8 Comments

  1. Michael Towns

    This is wonderful stuff. Definitely makes you stop and think about the temple ordinances and ponder it all a bit more than we typically do.

    For the vast majority of the Christian world, Enoch is a mystery. We LDS have been blessed with so much more knowledge about this incredible prophet, and great sources like 2 Enoch just give us more meat to chew on.

  2. Excellent post! 2 Enoch is one of the best and clearest examples of the Heavenly Ascent and transfiguration of a human into a heavenly figure who can abide the presence of God. It’s amazing how, when you look at more and more of these ancient documents, you begin to see this pattern all over. You see similar images in 1 Enoch, 3 Baruch, Testament of Levi, Apocalypse of Zephaniah, Ascension of Isaiah, Hymn of the Pearl, Macarian Homilies, and many others. Ascension through the various levels of Heaven, entering the Heavenly Temple, being anointed, clothed in garments of light/glory, serving in Priesthood duties in Heaven, seeing the Face of God–all are themes that occur repeatedly. These ideas seem to be so clear and prevalent–but not in the Old Testament. We see them somewhat more clearly in the New, but these precious themes are largely absent in the Scriptures. This may be partially due to the idea that these are sacred temple doctrines and were not to be written down, but it is also quite obvious that there was a systematic suppression of these themes by later “orthodoxy.” For example, why does St. Jude mention prophecies of Enoch (Jude 1:14), and it is obvious that the Christians read Enoch, but there is no Enoch in the Jewish/Christian canon of Scripture? The doctrines are just a little too glorious for some, it would seem.
    Thanks, Bryce, for the wonderful post.

  3. Thanks for your comments Michael and David. These themes do seem to appear with substantial frequency in the apocrypha/pseudepigrapha texts, but they are largely absent from the Old or New Testaments. John’s Revelation is the most complete apocalypse that the current canon of scripture gives, and even this starts to teach about temple topics such as garments, new names, crowns of glory, etc. that don’t appear often in the other scriptures. Perhaps Revelation had just enough allegory, metaphor, and symbolism that it was saved from the chopping block.

  4. Michael Towns

    Revelation, by the way, was on the chopping block for quite some time as I recall. Many of the early Church Fathers were somewhat distrustful of the book.

  5. Mark Greene

    A must read concerning Enoch is Margaret Barker’s book The Lost Prophet ( The Book of Enoch and its Influence on Christianity). As she says, “The recovery of Enoch prompts us to look more closely at what is all around us, less we too miss the ‘many splendoured thing'”. I was interested to read that Enoch was told by the Lord to “stand before my face”. Learning to stand in the presence of the Lord is a prominent scriptural (see Rev. 6:17; Mal. 3:2; Daniel 10:11; 1 John 4:17; Enos 1:27; 2 Chronicles 29:11) and temple teaching. In the Garden, Adam and Eve stood in the presence of God. After the Fall, they knelt at the altars of sacrifice. As the plan of redemption was revealed to them and they obeyed it, their confidence strengthened so they could again stand in God’s presence. This confidence came by the power of the Holy Order of the Son of God. This is the same sequence we learn in the temple, being frequently reminded that we can stand in the presence of God. This sequence is symbolic of our heavenly birth, our fall, and our redemption. Mark Greene

  6. Are there any Margaret Barker books that are not “must reads”? I have heard so much about her, and will shortly dive into her writing myself. I’m excited by what I will learn.

    Another book I haven’t gotten into yet is Nibley’s Enoch the Prophet, which is undoubtedly also a great book on Enoch literature.

    Great point about “standing before my face.” The goal of the plan of redemption is to bring Adam and Eve and their posterity back into the presence of God from whence they fell. The gospel and its saving ordinances are designed to do just that.

  7. Interestingly, my professor, Andrei Orlov, who is an Enoch scholar (and not LDS), has actually read “Enoch the Prophet” by Nibley. He really enjoyed it and respects Nibley as a great scholar.

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