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I've mostly heard Jesus's Son of Man title considered to be a reference to Daniel (7:13-14; 8:16-18), but the use in Matthew 25:31 of "the son of man....on the throne of his glory" sounds a lot like 1 Enoch 69 Did Matthew intend this connection?

(For a defense of the dating of The Similitudes of Enoch prior to the gospel, see this extremely educational answer. This answer also points out that the son of man is later identified in this text as Enoch (71:14) which is a problem (!), but I'm not sure this completely rules out a literary connection.)

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@Frank Luke - is 70:17 at the link in this question correctly identified with 71:14 in your answer? If you could provide a link to an online version using your numbering I'd be happy to change my link. –  Susan Jul 8 at 17:36
    
In that passage, however, Matthew is relating what Jesus is saying, so if a connection is at all to 1 Enoch 68, it is being made by Jesus (according to Matthew's testimony) in reference to Himself (which would seem to further complicate a possible connection to Enoch based on what you state is the identity of the son of man in that work). –  ScottS Jul 8 at 18:33
    
@ScottS - good point. The notion that a text (particularly one I think we agree neither Matthew nor Jesus considered scriptural - I like the reasoning offered here) might be referenced out of context doesn't seem totally far-fetched, though. –  Susan Jul 8 at 18:56
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@Frank Luke - thanks, I changed my links to that one. Since there are a grand total of 3 questions about 1 Enoch on BH.SE, I figured it would be nice for anyone interested to only have to deal with one set of numbers. –  Susan Jul 8 at 19:39
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@Onlyheisgood - no, I hadn't considered that. The "son(s) of X" construction is such a common Hebraic phrase, and I'm not aware of it refering elsewhere to "X's words." If you know more about this and it's relevant to the question, I welcome you to contribute an answer. If it's not relevant to the relationship with 1 Enoch, you may want to consider asking a new question. –  Susan Jul 13 at 0:32
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The Connection is Unnecessary (Probably Unprovable)

It seems unprovable that it is certainly a reference to 1 Enoch 69:27 (see Frank Luke's answer for a possible connection), simply because there is too much other canonical OT background material to support the statement without such a direct connection.

The connection between the Son of Man and sitting on the throne of glory is found twice in Matthew (NKJV is the translation used herein):

19:28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

25:31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

1 Sam 2:8 is the earliest connection I am aware of between mankind and a throne of glory:

He [the LORD, v.7] raises the poor from the dust And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory.

This is a reference to a group inheritance for the poor (compare to Mt 5:3-5 about the poor and meek's position to come). NOTE: "the" (definite) throne of glory is not explicit in the Hebrew text (the definite article is not there), though that does not necessarily mean the concept may not be definite in the passage. So it may be each has their own throne (so inherit "a" throne of glory), or that each shares in a singular throne (inherit "the" throne of glory).

This is the only instance in the OT of an unqualified "throne of glory" (כִסֵּ֥א כָב֖וֹד). There are three other references to such a throne specifically made in the OT (easier to see in the Hebrew than English translations, as the Hebrew has the words next to each other as 1 Sam 2:8, whereas translations often put "glorious throne"):

Isa 22:23 I [the LORD, v.15] will fasten him [the Servant the LORD will call, v.20] as a peg in a secure place, And he will become a glorious throne [i.e. throne of glory] to his father’s house.

Jer 14:21 Do not abhor us, for Your [the LORD, v.20] name’s sake; Do not disgrace the throne of Your glory [i.e. throne of the glory of you, "throne" has the 2nd singular suffix "your" attached, כְבוֹדֶ֑ךָ]. Remember, do not break Your covenant with us.

Jer 17:12 A glorious high throne [i.e. high throne of glory] from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. [NOTE: "our sanctuary" may be the LORD speaking Himself, given that v.10-11 is such; but the could be Jeremiah, as v.13 is from his speaking perspective, and I lean toward this.]

So Isa 22:23 identifies this throne with the coming Servant (Messiah/Christ), and such a throne will be glorious to His father's house (in context referring to the house of David, v.22), which identifies the throne of glory as a human throne belonging to the heir of the house of David (cf. 2 Sam 7:13, 16). Jer 14:21, however, identifies a throne of glory belonging to the LORD Himself, and 17:12 (especially if read with v.13) appear to unite the idea of both a human and divine throne, His throne is our sanctuary by unity with Him (v.13).

The above four verses complete the OT "throne of glory" statements, which do link a human personage who is the coming Servant to the throne, but the concept is also found in less direct language in some other key passages.

Zechariah 6:13 prophesies of the priest-king, the coming BRANCH (v.12), in language of glory and throne:

Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” ’

Ezekiel 1:26, 28 has a heavenly vision that includes:

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

This is often viewed as a Christophany (pre-incarnant Christ on God's throne), but it clearly shows a relation to a figure like a human being that was an appearance of God's own glory ("the son of man" in Ezekiel is Ezekiel, though he may typify Christ even in this sense).

Daniel's Connection

With the above passages as additional background, now the connection of Dan 7:13-14 (which uses the "Son of Man" nomenclature that is so often used by Christ to speak of Himself) to rule and glory becomes more solidly connected to sitting on "the throne of glory":

13 “I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

The passage notes glory, and rulership (which is represented by the idea of throne), and the key "Son of Man" label. Because sitting on a throne of glory was elsewhere prophesied for humanity, and specifically the chief Servant of God, Jesus Christ (obviously from a Christian perspective; Messiah from a Jewish perspective), as the verses noted above show, the implication is that this throne is in relation to this same kingdom and dominion referred to in Daniel for the Son of Man.

Of the Similarities to Enoch

Taking this list from Frank Luke's answer (give credit to whom it is due), note how the same themes found in both Enoch and Matthew were reflected in the OT canon itself. This just demonstrates that both Enoch and Matthew were using the OT canon as source for their ideas (whether Matthew used Enoch or not, again, becomes hard to prove):

  1. The Son of Man sits on his throne in glory [I covered that extensively above]
  2. And judges the mighty of the world [judging is part of ruling, and ruling is explicit in Zech 6:13 and Dan 7:14, while implied by the "princes" reference of 1 Sam 2:8]
  3. The mighty are judged according to how they treated the poor [the connection to poor is in 1 Sam 2:8 explicitly, while 1 Sam 2:9-10 mention judgment generally; that the mighty are to be judged for treating the poor is in Isa 3:14 and other places].
  4. Both judges send out angels and reverse the fortunes of the judged (the poor are elevated, the mighty are cast down) [Angels in reference to God's throne and kingdom rule is found in Ps 103:19-20; angels are used for judgment in many places: Gen 19, Ps 78:49; Ezek 9]
  5. The mighty do not recognize the judge [that some do not recognize him is found in the verse following the throne of glory reference in Jer 17:12, v.13]
  6. No mercy is given and they are sent to a place of punishment [the opposite, a place of protection and sanctuary for those not punished, is found in the 1 Sam 2:8 and Jer 17:12 references, while some hints of a "place" of punishment is in 1 Sam 2:9, "in darkness," not to mention other notations of place of punishment in the OT not so directly tied to sitting on the throne of glory]

Conclusion

Whether one holds a connection to 1 Enoch or not will depend much on other factors on how one views the formation of the text of Scripture. It seems to me unnecessary, but I cannot prove it does not connect just as much as I believe it cannot be proven it does.

Given that it was Christ speaking (Matthew giving the record of the account in both places), that He wove together the above OT passages to make the statements He did about sitting on the throne seems more likely than Him quoting Enoch, especially since there is no evidence that book was taken as canonical by the Jews during Christ's time, as Frank's other answer about Enoch's canonicity notes.

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Did you intend that double negative in the last sentence, "no evidence that it was not..."? –  Susan Jul 12 at 23:25
    
@Susan No, I did not. Corrected. –  ScottS Jul 13 at 2:29
    
@ScottS, a work doesn't have to be canonical to be quoted in the New Testament. Paul quoted Greek philosophers and playwrights. Jude quotes The Assumption of Moses and 1 Enoch. Jesus often starts with what people are familiar with and expands it (sometimes even turning it around). –  Frank Luke Jul 16 at 16:42
    
@FrankLuke: Agreed that "a work doesn't have to be canonical to be quoted," but at the same time, such "quotes" need not actually be references from those works at all (unless specifically so noted, such as Paul's reference to the Greek philosophers). My argument here is that everything exists in the OT for Christ to make the statements He did about the Son of Man and the throne without the necessity of having any actual literary relation at all to 1 Enoch. Hence, possible, but unprovable; and also, as you said, why Enoch can have gotten some of it right (using the same OT source). –  ScottS Jul 16 at 17:09
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General Statements on Jesus' Son of Man and Enoch's Son of Man

There is a literary connection. Brad Young (a scholar who seeks to illuminate the words of the New Testament by their parallels in rabbinic and intertestamental literature) includes a section on Enoch's use of the Son of Man in his work Jesus the Jewish Theologian.1 In 1 Enoch 46, we read:

1 And there I saw one who had a 'Head of Days' and his head was white like wool. And with him there was another whose face had the appearance of a man and his face was full of grace like one of the Holy Angels. 2 And I asked one of the Holy Angels, who went with me and showed me all the secrets, about that Son of Man, who he was, and from where he was, and why he went with the Head of Days. 3 And he answered me, and said to me: "This is the Son of Man who has righteousness and with whom righteousness dwells. He will reveal all the treasures of that which is secret, for the Lord of Spirits has chosen him, and through uprightness his lot has surpassed all others, in front of the Lord of Spirits, forever. 4 And this Son of Man, who you have seen, will rouse the kings and the powerful from their resting places, and the strong from their thrones, and will loose the reins of the strong, and will break the teeth of the sinners.

While this imagery can all be found in the Old Testament, that Jesus (who was obviously aware of 1 Enoch both because He was God and because the book was popular in His day) was drawing from it to connect with his audience is more likely than Jesus piecing things together from the Old Testament. First of all, once Jesus uses the imagery that He does in His own Son of Man statements, the minds of the audience are going to go to 1 Enoch since the imagery there is so similar. If Jesus intended to not reference 1 Enoch, He would have chosen imagery that didn't match up with 1 Enoch.

The first thing to note is that the Son of Man is more than a mere man (as the Hebrew idiom can mean) and is more than a prophet (as Ezekiel uses the term). He stands next to God (the Chief of Days being the same as Daniel's Ancient of Days). The Son of Man is more than human. When Jesus used the term "Son of Man," His listeners wouldn't think only of Daniel, but they would have gone to the apocalyptic writings which use the term, e.g. 1 Enoch. This was the most powerful expression Jesus could use for the future deliverer.

Early Church Fathers, not having access to the Intertestamental writings, concluded that Jesus was referring to His humanity when he called himself "the Son of Man." However, they were unaware of the rich usage in the Jewish writings. Jesus is drawing together both aspects of His identity in this term.2 He is a man and a son of man, but more than that, He is the coming deliverer!

Similarities Between 1 Enoch and Jesus' Parable of the Son of Man Judging

Leslie W. Walck has written a book on this subject showing how the similarities in style and vocabulary demonstrate that Matthew was familiar with this section of Enoch (Parables of Enoch). He also presents evidence (summarizing the work of John J. Collins in The Apocalyptic Imagination, 153) that the section identifying Enoch with the Son of Man in 71:14 was a later addition. Though he also summarizes arguments for the authenticity of 1 Enoch 71.

As Walck points out, at the very least, the two stem from a common (Jewish) tradition. However, the similarities are striking. The Son of Man statements in Matthew and Parables of Enoch both share:

  1. The Son of Man sits on his throne in glory
  2. And judges the mighty of the world
  3. The mighty are judged according to how they treated the poor
  4. Both judges send out angels and reverse the fortunes of the judged (the poor are elevated, the mighty are cast down)
  5. The mighty do not recognize the judge
  6. No mercy is given and they are sent to a place of punishment

One may argue that since all the items can be found in the Old Testament, there is no reason to believe that Jesus was referring to Enoch. However, when so many of the elements are the same, the connection becomes much more probable. Indeed, the authors of the New Testament quote uninspired texts and use them in sermons on multiple occasions.

When there are so many similarities between the parable from Jesus and the well-known similitude of Enoch, the likelihood of literary influence becomes much higher.

Non Canonical Quotations in the New Testament

1 Enoch was a popular work, though not seen as inspired. It was never listed in any Jewish list of canon (for example Josephus specifies 22 books that line up with the modern, Jewish canon. The Qumranites never write commentary on it and in one of their letters state they recognize only the mainstream, Jewish canon). However, I know of no one who can make a decent case that Jude (the half-brother of Jesus) doesn't quote 1 Enoch in question in Jude 1:14-15.

Jude 1:14 Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, "Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, 1:15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Compare 1 Enoch 1:9

And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

Such arguments against Jude quoting 1 Enoch 1:9 come down to "Jude doesn't specifically say he's quoting from 1 Enoch, so even though it's as close as close can be, we'll just say it can't be concluded" or "Jude is drawing from the same source as the author of 1 Enoch, so of course they wind up similar" or "could be oral tradition from the real Enoch."

Jude also quotes from the Assumption of Moses:

Jude 1:9 But even when Michael the archangel was arguing with the devil and debating with him concerning Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a slanderous judgment, but said, "May the Lord rebuke you!"

Some argue that this is not a quote from Assumption (about a third of which is lost) but might be a combination of The Apocalypse of Moses (that Michael digs graves for the just), Zechariah 3, and 1 Enoch (an argument between Michael and Azazel). Either way, the pieces are there and the simplest answer is that Jude quoted these books. That does not make the sources inspired by any means.

The Apostle Paul even quotes Greek writers:

Acts 17:28 'For in him we live and move and have our being,' as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' [NIV]

First, he cites Epimenides of Crete (ca. 600 BC), "For in You do we live and move and have our being" (preserved in Clement of Alexandria Miscellanies 1.14.59.1-2). Next, he cites a famous poem of Aratus of Cilicia (c. 330 BC and friend of Zeno, founder of the Stoics, possibly from Tarsus), "All the ways are full of Zeus, and all the market-places of human beings. The sea is full of him; so are the harbors. In every way we have all to do with Zeus, for we are truly his offspring" (Phaenomena, line 5, emphasis added).

Titus 1:12 A certain one of them, in fact, one of their own prophets, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."

That is a quotation of Epimenides Paradox. It was originally stated by Epimenides of Knossos circa 600 BC.

They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one
The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being.

— Epimenides, *Cretica*

Similarly, Jesus refers to the Essenic work War Between the Sons of Light and Sons of Darkness in John 12:36.

John 12:36 "While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light."

The term "sons of light" appears in two bodies of work: Christian writings and the Dead Sea Scrolls. You will not find the term in the Hebrew Scriptures. Since the DSS predate Jesus' ministry (the last new material from Qumran dates to approximately the same time as Jesus, and everything written after that is copies of earlier material). War Scroll is dated to either the second century BC or the early decades of the first century AD. Logically, Jesus is referring to the concepts from War Scroll.

He also quotes pharisaic tradition in Matthew 15:5-6. While He doesn't approve of how they have nullified Scripture, He shows He is familiar with it. It should be noted that Jesus argues using sources that His audience accepts. For example, when the Sadducees challenge Him regarding Levirate marriage in Matthew 22:23ff, Jesus sticks to Torah for his response because they accepted only the five books of Moses as authoritative. However, when He spoke with Pharisees, Jesus quoted from anywhere in the Tanak as well as their oral tradition (sometimes called "traditions of the fathers"). Many of Jesus' parables even share much in common with Pharisaical parables.

One of the most influential Pharisees prior to Jesus was Hillel the Elder. That Jesus was familiar with the teachings of the most famous teacher of the prior generation (and grandfather of Rabban Gamaliel the Edler, the most famous of Jesus' generation) cannot be questioned.3

Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary; Go now and study the commentary." BT Shabbat 31a

In Matthew 7:12, "Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets." Jesus reverses the first part. However, "That is the whole of Torah" would be the same as "This is the meaning of the [Tanak]."

Some Christians find these quotes from noncanonical sources unsettling, especially when they are quoted with approval. However, in all cases, the speaker/writer is using the traditions that the audience is familiar with to lead them to a deeper walk with God (in some cases, such as Acts 17, this first involves bringing them to repentance).

However, these works can be quoted and alluded to without the whole work being therefore seen as authoritative. None of the references include the common introduction to an inspired work "it is written."

Jesus' Disagreement with First Enoch

Those quotes mean the writer/speaker got that part right (even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally). Truth does not have to be original to be true. In this case, Jesus is saying that the pictures of how the Son of Man comes in glory are correct, but the identity of the Son of Man with Enoch is not correct (similar to when he quotes the traditions of the fathers and then turns them around such as "You have heard it said..., but I say to you"). This can be seen in how Jesus describes himself as the Son of Man.

Of the many uses of Son of Man as a self reference:

Matthew 20:17-19 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve aside privately and said to them on the way, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the experts in the law. They will condemn him to death, and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged severely and crucified. Yet on the third day, he will be raised.”

Mark 10:32-34 They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem. Jesus was going ahead of them, and they were amazed, but those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and experts in the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him severely, and kill him. Yet after three days, he will rise again.”

Luke 18:31-34 Then Jesus took the twelve aside and said to them, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; he will be mocked, mistreated, and spat on. They will flog him severely and kill him. Yet on the third day he will rise again.”

These predictions of the death (and resurrection) of the Son of Man would have been anathema to the writer of Enoch who identified the Son of Man as ever triumphant.


1Brad Young. Jesus the Jewish Theologian.

2Ibid. 250f.

3There were two divisions of Pharisees in Jesus' day: Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai. As shown consistently in the Talmud, Hillel is merciful and lenient while Shammai is rigid and strict. Jesus usually sides with Hillel but on matters of morality, Jesus sides with Shammai (e.g. Hillel's teaching easy divorce while Shammai was strict in when he allowed it).

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I think this answer would be much stronger if you cited an authoritative source to back up your "yes". (Not that you aren't authoritative... :) ) –  Jas 3.1 Jul 8 at 19:14
    
@Jas3.1, found one. –  Frank Luke Jul 8 at 19:24
    
I'm curious if you read the work you link to (I suspect so, but am wondering). Specifically, if so, does the author attempt to prove a literary connection, since the short blurb on it simply says a similarity in "the shaping of Matthew's concept [Son of Man with judgment scene] in the direction of" Enoch. It also notes consensus is moving for Enoch as dating "late first century" (which in some views would put it contemporary, if not after, Matthew... in which case Enoch might borrow from Matthew instead). –  ScottS Jul 8 at 20:42
    
I also had the same thought regarding the Sons of Light scroll; on what basis can it be definitively said Jesus was referring to that text, rather than simply drawing on a common apocalyptic tradition? –  Mark Edward Jul 8 at 20:50
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@ScottS, I have not read all of it, unfortunately. I did note that he says "late first century BCE." –  Frank Luke Jul 8 at 20:53
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