Translated from the original by Chris Tsilikas
The term ‘apocryphal’ or ‘Apocrypha’ was almost unknown to the wide public in the past. Due to various reasons, however, it has recently become widely known and it has also been the reason for the publication of most of the ‘Apocrypha’, so that they are accessible to anyone who wants to study them.
The starting point for the resounding success of these books was when some years ago just before Easter “The apocryphal Jude’s Gospel” was published, which described Jude as a completely different person from what had been known about him so far...
Obviously a lot of talk surrounded the issue in question, so the term ‘Apocrypha’ became known and familiar to the wide masses of people. The reader can find more information on this issue in our article “Jude’s Gospel”.
Of course, Dan Brown’s books “The Da Vinci Code” and “The illuminati” helped a lot in making the term familiar and known. The two books also became movies which met with great success.
All these, however, referred to the ‘apocrypha’ of the New Testament. Most people believe that only the New Testament contains ‘apocrypha’ and they will be surprised to know that we can find ‘apocrypha’ in the Old Testament as well.
WHAT THE TERM ‘APOCRYPHA’ MEANS
At least in the beginning, the term ‘apocrypha’ meant various texts – of theological interest of course – which contained internal teaching strictly directed to only a specific group of people, the ‘selected’ ones.
Later on the term meant those texts which supposedly had some secrets to hide, secrets about the future of God’s people, yet, secrets which are revealed only to the pious readers, that’s why they are sometimes called ‘Revelations’ or ‘Books of Revelation’.
When we refer to the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, we mean the Hebrew religious texts written between 200 B.C. and 100 A.D. Those texts were written either inside Palestine or away from it by the pious Jewish people of Diaspora. The language in which they are written is either Hebrew or Aramaic, but of course some of them are written in the international language of the era, the Greek language.
Nowadays of course, what we mean when we use the term ‘Apocrypha’ is those books which are not part of the Holy Bible; which constitutes the catalogue that the Church has compiled in order to declare the Books of the Holy Bible that the Church accepts and regards as authentic in expressing the Christian Faith.
Similarly, long before the Christian Church, Judaism had also rejected those texts from its canon, in a congress that had been held in the city of Iamnia in Palestine, in 91 A.D., not only because they wanted to define the books that they considered as accepted, but also to protect their faithful from the published books of the rapidly developed Christianity in that era.
It’s also worth mentioning that while the Church had a negative attitude towards the apocryphal books of the New Testament – since most of them contained heretic teaching – it showed tolerance towards some apocryphal books of the Old Testament. Moreover, the Church incorporated some of the teachings they included and with the appropriate interventions and alterations it gave them a completely Christian mood.
It only takes a comparison between these books and the book of Revelation of John the Evangelist to ascertain the truth of what has been said so far. And it couldn’t be helped anyway, in an era which had been tantalized for two Centuries with teachings about the Messiah to come as a Judge, about the oppression of the last days, about the Last Judgment and the eternal Paradise of the righteous, about which no Christian could remain insensitive – especially the Christian of that era who was characterized by intensive enthusiasm and an element of the utmost danger.
Let’s now refer to some of the “Apocrypha” of the Old Testament, which might sound familiar to some of you either because you’ve heard or because you’ve read about them. In brackets we state the year or period they are likely to have been written. Enoch (200 B.C.), The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (150-100 B.C.), Jubilees (150-100 B.C.), The Ascension of Isaiah (1st century A.D.), The Life of Adam and Eve (1st century A.D.), The Apocalypse of Abraham (100 A.D.), Sibylline Books (2nd century B.C.-2nd century A.D.), The Assumption of Moses (6-30 A.D.), The Lives of the Prophets (1st century A.D.), The Testament of Job (100-50 B.C.) etc.
“THE APOCRYPHAL BOOK OF ENOCH”
Enoch is considered to be the Patriarch of the Jews. We don’t know much about his life, apart from a few rather confusing things, which are mentioned in the Holy Bible, especially in its first book, that of Genesis. According to that (Genesis, chapter 4, verse 17) Enoch was the son of Cain and the father of Jared, while according to Seth’s genealogy (Genesis, chapter 5, verse 18), he was the seventh generation of Adam, son of Jared and father of Methuselah.
He lived 365 years in total obedience to God and he was ‘transfered’ to heaven without ever experiencing death (Genesis, chapter 5, verse 24).
This ‘transfer’ of his to heaven created a myth around his name, having as a result the writing of various literary books about his name, which a Jew gathered and put together in one book around 200 B.C., the “Book” or the “Bible of Enoch”. The book was first written in the Aramaic or the Hebrew language. Extracts of this book are saved in the Latin or the Greek language, and it is all saved in the Ethiopian language, that’s why it it known as ‘1 Enoch’ or ‘Ethiopian Enoch’, to be distinguished from another “apocryphal book” which is called ‘2 Enoch’ or ‘Enoch Slav’. It can also be found as ‘Enoch’ or ‘Enoch’s vision’.
The division of this work varies depending on the critic, but we are going to refer to that of Georg Beer, to which the ever memorable Savvas Agourides referred:
1. Of Angels (ch. 1-36) 2. Of Mesiah (ch. 37-71) 3. Astronomical (ch. 72-82) 4. Historical (ch. 83-90) 5. Admonitory (ch. 91-108).
ABOUT ANGELS AND DEMONS
Our reasons why we have decided to deal with that part of Enoch referring to angels and demons is clearly for informative purposes; because “Watchtower - stop” doesn’t only aim at fighting against the heresies but also at informing our faithful readers. Because we believe that being rightly informed about the issues of faith helps the faithful have a clear and holistic view of what he/she believes in and worships.
So, a lot of names of angels and demons that the faithful are familiar with and believe that they appear in the Holy Writ, they will be surprised to find out that they do not derive from the Bible and moreover the Bible doesn’t even mention them.
Let’s start with chapters 6, 7 and 8 where Angels’ fall is described, which angels the writer calls ‘Watchers’, and their ‘mix’ with women, which the writer has obviously lent from the corresponding narration in Genesis, chapter 6, verses 1-2. It’s worth noticing that while the narration of that issue is very short in the book of Genesis – it only takes two verses – in the book of Enoch it’s much longer and it also mentions the names of the fallen angels and the immoral and brutal actions which they had led humans to with their teaching.
The reader should also take notice of the fact that the writer regarded the production of weapons and other objects for war as demons’ work, as well as the discovery of the exploitation of metals and the first steps of science, eg. astrology and the observation of the course of the moon.
ANGELS’ FALL. DEGENERATION OF HUMANITY
1 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born
unto them beautiful and comely daughters.
2 And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one
another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men
3 and beget us children.' And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: 'I fear ye will
4 indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.' And
they all answered him and said: 'Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual
5 not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.' Then sware they all together and bound
6 by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the
days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because
they had sworn
7 and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their
leaders: Samlazaz, their leader, Araklba, Rameel, Kokablel, Tamlel, Ramlel, Danel, Ezeqeel,
8 Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaq1el, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel. These
are their chiefs of tens.
1 And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for
himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they
taught them charms
2and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they
3 became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who
4 all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain the m, the giants turned
5 them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles,
6 fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation
against the lawless ones.
1 And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made
known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and
ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly
stones, and all
2 colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and
3 were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjaza taught enchantments, and
root-cuttings, 'Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel
the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth,
Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon. And as men perished, they
cried, and their cry went up to heaven . . .
NAMES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE SEVEN ARCHANGELS
In chapter 20 of the book of Enoch the names of the Archangels are mentioned together with their functions. Here, the number of the Archangels is seven. However, we’ll see later on that in another part of the book this number changes and the Archangels become four:
1,2 And these are the names of the holy angels who watch. Uriel, one of the holy angels, who
3 over the world and over Tartarus. Raphael, one of the holy angels, who is over the spirits of
4,5 Raguel, one of the holy angels who takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries.
6 of the holy angels, to wit, he that is set over the best part of ma nkind and over chaos.
7 one of the holy angels, who is set over the spirits, who sin in the spirit. Gabriel, one of the
8 angels, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the Cherubim. Remiel, one of the holy
angels, whom God set over those who rise.
THE FOUR ARCHANGELS
In chapter 40 of the book of Enoch as we have already said, four Archangels are mentioned, and this proves that the critics of the book of Enoch are right when they say that the specific book is just the conglomeration of literary fragments:
8 After that I asked the angel of peace who
went with me, who showed me everything that is hidden: Who are these four presences which
9 seen and whose words I have heard and written down? And he said to me: This first is
Michael, the merciful and long-suffering: and the second, who is set over all the diseases and
all the wounds of the children of men, is Raphael: and the third, who is set over all the
powers, is Gabriel: and the fourth, who is set over the repentance unto hope of those who
inherit eternal life, is named Phanuel.
NAMES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE FALLEN ANGELS AND OF SATAN
The person who conglomerated the book of Enoch recurs to the issue of the fallen angels in chapter 69. But this time he/she uses different names for them, different from the ones he/she had mentioned in chapters 6 and 8. Moreover, his reference to the techings of the demons which led humans away from God is more extensive this time than it was in the previous chapters. However, it’s impressing that his enmity against literary things and science still remains, since they are once again considered works of demons. Of course there is an explanation for this phenomenon, but it’s not our aim to deal with it right now. We’ll only remind our reader that the book of Enoch is written in a period during which the Seleukids start brutally suppressing people of Judaism in order to make them convert to other religions, and the climax of that situation is the provocative action of Antiochus IV Epiphanes to turn Solomon’s Temple into a Temple of Zeus, an action which inevitably led to the rebellion of the Maccabees.
3And these are the chiefs of their angels and
their names, and their chief ones over hundreds and over fifties and over tens.
4 The name of the first Jeqon: that is, the one who led astray [all] the sons of God, and
5 down to the earth, and led them astray through the daughters of men. And the second was
named Asbeel: he imparted to the holy sons of God evil counsel, and led them astray so that
6 their bodies with the daughters of men. And the third was named Gadreel: he it is who
showed the children of men all the blows of death, and he led astray Eve, and showed [the
weapons of death to the sons of men] the shield and the coat of mail, and the sword for battle,
and all the weapons
7 of death to the children of men. And from his hand they have proceeded against those who
8 on the earth from that day and for evermore. And the fourth was named Penemue: he taught
9 children of men the bitter and the sweet, and he taught them all the secrets of their wisdom.
And he instructed mankind in writing with ink and paper, and thereby many sinned from
10 eternity and until this day. For men were not created for such a purpose, to give
11 to their good faith with pen and ink. For me n were created exactly like the angels, to the
intent that they should continue pure and righteous, and death, which destroys everything,
could not have taken hold of them, but through this their knowledge they are perishing, and
through this power
12 it is consuming me. And the fifth was named Kasdeja: this is he who showed the children
of men all the wicked smitings of spirits and demons, and the smitings of the embryo in the
womb, that it may pass away, and [the smitings of the soul] the bites of the serpent, and the
13 which befall through the noontide heat, the son of the serpent named Tabaet. And this is
the task of Kasbeel, the chief of the oath which he showed to the holy ones when he dwelt
14 above in glory, and its name is Biqa.
Coming now to the end of this article we would like to point out again that we have dealt with this interesting issue only superficially. It’s up to the restless, persistent reader to look into the issue further in order to form a more complete view on it.
Writer Christos Pal
FYI, in case it may be of interest: new book "In Consideration of the Book(s) of Enoch" by Ken Ammi
A review of the issues which encircle the Book(s) of Enoch, including: textual issues, the early church’s opinions, relationship with the Bible, was it inspired?, does it belong in the Bible?, is it end times revelation?, that which is stated therein regarding Cherubim, Seraphim, Satan, Angels, giants and the Nephilim, etc., etc., etc.