Enoch’s Journey through the Heavens – 2 Enoch 1-22

Second Enoch begins with Enoch’s vision soon after he fathered Methuselah. He is caught up into heaven by glorious angelic beings (chapter 1). He then instructs his sons to walk before the Lord by praying and giving generous gifts to the Lord (2:2). In chapters 3-6 Enoch describes his trip through the first heaven where he sees the angels who govern the stars and the various storehouses of heaven. In chapter 7 he is brought to the second heaven where he saw prisoners hanging in darkness, awaiting judgment. This “hanging prisoner” theme will be used by later apocalypses for images of Sheol, Hades, etc. (Apoc. of Ezra 4, Vision of Ezra 19-22). What does the book of 2 Enoch say about heaven?

Enoch Heaven

Paul was caught up into the Third Heaven (2 Cor 12)

The third heaven contains Paradise which is described as an ideal and beautiful place prepared for the righteous (chapter 8-9). The righteous are defined as those who are just, who clothe the naked, feed the hungry, lift up the fallen, and help the injured and the orphans and worship the Lord only. This list of “virtues” is not unlike Matthew 25:40 in which Jesus describes the “sheep” are those who have done these things to the “least of my brothers.” In chapter 10 Enoch is carried to the north where he witnesses all manner of torture and “cruel darkness.” This place is prepared for those who did not glorify God and practiced sin (which are listed in verse 4-5 in detail.) This too is not unlike the fate of the “goats” in Matthew 25:41-46 as they go to the “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Enoch ascends to the fourth heaven where he sees the paths of the sun and moon (chapter 11-17). This is a rather difficult section which is similar to the Astronomical Book of 1 Enoch. The section argues for a 364 and a quarter-day year (14:1) and attempts to precisely define each of the 12 months (16:2).

The fifth heaven contains an innumerable army lead by Grigori, the Greek word for “watchers” (chapter 18). The whole army is downcast since these are the angels which turned from the Lord along with the prince Satanail. The angels descended to Mount Hermon where they intermarried with the daughters of men and defiled the earth. Enoch recommends they repent, pray to the Lord and perform a liturgy in order appease the Lord’s wrath.

The sixth heaven contains seven groups of angels who are glorious, but all identical (chapter 19). There are angels which worship God and record the deeds of Enoch In this scene there are seven phoenixes (a hint for an Egyptian provenance; cf., SibOr 8:139-159, 2 Baruch 6), seven cherubim, and seven “six-winged beings” singing in unison.

In the seventh heaven Enoch sees the fiery armies of archangels and a wide variety of angelic beings (chapter 20). Enoch is so frightened the angelic guides must pick him up and strengthen him. They show him the throne of the Lord at a great distance (it is in the tenth heaven). He moves to the very edge of the seventh heaven here he sees the seraphim. The angel guides depart and are replaced by Gabriel, the archangel (chapter 21). With Gabriel he sees the eighth heaven, which contains the zodiac.

Enoch is then brought by Michael into the presence of the Lord in the tenth heaven (chapter 22). The Lord is described as “so very marvelous, and supremely awesome and supremely frightening.” Michael strengthens Enoch and asks the Lord to allow Enoch to stay before the throne of God forever. The Lord has Michael “extract Enoch from his earthly clothes,” which seems to be removing his soul, since after he is anointed with oil he had become like the glorious ones but without any physical difference.

6 thoughts on “Enoch’s Journey through the Heavens – 2 Enoch 1-22

  1. Hi I’ m interesting in leurnmore sbouth Enoch and the rest.

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