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Having witnessed the abrupt end of the long-awaited coming of the Son of Man in His unexpected crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension; and having now understood that His presence on earth would not halt the wickedness of the world, Enoch again “wept and cried unto the Lord, saying? … Wilt thou not come again upon the earth?”
In this Essay, we will see Enoch’s anguished hope fulfilled at last when the righteous would be gathered to a Holy City and God would make Zion His abode. As we will see, this prophetic expectation appears elsewhere in the ancient Enoch literature and Jewish tradition.
A provisional proposal for the structuring of Moses 7:60–69 into seven sections is given in the appendix.
1. The Lord Will Fulfill His Oath
In answer to Enoch’s question about whether God will come again upon the earth, the Lord declares that He will “fulfill the oath” He made to Enoch “concerning the children of Noah” —namely that He would “call upon” them. “In this light,” explain Draper, Brown, and Rhodes, “it becomes evident that the Second Coming will be the crowning moment among the Lord’s contacts with ‘the children of Noah.’” The Lord’s oath is made doubly sure by the use of His own name: “As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance.”
Having sworn that He would return, the Lord at last addresses Enoch’s repeated, unanswered question with the solemn declaration that, indeed, the day would come when “the earth shall rest.”
2. Great Tribulations Among the Children of Men and Preservation of the Lord’s People
Jarringly, the Lord immediately followed His welcome promise with a terrible warning of “great tribulations” that would take place “before that day.” The first and perhaps greatest tribulation is that “a veil of darkness [would] cover the earth.” This seems to indicate that communication between heaven and the “children of men” would be severed due to wickedness.
As to the righteous, Elder Neal A. Maxwell comments:
God preserved and prepared Enoch’s people in the midst of awful and enveloping evil, and, reassuringly, he has promised His people in our own time that though “great tribulations shall be among the children of men, … my people will I preserve.”
3. The Lord Will Gather the Righteous
The phrase: “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of earth” recalls a similar phrase in Psalm 85:11. However, the sequence of the terms “truth” (‘emet) and “righteousness” (tsedaqah) is inverted, and, more importantly, different actions are indicated. In the Psalm, the personification of the divine traits is used to create a metaphor of peace and prosperity in the land, whereas in Moses 7:62, it depicts the coming forth of a united testimony from above and below of the Only Begotten—specifically of His resurrection and “the resurrection of all men.”
|Moses 7:62||Psalm 85:11|
|And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men.||Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.|
Latter-day Saint interpreters understand the imagery of Moses 7:62 as referring to the restoration of the Gospel. Heavenly messengers (perhaps meant to include the Savior, “the Righteous” Himself) are to be sent “down out of heaven” and “truth” (referring to the Book of Mormon and perhaps other “hidden” books) is to be sent “forth out of the earth.” The personification of “righteousness” in the Book of Moses is apt in light of the use of divine virtues as the names of heavenly messengers in 1 Enoch 40:8–9. Likewise, as George Mitton observes, the Book of Mormon as a testimony of the risen Lord is equally fitting since “the symbol of its coming forth from the earth is reminiscent of the Lord’s resurrection.”
How well does the Book of Moses’ mention of resurrection of the “Only Begotten” and of “all men” fit into the ancient Enoch literature? In a previous Essay, we have already discussed the use of the term “Only Begotten” in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition. Going further with respect to views at Qumran on the role of the Messiah (and perhaps, in addition Elijah and Ezekiel) as agents of the resurrection, we cite the Messianic Apocalypse, which closely parallels the Gospels’ use of Isaiah 26 and 61 to describe the mission of Jesus. Among other things, the Messianic Apocalypse declares that “his Messiah … will heal the badly wounded and will make the dead live.” Benjamin Wold couples this passage with 4QPseudoEzekiel to argue that a personal, bodily resurrection in the last days is envisioned by the authors, not merely a temporary revivication or a symbolic restoration of Israel. 
Of course, in contrast to some other ancient religions, evidence for an early Israelite belief in a personal resurrection is controversial. Significantly, however, some of the earliest and most explicit of the extant descriptions of the resurrection in Jewish literature that do exist are found in the Enoch literature, in particular the Book of Parables which is so rich in its descriptions of the Son of Man:
And the righteous and the chosen will be saved on that day;
and the faces of the sinners and the unrighteous they will henceforth not see.
And the Lord of Spirits will dwell over them,
and with that Son of Man they will eat
and lie down and rise up forever and ever.
And the righteous and chosen will have arisen from the earth,
and have ceased to cast down their faces,
and have put on the garment of glory.
And this will be your garment, the garment of life from the Lord of Spirits;
and your garments will not wear out,
and your glory will not fade in the presence of the Lord of Spirits.
The description of the flood of righteousness and truth that will effect the gathering of the elect in the last days is in deliberate counterpoint to the account of the flood of water that brought about the destruction of the wicked in Noah’s day. Noah’s flood brought destruction, whereas this flood will bring salvation. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:
Men and angels are to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work, and Zion is to be prepared, even a new Jerusalem, for the elect that are to be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, and to be established an holy city, for the tabernacle of the Lord shall be with them.
The Lord told Enoch that His people would be gathered “unto a place which I shall prepare.” Jewish tradition echoes these words. For example in 4 Ezra 13:35 we read: “Zion will come and be made manifest to all people, prepared and built, as you saw the mountain carved out without hands.” Similarly, 2 Baruch 4:2–3 reads: “[I]t is that [city] which will be revealed, with me, that was already prepared from the moment that I decided to create Paradise.”
The nature of the gathering place of God’s elect as a “Holy City” is described in 1 Enoch’s Book of the Parables 45:5: “And my chosen ones I shall make to dwell on it, but those who commit sin and error will not set foot on it.” Jewish tradition also describes a “New Jerusalem.” According to the Testament of Levi 10:5: “For the house which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem, as the book of Enoch the Righteous maintains.” This account may be citing 1 Enoch 90:28–29, which tells of how the old house (i.e., the old city of Jerusalem) is removed and replaced with a new house (i.e., New Jerusalem). Moreover, in one version of 2 Enoch, the seer calls the place of his ascent “the highest Jerusalem.”
4. The Lord and Enoch’s City will Receive the Righteous
N. T. Wright, the well-known Anglican bishop and New Testament scholar, described the uniting of heaven and earth as follows:
God made heaven and earth; at last he will remake both and join them together forever. And when we come to the picture of the actual end in Revelation 21–22, we find not ransomed souls making their way to a disembodied heaven but rather the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth, uniting the two in a lasting embrace.
Again, the ancient Enoch literature echoes the themes of the Book of Moses. In the Book of Parables 45:4–5 we read: “On that day, I shall make my Chosen One dwell among them, and I shall transform heaven and make it a blessing and a light forever; and I shall transform the earth and make it a blessing. And my chosen ones I shall make to dwell on it.”
For a second time in this passage, Moses 7:63 shares similar imagery with Psalm 85—and this time 1 Enoch does the same. However, as in the previous instance, there is an important difference. In Psalm 85 and 1 Enoch, two divine attributes meet and kiss, whereas in Moses 7:63 it is Enoch’s city and the Lord Himself that fall upon the necks of the righteous and kiss them, as they would a returning prodigal.
|Moses 7:63||Psalm 85:10||1 Enoch 11:2|
|And we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other.||Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.||Truth and peace will be united together.|
Robert Alter, writing of Psalm 85, captures the commonality of spirit with Moses 7:63: “This bold metaphor focuses the sense of an era of perfect loving harmony. Rashi imagines a landscape in which all Israelites will kiss one another.”
5 and 6. The Earth Shall Rest, and Enoch Receives a Fulness of Joy
Differing with the Lord’s previous instruction to Enoch, He delivers His word as a monologue—there is no reply from Enoch this time, only an epilogue from the narrator. After having seen and heard “all things,” Enoch’s questions were answered and he “received a fulness of joy.”
In the next Essay, we will discuss ancient traditions that resonate with the Book of Moses account of how Enoch’s city was taken up “into [God’s] own bosom.”
This article is adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 102, 157–162.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 102, 157-162.
Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 145-150.
Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 269-275.
Appendix: A Provisional Proposal for Structuring Moses 6:60-69
The text below generally follows the OT1 manuscript as originally dictated, with spelling, grammar, and punctuation modernized. Different colors indicate different speakers: blue for God and black for the narrator. We are grateful to Noel Reynolds for sharing his expertise in structuring scripture, though any resulting faults are ours.
1. The Lord Will Fulfill His Oath
60 And the Lord said unto Enoch:
As I live,
even so will I come in the last days,
in the days of wickedness and vengeance,
to fulfil the oath
which I have made unto you
concerning the children of Noah;
61 And the day shall come
that the earth shall rest,
2. Great Tribulations Shall Be Among the Children of Men but the Lord’s People Will Be Preserved
but before that day
the heavens shall be darkened,
and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth;
and the heavens shall shake,
and also the earth
and great tribulations shall be among the children of men,
but my people will I preserve;
3. The Lord Will Gather the Righteous
62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven;
and truth will I send forth out of the earth,
to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten;
his resurrection from the dead;
yea, and also the resurrection of all men;
and righteousness and truth will I cause
to sweep the earth as with the flood,
to gather out mine own elect
from the four quarters of the earth,
unto a place which I shall prepare,
an Holy City,
that my people may gird up their loins
and be looking forth for the time of my coming;
for there shall be my tabernacle,
and it shall be called Zion
a New Jerusalem.
4. The Lord and Enoch’s City Shall Receive the Righteous
63 And the Lord said unto Enoch:
Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there
and we will receive them into our bosom,
and they shall see us;
and we will fall upon their necks,
and they shall fall upon our necks,
and we will kiss each other;
5. The Lord Shall Abide in Zion and the Earth Shall Rest
64 And there shall be mine abode,
and it shall be Zion,
which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made;,
and for the space of a thousand years
shall the earth rest.
6. Enoch Saw All Things and Received a Fulness of Joy
65 And it came to pass that Enoch saw
the day of the coming of the Son of Man,
in the last days, to dwell on the earth
in righteousness for the space of a thousand years;
66 But before that day
he saw great tribulation among the wicked;
and he also saw the sea, that it was troubled,
and men’s hearts failing them,
looking forth with fear for the judgments of the Almighty God,
which should come upon the wicked.
67 And the Lord showed Enoch
all things, even unto the end of the world;
and he saw the day of the righteous,
the hour of their redemption,
and received a fulness of joy;
7. God Receives Zion Up Into His Own Bosom
68 And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years.
69 And Enoch and all his people walked with God,
and he dwelt in the midst of Zion;
and it came to pass that Zion was not,
for God received it up into his own bosom;
and from thence went forth the saying,
Zion is Fled.
Alter, Robert, ed. The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary. New York City, NY: W. W. Norton, 2019.
Andersen, F. I. “2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. Vol. 1, 91-221. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.
Benson, Ezra Taft. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1988.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.
Charlesworth, James H. “Conclusion: The origin and development of resurrection beliefs.” In Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Faith and Scholarship Colloquies 3, 218-31. New York City, NY: T & T Clark, 2006.
———. “Where does the concept of resurrection appear and how do we know that?” In Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Faith and Scholarship Colloquies 3, 1-21. New York City, NY: T & T Clark, 2006.
Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005.
Elledge, C. D. “Resurrection of the dead: Exploring our earliest evidence today.” In Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Faith and Scholarship Colloquies 3, 22-52. New York City, NY: T & T Clark, 2006.
Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.
Givens, Terryl L., and Fiona Givens. The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life. Salt Lake City, UT: Ensign Peak, 2012.
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Klijn, A. F. J. “2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. Vol. 1, 615-52. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.
Martinez, Florentino Garcia. “4QMessianic Apocalypse (4Q521).” In The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, edited by Florentino Garcia Martinez. 2nd ed. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson, 394-95. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.
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Metzger, Bruce M. “The Fourth Book of Ezra.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. Vol. 2, 517-59. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.
Mitton, George L. “The Book of Mormon as a resurrected book and a type of Christ.” In Remembrance and Return: Essays in Honor of Louis C. Midgley, edited by Ted Vaggalis and Daniel C. Peterson, 121-46. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020.
Nibley, Hugh W. The Prophetic Book of Mormon. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 8. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1989.
Nickelsburg, George W. E., ed. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 1-36; 81-108. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001.
Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam, eds. 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 37-82. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.
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———. “To the Elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 2:3, December, 1835, 225-30.
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Smith, Joseph, Jr., Karen Lynn Davidson, David J. Whittaker, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Richard L. Jensen. Joseph Smith Histories, 1832-1844. The Joseph Smith Papers, Histories 1, ed. Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2012.
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Wold, Benjamin. “Agency and raising the dead in 4QPseudo-Ezekiel and 4Q521 2 ii.” Zeitschrift für Neutestamentliche Wissenschafte und die Kunde der Älteren Kirche 103, no. 1 (2012): 1-19.
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Because one of the titles for the Savior is “the Righteous” (Moses 7:45, 47), this prophesied event may well refer to the coming of the Savior in the latter days, perhaps to the youthful Joseph Smith, thereby anticipating the restoration of the Gospel. It seems also to refer to renewed revelation in the last days.
Let us now take the Book of Mormon, which a man took and hid in his field; securing it by his faith, to spring up in the last days, or in due time; let us behold it coming froth out of the ground, which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching forth; yea, even towering, with lofty branches, and God-like majesty, until it becomes the greatest of all herbs; and it is truth, and it has sprouted and come forth out of the earth; and righteousness begins to look down from heaven; and God is sending down his powers, gifts and angels, to lodge in the branches thereof.
Later, referring to the publication of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet wrote (J. Smith, Jr. et al., Histories, 1832-1844, History Drafts, 1838–Circa 1841, Draft 2, p. 386, emphasis added):
It had now come to pass that, Truth had sprung out of the earth; and Righteousness had looked down from Heaven, so we feared not our opponents, knowing that we had both Truth and righteousness on our side.
An example of late Jewish legendry attesting to the idea of a personal resurrection and of interest here because of its parallels with the story of Enoch’s encounter with the Angel of Death is given in the “Tale of R. Joshua ben Levi.” We quote here from its account of a visit to the “fifth chamber opposite the fifth gate” in the post-mortal Garden of Eden (J. C. Reeves et al., Enoch from Antiquity 1, pp. 206-207):
Elijah of blessed memory would take the head of the Messiah and let it rest in his lap. He would say to him: “Be quiet! For the appointed time is close!” The ancestors of the world and of the tribes and Moses and Aaron and David and Solomon and each and every king of Israel and from the lineage of David would come to him every Monday, Thursday, Sabbath, and festival day and weep with him and encourage him and say to him: “Be quiet and rely on your Creator, for the appointed time is close!” And also Qorah and his congregation, and Dathan and Abiram, and Absalom would come to him every Wednesday and ask him: “How long until the appointed time for miraculous events? How long before you turn to resurrect us and you turn to bring us up from the depths of the earth?” He would say to them: “Go to your ancestors!” And when they would hear this, they would never ask the ancestors. When I entered before the Messiah b. David, he asked me and said to me: “How does Israel fare in the world from which you came?” I said to him: “They hope for you ( to come) every day, constantly.” He at once raised his voice in weeping.
The beauty and power of this image is in its concreteness. God and His people, the living and the departed, heaven and earth, embrace. The immense distance between the spiritual and the mundane collapses, and we find holiness in the ordinary. Luke’s tale of the prodigal son turns out to be not symbolic foreshadowing, but literal foretaste, of a greater reunion. As the evangelist told the story, when the son ‘was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him’ (Luke 15:20).”
The charity [haṣṣĕdāqāh] which Israel used to perform and the WELL-BEING from the Holy One Blessed be He will kiss each other, which is to say that the end result of charity is well-being [i.e., šālôm, translated in the KJB as “peace”].