The Book of Enoch
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
At Jude 1:14, 15, Jesus’ half-brother wrote this:
‘The seventh man from Adam, Enoch, prophesied about them when he said,
[Look!] Jehovah came with His holy tens of millions to condemn them all and to give all the godless what they deserve for the godless things they’re doing in their worldly ways, and for all the shocking things that these godless sinners have said against Him.’
This verse has amazed many Christians, for it mentions a writing that is not considered to be part of the Bible canon, the Book of Enoch, which is generally viewed as being an uninspired secular work. Yet if such a book was truly written by Enoch (an early man of faith who was so loved that he was ‘transferred’ by God);
Why would we consider it uninspired?
And if it were a fake;
Why would Jude have quoted from it?
If you read the Book of Enoch all the way through (a copy can be found at Sacred-Texts.com), you’ll see that Jude’s unique description of the condition of the fallen messengers of God (as described in Jude 6) is based on the information found in this book. So, can we say that this ‘Book of Enoch’ is inspired and should therefore be included as scripture in the Bible, since it is included in the book of Jude?
According to some historians, the ancient copies of the Book of Enoch (which Jude was quoting from) were actually lost (remember that ancient documents such as this were hand-written copies). However, more modern copies may have been found in Ethiopia and in some Slavic countries, which have been translated into English. (For more information, see the link, ‘Book of Enoch’). And after reading one copy of these texts, we were surprised to find how much of this supposedly pre-Christian document is in harmony with the words of Jesus and with the Bible book of Revelation.
However, if it really ever was an inspired work, it clearly has numerous errors today, which would indicate that through the centuries, it has been mistranslated and words have been added (which is also true of many Bible books such as Matthew, by the way). In fact, the wording of the entire book heavily reflects the religious doctrines, views, and words that were prominent during the ‘dark’ Middle Ages.
So if the current available copies of the book of Enoch were ever inspired, they are totally corrupted today. And if it was actually in existence in the time of the Scribe Ezra (c. 537-BCE), who is credited with compiling the thirty-nine books of the Ancient Scriptures of IsraEl (OT), and if it is not a later non-inspired writing as many claim, it was likely so corrupted by the time of the Jew’s return from captivity in Babylon that Ezra didn’t include it among the sacred writings.
For example; one of the corruptions that can be found in the Book of Enoch in Chapter Ten, is a graphic description of a Hell Fire that reflects the teachings of the Catholic Church during the middle ages, but which cannot be found in an in-depth study of the original Bible texts.
Yet on the other hand; by removing just a few words, you will see that the descriptions read much like Revelation Chapter Twenty. So it could be that the problem is more one of twisted translating or copying to reflect the popular religious views of the Middle Ages, than a text that was originally incorrect.
Nevertheless, some scholars point to these quotations from the book of Enoch to prove that the book of Jude is itself a spurious addition to the Bible (Jude was one of the last books to be included in the Bible canon of the Christian Era Scriptures). For his quotations from what many believe to be an ancient spurious writing certainly brings the authenticity of the book of Jude itself into question. And this hinges on whether the Book of Enoch was a truly inspired work during the First Century CE.
Notice that the City of Sodom is also mentioned in the modern Book of Enoch. And this is interesting, because Enoch lived before the Downpour of Noah’s time, and Sodom was a city that existed during the time of AbraHam (many hundreds of years later). However, it has been suggested by an advisor that Sodom could have been the name of a far more ancient city that existed prior to the Downpour, and which may have been a center of wickedness in the lifetime of Enoch also (but we doubt this).
So if the mention of this city didn’t come from a later corruption of the text, it could be the final proof that the whole book of Enoch is uninspired, and this may also cast a shadow over the authenticity of the Bible book of Jude.
But then, who knows?
However, it has also been suggested that Jude wasn’t really quoting from the modern book of Enoch (which certainly bears the tracks of more recent writers and thinking). But rather, he was quoting from more ancient texts that no longer exist, and that the modern Book of Enoch just included parts of these texts.
Either way, we urge you to be extremely cautious when reading the Book of Enoch.
But if the Book of Enoch was once truly inspired (and the Book of Jude may give credence to this), it does provide some interesting descriptions of significant events, names, and dates that aren’t found in more accepted Bible texts, which would be extremely important if they are true.