The Archangels Render Justice -1 Enoch 9-11

In 1 Enoch  9 we learn the rest of the angels are watching the progress of the events on earth. Michael, Sariel (Isaac follows the Ethiopic, Surafel; manuscripts have Uryan of Ur’el Raphael (Rufa’el) and Gabriel. They hear the cries of the humans and respond in a prayer to God himself. After praising God they point out to him the activities of Azazel Rafael-archangelon earth. They blame him for teaching humans the “eternal secrets” and Shemihazah for allowing the other angels to sleep with the humans and produce the hybrid giants.

The Lord responds to this prayer in chapter 10 by sending out a number of angels with specific tasks. An angel named Sariel (Ethiopic, Asuryal) is sent to the “son of Lamech” (Noah) to warn him of the coming flood. This angel is to instruct the son of Lamech on how to flee from the flood and “preserve his seed for all generations.”

In verses 5-8 the angel Raphael is sent to bind Azazel hand and foot and to throw him into the darkness. Both Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4-5 refer to angels who fell as “bound in chains in darkness.” Compare this also to Matthew 22:13 where the unprepared guest is ousted from the wedding banquet and is bound and thrown to “the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Michael-archangelIn 9: 9-10 Gabriel is sent to destroy the children of the angels (now called “Watchers”). These giants are described as “bastards and children of adultery.” Verse 10 says these giants hoped to live for five hundred years, which may be taken as how long they hoped to live before judgment came upon them, although it may simply refer to the length of their lives. There is no reference to the long lives of humans in 1 Enoch before the flood, so the five hundred-year life-span may be what is in mind. In verse 11 Michael is sent to warn Semyaz he is about to be judged and bound for seventy generations under the mountains, until the day of judgment, in a pit of fire. Again, a similar theme is found in Jude 6 and Revelation 20:10-15.

After the time of judgment the world will be cleansed and the righteous will flourish: 10:18-19 mentions agricultural blessings; 10:21 describes the earth as cleansed from all pollution. God’s speech concludes in Chapter 11 with a brief description of the “storehouse of blessing” which will be opened after the time of judgment, a time when “peace and truth shall become partners again in all the days of the world and in all the generations of the earth.”

Looking back to the inspiration for this story in Genesis, the evil world is destroyed by the Flood, but this does not eradicate sin (Gen 9:20-29). 1 Enoch describes the world after the Watchers are destroyed as a time of peace and truth “for all eternity.” A similar apocalyptic pattern of coming judgment followed by a time of ultimate peace is certainly found in Revelation 20-22.