If you tuned in to last week’s short mid-week study, you know that we looked at two of the three allusions that Jude references that have particularly caught people’s attention. We looked at Jude 6 and 9 and concluded that these are things that we are not sure about, but that Jude used to compare the false teachers (4) to help equip these brethren to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (3). Now we will consider the third.
In Jude 14-15, he says, “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’” So, Jude references Enoch. What do we know about Enoch? We know from Genesis 5:23-24 that he lived to be 365 years old, that he walked with God, (whether you take that to be literal or figurative, it tells us that this was a righteous man) and that he was taken prematurely by God. However, this prophecy of Enoch that Jude quotes is not found on the pages of Scripture.
This would not be a problem if the assertion that Jude was quoting and endorsing a non-inspired book did not exist. “The Book of Enoch” is an apocryphal book (a circulated book whose authenticity is doubted) which is hard to date and was probably written by several different authors. These authors took the name Enoch to increase popularity in their work of literature. If you look at 1 Enoch 1:9, you will find almost verbatim the words of Jude 14-15. So, is it true? Did Jude endorse this non-inspired book?
The answer is found in dating. In all likeliness, the so-called “Book of Enoch” was written after the first century, meaning that it was written after the book of Jude was. Therefore, rather than Jude quoting from the so-called “Book of Enoch,” they would have been quoting from the book of Jude. That leaves Jude with having quoted the actual Enoch (hence “the seventh from Adam”) through inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
There are other things that we could say on this matter, but the fact remains that the Word of God is sure. Men throughout history have tried to muddy the waters by trying to accept works of literature that were not inspired by God as being inspired by God. Regardless, those works which have been accepted very early on triumph over any attempt of addition (Deut. 4:2) such as “The Book of Enoch.” – Brennan Hooper