17 March 2023
Feel free to read the Book(s) of Enoch. You'll encounter a mishmash of stuff cobbled together into a three volumes, and the whole thing is quite hostile to divine revelation. It was composed among various authors seeking to divert attention away from something in the Bible that condemned their sins. It was crafted to support a political agenda that was not from the Covenant.
The best way to understand this is to first register in your mind what the Bible is trying to tell us, particularly within the context of the events referenced. There is a consistent moral narrative that is not the least bit confused or confusing if you bother to study the Ancient Near East and what we can know about the cultures and languages. Just a good introduction would be enough, because God didn't just choose the Hebrew people; He made them from scratch. He performed miraculous interventions specifically to get Abraham where He wanted him, and to raise his descendants in a specific atmosphere. Further, God arranged broader events as the background against which He played out the necessary dramas that revealed His character to people who started out knowing Him poorly.
You must first understand how the Hebrews were like the other nations of that time and place, and then you must understand how they were different. You should not insert your perspective into the text. The only people who take the Books of Enoch seriously don't have a good background in the serious scholarly studies of the Ancient Near East in general, and the Hebrew people in particular.
God chose Moses as His spokesman. Moses was raised in Pharaoh's household with a royal Egyptian education. He accomplished all kinds of things in his first forty years of life. Then he fled into the Sinai and surrounding areas to get another forty years of education from a nomad Aramean who would have helped Moses recover his Abrahamic heritage from Mesopotamia. Later, Moses went up on Mount Sinai and received from God the straight story that clarified all that stuff he had learned. The written product of that divine meeting is the Book of Genesis. The other Books of Moses were written as events transpired.
While we know that Genesis is a collection of legends and narratives from different times and peoples and places, we also can see it is held together by a single theme. It's not the whole story by any means; it is simply a selection of stories that give meaning to what God was doing with that nation out there in the Sinai wilderness. It's as much as they needed to know to understand what follows. Please notice: God never aimed to relate all the pertinent facts. The stories are not factual renderings, but characterizations of the events. The people already knew about the events. Genesis is what God wanted them to see in those events, His evaluation of the results. Anyone who understands the ancient Hebrew culture would tell you this.
It's not a question of hiding things, because it wasn't intended to answer all the questions that would occur to those people. The oral lore wasn't forgotten; it simply wasn't necessary to get the point God was trying to make. And it most certainly isn't going to answer all the questions of people like us from a wholly alien culture. If you are going to understand the Bible, you must understand the context and embrace the importance of the message.
The Books of Enoch are from a different culture. They represent the pagan mythology to which the Israelis had been exposed after the Exodus, but woven into Hebrew terminology. The Books of Enoch are presented as the record of events that happened to, or things revealed by, Enoch, the father of Methuselah in the genealogy of Genesis, a man who didn't die, but was translated into Eternity because of his righteousness. Please do not confuse this with the short quotation Jude (1:14) makes from Enoch the man, which quote is also echoed in the Books of Enoch. We know that the Jews carried a large body of oral lore, some valid and some not.
The stuff in Enoch does at times echo Hebrew culture, but that simply tells us it was written by Hebrew people, but the underlying moral outlook is quite alien to Hebrew faith. Best we can tell, the purpose of the Books of Enoch was to promote the Maccabean Revolt by crafting some propaganda for something that was totally outside of Covenant guidance. In case you didn't know, the Maccabean Revolt departed significantly from biblical values, as the Hebrew leadership had already become corrupted by Hellenistic values.
So, for example, we have the flat out lie these books promote about the Genesis narrative leading up to the Flood. The whole point of the Bible narrative is to establish that there was a solid split in the human race between those who took Cain's path versus those who embraced Shem's way of calling on the Lord. By the time of Noah, the folks were labeled Sons of Man (Cain's descendants) and Sons of God (Shem's people). The corruption had gotten so bad that most of the Sons of God had been seduced and drawn off track. Thus, Noah and his family were all that was left. The Books of Enoch pull a fast one, using standard Pharisaical semantic twisting to somehow turn that into a wild tale of angels having sex with humans. Jesus implied that angels cannot have sex and reproduce (Matthew 22:30) by way of contrast to humans and marriage.
A major point God was making by including the narrative we read in Genesis was that, prior to the Flood, humans had not yet developed a godly means of governing human behavior. It paints the picture of humanity's profligate debauchery as an offense to God. The key to this problem is that nobody was ruling their own household. Men were not exercising moral dominion over their families by building up righteous customs for them to follow. They were lawless, and the foundation of law is the male head of household obeying God. The key to Genesis 9 is understanding that God demands a formal tribal government with a law that includes penalties, up to execution for the gravest sins. The integrity of their tribal existence depended on having boundaries. Thus, we have the Covenant of Noah with distinct boundaries. Apparently Noah was the only fellow at the time who did this, so the Lord kept him alive through the Flood.
Where do you suppose we get the utter necessity of tribal feudal government and social structure? It was demanded by God in Genesis 9. It is fundamental to Creation itself. That's why angels are depicted as having no free will in the Bible. They exist under a feudal structure. Thus, Satan as an archangel has his one-third of all angels, symbolized by the image of his tail sweeping his third down to the earth when he is confined here (Revelation 12:4). This is John identifying who he is talking about, something he does throughout his Revelation, using the ancient Hebrew language of parable. Feudalism is inherent in Creation itself, and it shows up in the ranks of angels and how they operate. So the story from the Books of Enoch is pure nonsense in suggesting angels could reproduce or could disobey half-way without being fallen. It's quite inconsistent with the biblical image of them.
God portrays Himself as an eastern potentate, a nomad shepherd sheikh. Such a man typically had one heir and three others who took the role of princes of lesser rank. The heir was called his "right hand" in the imagery of Hebrew culture, the manifestation of his power and authority. One of his other princes ruled the bodyguard, another the messenger corps, both under the heir's command. The third prince was his "left hand" -- the Punisher. It was not a coveted assignment; it was usually reserved for someone who was of high rank being punished for resisting the sheikh's will. The Punisher could gain his sustenance only from those in the household who also resisted the sheikh's will.
So quite naturally this Punisher would resort to all kinds of trickery to tempt people away from the boundaries the sheikh established. The sheikh would put limits on this activity, but would not stop it, because it was in his best interest to ferret out those secretly inclined to resist His will. Then the Punisher would make formal accusation before the sheikh, bringing a case against the accused. That way those people got into trouble and were handed over to the Punisher as slaves, and all their productivity was consumed by the Punisher as their feudal lord.
This is the story in Garden narrative. Satan was being punished for some transgression we cannot really understand, but it had to do with grabbing glory that was not his. As his punishment, he was demoted to the Punisher role, and was confined to the earth. His first order of business was tempting Adam and Eve to defy the Sheikh of Heaven and step outside His boundaries. When they did, they were transformed into the mortal creatures they had previous supervised in the Garden of God. But feudalism is inherent in Creation itself; all their mortal descendants inherited the slavery to Satan. They were born in slavery and belonged to Satan's domain. So the one task of human life is to escape this bondage. That escape is to restore the lost fellowship we are supposed to have with our feudal Master, the Sheikh of Heaven. The path of restoration is His Covenant.
The Books of Enoch shed a lot of this, mostly because the Jews had abandoned their ancient cultural heritage by the time of the Maccabean Revolt. Context is everything.
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