“Moses 7:42–69,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2017)
“Moses 7:42–69,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:
“If Enoch had not looked and been spiritually informed, he would have seen the human condition in isolation from the grand reality. If God were not there, Enoch’s ‘Why?’ would have become an unanswered scream of despair!
“At first, Enoch refused ‘to be comforted’ (Moses 7:44). Finally, he saw God’s plan, the later coming of the Messiah in the meridian of time, and the eventual triumph of God’s purposes” (“Yet Thou Art There,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 30–31).
“The Righteous,” Jesus Christ, also called “the Lamb of God,” was sacrificed on a cross in the meridian of time, just as lambs without blemish had been sacrificed on altars of stone since the time of Adam.
President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) wrote: “The Lord here [in Doctrine and Covenants 88] informs us that the earth on which we dwell is a living thing, and that the time must come when it will be sanctified from all unrighteousness. In the Pearl of Great Price, when Enoch is conversing with the Lord, he hears the earth crying for deliverance from the iniquity upon her face. … It is not the fault of the earth that wickedness prevails upon her face, for she has been true to the law which she received and that law is the celestial law. Therefore the Lord says that the earth shall be sanctified from all unrighteousness” (Church History and Modern Revelation , 1:366–67).
The covenant that God made with Enoch was renewed with Noah. Joseph Smith’s translation of Genesis 8:23–24 (in Genesis 6:18, footnote a) records the Lord’s words to Noah:
“But with thee will I establish my covenant, even as I have sworn unto thy father, Enoch, that of thy posterity shall come all nations.
“And thou shalt come into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with them.”
Jesus Christ is “the Rock of Heaven.” The “gate” is faith in Him, repentance, and baptism by water and the Holy Ghost (see 2 Nephi 31:17–18). Jesus Christ is the only way by which we return to the Father (see John 14:6). He is the Messiah, “the Anointed One” who was chosen from the beginning to save God’s children (see Moses 4:2; Abraham 3:27), the King of Zion, the Ruler over the pure in heart (see D&C 97:18–21), and the sure foundation upon which we can build our lives and obtain eternal life (see Matthew 7:24–25; Helaman 5:12).
Enoch saw that the earth would mourn and groan and its rocks would be rent when Christ was crucified and resurrected. Nephi, son of Lehi, and Samuel the Lamanite also prophesied of this (see 1 Nephi 19:10–12; Helaman 14:21–22). The Book of Mormon contains an account of great earthquakes in the western hemisphere (see 3 Nephi 8:18), while the Bible tells of earthquakes in the eastern hemisphere (see Matthew 27:51). President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught: “These earth spasms [were] a revolt by the created earth against the crucifixion of its Creator” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1963, 65).
Enoch saw that the Saints who died before Christ would arise and be crowned at the right hand of God. Samuel the Lamanite also prophesied of a resurrection that would take place in America following the Resurrection of Christ (see Helaman 14:25). Accounts of this first resurrection are found in Matthew 27:52–53 and 3 Nephi 23:9–13.
Concerning the Resurrection, President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) said:
“The doctrine of the Resurrection is the single most fundamental and crucial doctrine in the Christian religion. It cannot be overemphasized, nor can it be disregarded.
“Without the Resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a litany of wise sayings and seemingly unexplainable miracles—but sayings and miracles with no ultimate triumph. No, the ultimate triumph is in the ultimate miracle: for the first time in the history of mankind, one who was dead raised himself into living immortality. He was the Son of God, the Son of our immortal Father in Heaven, and his triumph over physical and spiritual death is the good news every Christian tongue should speak” (“An Apostle’s Witness of the Resurrection,” Ensign, May 1986, 16).
Enoch heard the earth asking when it could rest and be cleansed from the wickedness of its children (see Moses 7:48). Enoch then saw that the earth would not rest in the days of Noah nor in the days of Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry. The time when the earth would finally rest would be at Christ’s Second Coming (see D&C 133:46–52; Articles of Faith 1:10).
The Lord called Enoch to be a preacher of righteousness (see Moses 6:26–36). To help Enoch accomplish his mission, the Lord told him, “My Spirit is upon you … and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me” (Moses 6:34). Enoch did indeed walk with God (see Moses 6:39) and gained the confidence to say, “I know thee.”
Enoch saw the Saints arise with resurrected bodies, receive crowns, and stand at the right hand of Christ (see Moses 7:56). He then foresaw his own glorious future (see Moses 7:59). God has promised all of His worthy children this same reward (see Romans 8:16–17; Revelation 3:21). Enoch also saw that this glorious future was “not of myself, but through thine own grace” (Moses 7:59). Exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God is obtained as a gift from God, by grace, after all we can do (see 2 Nephi 25:23; D&C 6:13). Regarding grace, the Bible Dictionary states:
“The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
“… It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) explained that the Lord promised “that righteousness would come from heaven and truth out of the earth. We have seen the marvelous fulfillment of that prophecy in our generation. The Book of Mormon has come forth out of the earth, filled with truth, serving as the very ‘keystone of our religion’ (see introduction to the Book of Mormon). God has also sent down righteousness from heaven. The Father Himself appeared with His Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The angel Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James, and numerous other angels were directed by heaven to restore the necessary powers to the kingdom. Further, the Prophet Joseph Smith received revelation after revelation from the heavens during those first critical years of the Church’s growth. These revelations have been preserved for us in the Doctrine and Covenants” (“The Gift of Modern Revelation,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 79–80).
President Ezra Taft Benson taught:
“The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to ‘sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect’ (Moses 7:62). This sacred volume of scripture needs to become more central in our preaching, our teaching, and our missionary work. …
“The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for the many reasons which the Lord has given. …
“We have the Book of Mormon, we have the members, we have the missionaries, we have the resources, and the world has the need.
“The time is now!” (“Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 4–5).
The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) explained: “And now, I ask, how righteousness and truth are going to sweep the earth as with a flood? I will answer. Men and angels are to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work, and Zion is to be prepared, even a new Jerusalem, for the elect that are to be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, and to be established an holy city” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 188–89; for more on the latter-day Zion [the New Jerusalem], see 3 Nephi 20:22; 21:20–25; Ether 13:2–8; D&C 45:65–71; 57:1–3).
Concerning this meeting of the two Zions, President John Taylor (1808–87) said: “When the time comes that these calamities we read of shall overtake the earth, those that are prepared will have the power of translation, as they had in former times, and the city will be translated. And Zion that is on the earth will rise, and the Zion above will descend, as we are told, and we will meet and fall on each other’s necks and embrace and kiss each other. And thus the purposes of God to a certain extent will then be fulfilled” (“Discourse,” Deseret News, Sept. 8, 1880, 500).
During the Millennium the earth will not be a celestial world. It will be in a terrestrial, or paradisiacal, condition, cleansed from wickedness. As the Millennium is ushered in, there will still be people of various religious beliefs residing on the earth. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
“When the reign of Jesus Christ comes during the millennium, only those who have lived the telestial law will be removed. It is recorded in the Bible and other standard works of the Church that the earth will be cleansed of all its corruption and wickedness. Those who have lived virtuous lives, who have been honest in their dealings with their fellow man and have endeavored to do good to the best of their understanding, shall remain. …
“The gospel will be taught far more intensely and with greater power during the millennium until all the inhabitants of the earth shall embrace it. Satan shall be bound so that he cannot tempt any man. Should any man refuse to repent and accept the gospel under those conditions then he would be accursed. Through the revelations given to the prophets we learn that during the reign of Jesus Christ for a thousand years, eventually all people will embrace the truth.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. , 1:108, 110–11; for more on the Millennium, see Isaiah 11:5–9; 65:17–25; D&C 101:26–34).
Enoch’s people lived on earth for many years before they were taken into heaven. Concerning this period of time, President Brigham Young (1801–77) said: “Enoch had to talk with and teach his people during a period of three hundred and sixty years, before he could get them prepared to enter into their rest, and then he obtained power to translate himself and his people” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 94).