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Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Old Testament Support of LDS views, part 2: Enoch and Zion

July 15, 2012
Enoch and Zion

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Gen 5:24)

The history and details of the man Enoch have been all but removed from our bibles, but through the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price (PGP) we gain a greater understanding of him.  We come to learn that Enoch was a very significant figure in the early history of the world, on the same level with Adam, Noah, and Abraham.  He preached to a wicked people and they repented, he and his people became so righteous that the entire city was eventually were taken up into heaven.  In Moses, we have the most fascinating exchanges between and Enoch and God where God teaches and converses with the prophet - a man who literally became the friend of God. 

Enoch is a character who also shows up in other ancient writings that are not in our bible.  Hugh Nibley has shown a great number of similarities between the Enoch story as described in the book of Moses, and the pseudepigraphic accounts of him (Nibley, Enoch the Prophet, 1986).  For example, in the book of Moses there is a touching conversation where Enoch is awestruck that the Lord weeps over the wickedness of the people.  This same story shows up in one of the Midrashim (ancient Rabbinical expositions, see Nibley, Enoch p. 5).  In our book of Moses, Enoch then begins to weep and refuses to be comforted.  The image of the weeping Enoch also is in the Syriac Apocalypse of Paul - where Paul sees him in vision and asks “who is this weeping angel?” he learns that “this is Enoch, the Teacher of Righteousness” (Nibley, p. 68).

Another example is the account in the book of Moses where the earth itself laments and mourns because of the wickedness of the people (Moses 7:48-49).  She asks, “When shall I rest, and be cleansed..?”  A similar account is in other apocryphal sources, where the earth itself accuses the people of great sins (Nibley, Enoch p. 12).  None of this is contained in the bible, these sources were not discovered until after the time Joseph Smith. 

Nibley finds 128 different quotations in the New Testament from apocryphal manuscripts of Enoch.  He mentions:

Since the  apocryphal writings have been discovered, we’ve recognized that Enoch is quoted all over the bible, and also frequently in the Book of Mormon.  That is very interesting since the Enoch literature has been discovered long since 1830.  (Nibley, Enoch p. 8).

The City of Zion

The story of a city of Enoch, that is called “Zion”, being taken up into heaven is also referred to in 2 Baruch (The Book of the Apocalypse of Baruch)  “Therefore have I now taken away Zion, that I may the more speedily visit the world in its season.” (2 Baruch 20:1-3)  Nibley also quotes from other sources, including the Apocryphon of John as he describes Enoch’s city as an “island of light in vast surrounding darkness, barricaded against the forces of destruction.” (p. 82)

The city of Enoch, or Zion as it is called, is not mentioned in Genesis. However, it is spoken of in many other places through the bible.  Sometimes the city of Jerusalem is referred to as Zion, as here:

Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. (2 Sam 5:7)

Most non-Mormons would probably assume that the biblical references to Zion are speaking about Jerusalem.  But in many other places through the bible, Zion is spoken of in the future tense - a distinct city, not Jerusalem but often the two cities are paired together, connected and similar.

And many people shall go up and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isa 2:3)

Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 1:16-17)

There will one day be two great world capitols, each with a temple of God there.  The people will seek out the temple to learn of the ways of God.

But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly and church of the firstborn...  (Heb. 12:22-23)

Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the Living God - or the city of Enoch which was taken up into heaven. 

“... and lo, Zion, in process of time was taken up into heaven.  And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold, mine abode forever.“ (Moses 7:21)

In July of 1831, the Lord revealed that the area of Independence Missouri was  “the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion” (D&C 57:1-2).  It was here that the saints were to gather, and were commanded to build a temple.  The expectation is that one day the heavenly Zion, or city of Enoch will return to earth and be joined with the city of Zion here in America.

Zion will have qualities of beauty and holiness above all.  Another name for Zion we find in scripture is “the perfection of beauty” (Ps. 50:2).

Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion (Ps 9:11)

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. 
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King.  (Ps 48:1-2)

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.  (Ps 50:2)

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.  (Isaiah 52:1)

The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob...  
And of Zion it shall be said, This and that high man was born in her: and highest himself shall establish her.  (Ps 87:2, 5).
The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.  (Isaiah 33:5)

What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and poor of his people shall trust in it.  (Isa 14:32)

When the messengers of the nations that are destroyed (refugees?) come to inquire what they should do - the answer of the Lord to them is, come to Zion.  The poor will be taken care of in Zion, another connection with the city of Enoch described in our Pearl of Great Price:

And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness, and there was no poor among them. (Moses 7:18)

From this verse we learn that Zion is not only a place, but also a people. Thus it makes perfect sense that the city of Jerusalem, and the Jews themselves when they were righteous would have been called Zion.  Zion is further defined by latter-day revelation as “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21).

Zion and the Temple

Zion is often connected with a holy mountain, the “mountain of the Lord”, the “mountain of his holiness” or simply “Mount Zion”.   According to Wikipedia (, there are two locations in Jerusalem that have been referred to as Mount Zion.  In ancient times, the hill where Solomon’s temple once stood, known today as the Temple Mount, was referred to as Mount Zion.  This is where the Dome of the Rock stands today.  This was also known as Mount Moriah, and is traditionally the site where Abraham bound Isaac.  The current location named Mount Zion is a different hill directly to the west of the old city Jerusalem, extending to the south. This location was identified by Josephus as Mount Zion.

Isaiah refers to Zion as being located in the “tops of the mountain” (Isa 2:2). But also clearly the mountain is the Temple.  The holy mountain is referred to as the “mountain of the Lord’s house”, and Zion the city could also be called a temple itself.  

Where there is no temple, the Lord has often commanded his prophets to come up to a physical mountain.  Such was the case of Moses and the children of Israel until they had completed building the tabernacle, which was itself a portable temple.  The Lord took Elijah up to a mountain, where he spoke to him there in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12).  The tradition continues with Nephi in the Book of Mormon. 

As I sat pondering in my heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, unto an exceedingly high mountain, which I had never before seen and upon which I had never before set my foot. (1 Nep 11:1)

The top of a mountain has many similarities with a temple.  It is a quiet place, a place for contemplation, to get one’s bearings and gain perspective.. looking down from far above, one sees how small and insignificant the things of the earth really are.  On the mountain, our vision is extended - we are able to “see afar off” as the Lord would have us to see (Moses 6:27).  

As in the temple, only the righteous who are qualified will be able to live in Zion:

14  The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
15  He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly...  (Isaiah 33:13-15)

Because the Lord himself will dwell in Zion, in his glorified state, to dwell with him is likened to dwelling in “everlasting burnings” and with “devouring fire”.  Any who are sinful are unable to dwell in his presence without withering and being destroyed.

20  Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
21 But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.
22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
(Isaiah 33:20-22)

The cities of Zion and Jerusalem are compared to a great tabernacles - or temples - with cords and stakes that are absolutely immovable.  These are holy cities, that will stand forever.  Those who inherit a place in these cities will be given a land of great beauty and peace, with beautiful rivers.  God will protect them. 

The City of Zion - A future day of Restoration

I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, the city of righteousness, the faithful city.
Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.  (Isa 1: 26-27)

From Isaiah who spoke the most of Zion, again we have the idea of a future time when there are these two great cities.  This is a time after the destructions that will come upon the world at the Lord’s second coming.   It’s after a time when Zion itself is purged of all wickedness and worldliness.

   And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.
   When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
   And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion and upon her assemblies, a cloud of smoke by day and the shining of the flaming fire by night... (Isa 4:3-5)

Each home in Zion will be like the ancient tabernacle of the Jews, each one like a temple, protected and guided as by the cloud of smoke during the day, and the flame of fire at night - in other words, the presence of Lord. 

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (Isa 24:23)

Again, Zion is connected to the time of the second coming, when the moon is darkened and the sun hides her light.  The Lord will come to reign in Zion, to be crowned King of the whole earth - both capitol cities - and the “ancients”, that is - the ancient patriarchs like Adam, Enoch, and Abraham are all present as well.

The prophet Joel prophesied:

15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
16  The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
17  So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
(Joel 3:15-17)

The Lord, in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph described what the message of our missionaries should be as we attempt to call people to come out of the world and into Zion before his Second coming.

8  Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.
9  And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people: Go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about.
10  Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.
11  Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.
12  Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion.
13  And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord's house.
14  Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.  (D&C 133:8-14)

Those nations who attempt to fight against Zion will be disappointed.  They will find that Zion is utterly protected, and impossible to defeat.

It shall be as even when a hungry man dreameth and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or as when thirsty man dreameth, and behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of the nations be that fight against mount Zion.  (Isa 29:8)

Continuing this theme of the Lord fighting for Zion:

4  For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey... so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
5  As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.    
9 And he [the Assyrian -- also representing any that fight against Zion] shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.
(Isaiah 31:4-5, 9)

Nephi, the Book of Mormon prophet, in explaining to his brothers the prophecies of Isaiah he had read to them, (Isaiah chapters 48 and 49), gave us this inspired interpretation:

And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it.
(1 Nephi 22:14)

And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded. But it is the kingdom of the devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh—
23  For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.
(1 Nephi 22:22-23)

And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.
27 And now behold, I, Nephi, say unto you that all these things must come according to the flesh.
28 But, behold, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel if it so be that they will repent.
(1 Nephi 22:26-28)

It appears that in the last days, when the world is becoming more and more wicked, when pride and anger have matured into violence and hate, and when wars erupt around the globe, Zion will be a place of peace and safety.  Zion will be protected by the Lord himself, the wicked will turn against themselves in their pride and hate, and in the end they will be destroyed by fire.

41 For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her;
42  And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven.
43  And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it.
(D&C 64:41-43)