The book of Enoch is an Apocryphal book of the Old Testament, written in Hebrew about a century before Christ. The original version was lost at the end of the fourth century, and only fragments remained, but Bruce the traveler brought back a copy from Abyssinia, in Ethiopia, in 1773, probably copied from the version known to the early Greek fathers.
In this work the spiritual world is minutely described, as is the region of Sheol, the place of the wicked. The book also deals with the history of the fallen angels, their relations with the human species, and the foundations of magic. The book says, “that there were angels who consented to fall from heaven that they might have intercourse with daughters of earth. For in those days the sons of men having multiplied, there were born to them daughters of great beauty. And when the angels, or sons of heaven, beheld them, they were filled with desire; wherefore they said to one another: ‘Come let us choose wives from among the race of man, and let us beget children.’ Their leader Samyasa, answered thereupon and said: ‘Perchance you will be wanting in the courage to fulfill this resolution, and then I alone shall be answerable for your fall.’ But they swore that they would in no way repent and that they would achieve their whole design. Now there were two hundred who descended Mount Harmon, and it was from this time that the mountain received its designation, which signifies Mount of the Oath. Hereinafter follow the names of those angelic leaders who descended with this object: Samyasa, chief among all, Urakabarameel, Azibeel, Tamiel, Ramuel, Danel, Azkeel, Sarakuyal, Asael, Armers, Batraal, Anane, Sameveel, Ertrael, Turel, Jomiael, Arizial. They took wives with whom they had intercourse, to whom they also taught Magic, the art of enchantment and the diverse properties of roots and trees. Amazarac gave instruction in all secrets of sorcerers; Barkaial was the master of those who study the stars; Akibeel manifested signs; and Azaradel taught the motions of the moon.”
In this account we see descriptions of the profanation of mysteries. The fallen angels exposed their occult and heaven-born wisdom to earthly women, whereby it was profaned, and brute force taking advantage of the profanation of divine law, reigned supreme. Only a deluge could wipe out the stain of enormity, and pave the way for a restitution of the balance between the human and the divine, which had been disturbed by these unlawful revelations.
A translation of the Book of Enoch was published by Archbishop Lawrence in 1821, the Etheopic text in 1838, and there is a good edition by Dillman (1851), Philippi and Ewald have also written special works on the subject.
The Book of Enoch, also known as Ethiopic Enoch, I Enoch, and The Book of Henoch” was revered by the Jews and Christians alike but fell into disfavor among powerful theologians because of its controversial descriptions of the nature and deeds of the fallen angels. The Enochian writings like others such as The Books of Tobias, Esdras, and others, were omitted (or lost) from the Bible. Once it was considered to be among the biblical apocryphal writings by the early church fathers.
To better understand the possible reason for the omission of the Book of Enoch from the Bible, the term “apocryphal” must be considered. Apocryphal is derived from the Greek and means “hidden” or “secret.” Originally it was a complimentary term, and when applied to sacred books it meant that their contents was considered too exalted to be made available to the general public. Gradually the idea was accepted that such books were only to be read by the wise. Therefore, the term “apocrypha” began taking on a negative meaning because the orthodoxy felt as if they were being kept in the dark by not being told the teachings of these books. The apocryphal books were just read among esoteric circles of the devout believers. The clergy that was not admitted into such circles because they were thought not to be enlightened soon banned apocryphal material heretical, which were forbidden for all to read.
Why was banned
The Book of Enoch was banned as heretical by later Church fathers mainly because of its theme concerning the nature and actions of the fallen angels. In fact, the material infuriated some Church fathers. And, some rabbi even would not give credence to it. Probably it was considered such a sacrilege that it was denounced, cursed, banned, and no doubt burned and shredded. As a result the book was conveniently lost for a thousand years. But, with ironical persistence the Book of Enoch eventually reappeared.
Although the Book of Enoch was banned, the reasons for doing so became more illusive after it was discovered once again. Rumors of a surviving copy of the book in 1773 sent the Scottish explorer James Bruce to distant Ethiopia in search of it. There he found the Ethiopic church has saved the book and kept it alongside of the other books of the Bible.
Bruce was able to secure not one, but three copies of the Ethiopic book that he brought back to Europe and England. In 1821, Dr. Richard Laurence, an Oxford Hebrew professor, produced the first translation that gave the world its first glimpse of the forbidden Enochian mysteries.
Speculation of most scholars place the original writing of the Book of Enoch during the second century B. C. with its popularity lasting at least five hundred years. The earliest Ethiopic text was apparently made from a Greek manuscript of the book, which itself was a copy of an earlier text. The original text appears to have been written in a Semitic language, now thought to be Aramaic.
Though it was once believed to be post-Christian (the similarities to Christian terminology and teaching are striking), recent discoveries of copies of the book among the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran prove that the book was in existence before the time of Jesus Christ. But the date of the original writing upon which the second century B.C. Qumran copies were based is shrouded in obscurity. It is, in a word, old.
There is a consensus that the book does not contain the authentic words of the ancient patriarch Enoch, since he would have lived (based on the chronologies in the Book of Genesis) several thousand years earlier than the first known appearance of the book attributed to him.
Despite its unknown origins, Christians once accepted the words of this Book of Enoch as authentic scripture, especially the part about the fallen angels and their prophesied judgment. In fact, many of the key concepts used by Jesus Christ himself seem directly connected to terms and ideas in the Book of Enoch.
Thus, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Jesus had not only studied the book, but also respected it highly enough to adopt and elaborate on its specific descriptions of the coming kingdom and its theme of inevitable judgment descending upon “the wicked”–the term most often used in the Old Testament to describe the Watchers.
There is abundant proof that Christ approved of the Book of Enoch. Over a hundred phrases in the New Testament find precedents in the Book of Enoch.
Two of these phrase are in the Book of Jude tells us in vs. 14 that “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied…” Jude also, in vs. 15, makes a direct reference to the Book of Enoch (2:1), where he writes, “to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly…” The time difference between Enoch and Jude is approximately 3400 years. Therefore, Jude’s reference to the Enochian prophesies strongly leans toward the conclusion that these written prophecies were available to him at that time.
Many other church fathers: Tatian (110-172); Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (115-185); Clement of Alexandria (150-220); Tertullian (160-230); Origen (186-255); Lactantius (260-330); in addition to: Methodius of Philippi, Minucius Felix, Commodianus, and Ambrose of Milan also approved of and supported the Enochian writings. Even St. Augustine (354-430) suppose the work to be a genuine one of the patriarch. A.G.H.