Gambar halaman

its snow and ice, its thirst and shivering. Through the fourth heaven go the courses of the sun and moon. There are the great gates through which they pass, and Enoch hears the song of the elements of the sun, and the wonderful music of the angels, sweet and incessant, which it is impossible to describe.” In the fifth heaven he sees the Satans, or “ Grigori,” the original heavenly rebels, sad and silent, who at his rebuke break into a pitiful song to the Lord. In the sixth are the archangels and the angels of Nature singing at God's footstool, while the seventh is the precinct of God's throne; there the angelic orders come in turn to the steps and “ sing songs in the boundless light with small and tender voices. It is in the tenth Heaven that Enoch is brought into the Presence, and sees God's face. There he is anointed and robed in glorious garments, and writes the three hundred and sixty-five books of all knowledge, and of all human destiny, and sitting by Gabriel hears the great secrets of God, how He formed the visible from the invisible : for before all things were visible, I alone used to go about in the invisible things, like sun from east to west, and from west to east. But even the sun has peace in itself, while I found no peace- : how heaven and the angels, and earth were formed and lastly man “ of seven consistencies, his flesh from the earth, his blood from the dew, his eyes from the sun, his bones from stone, his intelligence from the swiftness of the angels and from cloud; his veins and hair from the grass of the earth; his soul from My breath and from wind.” Man is child both of visible and invisible, he is a second angel, and bears the name ADAM, whose four letters are the initials of the four quarters. Enoch is told to hand on the books to his children, and to return to earth to teach them for

ty days. The rest of the book contains his instruction. He inculcates obedience to rulers, a life of kindness and charity, and altogether deprecates the value of sacrifice : God demands pure hearts, and with all that only tests the heart of man." Swearing is forbidden : “ If there is no truth in men let them swear by the words “ yea, yea,” or else nay, nay.” And they are to return good for evil. It is striking to find kindness to animals dwelt upon; in fact the souls of the animals “will not perish, till the great judgement, and they will accuse man, if he feed them ill.”

All the duties of life are to be done with the pervading sense that it is the world of God's creation in which we are involved, and that God sees everything. If you

look to heaven the Lord is there; if you take thought of the sea's depth, and all the underworld the Lord is there."

The book ends with an account of a three-days' feast after Enoch's final translation.

There are many striking similarities of expression and thought which seem to show that the writers of the New Testament are in some measure dependent on this book. In the Gospels “Blessed are the peacemakers," recalls "Blessed is he who implants peace. The verse (xlix. I): I swear not by oath, neither by heaven, nor by earth, nor by any other creature . if there is no truth in them let them swear by the words 'yea, yea' or 'nay, nay,' is surely the basis of Matt. v. 34-37: Again, John xiv. 2 is certainly connected with: “In the great time to come-are many mansions prepared for men, good for the good, bad for the bad” (1xi.2). There are also many striking parallels with St. Paul and Hebrews; e. g. xlii. 12:

Blessed is he in whom is truth, that he may speak truth to his neighbour" (cf. Eph. iv. 25), and xxv. 1:

I commanded . . . that visible things should come down from invisible seems to be at the back of Heb. xi. 3: What is seen hath not been made of things that do appear.' In Revelation there are similar likenesses, e. g. ix. 1: There was given to him the key of the pit of the abyss," cf. “The keyholders and guards of the gates of hell” (xlii. I).

Note.-Charles and Morfill's edition (1896).

[ocr errors]


This interesting book only exists in a Syriac translation from the Greek, which was itself translated from the Hebrew. It is one of many works attributed to Baruch. It must have been written after the Fall of Jerusalem A.D. 70, and probably before the end of the century. It is, therefore, contemporaneous with the great mass of New Testament literature, "and furnishes records of the Jewish doctrines and beliefs of that period, and of the arguments which prevailed in Judaism in the latter half of the first century, with which its leaders sought to uphold its declining faith and confront the attacks of a growing and aggressive Christianity” (Charles). It is a last example from the standpoint of orthodox Pharisaism, of the freer and more poetical side of Jewish thought, and though generally pessimistic in tone, has still its glorious visions of a bright Messianic future.

Scholars differ as to whether it is of composite or single authorship. To Canon Charles its conflicting views of the Messiah and other points of theology, and the interblended light and shade of its outlook make it certainly composite. Clemen, on the other hand, holds that the writer merely incorporated varying apocalyptic matter, while Prof. Burkitt lays stress on the likelihood that a seer's visions at different periods faithfully recorded are not bound to be harmonious. All would agree that it includes an amount of earlier material, somewhat crudely put together.

The book is supposed to be Baruch's account of what happened to him at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, but, as Dr. Oesterley remarks,“ the narrative is to be understood as referring to the present time from the author's point of view.” It falls into seven sections, of which the following is a short synopsis.

I. (i.-xii.). The imminent fall of the city is announced, and the Chaldæans come. But four angels overthrow the walls, and bury the holy things of the Temple, and a voice is heard : “Enter ye enemies, for he who kept the house has forsaken it.

II. (xiii.-xx.). The question of the incomprehensible judgements of God, by which the righteous suffer, is considered. The counsel is : “ Look to the end.

For now it is the consummation of time that should be considered, whether of business, or prosperity, or shame, and not the beginning thereof” (xix. 5).

III. (xxi.-xxxiv.). The time of tribulation for the wicked of the whole earth is foretold, leading up to the Messianic age. Baruch tells the elders that the Law is to be their stay, amid the fall of everything around them.

IV. (xxxv.-xlvi.). Baruch's vision of the cedar and the vine, which remains when the cedar is dust. The cedar is probably Pompey, and the vine is the Messiah. Baruch is told of his coming death.

V. (xlvii.-lii.). Account of the Resurrection Body. For the sake of recognition all will rise exactly as they lived on earth; after the judgement the transformation to glory or shame shall take place.

VI. (liii. lxxvi.). The vision of the cloud rising out of the sea, the water beneath is alternately dark and bright twelve times. Thus is portrayed the successive faithfulness and apostasy of the Jewish people. The culmination is the appearance of twelve rivers typifying the Messiah's reign.

VII. (lxxvii. lxxxvii.). Baruch sends two letters: one to the nine and a half tribes, and the other to the two and a half tribes in Babylon. The latter is not given, and is supposed by Canon Charles to be partially incorporated in the apocryphal Baruch 1. The former insists that the exiles suffer a just judgement of God, that their oppressors shall be punished, and that they must observe the Law rigidly.

“The righteous have been gathered,
And the prophets have fallen asleep;
And we also have gone forth from the land,
And Zion has been taken from us ;
And we have nothing now save the
Mighty One and His Law.” (LXXXV. 3.)

Baruch binds the letter to the neck of the eagle, who is to carry it, and the book ends somewhat abruptly.

The teaching of the book elucidates that of our Lord and of St. Paul by contrast. We see how an orthodox Pharisee felt about the paramount duty of obedience both to the oral and the written Law. Shepherds, and lamps, and fountains come from the Law, and though we depart yet the Law abideth.” We see how intensely he believed that salvation depended on works, i. e. obedience, and how good works provided a treasury of merit to be shared by others. We see the Jew wrestling with the same problems as St. Paul-Sin, Free-will, and Predestination. Two lines here are very suggestive : Each one of us hath been the Adam of his own soul” (liv. 19), and “O Adam, what hast thou done to all those who are born of thee !” They represent in striking phrase the great antinomy which the writer is powerless to resolve. Section V. takes us again into the very sphere of St. Paul's thought when he wrote to the Corinthian Christians of the Resurrection Body. With regard to the Messiah there seem to be conflicting views. In xxiv.-xxx. the Messianic Kingdom will follow the manifold woes before the judgement; but the Messiah returns to heaven, after being revealed. In the other, i.e. xxxix., xl., we have a full description of the war of the Messiah against Israel's foes, and of His reign on earth in joy and peace until the Resurrection.

In spite of this the message to the tribes falls back

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »