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Angel Watchers from Daniel 4|
Q. Who are the Watchers mentioned in Daniel 4? I see books about the watchers in the New Age section of our bookstore, and I hear about the watchers on Coast to Coast radio.
"Watchers" in Daniel chapter 4
For our readers, Daniel 4:13 says:
"I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven" (ESV).
Daniel 4:17 states, "This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers…" Daniel 4:23 continues "And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven…"
In these Daniel passages, the "watcher" was an angel who told Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar would become insane and eat grass like the beasts of the field. The "holy one" came down from heaven to make the decree.
For more information on the "watchers," it is necessary to turn to noncanonical writings such as the Pseudepigrapha - a collection of mostly Jewish writings written by authors who assumed a "pen name."
Note that this is not the same as the Apocrypha (found in Catholic Bibles). Remember that the Apocrypha refers to books included in the Greek translation of the bible called the Septuagint. These extra books were included in the Old Testament going back to around 200 B.C. However, they were not given equal status as the standard Hebrew canon of twenty-two books according to the historian Josephus (Lightfoot 2003, 167).
Pseudepigrapha - Not Gnostic Writings
Note also that the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha are different from the Gnostic writings. The Gnostic writings are later dated - many as late as 175 A.D onward.
However, books from the Pseudepigrapha may possibly be referenced in places like 4 Ezra which said "Ninety-four books were written…" These books were written as early as the sixth or seventh century B.C. (Evans 1992, 21). Among them the "Book of Enoch" was highly esteemed.
200 Rebel Watcher-Angels
According to the Book of Enoch the "watchers" were a group of angels God had commissioned to watch over the earth. Two hundred of these "watchers" rebelled against God and married the daughters of men. If interpreted literally they produced half-breed humans called the Nephilim. The Nephilim were monstrous, gigantic evil-beings. We find several details of this story in Genesis chapter six.
It is fascinating that it is the spirits of the Nephilim who are thought to have lived on after the flood had destroyed all flesh. In fact, some theologians theorize that these spirits may be the demons noted in the New Testament and earlier literature (Barnstone 2005, 487)). While this conclusion is conjecture, chapter 15 of the Book of Enoch says, "The spirits of the giants shall be like clouds, which shall oppress, corrupt, fall, contend, and bruise those upon earth" (Missler 1997, 241).
Barnstone, Willis. 2005. The other Bible. San Francisco: Harper Collins.
Evans, Craig A. 1992. Noncanonical writings and New Testament interpretation. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
Lightfoot, Neil R. 1963, 2003. How we got the Bible.Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
Missler, Chuck and Mark Eastman. 1997. Alien encounters. Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House. www.khouse.org.
Author Valorie Mays Emilio holds an MA in History from UCLA focusing upon Christian origins.
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