Sunday, February 8, 2009

Random Thoughts on Enoch's Zion

Of late, many of my posts have been related somewhat to the Pearl of Great Price. This is a reflection of where I am in my personal study. As I re-read the details surrounding Enoch’s ministry and his extraordinary city, a few random thoughts come to the forefront of my mind that I wanted to share. I do this with the hope that you have also had similar thoughts and maybe have come to different conclusions that you would be willing to share.

Random Thought #1 – “And the Lord called [Enoch’s] people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). Besides the Latter-day attempt of the United Order, we have scriptural record of at least 3 different societies who obtained a Zion-like society.

First, Melchizedek, who some believe was Noah’s son Shem, led a Zion-like society. “And [Melchizedek’s] people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world” (JST Gen 14:34). The inhabitants of Enoch’s city were translated beings. It would be hard to understand this text as saying anything other than that Melchizedek translated the inhabitants of his city as Enoch did.

Second, it is reported that the Saints in Jerusalem, under the direction of Peter, James and John, lived in such a manner that they “were of one heart and of one soul” (Acts 4:32). Indeed, these Church members “had all things common” so that “[n]iether was there any among them that lacked” (Acts 4:32, 34). Moreover, in an ancient foreshadowing of the Latter-day United Order (see D&C 51:3), “distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:35).

Third, following Christ’s visit to the Americas, the Nephites had “all things in common among them” to the extent that “they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift” (4 Nephi 1:3). The heavenly gift likely refers to the Second Comforter, or the personal manifestation of the Savior, as spoken of in John 14:15-23 (see also Ether 12:8). Mormon reports that the Nephites during this time had “no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people” (4 Nephi 1:15). Truly, these Nephites “were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God”(4 Nephi 1:17).

Random Thought #2 – In what appears to be a sacred act similar to our modern temple experience, Enoch’s people received a new name: Zion. This is not unlike the Lamanite people who, after achieving conversion through the ministry of Aaron and his brethren, “desir[ed] that they might have a name” (Alma 23:16). As the story goes, they were allowed access to the Lord’s temple and were given the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Re-entering the temple seems to remove the curse that was originally placed upon the Lamanites for rebellion. What constituted the curse was discussed in a previous post.

What is interesting to note, however, is that it is the Lord himself who gives the name to Enoch’s people. For those who have been through the temple, this should provide a new meaning as to who “the Officiator” represents.

Random Thought #3 – When we speak of Zion in Church we seem to refer more to the city, than to the people. However, it was the people at first that were named Zion, not the city. Instead, the name of the city was “the City of Holiness,” but could also be referred to as Zion (Moses 7:19). It is worthy of note that “Man of Holiness” is God’s name in the language of Adam (Moses 5:57). Thus, Jesus Christ is literally the Son of Man of Holiness, and the City of Holiness constitutes God’s hometown. The Lord reiterated this as he indicates to Enoch that Zion was to be “mine abode forever” (Moses 7:21).

Random Thought #4 – We learn in the Pearl of Great Price that “all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty five years” before it was taken up into heaven (Moses 7:68). The 365 years of Zion’s existence creates an allusion to the Celestial Kingdom, which is scripturally and symbolically represented by the sun, whose solar year is approximately 365 days.

Random Thought #5 - Enoch’s people lived in such righteousness that ultimately the Lord translated the whole city and its inhabitants and removed them to a ministry unto terrestrial bodies (TPJS, 170). Joseph Smith reportedly stated that the city occupied ancient land where the Gulf of Mexico now exists (Waiting for World's End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, edited by Susan Staker, Signature Books, 1993, p. 305).

The people, and the city, and the foundations of the earth on which it stood, had partaken of so much of the immortal elements, bestowed upon them by God through the teachings of Enoch, that it became philosophically impossible for them to remain any longer upon the earth; consequently, Enoch and his people, with the city which they occupied, and the foundations on which it stood, with a large piece of earth immediately connected with the foundations and the city, had assumed an aerial position within the limits of our solar system; and this in consequence of their faith.” (History of the Organization of the Seventies, Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1878, p. 11.)

I’m not sure I wholeheartedly agree with the Prophet on this, but his explanation would fill in a glaring hole in the Pangea concept, which cannot account for missing land where the Gulf is now filled with water.
Conversely, Elder McConkie concluded differently: “After the Lord’s people were translated—for it was people who were caught up into heaven, not brick and mortar and stone, for there are better homes already in heaven than men can build on earth” (Come: Let Israel Build Zion; Ensign, May 1977, p. 115-118).

20 comments:

Greg said...

Hi Jeremy,

Fascinating! I don't know what it is about today and yesterday, but you, me and many others have recently posted similar thoughts and comments relating to the temple.

Since the endowment seems to be foundational for the creation of a Zion-like society, and as Nibley said that when it would be achieved in the latter-days it would be another realization of an "at-one-ment" linking past, present and future civilization, you may enjoy the post What is an Endowment?.

On the concept of Pangea, you may be interested in Anthony E. Larson's blog at Things as They Are, Were and Are to Come. He has some wonderful material there that is based on many of the statements by the Brethren on this topic.

Hans said...

#1 - I can't think of any others that are listed in scriptures but surely there have been some others that we don't know about.

#2 - This reminds me of Simon Bar Jona receiving a new new from God - Petros - while being taught the plan.

#3 - Jerusalem in Hebrew - Yerushaleim - means place of peace. In Arabic, Jersualem is called al-Qds, or the Holy Place.

#4 - I had never thought of that, good catch.

#5 - I think The Prophet and Elder McConkie are drifting into speculation land. I guarantee that some member of the church has used either's statement to the detriment of their testimony!

My random thought now. Because Zion refers to the people and not the place, are we no longer required to establish the church in Independence, MO?

Jeremy said...

Greg, how interesting is that? I kid you not, but I read the post on Beleive all Things right after I posted this article.

I'll have to check out Anthony's post on Pangea now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jeremy said...

Good point, Hans. That ran across my mind also. However, I feel there are too many instances where the Lord refers to Zion as the city to disregard an actual future structure. I would feel more comfortable with that conclusion if the Lord didn't tell Enoch that he was to abide there forever, seemingly referring to a place rather than a state of being.

Russ said...

You stated, "Melchizedek translated the inhabitants of his city as Enoch did." I do not think that the prophet was the one to translate anyone. I think that only God would have that authority. The people were translated because of their own righteousness. Thank goodness for them that Melchizedek lead them to the point where they were that righteous.
On another note, I have often wondered if the city of Enoch may have been either one space ship of several space ark's that were built by the people of Enoch. It seems that if we have reached the technical level we have in the last 150 years I wonder if we could reach that level in another 215 years, especially if we were to purify ourselves. It is very possible that they did not have any kind of restriction placed on them as far as technology is concerned. Some may say, 'But where is the evidence of this high tech? I would answer it may have been swept to the bottom of the deep trenches in the ocean when the flood swept across world with Noah. Anyway, just some additional thoughts.

Hans said...

Russ,

I don't think Jeremy was implying that Melchezidek translated his people. But I will let him respond to confirm.

Jer,

I agree with the city mentality and the Lord being in Zion forever. With Elder McConkie's declaration that Zion is where your stake is, I think this enhances our view. Wherever there is a stake of Zion, it could be considered a stake and part of the city.

If you follow my initial train of thought that the Independence requirement is no longer necessary, then the coming of the Savior could be much sooner than we expect. We (as a people) generally can think that until Zion is rebuilt in Independence, we don't have to worry about the Second Coming. If the commandment to build there is no longer necessary because Zion is being established worldwide, as per President Lee, the Savior could be at the door and we not know it because we are waiting for something that is not going to happen. What does SLC headquarters lack in salvational power that it could have had in Independence? Temples world wide provide salvation that the Independence complex of 24 temples (modelled on the Kirtland temple mentality) could have provided.

Sorry for the threadjack. Perhaps this is better for its own post.

Jeremy said...

Hans, your thoughts really are better for its own post. The problem I run into (and I think you concur) is that we have all these early GA quotes that we cannot substantiate now, but we have been led to believe ALL their words. The fact is, some of them spoke purely out of opinion, and others out of blatant bias (e.g. McConkie and evolution).

But since I was bred on "knowing" that Church headquarters is supposed to move to Independence and a temple is to be built there before the 2nd Coming, it is hard to see it any other way without a substantive review.

I wait with bated breath, Hans, to when you post about GA/Prophet opinion.

Hans said...

My GA/prophet opinion post is coming right after Nate's WoW post.

Jeremy said...

Greg, I wrote that Melchizedek translated his city's inhabitants with the thought in mind that translation may be an ordinance. And as an ordinance, it would require an officiator (i.e., Melchizedek and/or Enoch).

To me, it seems that translation could be an ordinance just as much as resurrection is, in that we will be given keys through proper lineage to act in the Lord's name. In cases where no legal administrator could be found, the Lord would appoint an angelic ministrant to do this.

If I am incorrect in my assumption, I would like to hear people's thoughts.

Jeremy said...

The ball is in your court, Nate. I am prepared to be "wow'd". . . not Word of Wisdomed.

Jeremy said...

Sorry, I just realized that my comments to Russ were inadvertently addressed to "Greg".

Nate said...

Was I just called out?

Oh Hans...why do you do this to me and yourself?

It is all along the same lines...doctrine vs culture. I'll get on it.

Great post Jeremy.

Greg said...

No problem Jeremy. I blogged about the subject of returning to Independence, Missouri in Redemption of Zion. Also, Russ' idea of advanced technology is intriguing. I know that Suzanne Freeman's book mentioned in Good Vibrations contains some interesting references to this concept. Finally, concerning the Savior's second coming being related to a comet, some may be interested in reading Joseph Smith's statement to Benjamin F. Johnson in Twelve Kingdoms or Planets.

As far as this material being conjecture or opinion, I like to let my readers decide for themselves.

Peace&Courage said...

just this year 3 super earhts were discovered 2.5 to 9 times larger than our earth. In the scriptures there are 2 times mentioned that the earth was divided. If indeed Enoch and his 800,000 men, along with the un-numbered women and children are indeed orbiting earth, it is very well popsible that their bodies over thousands of years have mutated, loss muscle, smaller mounths, larger eyes. I had a dream that a grey was beside my beds 4 years ago. however this had larger dark eyes, not insect looking eyes, and a common featured spaceship hovering outside my house, I had the impression that I had lost grace and would not be caught up on the cloud at the last hour before the earth would be burned.

I just try to not focus on this mystery, I put my effort into being Christlike, repentence...

A strange and wonderful life, the test of all test.

Jeremy said...

Hi, Peace&amp.

You wrote, "If indeed Enoch and his 800,000 men, along with the un-numbered women and children are indeed orbiting earth...."

I would be interested to hear how you came to that conclusion.

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Peace&Courage said...

yes the 800,000 men with unnumbered wives and children that went with Enoch is found in the Book of Enoch

Peace&Courage said...

The 800,000 men an dunnumbered wives and children are found in the Book Of Enoch

Peace&Courage said...

jeremy in the book of abraham an dthe book of enoch and in other scripture it speaks of how that earth will be made whole and that the quarter missing shall come back. Are you familiar with these?

I hate writing, so if you ever wish to talk let me know, Dianne

Jeremy said...

Dianne, while I'm not very familiar with the Book of Enoch, I am fairly familiar with the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. That said, I strain to find support in Abraham that the earth will be made whole by returning a missing quarter. I assume the "quarter" refers either to a human population count or land mass.

I know there is some speculation about the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, and how Joseph Smith said that some would believe it was a planet or an asteroid. I also know the prophecies of the city of Enoch and its people returning. But I'm unfamiliar with any doctrinal teachings that a quarter of something is to return. Please explain.