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Book of Moses Essays (Insights)

Essay #64: Moses Witnesses the Fall (Moses 4): The False Apron and the Tree of Death and Rebirth (Moses 4:13)

We read in Moses 4:13 that after Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” The ending of the verse implicitly signals to the reader that the making of the aprons is the culminating event in the story. However, Emily Mahan observes that the Old English manuscript shown above punctuates the verse differently, with three dots in triangle form, highlighting the importance of the opening of the eyes of Adam and Eve: “and the eyes of them both were opened .·.”...

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Essay #60: Moses Witnesses the Fall (Moses 4): The Willing and Unwilling Sons in the Council in Heaven (Moses 4:1-4)

After a rapid sweep across the vast panorama of the Creation and the Garden of Eden in Moses 2-3, the scope narrows and the narrative slows to a more measured pace in Moses 4—and with good reason, for it is at this point that the purpose of Creation begins to unfold. John Henry Newman summed up a lesson from the combined accounts of the Creation and the Fall...

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Essay #58: Moses Sees the Garden of Eden (Moses 3): The Symbolism of the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life (Moses 3:9)

The Tree of Life is certainly the most significant object in the Garden of Eden. However, its presence has always been somewhat of a puzzle to students of the Bible because it is only briefly mentioned in Genesis: once at the beginning of the story in connection with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil...

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Essay #56: Moses Sees the Garden of Eden (Moses 3): The Naming of Animals, Angels, Adam, and Eve (Moses 3:8–15)

In the depiction of the Garden of Eden above, Jan Brueghel the Elder masterfully fills the foreground of the scene with the abundance, happiness, and beauty of newly created life. From there, however, he skillfully draws our eyes toward the two tiny figures in the background ominously reaching for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge....

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Essay #46: Moses Witnesses the Creation (Moses 2): The Days of Creation and Temple Architecture (Moses 2:1-27)

The illustration from M. C. Escher depicts the first day of Creation, when “the earth was without form and void; and I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep; and my Spirit moved upon the face of the water; for I am God.” The Hebrew term here translated “moved” is used in Deuteronomy 32:11 to describe an eagle hovering attentively over its young. In addition, one cannot help but recall the imagery of Jesus’ mourning for Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”...

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Essay #63: Moses Witnesses the Fall (Moses 4): The False and the True “Keeper of the Gate” (Moses 4:5–12)

The battle begun in the premortal councils and waged again in the Garden of Eden was a test of obedience for Adam and Eve. However, it should be remembered that the actual prize at stake was knowledge—the knowledge required for them to be saved and, ultimately, to be exalted. The Prophet taught that the “principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation,” therefore “anyone that cannot get knowledge to be saved will be damned....

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Essay #61: Moses Witnesses the Fall (Moses 4): The Tree in the Sacred Center of the Garden of Eden (Moses 3:9)

One thing that has always perplexed readers of Genesis is the location of the two special trees in the Garden of Eden. The Hebrew phrase corresponding to “in the midst” means literally “in the center.” Although scripture initially applies the phrase “in the midst” only to the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge is later said by Eve to be located there, too....

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Essay #59: Moses Witnesses the Fall (Moses 4): Satan’s Original Glory and the Symbols of Kingship (Moses 4:1–4)

In this Essay, we will explore how William Blake’s masterpiece describes Satan in his original glory. One can see in his perverse appropriation of the symbols of kingship not only his selfish aspiration to God’s own power, but also an anticipation of his ignominious fall from grace. Nowhere are the premortal events related to this theme described more fully and accurately than in Moses 4:1–4....

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Essay #55: Moses Sees the Garden of Eden (Moses 3): The Garden of Eden as a Model for the Temple in Israel and Old Babylon (Moses 3:8–15)

In Essay #32, we discussed the view of Latter-day Saint scholar Donald W. Parry that the outbound journey of the Creation and the Fall is mirrored in the inbound journey of the Tabernacle, the prototype for later Israelite temples. The Garden of Eden can be seen as a natural “temple,” where Adam and Eve lived in God’s presence for a time....

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Essay #53: Moses Sees the Garden of Eden (Moses 3): Is the transition between Moses 2 and 3 a clumsy stitch or a skillful shift? (Moses 3:4–5)

In this Essay, we explore what is often considered to be the opening of a “second” Creation account in Genesis and the Book of Moses (Moses 3:4–5). Modern scholars have written at length about differences between the accounts that seem to point to the joining of multiple ancient sources....

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