The Apocrypha and The Book of Enoch

Recently I got sent a Scripture from the book of Enoch and after talking about this to a fellow group of Christians it became apparent to me that some believe in the Apocrypha and the Book of Enoch as being from God.  Many believe these ancient writings to be missing parts of the Holy Bible. I decided to do a study on the history of these things as I didn’t know one way or another.

This is what I found: -

The Old Testament was written over a period of several centuries, from approximately 1200 BC to 400 BC. It consists of 39 separate books, which were originally written in Hebrew, with some portions in Aramaic.

The authors of the Old Testament include various prophets, historians, and other writers who were inspired by God to record the history, laws, and teachings of the Jewish people. Some of the most well-known books of the Old Testament include the first five books, also known as the Pentateuch or Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), as well as the historical books (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah), the wisdom literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon), and the prophetic books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets).

The New Testament was written over a period of several decades in the first century AD, primarily by eyewitnesses or close associates of Jesus and his followers. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, which was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean region at that time.

The New Testament consists of 27 separate books, including four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), which recount the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as letters (also called "epistles") written by early Christian leaders such as Paul, Peter, James, and John. The final book of the New Testament is the Book of Revelation, which contains a series of apocalyptic visions and prophecies.

The Apocrypha

The Apocrypha refers to a set of religious texts that were written during the time period between the Old and New Testaments. The Apocrypha is believed by most mainstream Protestants to not be the inspired word of God.  These writings first appeared in the Septuagint (which was the first Bible translated from Hebrew to Greek) beginning 250 years prior to Christ.  Only a few manuscripts of the Septuagint still exist before the beginning of the Christian era. Most of the manuscripts that do exist were done by Christians after the time of Christ. Consequently, this means there is uncertainty of the time the Apocrypha was included within the Septuagint. There are three very old books that have both the Old and New Testaments written in Greek. Sometimes they have a few extra books from the Old Testament Apocrypha in them too, but they don't always have the same ones, and they're not all there.

The transcripts were then translated into Latin at a relatively early time in the Christian era by a scholar called Jerome and he started using the Septuagint for this.  After some time, he decided to instead use the original Hebrew scripts instead and found that the Septuagint contained extra books which were not in the Hebrew scripts. He then rejected the apocrypha as not being on an equal level with the Hebrew Bible. He said these books can be read in the Church if people desire but not used for doctrine. Jerome’s distinction between the Hebrew Canon and Apocrypha was rejected by the Roman Catholic Church who included them in their Bible – the Vulgate. Also included in the Vulgate were books which weren’t even in the Septuagint such as ‘Third and Fourth Esdras’ and ‘The Prayer of Manesseh’. In 1546 it was decreed by the Roman Catholic Church that the Vulgate was Holy Scripture.  The Vulgate was then used to translate Scripture for the next 300 years. English translations went through a variation of either including the apocrypha between the Old and New testaments, or including it within the Old Testament, or excluding it completely. The King James Bible published in 1611 included the apocrypha between the Old and New Testament but later removed it when reprinted in 1626. In 1881 the King James was revised as the English Revised Version and again included the apocrypha but then taken out when revised as the American Standard Version (which was the counterpart to the English Revised Version). While Roman Catholic Versions continued to print the Apocrypha as part of Holy Scripture, many Protestant versions did not. This is consistent with the Protestant belief that the Old Testament Apocrypha has no claim to be regarded as Holy Scripture.

What about the teachings in the Apocrypha? When you line up the teachings within the Apocrypha against the word of God the teachings endorse false doctrines such as prayers for dead, false cures, virtue in a burning heart of a fish to drive devils away, deliverance from death and sin using alms, and salvation by works. 

The Book of Enoch

The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish work that was not included in the Hebrew Bible or the Christian New Testament. It is classified as an apocryphal or pseudepigraphal text, meaning it was written by someone other than the person it is attributed to. In other words it was not written by Enoch contrary to the belief that it was.

In addition to the book of Enoch there is also a second and third book attributed to Enoch.

The Second Book of Enoch also known as Slavonic Enoch, Slavic Enoch or Secrets of Enoch describes the ascent of the patriarch Enoch, ancestor of Noah, through ten heavens of an Earth-centered cosmos. Some scholars attribute 2 Enoch to an unidentified Jewish sect, while others regard it as the work of first-century Christians. The text was lost for several centuries, then recovered and published at the end of the nineteenth century.

The Third Book of Enoch is believed to have been written in the 2nd century, but its origins can only be traced to the 5th century. Other names for 3 Enoch include The Book of the Palaces, The Book of Rabbi Ishmael the High Priest and The Revelation of Metatron.

Who is Enoch?

Enoch according to the Bible is the great-grandfather of Noah; that is, Enoch son of Jared.

The Book of Enoch began with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of Jewish texts, including some biblical manuscripts, that were discovered in the mid-20th century in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. These manuscripts provide valuable insight into the beliefs, practices, and literary traditions of the Jewish communities that lived in the region around the time of Jesus.

The Dead Sea Scrolls include copies of many books of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other Jewish writings that were not included in the biblical canon, such as the Book of Enoch and the War Scroll. Some of the biblical manuscripts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls are nearly identical to the texts that are still used today, while others show significant variations and differences from the versions that are familiar to modern readers. 

Was the New Testament written from the dead sea scrolls?

No, the New Testament was not written from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The New Testament is a collection of Christian texts that were written in the first century AD, several hundred years after the texts that were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls consist primarily of Jewish texts, including copies of many books of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other Jewish writings that were not included in the biblical canon. While there are some similarities between the beliefs and practices of the Jewish communities represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls and those of the early Christian church, the two bodies of literature are distinct and separate.

Are there any teachings in the Book of Enoch that are contrary to the Bible?

The Book of Enoch contains some teachings that are consistent with the Holy Bible, particularly with the Old Testament. For example, it describes the fall of the angels, the Nephilim, and the flood of Noah, which are also mentioned in the Bible. However, there are also some significant differences between the teachings of the Book of Enoch and those of the Bible. For example, the book contains descriptions of Enoch's visits to heaven and conversations with angels, which are not found in the Bible. Additionally, the Book of Enoch introduces some new concepts, such as the names and functions of specific angels, that are also not mentioned in the Bible.

There are also other teachings in the Book of Enoch that are considered to be contrary to the Bible such as Enoch 10:8 attributing all sin in the world to a fallen angel Azazel and not through Adam and Eve.  Enoch 47:4 says that the blood of the righteous is required before the Lord of spirits when clearly the blood of Jesus was the once for all final sin offering needed (1 Peter 3:18). The Book of Enoch describes events that took place before the Flood as happening during the time of Jared Enoch’s Father), while the Bible places them during the time of Noah (who lived hundreds of years after Jared and Enoch).

Additionally, the Book of Enoch includes descriptions of heavenly realms and cosmic battles that are not found in the Bible, and it presents a more complex cosmology than is presented in the Bible. Some of these teachings have been interpreted as promoting a kind of Gnosticism or mysticism that is not compatible with traditional Christian theology.

Another thing worth noting is that Jude 1:14-15 mentions Enoch (who walked with God) describing the coming judgment of God and that a very similar message is quoted in the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch 1:9) which leads many to believe that Jude is quoting from the Book of Enoch.  There is however no definite proof that Jude is quoting from the Book of Enoch as opposed to just quoting something that Enoch (who was a prophet) said. Another thought amongst some scholars is that Deuteronomy 33:2 mentions the Lord coming from Sinai, shining forth from Seir, and appearing from Mount Paran with his holy ones. While Enoch is not specifically mentioned in this verse, some people have suggested that it could be a reference to Enoch's prophetic vision of the coming judgment of God. What we can ascertain however is that the direct quote in The Book of Enoch is truth and based on something truthful that Enoch actually said but this in no way means that all of The Books of Enoch are based on truths and facts.  The enemy is really good at getting truths and mixing them with deception to lead people into deception. 

While the Books of Enoch contain some important and interesting insights into Jewish theology and literature, they are not considered to have the same level of authority as the canonical scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. The Bible, on the other hand, is considered to be the inspired Word of God and the primary source of religious authority for Jews and Christians.

By Tania Francis







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