Enoch Pleads with the Watchers – 1 Enoch 12-16

1 Enoch 12 introduces the reader to Enoch for the first time. He was hidden “before all this happened” with the “Watchers and holy ones” presumably for his protection. Since the phrase הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים in Genesis 5:22 could refer to God or angels, “walked with God” could be rendered “walked with angels.” 1 Enoch seems to take the phrase as angels, since Enoch speaks with the watchers in this section.

Enoch-Fallen-AngelWhile Enoch is worshiping God in prayer, he is told to go to the Watchers who have “abandoned the high heaven” and “defiled themselves with women” and tell them of the destruction to come. This is not a warning which carries with it a chance of repentance: Enoch is announcing to these Watchers they will be in a place where they will “groan and beg forever over the destruction of their children, and there shall not be peace for them even forever” (verse 6).

In chapter 13 Enoch goes to Azazel and tells him the judgment which God has planned. All of these Watchers are seized with great fear and beg Enoch to write out a prayer of forgiveness to the Lord of Heaven. Enoch intends to do this, so he sits by the waters of Dan near Mount Hermon, where the Watchers first descended to earth. Dan is an ancient city at the headwaters of the Jordan near Mount Hermon. Enoch falls asleep and has a dream. After he awakens, he finds the Watchers at Lesya’el still weeping and covering their faces. He relates to the details of his dream, which contains “words of righteousness,” in fact, a reprimand to the Watchers.

The content of Enoch’s dream is the subject of 1 Enoch 14-16. In 14:1-7 Enoch tells the Watchers their prayers have not been heard and they will be punished for all eternity. The vision proper begins in verse 8. He is caught up into clouds and fog where he sees a “great house” surrounded by “tongues of fire.” The great house is described as built of white marble and lined with mosaics, with a crystal-like floor. There are fiery cherubim guarding the gates, which are also of fire. Enoch is terrified by this vision and he shakes and trembles greatly.

When he sees inside the house, he sees a great throne with “the Great Glory” sitting upon it. The imagery in this section is obviously drawn from several throne visions in the Old Testament, primarily Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1. Revelation 4 is likely influenced by the descriptions of the throne of God in Isaiah and Ezekiel rather than 1 Enoch, but they are all similar enough to think of these throne room scenes as well-known heavenly images.

Just as in Isaiah and Ezekiel, Enoch is unable to stand when he sees this vision of the throne, and he prostrates himself before the throne. The Lord calls him near and then lifts him into the gate (although Enoch continues to lower his eyes). Revelation 4-5 is also heavily dependent on the throne vision of Ezekiel and to a lesser extent Isaiah. There are significant differences in Revelation with respect to the details of the imagery. While in 1 Enoch the whole heavenly environment is described, in Revelation the throne is of primary importance.

In chapters 15-16 God speaks to Enoch, although God is really addressing the Watchers who have left heaven. Presumably this is what Enoch related to them when he met them at Lesya’el in chapter 13. These angels will be judged because they abandoned their place and took human wives. Their children, the giants, will become evil spirits in the earth because they have a spiritual foundation (15:8-12). These spirits will continue to be corrupt until the “consummation of the great age” when “everything is concluded.”

This probably does not mean the “end of the world” but rather the end of the present age and the beginning of the next. E. P. Sanders and N. T. Wright constantly warn against thinking the Jews were looking forward to the end of space and time (contra Albert Schweitzer). The Watchers are told that they did not know all of the mysteries of Heaven. Because they have “broadcast” the mysteries they did know to the women of earth, they will have no peace (16:3).

Enoch’s call up to heaven to be given a mystery to relate to those about to be judged is a motif which resonates with the general outline of the Book of Revelation. In his vision John also sees the heavenly throne room and sees the judgments to come. He too relates them to his readers so that they are prepared. In both 1 Enoch and Revelation there is no “end of the world,” but rather a restoration of the world to the original creation as God had designed it in the first place.

6 thoughts on “Enoch Pleads with the Watchers – 1 Enoch 12-16

  1. The Revelation of Jesus He says there will be a new Heaven and a new earth, all things will pass away! He is going to restore His righteousness and Holiness, but also make them new!

    • Yes, but that occurs at the end of Christ’s 1,000 year reign, not at his return.
      When he returns, he will restore the (old) earth through the healing waters
      that emerge from Him and his throne.

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