Moses 5:1-6:4

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Home > The Pearl of Great Price > Moses > Chapter 5 / Verses 5:1-6:4
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Moses. The relationship of Chapter 5 to the rest of Moses is discussed at Moses.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 5 include:

Moses 5 (Verses 5:1-6:4) is the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 4. This page is not intended, however, to address Genesis. It is intended only to address the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis. It is therefore suggested that readers consult the page that does address Genesis 4 before viewing this page. Contributors are likewise asked to respect this distinction. The idea is that a reader should be able to find content about an original passage from Genesis on the wiki page addressing that passage.

Chapter 5 are the Joseph Smith Translation account of Cain and Lamech, the wicked non-birthright descendants of Adam and Eve. The relationship of this account to the rest of the book of Moses is discussed at Moses, and its relationship to the rest of Genesis is discussed at Genesis.

This account can be outlined as follows:

C. Non-birthright line: rejection of the gospel (Genesis 4 / Moses 5)
1. the atonement taught but rejected by many descendants (5:1-16a) (new content)
2. Cain and Abel born (5:16b-17)
3. Cain kills Abel and initiates secret combination (5:18-41)
a. Lord accepts Abel’s offering of sheep, but not Cain’s of produce (5:18-21)
c. Lord warns Cain not to sin (5:22-31) (5:24-31 new content)
d. Cain kills Abel (5:32-33)
c. where is Abel? Cain denies knowledge of his brother (5:34)
b. Cain cursed as a fugitive, ground cursed against him (5:35-37)
a. Cain driven from God and man, mark to prevent vengeance (5:38-41)
3. Lamech kills Irad to preserve secret combination (5:42-54)
• genealogical list of Lamech’s ancestors (5:42-43)
• genealogical list of Lamech’s descendants (5:44-46)
• Lamech kills and will be avenged even as Cain (5:47-54) (5:49-54 new content)
1. the atonement taught but rejected by most descendants (5:55-59) (new content)
2. Seth as a son in place of Abel, and Seth's son (6:1-4)

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Moses 5:1-16a[edit]

  • Moses 5:1-16a. Verses 5:1-16a are new content added by the Joseph Smith Translation to the beginning of Genesis 4. This new material describes how the gospel of Christ was preached from the beginning of the world but was largely rejected. The relationship of this account to the rest of Moses is discussed at Moses, and it can also be helpful to consider where this material has been added to the account in Genesis.
  • Moses 5:5: The first commandment given to mortal man. The perennial temptation of humanity is to love and worship the world and the things of the world more than God. The first commandment given by God to mortal man protects humanity from that temptation. The commandment is to sacrifice the best of one's possessions to God. If we keep that commandment, the blessings of the world have their proper place. They bless us but are never our first priority. The things of the spirit and our connection to God remain our primary concern. If we refuse to make that sacrfice of the firstlings, our best, we will be separated from God by our love of the world. We will have to repent in order to be saved. And our ability to repent will depend on the willingness of another to make, contrary to his personal will (Mark 14:35-36; Luke 22:42; Matthew 26:39), of bearing the punishment for our sins. The sacrifice asked of humanity in this first mortal commandment symbolizes the sacrfice that ultimately provides the only path to salvation. This apt ritual signifies the truth that we must act to be saved by making the sacrifice but that it is not we but the lamb on the alter who most truly pays the price for our salvation.
  • Moses 5:7-9. The combination of verses 7-8 and verse 9 is very interesting. Adam learns about the Only Begotten, and then hears, “I am the Only Begotten…” First he learns that the sacrifice he has been making is in similitude to one that God’s Only Begotten will make, and that that means he should do all he does in the name of the Son and call upon God and repent. But it is only in the message of the Holy Ghost that he is told the Only Begotten becomes a redeemer – that His sacrifice somehow means Adam and all mankind may be redeemed! With these two messages combined, he has a “why” that could be given to an angel’s inquiry.
  • Moses 5:11. In verse 11 Eve tells us that were it not for her and Adam's transgression, they would never have had children, known good and evil or had eternal life. (See also 2 Ne 2:22-23.) One way to read this is that there was no way for Adam and Eve to have children, know good and evil and have eternal life, except by breaking a commandment given to them by God. Alternatively we could read Eve as saying that were it not for eating of the tree of life, which she did when God told her not to, Eve and Adam would not have received these blessings. That reading is consistent with the idea that were the same acts to happen under the direction of God, she would have received these blessings without transgressing God's commandments. Note that Moses 6:53 tells us that Adam had to be forgiven for this transgression. Presumably Eve did too. To some the fact that God forgave them suggests that they had done something God did not want them to do.
  • Moses 5:11: Transgression vs. sin. See RobertC's subpage on the fall for more links, discussion, and analysis of the distinction between a sin and transgression as it pertains to the fall.
  • Moses 5:10-11: Adam and Eve's words. Adam prophesies (v.10), then Eve hears and gladly proclaims (v.11). It is interesting how closely their words parallel:
Adam: “…for because of my transgression my eyes are opened
Eve: “Were it not for our transgression … we never should have known good and evil
Adam: in this life I shall have joy
Eve: and the joy of our redemption
Adam: and again in the flesh I shall see God.”
Eve: and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”
The only real difference is that Eve mentions seed. They certainly were on the same page in their understanding of the gospel. Then they together bless God, and together teach their children.

Moses 5:16b-7[edit]

  • Moses 5:16b-17 is the Joseph Smith Translation of Gen 4:1-2. This page is not intended, however, to address Genesis. It is intended only to address the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis. It is therefore suggested that readers consult the page that does address Gen 4:1-2 before viewing this page. Contributors are likewise asked to respect this distinction. The idea is that a reader should be able to find content about an original passage from Genesis on the wiki page addressing that passage.
  • Moses 5:16b-17. Verses 5:16b-17 relate the births of Abel, who will die physically, and Cain, who will die spiritually. These births are echoed at the end of the chapter in the births of Seth and his son.

Moses 5:18-41[edit]

  • Moses 5:18-41. Verses 5:18-41 are the Joseph Smith Translation account of Cain and Abel. The most notable feature of the Joseph Smith Translation, as with the account of Lamech that follows, is the new content in Verses 5:24-31 explaining how Cain's wickedness is related to secret combinations. The relationship of this account to the rest of the book of Moses is discussed at Moses, and its relationship to the rest of Genesis is discussed at Genesis.

Moses 5:42-54[edit]

  • Verses 5:42-54 are the Joseph Smith Translation of Gen 4:17-24. This page is not intended, however, to address Genesis. It is intended only to address the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis. It is therefore suggested that readers consult the page that does address Gen 4:17-24 before viewing this page. Contributors are likewise asked to respect this distinction. The idea is that a reader should be able to find content about an original passage from Genesis on the wiki page addressing that passage.
  • Verses 5:42-54 are the Joseph Smith Translation account of Lamech, Cain's wicked descendant in Generation 7. The most notable feature of the Joseph Smith Translation, as with the account of Cain, is the new content in Verses 5:49-54 explaining how Lamech's wickedness is related to secret combinations. The relationship of this account to the rest of the book of Moses is discussed at Moses, and its relationship to the rest of Genesis is discussed at Genesis.

Moses 5:55-59[edit]

  • Verses 5:55-59 are new content add by the Joseph Smith Translation at almost the very end of Genesis 4. This new material describes how the gospel of Christ was preached from the beginning of the world but was largely rejected. The relationship of this account to the rest of Moses is discussed at Moses, and it can also be helpful to consider where this material has been added to the account in Genesis.
  • Verses 5:59. Based on the commentary at Moses 6:7, there may be reason to think this "holy ordinance" was Adam's being baptized for the dead on Abel's behalf. Adam's own baptism is not mentioned at all in this account of his life, but is only related later by Enoch in Moses 6:64. While it may sound odd, it is possible piece these two narratives together in a way that would indicate that Adam's vicarious baptism for his dead son preceded his own baptism. Two verses might lend support to this reading.
  • When Enoch begins the story of Adam's baptism, it begins with Adam questioning the necessity of his own baptism: "And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that man must repent and be baptized in water?" (Moses 6:53). Adam's question is odd: he is apparently familiar enough with baptism to be discussing it, though he has as yet not been baptized, a situation perhaps explainable if Adam had been baptized for Abel but not yet for himself. Perhaps Adam had previously understood baptism to be an ordinance only for the dead (tied, as it is, to the resurrection). As for the timing of Adam's baptism, the verses immediately preceding Adam's question seems to place the event quite late after the death of Abel.
  • D&C 128:12 may also support this reading, as it clearly states that baptism for the living was instituted to form a relationship with baptism for the dead, suggesting perhaps that baptism for the dead came first, and that baptism for repentance came later.

Another possibility is that the "holy ordinance" mentioned here is the same ordination referred to in Alma 13, in which Adam and his righteous children are ordained "in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption" (Alma 13:2).

Moses 6:1-4[edit]

  • Verses 6:1-4 are the Joseph Smith Translation of Gen 4:25-26. This page is not intended, however, to address Genesis. It is intended only to address the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis. It is therefore suggested that readers consult the page that does address Gen 4:25-26 before viewing this page. Contributors are likewise asked to respect this distinction. The idea is that a reader should be able to find content about an original passage from Genesis on the wiki page addressing that passage.
  • Verses 6:1-4 are the Joseph Smith Translation account of the births of Seth and his son in place of the two lost sons Abel, who died physically, and Cain, who died spiritually. The relationship of this account to the rest of the book of Moses is discussed at Moses, and its relationship to the rest of Genesis is discussed at Genesis.
  • Verses 6:2. Adam's language might be read to suggest that Abel had been an "appointed seed," through whom Adam was to have posterity alive at the Second Coming of Christ (see D&C 107:42). How this should be read in terms of Moses 5 is not entirely clear, however.
  • Verses 6:3. Seth's "acceptable sacrifice" is certainly interesting. On the one hand, the phrase clearly has reference to the difficulties between Cain and Abel: Seth, like Abel, offered sacrifice in the "acceptable" manner (the manner prescribed in Moses 5:5: blood sacrifice). This confirms the blessing of Adam in verse 2, as Seth takes up the place Abel had once occupied. On the other hand, one might read in the phrase a reference to Mal 3:1-3 or perhaps more especially to D&C 128:24: the "offering in righteousness" that the sons of Levi are eventually to make. If such a connection at first seems a little weak, it might be pointed out that D&C 128 reworks this phrase as referring to "a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation." This is especially interesting in light of what is recorded here in verses 5-6: this acceptable sacrifice, accompanied by a truer order of prayer, results in the gift of writing, and of writing specifically "a book of remembrance." In fact, the connection is even stronger still, since the phrase "book of remembrance" appears in Mal 3:16.
  • Verses 6:4. It should be noted that it is only "then," that is, after three generations can stand together (Adam, Seth, and Enos) that these men "began ... to call upon the name of the Lord." Apparently what is being described here as calling upon the name of the Lord is some kind of truer order of prayer than any previous kind of praying in the Adam and Eve story. This seems to have important implications for how one should understand the "book of remembrance" in the next verse: it has something to do with this truer order of prayer. In fact, the next verse makes an explicit connection between calling upon God and being able to write in the book.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • Moses 5:11. Can transgression be good? If the fall brought about all the good things that Eve mentions here, why did God prohibit partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (cf. Moses 3:17)?
  • Moses 5:11. Transgression vs. sin. Eve refers to the fall as a transgression--is this the same as sin? If not, what is the difference?
  • Moses 6:2. What does it mean that Adam "glorified the name of God" (vs. 2)? Is this different from giving thanks to God?
  • Moses 6:4. What does it mean that "these men" began to call upon the name of the Lord after Enos was born (vs. 4)? Didn't Adam and Seth call upon the name of the Lord before that? What is different about their calling upon the name of the Lord here?
  • Moses 6:4. What does it mean to "call upon the name of the Lord"? Is this different from just praying?

Resources[edit]

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Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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