The Second Book of Enoch – Summary and Explanation

There are three books of Enoch in total.

The first one is known by most Christians; the second one is a pseudepigraphal work surviving only in Slavonic translations (and there are some Coptic fragments found of it as well), though it’s believed that it’s translated from a Greek source and that the Greek translation was done from the Aramaic or Hebrew original.

And the third book of Enoch is a work that gravitates towards Jewish mystical writings, and is, like the second book of Enoch, of a tradition which follows a belief that Enoch, when he was taken by YHWH into heavens, was transformed into an angel.

I’m interested in both of these writings not for the purpose of Scriptural information but for the sake of getting a better understanding of the Hebrew culture as well as biblical beliefs of the time.

The second book of Enoch was discovered in the early 19th century. There are two versions of this book. One is shorter, another longer. The longer one is believed to have suffered from Christian interpolations, so I prefer to focus on the one that was preserved better.

2 Enoch is an expansion of Genesis 5:21-26, when Enoch was born until the time he was taken up to the Heavens, which is before the Flood. The book’s main theme is Enoch’s progressive ascension through multiple heavens and his transfiguration into an angel, and his access to the secrets of creation.

This book should be of particular interest to those who are researching the flat earth topic since it talks a great deal about the movements of heavenly objects.

According to the book, after he was taken up, Enoch was given a thirty-day period to descend back to the Earth and instruct his family about everything YHWH revealed to him.

In chapter 21 we find mentioned zodiac along with celestial bodies with Greek names, and some scholars believe that this was a late addition to the text. Also, chapter 25 and a few following chapters are likely to have suffered from Gnostic additions.

It is believed that this text was of a Jewish oral tradition with pieces taken from several Enochian stories and as the time went on, it suffered corruption due to Christian, Gnostic and pagan additions. The foundation of the story, however, still remains Jewish.

It is not known when this oral tradition came into being (though some guess its beginnings to be around the first century BC), but it was penned around the first century AD.

I believe this text, like any other apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings, is very useful as it helps to better understand the culture and beliefs at the time, if later additions to the text are ignored.

Moreover, the advice Enoch gives to his family in that thirty-day period is completely in agreement with the Scripture with the exception of him mentioning mistreatment of animals which might be of pagan origin.

So here is the summary of the second book of Enoch, and I added a few of my own comments in square brackets.

Summary of the second book of Enoch

200 years after the birth of his son Methusela, Enoch was resting on his bed when he became aware that two angels were standing at the head of his bed.

[In 2 Enoch Methusela was born when Enoch was 165 years and he walked 200 more years with God and then he was taken; whilst in the Bible Enoch had Methusela when he was 65 and after 300 more years he was taken by YHWH].

Enoch was frightened at the sight of the two angels, but they put him at ease and announced that on that same day he would be taken to the heavens. The angels asked him to inform his family that they would have to do without him and that no one should seek him until YHWH returns him to the earth.

Enoch did as he was told, and also warned his family not to worship vain idols as those who worship them would perish in a way that those idols would perish, and he also wished their hearts to be made confident [established?] in the fear of God.

The ten heavens

When he left his family, he was taken on the wings of an angel and was brought to the first heaven and was placed on the clouds. When he looked higher, he saw the ether and angels made him see the sea above, which was greater than the earthly sea. [This is scriptural since when YHWH created the earth He placed the firmament to separate waters from waters].

He was also shown 200 angels who rule the stars, he saw the treasure-houses of snow and dew, and how clouds come and depart. He was shown the guardian-angels of those treasure houses, and how those treasure-houses open and shut.

Then he was taken to the second heaven and the angels showed him darkness that was greater than earthly darkness, and he saw there prisoners hanging who were awaiting their judgement. Those imprisoned angels looked dark and they were weeping.

He asked angels why those were imprisoned, and he was told that those were the ones who abandoned the commandments of God and did as they pleased, and therefore were imprisoned there. Their prince was imprisoned too, but he was bound in the fifth heaven and not the second.

Then he was taken to the third heaven and there saw the paradise and the tree of life. [According to some Jewish writings, there is a garden of Eden in heavens as well.] He saw 300 angels keeping the garden and praising YHWH.

The angels explained to him that this was the place prepared for the righteous, to those who turn their eyes from iniquity, make righteous judgement, give bread to the hungry, cover the naked, raise up the fallen, help injured orphans, and walk without fault before the face of YHWH and serve Him alone. For them was prepared this eternal inheritance.

Then he was shown to the north of this garden a terrible place of torment, darkness and gloom, which also had fire and ice. There were also merciless angels in that place who had weapons, as well as a river of fire.

The angels explained that this was the place prepared for those who dishonor YHWH, who practice sin that’s against nature in the manner of sodomites, who are involved in magic, enchantments and witchcraft, and who boast of their wicked deeds, steal, make false or defamatory statements, are envious, hateful and bitter, are fornicators, murderers, soul-stealers;

Who rob the poor and in this way make themselves rich, who injure people to steal goods from them, who, although able to satisfy the poor, make the hungry die; those who are able to clothe others but strip the naked; those who do not know who created them and therefore bow to lifeless idols; those who create those lifeless idols – for all such this place of torment was prepared.

Then the angels took him to the fourth heaven from where he was able to see the comings and goings of the sun and moon; he saw the circle of the sun and its wheels, and how the sun is accompanied by stars and angels.

He also saw other flying elements of the sun, which are phoenixes and chalkydri, which are also known as seraphim and cherubim. These beings are described in 2 Enoch as:

(…) with feet and tails in the form of a lion, and a crocodile’s head, their appearance is empurpled, like the rainbow; their size is nine hundred measures, their wings are like those of angels, each has twelve, and they attend and accompany the sun, bearing heat and dew (…).

In this heaven Enoch also saw Lord’s hosts who were worshipping Him by singing.

When he was taken to the fifth heaven he saw countless soldier angels called Grigori [also known as Watchers] who were of human appearance. Their size was greater than that of giants; their faces were withered and they were silent.

Enoch was surprised that he saw no worship service to YHWH in this heaven and asked the angels why it’s so. He was explained that those angels were of the same type who listened to their prince Satan and descended to take human wives, and corrupted the earth with their deeds, who made lawlessness and mixing, and from whom giants were born.

Therefore YHWH judged those fallen ones with great judgement, and for them those soldier angels wept.

He was then taken to the sixth heaven where he saw seven bands of bright and glorious angels. There were no differences in their faces, behavior or their manner of dress. Those were the ones who were learning how the celestial objects work as well as about the government of the world.

Those were the archangels who were above angels and who were appointed over seazons and years, over rivers and the sea, and who wrote all the souls of men and their deeds.

He was then lifted up to the seventh heaven where he saw a very great light and fiery troops of great archangels; he also saw incorporeal forces, dominions, orders and governments, cherubim and seraphim, thrones of many-eyed ones, nine units of army, and stations of light. He was terrified at the sight and began trembling.

The angels took him and told him not to fear, and showed the throne of YHWH from afar. He was explained that the throne of God was located on the tenth heaven.

At this point angels left him as it was commanded to them to do so; Enoch became frightened to have been left alone at the end of the seventh heaven. But soon the archangel Gabriel came and took him, and placed him before YHWH.

Enoch also saw then the eighth heaven, which is the changer of seazons, of draught and of humidity, and of the twelve constellations of the circle of the firmament.

He also saw the ninth heaven, where the abodes of the twelve constellations are located.

When he was taken to the throne of God, he fell down before Him, and YHWH told him to arise and stand before Him. His garments were then changed into the garments of glory and he was anointed with YHWH’s sweet ointment. When he was changed in this way he realized that he looked like one of YHWH’s glorious ones.

Enoch then was given the work of a scribe, to record the souls of mankind and the places prepared for them for eternity. And he was also taught many secrets of heaven and earth. YHWH also explained to him how He created the heaven and the earth and all the things that are in those places.

Through the way that YHWH describes creation days it becomes clear that the seventh-day is distinguished as a day of rest, and can be compared to the thousand-year reign of Christ in the seventh millennium, and it’s told that the eight millennium will be different from the other seven, because time will no longer exist.

YHWH told Enoch to share all that he wrote down with the sons of men so that the earth would know Him; as YHWH told that worthless seed had sprung up on the earth, who doesn’t fear Him nor bows down to Him, but instead worships lifeless idols, and who denies His unity, and who has polluted the world with lies, offences, abominable lusts, and all manner of other unclean wickedness.

YHWH disclosed to him that He decided to destroy the earth with the flood due to the wickedness on earth. He also told that from the remaining seed would arise another seed, but much later, and to them will those writings of Enoch would be given. And that seed would give those writings to another generation which will be blessed even more by the writings than the previous one.

YHWH gave Enoch 30 days to stay on earth and make people familiar with those writings, and told that he would be taken up back to the heavens after this term.

Enoch was given two guardian angels, the same ones who showed him different heavens, and then was placed back to his bed on earth.

A thirty-day period on earth

When he was back on earth, he invited all his children to come and hear what he had to say. He explained to them how he was made familiar with the workings of the heavenly objects and other matters to do with heaven.

He said that he also saw the guardians of hell who were like great serpents, having the eyes of fire and sharp teeth. He also said that he saw the deeds of men, and that some of them were good, others bad, and that different people were honorable for different reasons, but none is more honorable than those who fear God, because those would be more glorious in the time to come than others.

He told that those who vent their anger on someone who has done no injury to them would be cut down by YHWH’s great anger, and that those who spit on a man’s face reproachfully would suffer the same destiny.

He told that blessed are those who do not direct their heart with malice against any man, and who help the injured and condemned, who raise those who are broken down, and give charity to the needy, because on the day of the great judgement…

(…) every weight, every measure and every makeweight will be as in the market, that is to say they are hung on scales and stand in the market, and every one shall learn his own measure, and according to his measure shall take his reward.

And although giving offerings is extremely beneficial, those are only tests set by YHWH, but the most important thing is to have a pure heart.

Enoch explained that to each person is prepared the place for the rest of the soul and that there is a measure fixed to each man of how much he would be tried in this world.

Enoch advised his children to spend the rest of their days in patience and meekness, so that they are able to inherit eternal life. He told to endure for the sake of YHWH every wound, injury, evil work and attack. He told not to avenge those who cause hurt as this would be repaid by YHWH on the day of great judgement.

He told not to withhold possessions from brothers and sisters so that there would be plenty of treasures in the life to come. He told not to store wealth only to oneself but to give to the poor according to how much one can. He advised to help those who are faithful in their affliction, so that no affliction finds one in the time of trouble.

And whatever grievous or cruel joke is directed against one, such things one should bear, so that he finds his reward at the time of judgement.

He advised to worship YHWH morning, midday and evening for the glory of the Creator. He told to praise YHWH with one’s heart so that blessings come. And cursed are those who make their neighbours objects of hate as a result of what they say about them; and cursed is the man who opens his lips in order to curse and abuse.

Blessed are those who bless all the works of YHWH, and cursed are those who bring Lord’s creation into contempt. Blessed are those who raise the fallen, and cursed are those who are eager for the destruction of things that don’t belong to them.

Blessed are those who impart peace and love, and cursed are those who disturb those that love their neighbours. Blessed are those who speak with humble tongue and heart to everyone and cursed are those who pretend to be peaceful outwardly but their hearts are contentious.

For all these things will be revealed on the weighing scales and the books on the day of the great judgement.

When Enoch said all these things, his son Methusela wanted to thank him in some way and asked what Enoch desired. But Enoch replied that from that time that he was transformed in heavens his soul no longer remembered earthly enjoyment, and therefore he did not want anything of the earth. Instead, he asked his son to summon all his household and the elders of the people before his departure.

When they came, he blessed them and warned them against hurting beasts for the sake of cruelty, and he told to keep their hearts clean from every injustice, so that they don’t end up in evil houses out of which there is no return.

He told that blessed are those who with patience bring their gifts before YHWH’s face, because he will find forgiveness of sins. Blessed are those who do good without murmuring, as only such are rewarded. And those who are proud and there is pride in the way that they speak [like using language in order to show off their learning] are hateful to YHWH.

He told to walk before the face of YHWH with fear and trembling and to serve Him alone. He told to offer to YHWH just offerings, as He hates that which is unjust; and to walk in this world patiently and endure every evil, and love one another until this age of ills is no more and one inherits an eternal life.

Enoch’s ascension back to the heavens

When Enoch finished speaking these things, darkness covered the earth and Enoch was taken up to the highest heaven and YHWH placed him before His face.

At the end of the book, a sort of summary is given but some new information is also presented.

It’s told that Enoch was taken up to heavens after 365 years of his life. He remained in heaven sixty days, learning what was taught to him and writing everything down.

Then he was taken back to the earth for thirty days to give to his family 366 books that he wrote whilst in heaven, and then he was taken back to heavens which happened on the very day and hour of his birth on earth.

After he was taken back to heavens, his family erected an altar in a place where Enoch was taken to heavens, and made animal sacrifice. Then they feasted and rejoiced that YHWH gave such a great sign to them, and that they now had his writings of instruction to hand down to succeeding generations.

Here’s the video of the full audio of the second book of Enoch:

Read the short version of the 2nd Enoch here.

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