I've just reviewed my previous study notes on the earlier parts of this chapter and the spiritual significance associated with these events. Coming to verse 25, the weight of Alma's statement is great. "And now for this cause, that ye may not be destroyed, the Lord has sent his angel to visit many of his people, declaring unto them that they must go forth and cry mightily unto this people, saying: Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand;" (emphasis added)
Angels are not to be trifled with. For they are one step away from God revealing Himself to the people, which thing the people could in no way withstand without being completely destroyed because of the greatness and glory of God. It is impossible for man in his wickedness to stand in the presence of the Holy God. So mercifully, He sends angels, messengers from his presence, to warn the people.
The next three verses are perhaps the most important verses in this chapter, and perhaps the most powerful. They are also, not coincidentally, the words spoken directly out of the mouth of the angel.
...Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand;Consider what the angel says. In essence, we are commanded to repent because the kingdom of heaven is coming soon. In Alma's time frame, it was less than 100 years before the birth of Christ. In a very literal sense, Christ was coming soon.
And not many days hence the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long-suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers.And behold, he cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name.Therefore, prepare ye the way of the Lord, for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been—if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls, according to the power and captivation of the devil.
In verse 26, the angel declares that "the Son of God shall come in his glory," and then he explains what that glory will be:
- full of grace, equity, and truth
- full of patience, mercy, and long-suffering
- quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers
I don't want to gloss past this definition of glory, or the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father. When the Jewish nation looked forward to the coming of a savior, they looked for someone who was to be an external redeemer. Instead, the Savior Jesus Christ cam as an internal redeemer. Christ came not to save the nation, but to save the individual, through His glory, which here is defined as grace, equity and truth, then also the very personal attributes of patience, mercy, and long-suffering. These latter three attributes used to define the glory of Christ, stand out to me, perhaps, because these characteristics of His glory are the very things that are going to save me. And how reassuring it is to me that Christ not only possesses these, but also has them in fullness or perfection! This is the glory of Christ.
This takes us half way through the angelic declaration.
The next verse explains that the redemption of Christ only reaches to its fullest extent for those that are baptized unto repentance, through faith on His name. So in order partake of the glory of Christ, or in other words, in order to partake of the patience, mercy and long-suffering of Christ; in order to have our prayers quickly answered; or in order to be made perfect through Christ, we must first be baptized unto repentance.
The final verse of the angelic ministration is then an invitation to action, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." The angel declares this celestial law: that our salvation in and through Jesus Christ is predicated upon our righteous works. This is in harmony with the counsel of James from the New Testament. This is the great delusion of our day: that there is no difference between righteous and wicked works.
What we do, really does matter. Alma concludes with this point of direct accusation so that the people of Ammonihah would understand what they could do to change course and come back unto Christ.