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PERSIA & CREATION OF JUDAISM

Book 5. Persian Propaganda

The Enoch Literature; Was Enoch Zoroaster?


 

Enoch

 

Enoch is a non-canonical book of Jewish scriptures used by the first Christians and much treasured by the sectaries of Qumran who kept multiple copies. It is cited in the New Testament at Jude 5:14 and refered to indirectly at 2 Peter 2. Over a hundred phrases in the New Testament can be traced to the 1 Enoch. Plainly, though, there came a time when the church thought the idea of fallen angels was dangerous, and Filastrius declared it heretical in his Book of Heresies. Nor did the rabbis like the book’s teaching about corrupt angels. As early as the second century AD, Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai cursed those who believed the Enoch works, suggesting that it was seen as a stimulation to revolutionaries like Jesus and Bar Kosiba.

We get used to our conventional ways of representing biblical names but there are often different ways of writing them because of the problems of deciding on the correct vowel sounds and because some Semitic consonants have no equivalent in English. So with Enoch, alternatives are Henoch (Josephus) and Chanoc (Philo), which show that the name did not begin with a vowel and it might have been almost like our “k”.

Enoch has little role in our bible, but was a far more important man than we now imagine. Biblicly, he was the son of Cain (Gen 4:17), and therefore the third after Adam, and he built a city named after him. Or he was the seventh after Adam (Jude 5:14; 1 Enoch 60:8). Seven is the complete or perfect number obtained from the merging of heaven (3) and earth (4), so Enoch is the perfect man—the man at the boundary of heaven. Irenaeus describes him as “a man raised to heaven by pleasing God while angels fell to earth by transgression.” Only Noah and apparently Abraham besides Enoch walked with the gods (Gen 6:9; 17:1).

The city he built, like much of his legend, is not developed in the Jewish scriptures but is said by some to have been Annuchta in Elam, a possibility that suggests a Persian connexion. Annakos, the eponymous founder of Annakos in Phrygian Iconium, lived 300 years and prophesied Deucalion’s flood. If this is Enoch, the legend might have come into Palestine with Syrian colonists.

After the birth of Methuselah, his eldest son at 65 years of age:

Enoch walked with the gods (Elohim, always mistranslated as God) 300 years… and he was not, for the gods (Elohim) took him.
(Gen 5:22-24)

 

Enoch had lived another 300 years, making 365. This suggests that Enoch represented an ideal year—he was perfect because he represented the expectations of a new year and so he was the Spirit of the New Year. The new year festival held at Easter was most important to Persians, and gave rise to the Jewish Festival of Lots (Purim). To judge by this story, the Old Year, standing for the reality of the wickedness of the world infested by the Evil Spirit’s demons, was crucified to put an end to it. Celestially, it was the spring equinox when the sun crossed the celestial equator making a notional cross in the sky.

Enoch as the ideal year would not of course see death. It would be the year in which Ahuramazda was victorious over the Evil Spirit and time would stop so that those who lived, or were resurrected, the righteous, lived forever. Only wicked years saw death. The novelty of Jesus as an Enochian figure was that he seemed to see death on the cross as an atonement for human sin, but was then resurrected into timeless life. He was thus seen as the ultimate Saoshyant or Saviour in Zoroastrian religious terms. Enoch appears in the epistle to the Hebrews as proof of a man who “by faith was translated that he should not see death for he pleased God.” Enoch and Elijah, in Christian tradition, were the two “witnesses” (Rev 11:3) as men who had not died. 1 Enoch 12:2:

And his activities had to do with the Watchers, and his days were with the holy ones.

 

Another Enoch in the scriptures is the third son of Midian, a son of Abraham. Midian is an allegorical name of Media, suggesting that the author was suggesting Enoch came out of Persia. Yet another Enoch, the eldest son of Reuben, founded the family of the Hanochites.

 

1 Enoch

Early Christians used non-biblical Jewish literature as well as the scriptures. Before their discovery at Qumran, Jewish works like 1 Enoch and Jubilees were known only in the versions transmitted in Christian communities. Early Christian writers often cite passages from these non-canonical works.

The Ethiopic and Slavonic books of Enoch discovered in 1821 and 1880 are called 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch. Several copies of the Book of Enoch, have also been found at Qumran. In Victorian times scholars had no doubt that the book was a unity, though Lücke and Hilgerfeld both recognized the Similitudes as later. The Similitudes were surely later, because they were Christian additions, and so the book of Enoch was not a unity! The Victorians also thought the work was from Hasmonaean times, but now it is known mainly to be earlier. Though nothing appears of it in the scriptures, in legend, Enoch was so remarkable that he filled, according to Slavonic Enoch, 360 books with revelations and invented all the skills that benefit sages—writing, arithmetic and astronomy. He seems to be a Hebrew version of Orpheus or Zoroaster. To judge from the datings from Qumran 1 Enoch is at least third century BC, but it plainly has its roots in Zoroastrianism.

Western scholars tried to relate the citations from ancient works to 1 or 2 Enoch but had only limited success. Many of the citations did not correspond to anything in either 1 or 2 Enoch. Plainly, 1 and 2 Enoch were only a portion of all the Enoch books that once circulated throughout the Near East. Citations and allusions to “books” or “apocalypses” of Enoch abound in Jewish, Christian and Moslem works, such as Al Tabari, suggesting that an extensive “Enochian” apocalyptic literature existed around his name.

1 Enoch has the following curious features:
It has no scriptural quotations except for the song of the angels, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” (Isa 6:3) if this can be claimed as a quotation.
It has no suggestions of an advanced temple cult, extensive priesthood, or commitment to a sacrificial religion.
The law of Moses is not central to the apparent belief system of the people who wrote the Enochian literature.

 

These features suggest that 1 Enoch is independent of Jewish tradition or opposed to it. 1 Enoch disapproves of the changes made by the “Returners of Babylon” who were seen as polluted apostates (1 Enoch 89:73; 93:9). Margaret Barker (The Lost Prophet) writes:

The Enochic version of the history of the return from Babylon makes it clear that the returned exiles were innovators whose ways were not acceptable. By implication, the Enoch group preserved older ways.

 

The origin of the school of belief in 1 Enoch might have preceded the announcement of the law of Moses by Ezra. Yet it is strongly eschatological and depicts Enoch as a wise man, a scribe and a priest who interceded with God on behalf of the fallen angels, and presided over the Book of Life at the Last Judgement.

This all could mean that the original returners from exile, those who took advantage of Cyrus’s decree to return voluntarily, objected to the conscripted returners who came later with Ezra. These earlier returners would have been no less conditioned by the Persian administrators to conform to Persian norms of belief and behaviour, but there were few of them and they will have looked back to whatever degree they could to the Israel of the kings for the few centuries that it existed. They are the group who perhaps took the Persian idea of the Saoshyant and saw him as a supernatural king, thus beginning the belief in a messiah. The present books of Ezra and Nehemiah have completed blocked them out, unless it is to depict them as being among the Am ha Eretz at the time of Nehemiah and Ezra.

In trying to see behind the bible we are like geologists looking at the strata of the earth that have often been overlaid with new material, folded and compressed, melted together or completely eroded away. Contrary to the utter brainlessness of those who refuse to see it as anything other than perfect, it is self-evidently a complex geology of many different traditions and fragments as well as later, more complete material all assembled together, edited, added to and taken from. Beginning in the Persian period, the Persian administrators gave the colonists a history based on the Assyrian records of Abarnahara. Then Greek and Maccabaean layers were added while each time parts of the earlier tradition was subtracted or edited. Since the books were all separate, the editing was far from consistent, and only at certain times such as the Ptolemaic period was it possible to attempt any consistent editing. So it was that the Priestly interpolations were made to the earlier books. From this modern scholars, if they are scholars and not biblical apologists, have to find genuine history.

External sources like the Enochian literature can help us to see some of the directions from which the biblical traditions have arrived. A partly erased tradition exists in books like Jubilees, which is a version of Genesis, the Assumption of Moses, the Testament of Judah and parts of Daniel. It depicts the last judgement as a trial before the throne of God and the struggle of two spirits, one Good and one Wicked, described as angels or princes. A relic of this appears in Jude 1:9 where the archangel Michael contends with the Devil over the body of Moses. The erased tradition has a book that is opened to permit the wicked to be judged and punished. The righteous are called the wise and are rewarded by eternal life among the fixed stars of heaven, observing below the wicked being judged and cooked in the fiery pit.

 

The Book of the Watchers

The first book in 1 Enoch has been called the Book of the Watchers. It follows the brief introduction in chapters 1-5, beginning in chapter 6-16 with an account of the fall of the angels, and the judgement to be made on them and their offspring, the giants. The account in Genesis of the fall of the angels (Gen 6:1-4) looks to be a highly expurgated rump of the Enochian cycle of legends on the fall of angels. The author of Genesis has cut it down so severely that it now reads clumsily, though he evidently felt obliged to nod at least toward the legends to placate some faction. The same is true of the few cryptic references to Enoch himself.

In fact, the story is two stories intertwined. One describes how Asael brought human knowledge to the earth, corrupting the creation with knowledge of the eternal secrets of metallurgy and cosmetics, until he was bound by the angel, Raphael, under the rocks of the burning desert. In the Similitudes 55:4, the Elect One judges Asael as the chief of the wicked angels. Elsewhere in the same book (1 Enoch 69:2) the same angel is only 21st in rank of the rebel angels, while in a Qumran fragment (4Q201) of the Book of Giants, he is tenth. In the Book of Dreams he is a fallen star who corrupted Adam and Eve by encouraging them to explore forbidden gnosis. Thus the Book of Dreams explains what is absent from the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis—why the wicked serpent is even present in the perfect garden.

Adam and Eve might have been a late insertion into Genesis 2-3 probably to replace an Enochian version of the origins of sin that has been suppressed. Only Paul mentions the Adam and Eve fable in the New Testament. The cause of evil in the world in the Adam and Eve legend is human disobedience, that places the burden of sin on humanity, and particularly on women. Originally it was a parable of the estrangement of humanity from God when they disobeyed him, rather than the cause of evil in the world. Enoch offers a different version of the origin of sin, much closer to the Zoroastrian idea in that sin is caused by evil forces that oppose and try to diminish God’s creation. As Margaret Barker puts it:

Enoch describes the corruption of superhuman forces which have opposed and diminished the creation, and put it in bondage to decay.

 

In Romans 8, Paul blames the decay of creation on its being in bondage—the corruption brought by Asael.

In the account of the scapegoat in Leviticus (Lev 16:6-28), the purpose of the goat is explained as an appeasement to the desert spirit, Azazel. Nothing more is known about Azazel, but the monotheistic Israelites seem to be offering a spirit other than God a goat as a sacrifice, albeit disguised as the bearer of the nations sins. He sounds like the demon Asael imprisoned in the desert by Raphael but still requiring his annual ration of sins. Some of the versions of 1 Enoch call Asael Azazel.

The other story intertined with that of Asael in 1 Enoch 6-10 is of how 200 angels led by Semihazah bound themselves together by oath then descended to earth to take human wives. Their offspring were the wicked demaons that infested the earth with misery. This is strongly Zoroastrian, the Daevas being the old gods of the heavens, the shining ones, or stars, who were categorized by Zoroaster as evil. The Evil Spirit in Zoroastrianism confounded the Good Spirit in its creation of Good Things by creating Bad Things, and here is an explanation of how the wicked demona were generated to plague the world by the Wicked 200 Stars or Angels seducing unwary human females. The fate of the 200 demaons was to be confined by the Archangel Michael for 70 generations before they saw their demon offspring destroy each other. Then they were judged at the Last Judgement and taken to their own destruction. With the destruction of these “Watchers,” the world would be restored to the original perfection of its pristine state. Only at this point does Enoch have a part to play—telling the fallen angels of the judgement against them.

Now the cosmic legends of angels breeding with women supposes that angels could lust and had the wherewithal to rape and fornicate. These are strange yearnings and bodily equipment for eternal beings. Gods are immortal and could have no need for procreation, so angels ought not to have “privvy members.” The Greek gods used many strange methods of birth, often the result of having to make supposedly masculine figures behave as females, but, when they acted sexually, it usually was in the form of animals.

Why do these angels lust after sex? Why indeed should God’s Good Creation of angels revolt against him? In the Zoroastrian outlook, revolution and disobedience were the work of the Wicked Spirit created by him to disrupt Arta, the cosmic order created by God. It looks as though a half understood story that revolt was the work of the Evil Spirit has been retold wrongly as a rebellion of initially Good Angels.

The Judaic religion was apparently opposed to knowledge. In the myth of Adam and Eve, knowledge is forbidden but the pair disobey their instructions and find it. The immediate result was the knowledge of sex, though no explanation is given of why this pair should have been sexually endowed if God expected them to be obedient and therefore immortal. Knowledge for Enoch made him as a god and that is the fear of the gods in Genesis but in fact knowledge makes Adam and Eve mortal—it is depicted as a curse for them. In the Hebrew language the word for sex is a euphemism, “to know.” So knowledge or wisdom was immediately linked to sexual knowledge.

In the Enochian stories, women seem to have been aware of their sexual charms even before the angels fell. How were human beings reproducing if not sexually, or were all humans created immortal and therefore gods in the first place. Humans are themselves therefore, the fallen angels. Another explanation for the fall was “Pride.” The king of Babylon (Isa 14) fell through excessive pride, and so too the king of Tyre (Ezek 28:16). In Philippians 2:5-11, Jesus is exalted because he was humble unlike the proud angels that fell for trying to equal God. Here is the origin of the Essene obsession with humility displayed plainly in the gospels with the last being first and the first last.

Corrupt Priests as Fallen Angels

In Hellenistic times, the corrupt priesthood who came to be the Sadduccee class were regarded as fallen angels who lusted after human women—in other words simply women, particularly non-Jewish ones. Heaven was conceived as being a celestial temple, and the earthly temple was part of it—a bridge to heaven. Bridges were indeed built to access the temple across the Tyropaeon Valley (Robinson’s Arch and Wilson’s Arch), probably for symbolic reasons as well as practical ones. Within, the temple was built in tiers in a pyramidal fashion with the successive steps leading ever higher to the holier parts. Highest was the Holy building itself with its Holy of Holies where God dwelt, supposedly entered only once a year by the High Priest.

Priests were therefore considered to be heavenly beings—angels. Their ministrations to God in the temple exactly reflected the ministrations of God’s attendant angels in heaven, a parallel that appears in Hebrews 9. The corruption began when Alexander overthrew the Zoroastrians and his generals began the Hellenization of the Persian empire. The history of the temple under the Ptolemies in the third century is scarcely known, except that the earlier Ptolemies favoured the cult for their own political ends. They offered favours and wealth to the Jerusalem temple and it is inconceivable that they did not get something for it. They placed priests in power acceptable to themselves. When the Greek appointees took over the temple, they behaved in an unangelic way, and the stories in the Enochian cycle of fallen angels were allegories of the corruption of the sacerdotal class.

The displaced Persian priests and their sympathizers, the traditionalists, started a counter movement and began to write anti-Hellenistic propaganda. Much of it is now the Enochian literature, and it seems plain that the Essenes were at the tail end of this movement, some of whom eventually started Christianity. Thus the beginnings of the Enochian tradition might be as far back as the start of the fifth century but it had its biggest boost, as a protest against the Graecized Sadducees or their predecessors, when the Greeks took over the temple in the third century.

Cosmic Mysteries

An angel then (Chapters 14-36) takes Enoch on a tour of the earth and the lower heavens showing him cosmic mysteries. He receives celestial wisdom, apparently the forbidden knowledge of Adam and Eve, and sees the Tree of Life making him into an angel. So, obtaining forbidden knowledge is wicked but, in the Enochian tradition, knowledge itself is not being the attribute of gods, enabling a righteous man to walk with them. This theme of an angelic being giving a specially chosen exceptionally righteous man a tour of heaven is repeated in Ezekiel, and in the Christianized book called Revelation, where it tends to show that it was Jesus who was being given the tour originally, not John. Christians made Jesus into the lamb of God and so had to have someone else being shown around. The revelation was to Jesus not of him!

In 1 Enoch 14, the hero goes up to heaven with winds, mists and clouds until he sees a crystal wall surrounded by fire, and a crystal house with stars and lightning as its ceiling. Within it another house was made of flame which had a crystal throne with shining wheels, fire flaming from beneath it and Great Glory upon it in shining white robes. A myriad myriad angels stood before him, and cherubim.

Here is a primitive description of the sun god sitting on his throne in his heavenly abode. The ancient belief was that the sky was of stone, the source of meteorites, and the rigidity that kept the fixed stars in their places. When metals were found to be superior to stone as tools and weapons, the sages had to find metals in the heavens instead of stone. Their answer was in the crystalline ores from which metals were smelted. Crystals were stones, and metals came from them through heat, so the heavens were made of stone but it was crystalline. The heavenly traveller meets a crystalline wall—the sky itself—and a crystal house or heavenly temple, the abode of God.

The references to flame and fire mean the sun, and God is the gleaming brilliantly white corona, seen in solar eclipses—the Great Glory. The myriads of attendant angels are the stars, and the throne had wheels because it was the solar chariot in ancient legends, taking the sun in its daily run across the sky. Enoch has to take the message of the fate of the “Watchers,” who have left heaven to take human wives—errant priests marrying out of the religion.

In Exodus 24:10:

They saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

 

God’s throne was standing on a sapphire pavement—the blue crystalline sky! Here too he is surrounded by angels, the stars. In Isaiah, God says:

The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

 

The throne of God is to be in His house, the temple, considered as part of heaven, and Isaiah is appointed a messenger of judgement, just as Enoch was. Job asks:

Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

 

In Ezekiel, a vision of a chariot throne is seen again, with strange creatures, and the prophet again has a message to transmit. Enoch, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Revelation are all narratives of similar visions of a sun god enthroned in heaven, or rather beyond heaven because his throne is on a crystal sea (Rev 4:6;15:2) or pavement—the sky itself is beneath him. Ezekiel and John both add a rainbow, lightning and thunderous sounds to the description. God’s throne was on the sky, showing that God was beyond it—the power behind the heavens. Hence we read in Psalm 19 that “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork,” declaring the transcendence of God in the same way as Zoroastrianism saying that the heavens were God’s cloak.

The descriptions of heaven in Ezekiel echo the iconography of Assyria and Persia. The building on a high mountain (Ezek 40:2) is the temple in the sky. Persian worship was originally outdoors, the massy heavens offering the only roof they wanted, but when they did begin to build temples, they often built them on high places, either natural mounds or artificial ones when there was no alternative. Perhaps this reflected their gradual move from pure Mazdayasnaism to Mithras worship, the lesser god growing as the visible face of the hidden God behind the universe, until he took his place when the Greeks replaced the Persians.

Ezekiel’s temple was decorated with trees and cherubim (Ezek 41:17-19), typical Assyrian motifs, and from it came a great river, again a motif of the time—a celestial river, a misunderstanding of the sky represented as the crystal sea. The metaphorical nature of these visions is often made explicit—the elements of the vision are “like” their analogy showing that they were not them. So one “like unto the son of man” of Daniel was not a man. In the Enochian allegories, those “like” men were angels. Priests going about their duties in Assyrian and Persian reliefs are shown with wings. The descriptions of Ezekiel are apparently explicit descriptions of temple iconography.

The “revelations” of Deuteronomy were earlier because God was not seen, only heard (Deut 4:12). In Exodus 13:18-23, Moses cannot see God and live. Biblicists follow the bogus internal history of the scriptures and think that the bulk of Isaiah and Ezekiel are earlier than they are, simply because they profess to be, as any pseudepigraph would! It is the scholarship of simpletons taken in by religious pig-in-a-pokery. It is like attributing a text in Esperanto to the Reformation because it says it is!

The law was given by the Persians whose god was Mazda, an unseen god. Mithras was their visible god, associated with the sun, and the evidence points to Mithras replacing Mazda in later traditions, but particularly when the Persians lost power. The reason was probably precisely that he was more visible and therefore comprehendable to simpler folk than a hidden god. Modern Christians are not satisfied with an unseen God and have to have their images or fantasies about Jesus to bring god near to them.

The Book of Similitudes

The second book (chapters 37-71) in the originally found version of 1 Enoch is the Book of Similitudes, but no trace of this has been found among the fragments of about eleven editions of Enoch at Qumran, and it is suspected to be a Christian replacement for the Book of Giants, which appears in its place in the Qumran versions.

The “Elect One,” familiar in the Qumran texts, occurs fourteen times in 1 Enoch, (see 45:3, for example). The “Elect One” would “sit upon the throne of glory” and the “Elect One” would “dwell in the midst of them,” so 1 Enoch is the source of the “voice out of the cloud” saying to Jesus in Luke’s mistranslated verse: “This is my Son, the Elect One (Greek “ho eklelegmenos,”): hear him”.

In the second Similitude, the mountains are allegorized as powerless before Yehouah Elohim. Plainly these are not mountains in a geographical sense but metaphors for powerful evil entities—the great alien empires that were undermining the traditional religion of the believers. In 1 Enoch 18:13, the fallen angels are like burning mountains. In Jeremiah 51:25, Babylon is a destroying mountain that would itself be burnt, while in Revelation 8:8, a burning mountain falls from heavem. These are defeats of the great powers seen as Evil Spirits. The Christianized Revelation is an older work edited to celebrate the unrecognized victory of Jesus and the Nazarenes over the Jerusalem garrison that allowed him to control the temple for several days.

The Similitudes (1 Enoch 41) also mention a great oath that binds together the forces of nature—it is a cosmic covenant that kept the sea in check, the heavenly bodies in their places and secured the order of creation. The angel entrusted with upholding this oath, according to 1 Enoch 69:16-21, is none other than the archangel Michael, the Jewish version of Mithras, the Zoroastrian guardian of covenants! The great universal oath means Arta, the Persian principle of order. To seek to break it was to join the Evil Creation and therefore be an enemy of God.

The Astronomy Book

The third book of 1 Enoch is called the Astronomy Book because it continues Enoch’s tour of the heavens showing him how the heavenly bodies move and how the seasons change (chapters 72-82). The fragments of the Astronomy Book found at Qumran are from a bigger book than that extant today. The archangel Uriel shows how the heavenly bodies are controlled, astronomy and astrology being accepted as a part of eastern celestial religions.

The proper calendar was to be a solar one, linking the source with Jubilees and the Dead Sea Scroll sect, and also to the solar calendar of the Persians and the Babylonians. At some stage a lunar calendar was accepted by the Jerusalem priesthood, possibly by the Sadduccees, and the traditionalists saw this as an affront. Enoch’s Astronomy Book highlights the importance of the intercalated day every quarter that gave 364 days to a normal year of twelve 30 day months. The year was therefore just 1¼ days short of the correct length. Every quarter had a patron angel as did every month making 16. This is reflected in the Qumran texts and probably in the organization of the Nazarenes—twelve apostles, three priests and a prince. In Micah 5:5, the prince is accompanied by eight principal men and seven shepherds.

Artaxerxes modified the Persian calendar, but all he did, it seems, was give each day of the month a different name, but they were names of Yazatas, the Persian spiritual helpers, and so angels, in effect. The months were also named after Good Spirits. It seems that the Jews retained the Babylonian names of months and did not attempt to name their days simply referring to them by number, or they reverted back to the Babylonian system when the Greeks took control.

The Book of Dreams

Next is the fourth book, the Book of Dreams in which Enoch relates the dreams of his youth—dreams of the end of the earth and of the history of the kingdoms of God up to the setting up of the throne of the Messiah—to his son Methuselah (chapters 83-91). The end of the history seems to be the establishment of the Jewish kingdom under the Maccabees in 167 BC.

What is curious is that the history is disguised by allegorizing it in animal form, like Animal Farm by George Orwell. As such it helps to explain some of the metaphors of Christianity. Adam is a white bull, the twelve sons of Jacob, the Jews, are sheep, enemies of the sheep are eagles, vultures and ravens. Here is an apparent Zoroastrian division between the Good Creation of the domestic animals and the scavengers that disposed of corpses from the silent towers. Jesus, at an early stage of the evolution of Christianity, was seen as the flawless Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7). Angels in this scheme are men in white, as they are in the gospels, and three sheep were elevated into their ranks—Noah, Moses and Elijah. Later, the men who habitually wore white—other than practising priests who were considered angels anyway, the temple being heaven—were the Essenes who considered themselves as priests and aspired in their purity and righteousness to be angels.

The angels were the shepherds of the sheep, as they are in Ezekiel 34. Wicked shepherds neglect their flocks, and at the end of the story, the wicked shepherds and the sheep who blindly followed them were judged (1 Enoch 90:22-27). The sheep that chose wickedness are thrown into a fiery pit, as are those set aside to the left hand in Matthew 25:41. In the quotation Jesus gives from Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth (Lk 4:17), he declares himself to be the messiah, promising to give sight to the blind and free the captives, so that blindness is equated with bondage by parallellism. Pharisees were described as blind guides in Matthew. 23:16.

Blindness then is a metaphor for succumbing to temptation by bad angels. It is not physical blindness, showing that all of Jesus’s cures of blindness were metaphorical eye openings, as should have been obvious to anyone, especially if they care to call themselves scholars. There can be few Christian ministers and scholars who are not aware of this simple and logical metaphor, but they will not let on to their own flocks. They too are blind guides, by precisely the same criteria. They are dishonest dissemblers continuing to fool simple believers for their own gain.

There was a relationship between the words blind, lame, deaf and dumb and the names of the various categories of evil angels.
Margaret Barker

 

“Watcher” is the name for an evil angel that is similar in Hebrew to the word for blind! The Enochian Book of Dreams says that Watchers were the demons that made people blind.

The Epistle of Enoch

Lastly, the fifth book, the Epistle of Enoch, is really the testament of Enoch to his children (chapters 92-105) rather like the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. It is like the books of the prophets, an exhortation to obedience to avoid adverse judgement. The reward for the righteous in the Book of the Watchers is a ripe and prosperous old age, but in the Epistle of Enoch it is to dwell with the angels, rather suggesting that the revelation that occurred was a gradual one by the Persian priest-administrators to people initially unaware of the wonders of eternal life for the obedient. The Sadducees, like most modern Jews, considered prosperity in life God’s blessing, but the writing cannot have been in that direction because the Sadduccees did not believe in angels either—far too Persian!—so they would not have been writing about “Watchers.” The Persian influenced Jews came to believe from their teachers in the Persian concept of an everlasting reward in a perfect world.

More interesting is that the Book of Watchers contained no criticism of the temple but the Epistle of Enoch does, declaring that the coming of the Last Days would be signalled by its renewal. The Enoch faction evidently saw the temple as having been corrupted—the view of the Essenes and the Dead Sea Sectarians. When Jesus cleansed the temples, he declared in Enochian terms that the Judgement would soon follow. He plainly declared his belief that the world in its corrupt form was about to end.

Within the Epistle of Enoch is another work that has been named the Apocalypse of Weeks. It is another history of Israel forced into a framework of seven and seventy week periods. All such ideas of artificial history, though they seem strange to us, were expressions of the Zoroastrian concept of Arta or Asha—order. The different attempts would today be called hypotheses. Here the idea was that God had made the world in such a way that important events would appear in sequences of seven and seventy weeks of years. Their objective was ultimately to be able to descry the signs of the end coming. They were modifications of the Zoroastrian theory of history. Here, a momentous revelation of gnosis in week seven is followed by the triumph of the righteous in week eight, the rebuilding of the temple in week nine and the Final Judgement in week ten. Blindness is again the metaphor for those who succumb to temptation and sinfulness.

Is Enoch Zoroaster?

One passage in 1 Enoch features the acceleration of time as the eschaton draws near. 1 Enoch 80:2:

But in the days of the sinners the years will become shorter, and their seed will be late on their land and on their fields, and all things on the earth will change, and will not appear at their proper time.

 

From Adam, life-spans have diminished, and will continue to diminish, until the End. Time speeds up as the eschaton approaches, so that years, months and days are shortened until the natural processes of organic growth and aging are no longer synchronous with the accustomed advance of the seasons. The Oracles of Hystaspes a Parthian pseudepigraphic apocalypse, like the Sibylline Oracles, that survives mainly in the seventh book of the Divine Institutes of Lactantius, contains a passage that features eschatological time shortening. After various woes:

The year will be shortened, the month diminished, the day compressed to a brief moment…

 

If the Oracles of Hystaspes are genuinely Zoroastrian, time shortening has been taken by Jewish apocalyptists from Iranian eschatology. A shortening of life-span could be interpreted to reflect an acceleration in time’s motion and thus the maturity process, so much so that in the words of Jubilees:

The heads of children will be white with grey hair, and a child three weeks old will look like a man who is a hundred… (Jub 23:25)

 

The author of the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas quotes the 1 Enoch three times, twice calling it “the scripture” (Barnabas 4:3;16:5,6). Barnabas 4:3 has the concept of shortening time, but also refers to a “beloved,” hastening to claim “his inheritance,” absent from 1 Enoch.

3. …as Enoch says, For to this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that his beloved should make haste and come to his inheritance. 4. And the Prophet also says thus: “Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth and there shall rise up after them a little king, who shall subdue three of the kings under one.” 5. Daniel says likewise concerning the same: “And I beheld the fourth Beast, wicked and powerful and fiercer than all the beasts of the sea, and that ten horns sprang from it, and out of them a little excrescent horn, and that it subdued under one three of the great horns.” (Ep Barnabas 4:3-6a)

 

Does Barnabas use a different Book of Enoch, or is he mistaken in attributing this quotation to Enoch? When he cites “the prophet also says” in verse 4:4, is he quoting a different source? Is it Daniel? Or is Enoch being quoted here as well? In the Qumran fragment 4Q385:3, Ezekiel relates how he addressed God and the reply he had:

Let the days hasten on fast until all men will say, Indeed the days are hastening on in order that the children of Israel may inherit… and the Lord said to me, I will not refuse you, Ezekiel: Behold, I will cut short… the days and the years…

 

Barnabas 12:1 reads:

Similarly again he describes the cross in another prophet, who says, And when shall all these things be accomplished? The Lord says, When a tree shall bend and stand erect and when blood shall flow from the tree

 

Kister argues that this parallels closely, and perhaps has as its source, the text of the Ezekiel pseudepigraphon (4QPseudo-Ezekiel, 4Q385):

And I said, O, YHWH, when will these things happen? And YHWH said to me, …And a tree shall bend and stand erect…

 

Do these parts of Barnabas suggest Enoch and Ezekiel are the same? Such identifications as Phineas and Elijah, or Shem and Melchizedek occur in Jewish tradition. If John the Baptist can be Elijah, why could Ezekiel not have been Enoch? Such an identification might have been in the lost Enochic literature.

With his tradition of extensive writings, Enoch looks like Zoroaster himself. John Reeves of Winthrop University (Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions,) has argued that Zoroaster and Enoch were the same person, or were seen as the same person, and this is why the Enochian literature is so great. In Manichaeanism, Enoch and Zoroaster are the same—both the heavenly entity, the “Apostle of Light” in human form. Interestingly, in 3 Enoch, a Rabbinic work of about the third century AD, Enoch reveals himself to the heavenly traveller, Rabbi Ishmael, as the Metatron, the greatest of angels and identifiable with Mithras (Mitra) and the archangel Michael (3 Enoch 10:3-6). Gods and mythical figures in antiquity with similar roles are often equated. Pseudo-Eupolemus equates Enoch with Atlas:

The Greeks say that Atlas discovered astrology, but Atlas is the same as Enoch.

 

Many Greeks thought Zoroaster had discovered astrology, but Jews attributed its discovery to Enoch. In the late Denkard tradition, Zoroaster toured the supernal and nether worlds, as did Enoch. The Coptic Zostrianos also recounts a heavenly tour undertaken by Zostrianos. M Scopello has noted parallels between the Apocalypse of Zostrianos from Nag Hammadi and the Book of the Secrets of Enoch. Zoroaster was suposedly escorted by immortals, as was Enoch (Gen 5:24). In Sefer Josippon, however, Abraham invented astrology and instructed Zoroaster in its mysteries!

Zoroaster was identified with several other notables by ancient writers: Nimrod (Pseudo-Clementine, Homilies 9.3-6; Cave of Treasures; perhaps Gen Rab 38:13), Balaam (Origen, Contra Celsum 1.60), Ezekiel (Alexander Polyhistor apud Clement of Alexandria, Strom 1.15), and Baruch (Book of the Bee). Theodore bar Konai reported a tradition that Zoroaster was originally a Samaritan priest named Azazel!

King Vishtaspa (Hystaspes) was Zoroaster’s first important convert and patron. A work thought to be by Vishtaspa, such as the Oracles, would have been considered authentically Zoroastrian. If the Oracles of Hystaspes were thought to be dependent upon Zoroaster, and if Zoroaster and Enoch were identified by some ancient assimilation, then it seems plausible to refer to the Oracles as if they were an Enochic work. This is perhaps how Barnabas or its source treated the Oracles of Hystaspes as if they were part of the Enochian literature.

The “Beloved“

In Barnabas, “His beloved” is clearly meant to be Israel, so we have here an example of the Jewish idea of the matrimony of God and Israel that was probably the source of the ceremony at Cana in John’s gospel, not a booze-up but a messianic celebration of the forthcoming union of God and his beloved, Israel. The “Beloved” has become masculine but that is merely Christianization. It has become a Christological title.

Manichaeans used this title, “The Beloved,” to mean Jesus. In the “testimony of Vishtaspa,” quoted by Mani, is a chapter devoted to the testimony of Vishtaspa about the Beloved (al-habib). This “testimony of Vishtaspa” sounds like the Oracles of Hystaspes. If the Oracles of Hystapes was Zoroastrian who was the original “Beloved?” Zoroaster? Enoch personifying the perfect year—the year of salvation? Or was it a later editorial interpolation?

In Barnabas 4:4, the author speaks of the little king that will rise up after the ten kingdoms to subdue three of the kings, ascribing the notion to “the prophet.” The End Time is indicated by this sequence of rulers and the wars of these rulers are some of the woes that precede the End. A tradition associated with the Oracles of Hystaspes, according to D Flusser, states:

Ten kings will emerge simultaneously. They will divide the world… then a mighty enemy from the far North will suddenly rise up against them. When he has destroyed the three who control Asia he will be taken into alliance with the others and will be made their chief.

The Iranian source of this tradition is suggested by the Jamasp Namag which features three rulers who are destroyed by an adversary from the north. Only in the Oracles and Barnabas are time shortening and the ten eschatological rulers so closely interlinked.

 

Continue: Esther and Crucification

 

 

 

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