Accension of Enoch
Many prime essays that follow religious themes often focus on the character of Enoch.
In one of the pages, I wrote of the patriarch Enoch, of the fallen angels known as the Watchers and their offspring - the Nephilm.
This new page is about Enoch visiting 10 heavens, to meet with God, and where he became the scribe. This journey of Enoch was narrated in the book, known as 2 Enoch, also known as the Secret Book of Enoch.
This greatly influenced other legends of other mortal heroes visiting heavens, including that of Muhammad in his Night Journey (Isra and Mi'raj), who visited 7 heavens instead of 10. The original story of the hero's journey to heaven, may have come from Sumerian-Akkadian epic, Etana, who flew to the heavens on the back of the great eagle.
It is this journey through God's realm that will be the focus of this page and focus of my interests.
A large part of the story is told in the first-person.
2 Enoch begins with him sleeping in bed, on the 1st day of the 1st month. Enoch was in great distress as he slept. In his dream, he saw 2 huge beings, with wings of gold (angels).
Enoch described them as having faces that were brighter than the sun, eyes like fire, and there were even actual fire coming out of their mouths. They also have hands as white as snow.
They called out to him by name, at which point he woke up and saw these angels standing by his bed. This brought fear and shock to Enoch.
They told him to calm down, and told them the purpose of their visit. He was to undergo a journey to heaven, Enoch was to inform his family (which included the names of 3 sons) not to look for him, until Enoch was returned to them. So Enoch spoke to his family and made arrangement for his absence. Enoch also warned them not to turn away from God.
Then the angels took Enoch and flew to the first heaven. (2 Enoch 1-2)
These two angels were Enoch's main guide for the first part of his journey. No names were given to these 2 angels (not given until 2 Enoch 33, as Sariel and Raguel).
In the first heaven, they took Enoch and stopped at the cloud. There he witnessed the following scene. A sea that was larger than any earthly seas. Above Enoch could see the ether. There were storehouse that store snow and storehouse that store dew, as well as angels that guarded these storehouses and distributed snows and dews to the clouds.
He met with some unspecified number of elders and rulers of the star orders, and 200 angels that rule the stars. (2 Enoch 3-6)
Then his 2 guides took him to the 2nd heaven. This heaven had darkness that was darker than any darkness on Earth.
Here, very dark angels were awaiting judgement and punishment for their sins. They were considered rebellious, breaking God's commands, so were held prisoners in the 2nd heaven. Other rebel angels - leaders or princes - were held in prison in the fifth heaven.
These angels were being tormented for their sins. They cried so much that even Enoch felt pity for them. Seeing Enoch the tormented angels asked him to pray for them. Not knowing his own fate, Enoch wasn't sure he was the right person to pray for them. (2 Enoch 7)
At the third heaven was a splendid and beautiful garden filled with flower- and fruit-bearing trees. The book mentioned it several times, about how sweetly scented were these flowers or fruits.
It was Paradise - the Garden of Eden. (2 Enoch 8)
But in the midst of the Garden, was one Tree that surpassed all other trees in size, in beauty, in the fragrance and for variation of the fruits this Tree.
Though this Tree has not been explicitly identified as Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in this book, 1 Enoch does so name this Tree as so (1 Enoch 32), the "Tree of Knowledge" or the "Tree of Wisdom". 1 Enoch 32, also described the tree resembling the carob tree, with fruits, like "fine grapes". This is confirmed when the angel Michael told Enoch that the fruits were the same ones that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden.
It was like the carob tree, bearing fruit which resembled very fine grapes, and its perfume extended a great distance. I exclaimed, �How beautiful is this tree, and how delightful is its appearance!�
One of the angels (Raphael) said that only the just and the obedient (to God) will reside in the Garden Paradise. Raphael also informed Enoch that this was same fruit from the tree that Adam and Eve ate from, and was expel from the Garden.
2 Enoch 8 also described springs of milk and honey and springs of fine oil or wine, watered Paradise. And the Garden was cared by 300 angels.
The wicked people went to another part of the 3rd heaven - in the northern side. It was a place of torture, where those who led the life of crime, sin or greed, were punished here. Those that worshiped other gods or idols were sent here too.
The northern 3rd heaven was a place of extreme contradictions. It was place of utter darkness, and yet at the same it was a region of fire: rivers of fire, and fiery land. The fire radiated no light; it was "murky" fire. And though there was fire everywhere, there were also ice and frost everywhere.
Here, there were terrifying-looking angels with weapons and tools of tortures. (2 Enoch 8-10)
The fourth heaven was mainly concern with the description of the courses of the sun, moon and stars, all in relation to the year or to the seasons.
Enoch also witnessed 4 immense stars. Each star has a thousand stars under it.
Like other myths, the sun has wheels, to traverse the sky.
Large numbers of angels had specific tasks involving the sun. 15 myriads of angels tend to the sun during the day, but at night, there were as many 1000 myriads of angels. An unspecified number of six-winged angels were at the wheels, while 100 angels alight the sun.
There are also Phoenixes, with body, legs and tail of a lion, and head of crocodile. The Phoenixes also have wings like angels. They could be heard singing the chorus with birds, and sounding so sweetly to Enoch's ears.
Enoch's two guides took him east where he witnessed 6 open gates of the sun. Each gate was immensely large, measuring at 61 stadia. Depending on the time of year and the season, the sun would leave through one of these gates, and head west to one of six corresponding gates on the western horizon. The two angels also took Enoch west, to see the other gates. The gates in the west were guarded by 400 angels.
At sun set, the sun would enter one of these gates, and during the night, the sun will continue its journey, underground (under the Earth's surface), before the sun reappearing at the eastern gate, next morning.
In between the horizons, there were unspecified number of armed (angel) soldiers that also sang. (2 Enoch 11-17)
Then Enoch was taken to the next heaven - the fifth heaven. Here, is another prison and place of punishment for leaders of the Watchers.
The Watchers were described as being human in appearance, but they were giants. Their faces were shrivelled and they were silent, offering no services. When Enoch inquired about the Watchers being silent and offered no services to God, one of the guides said these Watchers were led by Satanail (Semjaza in 1 Enoch) took mortal women for wives, and sired offspring, known as Nephilim.
Enoch reproach them for not giving offerings to God, which at this point, the Watchers broke their silence and sung song that was heard by God. (2 Enoch 18)
There are seven bands of angels. In appearance, each angel has a face that was brighter than the sun. They all looked the same in their facial expressions, behaviour and in how they dressed.
Like every other angels (that weren't fallen angels), they were involved in the courses of the celestial bodies (eg. sun, moon, etc.)
However, the angels of the sixth heavens, were different to all those before; these were archangels.
Archangels administrate and oversee the tasks of angels, like giving out orders or instruction to other angels. Tasks like that of the 4th heaven, with the courses of the sun and moon, regulate the calendar or seasons.
They do sing like the other angels, praising god. And they sing with Phoenixes and cherubim and six-winged ones (I'm assuming the "six-winged ones" refer to the seraphim). (2 Enoch 19)
At the seventh heaven, Enoch witnessed a whole variety of angels. There were more archangels, seraphim, cherubim, as well as authorities, orders, administrations, thrones and the many-eyed ones.
The host of angels frightened Enoch. His 2 guides tried to comfort him, and show him, at the distance, God was seated on his throne at the tenth heaven.
All these angels would stand each of the ten steps to the throne, and sing with beautiful voices. (2 Enoch 20-21)
But at this point, his guides left him, here at the seventh heaven. Enoch was then panic-stricken, fell on his face.
God sent another angel, to guide him. It was the archangel, Gabriel. Gabriel took Enoch to the eighth heaven, which brought the patriarch closer to god.
The eighth heaven was supposedly called Muzaloth, in Hebrew. Other than this, not much detail was given about the eighth heaven. (2 Enoch 21)
Gabriel then took Enoch to the ninth heaven, which was called Kuchavim. The only thing it say about Kuchavim (again supposedly a Hebrew name for this level of heaven) was that twelve constellations of the celestial circle (or "circle of the firmament") were actually found here, as their home. (2 Enoch 21)
When Enoch had finally arrived in the tenth heaven - Araboth - he finally came face to face with his God. Seated on his divine throne, he was described as glowing hot iron, which was both marvellous and terrible to look at.
When Enoch bowed down with face to the floor, God told him to "arise" and stand before him, without fear. Here, the archangel Michael helped him to his feet. Michael was referred to as Archistratege, a title that mean he was the "chief general" of God's armies.
God instructed Michael that Enoch to be clothed and anointed like the angels.
Then God called upon Pravuil, another archangel, but who was the wisest of all archangels. Pravuil's role was that of librarian, archivist or a scribe.
Pravuil brought before Enoch books that contained every about what happen in heaven or on Earth, including God's own actions.
God told Enoch to copy everything down. It took Enoch, 60 days and 60 nights, to write 366 books.
After completing the books, Enoch was given the honour to sit on God's left, with Gabriel. (2 Enoch 22-24)
At this point, God began to relate to the creation of the world and creation of life, including Enoch's ancestors - the creation of Adam and Eve. It followed the basic framework of 6-day creation in Genesis 1, but far more embellished. (2 Enoch 24-30)
God also spoke of the creation of Eden, and of Adam and Eve. (2 Enoch 30-32)
God also foretold the flood that would destroy all life on Earth (minus those who were fortunate enough to be in the Ark). (2 Enoch 34).
God told Enoch that when he return to Earth, he should give the books to his children, and to instruct them be good and virtuous, and to never turn away from the only god. (2 Enoch 24-32)
Then God told Enoch that he shall return to Earth, to his home and family. There he will informed everything that Enoch had witnessed in heaven(s) to his children, and given them the books that Enoch had copied to them, which they will pass on to their children, and future descendants. (2 Enoch 33, 35)
But Enoch will not stay long with his family for long; he would remain on Earth for only 30 days. God will again sent angels to fetch him, where Enoch will return to God. (2 Enoch 36-37)
At 2 Enoch 38, Enoch returned home, where he spend those 30 days teaching his children and household, sharing his venture in heaven, and teaching them various things, including some laws.
After 30 days, Enoch returned to God. (2 Enoch 67)
The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913 (2 vols)
These volumes were available in my local library, but they are now gone, probably sold.
Fortunately, copies of these translations can also be found in a couple of websites.
At Wesley College, Noncanonical Literature, I have used the following works as my sources from the above site:
- Book of Jubilee
- Book of Enoch (1 Enoch)
- Book of the Secrets of Enoch (2 Enoch)
The following texts were found in Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha and Sacred Writings site:
- 1 Enoch (Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch)
- 2 Enoch (Slavonic Book of the Secrets of Enoch)
- Enoch (another version)
Dead Sea Scrolls
On-Line Texts Related to Biblical Study
- Tales of the Patriarchs (originally titled Genesis Apocryphon) (1QapGen=1Q20)
Fragment 2 Column 2
Paraphrase by Lesley Faulk & Amanda Scott
- Enoch (4Q201)
- The Book of Giants (4Q203, 1Q23, 2Q26, 4Q530-532, 6Q8)
- Enoch and the Watchers (4Q227)
- The Book of Giants (4Q203, 1Q23, 2Q26, 4Q530-532, 6Q8)
- Enoch and the Watchers (4Q227)
Internet Sacred Text Archive
- Bible: King James' Version
- NJPS New Jewish Publication Society
(Hebrew Bible - translation of Tanakh)
Good News Bible: Today English Version
United Bible Societies
1976; reprinted 1986
Here are the following texts used from this bible:
- Genesis 5, 6
- Hebrews 11:5-6
- Jude 14-15
Tanakh: A New Translation of the Holy Scriptures
According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
The New Jewish Publication Society; 1985
Internet Sacred Text Archive:
The Legends of the Jews (Haggada)
trans. Louis Ginzberg, 1909
The following texts used is Volume 1, chapters 1-4, particularly chapter 3, which have a fair bit on Enoch.
Tales and Maxims from the Midrash
Samuel Rapaport, 1907
See Genesis Rabba about Naamah.
Medieval Hebrew: Featuring Midrash:
See the Bereshith or Genesis Rabba about Naamah.
Zohar: Bereshith to Lekh Lekha
Nurho de Manhar, 1900-14
See Exposition of Bible Mysteries and Chapter 32 about Naamah.
The following are external links from Gnosis Archive:
- Tales of the Patriarchs (originally titled Genesis Apocryphon) (4Q158)
Fragment 2 Column 2
Paraphrase by Warren Rohde & Rick Bohn
- Enoch (4Q201)translated by J. C. Greenfield