The canon of Scripture is a settled issue, isn’t it? You’ve got your 66 books total, 39 in the Old Testament (24 by the Jewish counting) and 27 in the New Testament. However, when you do the research, things are not so simple. There are many “other” books claiming to be Scripture, a number of them accepted by various denominations and/or included in various Bibles over the years. Are they Scripture? Or just heretical additions?
In The Canon of Scripture, Part 1: The Apocrypha I established that the books known as the Apocrypha are inspired Scripture. However, there is a much wider collection of works not included in our Bibles called the “Pseudepigraphia”, which means “false writings”. Today, I will deal with two books of the Pseudepigraphia in particular:
- Book of Enoch
- Book of Jubilees
Of the books not in our canon, the Book of Enoch (also known as 1 Enoch or Ethiopic Enoch) is by far the most well-known outside of the Apocrypha. It claims to be written by Enoch (Genesis 5) and Noah, and to be primarily about Enoch’s life. It is especially known for its detailed account of the sin of the fallen angels hinted at in Genesis 6.
But is it Scripture? There is actually a surprisingly simple Biblical test to prove or disprove this book’s authenticity.
The Book of Enoch is quoted in our Bible by Yehoshua/Jesus’ half-brother Jude:
And Chanokh [Enoch], the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men saying: Behold, YHWH comes with ten thousands of his set-apart-ones, to execute judgment on all, co convict all who are wicked among them of their wicked deeds which they have committed in a wicked way, and all the harsh things which wicked sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14-15 HRV)
This is a direct quote from Enoch 1:9 (2:1 in some versions):
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones [“holy” and “set-apart” are the same word] 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 1:9, Charles’ translation)
I will let James Trimm explain:
Some commentators have tried to minimize the importance of this quotation, claiming that Y’hudah [Jude] was only quoting the Book of Enoch in the way that Paul quoted Greek philosophers. In fact there are two very important features in Y’hudah’s citation.
First of all, while the Book of Enoch is quoted (specifically 1Enoch 1:9), Y’hudah attributes his quote, not to the Book of Enoch, but to the man Enoch (Enoch, seventh from Adam). Since we have copies of the Book of Enoch which predate the Book of Y’hudah, this quote tells us that Enoch seventh from Adam wrote the Book of Enoch.
Secondly Y’hudah uses the word “prophecy”. Y’hudah tells us that this quote from Enoch which comes from the Book of Enoch is “prophecy”. That is a very important statement.
Regarding prophecy Kefa (Peter) writes:
knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture
is of any private interpretation; for prophecy never
came by the will of man, but set-apart men of Eloah [God]
spoke as they were moved by the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit].
(2Kefa (2Pt.) 1:20-21 – HRV)
So if, as Y’hudah tells us, the Book of Enoch is “prophecy” then Kefa tells us that it was inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).
Paul has some important words for us about Scripture that is inspired:
Every writing which was written by the spirit is profitable
for teaching and for reproof and for correction and for
instruction in righteousness, that the son of man of Eloah
may be complete and whole for every good work.
(2Timothy 3:16-17 – HRV)
So if the Book of Enoch is prophecy then it was inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh. And if Enoch was inspired by the Ruach then it is profitable for teaching and for reproof and for correction and for instruction in righteousness. In other words, if Y’hudah is telling the truth then we should be using the Book of Enoch as Scripture and not taking it lightly!
Read the full article here:
The Book of Enoch is heavily messianic in its prophecies, leading some scholars to claim it is a Christian invention that simply incorporated the Jude quote. However, this was proven absolutely false with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which manuscripts of Enoch in Aramaic were found! They dated to BEFORE the time of Christ. Enoch was clearly held in high regard by the Qumran community. In fact, there are rumours of a COMPLETE manuscript of Enoch in Aramaic that was found at Qumran, but quickly sold away to a private collector and hidden (the messianic prophecies – so clearly about Yehoshua – would be very embarrassing to say the least; eyewitness testimonies prove the manuscript’s existance).
Of particular not is Yehoshua’s repeated self-description as the “Son of Man”. Now, apart from one or two passages in Daniel, the phrase is only used in Scripture to denote an ordinary mortal human. Therefore the phrase makes no sense. It makes perfect sense, however, when you realise that Enoch several times prophecies a messianic figure called the “Son of Man”. Simply put, by repeatedly calling himself that, Yeshua was proclaiming to the world that He was the promised Messiah (the passages in Daniel are not enough to have done that; it HAD to have been Enoch; otherwise no-one would have realised what He meant).
Some manuscripts of the Septuagint – the Greek translation of the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) made by Jewish scholars in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC) – contain the Book of Enoch. The ancient Christian and Jewish sects of Ethiopia – the oldest currently existing in the world – have long accepted Enoch as Scripture. The fact that the oldest JEWISH sect accepts it ought to make one stop and think, considering its obvious Messianic prophecies. Numerous early “church fathers” quote this book, many considering it a book of inspired Scripture.
Tertullian (155-240AD) considered the book to be Scripture (calling it the “Scripture of Enoch”) and even remarked that the Jews had removed it from the canon due to its heavy and clear prophecies about Yeshua. Origen (184-253AD) considered the book to have equal authority with the Psalms, and quotes it as if there were no question about its canonicity.
Irenaeus (died 202AD) did not directly cite Enoch, but very clearly based his account of the fallen angels on Enoch’s description. The Letter of Pseudo-Barnabas, written about 100 AD, quotes the Book of Enoch midrash-style (same as he does with the rest of the Scriptures) as “Scripture” several times.
Athenagoras of Athens (133-190AD) regarded Enoch as a true prophet and relies heavily on the book’s cosmology with regard to angels. Justin Martyr (100-165AD), in his account of the fallen angels and the Flood, very clearly and strongly bases his account on Enoch’s.
Enoch is also quoted by name several times in the Jewish Zohar, compiled in the first two centuries AD.
Not only does Jude directly quote Enoch, but Peter also strongly alludes to it.
For if YAH spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them into chains of darkness, to be watched unto the judgment of anguish; And spared not the old world, but saved Noach [Noah] the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the wicked… (2 Peter 2:4-5, Eth-Cepher)
Jude also alluded elsewhere to Enoch:
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude1:6, Eth-Cepher)
This account of the “angels that sinned” being judged this way – and their sin being the cause of the Flood – is only described in the Book of Enoch! (Enoch 6:6-11:2; 54:4-5; 91:15) Jude continues further:
Even as Cedom [Sodom] and Amorah [Gomorrah], and the cities about them in like manner [as the fallen angels], giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7, Eth-Cepher)
It just so happens that in the entire Old Testament, only Enoch tells of eternal punishment and torment (refuting the soul sleep doctrine). Enoch is the ONLY Biblical book where Jude could have gotten this doctrine, just as Peter could only have gotten the details of the fallen angels out Enoch. It’s as simple as that.
In addition, there are numerous other times when the “New Testament” writers (in similar manner to the Apocrypha) strongly alluded to Enoch. (In fact, I think they probably do it more from Enoch than any other book!)
Note: there are two different chapter and verse divisions for Enoch; the system used in the original translation by Richard Lawrence (used by the Eth-Cepher) and the system used by RH Charles in his translation (which every other translation uses). All references mentioned above are in the Charles numbering; the numbers on the following list represents the Lawrence numbering.
Compare the following:
Enoch 14:1; 83:1 with 1 Corinthians 13:1 (angelic tongues derive from Enoch, nowhere else)
Enoch 9:9-12 with Revelation 6:9-10; Romans 8:21-23
Enoch 9:2-3 with 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16 (phrase “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” derived from Enoch)
Enoch 3:1-3 with Romans 1:20
Enoch 19:6-7 with Matthew 22:29-30
Enoch 24:3 with Revelation 2:7
Enoch 24:2 with Mark 3:29
Enoch 40:3 with 2 Peter 2:11
Enoch 46:1-3 with Revelation 1:13-14
Enoch 48:1 with John 7:38
Enoch 60:3-5 with Romans 12:3
Enoch 56:5 with Romans 12:6
Enoch 48:2-5; 61:10 with John 1:1-2 (and plenty of other NT passages that are clearly derived from it)
Enoch 48:1 with 1 Corinthians 2:7 and Colossians 2:3
Enoch 51:6-9 with James 5:3
Enoch 83:1 with 1 Timothy 2:8
Enoch 91:3 with Romans 13:11; 1 Corinthians 15:34; and Ephesians 5:14
Enoch 93:7 and 96:6-8 with James 5:1-3; Revelation 3:17 and Luke 12:16-20
Enoch 104:2 with John 6:53-58
Enoch 13:6 with Acts 10:4 (common phrase about prayer being a memorial)
Enoch 37:2 with Luke 11:52
Enoch 38:2-5 with Romans 8:18-19 and Mark 14:21
Enoch 19:1 with 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Revelation 21:10
Enoch 39:4-12 with John 14:1-3 (and multiple other passages)
Enoch 40:5 and 41:6 with John 1:4-5; 3:18-20 and Romans 8:38-39
Enoch 42:1-2 with James 3:17
Enoch 60:14-15 with Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5 and 5:6
Enoch 61:2-3 with Revelation 19:15
Enoch 61:8-10 with Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14
Enoch 70:13-15 with John 4:23-24
Enoch 79:2 with Matthew 24:28-30 and Revelation 8:6-13
Enoch 80:6 with Romans 4:7-8
Enoch 80:8 with Romans 3:20
Enoch 96:23 with Galatians 2:21
Enoch 96:24-25 and 104:7-9 with 2 Thessalonians 2:7 and Jude 1:10
Enoch 104:10-11 with 1 Timothy 3:16
Around the 4th century, writers as Augustine, Jerome (yes, the Vulgate translator who tried unsuccessfully to remove the Apocrypha from the Bible) and Hilary began disputing Enoch’s canonicity. Some Catholics (including Jerome) even tried to dispute the canonicity of Jude in their anti-Enoch zeal. It subsequently almost completely disappeared (apart from in remote Ethiopia, where the Christians and Jews were largely unaffected by Rome, and continued to – and still continue to – accept it as Scripture). It remained lost until explorer James Bruce came back with three Ethiopian copies in 1773.
Another interesting aspect of Enoch (aside from the Messianic prophecies) is other latter day prophecies that have had remarkable accuracy (explained in the above Nazarene Space link). It even prophesied today’s abortion!
A discussion of Enoch cannot go without mentioning the Book of Jubilees. It claims to be the history of the world as presented by an angel to Moses on Mount Sinai. As the title suggests, it bases its chronology on the jubilee cycle. Jubilees is quite notable for its strong agreement with and use of the Book of Enoch (so much so that those who accept Jubilees have no choice but to accept Enoch).
Like Enoch and the Apocrypha, Jubilees was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In fact, there are more DSS manuscripts for Jubilees than for almost every book of the Bible! (Only 5 books – Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Exodus and Genesis – had more copies.)
This demonstrates that Jubilees was not only held in high regard in Qumran, but was obviously accepted as Scripture. It is acknowledged by secular historians that the Hasmoneans (Maccabees) accepted Jubilees from the start (although they usually accompany it with the unfounded assumption that it was written then).
At least several of the early “Church Fathers” accepted Jubilees, and many of them quote from it – sometimes at length. Church fathers that quoted from it include Epiphanius, Justin Martyr, Origen, Diodorus of Tarsus, Isidore of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville, Eutychius of Alexandria, John Malalas, George Syncellus and George Kendrenos.
While not officially canonised by Rabbinic Judaism, it appears to have remained in use in Hebrew circles. Several traditions that appear for the first time in Jubilees find themselves appearing in later Jewish traditions, including 12th-century midrashim. Of course, when Enoch was removed from the canon, Jubilees naturally had to go. It is to this today part of the canon of Ethiopia’s Beta Israel Jews and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, who never rejected Enoch.
Another interesting piece of evidence for Jubilees’ authenticity is its narrative. The main manuscript traditions of Genesis and Exodus – Masoretic, Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan, and Septuagint – all contain differences in details, such as the ages of the patriarchs. Surprisingly, when repeating the information in Genesis and Exodus, it never entirely follows the readings of any single manuscript tradition. For instance, in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, Jubilees sometimes agrees with the Masoretic against others, sometimes with the Samaritan against the others, sometimes with the Masoretic and Samaritan against the Septuagint, sometimes with the Septuagint against the others, etc. Similar things happen elsewhere. In short, as some (skeptical) scholars have noted, Jubilees appears to have originated completely independently of Genesis and Exodus – supporting the book’s claim to have been directly imparted by an Angel of Yehovah (the Lord) to Moses, and presumably the source of Moses’ later works Genesis and Exodus.
In addition, Jubilees is sometimes alluded to by the NT writers. For instance, Peter says that with Yehovah, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day (2 Peter 3:8). This is drawn directly from Jubilees 4:29-30, which says that a thousand years is as a day with Yehovah; and that this is what God meant when He told Adam that he would die on the day he ate the fruit, and that is why Adam died at 930 years – 70 years short of completing a spiritual day (which makes a lot of sense, and adds a lot of clarification).
Jubilees also appears to have been used as a source by Josephus. Josephus claims that Moses’ adopted mother – the Pharaoh’s daughter – was Thermuthis (Antiquities 2.9.5 [2.224 in some translations]). This is directly drawn from Jubilees 47:5 – the only other known source (and certainly the only pre-Josephus source) to give this information. Josephus also claimed that Hebron was built 7 years before Tanis (you know, the ancient Egyptian city featured in Raiders of the Lost Ark), and that this was round about the time that Abraham visited Egypt. This is directly drawn from Jubilees 13:12, the only known source of that information.
Just as the Apocrypha is, in fact, inspired Scripture, so too are the books of Enoch and Jubilees.
R.H. Charles’ famous translation of the Book of Enoch:
Richard Lawrence’s translation of Enoch (the first ever published):
Charles’ translation of Jubilees: