Revision: 5/29/07

Enoch: The Apocalypse of the Son of Man

“And there was great joy amongst them, and they blessed and glorified and extolled because the name of that Son of Man had been revealed unto them. And He sat on the throne of His glory, and the sum of judgement was given unto the Son of Man, and he caused the sinners to pass away and be destroyed from off the face of the earth, and those who have led the world astray. With chains shall they be bound, and in their assemblage-place of destruction shall they be imprisoned, and all their works vanish from the face of the earth. And from henceforth there shall be nothing corruptible; for that Son of Man has appeared, and has seated Himself on the throne of His glory, and all evil shall pass away before His face, and the word of that Son of Man shall go forth and be strong before the Lord of Spirits.” ~ (Book of Enoch 69:26-29)

“One Like a Son of Man”

Of more than 100 places in the Old Testament in which the term "Son of Man" is used, only one of these is clearly referring to Messiah:

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” ~ (Daniel 7:13-14)

All other references to the term “Son of Man” in the Old Testament are not referring to Messiah. More than 90 of these occurrences are in the Book of Ezekiel alone and refer to the prophet himself.

How did a term used for Israel’s Messiah-to-come once in the Old Testament, become one of the most common titles by which the New Testament refer to Jesus? In Matthew's gospel the term is used nearly 30 times. In Luke’s Gospel the term is used more than 25 times. Mark’s and John's gospels also use the term, but slightly less frequently. In total, the gospels refer to Jesus as the “Son of Man” more than 80 times; in every case, the term is used by Jesus to describe himself. It is interesting to note that nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus appear to make an effort to explain what the term means, nor does anyone ask Him to explain.

This raises an interesting question, if Israel’s Messiah is referred to as “one like a Son of Man” only once in the Old Testament, how would Jesus’ hearers have understood the term which he was in the habit of using for himself. Is it possible that both Jesus and his hearers had a common knowledge by which they understood the term?

As it turns out, there was a book in circulation in Jesus’ day, which is not found in our Bibles but which contained many references to the “Son of Man” in similar language to that of Daniel but with far greater detail; a general familiarity with the prophecies of the Book of Enoch may have been the reason Jesus need not explain His use of the term. Consider a few examples,

“And I asked the angel who went with me and showed me all the hidden things, concerning that Son of Man, who he was, and whence he was, (and) why he went with the Head of Days? And he answered and said unto me: this is the Son of Man who hath righteousness, with whom dwelleth righteousness, and who revealeth all the treasures of that which is hidden, because the Lord of Spirits hath chosen him, and whose lot hath the pre-eminence before the Lord of Spirits in uprightness for ever.” ~ (Book of Enoch 46:2-3)

“And at that hour that Son of Man was named in the presence of the Lord of Spirits, and his name before the Head of Days. Yea, before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of the heaven were made, his name was named before the Lord of Spirits. He shall be a staff to the righteous whereon to stay themselves and not fall, and he shall be the light of the gentiles, and the hope of those who are troubled of heart. All who dwell on earth shall fall down and worship before him, and will praise and bless and celebrate with song the Lord of Spirits. And for this reason hath he been chosen and hidden before him, before the creation of the world and for evermore.” ~ (Book of Enoch 48:2-6)

“And the angel came to me and greeted me with his voice, and said unto me ‘this is the Son of Man who is born unto righteousness, and righteousness abides over him, and the righteousness of the Head of Days forsakes him not.’ And he said unto me: ‘he proclaims unto thee peace in the name of the world to come; for from hence has proceeded peace since the creation of the world, and so shall it be unto thee for ever and for ever and ever. And all shall walk in his ways since righteousness never forsaketh him: with him will be their dwelling-places, and with him their heritage, and they shall not be separated from him for ever and ever and ever. And so there shall be length of days with that Son of Man, and the righteous shall have peace and an upright way in the name of the Lord of Spirits for ever and ever.’” ~ (Book of Enoch 71:14-16)

In Enoch 10:11-15 we find the following prophecy, “And the Lord said unto Michael: ‘Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgment and of their consummation, till the judgment that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all generations.’”

It should be kept in mind that chapter 10 of Enoch is in the first section of the book, a section, upon which scholars agree, predates the Christian era.

In Luke 3:23-38, we have the genealogy of Jesus Christ. When one counts 70 generations from the time the command went forth in the days of Methuselah, to “bind [the sinning angels] fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth,” it comes exactly to the generation of Jesus! Here we have a specific point of agreement between the New Testament and the exact prophecy found in the Book of Enoch, a book indisputably from antiquity. The prophecy was made that after 70 generations the judgment of the angels who had sinned would come to pass. If we believe the scripture proper, we believe that He who ‘came to destroy the works of the devil‘ was born exactly 70 generations after Methuselah per Luke’s gospel. The death of Jesus had a specific result that applied to the demonic forces in the world. Per Colossians 2:13-15, “God made [us] alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” (ESV)

It may be apparent then that the ‘rulers and authorities’ in heavenly places of which Paul writes were persuaded the condemnation of the sinning angels was imminent and they needed to get rid of the Son of God in order to frustrate the prophecy. However, God had a hidden purpose in mind, 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, states, “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” The very thing intended by the "rulers of this age" to stop the plan of God was used to make that plan come to fruition.

The question may arise in the reader's mind, “how is it the final judgment of the angels prophesied by Enoch has not yet occurred?” A portion of the promise God made to the serpent in the garden has indeed been fulfilled; “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15). Jesus, the ‘seed of the woman’ had been ‘bruised in the heal’ i.e., “hurt but recovered”. By rising from the dead, Jesus triumphed over them. The time yet remains that Jesus, the 70th from Methuselah, will return and the remainder of that promise, “he will bruise your head” i.e., “hurt without recovery” will just as assuredly be fulfilled. Genesis 3:15 has been followed by John 3:16. Jesus has taken his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high from whence he shall come again. The 70th generation is the one in which the sinning angels are judged, because the One born as the 70th from Methuselah lives still. We are even now within the generation in which the angels will be finally and utterly condemned. And His word of encouragement to us is true, for, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Rom. 16:20)