The Second Witness: Is He the Prophet Enoch? Part II
The Second Witness:
Is He the Prophet Enoch? Part II
“And I will give power to my Two Witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” [Revelation 11:3]
Views from the Early Fathers
Irenaeus tells us that the Prophet Enoch was the legate of God to the angels, a very high office indeed!
“Enoch, too, pleasing to God…. discharged the office of God’s legate to the angels although he was a man, and was translated, and is preserved unto now as a witness of the just Judgment of God, because the angels when they had transgressed fell to the earth for judgment, but the man who pleased God was translated for salvation.”
Irenaeus believed the translation of both the Prophet Enoch and Elijah to be anticipatory of the way the Just would someday be translated. For now, they abide in Paradise, and will remain there “until the consummation of all things, as a prelude to immortality.”
Clement of Alexander also held that the Prophet Enoch was “translated and death was never known to him”, as did almost all of his contemporaries. The Apocryphal “Gospel of Nicodemus”, which Konstantin von Tischendorf placed in the second century, [which is probably too early] is the work of a Christian imbued with Hellenistic views. During a vivid description of Christ’s ascent out of the Underworld, in the company of Adam and “as many as have died through the tree which he touched”, the following scene occurs:
“And as they were going into the door of Paradise, there met them two old men, to whom the Holy Father said: Who are you, who have not seen death, and have not come down into Hades….? One of them answered…. I am Enoch…. who was translated…. And this is Helias….and we are to live until the end of the world; and then we are to be sent by God to withstand Antichrist, and to be slain by him, and after three days to rise again, and to be snatched up in clouds to meet the Lord.”
Another Apocryphal work, “The History of Joseph the Carpenter”, also identifies the Two Witnesses as the Prophet Enoch and Elijah.
“Enoch and Elias, must toward the end of time return into the world and die – in the day named, of commotion, of terror, of perplexity and affliction.”
From the Apocryphal “Apocalypse of Paul”, to Origen’s “De Principiis”, to the “Paschal Cannon” of Anatolius, Bishop of Laodicea, the belief that Enoch and Elijah would return, again in the last days was ubiquitous in the early Church. “It was a primitive opinion in the Church that Elijah was to come, with the Prophet Enoch, at the end of the world.”
Tertullian, the first of the Latin Fathers, believed Enoch to be “The Consummator of the New Testament.” He also accepted the “Book of Enoch” as canonical, and he believed that it was the prophesies of Enoch that were preached by Noah to his generation, and that these same prophesies would be preached again by Enoch to the final generation.