Year of Birth:
- 622 years after Adam was created
- Young Earth scientists estimate this to be about 3382 BC (Answers in Genesis)
- 365 years
- Genesis 5:1-24
- 1 Chronicles 1:3
- Luke 3:23-38
- Hebrews 11:5-6
- Jude 1:14
- Enoch's son (Methuselah) is the oldest man to ever live at 969 years old.
Who is Enoch? What are the Books of Enoch?
These are but a few questions that many people ponder upon. Although the Bible only has a few verses about Enoch, those verses are very exciting! So let us take a look into who Enoch is according to God's word, who he isn't, and why his books (if they are even his) aren't in the Bible.
The first time we see the word "Enoch" in the Bible is actually in reference to Cain's son. This is not the Enoch that people talk and debate about. It is the second person that is the subject of hot debate, and he comes shortly after the first. From here on, Enoch will refer to the second one. He was seventh after Adam.
This genealogy is reflected in two Old Testament references and one New Testament reference.
These genealogies clearly show that Enoch was the seventh generation of human. However, we also clearly see in the New Testament reference that Enoch is a direct ancestor of Jesus! Luke counts backwards from Jesus to Adam, and Enoch is in the direct line. We also see that Enoch is the great-grandfather of Noah. If you read further in Genesis, you will also see Noah listed as a descendant of Enoch.
We see that Enoch was born 622 years after Adam came into existence. We get this by using the Genesis passage and adding up the age of each man when they had the descendent listed. What is really interesting about this, is that when Enoch is born, all of the men in his ancestry were still alive!! Talk about crazy! There are various theories as to why humans lived longer in this time, but that is a topic for another day. What is important here is that they were living very long lives in comparison to our lives today, and they were all alive when Enoch was born. That means that Enoch was literally able to sit down with the first man on earth, and the five men in between himself and the first man, and talk about anything and everything!!
In Genesis, we read that Enoch "walked with God," and in Hebrews, Enoch is used as an example (with others) of what having faith looks like.
Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
We can see that the Bible clearly states that Enoch was a man that walked with God and pleased God. By looking at the surrounding scripture in Hebrews, we can see that he was considered to be someone with the utmost faith, one that should be emulated. He was listed alongside Abel, Abraham, and Noah. The whole chapter is speaking about faith and Enoch, though he has few verses written about him, was included as one who had faith.
In this chapter, each person that is listed has follow on verses that describe the type of faith they had. If we read on to verse six, we get a little more insight into what kind of faith Enoch had.
And without faith it is impossible to please him
for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews shows us that Enoch was known for pleasing God. Because it is impossible to please God without having faith, we know that Enoch had faith. By looking at Genesis, we know that Enoch walked with God. Hebrews gives us a glimpse into how Enoch walked (drew near) to God. He did it by first believing that God exists and that God rewards those who seek him. Those two beliefs prompted Enoch to draw near to God. He drew so close to God that he is commended as being pleasing to God, which is a verification of Enoch's faith.
Now here comes the crazy part! Enoch was so close to God, and pleased God so much, that he didn't die! We will cover this more in the section on his death. For now, let us continue with his life.
In the book of Jude, we see that Enoch was known to prophesy. This passage is at the core of the controversy. We will cover the controversy toward the end. In the book of Jude, we are being warned about false teachers and false prophets. These are people who say they are Christian, but are leading people astray. Many people will follow these false prophets/teachers, but they are following a counterfeit gospel. In the middle of this discussion on false teachers/prophets, Jude records this:
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying,
“Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,
to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly
of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way,
and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
In totality, what we know of Enoch is he was born 622 years after Adam was created, he had children, he had the opportunity to talk with all of his direct male ancestors, he prophesied, and he was gone after being alive for 365 years. So let's talk a little bit about his death, ... or lack thereof.
Enoch did not face physical death. Multiple places in the Bible tell us that God just took him. How did he take Enoch? We have no idea. the Bible simply states,
"Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him."
The word "took" is supposed to portray the idea of being snatched. God snatched Enoch. And in case we decided that we needed more confirmation, this is reiterated in Hebrews:
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death,
and he was not found, because God had taken him.
There is only one other person that has not seen physical death. That is the prophet Elijah. So this is a pretty big deal! And it is this pretty big deal that leads us into some controversy about Enoch.
Books of Enoch
It is important to note that the Books of Enoch are not part of the Bible. This means they are not part of Scripture. God did not make a mistake. He did not forget to have humans include these books. They are extra-Biblical (meaning "outside of the Bible") and are not verified to actually be of Enoch. Let's take this apart a bit. I will give you forewarning, this is not an exhaustive take on the Books of Enoch. It is a big picture look at the controversy.
The controversy comes in because of what was written in Jude about Enoch's prophecy. Jude was actually quoting something that Enoch said. Many people point to a similar (but not same) quote in the Books of Enoch as proof that they should be included. If someone who wrote Scripture quoted from them, then we should include it. This argument, on its face, is not a reason to include something. Just because someone quoted from something doesn't necessarily mean that the whole book should be included. That aside, the quotes are not even a match.
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all, and to destroy all the ungodly: and to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
1 Enoch 1:9
If you don't look too closely, the quotes look the same. However, there are key differences. In the Bible, the Lord is coming to convict. That is very different than coming to destroy. We will continue this discussion further down, but God cannot contradict himself. It would make him a liar.
So why did this quote get included in Jude? Was the author misquoting from the Books of Enoch? No. Scholars have several theories as to why this quote was used. I tend to agree with Peter Gentry who states that the quote in Jude is accurate, and thus, the Books of Enoch are wrong. He speaks of how powerful the oral traditions are within the Jewish community and that these oral traditions have remained consistent throughout long periods of time. He makes a secondary point that I find to be the most compelling. There are a lot of quotations in the New Testament. All of them have been shown to be accurate. It would make logical sense to believe the Bible is accurate and the Books of Enoch are not because the Bible has not been wrong, and the Books of Enoch have been.
Let's discuss where these books came from. They were written in-between the testaments. From the last book of the Old Testament to the first book of the New Testament is about 400 years. During this time, there were no direct revelations from God. He didn't speak through prophets, he didn't direct anyone to write down scripture... nothing. This period is known as "The InterTestament Period" or "The Years of Silence." This is the time period that we get the Books of Enoch. Because this is the time period in which they were written, they are obviously not written by Enoch himself. Thousands of years have passed since he was taken.
That being said, many still believe that it could be scripture. After all, Moses wrote about the creation well after the creation. God told him what to write. This logic would seem to settle the argument, but it doesn't, and here's why.
Moses literally wrote what God told him to. What was told to Moses has been written and passed down ever since. The archaeological evidence that we have attests to the fact that there haven't been changes along the way. God's word stays true. This is not the case for the Books of Enoch. The only full copy we have is an Ethiopic translation of a Greek translation of a Hebrew/Aramaic translation (CANA, Marcia Montenegro). In other words, we have a written form of the telephone game. Because we don't have the original, we have no idea what is accurately translated or not.
Let's put that aside for a moment and consider the people that would have known about these books. Historically, these books have never been considered Scripture by either Christians or Jews. This is important. These books were around when Jesus was on earth and when his disciples continued his ministry when he ascended to heaven. They were around when the books of the New Testament were written, and when they were compiled into what we now call the New Testament. They were not included in Scripture.
Now let's set aside that argument too. Nevermind the original document issue, or the translation issue, or the timing issue, or that early Christians and Jews didn't consider them Scripture. Put all that aside, and this next argument still settles everything. Anything from God, cannot contradict Scripture as that would contradict himself and make him a liar.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:13
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
1 Corinthians 14:33
In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man,
but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21
As we have said before, so now I say again:
If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
It is because of this principal that the Books of Enoch were, and still are, considered to be uninspired by God and not to be looked at as Scripture. I will name just a few of the inconsistencies.
- The books place the blame for sin on Azazel. This is clearly not what the Bible teaches. Starting in Genesis and going all the way through Revelation, the Bible repeatedly places blame for sin on Adam and Eve.
- There are places where Enoch is put into the place of Messiah. This is completely contradictory to the Bible which states that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus alone.
- These books put Metatron/Enoch as mediator between humans and God. This also contradicts the gospel as it is Jesus who is our mediator. This is made very clear in Hebrews. (The Metatron discussion is for another day but is also a VERY big reason this goes against the Bible).
- These books claim that Uriel warned of the flood. The Bible clearly states that God told Noah about the flood.
- The focus of the books is predominantly on supernatural beings, such as angels. These books do not point to God. That is the antithesis of the Bible. God's word points to God. It is about how God provides, how God created, and what God will do.
As stated previously, these are just a select few reasons why the Books of Enoch should not be considered Scripture and should not be used in any way to affect one's faith or spirituality. The fact that the Books of Enoch contradict Scripture (not to mention, contradict Jesus' own words), make them unfit for Scripture and unfit for use in one's faith. When looking at the people of the Bible, we should make sure to stick with what the Bible says. Does that mean we can't use extra-Biblical material? No, it does not mean that. It means that anything outside of the Bible should be viewed in light of the Bible. If the extra-Biblical material contradicts or undermines the Bible, then it is not of God. It should not be allowed to shape our faith, view of God or his word.
We know enough about Enoch from the Bible to see that he was a man of great faith. He walked with God and believed in God. He was so close with God that God just snatched him off the earth. Enoch never saw physical death. He was so close to God that centuries later,... no, millennia later... he was remembered and included in the "hall of faith" of the Bible in the book of Hebrews. What will people remember about your faith?