Bible Question:

Did Jesus quote the book of Enoch in Matthew 22:29-30?

Bible Answer:

Some claim that the book of Jude copied the book of Enoch. But a careful comparison of the two books reveals that did not occur. Others claim that Jesus quoted the book of Enoch. But is that true? Did Jesus quote the book of Enoch in Matthew 22:29-30? The answer that is given in this article is no! What follows explains why we know that Jesus did not quote the book of Enoch.

Did Jesus Quote the Book of Enoch?

Message of Matthew 22:29-30

We will start by providing some background to Matthew 22:29-30. Matthew 22:23-40 records a contest that occurred between the Sadducees and Jesus Christ. The Sadducees began with a fictional story about a woman who had been married to seven different men that were all brothers. The Sadducees presented Jesus with an unrealistic application of the levirate marriage (Genesis 38:8; Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Then they asked Jesus to which of the seven husbands would she be married in heaven.

Matthew 22:29-30 describes how Jesus answered their question.

But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Matthew 22:29-30 (NASB)

Sadducees Did Not Understand the Scriptures

Notice that Jesus’ answer has three parts. First, Jesus told the Sadducees that they did not understand the Scriptures. Acts 23:8 tells us they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. So, they created a story in which they did not even believe! Jesus was correct. They did not understand the Scriptures.

There are many passages in the Scriptures that teach the resurrection of the dead. The first passage is Genesis 22:5. In that verse, we are told that Abraham understood that even though God had asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac, God would raise him from the dead. He was going to sacrifice his son; yet, he told his servant that he and Isaac would return. He did not know that an angel would stop him from sacrificing his son. See Hebrews 11:19. So, this passage reveals the Sadducees did not understand the Scriptures about the resurrection.

Another passage that teaches the resurrection of the dead is Job 19:25-26. This is a much clearer example of the resurrection. The passage says,

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Job 19:25-26 (NASB)

Job says that even after his skin had decayed in the ground, yet he would see God. I hope you are looking forward to seeing God. Job was! Once again the Sadducees did not understand the Scriptures about the resurrection.

Psalm 17:15 captures David’s prayer and plea for God to rescue him. Then the last verse of the Psalm reveals that he was trusting God that he would be resurrected and see Him.

As for me, I shall behold
Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with
Your likeness when I awake.
Psalm 17:15  (NASB)

One more time, we learn that the Sadducees did not understand the Old Testament Scriptures about the resurrection. People will be resurrected!

In Isaiah 26:19, the prophet Isaiah announced that the corpses will rise some day, and departed spirits will live again.

Your dead will live;
Their corpses will rise.
You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn,
And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.
Isaiah 26:19 (NASB)

Sadducees did not understand these Scriptures that clearly teach the resurrection (2 Samuel 12:23; Psalm 16:9-10; Hosea 13:14).

They Neither Marry Nor Are Given in Marriage

Secondly, the Sadducees failed to realize that people would not be married in the resurrection. They did not think about the implication of the resurrection. Did they understand that Psalm 1:5-6 teaches the wicked will perish? That is, what a person believes about God affects how they act in this life. Their belief and behavior demonstrate where they deserve to spend eternity. The passage says,

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1:5-6 (NASB)

Notice the passage says the way of the wicked will perish. This means more than bad behavior will be punished. We must not miss the point that what one does in this life reveals where they will live forever. That is, the decisions you make now in this life determine your eternal destiny. That is also the teaching of the New Testament (John 3:16, 36).

Also, did they fail to understand that Daniel 12:2 teaches that everyone lives forever? It reads,

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2 (NASB)

The Hebrew word for “everlasting” is olam. It refers to eternity.  The Hebrew word for “contempt” also means “horror” or “abhorrence.” In Isaiah 66:24, those who go to hell will suffer in the fire. Therefore, both Daniel and Isaiah 66:24 paint the picture that people will be resurrected to an everlasting heaven or everlasting hell.

Now if we connect both passages together, we understand the Sadducees missed the obvious. What a person believes about God determines their destiny. What they believe about is revealed in way a person lives in this life  (see Psalm 1). A person cannot be saved by being a newborn in heaven The message of Scripture is that a baby’s destiny is not determined by their birthplace. This creates a problem. If God has destroyed the universe and heaven and hell are the only places that exist, then how can a newborn baby be saved from hell? 

Scripture is clear. Our eternal destiny is determined by faith in Jesus Christ while we are living on this earth. To assume that people could be born in heaven, is contrary to the teaching of Scripture. It would be inconsistent to say that the destiny of people is determined by what they believe about Christ now and then say a person can enter heaven just by being born. That is, it is an error to believe people can be married in heaven and have babies. Thus, no one is married in heaven or in hell. A person’s destiny is determined by the decision they make here on earth (Hebrews 9:27). That is also the message of the New Testament (John 3:16, 36; Galatians 5:19-21). 

A much less important truth is that some of the woman’s seven husbands in the Sadducees’ fictional story may not have gone to heaven. Maybe none of them would have gone to heaven. Then she would not have been able to marry any of them. Jesus never considers this possible problem, since the Sadducees rejected the teaching of the resurrection, they would have rejected the impossibility of having children in heaven or hell.

But Are Like Angels in Heaven

The third part of Jesus’ answer is that the angels do not marry. Notice that the Sadducees’ question was about what happens in the resurrection. Therefore, Jesus’ answer was about the resurrection, not about angels. What Jesus said about the angels was authoritative teaching.

Did Jesus Quote the Book of Enoch?

One author has quoted section 6-7  of the Book of Enoch as proof that Jesus quoted the book of Enoch. Here are the two sections.

6. But you from the beginning were made spiritual, possessing a life which is eternal, and not subject to death for ever.

7. Therefore I made not wives for you, because, being spiritual, your dwelling is in heaven.[1]

The book of Enoch was discussing angels and then made this statement. Then the author claims that Jesus was quoting the book of Enoch. We will ignore the obvious fact that Jesus’ statement is not an exact quote.

The more important question for us is whether Jesus was referring to this statement as Scripture. The answer is no since His point was that the Sadducees 1) did not understand what the Scriptures taught about the resurrection, and 2) they did not understand that what a person believes about God and the way a person lives in this life determines their destiny. Our eternal destiny is not determined by where one is born. If marriage was allowed in the afterlife, then babies could gain admission into heaven or hell by birth. That is contrary to every teaching in Scripture. That was what the Sadducees failed to understand from the Scriptures.

Conclusion:

Did Jesus quote the book of Enoch in Matthew 22:29-30? No! The Sadducees failed to understand the  Scriptures. Jesus’ comment about the angels was new revelation provided by Jesus Christ Himself. He was constantly providing new revelation in His teaching. He did the same thing in Matthew 22:29-30.

The book of Enoch is fiction. The Jews did not include the book of Enoch in the Hebrew Bible,  neither did the Roman Catholic Church or the Protestants in their Bibles.

 

 

Reference:

1. Book of Enoch. 6-7.

Suggested Links:

Why is the book of Enoch not included in the Bible?
Did Jude copy from the book of Enoch?
Is the book of Enoch inspired?
Is Phanuel an angel? The Book of Enoch refers to the angel Phanuel.