And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints,…
The first thing to be considered is, where or whence St. Jude obtained this prediction of Enoch — whether from immediate revelation, or from tradition, or from some book then extant in the Church. There is indeed an apocryphal book, "The Book of Enoch," which appears to have been often used by the early Fathers, and to have acquired a great celebrity in the first days of Christianity. For centuries this book was supposed to have been lost, and our only knowledge of it was derived from quotations in other writings. An Ethiopic version was at length discovered in Ethiopia, and brought to England by the well-known traveller, Bruce. In this book there are passages which answer very nearly to the prophecy recorded by St. Jude. It has therefore been a common supposition that the apostle derived from this book the prediction which he ascribes to the patriarch. But the likelihood is that the Book of Enoch was written after the Epistle of St. Jude, so that Jude could not have drawn the prophecy from the book; but, rather, the writer of the book inserted in it the prophecy that he might give to his forgery the appearance of truth. We may believe, therefore, that in all probability Jude was informed of the prediction by immediate revelation. But whatever the source whence the apostle derived it, we may be certain that the prophecy was actually delivered by Enoch. The prophecy may indeed have had a primary reference to the Flood; but it is evident, from the application of the prediction by St. Jude, that Enoch pointed at events, of which the Deluge and its accompaniments were but feeble types. We are expressly informed that Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years; so that whatever pre-eminence in piety was denoted by "walking with God," it is evident that Enoch possessed it from early days, and retained it to the last. He is thus an instance alike of youthful conversion and uniform consistency. Neither was he content, whilst having his conversation in heaven, to allow the wickedness of others to pass unrebuked. Here it is that his prophetic character comes in, and when you couple his preaching with his own translation, you may perceive that, by and through him, was information given to an antediluvian world on points which many have supposed left in impenetrable obscurity. These points are those of a future life, and a retributive economy, which shall decide men's portions in another state of being. Thus was Enoch to the antediluvian world what Elijah was to those who lived beneath the law — a mighty demonstration of another state of being. Who had a right to question that the soul perished not with the body — nay, that even the body was not to lie for ever in the dust, when a patriarch had departed from the world, yielding not to death, and asking not a sepulchre? Already must Christ have virtually accomplished the prophecy, though it had not yet been delivered — "Oh! death, I will be thy plague; oh, grave, I will be thy destruction." Already must He have "opened the kingdom of heaven to believers," though He had not yet suffered their penalty, nor paid the price of their admission. It seems as though the whole scheme of redemption had been disclosed to mankind; yea, presented as already accomplished in what befel Enoch. The original curse was on body and soul; but when body and soul went up to glory there was given the most convincing demonstration that the curse would be counteracted, or, rather, that it was already removed. And now, if I would know how the gospel was preached to man, in its fulness, before the Flood, and would assure myself that those who perished in the Deluge, perished not without sufficient notice of redemption, and sufficient motive to the practice of piety, I turn my gaze on the ascending patriarch, and I feel that, as he stood upon the cloud and mounted heavenward, he proclaimed to the whole human family the reward of obedience in the restoration to immortality. And I need nothing further to convince me that, in the earliest days, as well as in later, men were instructed to expect eternal life through conformity to the known will of God.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,