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Publication TypeEncyclopedia Entry
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsEames, Rulon D., James H. Charlesworth, and Lewis R. Church
Secondary AuthorsLudlow, Daniel H.
Secondary TitleEncyclopedia of Mormonism
Keywords1 Enoch; 2 Enoch; 3 Enoch; Enoch (Prophet)
Citation Key9444

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[In three parts, this entry discusses Enoch, his visions, prophetic leadership, and significance.]

Enoch: LDS Sources


Enoch holds a prominent place in Latter-day Saint scripture and tradition as a prophet, seer, and builder of Zion. The Bible states that "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Gen. 5:21-24). In revelations to Joseph Smith much additional information is given about Enoch, his knowledge of the sanctifying Atonement of Christ, the visions he saw of the future of the world, the messages he proclaimed, the wickedness he opposed, the miracles he worked, the priesthood ordinances he performed, and the promises he received from the premortal Lord Jesus Christ (see Book of Moses). Enoch and his city of Zion are powerful symbols among the Latter-day Saints, affirming that supreme righteousness can be attained on earth as it is in heaven.

MOSES 6-7 in the Pearl of Great Price. Enoch was the seventh in a chain of Patriarchs extending back to Adam (MOSES 6:10-22). Adam's grandson Enos had fled with "the residue of the people of God" from a wicked land called Shulon into "a land of promise," which Enos named after his son, Cainan (6:17). The text implies that Enoch was born in this "land of righteousness" (6:41). Following the example of Adam and Eve, Enoch's father taught him "in all the ways of God" (6:21, 41; cf. 5:12).

When Enoch was said to be "but a lad" (although he was possibly over 65-Moses 6:25, 31), he was called to preach repentance to the wicked: "The Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him" (6:26-30). Like other prophets, Enoch felt profoundly inadequate to the task: "All the people hate me; for I am slow of speech" (6:31-34; cf. 1:25-26; Ex. 4:10-12; Jer. 1:4-10; Isa. 6:1-10). The Lord instructed Enoch to anoint his eyes with clay and wash them, whereupon he saw a vision of "the spirits that God had created; and things which were not visible to the natural eye" (Moses 6:35-36). The word "seer" thus applies to him.

Enoch then went forth preaching in the hills and high places, but the people took offense and considered him "a wild man" (6:37-38). One man named Mahijah was bold enough to ask Enoch who he was and whence he had come. Enoch then explained his vision of heaven and his understanding of the Fall of Adam; he taught how humans after the Fall had become carnal and devilish by worshiping Satan, but how according to the Plan of Salvation they may repent and become "sons of God" through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Man of Holiness (6:42-7:1).

As Enoch continued his ministry, he told of another vision he had received in which he stood upon a mountain and saw the Lord face to face. The Lord showed Enoch the judgments of war and the barrenness that would come upon the wicked and commanded Enoch again to preach repentance and baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (7:2-11).

Enoch brought a large body of converts to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but his success did not come without fierce opposition (7:12-13). The enemies of the righteous mobilized against them. The scriptural account describes miracles of extraordinary power. By Enoch's words, "the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, and rivers of water were turned out of their course" (7:13). Stricken by fear, Enoch's enemies and the giants of the land stood far off, and "the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness" (7:17).

Under Enoch's inspired leadership, the faithful achieved an extraordinary unity of heart and mind. Loving obedience to the laws of Christ was maintained; a state of economic equality was realized, and "there was no poor among them" (7:18). The spiritual unity of Enoch's people took on physical dimensions through the construction of a city "that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion" (7:19). Their lives were based on "the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years [Jesus Christ]" (6:67), and "after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch" (JST Gen. 14:27). This unique community matured over a period of 365 years, after which it was received up into heaven. Fulfilling his covenant to preserve the lineage of Enoch upon the earth, the Lord left behind Enoch's son, Methuselah, and grandson, Lamech (Moses 8:2, 5). Lamech's son Noah was born four years after the city of Enoch was taken into heaven.

In a third vision, Enoch beheld "all the inhabitants of the earth" (7:21). In this panoramic revelation, he witnessed the wickedness and violence in the days of Noah; he saw Satan laughing, with a great chain in his hand, and the Lord weeping over his creations, for mankind had rejected God and had become "without affection" (7:33). Enoch saw the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (7:47-48) and received a promise that "a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations" (7:52). Finally, he saw the joyous reunion of his city with a latter-day Zion built in anticipation of Jesus' second coming (7:63-67).

According to the biblical account, Enoch lived 365 years (Gen. 5:23); according to the Book of Moses, 430 years (8:1; i.e., 365 plus 65, which was Enoch's age when he begat Methuselah and was ordained).

DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS 76, 84, 107. Enoch's rapid rise to spiritual maturity is indicated by the fact that he received the priesthood before his father and grandfather. The priesthood held by Enoch is described in several passages in the Doctrine and Covenants. He was ordained at age twenty-five under the hand of Adam. His priesthood was "after the holiest order of God," holding "the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God" (D&C 84:15-19). The scriptures confirm that Enoch "saw the Lord, and he walked with him, and was before his face continually" (D&C 107:48-49). Indicative of Enoch's eternal priesthood station, heirs of the Celestial Kingdom are described as "priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son" (D&C 76:57).

Enoch received two blessings from Adam: one when he was ordained to the priesthood, the other 240 years later at the council of Adam-ondi-Ahman, which seems to be more of a public blessing (D&C 107:48, 53). All the Patriarchs in Enoch's ancestral line were present at this final reunion of Adam's righteous posterity, and Adam prophesied the future of his descendants "unto the latest generation" (107:56). These prophecies were written in the book of Enoch.

ENOCH AND THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS. Latter-day Saints believe that Enoch's righteousness was grounded on the same gospel principles that apply in all dispensations and eternally. For this reason, Latter-day Saints feel a spiritual kinship with Enoch and his people: Enoch's Zion represents every spiritual ideal for which Latter-day Saints strive. Called to build a modern Zion, the prophet and seer Joseph Smith used the name Enoch as one of the code names for himself in early editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. An economic system designed to promote material and spiritual equality within the Church, the Order of Enoch (see United Orders), has been implemented at various times in Church history. Church members look toward the day when the righteous will build the counterpart of Enoch's City of Holiness, the New Jerusalem, in Jackson County, Missouri. Missionaries around the world preach repentance, for the earth is to be cleansed by fire, as it was with the flood that followed Enoch's ministry. Church members anticipate the return of Enoch's city from above to be reunited with the Zion beneath (Moses 7:58), when the earth will rest under the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.


Maxwell, Neal A. Of One Heart: The Glory of the City of Enoch. Salt Lake City, 1975.

Millet, Robert L. "Enoch and His City (Moses 6, 7)." In Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2, pp. 131-44. Salt Lake City, 1985.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. In CWHN 2.

Ricks, Stephen D. "The Narrative Call Pattern in the Prophetic Commission of Enoch (Moses 6)." BYU Studies 26 (Fall 1986):97-105.


Enoch: Ancient Sources


According to "#22 Genesis 5:22-25, "Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him" (RSV).

Enoch, the father of Methuselah and great-grandfather of Noah, was honored by Jews and Christians because of the following reasons: (1) Genesis 5 says that he lived 365 years, a number attractive to Jews who were arguing for cultic alignment with the solar calendar (1 Enoch ). (2) He "walked with God" and therefore pleased God and was perfect (Wisdom of Solomon 4:13). (3) He did not die-"God took him"-and hence would return from heaven (1 Enoch 14:21-24) to bring to fruition God's promises for his people. (4) He was "seventh" (seven is a perfect number) after Adam (Gen. 5; 1 Enoch 93:3; Jude 14). Enoch is declared by "an angel" to be "the Son of man" (1 Enoch 71:14). He alone has seen everything (1 Enoch 19). He will reprimand the fallen angels (1 Enoch 14), reveal everything (1 Enoch 91), intercede for humans (1 Enoch 15:2), and bring eternal peace into the world that is to come, as indicated at creation, since righteousness never forsakes him (1 Enoch 71:14-17).

BOOKS OF ENOCH. It is clear that early Jews and Christians honored the books of Enoch. The most ancient of these are excerpted in what is now called 1 (Ethiopic) Enoch. In the estimation of most experts today, all the documents preserved in 1 Enoch are Jewish and antedate the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In probable chronological order these books of Enoch are as follows: The Book of Astronomy (1 Enoch 72-82) describes the movement of the sun, the reception of its light by the moon (73:7, 78:10), and the divinely ordained solar calendar. The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36) is a composite work consisting of the Parables of Enoch (1-5), the Watchers (6-16), and Enoch's journeys (17-19 and 20-36); the main purpose of this compilation is to explain that evil entered into this world because of the fall of angels (cf. Gen. 6). The Book of Dream Visions (1 Enoch 83-90) contains a Vision of the Deluge (83-84) and an Animal Apocalypse (85-90), which describes the history of the world from before the Flood until the appearance of "one great horn," who is probably Judas Maccabeus. The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91-105; 106-107 is probably from the lost book of Noah, and 108 is a later addition) is addressed against the affluent sinners (94:8-9; 95:3; 96:4-8; 97:8-10), contains an older review of history (the Apocalypse of Weeks, 1 Enoch 93:1-10, and 91:11-17, which is misplaced), and exhorts the righteous to continue in their hope (104) and to walk in the way of righteousness and avoid the way of wickedness. The Similitudes of Enoch (1 Enoch 36-71) is one of the most brilliant theological documents of Judaism before Jerusalem's destruction in 70 a.d; it describes the future appearance of the Messiah, the Righteous One, the Elect One, and the Son of Man, and tends to equate them as one figure, who is eventually revealed to be Enoch. Related to the books of Enoch is the Book of the Giants, which is preserved in Qumranic fragments that date from the first century B.C.

2 Enoch is one of the most difficult Jewish writings to date and to understand because it is preserved only in medieval Slavonic manuscripts. It was beloved by the Bogomils, who were shaped by ancient Jewish sources but who also created or reshaped ancient documents. Many scholars trace 2 Enoch back to a Jew who lived before A.D. 100. After an introduction in which he informs his sons of his impending assumption, Enoch describes his ascent through the seven heavens (3-21). Then the Lord reveals secrets to Enoch (22-38), who admonishes his sons (39-66) and is translated into the highest heaven (67; chap. 68 is extant only in the long recension). The apocalypse concludes with a description of Melchizedek's miraculous birth from Sophanima, who has died. He is then taken into paradise by the archangel Michael and will return at the end of time to be the head of the priests (69-73).

3 Enoch in its present form is a medieval Jewish work; but it may go back to an earlier document and certainly preserves very ancient traditions. The forty-eight chapters of 3 Enoch contain cosmological information, especially regarding the heavenly world of God's throne and chariot. The archangel Metatron informs the seer Ishmael that he is Enoch, who has been transformed into an angel.

THE EXIT OF ENOCH. Despite the fact that the author of Jude (verse 9) quoted from 1 Enoch as prophecy and that the Ethiopian church has canonized the book and celebrated numerous other works that interpret it, the books of Enoch fell out of favor in mainstream Judaism and Christianity. With the compilation of the Mishnah by Rabbi Judah around A.D. 200 and the tendency to denigrate apocalypticism, Enoch fell out of favor. Hillel and his school were the norm for rabbinics. With the closing of the Christian canon, as a result of the emergence of the Holy Roman Empire in the fourth century, the books of Enoch were branded as extracanonical, and the veneration once given to the wise scribe Enoch was transferred to, or reserved for, Jesus Christ.


Black, M., with J. C. VanderKam. The Book of Enoch or I Enoch: A New English Edition. Leiden, 1985.

Charles, R. H. The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch. Oxford, 1912.

Charlesworth, J. H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. Garden City, N.Y., 1983, 1985. (Contains introductions, translations, and notes to 1 Enoch, 2 Enoch, and 3 Enoch).

Knibb, M., with E. Ullendorff. The Ethiopic Book of Enoch: A New Edition in the Light of the Aramaic Dead Sea Fragments, 2 vols. Oxford, 1978.

Milik, J. T., with M. Black. The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumr-n Cave 4. Oxford, 1976.

VanderKam, J. C. Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition. Washington, D.C., 1984.


Enoch: Book of Enoch


The book of Enoch is one of the ancient writings that Latter-day Saints anticipate receiving sometime in the future (see Scriptures: Forthcoming Scripture). This is not to be confused with the pseudepigraphic books of Enoch, which nevertheless have garnered the interest of some Latter-day Saints since at least 1840 (Pratt, p. 61). In Doctrine & Covenants 107:53-57,reference is made to a meeting of Adam's righteous posterity held at Adam-ondi-Ahman three years before Adam's death. The influence of the Holy Spirit was manifested powerfully in prophecy as Adam blessed his posterity. While these verses give a précis of what happened, many more things were "written in the book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time" (D&C 107:57). Speaking of this book in December 1877, Elder Orson Pratt said, "When we get that, I think we shall know a great deal about the ante-diluvians of whom at present we know so little" (JD 19:218). An extract from the prophecy of Enoch was revealed and published in the Book of Moses (chaps. 6-7), the latter chapter being published in the The Evening and The Morning Star of August 1832 (HC 1:130-31).


Pratt, Parley P. "The Apocryphal Book of Enoch." MS 1 (July 1840):61.