Thus May All Become My Sons

Book of Moses Insight #21

Moses 6:59, 66–68

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

Significantly, the last verse of Moses 6 includes the words “and thus may all become my sons.”1 This statement relating to the exaltation of Adam and Eve and all their posterity provides the doctrinal foundation for the account in the Book of Moses of Enoch’s adoption as a son of God, with a right to God’s throne.2 At the end of Moses 7:3 we read: “and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory.”

In the next set of Insights, we will discuss Enoch’s transformation in more detail, including parallels with Jewish Enoch traditions. In this article, we will discuss how the “sonship” described in Moses 6:60 relates to the spiritual rebirth that is represented in ancient and modern temple ordinances.

Spiritual Rebirth within the Succession of Ordinances

Joseph Smith taught that “being born again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances.”3 Indeed, as we progress through the prescribed series of saving ordinances we are repeatedly “reborn,” our nature transformed over and over, as we experience the cleansing justification of “the Spirit of Christ,”4 the symbolism of death and resurrection through baptism of water,5 the new life granted us when we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost,6 the spiritual and physical “renew[al]”7 of the initiatory ordinances, and the unfolding stages of the drama of our existence in the endowment.

Indeed, the endowment itself enacts our individual progress through multiple “rebirths”—from the spirit world to mortal life, and from thence to becoming the sons and daughters of Christ—and ultimately of the Father Himself, receiving all the blessings of the Firstborn8 as sons and daughters of God.9 According to the OT1 manuscript of Moses 6:59, the ordinances that prepare one for these blessings constitute “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”10

Similarly, by the end of Moses 6, Adam had been not only born of water and of the Spirit, but also “born of God,” having entered His presence in the same manner described by Alma:11

For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.

Elder Theodore M. Burton’s explanation offers a possible insight into the nature of the occurrence described in verse 68:12

Thus Adam was sealed a son of God by the priesthood, and this promise was taught among the fathers from that time forth as a glorious hope to men and women on the earth if they would listen and give heed to these promises

Relating this event to the sequence of ordinances and blessings that led up to it, Hyrum L. Andrus further explains:13 “To receive such communion, ordinarily one must be justified, sanctified, and sealed by the powers of the Gospel ‘unto eternal life.’”14 In other words, Moses 6:68 witnesses that Adam received such a sealing, something also referred to as “the more sure word of prophecy.”15

Changes in Name and Relationship That Accompany Changes in State

For each change of state that is meant to accompany one’s progression through the ordinances, the Father grants a corresponding change in name and relationship to Him. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, “God turns tools into servants[, servants into friends,] and [friends] into sons.”16 Moses 6:67–68 makes it clear that to receive the fulness of the priesthood is to become, when divinely ratified, “a son of God” “after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years.”17 This is consistent with the royal rebirth formula of Psalm 2:7: “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

Figure 2. Minerva Teichert (1888–1976), King Benjamin’s Farewell Address, 1949–1951

In Mosiah 5:7, King Benjamin uses a temple setting and context to explain the same general concept: “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.”

Significantly, King Benjamin not only goes on to say that those who keep the covenant will be “found at the right hand of God,”18—thus, in essence, receiving the name of their own king (importantly, the name Benjamin means “son of the right hand”)—but also that they were taking upon them, as royal sons and daughters, a title of the supreme “Son of the right hand,” namely “Christ.” In so doing, they were also to become, in likeness of Benjamin’s son, little Mosiahs (meaning “saviors”) and, in likeness of the Only Begotten Son of God, little messiahs (meaning “anointed ones”).19 Having thus qualified, the Father might then appropriately “seal” them “his.”20

Elder David A. Bednar has explained: “Purifying and sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise constitute the culminating steps in the process of being born again.”21 Those who are sanctified have “their garments washed white through the blood of the Lamb.”22 Note that the Hebrew word for washing clothes— kābas — is very similar in sound to a word for “lamb”— kebeś —suggesting a possible word play.

Figure 3. “Worshipping” the High Priest

Identification of the High Priest with the Lord Himself

To further emphasize that those who enter into the “oath and covenant … [of] the priesthood”23 do so in similitude of the Son of God, we note Margaret Barker’s description of how the concept of becoming a son of God relates both to ordinances in earthly temples and to actual ascents to the heavenly temple:24

The high priests and kings of ancient Jerusalem entered the Holy of Holies and then emerged as messengers, angels of the Lord. They had been raised up, that is, resurrected; they were sons of God, that is, angels; and they were anointed ones, that is, messiahs. … Human beings could become angels, and then continue to live in the material world. This transformation did not just happen after physical death; it marked the passage from the life in the material world to the life of eternity.

Speaking of the figurative heavenly journey that was enacted in ancient temple ordinances, Matthew Bowen has argued elsewhere that both the king and the high priest, emerging from the Holy of Holies, were seen and worshiped as the symbolic equivalent of Yahweh, the Lord.25 Consistent with this identification, Alma 13 specifically states that high priests were ordained “in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to [God’s] Son for redemption.”26 Moreover, the reason the ancient ordinances of the high priesthood associated with the temple were given was so “that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God … for a remission of their sins.”27

Conclusions

In the words of John 3:5, being “born again”—or, rather, being “born from above” or “born of God”28—is not a process that is completed when one is baptized by water and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. Being ritually reborn requires receiving and keeping all the ordinances and covenants of the priesthood29 “to the end.”30 Being fully reborn in actuality happens only after traversing the heavenly veil “to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent,”31 having both suffered in His likeness32 and also having been “lifted up” to “eternal life” and exaltation as He was.

In other words, to qualify for eternal life, each of the Father’s children must be prepared to enter the kingdom of heaven as a son or daughter of God,33 having first been born again by water and “by the Spirit of God through ordinances,”34 and then, when sanctified, must be received personally by the Father—all this in similitude of their Redeemer, the Son of God,35 their peerless, perfect prototype.36 This is the essence of Enoch’s teaching in Moses 6:51–68, a revelation that preceded the introduction of the full temple endowment to the Saints in Nauvoo by more than a decade.

This article is adapted from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 43–54, 95, 99–101.

Further Reading

Bednar, David A. “Ye Must Be Born Again.” Ensign 37, May 2007, 19–22. https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/05/ye-must-be-born-again?lang=eng. (accessed September 11, 2016).

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 82–85.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. “Now that we have the words of Joseph Smith, how shall we begin to understand them? Illustrations of selected challenges within the 21 May 1843 Discourse on 2 Peter 1.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 20 (2016): 47–150.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 43–54, 95, 99–101.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 106.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 281.

References

Alexander, Philip S. “3 (Hebrew Apocalypse of) Enoch.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. Vol. 1, 223-315. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.

Andrus, Hyrum L. 1960. Joseph Smith: The Man and the Seer. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1979.

Barker, Margaret. Christmas: The Original Story. London, England: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2008.

Bednar, David A. “Ye Must Be Born Again.” Ensign 37, May 2007, 19-22. https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/05/ye-must-be-born-again?lang=eng. (accessed September 11, 2016).

Bowen, Matthew L. “‘They came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him’: Proskynesis before Jesus in Its biblical and Ancient Near Eastern context.” Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 5 (2013): 63-89. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=sba. (accessed May 3, 2020).

———. “Onomastic wordplay on ‘Joseph’ and ‘Benjamin’ and Gezera Shawa in the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 18 (2016): 255-73. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bowen-v18-2016-pp255-273-PDF.pdf. (accessed October 14, 2016).

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. “The LDS book of Enoch as the culminating story of a temple text.” BYU Studies 53, no. 1 (2014): 39-73. http://www.templethemes.net/publications/140224-a-Bradshaw.pdf. (accessed September 19, 2017).

———. Temple Themes in the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. 2014 update ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. “Now that we have the words of Joseph Smith, how shall we begin to understand them? Illustrations of selected challenges within the 21 May 1843 Discourse on 2 Peter 1.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 20 (2016): 47-150.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. ““By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified”: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43-237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020.

Burton, Theodore M. “The work of Elijah.” Improvement Era 68, June 1965, 532-34. https://archive.org/stream/improvementera6806unse#page/n73/mode/2up. (accessed October 15, 2016).

Calabro, David. “Joseph Smith and the architecture of Genesis.” In The Temple: Ancient and Restored. Proceedings of the 2014 Temple on Mount Zion Symposium, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Donald W. Parry. Temple on Mount Zion 3, 165-81. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2016. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/events/2014-temple-on-mount-zion-conference/program-schedule/. (accessed October 27, 2014).

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

Hamblin, William J. “The sôd of YHWH and the endowment.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 4 (2013): 147-53. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-sod-of-yhwh-and-the-endowment/. (accessed April 19, 2013).

Isenberg, Wesley W. “The Gospel of Philip (II, 3).” In The Nag Hammadi Library, edited by James M. Robinson. 3rd, Completely Revised ed, 139-60. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990.

Johnson, Mark J. “The lost prologue: Moses chapter one and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible as ancient text.” Unpublished article in the possession of the author. 2006.

Lewis, C. S. 1941. The Screwtape Letters. New York, NY: Touchstone, 1996.

Madsen, Truman G. 2004. Foundations of Temple Worship (BYU-Idaho Devotional, 26 October 2004). In Gazelam Foundation. www.trumanmadsen.com/media/FoundationsofTempleWorship.pdf. (accessed November 23, 2008).

McConkie, Bruce R. “The ten blessings of the priesthood.” Ensign 7, November 1977, 33-35.

———. The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ. The Messiah Series 1, ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1978.

———. The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary. 4 vols. The Messiah Series 2-5, ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1979-1981.

———. A New Witness for the Articles of Faith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1985.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1975. The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment. 2nd ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005.

Reynolds, Noel B. “Understanding Christian baptism through the Book of Mormon.” BYU Studies 51, no. 2 (2012): 3-37. https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/sites/default/files/Noel%20B.%20Reynolds,%20Understanding%20Christian%20Baptism%20through%20the%20Book%20of%20Mormon,%202012.pdf. (accessed February 28, 2017).

Seaich, John Eugene. Ancient Texts and Mormonism: The Real Answer to Critics of Mormonism. 1st ed. Murray, UT: Sounds of Zion, 1983.

———. Ancient Texts and Mormonism: Discovering the Roots of the Eternal Gospel in Ancient Israel and the Primitive Church. 2nd Revised and Enlarged ed. Salt Lake City, UT: n. p., 1995.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. The Words of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1980. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nauvoo-discourses-prophet-joseph/1843/21-may-1843. (accessed February 6, 2016).

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith, and Richard Lloyd Anderson. Journals: December 1841-April 1843. The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals 2, ed. Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2011.

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith, and Brent M. Rogers. Journals: May 1843-June 1844. The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals 3, ed. Ronald K. Esplin and Matthew J. Grow. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2015.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1902-1932. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Documentary History). 7 vols. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1978.

———. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.

Welch, John W. The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1990. http://publications.mi.byu.edu/book/the-sermon-at-the-temple-and-the-sermon-on-the-mount/. (accessed December 19, 2016).

———. “What was a ‘Mosiah’?” In Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, 105-07. Salt Lake City, UT and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992. https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/node/175. (accessed May 3, 2020).

Welch, John W., and Doris R. Dant. The Book of Mormon Paintings of Minerva Teichert. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1997.

Young, Brigham. 1874. “The calling of the priesthood, to preach the Gospel and proceed witht eh organization of the kingdom of God, preparatory to the coming of the Son of Man; all good is of the Lord; salvation and life everlasting are before us (Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Bowery, at Brigham City, Saturday Morning, June 26, 1874).” In Journal of Discourses. 26 vols. Vol. 17, 113-15. Liverpool and London, England: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1853-1884. Reprint, Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1966.

Notes on Figures

Figure 1. Courtesy of Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, http://www.leicestergalleries.com.  Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38. In this connection, Nibley writes (H. W. Nibley, Message (2005), p. 444; cf. J. E. Seaich, Ancient Texts 1995, pp. 870875; J. E. Seaich, Ancient Texts 1983, pp. 5657):  

The Gospel of Philip depicts the rending of the veil not as the abolition of the temple ordinances, as the church fathers fondly supposed, but of the opening of those ordinances to all the righteous of Israel, “in order that we might enter into … the truth of it.” “The priesthood can still go within the veil with the high priest (i.e., the Lord).” We are allowed to see what is behind the veil, and “we enter into it in our weakness, through signs and tokens which the world despises” (see W. W. Isenberg, Philip, 85:120, p. 159). 

Figure 2. Courtesy of Brigham Young University Museum of Art. Appears in J. W. Welch et al., Book of Mormon Paintings, p. 85. © Brigham Young University Museum of Art. Permission granted with the kind assistance of Clyda Ludlow and Trevor Weight, MOA Registration Department.  

Figure 3. http://www.templeinstitute. org/beged/priestly_garments-2.htm (accessed November 19, 2016). No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States.

Footnotes

 

1 Cf. John 1:12–13; Romans 8:14–21; D&C 39:4.

2 See Moses 7:59. Compare P. S. Alexander, 3 Enoch, 10:1, 3, pp. 263–64.

3 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Willard Richards Pocket Companion, Before 8 August 1839 (1), p. 23. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 2 July 1839, p. 162. See also D&C 84:19–25; JST Exodus 34:1–2.

4D&C 20:37.

5 See Romans 6:4–6; J. Smith, Jr. et al., Journals, 1843–1844, 9 July 1843, p. 56. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 9 July 1843, p. 314.

6 Acts 8:15, 19; 2 Nephi 31:13; 32:5; 3 Nephi 28:18; 4 Nephi 1:1; D&C 25:8; 84:74; Moses 8:24.

7 D&C 20:37.

8 Truman G. Madsen explains (T. G. Madsen, Foundations, pp. 2, 5–6):

You have all been born as spirit children, and as such have a divine nature. You have now been born of mortal parents, and have been privileged, then, with a body, which is a step forward in your progression, not a step back. … We are … to proceed to watch and pray, that it may be developed into the very likeness of our spirits, which are divine, and ultimately, then, to become, as it were, a product of another birth, which is the birth we call Jesus, who becomes, in the process of ordinances, our father. That’s a proper use of the word “father” for Jesus, for He says in [D&C] 93:22, “all those who are begotten through me (through the ordinances) are partakers of the glory of the same (meaning His role as first-born), and are the Church of the Firstborn.” Imagine. He has sacrificed for us in order that we can inherit what He alone could have claimed to be, the first-born. He’s saying, “It will be as if you were [the Firstborn]; all of the blessings and powers that have been bestowed upon Me are now transmitted to you, if you are willing to come to Me.” They are “begotten through me” and are “partakers of the glory of the same.” …
[T]here will be another birth ahead of us, and that’s called the resurrection. And then the promise that we can be like Him will be literal and complete.

9 See Moses 6:68.

10 S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1 Page 14 (Moses 6:52–64), p. 102. For more on this, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, Commentary Moses 6:59-a, p. 79 and J. M. Bradshaw, Temple Themes in the Oath, pp. 97–98.

11 Alma 36:26; cf. Mosiah 27:28. By way of contrast, 1 John 3:9 and 5:1 seem to use the term “born of God” with a more general meaning.
Alma described the experience of being “born of God” in terms that emphasize the personal nature of the encounter that accompanies this experience. After telling of his vision of “God sitting upon his throne” and his subsequent missionary labors (Alma 36:22–24), he testifies that “many have been born of God, and have tasted [of exceeding joy] as I have tasted, and have seen [God] eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God” (Alma 36:26; cf. Mosiah 27:28; D&C 84:22). Describing the knowledge that can be had only through keeping every ordinance of the Melchizedek priesthood, which ordinances hold “the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God” (D&C 84:19), Joseph Smith taught: “No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the holiest of holies” (J. Smith, Jr., Documentary History, 1 May 1842, 4:608. Cf. J. Smith, Jr. et al., Journals, 1841-1843, 1 May 1842, p. 53. See also J. Smith, Jr., Documentary History, Charge to the Twelve by Oliver Cowdery, February 1835, 2:195–196, 198; B. R. McConkie, New Witness, p. 492; B. R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, pp. 582–584, 594–595; Luke 24:39; John 20:19–29; 3 Nephi 11:14–15).

12 T. M. Burton, Work of Elijah, p. 532.

13 H. L. Andrus, Joseph Smith, p. 122.

14 D&C 131:5.

15 D&C 131:5. See also 2 Peter 1:19. For a detailed analysis and commentary on Joseph Smith’s 21 May 1843 discourse on 2 Peter 1 where he discusses the “more sure word of prophecy,” see J. M. Bradshaw, Now That We Have the Words.

16 C. S. Lewis, Screwtape, Preface [1961 edition], p. 9. The original statement reads: “God turns tools into servants and servants into sons, so that they may be at last reunited to Him in the perfect freedom of a love offered from the height of the utter individualities which he has liberated them to be.” For more on this topic, see J. M. Bradshaw, Temple Themes in the Oath, pp. 75–79.
Note that within modern revelation, the highest order of the priesthood is known by different names. For example, in the Doctrine and Covenants we read about “they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory” (D&C 76:56). They are described in relation to variously named orders as being “after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was [ultimately] after the order of the Only Begotten Son” (D&C 76:57. Compare B. Young, 26 June 1874, p. 113).

17 See also J. M. Bradshaw, Temple Themes in the Oath, pp. 53–65; B. R. McConkie, Mortal Messiah, 1:229; B. R. McConkie, Ten Blessings, p. 33.

18 Mosiah 5:9.

19 See M. L. Bowen, Onomastic Wordplay, p. 269; J. W. Welch, What Was a ‘Mosiah’?.

20 Mosiah 5:15; Alma 34:35.

21 D. A. Bednar, Ye Must Be Born Again, p. 22.

22 Alma 13:11. See also Exodus 19:10, 14; Ether 13:11; Revelation 7:14. For more on this subject, see N. B. Reynolds, Understanding Christian Baptism, pp. 14–16.

23 D&C 84:39.

24 M. Barker, Christmas, pp. 5, 12. Compare W. J. Hamblin, Sôd of YHWH, pp. 147, 151.

25 M. L. Bowen, They Came, pp. 72–73:

How closely [was] the dynastic son of 2 Samuel 7 (Solomon), who became Yahweh’s own “son” (v. 4), … identified with Yahweh himself[?] Margaret Barker has observed how in the Chronicler’s account of Solomon’s enthronement the people “worship Yahweh and the king” (1 Chronicles 29:20) and how Solomon “was enthroned upon the throne of Yahweh” (1 Chronicles 29:23; translations mine). Barker proposes that on this occasion the king was Yahweh (the Lord). Conceptual support for this can be seen in Psalms 45 and 72 and the royal, theophanic appearance of Simon the High Priest in Ben Sira 50:1–21[, which is reminiscent of 3 Nephi 11–19; 17:9–10; and Hebrews 1:5; 5:1–10; 7:1–28; 9:1–28]. This would explain how the earliest Christians were prepared to think of Jesus as being both Yahweh their God and the Davidic king.

26 Alma 13:2.

27 Alma 13:16. Some Latter-day Saint scholars have conjectured narrative portions of temple liturgy in former times may have been derived in part from an ancient text somewhat like the Book of Moses (J. M. Bradshaw, LDS Book of Enoch; D. Calabro, Joseph Smith and the Architecture; M. J. Johnson, The lost prologue: Moses chapter one and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible as ancient text). The second half of Alma 12, which opens with a question about the resurrection of the dead and a reference to the “mysteries of God” (Alma 12:8–9), segues to the story of Adam and Eve’s transgression in the Garden of Eden (cf. Moses 3–4), the plan of redemption as revealed by angels to them (Alma 12:28–35; cf. Moses 5:5–8, 58), and the ordinances of the high priesthood after the order of the son of God (Alma 13:1–20; cf. Moses 5:59; 6:59, 66–68). A careful study of the relationship between the Book of Moses and Alma 12–13 is overdue.

28 1 John 3:9; 5:1; Mosiah 27:28; Alma 36:26. For a detailed discussion of Jesus’ nighttime discussion with Nicodemus in John 3 that is consistent with this interpretation, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified (TMZ 4), pp. 43–54.

29 Joseph Smith taught that to qualify for eternal life, each of God’s children must be born again into the kingdom of heaven as a son or daughter of God (Moses 5:7) through the atonement of Christ, and “by keeping all the ordinances of the house of the Lord” (J. Smith, Jr., Words, 11 June 1843, Wilford Woodruff Journal, p. 213. Compare J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 11 June 1843, p. 308; J. Smith, Jr. et al., Journals, 1843-1844, 11 June 1843, p. 32. See also J. W. Welch, Sermon, pp. 77–78).
Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook note (in J. Smith, Jr., Words, p. 286 n. 25):

Undoubtedly the Church historians decided to amplify this statement based on D&C 124:28, and their knowledge of the Prophet’s teachings on temple ordinances: “If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord” (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 11 June 1843, p. 308; changed words italicized). The essence of the Church historians’ amplification, which is confirmed by the Franklin D. Richards report, is additionally supported in the following statement of Brigham Young in the Nauvoo Temple which includes the Prophet’s teachings on the highest ordinances of the Temple:

Those who come in here and have received their washing & anointing will [later] be ordained Kings & Priests, and will then have received the fullness of the Priesthood, all that can be given on earth. For Brother Joseph said he had given us all that could be given to man on the earth (Heber C. Kimball Journal kept by William Clayton, 26 December 1845, Church Archives).

Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 6:11; James 5:11; 1 Peter 1:13; Revelation 2:26; 1 Nephi 13:37; 22:31; 2 Nephi 9:24; 31:16, 20; 33:4, 9; Omni 1:26; Mosiah 2:41; 26:23; Alma 12:27; 27:27; 32:13, 15; 38:2; 3 Nephi 15:9; 27:6; 27:11, 16, 17, 19; Mormon 9:29; Moroni 3:3; 6:3; 8:3, 26; D&C 10:4; 14:7; 18:22; 20:25, 29, 37; 31:13; 53:7; 66:12; 75:11, 13, 14; 76:5; 81:6; 100:12; 105:41; 121:32. The many scriptures cited above, which implicitly define “the end” as the end of probation or the time of judgment, can be contrasted with a smaller set of scriptures Mosiah 4:6, 30; 5:8; Alma 34:33; 41:6 which instead describe this end more generally as the end of mortal life.

30 Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 6:11; James 5:11; 1 Peter 1:13; Revelation 2:26; 1 Nephi 13:37; 22:31; 2 Nephi 9:24; 31:16, 20; 33:4, 9; Omni 1:26; Mosiah 2:41; 26:23; Alma 12:27; 27:27; 32:13, 15; 38:2; 3 Nephi 15:9; 27:6; 27:11, 16, 17, 19; Mormon 9:29; Moroni 3:3; 6:3; 8:3, 26; D&C 10:4; 14:7; 18:22; 20:25, 29, 37; 31:13; 53:7; 66:12; 75:11, 13, 14; 76:5; 81:6; 100:12; 105:41; 121:32. The many scriptures cited above, which implicitly define “the end” as the end of probation or the time of judgment, can be contrasted with a smaller set of scriptures Mosiah 4:6, 30; 5:8; Alma 34:33; 41:6 which instead describe this end more generally as the end of mortal life.

31 D&C 132:24. Cf. John 17:3.

32 E.g., Matthew 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23; 14:27; Acts 5:41; 9:16; Romans 8:17; Philippians 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:12; 3:12; Jacob 1:8; 3 Nephi 12:30; D&C 23:6; 56:2; 101:35; 112:14. Nevertheless, the followers of Christ are not called to endure the suffering for sin that has already been borne by Jesus Christ (D&C 19:16), though they are sometimes required to suffer “anguish of soul because of the wickedness of the people” (Alma 8:14).
The mourning of the righteous for sin should be contrasted with the mourning of the wicked (Matthew 24:30; Luke 6:25; D&C 45:49; 87:6; 97:21; Revelation 18:11). The “sorrowing of the damned” is attributed by Mormon to their realization that “the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin” (Mormon 2:13).

33 Mosiah 5:7. See also Psalm 2:7; 110:4; John 1:12–13; Romans 8:19; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 7:3; 1 John 3:1–3; 3 Nephi 9:17; Moroni 7:48; D&C 128:23; Moses 6:22, 68; 7:1; 8:13.

34 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Willard Richards Pocket Companion, Before 8 August 1839 (1), p. 12. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 2 July 1839, p. 162. See D&C 52:13–20; 84:19–25: Moses 6:57–68; JST Exodus 34:1–2.

35 Daniel 3:25; Matthew 4:3, 6; 8:29; 14:33; 26:63; 27:54; Mark 1:1; 3:11; 15:39; Luke 4:3, 9, 41; 8:28; 22:70; John 1:34; 5:25; 9:35; 11:4; 20:31; Acts 8:37; 9:20; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29; 1 John 3:8; 4:15; 5:5, 10–13; 20; Revelation 2:18.

36 E.g., Matthew 5:48; Luke 18:22; John 13:36; 14:6; 21:19; 3 Nephi 12:48.

By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified

Book of Moses Insight #20

Moses 6:60

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

Blood as a Symbol of Justification

Because blood is a symbol of death and life,1   it was used in Israelite temples for “the altar [of sacrifice] to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”2—thus symbolizing the process of repentance that culminates in justification.

The first explicit mention of “blood” in the Bible is Genesis 4:10–11, when Abel’s blood cried to God from the ground as a plea of redress for Cain’s murder, and the earth in turn from thenceforth refused to yield its strength to the perpetrator of the crime.3

The deliberate consumption of blood has been practiced in many cultures because “popular thought had it that one could renew or reinforce one’s vitality through … absorption of blood.”4 Intriguingly, an alternate reading of Moses 6:29 given in the OT1 manuscript, describes a wicked Cain-like people who, “by their oaths, … have eat[en] unto themselves death.”5 If this variant is not a scribal error, it may indicate a corrupt practice where participation in ordinances by those who were ritually unclean was condemned,6 or perhaps even the “eating” of blood itself. Note that this language further echoes and extends the symbolism of the “eating of death” in the act that precipitated the Fall.7 Later, God said to Noah: “the blood of all flesh which I have given you for meat shall be shed upon the ground which taketh the life thereof and the blood ye shall not eat.”8

Figure 2. The high priest sprinkles blood on the gold altar of incense that stood before the veil, a symbol of sanctification. The sweet, incense-perfumed smoke was a witness of the “prayers of saints”

Blood as a Symbol of Sanctification

As part of the entry on “Sacrifices,” the Latter-day Saint Bible Dictionary makes the following observation about the order of the offerings in Israelite temples:9

It is noteworthy that when the three offerings were offered together, the sin always preceded the burnt, and the burnt the peace offerings. Thus the order of the symbolizing sacrifices was the order of atonement [i.e., justification], sanctification, and fellowship with the Lord [i.e., exaltation].

The symbolism of this order of offerings in ancient temples will be meaningful to Latter-day Saints who serve in modern temples. While the initial blessing of justification comes exclusively by means of a substitutionary offering on the altar of sacrifice in the temple courtyard—“relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save”10—the culminating step of the process of sanctification is a joint effort,11 symbolized by a “second sacrifice”12 made on the altar of incense that stands before the veil. While that second sacrifice is no less dependent on the “merits, and mercy, and grace”13 of Christ and the ongoing endowment of His strengthening power, it requires in addition that individuals grow in their capacity to meet the stringent measure of self-sacrifice enjoined by the law of consecration as exemplified by Nephi and his companions in their soul-saving labor on behalf of their “children” and “brethren”—“for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”—which, in our view, means both that we can neither be saved without divine grace, nor without all we can do.14

There is a double meaning in the phrase “by the blood ye are sanctified,”15 as was expressed in the words about Christ cited in the pseudepigraphal Gospel of Philip: “He who was redeemed in turn redeemed (others).”16 Although redemption itself comes only “in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son,”17 it might also be said regarding those who have been “ordained after the order of [the] Son”:18 He who was redeemed with “a preparatory redemption”19 in turn must assist “with all [his] heart, might, mind and strength”20 to bring about the redemption of others. In brief, those who would follow Christ “to the end,”21 must continue to move beyond the keeping of the initiatory law of obedience and sacrifice toward the complete dedication required by the law of consecration.22

Figure 3. Benjamin West (1738–1820), Isaiah’s Lips Anointed with Fire, after 1772

Ultimately, the blood is intended not solely to sanctify the altar but also to sanctify ourselves. When Isaiah was taken up to the presence of God to receive his prophetic commission, “one of the seraphims” flew to him:23

having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Presumably the coal, “taken … off the altar”24 of incense that “purged” (literally “atoned for”25) Isaiah’s sin previously had been sprinkled with sacrificial blood. Thus, symbolically, his lips had been sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ (who, arguably, may have been the very “one of the seraphims” mentioned in the verse), preparing him to speak with God.

In light of the considerations above, it is clear that, although the Saints cannot be made clean without God’s own sanctifying power, they must in addition fulfill His requirement to “sanctify themselves.”26 This they do by “purify[ing their] hearts, and cleans[ing their] hands and [their] feet” in order that “I[, the Lord,] may make [them] clean … from the blood of this wicked generation; that I may fulfill … this great and last promise”27 to “unveil [my] face unto [them].”28 Explaining the need for disciples to be made “clean every whit”29 that they may be ready to stand in the presence of God,30 John W. Welch described the change in law that was announced by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount:31

The old law of sacrifice was explicitly replaced by that of the “broken heart and contrite spirit,”32 and whereas previously the sacrificial animal was to be pure and without blemish [haplous], now the disciples themselves are to become “single” [haplous] to the glory of God.33

Within modern temple ordinances, as within the sacrament, animal sacrifice is replaced by the offering of oneself. Such offerings are “memorials of … sacrifices by the sons of Levi”34—in other words, symbolic rather than literal reenactments of ancient temple practices that required the shedding of blood. Illuminating the difference between the ordinances of the “preparatory”35 Aaronic priesthood and those of the “holy” Melchizedek priesthood “after the Order of the Son of God,”36 Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught that “real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed!”37

Making the Sacrifice of Abraham

Hugh Nibley summed up the principle of sanctification “by the blood”38 as follows:39

The gospel is more than a catalogue of moral platitudes; these are matters of either eternal life or nothing. Nothing less than the sacrifice of Abraham is demanded of us.40 But how do we make it? In the way Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah all did. Each was willing and expected to be sacrificed, and each committed his or her all to prove it. In each case the sacrifice was interrupted at the last moment and a substitute provided: to their relief, someone else had been willing to pay the price, but not until after they had shown their good faith and willingness to go all the way—“lay not thy hand on the lad … for now I know.”41 Abraham had gone far enough; he had proven to himself and the angels who stood witness (we are told) that he was actually willing to perform the act. Therefore the Lord was satisfied with the token then, for he knew the heart of Abraham. This is the same for Isaac and Sarah and for us. And whoever is willing to make the sacrifice of Abraham to receive eternal life will show it by the same signs and tokens as Abraham, but he or she must do it in good faith and with real intent.

This article is adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 93–99, 103.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 336–338, 371–390.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 93–99, 103.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 65–74.

Hafen, Bruce C. Spiritually Anchored in Unsettled Times. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2009, pp. 22–23.

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Notes on Figures

Figure 1. GoodSalt.com. Image ID: lwjas0595. No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Leviticus 17:11. Other kinds of offerings were also made on this altar.

Figure 2. http://www.templeinstitute.org/yom_kippur/ sprinkle_altar.htm (accessed October 9, 2016). No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Revelation 5:8; 8:4. See also Psalm 141:2. The pleasing scent of “sweet incense,” burned at the altar “before the vail … every morning” (Exodus 30:6–7), with the annual offering of blood (Exodus 30:9–10), not the “blood of the grape” (Ben Sira 50:15), represent the “second sacrifice” of prayer and consecration by one who has been made clean, in contrast to the “sweet savour” (with unpleasing smell) of animal sacrifice that represents an atonement for sin (Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18, 25, 41). The challenge of offering a perfect sacrifice to the Lord is aptly expressed by Shakespeare: “Laud we the gods, And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils From our blest altars” (W. Shakespeare, Cymbeline, 5:4:474–475, p. 85). His brilliant use of “crooked” to describe the altar smoke refers obviously to its upward curling movement, while also reflecting on the stubborn perversity of human nature in every act of sacrifice, where deficient attempts to meet its unbending requirements to turn wholeheartedly and bow in complete submission before God are most evident.

Figure 3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Isaiah%27s_Lips_ Anointed_with_Fire.jpg (accessed November 19, 2016). From the collection of seven of the twelve extant works from Benjamin West’s series The Progress of Revealed Religion. Museum and Gallery at Bob Jones University and at Heritage Green, New Memorial Chapel at Bob Jones University (http://www.bjumg.org/the-benjamin-west- collection/). Public domain.

Footnotes

 

1E.g., Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:14; Deuteronomy 12:23. See also John 6:53–54.

2 Leviticus 17:11. See Leviticus 17:11–14; Deuteronomy 12:23–24, which provide “the basis of Jewish dietary laws governing the koshering of meat, the purpose of which is to ensure the maximum extraction of blood from the flesh before cooking” (N. M. Sarna, Genesis, p. 61).
Note that the Hebrew term for blood, dam, is used in the Bible as “a poetic term for wine ([Genesis 49:11.] cf. Deuteronomy 32:14). ‘Blood’ … is also used in Akkadian (dāmu) for red wine. In Ugaritic yn, ‘wine,’ is paralleled with dm ‘ṣm, ‘blood of trees’” (ibid., p. 337 blood of grapes). In the blessing of Judah in Genesis 49:11, it is said that he had symbolically “washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes” (see ibid., p. 337 He washes). The expression may “relate to the stained garments of those engaged in the manufacture of wine, as mentioned in Isaiah 63:2ff.” (ibid., p. 337 He washes). For Latter-day Saints, this is messianic imagery (see, e.g., V. L. Ludlow, Isaiah, pp. 511–514; J. M. Bradshaw, How Should We Understand the Rich Symbolism; Revelation 19:13; D&C 76:107; 133:46–51).
At the Creation of man in Genesis 2:7, there is wordplay with the Hebrew terms for “man” (’adam) and “earth” (’adamah). The mutual connection of both terms to the root for “red” (’adom) highlights the connection between a red-blooded man and the red earth from which he is created. The loss of blood (bloodshed) deprives one of life and is a metaphor for murder and death. Adam’s name, relating to the mortal body, complements Eve’s name (chavvah/chayyah = “living thing” or perhaps “propagator of life” [See N. M. Sarna, Genesis, 3:20 n. Eve, p. 27]), which relates to the breath of life or spirit that animates the body containing the blood.

3 See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Commentary Moses 5:35–36, pp. 383–384.

4 N. M. Sarna, Genesis, p. 61.

5 S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1, p. 99. The canonized version of Moses 6:29 resulted from a correction in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon that is found in OT2 (ibid., p. 610): “by their oaths, they have brought upon themselves death.”

6 Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27–30. 367. See Moses 3:17; 4:9, 17, 18, 25.

7 See Moses 3:17; 4:9, 17, 18, 25. One might see here an antithetical contrast between the “eating of death” (by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the wicked of Noah’s time) whereby those who consume are made subject to “death” and “hell” (Moses 6:29 [OT1]) and the ironic turn of fate whereby, according to the 1 Enoch Book of Parables 60:24 (G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, 60:24, p. 233), “the chosen and righteous” will eat the personifications of death and hell (i.e., Leviathan and Behemoth), who thus become “the main course at the eschatological banquet” (ibid., p. 240. Cf. pp. 239–241; A. H. Becker, 2 Baruch, 29:4, p. 1576; K. M. Hogan, 4 Ezra, 6:49–52, p. 1627). Thus, the “awful monster” (2 Nephi 9:10, 19, 26) of death and hell is literally “swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54. Cf. Isaiah 25:8; Mosiah 16:8; Helaman 14:14–18; Alma 22:14, 27:28; Mormon 7:5. “He shall swallow up death forever” [R. Alter, Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 25:8, 2:699]) and the “devourer himself [shall] be devoured” ((P. J. Long, Origin of the Eschatological Feast, p. 105 n. 103. Cf. Jeremiah 51:34–44). Drawing a parallel to Isaiah 25:8, N. M. Sarna, Epic Substratum, p. 16, describes a similar fate of Mot, the Ugaritic god of death: “Mot shall be hoisted by his own petard!”
Philip J. Long summarizes as follows (P. J. Long, Origin of the Eschatological Feast, p. 270):
Primordial beasts that were present at creation and in the retellings of the Exodus story will be killed and consumed just as death itself is consumed in Isaiah 25:6–8. The chaos monsters will be ultimately subdued and consumed. Eden itself will be restored and all will eat from the tree of life, just as the Israelites ate manna in the Wilderness after the Exodus.

8 . JST Genesis 9:4. See S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, p. 116. Joseph Smith taught that resurrected bodies would not contain blood, but rather would be “quickened by the Spirit” (J. Smith, Jr., Words, 12 May 1844, Thomas Bullock Report, p. 368). See also ibid., 12 May 1844, George Laub Journal, pp. 370–371; ibid., 20 March 1842, Wilford Woodruff Journal, 20 March 1842, p. 109.

9 Latter-day Saint Bible Dictionary, Latter-day Saint Bible Dictionary.

10 2 Nephi 31:19.

11 Although we enter the gate of repentance and baptism by exercising “unshaken faith,” “relying wholly upon the merits” of Christ (2 Nephi 31:19), it is intended that we grow spiritually through a combination of our efforts and His strengthening power in gradual fashion until, someday, we come to “be like him” (1 John 3:2; Moroni 7:48). Certainly there is truth in Stephen Robinson’s emphasis on the difference in magnitude between the “61 cents” we contribute toward our salvation and the unfathomably costly contribution that Jesus Christ made on our behalf (S. E. Robinson, Believing, pp. 31–34). However, there are major differences between Latter-day Saint beliefs and extreme versions of “grace-oriented” theologies—as exemplified by Charles Spurgeon’s famous line: “If there be but one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we ourselves are to put in, we are lost” (cited in B. B. Warfield, Plan, p. 51).
Just as Jesus Christ will put all enemies beneath his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25–26), so Joseph Smith taught that each person who would be saved must also, with His essential help, gain the power needed to “triumph over all [their] enemies and put them under [their] feet” (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 14 May 1843, p. 297. See also 17 May 1843, p. 301; 21 May 1843, p. 305), possessing the “glory, authority, majesty, power, and dominion which Jehovah possesses” (L. E. Dahl et al., Lectures, 7:9, p. 98; cf. 7:16—note that it is not certain whether Joseph Smith personally authored these lectures).
As Chauncey Riddle explains (C. C. Riddle, New, p. 228), “the covenant of baptism is [not only ] our pledge to seek after good and to eliminate all choosing and doing of evil in our lives, [but] also our receiving the power to keep that promise,” i.e., through the gift of the Holy Ghost. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is not only their Redeemer but also their literal prototype, the One who demonstrates the process of probation that all people must pass through as they follow Him (Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21; Mark 2:14; 8:24; 10:21; Luke 5:27; 9:23, 59, 61; 18:22; John 1:43; 10:27; 12:26; 13:36; 21:19, 22).

12 B. C. Hafen, Anchored, p. 22. On the idea of the “second sacrifice” that is represented in a later part of the temple endowment, Elder Hafen writes (B. C. Hafen, Disciple’s Journey. Cf. B. C. Hafen, Anchored, pp. 22–23, 82):

As we approach the second barrier of sacrifice, we move symbolically from the moon to the sun. All of the moon’s light is reflected from the sun—it is borrowed light [cf. Book of Abraham, explanation of Facsimile 2, Figure 5].
Heber C. Kimball used to say that when life’s greatest tests come, those who are living on borrowed light—the testimonies of others—will not be able to stand (O. F. Whitney, Kimball, May 1868, pp. 446, 449–450; J. G. Kimball, 8 April 1906, 8 April 1906, pp. 76–77; J. G. Kimball, 4 October 1930, 4 October 1930, pp. 59–60; H. B. Lee, Watch, p. 1152. Cf. B. Young, BY 8 March 1857, 8 March 1857, pp. 265–266; A. M. Lyman, 12 July 1857, 12 July 1857, pp. 36–38; O. Hyde, 8 March 1857, 8 March 1857, pp. 71–72; C. W. Penrose, 20 May 1883, 20 May 1883, p. 41. See also Matthew 25:1–13). We need our own access to the light of the Son.
Baptism represents the first sacrifice. The temple endowment represents the second sacrifice. The first sacrifice was about breaking out of Satan’s orbit. The second one is about breaking fully into Christ’s orbit, pulled by His gravitational power. The first sacrifice was mostly about giving up temporal things. The second one is about consecrating ourselves spiritually, holding back nothing. As Elder Maxwell said, the only thing we can give the Lord that He didn’t already give us is our own will (See N. A. Maxwell, Mentor, p. 17).

Seeking to be meek and lowly, disciples gladly offer God their will. As Latter-day Saint children sing, “I feel my Savior’s love. … / He knows I will follow him, / Give all my life to him” (Children’s Songbook, “I feel my Savior’s love,” pp. 74–75). And then what happens? In President Benson’s words, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power” (cited in D. L. Staheli, Obedience, p. 82).

13 2 Nephi 2:8.

14 2 Nephi 25:23. It seems likely to us that the word “after” should not be read in a temporal sense, but rather in line with the atemporal Old English sense of “more away, further off” (cf. Greek apotero)—meaning essentially that “all we can do” is always necessary but never sufficient. In other words, it could be saying that we are saved by grace despite all we can do. This is similar in spirit to Stephen E. Robinson’s line of thinking (S. E. Robinson, Believing, pp. 91–92):

I understand the preposition “after” in 2 Nephi 25:23 to be a preposition of separation rather than a preposition of time. It denotes logical separateness rather than temporal sequence. We are saved by grace “apart from all we can do,” or “all we can do notwithstanding,” or even “regardless of all we can do.” Another acceptable paraphrase of the sense of the verse might read, “We are still saved by grace, after all is said and done.”

For additional discussion of this verse in the context of general discussions of divine grace, see B. C. Hafen, Broken, pp. 155–156; B. Wilcox, His Grace; J. M. Spencer, What Can We Do; S. O. Smoot, Saved By Charis. Two excellent studies by Jared Ludlow and Daniel O. McClellan have gone further to place the scripture in its required literary context (J. Ludlow, “After All”; D. O. McClellan, 2 Nephi 25:23 in linguistic and rhetorical context (Presentation at the conference ‘Book of Mormon Studies: Toward a Conversation,’ Utah State University, Logan, Utah, October 12-13, 2018) D. O. McClellan, Despite All We Can Do).
Although Alma 24:10–11 defines “all we could do” [note the past tense, emphasis added] solely in terms of repentance, we are of the opinion that one of the purposes of the process of sanctification is to allow us to grow in holiness, gradually acquiring a capacity for doing “more”—specifically, becoming “good” like our Father (see Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19) and “doing good” (Acts 10:38, emphasis added) like the Son, an evolution of our natures jointly enabled by the Atonement and our exercise of moral agency.
Despite all this, of course, it must never be forgotten that even repentance itself, which is “all we can do” at the time we first accept Christ, would be impossible had not the merciful plan of redemption been laid before the foundation of the world (Alma 12:22–37). And, of course, it is His continuous grace that lends us breath, “preserving [us] from day to day, … and even supporting [us] from one moment to another” (Mosiah 2:21).

15 Moses 6:60.

16 W. W. Isenberg, Philip, 70:36–71:3, p. 152.

17 Alma 13:5.

18 Alma 13:2, emphasis added.

19 Alma 13:3.

20 D&C 4:2. See J. M. Bradshaw, He That Thrusteth in His Sickle, pp. 156–159, where it is argued that “a careful examination of the Hebrew of Deuteronomy 6:5, a companion scripture to D&C 4:2, will reveal that it is essentially a statement of the law of consecration, the crowning law of the ordinances.” See also 2 Nephi 25:16 and Moroni 10:32.

21 Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 6:11; James 5:11; 1 Peter 1:13; Revelation 2:26; 1 Nephi 13:37; 22:31; 2 Nephi 9:24; 31:16, 20; 33:4, 9; Omni 1:26; Mosiah 2:41; 26:23; Alma 12:27; 27:27; 32:13, 15; 38:2; 3 Nephi 15:9; 27:6; 27:11, 16, 17, 19; Mormon 9:29; Moroni 3:3; 6:3; 8:3, 26; D&C 10:4; 14:7; 18:22; 20:25, 29, 37; 31:13; 53:7; 66:12; 75:11, 13, 14; 76:5; 81:6; 100:12; 105:41; 121:32. Contrast Mosiah 4:6, 30; 5:8; Alma 34:33; 41:6 which describe this end explicitly in terms of the end of mortal life, rather than as the end of probation or the time of judgment as in most other scriptural references.

22 See E. T. Benson, Vision. Other summaries of the temple covenants by General Authorities in our day can be found in D. A. Bednar, Prepared, p. 103; E. T. Benson, Teachings 1988, p. 121; J. E. Faust, Who Shall Ascend, p. 4; B. R. McConkie, Obedience; G. B. Hinckley, Teachings (1997), 10 April 1996, p. 147; J. E. Talmage, House of the Lord (1971), p. 84; B. K. Packer, Holy Temple, p. 162; R. D. Hales, Return, pp. 4–5.

23 Isaiah 6:6–7.

24 Isaiah 6:6.

25 Hebrew tĕkuppār, literally, “atoned” *kpr.

26 D&C 88:74–75.

27 D&C 88:74–75.

28 D&C 88:68. For an extensive discussion of D&C 88:68–69, 74–75, see B. R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, pp. 582–584, 594–595. See also B. R. McConkie, New Witness, p. 492.

29 John 13:10.

30 For an extensive discussion of scriptural passages describing what it means to stand in the presence of God, see J. M. Bradshaw, Standing in the Holy Place.

31 J. W. Welch, Sermon, p. 124.

32 . 3 Nephi 12:19; D&C 59:8. See also 2 Nephi 2:7; 4:32; 3 Nephi 9:20; Ether 4:15; Moroni 6:2. These scriptures make it clear that this sacrifice is directly connected with baptism.

33 See Matthew 6:22; 3 Nephi 13:22.

34 D&C 124:39, emphasis added. M. B. Brown, Gate, p. 242 observed that Malachi 3:3 (cf. D&C 128:24):

does not say that blood sacrifices would be offered to the Lord … The Hebrew word used to designate the “offering” in this passage is minchah, which is commonly used in Old Testament temple texts to designate a “bloodless” sacrifice … (cf. The Testament of Levi, where angel priests offer bloodless sacrifices in the heavenly temple [H. C. Kee, Testaments, Levi 3:4–6, p. 789]). [Moreover, the] Lord helped to clarify the meaning of the Prophet’s teachings when he revealed on 19 January 1841 that within the walls of the Nauvoo Temple he would restore “the fulness of the priesthood” (D&C 124:28), and there the latter-day “sons of Levi” would offer sacrifice in the manner of a memorial, meaning in symbolic fashion (D&C 124:39). On 6 September 1842, shortly after the Nauvoo temple ordinances were first bestowed, Joseph Smith quoted Malachi 3:2–3 and clearly stated that it was the “Latter-day Saints” who were to “offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” in the “holy temple” (D&C 128:24). He also indicated that the offering he was referring to was of a bloodless nature (D&C 128:24).

Similarly, in Genesis 14:18 Melchizedek does not offer animal sacrifices to God, but “presents only the memorials of sacrifice, bread and wine” (C. I. Scofield, Scofield Reference Bible, Genesis 14:18, p. 23, emphasis in original).
For more on this topic, see J. M. Bradshaw, J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Excursus 33: The Restoration of Sacrifice, pp. 609–610.

35 D&C 84:26.

36 D&C 107:3.

37 N. A. Maxwell, Deny, p. 68.

38 Moses 6:60.

39 H. W. Nibley, Return, p. 59.

40 D&C 101:4.

41 Genesis 22:12.

By the Spirit Ye Are Justified

Book of Moses Insight #19

Moses 6:60, 63, 65–66

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

In this article, we turn our attention to the second phrase in Moses 6:60: “by the Spirit ye are justified.” Simply put, individuals become “just”—in other words, innocent before God and ready for a covenant relationship with Him—when they demonstrate sufficient repentance to qualify for an “initial cleansing from sin”1 “by the Spirit,”2 thus having had the demands of justice satisfied on their behalf through the Savior’s atoning blood.3 The Book of Moses records that after Adam was baptized, having fulfilled the commandment, “the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened [i.e., made alive] in the inner man.”4

Figure 2. William Blake (1757–1827), Elohim Creating Adam, 1795, ca. 180

Divinely Prescribed Symbolic Gestures in the Ordinances

Specific symbolic gestures have been divinely prescribed for the ordinance of confirmation as well as for subsequent ordinances of anointing. While the form of baptism recalls the symbolism of death and resurrection, the laying of hands on the head5 that is used in confirmation suggests a retrospective regard toward the scriptural account of the creation of Adam wherein God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”6 In this respect, recall also the account in John 20:22, when Jesus “breathed on [His disciples], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”

As Joseph Smith highlighted the importance of the manner in which baptism is performed, describing it as a “sign,” so did he refer to the symbolic evocation of the breath of life in “the laying on of hands,” by which the Holy Ghost is given, ordinations are performed, and the sick are healed, as a “sign.” He said pointedly that if such ordinances were not performed in the way God had appointed they “would fail.”7 In this context, we might recall what Jesus said when Peter wanted him to wash his head and hands in addition to his feet: “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.”8 The Lord’s reply to Peter suggests why, in similar fashion, the laying of hands on the head within various ordinances equates to a blessing for the entire body.

Figure 3. Queen Elizabeth II, Dressed in White Linen, Is “Screened from the General View” in Preparation for Her Anointing

The Receiving of “Divine Breath” Is Associated with Royal Status

With regard to ordinances of anointing that are associated with the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost, biblical and Egyptian sources associate the receiving of “divine breath” not merely with an infusion of life, but also with royal status.9 For example, Isaiah attributes the presence of the Spirit of the Lord to a prior messianic anointing—the anointing oil, like divine breath, being a symbol of new life: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me.”10

Anointing followed by an outpouring of the Spirit is documented as part of the rites of kingship in ancient Israel, as when Samuel anointed David and “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”11 Note that in Israelite practice, as witnessed in the examples of David and Solomon, the moment when the individual was made king would not necessarily have been the time of his first anointing. The culminating anointing of David corresponding to his definitive investiture as king was preceded by a prior, princely anointing. LeGrand Baker and Stephen Ricks describe other “incidents in the Old Testament where a prince was first anointed to become king, and later, after he had proven himself, was anointed again—this time as actual king.”12

Modern Latter-day Saints can compare this idea to the conditional promises they receive in association with all priesthood ordinances, promises which are to be realized only through their continued faithfulness. Further emphasizing the anticipatory and conditional nature of even a second, royal anointing, Brigham Young explained that “a person may be anointed king and priest long before he receives his kingdom.”13

In modern times one can still see vestiges of the symbolism of anointing, royal status, and the Holy Spirit brought together. For example, prior to the British ceremonies of coronation, in the holiest rite of that service, the monarch is “divested of … robes,” clothed in simple white linen, and “screened from the general view” to be “imbued with grace” through the Archbishop’s anointing with holy oil “on hand, breast and forehead.”14

Figure 4. The Quest of Seth for the Oil of Mercy, 1351–1360. Heilig-Kreuz Münster (Holy Cross Minster) in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany

The royal anointing described above recalls the practice in some Christian baptismal traditions of “reversing the blows of death.” This idea was represented in ritual by a special anointing with the “oil of mercy” prior to (or sometimes after) “baptism,” as the candidate was signed upon the brow, the nostrils, the breast, the ears, and so forth.15 It was commonly accepted by some Christians that the precedent for such anointings went back to the beginning of time. For instance, in the pseudepigraphal Life of Adam and Eve, we can read an incident where Adam, as he lay on his deathbed, requested Eve and Seth to fetch him oil from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden so that he could be restored to life.16

All Christians Are Meant to Become “Little Christs”

Just as the separate yet interrelated rites of baptism and subsequent washings became blurred in early Christianity, so also the distinctive ordinances of confirmation to prepare one to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and the separate, priestly anointing have become confused in some religious traditions. For example, the Armenian liturgy includes two anointings—“one with unperfumed oil before the baptism and the other, after it, with the ‘myron’ or perfumed oil.”17

From modern revelation it is clear that just as baptism is the first saving ordinance—administered by the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood with later ordinances of temple washing looking back retrospectively upon it—so confirmation for the gift of the Holy Ghost is the first ordinance administered by the Melchizedek Priesthood. In “interrelated” and “additive”18 fashion, temple initiatory ordinances of washing and anointing echo and build upon the ordinances of baptism and confirmation.

Substantiating the idea that priestly anointing ordinances were not meant to be restricted only to a small subset of disciples, Tertullian described how in his day all newly “baptized” Christians were anointed. He stated that this was “a practice derived from the old discipline, wherein on entering the priesthood, men were wont to be anointed with oil from a horn, ever since Aaron was anointed by Moses. Whence Aaron is called ‘christ,’ from the ‘chrism,’ which is the unction [or oil of anointing].”19

The initiatory anointing is not only retrospective but also looks forward in anticipation to subsequent confirmatory anointings and sealing blessings wherein disciples imitate the Christ. Indeed, Pseudo-Clement’s Recognitions 1:45:2 defines the Greek title “Christ” (equivalent to the Hebrew “Messiah,” meaning “Anointed One”) with reference to an anointing of oil administered by God Himself: “Although indeed He was the Son of God, and the beginning of all things, He became man; Him first God anointed with oil which was taken from the wood of the Tree of Life: from that anointing therefore He is called Christ.”20

S. Lewis succinctly expressed the principle behind the practice of anointing all Christians: “Every Christian is to become a little christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”21

The glorious blessing of being anointed as a king, a priest, and a son of God—may be anticipated by all Saints who receive their temple blessings and “endure to the end” in keeping their temple covenants. When Jesus said, “Come … follow, me”22 he meant it literally, as is expressed so beautifully in the hymn of the same name:23

Not only shall we emulate

His course while in this earthly state,

But when we’re freed from present cares,

If with our Lord we would be heirs.

For thrones, dominions, kingdoms, pow’rs,

And glory great and bliss are ours,

If we, throughout eternity,

Obey his words, “Come, follow me.”

This article is adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 84–92.

Further Reading

Bednar, David A. “Always retain a remission of your sins.” Ensign 46, May 2016, 59–62. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/always-retain-a-remission-of-your-sins?lang=eng. (accessed April 21, 2016).

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 84–92.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 279–280.

References

Anderson, Gary A., and Michael Stone, eds. A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve 2nd ed. Society of Biblical Literature: Early Judaism and its Literature, ed. John C. Reeves. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1999.

Baker, LeGrand L., and Stephen D. Ricks. Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord? The Psalms in Israel’s Temple Worship in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2009.

Barker, Margaret. 2016. The Lord Is One. Public speech presented at the Varsity Theatre, at BYU, in Provo, Utah, November 9, 2016, co-sponsoted by BYU Studies, the Academy for Temple Studies, and The Interpreter Foundation. In YouTube Mormon Interpreter Channel.

Bednar, David A. “Clean hands and a pure heart.” Ensign 37, November 2007, 80-83.

———. “Always retain a remission of your sins.” Ensign 46, May 2016, 59-62. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/always-retain-a-remission-of-your-sins?lang=eng. (accessed April 21, 2016).

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. ““By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified”: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43-237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020. www.templethemes.net.

Cyril of Jerusalem. ca. 347. “Five Catechetical Lectures to the Newly Baptized on the Mysteries.” In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. 14 vols. Vol. 7, 144-57. New York City, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1894. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994.

Hafen, Bruce C. The Broken Heart. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1989.

Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990.

Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985.

Jones, F. Stanley, ed. An Ancient Jewish Christian Source on the History of Christianity: Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.27-71. Society of Biblical Literature Texts and Translations 37: Christian Apocrypha Series 2, ed. Jean-Daniel Dubois and Dennis R. MacDonald. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1995.

Lewis, C. S. 1942-1944. Mere Christianity. New York City, NY: Touchstone, 1996.

McConkie, Bruce R. “The law of justification.” Improvement Era 59, June 1956, 419-20. https://archive.org/stream/improvementera5906unse#page/n53/mode/2up. (accessed October 15, 2016).

Nibley, Hugh W. 1975. The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment. 2nd ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005.

Nichols, Beverley. The Queen’s Coronation Day: The Pictorial Record of the Great Occasion. Andover, UK: Pitkin Unichrome, 1953.

Pinkus, Assaf. “The impact of the Black Death on the sculptural programs of the pilgrimage church St. Theobald in Thann: New perception of the Genesis Story.” Assaph: Studies in Art History 6 (2001): 161-76.

———. Workshops and Patrons of St. Theobald in Thann. Studien zur Kunst am Oberrheim 3, ed. Wilhelm Schlink. Münster, Germany: Waxmann, 2006.

Pseudo-Clement. ca. 235-258. “Recognitions of Clement.” In The Ante-Nicene Fathers (The Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325), edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. 10 vols. Vol. 8, 77-211. Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1886. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. The Words of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1980. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nauvoo-discourses-prophet-joseph/1843/21-may-1843. (accessed February 6, 2016).

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith, and Richard Lloyd Anderson. Journals: December 1841-April 1843. The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals 2, ed. Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2011.

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Matthew J. Grow, Ronald K. Esplin, Mark Ashhurst-McGee, Jeffrey D. Mahas, and Gerrit Dirkmaat. Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846. The Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records 1, ed. Ronald K. Esplin and Matthew J. Grow. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2016.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1902-1932. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Documentary History). 7 vols. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1978.

———. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.

Stone, Michael E. “The angelic prediction.” In Literature on Adam and Eve: Collected Essays, edited by Gary A. Anderson, Michael E. Stone and Johannes Tromp, 111-31. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2000.

Tertullian. ca. 197-222. “On baptism.” In The Ante-Nicene Fathers (The Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325), edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. 10 vols. Vol. 3, 669-79. Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004.

Wright, Nicholas Thomas. Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2009.

Notes on Figures

Figure 1. © Brigham Young University Museum of Art. Permission granted with the kind assistance of Clyda Ludlow and Trevor Weight, MOA Registration Department. (Caption, Samuel 16:13.)

Figure 2. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/blake-elohim-creating-

adam-n05055 (October 8, 2016). https://www.wikiart.org/en/

william-blake/and-elohim-created-adam-1795 (January 31, 2017). Public domain.

Figure 3. BBC – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=w0wuIcGSD8g (accessed November 19, 2016), at approximately 1:07:53. No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States.

Figure 4. Photograph by Assaf Pinkus. In Pinkus, Impact, p. 167 and A. Pinkus, Workshops, Illustration 63. Original located at the Heiligkreuz minster in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, south-east portal. Permission previously granted by the author.

Footnotes

 

1 D. A. Bednar, Always Retain, p. 61.

2 Moses 6:60.

3 See B. C. Hafen, Broken, p. 166. Cf. D. A. Bednar, Clean Hands. See N. T. Wright, Justification, for an insightful non-Latter-day Saint view of justification.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained justification in terms of D&C 132:7 and D&C 76:53 (B. R. McConkie, Law of Justification, pp. 419–420):

In the early 1830’s, when the Lord was talking to the Prophet about what is called the new and everlasting covenant—that is, about the fulness of the gospel—he revealed this further truth relative to this great law of justification, and I think these following words are a perfect one sentence summary of the whole law of the whole gospel. The Lord said (D&C 132:7):

All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power … are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.

One more expression in the revelations has bearing on this. The Lord said (D&C 76:53):

the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

Now, to justify is to seal, or to ratify, or to approve; and it is very evident from these revelations that every act that we do, if it is to have binding and sealing virtue in eternity, must be justified by the Spirit. In other words, it must be ratified by the Holy Ghost; or in other words, it must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.
All of us know that we can deceive men. We can deceive our bishops or the other Church agents, unless at the moment their minds are lighted by the spirit of revelation; but we cannot deceive the Lord. We cannot get from him an unearned blessing. There will be an eventual day when all men will get exactly and precisely what they have merited and earned, neither adding to nor subtracting from. You cannot with success lie to the Holy Ghost.
Now let us take a simple illustration. If an individual is to gain an inheritance in the celestial world, he has to enter in at the gate of baptism, that ordinance being performed under the hands of a legal administrator. If he comes forward prepared by worthiness, that is, if he is just and true, and gains baptism under the hands of a legal administrator, he is justified by the Spirit in the act which has been performed; that is, it is ratified by the Holy Ghost, or it is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. As a result it is of full force and validity in this life and in the life to come.
If an individual thereafter turns from righteousness and goes off and wallows in the mire of iniquity, then the seal is removed, and so we have this principle which keeps the unworthy from gaining unearned blessings. The Lord has placed a bar which stops the progress of the unrighteous; he has placed a requirement which we must meet. We must gain the approval and receive the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost if eventually and in eternity we are to reap the blessings that we hope to reap.
The same thing that is true of baptism is true of marriage. If a couple comes forward worthily, a couple who is just and true, and they enter into that ordinance under the hands of a legal administrator, a seal of approval is recorded in heaven. Then assuming they do not thereafter break that seal, assuming they keep the covenant and press forward in steadfastness and in righteousness, they go on in the next world as husband and wife; and in and after the resurrection, that ordinance performed in such a binding manner here has full force, efficacy, and validity.
I think perhaps this doctrine, as almost all other doctrines that we teach in the Church, leads us back to the same central conclusion, which is that it is obligatory upon us to keep the commandments of God if we ever expect to inherit the blessings that he has promised the Saints. We should remind ourselves again and again of these words which he has spoken (D&C 59:23):

he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

4 Moses 6:65. Because “baptism” and “remission of sins” occur together so often in telescoped scripture references, the role of the Spirit as the agent for the process of justification is easily forgotten. However, a survey of scripture will reveal that “remission of sins” is mentioned most frequently in verses that omit any mention of baptism. In these and other references, remission of sins is typically coupled with the preparatory principles of faith or repentance rather than with the ordinance of baptism itself.
Although baptism by proper authority is a commandment that must be strictly observed to meet the divine requirement for entrance into the kingdom of God, it is but the necessary, outward sign of one’s willingness to take upon oneself the name of Jesus Christ and keep His commandments. A significant phrase in D&C 20:37 explains with precision that it is not the performance of the baptismal ordinance that cleanses, but rather the individuals’ having “truly manifest[ed] by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto a remission of their sins”—a requirement that, according to this verse, is clearly intended to precede water baptism. In other words, strictly speaking, it is not baptism but rather the fact of having “received of the Spirit of Christ” as the result of faith and repentance that is responsible for the mighty “change of state” wherewith individuals are “wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost”—for “by the Spirit ye are justified” (Moses 6:60).
In the early days of the Church, a controversy arose between Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as to the wording of D&C 20:37. Oliver apparently believed that the remission of sins does not precede baptism, but follows it, and had to be corrected by the Prophet (see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, pp. 444–446). What should be remembered, however, is that justification (the remission of sins) and sanctification (growth in holiness) are complementary, ongoing processes (J. M. Bradshaw et al., By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified (TMZ 4), pp. 85–88). Aided by repeated preparation for and participation in the ordinance of the sacrament, we can “always retain [a justificatory] remission of our sins” (D. A. Bednar, Always Retain, p. 62. See Mosiah 4:11–12) and we can “always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us” (ibid., pp. 61–62. See D&C 20:77, 79) for the progressive work of sanctification.

5 Acts 8:14–17; Articles of Faith 1:4.

6 Moses 3:7. In Genesis, two Hebrew words nishma (e.g., Genesis 2:7; 7:22) and ruach (e.g., Genesis 6:17; 7:15, 22) are associated with the “breath of life.” While ruach is applied to God, man, and animals, the use of nishma is reserved for God and man alone (V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, p. 159).

7 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Wilford Woodruff Journal, 20 March 1842, p. 108, spelling and punctuation modernized. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, pp. 198–199. In context, the statement reads:
What is the sign of the healing of the sick? The laying on of hands is the sign or way marked out by James [James 5:14–15] and the custom of ancient saints as ordered by the Lord [Acts 8:18; 1 Timothy 4:14; Hebrews 6:2], and we should not obtain the blessing by pursuing any other course except the way which God has marked out. What if we should attempt to get the Holy Ghost through any other means except the sign or way which God hath appointed. Should we obtain it? Certainly not. All other means would fail. The Lord says do so and so, and I will bless so and so.
There are certain key words and signs belonging to the priesthood which must be observed in order to obtain the blessings. The sign of Peter was to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, with the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and in no other way is the gift of the Holy Ghost obtained. … Had [Cornelius] not taken [these] sign[s or] ordinances upon him … and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him [cf. Moses 1:21: “Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.”] for the spirits might say unto him, as they did to the sons of Sceva: “Paul we know and Jesus we know, but who are ye?” [see Acts 19:13–15].

8 John 13:10.

9 E.g., Lamentations 4:20. See V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, pp. 158–159.

10 Isaiah 61:1, emphasis added. See also Luke 4:17–22.

11 1 Samuel 16:13. Further describing the blessing of the spirit of the Lord that is meant to be given in the anointing, Margaret Barker writes (M. Barker, Lord Is One):
The holy anointing oil was used only in the temple. Any imitation for personal use was forbidden (Exodus 30:31–33). The meaning of the oil was found only within the teachings of the temple, and any secular use would make no sense. This was because the oil imparted knowledge. The temple understanding of holiness included illumination of the mind. Isaiah said that when the king was anointed, he received the spirit of the Lord, that is, the spirit that transformed him into the Lord. He received the spirit [that is, the angel] of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge and of the reverence due to the Lord [“the fear of the Lord”]. His perfume [not “delight”] would be the reverence due to the Lord (Isaiah 11:2–3). In other words, the anointed one retained the perfume of the oil, and this identified him as the Lord. Paul said that Christians were spreading the perfume of the knowledge of the Anointed One, which did not mean knowing about Jesus; it meant having the knowledge that Jesus had because He was the Anointed One (2 Corinthians 2:14).

12 L. L. Baker et al., Who Shall Ascend, p. 353. See also additional discussion on pp. 354–358 and, e.g., 1 Samuel 10:1, 15:17, 16:23; 2 Samuel 2:4, 5:3; 1 Kings 1:39; 1 Chronicles 29:22. Cf. J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, pp. 519–523.

13 Quoted in J. Smith, Jr., Documentary History, 6 August 1843, 5:527. For descriptions of Joseph Smith’s restoration of the ordinance of “second anointing” and the offices of “kings and priests unto the Most High God” in Nauvoo, see J J. Smith, Jr. et al., Journals, 1841-1843, p. xxi; J. Smith, Jr. et al., Council of Fifty Minutes, pp. xxxviii–xxxvix. Joseph Smith Explained that this office had “nothin[g] to do with temporal things but was instead related to the kingdom of God” (ibid., p. xxxviii)

14 B. Nichols, Coronation, pp. 18, 14. For more on ablutions and anointing of kings in other cultures, see S. D. Ricks et al., King, pp. 241–44, 254–255. See also J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Excursus 52: Washing, Anointing, and Clothing Among Early Christians, p. 661.

15 H. W. Nibley, Message (2005), p. 174. Cf. Cyril of Jerusalem, Five, 21:1–6, 7:149–150.

16 See G. A. Anderson et al., Synopsis, pp. 33–45.

17 M. E. Stone, Angelic Prediction, p. 125.

18 D. A. Bednar, Always Retain, p. 62.

19 Tertullian, Baptism, 7, p. 672. Margaret Barker observes (M. Barker, Lord Is One):
All [early] Christians were … anointed—the name means anointed ones—and so they were heirs to the high priestly role: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).

20 Pseudo-Clement, Recognitions, p. 89. Cf. F. S. Jones, Recognitions (1995), pp. 76–77.

21 C. S. Lewis, Mere, p. 154.

22 Matthew 19:21. Cf. Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34, 10:21; Luke 9:23, 18:22; John 21:22; Alma 5:57; D&C 38:22.

23 Hymns (1985), Hymns (1985), Come, Follow Me, #116, verses 4 and 6.

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Out of the Waters of Judah

Book of Moses Insight #18

1 Nephi 20:1; JST Genesis 17:3–7

By BMC Team with Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

In this article, we digress from the direct discussion of Enoch’s sermon on the ordinances to discuss the corresponding subject of the relationship between baptism, as revealed in the beginning to Adam and Eve, and the later institution of the Old Testament ordinance of circumcision through God’s command to Abraham. A neglected passage in the Joseph Smith Translation and an often criticized verse in the Book of Mormon give interesting insights on these topics.

The Relationship between Baptism and Circumcision

Male converts to Judaism in the Second Temple period were required to undergo both circumcision and ritual immersion—a baptism. Regarding the Jewish practice of proselyte baptism in the Second Temple period, Joan E. Taylor writes:1

When people converted from paganism to Judaism there was an initial immersion known as proselyte baptism, designed to rid the body of ritual uncleanness.2 Gentiles were unclean and needed to be purified at the point of their entrance to Israel.3

Up until this point they were not allowed into the temple proper on account of their uncleanness.4 It was noted that one ‘who has become a proselyte is like a child newly born’5 because of his/her new participation in the community of Israel, with resulting new legal status.

Samuel Zinner describes the relationship between baptism and circumcision as part of the context for the dialogue of Jesus and Nicodemus about the importance of being “born again”:6

It is perhaps not usually recognized that implicit in John 3’s discussion on the new birth and baptism is the topic of circumcision. Early Christian theology understood baptism as a spiritual circumcision for Gentile adherents of the Jesus sect.7 Rabbinic sources also understand proselyte immersion as a new and spiritual birth. In John 3:4 Jesus’ teaching on rebirth in verse 3 naturally brings circumcision to Nicodemus’ mind,8 so that in effect he asks, how can a male adult return to the state of infancy and be circumcised again? The (rhetorical) confusion in the discussion arises because Jesus is teaching that a circumcised Jewish male adult must be reborn spiritually. Nicodemus’ thought is that Jewish males are already spiritually reborn from the time of their infant circumcision. Only Gentile proselytes stand in need of spiritual rebirth. In fact, Jesus is referring to John’s baptism of repentance9 for Jews, and Jesus’ imperative, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” alludes to the necessity of John’s baptism of repentance, and forms part of the background of John 3:5’s “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” … John the [Baptist’s] and Jesus’ baptismal teachings, [do] not suggest that [baptism] replaces circumcision, but that it complements and perfects it.

Circumcision, Covenant, and Baptism in Antiquity and in the JST Bible

Consistent with the linkages between circumcision, covenant, and baptism suggested by Zinner are allusions to these subjects in antiquity and in Joseph Smith’s translations of the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

Figure 2. 1 Nephi VI [1 Nephi 20:1], 1840 Edition of the Book of Mormon, p. 53.

For example, consider Isaiah 48:1 as it is quoted in 1 Nephi 20:1. This gloss (a clarifying comment) by Joseph Smith first appeared in the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon,10 and has been cited by critics of the Book of Mormon as evidence that Joseph Smith did not know what he was doing when he made this change:11

Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.

The term “waters” within the phrase “come forth out of the waters of Judah” might be more plainly rendered as either “seminal fluid” or “the amniotic fluid from the womb” of Judah, a poetic reference to waters as the source of life in the parental body12 out of which come those who “stem from the lineage of Judah.”13 Isaiah’s imagery here constitutes an allusion to the Abrahamic covenant similar to one found later on in the same Isaianic oracle: “Thy seed also had been as the sand; the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me.”14 Thus, one might see the poetic symbolism of the “loins”-imagery in this context as an allusion to circumcision, a bodily token of a covenant that was not only made necessary for Abraham and his biological posterity but also, significantly, something to which all those who had been “adopted” into his household were required to submit.15 Compare the multiple senses of “seed” used in Abraham 2:9–11: those that would be “accounted” Abraham’s seed because they “receive the Gospel” (including baptism), seed as “Priesthood,” and “the literal seed, or the seed of the body.”

Building conceptually on the connection between circumcision and baptism for Jewish Christian converts argued by Zinner above, Joseph Smith’s gloss—the disjunctive phrase “or” (not “and”) “out of the waters of baptism”—extends Isaiah’s reference to include Gentiles who could become part of covenant Israel by adoption through proselyte baptism. This conceptual linkage is consistent with 3 Nephi 30:2: “Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; … and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.”16

Going further, an even more pointed reference connecting the themes of circumcision and baptism can be found in the mention of the “blood of Abel” within the Joseph Smith’s Translation (JST) of the book of Genesis. The previous neglect of this passage argues for a treatment here.

The JST Corrects Mistaken Beliefs about Abel’s Blood

Not only was baptism associated with circumcision in antiquity, but we find an unlikely interrelationship between baptism, circumcision, the martyrdom of Abel, accountability, and the Abrahamic covenant in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. As we will note below, JST Genesis 17:3–7 includes the Lord’s statement regarding the corruption of anointings, ablutions (including baptism), and blood sprinklings and their distorted association with the martyrdom of Abel. This statement is much more significant than it may seem at first glance.

The story of Abel has always been linked with the idea of proper sacrifice17 —indeed his name seems to be a deliberate pun on the richness of the sacrifice that he will make, in contrast to the stingy offering of Cain:18 “And Abel [hebel], he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof ” [ûmēḥelĕbēhen —in other words, from the fatlings, the richest part of the herd]. Not only does the Hebrew word ḥēleb denote “fat,” but also the word ûmēḥelĕbēhen “contains within itself the name of hbl [Abel] … reversed”—i.e., ûmēḥelĕbēhen, thus strengthening the pun.19

Remember also that in the book of Hebrews, the shedding of Abel’s blood was seen as a type of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.20 With respect to his place among the biblical canon of martyrs, Victor Hamilton writes: “Abel is coupled with Zechariah21 as the first22 and the last23 victims of murder mentioned in the Old Testament. … Understandably Abel is characterized as ‘innocent.’”24

The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible further details this idea, connecting the death of the righteous Abel to an anomalous ordinance for little children consisting of the sprinkling of blood coupled with “washing” that is denounced in JST Genesis 17:3–7:25

And it came to pass, that Abram fell on his face, and called upon the name of the Lord.

And God talked to him, saying, My people have gone astray from my precepts, and have not kept mine ordinances, which I gave unto their fathers;

And they have not observed mine anointing,26 and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them;

But have turned from the commandment, and taken unto themselves the washing or baptism27 of children, and the blood of sprinkling;28

And have said that the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins; and have not known wherein they are accountable before me.

To counteract this practice, we are told that the Lord established the covenant of circumcision at the age of eight days,29 “that thou mayest know for ever that children are not accountable before me till [they are] eight years old.”30 Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–28, received later in the same year that JST Genesis 17 was translated, also emphasizes that children are not accountable until eight years old.31

Hebrews 12:24 provides hints of an ancient practice similar to the one described in JST Genesis 17:3–7. It speaks of the Saints coming “to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”32 To Craig Koester, this suggests the idea that “Abel’s blood brought a limited atonement, while Jesus’ blood brought complete atonement.”33 With reference to Hebrews 11:4, Joseph Smith said that Abel “holding still the keys of his dispensation … was sent down from heaven unto Paul to minister consoling words, and to commit unto him a knowledge of the mysteries of godliness.”34

Figure 3. Adam and Eve Outside Paradise, Cain and Abel, 12th century. The image depicts Adam and Eve in Paradise at the top of the mountain (flanked by Cain and Abel offering sacrifice); Adam and Even conferring in their “Cave of Treasures” temple prototype in the middle; and the murder of Abel by Cain at the bottom.

Significantly, early Christian and Islamic accounts preserve additional traditions related to the kinds of ancient practices alluded to in the Joseph Smith Translation and Hebrews. In these accounts, the practice of swearing “by the holy blood of Abel” is portrayed in the context of the efforts of the antediluvian patriarchs to dissuade their posterity from leaving the “holy mountain” to associate with the children of Cain.35 Serge Ruzer interprets this as evidence for the existence of a group that looked to Abel rather than to Christ for salvation. He concludes that the “emphasis here [is] on the salvific quality of Abel’s blood. … Swearing by Abel’s blood … is presented in our text as sufficient for the salvation of the sons of Seth; those who dwell—thanks to swearing by Abel’s blood—on the holy mountain do not need any further salvation.”36 The idea is remarkably similar to the expression in JST Genesis 17:7 that “that the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins.”

It is surely significant then that, as part of his institution of the covenant of circumcision with Abraham as part of the Abrahamic covenant—a rite that would be customarily performed upon children—the Lord took pains to correct any false contemporary notions that Abraham himself may have shared regarding the salvific efficacy of anointings, ablutions or washings, and blood sprinklings upon children. For accountable adults like Abraham himself and the male adults in his household, circumcision and baptism were essential to keeping the commandments (cf. Moses 6:60: “by the water ye keep the commandment”). For unaccountable, underage children, baptism had no efficacy 37 and circumcision anticipated a future covenant baptism (see more on this below).

The conceptual dichotomy between the efficacy of ordinances for adults vis-à-vis for children perhaps helps us better understand the dynamics of proselyte circumcision and baptism and the “tradition” that was “had among the Jews,” presumably of the first century, “which saith that little children are unholy.”38 Of course, this belief was held primarily among Jews who did not believe in Jesus,39 but also must have been current among at least some Jews who did believe in Jesus. The Lord’s words to Abraham are consistent with the principle articulated in Doctrine and Covenants 74:7: “But little children are holy, being sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ; and this is what the scriptures mean.”40

The Anticipatory Nature of Circumcision

As an example of how the ordinances function in an anticipatory way, note that the divine introduction of circumcision in the time of Abraham, perhaps roughly analogous to the ordinance of naming and blessing of little children in our day, was important not only in its own right, but also because it pointed forward to the ordinance of baptism. Remember that a primary reason for the institution of the practice of circumcision was “that thou mayest know for ever that children are not accountable before me till [they are] eight years old.”41 The blood shed in circumcision, whose mark remained in the child as a permanent “sign” in the flesh,42 could be understood as a symbol of arrested sacrifice43 that invited retrospective reflection on the universal salvation of little children through the blood of Christ’s atonement. At the same time, the symbolism of circumcision also implicitly facilitated a correct, anticipatory understanding of the necessity of justification accomplished through “the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins,”44 that was meant to accompany the baptism of children when they reached the age of accountability.

In brief, circumcision anticipates the reality articulated in Moses 6:60 “By the blood ye are sanctified”—in other words, by Christ’s blood we are all sanctified—including little children. Thus, it is no surprise that “according to the Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer,45 Abraham’s blood was shed on the very day that would be commemorated by Abraham’s Israelite descendants as the Day of Atonement, which in turn would foreshadow the sacrifice of the Savior.”46

Conclusions

In summary, the Joseph Smith Translation’s description of anomalous rituals—which combined the purported cleansing of little children by washing and the sprinkling of blood with the erroneous idea that “the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins”47—is supported by ample evidence from a variety of sources dating to at least the Second Temple period. As a figure associated anciently with sacrifice, baptism, and innocent martyrdom, it seems quite plausible that Abel could have attracted religious notions of this character.

Additionally, the rationale for the institution of circumcision in the Joseph Smith Translation is also consistent with Samuel Zinner’s conclusion about the symbolic connection between circumcision and baptism in its New Testament context: namely, that baptism of Jewish converts to Christianity was not meant to replace “circumcision, but [rather] that it complements and perfects it.”48 Going further, the Prophet’s gloss of Isaiah 48:1 as it is quoted in 1 Nephi 20:1 is a reasonable extension of the verse that addresses the situation of Gentiles who were not literally the seed of Abraham but could become part of covenant Israel by adoption through proselyte baptism. And, of course, all this provides additional context to the discussion of washing and baptism in the Book of Moses.

More generally, these arguments further demonstrate the fruitful yield of insights that result from careful examination of Joseph Smith’s readings of biblical verses against the backdrop of the ancient world—a cautionary tale when readers might otherwise be tempted to hastily dismiss such revisions and glosses as naïve and unsubstantiated. We are confident that future analysis and textual discoveries will continue to highlight remarkable aspects of antiquity in modern scripture that still remain hidden to us. In subsequent Insights, we turn our attention back to the teachings of Enoch.

This article is adapted and updated from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 67–71, 80-81. www.templethemes.net

Further Readings

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 67–71, 80–81. www.templethemes.net

Ludlow, Victor L. Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1982, pp. 401-402.

Ludlow, Victor L. Unlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2003, pp. 35-36.

Matthews, Robert J. “A Plainer Translation”: Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible—A History and Commentary. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975, pp. 260-261, 316-317.

References

Attridge, Harold W., and Helmut Koester, eds. Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed. Frank Moore Cross, Klaus Baltzer, Paul D. Hanson, S. Dean McBride, Jr. and Roland E. Murphy. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1989.

Barker, Margaret. Christmas: The Original Story. London, England: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2008.

Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Isaiah 40-55: A New Translation wtih Introduction and Commentary. THe Anchor Yale Bible 19A, ed. William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Clark, E. Douglas. The Blessings of Abraham: Becoming a Zion People. American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2005.

Dahl, Larry E. “The Joseph Smith Translation and the Doctrine and Covenants.” In Plain and Precious Truths Restored: The Doctrinal and Historical Significance of the Joseph Smith Translation, edited by Robert L. Millet and Robert J. Matthews, 104-33. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1995.

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

Garsiel, Moshe. Biblical Names: A Literary Study of Midrashic Derivations and Puns. Translated by Phyliis Hackett. Ramat Gan, Israel: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1991.

Gileadi, Avraham. The Apocalyptic Book of Isaiah: A New Translation with Interpretative Key. Provo, Utah: Hebraeus Press, 1982.

Halford, Mary-Bess. Lutwin’s Eva und Adam: Study — Text — Translation. Göppingen, Germany: Kümmerle Verlag, 1984.

Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990.

Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. 2 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003.

Koester, Craig R. Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Bible 36. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

Ludlow, Victor L. Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1982.

———. Unlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2003.

Lupieri, Edmondo. 1993. The Mandaeans: The Last Gnostics. Italian Texts and Studies on Religion and Society, ed. Edmondo Lupieri. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1967. Since Cumorah. 2nd ed. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 7. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), 1988.

———. 1986. “Return to the temple.” In Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, edited by Don E. Norton. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 12, 42-90. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1992. http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1123&index=5. (accessed July 26, 2016).

Ouaknin, Marc-Alain, and Éric Smilévitch, eds. 1983. Chapitres de Rabbi Éliézer (Pirqé de Rabbi Éliézer): Midrach sur Genèse, Exode, Nombres, Esther. Les Dix Paroles, ed. Charles Mopsik. Lagrasse, France: Éditions Verdier, 1992.

Ruzer, Serge. “The Cave of Treasures on swearing by Abel’s blood and expulsion from Paradise: Two exegetical motives in context.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 9, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 257-77.

Skousen, Royal. Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. 6 vols. The Critical Text of the Book of Mormon 4, ed. Royal Skousen. Provo, UT: The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Brigham Young University, 2004-2009. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/books/volume-4-of-the-critical-text-of-the-book-of-mormon-analysis-of-textual-variants-of-the-book-of-mormon/. (accessed November 6, 2014).

Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.

Taylor, Joan E. “Baptism.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Vol. 1, 390-95. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2006.

Woodford, Robert J. “Discoveries from the Joseph Smith Papers Project: The early manuscripts.” In The Doctrine and Covenants: Revelations in Context: The 37th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, edited by Andrew H. Hedges, J. Spencer Fluhman and Alonzo L. Gaskill, 23-39. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2008.

Zinner, Samuel. The Gospel of Thomas: Exploring the Semitic Alternatives. A Textual-Philological Commentary with an Emended an Reconstructed version of the Thomas Gospel. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, in preparation.

Notes on Figures

  1. See Abraham Bloemaert: The Circumcision. In Art Institute of Chicago. http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/215326. (accessed September 12, 2016). http://www.wikigallery.org/ paintings/386501-387000/386683/painting1.jpg (accessed January 31, 2017). No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States.
  2. https://books.google.com/books?id=R24NAAAAYAAJ (March 21, 2020).
  3. Images copyright Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. From a 12th century illuminated version of the Homilies of James of Kokkinobaphos from Byzantium (Vat. gr. 1162, fol. 35v.). Published in A. Eastmond, Narratives, plate 14. http://digi.vatlib.it/view/ MSS_Vat.gr.1162 (accessed January 31, 2017). No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States.

Footnotes

 

1 J. E. Taylor, Baptism, p. 391, emphasis added. The abbreviation b. represents the Babylonian Talmud, while Yebam. (short for Yebamot = “sisters-in-law”) and Gerim (“strangers” or “converts”) are Babylonian Talmudic tractates. J.W. and Ant. represent Josephus’s works Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews, respectively. The abbreviation t. represents the Tosefta, of which Yoma (“the Day”) and Pesah [=Pesachim] (“Passovers”) are tractates. The abbreviation m. represents the Mishnah. Kelim (“vessels”) constitutes one of the Mishnah tractates. Legat. refers to Philo’s work Legatio ad Gaium.

2 b. Yebam 46a–48b; b. Gerim 60a–61b.

3 J.W. 2:150; Ant. 14:285; 18:93-4; t. Yoma 4:20; t. Pesah 73:13, and see acts 10:28; John 18:28.

4 [m. Kelim 1:8 1 Macc[abees] 9:34; Philo, Legat. 212; Ant. 12:145f.; t. Yoma 4:20.

5 b. Yebam 48b.

6 S. Zinner, Gospel of Thomas.

7 S. Zinner, Gospel of Thomas.

8 Why would Jesus’ teaching on rebirth “naturally bring circumcision to Nicodemus’ mind”? “Jewish people were born into the covenant by natural birth” (C. S. Keener, John, 1:544) — with a sign of the covenant in the flesh administered as a token of that covenant. Thus rebirth would seem to imply the need for a second circumcision.

9 Matthew 3:11.

10 A statement by Ebenezer Robinson, who worked with Joseph Smith to prepare the 1840 (Nauvoo) edition of the Book of Mormon, confirmed to Joseph Smith III the careful, personal involvement of the Prophet in making the required changes. He specifically mentioned the change made in this verse (cited in R. Skousen, Analysis, 1:427):
Your father and I sat down; we took the Palmyra edition and the Kirtland edition, of which latter I helped to set the type, (those were the only two editions that had been printed then), and we compared them, reading the book entirely through, and there is only just one sentence in that book that is not in the other, in what is called the Nauvoo edition, and all the editions since. That is the only one that is not in the Palmyra edition. It is in Nephi’s second book I believe. He put a few words there in parenthesis [ sic], when he refers to the waters of Judah or the waters of Baptism, he put a few words there in parenthesis. That is the only thing, excepting some little ungrammatical expressions that were altered.
Royal Skousen writes that subsequent Latter-day Saint editions of the Book of Mormon “did not adopt this extra phrase until the 1920 edition, but in that edition the parentheses were replace by commas” (ibid., 1:427). Contra Hugh Nibley’s report that Parley P. Pratt may have first suggested the phrase (H. W. Nibley, Since, p. 133. See also Nibley’s comments about the change on pp. 114–115), Skousen has “not been able to find any evidence to substantiate it” (R. Skousen, Analysis, 1:428).
Skousen also cautions as follows: “This change can mislead the reader into thinking that this parenthetical comment was actually part of the original text, even perhaps concluding not only that this extra phrase is the original biblical text, but also that some scribe deliberately edited it out of the Hebrew text. … There is no convincing evidence that Joseph’s parenthetical phrase was intended to revise the original text. The parentheses imply that Joseph viewed this additional phrases as a marginal explanation” (ibid. 1:427–428).

11 Emphasis added.

12 See J. Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 40-55, p. 285 n. a. Cf. Isaiah 48:19.

13 Excerpt from translation of Isaiah 48:1 in A. Gileadi, Apocalyptic Book, p. 123.

14 Isaiah 48:19; 1 Nephi 21:19.

15 See Genesis 17:23.

16 Emphasis added. Cf. Mosiah 18:8–10; Alma 7:15.See also V. L. Ludlow, Unlocking, pp. 35–36; V. L. Ludlow, Isaiah, p. 402.

17 J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 22 January 1834, pp. 58–59.

18 M. Garsiel, Biblical Names, p. 92.

19 Genesis 4:4; Moses 5:20.

20 Hebrews 12:24. See also M.-B. Halford, Eva und Adam, pp. 270–271.

21 Matthew 23:35. See discussion of the identity of Zechariah in M. Barker, Christmas, pp. 149–150.

22 Genesis 48.

23 2 Chronicles 24:20–22. Chronicles is the last book in the canon in the Hebrew Bible.

24 V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, p. 244.

25 See OT1 text in S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, pp. 131–132. These verses were probably received between February 1 and March 7, 1831 (J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, figure 0–2, p. 3). Note that D&C 74 (now known to have been received “sometime in the last part of 1830, and not January 1832 as found in all editions of the Doctrine and Covenants,”) “probably stemmed from discussions about infant baptism” (R. J. Woodford, Discoveries, p. 31).

26 The possessive “mine” in “mine anointing” is particularly interesting. Anointings are attested in the temple rites of ancient Egypt (wrḥ = anoint, smear on) in Mesopotamia (Akkadian pašašu = to anoint, smear; this word is cognate with the Hebrew/Aramaic verb mšḥ [“anoint”], whence māšîaḥ [messiah = “anointed one”]) and Hittite (iski[ya] = “smear, daub, salve, oil, anoint). The “mine” seems to distinguish between the kind of anointing rite sanctioned by God himself versus the anointing practiced in various ancient Near-East cults (implicitly sanctioned by the deities of those cults). God’s “anointing” would presumably have to with the reception of the Holy Ghost. Besides references to “oil of anointing,” the noun “anointing” specifically describes a ritual in Exodus 29:29 and 40:15.

27 The crossing out of the words is perhaps intended to disqualify the practice as being “baptism” in a legitimate sense. It may also foreclose the possibility that a practice incorporating full immersion (“water burial”) was being described.

28 Cf. Exodus 29:16–21; Leviticus 1:5–11; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:6, 17; 5:9; 7:2; 14:7, 51; 16:14, 15, 19; 17:6; Numbers 18:17; 19:4; 2 Kings 16:15; Isaiah 52:15; Ezekiel 43:18; Hebrews 9:13; 11:28; 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2;
3 Nephi 20:45.

29 Genesis 17:12.

30 JST Genesis 17:11. See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Endnote E-134, p. 734.

31 L. E. Dahl, Joseph Smith Translation, p. 126.

32 J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Endnote E-136, p. 735.

33 C. R. Koester, Hebrews, p. 546 n. 12:24a. Cf. H. W. Attridge et al., Hebrews, p. 377.

34 J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 5 October 1840, p. 169. Cf. E. Lupieri, Mandaeans, p. 46. See also J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Excursus 53, p. 663. See ibid., Endnote E-137, p. 735.

35 J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Endnote E-135, p. 734.

36 S. Ruzer, Abel’s Blood.

37 Moroni 8:23; cf. especially Hebrews 6:1 (JST Hebrews 6:1); 9:14; D&C 22:2–3.

38 D&C 74:6.

39 See D&C 74:2.

40 See Moses 6:54–60; Mosiah 3:16–19; 15:25; Moroni 8:5–26.

41 JST Genesis 17:11.

42 See Genesis 17:11; Romans 2:28; Ephesians 2:11.

43 For additional discussion of “arrested sacrifice” see below. With respect to circumcision, Hugh Nibley commented (H. W. Nibley, Return, p. 59): “Circumcision is another form of arrested sacrifice in which the victim’s own blood was shed and a permanent mark was left. It represents the sacrifice of Abraham who initiated it (Genesis 17:10–14; and cf. Exodus 21:6–7).”

44 D&C 20:37.

45 M.-A. Ouaknin et al., Rabbi Éliézer, 29, p. 169.

46 E. D. Clark, Blessings, p. 171.

47 JST Genesis 17:7.

48 S. Zinner, Gospel of Thomas.

By the Water Ye Keep the Commandment

Book of Moses Insight #17

Moses 6:60, 64

By BMC Team with Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

In Moses 6:60, Enoch declares the word of the Lord about the essential place of baptism in the suite of saving ordinances. In v. 64, he illustrates his point by describing the baptism of Adam. In this article, we will discuss the antiquity of water symbolism in rituals of rebirth, showing that in many ancient traditions, as in the Book of Moses, they are believed to go back to Adam.

Nevertheless, we will not attempt to summarize the varied and controversial histories of the water rituals of purification, penitence, and proselytism in Jewish and Christian traditions.1
Suffice it to say that no credible scholar today doubts that immersion was practiced by Jews for various religious purposes in pre-Christian times, nor would deny that immersion was the standard form of baptism in the early Christian church.

With respect to traditions concerning the antiquity of baptism, we note in passing that not only the Book of Moses but also several Islamic, Christian, Mandaean, and Manichaean accounts speak of the baptism of Adam and Eve.2

Some scholars, including Stephen D. Ricks3 and David J. Larsen,4 have argued that the water symbolism of baptism is better understood when it is compared and contrasted with separate rituals in ancient Israel wherein the king was washed and anointed, both prior to his initiation and also at regular renewals of his right to rule. For example, Larsen writes:5

We learn from the Bible that the … king was washed and purified, likely at the spring of Gihon.6 He was anointed on the head with a perfumed olive oil that was kept in a horn in the sanctuary.7 He was clothed in robes and also wore a priestly apron (ephod8), sash,9 and diadem/headdress.10 Finally, the king was consecrated a priest “after the order of Melchizedek.”11

Relevant context for understanding these practices also can be found in the religious literature of ancient Mesopotamia. For example, in the story of Atrahasis we can trace the basic conception that water, spirit, and blood—the latter derived from the body of a slain deity—were the life-giving elements used by the gods in the creation of humankind.12

Figure 2. Impression of Seal of Gudea, Tello, Iraq, ca. 2150 BCE.

In the seal of Gudea shown above, the bareheaded and nearly-naked Gudea is introduced by a mediating deity to a seated god. The mediating god presents a vase featuring a seedling and flowing water to the seated god. Water flows from the seated god himself into flowing vases, no doubt anticipating the sprouting of seedlings that have yet to appear. The scene suggested is one of rebirth and transformation: drawing on the phraseology of the Gospel of John we might conjecture that having been “born of water,”13 the king, in likeness both of the sprout within the flowing vase and the god to which he is being introduced, is also to become a “well of water springing up into everlasting life.”14 A sculpture of Gudea attests to just such an interpretation, where Gudea himself is shown, with his head now covered, holding a vase of flowing water in likeness of the seated god.

A comparative analysis of the full set of rituals of kingship at Mari in Old Babylon and in the Old Testament15 concluded that none of the major themes of Mesopotamian kingship ritual, including the roles that water plays in those rites,16 should be unfamiliar to students of the Bible.

Similar rites of water purification17 with similar functions existed as part of the ritual architecture of ancient Egyptian temples (cf. the nouns š, “lake, pool”18 and mr, “canal”; “artificial lake”19). For example, the temple at Karnak boasts an enormous artificial, sacred lake in which the temple priests—i.e., of the class termed wʿb—“purif[ied] themselves.”20 Egyptian wʿb as an adjective means “pure”  and as an intransitive verb means to “purify o[ne]self” or “bathe” and as a transitive verb to “cleanse or purify” something.  As a noun, wʿb denoted “purification” or “purity.”21 The derived causative verb swʿb denoted, “cleanse, purify,” but also to “consecrate temple servants.”24

The waters of the sacred lake or pool in which the wʿb-priests purified themselves symbolized the primeval waters from which the primordial hillock emerged in the creation.25 The Egyptian ideogram ʿb used to write wʿb was the “combination of [a foot hieroglyph] with a vase from which water flows.”26 In other words, it was a foot with water running over it. James P. Allen suggests that the wʿb was originally a lay priest and that the term originally represented the notion of “cleaner” (i.e., purifier).27 In terms of both architectural placement and ritual design, it is not difficult to see an antecedent to the tabernacle’s bronze laver and the brazen sea in Solomon’s temple in such sacred lakes (see further below).

Indeed, as John Walton correctly observes, “the ideology of the temple is not noticeably different in Israel than it is in the ancient Near East. The difference is in the God, not in the way the temple functions in relation to the God.”28

Figure 3. David Calabro, Floor Plan of the Temple of Solomon, with Suggested Locations of the Ritual in Moses 2–6.

David Calabro has explored the possibility that a text with an outline similar to the book of Moses may have been used in Solomon’s Temple to instruct and guide initiates through specific areas where instruction was given and rituals were performed. Of relevance to the present discussion is the connection he suggested between the text of Moses 6 and the “molten sea”29 that stood in front of the temple. After discussing several clues supporting his thesis from the Book of Moses, Calabro concluded:30

While there is no evidence that the temple laver was used as a baptismal font, it was definitely large enough to suggest such a use, and Joseph Smith’s specifications for a baptismal font modeled after the Solomonic laver for the Nauvoo temple show that he understood it in this connection.

Figure 4. Viktor Vasnetsov (1848–1926), The Baptism of Saint Prince Vladimir, 1890. “Attendants hold Vladimir’s golden royal robes, which he has removed, and the simple white baptismal robe, which he will put on.”

It is evident that two distinct sorts of water ordinances—namely baptism by immersion (“preparatory to the reception of the Holy Ghost”31) “in order to enter the kingdom of God”32 and washing (“preparatory to the anointing with holy oil … in the man[ner] [of] Moses and Aaron”33) as part of priestly or kingly initiation—became confused in the first centuries after Christ, making it difficult to be sure which one is meant when Christian scripture or tradition mentions the use of water in religious ritual.34 Indeed, as religious practices evolved, rituals resembling the washing, anointing, and clothing of Israelite priests35 were sometimes performed as part of “baptism.”

Figure 5. Early Christian Painting of a Baptism, Saint Calixte Catacomb, 3rd century.

Some baptismal traditions describe how the candidate was “stripped of the garments inherited from Adam and vested with the token of those garments he or she shall enjoy at the resurrection.”36 In other traditions, the baptismal candidates stood barefoot on animal skins while they prayed, symbolizing the taking off of the garments of skin they had inherited from Adam37 as well as figuratively enacting the putting of the serpent, the representative of death and sin, under one’s heel. Thus the serpent, his head crushed by the heel of the penitent relying on the mercies of Christ’s atonement, was by a single act renounced, defeated, and banished.

Conclusions

This Insight has provided a small sampling of the antiquity of water symbolism in rituals of rebirth. The Book of Moses and the teachings of the temple are clear that such rites go back to Adam and Eve.

Perhaps it is appropriate that significant glimpses of baptism in earliest antiquity come to us through Moses [mōšeh], whose Egyptian name signifies “[the god is] begotten” and whose name was understood by Hebrew-speaking Israelites as “drawer” or “puller.” The biblical text explains Moses’ name in terms of his being “pulled [mĕšîtihû, ‘I drew him’] … from the water[s]” of the river by the daughter of Pharaoh and thereby becoming “her son” (Exodus 2:10), a rebirth image that recalls birth and being drawn out of amniotic fluid, like the image of baptism. But the vowelling of his name as a Hebrew pseudo-active participle—“drawer” or “puller”38 from the verb mšh/mšy—anticipates Moses’ future role as the one who would “draw” or “pull” Israel through the waters of the Re[e]d Sea (cf. especially Moses 1:25). Or, as Paul put it, “[all the Israelites were] baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:2).39

This article is adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 61–66.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 79–82.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 58–84.

Christofferson, D. Todd. “Born again.” Ensign, May 2008, 76–79.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 101–105.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 144.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 278–281.

References

al-Kisa’i, Muhammad ibn Abd Allah. ca. 1000-1100. Tales of the Prophets (Qisas al-anbiya). Translated by Wheeler M. Thackston, Jr. Great Books of the Islamic World, ed. Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Chicago, IL: KAZI Publications, 1997.

Allen, James P. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Anderson, Gary A. The Genesis of Perfection: Adam and Eve in Jewish and Christian Imagination. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

Bowen, Matthew L. “‘Most desirable above all things’: Mary and Mormon.” In Name as Key-Word: Collected Essays on Onomastic Wordplay and the Temple in Mormon Scripture, edited by Matthew L. Bowen, 17-47. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2018.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Ronan J. Head. “The investiture panel at Mari and rituals of divine kingship in the ancient Near East.” Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 4 (2012): 1-42. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Calabro, David. “Joseph Smith and the architecture of Genesis.” In The Temple: Ancient and Restored. Proceedings of the 2014 Temple on Mount Zion Symposium, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Donald W. Parry. Temple on Mount Zion 3, 165-81. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2016. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/events/2014-temple-on-mount-zion-conference/program-schedule/. (accessed October 27, 2014).

Canby, Jeanny Vorys. 2001. The “Ur-Nammu” Stela. University Museum Monograph 110. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2006.

Drower, E. S., ed. The Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1959. http://www.gnosis.org/library/ginzarba.htm. (accessed September 11, 2007).

Ephrem the Syrian. ca. 350-363. “Hymns for the feast of the Epiphany.” In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. 14 vols. Vol. 13, 263-89. New York City, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1898. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004.

Faulkner, Raymond O. 1962. A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Oxford, England: Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, 1991. https://community.dur.ac.uk/penelope.wilson/Hieroglyphs/Faulkner-A-Concise-Dictionary-of-Middle-Egyptian-1991.pdf. (accessed March 18, 2020).

Gardiner, Alan H. 1927. Egyptian Grammar. 3rd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.

Gee, John. The Requirements of Ritual Purification in Ancient Egypt (Ph.D. Dissertation. Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global [304459147]). New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1998.

Givens, Terryl L. When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2010.

History of Baptism. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_baptism. (accessed September 11, 2016).

Hoffmeier, James K. “Moses.” In The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Vol. 3, 415-40. Grand Rapids, MI: EEerdmans, 1980.

Howard, J. K. New Testament Baptism. London, England: Pickering and Inglis, 1970. http://theologicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/howard_nt-baptism/nt_baptism_complete.pdf. (accessed September 11, 2016).

Hultgren, Arland J. “Baptism in the New Testament: Origins, formulas, and metaphors.” Word and World 14, no. 1 (1994): 6-11. https://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/content/pdfs/14-1_Baptism/14-1_Hultgren.pdf. (accessed September 11, 2016).

Hundley, Michael B. Gods in Dwellings: Temples and the Divine Presence in the Ancient Near East. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013.

Kohler, Kaufmann, and Samuel Krauss. 1906. Baptism. In Jewish Encyclopedia. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2456-baptism. (accessed September 11, 2016).

Larsen, David J. “Ascending into the hill of the Lord: What the Psalms can tell us about the rituals of the First Temple.” In Ancient Temple Worship: Proceedings of the Expound Symposium, 14 May 2011, edited by Matthew B. Brown, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Stephen D. Ricks and John S. Thompson. Temple on Mount Zion 1, 171-88. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014.

Lundquist, John M. “The common temple ideology of the ancient Near East.” In The Temple in Antiquity, edited by Truman G. Madsen, 53-76. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1984.

Malan, Solomon Caesar, ed. The Book of Adam and Eve: Also Called The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan: A Book of the Early Eastern Church. Translated from the Ethiopic, with Notes from the Kufale, Talmud, Midrashim, and Other Eastern Works. London, England: Williams and Norgate, 1882. Reprint, San Diego, CA: The Book Tree, 2005.

Moseley, Ron. The Jewish Background of Christian Baptism. In Arkansas Institute of Holy Land Studies. http://www.haydid.org/ronimmer.htm. (accessed August 23, 2016).

O’Connor, Michael P. “The human characters’ names in the Ugaritic poems: Onomastic eccentricity in Bronze-Age West Semitic and the name Daniel in particular.” In Biblical Hebrew in Its Northwest Semitic Setting: Typological and Historical Perspectives, edited by Steven E. Fassberg and Avi Hurvitz, 269-84. Jerusalem, Israel and Winona Lake, IN: The Hebrew University Magnes Press and Eisenbrauns, 2006. https://books.google.com/books?id=qyF0fHr2_3cC. (accessed April 14, 2020).

Pinkus, Assaf. “The impact of the Black Death on the sculptural programs of the pilgrimage church St. Theobald in Thann: New perception of the Genesis Story.” Assaph: Studies in Art History 6 (2001): 161-76.

Reynolds, Noel B. “Understanding Christian baptism through the Book of Mormon.” BYU Studies 51, no. 2 (2012): 3-37. https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/sites/default/files/Noel%20B.%20Reynolds,%20Understanding%20Christian%20Baptism%20through%20the%20Book%20of%20Mormon,%202012.pdf. (accessed February 28, 2017).

Ricks, Stephen D. “The coronation of kings.” In Reexamining the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, 124-26. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1992.

Ricks, Stephen D., and John J. Sroka. “King, coronation, and temple: Enthronement ceremonies in history.” In Temples of the Ancient World, edited by Donald W. Parry, 236-71. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1994.

Ricks, Stephen D. “Kingship, coronation, and covenant in Mosiah 1-6.” In King Benjamin’s Speech: ‘That Ye May Learn Wisdom’, edited by John W. Welch and Stephen D. Ricks, 233-75. Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. The Words of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1980. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nauvoo-discourses-prophet-joseph/1843/21-may-1843. (accessed February 6, 2016).

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Andrew F. Ehat, and Lyndon W. Cook. The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, 1980. https://rsc-legacy.byu.edu/out-print/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nauvoo-discourses-prophet-joseph. (accessed April 25, 2020).

Tvedtnes, John A. “Early Christian and Jewish Rituals Related to Temple Practices.” Presented at the FAIR Conference 1999. http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/1999_Early_Christian_and_Jewish_Rituals_Related_to_Temple_Practices.html. (accessed September 8).

Walton, John H. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.

Wilkins, Ryan T. “The influence of Israelite temple rites and early Christian esoteric rites on the development of Christian baptism (Paper 2908).” Master’s Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2011.

Notes on Figures

Figure 1. From Pinkus, Impact, p. 5. Permission previously granted by the author.

Figure 2. Image reproduced in V. Canby, Ur-Nammu, Plate 14a. http:// sumerianshakespeare.com/25401/ (accessed January 31, 2017). No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States.

Figure 3. Calabro, Joseph Smith and the Architecture, p. 172, Figure 1.

Figure 4. Sketch for the fresco of St. Vladimir’s Cathedral, Kiev, Ukraine. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ commons/8/8b/Vasnetsov_Bapt_Vladimir.jpg (accessed September 11, 2016). No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States.

Figure 5. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ commons/0/0a/Baptism_-_Saint_Calixte.jpg (accessed September 11, 2016). No known copyright restrictions. This work may be in the public domain in the United States.

Footnotes

 

1 For a sampling of readily available online sources with discussions on the topic, see, e.g., History of Baptism, History of Baptism; R. Moseley, The Jewish Background of Christian Baptism; J. K. Howard, New Testament Baptism, pp. 12–34; A. J. Hultgren, Baptism; K. Kohler et al., Baptism. For a good overview of baptismal symbolism, theories, and practices from a Latter-day Saint point of view, see N. B. Reynolds, Understanding Christian Baptism, especially pp. 15–31.

2 See, e.g., Ephrem the Syrian, Epiphany, 12:1, 4, p. 282; S. C. Malan, Adam and Eve, 1:1, pp. 1–2; 1:32–33, pp. 34–36; M. i. A. A. al-Kisa’i, Tales, p. 61; E. S. Drower, Prayerbook, p. 30. Cf. J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Endnotes 5–23, 5–24, pp. 435–436, Endnote B-16, p. 907.

3 E.g., S. D. Ricks, Coronation; S. D. Ricks, Kingship; S. D. Ricks et al., King.

4 E.g., D. J. Larsen, Ascending, pp. 181–182. See also J. M. Bradshaw et al., Investiture Panel.

5 D. J. Larsen, Ascending, pp. 181–182.

6 1 Kings 1:33, 38.

7 1 Kings 1:34, 39; Psalm 89:20; Psalm 23:5.

8 See 1 Chronicles 15:27.

9 Isaiah 22:21; “girdle” in the King James Bible.

10 See Ezekiel 21:26.

11 Psalm 110:4.

12 See lines 205–234. See also the related discussion in T. L. Givens, When Souls, pp. 9–12, citing J. Bottéro, Mesopotamia.

13 John 3:5.

14 John 4:14. Cf. Revelation 22:1: “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

15 . J. M. Bradshaw et al., Investiture Panel.

16 See ibid., especially pp. 29–30.

17 For a thoroughgoing treatment of Egyptian concepts of ritual purification and the connection of purification rites to temples, including rites involving water, see J. Gee, Requirements

18 R. O. Faulkner, Concise Dictionary, p. 260.

19 Ibid., p. 111.

20 M. B. Hundley, Gods in Dwellings, p. 39.

21 R. O. Faulkner, Concise Dictionary, p. 57.

22 Ibid., p. 57.

23 Ibid., p. 57.

24 Ibid., p. 216.

25 J. M. Lundquist, Common Temple Ideology.

26 A. H. Gardiner, Grammar, p. 458.

27 J. P. Allen, Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs, p. 58.

28 JJ. H. Walton, Ancient, p. 129.

29 1 Kings 7:23. See also vv. 24–26, 44.

30 D. Calabro, Joseph Smith and the Architecture, p. 172.

31 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Wilford Woodruff Journal, 20 March 1842, p. 107.

32 J. Smith, Jr. et al., Words, 27 June 1839, p. 3.

33 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Willard Richards Pocket Companion, 27 June 1839, p. 3.

34 E.g., Hebrews 6:2. See also John A. Tvedtnes, who wrote: “In early Christianity, following the apostasy, temple initiation eventually merged with the baptismal initiation, which included both washing and anointing with oil, along with donning of white clothing and sometimes the reception of a new name” (J. A. Tvedtnes, Rituals). See also R. T. Wilkins, Influence of Israelite Temple Rites., pp. 91–96.

35 Exodus 40:12–13.

36 G. A. Anderson, Perfection, p. 130.

37 Ibid., pp. 130–131.

38 See, e.g., J. K. Hoffmeier, Moses, p. 417; M. P. O’Connor, Human Characters’ Names, pp. 270–271, especially notes 7–8.

39 M. L. Bowen, Most Desirable, pp. 23–24. Cf. 2 Samuel 22:17/Psalm 18:17 [MT 16], “he drew me [pulled me] out of many waters.”

By Water, and Blood, and the Spirit

Book of Moses Insight #16

Moses 6:58–60

With contribution by with Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

The Doctrine of Rebirth in Moses 6:59–60

In Moses 6:59–60 we read these significant words about the doctrine of rebirth:

According to the Book of Moses, Enoch and other ancient prophets taught the doctrine of rebirth.3 Enoch cited the word of God to Adam to the effect that man must be “born … into the kingdom of heaven” in order to be “sanctified from all sin, … enjoy the words of eternal life in this [world], and [acquire] eternal life in the world to come,”4 even immortal glory.

Joseph Smith taught that the principles of rebirth are strict and exact, and unless man obeys them in the way which has been ordained of God he cannot acquire eternal life.5 He must first be born to “see the kingdom of God.”6 Then he must be “born of water and of the Spirit” to enter the kingdom.7 This process has been taught by prophets in all ages of time. It does not place total reliance upon either the action of the Spirit or the role of ordinances, but upon both. “Being born again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances.”8 Through this process the power of God is manifested to transform a mortal man or woman into a “son [or daughter] of God.”9

A significant distinction is made in Moses 6:59 between the “words of eternal life” and “eternal life” itself. Although we have no authoritative interpretation of this distinction, one possible interpretation for the “words of eternal life” would be as a reference to the sure promise of exaltation that can only be received in an anticipatory way “in this world”10 through the earthly and heavenly ordinances that reveal the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”11 Of course, “eternal life” itself can only be given “in the world to come,”12 after the end of one’s probation.

In an 1839 discourse on the topic of the Second Comforter, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that it is “our privilege to pray for and obtain”13 the knowledge that we are sealed up to eternal life. In order to prepare for this privilege, we are told in revelation to “give diligent heed to the words of eternal life,” and to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.”14 The Prophet explained that initially it is the First Comforter, the Holy Ghost, which “shall teach you.” Eventually, most commonly in the next life, the joyous moment will come when, at last, as the Savior promised, “ye [shall] come to Me and My Father.”15

In Moses 6:59, water, spirit, and blood are introduced both as symbols of mortal birth after the Fall and also as symbols of spiritual birth in the process of redemption. Then, in verse 60, we are given a brief explanation of the symbolism of these three elements as it applies to the progressive results of the ordinances of salvation. Hugh Nibley summarizes this progression as follows:16

The water is an easy act of obedience, … “By the water ye keep the commandment.” “I know not, save the Lord commanded me.”17 That’s your sacrifice. So you get baptized as an act of obedience. Then “by the Spirit ye are justified.” That’s the Holy Ghost. That’s your state of mind. If you just go through the motions as obedience, that’s the first necessary step here. The Spirit gives you the state of mind. Naturally, you enter into it—the understanding, the agreement without which any act would be utterly meaningless. You are not just being baptized as a “bag of sand.”18 You’ve got to be baptized physically, but then it goes beyond that to the Spirit, where you understand and are aware of what’s going on. The Holy Ghost does that. He brings all things to your mind and “all things to your remembrance.”19 Then the last thing is “and by the blood ye are sanctified.” You can’t sanctify yourself but by completely giving up life in this world, which means suffering death, which means the shedding of blood. This is the end of earthly life, and people avoid and dread that more than anything else. … That’s why we find proxies for the sacrifice. … So the shedding of blood is your final declaration that you are willing to give up this life for the other, and it is an act of faith.

The “Record of Heaven”

Having explained the doctrine of rebirth, the Lord now describes how one can come to a sure knowledge of that belief through what is termed the “record of heaven”20 and be sealed up to eternal life “through the blood of the Only Begotten”:21

The term “record,” is mentioned four times in these seven verses; each mention adds to the overall understanding of the promised blessing:

    • “Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven” (v. 61) This phrase expands on the promise given in Moses 6:52: “ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Whereas in v. 52, the blessing of the promise mentioned specifically has to do with asking and receiving, in v. 61 other blessings are mentioned, including “the peaceable things of immortal glory” (in OT1) or “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (in OT2). Note, however, that D&C 42:6132 links the “peaceable things” with “the mysteries” as the results of revelation, strengthening the connection between the OT1 phrasing and v. 52:

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

Observe that the OT2 phrasing recalls the words of Jesus Christ to Peter in Matthew 16:19 that are associated with the sealing power:

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.33

Elsewhere Joseph Smith equates the “power which records” with the sealing power — or, in other words, the power that “binds on earth and binds in heaven.”34

    • “all things are created and made to bear record of me”; “all things bear record of me” (v. 63) Here, the Lord builds on His declaration of the revelatory witness of the Holy Ghost to affirm that everything He has created, in heaven and in earth, also serves as a witness of Him.35 Hugh Nibley observed:36

There’s a wonderful passage in Santillana on this.37 The ancients believed we live in the midst of a great manifold in which everything reflects everything else. This is a beautiful expression of it. .… The earth is a reflection of heaven, and heaven a reflection of the earth. We use the language of one to describe what’s going on in the other time and again. We regard the temple here, as the ancients always did, as reflecting the heavenly pattern.

    • “This is the record of the Father and the Son” (v. 66) Although, the “Holy Ghost … which beareth record of the Father and the Son” previously “fell upon Adam”38 for a moment, the “Comforter” that he is promised in v. 61 will henceforth “abide” in him, recalling John 14:16’s promise of “another Comforter” that would “abide” with the disciples “for ever.”39

In an 1839 discourse on the topic of this “Second Comforter,” the Prophet taught that it is “our privilege to pray for and obtain”40 the knowledge that we are sealed up to eternal life. The Prophet explained that it is the “First Comforter”—the Holy Ghost—which “shall teach you” until the moment when, at last, we are fit to receive the promised blessing when “ye [shall] come to Me and My Father.”41

The sure knowledge provided by the “record of heaven” is something more than the prefatory witness that is meant to come to those who have been baptized in worthiness and, after confirmation, are ready to “receive the Holy Ghost.”42 Verse 66 associates the “record of the Father, and the Son” with “a voice out of heaven” declaring that Adam has been “baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost.” Note that in verse 68, having received this heavenly witness, or “more sure word of prophecy,”43 Adam is then divinely declared to be a “son of God.”44

Common Vocabulary and Themes in Moses 6:61–66 and the New Testament

In previous Insights,45 we discussed the frequent resemblances in vocabulary and phrasing of Moses 6 to the New Testament. Both in its frequent use of “record” and in its mention of “water,” “Spirit,” and “blood,” Moses 6:61–66 exhibits notable similarities, especially to Johannine writings, but unlike the parallels discussed previously, we currently have no evidence that the New Testament authors drew on older ideas present in ancient Enoch literature when they composed their accounts. Until such evidence is found, we may presume that these resemblances are due to a common ancient source, are the product of independent revelation, or else are artifacts of the revelatory translation process.46

Significantly, New Testament writings ascribed to John are replete with the concept of heavenly and earthly records.47 In his gospel, we read that John the Baptist (and John the Apostle?) bear record of Christ (1:19, 32, 34),48 that Jesus bears record of Himself (8:13–14), that the people who saw the raising of Lazarus “bare record” (12:17), and that John “bare record”—a “true” record—that blood and water came out of Jesus’ side when He was pierced. In 3 John 1:12 it is similarly recorded: “we also bear record [of the truth]; and ye know that our record is true.” Revelation 1:2 relates that God’s “servant John … bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he [John] saw.”

Of particular interest is 1 John 5:5–8, which describes the witness of heaven and earth in conjunction with the three elements of water, spirit, and blood, echoing their mention in Moses 6:59–60:

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Some of the words in these verses are shown in italics because they are omitted from nearly all modern translations—these words, referred to as the “Johannine Comma,” do not appear in the oldest manuscripts of the Bible.

Adding to the significance of the common mention of water, the Spirit, and blood in the Book of Moses and 1 John is that these are the only instances where these elements are referenced together in the Bible and elsewhere in Latter-day Saint scripture.49 The arguments in the two passages are somewhat similar but different in scope and application. In 1 John, the three elements serve as witnesses to the mortal birth and redeeming death of the Son of God, while in Moses 6, they are symbols of the mortal death and the possibility of spiritual rebirth for all humankind.

In subsequent Insights we will explore ancient precedents to the process of spiritual rebirth by examining the individual nature of the symbols of water, spirit, and blood in the ordinances one-by-one.

This article is adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 54, 56–58, 170, 172–173.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 79–82.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “‘By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified’: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43–237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020, pp. 54, 56–58, 170, 172–173.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 104–105.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 279–280.

References

Andrus, Hyrum L. Principles of Perfection. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1970.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Temple Themes in the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. 2014 update ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014.

———. “Now that we have the words of Joseph Smith, how shall we begin to understand them? Illustrations of selected challenges within the 21 May 1843 Discourse on 2 Peter 1.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 20 (2016): 47-150.

———. “Foreword.” In Name as Key-Word: Collected Essays on Onomastic Wordplay and the Temple in Mormon Scripture, edited by Matthew L. Bowen, ix-xliv. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2018.

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

Jackson, Kent P. The Book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 2005. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/book-moses-and-joseph-smith-translation-manuscripts. (accessed August 26, 2016).

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004.

Santillana, Giorgio de, and Hertha von Dechend. 1969. Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time. Boston, MA: David R. Godine, 1977.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. The Words of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1980. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nauvoo-discourses-prophet-joseph/1843/21-may-1843. (accessed February 6, 2016).

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith, and Brent M. Rogers. Journals: May 1843-June 1844. The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals 3, ed. Ronald K. Esplin and Matthew J. Grow. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2015.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.

Notes for Figures

Figure 1. © Brigham Young University Museum of Art. Permission granted with the kind assistance of Clyda Ludlow and Trevor Weight, MOA Registration Department.

Footnotes

 

1 “I give unto you a commandment,” which we take to be referring back (implicitly) to B, the commandment to believe. “Therefore” was added in OT2 (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63)).

2 The italicized words were included in OT1 but were moved, modified, and truncated (e.g., leaving out “the mysteries of”) in OT2. OT2 reads: “ I give unto you a commandment to teach these things freely unto your Children Saying that in as much as they were born into the World by the fall which bringeth death by water and blood and the Spirit which I have made and so became of dust a living soul even so ye must be born again of water and the spirit and cleansed by blood even the blood of mine only begotten into the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven <Therefore, I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying, that by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, And in as much as they were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul; even so ye must be born again, into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine only begotten.>” (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63)). The OT2 version rather than the OT1 version is used in the 2013 edition of Moses 5:59.

3 Moses 6:59–68.

4 Moses 6:59.

5 See H. L. Andrus, Perfection, pp. 170–175.

6 John 3:3, emphasis added. See J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 15 October 1843, p. 328. Cf. J. Smith, Jr. et al., Journals, 1843–1844, 15 October 1843, p. 114.

7 John 3:5, emphasis added. See J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 15 October 1843, p. 328. Cf. J. Smith, Jr. et al., Journals, 1843–1844, 15 October 1843, p. 114.

8 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Willard Richards Pocket Companion, Before 8 August 1839 (1), p. 23. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 2 July 1839, p. 162. See also D&C 84:19–25; JST Exodus 34:1–2.

9 Moses 6:68.

10 See J. M. Bradshaw, Temple Themes in the Oath, pp. 59–63.

11 S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1 Moses 6:59, p. 102.

12 See J. M. Bradshaw, Temple Themes in the Oath, pp. 68-71. Cf. H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, p. 279.

13 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Before 8 August 1839 (3), p. 14, punctuation modernized.

14 D&C 84:43–44.

15 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Before 8 August 1839 (3), p. 15, punctuation modernized. Cf. D&C 84:45–47.

16 H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, pp. 279–280.

17 Moses 5:6.

18 See J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 9 July 1843, p. 314: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost.” Cf. J. Smith, Jr. et al., Journals, 1843–1844, 9 July 1843, p. 56.

19 John 14:26.

20 Moses 6:61.

21 Moses 6:62.

22 OT1 reads “that in you is given the record of Heaven.” The change to “that in you is given the record of Heaven” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63)).

23 Cf. Moses 6:66.

24 A change was made in OT2 in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon as a replacement for OT1’s “the Peac[i]ble things of immortal grory” [glory] (S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1 (p. 14), p. 102. Cf. D&C 36:2; 39:6; 42:61). Significantly, OT2 reads: “the peaceable things of immortal glory “ (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63)). Note that D&C 42:61 links the “peaceable things” with “the mysteries” as the results of revelation:

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

Following a decision by the RLDS publication committee in the preparation of their 1867 publication of the “Inspired Version,” Moses 6:61 uses the OT1 version rather than the OT2 version.

25 “through” was added in OT2 (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63), p. 614).

26 OT1 and OT2 read “which.” This was changed to “who” in the preparation of the manuscript of the RLDS “Inspired Version” for publication.

27 H. L. Andrus, Doctrinal, pp. 257–258:

There are several symbolic elements in this statement by Paul. In baptism, man is buried with Christ into death, the “old man” being crucified with Christ. When the body is beneath the water, it is symbolic of Christ’s body in the tomb. As Christ was raised up by the glory of the Father, filled with a fulness of the Father’s divine nature, so should man come forth from the liquid tomb to a “newness of life,” being filled with the divine powers that are given in the new birth to abide in him. Finally, in baptism man is like a seed that must be planted in order to spring forth into a new life. God’s promise is that those who are planted together in the likeness of Christ’s death will be also in the likeness of His resurrection. The new life they will come forth to possess in the resurrection is eternal life, or the kind of glorified life that Christ possesses. Joseph Smith explained (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 20 March 1842, pp. 197–198. Original source: JS, Discourse, Nauvoo, IL, 20 March 1842, Wilford Woodruff, Diary, pp. 134–138 [p. 136]; handwriting of Wilford Woodruff; CHL, posted as interim content on The Joseph Smith Papers, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/discourse-20-march-1842-as-reported-by-wilford-woodruff/3 [accessed January 23, 2020]):
God has set many signs on the earth, as well as in the heavens; for instance, the oak of the forest, the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field, all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there; for it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle. Upon the same principle do I contend that baptism is a sign ordained of God, for the believer in Christ to take upon himself in order to enter into the kingdom of God, “for except ye are born of water and of the Spirit ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of God,” said the Savior. It is a sign and a commandment which God has set for man to enter into His kingdom. Those who seek to enter in any other way will seek in vain; for God will not receive them, neither will the angels acknowledge their works as accepted, for they have not obeyed the ordinances, nor attended to the signs which God ordained for the salvation of man, to prepare him for, and give him a title to, a celestial glory.

28 We take Adam’s full-hearted response, epitomized in his cry unto the Lord, as an indicator of his desire to obediently “hearken” (A) to the Lord’s commandments. Admittedly, since the term “hearken” or its equivalent does not explicitly appear in this passage, it is the weakest of the parallelisms to the list of commandments given in Moses 6:52.

29 We take this to be an interpolation of the narrator, explaining that Moses 6:67 refers to the “record of heaven” that was mentioned in Moses 6:61.

30 I.e., after the order of Jesus Christ, who was “made an high priest for ever afte the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:20. Cf. Psalm 110:4). Adam is thus made a priest “unto God” (see Revelation 1:6).

31 Cf. Psalm 2:7. Adam is thus made a king “unto God” (see Revelation 1:6).

32 Cf. D&C 36:2, where Sidney Rigdon is told: “you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom”; D&C 39:6: “the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.”

33 Cf. D&C 132:45–46.

34 D&C 128:9, emphasis added.

35 Cf. Romans 1:19–20; Alma 30:41, 44; Helaman 8:24.

36 H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, p. 280.

37 G. d. Santillana et al., Hamlet’s Mill, p. 333.

38 Moses 5:9.

39 Contrast John 14:26 and D&C 21:9, which refers to the “first” Comforter, i.e., the Holy Ghost.

40 J. Smith, Jr., Words, Before 8 August 1839 (3), p. 14, punctuation modernized.

41 Ibid., p. 15, punctuation modernized, words in brackets added. Cf. D&C 84:45–47.

42 Acts 8:15, 19; 2 Nephi 31:13; 32:5; 3 Nephi 28:18; 4 Nephi 1:1; D&C 25:8; 84:74; Moses 8:24.

43 For a detailed analysis of Joseph Smith’s 21 May 1843 discourse on 2 Peter 1 where he discusses the “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19), see J. M. Bradshaw, Now That We Have the Words.

44 Moses 6:68.

45 Pearl of Great Price Central, “Enoch’s Prophetic Commission: Introduction,” Book of Moses Insight #1 (May 1, 2020); Pearl of Great Price Central, “The Son of Man, Even Jesus Christ, a Righteous Judge,” Book of Moses Insight #15 (August 7, 2020).

46 For Bradshaw’s views on Joseph Smith’s translation process, see J. M. Bradshaw, Foreword.

47 See also, within the Pauline corpus, the following passages: Romans 10:2; 2 Corinthians 8:3; Galatians 4:15; Colossians 4:13. See also Job 16:19; 1 Nephi 10:10, 11:7, 32, 36; 12:7; 13:24; 14:27, 29; Enos 1:20; Helaman 8:14; 3 Nephi 11:15, 32, 35, 36; 17:15, 16, 25; 18:37, 39; 19:14, 33; Ether 4:11, 5:4; D&C 20:27–28; 42:17; 76:23, 40; 93:6, 11, 15, 16, 18, 26.

48 Cf. 1 Nephi 10:10 (John 1:36) and D&C 93:6, 11, 15, 16, 18, 26.

49 Appearing in a different context, Job 16:19 states: “my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” There is scant mention of these verses in the teachings of Joseph Smith. In arguments for the separate embodiment of the three members of the Godhead, he cited the phrase “these three agree in one” on two occasions (J. Smith, Jr., Words, McIntire Minute Book, 16 February 1841, p. 63; Thomas Bullock Report, 16 June 1844 (morning), p. 380; George Laub Journal, 16 June 1844 (morning), p. 382; McIntire Minute Book, 16 June 1844 (morning), p. 383).

The Son of Man, Even Jesus Christ, a Righteous Judge

Book of Moses Insight #15

Moses 6:57

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

In a previous Insight,1 we discussed resemblances in vocabulary and phrasing between the prophetic call of Enoch in the Book of Moses2 and the account of Jesus’ baptism in the Gospels. We described evidence for the possibility that the authors of the New Testament gospels drew on older ideas present in ancient literature connected to the figure of Enoch when they composed their accounts. And we suggested some possible reasons that biblical language is used so often in modern scripture, as many Latter-day Saint scholars have noted. For example, Royal Skousen has written that the Book of Mormon, like virtually every translation and revelation of Joseph Smith, constitutes a “complex blending into the text of phraseology from all over the King James Bible.”3

In the present article and the next one,4 we will discuss two similar passages that have troubled some Book of Moses readers:

    • References to the name and titles of Jesus Christ (Moses 6:57)
    • Similarities to 1 John 5:5–8 in the mention of water, spirit, and blood (Moses 6:58–60).

References to the Name and Titles of Jesus Christ

In Moses 6:57 we read:

Apart from any concerns about similarity of vocabulary and phrasing between Latter-day Saint scripture and the Book of Moses, some readers are surprised to encounter references to the name, titles, and aspects of the mission of Jesus Christ in prophecies of Latter-day Saint scripture that are much more detailed and explicit than one finds in the Old Testament. Although Christians are divided on the issue of how much Old Testament peoples and prophets knew about Jesus Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the belief that the details of the plan of salvation, including the life and mission of Jesus Christ, were known to prophets from Adam onward. Non-Latter-day Saint scholar Margaret Barker believes similarly and has written:5

The original temple tradition was that Yahweh, the Lord, was the Son of God Most High, and present on earth as the Messiah. This means that the older religion in Israel would have taught about the Messiah. Thus finding Christ in the Old Testament is exactly what we should expect, though obscured by incorrect reading of the scriptures. This is, I suggest, one aspect of the restoration of “the plain and precious things, which have been taken away from them”6 [that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon]. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Christ of the Book of Mormon.7

While more research is needed to evaluate possible affinities between references to Jesus Christ in modern scripture and sources inside and outside the Bible, we offer the following examples from ancient Enoch literature for analysis.

In this respect, the Book of Parables, one of five relatively disjointed sections of 1 Enoch, has been a very fruitful source.8 Although we generally agree with the conclusion of some scholars that “the literary connections between Moses 6–8 and 1 Enoch are … very loose, and more time and attention should be placed elsewhere,”9 there are some exceptions to this rule, most notably within the Book of Parables. Significantly, according to James Charlesworth—one of the preeminent contemporary scholars of Jewish pseudepigrapha—the messianic passages in the Book of Parables “seem to be Jewish but contemporaneous with the origins of Christianity. … [The relevant] verses contain neither Jewish polemic against Christian kerygmatic Christology nor peculiarly Christian expressions and ideas.”10 Thus, these passages are ideal witnesses of the kinds of Jewish messianic traditions found in Moses 6:57 that cannot be traced exclusively to Christian influences.

We will now review the four interlinked titles of Moses 6:57 in light of these traditions. While “most of the pseudepigrapha do not contain … technical terms [for the Messiah],”11 let alone equivalents or analogues for the other titles listed in the Book of Moses, the 1 Enoch Book of Parables contains material relevant to each of them:12

    • Only Begotten. The use of the term “only begotten” has a long history in Jewish tradition. The story of the “binding” of Isaac (the Akekdah) in the Hebrew version of Genesis 22 describes Isaac’s relationship to Abraham with the masculine form of the substantive adjective yāḥîd (yĕḥîdekā = “thine only [son],” Genesis 22:2, 12, 16, KJV).13 The feminine form of the same substantive adjective yĕḥîdâ occurs in Judges 11:34 as a description of Jephthah’s only daughter. Importantly, the corresponding Greek term used to translate yĕḥîdâ in the Septuagint Greek (LXX) version of the Jephthah story is monogenēs (“only begotten”). More significantly, monogenēs is used in the Greek version of Psalms 22:20,14 a psalm widely understood as having reference to Jesus among early Christians. Greek monogenēs is the term used throughout the New Testament to describe Jesus Christ as God’s “only begotten.”15 For example, the author of Hebrews explicitly uses monogenēs of Isaac in characterizing him as a type of Jesus.16

Further witnessing the wide use of this term, within the writings of the Jewish scholar Philo Judaeus the terms “only begotten” and “firstborn” (often treated as synonyms) were closely identified with Moses in ancient Jewish tradition. This is because Moses is seen as the preeminent living embodiment of the divine Logos, the “word” of God’s power. Going further, Samuel Zinner sees Philo as inferring that Moses, the Law-giving Word becomes a “nursing-father,”17 to others, specifically including the righteous patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are likewise born of God.18

Consistent with the spirit of this idea, New Testament authors writing from similar perspectives used the term “first-born” in the Hebrews 12:23 expression “church of the first-born.”19 In this context, “first-born” seems to have been interpreted as applying not only to Christ,20 but also to redeemed mortals who are “entitled [by birthright] to the … privileges of first-born sons,”21 specifically the right to receive “all that [the] Father hath.”22 Thus, in the conception of New Testament theology, we can say that God made Christ “the firstborn among many brethren,” each one having been “conformed to the image of his son.”23

In summary, threads related to the special status and sacrificial role24 of the “first-born” and “only begotten” son as applied to Old Testament figures such as Moses, to Christ Himself, and eventually to the disciples of Jesus Christ and are rooted in concepts that go back significantly beyond the New Testament. The key to the meaning of this concept in Moses 6:57 is found in the immediately preceding mention of God as the “Man of Holiness” and the pronoun in the term “his Only Begotten.” As Frederick Borsch has argued at length,25 the concept of God as “the Man” of whom Enoch eventually becomes a filial “counterpart” is at the very heart of the Book of Parables, as further explained in the discussion of the title “Son of Man” immediately below.

    • Son of Man. In hearing the name-title “Son of Man,” Jews in the first century CE would have thought of texts in the books of Daniel and Enoch. Daniel 7:13–14 records the eschatological vision of Daniel: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man26 came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

Significantly, the title “Son of Man,” which is even more prominent in the Book of Parables27 than in Daniel, also appears in marked density throughout Enoch’s grand vision in the Book of Moses.28 In addition, and even more remarkably, the related titles “Chosen One,”29 “Anointed One,”30 and “Righteous One”31 are featured in both the Book of Moses and the Book of Parables. After considering the sometimes contentious debate among scholars about the single or multiple referent(s) of these titles and their relationship to other texts, Nickelsburg and VanderKam conclude that the author of the Book of Parables “saw the … traditional figures as having a single referent and applied the various designations and characteristics as seemed appropriate to him.”32 This is likewise true for the Book of Moses.

The fact that the reference in Moses 6:57 to the “Son of Man” occurs in immediate proximity to mentions of God the Father as the “Man of Holiness” and “his Only Begotten” highlights the close relationship between these three titles. Further generalizing analogous arguments above relating to “first-born” and “Only Begotten,” Borsch explains that the title “Son of Man” is also meant to be extended to an infinity of successors:33

Since the son would ascend to become the Man and thus be the Man as the Son of Man, it is not hard to see … how and why the true heavenly one could be called the Son of Man. Logically, then, the new Son of Man [e.g., Enoch] should be called the Son of the Son of Man.

All this goes to demonstrate that the concept of the Son of Man as “a heavenly redeemer figure who stands in close relationship to the God of Israel is not a corruption of Jewish monotheism by Christianity, nor an invention of a Hellenistic or ‘Gentile’ Paul, but is an integral feature of Second Temple Judaism.”34 Speaking specifically of Jesus’ teachings on this subject, Charlesworth likewise affirms that:35

all three classes of Jesus’ Son of Man sayings—those that depict the Son of Man’s authority, future coming, and present suffering—were not invented by the Church. … Beyond that certainty it is difficult to proceed further; yet, it is conceivable that under the influence of the Enoch traditions,36 perhaps indirectly through oral traditions, Jesus used the term Son of Man to stress his own charismatic authority that amazed his contemporaries.

    • Jesus Christ. The name-title “Jesus Christ,” of course, derives directly from its Greek New Testament equivalent, which might be more clearly translated for modern English-speakers as “Joshua (Yeshua) the Messiah,” the term “Messiah,” referring to one who is anointed by God.

Recalling the applications of the terms “first-born” and “only begotten” to Moses discussed above, we note Raphael Patai’s statement that: “Rarely is a myth as perfectly prefigured in a tradition many centuries older as is the Jewish Messiah myth in the life of Moses.”37 However, Patai’s useful collection of texts relating to the Jewish concept of “messiah” amply shows how far beyond its pre-figuring in Moses this title extends, demonstrating its breathtaking scope and broad application since early biblical times.38

In the Dead Sea Scrolls and the rabbinic literature, references to the Messiah as “the future ideal Davidic king”39 are far more prevalent than in any other era. Importantly, with respect to the Book of Parables and “in contrast to 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra,” Charlesworth writes that “‘the Messiah’ [= Anointed One] is portrayed as the terrestrial and human messianic king who shall perfectly embody all the dreams attributed to the kings of Israel’s past.”40 In addition to the symbolic association of this figure with the Davidic monarchy,” Shirley Lucass reminds us that the king’s cultic function was linked, as in Hebrews 7, to the earlier “line of Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem/Jerusalem.”41 Significantly, and consistent with the teachings of Christianity, Charlesworth notes “numerous passages” in the pseudepigrapha in which the Messiah ultimately conquers Israel’s enemies “in a nonmilitary supernatural fashion”42—e.g., “with the word of his mouth.”43

Consistent both with the teachings of Moses 6:57 and Nickelsburg and Vanderkam’s conclusions that the various titles mentioned in the Book of Parables refer to a single individual, James Waddell argued not only that the “five specific epithets … refer to the same messiah figure”44 but also that the “author(s) of the [book] understood the messiah figure to be distinct from the divine figure who is the one God.”45

As to the use of the name-title “Jesus Christ” as used in Moses 6:57, there are precedents for advance revelation of specific names of later-born individuals — including the name “Jesus Christ.”46 Alternatively, it does not seem impossible that the name was introduced into the text as a type of gloss, intended to remove any doubt for latter-day readers about the identity of this figure. Moreover, it may be that the authority of an ancient manuscript that refers to Jesus Christ with words analogous to the Hebrew equivalent Yeshua Ha Mashiaḥ (yēšûaʿ hammāšîaḥ) sits behind Moses 6-7.47 Each of these options work against any argument that the use of the name or title “Jesus Christ” in Moses 6 can be seen only as an anachronism.

Charlesworth concurs with this understanding of the occurrence of singularly Christian terms, titles, and descriptions in Latter-day Saint scripture, arguing that if some passages “look peculiarly Christian,” this fact need not “vitiate the claim that they were written before” the coming of Christ.48 Specifically referring to the Book of Mormon, he notes that Latter-day Saints acknowledge that it “could have been expanded on at least two occasions that postdate the life of Jesus of Nazareth”: once as part of Mormon’s abridgment and again at the time it was translated in the nineteenth century by Joseph Smith. “The recognition that the Book of Mormon has been edited on more than one occasion would certainly explain why certain of the messianic passages appear to be Christian compositions.”49

Similar possibilities present themselves with the Book of Moses. Although much less is known about its source texts and ancient redaction history, it was eventually translated into English by Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century. Thus, there is nothing barring it from simultaneously containing deeply ancient content and adaptations of that content for modern audiences.

    • Righteous Judge. Remarkably, the single specific description of the role of the Son of Man given in Moses 6:57 as a “righteous Judge”50 is also highly characteristic of the Book of Parables, where the primary role of the Son of Man is also that of a judge.51 Reviewing the relevant Book of Parables passages, Nickelsburg and VanderKam conclude: “If the central message of the Parables is the coming of the final judgment,52 the Son of Man/Chosen One takes center stage as the agent of this judgment.”53 Note also that the title “righteous judge” in the broader context of the Joseph Smith Translation anticipates Melchizedek, the “King of Righteousness,” and the typological connections to Jesus Christ evident in JST Genesis 14:25–40.

In summary, it is significant that, outside the Old Testament, the Enoch pseudepigrapha are arguably the pre-Christian documents of Jewish origin that best prefigure the range of Christological concepts and titles found in the New Testament. Thus, to readers of latter-day scripture it should not be surprising that Christological themes and concepts are also present in the Book of Moses account of Enoch. Although the arguments we have presented above do not exhaust the questions that might be raised about references to the name and titles of Jesus Christ in the Book of Moses, we think these preliminary findings merit careful investigation rather than hasty dismissal. The cluster of analogous titles found in the Book of Moses and in extant Enoch pseudepigrapha deserve attention.

Afterword

The confluences and divergences of Jewish and Christian beliefs about the Messiah have sometimes led to contentious misunderstandings. In this regard, Lucass provides helpful perspective:54

If Jesus’ first coming is accepted as the inauguration of the messianic era (based on the acceptance that his messiahship was authentically Jewish …), and if at his second coming all of the expected conditions of the Age to Come were to prevail, then there is nothing in this proposition that would jeopardize the integrity of Judaism as it now stands. Effectively, therefore, this invalidates the statement of [Jacob Neusner: “Is Jesus the Christ? If so, then Judaism falls. If not, then Christianity fails.”55 This conception of the issue allows] a move away from the assertion and denial that has plagued dialogue from the “parting of the ways” (ca. 70 CE), opening up fresh possibilities and a new foundation on which dialogue can be built.

Admittedly, however plausible this may be, it cannot wipe out 2,000 years of persecution, mistrust, and hatred. Even so, if [this] premise … is accepted—namely, that the messiahship of Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament can be rooted in antecedent Jewish tradition—then I believe that … this will provide a bridge to dialogue that has hitherto not existed.

This article is adapted from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “Truth and Beauty in the Book of Moses.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 10 November 2018, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. Temple on Mount Zion 5, in preparation. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, www.templethemes.net.

 

Further Reading

Barker, Margaret. “Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion.” BYU Studies (Special Issue: The Worlds of Joseph Smith: A Bicentennial Conference at the Library of Congress) 44, no. 4 (2005): 69-82. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol44/iss4/9. (accessed November 22, 2018).

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 117–118.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “Truth and Beauty in the Book of Moses.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 10 November 2018, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. Temple on Mount Zion 5, in preparation. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, www.templethemes.net.

Charlesworth, James H. “Messianism in the pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon.” In Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, Papers Delivered at the Religious Studies Center Symposium, Brigham Young University, March 10-11, 1978, edited by Truman G. Madsen. Religious Studies Monograph Series 4, 99-137. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1978.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 103-104.

Lucass, Shirley. The Concept of the Messiah in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Library of Second Temple Studies 78, ed. Lester L. Grabbe. London, England: T&T Clark, 2011. Reprint, London, England, Bloomsbury, 2013.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 279.

Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam, eds. 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 37-82. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012, pp. 58-84, 113-123.

References

Abegg, Martin, Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, eds. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible. New York City, NY: Harper, 1999.

Alter, Robert, ed. The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary. New York City, NY: W. W. Norton, 2019.

Attridge, Harold W., Wayne A. Meeks, Jouette M. Bassler, Werner E. Lemke, Susan Niditch, and Eileen M. Schuller, eds. The HarperCollins Study Bible, Fully Revised and Updated Revised ed. New York City, NY: HarperOne, 2006.

Barker, Margaret. “Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion.” BYU Studies (Special Issue: The Worlds of Joseph Smith: A Bicentennial Conference at the Library of Congress) 44, no. 4 (2005): 69-82. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol44/iss4/9. (accessed November 22, 2018).

Bauckham, Richard. “The ‘Most High’ God and the nature of early Jewish monotheism.” In Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children: Christology and Community in Early Judaism and Christianity. Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado and Alan F. Segal, edited by David B. Capes, April D. DeConick, Helen K. Bond and Troy A. Miller, 39-53. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007.

Ben Tov, Yakov. 2017. The Book of Enoch, the Book of Moses, and the Question of Availability.  In Faith-Promoting Rumor. https://faithpromotingrumor.com/2017/09/24/the-book-of-enoch-the-book-of-moses-and-the-question-of-availability/ . Note that this blog post has since been removed without explanation, but was not disavowed by the author and was originally archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20181217192041/https://faithpromotingrumor.com/2017/09/24/the-book-of-enoch-thebook-of-moses-and-the-question-of-availability/. (accessed November 22, 2018). It seems that the archive.org version was removed, but the original article can now be found at: https://cdn.interpreterfoundation.org/ifpdf/Ben+Tov-Availability+of+1+Enoch%2C+Cirillo+error-The+Book+of+Enoch%2C+the+Book+of+Moses%2C+and+the+Question+of+Availability+%E2%80%93+FAITH-PROMOTING+RUMOR.pdf.

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Borsch, Frederick Houk. The Son of Man in Myth and History. The New Testament Library, ed. Alan Richardson, C. F. D. Moule, C. F. Evans and Floyd V. Filson. Philadelphia, PA: SCM-Westminster Press, 1967.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Ronan J. Head. “The investiture panel at Mari and rituals of divine kingship in the ancient Near East.” Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 4 (2012): 1-42. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. ““By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified”: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6.” In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43-237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020. www.templethemes.net.

Brenton, Lancelot C. L. 1851. The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2005.

Brown, S. Kent. “Man and Son of Man: Issues of theology and Christology.” In The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations from God, edited by H. Donl Peterson and Charles D. Tate, Jr., 57-72. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1989.

Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, A Cultural Biography of Mormonism’s Founder. New York City, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

Casey, Maurice. The Solution to the ‘Son of Man’ Problem. London, England: T&T Clark, 2009.

Charlesworth, James H. “Messianism in the pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon.” In Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, Papers Delivered at the Religious Studies Center Symposium, Brigham Young University, March 10-11, 1978, edited by Truman G. Madsen. Religious Studies Monograph Series 4, 99-137. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1978.

———. Jesus Within Judaism: New Light from Exicint Archaeological Discoveries. New York City, NY: Doubleday, 1988.

Chaviv, Yaakov ibn. 1516. Ein Yaakov: The Ethical and Inspirational Teachings of the Talmud. Lanham, MI: Jason Aronson / Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, 1999.

Dennis, Lane T., Wayne Grudem, J. I. Packer, C. John Collins, Thomas R. Schreiner, and Justin Taylor. English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008.

Gardner, Brant A. Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary of the Book of Mormon. 6 vols. Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007.

God’s only begotten Son.  In,  Herald Magazine. http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03ma_2.htm. (accessed August 8, 2020).

Hatch, Trevan G. “Messiah ben Joseph: Jewish traditions and legends of a latter-day restorer.” In The Religious Education Student Symposium, 37-56. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2007.

Idel, Moshe. Messianic Mystics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. 2 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003.

Levenson, Jon D. Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1993.

Levine, Amy-Jill, and Marc Zvi Brettler, eds. The Jewish Annotated New Testament: New Revised Standard Version Bible Translation. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Lucass, Shirley. The Concept of the Messiah in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Library of Second Temple Studies 78, ed. Lester L. Grabbe. London, England: T&T Clark, 2011. Reprint, London, England, Bloomsbury, 2013.

Marks, Herbert, Gerald Hammond, and Austin Busch. The English Bible: King James Version, A Norton Critical Edition. 2 vols. New York City, NY: W. W. Norton, 2012.

Neusner, Jacob. Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition. Binghamton, NY: Global Publications at SUNY Binghamton, 2001.

Nickelsburg, George W. E., ed. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 1-36; 81-108. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001.

———. Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003.

Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam, eds. 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 37-82. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.

Oden, Robert A., Jr. 1987. The Bible without Theology: The Theological Tradition and Alternatives to It. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Patai, Raphael. The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1979.

Philo. b. 20 BCE. “On the unchangeableness of God (Quod Deus Immutabilis Sit).” In Philo, edited by F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker. 12 vols. Vol. 3. Translated by F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker. The Loeb Classical Library 247, ed. Jeffrey Henderson, 1-101. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1930.

———. b. 20 BCE. “On the Migration of Abraham (De migratione Abrahamo).” In The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, edited by C. D. Yonge. New Updated ed. Translated by C. D. Yonge, 253-75. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.

Skousen, Royal. “The language of the original text of the Book of Mormon.” BYU Studies Quarterly 57, no. 3 (2018): 81-110. https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/language-original-text-book-mormon. (accessed August 15, 2019).

Tvedtnes, John A. Joseph Smith: The Lord’s Anointed. In, Meridian. http://www.meridianmagazine.com/jsbicentennial/051223js.html. (accessed September 6, 2009).

Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament. New York City, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887.

Waddell, James A. A Comparative Study of the Enochic Son of Mon and the Pauline Kyrios. London, England: T&T Clark, 2011.

Woodworth, Jed L. “Extra-biblical Enoch texts in early American culture.” In Archive of Restoration Culture: Summer Fellows’ Papers 1997-1999, edited by Richard Lyman Bushman, 185-93. Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History, 2000.

Wright, R. B. “Psalms of Solomon.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Vol. 2, 639-70. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.

Zinner, Samuel. Personal communication to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, August 17, 2018.

Notes for Figures

Figure 1. Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Photograph ID DSC05339.jpg (13 October 2012). For more on the interesting history of this bust, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, p. 117, caption to Figure M7-8.

Footnotes

 

1 Pearl of Great Price Central, “Enoch’s Prophetic Commission: Introduction,” Book of Moses Insight #1 (May 1, 2020).

2 Moses 6:36–37.

3 R. Skousen, Language of the Original Text, p. 104.

4 Book of Moses Insight #16, forthcoming.

5 M. Barker, Joseph Smith and Preexilic, pp. 79–80. Shirley Lucass concurs, noting the increasing acceptance of this writes (S. Lucass, Concept of the Messiah, p. 193):

The suggestion that Jesus is Yahweh, although ancient in itself, is beginning to be rediscovered and reprised. For Christianity, it presents no conflict of interest, even though it may initially cause surprise.

Commenting on relevant traditions in Judaism, Lucass writes (ibid., p. 192):

Philo introduced the idea of the Logos figure as an intermediary, whilst the Memra of the Targumim provides another example. This is also acknowledge by Idel (M. Idel, Messianic Mystics, p. 41):

In some instances, the Messiah has been conceived also as the representative of the divine in this world. The very fact that the phrase meshiaḥ Yhwh recurs in the sources shows that special connection between him and God. This nexus could sometimes be stronger and richer, as it later became in Christian theology and in the ecstatic Kabbalah and Sabbateanism, or less evidently, in some other cases in Jewish sources, though such a view is found also in the Rabbinic literature, where the Messiah is described as one of the three entities designated by the Tetragrammaton.

6 1 Nephi 13:40.

7 Mosiah 3:8; 3 Nephi 5:5.

8 James Charlesworth laments: “It is distressing to find that most publications on the messianisms of 1 Enoch are vitiated by the failure to perceive the heterogeneous nature of the ‘five books’ within 1 Enoch and the equation of ‘the Messiah’ with other messianic titles” (J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, p. 134 n. 45).

9 Y. Ben Tov, Book of Enoch. The eminent Latter-day Saint historian Richard L. Bushman has likewise concluded that the principal themes of “Laurence’s 105 translated chapters do not resemble Joseph Smith’s Enoch in any obvious way” (R. L. Bushman, Rough Stone, p. 138). See the similar conclusions of historian Jed L. Woodworth (J. L. Woodworth, Enoch, pp. 190–192.

10 J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, p. 113. See, e.g., G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 48:10, p. 166; 52:4, p. 187.

11 J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, p. 121. Only five Jewish works within the fifty pseudepigraphal documents surveyed by Charlesworth contain explicit messianic ideas or titles, though a few more “employ messianic titles other than ‘the Messiah’ and its derivatives” (ibid., p. 123).

12 For further discussion, see {Bradshaw, 2014 #4031}, pp. 36, 78–79, 117, 153–154.

13 In addition to Genesis 22:2, 12, 16, the masculine form yāḥîd occurs in Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zechariah 12:10; and Proverbs 4:3.

14 L. C. L. Brenton, Septuagint, Psalms 21:20, p. 710: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my only-begotten (monogenēs) from the power of the dog.”

By way of contrast, the term used in the Hebrew text of Psalm 22:20 (yāḥîd, literally “my only one” [see, e.g., M. Abegg, Jr., et al., Scrolls Bible, p. 751 n. b; H. Marks, et al., English Bible, 1:977 n. 22:20]) is translated variously and with more difficulty in English Bibles as “my life” (H. W. Attridge, et al., HarperCollins Study Bible, p. 751), “my precious life” (L. T. Dennis, et al., ESV, p. 965), or “darling” in the King James Bible—the latter twp renderings preferring to prioritize the sense of emotional attachment conveyed by the term agapētos (beloved) over the literal biological relationship stressed in the term monogenēs (only begotten). Similarly, the Septuagint’s choice of the word agapētos instead of monogenēs in the Greek translation of the Hebrew yāḥîd in Genesis 22:2, 12, 16 emphasizes Abraham’s unique love for his only son Isaac (Genesis 22:2—“thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest”) and is paralleled in the Greek New Testament’s choice of agapētos instead of monogenēs to emphasize the Father’s unique love for His only begotten Son (Matthew 3:17 and 17:5—“This is my beloved son”). For more on this topic, see God’s only begotten Son, God’s Only Begotten Son.

Incidentally, the Septuagint (agreeing with a Dead Sea Scroll found at Naḥal Ḥever) also provides a reading of an earlier verse in the same Psalm that is meaningful to Christians: “They pierced my hands and my feet” (L. C. L. Brenton, Septuagint, Psalms 21:16, p. 710; M. Abegg, Jr., et al., Scrolls Bible, Psalm 22:16, p. 519). The eminent Hebrew Bible translator Robert Alter notes that “the received Hebrew text [for that phrase]—literally ‘like a lion my hands and feet’ makes no sense.” So he translates the phrase as “they bound my hands and feet,” though admitting that there is “no ancient textual warrant for this reading” (R. Alter, Hebrew Bible, 3:68 n. 17).

15 See, e.g., John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9.

16 See Hebrews 11:17.

17 S. Zinner, August 17 2018. See Philo, Abraham, 23–24, p. 255.

18 “God having sown and generated an excellent offspring” (Philo, Abraham, 142, p. 266). According to Samuel Zinner (S. Zinner, August 17, 2018), this refers to the idea that, in addition to the preeminent Moses, Isaac is the Logos, born of God, as are also Abraham and Jacob. See also Philo, Unchangeableness, 4, p. 13: “the perfect Abraham … brings to God the dearly loved, the only trueborn offspring of the soul, that clearest image of self-learned wisdom, named Isaac.”

19 Cf. D&C 76:54, 67, 71, 94, 102; 77:11; 78:21; 88:5; 93:22; 107:19.

20 D&C 93:1. See also Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7; Colossians 1:15.

21 The full passage reads as follows (M. R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 4:553):

And church of the first-born which are written in heaven (καὶ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρωτοτόκων ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς). This forms a distinct clause; “and to the church,” etc. For ἐκκλησία assembly or church, see on Matthew 16:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:1. The “myriads” embrace not only angels, but redeemed men, enrolled as citizens of the heavenly commonwealth, and entitled to the rights and privileges of first-born sons. Πρωτότοκος first-born is applied mostly to Christ in New Testament. See Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, 18; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 1:5. Compare Hebrews 11:28, and L. 2:7. Properly applied to Christians by virtue of their union with Christ, “the first-born of all creation,” “the first-born from the dead,” as sharing his sonship and heirship. See Romans 8:14–17, 29. The word also points to Christians as the true Israel of God. The analogy is suggested with the first-born of Israel, to whom peculiar sanctity attached, and whose consecration to himself God enjoined (Exodus 13:1, 11–16); and with the further application of the term first-born to Israel as a people, Exodus 4:22. The way was thus prepared for its application to the Messiah. There seems, moreover, to be a clear reference to the case of Esau (ver. 16). Esau was the first-born of the twin sons of Isaac (Genesis 25:25). He sold his birthright (πρωτοτοκία), and thus forfeited the privilege of the first-born. The assembly to which Christian believers are introduced is composed of those who have not thus parted with their birthright, but have retained the privileges of the first-born. The phrase “church of the first-born” includes all who have possessed and retained their heavenly birthright, living or dead, of both dispensations: the whole Israel of God, although it is quite likely that the Christian church may have been most prominent in the writer’s thought.

Which are written in heaven (ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς). Ἀπογράφειν, only here and L. 2:1, 3, 5, means to write off or copy; to enter in a register the names, property, and income of men. Hence, ἀπογραφή an enrolment. See on L. 2:1, 2. Here, inscribed as members of the heavenly commonwealth; citizens of heaven; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8, etc. See for the image, Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1; L. 10:20.

22 D&C 84:38. Cf. Luke 15:31.

23 Romans 8:29.

24 See, e.g., J. D. Levenson, Death and Resurrection.

25 F. H. Borsch, Son of Man, pp. 55–88.

26 Aramaic bar ʾĕnāš = Hebrew ben-ʾādăm as in Psalm 8:5 (MT 4).

27 G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, 46:2–4, p. 153; 48:2, p. 166; 60:10, p. 233; 62:5, 7, 9, 14, p. 254; 63:11, p. 255; 69:26–27, 29, p. 311; 70:1, p. 315; 71:14, 17, p. 321. Many articles and books have been devoted to the idea of the “Son of Man” in the Book of Parables. As a small sampling of such volumes, see J. A. Waddell, Comparative Study; M. Casey, Solution; F. H. Borsch, Son of Man; F. H. Borsch, Christian and Gnostic.

28 Moses 7:24, 47, 54, 56, 59, 65. Interestingly, Brant Gardner observes that although (B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, p. 222):

“Son of Man” appears eighty-seven times in the New Testament, … it appears only once in the Book of Mormon, in spite of the many times that Joseph Smith used New Testament phrases or verses in his translations of the Book of Mormon. That single occurrence is a quotation from Isaiah 51:12 (2 Nephi 8:12). Why is this title never used? I believe that it is because Book of Mormon peoples never experience the Messiah as the “Son of Man,” or as a human. They experience him only as a God. They experience him only as a God—either as Yahweh in heaven, or as the resurrected and clearly more-than-man Messiah in Bountiful.

Similarly, “the apostle Paul never uses the term ‘son of man’ (the term would have been meaningless to his Gentile audience),” though “a number of Pauline texts indicate that he was aware of Synoptic traditions about the coming son of man preserved in both Mark 13 and Q (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17; cf. Mark 13:26–27; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; cf. Matthew 24:42–44 and Luke 12:37–40; cf. also 1 Thessalonians 5:3–17 with Luke 21:34–36). Moreover his references to Jesus’ function as judge in God’s behalf may well derive from this son of man tradition, although his operative title in these contexts is ‘Lord’” (G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Judaism, pp. 110–111. See, more generally, pp. 104–112).

29 Moses 7:39. Cf. Moses 4:2. See G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, 39:6, p. 111; 40:5, p. 130; 45:3–4, p. 148; 49:2, 4, p. 166; 51:5a, 3, p. 180; 52:6, 9, p. 187; 53:6, p. 194; 55:4, p. 198; 61:5, 8, 10, pp. 243, 247; 62:1, p. 254.

30 In other words, “Messiah.” See Moses 7:53. See G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 48:10, p. 166; 52:4, p. 187.

31 Moses 6:57; 7:45, 47, 67. See G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 38:2, p. 95; 53:6, p. 194. The term also appears by implication in 39:6, p. 111; 46:3, p. 153; 49:2, p. 166; 62:2–3, p. 254.

32 G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, p. 119, emphasis added. The entire discussion is found on pp. 113–23. Cf. J. H. Charlesworth, Jesus Within Judaism, p. 39: “Clearly, [the heavenly Son of Man, the Messiah, the Elect One (Chosen), and the Righteous One] are four terms for the same intermediary of God.” For additional discussion of the “Son of Man” title from a Latter-day Saint perspective, see S. K. Brown, Man and Son of Man. For more on the debate surrounding this title, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, p. 191, ENDNOTE M7–16.

33 F. H. Borsch, Son of Man, p. 152 n. 4. Additional context is provided by Borsch in this more complete citation (ibid., pp. 152, 153, 152 n. 4):

[We are] reminded … of the king who is thought to ascend to the heavenly realms, falls down before his god, is raised up by the priest, calls out to the god and is proclaimed to be the counterpart and ancestor, that one who was before the Creation, he who can be thought now to have an existence in heaven, the first of kings, the Man, or (emphasizing the idea of a counterpart) the Son of Man. The earthly king mounts to the throne of his primeval (now heavenly) ancestor [i.e., the heavenly “Adam.” See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, pp. 603–605] and becomes him, or, if you will, becomes his representative. The Son of Man, who is to be the king-Man, is now named and enthroned. … We would therefore conclude that in this conception of the Son of Man, whom Enoch becomes, aspects of the language and imagery from the ancient enthronement rites of the royal Man are given a new life. …
Originally the idea seems to have been that the true heavenly one was the Man, his counterpart being his son. Yet, since the son would ascend to become the Man and thus be the Man as the Son of Man, it is not hard to see, as we have pointed out earlier, how and why the true heavenly one could be called the Son of Man. Logically, then, the new Son of Man should be called the Son of the Son of Man, but few would bother with such a nicety in this context (though the later gnostics … appear to have taken up this aspect of the matter and to have spoken of a Man and a Son of Man and even a third in this sequence).

For a discussion of more recent research, briefly describing both critiques (M. Casey, Solution) and new extensions to Borsch’s arguments (J. A. Waddell, Comparative Study), see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, pp. 190–191 n. M7-14. For related Latter-day Saint teachings relating to the terms “Ahman” and “Son Ahman” to refer to God and the Son of God (Jesus Christ), see ibid., p. 78 Commentary 6:57c. For an insightful essay that untangles some of the confusion about the role of Jesus Christ as both a Father and a Son, see B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, Excursus: The Nephite Understanding of God, pp. 214–222. On the weakening of this concept in some strands of Second Temple Judaism in the interests of preserving the idea of strict monotheism, see R. Bauckham, Most High God.

34 S. Lucass, Concept of the Messiah, p. 190.

35 J. H. Charlesworth, Jesus Within Judaism, p. 42. See Mark 1:22, 7:37, 11:18; Matthew 7:28; Luke 4:32, 19:48; John 7:46.

36 1 Enoch 62–63, 69.

37 R. Patai, Messiah, Kindle Edition, Location 306 of 7941.

38 Importantly, Patai includes a collection of sources on Messiah ben Joseph in ibid., pp. 165–170. See also T. G. Hatch, Messiah ben Joseph; J. A. Tvedtnes, Lord’s Anointed; J. M. Bradshaw et al., By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified (TMZ 4), p. 112; J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, pp. 113–114, 133–134 n. 35.

39 A.-J. Levine et al., Jewish Annotated, p. 3 n. 1. On the Messiah as the son of David in the Old Testament and rabbinic literature, see Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5, Y. i. Chaviv, Ein Yaakov, Sukkah 52a, p. 228; ibid., Sanhedrin 97a, pp. 661–662.

40 J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, p. 113.

41 S. Lucass, Concpet of the Messiah, p. 190. Lucass continues (ibid., pp. 197, 198, 199):

Both Isaiah 52:13–53:12 and Psalm 22 do reflect the role of the king/Anointed in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Servant figure of Isaiah being a “type” of the king whose whole closely resembled that of the king, a role which, in turn, was found to reflect that of the surrounding cultures, the practice of sacral kingship and the central role played out in the New Year festival. It was also demonstrated from the Psalms that at this festival the king was “abandoned” by Yahweh and his followers, that he underwent a form of cultic humiliation, followed by a ritual in which he battled with Yahweh/Israel’s enemies (physical and spiritual) in the form of the Chaos Waters. He subsequently “descended to the underworld,” was rescued by Yahweh (resurrected) and was enthroned, whereupon he became “Son of God”/Yahweh. A comparison with the New Testament revealed that each of these points is reflected in Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. Furthermore, Jesus’ role is referred to frequently in terms of the Servant’s role in Isaiah. …
Whilst it may be claimed that Rabbinic Judaism jettisoned the idea of a suffering messiah (although that fails to account for the Messiah ben Joseph and the Rabbinic doctrine of vicarious suffering as atonement, as well as the messianic interpretation of the Suffering Servant passage of Isaiah 52:13–53:12), it is no longer possible to claim that the messiahship of Jesus is “un-Jewish” because he suffered, died, and was resurrected. …
Peter’s message about Jesus … was not relayed as an innovation but as fulfillment of prophecy: “What God foretold by the mouth of the prophets that his Christ should suffer he thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18). …The important thing here is that Jewish disciples were demonstrating from the Hebrew scriptures to other Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, and that it was necessary for him to suffer, die, and rise from the dead (Acts 17:1).
While the foregoing ideas relating to kingship have been critiqued as excesses of myth-ritual concepts that were popular among some scholars in former decades, Robert Oden, among others, has outlined necessary qualifications whereby such excesses can give way to more balanced scholarship (R. A. Oden, Jr., Bible without Theology, pp. 64–70). For a comparative study of the ancient Near Eastern rituals of kingship and the Bible and their relevance for Latter-day Saint temple worship, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., Investiture Panel.

42 J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, p. 115.

43 R. B. Wright, Psalms of Solomon, 17:24, p. 667. Cf. 17:33, p. 668.

44 J. A. Waddell, Comparative Study, p. 48.

45 Ibid., p. 49.

46 See, e.g., 2 Nephi 3:15, 25:19.

47 Compare the figures of Joshua the (anointed) High Priest in Zechariah 3 and the Messiah/Anointed One in Daniel 9:25–26.

48 J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, pp. 124, 125.

49 J. H. Charlesworth, Messianism, pp. 124, 125.

50 Compare John 5:27: “And [the Father] hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” For a comparison of the claims of Jesus in this verse to related ideas in the Old Testament (Moses, Daniel) and the pseudepigraphal literature, see C. S. Keener, John, 1:651–52. Paul refers to Jesus Christ by the titles “the Lord [ho kyrios], the righteous judge [ho dikaios kritēs]” in 2 Timothy 4:8.

51 For example, G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, 69:27 (311): “and the whole judgment was given to the Son of Man.”

52 See ibid., pp. 49–50.

53 Ibid., p. 119.

54 S. Lucass, Concept of the Messiah, p. 209.

55 J. Neusner, Jews and Christians, p. 49.

The Teachings of Enoch: Enoch as a Teacher

Book of Moses Insight #14

Moses 6:51–68

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

Enoch Teaches the Plan of Salvation

In reviewing ancient and modern threads that highlight Enoch’s roles as a missionary, prophet, and visionary, we must not overlook his effectiveness as a teacher. Among the most precious and significant insights he conveyed to the people is the sequence described in Moses 6:60, whereby all people may be “born again into the kingdom of heaven”1:

For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified.

Hugh Nibley described Moses 6:51–68 as an “excerpt from the Book of Adam.”2 Genesis 5:1 mentions “the book of the generations of Adam” as a source document for the material recorded in that chapter. Moses 6:8 characterizes the “book of the generations of Adam” as “a genealogy” that “was kept of the children of God”—i.e., a record of those who had been “born again into the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (v. 59) or those who had received the ordinances set forth for that purpose.

Thus, Moses 6:51–68 may have formed part of the “book of remembrance” mentioned in Moses 6:46, a record similar in function to the “book of remembrance” written for those who would become the Lord’s sĕgullâ—his “jewels” or “special possession” (NRSV); or, rather, his specially marked or “sealed” possession—mentioned in Malachi 3:16. Its function as a record of genealogy and ordinances may have been like the “book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation” envisioned by Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants 128:2,3 a verse which quotes Malachi 3:2–3. Note that the Holy Spirit of Promise is the “sealer” and the “record of heaven,”4 as further described below.

The setting for Moses 6:51–68 is a sermon by Enoch. A notation in the handwriting of John Whitmer on the OT1 manuscript above Moses 6:52b reads “The Plan of Salvation.”5 The verses that follow were sometimes cited by early leaders of the Church as evidence for the continuity of the plan of salvation from the time of Adam and Eve to our day.6

The Meaning of the Name Enoch

Significantly, Enoch (Henoch or Hanoch, Heb. ḥănôk) sounds identical to the Hebrew passive participle of the verbal root ḥnk, “train up” “dedicate.”7 Thus, for a Hebrew speaker, the name ḥănôk/Enoch would evoke “trained up” or “initiated” — bringing to mind not only the general role of a teacher, but also the idea of someone who was familiar with the temple and could train and initiate others as a hierophant. Before it became the name of the post-Mosaic Feast of Dedication, the Hebrew noun ḥănukkâ had reference to the “consecration” or “dedication” of the temple altar,8 including the sacred dedication of the altar for Solomon’s temple.9

Strengthening the connection of Enoch’s name to the temple, we note that in Egyptian, the ḥnk verbal root denotes to “present s[ome]one” with something, to “offer s[ome]thing” or, without a direct object, to “make an offering.”10 The Egyptian nouns ḥnk and ḥnkt denote “offerings.”11 In other words, it is a cultic term with reference to cultic offerings.

Thus, when we read Moses 6:21: “And Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God,” we should not take this as merely a general statement that Enoch knew something about religious matters, but specifically that he was familiar with temple rites and what we would today call “the doctrine of Christ.”12 This theme is reiterated in Moses 6:57–58:

Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time. Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children …

This gospel “teaching” is a key theme of Moses 6–7.13

Going further, a form of the verb ḥnk (nearly homonymous with ḥănôk/Enoch) is the key term in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up [ḥănōk] a child in the way [i.e., the temple, the doctrine of Christ] he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Indeed, Lehi appears to recite this very proverb when he says to the children of Laman and Lemuel: “But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up [i.e., ḥnk] in the way [i.e., the doctrine of Christ, the temple; cf. 2 Nephi 31–32] ye should go ye will not depart from it.”14

Enoch initially describes himself as an uninitiated “lad” lacking power of speech: “Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?”15 David, early in his career, is similarly described as an ʿelem (“young man,” “youth,” “lad,” pausal ʿālem) in 1 Samuel 17:56 and Jonathan’s servant is described synonymously as both a naʿar (“young man,” “lad”) and an ʿelem in 1 Samuel 20:22. One of the etymological associations suggested for ʿelem is that it “is related to the root of [ʿwlm], “unknowing, uninitiated.”16 In Arabic ʿlm is the primary verb for “to know.” Alma the Elder, whose name derives from ʿelem, is introduced into the Book of Mormon as a “young man” who “believed the words of Abinadi” (Mosiah 17:2)17 and then taught those words18 on his way to becoming the founder of what became the Nephite church and a religious movement. The aforementioned biographical description of Alma harks back to Nephi’s autobiography: “I, Nephi [nfr > nfi =good], having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father … yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God,”; “I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father.”19 Part of Enoch’s transformation into the powerful speaker and teacher par excellence involved moving beyond one who had been “taught in all the ways of God” to one who taught all the ways of God—the doctrine of Christ—and “walked with God,”20 including walking in His ways.

The theme of the doctrine of Christ brings us to the essential role of the saving ordinances, including not only baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost but also the essential ordinances of the temple.21 Hugh Nibley cited the Enoch scholar André Caquot as saying that Enoch is:22

“in the center of a study of matters dealing with initiation in the literature of Israel.”23 Enoch is the great initiate who becomes the great initiator.24 … The Hebrew book of Enoch bore the title of Hekhalot, referring to the various chambers or stages of initiation in the temple.25 Enoch, having reached the final stage, becomes the Metatron to initiate and guide others.26 “I will not say but what Enoch had Temples and officiated therein,” said Brigham Young, “but we have no account of it.”27 Today we do have such accounts.

The Structure of Moses 6:51–68

The scripture passage that summarizes Enoch’s teaching is elegantly laid out. Verses 51–68 form a beautiful formal structure of several parts that is outlined in provisional form in the Appendix. The passage epitomizes the saving ordinances, highlighting the symbolism of water, the Spirit, and the blood of Jesus Christ as the means of sanctification. After a summary description of God’s culminating promise to the sanctified, Adam obediently hearkens to all these commandments and receives the blessings associated with that promise, becoming a son of God.

In verse 51, the Father opens the passage by appealing to His role as the Creator, a theme that is characteristic of the record of Enoch’s ministry. Outside the chapters that describe Creation itself, there appears to be no more significant clustering of verses in scripture referring to the specific theme of God as the author of all things than we have in Moses 6.28 Naturally, the theme of Creation is foundational to the story of the Fall and the Atonement that will be summarized later in the passage. However, in addition, Benjamin McGuire observes that this verse serves “as a motive clause of the sort we might anticipate from an Old Testament text.”29 Since God “has called man and the universe into being, man owes Him obedience and is subject to His commandments,” including the commandments to hearken, to believe, to repent, and to be baptized that are outlined in verse 52.

The passage proper opens in verse 52. The verse is a firsthand statement from God wherein He, as the Maker of the world and of men (see verse 51), summarizes the commandments underlying the plan of salvation one by one — namely, to hearken (A), believe (B), repent (C), and be baptized (D). Then, in verses 53–60, He motivates the first three commandments one by one in reverse order (i.e., D’, C’, B’) within what seems to be a succession of ladder-like rhetorical cascades that culminate in a promise of sanctification through “the blood of [His] Only Begotten.”30

Verse 61 is an explanation of that culminating promise. It must be understood that the sure knowledge provided by the “record of heaven”31 that is promised to Adam and Eve and their posterity in verse 61 is more than the prefatory witness that comes to those who have “receive[d] the Holy Ghost.”32 Rather, as we describe in more detail in other Insights,33 this knowledge is associated with the sealing power.

Verses 62–63 also seem to constitute an explanation, reiterating the central role of Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation and testifying that all things bear record of Him.

Verses 64–65 recount how, in response to God’s explanation of the “plan of salvation,” Adam hearkened (A’) without hesitation to the voice of the Father by obeying the commandments he had just been given (i.e., B, C, D).34 Once having demonstrated his faithfulness in all things, Adam also received the promised “record of heaven”35 described in verse 66 more specifically as the “record of the Father, and the Son” that declared his election sure through “a voice out of heaven.”36 Having had “all things confirmed unto [him] by an holy ordinance,”37 Adam had been “born again into the kingdom of heaven of water, and of the Spirit, and … cleansed by blood,” thus having become a “son of God”38 in the full sense of the term.39

In subsequent Insights we will discuss the title “Son of Man” in the Bible and in 1 Enoch’s Book of Parables. Then we will explore the signification of the Father’s succinct description of the plan of salvation in Moses 6:60 as taught by Enoch, whose name, both in ancient and modern times, is invariably associated with the earthly and heavenly temple:

For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified.

This article is adapted from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “Truth and Baauty in the Book of Moses.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 10 November 2018, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. Temple on Mount Zion 5, in preparation. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 75-85.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “Truth and Beauty in the Book of Moses.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 10 November 2018, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. Temple on Mount Zion 5, in preparation. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books.

Christofferson, D. Todd. “Born again.” Ensign 38, May 2008, 76-79.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 101-106.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 144-154.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 277-281.

Appendix: A Provisional Proposal for Structuring Moses 6:51–58

We suggest the following provisional proposal for structuring Moses 6:51–58:

1. Motive clause, appealing to God’s role as the Creator to justify His commandments

2. Résumé of the commandments to hearken (A), believe (B), repent (C), and be baptized (D) (vv. 51–52). Then, in reverse order of these commandments:

a. Why one must be baptized (D’, vv. 53–54)

b. Why one must repent in preparation for baptism (C’, vv. 55–57)

c. What one must believe and understand in order to awaken a desire for repentance (B’, vv. 58–60)

d. Explanation of the culminating promise made to the sanctified: They shall receive the “record of heaven,” being thus sealed up to eternal life (v. 61)

3. Explanation of the central role of the Only Begotten:

a. The “plan of salvation” comes through the blood of the Only Begotten (v. 62)

b. All things bear record of the Only Begotten (v. 63)

4. Adam hearkens (A’) to the voice of the Lord by obeying the commandments outlined above (i.e., B, C, D) (vv. 64–66)

5. Adam then receives the promised “record of the Father, and the Son” wherein the Father declares the sonship of Adam.40 The Father then adds: “Thus may all become my sons” (vv. 66–68). In other words, thus may all be made “kings and priests unto God.”41

The structure proposed above is applied to the verses in full below. The text below generally follows the OT1 manuscript as originally dictated, with spelling, grammar, and punctuation modernized. Exceptions and notable differences in subsequent editions are shown in square brackets and described in the endnotes. Italicized text within brackets indicates phrases added to clarify implicit parallels. Different colors indicate different speakers: blue for God, green for Enoch, and black for the narrator. We are grateful to Noel Reynolds for sharing his expertise in structuring scripture, though any resulting faults are ours.

References

Alexander, Philip S. “3 (Hebrew Apocalypse of) Enoch.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. Vol. 1, 223-315. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.

———. “From son of Adam to second God: Transformations of the biblical Enoch.” In Biblical Figures Outside the Bible, edited by Michael E. Stone and Theodore A. Bergren, 87-122. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1998.

Andrus, Hyrum L. Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1970.

Bowen, Matthew L. “Alma — Young man, hidden prophet.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 19 (22 April 2016): 343-53. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/alma-young-man-hidden-prophet/. (accessed 28 August 2016).

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. “Faith, hope, and charity: The ‘three principal rounds’ of the ladder of heavenly ascent.” In “To Seek the Law of the Lord”: Essays in Honor of John W. Welch, edited by Paul Y. Hoskisson and Daniel C. Peterson, 59-112. Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation, 2017. www.templethemes.net.

Caquot, André. “Pour une étude de l’initiation dans l’ancien Israel.” In Initiation, edited by C. Bleeker, 119-33. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1965.

Faulkner, Raymond O. 1962. A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Oxford, England: Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, 1991. https://community.dur.ac.uk/penelope.wilson/Hieroglyphs/Faulkner-A-Concise-Dictionary-of-Middle-Egyptian-1991.pdf. (accessed March 18, 2020).

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

Faulring, Scott H., and Kent P. Jackson, eds. Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible Electronic Library (JSTEL) CD-ROM. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. Religious Studies Center, Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2011.

Halivni, David Weis. Midrash, Mishnah, and Gemara: The Jewish Predilection for Justified Law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986.

Jackson, Kent P. The Book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 2005. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/book-moses-and-joseph-smith-translation-manuscripts. (accessed August 26, 2016).

Koehler, Ludwig, Walter Baumgartner, Johann Jakob Stamm, M. E. J. Richardson, G. J. Jongeling-Vos, and L. J. de Regt. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. 4 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1994.

McGuire, Benjamin L. E-mail message to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, May 15, 2013.

Mopsik, Charles, ed. Le Livre Hébreu d’Hénoch ou Livre des Palais. Les Dix Paroles, ed. Charles Mopsik. Lagrasse, France: Éditions Verdier, 1989.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986.

———. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004.

Pratt, Orson. 1873. “The ancient gospel; Adam’s transgression, and man’s redemption from its penalty, etc. (A sermon by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, September 11, 1859).” In Journal of Discourses. 26 vols. Vol. 7, 251-66. Liverpool and London, England: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1853-1886. Reprint, Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1966.

Reeves, John C. “Some explorations of the intertwining of Bible and Qur’an.” In Bible and Qur’an: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality, edited by John C. Reeves. Symposium Series 24, 43-60. Leiden, The Netherlands: Society of Biblical LIterature and Brill, 2004. https://books.google.com/books?id=WNId86Eu4TEC. (accessed May 12, 2020).

Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.

Young, Brigham. 1877. “The great privilege of having a temple completed; past efforts for this purpose; remarks on conduct; earth, heaven, and hell, looking at the Latter-day Saints; running after holes in the ground; arrangements for the future (Remarks by President Brigham Young, delivered at the temple, St. George, January 1, 1877).” In Journal of Discourses. 26 vols. Vol. 18, 303-05. Liverpool and London, England: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1853-1884. Reprint, Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1966.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 75-85.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “Beauty and Truth in the Book of Moses: Enoch Unfolds the Plan of Salvation.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 10 November 2018, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. Temple on Mount Zion 5, in preparation. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books.

Christofferson, D. Todd. “Born again.” Ensign 38, May 2008, 76-79.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 101-106.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 144-154.

Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 277-281.

Notes for Figures

Figure 1. Image from S. H. Faulring et al., JST Electronic Library.

Footnotes

 

1 Moses 6:59.

2 H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, p. 277.

3 Joseph Smith also quoted Revelation 20:12 which describes the judgment of the dead out of “books” that were written “according to their works” (see D&C 128:6–7).

4 Moses 6:61.

5 S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1 (p. 14 [Moses 6:52–64]), p. 101. See J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, Commentary Moses 6:51-a, p. 75. See also Moses 6:62.

6 See, for example, O. Pratt, 11 September 1859, pp. 251–253.

7 L. Koehler et al., Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 1:334.

8 Numbers 7:10–11, 84, 88.

9 See 2 Chronicles 7:9.

10 R. O. Faulkner, Concise Dictionary, p. 173.

11 Ibid., p. 173.

12 Hebrews 6:1; 2 John 1:9; 2 Nephi 31:2; 32:6; Jacob 7:2, 6; 3 Nephi 2:2. For a discussion of the temple-related ideas implicit in scriptural usages of this term, see J. M. Bradshaw, Faith, Hope, and Charity, pp. 78–111.

13 In Islam, Enoch is called Idrīs. The ninth-century Muslim scholar Ibn Qutayba attributed this name to Enoch “on account of the quantity of knowledge and religious practices which he learned [darasa] from the scripture of God” (J. C. Reeves, Some Explorations, p. 48). Thus (ibid., p. 49):

the name Idrīs reflects a wordplay on the verbal root darasa, which is in turn connected with the acquisition and promulgation of knowledge. Enoch becomes Idrīs to mark that character’s distinction in academic pursuits. Unsurprisingly, this is precisely the type of curriculum vita exhibited by the character Enoch within Jewish and Christian pseudepigraphal sources: he is the first to write, he becomes proficient in astronomical and calendrical lore, and he admonishes his contemporaries — the infamous dōr ha-mabbūl — to practice righteousness and true piety. These same collections of traditions often supply a series of reasons why Enoch deserved this boon, most of which revolve around his scholastic attainments and exemplary piety. Given his scholastic and moral attenments, and the well-attested intercultural popularity of the figure of Enoch as celestial voyager and purveyor of supernatural secrets, it should occasion little surprise that the Qur’ān and its early exegetes likewise signal a familiarity with these influential literary traditions.

14 2 Nephi 4:5.

15 Moses 6:31.

16 L. Koehler et al., Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 1:835. Citing Gerleman ZAW 91 (1979): 338–349.

17 M. L. Bowen, Alma.

18 Mosiah 18:1, 3.

19 1 Nephi 2:16.

20 Moses 6:34, 39; 7:69.

21 See J. M. Bradshaw, Faith, Hope, and Charity, pp. 78–111.

22 H. W. Nibley, Enoch, pp. 19–20.

23 A. Caquot, Pour une Étude, p. 121: “au centre d’une étude des thèmes initiatiques dans la littérature israélite : son nom se rattache à la racine … qui signifie en hébreu, ‘inaugurer’ ou ‘consacrer.’”

24 See ibid., p. 121.

25 See P. S. Alexander, 3 Enoch; C. Mopsik, Hénoch.

26 According to Philip Alexander (P. S. Alexander, From Son of Adam, p. 107 n. 31):

One very plausible etymology derives [the title Metatron] from the Latin metator [Greek mitator]. … The metator was the officer in the Roman army who went ahead of the column on the march to mark out the campsite where the troops would bivouac for the night. Hence, figuratively, ‘forerunner’” (see P. S. Alexander, 3 Enoch, p. 228).

Alexander further concludes that Metatron was “first incarnate in Adam and then reincarnate in Enoch” (P. S. Alexander, From Son of Adam, p. 111).

27 B. Young, 1 January 1877, p. 303.

28 Moses 6:33, 44, 51, 59, 63; 7:32–33, 36, 59, 64.

29 Benjamin McGuire comments (B. L. McGuire, May 15 2013):

This whole concept of “God … made you” (Moses 6:33) is one of the two general sorts of motive clauses used to justify commandments in the Old Testament (the other is, “I brought you out of Egypt”). In other words, consistently in the Old Testament, one of the reasons given for the people needing to obey the commandments is that God created them (and the world in general). For example, Havlini writes (D. W. Halivni, Midrash, pp. 11, 12–13):

But along with the individual motives there are also expressly general motives, serving as an overall justification for God to issue commandments. That right is granted Him by virtue of His being the creator of the universe, with a special claim on, the Israelites because He led them out of Egypt.

God as creator makes an even stronger claim: since He has called man and the universe into being, man owes Him obedience and is subject to His commandments. In His capacity as the creator, God could have imposed laws on any nation; but He chose to exercise His sovereignty over Abraham’s children because of the covenant He entered into with them. He singled them out by miraculously taking them out of slavery, freeing them from bondage.

Thus the two principal general motives, God as the creator (the beginning of the world) and God as the redeemer (the beginning of the national Jewish history), act as one.

Within this context, “God … made you” is clearly a motive clause of the sort we might anticipate from an Old Testament text in, e.g., Deuteronomy 32:6 or Isaiah 44:2: “Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb.”

30 Moses 6:62.

31 Moses 6:61.

32 Acts 8:15, 19; 2 Nephi 31:13; 32:5; 3 Nephi 28:18; 4 Nephi 1:1; D&C 25:8; 84:74; Moses 8:24.

33 See Book of Moses Insights #21 and #22, forthcoming.

34 Moses 6:64–65.

35 Moses 6:61.

36 Moses 6:66.

37 Moses 5:59.

38 Moses 6:68.

39 See Book of Moses Insight #21, forthcoming.

40 Cf., e.g., 3 Nephi 31:20: “thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”

41 Revelation 1:6.

42 “in the flesh” did not appear in OT1, but was added in OT2 (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 17 [Moses 6:40–53]).

43 OT1 reads “their transgressions.” A change to “thy transgressions” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 17 [Moses 6:40–53]).

44 OT1 reads “by water.” A change to “in water” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 17 [Moses 6:40–53]).

45 OT1 reads “which is full.” A change to “who is full” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 17 [Moses 6:40–53]).

46 See John 1:14; Alma 5:48; D&C 84:102; 93:11.

47 See Acts 4:12; 2 Nephi 25:20; 31:21; Mosiah 3:17; 5:8; D&C 18:23.

48 See Matthew 21:22; John 14:13; 15:16; 16:23; 1 John 5:13–15; Enos 1:15; Mosiah 4:21; 3 Nephi 18:20; 27:28; Moroni 7:26; D&C 29:6; D&C 50:29; 88:64. OT1 reads “& ye shall ask all things in his name & what ye shall ask it shall be giv[en]” A change to “and ye shall ask all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask it shall be given ” was made in OT2 (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 17 (Moses 6:40–53)). Though the OT2 addition correctly anticipates the gift of the Holy Ghost given after baptism, it seems to interrupt the flow of the overall passage, whose subject is Jesus Christ.

49 OT1 reads “by water.” A change to “in water” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 17 [Moses 6:40–53]).

50 OT1 reads “transgressions.” A change to “transgression” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 18 [Moses 6:53–63]).

51 OT1 reads “Christ.” A change to “the son of God” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 18 [Moses 6:53–63]).

52 H. L. Andrus, Doctrinal, pp. 247–248 comments on this phrase as follows:

Children are conceived on earth in sin. Thus all the effects of the fall were not abolished by the power of the atonement. The purpose of Adam’s transgression was to institute a fallen, probationary state in which man could be tested and proven in the new physical endowments of life he would receive on earth, and where he could learn to walk by faith in reliance upon God. To this end, certain corrupt elements became associated with the flesh as a result of the fall and the subsequent transgressions of man. “Because of the fall,” the brother of Jared therefore said in apology to the Lord, “our natures have become evil continually.” The corruption, or evil, in the flesh gives “the spirit of the devil power to captivate” and to bring man down to hell, if he yields to the desires of the flesh and the enticements of the Adversary. These elements of corruption and forces of sin are implanted in the flesh at conception, and for this reason the scripture states that man is conceived in sin. Man’s mortal body is organized in weakness as a corrupt body, whereas his resurrected body is organized in power as a spiritual body. Of the purpose of mortal weaknesses, the Lord said to Moroni (Ether 12:27):

if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

53 “another law and commandment.” We take this to mean that, in addition to D, the previously given law and commandment to be baptized, the Lord is now giving C, the law and commandment to repent.

54 OT1 reads “which shall com[e come.” A change to “which shall come ” was made in OT2 (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 18 [Moses 6:53–63]). We have included the phrase “in the meridian of time,” which is attested in OT1 in verse 62.

55 “I give unto you a commandment,” which we take to be referring back (implicitly) to B, the commandment to believe. “Therefore” was added in OT2 (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 18 [Moses 6:53–63]).

56 The italicized words were included in OT1 but were moved, modified, and truncated (e.g., leaving out “the mysteries of”) in OT2. OT2 reads: “ I give unto you a commandment to teach these things freely unto your Children Saying that in as much as they were born into the World by the fall which bringeth death by water and blood and the Spirit which I have made and so became of dust a living soul even so ye must be born again of water and the spirit and cleansed by blood even the blood of mine only begotten into the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven <Therefore, I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying, that by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, And in as much as they were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul; even so ye must be born again, into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine only begotten.>” (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63)). The OT2 version rather than the OT1 version is used in the 2013 edition of Moses 5:59.

57 OT1 reads “that in you is given the record of Heaven.” The change to “that in you is given the record of Heaven” was made in OT2 (ibid., s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63)).

58 Cf. Moses 6:66.

59 A change was made in OT2 in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon as a replacement for OT1’s “the Peac[i]ble things of immortal grory” [glory] (S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1 (p. 14), p. 102. Cf. D&C 36:2; 39:6; 42:61). Significantly, OT2 reads: “the peaceable things of immortal glory “ (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 18 (Moses 6:53–63)). Note that D&C 42:61 links the “peaceable things” with “the mysteries” as the results of revelation:

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

Following a decision by the RLDS publication committee in the preparation of their 1867 publication of the “Inspired Version,” Moses 6:61 uses the OT1 version rather than the OT2 version.

60 “through” was added in OT2 (K. P. Jackson, Book of Moses, s.v. OT2 Page 18 [Moses 6:53–63], p. 614).

61 OT1 and OT2 read “which.” This was changed to “who” in the preparation of the manuscript of the RLDS “Inspired Version” for publication.

62 H. L. Andrus, Doctrinal, pp. 257–258:

There are several symbolic elements in this statement by Paul. In baptism, man is buried with Christ into death, the “old man” being crucified with Christ. When the body is beneath the water, it is symbolic of Christ’s body in the tomb. As Christ was raised up by the glory of the Father, filled with a fulness of the Father’s divine nature, so should man come forth from the liquid tomb to a “newness of life,” being filled with the divine powers that are given in the new birth to abide in him. Finally, in baptism man is like a seed that must be planted in order to spring forth into a new life. God’s promise is that those who are planted together in the likeness of Christ’s death will be also in the likeness of His resurrection. The new life they will come forth to possess in the resurrection is eternal life, or the kind of glorified life that Christ possesses. Joseph Smith explained (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 20 March 1842, pp. 197–198. Original source: JS, Discourse, Nauvoo, IL, 20 March 1842, Wilford Woodruff, Diary, pp. 134-138 [p. 136]; handwriting of Wilford Woodruff; CHL, posted as interim content on The Joseph Smith Papers, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/discourse-20-march-1842-as-reported-by-wilford-woodruff/3 [accessed January 23, 2020]):

God has set many signs on the earth, as well as in the heavens; for instance, the oak of the forest, the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field, all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there; for it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle. Upon the same principle do I contend that baptism is a sign ordained of God, for the believer in Christ to take upon himself in order to enter into the kingdom of God, “for except ye are born of water and of the Spirit ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of God,” said the Savior. It is a sign and a commandment which God has set for man to enter into His kingdom. Those who seek to enter in any other way will seek in vain; for God will not receive them, neither will the angels acknowledge their works as accepted, for they have not obeyed the ordinances, nor attended to the signs which God ordained for the salvation of man, to prepare him for, and give him a title to, a celestial glory.

63 We take Adam’s full-hearted response, epitomized in his cry unto the Lord, as an indicator of his desire to obediently “hearken” (A) to the Lord’s commandments. Admittedly, since the term “hearken” or its equivalent does not explicitly appear in this passage, it is the weakest of the parallelisms to the list of commandments given in Moses 6:52.

64 We take this to be an interpolation of the narrator, explaining that Moses 6:67 refers to the “record of heaven” that was mentioned in Moses 6:61.

65 I.e., after the order of Jesus Christ, who was “made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:20. Cf. Psalm 110:4). Adam is thus made a priest “unto God” (see Revelation 1:6).

66 Cf. Psalm 2:7. Adam is thus made a king “unto God” (see Revelation 1:6).