On the dusty plateau of Qumran, nearly one mile inland of the Dead Sea, the river Jordan separates what is known as the West Bank border of Israel from the country Jordan. In 1947, an Arab boy was tending his flock when his youthful curiosity took him into one of the many caves which dot the hills and crevasses of this dry parched terrain . Once inside it must have become obvious to the boy that this was one cave that had not housed the flesh and blood of a human being for hundreds, and maybe thousands of years. The boy probably had no clue however of what he had come across when he discovered some ancient clay jars containing the first of 900 scrolls that were found throughout the next 9 years in 10 more of the countless caves in the same area. What we, the world now know from the young boys discovery is much more about the Second Temple Judaism era as these scrolls range in dating from 400 B.C. to 70 A.D. (2nd Temple, the Temple in which the Romans Destroyed in 70 A.D. )
The book of Enoch was definitely held in high regard centuries before Christ, and because it (Primarily the book of Parables from the 5 part book ) spoke much of the “Messiah” was still being read and accepted as “Holy Scripture” long after the crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. Tertullian (160- 220 A.D.) known as the father of Latin Christianity, a prolific Christian apologetic, the first to translate scripture into the Latin Language, and accepted for centuries as one of the literary “Church Fathers,” called the book of Enoch; “Holy Scripture” in his own writings. In fact, many of the earliest church literary greats from the 2nd and 3rd century whom scholars consider “Church Fathers” including Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Origin, and Clement of Alexandria, and even the writer of the “Epistles of Barnabas ” make more than vague mentions and usages of the book of Enoch. These are certainly valid documenting proofs that the book of Enoch was accepted as part of the inspired Word of God from before the time of Christ, and centuries afterward. The fact that the Ethiopian Church still has it within its Canonized (Acceptable Church Reading Bible) establishes the usage of it before Christ, as they still claim possession of the original Ark of the Covenant since the time of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba’s relations 950 years before Christ was born. Not surprisingly, we don’t have to look any further than the Holy Bible itself to see that if God didn’t want us to read the “Book of Enoch”, someone apparently forgot to tell “Jude,” who many believe was the natural brother of Jesus. Jude Quotes from the Book of “Enoch 1:9” in “Jude 1:14-15”
Although there have been centuries of scholarly debate about the authenticity and credibility of the book of Enoch, and though time-consuming to trace its usage and existence within the early Christian Church, it is certainly not difficult as you have already seen in this writing to document its historical and religious presence. So far we have shown documenting proof that the Book of Enoch was vehemently used, and honored even as early as 400 B.C. (The Age of the earliest Parchment found in cave#4 at Qumran) From there we have historically traced it through Israel, Ethiopia, Rome, and Egypt. Sadly, however, it is still no easier to see why the 4th century “Council of Laodicea” discredited it, even though they, albeit well-meaning I am sure, based their own Sunday as the day of worship misunderstanding on words from the Epistles of Barnabas which they also decided to leave out of the New Testament. Deeming the Book of Enoch forbidden scripture, the Council, left it out of what is now the Protestant Bible, accepted as the God inspired, “Church Father” approved final say on the matter in a time when the so called “Church Fathers” and the “Church” were believed to have the power to ” Ban” people from Christ… The book eventually dropped out of circulation not resurfacing publicly again for a thousand years.
Prior to the 3rd century the Church honored both Saturday and Sunday as the Sabbath by resting at home Saturday and worshiping in church on Sunday. This was not acceptable according to the Laodicean council, as it is a dishonor to God to “Rest” on Saturday in their opinion. The 29th out of the 60 Canons reads as follows:
CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema Cursed, or banned from Christ.
They did not have a problem with Sunday worship however, since much of their decision-making on such matters of course came from the writings of “their” present-day New Testament . One thing to take into consideration about the New Testament of their time, was that the last book ( Prior to their own well-meaning decision to canonize acceptable scripture for the use of-and in the Church) was the Epistles of Barnabas. (Not to be confused with the Gospel of Barnabas). In the 15th Chapter of the Epistles of Barnabas, (Which surely would have simplified things for the Christian World had it been kept in the Canon) the writer tells how God is not happy with the keeping of moons, or days, or their present Sabbath, but in fact goes on to say that the 8th Day… the Day that Jesus rose again, Paraphrased : ( When Jesus Rises in our Hearts or when we become born again) is the day of new beginnings. Hence, once again the Biblical numerical significance of the number eight…New Beginning plays into effect.
As time moved on however, and the Church was about to undergo the reformation period, the desire to find the “Lost Book of Enoch” began to take shape. There was much talk that there surely must still exist copies of the Book somewhere. This kind of interest, which, at such a time when the World was still very much under Church control, could be profitable both financially, and positional in the eyes of the Church / World,thus inevitably spawned more than a few Gnostic and other counterfeit versions of the Book of Enoch to begin popping up… All, now having been disproved as authentic.
Later, much later in fact, in 1773, James Bruce a well-known Scottish explorer of his time returned from Ethiopia with three copies of the Book of Enoch, which had been, and is still used in the Canonical version of the Ethiopian Church. It was the first time the west had ever seen an actual copy of the Book of Enoch. ©