Old Testament Lesson #5 | BYU Studies

Old Testament Lesson #5

January 12, 2018
Old Testament Lesson #5
If Thou Does Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted
BYU Studies Staff

The lives of Cain and Enoch provide perfect examples of the result of human choices to follow God or to disobey.

Cain

"Prophets and Priesthood in the Old Testament", Millet, Robert L., in Sperry Symposium Classics: The Old Testament, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson (Provo and Salt Lake City: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, and Deseret Book 2005), 48–68.

Dr. Millet discusses Joseph Smith's statement: "Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission [see Hebrews 9:22] and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin."

"What We Are", C. Terry Warner, BYU Studies, Vol. 26, no. 1

What is sin? Sin is to go against our honest feelings of what's right for us to do. When we sin, we rationalize, justify, and excuse ourselves. Sinning puts us in emotional bondage. This article looks at collusion, false morality, and the only way out: liberation through honesty, love, and compassion. 

Enoch

"The Temple According to 1 Enoch", George W. E. Nickelsburg, BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 53, no. 1

During the Second Temple period (516 BCE to 70 CE), most Jews in Jerusalem worshipped at the Jerusalem temple. But a separate community at Qumran decried the lack of ritual purity in the activity at the Second Temple and saw their community as an ersatz for the temple. Literature at Qumran included 1 Enoch, a collection of five tractates composed in the Aramaic language between the fourth century BCE and the turn of the era and ascribed to the ancient patriarch Enoch, the head of the seventh generation after creation (Gen. 5:18–24). Some of the tractates are concerned about a dysfunctional Jerusalem cult and resolve the problem of how to worship by looking forward to the approaching eschaton. Other sections of 1 Enoch tell that the real action is already taking place in the true temple, which is the heavenly temple. There, variously, God is enthroned, and the Son of Man is being prepared to enact divine judgment so that God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. Here Enoch remains until the end-time, witnessing the interaction between God and the archangels. This vision refers to three Israelite sanctuaries—the tabernacle, the First Temple, and the Second Temple—and to the establishment of a new Jerusalem, in which there is no temple, because the city itself serves as a temple.

"Enoch and the City of Zion: Can an Entire Community Ascend to Heaven?", David J. Larsen, BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 53, no. 1

One of the most significant additions to the Book of Genesis in Joseph Smith's inspired translation of the Bible is to the story of the prophet Enoch, who the biblical record briefly implies was taken up into heaven alive. In Joseph Smith's rendering of the story, however, not only Enoch, as an individual, ascends into heaven, but also his entire community. This article explores the notion of communal ascent in ancient Jewish and Christian literature and seeks to find affinities with the story of Enoch's Zion found in the LDS Book of Moses. Ancient narratives such as The History of the Rechabites provide some interesting parallels, however the idea of a group ascending into heaven is more strikingly presented in texts that are arguably designed for ritual purposes, as we see with the biblical Epistle to the Hebrews and the Hodayot and Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice texts from among the Dead Sea Scrolls. We can see in these texts a pattern that entails an individual being taken up into heaven and taught the celestial mysteries, then being appointed to return and teach others so that they can also, as a group, ascend into the heavenly realm.

"The LDS Story of Enoch as the Culminating Episode of a Temple Text," Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 53, no. 1

The story of Enoch might be understood as the culminating episode in a temple text cycle woven through the Book of Moses in the LDS Pearl of Great Price. A "temple text" is a sacred text that uses ceremony and commandments to allow a person to stand ritually in the presence of God. The Book of Moses reflects elements of temple architecture, furnishings, and ritual in the story of the Creation and the Fall. Like other scripture-based temple texts, the general structure of the second half of the Book of Moses follows a pattern exemplifying faithfulness and unfaithfulness to a specific sequence of covenants that is familiar to members of the LDS Church who have received the temple endowment. The story of Enoch and his people in these latter chapters of the Book of Moses provides a vivid demonstration of the final steps on the path that leads back to God and up to exaltation.

"Enoch the Prophet", by Hugh Nibley

Hugh Nibley says that Joseph Smith's translation regarding on Enoch is evidence of Joseph Smith's claim to revelation because of its connection to authentic but apocryphal ancient documents. This book is available in full on the website.

Videos from a conference on Enoch, sponsored by the Academy for Temple Studies and the Religion Department at Utah State University

Presentations on Enoch the man, LDS revelations on Enoch, and the apocryphal books of Enoch were given in 2013.