procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Enoch I

i've been reading the Book of Enoch lately, to try and get a picture of the C1 thought on eternity, immortality, punishment etc, prompted by the reading of another book, The Fire that Consumes, by Edward Fudge.

for those unaware, the Book of Enoch, is part of the pseudipigrapha, ie written pseudonymously, of which not a few copies were found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls - it was actually the fifth most popular scroll among the Qumran community, after the Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah and Genesis (listen to this fascinating talk for a heads-up on the scrolls).

the book has been described as Revelation on Steroids! it's 108 chapters long (although most of them are pretty short), but by no means a difficult read.

  1. there's a lot of discussion of the angels. the idea we sometimes hear of this big war between the good angels, versus the fallen angels really takes off here. Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel take on the likes of Azazel, Semjaza, Armaros, Baraqijal, Kokabel, Ezeqeel, Araqiel, Shamsiel and Sariel. Enoch sort of combines the flood narrative, with the battle language of Joel among other places, with hell-fire language.

      Chapter 10:
      'Go to Noah and tell him in my name "Hide thyself!" and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it.'

      'Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication: and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men [and cause them to go forth]: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle: for length of days shall they not have.'

      In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all generations.

    i thought that was quite an interesting succesion...

  2. chapter 10 continues with a picture of restoration (something i am particularly trying to think through):

      And then shall all the righteous escape,
 And shall live till they beget thousands of children,
 And all the days of their youth and their old age
 Shall they complete in peace.
      And then shall the whole earth be tilled in righteousness,
      and shall all be planted with trees and be full of blessing.

    there is here, as well as elsewhere, a picture of the earth being restored, a place for the righteous to dwell.
    chapter 25 is particularly interesting, where we have a juxtaposing of the "garden" (ie restored earth), with the "temple" (c/f revelation).

      'It [the fruit of the tree of knowledge] shall then be given to the righteous and holy. Its fruit shall be for food to the elect: it shall be transplanted to the holy place, to the temple of the Lord, the Eternal King.
      Then shall they rejoice with joy and be glad,
 And into the holy place shall they enter;
 And its fragrance shall be in their bones,
 And they shall live a long life on earth,
 Such as thy fathers lived:
      And in their days shall no sorrow or plague 
Or torment or calamity touch them.'

  3. my final note comes from the closing chapters of the first section (ch's 28-36). this is a very apocalyptic cruise around the earth, where all is restored and made even better! there is the tree of knowledge, the tree of wisdom, and many other fragrant, magnificent trees (i wonder if they were suffering from severe deforestation at that time, a bit of tree-envy?), and the first part (of five) culminates in this hymn:

      Chapter 36
      And as often as I saw I blessed always the Lord of Glory, and I continued to bless the Lord of Glory who has wrought great and glorious wonders, to show the greatness of His work to the angels and to spirits and to men, that they might praise His work and all His creation: that they might see the work of His might and praise the great work of His hands and bless Him for ever.

regardless of the canonicity of Enoch (the Ethiopian church - at least the Ethiopian Jews - apparently hold it to be truly canonical), it's definitely a fun read, and as we see at the end of this section, there is cause to praise God in all things.

1 Chronicles 16:25For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be held in awe above all gods.

photo, as well as the text of the book are sourced from here

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Blogger fatima said...

On another topic...
What are your thoughts on ghosts?
Jesus assures his followers that he is not a ghost (after his resurrection). So what is a ghost??

3:28 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

normally kids in white sheets i would have thought, fatima.
i'll have a think and post about it another time, if anything interesting comes up...

2:19 pm  

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