Book of Moses Essay #24
With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
This Essay relates the end of the end for the wicked, and the beginning of the beginning for the people of God who start to lay the foundation of Zion. Similar events are well-attested in the ancient Enoch literature.
“The Earth Trembled and the Mountains Fled”
The Book of Moses records that when Enoch had finished prophesying to the people, “the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, … and the rivers of water turned out of their course.” The pattern whereby the voice of warning is immediately followed by the voice of the elements is also described in Doctrine and Covenants 88:89–90:
For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, … and also the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
In a previous Essay, we described ancient and modern witnesses to Enoch’s turning of rivers “out of their course.” In this section, we will describe similar ancient witnesses to the shattering seismic events that came “according to [the] command” of Enoch.
Whereas most of the prophecies of destruction in 1 Enoch describe events of the “latter days,” its Epistle of Enoch is also addressed to the “double audience” of Enoch’s living posterity, called his “sons.” Echoing the themes of Moses 6:46–47, Enoch reminds the sinners that their actions are recorded in a heavenly book of remembrance,” telling them that “from the angels inquiry will be made into your deeds in heaven.” Then, Enoch asks them:
When [the Most High] hurls against you the flood of the fire of your burning,
where will you flee and be saved?
And when he utters his voice against you with a mighty sound,
will you not be shaken and frightened?
The heavens and all the luminaries will be shaken with great fear;
and all the earth will be shaken and will tremble and be thrown into confusion.
All the angels will fulfill what was commanded them;
and all the sons of earth will seek to hide themselves from the presence of the Great Glory,
and they will be shaken and tremble.
And you, sinners, will be cursed forever;
You will have no peace.
Note that the passage from the Epistle cited above not only echoes the “trembling of the earth” in Moses 7:13 but also the shaking of the heavens in Moses 7:61. The shaking and trembling of the elements reverberates sympathetically to the shaking and trembling of the wicked, an ancient motif found in the Book of Moses that we have discussed in a previous Essay. The “curse upon all people that fought against God” in Moses 7:15 is consistent with the declaration in the Epistle that the sinners “will be cursed forever.”