Friday, February 18, 2011

Apocfypha - The 10 Heavens of the 2nd Book of Enoch (I I Enoch)

Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

- Ecclesiastes 12:13

- The 10 Heavens of the 2nd Book of Enoch -

The apocryphal text commonly referred to as the 2nd Book of Enoch, or the Book of the Secrets of Enoch, contains a surprisingly traditional view of both the Judeo-Christian Kingdom of Heaven and its Angelic inhabitants. This is in spite of the fact that this particular Book has been lost for nearly 1,200 years. Apparently, this same document had been held in high esteem among at least some members of the early Christian Church. It contains numerous comments and remarks by the author Enoch of his vivid celestial journey through ten different parts of the Kingdom of Heaven, which are inhabited by a multitude of different Angels, many of them with wings. Similar to the early Church, the theological doctrine of multiple levels of Heaven can be found in at least one of St, Paul's letters and should continue to be understood as a thoroughly Christian belief system.

So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.

- Genesis 5:23-24

In short, the following summaries of the 2nd Book of Enoch's Ten Heavens reflect a thoroughly Judeo-Christian understanding of the Bible and its enduring legacy. How so? Nearly all of the different types of Angelic beings that the author Enoch encounter in Heaven are also clearly listed in the official Catholic hierarchy of Angels which has remained unchanged since the Church's earliest origins in Rome and Constantinople. This seems to strongly suggest that, while appearing as fictional nonsense to outsider, the standard Judeo-Christian set of belies concerning Angels have serious precedent, not only in Scriotures but in many different books of the Apocrypha including this one. Here are ten brief summaries describing the Ten Heavens of the 2nd Book of Enoch:

An ancient copy of the actual Book of Enoch

10 Summaries of the 10 Heavens of II Enoch

I. The 1st Heaven - Clouds, Stars, Snow, and Morning Dew: Located atop the clouds and inhabited by winged Angels, this is where the rulers and elders of the constellations reside here with 200 angels. Nearby is the Great Sea, larger than any of earth's oceans, while the Heavenly store-houses for both snow and morning dew are located here. (II Enoch 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1)

II. The 2nd Heaven - Prison of Darkness, Death and Despair: A place of darkness where the angels of darkness who joined with Satan in his original rebellion have been imprisoned, hanging from chains and awaiting Judgment Day. (II Enoch 7:1-3)

III. The 3rd Heaven - Mercy of Paradise and Justice of Hell: A Paradise reserved for the good and the righteous, consisting of a fragrant orchard grove with the fiery golden Tree of Life in the center where the LORD rest when visiting. The roots to the Tree of Life extend downwards to the Garden of Eden below and there four different springs flowing with milk, honey, wine, and oil. 300 singing Angels tend the Garden. In contrast, the northern section is a terrible place of icy, frozen darkness with a river of fire flowing through it and inhabited by fierce cruel angels with weapons who torture those sinners who have been condemned here. (II Enoch 8:1-10, 9:1, 10:1-3)

IV. The 4th Heaven - Twelve Gates of the Sun and the Moon: Includes the 12 great gates (and pathways) of the Moon, the 6 eastern gates and 6 western gates of the Sun along with all its different pathways. Guarded and maintained by thousands upon thousands of Angels, the sun is escorted daily by 8,000 other stars and needs 100 Angels just to light its fire Some of the inhabitants include six-winged creatures who accompany the Angels, exotic Rainbow-colored Phoenixes and Chalkydri with heads like crocodiles, as well as armed soldiers who are constantly singing and playing musical instruments. (II Enoch 11:1-6, 12:1-2, 13:1-2, 14:1-2, 15:1-3, 16:1-3, 17:1)

V. The 5th Heaven - Giants of Silence, Sadness and Regret: A sad, solemn place of silence and gloom filled with a countless number of gigantic human soldiers called the Grigori who chose Satan as their prince and rejected the LORD of light. Their faces are withered, but they still remain capable of occasionally singing praises unto the LORD. (II Enoch 18:1-7)

VI. The 6th Heaven - Archangels of the Arts and Sciences: Traditional home of seven different groups of Angels who both rule over the stars, keeping track of their motions, as well overseeing and managing the various governments on Earth. They also keep records of everyone's good or bad deeds, and keep careful watch over earth's natural systems of life and death. Other inhabitants include six Phoenixes, six Cherubim, six Seraphim who, with one voice, sing songs so other-worldly, they remain impossible to describe. (II Enoch 19:1-3)

VII. The 7th Heaven - Powers and Dominions of Fire and Light: an Angelic realm of light and fire, filled with the many different eternally loyal soldiers of the LORD including Archangels, Virtues (forces), Dominions, Powers, (orders), and Principalities (governments). Also present are the other-worldly Cherubim, seraphim, thrones, and other celestial being with many eyes, along with what the text calles 'nine regiments' and the 'Ioanit stations of light.' (II Enoch 20:1-2, 21:3)

VIII.The 8th Heaven - Summer and Winter of Drought and Snow: Controls and changes the different seasons of the year causing either draught or rain on Earth. Also contains the twelve constellations. (II Enoch 21:7)

IX. The 9th Heaven - Twelve Secret Mansions of the Stars in the Night: Considered the celestial homes of the constellations which lie both above and behind the 12 groups of stars as seen in the circular night sky above the Earth. Called Kuchavim in Hebrew. (II Enoch 21:8)

X. The 10th Heaven - Cherubim, Seraphim, and the Throne of Thunder and Lightning: Seen as the highest of Heavens as well as the actual location of the LORD God's mighty Throne of Judgment. Typically, this is where the LORD holds counsel with His Angels and Saints, making His decisions, handing down His judgments, and commanding His countless Angels who surround Him as they sing songs of praise and glory. (II Enoch 22:1-10)

Ikons of the Judeo-Christian Tradition

May the LORD God bless you in the name of the Judeo-Christian Tradition.

The Temple Menorah in Silver, rather than Gold

A Bible Scroll

A Scroll of the Torah, the Jewish Bible

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