28 October 2013

"Hearken unto the Voice of the Good Shepherd," Alma 5:26-42

Alma 5:26-42

I am surprised as I read in this particular part of the chapter to notice how much Alma's words sounded like those of the Savior himself. I don't know why it should have surprised me, given the clarification found in Doctrine and Covenants 1:38, "Whether by my own voice or the by the voice of my servants, it is the same," (emphasis added). However, it is striking how much Alma's words sound like the Savior's own words, using phrases such as:

"Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life." (vs. 28)

Compare with Matthew 4:17 - "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

"Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;" (vs. 34)

Compare to John 6:58 - "This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."

Also compare to John 7:37-38 - "...If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

"The good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ" (vs. 38)

Compare to John 10:4 - "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice."

10 October 2013

"A Place to Sit Down in the Kingdom of God," Alma 5:20-25

Alma 5:20-25

In a more serious tone, Alma reminds his brethren of the need to be saved and the requirements of salvation. These verses pick up with the topic of purity and its necessity to enter into God's kingdom:

...For there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins. (vs. 21, emphasis added)
Alma in verse 22 poses a question that causes me to consider my own personal worthiness. "How will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness?"
Alma then goes on to accuse them of having blood stained garments, calling them murderers and being guilty of all manner of wickedness. On the one hand, this seems like an extreme accusation.  Where these people of Zarahemla actually guilty of murder?  Elder Jeffery R. Holland recently said "Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation... Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life." (The First and Great Commandment, Oct 2012) What does he see that we are not seeing?

This is a heavy and hard topic. It seems to suggest that a lifestyle removed from God and focused on self fulfillment lends itself to the support of sinful and even extremely corrupted processes and practices. Modern lifestyle separates us so much from the basic elements of existence that I wonder if we are not always fully aware of at what cost convenience comes to us. I won't expound further upon the topic, but rather leave personal extension up to us individually as readers.

Subsequently Alma contrasted their evil state with those of known prophets who had gained a place in the kingdom of God,  "whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white." (vs. 24) and then concludes by comparing the people at Zarahemla: "Ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven." (vs. 25)