Jude Walks With Enoch

Jude Walks With Enoch
Jude 1:14; Enoch 1:9

The New Testament letter writer and brother (most likely) of Jesus quotes the Old Testament character, Enoch:

It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the 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.” (Jude 1:14-15, NRSV)

Here’s the surrounding section in Jude where these quotes are found, this time from the New American Standard Bible:

Yet in the same way these men [Jude speaks of non-believers, wicked in the manner of Sodom and Gomorrah], also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. 12 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.

14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. (Jude 1:14-23, NASB)

By the way, the second quote, at verse 18 (“In the last time there will be…”) is from an unknown source, but see for example 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 2 Peter 3:3.

You might recall Enoch from the book of Genesis, and his fame for being one of two Bible personalities who seem to have not died, but were instead taken directly to heaven by God. (Who was the other?)

From Genesis:

Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech. (4:17-18, NASB)

When Jared had lived one hundred sixty-two years he became the father of Enoch. Jared lived after the birth of Enoch eight hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.(5:18-19, NASB)

When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him. (5:21-24, NASB)

And from First Chronicles, in the Old Testament history:

… Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech; … (1:3, NASB)

And from the New Testament:

…son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan… (Luke 3:37, NASB)

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:4-5, NASB)

And from the Christian Apocrypha, in the book of Sirach:

Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up, an example of repentance to all generations. (Sirach 44:16)

Few have ever been created on earth like Enoch, for he was taken up from the earth. (Sirach 49:14)

Jude quotes the early prophet “Enoch” from the Jewish Book of Enoch, a text written not by Enoch in the neighborhood of 4000 BC, but instead by multiple anonymous authors over several decades after 180 BC and prior to the birth of Christ.

The Book of Enoch belongs to a collection of Jewish writings recorded and compiled in the 200 to 100 BC timeframe (more or less) which we now call the Jewish Apocrypha and Pseudapigrapha. All of these had at one time or another greater or lesser claim to become canonized as Hebrew scripture — our Christian Old Testament — but at the end of the day they did not survive the cut for works of sacred, fully-God-inspired, scriptural authority.

The Pseudapigrapha portion of these two groups are works written in the name of prophetic figures from Jewish Biblical history, but done so much later than the times these prophets actually lived. They are pseudo (in likeness of) epigraphs (writings). To be sure, we should not think of these intertestamental works as forgeries or fraudulent, but instead, generally, as inspired, genuine, Godly attempts at presenting Godly text in the Jewish tradition of their namesake prophets.

The 200 years prior to the birth of Christ, when these works were written, compiled, and circulated, were often dangerous times for Jews under Roman rule. These were times of sporadic violence and outright warfare by Jews against Rome by a succession of Maccabean family leaders. It is for good reason that the prophetic and inspired writers of Enoch and other Pseudapigrapha texts did not put their own names to their writings, but instead borrowed from the names of Adam & Eve, Noah, Isaiah, Baruch, Ezra, Moses, and Enoch. Some of these — and Enoch is one of these — came close to becoming canonized in the collected, official, endorsed-by-God canon of Jewish, and later Christian, sacred texts.

In Enoch’s case, early Christian writers and early Christianity often DID include Enoch in what these believers thought belonged to the body of sacred text. Enoch was at least read and recited widely inside the Christian movement, even though it came out of the Jewish body of religious inspiration. We see here in this Bible Bit that Jesus’ brother Jude thought highly enough of Enoch to place a quote from “him” in his letter. Likewise, the early Christian church which did canonize Jude’s letter, did not find fault with Jude for including quotes from (the not quite canonized) Enoch.

And Jude is not the only New Testament writer impressed by the Enoch book. Enoch’s phrasing is borrowed in Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 Timothy, 1 John, and Revelation.

The early Christian “fathers” and those Christians responsible for what we call the Apocryphal writings of the New Testament knew and alluded to Enoch. Again, phrases from Enoch are found in the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas, and Apocalypse of Peter, and also in the 2nd through 4th century work of early Christian thinkers and authorities Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Origen, Acta, Commodianus, Cyrprian, Pseudo Cyprian, Hippolytus, Zosimus of Panopolis, Lactantius, and Cassianus.

It was in the fourth century that Enoch fell out of favor as an inspired work, and to a large extent disappeared. Manuscript discoveries in the 18th century of this and other similar Apocalyptic and Pseudapigraphic Jewish writings from the two centuries prior to Christ lead to much scholarly research, and more manuscript discoveries, culminating in the British compiler R.H. Charles (with other scholars) publishing two massive volumes of The Apocrypha and Pseudapigrapha of the Old Testament in English in 1913.

In any event, the scholar of the Christian New Testament must study the Book of Enoch if he is to complete his New Testament scholarship. And of course, much scholarship on the intertestamental works has been accomplished since the publication of the R.H. Charles references a century ago.

Big Honkin’ Books Filled with Scholarly Detail. R.H. Charles et al. The Apocrypha and Pseudipigrapha of the Old Testament in English, 1913. Much scholarly work has been done, of course, since the publication of these volumes.

And so, here again are Jude’s quotes from Enoch (from the NIV this time), followed by a passage from the Book of Enoch itself (from R.H. Charles).

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (NIV)

Enoch 1:9:

And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones
To execute judgement 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
. (Enoch, Section 1, R.H. Charles)

For a fuller sense of the Enoch passage, here, from the first section of the Pseudapigraphic Book of Enoch:

1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be 2 living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -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 3 for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:

The Holy Great One will come forth from His dwelling,

4 And the eternal God will tread upon the earth, (even) on Mount Sinai,
And appear from His camp
And appear in the strength of His might from the heaven of heavens.

5 And all shall be smitten with fear
And the Watchers shall quake,
And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth.

6 And the high mountains shall be shaken,
And the high hills shall be made low,
And shall melt like wax before the flame

7 And the earth shall be wholly rent in sunder,
And all that is upon the earth shall perish,
And there shall be a judgement upon all (men).

8 But with the righteous He will make peace.
And will protect the elect,
And mercy shall be upon them.

And they shall all belong to God,
And they shall be prospered,
And they shall all be blessed.
And He will help them all,
And light shall appear unto them,
And He will make peace with them’.

9 And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones
To execute judgement 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.

(R.H. Charles’ translation from multiple manuscripts, 1913)

Thanks to Bible Gateway, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and used bookstores, where one can find old copies of R.H. Charles’ works in hardcover, and Christian Classics Ethereal Library (ccel.org), where one can find his books and his translation of the Book of Enoch online.

God’s blessings to you! Read the actual Bible for yourself!