THE BOOK OF ENOCH, THE ORIGIN AND THE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIANITY
While making a good deal of the Merkabah, the Jews, or rather their synagogues, rejected the Book of Enoch, either because it was not included from the first in the Hebrew Canon, or else, as Tertullian thought, it was
. . . disavowed by the Jews like all other scripture which speaks of Christ.*
But neither of these reasons was the real one. The Synedrion would have nothing to do with it, simply because it was more of a magic than a purely kabalistic work. The present day Theologians of both Latin and Protestant Churches class it among apocryphal productions. Nevertheless the New Testament, especially in the Acts and Epistles, teems with ideas and doctrines, now accepted and established as dogmas by the infallible Roman and other Churches, and even with whole sentences taken bodily from Enoch, or the “pseudo-Enoch,” who wrote under that name in Aramaic or Syro-Chaldaic, as asserted by
* Book of Enoch. Archbishop Laurence’s translation. Introduction, p.v.
Bishop Laurence, the translator of the Ethiopian text.
The plagiarisms are so glaring that the author of The Evolution of Christianity, who edited Bishop Laurence’s translation, was compelled to make some suggestive remarks in his Introduction. On internal evidence* this book is found to have been written before the Christian period (whether two or twenty centuries does not matter). As correctly argued by the Editor, it is
. . . either the inspired forecast of a great Hebrew prophet, predicting with miraculous accuracy the future teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, or the Semitic romance from which the latter borrowed His conceptions of the triumphant return of the Son of man, to occupy a judicial throne in the midst of rejoicing saints and trembling sinners, expectant of everlasting happiness or eternal fire; and whether these celestial visions be accepted as human or Divine, they have exercised so vast an influence on the destinies of mankind for nearly two thousand years, that candid and impartial seekers after religious truth can no longer delay enquiry into the relationship of the Book of Enoch with the revelation, or the evolution, of Christianity.†
The Book of Enoch
. . . also records the supernatural control of the elements, through the action of individual angels presiding over the winds, the sea, hail, frost, dew, the lightning’s flash and reverberating thunder. The names of the principal fallen angels are also given, among whom we recognize some of the invisible powers named in the incantations [magical] inscribed on the terra-cotta cups of Hebrew-Chaldee conjurations.‡
We also find on these cups the word “Halleluiah,” showing that
. . . a word, with which ancient Syro-Chaldaeans conjured, has become, through the vicissitudes of language, the Shibboleth of modern “Revivalists.” §
The Editor proceeds after this to give fifty-seven verses from
* The Book of Enoch was unknown to Europe for a thousand years, when Bruce found in Abyssinia some copies of it in Ethiopic; it was translated by Archbishop Laurence in 1821, from the text in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
† Op. cit., p. xx.
‡ Op. cit., pp. xx-xxi.
§ Op. cit., p. xiv, note.
various parts of the Gospels and Acts, with parallel passages from the Book of Enoch, and says:
The attention of theologians has been concentrated on the passage in the Epistle of Jude, because the author specifically names the prophet; but the cumulative coincidence of language and ideas in Enoch and the authors of the New Testament Scripture, as disclosed in the parallel passages which we have collated, clearly indicates that the work of the Semitic Milton was the inexhaustible source from which Evangelists and Apostles, or the men who wrote in their names, borrowed their conceptions of the resurrection, judgment, immortality, perdition, and of the universal reign of righteousness, under the eternal dominion of the Son of man. This evangelical plagiarism culminates in the Revelation of John, which adapts the visions of Enoch to Christianity, with modifications in which we miss the sublime simplicity of the great master of apocalyptic prediction, who prophesied in the name of the antediluvian patriarch.*
In fairness to truth, the hypothesis ought at least to have been suggested, that the Book of Enoch in its present form is simply a transcript–with numerous pre-Christian and post- Christian additions and interpolations–from far older texts. Modern research went so far as to point out that Enoch is made, in Chapter lxxi, to divide the day and night into eighteen parts, and to represent the longest day in the year as consisting of twelve out of these eighteen parts, while a day of sixteen hours in length could not have occurred in Palestine. The translator, Archbishop Laurence, remarks thus:
. . . the region in which the author lived must have been situated not lower than forty-five degrees north latitude, where the longest day is fifteen hours and a half, nor higher perhaps than forty-nine degrees, where the longest day is precisely sixteen hours. This will bring the country where he wrote as high up at least as the northern districts of the Caspian and Euxine seas . . . the author of the Book of Enoch was perhaps a member of one of the tribes which Shalmaneser carried away, and placed “in Halah and in Habor by the river Goshen, and in the cities of the Medes . . . .”†
Further on, it is confessed that:
It cannot be said that internal evidence attests the superiority of the Old Testament to the Book of Enoch . . . . The Book of Enoch teaches the pre-existence of the Son of Man, the Elect One, the Messiah, who “from
* Op. cit., pp. xxxiv-xxxv.
† Op. cit., p. xiii.
the beginning existed in secret,* and whose name was invoked in the presence of the Lord of spirits, before the sun and the signs were created.” The author also refers to the “other Power who was upon Earth over the water on that day”–an apparent reference to the language of Genesis i, 2.† [ We maintain that it applies as well to the Hindu Narayana–the “mover on the waters.”] We have thus the Lord of spirits, the Elect One, and a third Power, seemingly foreshadowing the Trinity [as much as the Trimãrti] of futurity; but although Enoch’s ideal Messiah doubtless exercised an important influence on primitive conceptions of the Divinity of the Son of man, we fail to identify his obscure reference to another “Power” with the Trinitarianism of the Alexandrine school; more especially as “angels of power” abound in the visions of Enoch.‡
An Occultist would hardly fail to identify the said “Power.” The Editor concludes his remarkable reflections by adding:
Thus far we learn that the Book of Enoch was published before the Christian era by some great Unknown of Semitic [?] race, who, believing himself to be inspired in a post-prophetic age, borrowed the name of an antediluvian patriarch§ to authenticate his own enthusiastic forecast of the Messianic kingdom. And as the contents of his marvellous Book enter freely into the composition of the New Testament, it follows that if the author was not an inspired prophet, who predicted the teachings of Christianity, he was a visionary enthusiast whose illusions were accepted by Evangelists and Apostles as revelation–alternative conclusions which involve the Divine or human origin of Christianity.||
The outcome of all of which is, in the words of the same Editor:
. . . the discovery, that the language and ideas of alleged revelation are found in a pre-existent work, accepted by Evangelists and Apostles as inspired, but classed by modern theologians among apocryphal productions. * *
This accounts also for the unwillingness of the reverend librarians of the Bodleian Library to publish the Ethiopian text of the Book of Enoch.
* The Seventh Principle, the First Emanation [H.P.B.]
† Op. cit., pp. xxxvii, and xl.
‡ Op. cit., pp. xl-xli.
§ Who stands for the “Solar” or Manvantaric Year. [H.P.B.]
|| Op. cit., pp. xli-xlii.
** Op. cit., p. xlviii.
The prophecies of the Book of Enoch are indeed prophetic, but they were intended for, and cover the records of, the five Races out of the seven–everything relating to the last two being kept secret. Thus the remark made by the Editor of the English translation, that:
Chapter xcii records a series of prophecies extending from Enoch’s own time to about one thousand years beyond the present generation,*
is faulty. The prophecies extend to the end of our present Race, not merely to a “thousand years” hence. Very true that:
In the system of [Christian] chronology adopted, a day stands [occasionally] for hundred, and a week for seven hundred years.†
But this is an arbitrary and fanciful system adopted by Christians to make Biblical chronology fit with facts or theories, and does not represent the original thought. The “days” stand for the undetermined periods of the Side-Races, and the “weeks” for the Sub-Races, the Root-Races being referred to by an expression that is not even found in the English translation. Moreover the sentence at the bottom of page 150:
Subsequently, in the fourth week . . . the visions of the holy and the righteous shall be seen, the order of generation after generation shall take place, ‡
is quite wrong. It stands in the original: “the order of generation after generation had taken place on the earth,” etc.; that is, after the first human race procreated in the truly human way had sprung up in the Third Root-Races; a change which entirely alters the meaning. Then all that is given in the translation–as very likely also in the Ethiopic text, since the copies have been sorely tampered with–as about things which were to happen in the future, is, we are informed, in the past tense in the original Chaldaean MSS., and is not prophecy, but a narrative of what had already come to pass. When Enoch begins “to speak from a book”§ he is reading the account given by a great Seer, and the
* Op. cit., p. xxiii.
† Loc. cit.
‡ Chapter xcii, 9.
§ Op. cit., xcii, 4.
prophecies are not his own, but are from the Seer. Enoch or Enoïchion means “internal eye” or Seer. Thus every Prophet and Adept may be called “Enoïchion,” without becoming a pseudo-Enoch. But here, the Seer who compiled the present Book of Enoch is distinctly shown as reading out from a book:
. . .I have been born the seventh in the first week [the seventh branch, or Side-Race, of the first Sub-Race, after physical generation had begun, namely, in the third Root-Race] . . . But after me, in the second week [second Sub-Race], great wickedness shall arise [arose, rather] . . . in that week the end of the first shall take place, in which mankind shall be safe. But when the first is completed, iniquity shall grow up . . .*
As translated it has no sense. As it stands in the Esoteric text, it simply means that the First Root-Race shall come to an end during the second Sub-Race of the Third Root-Race, in the period of which time mankind will be safe; all this having no reference whatever to the biblical Deluge. Verse 10th speaks of the sixth week [sixth Sub-Race of the Third Root Race] when
. . . all those who are in it shall be darkened, the hearts of all of them shall be forgetful of wisdom [the divine knowledge will be dying out], and in it shall a man ascend.
This “man” is taken by the interpreters, for some mysterious reasons of their own, to mean Nebuchadnezzar; he is in reality the first Hierophant of the purely human Race (after the allegorical Fall into generation) selected to perpetuate the dying Wisdom of the Devas (Angels or Eloh§m). He is the first “Son of Man”–the mysterious appellation given to the divine Initiates of the first human school of the Manushis (men), at the very close of the Third Root-Race. He is also called the “Savior,” as it was He, with the other Hierophants, who saved the Elect and the Perfect from the geological conflagration, leaving to perish in the cataclysm of the Close† those who forgot the primeval wisdom in sexual sensuality.
* Op. cit., Ch. xcii, 4-7.
† At the close of every Root-Race there comes a cataclysm, in turn by fire or water. Immediately after the “Fall into generation” the dross of the third Root-Race–those who fell into sensuality by falling off from the teaching of the Divine Instructors–were destroyed, after which the Fourth Root-Race originated, at the end of which took place the last Deluge. (See the “Sons of God” mentioned in Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, pp. 593 et seq.)
And during its completion [of the “sixth week,” or the sixth Sub-Race] he shall burn the house of dominion [the half of the globe or the then inhabited continent] with fire, and all the race of the elect root shall be dispersed.*
The above applies to the Elect Initiates, and not at all to the Jews, the supposed chosen people, or to the Babylonian captivity, as interpreted by the Christian theologians. Considering that we find Enoch, or his perpetuator, mentioning the execution of the “decree upon sinners” in several different weeks,† saying that “every work of the ungodly shall disappear from the whole earth” during this fourth time (the Fourth Race), it surely can hardly apply to the one solitary Deluge of the Bible, still less to the Captivity.
It follows, therefore, that as the Book of Enoch covers the five Races of the Manvantara, with a few allusions to the last two, it does not contain “Biblical prophecies,” but simply facts taken out of the Secret Books of the East. The editor, moreover, confesses that:
The preceding six verses, viz., 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th, are taken from between the 14th and 15th verses of the nineteenth chapter, where they are to be found in the MSS.‡
By this arbitrary transposition, he has made confusion still more confused. Yet he is quite right in saying that the doctrines of the Gospels, and even of the Old Testament, have been taken bodily from the Book of Enoch, for this is as evident as the sun in heaven. The whole of the Pentateuch was adapted to fit in with the facts given, and this accounts for the Hebrews refusing to give the book a place in their Canon, just as the Christians have subsequently refused to admit it among their canonical works. The fact that the Apostle Jude and many of the Christian Fathers referred to it as a revelation and a sacred volume, is, however, an excellent proof that the early Christians accepted it; among these the most learned–as, for instance, Clement of Alexandria–understood Christianity and its doctrines in quite a different light from their modern successors, and viewed Christ
* Op. cit., Ch. xcii, 11.
† Op. cit., Ch. xcii, 7, 11, 13, 15.
‡ Op. cit., note, p. 152.
under an aspect that Occultists only can appreciate. The early Nazarenes and Chr‘stians, as Justin Martyr calls them, were the followers of Jesus, of the true Chr‘stos and Christos of Initiation; whereas, the modern Christians, especially those of the West, may be Papists, Greeks, Calvinists, or Lutherans, but can hardly be called Christians, i. e., the followers of Jesus, the Christ.
Thus the Book of Enoch is entirely symbolical. It relates to the history of the human Races and of their early relation to Theogony, the symbols being interblended with astronomical and cosmic mysteries. One chapter is missing, however, in the Noachian records (from both the Paris and the Bodleian MSS.), namely, Chapter lviii, in Sect. X; this could not be remodelled, and therefore it had to disappear, disfigured fragments alone having been left of it. The dream about the cows, the black, red and white heifers, relates to the first Races, their division and disappearance. Chapter lxxxviii, in which one of the four Angels “went to the white cows and taught them a mystery,” after which, the mystery being born “became a man,” refers to (a) the first group evolved of primitive }ryans, (b) to the “mystery of the Hermaphrodite” so called, having reference to the birth of the first human Races as they are now. The well-known rite in India, one that has survived in that patriarchal country to this day, known as the passage, or rebirth through the cow–a ceremony to which those of lower castes who are desirous of becoming Brâhmans have to submit–has originated in this mystery. Let any Eastern Occultist read with careful attention the above-named chapter in the Book of Enoch, and he will find that the “Lord of the Sheep,” in whom Christians and European Mystics see Christ, is the Hierophant Victim whose name in Sanskrit we dare not give. Again, that while the Western Churchmen see Egyptians and Israelites in the “sheep and wolves,” all these animals relate in truth to the trials of the Neophyte and the mysteries of initiation, whether in India or Egypt, and to that most terrible penalty incurred by the “wolves”–those who reveal indiscriminately that which is only for the knowledge of the Elect and the “Perfect.”
The Christians who, thanks to later interpolations,* have
* Those interpolations and alterations are found in almost every case
made out in that chapter a triple prophecy relating to the Deluge, Moses and Jesus, are mistaken, as in reality it bears directly on the punishment and loss of Atlantis and the penalty of indiscretion. The “Lord of the sheep” is Karma and the “Head of the Hierophants” also, the Supreme Initiator on earth. He says to Enoch, who implores him to save the leaders of the sheep from being devoured by the beasts of prey:
. . . I will cause a recital to be made before me . . . how many they have delivered up to destruction, and . . . what they will do; whether they will act as I have commanded them, or not.
Of this, however, they shall be ignorant; neither shalt thou make any explanation to them, neither shalt thou reprove them; but there shall be an account of all the destruction done by them in their respective seasons.*
. . . He looked on in silence, rejoicing they were devoured, swallowed up, and carried off; and leaving them in the power of every beast for food . . . . . †
Those who labor under the impression that the Occultists of any nation reject the Bible, in its original text and meaning, are wrong. As well reject the Books of Thoth, the Chaldaean Kabalah or the Book of Dzyan itself. Occultists only reject the one-sided interpretations and the human element in the Bible, which is an Occult, and therefore a sacred, volume as much as the others. And terrible indeed is the punishment of all those who transgress the permitted limits of secret revelations. From Prometheus to Jesus, and from Him to the highest Adept as to the lowest disciple, every revealer of mysteries has had to become a Chr‘stos, a “man of sorrow” and a martyr. “Beware,” said one of the greatest Masters, “of revealing the Mystery to those without”–to the profane, the Sadducee and the unbeliever. All the great Hierophants in history are shown ending
where figures are given–especially whenever the numbers eleven and twelve come in–as these are all made (by the Christians) to relate to the numbers of Apostles, and Tribes, and Patriarchs. The translator of the Ethiopic text–Archbishop Laurence– attributes them generally to “mistakes of the transcriber” whenever the two texts, the Paris and the Bodleian MSS., differ. We fear it is no mistake, in most cases.
* Op. cit., Ch. lxxxviii, 99, 100.
† Loc. cit., 94. This passage, as will be presently shown, has led to a very curious discovery.
their lives by violent deaths–Buddha,* Pythagoras, Zoroaster, most of the great Gnostics, the founders of their respective schools; and in our own more modern epoch a number of Fire-Philosophers, of Rosicrucians and Adepts. All of these are shown–whether plainly or under the veil of allegory–as paying the penalty for the revelations they had made. This may seem to the profane reader only coincidence. To the Occultist, the death of every “Master” is significant, and appears pregnant with meaning. Where do we find in history that “Messenger” grand or humble, an Initiate or a Neophyte, who, when he was made the bearer of some hitherto concealed truth or truths, was not crucified and rent to shreds by the “dogs” of envy, malice and ignorance? Such is the terrible Occult law; and he who does not feel in himself the heart of a lion to scorn the savage barking, and the soul of a dove to forgive the poor ignorant fools, let him give up the Sacred Science. To succeed, the Occultist must be fearless; he has to brave dangers, dishonour and death, to be forgiving, and to be silent on that which cannot be given. Those who have vainly labored in that direction must wait in these
* In the profane history of Gautama Buddha he dies at the good old age of eighty, and passes off from life to death peacefully with all the serenity of a great saint, as Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire has it. Not so in the Esoteric and true interpretation which reveals the real sense of the profane and allegorical statement that makes Gautama, the Buddha, die very unpoetically from the effects of too much pork, prepared for him by Tsonda. How one who preached that the killing of animals was the greatest sin, and who was a perfect vegetarian, could die from eating pork, is a question that is never asked by our Orientalists, some of whom made [as now do many charitable missionaries in Ceylon] great fun at the alleged occurrence. The simple truth is that the said rice and pork are purely allegorical. Rice stands for “forbidden fruit,” like Eve’s “apple,” and means Occult knowledge with the Chinese and Tibetans; and “pork” for Brahmanical teachings–Vishnu having assumed in his first Avatara the form of a boar, in order to raise the earth on the surface of the waters of space. It is not, therefore, from “pork” that Buddha died, but for having divulged some of the Brahmanical mysteries, after which, seeing the bad effects brought on some unworthy people by the revelation, he preferred, instead of availing himself of Nirvana, to leave his earthly form, remaining still in the sphere of the living, in order to help humanity to progress. Hence his constant reincarnations in the hierarchy of the Dalai and Teshu [Panchen] Lamas, among other bounties. Such is the Esoteric explanation. The life of Gautama will be more fully discussed later on.
days–as the Book of Enoch teaches– “until the evil-doers be consumed” and the power of the wicked annihilated. It is not lawful for the Occultist to seek or even to thirst for revenge; let him
Wait, until sin pass away; for their [the sinners’] names shall be blotted out of the holy books [the astral records]; their seed shall be destroyed, and their spirits slain.*
Esoterically, Enoch is the “Son of man,” the first; and symbolically, the first Sub-Race of the Fifth Root Race.† And if his name yields for purposes of numerical and astronomical glyphs the meaning of the solar year, or 365, in conformity to the age assigned to him in Genesis, it is because, being the seventh, he is, for Occult purposes, the personified period of the two preceding Races with their fourteen Sub-Races. Therefore, he is shown in the Book as the great grandfather of Noah who, in his turn, is the personification of the mankind of the Fifth, struggling with that of the Fourth Root-Race–the great period of the revealed and profaned Mysteries, when the “sons of God” coming down on Earth took for wives the daughters of men, and taught them the secrets of the Angels; in other words, when the “mind-born” men of the Third Race mixed themselves with those of the Fourth, and the divine Science was gradually brought down by men to Sorcery.
* Op. cit, Ch. cv. 21.
† In the Bible [Genesis iv and v] there are three distinct Enochs [Hanokh]–the son of Cain, the son of Seth, and the son of Jared; but they are all identical, and two of them are mentioned for the purposes of misleading. The years of only the last two are given, the first one being left without further notice.