The Cities of Enoch and New Jerusalem
Parallels Between the Holy Cities
Hey everyone, welcome to the Latter-Day Disciples Podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in today.
Back in January, we studied Moses chapter 7, which is the account of Enoch and the vision that he had of the history of the world, and the conditions under which he established the holy city of Zion. Now, this account I wanted to revisit for today’s episode because it is a direct parallel. Hearkening back to episode 3 of the Latter-Day Disciples Podcast, and using parallels in our study of the Old Testament for the last days, this is a direct parallel to the conditions of the world under which we are going to build New Jerusalem, a second holy city, a second Zion.
So what can we learn about our future experience of building New Jerusalem from Enoch’s experience? We’re going to take a look today at the direct parallels. We’re going to corroborate some other scripture, and I think it will give you a really good idea of some of the things we can expect. So let’s hop right in!
In Moses chapter 7, verses 10-12, it says, “And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them—Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die. And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son. And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all the people…to repent.” I love that this record starts with an admonition for the people to repent. I think that that’s evidence of how merciful God is. He knows exactly what’s coming, and He knows what His people are going to choose, but He gives them every opportunity to turn back and to come unto Him. We’re seeing this right now. Every General Conference address that is given is a call to repentance. I think if you go back sixty or seventy years you’ll notice, gosh not even that far, go back forty years, thirty years, twenty years even, you’ll notice the messages have become gentler, but they are still very real invitations for us to put off the natural man, and discontinue our sinful ways and come unto Christ. And this is so important because right now is our time to prepare to meet God, and potentially meet God in New Jerusalem. To meet Christ there. And I think that it’s so important and so wonderful that He going to give every nation, every kindred, every tongue and every people the opportunity to learn and accept the Gospel before He comes again, the same as He did in Enoch’s day.
Moving on, let’s go to verse 13. It says, “And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.” Preparatory to the Second Coming, to building New Jerusalem, we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are going to go through a very intense process of purification. In some ways, this has already begun, and we’re seeing the sifting effect that it’s having among members of the Church. This is going to intensify. The good news is that just as powerful in leading his people, we have a living prophet who will exhibit this same degree of power. When God needs him to, he will shake the earth, and mountains will flee away, and rivers will be turned out of their course. And we will have the opportunity to see miracles as well through the Priesthood as we live up to our own privileges, the privileges that come with our covenant relationship with Christ through obedience and hearkening to the words of the Holy Ghost. I’m so grateful to know that whatever we face ahead, we will have a powerful prophet to guide us, and we already do. President Russell M. Nelson is absolutely magnificent, and I’m so grateful for him, for his example, and for the power that he exhibits as he’s been leading this church.
Verses 13-15, “Their enemies came to battle against them; … and all nations feared greatly, …and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea. And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God.” After the period of persecution that I mentioned, we are going to receive strength to the degree that our enemies will fear us. Us meaning the Saints that will build New Jerusalem, and who will establish the city of Zion. We learn this is true in Doctrine and Covenants section 45 where it says, “And the glory of the Lord shall be there, (There meaning New Jerusalem.) and the terror of the Lord shall be there also. Insomuch that the wicked shall not come unto it, for it shall be called Zion. For when the Lord shall appear He shall terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them and they shall stand afar off and tremble, and all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of His might.” Isaiah talks in great depth about the strengthening and the bolstering of the Saints after our period of persecution and tribulation. It’s amazing how we can go from a state of subjugation and opposition, and eventually if. we endure that well we will be made conquerors to the degree that the wicked will not even to want to try to vex us. After such a trying period of that time, that will be an enormous relief that will bring much gratitude.
The account in Moses goes on to detail how the people are protected, and they flourish, and they become Zion, and then they build a city. And I think that it’s so interesting, this sequence of events, because it was not in the building of the city that they became of one heart and one mind as it says. Instead, they established their unity as disciples of Christ well before they laid the foundations of the city of Enoch. “And the Lord called His people Zion, because they of one mind and one heart, and they dwelt in righteousness, and there was no poor among them. And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion.” This is something that we should be working on right now. We can become of one heart and of one mind. We do not need to wait before we are called to do this work. It’s challenging. There has never been more opposition from the world, from the adversary, to sew division in the Church, and we are seeing it in a very real way. But if we want to call ourselves true disciples of Christ, we will overcome that, and begin to establish Zion in our own hearts and in our own homes and begin if we can in our broader communities as well. The Lord encouraged the early Saints to do this. He said, “And with one heart and one mind gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the Saints of the Most High God.” Unfortunately, the Saints of this early dispensation were not ready yet. There was still too much contention, pride, jealousy, selfishness. But we have every hope and expectation that we can do the work that needs to be done by virtue of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and that through His Atonement, and beginning with ourselves, we can become the kind of people that we need to be before we can do the work that we are called to do. I have a deep testimony of this.
One of the most interesting things that Enoch witnessed in his vision proceeding and during Christ’s lifetime up to His crucifixion, was the Earth mourning for the wickedness that was upon her, and crying our for cleansing. Verses 48 and 49 read, “
And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept.” It makes me cry too hearing this. The Earth is a living entity, and not just that, but she is perfect in her sphere. She is perfectly obedient to the God that made her. And to hear this language, and to consider what it must be like to be a perfect host, and to perfectly abide in the commandments which you have been given, and yet to be used as a means to nothing but wickedness, it’s absolutely heartbreaking for me to consider. It wouldn’t be surprising to me at all if the tumultuous events in the Earth that will be taking place, that we’re aware of, we talk about these often, the earthquakes, hailstorms, thunderings and lightnings, waves heaving themselves beyond their bounds, it wouldn’t surprise me if these are all in part due to the fact that the Earth is lamenting. Lamenting the wickedness that is upon her, and crying out for cleansing as what Enoch heard in this vision. Gratefully, we know that she will be cleansed and purified by a baptism of fire, and eventually inherit a terrestrial, and then a celestial glory. We learn this in the tenth Article of Faith where it says, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes, that Zion, the New Jerusalem, will be built upon the American continent, that Christ will reign personally upon the Earth, and that the Earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”
Enoch then saw a vision of our time. So if you remember, this was all a parallel. He was describing the conditions of his day, and the conditions of the times leading up to when the Savior would be born. And then eventually the vision switches to the last days, our day. And he has a vision of the Second Coming of the Savior of Men. A few really interesting things that it points out. First off, in the vision our days are described as days of wickedness and vengeance. Interestingly enough, this is the same way he describes the meridian of time when Christ came to the Earth. He said that those also were days of wickedness and vengeance. I think that wickedness is perfectly obvious, but vengeance is interesting. I think that it could have a dual representation meaning that mankind is seeking vengeance against one another and also that Christ will seek vengeance on behalf of the righteous against the wicked. Both of those things are coming to pass, and will come to pass as a part of our times.
The vision goes on to show much tribulation and darkness. He speaks of the Earth shaking as it did after Christ’s crucifixion, and we know that there will be an earthquake the likes of which the world has never seen. It will literally shift the earth out of its place.
He also sees how the gospel will be the tool that’s used to gather the elect of God. I think about President Nelson, and how he said, “The gathering of Israel is the most important work taking place on the earth right now.” And that has been foreseen for literally millennia. And it’s so exciting that we get to be a part of this.
And then finally Enoch sees the second holy city, the New Jerusalem, that will be established. And it says, “And my righteousness will I send down out of heaven. And truth will I send forth out of the earth to bear testimony of my only Begotten, His resurrection from the dead, yea and also the resurrection of all men. And truth and righteousness will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood to gather out mine elect from the four corners of the earth unto a place which I shall prepare, an holy city. That people may gird up their loins and be looking forth for the time of my coming. For there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.” I love how the Lord indicates the purpose of establishing the city is in part to prepare His people, “that my people may gird up their loins”, to prepare them, and give them space where they can look for Him. And this is something that we can and should be doing now.
We have been given the knowledge that we need, the signs that we need to look for in order to be perceiving in searching for our Savior now. Not to say that He’s going to appear right now, but we need to be prepared, and we need to be watching for Him. He has made that perfectly clear, in this scripture, as well as all of His last days parables. That we need to be watching.
I want to close this little analysis with the most important, the most joyous, and most desirable characteristic of the city of Enoch, and also that will exist in New Jerusalem is that the people that were found there, including Enoch, walked with God. It says, “The Lord came and dwelt with His people, and they dwelt in righteousness.” We don’t have to wait for the Second Coming to see our Savior. New Jerusalem is going to be established before His official second advent. I hope that sinks in for you, because for me, there’s nowhere else I want to be; and if there’s an opportunity that I can accelerate the time frame in which I get to behold Him then I will do whatever I can. We learn what the qualification is to be a part of New Jerusalem, and it is to be pure in heart. In Hebrew, heart is ‘leb’ or ‘lebab’, and it doesn’t just refer to our hearts, it refers to our whole inner person. It includes our character, our will, our emotions, our attention, our purposes and our desires. All of these need to be purified. They need to be cleansed from worldliness and wickedness, and need to be centered on our Savior. It is only through Him and His Atonement that we can experience this cleansing, this sanctification, and this purification. But oh, the blessings for those who do. Spencer W. Kimball in an address said the following little excerpt: “In the 58th section of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord shares with us a glimpse of this latter-day Zion. He says, ‘You cannot behold with your natural eyes for the present time the designs of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation; for after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory. The hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand. Behold, I say unto you for this cause I have sent you, (repeats I have sent you) that ye might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come. And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand. And after that cometh the day of my power, then shall the poor, the lame, the blind and the deaf, come into the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day of the Lord to come. Behold, I the Lord have spoken it.’ This day will come. It is our destiny to help bring it about. Doesn’t it motivate you to lengthen your stride and quicken your pace as you do your part in the great sanctifying work of the kingdom? It does me.” And it does me as well! To tie all this up I quote from Doctrine and Covenants section 45:62, “For verily I say unto you, that great things await you.” I testify that that is true. And my prayer is that we will all actively seek to participate in bringing these things about.
Signs in Real Time
For our signs in real times segment today I am taking this from 1 Timothy chapter 4. In this section there is a list of signs of the times that is given, and one of them is “forbidding to marry”. Recently there was an opinion guest essay published in the New York Times called, ‘What Does Marriage Ask Us to Give Up?’ This is from January 4th of this year (2022). And the author makes the argument that as marriage asks people to forfeit their independence, it is not a universal common good for individuals or for society at large. Instead, she offers single parenthood, casual partnerships, and non-marital codependency as new ways to structure society and overcome the “Industries and institutions. Banking, real estate, health care, insurance, advertising, and most importantly taxation that revolve around assumptions of marriage as the norm.” She believes that, “Without that base assumption the logic of many of those transactions is thrown out.” I found a list of similar articles that had been published in the last six months or so, and those included titles such as, “The Married Will Soon Be the Minority,” “Divorce Can Be an Act of Radical Self-Love,” and “A Broken Home Didn’t Break Me or My Kids.” All of this is indicative of an underlying cultural shift that seeks to pose marriage as a simple social construct without legitimacy or benefit for humankind. But we know that marriage was instituted by God. Now obviously, not every family mirrors the “ideal structure” laid out in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Currently, there are about 50% of adult LDS members that are either single or divorced, and they are just as loved by God, and are equally vital to His plan and the preparations of the world for the Second Coming. Jeffrey R. Holland has said that, “God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are true and faithful.” In the meantime, however, we are called upon to represent the Lord and advocate for His commandments and the things we know are foundational to the spiritual and temporal foundations of our societies, such as marriage. In his address, “Marriage is Essential to His Eternal Plan” David A. Bednar said, “The Father’s plan is designed to provide direction for His children, to help them become happy, to bring them safely home unto Him. Satan’s attacks on the Plan are intended to make the sons and daughters of God confused and unhappy, and to halt their eternal progression. The overarching intent of the Father of Lies is that all of us would become miserable like unto himself, and he works to warp the elements of the Father’s plan that he hates the most. Satan does not have a body, he cannot marry, and he will not have a family, and he persistently strives to confuse the divinely appointed purposes of gender, marriage, and family. Throughout the world we see growing evidence of the effectiveness of Satan’s efforts. More recently, the Devil attempted to combine and legally validate confusion about gender and marriage. As we look beyond mortality and into eternity it is easy to discern that the counterfeit alternative that the adversary advocates can never lead to the completeness that is made possible through the sealing together of a man and a woman, to the happiness of a righteous marriage, to the joy of posterity, or to the joy of the blessing of eternal progression. Given what we know about our enemy’s intent, each of us should be especially vigilant in seeking personal inspiration as to how we can protect and safeguard marriage, how we can learn and teach correct principles in our home and in our Church assignments about the eternal significance and about the role of marriage in the Father’s plan.” I hope that we all feel a greater urgency when it comes to defending the institution of marriage. Not as something that is manmade, and therefor as something that can be done away or altered by man. But as something that the Lord has instituted for our happiness and our progression. It is only through God’s methods, that we will receive that our souls most desire.
Okay, to wrap up I’m going to go back to Elder Bednar. This is a quote from him at an evening with the General Authorities that he gave in February 2020. He said, “To live on the earth in this season of the dispensation of the fullness of times is the blessing of a lifetime. Think of the things we are blessed to see! We have a particular responsibility in this day. If we have been saved for this day, it is because we have a lot to do, and we have a role in the helping the rising generation to be ready. This is the greatest season in the history of the Restored Church, the greatest opposition, and the greatest opportunities.” Isn’t that so true? Given in February of 2020. I wonder how much Elder Bednar about what was going to happen within a month of when he gave that quote, and still he gave it! He still said that this is the best time to live on the earth. This is a blessing; we have greater opportunities than we ever have had before, but they also come with responsibilities. And that is something I would invite you to ponder this week, is what are the responsibilities that are inherent to your living at the most climatic, the most interesting important time in history, knowing that prophets have prophesied about you, and about us, and about what is happening right now. What are we responsible to be doing right now? And how can we better fulfill those responsibilities? I think that there’s a whole discussion that could be had around this, and certainly we will. But for now I want to leave you with that thought, and my testimony that this is the most wonderful time to be alive. I think that if we could see beyond the veil we’d understand the joy and the gratitude that we felt when we understood that we were going to be saved for right now. And of course, there are challenges that come with it, but our Heavenly Father knew that we were up to the task, so long as we relied on Him who is mighty to save, our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. And it is through Him that we will take hold of these amazing opportunities and overcome all of the opposition we may face on a daily basis and in the future.
Love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Want to listen to this episode? Listen here.
“Becoming the Pure in Heart“, Spencer W. Kimball
“What Does Marriage Ask Us to Give Up?” Kaitlyn Greenidge. New York Times, January 2022.
“Marriage is Essential to His Eternal Plan“, David A. Bednar, June 2006
We invite you to follow us on Instagram @lddisciplespodcast.
Love What You're Reading?
Tune into this episode wherever you listen to podcasts. Want to get started?
Come Follow Me BFF
Are you wanting to deepen your Come Follow Me study this year? Join McKay on the Daily Discipleship Podcast Monday through Friday for daily inspiration in a bite-size format.
Up Your Preparedness Game
Our Honey + Lilies Blog is dedicated to helping you prepare for the days ahead. Want to get started? Click here.