The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, or 2 Enoch, is an expansion of the Enoch Story from Genesis 5. Enoch is seven generations from Adam in Genesis. The beginning of 2 Enoch tells of Enoch’s ascension to Heaven, escorted by two heavenly angels. He returns to earth, with a mandate to write many books on what he has seen. Then, “he was not, for God took him.”[1] Enoch was “translated” to heaven while still alive, but it is unclear of the reasons why. The remainder of the book tells the story of Melchizedek, an ancestor of Enoch, just before the Biblical deluge.

The Book is considered Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, meaning that it is said to be written by Enoch to lend it some authority. It is written far too late to be written by the Biblical Enoch, who existed before Abraham and probably before writing existed. It holds characteristics of both an apocalypse and a testament.[2] The ascension to heaven is certainly of apocryphal roots and the rest of the book tells the testimony of Enoch, which is of testamental roots.

The likenesses that will be discussed in the scope of this paper are the angels who “abandoned their proper abode, He [God] has kept them in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.”[3] This is the fate of the fallen angels in the Genesis 6 story. Another likeness will be the story of Melchizedek, who is only mentioned in passing in the Old Testament, but becomes an important part of the New Testament Book of Hebrews. Then, this research will touch on the difference in between the New Testament Hell and the Sheol of the Old Testament.

Recensions, origins, and language

            It is generally believed by modern scholarship that there are two slightly different ways of telling Second Enoch: A longer telling and a shorter telling. These tellings are called recensions. They are not wholly different. They contain the same story, but the longer recension has many details the shorter recension does not. There is great debate amongst scholars as to which recension is the most reliable.

Second Enoch is believed to be written originally in Slavonic, however many Slavonic texts were translated from Greek. Second Enoch is not believed to be an exception.  There appears to be some Greek source material, but no Greek manuscripts have ever been found. British Astronomer A.S.D. Maunder said that the Book was of medieval origins and was written originally in Slavonic.[4] There are many “Semitisms” or usages of Hebrew-style wording, and this makes the case that a Hellenized Jew from the First Century A.D. wrote it probably true. The only other major argument was by J.T. Milik, who thought that it was written by a Christian Monk in Byzantium in the Ninth Century A.D.[5] The Semitisms seem to disqualify Milik’s arguments. There have been Coptic fragments of Second Enoch found, though this leaves scholars only more baffled as to its origins.[6]


Fallen angels

            Genesis 6 tells the story of Angels, “the Sons of God [who] came in to the daughters of men.”[7] These women bore children that were giants, called Nephilim. The Pseudepigraphal Book of 1 Enoch tells of technological developments (such as jewelry and cosmetics) that lead to the Biblical Flood. Noah and his family were possibly saved because they were “perfect… among [their] generations.” This seems to allude to the fact that they did not have hybrid angel-human blood in them. The global deluge would be to destroy the Nephilim, and not only to destroy evil humans. Some Christians hold to a “Sethite” theory of Genesis 6. This theory explains that the “Sons of God” were the Sons of Seth and the “Daughters of Men” were the daughters of Cain. This does not explain how the Nephilim came to be, because evil people breeding with the good people do not create giant offspring.

Second Peter alludes to God “not spar[ing] angels when they sinned, but cast[ing] them into Hell and commit[ing] them to the pits of darkness, reserved for Judgment.”[8] Jude mentions angels going after “strange flesh” and being suitable for punishment for the case, comparing them to the angels.[9] This “flesh” of human women would not have been of the same species as the Angels. Angel-human breeding would be akin to an attempt of humans to breed with animals. Regardless of the nature of the global flood, the Bible seems clear: The angels were cast into hell for their betrayal of God and fornication with human women.[10]

In Second Enoch, Enoch sees “innumerable armies” called Grigori (“watchers” in Greek) who are like giant humans in the fifth heaven.[11] However, it seems some of the fallen angels were constrained in the second heaven. It is unclear where exactly Satanail, “their prince,” was held.[12] Enoch confuses his angelic escorts with extremely tall humans at first. It would be likely that he would confuse the Fallen Angels with humans that were constrained in judgment. The punishment seems to be both an indication that humans are to stay away from Sexual Immorality as well as an admonishment that humans are not Angels, and vice versa. God is clear from Biblical and Extra-Biblical sources: We will not become Angels after death because humans are simply of a different essence.



            In Genesis 14:18-20, there is brief mention of Melchizedek. He is called king of Salem, and priest of God Most High. He offers bread and wine to Abram, before Abram is called Abraham, and gives him a blessing. The bread and wine are akin to the formula of Jesus’ Last Supper. Abram then gives a tenth of everything he owns to Melchizedek, as tribute to God for victory in the battle Abram had just participated in. This is the first tithe recorded in the Bible. In Psalm 110, a Messianic Psalm, the Messiah is referred to as a “priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”[13]

This Psalmic praise is showed as referring to Jesus Christ. The Bible reader is reminded of it in the Book of Hebrews. Jesus is said by the author to have been “made perfect” The author of Hebrews referred to Jesus as a “High Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek.”[14] The tithe that Melchizedek was given was for the Levitical Priesthood and was given as a show of subservience. Aaron was still in Abram’s loins, so since Abram tithed, is gives the Melchizedek priesthood superiority. By proxy, Aaron had given tithe to a higher priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood is the Superior Priesthood and Jesus the Christ is the only High Priest according to that order. Jesus is referred to as a better priest because he stands (or sits, according to which verse in the New Testament you are reading) at the right hand of God. Melchizedek is one of the most mysterious of Biblical characters. The Book of Hebrews refers to him as “without father, without mother, without genealogy.”[15] Melchizedek is the first priest we run into in the Bible.

Melchizedek’s lineage in Second Enoch goes back to Nir, a younger brother of Noah. Nir was a priest (though not in the canonical books) and his wife, Sothonim, conceived after being sent away from her husband. He sent her away on the day “the Lord had appointed him in front of the face of the people.”[16] This appears to refer to his sending his wife away the day he became a priest. Sothonim hid herself all the days of her pregnancy and showed up in the temple one day. Nir wanted to send her away in shame, no doubt thinking she had been unfaithful. She died at his feet, giving birth to Melchizedek from her corpse. When Nir and Noah came in to lay her body to rest, Melchizedek was fully developed, sitting there and blessing the Lord verbally. Nir and Noah fed him the “holy bread” and the Lord commands Gabriel, the archangel, to hide the child in Eden until the deluge is over. His eating of the showbread in the Enochic tradition at his birth would be a further sanctioning of his priesthood, as only priests were able to eat it. There is a rabbinical tradition equating Melchizedek with Shem, one of Noah’s sons. This would be an explanation as to how an antediluvian figure such as Melchizedek would be alive after the flood. Melchizedek, in the guise of Shem, simply boarded the arc, and survived. The Bible contradicts the Shem-Melchizedek hypothesis in Genesis 5:32. Melchizedek’s father was Nir, not Noah. The Melchizedek story, however apocryphal, seems to be the origin of the priestly lineage of the people of Israel.

Melchizedek’s story is different from the Old Testament and New Testament formulas of the Bible. Melchizedek is neither born of a barren woman or a virgin, but of a dead woman. Of the many barren-women formulas in the Old Testament, Sothonim is likened to Sarah because she is not only barren, but past childbearing age.[17] The resemblance to Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, is uncanny because she is barren, old, and married to a priest.[18]



            The Old Testament seems to indicate a place called “Sheol” as a general abode for the dead. It is placed in the lowest parts of the earth, and the New International Version translates it as grave in fifty-seven of the sixty-six times it occurs in the Old Testament.[19] It is a place of weakness and separation from God, but it is a natural abode of the dead.  Samuel, upon being roused to talk to Saul and the Witch of Endor, does not warn Saul of the punishment of Hell. He also does not tell him about the rewards of Heaven. He just speaks to Saul, prophesying Saul’s death because Saul “did not obey the Lord.”[20] Sheol is the Hebrew equivalent of Hades, which means “the unseen world.”[21] It was regarded as the place for righteous and unrighteous believers. The dead in Sheol are weakened and seem not to be able to worship the Lord.[22]

The New Testament takes a remarkably difference stance. Sheol is translated as Hades, Tartarus, or Hell and is the place of punishment for the ungodly. Heaven is not only the dwelling place of God and the Angels. Heaven is a place for the justified in God. Jesus is sent to Hell during His three days of death to minister to the dead. Peter says that he “made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.”[23] This seems to refer to the Fallen Angels that were imprisoned, however, it may refer to all unbelieving spirits that resided there.

In 2 Enoch, the “Tartarus” that the Fallen Angels are chained in is contained in the second and fifth heavens. There is a portion of the third heaven that is for punishment, but it is unclear how one gets held there. There are ten total heavens, unlike in the New Testament. The tenth heaven is the Throne of God. Paul says in II Corinthians 12:2 that he “knows a man” that was caught up to the third heaven. A major portion of 2 Enoch’s third heaven did contain paradise, but Paul seemed to be referring to himself. It is unclear whether Paul is referring to a three-graded heaven or a seven-graded heaven in the Bible, but he is not referring to himself as going to hell.



            If Enoch “walked with God,” then we would be nearer to Deity if we found out how Enoch lived.[24] We know of no sins in the Bible that the seventh antediluvian prophet committed, so it would be to our advantage as Jews or Christians to find out what he did that was right or wrong. The only answers are in the Pseudepigraphal Enochic books. Jesus made reference that the times after him would be likened to the eschaton, when he said, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.”[25] Jesus then talks about marrying and giving in marriage, but makes no reference to the Fallen Angels, but the Fallen Angels were important, and likely a cause of the Deluge. Study of the Genesis 6 story as being watchmen seems important to any study of the eschaton.

In the New Testament, the terms Tartarus, Hell, and Gehenna are used instead of Sheol. The belief seems to indicate a place of eradication rather than eternal torment until the book of Revelation. As The New Bible Dictionary says, “it is difficult to reconcile the ultimate fulfillment of the whole universe in Christ.”[26] God’s kingdom reconciled seems to indicate the entire universe, but if the sinner and sin still exist, is the kingdom universal and perfect? Revelation 9:1, 2 seems to indicate a “bottomless pit” and in it is eternal torment. This allows for the destruction of sin and sinner continually. It also seems to indicate that the sins of the world are in a pit. They are not in the kingdom of God.

A fragmentary text from Qumran says that Melchizedek is a divinely appointed judge in Heaven.[27] Psalm 82 indicates a failure of the Heavenly Court. It is false to say that the Psalmist is writing to the Sanhedrin of the future or any other body of humanity. He says, “You will die like men.”[28] What punishment is that to one who is already a human? This Psalm is written to a divine council made up of Angelic figures. The divine council will “die” when they reach the bottomless pit. Their destruction will be continual. They would have never tasted death if not for their transgressions against God. Melchizedek may be the solution to the failure of the divine council. It also may be the beginning of a new heavenly court.

Gabriele Boccaccini points to Enochic Judaism as a root for Essenism.[29] This appears to be because of a lack of Old Testament law in the Enochic books at Qumran. Enochic Judaism appears to have held the codes and rules given to Enoch as divine will. This does not allow for the “law for all generations” written of in 1 Enoch 93:6. Boccaccini says that followers of Enochic Judaism gave Enoch superiority over Moses.[30] This is not necessarily so. The New Testament does not regularly mention Moses, but gives importance to Mosaic covenants by historical criticism. There is simply not enough understanding of the books of Enoch, outside of the Coptic Church. The Coptic Church preserved the First Book of Enoch in a Christian setting. It was not translated into English until 1838, by Richard Laurence. The Book of the Secrets of Enoch was not translated into English until 1896. There is simply not enough of a western understanding of Enochic tradition.



            The Book of the Secrets of Enoch is not a canonical book. It is certainly not written by the person that it is attributed to. Its later date does not answer many of the questions involved. If the Book is written in the Second Temple period after the death of Jesus, but before the destruction of the Second Temple, where does Jesus get his theology from? Jesus did not create this and send his beliefs to Qumran. An Essene at Qumran would not have followed a Jesus that existed in mainstream Judaism. Jesus shares the doctrine of Hell and Fallen Angels. When did these doctrines change from Sheol to Hell? Under which Judaism did these doctrines propagate? Did Jesus study with other Judaisms other than Pharasaism? Or were the doctrines of Hell simply sent to Him from the Throne of God?

Where did the Author of Hebrews get his emphasis on Melchizedek? Melchizedek is mentioned in very few verses. He is an obscure part of the Bible. Why is Christ the “High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek?” This seems to mean that the tithing that Abraham did is important to early Christian theology. If the tithing of Abraham is so important, then the tithing of the Apostles of Christ would have received a much more thorough treatment in scripture. This seems to indicate Melchizedek only as an important bridge in between Judaism and Christianity.

John the Evangelist furthers the doctrine of Hell in Christian Theology by talking of the “bottomless pit.” Hell as the bottomless pit is different from the doctrine of Sheol. It appears to be even different from most of the New Testament’s Hades. The importance of Hell seems to be to destroy sin and sinners for the glory of the kingdom of God. There is no pleasure for the Christian or the Jew to see other sinners destroyed. The grace of God does allow for the destruction of sinners to further the kingdom of God. It also furthers the Kingdom to make redeemed sinners grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not for all sinners. It is only for those who believe in Jesus as “Christ, the son of the living God.”[31] God came to earth as the last Adam to redeem sinners, but only those sinners who would take refuge in Him. The surest way to take refuge in Christ is by believing in Him as God.[32] One must believe in Him as Son of God and High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek. Then, one will receive forgiveness of sins and redemption from Hell. Hell is the fate of sin, sinners, and the Fallen Angels. Maranatha!

[1] The Holy Bible, New American Standard Version. New American Standard Bible Thinline Bible. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), Genesis 5:24. All Scripture references are taken from this translation unless otherwise noted.

[2] George W.E. Nickleberg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981), 221.

[3] Jude 6

[4] A.S.D. Maunder, The Date and Place of Writing of the Second Book of Enoch (1918), 309-316 noted in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume One: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments, James H. Charlesworth, ed. (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, 2011), 94.

[5] James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume One: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, 2011), 95.

[6] The Fifth Enoch Seminar, Enoch, Adam, Melchizedek: Mediatorial Figures in 2 Enoch and Second Temple Judaism, (Naples: 2009), 469.

[7] Genesis 6:4, Youngs Literal Translation of The Holy Bible.

[8] 2 Peter 2:4

[9] Jude 7

[10] In 1 Enoch, they did not follow “Satanail,” but followed a “prince” by the name of Samyaza

[11] Charlesworth, 130.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Psalm 110:4

[14] Hebrews 5:10

[15] Hebrews 7:3

[16] Andrei Orlov, “Melchizedek Legend of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch”, Journal for the Study of Judaism: In the Persian, Hellenistic & Roman Period Vol 31,Issue 1(Feb 2000), 23.

[17] Randal A. Argal, Beverly A. Bow, Rodney A. Werline, ed. For a Later Generation: The Transformation of Tradition in Israel, Early Judaism and Early Christianity (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2000), 35.

[18] Ibid., 36.

[19] Robin L. Routledge, “Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament” Journal of European Baptist Studies, 24.

[20] Kenneth A. Matthews, “The Historical Books” In Holman Concise Biblical Commentary: Simple, Straightforward Commentary on Every Book of the Bible. (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1998).

[21] Ronald F. Youngblood, F.F. Bruce, R.K. Harrison and Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995).

[22] Isaiah 14:10, Isaiah 38:18

[23] I Peter 3:19

[24] Genesis 5:22,24

[25] Matthew 24:37

[26] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 464.


[28] Psalm 82:7

[29] Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), xxii.

[30] Paul Heger, “1 Enoch-Complementary or Alternative to Mosaic Torah?”, Journal for the Study of Judaism, 41 (2010), 31.

[31]Matthew 16:16

[32] John 3:16