EDITORS COMMENT: This new series is being offered in memoriam of Dr. Michael Heiser who’s truly groundbreaking research on the Divine Council and Enochian Worldview (based on the book of Enoch and its connection to Hebrew theology before and at the time of Jesus) opened the door for a richer understanding of the Life of Christ than previous generations could have imagined. This series reflects content from the leading-edge books published by Defender Publishing for Dr. Heiser—Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ as well as his two volume book set titled, A Companion to the Book of Enoch: A Reader’s Commentary, Volume 1: The Book of the Watchers and Vol II: The Parables of Enoch. PLEASE NOTE: ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF DR. MICHAEL HEISER’S BOOKS FROM SKYWATCHTVSTORE.COM WILL BE DONATED TO HIS FAMILY DURING THIS SERIES.
Thus far, we’ve not seen a specific connection between Gog and the Watchers or the giants. There is certainly data that will connect Gog to Bashan/Hermon and the Satan figure, Baal, but these other elements are wanting. What’s needed is an evil, Satan-like figure who is also a Titan-giant in Second Temple Jewish thinking that can also readily be connected to crucial Antichrist passages like Daniel 7–12. Amazingly, such a figure is well known from ancient texts: Typhon.
Typhon is almost entirely unknown among Bible students. The description from the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible contains elements that should be familiar to readers from the previous chapter of this study, where we discussed the relationship of the Titans, Watchers, and giants:
Typhon appears in Greek myths as the opponent of Zeus or even of all gods. He is the youngest son of Tartaros and Gaia.… The name resembles Zaphon and there seem to have been connections between Typhon and Baal-zaphon. According to Apollodorus, Bib. 1.41, Typhon flees to Mount Kasios, the mountain of Baal-zaphon…. Hesiod describes the struggle between Zeus and Typhon for the rule over gods and men after the defeat of the Titans. Zeus eliminates Typhon with his lightning and throws him into the Tartaros (Theog. 820–868)…. Gradually Typhon became associated with the Giants (Hyginus, Fab. 151; cf. Pindar, Pyth. 8.17–18). From the sixth or fifth century bce onwards Typhon is identified with the Egyptian god→Seth (possibly already Pherecydes according to Origen, Contra Cels. 6.42; Herodotus 2.144; 156; 3.5; Diodorus Siculus, Bibl. hist. 1.21–22; 88; passim in Plutarch, De Iside)…. Although Typhon is not mentioned in Dan[iel] 7–12 or Revelation it is quite possible that the typhonic type which was taken from Greek and Egyptian mythology was incorporated into passages of these apocalyptic writings in order to emphasize the appearance of foreign rulers as the tyrannical eschatological adversary. The vision in Dan[iel] 7 shows not only correspondences with Canaanite mythology, but also with texts on Seth-Typhon (especially concerning the eleventh horn). The battle against heaven and the stars in Dan[iel] 8:10–12 and Rev[elation] 12:4; 7–9; 13:6 of the little horn, the dragon and the first beast corresponds with the role of Typhon, who according to Apollodorus, Bib. 1.39–40, touches the stars with his head and attacks heaven.[i]
It is crucial to realize what this short citation means. Scholars have established secure textual and conceptual links between Typhon, Daniel 7–12, a central section of the Old Testament for Antichrist typology, and Antiochus IV, whom all scholars of biblical eschatology recognize as the prototype for the Antichrist.
The major study of this material is that of van Henten, who writes:
In the Greek mythology from early authors such as Hesiod and Pindar up to and including Nonnus of Panopolis, who wrote in the fifth century A.D., Typhon figures as an appalling giant raving at gods and men…. In many texts of this group the struggle between Typhon and Zeus constitutes the central theme. In his hubris Typhon launches an attack on the Olympic gods whose uncontested leader is Zeus…. The literary character of Daniel 7 is vastly different from the mythological texts of this group. All the more striking, therefore, are the similarities to be found between the characterisation of Typhon… and the typification of the eleventh horn and its actions in Daniel 7.[ii]
Van Henten goes on to introduce and illustrate numerous points of comparison, among them:
- Typhon’s insolent words against Zeus and the little horn’s against God (Daniel 11:36–37);
- Typhon’s war against the entourage of Zeus for supremacy of heaven and the little horn’s assault on God and His holy ones (Daniel 7:21–27; 11:36–37);
- The mutual contempt for existing laws (Daniel 7:25);
- The fact that Typhon, like the eleventh horn, has both human and animal features (Daniel 7:8, 20–21; 8:5–9, 21)
The point of all this is that, for Second Temple Jews, the notion that the great end-times enemy would be either the personification or the manifestation of supernatural evil associated with Bashan/Hermon and the giant offspring of the Watchers would not have sounded strange. Second Temple Period Jews would have recognized that the nature of the end-times enemy of the Messiah derived from a complex set of ideas that included these elements. Consequently, the defeat of the Antichrist signaled the final victory over the Watchers and their spawn.
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The Lake of Fire—the End of the Watchers
Matthew 25:41 tells us that the lake of fire was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” The statement is unique in the New Testament. Similar passages confirm the devil ends up in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10) and that others for whom it was not prepared end up there (Revelation 19:20; 21:8). But the idea that the lake of fire was seemingly intended or created for the devil and his angels has no apparent precedent in either the Old or New Testament.
The lake of fire is an excellent example of how New Testament writers on occasion get their theology from 1 Enoch and other Enochian texts. While the Old Testament has no account of angels being cast into the lake of fire, or that their destiny is such, 1 Enoch does. Not surprisingly, the concept is linked to the transgression of the Watchers: [iii]
9And to Gabriel the Lord said, “Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates and against the children of adultery; and destroy the children of adultery and expel the children of the Watchers from among the people. And send them against one another (so that) they may be destroyed in the fight, for length of days have they not. 10They will beg you everything—for their fathers on behalf of themselves—because they hope to live an eternal life. (They hope) that each one of them will live a period of five hundred years.” 11And to Michael God said, “Make known to Semyaza and the others who are with him, who fornicated with the women, that they will die together with them in all their defilement. 12And when they and all their children have battled with each other, and when they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them for seventy generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of their judgment and of their consummation, until the eternal judgment is concluded. 13In those days they will lead them into the bottom of the fire—and in torment—in the prison (where) they will be locked up forever. 14And at the time when they will burn and die, those who collaborated with them will be bound together with them from henceforth unto the end of (all) generations. 15And destroy all the souls of pleasure and the children of the Watchers, for they have done injustice to man. (1 Enoch 10:9–15)
And I came to an empty place. 2And I saw (there) neither a heaven above nor an earth below, but a chaotic and terrible place. 3And there I saw seven stars of heaven bound together in/on it, like great mountains, and burning with fire. 4At that moment I said, “For which sin are they bound, and for what reason were they cast in here.” 5Then one of the holy angels, Uriel, who was with me, guiding me, spoke to me and said to me, “Enoch, for what reason are you asking and for what reason do you question and exhibit eagerness? 6These are among the stars of heaven which have transgressed the commandments of the Lord and are bound in this place until the completion of ten million years, (according) to the number of their sins.” 7I then proceeded from that area to another place which is even more terrible and saw a terrible thing: a great fire that was burning and flaming; the place had a cleavage (that extended) to the last sea, pouring out great pillars of fire; neither its extent nor its magnitude could I see nor was I able to estimate. 8At that moment, what a terrible opening is this place and a pain to look at! 9Then Uraʾel, (one) of the holy angels who was with me, responded and said to me, “Enoch, why are you afraid like this?” (I answered and said),” 10“I am frightened because of this terrible place and the spectacle of this painful thing.” And he said unto me, “This place is the prison house of the angels; they are detained here forever [unto the age].” (1 Enoch 21:1–10)
The Watchers, bound in the Abyss until the end of days, are released and then recaptured to be thrown into the lake of fire. Readers familiar with the Enochian material on the lake of fire know that some Enochian texts single out the leader of the Watchers (who goes by various names: Asael, Azazel, Shemhazah) for special mention in these judgment texts (e.g., 1 Enoch 10:4–6). This is a very close parallel to New Testament statements and, in particular, the scene of Satan’s judgment in Revelation 20:7–10. This is also why certain Christian thinkers consider Satan to be the leader of the Watchers, despite the fact that no biblical text says this, and 1 Enoch never identifies the leader of the Watchers as the original rebel of Eden.[iv]
The Question of the Inspiration of 1 Enoch in the Early Church
The book we know as 1 Enoch was well known to early Christians. This isn’t surprising given three transparent facts: (1) 1 Enoch is a substantially pre-Christian literary work that enjoyed readership among Jews in the Second Temple Period; (2) Christianity was born out of Second Temple Judaism; and (3) New Testament writers either presuppose or utilize its content in portions of their own writing. This heritage contributed to an understandable question among some influential early Christian writers and, one may presume, Christians in general: Should 1 Enoch be considered inspired and thus “Scripture” in the manner of other books in the Old Testament? Ultimately, Christianity at large answered this question negatively, save for the Church in Ethiopia. But the discussion is nonetheless of interest today. What follows is an abbreviated survey of how select Second Temple Jews and early Christian books and writers assessed the scriptural status of 1 Enoch.
Second Temple Jewish Precursors[v]
The Book of Jubilees
As I have noted elsewhere:
Jubilees is presented as the account of a revelation given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The book begins in the third person with God forewarning Moses that Israel will apostasize but subsequently repent. The book then shifts to a first person accounting in the mouth of an angel. The angel speaks for God, informing Moses about all that had transpired from the beginning of creation to the Israelite arrival at Sinai. Jubilees is thus a rewriting of Genesis 1–Exodus 19, hence its inclusion by scholars in the “rewritten Bible” (expansions of biblical stories) genre…. The paleography of the surviving Hebrew fragments suggests a date of 125–100 b.c. for those fragments. There are reasons to suspect, however, that the original document was composed at least 50 years earlier.[vi]
This ancient book is noteworthy in that “among Jubilees’ additions to the biblical text are five interpolations of material from 1 Enoch and about Enoch (4:15–26; 5:1–12; 7:20–39; 8:1–4; 10:1–17).”[vii] As was noted in our earlier discussion of Galatians 3–4, the figure of Enoch was regarded as a figure equal (and to some Jews, superior) to Moses. Jubilees reflects this perspective. Consequently, “for the author of Jubilees Enoch was Moses’ predecessor as the writer of authoritative scripture that functions as testimony, and the content of that scripture was of major import for the readers of Jubilees.”[viii]
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Dead Sea Scrolls (Qumran)
A number of Dead Sea Scrolls contain material known from 1 Enoch, especially the Watcher story. Nickelsburg summarizes:
The influence of the Enochic tradition at Qumran is evident also in the community’s possession of (multiple copies of) texts that employ or quote from the Enochic texts. These include the Book of Jubilees (eight copies) and a related text (three copies), the Genesis Apocryphon (one copy), a fragmentary Hebrew text from Cave 1 that contained a form of the story of the watchers very close to 1 Enoch 6–11 (1Q19), a pešer on the story of the watchers (4Q180-181), a commentary or expansion on the Apocalypse of Weeks (4Q247), and the Damascus Document (eight copies), which knows the story of the rebellion of the watchers and a tradition about the giants (CD 2:16–20; see comm. on 7:2) and also appeals to the authority of the Book of Jubilees (CD 16:2–4).[ix]
The pesher (pešer) texts are of special interest. Pesharim are texts that interpret (Hebrew verb: pešer) other texts. As Brooke notes, “the term has come to be used in modern scholarship of a literary genre of biblical commentary and the exegetical techniques used in it.”[x] Producing a pesher text on the story of the Watchers indicates that the Enochian story was highly respected, if not considered Scripture, by whoever produced the pesher. Readers should recall, though, that such views cannot be considered normative within Judaism. During the Second Temple Period there was no singular Judaism. There were a variety of Judaisms. The situation is very similar to modern Christianity. Dozens of denominations and groups identify themselves as Christian, but their doctrinal perspective on just about every point of theology can vary, sometimes dramatically. Scholars generally think that the reverence for Enochian material at Qumran might indicate that the community “attracted people who prized the Enochic texts and others closely related to them, and who brought their copies of these texts with them.”[xi]
UP NEXT: Early Christian Writings and Writers
[i] J. W. van Henten, “Typhon,” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1999) 880.
[ii] J. W. van Henten, “Antiochus IV as a Typhonic Figure in Daniel 7,” in The Book of Daniel in the Light of New Findings (ed. A. S. van der Woude; Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 106; Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 1993) 223–243 (esp. pp. 228, This is the same scholar who produced the DDD entry. This work is a much more thorough treatment.
[iii] The translations come from Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch.
[iv] The Enochian material recognizes that God’s plan for humanity was violated in a series of rebellions, two of which have divine beings as the catalysts (Gen. 3, Gen. 6:1–4). It is understandable, then, that Second Temple writers would assume the first divine rebel had a hand in the second divine rebellion. The two rebellions would have been further associated by the underworld itself. The divine cherub of Eden is cast down to earth (ʾerets) in the biblical account. This term is used elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible for the underworld realm of the dead (Jonah 2:6). The Watchers were imprisoned in this place, and the Watcher-spirits were the source of demons. But there is no sense that the Enochian writer thought the leader of the Watchers was the serpent figure of Eden. There is also no need to presume, as many scholars do, that the New Testament writers are presuming that equation. The New Testament writers do apply what is said about the leader of the Watchers to Satan, but they aren’t following an Enochian equation by doing so.
[v] For a detailed survey of Second Temple Jewish literature referencing Enochian material, see George W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch (ed. Klaus Baltzer; Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2001) 71–82.
[vi] Ken Penner and Michael S. Heiser, “Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology” (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2008).
[vii] Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch, 72.
[viii] Ibid., 72.
[ix] Ibid., 77.
[x] G. J. Brooke, “Pesharim,” ed. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter, Dictionary of New Testament Background: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000) 778.
[xi] Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch, 77.
[xii] For a lengthier survey of Christian sources that utilize 1 Enoch, see Nickelsburg, 87-95 and James C. VanderKam, “1 Enoch, Enochic Motifs, and Enoch in Early Christian Literature,” in idem and William Adler, eds., The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity (Compendia rerum iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum 3/4; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996).