While not mentioned in the legend of Ancient Craft Masonry, the legend of Enoch has a strong correlation to the Masonic fraternity: a foreseen destruction, a need to safeguard and preserve esoteric and sacred knowledge, the construction of vaults, and its ultimate discovery. In the Hebrew language, the name "Enoch" means "to initiate" or "to instruct," and some consider him to be the father of the initiatic rite. Some attribute the invention of astrology, writing, math, and masonry (construction) to Enoch. Enoch has been compared to a number of other mythical figures such as Hermes Trismegistus, the Greek god Atlas, and Thaut to the Phoenicians.
Enoch was said to have been born in the 622nd year after the creation of the world. He was the father of Methuselah and great-grandfather of Noah is a mysterious and enigmatic character in the Antediluvian (Pre-Flood) Era. This Enoch is descended from the line of Seth and not to be confused with the Enoch who was the son of Cain.
In Enoch's time, the people were idolatrous and wicked. God revealed to Enoch that He would destroy the world with a great flood; some consider Enoch to be the First Prophet of the Lord. Inspired by the Most High God, Enoch built an underground Temple located on Mt. Moriah on the place where King Solomon would erect a Temple to God. The Temple consisted of nine vaults, situated perpendicularly beneath each other. Enoch then had an equilateral triangular plate of gold to be made. It was covered with precious stones and jewels and upon it was engraved the Ineffable Name of God. This plate was placed upon a marble pedestal inside the ninth and deepest vault. Upon completion of this secret temple, he enclosed it with a stone door and covered it so it could not be discovered.
The use of vaults has been used throughout history and is tied with many esoteric mythologies as they were deemed sacred. A vault is defined as an "arched or dome-shaped structure of masonry usually forming a ceiling or roof." The word "vault" comes from the Latin "volutus" meaning "bowed or arched." In the legend of Hermes Trismegistus, the Great Halls of Amenti were hidden under the Great Pyramids in Egypt in order to safeguard the ancient wisdom of Atlantis. In Rosicrucianism, Christian Rosenkreutz was buried in a vault that contained not only his body, but many scrolls and books of ancient knowledge. In Mithraism, adherents met in Mithraeum which was usually natural caves or small rooms beneath existing structures. In Freemasonry, vaults are used in the Capitular and Cryptic Rites as well as the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in the Red Cross of Constantine and the 13° in the Scottish Rite. Albert C. Mackey stated the following concerning vaults: "The vault was, therefore, in the ancient mysteries, symbolic of the grave; for initiation was symbolic of death, where alone Divine Truth is to be found."
To ensure the arts and sciences would live on after the Destruction by the Flood, Enoch had made two pillars within the Temple: one of marble to withstand fire and the other of brass to withstand water. On both pillars were engraved the history of the creation as well as the principles of the arts and sciences.
Enoch then called his family around him and admonished them to return to the worship of the One True and Living God. It is then said that he disappeared from the Earth. Legend has it that at 365-years of age, he "walked with God; then he was no more for God took him" meaning that God took him, body and soul, to Heaven, one of two to have done that; the other is Elijah. It is interesting to note that only having lived on Earth for 365-years is far less than the other patriarchs in the period before the Flood, but still significant being the number of days in the solar calendar.
While not universally accepted, there are a number of works attributed to Enoch that are dated between the 3rd century BC and the 5th century AD. These books consist of five quite distinct major sections:
Among other things, these books are important in regard to angel and demon lore. It heavily influenced later Jewish Apocrypha and the New Testament.
The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36)
The Book of Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71)
The Book of the Heavenly Luminaries (1 Enoch 72–82)
The Book of Dreams (1 Enoch 83–90)
The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91–108)
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