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Showing posts from September, 2013

"Having the Image of God Engraven upon Your Countenances," Alma 5:15-19

Alma 5:15-19

Picking up where we left off yesterday, Alma goes through another set of probing questions designed to till the ground, turn over the dirt that had grown hard to allow for increased growth among the people. Of course, I speak figuratively, drawing a parallel to gardening.

The reality that Alma is illustrating in the minds of the people is the eventual judgment before the tribunal of God. He reminds the people of their resurrected and perfected state in which they will have a perfect knowledge of all their guilt. But he doesn't start into this group of questions that way.

In verses 15 and 16, the questions that Alma poses are actually optimistic and upbeat. Yet that almost has the effect of being more condemning and of greater cause for self-interrogation. Consider these questions:
"Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?""Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption ra…

"Have Ye Received His Image in Your Countenances?" Alma 5:14

Alma 5:14

After completing a brief review of the terms of salvation that were extended to the previous generation of Saints, Alma goes on to ask three very direct questions in succession :
Have ye spiritually been born of God?Have ye received his image in your countenances?Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Now the first and the third questions, I can find references to elsewhere in the scriptures to broaden my understanding of what Alma is asking. For example, the first question ("Have ye spiritually been born of God?") sounds very similar to the Savior's conversation with Nicodemus. "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?" (John 3:4)

The third question ("Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?") also has meaning elsewhere. King Benjamin's people exclaimed that "because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us…

"Have You Sufficiently Retained in Remembrance," Alma 5:1-13

Alma 5:1-13

There is a lot of good doctrine to cover in this chapter. I recently have been reminded of the need for appreciation (gratitude) in my comings and goings. Alma seems focused similarly in his introduction to the people of Zarahemla. The history of the previous generation of the Church, of their oppressions and deliverance, is the topic of Alma's introduction. Alma first discusses their physical captivity, but then goes on to ask if the people had also remembered that the Lord had delivered their souls from hell. (vs. 6)

Then in verses 7-9, Alma explains how it was that their redemption (deliverance from hell) was made possible:
The Lord "changed their hearts" The Lord did awaken them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God.  "Their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word"The bands of death were broken, and the chains of hell loosed, and their souls did expand to sing songs of redeeming love. Alma then states that their souls are…

"That He Might Preach the Word of God," Alma 4

Alma 4

(It is curious how that even in making a chronological study of the scriptures, the Lord is able to line up my life experiences with where I am at in the Book of Mormon.)

The wars, of which were made mention of in the previous chapter, led to a considerably dearth of resources among the Nephites in the following year, for they had lost men (brethren), flocks and herds, and fields of grain. But this caused the people to be humble, so much so that they were made to be aware of their duty. This attending to their duty meant that "they began to establish the Church more fully," and consequently, thousands had joined themselves to the Church of God.

So in the seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there were some 3,500 persons baptized into the Church and the people of Nephi enjoyed peace in their land. The very next year, the people, because of this freedom (blessing) given them of the Lord, began to be prideful. The cause of their pride was their …