The Book of Enoch
In The Book of Enoch, Efren Gamboa presents his interpretation of the apocalyptic religious text said to have been written by Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, sometime between 300 and 100 BCE. Pieced together from fragments found with the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient sources, the text contains unique insights concerning fallen angels, the origins of demons and Nephilim, and the reasons behind the great flood described in Genesis.
While the original text is generally considered controversial and non-canonical, Gamboa’s interpretation of it is arguably even more so. For instance, he begins by explaining how the names of the angels (Michael, Gabriel, and Ariel) indicate that the real name of God is EL and that EL is the Creator of Creation. As for the angels themselves, they are aliens who took Enoch into outer space and introduced him to wonderous technologies. Moreover, some aliens mated with humans and so fathered Nephilim, which led to their fall from heaven and to the division of humanity into the untainted descendants of Adam and those tainted by alien DNA.
Gamboa works through the text of Enoch on a chapter by chapter basis, relating the content of each chapter and offering his own interpretations of it. It makes for surprising and quite interesting reading, although religious individuals might find his assertions unlikely or challenging to believe. Among the particularly polarizing elements are Gamboa’s views on homosexuality and the legitimacy of the King James Bible, which will not settle well with most Christians.
Aside from his analysis of Enoch, Gamboa also details his own formative religious experiences, including when God (or EL) spoke to him as a young boy, his encounters with angels, and his conversations with deceased loved ones. During an encounter with an angel in the form of an old man, Gamboa learned of his mission to work for a particular company for twenty-one years and then translate the text of Enoch, which certainly explains his passion for the project.
A significant portion of The Book of Enoch, roughly half of its near three hundred pages, in fact, comprises calendars that Gamboa has constructed to help readers work out their true birth date, that is, the date “imputed into the heavenly tablets or computers; by which they are numbered and known by the angels, Watchers, and Spirits; in the recording of the timing of EL’s new creation.”
It’s an interesting idea that clearly means a lot to Gamboa, but it does mean that a significant chunk of the book is unnecessary and inapplicable to individual readers because it concerns other people’s birth dates. If further editions of the book are published, it would be a good idea to remove the calendars and instead present them online as an optional resource. Future editions would also benefit from the inclusion of a table of contents and further headings as well as from another round of editing and proofreading.
Ultimately, The Book of Enoch is an unusual work that will appeal most to open-minded readers who are interested in Gamboa’s novel take on the messages of Enoch and, perhaps most particularly, his account of his religious experiences throughout his life.
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