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The Mystery of Enoch

By D. Anderson


This article will examine Mrs. White's writings about Enoch and uncover the mysterious sources she used. This article will also reveal that Mrs. White's account of Enoch differs sharply from the Biblical account in certain details.

Enoch the Adventist

Enoch is an all-important figure in the writings of Ellen White. Despite the fact the Bible only mentions him in a handful of verses, Ellen White mentions him hundreds of times in her writings. According to her writings, Enoch, attained to a perfection of character that allowed God to take him to heaven. Therefore, Enoch is an apt representation of what all Seventh-day Adventists need to strive to become before their translation into heaven at the second coming of Christ.

Perhaps part of the reason Mrs. White identified so closely with Enoch is that she believed him to be an Adventist like herself:

"Enoch was an Adventist."1
In fact, at one point early in her career she claimed to have held a conversation with Enoch on a mysterious planet with seven moons:
"Then I was taken to a world which had seven moons. There I saw good old Enoch, who had been translated. On his right arm he bore a glorious palm, and on each leaf was written 'Victory.' Around his head was a dazzling white wreath, and leaves on the wreath, and in the middle of each leaf was written 'Purity,' and around the wreath were stones of various colors, that shone brighter than the stars, and cast a reflection upon the letters and magnified them. On the back part of his head was a bow that confined the wreath, and upon the bow was written 'Holiness.' Above the wreath was a lovely crown that shone brighter than the sun. I asked him if this was the place he was taken to from the earth. He said, 'It is not; the city is my home, and I have come to visit this place.' He moved about the place as if perfectly at home."2

Unraveling the mystery of Enoch: Clue #1 - The City

In her vision Mrs. White said Enoch told her "the city is my home." What city is Enoch talking about? A clue is found in one of her Testimonies:

"But Enoch's heart was upon eternal treasures. He had looked upon the celestial city. He had seen the King in His glory in the midst of Zion."3
Here we are informed that Enoch looked upon a celestial city named Zion.

The Mormon Connection

Not surprisingly, Enoch was also an all-important figure to Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. In fact, Smith was sometimes referred to under the pseudo-name of "Enoch." Like Mrs. White, Smith elaborates greatly upon the life of Enoch. In his writings entitled Pearl of Great Price, Smith describes how Enoch founded a city named Zion:

"And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even ZION."4
Enoch built a city named Zion. Beginning to sound familiar? "But wait," you say, "this city was on earth, not in heaven, right?" Well, it started out upon the earth, but Smith tells us that soon this earthly city became a celestial city:
"And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever."5
According to Smith, Enoch's city of Zion was moved to heaven and became the celestial city where God abode. Now let's read those quotes from Ellen White one more time:
"I asked him [Enoch] if this was the place he was taken to from the earth. He said, 'It is not; the city is my home...'"6

"But Enoch's heart was upon eternal treasures. He had looked upon the celestial city. He had seen the King in His glory in the midst of Zion."7

It seems like more than a coincidence that both Sister White and Brother Smith talk about Enoch's celestial city of Zion. But the coincidences do not stop there.

Unraveling the mystery of Enoch: Clue #2 - Enoch the Christian

According to Mrs. White, Enoch was not only an Adventist, but also a Christian:

"Enoch was a representative of Christ as surely as was the beloved disciple John. ... That God who walked with Enoch was our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He was the light of the world then just as He is now. Those who lived then were not without teachers to instruct them in the path of life; for Noah and Enoch were Christians."8

"Adam, repentant and converted, was a Christian; Abel was a Christian; Enoch was a Christian; Noah was a Christian; Abraham was a Christian."9

Mrs. White describes Enoch as being a Christian thousands of years before the first Christians were called such at Antioch in the first century A.D.10 Traditionally, in order to become a Christian one must believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, one must not only believe in Jesus Christ, but also be baptized for the remission of sins.11

Another Mormon Connection

One of Joseph Smith's fundamental teachings about Enoch was that he was a Christian. In fact, in the following quote we find Enoch going about preaching Jesus Christ, calling people to repent and be baptized:

"And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you."12
Is the fact that both Joseph Smith and Ellen White taught that Enoch was a Christian merely another mysterious coincidence?

Unraveling the mystery of Enoch: Clue #3 - Enoch's Visions

In Patriarchs and Prophets Mrs. White informs us that Enoch was given visions of the future:

"Through holy angels God revealed to Enoch His purpose to destroy the world by a flood, and He also opened more fully to him the plan of redemption. By the spirit of prophecy He carried him down through the generations that should live after the Flood, and showed him the great events connected with the second coming of Christ and the end of the world."13

"In prophetic vision he was instructed concerning the death of Christ, and was shown His coming in glory, attended by all the holy angels, to ransom His people from the grave. He also saw the corrupt state of the world when Christ should appear the second time--that there would be a boastful, presumptuous, self-willed generation, denying the only God and the Lord Jesus Christ, trampling upon the law, and despising the atonement. He saw the righteous crowned with glory and honor, and the wicked banished from the presence of the Lord, and destroyed by fire."

"Enoch became a preacher of righteousness, making known to the people what God had revealed to him. Those who feared the Lord sought out this holy man, to share his instruction and his prayers. He labored publicly also, bearing God's messages to all who would hear the words of warning. His labors were not restricted to the Sethites. In the land where Cain had sought to flee from the divine Presence, the prophet of God made known the wonderful scenes that had passed before his vision."14

Notice six points from the above quotes:
  1. Enoch received visions of the future, of many generations
  2. Enoch went to preach in the land of Cain
  3. Enoch was shown the flood
  4. Enoch had a vision of the death of Christ
  5. Enoch was shown the second coming of Christ
  6. Enoch saw the righteous crowned with glory

More Mormon Connections

Please notice that Joseph Smith wrote about all five of the above items in Pearl of Great Price, Moses chapter 7:

1. Received visions of the future: Verse 4--...and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations. ... 23--...Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him; 24--And there came generation upon generation...

2. Went to preach to Cain's people: Verse 12--And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent;

3. Was shown the flood: Verses 34,38--And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them. ... But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them.

4. Was shown the death of Christ: Verse 55--And the Lord said unto Enoch: Look, and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men;

5. Was shown second coming: Verse 60--And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance...

6. Saw righteous crowned: Verse 56--"...the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory..."

The parallels between the writings of Joseph Smith and Ellen White on Enoch are simply too amazing to ignore. It appears that Mrs. White did not receive her teaching on Enoch from the Bible or from angels but from the Mormons.

Copied the Spurious Book of Jasher

Of course, not all of Mrs. White's teachings about Enoch originated with Joseph Smith. Her description of the light upon Enoch's countenance (PP 86) matches a similar description from the Book of Jasher:

Patriarchs and Prophets Book of Jasher
After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he [Enoch] would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance. (p. 86) 3:20. And he [Enoch] did in this manner for many years, and he afterward concealed himself for six days, and appeared to his people one day in seven; and after that once in a month, and then once in a year, until all the kings, princes and sons of men sought for him, and desired again to see the face of Enoch, and to hear his word; but they could not, as all the sons of men were greatly afraid of Enoch, and they feared to approach him on account of the Godlike awe that was seated upon his countenance; therefore no man could look at him, fearing he might be punished and die.

More confusion about Enoch

Person Born Died
Adam 0 930
Seth 130 1042
Enos 235 1140
Cainan 325 1235
Mahalaleel 395 1290
Jared 460 1422
Enoch 622 987 (translated)
Methuselah 687 1656
Lamech 874 1651
Noah 1056 1656 (flood)
Mrs. White confuses the situation even further by claiming Enoch was alive while the ark was being built:

"God determined to purify the world by a flood; but in mercy and love He gave the antediluvians a probation of one hundred and twenty years. During this time, while the ark was in building, the voices of Noah, Enoch, and many others were heard in warning and entreaty. And every blow struck on the ark was a warning message."15
She places Enoch's departure as occuring "just before" the flood:
"Enoch's translation to Heaven just before the destruction of the world by a flood, represents the translation of all the living righteous from the earth previous to its destruction by fire."16
She even goes further and says that Enoch was taught by Noah:
"Enoch first received instruction from Noah, and he observed the law of God, and served him with singleness of heart."17
Did Enoch preach while the ark was being built? Did he receive instruction from Noah? Was he translated "just before" the flood? Take a look at the table on the right. According to the Biblical genealogy in Genesis 5:
  • Enoch was translated to heaven 69 years before Noah was even born! How could he have received instruction from Noah?
  • The building of the ark did not commence until 1536, a full 549 years after Enoch had been translated. How could Enoch have preached while the ark was being built?
  • Enoch was translated to heaven 669 years before the flood. Was this "just before" the flood?
QUESTION: Did Ellen White really see Enoch in vision? Or was she simply fabricating history?

Comments on the Pseudepigraphal Book of Enoch

Mrs. White makes this observation in the SDA Bible Commentary:

"Enoch the First Prophet.--Enoch was the first prophet among mankind. He foretold by prophecy the second coming of Christ to our world, and his work at that time. His life was a specimen of Christian consistency. Holy lips alone should speak forth the words of God in denunciation and judgments. His prophecy is not found in the writings of the Old Testament. We may never find any books which relate to the works of Enoch, but Jude, a prophet of God, mentions the work of Enoch ( Ibid.)"18
There are a couple of issues with this statement. First, Mrs. White describes Jude as "a prophet of God." Nowhere in the Bible is Jude called a "prophet." He was Jesus' half-brother, the brother of James (cf. Mark 6:3, Matt. 13:55). He is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible and if it were not for the brief letter of Jude, we would know virtually nothing about him. There is nothing prophetic in the book of Jude except for one verse about the second coming, and that statement is simply a quote from another book, so there is no basis upon which to call Jude a prophet.

Mrs. White says that Jude "mentions the work of Enoch." This statement is in context with her eariler statement that Enoch prophesied the second coming of Christ. From this we can conclude that Mrs. White believed Enoch prophesied Christ's second coming based upon Jude 1:14. Unfortunately, that statement in Jude 1:14, however true it may be, did not come from Enoch, but from a spurious author who wrote an apocryphal book called the Book of Enoch.

The "Book of Enoch" is part of the pseudepigrapha, a collection of spurious writings from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. that are falsely attributed to authors such as ancient prophets. Parts of the "Book of Enoch" were found among the Dead Sea scrolls and date back to 168 B.C. The book was considered part of Scripture by some early Christians, and some of the church fathers quoted from the book. It was well-known and widely read during the first three centuries of Christianity but fell out of favor after the Council of Laodicea. After dropping out of circulation for over 1,000 years, a copy was discovered in Ethiopia in 1773. In 1821, an English translation was made in England. Apparently Mrs. White was unaware that the book had been rediscovered. The pseudepigraphal Book of Enoch was the one Jude quoted from:

Jude 1:14,15 Book of Enoch, 1:9
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all, and to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

Nearly all scholars are agreed that the book was not written by Enoch. Because fragments were found among the Dead Sea scrolls, most scholars agree the book appears to have been written during the second century before Christ. There is no mention of the book being in existence prior to that time. It is evident that Mrs. White had no idea the book Jude quoted from was a spurious work written long after Enoch died. We are told by her supporters that Mrs. White, as a prophet of God, was able to "detect error", and yet Mrs. White writes as if Jude is quoting from the actual writings of Enoch instead of a spurious work written by an anonymous author long after Enoch died.

Conclusion

Whether or not Mrs. White had divine insight into the life of Enoch is a matter of debate. Nevertheless, it is apparent that her writings on Enoch seem to form a striking parallel with Joseph Smith's writings on Enoch. Furthermore, her comments about Enoch preaching while the ark was being built cast further doubt on her credibility.

Mrs. White's writings on Enoch are interesting and they often provide a good moral lesson. However, based upon the evidence presented above, a question remains: Are her writings of Enoch historical facts gleaned from her visions, or are they merely a fictional account based upon the writings of others?

You decide


NOTES

1. Ellen White, Signs of the Times, Oct. 12, 1904.

2. Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 39.

3. Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 330.

4. Joseph Smith, Moses 7:19.

5. Smith, Moses 7:21.

6. White, Early Writings, p. 39.

7. White, Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 330.

8. Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 392.

9. Ellen White, Signs of the Times, Jan. 13, 1898, para. 9.

10. See Acts 11:26.

11. See Mark 16:16.

12. Smith, Moses 6:52.

13. Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 85. See also Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 330.

14. Ibid., pp. 85-86.

15. Ellen White, Australasian Union Conference Record, Sep. 15, 1902. Note: Mrs. White seemed to have conflicting views about the effectiveness of Noah's preaching:

Workers on the Ark converted by Noah
(Spirit of Prophecy vol. 1 (1870), p. 70)
Only eight souls were converted
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7 (1902), p. 36)
Noah and his family were not alone in fearing and obeying God. But Noah was the most pious and holy of any upon the earth, and was the one whose life God preserved to carry out his will in building the ark and warning the world of its coming doom. Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah, lived until the very year of the flood; and there were others who believed the preaching of Noah, and aided him in building the ark, who died before the flood of waters came upon the earth. Noah preached one hundred and twenty years to the people before the Flood, and yet there were few who appreciated this precious, probationary time. Save Noah and his family, not one was numbered with the believers and entered into the ark. Of all the inhabitants of the earth, only eight souls received the message; but that message condemned the world.

16. Ellen White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 59.

17. Ellen White, Review and Herald, Apr. 29, 1875.

18. Ellen White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 1, p. 1088.


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