I’ve started several minor studies involving Enoch lately. I decided it was time to gather up the details in one place.
I am still trying to get a feel for what a non- Latter-day Saint thinks about Enoch. Is the tradition of him building a city that was taken to heaven just an LDS belief?
Doing a search for “Enoch” in the scriptures, it seems that Genesis and the NT talk about him being translated, but no mention of a city. I had no idea it was so unique to our scripture.
I noticed in the JST for Gen 9 a lot of information about Enoch and his relation to the rainbow. I know some people talk a lot about the idea that we won’t see a rainbow the year of the second coming. I’m not sure how valid that belief is (next on the research list), but here in JST Gen9 the Rainbow is given a more specific symbolism than I usually hear about.
We read that the “bow” is in the sky to remind Noah that God will never flood the earth again. But looking more closely, I think there is a lot more to this.
God makes a covenant with Enoch, says JST for Gen 9, and that covenant is also made with Noah. God promise not to destroy all of mankind again. But what does this have to do with the covenant?
I think, from earlier studies done a few years ago, that Adam, Enoch, Abraham, etc., were given a covenant that their seed would remain on the earth until the second coming. That is what it means to be of the “chosen” seed- not only does it mean there are blessings and covenants associated with that family line, but it means that because they are to remain until the end of the earth. (See D&C 107:40-42 “received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth”.) Hence, Enoch and Noah are promised that God will not destroy all of their seed and that they will have seed left when the earth ends and is renewed and God comes to reign.
JST Gen 9 says that the rainbow is a symbol that Enoch’s city will return. What a beautiful promise, especially for Noah (Enoch was Noah’s grandfather and his city was taken up not too long before the flood!). The bow going up to heaven and then back down traces the journey Enoch’s city will make.
Prince of Peace
Another study I did recently was just to read the first few verses of the book of Abraham. I was struck by the phrase “prince of peace.” I remember it from Isaiah, but wondered where else it showed up. It turned out it was a rather rare phrase. It seems to be referring to Melchizedek and then to Enoch. (See JST for Gen 14 here.) Enoch had the power to divert rivers etc so that his city of Zion was not attacked and had peace. Melchizedek also had this same covenant and power (“For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course … And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.”).
So, I believe this is part of what Abraham is seeking after – to be like Enoch, to have this covenant, and all that was associated with it – the promises of the chosen seed, the ability to preside over a righteous city and to obtain peace.
Obtain peace… that sounds like the beginning of Abraham 1 – “needful for me to obtain another place of residence;” – interesting.
Also, I’m remembering somewhere where it talks about those who had the promise of a city but never saw the fulfillment in their lifetime. Where is that? I can’t find it – D&C? NT? writings of Joseph Smith? I swear it’s in the scriptures themselves.. I’ll keep searching and update when I find it!
Anyway, I really do find Enoch fascinating. He is at such an interesting turning point in the history of the world. He is present at the gathering of Adam-ondi-Ahman and acts as scribe to write Adam’s prophesy of the families of the earth. He knows but outlives the great patriarchs. He goes on mission to teach and can talk about Adam – whom he knew!!! He also builds a city. And protects it. And had it translated! A remainder of his seed is left on the earth however, namely Noah, whom God protects and carries to the other side of the flood. All of mankind now on earth is Noah’s descendant, which also means they are all Enoch’s descendants. His covenant and church are mentioned over and over, especially in the D&C. The D&C also uses his name in association with the priesthood. What an interesting figure! Not to mention I love the information we get from him recorded in the Book of Moses. What a record, to have what Enoch preached about Adam and Eve! Priceless! I am constantly intrigued by this transitional, mysterious, pivotal figure.
Joseph Smith quotation on Rainbows
I did find the quotation about no rainbows the year Christ comes again. It was by Joseph Smith, and it is in the JS manual. I did find it interesting to see the context. The idea is that there will be enough rain for crops etc and so we’ll see rainbows from time to time. But when the Lord comes, there will be a huge famine and that will be a sign that His coming is near. There will be no rainbows because there will be no rain. It’s sort of the exact opposite of Noah – too much rain, vs. no rain.
I didn’t look at the original source for the quotation but that’s probably interesting too.