The Book of Enoch: Scripture, Heresy, or What?

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Many Christians are afraid to attribute truth value to ancient books outside the canon of the Bible. They fear that somehow the authority of Scripture will be compromised or worse, other texts may be falsely considered as Scripture. The book of 1 Enoch is one of those controversial books that has a long history of squabbling over its veracity and influence on Bible interpretation. This free paper I wrote is an introduction to the ancient book of 1Enoch, its content, its history, its affirmation in the New Testament, and its acceptance and rejection by the Christian Church.

https://www.academia.edu/8811960/The_Book_of_Enoch_Scripture_Heresy_or_What

You can buy my lecture on the Book of Enoch online download, or, DVD or rent at Amazon.

 

Goliath Was Not Alone

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Goliath has gotten so much attention when it comes to the story of David that some people think he’s the only giant spoken of in the Bible. But there are two other passages in 1 Chronicles, with parallel passages in 2 Samuel that explain the giants defeated by David and his Mighty Men.

1 Chronicles 11:22–23

22 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel… And he struck down an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits tall. [7 1/2 to 8 feet] The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver’s beam.

1 Chronicles 20:4–8

4 And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai [or Saph: 2 Sam. 21:18], who was one of the descendants of the giants... 5And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 6 And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. 7 And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, struck him down. 8 These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

2 Samuel 21:16–22

16 And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him.

So in addition to Goliath, we have five other giants being killed by David’s men. 1) Benaiah killed an Egyptian giant, 2) Sibbecai killed the giant Sippai [Saph], 3) Elhanan killed the giant Lahmi, brother of Goliath, 4) Jonathan killed an unnamed giant, and 5) Abishai killed Ishbi-benob the giant.

But these are not mere chronicling of random deaths of a few tall bad guys. There is meaning and deliberation behind these facts. There is deliberate intent by the author to link these giants to the Nephilim of Genesis 6 whose diabolical plan was thwarted by God with the Flood.

Firstly, most are summarized in the same context, indicating a literary and theological purpose behind combining them together. Secondly, except for the Egyptian, they are all Philistines fighting Israel. In Joshua 11:21-22 we read that Joshua deliberately sought out the Anakim giants in Canaan and cut them off everywhere in the hill country. But then it gives this qualification: “There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain.”

So, some giants were left by Joshua – in the land of Philistia. The very cities from which came the giants David would fight, including Goliath. It was almost as if God was deliberately keeping the last of the giants in order to finally destroy them through his messianic king. They were the leftover giants from Joshua’s conquest, and they were linked back to the evil Nephilim before the flood (Num. 13:32-33).

And there is strong indication that the giants were trying to kill David specifically as well. Ishbi-benob is said to explicitly have been trying to kill David (2 Sam. 21:16); another one “taunted Israel” (1Chron 20:7), the same phrasing used of Goliath; and of course, Lahmi, Goliath’s brother, would no doubt have revenge against the slayer of his sibling on his mind.

But there is still more to this picture.

The English phrase used of the giants in these passages is that they were “descendants of the giants.” It is used three times in 1 Chron. 20 and four times in 2 Sam. 21. The authors go out of their way to stress these warriors as connected to that special group of giants that were theologically tied to the Nephilim of Genesis 6.

This narrative theological thread of giants from the Nephilim of Noah’s day to the Rephaim of David’s time conspires to imply a deliberate summary of climactic conflict between the titan Seed of the Serpent in Canaan and the Seed of Abraham from Eve.

But a closer look at the original Hebrew behind the translation “descendants of the giants” in 1 Samuel and 1 Chronicles reveals much more then merely being linked to those oversized warriors left alive by Joshua in Philistia.

Biblical scholar Conrad E. L’Heureux examines this Hebrew phrase, yalid ha rapha, that translates as “descendants of the giants.” He explains that the word rapha, is the specific word for the Rephaim giants and warriors in the Bible. But the word yalid, “never refers to genealogical lineage. Rather, the yalid was a person of slave status and dedicated to the deity who was head of the social unit into which he was admitted by a consecration.”[1]

DavidCoverMedResThis religious devotion indicates that the “descendants of the giants” can be translated as the “devotees of Rapha.” L’Heureux concludes that this was probably some kind of reference to an elite cult of warriors religiously bound to their Rephaim code. What was that code? Was it to hunt down and destroy the Seed of Eve, the messianic king?

The discoveries of Ugarit in relation to the Bible shed light on the Rephaim as deified dead giant warriors,[2]. Thus, the origin of my elite corps of giants in David Ascendant called the Yalid ha Rapha or my colloquial adaptation, the “Sons of Rapha,” bound by oath to their own Seed (of the Serpent) to destroy the messianic Seed of Eve, David.

Click here to pre-order your Kindle version of David Ascendant
Click here for the book trailer, author interview, artwork.

 

 

[1] Conrad E. L’Heureux “The yelîdê hārāpā': A Cultic Association of Warriors,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 221,(Feb., 1976), pp. 83-85.

[2] See Brian Godawa, Enoch Primordial Appendix on the Rephaim,( Los Angeles, CA, Embedded Pictures Publishing, 2012), pp 364-366.

 

 

The Equalizer: Cathartic Violence in an Unjust America

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Maybe The Equalizer is just a violent guys vigilante revenge flick.
But I doubt it.

I saw this a week or so ago. But it’s been on my mind a bit because it was such a good story. It got me thinking about vigilante movies and why they are so emotionally moving.

The story is about Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, an ex-CIA killer, who has gotten out of the Company, and is trying to live a normal life as a blue collar worker at a Home Depot like company. He lives alone and has OCD, which makes him a little too orderly, but without losing his friendliness for people. Denzel meets a young hooker, played my Chloe Grace Moretz, at the diner where he reads a book. Of course, he is an honorable guy and tries to inspire her to leave her world and live a better life. He tells her something to the effect of “We can do anything we choose to do to make our lives better.” She is abused by her pimps, who are Russian mob and so Robert tries to “buy her freedom.” He goes to the headquarters of the Russian mob and offers them all the money he has, $9800 to let her go. They laugh at him, and then attempt to put him out of his misery.

They should not have done that.

Robert kills them all, which starts a hunt by the big boss of those bad guys, and well, you know the rest. It’s all very formulaic. But it’s fantastic. I have written about revenge movies and vigilante violence as being immoral in posts on The Punisher, Walking Tall and Sin City, and my most detailed in reference to A Time To Kill. In Man on Fire Denzel’s character learns that he can only save the innocent with self sacrifice not revenge, which is also an ironic challenge to vigilanteism.

But what makes this a great moral movie is how they play Robert’s approach. He is not a vigilante killer who goes around and kills people he thinks deserves to die outside the law. He actually offers evildoers a face to face opportunity to right their wrong or to repay their victims. He confronts them with their sin and challenges them to repent. Then he only takes them out, when the bad guys, who obviously laugh at him and never repent, then try to hurt or kill him. So he is actually acting in self defense, which is completely legal and morally justifiable.

At one point we see that Robert is reading Don Quixote, and he says something like, “it’s about a knight in a world without chivalry,” which is clearly the theme of this movie. We have lost our heroic chivalrous nature because of our corruption.

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It got me thinking: Why are vigilante stories so powerful? Why do they draw us in with such a strong cheer for the hero? It’s not because we just like to see violence. I believe it is because they are cathartic in giving us stories of justice in a society where justice is blocked by corruption. When our own society becomes so corrupt and unjust, normal law abiding citizens become so saddened and frustrated with the evil that goes unpunished. We long for justice that is not being served. So vigilante movies (And again, The Equalizer is not the immoral vigilante type) serve to satisfy that desire that evil will be punished.

And then I realized why this movie is so timely and resonant. Right now, we live in a society of widespread injustice and increasing polarization. Liberals say we have an unjust racist society, conservatives say we have a society that is peddling false racism as a dog whistle that creates reverse racism and justification for racist knockout games, flash mobs and riots. Liberals say we are denying global warming, conservatives that we are denying Islamic terrorism. Liberals say we need Big Government because we are so unjust, conservatives say we have a corrupt unjust Big Government with a president who is violating the constitution with Executive Orders, and using the IRS and FBI to persecute his political enemies and influence elections. Liberals would say our laws are unjust regarding immigration and gun control, conservatives would say we have a corrupt Department of Justice and a criminal racist Attorney General who violated the laws he swore to uphold with racist policies, defiant non-enforcement and criminal conspiracies like Fast and Furious. Both sides warn of increasing militarized police.

What do you think?

Maybe The Equalizer is just a violent guys vigilante revenge flick.
But I doubt it.

Gone Girl: Cynical Feminism Come of Age

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Maybe Gone Girl is just a twisty “artistic” thriller.

But I doubt it.

Watching the first half of this movie has all the hallmarks of a good David Fincher directed thriller. Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne arrives home to discover his wonderful wife, Rosamund Pike as Amy is missing and there is little evidence of it being foul play. Ah, but there is a little evidence and it begins to mount in the direction of Ben’s guilt. We hear the thoughts of Ben Affleck as he caresses his wife’s head in a flashback with the double entendre allusions to him wishing he could crack open her head so he could understand the way she thinks. Okay, pretty on the nose, but makes the point of a good thriller that we must not be sure of the hero’s innocence.

It is not until the midpoint big twist of the movie that we begin to see this is not a standard thriller, but a “statement” about modern marriage, because characters begin to make unbelievable choices and the plot conveniently twists in additional unbelievable ways, all in the support of the storyteller’s “message” they are apparently trying to make.

SPOILER: Okay, look, I’m not interested in writing movie reviews. I want to talk about worldviews and meanings of movies and how they affect our lives. So I have to spill the beans. So don’t read me for movie reviews anyway.

Amy is a trust fund princess and Nick, the fast talking alpha male to replace her controlling parents. At the halfway point, we discover that Amy has constructed the entire scenario to look like a murder, so that she could punish Nick for losing his job and therefore self-worth and for his secret adultery on the side. Amy is on the run hiding her identity and even plans to kill herself originally, all to get back at Nick for ruining her life (a common feminist interpretation of how male dominance leads women to self-destruction). Nick gets a hot defense attorney and they begin to play the media image as they try to find Amy. Meanwhile, Amy ends up at the hideaway of a past stalker who was obsessed with her and is now rich himself. He is still obsessed with her and seeks to “help her” by controlling her and turning her into his puppet of pleasure, barefoot and lingerie laden at home. She finally plots another frame up of this creep and murders him.

There is a truth that Dennis Prager writes about and talks about on his Male/Female Hour on the radio. Feminists, egalitarians, leftists, metrosexuals, and other Christophobes will HATE me for saying this truth. But it is how God made us: What a woman most wants is to be loved by a man she admires, and what men most want from the woman they love is to be admired. What is a simple truism for those of us happily married (and not), becomes a kind of natural law against which this story struggles with all its soul like a rat trying to claw its way out of a cage.

Watching this movie, one can feel the palpable hatred that the storytellers must have for traditional marriage, seeing it as an oppression of women under the thumb of men who use them for their own pleasure and prop up of worth, while it smothers their own self worth. It depicts a marriage that starts out like all marriages, happy and blissful, but then over time, it dies down and crumbles. In this worldview, men are simple pigs who see women always in sexual terms and can’t pick their own ties. Women ruin themselves, just like Amy, by their desire to have a man to admire, so they try to create that man by picking his ties and put aside their own worth to try to prop him up. Can anyone blame Amy’s lack of choices by running from the slouch loser of Nick to the help of her past stalker, who is himself a cliché of controlling women through a patriarchal protection that is actually sick and twisted?

Like all good stories, Gone Girl tries to throw in some opposites for good ambiguity. So a male/female pair of grifters rob Amy when she is on the run, and they appear to be led by the woman, not the man. But then again, the man is a lowlife male who is easily manipulated into such things, another cliché of feminist narratives, just like Nick and just like the stalker. Men are easily manipulated because they are driven by their little heads. We also discover that another guy was unjustly indicted for rape charges by Amy in college because he didn’t turn out to be what she wanted. So she is a sociopath, but a sociopathic expression of a value in our society. But in this story, it seems that is what it takes to make the marriage “work.”

Families don’t get a good shake in this film. Amy’s parents use her as their story source to make millions writing children’s stories. And then borrow away the trust fund money they saved for her out of their guilt. The local woman with multiple children is the “stupid pregnant woman” that Amy manipulates to achieve her deception. And in the end, Amy comes back to Nick and offers him the opportunity for them both to stay together. She does this because she “falls in love” with him again when he pleads with her on national television with a secret message. He becomes that man that she can admire again.

The obvious absurdity that the storytellers have to get us over: Who would possibly reunite with a murderer sociopath? You’re right. No one in their right moral mind would.

In the end Nick chooses to stay with Amy and live the lie! The fact that she is a deluded scheming murderer is overridden by the fact that their marriage gives them both what they need, for her, an alpha male to admire, and for him, a woman who would do anything for his acceptance. I think this is a black comedy of sorts because that choice is CLEARLY NOT the right choice morally and therefore unsatisfying for those who want justice to prevail in a story. But that is the point of black comedies that show darkness win, I think the storytellers are trying to make the point that staying together in marriage with these beliefs requires the subjugation of a woman’s identity to a man’s strength that will drive her to do evil things to maintain that value.

It’s possible that the author is trying to show that our male and female natures taken to an extreme can become self-destructive. But if that is the case, then I think the story fails because it does not depict a proper balance of those natures against which to judge the extreme. The result of this kind of one-sided depiction is a generic statement about those natures as being all bad.

I am a sinner who needs God’s grace daily, and I don’t have a perfect marriage. But I can say that a happy marriage is not achieved by turning men into women (ie: metro girly men), or by demanding egalitarian equality of power (which is itself power-driven), or by denying our male and female natures (which is self-delusion). Rather, it is achieved through self sacrifice and dying to one’s self. It comes from a woman being loved by a man she admires and by a man being admired by the woman he loves.

Maybe Gone Girl is just a twisty “artistic” thriller.

But I doubt it.

 

Goliath May Have Been Bigger Than We Thought

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In King David’s story there are five passages that contain giants in the narrative. The most famous one is 1 Samuel 17 that tells the story of Goliath. In fact, that story is so famous, it seems that some Christians think he’s the only giant in the Bible! Others say he wasn’t much of a giant at all. That’s because there are textual problems with the sources we have for the English text of the Old Testament.

In 1 Samuel 17:4, Goliath is described as being “6 cubits and a span.” Scholarly consensus describes the “cubit” as being approximately 18 inches, measured by the distance between an average man’s elbow and forefinger. A “span” is about half of that length, which is about the distance of an outstretched hand, or 9 inches. So by these standards, Goliath’s “6 cubits and a span” was about 9 feet, 9 inches tall.

But there is a problem with that measurement. The 6 1/2 cubit dimension is taken from the Hebrew Masoretic Texts (MT), which are not always the most reliable in their transmission history. Some scholars point out that the Septuagint (LXX), the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Josephus after them describe Goliath at only “4 cubits and a span,” which would make him more like 6 feet, 9 inches tall. According to archeological estimates of discovered remains in Canaan, the average Jew was about 5 feet, 6 inches tall.[1] This shorter version of Goliath would still be a tall man compared to the average ancient Jew, but not at all the supernatural monstrosity of 9 feet, 9 inches tall.

But scholar Clyde Billington has pointed out that the DSS and Josephus may have taken their cue from the LXX, which was translated in Egypt. Egypt’s royal cubit was consistently at 20.65 inches.[2] It is entirely reasonable that the LXX translators would adjust the Biblical numbers to coincide with their own definitions of measurement. Using the Egyptian cubit would make Goliath’s height from the LXX come out to just over 9 feet tall – the same height as in the MT. Rather than the MT exaggerating Goliath’s size for mythic effect, the later translators most likely translated the Hebrew measurement to match their local Egyptian measurements.

A further complication arises when one considers the fact that Moses had been raised and educated as royalty in Egypt. So he and the Exodus Israelites no doubt used the Egyptian royal cubit in their measurements. The question then is whether or not the original Hebrew text translated that cubit measurement to the smaller Mesopotamian/Levantine common cubit.

There is an indication in other Biblical texts of the awareness of this cubit difference. The writer of the Chronicles (written much later in Israel’s history during the exile) makes this distinction when describing the dimensions of Solomon’s temple. He writes, “the length, in cubits of the old standard, was sixty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits” (2 Chron. 3:3). Ezekiel describing the measurements of the temple in his vision also makes this distinction of cubit difference as well when he writes, “the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth)” (Ezek. 43:13). He later calls this a “long cubit” (Ezek. 41:8). So these parentheticals written by authors around the time of the exile indicate that during that time, there was still an awareness of the older longer Egyptian royal cubit as if they had been still using it up until that date.[3]

If we apply this longer cubit measurement to Goliath’s 6 cubits and a span, we get a height of about 10 1/2 feet tall![4] And the Egyptian warrior that was killed by Benaiah (1 Chron. 11:23) 8 feet 6 inches tall. Remember Og of Bashan, whose bed was 9 cubits long? (Deut. 3:11). That might make his bed approximately 15 1/2 feet long and Og about 13 to 14 feet tall (The longer cubit however is most likely not being used in reference to Og’s height since the text says it is measuring “according to the common cubit” as opposed to the royal cubit).

Whichever way one measures a cubit, Goliath was a giant.

You can read my novel about Goliath and the five other giant Rephaim assassins who sought to kill King David. I kid you not. It’s in the Bible. Check it out below.

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The War of the Seed continues with the Philistines vs. the Messiah King of Israel.

Click here to pre-order your Kindle version of David Ascendant
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[1] G. Ernest Wright, “Troglodytes and Giants in Palestine,” Journal of Biblical Literature 57:3 (Sept 1938): 305-309.
[2] Clyde E. Billington, “Goliath and The Exodus Giants: How Tall Were They?” JETS, 50/3 (September 2007) 489-508.
[3] Conservative scholars claim that Moses wrote the Pentateuch during the time of the Exodus, so that would most likely mean that the older longer cubit was used in those texts. Critical scholars claim that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, but that it was mostly written and/or compiled during the time of the Exile which would mean they most likely used the newer shorter cubit in the Pentateuch, but then made some reference to that older cubit in Chronicles and Ezekiel to remind their readers of the changeover. However, this does not change the fact that the longer cubit was still being used long past the time of the exile.
[4] If this is the case, then the Septuagint translators misunderstood the cubit of the Hebrew text as being the smaller cubit, when in fact it was the larger Egyptian cubit. They would then be translating the number incorrectly downward.

This is Why I Have Been Silent Lately

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David Ascendant, Book 7 of my Chronicles of the Nephilim is Now Available for Kindle Pre-Order.

Everyone knows the story of David.
Or so you think.
No one has heard it told this way before.

See the Book Trailer, Author Interview, and Cool Art, Then Pre-Order here:
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