Judgment imagery comes to a climax in chapters 53-57 with Enoch’s visions based on a deep valley. At first Enoch sees a vision of a deep valley filled with “gifts and tribute” brought by all the inhabitants of the earth. This tribute does nothing to stop the judgment, however (“the valley will never be filled”) and the sinners are judged by the Lord of Spirits. In verse three the prophet sees angels preparing the “chains of Satan.” One is tempted to find a parallel to Revelation 20 (Satan is himself bound by an angel with a chain and put into the Abyss), but these chains are for the kings of the earth.
David Aune lists 1 Enoch 54 as an example of the common “apocalyptic motif” of the binding of Satan or other angelic beings, along with 2ApocBaruch 56:13, SibOr 2.289, Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4 (Revelation 17-22, 1081). Of Aune’s suggested allusions, only Revelation 20describes the binding of Satan with chains. These chains are for the armies of Azaz’el (54:5) who are cast into the abyss. It is the four archangels who seize the kings and cast them into the furnace of fire prepared for that day. This judgment is described as a “vengeance” by the Lord of Spirits because these kings performed oppressive deeds as messengers of Satan.
Once the kings of the world are bound, the Elect One reveals the “house of his congregation” and the “mountains become flat” (53:6-7). This is probably a reference to the judgment of all of the kingdoms of the earth when the Messiah reveals and establishes his rule. In the Gospels John the Baptist connects the leveling of mountains and filling of valleys from Isaiah 40:3-5 with the coming of the messianic age (Luke 3:5), although this is often taken as a leveling of ethical social barriers in the ministry of Jesus. For example, Darrel Bock suggests “the images call the hearer of John’s message to realize that God is coming in judgment and that only the humble who rely on him will be spared” (Luke 1:1-9:50, 294).
In 54:7-55:2 there is a brief insertion from what may be the lost “Book of Noah” (OTP 38, note e; Charles, Commentary, 2:221 states Jubilees 10:13 and 21:10 mention a “Book of Noah.”) There are some notable differences in this section which mark it out as different from the rest of the Similitudes. For example, God is called the Antecedent of Time (55:1) as well as the Lord of Spirits. Distinct flood imagery is found in this paragraph (the waters above and below, the sign of the rainbow, etc.). The eschatological judgment is missing in favor of the historical judgment of the flood.
The demon Azaz’el himself is judged in 55:3-56:4 by the Elect One himself, sitting on his throne of glory in the name of the Lord of Spirits. (The name Azaz’el has unfortunately been used in many books and films.) This is an important text because the eschatological judgment is given by the Lord of Spirits to the Elect One. In John 5:22 Jesus states the Father has entrusted judgment to the Son. While this verse is not obviously eschatological, Revelation 4-5 seems to expand on this theme. In these two chapters, the “one who sits on the throne” has a sealed scroll, which appears from the context to be “judgment” on the world. But the “one who sits on the throne” is unable to open the scroll and execute judgment. It is only the “Lamb who was slain” who is worthy to execute the judgments found in the scroll. That God would hand the final eschatological judgment over to a representative seems to be consistent with the apocalyptic scheme of 1 Enoch.
After Azaz’el and his armies are judged angels are sent with nets to collect the “elect” in order to fill the crevices of the abyss-like valley. These elect are those kings of the earth who followed Azaz’el – verse four indicates they will no longer lead others astray. In 56:5-8 we are told that the angels will assemble against the Parthians and the Medes. The Parthians will be stirred to battle and overrun the land of the elect ones, Israel. (Charles suspected 56:5-57:3 to be an interpolation since it is far more specific than anything else in the Similitudes. Commentary, 2:221).
This army will become confused when they get to the city of righteousness (Jerusalem) and will begin to attack one another. Armies which become confused and destroy themselves are not uncommon in the Old Testament, see Judges 7 and 1 Samuel 14. Sheol will “open her mouth” and swallow up all of the sinners “in the presence of the elect ones.” The vision of the second parable ends with a description of a vast army of chariots riding in the air from the east to the west. The army is so loud the foundations of the earth shake and can be heard from one end of the earth to the other. As a result of this army, all will fall down and worship the Lord of Spirits (verse 3).
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