The Apocalypse of Weeks – 1 Enoch 93:1-10; 91:11-17
by Phillip J. Long
June 28, 2016
The Apocalypse of Weeks is a brief recounting of human history as a series of weeks. This vision concerns the “elect ones in the world” (93:1). Enoch has learned these future events through a heavenly vision given by holy angels and understood from heavenly tablets (93:2). This triple proof underscores the surety of the vision.
The First Week (93:3) – Enoch was born seventh in the first week, a time when “judgment and righteousness endure.”
The Second Week (93:4) – After Enoch’s time “great and evil things” arise and the “first consummation” takes place. Only one man survives (Noah); the flood does not deal with sin. Therefore, this man makes a law for sinners (the Noahic Covenant).
The Third Week (93:5) – During this week a man is elected as a “plant of righteousness” and a second man as an “eternal plant of righteousness.” The first is Abraham, the second is Moses (eternal since he was “assumed” into heaven).
The Fourth Week (93:6) – During this week visions of old and righteous ones will be seen and “a law will be established as a fence.” This probably refers to the writing of the Pentateuch (i.e., the Law).
The Fifth Week (93:7) – This week will see the completion of “a house and a kingdom,” the establishment of the Davidic kingdom.
The Sixth Week (93:8) – At the end of the week the house and kingdom will be burnt, people will be blindfolded and the “chosen root” dispersed. This is period from David to the Exile.
The Seventh Week (93:9-10) – In the seventh week an apostate generation will arise, all of their deeds will be criminal. The elect ones will give sevenfold instruction to the flock. Since this is post exilic, it could refer to the “criminal activities” of the pre-Maccabean period (Jason and Menelaus purchasing the high priesthood, radical Hellenization, the murder of Onias). On the other hand, it could refer to the Hasmoneans themselves since they united the high priesthood with the king for several generations. In either case, this is the time of the author of the Apocalypse. There is no explicit reference to the Maccabean revolt or a judgment which puts an end to the criminal activity (i.e. Judas Maccabees as a messiah figure.)
The Eighth Week (91:12-13) – After the judgment (which is not described in the text, unless 92:3-5 should be inserted here), there will be an “eighth week” which will be a week of righteousness (91:12-13). During this period a house will be built for the great king “in glory forevermore” (91:12-13). There is an implication that the first seven weeks occur before this week of righteousness, therefore all of history before the ideal period is seven “weeks.” This is reminiscent of the epistle of Barnabas which describes the history of the world in seven creational days, with the seventh being the idealized age (i.e., the kingdom).
The Ninth Week (91:14) – In this period there will be a righteous judgment and all sinners will depart from the earth and be “written off for eternal destruction.” Those who are not judged as sinners will “direct their sight to the path of uprightness.”
The Tenth Week (91:15-16) – In the seventh part of the tenth week there will be a judgment executed by the angels of heaven – the old heaven will pass away and a new heaven will appear; the powers of heaven will shine eternally sevenfold. This “new heaven” idea is drawn from Isaiah 66:17-25 and is found in Revelation 21:1 as well.
“Many Weeks” (91:17) – After the sequence of ten weeks there will be an unending period, an “eternal state” during which sin will no longer exist.
This brief Apocalypse gives the same general outline as Similitudes and the Book of Visions. There will be an end to sin and corruption in the future. A judge will make right what is wrong and the ages which follow this judgment will be an ideal sinless state. The Apocalypse of Weeks develops this idea of a coming new age very much in outline form, not unlike the book of Daniel. If this sort of an outline of history was well known in the first century (from Daniel, 1 Enoch, etc.), then it is possible the language of “kingdom” used in the Gospels evoked imagery in the minds of the first listeners similar to the Apocalypse of Weeks.
Jesus claims to be given authority to judge (John 5:27, Mt. 28:18) and clearly associates himself with the eschatological Son of Man in Mark 14:62. It is the authority of Jesus which is questioned in the Temple by the chief priests (Mark 11:27-33).
* * * * * * * * *
The Epistle of Enoch – 1 Enoch 99-105
by Phillip J. Long
June 29, 2016
The final chapters of 1 Enoch are advice to his children and follow a pattern not unlike the Old Testament wisdom literature. There is a general admonition to listen to the words of the father and walk in righteousness. What follows are a long series of “woe” statements condemning various sins and “unwise” activities. The rich, the deceitful, the idolater, the oppressor, the one who has luxury, the blasphemous, etc. are all warned of the judgment in store for them. Most of this material is in the format of “woe to the sinner because . . .” There are a few notable exceptions to this format which are eschatological in nature. Chapter 101 is another wisdom piece not unlike God’s speech in Job. It contains a series of rhetorical questions about nature intended to underscore God’s sovereign control of the universe.
In 99:3-10 there is a bit of non-woe material introduced with “in those days.” The righteous need to prepare to “raise a memorial” in prayer because of the wickedness of those days. Women will abort babies and commit infanticide, it will be a time of “unceasing blood.” There will be idolatry which “blindfolds” the sinner so that they will not be saved. This idea of a blindness in the last days which prevents sinners from perceiving the truth is found in 2 Thess. 2:11 – God sends a “spirit of delusion” which prevents people in the last days from seeing the truth. Matthew 24:4-13 describes people in the last days as believing lies, false prophets and increasing wickedness.
In 100:1-6 a final judgment is described. Fathers and sons will kill each other (100:2, cf. the less violent Luke 12:52, fathers against sons, etc.) The gore of the final battle is so deep a horse walks up to his chest in blood (100:3, cf. Ezek. 39:17; Rev 14:20). Angels will go into secret places and gather those who caused others to sin in order to execute them on the great judgment day (100:4). The righteous, however, will be protected by angels until sinners are judged. From that time on they will live in peace and “no one will make them afraid.” They are “saved” from the judgment because they gave heed to the words of “this book.”
In 102:1-11 the terror of the final judgment is described. “In those days” sinners will be unable to hide from the terrors as angels fulfill the orders of the Lord (cf. Rev. 6:16-17). Sinners will go down to Sheol in sorrow (102:5), but the righteous have no need to fear, there will be no righteous in Sheol (102:4, 11).
Chapters 103 and 104 use an oath motif along with the woe formula to describe the “two ways,” the way of the righteous and the way of the sinner. Verses 1-4 describes the lot of the righteous: those who die will live and rejoice, their spirits will not perish and they will be a memorial before the Lord. Sinners, however, are already dead (103:5). They may have died in prosperity and wealth, but now they are suffering terrible torments on account of their easy lives (103:4-5). The righteous have no need to hide in the coming judgment (104:1-6). The sinner thinks they have nothing to worry about on the great Day of Judgment (104:7), but in fact everything will be made known and judged. Chapter 105 is a brief benediction concluding this section.
The final chapters of 1 Enoch are fragments of other documents appended to the main text. Chapters 106 and 107 are a narrative of the birth of Noah which probably comes from a lost Noah Apocalypse (Charles, Commentary, 2:278). When Noah is born, he has white skin and hair as red as a rose; his eyes glowed like the sun. As soon as he was born, he spoke to the Lord. Lamech is naturally upset by this odd child and runs to his father Methuselah for advice. Methuselah in turn sends him to Enoch who predicts the flood as a judgment for sin and names the boy Noah. Enoch also predicts Noah will be the remnant for Lamech in the “oppression” to come. These predictions are confirmed because they were written on heavenly tablets (107:1-2).
The final chapter of 1 Enoch is described as “another book of Enoch” which was written for Methuselah (108:1). Enoch tells his son that those who observe the law ought to wait patiently (108:1-3). He describes a vision of an invisible burning cloud which is explained by an angel as the place where sinners go (108:4-7). Those who love God endure, although they suffer in the body, because God will make recompense for what they have suffered (108:8-10). The righteous who endure will eventually see the end of those who are unrighteous (108:11-15).
~ END of 1 ENOCH ~