Enoch’s Apocalypse of weeks is believed to be the earliest apocalypse of the Jewish tradition. The Book of Enoch was effectively treated as canonical by the very early Church. Church fathers including Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian believed it to be inspired and written by Enoch himself. Even those such as Augustine who were instrumental in ensuring it was ultimately rejected by most of Christendom acknowledged it to be divinely inspired, principally in view of its citing in New Testament Jude. As I have been recently testifying, the Old Testament cannot be rightly interpreted without reference to the Book of Enoch, especially regarding the activity and influence of the fallen watchers that resulted in the universal flood and the need for ethnic cleansing within the Canaanite territories. More importantly it contains prophecies of events that may be happening right now. For as the opening verse affirms, it was written to be a blessing, not to the Church through her history, but to “the elect and the righteous who would be living at the time of tribulations when the wicked and godless are to be removed”.
The scholarly consensus is that it was written in the 1st or 2nd century BC. However, I am convinced, along with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the aforementioned early Fathers that Enoch was written by Enoch. There are various theories cited on the internet as to how practically speaking that could be the case which I won’t go into here. But think about it – if, as so many believe the Book of Enoch is inspired, being a true word from God (biblical Jude believed that or he would not have quoted from it in his letter), how then could it at the same time be a fabrication of deceit? How could that which is divinely inspired be the creation of someone in the 2nd or 3rd century before Christ claiming to be the original patriarch, passing off as divine prophecy much that was already history?
Most interpretations of the weeks have worked on such an assumption, i.e., that the apocalypse was written 2000-2300 years ago. A typical example is available HERE. But taking this prophecy to have, like some within the Old Testament, a dual (Temple/Church) perspective, my interpretation of the first seven weeks is as follows:
“I (Enoch) was born the seventh in the FIRST WEEK, while judgement and righteousness still endured”.
Calculating from the genealogy in Gen5, Enoch was born around 600 years after Adam’s creation, yet he records that “righteousness still endured”. This is supported by Gen4:26 that stated that after the birth of Adam’s grandson Enosh, “at that time men began to call on the Lord”. But all was about to change, yet canonical Scripture only makes a fleeting reference to it (Gen6:1-2); not so the Book of Enoch which goes into the greatest of detail.
“And after me there shall arise in the SECOND WEEK great wickedness, and deceit shall have sprung up; and in it there shall be the first end. And in it a man shall be saved; and after it is ended unrighteousness shall grow up and a law shall be made for the sinners”.
The fallen watchers briefly referred to in Gen6 were intended to be a guiding and restraining influence for fallen humanity. But they rejected their designated function, sexually uniting themselves to women, creating monstrous hybrids (giants) in the process and leading humanity into ever deeper depravity. Consequently, God saw that “the inclination of the thoughts of man’s hearts was only evil all the time” (Gen6:5). I say again for the sake of the many who have been deluded by the teaching of Augustine and the Protestant Reformers, that was not the case from the time Adam fell till the fall of the watchers, any more than it is for the postdiluvian world. Yet it is the case for some – the offspring of Satan (cf. 1Jn3:11), whom the Book of Enoch’s opening verse affirms are shortly to be despatched from the earth. Clearly the “first end” refers to the Flood. Other versions of Enoch make it clearer that after Noah and his family left the ark, unrighteousness grew progressively, after which “a law was made for the sinners”. I don’t believe this to be relating to God’s covenant with Noah for that was immediately after the flood (Gen9). It would therefore be referring to the Torah, which although ostensibly made for the Jews, was ultimately intended to be a light to the whole world as Moses indicated in Deut:4:5-6.
And after that in the THIRD WEEK at its close a man shall be elected as the plant of righteous judgement, and his posterity shall become the plant of righteousness for evermore.
I believe this to be referring to Jesus Christ, the Man at the centre of history who otherwise would not have received a mention. Others believe it to be Abraham or Elijah but surely only Christ could be “the plant of righteousness for all time”. Of course, if it is Christ, that affirms the later weeks must be referring to the New Testament period, i.e. to the Church.
And after that in the FOURTH WEEK, at its close, visions of the holy and righteous shall be seen and a law for all generations and an enclosure (or court) shall be made for them
Identifying the “visions of the holy and righteous” is difficult however the weeks are interpreted. It could refer to those saints raised at Jesus’ resurrection, who were seen in Jerusalem (Mt27:52-53). Given the timescale (i.e. the New Testament period), the “law for all generations” would be Christ’s teaching. The apostles’ commission had been to go to every nation and “teach them to observe everything I (Jesus) have commanded you (Mt28:19-20).
And after that in the FIFTH week, at its close, the house of glory and dominion shall be built for ever
Jesus had told one of His disciples, “You are Peter (Πέτρος) and on this rock (πέτρᾳ) I will build my Church and the gates of hades shall never prevail against it (Mt16:18). The early Church both in the east and west generally accepted that the bishopric of Rome (where Peter had been buried) had pre-eminence. The controversy that continues to this day pertains to whether Rome’s bishop should have jurisdiction over the rest (a subject for another occasion). Particularly In view of the “week” that follows, I take the house of dominion to be referring to the Church established at Rome.
And after that in the SIXTH week all who live in (the house of dominion) shall be blinded, and their hearts shall godlessly forsake wisdom. And in it a man shall ascend. And at its close the house of dominion shall be burnt with fire, and the whole race of the chosen root shall be dispersed.
It follows from what I have consistently been attesting, that the “blinding” and “forsaking of wisdom” occurred around the 4th/5th century, its chief contributor being Augustine. The man referred to who later arose to prominence within the Church would be a 16th century Augustinian monk. He legitimately challenged aspects of the Roman Church’s integrity and theology (especially regarding “indulgencies”) but went on to dispute her very credentials as the true Church [NOTE #1]. Through the support Luther gained for his rebellion, the Roman church was severely damaged (“burnt with fire”) and many of the faithful “dispersed” into separate, independent denominations, reliant on Scripture alone whilst rejecting the Eucharistic sacrifice which the Church in East and West had historically regarded as sacrosanct.
And after that in the SEVENTH week shall an apostate generation arise, and many shall be its deeds and all its deeds shall be apostate. And at its close shall be elected the elect righteous of the eternal plant of righteousness to receive sevenfold instruction concerning all His creation.
I have just inferred to whom I believe the “apostate generation” applies. It is referred to again a few chapters later (104) where Enoch wrote, “they will alter and pervert the words of righteousness in many ways, and will speak wicked words, and lie, and practise great deceits and write books concerning their teachings”. By implication such books would need to be widely distributed if they were to make an impact and furnish an “apostate generation” – which rather implies the availability of the printing press. At the close of this period (which I’m clear is the present), a seven-part instruction concerning God’s providential intentions towards His whole creation would be provided. Such would not in any way subvert canonical Scripture; it would elaborate upon those aspects which had been intentionally veiled and much misunderstood. That especially concerns God’s providential intentions towards the earthly creation as a whole. Those who received it and acted upon it would be “the elect righteous of the eternal plant of righteousness” – the generation of saints who would live to see Christ’s return. As to how this would come about:
“After they have written down truthfully all my words in their languages, not erring from my words but writing them down truthfully, then I know another mystery. Books are to be given to the righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much wisdom. To them shall the books be GIVEN, and they shall believe in them and rejoice over them, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt from them the true paths of righteousness be recompensed” [En104:10-14]
Note, this would not occur until just after Enoch’s writings had been faithfully set out and made available to many peoples in their own languages. Again, it affirms Enoch’s Apocalypse of Weeks to be prophecy indeed – for his writings were concealed for centuries and only recently discovered and widely translated. As for the “other books” setting out God’s intentions towards wider creation, if the prophecy is to be taken literally, such were to be “given” – by implication made universally and freely available. That would only be possible via the likes of PDF downloads or digital printing through the internet, a very recent development and a thoroughly alien concept to the human relater of the Apocalypse. My earlier post refers.
Does my analysis perfectly fit Enoch’s Apocalypse of Weeks 1-7? By no means, but it appears less fudged than others I have seen which restrict those middle weeks to the Old Testament/Temple period. It reflects the supposition that all churches, particularly in the west, have experienced substantial doctrinal error, especially after the 4th century, and that those who later severed themselves from the Apostolic lineage are apostate. Given the broader benign providence at the heart of this disclosure, this is not as drastic as it might appear. Every deceased soul that has loved Christ or indeed loved “Christ” currently reposes in heaven (Mt25:37-40). What is more, mutual ecclesiological error is the ideal, possibly only predisposition for re-uniting the fractured Body of Christ so that a unified gospel may be proclaimed to the world before His coming (Mt24:14). Given when these prophecies were made, even if it were just a few centuries BC, the fact that they can be made to resemble any version of Church history is remarkable. All the more so given that the concept of a universal Church was unknown to the Old Testament prophets of the bible, being a secret “hidden in the Father” – until Paul clarified the situation (for some) in the New Testament (Eph3:2-11).
An analysis of weeks 8 to 10 may follow shortly, in which case it will be much briefer given that I claim to have no insights whatsoever concerning how the millennial age shall pan out, merely that it shall be initiated at Christ coming “when the wicked and godless [note 2] are to be removed” and the dead in Christ raised, so that a period of righteousness may ensue upon the earth.
NOTE 1 - The proverbial elephant in the room within most Reformation debates is the perennial Eastern Orthodox Church whose priority has always been to remain faithful to the apostolic deposit of faith. Yet her sacerdotal practice has been much the same as Rome’s. Like her, they accept the real presence of Christ at the altar, regarding the Eucharist as “the awesome sacrifice entrusted to the Church to be re-enacted and given to the faithful for the nourishment of their faith and forgiveness of their sins”.
NOTE 2 - The "wicked and godless" aka "children of the devil" are systematically defined from Scripture in chapter six of The Little Book of Providence. They are the defaulters from the eluded universal covenant of life of whom Cain was the archetype (Gen4:7 King James Version). Morally, such people are devoid of conscience, compassion, empathy or any compulsion to speak the truth. For they lack that quality which is the essence of God Himself, being LOVE (1Jn3:10-12 & 4:7-8)
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Linked posts: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? & ENOCH’S APOCALYPSE – THE AGE TO COME