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"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, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2) That phrase "mighty change" is familiar and finds expression in other stories throughout the scriptures.

But the second question, "Have ye received his image in your countenances?" This question I'm having a harder time of finding a corollary reference elsewhere. There are a couple of scriptures over in the New Testament that seem to be wanting to say something similar (Colossians 3:9-10, Romans 8:29). But even in Romans, it seems to be suggesting that it is talking of Christ being in the image of the Father. Perhaps there is a parallel there though.

Yet the question is a straightforward one. Perhaps we could rephrase it to say: Are you like Christ?  Or, do others think of Christ when they see you? Or, does the light of Christ shine from your face? But the use of the word "received" suggests that the action is to be taken by us. Perhaps something like: "Have you done what is necessary so that your faces shine with a reflection of Christ's light and love?" I won't dwell too much more on this point, but the question is an interesting one. It seems to suggest that we should be much more familiar with Christ and his character and attributes.

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