Come Follow Me: Moses 7
In the last lesson, we began discussing Enoch. We noted that the name Mahujah/Mahijah is only found in one other place in ancient texts: the Enoch fragments found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered over a century after Joseph Smith's death! For me, it is one of the great evidences of Joseph Smith's divine mission as a prophet, seer and revelator.
Since Joseph's day, several versions of the Book of Enoch have come to light - most not translated into English until after Joseph's death. We'll discuss some of the concepts from those in conjunction with this lesson, because they are all connected. While most of the Christian world only knows that Enoch "was not" because he was carried off by God, we find the New Testament references or quotes the books of Enoch about 39 times (see the Book of Jude for an example).
Enoch was very important to the Jews and Christians of the first few centuries A.D. When the Jews saw that the early Christians embraced the writings of Enoch, they removed those writings from their commonly used scripture. Later, as St Jerome compiled his list of authorized Biblical texts, he would also dismiss the books of Enoch, because the Jews no longer used them.
Yet, some Christian groups, including the Ethiopian Christians continue to use Enoch in their Bible. Also, as noted, Enoch appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is clear that the prophet Enoch and his story are pertinent to the last days, as Joseph Smith also had important concepts revealed to him regarding Enoch.
In Moses 6:35-36 and 7:2-4) Enoch has two major visions. In the first, Enoch beholds the Spirit World, perhaps having a similar vision of the Grand Council in heaven that Abraham had (Abraham 3). From the things revealed to him, he was called a “seer.”
In the second vision, Enoch is told to climb a mountain. Ascension stories often begin on mountain tops, including Nephi, Moses, the Brother of Jared, and the apostle John (1 Nephi 11:1, Moses 1:1, Ether 3:1, Revelation 21:10). It seems that gentiles, such as Enoch and the brother of Jared, must climb the mount themselves, while Nephi and other Israelites are carried up to the mountain by the Spirit.
Ascension stories are also tied directly to the temple experience. In the Latter-day Saint temples, we symbolically ascend into God’s presence, which is what each of these individuals experiences.
Once upon the mountain, the vision began, and Enoch states, “I beheld the heaven open, and I was clothed upon with glory.”
In the ancient book, Secrets of Enoch, Enoch ascends through the many levels of heaven. Some of these levels include the physical cosmos, as Enoch describes passing by the planets and stars. However, the higher levels are actual heavens in which angels dwell. The higher the heaven, the greater the glory.
Enoch tells us:
the tenth Heaven, Aravoth, I saw the appearance of the Lord's face,
like iron made to glow in fire, and brought out, emitting sparks, and it
2 Thus I saw the Lord's face….
4 And I fell prone and bowed down to the Lord, and the Lord with his lips said to me:
5 'Have courage, Enoch, do not fear, arise and stand before my face into eternity.'
6 And the archistratege (archangel) Michael lifted me up, and led me to before the Lord's face.
7 And the Lord said to his servants tempting them: 'Let Enoch stand before my face into eternity,' and the glorious ones bowed down to the Lord, and said: 'Let Enoch go according to Thy word.'
8 And the Lord said to Michael: 'Go and take Enoch from out his earthly garments, and anoint him with my sweet ointment, and put him into the garments of My glory.'
9 And Michael did thus, as the Lord told him. He anointed me, and dressed me, and the appearance of that ointment is more than the great light, and his ointment is like sweet dew, and its smell mild, shining like the sun's ray, and I looked at myself, and was like one of his glorious ones (Chapter 22).
In the Book of Secrets, Enoch is given a book to
read. This also is a common ascension experience, when a person sees
God. Lehi was given a book to read and prophesy from (1 Nephi 1:11-12),
the apostle John was given a book to swallow and prophesy (Revelation
10:8-11), Isaiah was given a book to read and prophesy from (Ascension
of Isaiah 9:22), Moses saw God and was given a book of 10 Commandments
(Exodus 20), and Joseph Smith saw God and later was commanded to
translate the ancient gold plates containing the Book of Mormon text.
God then explains the Creation story, the story of Adam and Eve, and the Fall to Enoch. This is a key experience that ties us to our understanding of God. Lehi and Nephi saw a version of this, as they learned of the Tree of Life in vision (1 Nephi 8-15). Lehi clearly explained all of it in 2 Nephi 2. Moses had the Creation revealed to him, as have many other ancient and modern prophets. Joseph Smith designed the temple endowment around the concepts of the Creation, Fall and Redemption, knowing through divine means that it is intricately tied to the ancient ascensions of Enoch, Moses and others.
As I've noted before, much of the covenant of Adam (and others after him), is one of Relationship. In the Fall, we have fallen from God's presence. We will physically die, and we are spiritually dead (out of God's presence). Through the Redemption of Christ, we return into God's presence. So far in the Book of Moses, we've seen Moses, Adam and Eve, and now Enoch return to God's presence. The relationship of Heavenly Parent/child is reestablished. The world and Satan, again, try to teach the world they are sons of men and are to worship worldliness. God teaches us our true nature as his sons and daughters.
Enoch is given the responsibility of being God’s scribe, a position held traditionally by Metatron, one of the archangels. In the tradition, Enoch is clothed in robes of glory and given the name Metatron. He is allowed to sit down on God’s throne– normally only allowed to God, this representing God’s sharing of His divine power with Enoch. Enoch becomes a symbol of Christ, and equal to God in many respects. Upon returning to earth, Enoch begins to teach the children of men the heavenly things he has written down.
Interestingly, Enoch mentions this in talking with God: “Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and… thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace…” (Moses 7:59). Enoch has a right to the throne, which God shared with him.
Enoch tells us more about the Watchers in the First Book of Enoch. They are a group of fallen angels who seek to destroy Adam’s children. They use all of their knowledge to cause destruction. In some ancient stories, they are the children of Cain. In others, they are fallen angels, who have children with mortal women - offspring that are described as giants.
Still, in 1 Enoch, the Watchers fear Enoch and ask him to talk to God on their behalf. Enoch returns telling them that their insincerity will do them no good.
|Before these things Enoch was hidden, and no one of the children of men knew where he was hidden, and where he abode, and what had become of him. And his activities had to do with the Watchers, and his days were with the holy ones. And I Enoch was blessing the Lord of majesty and the King of the ages, and lo! the Watchers (the righteous angels) called me -Enoch the scribe- and said to me: 'Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and have done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto themselves wives: "Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth: And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children, The murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall ye not attain."' (12:1-6, see also ch 15).|
|“became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones” (7:1-6)|
The giants could either be mighty men of war, or as this and other traditions suggest, they were as tall as trees. Interestingly, this is also supported in the Book of Moses, where Enoch fights against the giants of his day (Moses 7:15), and later the giants attempt to assassinate Noah (Moses 8:18).
The Watchers used their secret knowledge to train mankind in the use of weapons, extravagant clothing, and to live excessively and violently (1st Enoch 8). This connects with the Book of Moses, as the secret combinations of Cain grow widespread, using the resources of the world to get gain and power.
Enoch Builds Zion
Contrast this with Enoch and his people.
In such a day as the Watchers and giants, God prepares the world for destruction by Flood, which
will be discussed in a later lesson. The preparation had to do with
preparing a new land of promise, even a holy city, wherein the people of
God could dwell in safety.
Enoch was an amazing missionary. He went everywhere, “save it were the people of Canaan” and call them to repentance (7:12). Why not the people of Canaan? Again, some presume they were the cursed race. But a closer reading of the Book of Moses shows that the land of Canaan/Cainan was the promised land of Enoch’s fathers. They were already righteous, and had no need to have missionaries call them to repentance (6:41). The term “Canaan” commonly was used for a group of Semitic people (not black nor African), who lived in Moses’ day, but not in Enoch’s pre-flood days. Enoch could not have been referencing them as the people he did not preach to.
As a note, as Enoch continues to preach, he stopped preaching to the children of Cain “for the seed of Cain were black” (Moses 7:22). The term “black” here most likely refers to their wickedness, and not their skin color. Once again, 19th century Protestant beliefs affected the modern Church’s understanding of some verses, causing them to be read in ways that, on the surface, made sense, but in depth study did not agree. The Lamanites had “skin of blackness” as a curse. Yet the American Indian does not have black skin. Once again, it suggests a deeper reading for the actual context is needed. See blacklds.org for more information on this topic.
Over several centuries, Enoch was a thorn in the side of the Watchers and their secret combinations. In Moses 7:13-17, we see that Enoch and his righteous people were feared greatly. The City of Enoch was built upon the mountains, as it represented sacred space (a high place). This people, their city and the land they dwelt upon, became Zion. It was a people who had learned to live a Celestial Law, in stark contrast to the wicked individuals living in the land below.
Eventually, God took Zion up and out of the world. Why? Because the world was being prepared for the Flood. Even after Zion’s fleeing from the world, as people repented of their sins and became righteous, they would be translated and lifted up to the holy city, to receive their blessings with Enoch, and to escape the great destruction below (Moses 7:18-21).
The God who Weeps
Just as Moses sought to see God a second time, as he had further things to inquire of him (Moses 1:18), so Enoch has more to learn, as well.
God takes Enoch into his confidence, to show him just how much power Satan had over the world. God wept as he pondered the terrible destruction he was about to send upon the earth. Interestingly, the earth also groans and weeps, as it is shown to be a living being. Enoch is at first unsure why God would be so moved by such a small thing as destruction. Remember, Enoch has destroyed armies, and experienced the fear of his enemies in mortality. The Lord explains that these are the “workmanship of mine own hands.” They are his children.
Unlike most of Christianity, which believes God is the "Unmoved Mover," one who is never moved by his creations, without passion or parts, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God is the "Most Moved Mover." God weeps at destroying the world. Jesus will weep at Lazarus' tomb, and later as he prays with the Nephites. God is moved by our suffering. It changes him. It fills him with love, mercy, tenderness, patience and other uplifting virtues.
All God has asked of us is that we “should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father….” Sadly, most of the people in Enoch’s day had chosen Satan as their father, and to hate one another as they sought to get gain through their secret combinations, lust, and greed. We see this increasingly in the world today, as people justified their hatred and anger against the "other." We often dehumanize people, or worse, convince ourselves they are not worthy to be children of God, in order to justify our hatred of those different than us. This is true between nations, cultures, races, political parties, siblings, spouses. Satan thrives by dividing and conquering. To do this, he must make us less than what we truly are.
Enoch is wholly moved by the tender feelings of the Master. As he looked upon the true misery of mankind, he “wept and stretched forth his arms (towards them), and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.” Enoch refused to be comforted (Moses 7:23-44). At that moment, there did not seem to be any way to save such a lost group of people. There was no hope for all those who had fallen into Satan’s snare.
Enoch Sees the Redemption
God showed Enoch the hope of mankind. The Messiah is proclaimed. Whosoever comes in through the gate, or climbs up by him “shall never fall” (Moses 7:53). Like Nephi in the Vision of the Tree of Life, Enoch sees the life and death of Christ. As Christ resurrected, many of the spirits in prison (Spirit World) also came forth. The others would await the day of judgment, but would still receive as much blessing as God could possibly give them. Through Christ, God seeks to maximize the blessings, and minimize the punishments. Even those who end up in the Telestial Kingdom, after they have suffered a time for their sins, will be redeemed in Christ in a kingdom of glory and goodness (D&C 76).
Enoch sees the world’s history, including the Restoration of the Gospel in the latter days. He sees that a new Zion will be established on the earth. Finally, he sees “even unto the end of the world; and he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption, and received a fullness of joy” (Moses 7:62-67).
Conflict of Adam and Eve With Satan, Book One: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe005.htm
Conflict of Adam and Eve, Book Two: The Forgotten Books of Eden Index
The First Book of Enoch (Ethiopian): Book of Enoch
The Secrets of Enoch: https://sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe107.htm
Ascension of Isaiah: Ascension of Isaiah
On information regarding the priesthood ban:
Ardis Parshall’s lesson: Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog “The Long-Promised Day”
Website for black LDS members run by FAIR: http://www.blacklds.org/priesthood
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