“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” –Hebrews 11:5 KJV
The Book of Enoch, or 1 Enoch, is an ancient religious work that was once a part of the Jewish and Christian canons. Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah. The current known Book of Enoch contains a number of unique ideas on nephilim, angels falling from heaven, and an explanation on the need for the Great Flood. It also predicts the thousand-year reign of the Messiah. Scholars place different parts of the text as being written as early as 300 BC and the oldest parts around the first century AD. Thus, they claim this is a book that was added to over the years, just as many scholars state on the dates of much of the canonized Bible.
While this book of scripture has been rejected by the majority of modern Jewish and Christian denominations, earlier sections of the book were preserved among what is known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition, it is regarded as canon by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. This book of scripture was voted to be introduced to the Assembly of Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship by the Council of Elders on January 5, 2019. It was then voted as scripture by the Saints April 6, 2019 at Conference.
This version of the Book of Enoch was taken from the 1917 edition translated by R.H. Charles. It has been slightly altered by David Ferriman, the First Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship. These alterations include re-chaptering, re-versification, and being broken into the following seven sections:
- The Book of the Watchers (1–6)
- The Book of Parables of Enoch (7–13)
- The Book of Celestial Luminaries (14–21)
- The Book of Dreams and Visions (22–26)
- The Epistle of Enoch (27–33)
- Extract from the Prophecy of Enoch (34-38)
- Appendix to the Book of Enoch (39-40)
The Book of the Watchers is the story of a group of 200 Iyrin or “Watchers” who deny the Holy Ghost, becoming perdition, and marry women of the world. Whether these “Watchers” are angels or humans is unclear as the Aramaic term for angel, malakha, is not used in the Aramaic version of the text. Whom or whatever the Iyrin are, they teach these women of the world and their children mystical secrets known to them by their former relationship with God. When the worldly humans are given this information, they use it to gain power and wars cover the lands. Enoch tries to intercede with God on behalf of the Iyrin, but due to the seriousness of their sins, they are not forgiven. Enoch is then given a vision of the Heavens and Earth, seeing the world through spiritual eyes.
The Book of Parables of Enoch is believed to have likely been either written by Christians and added to the text, or to be a revelation given to mankind by Enoch long after he and his city were taken. This portion has not been found in any of the oldest versions of the text.
The Book of Celestial Luminaries returns us to, if not the more authentic text, at least a pre-Christian one as it was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This portion contains descriptions of heavenly bodies. It uses a similar solar calendar as found in the Book of Jubilees. The book divides the year into four equal seasons of ninety-one days each, making 364 days per year. Each season is composed of three months of thirty days, with an extra day at the end of each third month. The whole year then is composed of fifty-two weeks, with each calendar day occurring on the same day of the week. Each year and each season begins on the fourth day of the creation (Wednesday) as narrated in Genesis.
The Book of Dreams contains a revelation predicting the course of Israel from the Flood to the Maccabean Revolt. Because of this, most scholars are of the opinion that this portion of the text was likely written approximately 163–142 BC. However, if it is what it claims to be, there is no reason not to think it wasn’t written before the flood, as the Ethiopian Church believes. Why then it is not in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we do not know.
The Epistle of Enoch breaks the time of man into 10 “weeks” or generations (periods of time). This portion moves further than the Parables of Enoch, reaching the end of times. And, it can be found in the oldest preserved copies of the text. It can be seen as a letter to Enoch’s children and as his Apocalypse.
Extract from the Prophecy of Enoch comes from Joseph Smith Jr.’s Old Testament Revision 1, pages 12-19. In December of 1830 in Fayette, New York, Joseph Smith Jr. had begun an inspired correction of the Holy Scriptures. By June, 1830, he was assisted by Sidney Rigdon. During that time, Joseph received this revelation regarding Enoch. This short text records Enoch’s call to his ascension into Heaven with the city of Zion.
The Appendix to the Book of Enoch contains what is believed to be a fragment of the Book of Noah, as it records Methuselah calling Enoch back from Heaven for information on Noah (39). It also contains another record “which Enoch his son Methuselah and for those who will come after him and keep the law in the last days” (40)
Additions to the text made by both R.H. Charles and David Ferriman are in italics. Larger additions to the text by David Ferriman were made per inspiration, however hese types of additions are minor, and so this work should not be considered an inspired version like the Joseph Smith Jr. version of the Bible. In this edition, all of the Ethiopic version and the Greek version have been merged and may be read as one. When R.H. Charles could not put the two together, for whatever reason, David Ferriman prayfully found a way to fit the pieces into one. For a clearer study on which parts of the records came from which texts, see R.H. Charles’ original translation.
Main image: William Blake Enoch Lithograph, 1807, Public Domain, was used to create this image.