A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch, Part 11


The idea that Enoch had great cosmological visions, showing the earth from the beginning to the end, was viewed with mistrust by theologians of Joseph Smith’s day. Yet the kind of vision Enoch saw before beginning his mission is exactly that kind of comprehensive view of creation, man, and his relationship to God that is one of the most authentic hallmarks of all Enoch texts, as we see by a comparison of the account found in the book of Moses with other texts of the Enoch story. These ancient documents, though not scripture, are important windows into the world of the past and our understanding of Enoch’s mission.

It is not our purpose here to discuss Enoch’s cosmological discourses, which would take us pleasantly afield but require too much paper. It will be enough to confine our attention to the cosmological passages that can be paralleled in the book of Moses. These parallels are surprisingly plentiful.

We begin with the declaration that Enoch was shown a vision of everything: indeed, receiving a total revelation of all things seems to have been a privilege of each of the great founding fathers of the dispensations, from Adam on.

Moses 1:27. As the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God.

Giz. Frg. 9:4 (3 versions). 5. For thou hast made all, and hast all authority, and all things appear before thee and are revealed, and thou seest all things.

Secrets 17: end (Vaillant, pp. 62f). If you lift your eyes to the heavens the Lord is there, because he made the heavens; and if you look upon the earth or the sea, or if you think of things under the earth, the Lord is there also, for he made all things.

Moses 7:67. And the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world.

1 En. 19:3. And I Enoch alone saw the vision, the ends of all things: and no man shall see as I have seen.

Moses 7:4. And he [the Lord] said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations.

Giz. 2:2. See the earth, and consider the works done in it from the beginning to the end … and all the works of God will appear.

 

bin Gorion, Sagen der Juden, 1:251. The Lord showed Adam everything, including Abraham’s story. … 253. And “Adam took a leaf and wrote down his Testament, and sealed it up unto the Lord, the Metatron [Enoch], and Adam.

 

Apocal. of Abraham, 21:1. And He said to me [Abraham] look! … 2. I look down and behold the six heavens and all that is in them, and also the earth and her fruits and all that moves upon her, and her spirits, and the power of her inhabitants [men] … 3. and the lower regions … 4. and the sea and its islands, the animals and its fishes … 9. and I saw a mighty host of men, women, and children. …

Moses 1:28. And he [Moses] beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless.

Secrets, Ms. R. Ch. 9. The Angel Braboil [umpire or scorekeeper] said to me [Enoch]: Sit down and write all the spirits of men, all those who have not yet been born … everything to the end of this world, even from the foundation thereof! … And I wrote down all the affairs of men.

Moses 1:29. And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.

1 En. 33:1. I went to the ends of the earth and saw the great beasts, each different from the other; the birds in all their varieties … 2. and to the East were other beasts. I saw the ends of the earth whereon the heavens rest.

 

Jubilees 4:18f. (See Cedrenus, ed. Bekker, p. 17.) And what was and what will be he saw … as it will happen to the children of men throughout the generations until the day of Judgment; he saw and understood everything, and wrote his testimony.

Moses 6:42. I [Enoch] beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me. …

Secrets 13 (Vaillant, pp. 40ff). And now my children, I know all things, some from the mouth of the Lord, others that I have seen myself. … I have written of the extremities of the heavens and what is in them; I have measured the movements of their hosts … I have explored the places of the clouds … I have written about the deposits of the snow and reservoirs of ice, … how all these things are controlled by the power of God.

 

Origen, First Princs., in Patrol. Graece. 11:409. In the same book attributed to Enoch is written: “Universas materias perspexi,” which would imply that he had seen every category of matter, divided not separate and distinct species from a single universal substance, to wit, of men or animals, or heavens, or Sun, or of everything that is in this world.

Moses 6:36. And he beheld the spirits that God had created; … and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye.

BHM, 5:176. Enoch knows the names of the Sarim [lords, administrators] who administer every department of existence … 5:25, no. 12. Enoch knew not only all the secrets of the Makrokosmos, but of the Mikrokosmos as well.

The ancients recognize that others, from Adam to Daniel, also had the great Universal Vision, but give Enoch a special rating. Enoch alone, says the Ethiopian Book of Mysteries, “saw it all from the beginning to end, before it happened.” 353 “The Lord hath chosen thee more than any other man on the earth, and has appointed thee the Scribe of His Creations, both visible and invisible. …” (Secrets, Ms. R, Vaillant, p. 61, see n. 17.)

Joseph Smith’s preoccupation with mountains in his Enoch account would appear suspicious were it not that the other Enoch texts have the same obsession:

Moses 7:2. There came a voice out of heaven, saying—Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon. Moses 7:3. And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory; Moses 7:4. And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me.

Gizeh 32:2. And thence I took my way along the tops of the mountains, keeping far from towards the East of the earth, and I passed above the Erythrean Sea, and went up to the peaks [akron] and from there passed on higher to Zoti-el. 3. And I went to the paradise of righteousness, and beheld from afar among its tree, two trees in particular, great and laden, and the Tree of Knowledge [phroneseos], of whose fruit the holy one ate and received great understanding. …

Moses 6:37. And … Enoch went forth … standing upon the hills and the high places.

1 En. 17:2. And they brought me to a place of darkness, and to a mountain whose summit reached to heaven. 3. And I saw the place of the luminaries.

Moses 6:42. As I journeyed … by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment.

BHM, 5: 172. God raised me up … eyes in the heaven above, to be a witness against them for all time to come … and I made me one with the high places, to observe and be present among the angels of the ministry.

The ancients were quite aware of how Enoch’s mysterious departure to heaven and Moses’ ascent of Mt. Nebo and his disappearance (Deut. 32:49) resembled each other. Others have also found mountains to be places of special closeness to the Lord—for example, Elijah, Nephi, and the famous Rabbi Ishmael.

2 Ne. 4:24. My voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me. 2 Ne. 4:25. And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceeding high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

BHM, 5:170. R. Ishmael: When I went up to the mountaintop to contemplate the Markebah, I entered into the six temples, room by room. Arriving at the entrance to the seventh [the Holy of Holies], I stood to pray before God; and I lifted up my eyes and said: Lord of Eternity, grant me in this hour the merit of Aaron … who received the crown of the priesthood. … And deliver me from Satan. And the Metatron [Enoch] came who [served?] the angel, the Prince of the Presence, and spread his wings and came to meet me with great joy … and he took me with his hand and raised me up.

In these passages, as throughout the book of Enoch, imagery and reality seem to meet and fuse in a peculiar way. Reference to the Holy of Holies is unmistakable in the last passage cited, recalling the well-known Ziggurat concept of the ancients in which the temple itself was to represent a mountain by which one mounted to heaven and the presence of God. Let us return for a moment to Nephi’s story of his father’s vision, which in some ways parallels Enoch’s:

1 Ne. 1:4. In the commencement of the first year … 1 Ne. 1:5. my father Lehi … prayed unto the Lord, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people. … 1 Ne. 1:7. … he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit. … 1 Ne. 1:8. And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels.

Secrets 1:2. On the first day of the month I was alone in my house, and I rested on my bed and slept [BHM, 4:127: “he was praying before God in (his) house and chamber”], 3. and as I slept great grief came upon my heart, and I wept with mine eyes in my dream. … 4. There appeared to me two men … 8. and these men said to me: Be of good cheer Enoch, be not afraid … lo! the everlasting God hath sent us to thee, and today thou shalt ascend with us into heaven.

The manner in which the prophet is caught up is of particular concern and interest to the ancients. What are “the wings of the Spirit”? Lehi was “carried away in a vision, even that … he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with … angels,” to match which Enoch says, “my spirit was translated, and it ascended to heaven; and I saw the holy sons of God … 10. and with them the Head of Days … 11. and my spirit was transfigured.” (1 En. 71:1.) The old writers also treat the idea:

2 Ne. 4:25. Upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceeding high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man.

BHM, 5:170. R. Ishmael [a stand-in for Enoch] was on a high mountain when the Metatron [often equated with Enoch] came, who served the angels, the Prince of Presence, and he spread his wings and came to meet me with great joy to deliver me from the hands of Satan. And he took me by the hand and raised me up.

Moses 1:1. Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain.

BHM, 6:175. God laid his hand upon me and raised me and exalted me … and seventy-two wings raised me up, so many on one side and so many on the other; it was as if the world was filled with wings. …

Abr. 2:7. I cause the wind and the fire to be my chariot; I say to the mountains—Depart hence—and behold, they are taken away by a whirlwind.

1 En. 39:3. And in those days a whirlwind carried me off from the earth, and set me down at the end of the heavens. 4. And I saw another vision, the dwelling place of the Holy One, the resting-place of the righteous.

 

Dict. Apocr., 1:238. So Seth arose and prayed, and put off his envelope of flesh. … Then the winds of heaven lifted him up in the midst of myriads of spirits … and placed him on a shining throne.

As everyone knows, the Hebrew ruakh means both “wind” and “spirit,” giving rise to much speculation. A typical example would be Enoch’s declaration that Adam “was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water …” (Moses 6:64), or that Enoch’s people “were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.” (Moses 7:27.) The last indicates that we are dealing with forms of power yet unknown to men, for which the words “wind” and “spirit” may be taken to represent unknown quantities. Competent scientists have now begun to explore the reality of heretofore unknown forms of power, 354 with surprising results. 355 One of the special characteristics of the Enoch literature is the constant interplay between the physical and the psychic, in which the Joseph Smith text leads the way.

Enoch and the Cosmos

Clement of Rome, in the opening lines of the Recognitions, says that what drew him to investigate the gospel and join the church was his burning desire to find answers to the great questions of life: “When was this world made? What was there before it? Was it always there? Is there a life after death?” He says that he wore himself out at school but could find no professor or philosopher who could give him a satisfactory answer. 356 It was such “constant seeking for knowledge,” as H. D. Betz points out, that necessarily carried the early Christians “beyond history into astronomy and astrology.” 357 The later church fathers fought against the tendency to ask such questions with “bitter polemic,” 358 and the rabbis declared that “anyone who studies the subjects of the Creation or the Chariot, or who puts his mind to the questions: 1) What is above? 2) What is below? 3) What is beyond? 4) What is in the eternities? It were better for him had he not come into the world!” 359

Enoch was one of the curious ones: “I raised my eyes and contemplated this universe, the sky with its glittering stars, the sun and the moon, … the angels [who] control the water, the wind, the fire, the earth and all that is in it, the mountains, the sea, the planets, and the trees. Who could tell me where all these powers take their rise? How do they operate? How do they keep going? Who can explain to me the alterations of dawn and dusk, day and night, moon and stars … ?” He summarizes: “Thus as I viewed the organizations of this world I was troubled.” And prostrating himself he prayed for enlightenment. 360

The objection of the religious to the astronomical teachings of the book of Enoch is that they are not in the least bit spiritual: “Through all these chapters,” writes Charles of First Enoch 72–79, “there is not a single ethical reference. The author has no other interest than a scientific one … we have to deal with a complete and purely scientific treatise. …” 361 Moreover, the interest is in the sun, moon, and stars solely as regulators of the special calendar which set the Enoch-sectaries apart from the rest of the world in their observances. 362 And yet Van Andel recognizes that the Enoch cosmology was for those people something more than a calendar: it was nothing less than the knowledge of the eternities, “before all else the secret of the Creation … God’s plan for the entire universe, which had been revealed to the community of the righteous,” as a fundamental and organic part of the gospel. 363

This broader aspect of the higher knowledge is, however, conspicuously missing from the Ethiopian 1 Enoch, engrossed as it is in the meticulous business of counting and measuring times and cycles, which was to titillate the vanity and challenge the invention of generations of cabbalists, cultists, astrologers, schoolmen, and pyramidologists for ages to come, and which indeed justified the doctors of the church and synagogue in their distaste for the whole business. But the cosmology of the Joseph Smith translation of Enoch in the book of Moses is something quite different—a sober concern with a few basic principles which differs so radically from the Ethiopian Enoch that his critics might well discover here a clear case of outright refutation of the latter-day scripture by the ancient sources were it not that his Enoch text is impressively vindicated by the closely matching concepts of the Slavonic Enoch. The reason for this particular affinity must be examined at a later time; for the present it is sufficient to recognize how strongly Joseph Smith’s cosmology is supported by ancient texts known only long after his death. The main subjects common to these documents are (a) the mystery of glory, (b) the universal ongoing creation, (c) the plurality of worlds, and (d) the relationship of the worlds to God and to each other.

1. It is standard procedure in apocalyptic writings to have the hero introduced to cosmology in the course of his visit to the heavenly realms; in these accounts the leitmotif is glory in varying degrees, and what applies to one heavenly visit applies to another, so that the same descriptions fit the experience of Enoch, Moses, Abraham, Elijah, etc. 364

First, the principle is laid down that glory can be experienced only to the degree one is qualified to share it. The person who would behold God’s glory must himself first be “clothed upon with glory,” i.e., enveloped in that same glory: “… being clothed with robes of righteousness, … in glory even as I am, … to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one.” (D&C 29:12–13; italics added.) Even so with Enoch:

Moses 7:3. [Moses:] I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory; Moses 7:4. And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face.

Secrets 22:8 (Morfill, p. 28). And the Lord said to Michael: ‘Go and take from Enoch his earthly robe, and anoint him with my holy oil and clothe him with the raiment of my glory. … 10. And I [Enoch] gazed upon myself, and I was like one of his glorious ones. And there was no difference.” (See also Slavonic Enoch 9, Vaillant, pp. 25f.)

 

Text B, 22 (in R. H. Charles, Apoc. and Pseud., 2:443). After Enoch is “clothed in garments of glory … the Lord with his mouth summoned me and said: Have courage, Enoch, fear not, stand before my face to eternity. And … Michael brought me before the face of God.”

 

Ascension of Moses 3 [“… it shows many affinities with 2 Enoch,” Charles, ibid., p. 409]. At his death while still “in the flesh” Moses is met by Enoch-Metatron, who clothes him with light so that he will be able to see the angels; and his body was transformed into “a flame of fire.”

 

BHM 5: xlii. In this Hebrew Enoch, Book R., Ishmael tells how in the seventh heaven he “beholds Enoch who has been transformed in the Angel Metatron Sar ha-Panim [of the Face],” and who tells him how upon becoming an angel he was “clothed with all glories.”

The reason for the transformation is clear:

Moses 1:14. I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me.

Gizeh 14:21. And no angel could look upon his face, because it is fearful and glorious, and no flesh can look upon him. 14. And I began to tremble and to shake, and fell upon my face.

Moses 1:5. And no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

Ev. Verit. f. XVr, p. 29. The shock of the sight of God would utterly destroy those unprepared for it.

Moses 1:11. But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence.

Sophia Christi Xti. 79. No flesh can endure his presence, nor can his appearance be described. But he showed himself in pure and perfect flesh to us on the mountain, and we were sore afraid.

Moses 7:3–4. [Enoch:] I was clothed upon with glory; And I saw the Lord.

Gospel of Phil. 105:28–34, 106:lff. You can see only what you are like, therefore on the Mountain of Transfiguration the Apostles had to be made great in order to see the greatness of Christ.

Moses 1:11. [Moses:] I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

Ev. Verit. f. XVr, p. 30. They can bear the knowledge of God to that degree to which they can bear the light.

It is a general principle that applies to all levels of glory: if one is not prepared, the experience of glory can only cause anxiety and alarm:

Moses 1:11. I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. … Moses 1:25. He [Moses] beheld his glory again, for it was upon him. [Zechariah, Mary, the shepherds in the field, the apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration, etc., all were “sore afraid” in the presence of heavenly glory. Italics added.]

1 En. 71:1. And my spirit was translated, and it ascended into the heavens; and I saw the holy Sons of God, 10. And with them the Head of Days, his head white and pure as wool, and his raiment indescribable … 11. And my spirit was transfigured. [Italics added.]

 

BHM 5:170. The Metatron [Enoch] said to me: Come in peace … and they guided me to see the Shekinah and presented me before the Throne of Glory to contemplate the Merkabah; and when the Princes of Glory saw me, and the Seraphim of flame, they placed their eyes upon me and I trembled and became ill and fell from my stand and swooned before the Zohar, the sight of their eyes, and the glory of the appearance of their faces.

172. And when the Seraphim turned their faces towards me I feared and trembled and fell from my standing-place and swooned.

 

Gizeh 14:24. And I was upon my face and trembling, and the Lord with his own mouth called me, and said: Come here, Enoch, and listen to my word. 25. One of the holy ones raised me up and stood me on my feet … and I held my face down and covered. [After this interview when Enoch went down to the people, they could not bear to look upon him. See Moses’ similar experience after descending Mount Sinai, Ex. 34:30.]

Accordingly, when the higher glory is withdrawn and the individual reverts to his own nature, he finds himself weak and helpless:

Moses 1:9. And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth. Moses 1:10. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man.

1 En. 39:14. And my face was changed; for I could no longer behold.

The Combat of Adam and Eve (Migne, Dict. Apoc. 1:301). And the Lord said to Adam: While you obeyed me the light was with you and you could see the most distant things but now you cannot even see what is near to you by the power of the flesh. Then Adam and Eve fell down helpless. 365

 

Apocal. of Abr. 30:1. And as he was still speaking, I found myself already upon the earth, and said … 3. I am no more now in the glory in which I was above, and what my heart sought to know I did not understand.

The early Jewish and Christian traditions are full of accounts in which Satan tried to beguile men by counterfeit glory, even appearing as an angel of light. The righteous however are given the discernment of spirits, and are able to endure true glory—their “confidence wax[es] strong” even “in the presence of God.” (D&C 121:45.) Accordingly Satan’s fake glory never deceives the patriarchs:

Moses 1:12. Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

Moses 1:13. And … Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God. … and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

Moses 1:14. For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were strengthened before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?

Moses 1:15. … Where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God. …

Moses 1:16. Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not. …

Book of Adam (Migne, Dict. Apoc. 1:170). After the Angel of Life departed … Enoch arose in joy, clothed in glory to preach to the world. But the seven planets conspired against their brethren and announced that the real glory was only a trick crying out: They have stolen our glory! They threw all the elements into confusion.

Falasha Anthology, 100. [Abraham:] I do not know whether thou art a great angel … in this glory, because I cannot see thy praise. When angels come to me I feel strong, my soul is fortified … but when thou camest my soul was troubled … my tongue became heavy and weak.

Moses 1:18. … His glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.

Moses 1:19. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and rent upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me!

Apocal. of Elijah (Aeg. 1960, p. 197). The Son of Destruction shall show himself and say: I am anointed! though he is not. Do not believe him! [Ephraim Syr., 9. He will surely make all the signs which our Lord performs in the world; the dead however, he will not raise up, because he has not power over the spirits.]

Moses 1:20. And … Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, … he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.

Moses 1:22. And … with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, … he [Satan] departed hence.

Moses 1:25. And calling upon the name of God, he [Moses] beheld his glory again, for it was upon him.

Gizeh 13. But Enoch (manuscript much confused) said to Azael, Depart! Get thee hence [parerou], there is no peace in thee! Great offence [krima] hath gone forth from thee … 2. And I will no longer detain you or discuss with you because of your trickery and your evil works. 3. Then going forth among them [the people] I [Enoch] told them all, and they all feared and a great fear and trembling seized them.

 

Zech. 3:2. And the Lord said unto Satan: The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; … 4. Take away the filthy garments from [Joshua] … Behold, … I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5. … They set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.

 

Apocal. Abr. 12. (The angels take Abraham to the top of Horeb) 13:7. [The angel:] This one you see is godlessness—it is the [fallen] Angel Azazel [Satan]. 8. Then he said to him: Shame on thee, Azazel! 9. For Abraham’s part is in the heaven, but thy part is on earth, 10. which thou hast chosen for thy home … 13:14. Depart from this man … 15. for behold his garment [of glory] which once belonged to thee in heaven is now lain aside for him, and the corruption that is his shall pass over to thee!

 

1 En. 63:7. The kings of the earth say: We have not believed before him, nor glorified the name of the Lord of spirits … but our hope was in the sceptre of our kingship, and in our glory. 8. And in the day of suffering and tribulation he saves us not. [Italics added.]

The faithful cannot escape a cosmic view of things because it is the creation that declares the glory of God:

Moses 6:63. All things are created and made to bear record of me, … all things bear record of me.

1 En. 69:21. The stars … winds, lightnings, and all these believe and give thanks before the Lord of spirits, and glorify him with all their power.

Moses 7:28. And Enoch bore record of it saying, … 30. Were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, … it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations.

Secrets, 9. And without resting I wrote down the signs of all the creation.

 

Secrets 10. And the Lord called Berebel [Brabeusel, Thoth] … who was skilled in writing down all the works of the Lord. And the Lord said to Berebel: Take a book from the deposit [khranilnitz], and give a pen to Enoch, and explain to him and dictate the books to him. [So the angel taught Enoch] all the works [doings, makings] of the heavens and the earth and the sea and all the elements and time-periods and commandments and instructions … while I wrote down all the signs [znamienia, semeia =notes]. So he wrote the 360 books of the creation.

 

Jubil. 2:1. And the Angel of the Presence spake to Moses according to the word of the Lord, saying: Write the complete history of the Creation.

4:17. And Enoch was the first among men that are upon the earth who learned writing and knowledge and wisdom and who wrote down the signs of heaven. [The Greek adds: “and arithmetic and geometry, and all the Sophian.”]

Creation is presented as a universal ongoing process:

Moses 1:37. The heavens … cannot be numbered unto man. … Moses 1:38. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works.

Zohar iii: 61a, b (Brody). 366 This we have learned: Before the Holy One created this world he had created worlds and destroyed them.

The creation as process is emphasized by the frequent occurrence of the word creation in the plural, usually in proclaiming the greatness and majesty of God—“Millions of earths like this … would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations” (Moses 7:30); “And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations” (Moses 7:31); “I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also” (Moses 7:36); “And all the creations of God mourned” (Moses 7:56); “Zion … shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made” (Moses 7:64). Such passages clearly imply that creation is an ongoing drama:

Moses 1:38. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works.

bin Gorion, 1:286. Seven imperfect worlds were all destroyed because of wickedness.

1:59. “There are 18,000 worlds known only to God.”

 

Migne, Book of Adam, in Dict. Apoc., 1:225. The life-span of each planet is different: Fire and water form circles around the 18,000 worlds.

The same idea is conveyed in the Secrets of Enoch 11 (Charles, Apoc. & Pseud. 2:436), where the heavenly bodies in their “successive going” are “ever going and returning, having rest neither by day nor by night.” Thus (ibid. 16) “the sun is a great creation, whose circuit lasts twenty-eight years and begins again from the beginning.” “Hear Enoch, … not to my angels have I told … their rise, nor my endless realm, nor have they understood my creating, which I tell thee today.” (Ibid. 24.) “There is born light from light, there came forth a great age, and showed all creation.” (Ibid. 25.) “I want to create another world … [ibid. 31] … and there is no counsellor nor inheritor to my creations.” (Ibid. 33.) In manuscript R, chapter 10, of the Slavonic Enoch, he sees “the exchanges of all the elements and their progressions, and their manner of changing according to the signs of the Zodiac, and the progress of their changes,” etc.

The idea of creation as an ongoing process involving many participants was, of course, offensive to the doctors with their monistic obsession. “It is a constant concern of the Midrash,” writes E. Hahn, “why God took six days and ten words to create the world when a single gesture would have sufficed.” 367 And so they effectively silenced the old teaching of creation as a process.

Equally offensive was the idea of a plurality of worlds, countering, as it did, a basic teaching of Aristotle and the evidence of common sense that this world, being heaviest, must necessarily be in the center of everything and mankind the only rational animal, not only on earth, but in all the immensity of the universe. “Millions of earths like this” was quite unthinkable—even comical. “Since God didn’t even need this world,” as Jonathan Edwards vociferously proclaimed, “why should he want to create even more?” Since “the fullness of good is attained once for all in God,” ran the official argument, “… God has no need of a world and is indifferent to it and all that goes on in it.” 368 Quite the opposite with Enoch:

Moses 7:30. And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations.

Mishnah ha-Zohar 1:127ff. 369 God’s creations are en sof, “without end.”

Moses 1:37. The heavens [galaxies], they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man.

Apocr. James 1:27ff. The heavens, they cannot be numbered to man.

Moses 1:33. Worlds without number have I created.

bin Gorion, Sagen der Juden, 1:59. The heavens are without number, and every one of the vaults is like an independent world which in turn contains 1,000 other worlds.

 

Beraikha. fol. 54a. The foolish Minaeans believe that this is the only world there is! Actually there are worlds without number.

 

Slav. 13. And now, my children, I know all things. … I have written of the extremities of the heavens and what is in them. I have measured the movements of their hosts. I have completed the counting of the stars, a vast multitude without number. No man can conceive of their revolutions [or orbits]; the angels themselves do not know their number.

Secrets 40:2. I have measured and described the stars, the great countless multitude of them. 3. Not even the angels see their number.

With all its pluralism we are never allowed to forget that “from first to last one mind alone dominates the whole boundless complex,” since all receive the instructions and their inspiration from a single source: 370

Moses 1:35. But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them. Moses 1:37. The heavens … cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.

 

Moses 7:30. … Millions of earths like this … and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there.

 

Moses 7:36. Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also.

Gizeh 9:4 (three versions). For thou hast made them all, and hast all authority [exousian], and all things appear before thee and are plainly revealed [akalypta], and thou seest all things.

1 En. 84:3. Thou hast made and rulest all things … wisdom does not depart from the place of thy throne, nor turns away from thy presence, and thou knowest and hearest everything.

1 En. 39:11. He knows before the world was created what is forever, and what will be from generation unto generation.

 

Orig., Patrol. Graec. 11:409. He made all things according to number and measure. For with God nothing is without limit and measure, since by his mind he comprehends all things.

 

Clem. Alex., Patrol. Graec. 9:721f. Ps. 18:2 refers to the plurality of the heavens, where even the demons all recognize that Christ is the Lord. The teaching is from Enoch.

Moses 6:61. … the Comforter … which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power …

Clement quotes Daniel, quoting Enoch: And I saw all substance. For the Abyss which is boundless, comes under the same hypostasis [definition] [as matter], being limited and controlled by the power of God.

One of the most remarkable teachings of the Joseph Smith book of Enoch as found in the Pearl of Great Price book of Moses is the doctrine of a spiritual creation of all things that preceded the creation of this earth. Significantly, this doctrine finds its fullest support in the Slavonic Enoch text and is not found in the Ethiopian:

Moses 3:5. For I, the Lord God, created all things … spiritually, before they were naturally upon the … earth. …

Moses 3:7. And man became a living soul. … nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created.

Moses 6:51. I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.

Moses 6:44. The earth … the foundation thereof … he laid it, an host of men hath he brought in upon the face thereof.

Secrets 18. And Enoch answered the people saying: Hear my children! Before anything was [prezhdye dazhe vssya nye byila], and before the whole creation took place, the Lord established the Age of Creation [n. 2, Adoil], and after that he made all the Creation, both visible and invisible; and after all that he created man in his own image. He gave him eyes to see, ears to hear with, a heart to think with, and a mind to counsel; and then he prepared the set times and places. 13. I swear unto you my children … that before man was in the womb of his mother we were prepared, each individual, and a place for each spirit … and that each should sojourn [here] in his proper time, that man thereby might be tested in the balance. Yea, my children … there has been prepared in advance a place for every soul.

Moses 6:45–46. We … cannot deny … for a book of remembrance we have written among us.

And I have put in writing the work of every man, and no living person can hide himself or dissimulate his works.

 

Secrets, ms. R, ch. 11. I created man with a nature both visible and invisible; and reason recognized his image as another and lesser creation within the greater, and inversely the greater contained the lesser. [Referring to spirit and body as two separate creations.]

 

bin Gorion, 1:281. “The world was created in two stages, the first being a spiritual creation.”

 

Secrets 24:4. Before all things were visible, I [God] used to go alone about among the invisible things. … 5. And I conceived the thought of placing foundations and of creating a visible creation.

 

Secrets 9. Then the angel Braboil said: Sit down and write all the spirits of men, all those who have not been born yet, and the places which have been prepared for them. All these things were prepared since before the foundation of the world.

 

Zohar iii:61 s-b Brody: “And everything which is found in this world has been before, and has passed before him and has been arranged [organized] before Him … all the creations of the world which have existed in each generation, before they came into this world, have existed before Him in their true form [d’yaqnah], even all the souls of the children of man have been before they came down to the world, have all been formed before Him in heaven in the very likeness that they have in this world.

The council in heaven described in the fourth chapter of Moses is reflected again in the Enoch section, confirmed by other Enoch texts:

Moses 6:51. I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. Moses 6:52. … If thou wilt turn unto me, … in [his] name … whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you. Moses 6:57. … The name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man. Moses 6:62. … This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

Slav. En. 11. Enoch went to the Lord who taught him all about the Creation and his works … He saw matter unorganized before the Creation … the Council in Heaven … He saw Satan Arouchaz aspire and get cast out to become the foundation of lower things, beyond which there is great darkness and nothing.

 

1 En. 48:2. And at that hour the Son of Man was named in the presence of the Lord of spirits … 3. Yea, before the signs were created … his name was named before the Lord of spirits. 4. He shall be a staff to the righteous whereon to stay themselves and not fall. 5. All who dwell on earth shall fall down and worship before him.

 

BHM 5:174. (S. Ha-Yashar). [The angels:] God our Lord of the Universe! It is not good what the First Ones say before thee. Wilt thou never create Adam again? [God answered:] I have made and I remove, and I am long-suffering and I deliver! And forthwith they saw me [Enoch], and they said before his face: What is the merit of this one, that he should come up to the highest heights?

A little-known part of the creation story is the great Creation Hymn sung in the great assembly. We hear it reverberating in Enoch’s declaration, “All things are created and made to bear record of me.” (Moses 6:63.) “At dawn,” says the Slavonic Enoch, “the elements sing the Creation Hymn, and all the birds sing and he who gives the light arrives and gives light to his creation,” for the morning hymn is the Creation Hymn. (Job 38:7; IQS Manual of Discipline, pl. 10.) Enoch joins in with “Holy, holy, holy! is the Lord of spirits: he filleth the earth with spirits.” (1 En. 39:12.) A vision was opened up to Enoch by God (Secrets 31:1): “I made the heavens open to him, that he could see the heavens sing the song of victory and the gloomless night,” or as the Gizeh text puts it, “A vision of the Holy One in heaven. He showed me and I heard the holy acclamations of him, and as I heard I also understood everything by seeing it.” That the acclamation is repeated in the Joseph Smith Enoch is clearly shown in a fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls:

Moses 7:31. … from all thy creations, from … all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end. …

11 Q Psa Creat. Grace and truth surround his presence; truth and justice are the foundation of his throne. … By the knowledge of his mind he brought the dawn, and all the angels who saw it happen sang aloud. For he showed them what they had not known.

 

Apoc. Abr. 17:14. O Light, which shone before the morning light appeared to thy creatures … 15. In thy heavenly abode no other light is necessary.

In the ongoing creation the establishment of new worlds is accompanied or represented by a stretching out of curtains. These would seem to keep each world in its proper relationship to the others. A commonplace of apocalyptic literature is that God himself is necessarily screened from sight by a veil, as by the cloud on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Moses 7:30. Millions of earths like this … would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still.

Clem. Alex., Patrol. Graec. 9:677. That place itself is one of fire [eternal burnings]. Therefore it is said that it has a veil, lest things be consumed by the sight of Him. Only the Archangel can enter into his presence, as a type of which the High Priests once a year entered the Holy of Holies.

 

T.U. 8:368. The topos of Jew, where Jeu, “the Father of the Treasure of Light” rules as “King of the Treasure of Light,” is separated from all other beings by a veil [katape-tasma].

 

Gospel of Phil. 132:23. “The veil at first concealed how God controlled the Creation, but when the veil is rent [we will know]. 133:14. If some are of the tribe of the Priesthood, these will be able to go within the veil with the High Priests.

 

1 Jeu 39. At this topos the Watchers move the veils aside and you enter into the presence of the Father, who gives you His name and His seal.

The purpose of numerous curtains or veils is to apportion to each world the light it is ready to receive. When Moses asked about the other worlds, the Lord informed him that he was not to know about them at the present and Moses agreed to be satisfied with learning “concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.” (Moses 1:36.) Numerous ancient documents attest to the curtains’ existence:

 

“And all the powers of the universe [Pleroma] sang a great hymn of praise; and he received the [creation] hymn, and made a veil for their worlds, surrounding them like a wall.” (2 Gnostic Work, 47a.)

 

“And that mystery knows … why the stars … and the disks of the light-givers have arisen, and why the firmament has come into existence with all its veils.” (P. Sophia 214, 213.)

 

“The world is a system of concentric shells, veils, or vestments, each a Hekal or palace or room of the temple. Man is organized on the same principles.” (Old Hebrew Book of Enoch was the Hekhaloth, a term explained in the Zohar, Ber. 20a.)

 

“There is a place from which all aeons and all worlds take their origin and prototype: a place of shadowless light and indescribable joy; … and there is a veil between the worlds.” (T.U.60:116, 118.)

 

“The 24 invisible bodies of heaven are 10,000 times brighter than the Sun, whose light must pass through many veils to reach us, so that we do not see it as it really is.” (P. Sophia 84:183–84.)

 

“[If] the Guardian of the Inhabited earth [did not spread out its wings to absorb the fire-like rays of the sun] the human race could not survive, nor any other form of life.” (Apoc. Baruch [3] 6:3, 5.)

 

“Fire and water form a circle around the 18,000 worlds [making them a type of unity] … Above the veil are the heavens.” (For “heavens” read “fire and water,” the enveloping cloud; N. Sed. REJ 124:75, 39.)

To be continued

[illustration] Enoch, by Gary Smith

Show References

    Notes

  1.   353.

    Book of Mysteries, in Patrol. Oriental., 6:433.

  2.   354.

    Many examples are given in S. Ostrander and L. Schroeder, Psychic Discoveries behind the Iron Curtain (Bantam Books, N.Y., 1970), in which the most skeptical scientists in the world find themselves perplexed.

  3.   355.

    Lyall Watson, Supernature, pp. 263, 274–76; C. Blacker, in C. J. Bleeker, Initiation, Studies in the History of Religion (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), pp. 96ff. Studies have shown that people who live in high mountains are more susceptible to psychic phenomena.

  4.   356.

    Clement of Rome, Recognitions 1:1–6, in Migne, Patrol. Graec. 1:1207–10.

  5.   357.

    H. D. Betz, “Das Verständnis der Apokalyptik in der Theologie der Pannenberggruppe,” Ztschr. F. Theol. u. Kirche 65 (1968):265.

  6.   358.

    C. Schmidt, in Texte u. Untersuchungen 8 (1890–1892):345.

  7.   359.

    H. F. Weiss, Helenist. Judentum, p. 83, citing Jerome, in Patrol. Lat. 22:546; the quotation is from Mishnah Hag., 2:1.

  8.   360.

    Book of Adam, in Migne, Dict. Apocr., 1:166.

  9.   361.

    Charles, Book of Enoch (1912), p. 147.

  10.   362.

    Ibid., pp. 149f; C. P. Van Andel, Structuur, p. 40.

  11.   363.

    Van Andel, p. 41.

  12.   364.

    The cases of Moses and Enoch are particularly interchangeable, either by ancient scribes or modern interpreters, as noted by M. R. James, Apocrypha Anecdota (1893), pp. 166–71.

  13.   365.

    In I. Myer, Qabbalah, p. 388.

  14.   366.

    Ibid.

  15.   367.

    E. Hahan, in Rev. d. Etudes Juives, NS 1 (1937):62.

  16.   368.

    A. O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being (Harper Torchbooks, 1960), p. 43.

  17.   369.

    F. Lachover and I. Tishby, Mishnah ha-Zohar (Jerusalem: Byalik Foundation, 1971), 1:127ff.

  18.   370.

    H. Nibley, “Treasures in the Heavens,” Dialogue 8 (Autumn 1974):83–85.