The First Days and the Last Days: A Verse-By-Verse Commentary on the Book of Moses and JS Matthew in Light of the Temple AND Enoch and the Gathering of Zion
Like a perfectly formed pair of bookends, the Book of Moses and Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of Matthew 24 (JS—Matthew) bracket within their pages the essential survival guide for our times. In the “first days,” Adam and Eve looked forward to Christ’s coming; in the “last days,” we look backward to Christ’s mortal life and forward to His return in glory. In the beginning, Enoch learned the ordinances and covenants that would allow his people to dwell in the presence of God; to the end, we will treasure the same ordinances and covenants. Through faith in Jesus Christ and faithfulness to these covenants we hope to stand someday in the holy place with perfect assurance.
This comprehensive phrase-by-phrase commentary on the Book of Moses and JS—Matthew is the result of decades of loving study of their wonderful words. In its pages you will find both everyday guidance and the answers to life’s most important questions. Importantly, this book is a witness that the doctrines and ordinances of the temple are deeply woven into the fabric of these supernal works of scripture, containing persuasive evidence of their authenticity and antiquity. Scores of carefully selected images, coupled with detailed explanations, enrich the commentary. Rather than simply illustrating the text, they seek to enter into dialogue with it.
Enoch and the Gathering of Zion
Latter-day Saints have long been fascinated and inspired by the Book of Moses story of Enoch. It provides the closest thing to a full biography we have in the Book of Moses. And what a biography! Moses 6–7 detail his call, his teaching mission, his glorious vision of all things, his surprising victories in battle, and the ultimate ascent of the city of Zion to the bosom of God. What some readers may not know is that Latter-day Saint scholars, beginning with Hugh Nibley, have begun to find pieces of new and plausibly authentic elements of Enoch’s story in fragments of ancient documents that have turned up in scattered places over the last several decades.
Among the most significant recent discoveries is an Enoch account called the Book of Giants. Although the combined fragments of the Aramaic version of the Book of Giants scarcely fill three pages in one popular translation, we find in them the most extensive series of resemblances between a single ancient text and Moses 6–7. The Book of Giants adds rich background and details to the Book of Moses story of Enoch’s prophetic mission. Based on a 2015 discovery of the Manichaean Cosmology Painting—a thirteenth–fourteenth century illustration depicting incidents within the Book of Giants—we now have further confirmation of the Book of Moses account about the gathering of Zion and the eventual ascent of Enoch’s people to heaven.
With the help of the Book of Giants and other ancient texts, we are now in a better position than ever to assemble the most complete and detailed biography of Enoch to appear in modern times. In our day, when stories of scripture figures are often dismissed as fables or ignored altogether, Enoch’s story and message are more vital and relevant than ever. After all, Latter-day Saints have been called, like Enoch’s people, to more fully engage our hearts and accelerate our labors in a spirit of consecration until the Enoch’s vision of a true and permanent Zion becomes a reality.