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Gleanings From the Book Of Enoch
The bible mentions Enoch in Genesis 5:18-24 as a man who pleased God and then God took him up to heaven without his physically dieing. The only other person to have that experience (being taken to Heaven without dieing) is the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). Enoch lived on the earth for 365 years before God took him to heaven without dieing. That was a relatively short time span in those days, because people tended to live 800 to 900 years. Enoch going to heaven at 365 years would be roughly equivalent (these days where people live to be 80 to 85) of God taking him to Heaven when he was only 35!
Why did God take Enoch to heaven without waiting for him to die first? Heb 11:5 comments on this, saying, "By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, 'and was not found, because God had taken him'; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (NKJV).
Enoch wrote several books when he was alive on the earth. These are not considered as a part of the Bible, and His writings cannot be looked upon with the same authority of Scripture. But his writings are very insightful and they tend to agree closely with scripture in a lot of areas. And there is something in the New Testament that shows the believers considered the writings of Enoch to be authoritative, because Jude 1:14-15 references writings from the book of Enoch. It says, "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" (NKJV).
However, we cannot give the book of Enoch the same type of authority we give the Bible. There are some questions as to whether the scrolls that constitute the book of Enoch were really written by Enoch of if they were "forgeries" written by first century believers.
The book of Enoch reads a lot like the Bible. It is highly prophetic and there are passages in there that track very closely with things that are in the Bible. For instance, the Book of Enoch Chapter 46:1-2 gives a vision of God the Father that looks very similar to John's vision of Jesus in the book of Revelation, and a description of what sounds like Jesus standing next to Him: "There I beheld the Ancient of days whose head was like white wool, and with Him another, whose countenance resembled that of a man. His countenance was full of grace, like that of one of the holy angels. Then I inquired of one of the angels, who went with me, and who showed me every secret thing, concerning this Son of man; who he was; whence he was; and why he accompanied the Ancient of days. He answered and said to me, This is the Son of man, to whom righteousness belongs; with whom righteousness has dwelt; and who will reveal all the treasures of that which is concealed: for the Lord of spirits has chosen him; and his portion has surpassed all before the Lord of spirits in everlasting uprightness."
Here are some of the things we learn about Enoch from the Book of Enoch:
Enoch interacted frequently with angels. He talks about angels as messengers who teach and instruct him about God's plans as early as verse two of his first book. He says, "Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is for to come..." He then proceeds with a vision that is similar to some of what the Apostle John described in the book of Revelation.
He also talked about the angels looking at the decline of humanity (Chapter 9) with concern and they brought their concerns before God and discussed it with Him, which led to God destroying the earth by the flood and sparing only Noah and his family. Enoch seemed to be on a first name basis with many of the angels, and he shared the names of some of the "watchers" who were concerned about humanity's decline into depravity in Chapter 9, verse 1: "Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel." Enoch again mentions angels as holy watchers in Chapter 20. It says: "And these are the names of the holy angels who watch. Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus. Raphael, one of the holy angels, who is over the spirits of men. Raguel, one of the holy angels who takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries. Michael, one of the holy angels, to wit, he that is set over the best part of mankind and over chaos. Saraqael, one of the holy angels, who is set over the spirits, who sin in the spirit. Gabriel, one of the holy angels, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the Cherubim. Remiel, one of the holy angels, whom God set over those who rise."
In Chapter 17, verses 1 and 2, Enoch described angels' natural appearance as a flame of fire, but they could take on the appearance of man any time they wished. In other words, in their natural state, angels exist as what looks like fire, but they often choose to take on human appearance when they interact with men. Enoch chapter 18 refers to angels as "columns of fire" multiple times. In Chapter 14, Enoch sees cherubim in a vision. He describes them as, "And I went in till I drew nigh to a wall which is built of crystals and surrounded by tongues of fire: and it began to affright me. And I went into the tongues of fire and drew nigh to a large house which was built of crystals: and the walls of the house were like a tessellated floor (made) of crystals, and its groundwork was of crystal. Its ceiling was like the path of the stars and the lightnings, and between them were fiery cherubim, and their heaven was (clear as) water. A flaming fire surrounded the walls, and its portals blazed with fire. And I entered into that house, and it was hot as fire and cold as ice (verses 9-13).
The vision of cherubim before God's throne continues in chapter 14 verses 16 to 24. Note that the cherubim are directly in God's presence but the "regular angels" could not approach directly into God's glory.
And in every respect it so excelled in splendour and magnificence and extent that I cannot describe to you its splendour and its extent. And its floor was of fire, and above it were lightnings and the path of the stars, and its ceiling also was flaming fire. And I looked and saw therein a lofty throne: its appearance was as crystal, and the wheels thereof as the shining sun, and there was the vision of cherubim. And from underneath the throne came streams of flaming fire so that I could not look thereon. And the Great Glory sat thereon, and His raiment shone more brightly than the sun and was whiter than any snow. None of the angels could enter and could behold His face by reason of the magnificence and glory and no flesh could behold Him. The flaming fire was round about Him, and a great fire stood before Him, and none around could draw nigh Him: ten thousand times ten thousand (stood) before Him, yet He needed no counselor. And the most holy ones who were nigh to Him did not leave by night nor depart from Him.Enoch chapter 18, verses 1-6 describes the angels as winds that God furnishes to His whole creation. These wind-like angels help keep the planets and stars in orbit and they help keep earth separated from the heavenlies. With a little stretch of imagination, Enoch may be saying that the "force" of gravity may actually be the ministry of certain angels tasked to hold God's creation in order.
There is much more that Enoch had to say about angels. You can read the Book of Enoch if you are interested.
Our next lesson will look at Enoch's insights and interactions with the angels who, according to Genesis 6:1-2 says, "When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [Angels] saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose."