Zec 3 and Enoch
"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the
body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The
Lord rebuke thee" (Jud 1:9).
Why is Zec 3 used here? Because, of all the references to
satans or Satan in the OT, only in Zec 3 is wording that may be used to support
the idea of a fallen angel. Job 1 could not have been used as proof by the
Enochites that Satan was a disobedient angel. As with the book of Mormon, the
believers in the Book of Enoch would have searched desperately for authority
from the OT. Zec 3 was the Enochite's best shot at OT evidence. None of the
other OT references to Satan would support the Book of Enoch's teaching, but
rather detract from it.
The other good thing about Zec 3 from the Enochite point of
view was that the LXX showed "Jesus the Priest" powerless between the Angel of
the Lord (Michael) and The Diabolos (Satan). As such it was possibly understood
as a prophecy relating to "Jesus the Priest" or "Jesus the Prophet", which would
place Jesus "below the angels" (same problem as Hebrews).
Origen (185-254) refers to a document called the "Assumption
of Moses" and quotes, "Moses having died in the mount, the Archangel Michael was
sent to remove the body. The Devil therefore wishing to cheat him withstood him,
saying, 'the body is mine as lord of all material things' or because of his
slaying of the Egyptian blaspheming against the Holy One and proclaiming him a
murderer. The angel not enduring this blasphemy against the Holy One, said to
the Devil 'God rebuke thee!'. "
But this appears to be quoted secondhand because the writer
cannot decide which of two reasons the Devil argued. In other words it appears
to have already been lost in the days of the earliest reference to it. While a
Latin "Assumption of Moses" does exist today, it does not contain the story
above. Perhaps the only question here is who made this up -- Enochites to
explain Zechariah? or early Christians to explain Jude? Either way it is another
"cunningly designed fable", or "Jewish myth", as Paul describes it in Tit 1:14.
Note that Moses, and not Christ, is the Holy One.
Note also that in the Assumption of Moses it is not "before
the Lord". God is not mentioned. In Zec 3 it is "before the Lord".
It has also been suggested that "Body of Moses" meant either
Ezra and the people, or Joshua the Priest, or Jesus (the "prophet like unto
Moses"; but that is not proven. Whatever it meant to Jude's readers the phrase
"the Body of Moses" is certainly not a scriptural term (it has no basis in the
LXX or NT); so the phrase very likely came from those who "denied the Lord that
To conclude: whatever extra legends relating to Zec 3 may then
have been taught by these false teachers, Jude's point was simply that the angel
of Israel in prophecy (named "Michael" in the prophetic language of Daniel) did
not behave in the manner the Enochites did in accusing angels of sin. Likewise
neither did Ezra (Ezr 4:6) to the accusation against Joshua the servant of
The accusers of Ezra 4:6, Rehum and Shimshai who wrote the
letter to Xerses, are not called "Diabolos" in the LXX as for example was Haman,
but note that Jude's "railing accusation" is quoted from "railing accusation
against them" in 2Pe 2:11 -- so Jude's "diabolos" is plural. Rehum and Shimshai
were just as much "diaboloi" to Ezra and Joshua, as Haman was to
"And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire;
hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jud 1:23). Jude's point is that
if his readers must make reference to Zec 3 and Ezra 4:6, then they should learn
all the positive lessons -- the clean garments of Joshua the Priest should be
theirs not through Enoch, Moses or the angels, but through the Greater Joshua,
Jesus our High Priest, raised above all principalities and powers.