Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Book of Enoch

I love thinking about Enoch! The depth of wisdom that God gave him is fascinating. I suppose the depth of revelation in his subject matter should be no surprise to us – seeing he walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

And to think – that same level of intimacy with God is available to you and I – if we choose to walk with God, like Enoch did.

Enoch was a great prophet, yet Jesus said, “There has never been a greater prophet than John. Nevertheless, he who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” That means you and I are greater than Enoch as well.

Greater in what sense? I suppose John was the greatest of the prophets at least in the sense that he had a greater, or more direct role, or a more closely-linked role, to the subject matter of prophesy than the other prophets, which was the Son Himself.

All the other prophets knew about the Son only in visions or by revelation. But John did more than know about Him or talk about Him – he actually physically introduced Him.

John was the friend of the bridegroom.

The other prophets talked about the Son. John said, "This is He".

Being Jesus' first cousin after the flesh, and because of his election, and due to the time in which he lived, John was privileged to go one step further than the preceding prophets by saying to Israel, "I've told you about Him, but now I will actually introduce Him to you - here He is. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I told you..."

Nevertheless he who is least in the Kingdom has even a greater role – even a more privileged relationship to the Son (the subject of all prophecy) than to have physically introduced Him to Israel.

We are every bit as privileged as John or Enoch – so far as wisdom, revelation, righteousness and redemption goes - because of Christ.

I love it that God likes to reveal Himself like that to anyone who chooses to draw close to Him.

Jeremiah said, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

Sometimes I’ve said to God, “Tell me something great and mighty – about anything – something which I don’t know”. It could be something about politics, or the future, or about nations, or something personal and intimate, or about some plan that God has, or about Christ, or it may be some spiritual truth. But I just like it that God likes to talk to us.

God said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do, seeing he also shall become a great nation?”

In fact, in the prophets it says, “God does nothing unless He first reveals it to His servants the prophets”.

God referred to, "Abraham my friend”.

Jesus said, “From now on I don’t call you servants but friends – because I have told you everything.”

Perhaps a good definition of “friend” would be: someone to whom you tell things. To a servant, you only give commands. To a friend, you tell your plans – not just give orders.

Yet even the servants (the prophets) get told everything God is going to do – so how much more now that He calls us friends, more than servants!

He invited Jeremiah to ask Him concerning things.

With God’s most intimate friends, He talks about things beyond their own generation, because God dwells in eternity.

God names us not just according to our destiny in this life, but in accordance with the full extent of our fruitfulness in history and in eternity. For example, God named Abram “father of many nations” and until this day, many sons in every nation are still being born to Abraham in Christ Jesus – and the counting hasn’t finished yet - it's still going!

So the dream God gave you concerning your destiny was placed in your spirit by God, speaking from the viewpoint of future history and eternity. When He speaks of our destiny, He isn't merely speaking of what we will see with our eyes during our lifetime.

People say, “Don’t die with the music in you”. In other words, don’t die with unfulfilled dreams in your heart. But I say, “Don’t die without unfulfilled dreams”. How limited if we haven't dreamt beyond what we can accomplish only in our own lifetime!

When you think about Abraham’s accomplishments during the term of his natural life, it doesn’t seem very much in comparison with Moses, Joshua or David. All he did was roam around in tents and have one son of promise. When he fought the kings he wouldn't take any spoil. All Abraham really did was that he believed God. And yet because of that, God has given him a great name.

It's not about achieving. It's about believing.

Activity that hasn't come from faith isn't valuable. It is faith that counts for something.

All God is asking us to do is to believe Him – and to act on our faith.

Faith is an act. It expresses itself through love. Hallelujah!

I feel an anointing on some parts of the book of Enoch. I also feel a caution about some parts. Nevertheless I find the book of Enoch one of the most fascinating documents in the world.

Years ago I asked the Lord whether it should be included in our canon of Scripture. Immediately, I sensed that God had already seen to it to preserve in our bibles the portions of the book of Enoch that are valuable to us.

For example:

* The book of Genesis retells some of the same incidences as the book of Enoch, preserving all the details we need to know and leaving out the details we don’t need to know

* The Epistle of Jude quotes from it

* The Epistles of Peter use some of the same language and themes

Therefore we don’t miss out, even though it is not in our Bibles!

I like it that Enoch is referred to as a “scribe of righteousness”. I like it that “scribe” is seen as a calling. To write things down is an important role of many prophets, even for prophets today.

When I was a new Christian, before I learned about the book of Enoch, I used to wonder how Jude knew what Enoch prophesied about, since it isn't recorded in our Bible.

I also used to wonder where Moses got the information from in the book of Genesis – was it oral tradition, or by revelation? So I was fascinated when I realized that the book of Genesis is actually a compilation of several books, and that each of subsection has its own subtitle. For example, the book of Genesis mentions “the book of the generations of Adam” as one subheading. Then “The generations of the heavens and the earth” is mentioned. And another sections begins, “The book of the generations of Cain” etc. It seems genealogies were written down, along with salient commentary about individuals and events, and then handed down the family line.

So all Moses had to do was link these documents with a minimal amount of narrative.

But how accurate would the writings have been by the time Moses compiled the Pentateuch?

Well according to some quick calculations I did once (which could be wrong, because Maths wasn’t my best subject!) even though Jude says Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, I think that Adam would still have been alive during the first 200 to 300 years of Enoch’s life. So they may have met personally.

Not only could Enoch have personally met Adam, but Enoch would have had the opportunity to meet all of his fathers – Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalaleel and Jared – because it seems Enoch was the next to go after Adam – it seems he preceded all his fathers in returning to God besides Adam only. So Enoch could have known them all personally. And Enoch would have told his son Methuselah, who told Noah.

Noah was Enoch’s grandson. And I think Noah was still alive until Abraham was already about 60 years old. And Jacob, Abraham's grandson, would have been already about 15 years old before Abraham died. Jacob arrived to sojourn in Egypt, where Moses was later brought-up by Pharaoh.

So this means that by the time Israel came to sojourn in Egypt, they were still only about three or four personal links removed beyond the generation which could have personally known Adam!

That being the case, even a mere oral record would have been reliable enough! How much more the written record. Apparently, the patriarchs were scribes.

I don’t recall any Jewish Scriptures using the word “scribe” until the return from Captivity. So the use of the word “scribe” in the book of Enoch could be an indication of later manipulation of the text.

The book of Enoch mentions Noah by name. Years ago I wrote a note in the margin of my copy of the Book of Enoch next to where it mentions "Noah" that:

“Enoch was taken 69 years before Noah was born”.

If my calculation at the time was correct, this means either that Enoch received his future grandson’s name by revelation; or that his name was already decided before he was born; or that the text was manipulated in a later period after Noah.

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