Lesson 5: Enoch, Noah, and the Flood

Reading Preparation:
  • Genesis 5-11
  • Moses 6-8
Lesson Notes:
1. The Choice Between Good and Evil
Our opportunity to make choices began in the pre-existence before we came to earth. In the Grand Council, Our Heavenly Father presented a plan that would enable us, as his spirit children, to return to Him when our earth life was over. A major ingredient in this plan was our free agency. Knowing that we would break some of the commandments during our mortality, it was necessary a Savior be part of the plan. It was also necessary that during His mortal existence He would be without sin. Only then would He be able to take upon himself the sins of all of God’s children and, through His own suffering, be able to pay the price the law of justice required in order for mercy to be extended.
When the Father presented his plan for our consideration, Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, came forward and offered himself to be the Savior with all honor and glory to his Father. Lucifer, in opposition to the Father’s plan and to Jesus serving as the Redeemer, offered his own plan with himself as the Savior. His willingness to serve, however, was conditional. First, he promised the Father that under his plan, none would be lost and all would return. Second, he wanted both the honor and glory of the Father.
Satan’s plan was rejected by the Father. Two reasons were: (1) In order for all to return, the opportunity for individual choice was eliminated thus violating an essential ingredient in the Father’s plan, and (2) The glory and honor the Father had gained could only be achieved by complete obedience to all the laws and ordinances of the gospel, including sacrifice without compensation. Satan’s desire was not motivated by his concern to save others, but instead by his own selfish desire for honor and praise. Satan, however. was very persuasive and one-third of the hosts of heaven rejected the Father’s plan and followed him. In making this choice, they also forfeited the opportunity to come to earth and receive a body. Their choice meant they could never be like the Father or the Son. The plan of the Father, supported by his beloved Son, was now in place.
2. Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve became the first to inhabit the new earth that had been created. They were given a beautiful garden to live in which they were to care for. They were given two commandments. The first was “to multiply and replenish the earth. The second was to not partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil. They were given the following instructions by the Father.
Genesis 2:16-17
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Satan continued in his effort to thwart the plan of the Father for his children by trying to tempt Adam to knowingly partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil which would result in Adam, along with his wife, Eve, being rejected from the garden. When Adam refused to partake, Satan then sought to tempt Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. Satan’s action, having been anticipated by the Eternal Father, assisted, rather than thwarted, the plan of God
Satan was successful in getting Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. Eve then offered the forbidden fruit of which she had partaken to Adam. When he refused her offer, she then reminded him that due to her transgression, she would be banned from the garden of Eden and he would then be left by himself. They could only keep the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth if he also partook of the fruit. Understanding the importance of this commandment, Adam then partook of the fruit. Initially Satan believed he had thwarted the plan of the Father.
During the next visit of the Father to the garden with his Son, Adam and Eve told Him what they had done. The Father, having anticipated their actions, informed them that would no longer be able to remain in the garden. Adam would now have to earn their living by the sweat of his brow.
Having partaken of the fruit their bodies became mortal or subject to physical death. Previous to partaking of the fruit, they had been immortal and they could have lived forever in the garden. If, however, they had remained in the garden they would not have been able to have children.
Their partaking of the forbidden fruit meant that they could no longer remain in the garden. They would no longer have the privilege of being visited by the Father and the Son. This meant they also experienced a spiritual death or the separation of man from God. Without the Atonement of a Savior, they would also, due to their own sins, become subject upon death, to the rule of Satan with no opportunity of returning to the presence of the Father.
B/M, 2 Nephi 9:7-10
7 …Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man [physical death] must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirit must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled [tempted] our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
Because a Savior had been provided as part of the Father’s plan, the spiritual death would be paid for all by Christ’s suffering and all would be made alive again.
B/M, 2 Nephi 9:12
12 …the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
Jesus Christ provided the opportunity for each of us through our own repentance and willingness to follow his commandments to partake of His offering of payment for our sins. Through his suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross, He took upon himself in a way we do not understand, our sins thereby satisfying the demands of the law of justice. If we are willing to accept Him as our Savior and follow his example, we are able to receive the blessings of his atonement. It is only when we have done all that we can do, He then makes up the difference remaining for us to again return to live with Our Father in Heaven.
While many see the Fall of Adam and Eve in the garden as a step backward, if it had not occurred, none of us would have been able to come to this earth and experience earth life. It is because of the Fall and the Atoning sacrifice of the Savior that we have the opportunity to choose to return to the Father’s presence. It was, therefore, not a step backward, but a necessary step forward in our eternal progression.
3. Cain and Able
Once exiled from the garden, the choice between good and evil continued as manifested in the action of two of the son’s of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. Abel, listened to the counsel of the Father as taught by his father/patriarch, Adam. He chose to keep God’s commandments and thus received the coveted birthright and the priesthood. Cain, on the other hand, rejected both the counsel of his father and also his Eternal Father, and formed an alliance with Satan.
PGP, Moses 5:16, 18, 23, 26
16 And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God. And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said: I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words. But behold, Cain hearkened not, saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him?
18 And [Cain] loved Satan more than God…
23 [The Lord informed Cain] If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And it thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. And thou shalt rule over him;
26 And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord.
It is important to understand Cain had turned from the Lord, prior to the Lord’s rejection of his offering! Satan sought to appeal to Cain’s rejection of the Lord by preying upon his jealousy towards his brother.
PGP, Moses 5:29-31
29 And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear they brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.
30 And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret.
31 And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain…
Influenced by Satan, he then killed his brother, Abel. One of the motivating factors of his animosity toward his brother was his desire to gain the priesthood for his posterity.
Following Abel’s death, Cain left the area where his parents, Adam and Eve, lived. He and his progenitors enter into a secret organization with Satan where the concept, “murder to get gain” prevailed.
PGP, Moses 6:15
15 And the children of men were numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.
4. Seth
A son, Seth, is born to Adam and Eve, and he, like his brother Abel before him, followed the council of his father, Adam.
PGP, Moses 6:2-4
2 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
3 And God revealed himself unto Seth, and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice, like unto his brother Abel. And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos.
4 And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them;
Seth is an important figure in the Old Testament. He, like Able before him, chose to keep the covenants of God. Because of his righteousness, he received the priesthood.
Doctrine and Covenants 107:42-43
42 [The Order of the priesthood] From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of sixty-nine years, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam’s)death, an received the promise of God by his Father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth;
43 Because he (Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father…
You will recall from our discussion in chapter 4, the following.
Joseph Fielding Smith stated,
“Cain slew his brother Abel in order to obtain all the rights of the priesthood to descend through his lineage” (Answer to Gospel Questions, Vol. 2. Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1958, 188).
John L. Lund adds,
“Not only did Cain want to stop Abel from having children and passing on this birthright of the Priesthood but he also wanted to destroy the birthright itself…it was very possible that he hoped the killing of Abel would prevent the Redeemer from coming to the earth and making His atoning sacrifice. Had this plan been successful, all would have been subject to Satan without hope of resurrection or forgiveness of sin [see B/M, 2 Nephi 9:8-9]…History records that Cain’s plan was foiled when Seth received the birthright of the priesthood.” (The Church and the Negro. Private Printing, 1967, [6th Printing], 26-27).
It is through Seth that the blessings of the Priesthood were preserved. There is upon the earth a righteous seed through whom the Savior and Redeemer can be born.
Randall C. Bird states,
“On Saturday, September 1, 1838, the First Presidency made its way from Far West toward Littlefield’s halfway house–about halfway between Adam-on-Aham and Far West–for the purpose of appointing a city of Zion. It was named the City of Seth in honor of Adam’s son. The center of this city which could have been the site of a public square and future temple, was never established due to the expulsion of the Saints from Missouri shortly after the city was appointed.” (Adam-ondi-Ahman and the Last Days. Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, Inc., 2011, 45).
It appears from the above quote that Joseph Smith felt strongly about honoring Seth by naming a possible city in Zion after him.
5. A Book of Remembrance
Adam was directed by the Lord to keep a book of remembrance. This book served several purposes for Adam and his family.
PGP, Moses 6:5-8
5 And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;
6 And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.
7 Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.
8 Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam…
Their book of remembrance included: (1) Spiritual experiences; (2) Served as a text from which to teach their children to read and write; and, (3) A genealogical record of their children
Elias T. Rasmussen notes,
“In Ether 1:2,3…[we learn] from the editorial note by Moroni…that he takes his account from ‘the twenty-four plates which were found by the people of Limhi, which is called the book of Ether’…[which contained] the account from the creation of the world and the time of Adam down to the time of the ‘great tower’ [however, because he supposes this information to be available ‘among the Jews’…he will not include it in his digest…[O]n twenty-four plates, was the whole history from the Creation to Babel, in addition to the history of all the centuries of the continuance of the Jaredite people on the new continent to which they had migrated. The English translation of Moroni’s digest of only the portion covering the Jaredite history occupies only thirty-two pages” (Patriarchs of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1964, 30).
Someday the complete record of Adam’s book of remembrance will be available.
Ellis Rasmussen continues,
“The times of Seth and Enos were times of conflict between two contrasting cultures. [The followers of Seth and Enos and the followers of the cult of Cain…Wars and secret assassinations were many and frequent as Satan’s votaries sought more and more power (PGP, Moses 6:15). There occurred in those troubled times a migration of the people of God ‘out of their land called Shulon to a new location to which they were providentially directed. They called this land of promise the land of Cainan, (not to be confused with the land of Caanan), after the name of the distinguished patriarch, son of Enos, whom God called upon in the wilderness as he was traveling (D&C 107:45)” (Patriarchs of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1964, 30-31).
6. Division: “People of God,” / “Sons of Men”
At times it is confusing when we read of “People of God,” or “sons of God” and “sons of men.” For example, we read in:
PGP, Moses 6:56,
56 And God cursed the earth with a sore curse, and was angry with the wicked, with all the sons of men whom he had made;
One might assume that God is angry at all his children and that each has become wicked! The “sons of men,” are those who met the following criteria as noted in:
PGP, Moses 5:57
57 For they would not hearken unto his voice, nor believe on his Only Begotten Son, even him whom he declared should come in the meridian of time, who was prepared from before the foundation of the world.
From this revelation given to Moses we learn the dividing line between those who were righteous, “People of God,” or “sons of God,” and those who were unrighteous, “sons of men,” would be their willingness to submit to God’s commandments and to exercise faith that a Savior would be born in the meridian of time. You will recall that Jesus Christ had been prepared for his role as Savior and Redeemer even before the foundation of the world!
PGP, Moses 6:66-68
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 all become my sons. Amen.
This spells out the criteria of the “People of God,” or “sons of God.” They repent of their sins, and enter into the covenant of baptism and receive the Holy Ghost. In this manner they indicate their willingness to keep God’s commandments and to be obedient to his direction.
7. Genealogy of Righteousness
Seth begat Enos (PGP, Moses 6:13); Enos begat Cainan (PGP. Moses 6:18); Cainan begat Mahalaleel (PGP, Moses 6:19); Mahalaleel begat Jared (PGP, Moses 6:20); Jared begat Enoch “And Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God.” (PGP, Moses 6:21).
PGP, Moses 6:23
23 And they were preachers of righteousness, and spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men.
The principles of faith, repentance, baptism and, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost have not changed over the centuries. Just as the children of Adam were taught the principles of the gospel so also are the followers of God today taught the same principles. The doctrines of God remains the same throughout the centuries. Unfortunately, not all of God’s children will be receptive to God’s teachings and the division between those who follow the commandments of the Lord and those who follow the dictates of Satan will continue to exist.
8. Adam-ondi-Ahman
Orson Pratt states,
The meaning of the word, “Adam-ondi-Ahman’ is the “valley of God, where Adam dwelt.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 18. London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot. [1854-1886], 343).
Mormon Historic Sites Foundation states,
“Adam-ondi-Ahman “is located in Davies County, 70 miles northeast of Independence, Missouri. This is where Adam and Eve first dwelt when they left the Garden of Eden. Three years before his death, Adam called his posterity together, blessed them, and the Lord appeared unto them” (Adam-ondi-Ahman. Mormon Historic Sites Foundation, 2006).
Doctrine and Covenants 107:53-54
53 Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.
54 And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.
The importance of this site is that it was here prior to his death, Adam “bestowed upon them [his posterity] his last blessing”.
Ezra Taft Benson noted,
This blessing consisted of “Adam [being] able to bring himself and his righteous posterity into God’s presence. The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendents of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in [order]…that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth…” [see Doctrine and Covenants 107:40, 42]…How did Adam bring his descendants into the presence of the Lord? The answer: Adam and his descendants entered into the priesthood order of God. Today we would say they went to the House of the Lord and received their blessings…Adam followed this order…Enoch followed this pattern and brought the Saints of his day into the presence of God. Noah and his son Shem likewise followed the pattern after the Flood” (“What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About the Temple,” in Ensign, August, 1985, 9).
Ezra Taft Benson stated,
“Here in America…[is] where Adam met with a body of great High Priests at Adam-ondi-Ahman shortly before his death and gave them his final blessing, and it is to that same spot he is to return again to meet with the leaders of his people.” (Conference Report, October, 1954, Sunday Afternoon Meeting).
The return of the Savior to Adam-ondi-Ahman prior to his second coming was seen in vision by the prophet Daniel.
Daniel 7:13-14
13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came to the Ancient of days, [Adam] and they brought him near before him.
14 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,…
Joseph Smith offers further clarity of Daniels’ vision,
“Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of days, he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael, he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council…The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his stand as the head of the human family.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, 157).
Bruce R. McConkie clarifies Adam’s relationship with Jesus Christ,
“Adam is the foremost spirit next to the Lord Jehovah. He is the archangel, the captain of the Lord’s host who led the armies of heaven when Lucifer rebelled; he is Michael, the mightiest of all the spirit host save only the Lord Jesus; and he came to earth…Thus Adam stands next to the Holy Messiah, receives counsel and direction and power from him, and (under Christ) administers salvation to all men…He presides over all dispensations; all the dispensation heads and all the prophets receive direction from him; all report their labors to him. He is the chief person in the hierarchy of God, and he directs all the affairs of the Lord on earth,” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982, 581-582).
Not only was Adam’s role important in the beginning of this earth, he continues to yet play a major role in directing the work of the Lord on the earth today.
9. Enoch
9.1. The Genesis / PGP, Moses Account of Enoch
The difference between the Genesis account of Enoch and the account in the Book of Moses, specifically chapters six and seven which were revealed to Joseph Smith during his translation of the Bible [see heading of the Pearl of Great Price] is great. The account in the Book of Genesis discusses Enoch and his works in only four brief verses (Gen. 5:21-24), while the Joseph Smith Translation, found in Moses 6 and 7, discusses the life, mission, and revelations of Enoch in 117 verses (Moses 6: 25-8:2). This is just another example of how additional revealed scripture serves to both clarify and thereby simplify our understanding of the Old Testament.
W. Cleon Skousen states,
“Enoch, at the age of twenty-five, was ordained to the priesthood by the Patriarch, Adam (D&C 107:48)…Jared, his father, was not ordained by Adam until thirteen years later, and Mahalaleel, his grandfather was not ordained until 244 years later.” (The First 2,000 Years. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1953,[ 23rd Printing ,1972], 159).
9.2. Called To Be A Prophet
PGP, Moses 6:27-29 [Enoch’s call to be a prophet]
27 And he heard a voice from heaven, saying: Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them-–Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off;
28 And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam.
29 Wherefore, they have foresworn themselves, and by their oaths, they have brought upon themselves death; and a hell I have prepared for them, if they repent not;
Enoch, unprepared for this vision, tells the Lord of his limitations which include: (1) [I] am but a lad; (2) People hate me; and (3) [I am] “slow of speech” (Moses 6:31).
Just as the Lord has before and as He will do on innumerable occasions, He takes the weakness of His chosen servants and makes them equal to the calling. This He will also do for each of us if we are faithful in accepting inspired callings when they come to us.
PGP, Moses 6: 32, 34, 39 [The Lord’s reply to Enoch]
32 …Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.
39 And it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.
Like many of us who feel inadequate when we are asked to serve in a capacity that stretches us beyond what we believe we are capable, Enoch is reluctant about his calling. Whom the Lord calls, the Lord also qualifies. Every concern raised by Enoch was answered by the Lord. Through Enoch’s willingness and obedience to the direction of the Lord, a change was brought about first in Enoch, then in his people and eventually a city was translated! Because of these changes, Enoch’s name remains familiar many centuries later.
In order to further strengthen Enoch in his new calling, the Lord told Enoch to anoint his eyes with clay and wash them, he then gives him a vision of “the spirits which God had created as well as things which are not visible to the natural eye” (PGP, Moses 6:36).
9.3. Teachings of Enoch
Enoch began to teach this people of the fall (PGP, Moses 6:48), the influence of Satan (PGP, Moses 6:49) and of their need to repent (PGP, Moses 6:50). Like Adam before him, he taught the people the first principles of the gospel.
PGP, Moses 6:52
52 …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.
He taught them the true nature of God.
PGP, Moses 7:4
4 And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face;…
He was shown in vision, a great battle which would take place in which the people of Canaan came against the people of Shem, and the people of Shem were completely destroyed ( see PGP, Moses 7:7).
PGP, Moses 7:12-13
12 And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent;
13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God,…
Ellis T. Rasmussen states,
“The teachings of Enoch cover some seven major categories and embrace some information found nowhere else in scripture. He dealt with (1) The fall of man and its results; (2) The nature of salvation and the means of achieving it; (3) Sin, as seen in the evils of his times in contrast to the righteousness of the godly who were his followers; (4) The cause, purpose, and effects of the anticipated flood of Noah; (5) The scope of Satan’s triumphs and the resultant sorrows of God; (6) The first advent of the Messiah; (7) The second advent of the Messiah and his peaceful, millennial reign.” (An Introduction to the Old Testament and Its Teachings, Part I. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Printing Service, 1972, [Second edition], 25).
9.4. The City of Enoch
The enemies of God came to battle against the people of God, led by Enoch. However, great is the power which the Lord has given Enoch.
PGP, Moses 7:13
13…the earth trembled, mountains flee; rivers of water were turned out of the course, and the roar of lions was heard out of the wilderness [with the result that] …all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch,…
Even though wars and bloodshed continued around the people of Enoch, they were protected by the level of righteousness the people of Enoch had obtained. Due to their righteous state, they were able to receive a visit from the Lord himself.
PGP, Moses 7:16
16 …the Lord came and dwelt with his people, [in the city of Enoch] and they dwelt in righteousness.
Another name for the City of Enoch is Zion.
PGP, Moses 7:18:
18 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.
Spencer W. Kimball stated,
“Zion is a name given by the Lord to his covenant people, who are characterized by purity of heart and faithfulness in caring for the poor, the needy, and the distressed (D&C 97:21). This highest order of priesthood society is founded on the doctrines of love, service, work, self-reliance, and stewardship, all of which are circumscribed by the covenant of consecration” (“And the Lord Called His People Zion,” in Liahona, December, 1984; also Conference Report, October, 1977, 125).
The city of Enoch was founded upon the law of consecration. This law is based upon the members maintaining private ownership of their goods, however, they donate their excess to the church leadership. Under the principle of revelation, the leaders distribute the excess to those who are in need. As they are able to increase their means beyond the needs of their family, then they share their excess. Under this inspired program, there is then no poor among the citizens and all are alike.
Robert L. Millet states,
“Enoch’s society–including social and economic aspects–grounded, as we suppose, in the principles and practices of consecration and stewardship, stands as the scriptural prototype for all cities that aspire to become known as Zion–a society made up of the pure in heart (D&C 97:21)” (“Enoch and His City” in Studies in the Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, 138).
Orson Pratt notes,
“One of the most beautiful characteristics of the antediluvian Zion, was that ‘they were of one heart and one mind, and there was no poor among them,’ a perfect union of sentiment and feelings: no bitterness–no hatred–no slandering or reviling–no defrauding or taking advantage one of another–no person seeking to aggrandize himself by heaping up riches while others were poor–no selfishness or pride–no hypocrisy or affections: but everyone loved his neighbor as himself–everyone studies the welfare of the whole–everyone considered himself as only a steward over the things committed to his charge; it was all considered the Lord’s and ready to be appropriated for any purpose which the Lord should direct. They are equal in earthy things, therefore, the Lord made them equal in heavenly things. Nothing short of continued revelation could ever have brought about an order of things so perfect.” (“Zion of Enoch” in The Seer II, (May, 1854, No. 5) 264).
It is clear that in order for the benefits of this revealed plan to be successful, it is necessary the traits common to mankind, including selfishness and jealousy need to be controlled and the needs of others be given precedence.
Why was the city of Enoch translated?
Joseph Young, Sr. stated that Joseph Smith had taught,
“…the people and the city and the foundations of the earth on which it stood, had partaken of so much of the immortal elements, bestowed upon them by God through the teachings of Enoch, that it became philosophically impossible for them to remain any longer upon the earth;…” (“Enoch and His City” in History of the Organization of the Seventies. Salt Lake City: Desert News Steam Printing Establishment, 1878, 11).
PGP, Moses 7:68-69
68 And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years.
69 And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, ZION IS FLED.
Joseph Smith states,
“Enoch [and his people were translated]…that [they] should not see death…Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order…[those translated] obtain deliverance from the tortures and sufferings of the body, but their existence will prolong as to the labors and toils of the ministry, before they can enter into so great a rest and glory [as those who have received actual resurrection]” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, 170-171).
When will those in the city of Enoch be resurrected?
Bruce R. McConkie states,
“…[T] hose who were translated before the resurrection of our Lord’–which would include Enoch and his city-‘were with Christ in his resurrection’ (D&C 133:55)…It will be resurrected, not translated beings, who shall return with the city of Enoch.” (“Enoch and His City” in Studies in the Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, 140).
9.5. Contrast Between Enoch and Cain
The following chart contrasts the choices made by Enoch and Cain. They represent two extremes on the continuum between good and evil. Each of us could probably also locate ourselves somewhere on this line as exemplified by our own daily choices.
Old Testament Teacher Manual Enoch verses Cain
Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996, 21.
10. Noah
Alan K. Parrish states,
“Since Enoch had been translated at age 430 years, we can place the birth of Noah just four years after the translation of the City of Zion. The period of over five centuries between the translation of the City of Enoch and the beginning of construction of the ark is the period of time addressed in Moses, Chapter 8” (“The Days of Noah” in Studies in the Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, 146).
Knowing the time of the translation of the city of Enoch and the start of the construction of the ark help us to orient ourselves regarding the chronology of events we are now addressing.
10.1. The Genealogy of Noah
Moses 8:2, 3, 5, 8-9 [Genealogy of Noah]
2 And it came to pass that Methuselah, the son of Enoch, was not taken, that the covenants of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to Enoch; for he truly covenanted with Enoch that Noah should be of the fruit of his loins.
3 And it came to pass that Methuselah prophesied that from his loins should spring all the kingdoms of the earth (through Noah) and he took glory unto himself.
5 And it came to pass that Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and he begat Lamech;
8 And Lemech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and begat a son,
9 And he called his name Noah,…
It is important to understand that Methuselah, a son of Enoch, was not translated with the city of Enoch. One reason was so that he might remain upon the earth and transmit the “birthright blessing” which he had received from his father, Enoch, to his righteous progenitor, Noah.
10.2. Ordained to Priesthood
D&C 107:52
52 Noah was ten years old when he was ordained under the hand of Methuselah [his grandfather].
Alan K. Parrish states,
“Not only would it seem that Noah was surrounded by siblings, but by virtue of the fact that Lemech (his father) came from a line of ordained preachers of righteousness, we may presume that [his]….children were well-raised.” (“The Days of Noah” in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, 148).
We noted that Enoch received the priesthood when he was “twenty-five years of age” only to know learn that Noah received the priesthood at age ten. In contrast with others, we may assume that Noah had demonstrated even at this tender age his dedication to keeping the commandments.
10.3. Days of Noah
The scriptures speak only of Noah having three sons. This is. however, unusual given Noah’s extended years of life, but further explanation is not available. We read in Genesis 5:12 that the birth order is Shem, Ham and Japheth. In the Pearl of Great Price, Moses 8:12, we learn Japheth was born when Noah was 450 years old, Shem when he was 492, and Ham when he was 500 years old. The order would then be Japheth, Shem and Ham.
PGP, Moses 8:13
13 And Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God.
Alan K. Parrish states,
“In Moses 8:15, we read that, ‘The daughters of the sons have sold themselves” On first reading, [being] aware that Noah’s day represented the most advanced state of accepted wickedness, one might construe the message as indicating that Noah’s granddaughters were taking advantage of popular evils and their own beauty to enrich themselves through prostitution. A closer look suggests a far different meaning….A correct interpretation to be given to Moses 8:15 may simply be that these women “sold themselves” short by marrying men who could not give them the advantages of the gospel with its ordinances, covenants, teachings, and Spirit. Succumbing, in fact, resulted in their bartering away their own righteousness for the temporal appeasements of marriage” (“The Days of Noah” in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, 152).
A century ago, one youth leader admonished single women as follows:
“To this kind of girl who never realized the coming of the true man, because there are not enough of them, single men, to come, I would say, if you have laid this kind of foundation for your future, spinster-hood will have no terrors for you and when you have passed into years, you will come to be known as a kind, pleasant maiden lady, and not the inevitable, cross, crabbed, sour old maid…Girls, lift yourselves above these idle loungers and take hold of the realities of life, and you can calmly say to the young man who seeks you, if he comes from the saloon, the pool table, if he is given to street loafing, the dude, or any but the true man, ‘I have learned how to live alone, and can support myself.’ You are not the man I want to be the father of my children. I have no fancy to spend the long hours of night waiting your return from the saloon, I have no fancy to be deprived of the comforts, yes, even the necessaries of life by the gambler, the pool-table frequenter, or to be the wife of a street loafer, and spend long days over the wash tub trying to support myself and children, or to be the wife of a dude, who when my hairs have grown gray, will be ashamed to call me his wife, and will not care to have his dude acquaintances see the patient wife who has deprived herself of many things to gratify his vanity.” (Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, Footnote #7, Carrie M. C. Smith, 158).
While clearly the times have changed over the years, the truth remains, to choose to marry someone whose basic life goals and fundamental aspirations are opposed to yours is never a good idea, no matter what the short-term circumstances may suggest. It is “as if” on an extremely hot day, an individual is so anxious to plunge into the swimming pool they suddenly realize, in the midst of their dive, in their exuberance for relief, they had failed to check the temperature of the water!
Alan K. Parrish continues,
“Since the better people have been translated with Enoch’s city, these daughters perhaps had a plight common to many women of faith in modern times: the difficult choice of marrying someone from the available crowd who is less worthy, faithful, and ambitious–or remaining single. Their story stands as a startling reminder that things embraced in the gospel plan have eternal ramifications that outweigh the temporal satisfactions that end with moral associations.” (“The Days of Noah” in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, 152, emphasis added).
Alan K. Parrish continues,
“In the vision given by the Lord to Enoch, Enoch beheld the generations of the days of Noah in their wickedness (Moses 7:42-52). The whole vision is accented by the incessant weeping of God, which he justifies by describing the awful wickedness of the people of the days of Noah. The evil he beheld would be unrivaled by that of any other day, for he declared, “among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethern” (Moses 7:37).” (“The Days of Noah” in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2. Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985, 153).
Unfortunately, as Jesus describes in the Olivet prophecy, the insensitivity of the generation in which he will return for the second time will be similar to the times of Noah.
Matthew 24:37-39
37 But as the days of Noe [see fn. 37-Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days of that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe [Noah] entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
It is important to understand that prior to the Flood and the Lord’s directive to build an ark, Noah was active among the children of men teaching them the principles of the gospel and calling upon them to repent.
PGP, Moses 8:19, 23-25
19 And the Lord ordained Noah after his own order, and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch.
23 And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying Hearken, and give heed unto my words;
24 Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.
25 And it repented Noah [Not the Lord, as recorded in Genesis 6:6], and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at the heart.
Through the addition of inspired scripture, our understanding of the events and preparation that occurred serve to enhance our understanding of the Old Testament. These simple truths include: (1) Noah had been called by the Lord to serve as his prophet upon the earth, with priesthood authority to act in God’s name; (2) As in the days of Enoch, Noah went forth to declare the same gospel truths to the people which include faith, repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but the people would not listen, and, (3) Noah is grieved for the wickedness which existed upon the earth to which innocent children would be born. The inhabitants of the earth had reached such a state of wickedness that righteousness outside of Noah and his family could not be found.
10.4. The Flood – Revenge or Mercy?
Victor L. Ludlow states,
“The Bible reader often considers God’s reason for the flood as severe judgment upon the wicked. However, there are reasons why a merciful Heavenly Father would have sent a flood. Among these are the following: (1) The wicked would have less time in this phase of their existence to commit further sins; (2) God’s prophets had already demonstrated his power and witnessed his judgments; to have allowed more witnesses would have brought the people under greater accountability; (3) God’s spirit children still residing in his presence needed a more pure spiritual environment in which to come that the inhabitants of the earth did not provide; (4) The earth itself was a living entity and desired a rest from wickedness (Moses 7:48); and, (5) The earth needed to go through its own baptism of water preparatory for a later baptism of fire and eventual celestialization. [See Topical Guide. “Earth, Cleansing of” in LDS Bible. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1979, 114].” (“Unlocking the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, 9-10).
John Taylor adds,
“The Lord had more than one reason for the flood. The people were not only very wicked themselves, but having the power to propagate their species, they transmitted their unrighteous natures and desire to their children, and brought them up to indulge in their own wicked practices. Those yet unborn spirits may have cried unto the Lord, “Father, do you not behold the conditions of this people, how corrupt and wicked they are?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is it then just that we who are now pure should take of such bodies and then subject ourselves to most bitter experiences before we can be redeemed, according to the plan of salvation?’ ‘No.’ the Father would say, ‘it is not in keeping with my justice.’ ‘Well, what will you do in the matter; man has his free agency and cannot be coerced, and while he lives he has the power of perpetuating his species?’ ‘I will send them my word, offering them deliverance from sin, and warning them of my justice, which shall certainly overtake them if they reject it, and I will destroy them from off the face of the earth, thus preventing their increase, and I will raise up another seed.’
“But, says the caviler, is it right that a just God should sweep of so many people? Is that in accordance with mercy? Yes, it was just to those spirits that had not received their bodies, and it was just and merciful too to those people guilty of the iniquity. Why? Because by taking away their earthly existence he prevented them from entailing their sins upon their posterity and degenerating them, and also prevented them from committing further acts of wickedness” (Journal of Discourse, Vol. 19. London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, [1878], 158-159).
10.5. Possible Size of the Ark
It is difficult to offer an accurate picture regarding the size of the ark as there are many variables. Using various resources, an attempt has been made to offer some idea of its size.
Duane S. Crowther states,
“So, using the 17 1/2 inch definition [Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition; “Weights and Measures: Cubit,” in LDS Bible Dictionary, 789] as a calculation basis, the ark probably was about 437 1/2 feet long, 73 feet wide and 43 3/4 feet tall. It had three levels, or stories, a window about a four-and-a-half down from the top, and a door in one side. To visualize the ark’s size in modern terms: (a) The ark was about a football field and a half in length (an NCAA field is 300′ from goal-line to goal line); (b) The ark was slightly less than half a football field in width (an NCAA field is 160′ from sideline to sideline); and (c) The ark’s height was equal to the cumulative height of a seven-and-a-quarter six-feet-tall men standing on top of one another-about a five-story building.” (They Walked with God. Springville, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 2009, 71).
The following chart is offered that compares the sizes of various ships known today.
Old Testament Student Manual Noahs Arc Compared
[Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996, [2001], 26.]
10.6. Possible Response of Wicked to Flood
I offer from “The Book of Jared,” part of the Apocrypha literature, the following observation:
“And all the sons of men that were left upon the earth, became exhausted through evil on account of the rain, for the waters were coming more violently upon the earth, and the animals and beasts were still surrounding the ark. And the sons of men assembled together, about seven hundred thousand men and women, and they came unto Noah to the ark. And they called to Noah, saying, Open for us that we may come to the ark-and wherefore shall we die? And Noah, with a loud voice, answered them from the ark, saying, Have you not all rebelled against the Lord, and said that he does not exist? and therefore the Lord brought upon you this evil, to destroy and cut you off from the face of the earth. Is not this the thing that I spoke to you of one hundred and twenty years back, and you would not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and now do you desire to live upon the earth? And they said to Noah, We are ready to repent to the Lord; only open for us that we may live and not die. And Noah answered them, saying, Behold now that you see the trouble of your souls, you wish to return to the Lord; why did you not return during these hundred and twenty years, which the Lord granted you as the determined period? But now you come and tell me this on account of the troubles of your souls, now also the Lord will not listen to you, neither will he give ear to you on this day, so that you will not now succeed in your wishes” (The Book of Jasher. [Chapter VI:16-23]. Salt Lake City: J.H. Perry & Company, 1887, Photo Lithographic Reprint, 12-13).
This literature is consistent with the following truths: (1) The people were warned by the Lord’s prophet of the pending flood and that it would not occur if they would repent of their wickedness; (2) Their repentant attitude came only when their destruction was sure thereby bring doubt to their sincerity, and (3) There will come a time for each of us when justice will be justly administered based upon our knowledge and actions.
10.7. What We Don’t Know
Ellis T. Rasmussen makes the following observation,
“The ‘problems’ of the Flood–how big the boat was; how it could hold all the animals; how they could be cared for during a voyage of a year and ten days; what the source, depth and disposition of the water was–these are matters upon which we have insufficient information, and they will remain problems until we learn more of the facts.” (Patriarchs of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1964, 50).
We could add to that list: (1) How did they carry enough food with variety necessary to feed the variety of animals on the ark? (2) Where did the ark land? Was it on Mount Ararat in Turkey, or somewhere else?, (3) How were all the animals able to get to the environments necessary for them to survive before dying themselves? The answer to these questions and more are not known.
10.8. Noah and His Family Offer Sacrifice
Following the departure of Adam and Eve the garden, they had called upon the Lord for guidance and direction.
PGP, Moses 5:4-9
4 And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
9 And in that day the Holy ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed and all mankind even as many as will.
Ellis T. Rasmussen states,
“Upon disembarking from the ark in which he and his family and their animals had been saved, Noah worshipfully offered sacrifice to the Lord.” (Patriarchs of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1964, 50)
Genesis 8:20
20 And Noah builded an alter unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the alter.
JST, Genesis 9:4-6
4 And Noah builded an alter unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the alter; and gave thanks unto the Lord, and rejoiced in his heart.
5 And the Lord spake unto Noah, and he blessed him, And Noah smelled a sweet savor, and he said in his heart;
6 I will call on the name of the Lord, that he will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and that he will not again smite any more every thing living, as he hath done, while the earth remaineth.
Ellis T. Rasmussen adds,
“Noah’s charge from the Lord was comparable to that of Father Adam. He also was told to multiply and replenish the earth. Man’s dominion over other forms of life was indicated. Laws of proper behavior were laid down to forestall the murder, violence, and carnage that had characterized antediluvian society. The sanctity of life was emphasized, for instance, by the law of mortal responsibility: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:5 contrast JST Gen. 9:10-14).” (Patriarchs of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1964, 50).
10.9. “Bow in the Cloud”
What is the meaning of the “Bow in the cloud?”
Genesis 9:13 JST, Genesis 9:21-25
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the water shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
21 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.
22 And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;
23 And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
24 And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth.
25 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and thee; for all flesh that shall be upon the earth.
Joseph Smith offered the following clarification as the sign applies to the second coming of the Savior,
“I have asked of the Lord concerning His coming; and while asking the Lord, He gave a sign and said, ‘In the days of Noah I set a bow in the heavens as a sign and token that in any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come; but there should be seed time and harvest during the year: but when you see the bow withdrawn, it shall be a token that there shall be famine, pestilence, and great distress among the nations, and that the coming of the Messiah is not far distant.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, 340-341).
The “bow in the cloud” is a sign in the sky given to Noah by the Lord that is representative of the following covenants between the Lord and man:
  1. God will never again destroy man by a flood (Genesis 9:15).
  2. A sign that the City of Enoch will return to the earth when men shall keep all the commandments of the Lord (JST, Genesis 9:21).
  3. Those who make up the general assembly of the “Church of the Firstborn” are those individuals who have been faithful and obedient to the commandments of God who will again return to the earth as part of the Lord’s Second coming. (see Firstborn. LDS Bible Dictionary. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1979, 675).
  4. When the Bow in the cloud disappears, the end cometh quickly (Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 341).
10.10. Noah’s “Nakedness” and Role of His Sons
Genesis 9:21-27
21 And he [Noah] drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brothers.
26 And he said Blessed be the LORD God of Shem and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant.
An initial reading of the above scripture is Noah got drunk from his own wine. He was asleep in his tent with his “garments” off. Ham, his middle son, noting his father was naked, sought to ridicule him by telling his two brothers, Shem and Japheth. Shem and Japheth instead provided a “garment” for their father that they then placed on him by walking backwards in order to both respect and cover their father’s nakedness. Noah upon awakening realized what had occurred and praised his oldest and youngest son for their actions, and cursed their brother to become their servant.
Old Testament Institute Student Manual states,
“Most members of the Church are aware that a priesthood garment, symbolic of covenants made in the temple, is worn as underclothing by those who have participated in the endowment ceremony in the temple. This garment is a representation of the coat of skins made by the Lord for Adam and Eve after the Fall (see Genesis 3:21; PGP, Moses 4:27).” (Old Testament Institute Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, [Second Edition, Revised, 1981], 57).
Hugh Nibley states,
“…we are to understand that Ham took the garment of his father while he was sleeping and showed it to his brethren, Shem and Japheth, who took a pattern or copy of it (salmah) or else a woven garment like it (simlah) which they put upon their own shoulders, returning the skin garment to their father. Upon awakening, Noah recognized the priesthood of two sons but cursed the son who tried to rob him of his garment.” (Lehi in the Desert/The World of the Jaredites/There Were Jaredites , Vol. 5. Edited by John W. Welch with Darrel L. Matthews and Stephen R. Callister. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company and Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988, 169).
Why was Ham cursed by his father?
Old Testament Institute Student Manual states,
“…although Ham himself had the right to the priesthood, Canaan, his son, did not. Ham had married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain (Abraham 1:21-24), and thus his sons were denied the priesthood.” (Old Testament Institute Student Manual: Genesis-2 Samuel. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, [Second Edition, Revised, 1981], 57).
11. The City and Tower of Babel
This is a city that was built in the area of ancient Babylon. It is unique in Old Testament history for the extraordinary event that took place at this location.
Genesis 11:1
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
The people, in rebellion against the directive of the Lord that would require them to leave the area and to be scattered upon the entire earth, decided they would build a city where they were currently living and also a tower which would then allow them protection if there should ever be another flood. United by one language, they set out on their goal.
Genesis 11:4
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
W. Cleon Skousen observes,
“(1) It was built for purposes which were in direct opposition to the commandment of God. The Lord had told them to spread abroad in the earth, but they built this city to concentrate the population. The Lord knew that city life under the wrong kind of leadership could corrupt a whole nation in one generation.
“(2) It was governed by the seed of Cain. Nimrod, grandson of Ham, is given specific credit for the founding of the city (Genesis 10:8-10).
“(3) The purpose of this tower was to escape the vengeance of a just God if there should ever be another flood. Apparently Nimrod had no confidence in the covenant between Noah and the Lord.” (The First 2,000 Years. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1953, [23rd Printing, 1977], 230).
Genesis 11:6-9
6 And the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do.
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confounded the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Old Testament Institute Student Manual states,
“In addition to providing an explanation for the numerous languages now found on the earth, this account of the tower of Babel shows how quickly man forgot the lessons of the Flood and turned again from the Lord. The Book of Mormon [Another witness of the Bible] shows that the actual confounding of the language may not have been an instantaneous thing but may have happened over an unknown length of time. Jared, an inhabitant of the city, along with his family asked his brother to call upon the Lord and request that their language not be confounded. This request was granted. Jared then asked his brother to plead that the language of their friends stay the same as theirs. This request, too, was granted (see Book of Mormon, Ether 1:33-38). These events imply that the confounding of the languages did not happen in an instant.” (Old Testament Institute Student Manual: Genesis-2 Samuel. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, [Second Edition, Revised, 1981], 58).
The information found in the scripture of the Book of Mormon confirms the fact that the building of the tower occurred. We are also informed there were others in the city who had not become wicked.
We read in the Book of Mormon, at the request of Jared, his brother sought through prayer that the language of his family would not be confounded.
B/M, Ether 1:35, 37
35 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.
37 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon their friends and their families also, that they were not confounded.
At the encouragement of Jared, his brother requested “the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth?” (Ether 1:38).
The brother of Jared made the request of the Lord and his request was granted.
B/M, Ether 1:41-43
41 Go to and gathered together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families.
42 …thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward. And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth.
43 …And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time you have cried unto me.
W. Cleon Shousen states,
“Although Jared and…[his brother] did not know it, they were about to begin a journey which would take them halfway around the world. The Lord had in mind the repopulating of the Western Hemisphere which was now completely cut off from the “one land” to which it was formerly joined.” (The First 2,000 Years. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1953, [23rd Printing, 1972], 235).
12. Conclusion
From the time of the Fall the people of the world began moving in two opposite directions. One group followed the teachings of Adam and Eve and continually strived for increasing righteousness and perfection. The other group yielded to the deceitful enticing of Satan and his servants and moved deeper and deeper into depravity and wickedness. Both these divergent paths were followed to their ultimate ends. Under Enoch’s direction, a whole society became so perfect God took it to himself. The other group moved downward as surely as Enoch’s city moved upward. Finally they reached such depths of wickedness that it was a blessing for them to be destroyed.
We might ask, “Why is this pattern significant for us?” Because we are in a period of history when the same dramatic contrast and division is taking place. As Jesus himself prophesied, “But as the days of Noe[h] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:37).
We might ask, “What can we do to avoid the destruction that befell those at the time of the flood?” “How can I save my family?” The answer to these questions begins with ourselves. Surely we will not be able to save ourselves or others, if we are not living a life of righteousness.
What must we do in order to be prepared?
Joseph F. Smith states,
“…when I am ready to say, ‘Father, all that I have, myself included, is Thine; my time, my substance, everything that I possess is on the alter, to be used freely, agreeable to Thy holy will, and not my will, but Thine, be done,’ then perhaps I will be ready to go and help redeem Zion.” (“Prophets, Seers and Revelators” given at Quarterly Conference of the Cache Stake of Zion held in Logan, [Utah], Sunday, October 29, 1893, reprinted in The Millennial Star,Vol. LVI, 11 June and 18 June, 1894, 385-386).
You might be inclined to ask yourself how much time do I have in order to prepare my life so I can truly let go of the temporal things of this world and give all I have to the building up of Zion?
Marion G. Romney confirms the counsel of Joseph F. Smith,
“We’re living in the latter days. We’re living in the days the prophets have told about from the time of Enoch to the present day. We are living in the era just preceding the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ…the final thing that we are to do is to be able and willing to consecrate all that we have to the building up of the kingdom of God, to care for our fellow men. When we do this we’ll be ready for the coming of the Messiah.” (Conference Report, Welfare Services Session. April 1975, 165-166).