TIKKUN OLAM AND THE REVERSAL OF EVIL
Following the wonderful study of Dr. Michael Heiser, we have seen that Second Temple Judaism understood Genesis 6:1-4 not only as the story of a supernatural rebellion, but as one of the central passages in biblical theology. We have seen that this passage significantly influenced the New Testament writers (who were a part of this period of course). My last post, drawn largely from Heiser’s book and the dissertation of Amy Richter, was about the four women included by Matthew in Jesus’ genealogy. We saw that the consequences of the Watchers’ sexual sin was evident in the stories of all these women, and concluded this was the main reason for these women to be included in the genealogy of the Messiah, who should bring about the reversal and repair of the consequences of the Watchers’ sin.
Here I would like to stop and to put my two cents into this fascinating theme. First of all, you have probably heard the Hebrew expression: “Tikkun Olam”, “repair of the world”. Documented use of this term dates back to the Mishnaic period (approximately 10-220 CE). This means that the term and the concept may well have existed at the time of Jesus, and that for the New Testament writers, the idea of reversing the evil of the Watchers could have been part of this Tikkun Olam theology.
Secondly, an essential part of a later Jewish tradition is the belief that when the Messiah comes, all things will be repaired. Some Jewish texts even say that the pig will become kosher at the time of the redemption: (Probably, you remember the footnote “Why is the pig called [in Hebrew] chazir? Because in the future, God will return [le-hfrom the last post: achazir] it to Israel”. (חזיר-להחזיר)). However, only one person could repair the world in such a profound way—only one person could reverse the evil and restore the divine order of heaven and earth: the Messiah.
Thus, if we keep in mind all these elements of Jewish theology – the Watchers being responsible for the spread of the evil on the earth; the concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world; the belief that when the Messiah comes, all things will be repaired – then we are able to see that the New Testament is built around this belief in the Messianic Tikkun Olam—Messianic reversal of evil. And here is another striking example:
WHERE WAS THE TRANSFIGURATION?
In all three Synoptic Gospels we read the story of the transfiguration; it’s important to note that in all three Gospels, this dramatic event happens just a few days after Peter’s confession:
1Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him
Where was the transfiguration? What was this “high mountain”? Starting from the early church fathers, it has been widely believed that the location of the Mount of Transfiguration was Mount Tabor located in the Lower Galilee, west of the Sea of Galilee. However, the Gospels themselves give no name to this “high mountain”. So, along with the “Mount Tabor tradition” (and many scholars still hold to this view), another tradition has been developing, claiming Mount Hermon as the site of the transfiguration.
Mount Hermon is the highest mountain in Israel, located at the very north of the country, not far from the city that was called Caesarea Philippi. In Matthew 16, where Peter confesses Jesus as Messiah, we read: “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” As I mentioned previously, in all three Synoptic Gospels, the transfiguration happens after Peter’s confession, so it would certainly make sense for this dramatic event to take place in the same region where Peter’s confession happened. So, even regardless of the Watchers’ story, just based on this proximity to Caesarea Philippi and on the height of the mountain, some scholars identify the Mount of Transfiguration as Mount Hermon.
This identification becomes even more significant, however, if we see it against the backdrop of the Watchers’ story. Let us remember that, according to 1 Enoch, Mount Hermon was the place at which the Watchers descended. There they bound themselves with an oath to corrupt humanity:
“Then they all swore together and bound one another with a curse. And they were, all of them, two hundred, who descended in the days of Jared onto the peak of Mount Hermon.”
If we keep this in mind, we would agree with Dr. Heiser, that “for Jews of Jesus’ day (and the era of the early church), Mount Hermon became emblematic of the transgression of the Watchers and the awful deleterious effect that had on humankind.” In this context, the whole transfiguration event becomes even more dramatic! Think of it: Jesus picks Mount Hermon precisely because of his mission – to reverse the evil spread from Mount Hermon! The transfiguration marks a turning point in the Synoptic Gospels, especially in Matthew: after that, we see Jesus turning more to Jerusalem and to the suffering and death that awaits him there. Before that, however, this dramatic event happens: Jesus is transfigured and revealed in his heavenly glory upon mountain Hermon. The meaning of this statement is clear: ‘The spread of the evil started from here, and I came to reverse this evil and to repair the world!’ “When Jesus chose to go to Mount Hermon to be transfigured, He was claiming it for the Kingdom of God.”
This is my last post reviewing the wonderful book of Dr. Heiser. Next time, we will continue to discuss 1 Enoch, but will be focusing on other topics and features that make this book so significant for students of the New Testament.
If you like my articles on this blog, you might enjoy also my books, you can get them through my page on this blog, https://blog.israelbiblicalstudies.com/julia-blum/
 Heiser, Michael S., Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 1415-1417).
 Amy S. Richter, “The Enochic Watchers’ Template and the Gospel of Matthew,” PhD dissertation, Marquette University, 2010.
 Matt. 17:1-3
 1 Enoch 6:5,6
 Heiser, Michael S., Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 928-930).
 Ibid., (Kindle Locations 1218-1222).