Dr. Einar C. Erickson
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And there was there a water spring to which the apostle went and baptized Magdonian in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.

INTRODUCTION:

In Alma 45:19 we learn that the "Lord took Moses [translated him] unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma." Therefore, anything we can learn about the translation of Moses to confirm Mormon doctrine about Moses, will apply to Alma.

It seems that it was a very common occurrence for faithful members of the Church to be translated into the heavenly realms without tasting death after the Fall of Adam.  Enoch and his people and city were translated probably not long after the Death of Adam (Moses 7:18:21, 30, 63, 69; D&C 38:4, 45:11:14; 84:99-100; Gen 5:22-24; Heb. 11:5) Methuselah, the son of Enoch,  was not translated "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." (Moses 8:2)  Methuselah (man of a dart, Genesis 5:1), was the grandfather of Noah, he was one hundred and eighty-seven years old, when his son Lamech, the father of Noah, was born. He had other sons and daughters. Methuselah died at the age of nine hundred and sixty-nine, the longest life span mentioned in the bible. (Mendel p. 354) Of all the descendants of Adam, other than Egyptus. A descendant of Cain, and wife of Ham, only the descendants of Methuselah, or those they married, survived the flood, all others perished.

TRANSLATION OF ENOCH

From the time of the translation of Enoch to the flood it would appear that nearly all faithful members of the Church were translated for "the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion." (Moses 7:27,  McConkie MD, p. 727)  "And Jared (Genesis 5:15) lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch. (Genesis 5:18, Moses 6:21)  Enoch was included in the ‘Book of the Generations of Adam' (Genesis 5:1)  Enoch (Hanoch), meaning ‘initiated', Genesis 5:18) was sixty-five years old when his first son, Methuselah, was born. The bible says that Enoch walked with God 300 years after he begat Methuselah. (Gen 5:18, 21-24) The Pearl of Great Price, however, makes a correction here: "All the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years." (Moses 7:68, Gen 5:23, JST 7:76) These years started after Enoch was established as a prophet of God, (Moses 6:27), which was when he was 65 years old. His earthly sojourn was a total of 430 years, not less as suggested by some Chronologists. (Shulman p. 15-19, et al.) He appears to have been born 687 after the departure from the Garden, generally designated as After Mortality, AM, and to have been translated on the basis of that chronology 1052 AM [after mortality]. (Anderson 79) But Adam died at 930 years, and since he was to die on the day he partook of the forbidden fruit, he was in the Garden 70 years. (Hunter) Therefore Enoch was born 757 after the Creation, and was translated in 1187 from the Beginning. Most students of the bible ignore this fact, and their chronologies will be in error at least by 70 years. The Pearl of Great Price provides a key to a more accurate chronology.  

JEWISH AND SCRIPTURAL TRADITIONS ABOUT ENOCH

The Jews believe that Enoch shares with the prophet Elijah the singular distinction of being taken by God ...instead of dying. (Mendel p. 191)  "Enoch's supernatural disappearance led to the belief that he became privy to the divine secrets." (Reader Digest p. 102) "‘He was no more, because God took him.' From these words has grown the Enoch legend and its literature the books of Enoch...the brief reference in Genesis is further elaborated in Jewish Midrashic tradition; his wife's named was Edni, and he spent hidden years with the angels before he was taken up to heaven. There are parallels to the latter in Greek and Near Eastern sources...owing more to Babylonian than to Israelite ideas." (Metzger p. 70) "A commentary on the Jewish Scriptures which aims at finding a meaning deeper than the literal or superficial meaning [is a Midrash]." (Purvis p. 118)  It started about the time of Ezra, [who arrived in Jerusalem a little before Nehemiah, for the reestablishment of the Temple about 458 BC. (RD. p. 112)], "and was divided into Midrash Halacha, [law or legal] and Midrash Haggadah, [non legal] parts of Scripture. The Jewish Midrash therefore "throws great light on Jewish beliefs and practices, especially as noticed in the New Testament." (Purvis p. 119)

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude l:14-15) "From the above it would seem that not only had Enoch written a book, but that Jude had access to it; or if not had had a communication or revelation from Enoch, as referred to by Joseph Smith, hereafter, for we discover he had knowledge of the Son of God, the Messiah." (Taylor p. 71)  This is confirmed by Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews: "By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had his testimony, that he pleased God." (Heb., 11:5)  The phrase "he had his testimony, that he pleased God" is a declaration that Enoch had his second anointing. By this we know Enoch had his calling and election made sure. An episode related to this achievement is found in Enoch's OWN account: "I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory, 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; and he said unto me, Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations." (Moses 7:4; 30)

"Now this Enoch God reserved unto Himself, that he should not die at that time, and appointed unto him a ministry unto terrestrial bodies, of whom there has been but little revealed. He is reserved also unto the Presidency of a dispensation, and more shall be said of him and terrestrial bodies in another treatise. His is a ministering angel to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, and appeared unto Jude, as Able did unto Paul; therefore Jude spoke of him."  (Jude 1: 14-15, (Taylor p. 74 quoting Joseph Smith)  "Jesus had been given all power in heaven and earth...He evidently had power which He used to commission the citizens of the Zion of Enoch to go to other worlds on missions...he would send or commission members of the translated priesthood of Enoch's Zion amongst terrestrial worlds whithersoever it pleased him in the interest of the peoples thus situated." (Taylor p. 77)  "... Enoch was clothed with glory and saw the Lord, who talked with Him as one man talks with another, even face to face." (Taylor 79,  Odeberg p. 166)  "And I took him (that is) Enoch, the son of Jared from among the children of men and made him a Throne over against my throne." (Odeberg p. 166) "And I lifted him up with the sound of a trumpet and with a teru'a (shout) to the high heavens, to be my witness ...in the world to come ...and I committed into his hands the keys...the secrets of above and the secrets of below (heavenly and earthly secrets)...and all the mysteries declared I unto him in uprightness...and a royal crown ...and his garment honour and majesty." (Odeberg  pp.166-169)  "And I made his glory great as the majesty of my glory." (Odeberg p. 169)  Enoch and his people received the Fullness of the Father. Enoch and his people "were with Christ at his resurrection." (D&C 133:53-55) They are now glorified and exalted

RECORDS AND BOOKS OF ENOCH

Today, there is extensive recovered literature about and by Enoch, which includes: lst Enoch, the Ethiopic Book of Enoch recovered in 1776, the 2nd Book of Enoch, the Slavonic Enoch recovered in 1863, the 3rd Book of Enoch or Hebrew Book of Enoch, recovered about 1893 from Russia, published in 1928, then revised in 1973, and the Books of Enoch recovered from the many Aramaic documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls published in 1974. (See Tapes Nos: 111, 220, 221, or their present equivalent)  It is absolutely correct that these ancient books contain many of the ‘Secrets of God', (and especially parallels to Mormon Doctrine); there are more parallels to Mormon Doctrine in 3rd Enoch than in any other published materials of ancient documents. These sources also indicate that there are many other records of Enoch still to be recovered. The ancient sources indicate that there were some 67 Books of Enoch.  (Milik p. 124) Satan imitated most of them. We have about a third of the genuine books so far. But what we do have are of tremendous importance. Most Mormons are unaware of existence of these books and their content. (Nibley Vol. 2, pp. 91-301) The content of these ancient sources lend a tremendous support to a testimony that the Gospel Restoration is true and Joseph was a prophet of God. (Genesis 5:21-25) 

In a fragment known as the BOOK OF NOAH, (Charles p. 278), which is really about Enoch, an unusual event is recorded when Noah was born, his father Lamech was afraid of him because he opened his moth and conversed with the Lord of righteousness, so Lamech approached his father Methuselah and implored him to go to Enoch and ask him about this strange son whose countenance was glorious and it seemed a great wonder would occur during his lifetime. He did this because his [Enoch's] dwelling place is amongst the angels. (Charles p. 278)  Methuselah did seek out Enoch at the ends of the earth and made an inquiry about Noah. Enoch then recounts for Methuselah a great vision of events to come including the cleansing of the earth by a deluge and great destruction. Enoch also wrote a book of visions for his son Methuselah and tells of the insights he had concerning the earth to the end time. (Charles pp. 280-281)  This is an amazing parallel to Mormon doctrine about Enoch's visions.  "A Hebrew fragment containing part of a similar description was discovered in Qumran 1, p. 85, (Avigad p. 17), though in the Scroll the narrator is Lamech, and the dialogue is between Lamech and his wife. (Avigad p. 18)

TRANSLATION

Those who ‘sought after Zion and found it' were considered to have been translated. "Now the doctrine of translation is a power which belongs to this Priesthood. There are many things which belong to the powers of the Priesthood and the keys thereof, that have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world; they are hid from the wise and prudent, to be revealed in the last times. Many may have supposed that the doctrine of translation as a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but it is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters. He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, [such as those that were translated before Christ was resurrected, Moses 7:31), and who as yet have not entered into so a great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead." (Taylor p. 74, Dahl p. 674)  Here there is a cryptic statement.  Were there planets in a state of translation not having been resurrected from the dead!  Planets that may have been translated long before Christ was resurrected on this world? Those planets and their inhabitants would be those who were in a terrestrial translated order awaiting the resurrection of Christ. Further instructions for them were provided by beings that had been translated from this earth, such as Enoch and others. Let's look into this in more detail.

"And worlds without number have I created, but only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto to you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power, and there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man." (Moses 1:33)  This is being said by the Lord unto Moses some 1300 years before Christ even came to the earth, and before Christ was resurrected. So what happened to these worlds? How had they passed away? Was their condition that of a terrestrial order?  Enoch seems to indicate this is so. "And it came to pass that the Lord showed Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever." (Moses 7:21) In this verse Zion is taken up to heaven, meaning they, of Zion, the City of Enoch, was translated. "And thou has taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity." (Moses 7:31) "And thou has taken Zion to thine own bosom" is an expression related to translation, found in the earlier verse. All of the worlds spoken of by the Lord in Moses l:33, that ‘have passed away" [but not exalted or celestialized] with all of their inhabitants, would have been translated.  This tells a great deal about the nature of those worlds, the perfection of those who lived on them before the resurrection of Christ, for those worlds, there would have been no spirit prison or a paradise as there is for this world and other worlds that had not passed away. What would the geography of the spirit world have been like for those worlds? There was no spirit condition or detention as disembodied spirits for them, they were translated. (Moses 7:31) Resurrection for them would have been postponed until the resurrection of Christ, because Christ is the Saviour of all worlds. (Joseph Smith, McConkie MD, p. 63)  That they were "taken [to] Zion to thine own bosom," seems to indicate the doctrine of translation for them, that while mentioned in scripture has been little commented upon, except in vague references, though found in the teachings of Joseph Smith. The publication of recent commentaries on the Pearl of Great Price do not make mention of this singular information (Draper, pp. 33, 126,129), nor does any of the many commentaries reaching back to 1948 when Hunter published his commentary (Hunter p189-190).

"This distinction between resurrection and translation: translation obtains 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 [provided by resurrection]." (Dahl p. 674)   The Three Nephites who were translated, as well as John, desired this condition and to render the service it required. (3 Nephi 28:5-6)

 "He [Joseph Smith] explained the difference between an angel and a ministering spirit; the one a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit, ministering to embodied spirits; the other a disembodied spirit, visiting or ministering to disembodied spirits....Jesus Christ became a ministering spirit (while his body was lying in the sepulcher) to the spirits in prison, to fulfill an important part of his mission, without which he could not have perfected his work, nor entered into his rest. After his resurrection he appeared as an angel to his disciples, etc. Translated bodies cannot enter into rest until they have undergone a change equivalent to death. Translated bodies are designed for future missions...The angel that appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos was a translated or resurrected body. Jesus Christ went in body after his resurrection to minister to translated and resurrected bodies." (Joseph Smith quoted in Taylor pp. 75-76)   Translated beings cannot be killed nor can they procreate. (McConkie Vol. IV, p. 189)  Those who were translated after the resurrection of Christ will serve in that state until the Second Coming. (McConkie  Vo. IV, p. 190) 

TRANSLATION OF MELCHIZEDEK AND HIS PEOPLE

"All men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the prince of peace, and his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which ‘had before taken'; separating it from the end of the world, and hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire. And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or in other words, the King of Peace." (Inspired Translation, Genesis 14:32-34)  "From the above it would seem that this people possessed the power of Translation and that they ‘obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken.' Or which was before translated." (Taylor p. 85, Heb 11:5-10)

THE TRANSLATION OF ELIJAH AND MOSES

The translation of Elijah, "the account of his being taken in ‘a chariot of fire...by a whirlwind into heaven' is majestically set out in the Old Testament. (2 Kings 2, McConkie, MD p. 728)  A fully developed account including the Doctrine of Translation can be found in Merrill, and the succinct pamphlet on ELIJAH by Joseph Fielding Smith, and need not be repeated here. (Merrill pp 87-89) 

"The Old Testament account that Moses died and was buried by the hand of the Lord in an unknown grave, (Deut. 34:5-7), is an error. It is true that he may have been ‘buried by the hand of the Lord,' if that expression is a figure of speech which means that he was translated. But the Book of Mormon account, in recording that Alma ‘was taken up by the Spirit,' says, ‘the Scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself." (Alma 45:18-19, McConkie, MD p. 728)   The scriptures referred to here were no doubt those in the Brass Plates, a more perfect transmittal of ancient history and doctrine than in the available bibles today, and to the actual account of the translation of Moses, of him  being taken by way of translation would have been recorded there.  This may also mean, however, that the actual record of the translation of Moses may have been originally in the Jewish Scriptures and Rabbinic commentaries, and have been deleted by nefarious men.  Either way, there should be, then, in recovered records some mention or an account of the translation of Moses and the nature of translated beings agreeable to what is found in the Book of Mormon. In order to confirm the Translation of Alma and the 3 Nephites, we should expect to find statements that confirm most of what is contained in the accounts above about translated beings. Is that too much to ask? We do find exactly that.

"The bodies of Moses and Elijah were translated so that they could come with bodies of flesh and bones to confer keys upon Peter, James, and John on the mount of Transfiguration, and even destined to occur prior to the beginning of the resurrection." (Matt. 17:1-6, Joseph Smith, p. 158. J.F. Smith pp. 107-111) "Moses held the keys of the gathering of Israel and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.  Elijah the Tishbite, a prophet of so great fame that his name had come to typify and symbolize the collective wisdom and insight of all the prophets. Elijah held the keys of sealing power. The Keys held by Moses and Elijah were conferred and sealed upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple [D&C 110] nearly two thousand years after the events of the Mount of Transfiguration where Christ, Peter, James and John, and John the Baptist, received exceptionally important keys and endowments."  (McConkie DNC p. 402) When these two formerly translated beings appeared in this dispensation to restore again their keys and powers, they came as resurrected personages.  (D&C 133:55) "The reason for the translation of Alma has not been revealed." (McConkie, MD, p. 728)  But he was translated.

OTHERS TRANSLATED AT DIFFERENT TIMES

A few persons who lived in the Christian Era have been translated, Christ said: "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matt 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27)  John, who also was translated, no doubt was one of those standing. (John 21:20-23; Rev. 10: D&C 7; 77:14) "Then the saying went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die." John says, "Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John 21:20-23) "Many of the righteous saints were translated and thus given other ministries to perform pending the day of their final redemption. The Prophet says that translated beings are ‘held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets'" (Smith p. 170, McConkie, MD p. 728)  In March 1831 the Lord also said: "All are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of." (D&C 49:8)

During the Millennial era, men will live in a state comparable in many respects to the state of translated beings. (D&C 101:23-31; Isa. 11:1-9; 65:17-25, McConkie, MD p. 728-729)

It is from the account of the translation of the Three Nephites that we gain most of ‘our knowledge of the present ministry among men of translated beings, it is very evident that such persons never taste of death; ...never endure the pain of death', they undergo a change in their bodies ‘that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world', they have a fullness of joy, they are holy men, ‘sanctified in the flesh'; the powers of earth could not hold them' ‘they are as the angels of God' ministering to whosoever they will, they shall do a great and marvelous work, among the scattered tribes, among the Jews, in the Eastern and Western Hemisphere; Satan has no power over them, not bound by the laws of this earth, they are they that ‘shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality at the second coming' which is in effect their death, for all die, even those  who are alive when Christ comes, and those who live during the millennium. (3 Nephi 28:7-40)

 "Children shall grow [up without sin] until they become old," Old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye (D&C 63:49-52, 101:23-31) and that they shall then inherit exaltation in the kingdom of God. (3 Nephi . 28:7-40)  "Jesus came...he took them [the three Nephites] into the heavens and endowed them with the power of translation, probably in one of Enoch's temples, and brought them back to the earth." (McConkie Vol. lV, p. 191)  Three hundred years after the translation of the 3 Nephites they assisted Mormon and Moroni, and then ceased to service the Nephites for a long period. (Peterson p. 15) They then served the Jews and the members of the scattered tribes, and other nations. (3 Nephi 28:27-29)  Then when the Americas were settled they returned to serve in this hemisphere. They will be resurrected in the twinkling of an eye at the Day of Judgment by Christ. (3 Nephi 28:39-40)

"All translated being accordingly receive what amounts to an instantaneous death and resurrection. Those who were translated before the resurrection of our Lord "were with Christ in his resurrection." (D&C 133:55).  Those translated since the resurrection of Christ shall continue to live as [translated] mortals until the Second Coming when they shall receive their immortal glory. It will be resurrected, not translated beings who shall return with the city of Enoch."  ( McConkie MD, p. 739) 

MOSES

Recent writers mention the many lost traditions that were of great importance to the earliest Christians. "Until we can make some attempt to reconstruct what is lost, our picture of early Christianity may be sadly astray." (Barker p. 9, 21)  The knowledge of the early centuries of Christianity did go astray; the restoration returned many of the doctrines back into a new dispensation. Now, one returns to these ancient documents as they are being found, restored and translated by non-Mormons, for confirmation that Joseph Got it all right.

"A further step in the honoring of Moses as a great hero was the rise of the belief that he had ascended to heaven. The Old Testament story of Elijah's being carried up alive into heaven and the statement in Genesis 5:24, that God took Enoch away is probably
the cause of a conviction that certain other biblical heroes must have shared this honor." (Teeple p. 41) [In the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha:  (Charles p. v,  Charlesworth, pp. vi-vii referred to below],  there are traditions in these non-canonical books inspired after the time of Nehemiah but before the time of Christ, "that Moses, Jeremiah, Baruch, and Ezra have each ‘entered Paradise during their lifetime' or ‘were taken up to heaven without tasting death." (Teeple p. 41) The growing esteem in which Moses was held made it inevitable that he would be among those to receive this distinction.

"In IV Ezra 14:9 God tells Moses, ‘thou shalt be taken up from (among) men, and henceforth that shalt remain with my Son, and with such as are like thee, until the times be ended.'  Similarly, in II Baruch 59:4 occurs the statement: But also the heavens at that time were shaken from their place, and those who were under the throne of the Mighty One were perturbed, when He was taken Moses unto Himself.'" (Teeple p. 41) "It is believed that II Baruch used the Assumption of Moses as a source and that the original Assumption of Moses was constructed upon the framework of Moses' ascension. Some fragments of a document, ‘Sayings of Moses', were found at Qumran in Cave lQ. In it Moses, at the close of his career, delivers a speech to the sons of Israel." Teeple p. 42) It is more probable....that this early document concludes, with the ascension of Moses. (Barthelemy pp. 91-96)  "The ancient belief in Moses' ascension is preserved in the thirteenth century Zohar, which states that ‘Moses did not die'. (Zohar l:28a, 2:174a)." (Teeple p. 42)  This is one of the criteria for a translated being. "The late Midrash, [commentary on Jewish Scriptures] Gedullat Mosheh (Greatness of Moses), is devoted to this theme." (Teeple p. 42)  "In any examination of the tales of Moses' ascension in the Midrash, it is necessary to distinguish between the very temporary ascensions from which Moses quickly returned to earth before his ‘death', and the assumption of the type listed above in which Moses ascends instead of meeting death." (Teeple p. 42)  The Armenian Version of 1V Ezra contain similar statements about Moses: "For you will be raised up from among men and henceforth you andwhoever is like you [implying others likewise translated] will be with me until the consumatioin of the times." (Stone p. 203) This makes Moses' status that of a translated being, until he came forth as a resurrected being at the time of Christ. (D&C 133:55)

"The legend of Moses' ascension in place of his death was a contradiction of the specific statement in Deuteronomy 34:5-6 that Moses died and was buried in the land of Moab.  Consequently, the two beliefs existed side by side in Judaism. The majority of the Jewish writers followed the Biblical account and believed that Moses had died, but others accepted the belief in his bodily translation to heaven to remain there until his return to earth when the times were fulfilled. Philo believed that Moses was translated to stand beside God himself." (Teeple p. 42) 

"In BT, Sotah 13b, there is expressed the belief that Moses died; however, this passage admits that ‘others [rabbis] declare that Moses never died.' (Sifre on Deuteronomy 357 (c. 300. AD) and the Midrash Tannaim, [No.] 224 recognize the two views and say that some hold that Moses did not die and ‘continues to administer above.'" (Teeple p. 42)  

"The Testament of Moses (Assumption of Moses 1:15) and Biblical Antiquities 19, 20d (AD 110-130), stress the idea that Moses was buried in public: that is, many saw his burial; Ginzberg remarks that this ‘has a very likely aim to combat the view that he did not die at all, but was translated to heaven."  (Teeple p. 43)  "Moses disappeared in a cloud as he was about to embrace Eleazar and Joshua." (Teeple p. 43)  Of interest here, is the fact that Lucifer, the Devil, knowing what Moses would accomplish as a translated being, wanted him dead, and thus exerted a tremendous effort to keep Moses from being translated.  Michael had to intervene in contention over the status of the body of Moses. (Jude 9, Metzger p. 203)  Michael won. Moses was translated.

"The editor's of the Assumption of Moses and the Testament of Moses, and such authors as Origen and Clement of Alexandra tried to resolve the dilemma and harmonize the two contradictory traditions." (Teeple p. 43)  In the Midrash, Deut. R. 3 end (on Deut. 10:1), God swears to Moses, ‘as you devoted your life to their service in this world, so too in the time to come when I bring Elijah, the prophet, unto them, the two of you come together." (Teeple p. 445)  Certainly a Jewish text would not be referring to the Mount of Transfiguration event. Is this prophetic of the Kirtland Temple visit? When else had they come together except at the Mount of Transfiguration? The reference is to a ‘time to come', a future event. "Elijah and Moses are associated together in other respects in the Babylonian Talmud in Megillah 19b and Sukkah 5a; in the latter R. Jose (ca. 130-160 AD) seems to be conducting a polemic against the belief that Elijah and Moses ascended to heaven, only reaffirming that they had." (Teeple p. 45)  Yet this same Rabbi, R. Jose, said: "Had Moses not preceded him, Ezra would have been worthy of receiving the Torah for Israel. Of Moses it is written, And Moses went up unto God." (Teeple p. 50)  

THE RETURN OF MOSES AND ELIJAH

"The belief in Moses' return evidently was not as prevalent as the belief in Elijah's return....the belief in Moses' coming in the Jewish source in Rev. 11, shows that the belief is pre-Christian (the source is earlier than AD 70), but apparently it was not as popular as the expectation of the coming of Elijah or of a prophet [Joseph Smith?] like Moses...we may note in passing that the Qumran sect may have believed in two Messiahs, a priestly Messiah...and a kingly Messiah...and later Judaism in some quarters anticipated two Messiahs, a son of David [Christ] and a son of Ephraim or Joseph [Joseph Smith?]." (Teeple p. 47)  See the Book His Name Would Be Joseph by Joseph McConkie.

"The Biblical story of Elijah's ascension resulted in the belief that Elijah would return as the messianic Prophet....this, in turn led to the belief that others, especially those translated to heaven, would also return. Among the prophets so honored, it was natural, almost inevitable, that Moses, the greatest of them all, should be included. The belief that Moses had ascended to heaven, like Elijah, easily led to the belief that he would return, like Elijah." (Teeple p. 48) And, "the belief in the eschatological Prophet, namely, the belief that the Prophet [to come] would be one like Moses rather than Moses himself." (Teeple p. 49, Deut 18:15, 18)  The Samaritans believe that this prophet to come would be "called the Taheb, or Shabehb, meaning ‘restorer." (Teeple p. 63)  Clearly implying something about Joseph Smith and the restoration, because this prophet would be the forerunner of the Messiah in the Last Days. 

According to Philo "this prophet would explain the will of God to men...the prophet would have foreknowledge and reveal the future." (Teeple 67)  He would be "a Messianic forerunner of the real Messiah...the picture of a forerunner-Messiah whose essential characteristic was described by the words of the Baraitha (TB Sukka 52 a) will be to be killed, " (Odeberg p. 145) by lawless men, and his blood would cry for vengeance from the ground. (Schonfield p. 79)  "he cannot be taken from any other tribe than Joseph." (Odeberg p. 144)  He would be Joseph, son of Joseph. (D&C 113, Schonfield p. 76, 82)  This theme has been developed in depth on the tapes (old No. 80)  that are available about the Prophet Joseph.

"In the post-exilic period Moses was exalted by Jewish writers...particularly after the belief in Elijah's ascension had produced the legend that Moses also had ascended instead of dying." (Teeple pp. 37-39) "The belief that Moses had ascended to heaven, like Elijah, easily led to the belief that he would return, like Elijah." (Teeple p. 48) "In the Midrash, Deut. R. 3 end (on Deut. 10:1) ...God Swear to Moses...so in the time to come when I bring Elijah, the prophet, unto them, the two of you shall come together." (Teeple p. 45) Which they did on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple. (D&C 110:10-13) Philo, in his book On the Sacrifces of Abel and Cain, states "Moses is one of the few whom God has stationed beside Himself, for he told him to ‘stand here with me.'   ( Deut. 5:31) and translated him to heaven by the Word because he was perfect." (Teeple p. 38)  And all that was true of Moses was True of Alma!

THE TRANSLATION OF MOSES ON MT. NEBO

"The author of the Testament of Moses believed that Moses' intercessory role did not end with his natural life." (Tiede p. 89) "And the special qualifications of a prophet like Moses which are to have known God face to face the performance of signs and wonders and mighty powers and great and terrible deeds." (Tiede p. 91) The Samaritan Arabic Book of Joshua begins with an "account of the investiture of Joshua: Joshua is commissioned to be Moses' successor and to lead the people in the conquest of Canaan; Moses imparts to Joshua knowledge of hidden things to enable him to fulfill his role of leadership; and a covenant is made whereby this position is firmly established. All or this is performed in the presence of Eleazar the priest." [by the laying on of hands]. (Purvis p. 105)  "Moses then ascends Mt. Nebo with Joshua, Eleazar, and the elders, but with much less pomp and ceremony than in Marqah's account.  It is at this pint that according to this tradition, night began to fall and the pillar of fire separated Moses from the view of the people, after which no one knew what happened to him. It is stated that after that time Moses' dealings were directly with the Lord and his angels; it is not specifically stated that he died. In the song of Joshua which follows, it is noted that Moses' departure was unique; from the time of Adam, everyone's death had been witnesses, and the grave is known, but no one knows Moses' grave [because there is none]." Purvis p. 106) Moses is glorified on the summit of Nebo by representatives of the heavenly order, who obstruct (either by Cloud of Fire) his view by the people, after which his activities are unknown to them." (Purvis p. 110)

Book V of the Samaritan Traditions on the ‘Death' of Moses, Section 3, "contains the account of Moses' ascent on Mt. Nebo, his glorification....It would not be accurate to call this the ‘assumption of Moses', if by this it were implied that the Prophet was taken up into heaven. It would be more accurate to say that ‘heaven' (represented by the Angelic Powers, the Cloud, the Fire, the Glory, etc.,) came down to the top of Mt. Nebo to glorify Moses. It is not said of him that he ascended spiritually or bodily into the seventh heaven, or any of the sphere of heaven (as in the Jewish Gedulat Mose) nor did he have visions of Paradise (as in Pseudo-Philo, Antiquities XIX. 10). ...when he reached the summit he saw the rows of angels there to meet him and the Cloud [Father's presence], into which he entered." (Purvis p. 97) " The wailing crowd of people who saw him disappear into the Cloud offered up a poem of fourteen lines, each beginning with the words ‘Far be it [for]... you (i.e. to die).'" (Purvis p. 98)  "While the Divine Powers were supporting him, the Glory came, to greet him and the Great Lord descended in the Cloud to stand with him. There then follow further allusions to Sinai, suggesting that for one who had experienced such wonders, and passed from the status of the human to that of the angels, death would be inappropriate." (Purvis p. 98)  "Moses final testament consists of a prognostication of what would occur in the course of 3,204 years. This may be said to be an eschatological address, in that it understands a duration of world history of 6,000 years, followed by an ideal age." (Purvis p. 100)

The prophesied 6000 years duration of the earth after the fall is about to be concluded. The ideal age will be the Millennium event yet to be.  Clearly, if Alma was translated in his day and Moses was still a translated being, then Moses and Elijah, who were with Christ in his resurrection, (D&C 133:55) Alma was most certainly included with them.

                                                            BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Anderson, Todd G., Genesis Made Whole, Best Books Publishing, Provo, Utah 1989

Avigad, Nahman, & Yigael Yadin, A Genesis Apocryphon, A Scroll From the Wilderness of Judaea, Magnes Press, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1956

Barthelemy, D., & J.T. Milik, Discoveries in the Judean Desert: l: Qumran Cave l, Oxford, 1955

Brough, R. Clayton, They Who Tarry, Horizon Publishers, Bountiful, Utah 1991

Charles, R. H., The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Vol 11, Oxford at the Clarendon, London, 1969

Charlesworth, James, H., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. l, Duke University, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, New York, 1983

Dahl, Larry E., & Donald Q. Cannon, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith's Teachings, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2000

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Gee, John, & Brian M. Hauglid, Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant, Vol. 3,  FARMS, BYU, Provo, Utah, 2005

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Mandel, David, Who's Who in Tanakh, Ariel Books, Savyon, Israel, 2004

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Metzger, Bruce M., & Michael D. Coogan, The Oxford Guide to People Places of the Bible, Oxford, New York, 2001

Milik, J.T., The Books of Enoch, Aramaic fragments of Qumran Cave 4, Oxford, At the Clarendon Press, 1976

Nibley, Hugh, Vol. 2,  Enoch the Prophet,, FARMS, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah 1986

Nickelsburg, Jr., George W.E., Studies on the Testament of Moses, Septuagint and Cognate studies no. 4, Society of Biblical Literature, University of Iowa. Iowa City, Iowa, 1973

Odeberg, Hugo, 3Enoch, The Hebrew Book of Enoch, KTAV Publishing House, Inc., New York, 1973

Peterson, H. Donl, Moroni, Horizon Publishers, Bountiful, Utah, 1983

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Reader's Digest, Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, New York, 1994

Schonfield, Hugh J., Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Thomas Yoseloff, Inc., New York, 1957

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...................Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by J.F. Smith, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah1969

Strone, Michael E. Ed. Scholars Press, The Armenian Version of  1V Ezra, University of Pennsylvania Armenian Texts and Studies No. l, 1978

Taylor, John, Mediation and Atonement, Stevens and Walls, Inc., Salt Lake City 1950

Teeple, Howard M., The Mosaic Eschatological Prophet, Journal of Biblical Literature, Monograph Series, Vol. X, Society of Biblical Literature Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1957

Tiede, David L., The Figure of Moses in the Testament of Moses, in Studies on the Testament of Moses, Septuagint and Cognate Studies No. 4, by George W.E. Nickelsburg, Jr. Ed. Society of Biblical Literature, Cambridge, Mass. 1973


All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
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