Thursday, June 2, 2011

Enoch tells of Adam’s baptism and how God taught Adam the gospel

Previous to now I had read Enoch’s discourse in Moses 6:41-68 and I don’t know what I thought it was, but I wasn’t very impressed with it. But this time, I happened to notice something extraordinary that I had never noticed before—Enoch’s discourse has nested inside of it a fairly hefty conversation that God had with Adam on the first principles of the gospel (possibly excluding verse 54, which seems to be Enoch explaining how the doctrine of little children’s innocence was extrapolated). Here it is:
51 And he [God] called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.
53 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.

54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world. [I think these are Enoch's thoughts]

55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.
57 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.
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye 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; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.
64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen. (Moses 6:50-58)
It is described:
-how the voice of the Lord commanded Adam to do all those basic principles of the gospel,
-how Adam questioned the need to repent and be baptized,
-and how the Lord answered this question and taught about:
  • the fallen nature of man,
  • the agency of man,
  • the need for repentance,
  • the purity of the kingdom of God,
  • the coming judgment,
  • the way baptism is a rebirth,
  • and the role of the Holy Ghost.
  • And at the end, God identifies these teachings as the plan of salvation.
And when God had taught these things, Adam understood he needed to repent and be baptized, and he wanted to obey, and we can tell because it says “when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried to the Lord.” Adam undoubtedly prayed expressing his repentance and desire to be baptized, since the Lord does not force repentance or baptism upon anyone. “And he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.” (v64) After that, he experienced a spiritual rebirth as the Spirit of God descended upon him, and to make sure Adam knew what was happening to him, God’s voice out of heaven told him what he was feeling:
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen. (Moses 6:66-68)
I don’t know why I didn’t see all this before. Somehow in my previous readings I kept losing the sight of which words were Enoch’s and which were Enoch’s quotations of God’s instructions to Adam.

So why is this important? It shows Adam was instructed by the voice of the Lord on all the first principles of the gospel—faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. These principles are the same as what we are taught today. Enoch taught these same principles of the gospel by referring to the precedent set by Adam and using the same discourse the Lord gave to Adam. Enoch was using the story of Adam’s baptism to teach the people the first principles of the gospel, much like missionaries today use the discourse of Nephi in 2 Nephi 31. To me, this makes Enoch's discourse much more powerful.

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