“A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch, Part 12,” Ensign, June 1977, 78
Editor’s Note: The deliberate wickedness of the people at Enoch’s time created a moral turbulence that was reflected in chaotic nature—earthquakes, tidal waves, and cosmic cataclysms. Against this stormy background stands the commanding figure of Enoch, the prophet, who held the keys to a dispensation and probed the mysteries of God through his visions of the creation, the destiny of man, and the mission of the Savior. From the power of that faith and vision came the city of Enoch, a society that achieved the seemingly impossible dream of being truly just, truly peaceful. In its achievement and its departure, it planted the seeds of hope for the righteous societies that followed it, including that of our own generation.
In this installment, Brother Nibley first concludes his discussion of the veil, then uses scriptural sources from the book of Moses and nonscriptural accounts by apochryphal writers of texts not available to Joseph Smith to give us an intriguing image of Enoch’s holy city.
As a place of probation (2 Ne. 2:21), this world must be isolated, both as a testing-ground and as quarantine to avoid infecting others:
Moses 7:36. Among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.
Sophia Christi, 118–19. He has created the veil [curtain, katapetasma] between what is imperishable and those who later came into being, so that which is set apart [marked off, numbered] to come into existence might follow after all the other ages and the [primal] chaos, that this flesh might be tested [in struggle] for error. But these formed a veil of spirit.
120. [Light reaches] all the inhabitants of the world of chaos … that he might place the veils which were there in their proper order [hormazein].
T.U. 8:402. [Jeu:] The Firmament is equipped with veils and gates that are guarded, far removed from the world in which men dwell.
Hypost. of the Archons 142:9. There exists a curtain between the upper and the lower aeons and a shadow beneath the curtain from which shadow came matter at the creation.
Moses 1:35. But only an account of this earth … give I unto you.
4 Ezra 4:21. The dwellers upon the earth can understand only what is upon the earth, and they who are in the heavens that which is above the heavenly height.
Book of Adam, Migne, D.A. 1:185. There are curtains and veils, an impregnable barrier of living fire, between the creatures of a celestial order and those of the second estate.
Apocr. John. 1:58. Adam’s deep sleep was really the putting of a veil between him and his former knowledge. 59. The veil shut Adam off from his memory, as if he were drugged. 60. His mind being separated by a veil from what is really going on in the universe.
When Moses and Enoch ventured to ask what lay beyond their veil they were properly reprimanded: to want to know everything in a single lesson is a human weakness which is not to be pampered—it is all too easy to ask the “why” of everything as small children do, but God knows that we are not ready for it:
Moses 1:30. Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them? Moses 1:31. … And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. [Italics added.] Here is wisdom, and it remaineth in me.
Secrets 11. And now, Enoch, all that I have explained to thee, and all that thou hast seen on earth, and all that I organized and made … there was no counsellor nor assistant; it was I alone … who was my own adviser,
Moses 1:32. By the word of my power, have I created them. …
and it was by my word that it was carried out, and my eye beheld it all.
Moses 1:33. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
Secrets 24:3. Hear, Enoch, for not to my angels have I told my secret … nor have they understood my creating, which I tell thee today. 4. For … I used to go alone about among the invisible things … 5. And I conceived the thought of placing foundations and of creating a visible creation.
Slav. 11:h.15. He asked for no counsel, his work executed everything, just as his mind conceived everything [Vaillant, n. 14 refers to the Greek version, pas logos autou ergon.]
1 En. 14:22. Ten thousand times ten thousand [stood] before Him, yet He needed no counsellor.
Secrets 25:3. And I [God] was in the midst of the great light, and as there is born light from light, there came forth a great aeon, and showed all creation which it was in my mind to create. And I saw that it was good. 4. And I placed for myself a throne, and took my seat on it.
Slav. 11. And now, Enoch, all that I have explained to thee, and all that thou hast seen on earth, and all that thou hast written in thy books, it is by my wisdom that I organized and made all these things … there was no adviser [counsellor] nor executive [continuer], it was I alone … who was my only counsellor, and it was by my word that it was carried out [lit., “the thing was my word”], and my eyes beheld all. [See F. Lachover & I. Tishby, The Wisdom Of the Zohar (Jerusalem: Byalik Foundation, 1971), 1:127ff, on how God alone conceives his “works without end.”]
Enoch was not, of course, the only preacher of righteousness in his dispensation, and like the others met puzzlement, fear, resentment, and then a measure of success. People began not only to fear him but to believe him, “for he walked with God.” Some of the accounts speak of “all the people” or “everybody” going after Enoch, just as we read that “all the land of Judea” followed John the Baptist into the wilderness to be baptized. (Mark 1:5.) It soon becomes apparent in both cases that this is a manner of speaking; only a select number followed those leaders all the way.
Moses 6:23. And they were preachers of righteousness, … and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men.
Moses 6:26. [As] Enoch journeyed … among the people … the Spirit of God … abode upon him.
Moses 6:38. And they came forth to hear him, saying … we [will] go yonder to behold the seer.
Moses 6:39. And … when they heard him … fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.
BHM, 4:129 (“Life of Enoch”). And all the people gathered together to Enoch to hear this thing; and Enoch taught the children of men the way of God. … And the spirit of God was upon Enoch, and he taught all his people the wisdom of God and his ways. 130. … And all the people were astonished and awed by his wisdom and knowledge, and bowed down to the earth before him.
131. … And all the people gathered together unto Enoch … and he taught them again to keep the ways of the Lord and gave them all his peace [etc., etc.].
Secrets 16 (Vaillant). When Enoch spoke to his children and the princes, then all the other people in the neighborhood heard that the Lord had called Enoch, and they all assembled to the number of 2,000 men, and came to Azouchan [or Achuzan] where Enoch and his sons and the elders of the people were, and saluted him: Thou blessed of the Lord … bless now thy people and glorify us before the Lord, because the Lord has chosen to establish thee [as] one who takes away our sins.371
Moses 6:54. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt.
Ms. R: For the Lord has chosen thee before all other men on earth … to establish thee [as] one who takes away the sins of men, and as a helper [savior] to the people of the house.
Moses 6:36. … and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.
BHM, 4:129. … and the saying went forth to every region of the children of Adam: Who is the man who desires to know the ways of the Lord and good works? Let him come to Enoch!372
The picture of two thousand men coming to recognize and acclaim Enoch at the place where he “and his sons and the leaders of the people were” suggests the modest nucleus of an organization. Their gathering together is the first step in a long process of withdrawing from a wicked world. Enoch himself had already withdrawn, then returned. He joins Adam, Abraham, Job, the Twelve Patriarchs, and Moses, all of whose apochryphal “Testaments” tell how the hero is first carried to heaven in a vision, then returns and describes the vision to his family and followers, then takes a final leave. The sequence of these heroic deaths later developed into a literary genre in which monkish scribes dwell with morbid fascination and dismay on the terrors of death. Enoch’s departure is undeniably the most spectacular, setting the standard for fiery chariots and sky-borne hosts later. At the same time, it is the most sober and “scientific,” with the exception of Joseph Smith’s version, to which we shall refer shortly. The Jewish sources tell of Enoch’s departure with his people from the world’s point of view—those who remained behind:
“And at that time the children of men sat down before Enoch and he spoke to them. And they raised their eyes and saw something like a great horse coming down from heaven, and the horse moving in the air [wind] to the ground. And they told Enoch what they had seen. And Enoch said to them, ‘That horse has come down to the earth to take me; the time and the day approach when I must go from you and no longer appear among you.’ And at that time that horse came down and stood before Enoch, and all the people who were with Enoch saw it. And then Enoch went forth, and there came a voice to him saying, ‘Who is the man who rejoices in the knowledge of the ways of the Lord God? Let him come this day to Enoch before he is taken from us.’ And all the people gathered together and came to Enoch on that day. … And after that he mounted up and rode upon the horse and went forth on his way, and all the people went forth and followed him to the number of 800,000 men. And they went with him for a day’s journey. And behold, on the second day he said to them, ‘Return back from following me lest ye die.’ But none of them turned back but went with him. And on the sixth day the number of people had increased, and they stuck with him. And they said to him, ‘We will go with thee to the place where thou goest; as the Lord liveth, only death will separate us from thee! And it came to pass that they took courage and went with him, and he no longer addressed [remonstrated with] them. And they went after him and never turned back from him. And those kings who did turn back ordered a count to be made of all the remnant of men who went out after Enoch. And it was on the seventh day, and Enoch went up in a tempest [whirlwind] of the heavens with horses of fire and chariots of fire. And on the eighth day all the kings who had been with Enoch sent to take the number of the men who had stayed behind with Enoch [when the kings left him] at the place from which he had mounted up into the sky. And all the kings went to that place and found all the ground covered with snow in that place, and on top of the snow huge blocks [stones] of snow. And they said to each other, ‘Come, let us break into the snow here to see whether the people who were left with Enoch died under the lumps of snow.’ And they hunted for Enoch and found him not because he had gone up into the sky.” (Life of Enoch, BHM, 4:131.)
One thing that makes this story so noteworthy is the association with other ascensions. The parallels with Elijah are obvious down to the party of searchers Elisha sent. (See 2 Kgs. 2:11–18.) Adam, Moses, and other worthy men were mysteriously caught up or away at various points in their missions. (Moses 6:64, Moses 1:1, Moses 7:27.) The prophet Baruch, in an account first published in 1866, assembled his people, counseled them to remember Zion since “it must be renewed in glory … when the Mighty One will renew his creation.” and named seven elders to guard the people who remain until “the new world comes which does not turn to corruption those who depart to its blessedness. … For in the heights of that world shall they dwell. And they shall be made like unto the angels [with] excellency surpassing that in the angels.” (2 Baruch 31:1–51.)
The lamentation of his people, “Truly we shall be left in darkness, and there shall be no light to the people who are left” (v. 46), is a standard element in the departure of other prophets and apostles. (See the Assumption of Moses, chapter 11.) When the prophet Ezra assembles his people, they mourn: “[Why] hast thou deserted us and sittest in this place? For of all the prophets thou alone art left to us … as a lamp in a dark place.” Ezra consoles them, mourns for the passing of Zion, sees an apocalyptic vision of great destructions to come, then is “caught away and taken up to the place of such as were like him, after having written these things. And he is called the Scribe of Knowledge of the Most High [a title applied to Enoch, too] for ever and ever.” (4 Ezra 12:20–50.)
A prophet is thus someone experienced in the process of withdrawal. The Joseph Smith version of Enoch, found in the book of Moses, chronicles Enoch’s withdrawal in three stages: (1) After Enoch’s return, he gathered his followers and led them out of a dangerous world to a place of safety in the mountains. The Lord fought for them, mountains fled, rivers altered their course, and all nations feared them. (See Moses 7:13–17.) (2) Safe, the people prospered, finally building a city that lasted 365 years. (See Moses 7:17–20.) (3) At last the entire divine government was of necessity moved clear out of the world either the blessed Zion or the cursed world would have to leave, and so “Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven.” (Moses 7:21.)373 But what happened in the earthly city of Zion, between the lines of those three brief verses?
The interest of the Latter-day Saints in the city of Enoch is not simply a literary or even a scientific one. It is historic and prophetic. The city of Enoch is very much our concern. As we read of Enoch’s community, a chorus of persistent questions hums in the background: Just how literally is all this to be taken? How are we to imagine the almost unimaginable events of that far-off time?
We cannot dodge such questions, since we are committed to forming as quickly as possible the closest possible partnership with that society.
The first step in dealing with Enoch’s reality is to ask just what, according to the written record, Enoch’s city is supposed to have been. Ancient records do not, contrary to a once popular belief, simply spring into existence out of wild Oriental imaginations but, as ever-expanding research makes ever plainer, must always be assumed to have some kind of an historical kernel of reality. So we ask, under what circumstances did Enoch’s city come into existence? How did it operate? What really became of it? What does the record say?
All the eschatological references in the scriptures to the Zion of Enoch are found in the Prophets and the Psalms of the Old Testament—the New Testament simply quotes them.374 In the book of Moses, the word ZION appears only in chapter 7, where, however, it occurs no less than sixteen times, making this chapter the most significant single treatise on the subject. Scholars have long noted that the Prophets emphasize the moral aspect of Zion, while the Psalms, with their royal imagery and archaic ritual background, favor the political. Yet both are speaking of a very real earthly community, nailed down by references in both to “bringing again” Zion—recognizing that Zion actually has been on the earth in the past and can be enjoyed by the Saints again as soon as they are willing to “return to the original relationship with Yahweh,” a condition “in which alone Israel’s filial relationship to God can be renewed and which God … will reestablish in the future.”375 The familiar picture of the Lord “taking possession again of the seat in Jerusalem” as he collects “his scattered people from all quarters of their heritage, at a time of gathering” is ordinarily couched in the classic terms of the book of Enoch.376
The best news—indeed the only wholly good news that can come to the inhabitants of this wicked earth—is the bringing again of Zion to bless the earth with the only order of society acceptable to God and unreservedly beneficial to man. Zion is any society in which the celestial law is operative, “and though we cannot claim these promises which were made to the ancients, for they are not our property,” the Prophet Joseph reminded his people, “… yet if we are … called with the same calling … and embrace the same covenant … we can … obtain the same promises … because we, ourselves, have faith … even as they did.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 66.) Zion is a glorious ideal, albeit a rare reality, in the world’s history; it is “the Holy Order that God has established for his people in all ages of the world when he has had a kingdom on the earth. We may call it,” said Brigham Young, “the Order of Enoch, the Order of Joseph, the Order of Peter, or Abraham, or Moses, and then go back to Noah …” who, of course, takes us to Enoch. (Journal of Discourses, 17:113.)
Indeed it has been said that a happy condition perhaps similar to Zion prevailed in Eden itself when Adam faithfully followed God’s instruction:
“The Holy One of Zion … established the foundations of Adam-Ondi-Ahman.” (D&C 78:15.)
“The Garden of Eden is the Holy of Holies, the dwelling of the Lord … and Mount Zion is the center or navel of the earth.” (Jubilees 8:19.)
Though the people of Moses’ day were not qualified to receive it, nevertheless “God gave [him] the pattern of Zion and its measurements.” (2 Baruch 59:4.) The early Christian church is said by R. H. Charles to have modeled itself after Enoch’s community, designating its leader as Enoch. The sections about Zion and the New Jerusalem in the Enoch literature are, according to Charles, “the most complete and most consistent of all the sections”377 and were a great favorite of all those separatist groups, both Jewish and Christian, who took to the desert, fancying themselves to be the one and only true representatives on earth of the church and kingdom of Enoch.378 As persecuted minorities, they all looked forward with longing to a time when they would come to their own with the glorious return of both the Lord and the city of Enoch. Passages in the Psalms of Solomon establishing definite association between early Christians in the East and Dead Sea communities like Qumran seem to describe the migration of those eastern communities from Palestine more in terms of Enoch’s migration than Moses’:
“Jerusalem, behold thy children being gathered from the East and West, the North and South, and from the distant islands. Lofty mountains he has humbled and made plain before them. … (54:53:11, 5.)
“They that love the assemblies of the Saints fled away from them: and they flew like sparrows from their nests … And the everlasting fountains were restrained, both the abysses and they from the lofty mountains; because none among them did righteousness. … At his rebuke the Gentiles shall flee from before His face … That He may gather together all the children of God … And He shall purify Jerusalem in holiness, as it was of old time … And their King is the Lord Messiah. (60:59:17, 21, 27–28, 33, 36.)
In the Psalms the royal coronation has a central place, with the king representing the Lord and the people his Zion. (See Mosiah 2–5 for a well-known year-rite in which the king, though a weak mortal, figures as God’s representative.) Enoch’s transcendent virtue qualifies him as a vital link in “the order” of the Lord himself. Compare these verses from Doctrine and Covenants 76:56–58 [D&C 76:56–58] with the apocryphal Slavonic Enoch:
“They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; And are priests … after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God.”
“And when all the people in the region about heard that the Lord had chosen Enoch, they took counsel together and said: Let us go and acclaim [tsyelyim] Enoch. … And they hailed Enoch, saying, Blessed art thou of the Lord the King of the eternities! Now bless thy people and glorify them before the face of the Lord, inasmuch as the Lord has established thee as one taking away our sins.” (Slav. En., Vaillant, pp. 60f.)
The Hebrew Life of Enoch has the kings of the earth hailing Enoch as their supreme head,379 while the book of Jasher simply repeats the same story, concluding: “And they assembled in all, one hundred and thirty kings and princes, and they made Enoch king over them and they were all under his power and command.”380 All this is according to a principle that was quite unknown only a few decades ago. As stated by Egyptologist J. Zandee, “Not only in Israel, but in all the ancient Near East, every king is a Messiah. There is no difference between the eschatological Messiah and the ruling King as the bearer of salvation. … The King is a god, the King is the son of God. … The King is as the image of God on earth. … The King brings justice to earth. … The King is the Good Shepherd, the King is the man of Wisdom. … The King is the High Priest endowed with power. … The King is a cosmic deity.”381 In short, the king is an Enoch, to whom God has promised his own throne.
Moses 7:59. Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, … thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace.
Hechalot, in BHM, 5:174. The Metatron [Enoch] said: God made for me a throne modeled after the Throne of Glory, I being clothed upon with glory [a wrapping of radiance] and Light [Zohar] … and beauty and mercy like that of the throne of thy glory. … And he caused me to sit upon it, and a herald proclaimed in all the firmament of firmaments saying, Enoch is proclaimed as a divine King!” [175. He puts a crown on his head.]
Moses 7:68. And all the days of Zion in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years.
This is the pattern of the year-king of which Enoch is a prime representative.382
Above all, Zion is the community of the Saints, the Elect, “the pure in heart,” who are “of one heart and one mind” so that there are “no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18.) This is the Zion envisioned by the prophets; the book of Moses, the Doctrine and Covenants, and apocryphal works all expressly call it the Zion of Enoch:
Moses 7:62. … to gather out mine elect … unto … an Holy City, … looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem, … Moses 7:64. … Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made.
Gizeh 1:3. This is about the Elect … receive my parable about them; and my Great Holy One will come out of his dwelling-place, 4. and the God of the Age [aeon] shall walk upon the earth, even upon Mount Zion … and he will appear in the power of his might from the heaven of heavens.
Moses 7:66. He [Enoch] saw great tribulations among the wicked; and he also saw the sea, that it was troubled, and men’s hearts failing them.
5. And all shall be afraid … great trembling and fear shall seize them; 6. and the mountains shall be shaken down and dissolve … 7. and the earth shall be rent …
Moses 7:67. And he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption; and received a fulness of joy.
8. But with the righteous shall peace be made, and upon the Elect oneness of heart [synteresis] and peace … and He will bless them all, and a light will appear and bring peace unto them.
1 En. 45:4. Then will I cause mine Elect One to dwell among them … 5. and I will transform the earth and make it a blessing; and will cause mine Elect Ones to dwell on it … to dwell before me.
51:5. And the earth shall rejoice, and the righteous shall dwell upon it, and the Elect shall walk thereon.
Slav. En. 17. All the righteous who shall escape the great judgment will be united in the Great Age, … and they shall be eternal, And they shall no longer know weariness or suffering or affliction, nor be in any danger of violence, nor fears of the night nor any darkness, but they shall have a great light forever … a great paradise, a place of safety for them to dwell in forever … and their faces shall shine like the Sun!
The Mandean writings equate Zion to heavenly “firmaments, habitations, worlds, and Jordans,” giving the most vivid and appealing descriptions of such holy places, which, they say, are to be enjoyed only by the “spirits of good people … the wise and the prudent of the families of Abel, Seth, and Enoch.” There the Saints live without discord or dissension; they are angelic beings, wise and gentle, without malice or deceit, constantly visiting each other. There is perfect agreement among the worlds, each having its particular glory and rejoicing in the glory of the others as all share their treasures of knowledge with each other. They are vast distances removed from each other, but through their common Lord and God they all share a common glorious awareness of each other. All are incorruptible and hence without death; they do not grow old or wear out; their nature is unfading. Their number is fixed because it is infinite—beyond counting. Each of these worlds is a Zion, having no law courts, no hunger or thirst, no cold or heat, no hatred or fear, no war, no slavery, no harmful creatures or plants. Magnificent buildings stand beside tranquil seas; flowing springs give life-giving water. Everything vibrates with joy. The wants of the people are few. They move through the air by an effortless power of flight; they are at home in the firmaments and the worlds and among all the dominions and powers. Their beauty is within them and shines out, as if they were of pure crystal. Force also flows through them from the King as they open themselves to it by persevering in prayer and song. They study and meditate constantly; they exhale the fragrance of divine happiness. Each is more remarkable than the other, each more illustrious.383
It was natural for the church in every age to identify itself with the Order of Enoch if only because that order is the only one acceptable to God at any time:
“The Lord spake unto Enoch [Joseph Smith, Jun.] saying: Hearken … [ye] who are ordained unto the high priesthood … who have assembled yourselves together. … The time has come; … it must needs be that there be an organization of my people … in the land of Zion—Or in other words, the city of Enoch [Joseph], for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church … to the salvation of man. … If ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.” (D&C 78:1, 3, 6.)
For “Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.” (D&C 105:5.) “If my people observe not this law … it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.” (D&C 119:6.)
A telling mark of authenticity for the Joseph Smith version is that Enoch’s Zion is defined as a society where “there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18.) The Greek Enoch (91–107), which for the first time showed how the ancient sectaries related themselves to the city of Enoch, “shows a great partiality for the lowly and humble. Here we are confronted with the ethics of the poor man; … these needy and humble people have to seek solace in the fact that unto them the knowledge of these mysteries will be revealed.”384
The presence of such a society is a standing rebuke to the rest of the world. As Brigham Young puts it, “We are following the customs of Enoch and the holy fathers, and for this we are looked upon as not being fit for society. We are not adapted to the society of the wicked, and do not wish to mingle with them.” (JD, 10:306.) Enoch was hopeful that his Zion, “a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God” (D&C 45:66), was here to stay; the Lord indicated to him that this was not to be: “Enoch … said unto the Lord: Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever. But the Lord said unto Enoch: Zion have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed.” The separation would have to continue until finally “Zion, in the process of time, was taken up into heaven.” (Moses 7:20–21; italics added.) We see the division of the people at every stage of the history: when “their enemies came to battle against them” Enoch “led the people of God,” while “all nations feared greatly” (Moses 7:13); the most dangerous of them “stood afar off” and even fled to the new land that had risen from the sea. (Moses 7: 14–15.) The result was two worlds, Zion, inhabited by people “of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18), the other wracked by continual “wars and bloodshed.” (Moses 7:16.)
The completeness of the division is strikingly expressed by one of the most ancient of literary devices, rhetorical antithesis:
Moses 7:20. Zion have I blessed,
but the residue of the people have I cursed.
Moses 5:15. … Believed in the Son, and repented of their sins
… believed not and repented not.
Moses 7:16. … But the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness
And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them.
Moses 7:18. They were of one heart and one mind.
Moses 7:33. They are without affection, and they hate their own blood.
Moses 7:18. And the Lord called his people Zion, because they … dwelt in righteousness.
Moses 7:36. … Among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.
When the sectaries of the Dead Sea labeled their society the Yahad (lit. unity, oneness) it was a reminder that unity is the first law of Enoch’s society by which the Saints are expected to live in every dispensation.
Moses 7:18. And the Lord called his people ZION, because they were of one heart and one mind, … and there was no poor among them.
Zohar, Noah 76b. R. Jose. From [the Tower story] we learn that as long as the people of the world lived in harmony, being of one mind and one will, although they rebelled against the Holy One, the supernal judgment could not touch them; but as soon as they were divided, “the Lord scattered them abroad.”
2 Bar. 30:1. Then all who have fallen asleep in hope of him shall rise again … and they shall come forth … in one assembly of one thought.
Even after the removal of Enoch’s city, the work of redemption continued among “the residue of the people … and after that Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him; And there came generation upon generation; and Enoch was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father, … and behold, the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth.” (Moses 7:22–24.) According to this perspective, Noah’s sailing was only the last step in a process of evacuation that had lasted for generations. Even after the people had chosen sides—Enoch and the Lord, or Satan—the missionary work still went on.
Moses 7:27. And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony … and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.
Apocal. of Adam (Copt.) 96. Downpourings of rain will destroy all flesh, “but mighty angels will come down from heaven and lead away those men to a place where the Spirit of life is to be found.”
Moses 7:28. And … the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept.
Gizeh 8. And there was a great wickedness in the earth, Satan [Azael and Semiazas] teaching men all manner of ungodliness. 9. Then the great angels … went and reported to God, saying, What shall we do? 10:1. So God sent Israel [Ms. Gs Uriel] to the Son of Lamech [Noah]. 2. “Tell him in My name to hide himself [Ms Gs 3. Teach the righteous what to do … to preserve his soul and escape.] because all the earth is going to be destroyed … 3. Teach him how he may escape. 4. God sent Raphael … 9. Gabriel, 11. Michael, to minister in this emergency. 10:15. When God sends down the angels to destroy all the bastard spirits … 17. … all the righteous shall flee and go on living safely … for a thousand generations.
1 En. 105:1. In those days the Lord bade them [angels] … to testify to the children of earth … show it unto them; for ye are their guides.
Beatty, 100:4. And angels shall come down, descending into secret places in that day … 5. and over all the righteous and holy he will set a guard of holy angels and they shall be preserved as the apple of his eye until tribulations and wickedness shall pass by. …
Secrets 23:80. [God to Enoch:] I will send my archangel Michael, and he will take the boy [Methuselah] to a place of safety.
Moses 7:60. In the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance … Moses 7:62. … truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect … unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may … be looking … for the time of my coming, … and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
Apoc. Abr. 29:15f. Great tribulations will come … 17. But of thy people righteous men will be spared … hastening in the glory of my name to a place which I have prepared for them ahead of time” [Jerusalem].
Until the separation is completed the powers of destruction are held in check.
As the book of Moses describes: “Great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve. … [I will] gather out mine elect … unto a place which I shall prepare.” (Moses 7:61–62.)
Apocryphal documents present that same idea: “And the earth shall be rent, and everything which is upon the earth shall be destroyed. But there shall be great peace for the righteous, and upon the elect shall be security [synteresis] and peace … and I will bless them all.” (Gizeh 1:7–8.)
“In the days of Enoch … God gave them [the wicked] respite all the time that the righteous men Jared, Methuselah, and Enoch were alive; but when they departed from the world, God let punishment descend.” (Zohar, Bereshith 56b; cf. Gen. 7:23.)
“Why art thou [Enoch] discomforted with such a vision? Until this day has lasted the day of his mercy; and He hath been merciful and long-suffering towards those who dwell on the earth.” (1 En. 60:4–6.)
When the angels beg God to get on with the work and wipe out the unworthy human race, he replies, “I have made and I remove, and I am long-suffering and I rescue!” (BHM 5:172.)
“And after [that] Enoch showed me the angels of punishment who are prepared to come and let loose all the powers of the waters … to bring judgment and destruction on all who dwell on the earth. And the Lord of Spirits gave commandments to the angels who were going forth, that they should not cause the waters to rise, but should hold them back.” (1 En. 66:1.)
The angels, then, for many years were a kind of shuttle service, preaching repentance and offering escape to all who were willing to listen. Their diligence clears God of the charge of being capricious and cruel in sending the Flood, a favorite argument of skeptics and atheists in every age. According to Jellinek, the primary object of the old Hebrew book of Enoch was to expose that argument’s emptiness: “The work of the angels testified that God was just. … Enoch testified that he became an angel in heaven, instructed by the angels Shemashasi and Asael, in order to bear personal witness to man that God in sending the Flood was not cruel.”385 This point is clearly brought home in the Joseph Smith version, in which Enoch and the Lord discuss the whole problem frankly and thoroughly, to Enoch’s complete satisfaction. (See Moses 7:28–67.)
According to apocryphal writings, Abraham, Ezra, and Baruch, among others, questioned the wisdom and charity of sending total destruction on the human race. “Dost thou think,” says the Lord to Baruch, “that in these things this Most High rejoices or that His name is glorified? … Go therefore … and instruct so far as thou art able, that they may learn so as not to die at the last time, but may learn in order that they may live at the last times.”386 To Ezra God gives a gentle reprimand, “Thou comest far short of being able to love my creatures more than I!”387 And, as we have seen, Enoch in the Joseph Smith account gives the strongest testimony of all—that he actually saw God weep! (Moses 7:28.)
All who were willing to repent were duly removed to a place of safety; it was only those who doggedly refused to listen over a period of years, the wicked “residue of the people,” who had to be left behind to perish. Those who took refuge in the ark were by no means all who were saved; many had gone before. This is another interesting phase of the Noah-Enoch relationship.
Moses 7:25. [Enoch] saw angels descending out of heaven. … Moses 7:26. And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth in darkness. … Moses 7:27. And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven … and the Holy Ghost fell upon many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.
Beatty 102:3. And while all the earth was shaking … and in confusion, the angels were busy carrying out what had been assigned [syntachthen] to them.
Apocr. of John 3:38. Not only Noah but others also of the generation that were true and faithful entered into and wrapped themselves in a cloud of light, and the Lord was among them, For darkness was poured out upon all the earth.
Apocr. John 1:73:7. Noah was not alone [in being saved] but men of the generation of the true and faithful [the “unshaken ones”] came to a special place, 11. and there they were enveloped in a cloud of light, 13. and Noah was aware of his divine calling along with those with him when the light enlightened them. For darkness had been poured out over every place upon the entire earth. He took counsel with his angels 74:1, and the angels were sent down to the children of men.
Apoc. of Adam 69 (63). After that shall come great angels in high clouds, and take away those people to the place where the spirit of life is … and they will come from heaven to earth and all the multitude of flesh will perish in the water.
Though communities aspiring to the glory of Zion have been on earth a number of times, it is the final return of Zion in the last days toward which all the prophets have looked. And while the church in every dispensation had certain aspects that resembled the Zion of Enoch, the closest parallel will be the Zion of the End-time.
Moses 7:62. I shall prepare … an Holy City, that my people may … be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. … Moses 7:64. And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.
Jub. 1:27. And He [God] said to the angel of the presence [Sar ha-Panim or Enoch]: Write for Moses from the beginning of creation till my sanctuary has been built for all eternity, and the Lord will appear to the eyes of all, and all shall know that I am the God of Israel … and King on Mount Zion for all eternity. And Zion and Jerusalem shall be holy … until the sanctuary of the Lord shall be made in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and all the luminaries be renewed for healing and for peace and for blessing for all the elect of Israel, and that thus it may be from that day unto all the days of the earth.
That the city “shall be called Zion, a new Jerusalem” seems an obvious anachronism in a book written supposedly before the Flood; yet the idea is strikingly confirmed in the Testament of Levi, a very early Jewish writing totally ignored until the present century,388 in which is a prophecy expressly attributed to Enoch: “For a tabernacle [oikos] which the Lord shall choose for himself shall be called Jerusalem, as is contained in the book of Enoch the Righteous.” (Test. Levi 10:5.)
R. H. Charles quotes parallel passages on this theme from the book of Enoch and the book of Jubilees to show that the latter is in the authentic Enoch tradition, since, as he states, “the resemblance in word and thought … can hardly be accidental.”389 He underlines key words to establish the relationship:
En. 5:9. They shall complete the number of the days of their life
Jub. 23:27, 29. And the days shall begin to grow many and increase amongst the children of men. …
A recent article in Scientific American indicates that some of the conventional ideas of early Judaism and Christianity must be drastically altered in view of new documentary discoveries; M. E. Stone notes that “chief among these [discoveries] were the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, both translated from the Ethiopic in the 19th century.” Then he places the following passages from Enoch and Jude in parallel to show that “it is evident that the Book of Enoch served as a source for the Letter of Jude … and for other early Christian writings.”390
Enoch: “And behold! He cometh with the myriads of His holy ones, to exercise judgment upon all, and to destroy all the ungodly; And to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things ungodly sinners have spoken against them.”
Jude: It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Now are these parallels, given as proof positive of the authentic affinity of ancient writings, any more compelling than these between the same ancient sources and the book of Moses given to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith?
Moses 7:62. And righteousness will I send down out of heaven … and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which … shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. … Moses 7:64. And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.
1 En. 39:5. Here mine eyes saw their dwellings with His righteous angels, And their resting-places with the holy. … And righteousness flowed before them as water and mercy like dew upon the earth: Thus it is amongst them for ever and ever. And in that place mine eyes saw the Elect One of righteousness and of faith, And I saw his dwelling-place …
Apoc. Abr. 29:14. But before the Age of Righteousness and abundance begins, the lawless Gentiles must suffer my judgments, through the people of thy tribe, whom I have set apart for myself.
Of the many striking figures of speech which definitely link the peculiar language of the Joseph Smith Enoch with that of the ancient sources, none is more interesting than that dealing with the preservation of the Ark, a passage which obviously puzzles the Ethiopian scribes, but which stands out clearly in the Joseph Smith text:
Moses 7:43. Wherefore Enoch saw that Noah built an ark; and that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand.
1 En. 67:2. And now the angels are making a wooden [building? R. H. Charles notes: “This account differs from 89:1, where it is said that Noah himself makes the ark”], and when they have completed that task I will place my hand upon it and preserve it.
The Latter-day Saints have been taught to view their own dispensation as the ushering in of the final restoration of Zion. The Church itself, never again to be taken from the earth, must ever more closely approximate the Zion of Enoch as those “which have been scattered shall return to … build up the waste places of Zion … to be established, no more to be thrown down.” (D&C 103:11, 13.) It is the same work under the same auspices: “I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; … even as many as have believed in my name.” (D&C 38:4.) The Latter-day Saints “are they who have come … to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn. …” (D&C 76:67; italics added.) “The Lord spake unto Enoch [Joseph Smith, Jr.], saying: … it must needs be that there be an organization of my people … in the land of Zion—Or in other words, the city of Enoch [Joseph], for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church.” (D&C 78:1–4.)
Zion is the common designation of the Church established in the world: “the land of Zion” being “in other words, the city of Enoch.” (D&C 78:3–4.) Even though the work is still in its preliminary stages, one is justified in saying, “this is the new chapel,” when only the foundations are in. Thus the Church can be called Zion even though its work has barely begun: “My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory … of Zion” (D&C 136:31), and if they are faithful “they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion” (D&C 105:37). The Saints are told not to despair: “Concern not yourselves about Zion, for I will deal mercifully with her” (D&C 111:6), and “Zion shall be redeemed in mine own due time” (D&C 136:18), “although she is chastened for a little season” (D&C 100:13). Brigham Young constantly reminded the Saints of the preparatory nature of the work in which they were engaged:
“We have commenced to organize, I will say partially, in the Holy Order that God has established for his people in all ages of the world when he has had a kingdom on the earth. We may call it the Order of Enoch, the Order of Joseph, the Order of Peter, or Abraham, or Moses, and then go back to Noah, and then step to our own position here, and say that we will organize as far as we have the privilege … under the laws of the land. Many branches of industry have been organized here to help to sustain each other, to labor for the good of all, and to establish cooperation in the midst of the Church in this place.” (JD, 17:113.)
In the years following the entrance into the Salt Lake Valley he placed the greatest emphasis on the theme of preparation and the uses of adversity:
“I never attributed the driving of the Saints from Jackson county to anything but that it was necessary to chasten them and prepare them to build up Zion.” (JD, 13:148.)
“We are not yet prepared to go and establish the Centre Stake of Zion. The Lord tried this in the first place. … He gave revelation after revelation; but the people could not abide them.” (JD, 11:324.)
“Are we fit for Zion? … Could we stay in Independence? No, we could not. … Can the Saints see? No, or a few of them can.” (JD, 15:3.)
“Then do not be too anxious for the Lord to hasten his work. Let our anxiety be centered upon this one thing, the sanctification of our own hearts, the purifying of our own affections, the preparing of ourselves for the approach of events that are hastening upon us. This should he our concern, this should be our study, this should be our daily prayer, and not be in a hurry to see the overthrow of the wicked.” (JD, 9:3.)
“Suppose Joseph had not been obliged to flee from Pennsylvania back to York State, would he have known as much as he afterwards knew? Suppose he could have stayed in old Ontario County in peace, without being persecuted, could he have learned as much as he did by being persecuted? …
“Joseph could not have been perfected, though he had lived a thousand years, if he had received no persecution. … You may calculate when this people are called to go through scenes of affliction and suffering, are driven from their homes, and cast down, and scattered, and smitten, and peeled, the Almighty is rolling on His work with greater rapidity.” (JD, 2:5, 7–8.)
“It was even so with ancient Israel: They had to travel to and fro to every point of the compass, and were wasted away, because God was determined to save their spirits.” (JD, 4:53.)
“While we were in Winter Quarters, the Lord gave to me a revelation … I talked it to my brethren … but with the exception of one or two of the Twelve, it would not touch a man. … I would have given [millions] if the people had been prepared to then receive the kingdom of God according to the pattern given to Enoch. But I could not touch them.” (JD, 18:244.)
The excuse for the Saints’ reluctance was clearly their total preoccupation with their own separation from the world, which was violent and forcible but a necessary prelude to Zion—“Gather ye together, O ye people of my church, … upon the land of Zion. … Let them … who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem.” (D&C 133:4, 12–13.) They were looking for a place of safety, “the land of Zion … for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from the wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.” (D&C 115:6.) Building the city had to come later.
The spectacular departure of Enoch’s Zion will be matched by its no less astonishing return. There are things here beyond the scope of men’s everyday experience: “The redemption of Zion must needs come by power.” (D&C 103:15.) Once established in her place, Zion serves as a sort of bridgehead, preparing the way for the return of Enoch’s Zion, when the two shall fuse.
Moses 7:63. Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other.
1 En. 39:1. And it shall come to pass in those days that the elect and holy children will descend from the high heavens, and their seed will become one with the children of men.
4 Ezra 13:36. When Zion appears it is completely parata et aedificata—a city wholly finished and perfect—coming like a mountain cut out without hands, whose builder and ruler is God.
D&C 45:11. Wherefore … let me show unto you even my wisdom—the wisdom of him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren, D&C 45:12. Who were separated from the earth … a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come. …
Berl. Manich. Copt. Ms. p. 12. Kap. 1:1. When my Apostle [Enoch] shall raise himself up he shall be lifted up along with his church, and they shall be lifted up [elevated] from the earth. 5. It shall take the form of my assembly [ekklesia] and be free in the height.
To be concluded.