I need help understanding two seemingly conflicting scriptures. In Moses Chapter 7 verse 4, Enoch says that, 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. But then hundreds of years later, the Lord said to the Brother of Jared in Ether Chapter 3 verse 15, And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. And so I am confused as to the Lord’s statement here. If earlier Enoch had indeed seen the Lord face to face and spoke with him, then why would the Lord later tell the Brother of Jared that never had he ever shown himself unto man? I’m confused. Your thoughts on this would be most appreciated.
Rob, from Gresham, Oregon
Not only did Enoch talk with the Lord face to face, but also did Moses, (Exodus 33:11; Moses 1:2), and Abraham, (Abr. 3:11), and Gideon, (Judges 6:22), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:13). But there is a distinction between all these appearances and the appearance of the Lord to Mahonri Moriancumr. The distinction was that the Lord showed himself to all the above except to Mohonri. It was because of the exceeding faith of Mahonri that he saw through the veil and perceived the finger of the Lord as it was extended to touch the stones that he had brought for the Lord to touch. The interchange from Ether 3:6-15 is as follows—
And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear. And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen? And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood. And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this? And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me. and the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak? And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie. And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.…. And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
The Lord had not planned to show himself to the brother of Jared, but he saw Him anyway. For this reason the Lord asked, why hast thou fallen? Then the Lord explained that never had man come before him with such faith that he could not be held from perceiving through the veil to the presence of the Lord. This is different from the Lord taking the initiative to show himself to a person.