, “Western writing” that's chronologically put together, even in terms of teaching segments, but to open one's heart up to begin exploring the whole thing as one giant paragraph in whatever edition of 1Enoch one chooses to begin one's meditations with, because some of the problems people have had with the text are gross oversimplifications of the book.
Several statements within 1Enoch make the wholesale usage of 1Enoch as legitimization of many pagan, Greek, & Roman myths as having had a historical kernel of truth deeply problematic for me. If anything about any of those pantheons had original objective reality to them, then it must be established upon the basis of other things other than 1Enoch rather than to chuck 1Enoch into all of the comparative religions & comparative oral history studies too quickly! Chapter 15, verses 10 of the Richard Laurence translation, when taken with the whole of that chapter being read very very carefully & every other reference to these abominable creatures helps to make the establishment of these creatures as historical, archaeological fact problematic in the way that many have been & are interpreting them:
They shall cause lamentation. No food shall they eat; & they shall be thirsty; they shall be concealed, & shall not rise up against the sons of men, & against women; for they come forth during the days of slaughter & destruction. 1Enoch 15:10
They came forth during the days of slaughter & destruction & great blood shed is described as having occurred on the earth, as both the doctrine of the fallen angels & partially as a built in cure to it, because the Pre-Islamic Jihadists of those days with those doctrines were sort of a built in cure to the error because they were snuffing themselves out as they went after each other's blood with all kinds of tribal clashes that occurred in the midst of them, & to settle the rest of the matter, the flood was obviously sent to deal with those who held to what both 1Enoch & Revelation would call “the depths of Satan.”
None of my statements in this brief elaboration on the misreading of Enoch that's gone on for nearly 250yrs in the West is meant to be conclusive on any points in particular, but merely to challenge people not to presume that they know what the book is about based upon faulty intros by other authors & based upon one or two readings of the text after a certain amount of assumption about it's depth & contents. Obviously, it's a new enough subject to a wide enough audience to where a verse by verse commentary, or a section by section handling of each portion of 1Enoch would be more the scope of a work meant to explore the depths of it's symbolism & what I personally believe is it's influence upon the Old Testament canon as well.
The book of 1Enoch with it's denouncements of unrighteous bishops & elders that can be read into it as among the most obvious of applications of the text would have obviously won it few supporters when the Church was going increasingly hierarchical. Hints in the Animal Apocalypse dream that the resurrection of the righteous & the wicked may only take place after the 3rd destruction of the nationhood of Israel would certainly not win it very many supporters among Jewish people. Both 1Enoch & Song of Solomon seem to very strongly denounce the 2nd Jewish Temple as offering impure sacrifices & raping the people of God of that era.
If anyone were to initially think to themselves that if it were inspired, then why didn't it make it's way into either of the two Testaments of the Holy Bible, there's a couple of reasons right there, without worries about how to interpret the first 5 verses of Genesis 6, as to whether to go with the 1Enoch interpretation of cohabitation with fallen angels or to go with the book of Jubilees' assessment of the matter. The Book of Jubilees is regarded by many as an additional Enochian text in what's considered by some a genre of Enochian literature for those who late date 1Enoch & want to make all of the writings attributed to Enoch to have been from a particular school of thought within Judaism, whether Essene or some other.
The book of Jubilees, in passing, goes with the standard explanation offered in many circles about the sons of God & daughters of men passage having been the descendants of Cain & the descendants of Seth. Either message would obviously be a strong “be not unequally yoked together” message, though one's thought by some to perhaps endorse racial tensions, while the other message would be thought to approximate something of bestiality, when read as literal sexual relations. I'm not in doubt about, nor naïve about, the hormones of mankind, & what may have happened on either interpretation of that passage in Genesis.
It's the [physical] substance of the “giants” that I believe is open to serious further meditation & investigation of the pages of 1Enoch & not a matter of debate that would be based upon the same previously held ideas about it that were surface readings of the text in the way that a Western book would be understood to be constructed & read, when it's ideas aren't laid out in that fashion at all, nor is there a doctrinal issue against the book of 1Enoch from a Biblical standpoint that's not often times a misreading of 1Enoch or shallow knowledge of the Judeo-Christian Bible that should have the final say on all matters of faith, practice, world-view, & interpretation of extra-biblical texts, such as 1Enoch!
No one should ever misunderstand this ministry as ever meaning to convey or endorse that the Biblical canon isn't complete on all matters specifically related to the faith of Abraham & the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. 1Enoch isn't a book for those who are less than totally prodigious in the Judeo-Christian Bible. 1Enoch, carefully observed, gives us the earliest references to a City in Heaven with 12 gates, with 3 on each side, & describes the purpose of each gate prior to the Cross & prior to the Flood; prior to Abraham, but that won't jump out at you in a way that you can filter through the resurrection of Christ after humanity was judged at the Cross, if you're not staying in the Bible day & night with whole books of the Bible being your first priority & final authority rather than the abbreviated books, creeds, & doctrines of any segment of the Body of Christ or of Judaism! The whole Bible, all by itself, must become your total love affair!!
In closing, as to matters of alleged necromancy, by some, on the part of 1Enoch because these visions, dreams, & Visitations were occurring in Enoch's life while he was still contactable by Methuselah & Noah, for those familiar with revelatory experiences in various branches of Christianity, with how they're not automatically an initial departure from this world, but can often occur via trances, visions, things gaining new clarity during prayer & meditation time, then one can more easily laugh off the assumptions that his having been caught away during the various episodes written in 1Enoch would have been any different from Isaiah's “open vision” experience in Isaiah 6 while he was still in the body, or St. Peter's experience in Acts 10 with the sheet that was let down from heaven that began his ministry to the Gentiles. Many people are allowing too many unspiritual people to form their interpretations of the holy things of God, whether they're Biblical or extrabiblical!!