Genesis 5 “The Generations of Adam”
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many priesthood holders value their “line of authority,” which lists the men through whom their priesthood ordinations have passed, from the Savior Jesus Christ to themselves. In Genesis 5 we have a record of the “generations” or genealogy of fathers to sons, which may be considered a record of the gospel and priesthood authority passing from one generation to the next. They are Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah; followed by Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Regarding the long lives cited in Genesis 5:3-32, it is widely believed that they are literal (although there is some disagreement among scholars; see also Genesis 11:10-32; D&C 107:44-50; Moses 6:10-22; 8:1-13). If these life-spans are correct, we can calculate that Adam’s life overlapped the lives of all the forementioned patriarchs, except Noah and his sons (see Moses 6:45, wherein Enoch—whose life overlapped Adam’s by more than 300 years—declares that “even the first of all we know, even Adam”).
We are blessed with the additional scriptural accounts in the book of Moses (the Joseph Smith Translation for Genesis 1:1 through 6:13); especially including significant material regarding Adam and Eve, Enoch, and Noah. In particular, the book of Moses features over one-hundred verses devoted to the life and ministry of Enoch, compared to only eleven verses in the Bible (Genesis 5:18-19, 21-24; 1 Chronicles 1:3; Luke 3:37; Hebrews 11:5; Jude 1:14-15).
Moses 6:1-25 From Adam to Enoch
Besides the Genesis 5 account:
- Find what else we learn about Adam, Seth, and Enos (verses 1-8, 13).
- What conditions prevailed upon the earth during their time? (verse 15; compare 2 Nephi 28:20-22).
- Like Lehi and others, Enos led “the people of God” away from their wicked society to “a land of promise” (verse 17).
- Like all prophets, the ancient patriarchs “were preachers of righteousness” and “called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men” (verse 23).
Who can you think of that have been “preachers of righteousness” for you? Who has taught and inspired you to have faith in Jesus Christ?
Moses 6:26-30 God Calls Enoch
In Genesis 5:28—after pausing to delineate “the generations of Adam”—the Biblical narrative skips from Adam all the way to Noah. However, in Moses 6-7 we have the record of the wondrous prophet Enoch, who was taught by his father Jared “in all the ways of God” (verse 21; see also 6:41). The Lord calls Enoch to preach repentance (verses 26-27), describing the people as having closed their hearts, ears, and eyes, having gone astray, denying God and His counsel, being in darkness, full of abominations and murder, swearing false oaths, and destined for death and hell (verses 27-29; see also Alma 40:14).
The Lord told Enoch that the message of repentance is His decree since “the beginning of the world [and] to the ends thereof” (verse 30). Indeed, repentance is a major theme of all prophets’ teachings, ancient and modern. President Dallin H. Oaks taught, “The gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change. ‘Repent’ is its most frequent message, and repenting means giving up all of our practices … that are contrary to the commandments of God. The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change” (Ensign, Nov. 2003). Think of a time when you made a change in your life because of a prophet’s teaching or counsel.
Moses 6:31-36 The Lord Responds to Enoch’s Reluctance
- In verse 31, what three reasons did Enoch give the Lord for his feeling inadequate?
- Find the Lord’s response to Enoch, including the promises He made, in verses 32-36, 42.
- Consider others who expressed reluctance at being called, in Exodus 4:10-12; Jeremiah 1:4-10; Helaman 10:3-7; Ether 12:23-29.
What counsel would you give to someone who feels inadequacy as a missionary or in other Church callings?
Moses 6:37-47 “All Men Were Offended”
How did the people react to Enoch’s “testifying against their works”? (see verses 37-40, 47; see also John 18:4-6; 1 Nephi 16:1-2). But the Lord kept His promises to Enoch (see verse 39 and Moses 7:13).
President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “Popularity is never a test of truth.… As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, p. 152).
Note that in verses 42-44, following the pattern of prophets and missionaries throughout the scriptures, Enoch set a foundation by first teaching the people about God and man’s relationship to Him (see also Alma 18:22-39; Alma 22:7-14; Alma 30:37-44; Articles of Faith 1:1-3).
Moses 6:48-62 Enoch Teaches the Plan of Salvation
We can create a simple outline of Enoch’s teachings, which are similar to what today’s missionaries and Church leaders teach:
- The Fall and its consequences for mankind (verse 48).
- Opposition, Satan, and wickedness (verse 49).
- Faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost (verses 50-53, 57).
- The Atonement of the Son of God (verse 54).
- Temptation, sin, and agency (verses 55-56).
- The mortal life and mission of Jesus Christ (verses 57, 62).
- The responsibility of parents to teach gospel truths to their children (verses 57-58).
- Next, Enoch quotes the Lord directly, giving greater emphasis to the Fall of man and how we may be born again through baptism and the atoning blood of Christ (verses 59-60).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Twelve explained verses 59-60: “Every mortal birth is a heaven-given reminder to prepare for the second birth.… In every mortal birth the child is immersed in water in the mother’s womb. At the appointed time the spirit enters the body, and blood always flows in the veins of the new person. Otherwise, without each of these, there is no life, no birth, no mortality. In every birth into the kingdom of heaven, the newborn babe in Christ is immersed in water, he receives the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and the blood of Christ cleanses him from all sin. Otherwise, without each of these, there is no Spirit-birth, no newness of life, no hope of eternal life.… These elements were again present in [Christ’s] death. He sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane as he took upon himself the sins of all men on conditions of repentance. This same agony and suffering recurred on the cross. It was then that he permitted his spirit to leave his body, and it was then that blood and water gushed from his riven side” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pp. 288–89).
Enoch continued quoting the Lord:
- The various roles of the Holy Ghost, and gifts and fruits of the Spirit (verse 61).
- The designation of the foregoing as God’s “plan of salvation unto all,” through Christ (verse 62).
- God’s declaration that all His creations in heaven and earth, both temporal and spiritual, were “made to bear record of [Him]” (verse 63; see also 2 Nephi 11:4; Alma 30:44; D&C 88:47).
- Then Enoch added that Adam was baptized, received the Holy Ghost, became born again and “after the order” of God. Adam’s experiences are a pattern for all mankind to become newborn sons and daughters of Christ (verses 64-68; see also John 3:3-5; Mosiah 5:2, 7; Mosiah 27:23-26; D&C 25:1; 39:4).
Coming unto Christ and being born again of Him are not single events; they are life-long processes. What does it mean to you to follow Jesus Christ daily?