1st Enoch 46 – The Pre-Existent Son of Man

While examining pre-existence in the Psalms of Solomon, which is most likely an ‘ideal pre-existence’, I came across a reference to the Son of Man in Enoch.

And there I saw One who had a head of days, And His head was white like wool, And with Him was another being whose countenance had the appearance of a man, And his face was full of graciousness, like one of the holy angels. And I asked the angel who went with me and showed me all the hidden things, concerning that Son of Man, who he was, and whence he was, (and) why he went with the Head of Days ? And he answered and said unto me: This is the Son of Man who hath righteousness, With whom dwelleth righteousness, And who revealeth all the treasures of that which is hidden, Because the Lord of Spirits hath chosen him, And whose lot hath the pre-eminence before the Lord of Spirits in uprightness for ever. And this Son of Man whom thou hast seen Shall raise up the kings and the mighty from their seats, [[And the strong from their thrones]] And shall loosen the reins of the strong, And break the teeth of the sinners. He shall put down the kings from their thrones and kingdoms]] Because they do not extol and praise Him, Nor humbly acknowledge whence the kingdom was bestowed upon them. And he shall put down the countenance of the strong, And shall fill them with shame. And darkness shall be their dwelling, And worms shall be their bed, And they shall have no hope of rising from their beds, Because they do not extol the name of the Lord of Spirits. And these are they who judge the stars of heaven, [[And raise their hands against the Most High]], And tread upon the earth and dwell upon it. And all their deeds manifest unrighteousness, And their power rests upon their riches, And their faith is in the gods which they have made with their hands, And they deny the name of the Lord of Spirits, And they persecute the houses of His congregations, And the faithful who hang upon the name of the Lord of Spirits. (1st Enoch 46:1-8 OTP)

Unlike the Messiah in the Pss Sol, the Messiah in Enoch has a physical pre-existence, residing in Heaven next to God, and waiting simply for God’s command. We should see come resemblance here to John’s Revelation (cf 1.14). The difference, as I see it, between the ideal pre-existence and the physical pre-existence, expressed by both communities, is that the former may be seen as something more than a vicar, but a personification of an attribute in some way while the latter is wholly God’s vicar on earth, and possibly a co-regent.

Post By Joel Watts (10,058 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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12 thoughts on 1st Enoch 46 – The Pre-Existent Son of Man

  1. Your blog automatically tries to find the NTL translation of 1 Enoch, which doesn't exist. Are you hoping this translation will exist soon?

  2. I have been reading the book of Enoch, why is it not in the Bible? very good reading…

  3. Deb, several of the early Christian writers, Tertullian for one, considered it important if not inspired. It likes like Jude had read it as well.

      • You write in a “Brief Survey of Creation in Genesis in 2nd Temple Judaism.”: “Enoch and the book of Jubilees sought to expand certain themes hinted at in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as the Son of Man theme in Ezekiel…These books as well would contribute to the New Testament thought.” It is demonstrable that Jesus, his family, and the original Jewish Christian church accepted the Book of Enoch as scripture. It was accepted as scripture for centuries. The place to begin is with R. H. Charles. Wikipedia-Book of Enoch: “There is little doubt that 1 Enoch was influential in molding New Testament doctrines about the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the resurrection, and eschatology…It is possible that the earlier sections of 1 Enoch had direct textual and content influence on many Biblical apocrypha…” A reference for this quote is R. H. Charles. Wikipedia-Son of man: “The first known use of “The Son of Man” as a title in Jewish writings comes from the book 1 Enoch and its use played a role in the early Christian understanding and use of the title.” The reference for this is Charles own The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Volume Two: Pseudepigrapha. Apocryphile Press. 2004. Turning to this book: Pgs. 184-185. “Influence on New Testament Doctrine. “Doctrines in Enoch which had an undoubted share in moulding the corresponding New Testament doctrines, or are at all events necessary to the comprehension of the latter. “The Messiah…He is represented as the head of the Messianic community out of which he proceeds, but he has no special role to fulfil,and his presence in that description seems due merely to literary reminiscence. This Messiah-reference exercised no influence on New Testament conceptions. But with regard to the Messiah described in the Parables the case is very different. Four titles applied for the first time in literature to the personal Messiah in the Parables are afterwards reproduced in the New Testament. These are ‘Christ’ or ‘the Anointed One’, ‘the Righteous One’, ‘the Elect One’, and ‘the Son of Man’. “Christ or the Anointed One. This title, found repeatedly in earlier writings but always in reference to actual contemporary kings or priests, is now for the first time…applied to the ideal Messianic king that is to come. It is associated here with supernatural attributes. A few years later in another writing, the Psalms of Solomon…it possesses quite a different connotation. In those Psalms the Messiah, though endowed with divine gifts, is a man and nothing more, and springs from the house of David. “The Righteous One. This title, which occurs in Acts iii.14; vii.52; xxii.14 (cp. I John ii. I), first appears in I Enoch as a Messianic designation; see I En. xxxviii. 2; liii. 6. Righteousness is one of the leading characteristics of the Messiah, xlvi. 3. “The Elect One. This title likewise appearing first in I En. xl. 5; xlv. 3-4; xlix. 2,4; li. 3,5, &c., passes over into the New Testament, Luke ix. 35; xxiii. 35, ‘The Christ, the Elect One.’ In the Old Testament we find ‘Mine Elect’, Isa. xlii. I, but not ‘the Elect One’. “The Son of Man. This definite title (see notes on xlvi. 2,3) is found in I Enoch for the first time in Jewish literature, and is, historically, the source of the New Testament designation, and contributes to it some of its most characteristic contents.” Pg. 180. “The influence of I Enoch on the New Testament. I Enoch has had more influence on the New Testament than has any other apocryphal or pseudepigraphic work.” Pg. 163. “The Book of Enoch is for the history of theological development the most important pseudepigraph of the first two centuries B. C. Some of its authors-and there were many-belonged to the true succession of the prophets…” Jesus believed that he was the Enochic Messiah, the Son of Man, the Righteous One, the Chosen One. But who was the Enochic Messiah? Wikipedia-Son of man: The ending of the Book of Parables, which some scholars view as a later addition, claims that the “Son of Man” is Enoch himself.” In The Book of Enoch. R. H. Charles. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Pg. 92: Enoch-”And it came to pass after this that his name during his lifetime was raised aloft to that Son of Man and to the Lord of Spirits…” Pgs. 94-95: Enoch-”And he (i.e. the angel) came to me and greeted me with His voice, and said unto me: ‘This is the Son of Man who is born unto righteousness; And righteousness abides over him, And the righteousness of the Head of Days forsakes him not.’” Conclusion: The Book of Enoch demonstrates the pre existence of the Enochic Messiah. If one accepts that Jesus was the Enochic Messiah, than it demonstrates his pre existence as well.

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