Moses Chapter 6 (November-December 1830) Seth and Enoch
Moses 6-7 The Book of Enoch
Moses 6:51-68 The Book of Adam
Moses 6:63 All things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual.
Moses 6 concerns itself with three main characters: Seth, the son of Adam (verses 1-16); Enoch, who lived five generations after Seth (verses 26-50), and Father Adam (verses 51-68).
We often refer to the combination of Moses 6:26-50 and Moses 7 as the book of Enoch and Moses 6:51-68 as the book of Adam.
1 And Adam hearkened unto the voice of God, and called upon his sons to repent.
verse 1 "Adam hearkened" The very theme of the story of Adam is his obedience to the voice of God.
2 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
verse 2 The Genesis account again picks up with this verse, and Moses 6:2-25 corresponds to Genesis 4:25-26 and Genesis 5:1-21.
"Adam knew his wife again" For a discussion of the Hebrew verb to know, see the commentary for Moses 5:2.
"called his name Seth" The name Seth in Hebrew comes from the verb sit which means "to set, to appoint."
"Adam glorified the name of God" Here the verb glorified means to honor, to praise, or give glory to. Ultimately we "glorify" God by obeying him.
"another seed" The tie between Abel and Seth is made plain. As this expression affirms, Seth is Abel's replacement (see also Genesis 4:25). Evidently either there had been no other children born to Adam and Eve after the birth of Abel many years before, or perhaps the Lord is finally giving unto Adam and Eve another spiritual heir.
3 And God revealed himself unto Seth, and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice, like unto his brother Abel. And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos.
verse 3 "Seth . . . rebelled not" Seth was obedient to the Lord like his father.
4 And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them;
verse 4 "these men" This expression evidently refers to Seth and his son Enos.
5 And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;
verse 5 "a book of remembrance" This reference to a written source is a first. The other title for this record is "the book of the generations of Adam" (Moses 6:8; Genesis 5:1). At the time of Adam, writing was a sacred act and a sacred trust. This scriptural record was probably begun originally by Adam himself and is therefore prophetic and scriptural in the strictest sense. This book of remembrance is the original scripture of this earth. We will learn in verse 8 that in this record will be included a genealogy of the descendants of Adam.
In the book of Moses we are treated to a clear, lucid, and extensive account of how the fulness of the gospel, with the plan of salvation and the doctrine of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, was made known to our father Adam and that he taught it to his children and it was handed down from generation to generation. We are learning of these great truths and historical events from the writings of Moses. Did Moses receive the revelations of the gospel of Jesus Christ directly from the Lord himself, or is it likely that he learned much of it from the scriptural record of his day? Certainly Moses would have made use of every semblance of sacred scripture available to him in his day. What role do the scriptural writings of previous prophets play in the life of a living prophet? For the living prophet, the scriptures are most vital. Consider the prophet Joseph Smith. Were the ancient scriptures important to him? Consider the role of James 1:5-6 in his life: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Consider also the vital role of Joseph's translation of the ancient record of the Book of Mormon and his study and inspired revision of the Bible in his receiving modern revelation. Indeed, study of scripture often is the very key, the foundation, the trigger for the living prophet's receiving "modern" revelation.
It seems likely that some of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ found today in the book of Moses originated in the book of remembrance begun by Adam. Did Moses have a copy of this original scriptural record-the book of remembrance? We don't know the answer to that. Verse 46 of this chapter suggests that Enoch, in his day, had access to this book of remembrance. Perhaps Moses obtained much of his material for the book of Moses from the writings of Enoch who used as his resource the book of remembrance. This important revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to Adam is alluded to in other scriptures (for example, 2 Nephi 2:15-26; Alma 12:22-37; D&C 20:17-29; D&C 29:40-44), but it is delineated most completely in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price.
"recorded, in the language of Adam" The original language is usually regarded as something almost divine. We will learn in the next verse that the Adamic language was "pure and undefiled." We may wonder if the language of Adam was the same as that spoken in the celestial setting by the Father, the Son, and others there. The implication of this phrase is that the spoken language of Adam and his children differed from that of Moses, who is the scribe for what God is revealing.
"it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration" This phrase simple reminds us that the Spirit of God was dispatched to assist in the writing of scripture only those who were prayerful and righteous. It is apparent that in Adam's day, the ability to write was thought to be of divine origin. Those who possessed writing skills so valued their ability that they prayed before writing anything.
6 And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.
verse 6 "their children were taught to read and write" It is fascinating to learn that literacy was common among the family and descendants of Adam.
7 Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.
verse 7 This verse constitutes a sudden change of subject and the abrupt injection into the text of the idea of the priesthood (see Priesthood in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 2, chapter 12). This verse consists seems out of place and produces a break in the logical sequence of ideas. There is a reason for this. Modern revelation given to our dispensation strongly emphasizes the priesthood which was passed along the covenant line from Adam through Seth. This line had been previously ruptured with the death of Abel. Seth clearly became Adam's birthright son. We learn from modern revelation that Seth was ordained at the age of sixty-nine by his father, Adam. He (Seth) was in the express image of his father. He was known as a "perfect man"; and, in a blessing from his father, received a promise that his "posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth" (D&C 107:40-43). At Adam-ondi-Ahman Seth was privileged to be at the gathering of the righteous to whom Adam gave his last blessing and prophesied concerning his posterity (see D&C 107:53-56). Because of Seth's importance, it is apparent that the genealogical tables (see Moses 6:8-25; Genesis 5), which evidently derive from "the book of the generations of Adam" (see Moses 6:8), are intended to track the line of Seth, "the chosen of the Lord" (D&C 107:42), for through that line would the priesthood descend, "to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed" (D&C 107:40). Hence, Moses would naturally assume that the reader of these verses would have had prominently in mind the priesthood and its descendancy beginning at the first mention of Seth in verse 2. Thus, this verse does not really represent an abrupt insertion and is not at all out of place.
Apocryphal sources speak of Seth in exalted terms. Among other characteristics, he is said to have been an important leader in the premortal life, having struggled valiantly on the side of good in the premortal conflict. As a figure of light, his righteous descendants were singled out by Satan for persecution because they were to be a force for good until the end of time. This persecution included the Flood, whose destructive force was aimed at Seth's posterity ("race") by the "god of this world." As a righteous personality, he was seen to prefigure the Redeemer (see the references to apocryphal materials in S. K. Brown, "The Nag Hammadi Library: A Mormon Perspective," in Griggs, Writings, 262-63).
"which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also" These words recall the statement about the higher order of priesthood: "the order of the Son of God . . . was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (JST Hebrews 7:3; Alma 13:7; Abraham 1:3). In other words, the priesthood has always existed. It is from eternity past to eternity future. Joseph Smith wrote: "The Melchizedek priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life" (TPJS, 323).
verses 8-25 Theses verses contain a genealogy or lineage of Adam taken from "the book of the generations of Adam." The expression "the book of the generations of Adam" is apparently one of the ancient titles for the scriptural genealogical and historical summary which follows. The context makes it clear that this genealogical record is a physical, not a spiritual, lineage.
8 Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
verse 8 "this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost" This phrase may refer to the prophecy in verse 7 regarding the priesthood. Though related there without attribution by the prophet Moses, here we learn that Moses now attributes it to father Adam. In a more general sense, this phrase more likely refers to the revelations given to Adam and recorded by the prophet Moses.
Again, we are reminded that the term prophecy does not necessarily have to refer to a divinely inspired prediction of the future. Rather prophecy also means revelation. What about the phrase "spirit of prophecy"? What is the "spirit of prophecy"? Answer: The Spirit of God is a man who, by his influence, enables all prophecy or revelation. The Holy Ghost, then, may be said to be the Spirit (capital "S") of all revelation. The "spirit (small "s") of prophecy" does not refer specifically to the Holy Ghost. Instead the phrase "spirit of prophecy" refers simply to all revelation.
"a genealogy was kept of the children of God" A genealogy was kept at least in part to track the passage of the covenant of the priesthood along the chosen line. The term "children of God" points to people of the covenant, in contrast to the expressions "the sons of men" and "the daughters of men." See the commentary for Moses 5:49; Moses 5:52.
"In the day that God created man" We have discussed previously that there are a few expressions that are used in Hebrew texts as introductory words or opening phrases. These are called incipit titles. The word incipit is from the Latin meaning "here begins." These expressions include "in the beginning" (see Genesis 1:1) and "in the land" (see Abraham 1:1). Here is yet another incipit title. It is an incipit title for the book of genealogy and for the history of Adam.
9 In the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created and became living souls in the land upon the footstool of God.
verse 9 "In the image of his [God's] own body" This expression, which does not occur in the book of Genesis, clarifies the doctrine that the creation of Adam and Eve in the "image [and] . . . likeness" of God was more than a spiritual likeness (see Genesis 1:26; Moses 2:26). Hence, Adam was the literal, physical offspring of God the Father. The same, of course, is true of Eve. God the Father and his celestial consort gave birth to the bodies of Adam and Eve. Several statements of Brigham Young help to make this fact clearer:
God . . . created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be (JD, 11:122).
When you tell me that father Adam was made as we make adobes from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. . . . There is no such thing in the eternities where the Gods dwell. Mankind are here because they are offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth (JD, 7:285-86).
Things were first created spiritually; the Father actually begat the spirits, and they were brought forth and lived with him. Then he commenced the work of creating earthly tabernacles, precisely as he had been created in this flesh himself, by partaking of the coarse material that was organized and composed this earth, until his system was charged with it, consequently the tabernacles of his children were organized from the coarse materials of this earth (JD, 4:218).
When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve. . . . When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. . . . He [Adam] is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession (JD, 1:50-51).
In 1912 the First Presidency (Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose) sent a letter to Samuel O. Bennion, the mission president in Independence, Missouri, clarifying what Brigham Young meant:
But President Young went on to show that our father Adam,-that is, our earthly father,-the progenitor of the race of man, stands at our head, being "Michael the Archangel, the Ancient of Days," and that he was not fashioned from earth like an adobe, but "begotten by his Father in Heaven." Adam is called in the Bible "the son of God" (Luke 3:38) (Clark, 1970, 4:266).
Finally, a statement from Joseph Smith:
Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Wherever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way (HC, 6:476).
The picture is clear. Adam and Eve were immortal, physical children of God the Father and his celestial, immortal companion. The veil of forgetfulness was drawn over their minds, and they were placed in the Garden of Eden. There they partook of the forbidden fruit and became mortal. This in nowise contradicts the scriptural reference to Christ as "the Only Begotten of the Father." He is the only begotten "in the flesh," that is, in mortality. Adam and Eve were immortal when they were born.
We are not given to understand in any detail the kind of body Adam and Eve had. Though President Brigham Young referred to it as a "celestial" body, we know that it was not identical to a resurrected celestial eternal body possessed by the Father and the Son. For one thing, the bodies of Adam and Eve were incapable of procreation.
Does all this eliminate the possibility that the bodies of human beings (the family of Adam) are the evolutionary descendants of earlier manlike apes? Obviously our knowledge of the biological science involving the celestial bodies of our heavenly parents and the nature of the process whereby they "charged" their bodies with the materials of the earth prior to the births of Adam and Eve is most limited. We do know, however, that there exists an uncanny and remarkably sophisticated similarity between the genetic materials of the bodies of man and the apes of today.
"called their name Adam" The name Adam ties to the common term meaning "man" or "human being." In this sense, the name refers to both Adam and Eve and their posterity.
"the footstool of God" This is the earliest reference to the earth as God's footstool. On one level, it links God closely with the earth. On another, it demonstrates that the created or terrestrial order stands below the celestial order.
10 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image, and called his name Seth.
verse 10 This verse begins a genealogical listing that extends from Adam to Enoch and Enoch's son Methuselah (verse 25). This listing ties together the material between here and Moses 8:1. This latter verse (Moses 8:1) begins the genealogical listing from Enoch and Methuselah to Noah and his sons (Moses 8:1-12). This list in verses 10-25 must be seen as a roster of priesthood holders who were ordained by Adam and fulfilled the Lord's promise to Seth that his posterity "should be the chosen of the Lord, and . . . should be preserved unto the end of the earth" (D&C 107:42).
"Adam . . . begat a son" These words differ from the formula that usually names the first son in a genealogical succession. Thus, this expression draws special attention to Seth and underscores his importance as the birthright son.
"in his own likeness, after his own image" These terms (see also Genesis 5:3) explain clearly that Seth was born in the physical "likeness" and "image" of his father Adam. The identical terms are the same as those in Genesis 1:26 and Moses 2:26 which make clear the physical relationship between God and man. Those who would insist that God is a "spirit"-which includes most all of the orthodox Christian world today-would interpret Genesis 1:26 as referring to some type of spiritual likeness or spiritual image. The term "spirit" in this setting is a complete fabricated mystery to all orthodox Christians and is without precedent in all science and all scripture. We, of course know that a physical likeness and image is intended, and Genesis 5:3 and this particular verse provide solid evidence for that interpretation.
11 And the days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years, and he begat many sons and daughters;
12 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
verse 12 "nine hundred and thirty years" The book of Genesis also reports that Adam died at 930 years of age (Genesis 5:5). However, when Joseph Smith prepared his inspired translation of the Bible, he wrote that Adam's age at his death was actually just short of one thousand years. Later, he was more specific, indicating that Adam died about six months short of one millennium (Robert J. Mathews, A Plainer Translation: Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible, 84-85). This correction has not yet been made to this verse.
13 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begat Enos, and prophesied in all his days, and taught his son Enos in the ways of God; wherefore Enos prophesied also.
verse 13 "prophesied in all his days" Here the text highlights Seth's righteous character and ministry.
14 And Seth lived, after he begat Enos, eight hundred and seven years, and begat many sons and daughters.
15 And the children of men were numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man's hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.
verse 15 "the children of men" This term links back to "the sons of men" and "the daughters of men" (see the commentary for Moses 5:49; Moses 5:52) and differs from "the children of God" in Moses 6:8.
16 All the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.
17 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan. And Enos and the residue of the people of God came out from the land, which was called Shulon, and dwelt in a land of promise, which he called after his own son, whom he had named Cainan.
verse 17 "the people of God came out from the land" This first migration is away from the Garden of Eden. The influences that forced the migration must have been substantial, because the Garden of Eden formed a major focus of worship and devotion.
"a land of promise" This expression provides evidence that God assisted the migration from the region of the Garden of Eden. The move was apparently effective, because nothing is said about serious troubles affecting the following generations. Moreover, this verse presents the first notice in scriptures of a righteous minority withdrawing from a wicked society to go to a "promised land."
18 And Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat many sons and daughters. And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died.
19 And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel; and Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.
20 And Mahalaleel lived sixty-five years, and begat Jared; and Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.
21 And Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begat Enoch; and Jared lived, after he begat Enoch, eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God.
22 And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed.
23 And they were preachers of righteousness, and spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men.
verse 23 "they were preachers or righteousness . . . and called upon all men, everywhere" "They" refers to the line of priesthood holders listed in verses 10-23. It is evident that the righteous side of Adam's family did not cut itself off from Cain and his followers ("the children of men"). Instead, though they lived at a distance, these preachers attempted to bring distant relatives back to God.
24 And it came to pass that all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.
25 And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begat Methuselah.
verses 26-50 The Book of Enoch begins with Moses 6:26 and extends through verse 50. It then begins again at Moses 7:1 and continues on through Moses 7, ending in Moses 7:69.
The prophet-patriarch Enoch remains an enigmatic figure in the religious world-an ancient character shrouded in mystery. This is certainly in part due to the fact that so little information concerning Enoch is contained in the biblical canon. In the Old Testament we read simply: "And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Genesis 5:21-24). Paul, in writing to the Hebrews, explained that "by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5). Finally, Jude, the brother of our Lord, wrote in his general epistle of the prophecies of Enoch concerning the destruction of the wicked at the time of the Second Coming (Jude 14-15). When we move, however, beyond the accepted canon of scripture to the apocryphal and pseudepigraphical sources, Enoch is a popular figure and receives considerable attention. There are extensive Enoch materials not only in the book of Moses but also in the three Enoch books that exist outside the Old Testament (First or Ethiopic Enoch, Second or Slavonic Enoch, and Third or Hebrew Enoch). Further, it is likely that a lengthy oral tradition about Enoch has been handed down side by side with the written texts of Enoch.
Joseph Smith had begun a serious study of the King James Bible in June of 1830. The earliest information about Enoch seems to have been received some time between November and December of 1830, during the Prophet's inspired revision of the early chapters of Genesis (see JST, Genesis 6:26-7:1; Moses 6:26-7:1).
Enoch was ordained to the Patriarchal Priesthood at the age of 25 by Adam, and he received another blessing under the hands of Father Adam at 65 years of age. Modern revelation also makes plain that Enoch was in attendance on the sacred occasion when Adam bade farewell to his posterity and bestowed his last prophetic blessing in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman (D&C 107:48-57).
26 And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him.
verse 26 "Enoch journeyed in the land" The narrative does not spell out the purpose of Enoch's journey. But the fact that he was traveling "in the land"-in contrast to the wilderness-and "among the people" hints that he may already have been on a preaching tour (see the commentary on verse 27). It may also be significant that he had not withdrawn from society to seek spiritual strength at the time God called him. Rather, he was actively on the Lord's errand.
"among the people" This expression is formulaic for missionary work (see also verse 37). Evidently, the Lord here is not calling Enoch de novo to missionary service; rather he is upgrading Enoch's responsibility through the ensuing call.
"the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him" This passage is reminiscent of the Savior's baptismal experience (see Matthew 3:13-17). Clearly, Enoch prefigures, or is a type of, the coming Messiah.
"abode upon him" In verse 34 the Lord will promise Enoch that he (the Lord) will abide in Enoch as Enoch does in him.
27 And he heard a voice from heaven, saying: Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them-Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off;
verse 27 "a voice" This term is regularly associated with the beginning of a dispensation or some important action of the Lord. Compare the characterization of John the Baptist as the "voice." Mark 1:3 describes the Baptist as "the voice of one crying in the wilderness." D&C 1:1 opens the Lord's preface to the D&C with "Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high." The voice in this case is obviously the voice of the Lord Jehovah.
"my son" Jehovah addresses Enoch with a particular term of endearment. We have scriptural record, for example, of the Father's using this term of endearment for the Savior (Mark 1:11; Mark 9:7) and for Moses (Moses 1:4; Moses 1:6).
"prophesy unto this people" The context here indicates that one important meaning of prophesying is to preach repentance, not simply to forecast the future. Perhaps pertinent here is the definition: "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). Adding upon our prior definition of the term "spirit of prophecy" (see verse , above) we may learn here that not only does a testimony of Jesus come only by revelation, but this particular revelation is of supreme importance.
"this people" This expression, repeated in this verse and in verse 33, evidently refers to those who have followed Cain because of the list of their crimes in verses 28-29. If so, then Enoch has been journeying-and very possibly preaching-not among those who have accepted God's covenants but among those who have rejected them.
"my fierce anger is kindled" The image of fire ("kindled") as a figure or symbol of judgment is common in scripture (see Moses 7:34; Genesis 19:24; Amos 1:4; Amos 1:7; Amos 1:10; Amos 1:13; Luke 12:49; 2 Nephi 9:16; 2 Nephi 9:19; 2 Nephi 9:26; 3 Nephi 8:7; 3 Nephi 9:3; 3 Nephi 9:9-10).
"ears" This term may allude in part to ceremonies of consecration in which blood is applied to the tip of the ear as an ordinance of consecration (Exodus 29:20; Leviticus 8:23-24; Leviticus 14:14; Leviticus 14:17-18; Leviticus 14:25; Leviticus 14:28-29).
"their eyes cannot see" The reference is to spiritual sight, or lack of it, as in verses 35-36. Compare "God saw" (Genesis 1:4; Genesis 1:10; Genesis 1:12; Genesis 1:18; Genesis 1:25; Genesis 1:31; Moses 2:4; Moses 2:10, etc.) and "the woman saw" (Genesis 3:6; Moses 4:12).
28 And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam.
verse 28 This verse and the following summarize the sins among Cain's people. But much more than a list of sins lies within these words. They also set out the legal grounds upon which God can justify punishments of those who ignore and disavow his laws. The call of Enoch, of course, formed one part of God's plan to turn these people back to him.
"they . . . have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam" These words must refer to the sins of omitting the sacrifices after the manner of the Son of God (see Moses 5:5; Moses 5:7), thus taking out of the society one of the elements of worship intended to remind them of his coming.
29 Wherefore, they have foresworn themselves, and, by their oaths, they have brought upon themselves death; and a hell I have prepared for them, if they repent not;
verse 29 "they have foresworn themselves" To foreswear is to bear false witness
"by their oaths, they have brought upon themselves death" Two important examples are those of Cain and Lamech, who took the lives of others after swearing oaths (see Moses 5:29; Moses 5:49-50). Significantly, the statement hints that there were other killings done after swearing secret oaths to others in their satanic organizations.
"they have brought upon themselves death" One point of this phrase is that the wicked are responsible for their eternal difficulties. The second point is that evil oath taking brings upon the swearer-of the evil oaths-death. The likely reference here is to spiritual death or separation from God. We are taught that the transgression of Adam brought into the world physical death for all men. We don't usually speak of the sins of mortals as responsible for physical death. If the sins of men, other than Adam, were responsible for the perpetuation of physical death among men, that would imply that a sinless mortal would not suffer physical death. There is no such doctrine.
The earliest version of this phrase from the first manuscript reads, "they have eat unto themselves death," which may represent a scribal error, or it may hint that evil oath-taking involved ceremonial eating (notwithstanding the awkward verb tense).
30 And this is a decree, which I have sent forth in the beginning of the world, from my own mouth, from the foundation thereof, and by the mouths of my servants, thy fathers, have I decreed it, even as it shall be sent forth in the world, unto the ends thereof.
verse 30 "this is a decree" The Lord's decree is defined in verses 27-29, 50-52, and 57-62 and consists of a somber warning that the children of men must repent and obey his commands. This decree went out from the premortal councils ("in the beginning of the world . . . from the foundation thereof") and has been or will be taken to all of the Father's children.
31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?
verse 31 Enoch, like so many of the humble ones called to assume prophetic status, hesitated and questioned his own capacity to convince others of the error of their ways. We will watch Enoch develop, slowly but surely, from a sensitive young man, brimming with eternal possibilities-but still a stammering and uncertain youth-to a noble and confident priesthood leader, one whose name and works have become associated with transcendent righteousness.
"Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight . . ." In spite of Enoch's youth and inexperience, he is not overwhelmed and rendered speechless by his visit with the Lord. He keeps his wits about him and has a meaningful conversation with the Lord. We have seen this same ability in other great individuals like Moses (Exodus 3:11; Exodus 3:13), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6), and Mary (Luke 1:34).
"I am slow of speech" See the commentary for the following verse.
32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
verse 32 "Go forth" These two words are the divine commissioning of Enoch. Enoch is now fully authorized to speak for the Lord. Another biblical expression with similar meaning is "Go to."
"no man shall pierce thee" This phrase implies that some will seek to destroy Enoch, but the Lord will protect him.
"I will give thee utterance" The Lord provides Enoch with some divine assistance in overcoming his difficulty with speech. It would seem likely that some of Enoch's newly developed speaking ability was the result of a free gift from God, and that he did not have to labor alone to overcome his speech impairment.
The Lord's patient and loving response must have supplied the needed confidence for this newly selected spokesman.
33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.
verse 33 "serve the Lord God who made you" The Lord's suggested appeal is made by "the Lord God" which emphasizes his creative role. The appeal here is for the people to acknowledge their debt to the Lord with gratitude. Gratitude has been called not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all other virtues. It has ever been, in the Lord's eyes, that our central motivation for obeying him should be gratitude to him for what he will do or has done for each us-especially his atoning sacrifice. This motivation has also been termed a "broken heart and contrite spirit."
34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.
verse 34 "all thy words will I justify" The Lord makes the sublime promise to Enoch that all of Enoch's words will be "justified." That is, whatsoever Enoch says or commands, the Lord will make it so. In essence, this is the sealing power of the priesthood which has been given to each presiding officer of the Church in this dispensation, and presumably to each presiding priesthood officer since the time of Adam. An example is the prophet Nephi, the son of Helaman. The Lord said to him: "I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will. Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people. Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people" (Helaman 10:4-7; see also Matthew 16:13-19; 3 Nephi 27:28-29).
"the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course" Keep in mind that Enoch's power is priesthood power-borrowed power from the Lord. It is the Lord who exercises his personal power over the inanimate elements at Enoch's request. See The Power of God in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 14.
The reader has been previously invited to review Priesthood in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 2, chapter 12. In that chapter, the veil metaphor is utilized to aid in understanding the concept of the true nature of priesthood power. After reviewing the chapter on priesthood, it should become apparent that the real difference between the sealing power, described earlier in the commentary for this verse, and the priesthood held be every righteous male servant of the Lord, is more quantitative than qualitative. In a sense, the Lord "justifies" or honors the righteous appeals by his priesthood holders as they labor in his earthly kingdom just has he agrees in this verse to honor the righteous requests of his key-holding prophet on the earth.
35 And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so.
verse 35 "Anoint thine eyes with clay" Again we witness the inclination of the Lord to associate his spiritual blessings or the promise of his spiritual blessings with physical ordinances. What is it that he is trying to teach us by his use of physical ordinance and ritual? Before considering this question, let us consider two other scriptural anecdotes.
In John 9:1-7, Jesus and his disciples encountered a man who had been blind from birth. Jesus set about to heal him: "He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam . . . He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing."
In 2 Kings 5:1-14, we read the well-known story of Naaman, a Syrian military general who lived in the ninth century BC at the time when there were two kingdoms in Israel, the Kingdom of Israel in the north, in Samaria, and the Kingdom of Judah in the south, centered in Jerusalem. Naaman was a good man but was stricken with leprosy. A young Israelite maid, a servant of Naaman's wife, knew of her master's condition. She also knew that deliverance from his awful disease was possible. "She said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet [Elisha] that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of the leprosy." The king of Syria, wanting to save his valued general, sent a letter to the king of Israel saying that he would send Naaman, "that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy." The king of Israel was apprehensive and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?" Elisha heard of the letter and told the king, "Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel." Naaman came "with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in [the Jordan River] seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." Naaman, expecting to be received and treated with more solicitude and respect was insulted on two counts. First, why couldn't Elisha take the time to come out of the house, meet him, and then heal him by the laying on of hands? Second, Naaman reasoned: What is it about the Jordan River? Why that filthy place? "Are not Arbana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage." And then the timeless lesson. The sensitive servants of Naaman asked the question of the ages: "If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean?" No doubt convicted by the poignancy and spirit of truthfulness in their words, Naaman humbled himself. "Then he went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."
Let us then ask again, what is it that the Lord is trying to teach us by his use of physical ordinance and ritual? Does the Lord involve us in ordinance and ritual arbitrarily-for some capricious godly whim? Let us be reminded, as we have many times previously, that there is nothing of arbitrariness or caprice in God's universe. He does nothing without reason and purpose. His central objective is to, within the limitations imposed by this mortal test, bring us home to live with him forever after this life. He does nothing without studied reason. He wants us home and his efforts to give us every chance to get there are thoughtful and deliberate (Moses 1:39).
Let us also be reminded that ritual and ordinance imply covenant. When we participate in a ritual or ordinance, we enter into a covenant.
Why, then, physical ordinance and ritual? For a more complete discussion of this question, please see Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 3, chapter 29, The Lord's Use of Ritual. For the convenience of the reader, I will reproduce part of that discussion here. It would seem that there are perhaps eight things that we learn, or are intended by the Lord to learn as we participate in ritual and ordinance:
1. Pro-active Effort Necessary. The Lord's blessings do not come without effort on our part. He teaches this through figurative or metaphorical teachings. We don't receive the blessings of the sacrament, for example, without going to the Church, placing ourselves in a reverent frame of mind, singing a hymn, listening to the prayer, and then partaking of the bread and water. We don't receive the blessings of the temple without driving to the temple and participating in the ordinance and ritual that is found there. In order to participate in an ordinance, we must go to a certain place and be there by a certain time. Likewise we do not achieve the spiritual growth here on earth that we must achieve without deliberately and purposefully exerting ourselves. Obedience is invariably painful, and spiritual growth does not come free or even cheap. The obligation to grow spiritually lies upon our own shoulders. No one can do it for us. We must exert ourselves; we must assume full responsibility. We must decide to participate in the ordinance and then participate.
2. Undeniable Commitment. Virtually all physical ordinances and all instances of ritual in the Lord's gospel signify a sacred and binding agreement, a covenant with him. When we covenant with him, he causes us to signify that covenant by a definite overt physical act which commits us in our own eyes. There is nothing vague about an overt physical act. We have done it and we know it, and we know that the Lord knows it. We are committed. We cannot renege on our promise. We must now make good. We must now keep our covenant.
Could it be that when the Lord gave to Enoch the gift of spiritual vision, he expected of Enoch a commitment? Could it be that in a real way, as Enoch received this gift, he was entering into a covenant? And might it have been that the mortal Jesus Christ, let the blind man know that his removing his blindness did not come without obligation on the man's part? And might General Naaman have sensed a spiritual obligation or commitment to the God of Israel after his experience in the River Jordan? Naaman said, after his experience, "Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel" (2 Kings 5:15).
3. Commitment before the Saints. When we participate in a physical ordinance, the Lord often has us do it in a place where others of the saints are present. These others see us participate in the sacrament or participate in the ritual and ordinances of the temple. And why does he want others to witness our participation? It would seem that it is primarily so that they can know that we are committed-that we have made the agreement, the covenant-and now we are responsible to them and also they can help us keep that commitment. No one can go it alone. Earning our exaltation is not a process we can achieve solo. We all need help, and the Lord sees to it that we get that help from others who know that we have covenanted. Others were there. They saw us make the covenant. Now they know that we need the fellowship of the saints. We are all a part of his Church which is essentially a group of his followers committed to help one another on our way toward exaltation.
4. Enrichment of Our Fellowship. There is an additional reason why the group dynamic is spiritually fortifying for all of us. In the temple, we share together a ritual that is not so much secret as it is sacred. It is something we avoid speaking of outside the temple because of its profoundly sacred nature. It is not something that we would like to see become the topic of everyday conversation. So we keep it to ourselves-it is a topic that is held sacred, just among us saints. This cherished knowledge that we share adds to the warm fellowship which exists among us saints-the Lord intends that it should. He has a vested interest in binding us together as a group, as he knows well that an effective way to bring us back home is to remain close and loyal to one another here in mortality. It is for this very reason that myriad earthly organizations utilize ritual. It is hoped, in these men's and women's fraternal organizations, that their secret ritual and lore will bind them together as an organization. Their concept of ritual is, in a way, a secularly adapted-even an "apostate" form-of the divine concept.
5. Added Meaning in Symbolism. At times the mechanics and script of the ritual itself may give us valuable spiritual insight. It may teach us precious spiritual truths. Perhaps this may pertain today especially in the temple. Another example is the ordinance of baptism. There is much insight into how we grow spiritually to be gained through an understanding of the three parts of the ordinance of baptism, the baptism of water, the baptism of the Spirit, and the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost (see Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume1, chapter 18, Baptism, the Ordinance that Brings Spiritual Growth).
6. Necessity of Blind Obedience. The Lord seems to be teaching us that we must obey him at all times even on those unusual occasions when we're not sure exactly why. He does not resent our studying his doctrine and trying to gain insight into his ways and reasons; but we must never forget that his ways are higher than our ways. In mortality, we will never come to fully understand him and his purposes. There must ever remain an element of blind trust and obedience in our relationship with him. One is reminded of the incident wherein Adam is asked by the angel why he is offering sacrifices to the Lord. Adam replied, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me" (Moses 5:6). The angel then went on to bless Adam for his determination to obey, even though he did not completely understand the significance of the Lord's command. The angel taught him the meaning of the command, "And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth" (Moses 5:7). This concept is perhaps particularly applicable to those individuals who have long studied the doctrines of the gospel and may have come to think of themselves as having special insight into God's ways. They, especially, need to be reminded that they do not understand all of God's purposes and must, at times, submit to his counsel, even when they don't understand the reasons. All we have to do to receive the Lord's blessings is to "go and do," to just obey his commands. We don't have to completely understand the intricate workings of his commands to benefit by them. Simple deliberate faith and simple obedience-these are the watchwords.
7. Deny Yourself. We notice that all of the ordinances we are commanded to receive here in mortality involve the mortal physical body-the body is immersed, hands are laid on heads, we make certain signs and tokens with hands and arms, we partake of the bread and water with our hand and mouth. If a candidate for exaltation passes beyond this life without his having had the opportunity to receive the ordinances, the Lord commands that someone still here on earth use his physical body to vicariously perform the ordinance on the deceased's behalf. The ordinances are part of mortality-they must be done during this mortal test. What metaphorical teaching is the Lord trying to convey here? Could it be that all of the ordinances are a figurative reminder that in order to gain our exaltation, we must deny our mortal natural man self and instead choose the Lord and his purposes. We must prioritize our thoughts and actions here on earth and resist our natural inclination to seek primarily after things of this world and instead "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," then the Lord's ultimate blessings will be ours.
8. All physical ordinances are just that-physical-and they all involve touch. The touch of another can provide a tangible transmission of love and power. It was the mortal Christ's inclination to minister personally and intimately by touching and expressing. So it is with ordinances and rituals. The Lord cannot be here to touch and personally minister, so he has his servants administer ordinances.
"thou shalt see" The Lord's promise here has to do with spiritual sight, as we will see in the next verse.
36 And he beheld the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye; and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.
verse 36 "A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people" What is a seer? He is a priesthood leader who is empowered to see with spiritual eyes, to see beyond this mortal realm and beyond our mortal time frame. Here Enoch sees premortal, and perhaps other, spirits that are not visible to the natural eye. Ammon explained to King Limhi that a seer "can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come" and is thus the means by which "secret things [shall] be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light" (see Mosiah 8:17 and its commentary). Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote: "A seer is one who sees with spiritual eyes. He perceives the meaning of that which seems obscure to others; therefore he is an interpreter and clarifier of eternal truth. He foresees the future from the past and the present. This he does by the power of the Lord operating through him directly, or indirectly with the aid of divine instruments such as the Urim and Thummin. In short, he is one who sees, who walks in the Lord's light with open eyes" (Evidences and Reconciliations, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960], 258).
37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him.
verse 37 "standing upon the hills and the high places" Although Enoch may have sought out prominent spots for his preaching, this expression suggests also that he may have gone to the sanctuaries, the places of worship.
"all men were offended" Obviously his message was not one regularly heard in those places, and there is no message quite to painful as one which pricks the conscience. We are reminded that few men sin without an element of misgiving and emotional pain and apprehension. And it is this very conscience-induced pain that causes men to react defensively and angrily.
38 And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.
verse 38 "saying unto the tent-keepers" We have learned that the descendants of Cain were people that dwelled in tents and kept cattle (see Moses 5:45). Evidently Enoch was preaching among these people. We also see evidence of a class system among these people-some were relegated to the role of tent keeper.
"there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man" The terms "strange thing" and "wild man" applied to Enoch imply that he was seen as a wanderer and not of the culture to whom he was preaching.
39 And it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.
verse 39 "fear came on all them that heard him" Enoch had, of course, hoped that his preaching would awaken and engender faith and repentance among the people. Instead, in some his preachings produced fear-undoubtedly a combination of guilt, remorse, shame, but also awe, amazement, wonder, and ultimately a spiritual rejection of Enoch's message. At least this fear served to protect him against attack, as its result was that "no man laid hands on him." This latter effect was obviously God's intent.
40 And there came a man unto him, whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him: Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest?
verse 40 "Mahijah" In Moses 7:2 we will encounter the related place name Mahujah. These two names, Mahijah and Mahujah, were not known from any other ancient source before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Cave 4, where the name appears in fragmentary copies of the book of First Enoch (see J. T. Milik and M. Black, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4. [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976], 300-306, 311, 314, where the Aramaic name is transliterated as "Mahawai").
"who thou art" Mahijah's question was likely asked in a mocking tone. His question is similar in spirit to that of Pharaoh ("Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go"-Exodus 5:2) and King Noah ("Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?"-Mosiah 11:27) and the people of Ammonihah ("Who is God, that sendeth no more authority than one man among this people, to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?"-Alma 9:6). At the very least, such questions stand as challenges to prophets' credentials.
41 And he said unto them: I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day. And my father taught me in all the ways of God.
verse 41 "And my father taught me in all the ways of God" In Moses 6:21, we read: "And Jared [Enoch's father] taught Enoch in all the ways of God." Certainly a powerful testimony of the effectiveness of righteous parental teaching.
42 And it came to pass, as I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment; wherefore, for this cause, to keep the commandment, I speak forth these words.
verse 42 In this verse, Enoch invokes his vision of the Lord (Moses 6:26-36) as his divine authority in response to the challenge from Mahijah.
"I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea East" We would presume that the land of Cainan is east of Eden.
43 And Enoch continued his speech, saying: The Lord which spake with me, the same is the God of heaven, and he is my God, and your God, and ye are my brethren, and why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven?
verse 43 "why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven?" The Lord had taught Enoch of the people among whom he is now preaching: "they . . . sought their own counsels in the dark; and . . . devised murder" (Moses 6:28).
44 The heavens he made; the earth is his footstool; and the foundation thereof is his. Behold, he laid it, an host of men hath he brought in upon the face thereof.
verse 44 Enoch begins a song of glorious praise of the Lord. This verse contains a few different expressions which indicate that the Lord Jehovah created the earth. These include: "The heavens he made," "the earth is his footstool," "the foundation thereof is his," and "he laid it."
45 And death hath come upon our fathers; nevertheless we know them, and cannot deny, and even the first of all we know, even Adam.
verse 45 "death hath come upon our fathers" This expression evidently does not teach that some of Enoch's ancestors had, by the time of Enoch's ministry, suffered a physical death, though it is certainly possible, even likely, that some of them had. Rather the phrase means that all mortals are inevitably going to die-"death hath come upon our fathers." We know that most biblical chronologies suggest that Adam was still alive at the beginning of Enoch's ministry, but certainly in the sense of this verse, "death hath come upon" Adam as well.
46 For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language.
verse 46 "a book of remembrance we have written among us" This phrase is a bit ambiguous as it is written. It seems less likely that Enoch intends to say that "we have written the book of remembrance" than that he is saying that "we have a written book of remembrance among us." Is this the original earthly scripture begun in the days of Adam and passed along to Enoch? Most probably. Whether or not Moses himself had access to the original book of remembrance for his writing of the book of Moses, we do not know. We are currently reading from Moses's account of the writings of Enoch. And Enoch did have access to the original book of remembrance as explained in this verse. Perhaps Moses obtained much of his material for the book of Moses from the writings of Enoch, which were obtained by Enoch from the original book of remembrance.
"according to the pattern given by the finger of God" What experience with God might this statement refer to? It appears that God himself taught an earlier generation to write, underlining the importance of written communication.
"it is given in our own language" Enoch speaks of the scriptural record to which his people had access which was written in the language of Adam (see verse 5).
47 And as Enoch spake forth the words of God, the people trembled, and could not stand in his presence.
verse 47 "the people trembled, and could not stand in his presence" In this context, it is interesting to look at Exodus 20:18 which describes the reaction to the Israelites' to the divine display on top of Mount Sinai: "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off." The Hebrew verb translated "removed" here in the King James Version actually means "to tremble" or "to quiver." The power of Enoch's sermon was enough to intimidate and frighten those children of men who were listening, so that they "trembled, and could not stand in his presence."
verses 48-68 These verses are among the most doctrinally significant in all of the scriptural canon relative to the Plan of Salvation, especially regarding the significance of the Savior's atonement.
48 And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.
verse 48 "Because that Adam fell, we are" Enoch teaches that because of the fall of Adam and Eve, "we are"-that is, we are here in mortality, and this experience will be characterized by travails, challenges, and eventually physical death.
49 Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God.
verse 49 "tempteth them to worship him" The word worship here is less likely to refer to Satan worship, as we know it today. Rather, Satan has ways to tempt mankind to succumb to his manipulations, and when they do, they "worship" him. To "worship" Satan is to obey him. For a discussion of Satan-who he is, what motivates him, the nature of his powers, and his approach to leading men away from their salvation-see The Role of Satan in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 16.
"men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish" It is important to understand that each intelligence in God's universe has always had a so-called natural self, that characteristic which has always made it difficult to obey the commands of God. This natural self seeks for ease, immediate pleasure, popularity and acceptance, respect, and material comfort. Obedience to the commandments of God inevitably requires us to put off or deny the natural self within us. We encountered the commandments of God long before we ever came into this mortal experience here on earth, and we were subject to those commandments even prior to our spirit birth (see The "Natural Self" and "Spiritual Self" in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 5).
The mortal body which each of us receives and the mortal situation each of us encounters as we came into mortality have significantly enhanced the persuasive powers of the natural self. Here in mortality we refer to our natural self as the "natural man." This verse describes our natural man self as being "carnal, sensual, and devilish," and it teaches that we are shut out from the presence of God lest we subdue and overcome this natural man self.
50 But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent.
verse 50 "God hath made known unto our fathers" Enoch's reference here is to his own ancestors, and not those of his audience.
verses 51-68 These verses comprise the Book of Adam and consist of a revelation to Adam. The book of Enoch, which began in verse 21 of this chapter, is suspended here, but will resume in Moses 7:1 and continue to the end of Moses 7.
51 And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
verse 51 This verse begins a long quotation that comes from a record of Adam in which he quotes the words of God revealed to him (verses 51-68). In Moses 5:9-10 we read that the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, and he subsequently began to prophesy concerning all of the families of the earth. It could be that verses 51-68 (the so-called book of Adam) are simply the complete record revealed to Adam when the Holy Ghost fell upon him in Moses 5:9-10. The book of Adam may also be a record taken from the book of remembrance, the scriptural record written by father Adam (see verses 5, 46).
"I am God" Here God (Jehovah) reveals the sacred divine name I AM to Adam. This is consistent with what God hints when he reveals this name to Moses, that is, that earlier generations had known this name (see Exodus 3:13-16).
"I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh" This expression refers to the spirit creation of the earth and the spirit birth of man, and plainly implies a premortal existence for all human beings.
52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.
verse 52 This long verse embraces fully the essence of the gospel message of salvation revealed to Adam and underscores the centrality of the Savior. This information about the Savior's role must have come to Adam following the revelation about the Savior through the angel, who appeared to Adam as he was making sacrifice unto the Lord (Moses 5:4-7), because it is more complete.
"If thou wilt turn" The images associated with the verb "to turn" are among the richest in scripture. Principally, it is an image for repentance. In virtually every case, the use of this verb involves how a person directs the feet and the will. See also the note on Moses 7:2.
"repent of all thy transgressions" This is a very revealing passage and details something concerning Adam that is not as clearly specified anywhere else. We are familiar with Adam's singular transgression in the Garden of Eden which was the cause of his fall into mortality. However, in this passage the Lord directed Adam to "repent of all [his] transgressions [plural]," not having reference to the event in the Garden but to others that Adam may have committed after he became mortal. We do not have an account of any of these, but we could confidently expect that since he was mortal, there might be some. This passage seems to say that Adam was not without transgressions. That these plural transgressions of which Adam was to repent deliberately did not include the original transgression in the Garden is born out in the following two verses.
"ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" The Holy Ghost himself, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, have been operative among men from the beginning. Some persons have thought that the declaration in the New Testament (in John 7:39) that the Holy Ghost had not yet come is supposed to mean that the gift of the Holy Ghost had never been enjoyed by mankind on this earth until the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. However, the Book of Moses makes it very clear that the gift of the Holy Ghost was operative among people who had the gospel from the very beginning of man on this earth. What then is the meaning of the statement in John 7:39 that the Holy Ghost had not yet come? Simply that the gift of the Holy Ghost had not yet been manifest in the New Testament dispensation.
53 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.
verse 53 "Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water?" In the prior verse, the Lord has specified that Adam and Eve must "repent of all . . . transgressions, and be baptized, even in water." In this verse Adam asks the Lord to help him understand the concepts of repentance and baptism-the concepts of proactively striving to be obedient to the gospel law and covenanting with the Lord to continue to obey.
The Lord's response to Adam's inquiry is interesting and instructive. The Lord simply says, "I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden." Through the Lord's answer, we are taught two important concepts.
1. First, the Lord is able to forgive, even though he had not yet atoned for the sins of man. This illustrates the infinite and timeless nature of the Lord's atonement. He will someday atone for the sins of man in Gethsemane and on the cross, and based on that surety, the Lord is able to extend merciful forgiveness to the children of God even before the actual act of the atoning sacrifice.
2. Second, the Lord's forgiveness of Adam and Eve for their transgressions in the Garden of Eden was virtually automatic and was extended to them even before they were baptized. The nature of their transgression in the garden was that they did no evil. There was no need for repentance. Rather, they chose a greater good (become mortal and multiply and replenish the earth by partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) over a lesser good (do not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and remain in the garden), even though the Lord had commanded them to avoid the greater good. The Lord knew fully the unavoidable quandary in which he had placed Adam and Eve, but it was essential that he do so. For a discussion of why it was absolutely necessary, see Understanding Eden-The Fall, in volume 2, chapter 1 of Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine. Hence, the Lord extends to them forgiveness of their transgression based on the true desires of their hearts and his knowledge that they are and will continue to strive to be strictly obedient to all of the Lord's commands.
54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.
verses 54 "the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt" This saying which "came . . . abroad" (which today would be the equivalent of a biblical Proverb) was indeed a profound eternal truth. Doubtless the people among whom this truth was discussed are the righteous posterity of Adam and not the separated people of Cain, among whom Enoch now apparently found himself. We might have assumed from other scriptures that Adam and Eve did not have to repent of their garden transgression, but this scripture categorically states as much. In other words, this passage, probably more than any other scripture, shows that Adam and Eve were, after their fall, in the same position as all mankind now is. The atonement unconditionally covers Adam and Eve's original sin (covers it for Adam and Eve as well as for us) and also covers Adam and Eve's other sins and our own sins on condition of their and our repentance and baptism.
"the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children" This phrase has a double meaning. First, the "parents" here may be specifically Adam and Eve. Thus, the first meaning is that none of Adam and Eve's descendants can be punished for the sins of Adam and Eve. Second, "parents" may refer to any parents on this mortal earth. Thus, the second meaning is that no children on this earth can be punished for the sins of their parents. It is ironic that the apostate concept of original sin directly contradicts this clear teaching of the Lord that there is no "original sin" (it has been unconditionally forgiven) and that it is an illogical and invalid principle to hold children in any way responsible for the sins of their parents.
"children . . . are whole from the foundation of the world" See the commentary for D&C 137:10.
55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
verse 55 "thy children are conceived in sin" Does this statement contradict a statement in the previous verse: "Children . . . are whole from the foundation of the world"? The statement in the previous verse implies that children, before they reach the age of accountability, cannot be penalized by the law of justice. Hence, they are worthy for a kingdom of glory without repentance and without having to be forgiven of sin (again, see the commentary for D&C 137:10). This statement in this verse means something quite different. Each individual has always had a so-called "natural self"-that part of us which makes us naturally disinclined to obey the commandments. This "natural self," rather, inclines us toward pleasure, immediate (rather than deferred) gratifications of our desires, a desire for popularity, acceptance, respect, and material success. It inclines us toward being primarily self consumed and competitive with others rather than being selfless. This natural self has been enhanced by our receiving a mortal body with its attendant needs-especially its physical sexual drives. As we "grow up" in this mortal existence, it is inevitable that our spiritual self will contend with our "natural man" self, and we will surely commit sin (Romans 3:23). Again, see The "Natural Self" and "Spiritual Self" in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 5.
"they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good" Our natural self creates, within each of us, an ongoing conflict waged between that side of us that yearns to return to our celestial home and that side of us that finds satisfaction with the things of this world-our "natural man" self. This ongoing conflict creates a setting where we experience nearly continuous opposition. This opposition is, of course, a vital feature of this mortal experience, as we know that their "must needs be opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11) in order for us to progress in this life. To "taste the bitter" is to experience this opposition. For further discussion of this important issue, see the commentary on 2 Nephi 2:11 and chapter 1, volume 3 of Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine-Adversity and Suffering.
56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.
verse 56 "it is given unto them to know good from evil" The antecedent of them in this phrase is "thy children" in the previous verse. But it refers to those children "when they begin to grow up" (verse 55). A child, prior to the age of accountability, has insufficient understanding and insufficient knowledge of good and evil to be held fully accountable for their sins. To be sure, children can and inevitably do commit sin, but they are not held accountable-they are not penalized by the law of justice-because of their incomplete understanding of good and evil. However, when they reach the age of accountability, then "it is given unto them to know good from evil" and they are fully accountable. This predictable and inevitable knowledge of good and evil comes through the "Spirit of Christ" given to all men as an entitlement as they enter mortality (Moroni 7:16-17; D&C 93:2).
"I have given unto you another law and commandment" Now that the children are accountable, they must be taught the law of repentance (see verse 52) which includes obedience to the commandments, mercy, the atonement, and forgiveness of sins. The Lord is still answering Adam's question which he posed in verse 53.
57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
verse 57 "no unclean thing can dwell there" This well-known concept is already familiar to you (see 1 Nephi 15:34; Alma 11:37). An individual guilty of even one sin is unworthy to enter the Lord's heavenly kingdom. For a discussion of this concept, see the sections entitled "The Law of Justice" and "Agency" in The Essence of the Lord's Atonement in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 19. See also "Who or What Enforces the Demands of Justice" in The Law of Justice, volume 1, chapter 12 in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine.
"Man of Holiness" "Son of Man" It is notable that the title Son of Man derives from the Father's title, Man of Holiness. Thus, the full sense of the Son's title is "the Son of the Man of Holiness." Incidentally, we notice that the title "the Son of Man," which the mortal Jesus applied to himself, does not appear in the Book of Mormon. This may indicate that the title did not appear on the plates of brass.
"the meridian of time" This is the earliest occurrence of this expression in scripture (see also Moses 6:62; Moses 7:46). It is tied exclusively to the coming of the Savior. This period of time will be described by the Lord as the "days of wickedness and vengeance" in Moses 7:46.
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
verses 59-63 These verses contain a statement by the Lord to Adam which Adam was to teach to his children. The context suggests that Adam and his family members were to teach this statement word for word to their children.
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
verse 59 "water, and blood, and the spirit" The Lord draws a parallel between the process of mortal birth-involving spirit, water, and blood-and the process of "conversion," "spiritual rebirth," "new birth," or "second birth" which is required of each of us before we can be exalted or enter the kingdom of heaven. The latter process involves baptism by one having the proper authority (water), the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit), and the repeated justification and sanctification which occurs as we strive to obey by virtue of the atonement of the Savior (blood). For a discussion of these concepts, see Justification and Sanctification in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1 chapter 17. The Lord will say in verse 62: "And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time."
"enjoy the words of eternal life" To enjoy is to experience spiritual joy which is the most profound satisfaction and fulfillment of which the family of man is capable of experiencing. It can only come through our own spiritual growth or through seeing the same in those we love and care about.
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
verse 60 To the reader who understands the concepts of spiritual growth, justification, and sanctification, this verse will be readily recognized as a greatly simplified statement about those concepts. The commentary on this verse will also be overly brief. For a more complete discussion of these concepts, the reader is referred to the appropriate chapters in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine: Justification and Sanctification Gifts (volume 1 chapter 17) and Spiritual Growth-Gifts of the Spirit (volume 1, chapter 7).
"by the water ye keep the commandment" This phrase refers to the baptismal covenant wherein you covenant to keep the Lord's commandments.
"by the Spirit ye are justified" To be justified is to be forgiven of sin-to have the penalties assessed by the law of justice removed. A man whose sins have been forgiven is said to be justified. This happens in response to the individual's efforts to obey the commandments. The Holy Ghost has a vital role in this process. In his role as the "Holy Spirit of Promise," he judges the individual's efforts at striving to be obedient, and if the efforts are sufficient-if the individual is worthy-the Spirit then extends the blessings of the Lord's atonement to the individual and forgives him of his sins. No man can be forgiven of his sins without the benefit of the Lord's atonement. Thus we see that a man is justified by obedience, by the Spirit, and by the blood of Christ (by the atonement).
"by the blood ye are sanctified" Simultaneous with the process of justification, the Spirit may bless the worthy and obedient individual by bestowing upon him, by personal revelation, increments of the attributes of God. It is by this process that a man may grow spiritually to become more like God. The process of receiving increments of the attributes of God is referred to as sanctification. A second part of the process of sanctification is the removal (the burning out as if by fire) of an increment of the natural self of the obedient man. Since these blessings afforded to the individual far exceed what he has actually earned through his efforts to obey the commandments, sanctification can only occur by virtue of the Lord's atoning sacrifice and his willingness to mercifully extend blessings which are not fully deserved. Thus we see that sanctification also occurs by virtue of the individual's obedience, by the Spirit, and by the blood of Christ.
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
verse 61 This verse contains a listing of the divine functions of the Holy Ghost. Some of these functions may also serve as titles for the Spirit of God. For a more complete discussion of the Holy Ghost and his functions and titles, see The Holy Ghost in volume 2, chapter 5 in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine.
"it is given to abide in you" The antecedent for "it" is the influence of the Holy Ghost. When the influence of the Spirit of God is perceived by a mortal, we may say that the Spirit abides in that mortal.
"the record of heaven" This phase is a title for the Holy Ghost and refers to his all-important role of bearing witness or bearing record of the Father and the Son.
"the Comforter" In this role, he extends the comforting love of God (Jesus Christ) to those mortals worthy of the Spirit's ministrations. In this context, he communicates a spirit of comfort and peace to those who honestly seek it and are worthy of it-"the peaceable things of immortal glory."
"the truth of all things" A central role of the Holy Ghost is to communicate spiritual truth or light from God to man. In this context it is pertinent that he "knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment."
"quickeneth all things" To quicken in a scriptural sense is to spiritually make alive, refresh, or reinvigorate. It is to spiritually sharpen or give keener perception. The Spirit functions in this way by connecting heaven and earth-by connecting mortal with heavenly influences.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
verse 62 "the plan of salvation" What would you say are the very most essential features of the "plan of salvation"? Certainly we must include: repentance/obedience, the covenant and ordinance of baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and justification and sanctification through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.
verse 63 This is simply a wonderful and profound verse which bears testimony, all by itself, to the divine origin of the Book of Moses.
As we discuss the important principle of likenesses contained within this verse, let us keep in mind that familiar theme we have spoken of previously: God yearns to live with us forever. He wants us home. Although he cannot and will not tamper in any way with our agency, he has built into this mortal existence features he hopes will attract us back to our celestial home. One such feature is the system of likenesses or symbols. Symbols are words, expressions, or images that, by themselves, have only a common meaning. But they represent far richer concepts. Symbols enlarge our understanding and help us to see relationships more clearly. They tend to strengthen the impact of the truth being represented. You may read a book by a gifted author and yet not fully appreciate the richness of it because you fail to understand the symbolism in the book. How much more joy and pleasure you will find when you read the book later after becoming aware of its symbolisms.
The Creator, Jehovah, has built into the earth and the heavens, and all things that are in them, likenesses that are reminders or symbols. All things bespeak the majesty and power of the Lord. We are immersed in a veritable sea of testimony that he lives! He intends that these symbols remind us of him and of profound truths about him. It is the obligation of each of us to raise our own awareness of these symbols. They are here for our benefit. They teach us, remind us, and enrich our understandings. A knowledge of these symbols can be, for each of us, a profound new insight, an addition to our spiritual sensitivities and understandings.
Other words or expressions may be used to mean the same as likeness or symbol. These include type, shadow, similitude, metaphor, pattern, analogy, or parable. The Bible scholar Alfred Edersheim has attempted to distinguish between the terms symbol and type. Commenting upon Old Testament temple ordinances, particularly the ancient practice of sacrifices, he wrote: "An outward observance without any real inward meaning is only a ceremony. But a rite which has a present spiritual meaning is a symbol; and if, besides, it also points to a future reality, conveying at the same time, by anticipation, the blessing that is yet to appear, it is a type. Thus the Old Testament sacrifices were not only symbols, nor yet merely predictions by fact (as prophecy is a prediction by word), but they already conveyed to the believing Israelite the blessing that was to flow from the future reality to which they pointed" (The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, 106.)
One may well speculate as to why God has saturated our mortal existence with reminders or symbols of him. At least two reasons are apparent.
1. They serve, at least for the spiritually sensitive, as daily-even constant-reminders of him. It is his intent that we be reminded often of significant spiritual truths, for they are the real purpose of our lives here. Again, he wants us home, and would use any occasion to remind us to come home. A symbol is a simple and efficient way to convey to us a richly meaningful eternal truth about him and his gospel.
2. They provide protection for sacred spiritual truths. Only those responsive to the influence of the Spirit will perceive the connection between the outward symbol and the rich and sacred spiritual truth. Those who are dead to the Spirit's promptings will see only the outward symbol and perceive no secondary meanings. Jesus's teachings during his mortal sojourn were replete with symbolism. Parables, by their very nature, are a form of symbolism. When his disciples asked him why he spoke using symbolism or parables, he responded by saying, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given" (Matthew 13:11). The Savior intended that his people understand and benefit from his parables, but that the spiritually dead find no particular meaning. After delivering a parable, he occasionally said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (see, for example, Matthew 13:9).
Where, in our lives, might we encounter these symbols? We may find symbols in things as they are-in nature-in the order of things here on earth and in the heavens. They are common in scriptural writings. Gospel ordinances are, in a way, prototypes of symbols. They are outward physical phenomena which have deeper spiritual significance. Occasionally, we may observe divinely orchestrated events that intentionally involve symbols. The temple ceremony is a rich source of symbols. We hear often of devoted temple goers still finding new meanings in temple worship even after several years of regular attendance. It is likely that some of this fresh insight comes in the form of suddenly seeing new meaning in the many symbols contained in the temple ceremony.
An awareness of spiritual symbolism is most effective when it results from self discovery. It is the responsibility of each person to become aware of and sensitive to spiritual symbols. We are responsible for our own education. No one is responsible to teach us. Each of us must learn the profound spiritual truths and then learn to connect them with their symbols. Our goal is to eventually live in a virtual sea of meaningful symbols that bring to our minds daily, and several times daily, the matchless love of our Savior and the blessed truths he has allowed us access to here on earth.
While we are responsible for educating ourselves, it may be helpful to get started with a few examples:
1. Sister Lenet Hadley Read, wrote of a few highly personal specific symbolisms ("All Things Testify of Him: Understanding Symbolism in the Scriptures," Ensign, January 1981, 5). One was her perception of the concept of "the wilderness." She wrote:
The scriptures make a great deal of the wilderness. Adam and Eve were cast out into the wilderness; Israelite groups wandered in the wilderness, were tempted in the wilderness, worshipped false images in the wilderness, and were fed and watered in the wilderness; while throughout, prophets cried repentance out of wildernesses.
These events are historical, but they are also similitudes. They illuminate the reality of man's mortal experience as a true wilderness, and they are illustrative of his relationship to the Savior.
We can grasp more dearly the concept of mortality as a wilderness when we contrast it to the Garden of Eden. The garden was the epitome of flourishing growth. But its special luxuriance was both physical and spiritual. Though abundant in fruit and beauty, its real lushness came from the presence of the Father. And the true barrenness of mortality comes from the absence of the Father, with only intermittent blessings sent by his unseen power.
When we comprehend mortality as a spiritual wilderness, we are in a better position to understand the messages the Lord is trying to give us through his prophets today. For example, as we read of the Israelites' worshipping false gods in their wilderness, we are less inclined to judge the Israelites and more inclined to wonder about the idols we may worship in our own wilderness. We are not as puzzled about the apparent futility of ancient prophets crying out in a wilderness where no one would hear. We are more anxious to make certain that our ears are sensitive to the prophets crying in our own wilderness, where, again, very few will hear.
Sister Read also reflects on other symbols that have become personally meaningful to her. These include the covering of skins provided by God to Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness; the significance of water in passages such as John 4; the concept of spiritual Babylon; and the concept of stones in such passages as Matthew 21:42, 1 Peter 2:4, and Psalm 118:22). The reader may consider other potential symbols including the shepherd, the lamb, and the life.
2. One symbol that has become personally meaningful to your author is that of the sun being symbolic of the Son of God and the light of the sun being a similitude of the light of Christ. The electromagnetic radiation that emanates from the sun is not the light of Christ. Yet, the sun's light is a meaningful metaphor for the spiritual light that radiates from the Lord and fills the immensity of space. Please see the important chapter, The Concept of Light in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 15. Consider a few verses in Doctrine and Covenants section 88 that describe the light of Christ: "And the light which shineth, which giveth you light . . . proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space" (verses 11-12). And consider the utter dependence of all of the earth's life forms on the sun as you read verse 13: "The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things." It appears that the prophet Malachi referred to the Savior intentionally as the "Sun of righteousness" (Malachi 4:2, italics added). While physical light is not the same as the light of Christ, it is natural for us to be able to relate to the sun's light. The light of the sun is an apt model to teach us the concept of the light of Christ's permeating the "immensity of space" and giving "life to all things."
3. Moses was inspired to teach the recalcitrant Israelites of his day an object lesson utilizing a highly symbolic representation. We may read of this incident in Numbers 21:4-9.
And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
For those Israelites who responded to Moses command to lift their eyes and look up to serpent of brass, this episode doubtless served, throughout their lives, as a powerful reminder, a symbol, of the Savior of whom Moses taught.
4. The mosaic law of sacrifice is another obvious symbol or type that has been missed by the Jews. From the time of Moses to John the Baptist, sacrificial rites were part of the process of repentance. In order to obtain a forgiveness of sin, the children of Israel, under the law of Moses, were required to offer various sacrifices, typifying the sacrifice to be made by the Messiah. Almost all of the book of Numbers and a considerable portion of the book of Leviticus are dedicated to the instructions of the Lord pertaining to these rites. The prophets clearly understood that these laws and rites were but "a shadow of those things which are to come," things that signified that "redemption cometh through Christ the Lord" (Mosiah 16:14-15). They taught that "the law of Moses availeth nothing except it were through the atonement of his [Christ's] blood" (Mosiah 3:15). It was further understood that the law of Moses would be fulfilled and that blood sacrifices under the law of Moses would cease after Christ's "great and last sacrifice" (Alma 34:10-14; see also 3 Nephi 15:4-5). It was further pertinent that the animal to be sacrificed be the "firstling male" and without "blemish" (Deuteronomy 15:19-21).
5. Baptism by immersion has obvious symbolic significance. It represents birth into the family of Christ and involves an element of natural birth-the water. It also relates our own death and burial to sin and worldliness and our resurrection or coming forth into a newness of life in Christ. There is also the implication of our being washed clean by the water. In addition, it reminds us of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord.
Other objects which the reader may well wish to spend some time contemplating include the ordinance of the sacrament, the blood upon the door of the Israelites at the time of the Passover, manna from heaven, and the tree of life in Lehi's (1 Nephi 8) and Nephi's (1 Nephi 11-15) visions.
As with any good thing, the concept of symbols may be abused or made profane. In the history of the earth, it is interesting to see how symbols have been wrongly interpreted or misunderstood. Men have also, at times, begun to worship the symbols themselves. Consider, for example, those cultures who have worshipped the sun or other features of creation.
It is also interesting to observe how various social or fraternal organizations have sought to enhance their earthly relationships by utilizing ceremonies and rituals that usually have an element of secrecy. These organizations hope to bind their members together by this secrecy.
As we search for and find our own personal symbolic meanings, we will invariably discover that they do not afford us new and unique insights unique only to us. Rather, they enrich understandings of truths already revealed to all of us in scripture and by modern prophets. Especially will they enhance our understanding of our Savior, his divinity, his atonement, his resurrection, and his glorious gospel plan.
Let us not believe that all we read in scripture is only figurative and metaphorical. Some have wrongly assumed that scripture has no literal historical or doctrinal significance. We Latter-day Saints know that scripture has both significant literal and symbolic meaning. The inspired prophet Nephi, the son of Lehi, wrote, "My soul delighteth in plainness." I believe the Lord often teaches us plainly in purely literal terms.
64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
verse 64 "Adam cried unto the Lord" Here the verb "to cry" implies that Adam manifests his obedient and repentant spirit to the Lord.
"he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord" Adam was apparently baptized by the hand of the Man himself-the Holy Ghost.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
verse 65 "the Spirit of God descended upon him" He received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
"he . . . became quickened in the inner man" Here is that word quickened again. Adam, as a result of the gift of the Holy Ghost, became spiritually vitalized and deeply converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
verse 66 "he heard a voice out of heaven" This was doubtless the voice of Jehovah.
"Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost" For an explanation of this important part of the ordinance of baptism, please see Baptism-The Ordinance that Brings Spiritual Growth (Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 18). See particularly the material on the three parts of the ordinance of baptism. These three parts are the baptism of water, the baptism of the Spirit, and the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Each of these three parts is individually distinct and meaningful.
"the record of the Father, and the Son" This phrase is yet another title for the Holy Ghost (see verse 61 and its commentary). The Holy Ghost is "the record of the Father, and the Son." Again, this phrase refers to the most essential stewardship of the Holy Ghost-to testify of the Father and the Son.
67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
verse 67 "thou art" We have commented several times on the sacred divine name for God-I AM (see Exodus 3:14). Some have seen the expression "thou art" as the mortal correlate with the divine name I AM. Thus the expression especially ties us intimately to God (see verse 68).
"after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years" This is usually an expression for the higher priesthood. To be after that order apparently means to be a member of that order-a possessor of the higher priesthood. Here, however, the reference seems to be the Lord himself.
68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.
verse 68 "thou art one in me, a son of God" Here is perhaps the highest affirmation, the most signal honor, which God could bestow upon father Adam.
"thus may all become my sons" Here is the Lord wistful wish that "all [the sons and daughters of God] may become my sons [that is, follow me and eventually return to live with me].