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The Book of Enoch the Prophet
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Pages (PDF): 154
Publication Date: 1883
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The book of Enoch is one of the strangest of the books left out of the Biblical canon. Filled with goetic angels and demons, and visions of inconceivable lands beyond the sky, writers have tied Enoch into everything from archaeoastronomy, Astrology, Alchemy, the Kabbalah, and Gnosticism. Before the 1917, R. H. Charles translation of the Book of Enoch, was this 1883 Laurence translation. This is the translation that many of the prominent 19th century esoteric scholars read, particularly Madam Blavatsky.
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In the Authorized Version of the Epistle of Jude, we read the following words:—
"Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands, of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
Modern research sees in the Epistle of Jude a work of the second century: but as orthodox theologians accept its contents as the inspired utterance of an Apostle, let us diligently search the Hebrew Scriptures for this important forecast of the second Advent of the Messiah. In vain we turn over the pages of the sacred Canon; not even in the Apocrypha can we trace one line from the pen of the marvellous being to whom uninterrupted immortality is assigned by apostolic interpretation of Genesis v. 24. Were the prophecies of Enoch, therefore, accepted as a Divine revelation on that momentous day when Jesus explained the Scriptures, after his resurrection, to Jude and his apostolic brethren; and have we moderns betrayed our trust by excluding an inspired record from the Bible?
Reverting to the second century of Christianity, we find Irenæus and Clement of Alexandria citing the Book of Enoch without questioning its sacred character. Thus, Irenæus, assigning to the Book of Enoch an authenticity analogous to that of Mosaic literature, affirms that Enoch, although a man, filled the office of God's messenger to the angels. Tertullian, who flourished at the close of the first and at the beginning of the second century, whilst admitting that the "Scripture of Enoch" is not received by some because it is not included in the Hebrew Canon, speaks of the author as "the most ancient prophet, Enoch," and of the book as the divinely inspired autograph of that immortal patriarch, preserved by Noah in the ark, or miraculously reproduced by him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Tertullian adds, "But as Enoch has spoken in the same scripture of the Lord, and 'every scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired,' let us reject nothing which belongs to us. It may now seem to have been disavowed by the Jews like all other scripture which speaks of Christ—a fact which should cause us no surprise, as they were not to receive him, even when personally addressed by himself." These views Tertullian confirms by appealing to the testimony of the Apostle Jude. The Book of Enoch was therefore as sacred as the Psalms or Isaiah in the eyes of the famous theologian, on whom modern orthodoxy relies as the chief canonist of New Testament scripture.
Origen (A.D. 254), in quoting Hebrew literature, assigns to the Book of Enoch the same authority as to the Psalms. In polemical discussion with Celsus, he affirms that the work of the antediluvian patriarch was not accepted in the Churches as Divine; and modern theologians have accordingly assumed that he rejected its inspiration: but the extent to which he adopts its language and ideas discloses personal conviction that Enoch was one of the greatest of the prophets. Thus, in his treatise on the angels, we read: "We are not to suppose that a special office has been assigned by mere accident to a particular angel: as to Raphael, the work of curing and healing; to Gabriel, the direction of wars; to Michael, the duty of hearing the prayers and supplications of men." From what source but assumed revelation could Origen obtain and publish these circumstantial details of ministerial administration in heaven?
Turning to the Book of Enoch we read: "After this I besought the angel of peace, who proceeded with me, to explain all that was concealed. I said to him, Who are those whom I have seen on the four sides, and whose words I have heard and written down. He replied, The first is the merciful, the patient, the holy Michael. The second is he who presides over every suffering and every affliction of the sons of men, the holy Raphael. The third, who presides over all that is powerful, is Gabriel. And the fourth, who presides over repentance and the hope of those who will inherit eternal life, is Phanuel." We thus discover the source of Origen's apparently superhuman knowledge, and detect his implicit trust in the Book of Enoch as a Divine revelation.
When primitive Christianity had freely appropriated the visions of Enoch as the materials of constructive dogmas, this remarkable book gradually sank into oblivion, disappeared out of Western Christendom, and was eventually forgotten by a Church, which unconsciously perpetuated its teaching as the miraculous revelations of Christianity.
The Book of Enoch, unknown to Europe for nearly a thousand years, except through the fragments preserved by Georgius Syncellus (circa 792, A.D.), was at length discovered by Bruce in Abyssinia, who brought home three copies of the Ethiopic version in 1773, respecting which he writes: "Amongst the articles I consigned to the library at Paris was a very beautiful and magnificent copy of the Prophecies of Enoch, in large quarto; another is amongst the Books of Scripture which I brought home, standing immediately before the Book of Job, which is its proper place in the Abyssinian Canon; and a third copy I have presented to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, by the hands of Dr. Douglas, the Bishop of Carlisle." This priceless manuscript, destined, some day, to reveal the forgotten source of many Christian dogmas and mysteries, rested in Bodleian obscurity, until presented to the world through an English translation by Dr. Laurence, Archbishop of Cashel, formerly Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, who issued his first edition in 1821, in apparent unconsciousness that he was giving to mankind the theological fossils through which we, in the clearer light of our generation, may study the "Evolution of Christianity."
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