The Fall of Satan in the Book of Enoch

In the centuries just before Jesus, there was a theory of the fall of angels based on an Old Testament passage unrelated to Isaiah or Ezekiel: Genesis chapter 6.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

That is all; the Bible says nothing more.

The Book of Enoch

Who were the Sons of God?

Who were the sons of God meant to represent? Possibly they were the descendents of the pure line of Seth, and the daughters of men were descendents of Cain. Or the Sons of God were God-worshipers, while the daughters of men were not. A third option is that they were extraterrestrials.

Much later, the apocalyptic Book of Enoch gave names to the sons of God and elaborated on the story. Enoch understood them to be fallen angels who had sexual intercourse with human women. So God punished them, and their acts led directly to the flood of Noah. Therefore, the fall of the angels related to sexual sins rather than pride.

The Book of Enoch tells the story in chapters 6 and 7:

And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.’And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: ‘I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.’ And they all answered him and said: ‘Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.’Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it.And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Samlazaz, their leader, Araklba, Rameel, Kokablel, Tamlel, Ramlel, Danel, Ezeqeel, Baraqijal, Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaqiel, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel. These are their chiefs of tens.And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells.

Chapter 10 describes God’s response to the angels:

And the Lord said unto Michael: ‘Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness.And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated.In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever.’

The Book of Enoch continues for several chapters describing the punishments of the fallen angels and their children. The Book of Enoch is not considered inspired by Jews or Christians and is not even in the Apocrypha.

Enoch in Peter and Jude

The New Testament passages that allude to fallen angels seem influenced by Enoch. Until now everything I have written in this series holds even if one understands the Bible to be inerrant. The next observation, however, disturbs inerrancy.

2 Peter chapter 2 refers to the Book of Enoch:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah…

Jude actually quotes Enoch by name assuming him to be the Enoch of Genesis, which he was not:

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed.”

He also refers to the angels in Enoch:

The angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

The origin of the Fall of Satan Myth

In my opinion, Genesis chapter 6 adds nothing to our knowledge of the origins and history of Satan; it is short and vague. The elaborations of the Book of Enoch certainly add nothing to our knowledge, and though a number of fallen angels are named none is equated with Satan, so our knowledge of the history of Satan remains nil.

In 1667 John Milton popularized the story of the fall of Satan in his quite imaginative Paradise Lost, which has impacted our imagery of the myth ever since. The myth of the fall of Satan is driven by these two works of fiction: the Book of Enoch and Paradise Lost. Neither is considered inspired by God.

Next time, we will discuss other mentions of Satan in the Old Testament.

Your observations and comments are welcome below.
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31 Responses to The Fall of Satan in the Book of Enoch

  1. michaeleeast says:

    It would seem that none of the fallen angels in the Book of Enoch is called Satan.
    So it really tells us nothing.
    I’ve never read Paradise Lost.
    I presume that Satan is expelled for the sin of pride?
    It would seem that the myth derives from there.

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  3. The Dake Study Bible has a lot of notes concerning this, and other, subjects. I would like to hear your opinions on the theory of the pre-Adamic race, the idea that there could have been ages between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

  4. Agree with your synopsis that this has nothing to do with the story of Satan. This story is likely pure myth based possibility on the real existence of a tribe of larger sized people, and the common misunderstadings in the ancient world of Gods co-mingling and meddling with human beings.

  5. sheila0405 says:

    Since Jesus said that there is no marriage in heaven, but we will be like the angels, I reject the story of Enoch as just another story. Angels don’t have sex. They are spiritual beings. It would seem to me that Enoch falls into the category of an allegory or a folk tale handed down, not much different from Greek mythology. Interesting, yes, but to base a Biblical theology on it? No way. This blog post was merely an interesting aside for me.

    • I agree Sheila. There is no historical or truth value in the Book of Enoch, but it is an important source for the myth of the fall of Satan. If we know the source of the myth, we more easily realize it is not based on anything dependable.

      • aramis says:

        i think the real question is, is satan the sentient being angel god it talking about or not.
        in 2 enoch he is a fallen angel

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Aramis, this is a good question. I don’t think satan is a sentient angel being at all. I address this in the other posts of this series.

    • Collin says:

      Actually there will be pro creation in the kingdom of God during Christs ruler ship. that parable about the wife not being either of the mens wife in the Kingdom, is because after we die we are no longer bound to the law of Marriage. The Law of Marriage states that we are to be bound to our spouse in a covenant until death, unless fornication(not adultery) but incest and 3somes and such, beastiality. or unbelief is involved, you are to stay with your spouse til death. but the Covenant is no more after death, we are free from that particular person upon resurrection.

      That parable had nothing to do with pro creating in the Kingdom during his reign. Youll just be free from marriage. Youll no longer be bound to that person during your first life because death broke the contract as the law of marriage states. which is why Christ says “ye do err not knowing the scripture and the power of God” aka the Mosaic law.

      There will be pro creation during Christs reign on Earth. Number 1 what about the people that are living during Christs return? Theyre still going to be pro creating. Also it talks about generations in The Kingdom as well…..(keep in mind that all of this will happen on Earth, not in the clouds) The Earth is mans dominion. Were not going to dwell where God dwells which is the highest Heaven where his throne is and the angels go to and fro the Earth to converse with God and pray and worship. We do go to a place of rest though when we die in the body to wait til Christ return. Its another world God created. 2 Esdras 7.

      Theres 3 stages of Heaven. 1: The Kingdom of God for the children of Israel, which is the New Jerusalem on Earth. Thats mans Heaven….then 2: outter space which is another Heaven. Then 3: The highest Heaven where God dwells. Man has not went there to live after death. Only Christ and the angels dwell in the Highest Heaven with God.

      We go to a place of rest aka Abrahams Bosom until Christ returns and resurrects us.

      but there more then likely will be pro creating in the Kingdom of God on Earth. Will there be marriage? Im not sure. but your marriage covenant ends at death. Youre no longer bound to that person by law.

      • Thanks for contributing your thoughts on the issue Collin; they are very interesting. I have no speculation on what our relationships will be like in the Father’s future community. I simply don’t know. However, I do suspect they will be more supportive and transparent than what we experience now.

        I can’t wait to find out! Well… I guess I can wait a little longer :-)

    • aramis says:

      for one thing you haven’t read the bible i know this because of your uneducated statement. their is no marriage in heaven, but this is earth so the rules change alot. secondly angels are spiritual being but they also have bodies, thats how they ate with lot and led lot and his family. the book of enoch was in the hebrew cannon long ago when the hebrews were still in ethiopia. the reason it’s not cannon now is because it talks about the end times in the new testiment and it gave to much information about the fallen angels which can be proven true in the bible. they dont want you to know about the knowledge of enoch. even the dead sea scroll credit encoh.

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Aramis, let me assure you that I have immersed myself in the Bible since I was in 5th grade in 1961. And I think you are mistaken about the Book of Enoch having ever been in the Hebrew canon.

        We can disagree on whether there is a being we call Satan, or whether, if there is such a being, he was cast out of heaven as a fallen angel who revolted. But I don’t think we can appeal to the rather late Book of Enoch for support.

        • aramis says:

          see this is why people need to be educated about how Africans contributed to the bible. the oldest Hebrew tribe was in Ethiopia and they hold the book of Enoch as canon even; Ethiopian christian churches know the book of Enoch became non cannon after the romans started to Europeanize the bible.

  6. lotharson says:

    “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”

    Deep investigations of the field of UFOLOGY showed me that there is really something weird going on for a SMALL minority of unexlained cases.
    My landsman Dr. Jacques Vallee has studied this subject in depth.

    He concluded that mankind has long been in contact with a non-human form of consciousness which is extremely deceptive and that interbreeding with the Nephilims strongly parallel modern stories of alien abductions.

    I know this sounds crazy and utterly ridiculous for outsiders and I first thought that too.
    But I believe we have good (tough not extraordinary) grounds for believing in the existence of this deceitful beings from another realm, especially since our theistic Christian worldview allows that.

    I am going to explore this in future post on my blog.

    Lovely greetings from France, Marc.

    • michaeleeast says:

      My experience of “deceitful being from another realm”, or the Trickster (the Devil) as Jung called the archetype, is that they are voices from people who practice Satanism, mostly rock stars, working in the collective unconscious.
      This probably sounds just as outrageous as aliens but I believe it to be true.

    • This is an interesting speculation, Lothar. I have read von Daniken and others on the alien theory. And though it cannot be entirely ruled out, I do not find it convincing. I will read the link you provided.

      • lotharson says:

        Daniken is definitely a crackpot. Despite his (human) flaws, Jacques Vallee is a serious researcher who refrains from drawing premature conclusions. In the end, he says that he only firmly believes that there is a real unexplained UFO phenomenon which has many parallels with myths, legends and occultism.

        He believes that tales about human encounters with fairies, elves and demons are based on real encounters with deceptive beings from another realm.

  7. lotharson says:

    Sorry for the bad grammer, it’s already late in Europe :=)

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  9. Charles Gatlin says:

    I’m not sure that a noncanonical scripture alluded to by apostles (in this case, Peter and Jude) in a canonical scripture has to be considered automatically untrue because it is not part of the canon. In some Christian traditions, noncanonical works are read for good instruction but not to establish doctrine (for example, see Article VI in the Book of Common Prayer). That means an essential belief cannot be grounded solely in such a work. It does not automatically follow that everything in those books, even mythological or symbolic passages, is untrue. It might be the case that Jesus is alluding in Luke’s gospel to the fall of Satan after some sort of rebellion, and Peter and Jude may be correct in their interpretation of the events in “Enoch” (whatever form of that book they had), especially as those stories apply to the advice Peter and Jude are giving to fellow believers.

    • I agree that noncanonical works are often very valuable reading; The Shepherd of Hermas is a good example.

      My point is that 2 Peter and Jude were influenced by the Book of Enoch and did not receive that information by inspiration. Jude even seems to understand the Book of Enoch was written by the ancient Enoch mentioned in Genesis who lived a few generations after Adam. I believe Jude was mistaken; however, this does not denigrate Jude (or 2 Peter); it just indicates that they are human.

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  13. Seth says:

    “if one understands the Bible to be inerrant.”
    “Jude actually quotes Enoch by name assuming him to be the Enoch of Genesis, which he was not”

    -The bible is inerrant. You assume that Jude, a half-brother of Jesus, is wrong about the scriptures, but you know the real truth? And what does Peter know? He’s only Jesus’s first priest…

    The book of Enoch has no contradictions to the bible, and it even eludes to the Son of Man being the savior to the world. It probably could cause some overly superstitious people to focus on the less important message of the Bible, but having read the whole thing, I see no question that it is inspired prophesy. The first chapter of the book, Enoch says God opened his eyes and he was given a vision “but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is or to come.” The book of Enoch deals a lot with during and after the tribulation times. The stuff is intense, so I would caution all who read it to make sure you are on the right page with God first.

    • Seth, thanks for sharing your thoughts on Enoch. I have two questions:

      1. Do you think the book of Enoch is inspired by God?
      2. Do you think the book of Enoch was written by the Enoch listed in the Old Testament genealogy as the seventh from Adam?

      • Zach Van Houten says:

        1 Enoch 71:14 says that Enoch is the “Son of Man”, making this a difficult sell as compatible with Christian theology. Such a straightforward claim makes the “Son of Man” title not prophetic, but typological. It would have to be that Enoch was a type of Jesus; which He then fulfilled. I think if taken at face value as a fanciful work reflecting the general Zoroastrianism-influenced apocalyptic thought of Jesus’ day, it can serve to show that God may have been preparing for Jesus through these works.

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Not many people talk about the Zoroastrian influence on second-temple Judaism anymore, but I think it applies to concepts like Satan, demons, and hell.

          • Zach Van Houten says:

            I agree totally. It’s a hard case to make if trying to show direct borrowing, however, the total absence of these ideas in the OT contrasted by the common acceptance of them in the NT (ideas that are not even taught, but merely alluded to) says to me that there was definite influence. How can we justify the acceptance of these pagan ideas if they were never taught by God? Demons just showed up and were never defined. This is an interesting study topic for sure.

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