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"Rabbanah, the King Desireth Thee to Stay," Alma 18:8-17

Alma 18:8-17

As I'm reading these verses about Ammon's faithfulness as a servant to King Lamoni, the words of the Savior come to mind: "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:" (Matthew 20:26-27) So back in Alma in verse 13, we read "And one of the king’s servants said unto him [Ammon], Rabbanah, which is, being interpreted, powerful or great king, considering their kings to be powerful; and thus he said unto him: Rabbanah, the king desireth thee to stay." Suddenly, because of his faithfulness as a servant to the king, the other servants were now calling him a great and powerful king.

On the topic of praise, I should note a few other references. I think praise often gets in the way of the Lord's work, becoming an end and a road block to further opportunities to teach. Christ himself deflected praise when he said, "Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, …

"His Servants... Stand Forth and Testify," Alma 18:1-7

Alma 18:1-7

This set of verses is the first step in King Lamoni's conversion. A plain testimony of the king's own servants of what Ammon had done. The conversations and conclusions that transpire between the king and his servants reveal their spiritual understanding, or the traditions of their fathers. It's interesting that they concluded that there was a spiritual force at play. What is more interesting though is that suddenly, though the king had always had a belief in a Great Spirit, now he began to fear because of past actions.

There is a subtle point in here that I find insightful in my approach to parenting: The king had slew many of his servant because others had succeeded in scattering the king's sheep. This caused the servants of the king to be very fearful, because of the consequence of death that seemed inevitable. The king was governing his servants in fear, which the king had had no reservations about doing, until suddenly Ammon shows up to protect the serva…

"That I May Lead Them to Beleive in My Words," Alma 17:18-39

Alma 17:18-39

In these verse, we read about the deaths of seven who opposed a servant of the Lord. I have witnessed similar before, though not to the same degree. Yet, it is only because of my own personal, first-hand experiences with the Lord's work that I have perspective enough to appreciate what is happening here among the Lamanites. Those that would oppose the Lord's servants or directly oppose the work of the Lord, are removed from mortality when they rub too close to the truth, choose not to give heed, and stand in open opposition to the work that was about to transpire.

This is what is happening in these verses. At first it seems that this is just Ammon who is slaying these wicked men, but the footnote on verse 38 shows that if not Ammon, then the Lord himself is able to intervene as well in the taking of life.

(Conversely, I've also seen more recently how death of a worthy servant has also been used to advance the Lord's work. In either case, it is a tool of t…

"That Perhaps They Might Bring Them unto Repentance," Alma 17:1-17

Alma 17:1-17

Considered to be one of the greatest scriptural passages on missionary work in all of holy writ, there are in these introductory verses principles that are universal in one's approach to service in the kingdom of God.

Verse 16 talks about the cause for which the sons of Mosiah had undertaken this work: "that perhaps they might bring them unto repentance; that perhaps they might bring them to know of the plan of redemption." (emphasis added) The use of the word "perhaps" twice in this passage, illustrates one significant eternal reality. It's not a game of chance. However, it could be termed as a risky and very unpredictable investment. We do not know the outcomes of our labors. We would like to think that we could see how things will pan out from the outset, but such is not our privilege and such would void the exercise of faith. And so it is that that prospects of repentance are here couched with this qualifier that "perhaps they might brin…

"They Did Impart the Word of God, Without Any Respect of Persons, Continually," Alma 16

Alma 16

In this chapter, there is an account of a war between the Lamanites and the Nephites. It came at the end of a period of elongated peace. Before the Nephites are able to gather sufficient strength to withstand the Lamanite army, the town of Ammonihah is consumed.

Other Nephites are taken captive. Fortunately, their military leader is a man by the name of Zoram who inquires of Alma as to where to go to find those Nephites that had been taken captive. Alma, being possessor of the spirit of prophecy, is able to tell Zoram exactly where to find the prisoners upon inquiry from the Lord. (See verses 4-8)

The people of Ammonihah are destroyed in one day. (vs. 10)

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After the wars are past, the work of the ministry is resumed. Alma and Amulek continued "preaching repentance to the people" together. (See vs. 13)

In verse 14, there is a hidden gem: "And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of God, without any respect of persons, continually.&qu…

"Alma... Did Administer Unto Him in His Tribulations," Alma 15

Alma 15

This chapter addresses something that I feel that I am not very good at: ministering to the sick and the poor. The story of Zeezrom also concludes in this chapter, he (having been taken gravely ill) being the key player to whom Alma administered to. (Side note: In times past, my wife and I have also discussed this chapter as evidence of how sin and one's mental and emotional state can have a direct impact on the physical well being of an individual.)

After Alma and Amulek's miraculous deliverance from the prison at Ammonihah, they were commanded to leave that town. (vs. 1) At Sidom, many of those who believed the preaching of Alma and Amulek had resorted there, and at Alma's arrival they learned of the fate of the wives and children, and also their own miraculous deliverance.

The first case study in this chapter is Zeezrom. Zeezrom is fully convinced that Alma and Amulek were no more and that their destruction rested fully upon his own shoulders. The mental and spiri…

"According to Our Faith Which Is in Christ," Alma 14

Alma 14

This is a most painful account of discipleship and the potential cost of such. Alma's ability to discern impression of the Spirit in the midst of such opposition is notable, because it instructed him when to act and how to act. It also gave him hope for those who were taken from this life prematurely.

There is also a great deal to learn here about justice and the judgments of God. How incredibly patient is God with his children! Slow to execute judgment unto destruction, even against his wicked children who would murder the innocent.

"...He doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just," (vs. 11).

In my mind, it seems that sometimes mortal judgments are executed to prevent the wicked from sinning further. Sodom and Gomorah comes to mind when the Savior said "But I say unto you, That it shall be more…

"By the Mouth of Angels," Alma 13:20-31

Alma 13:20-31

Alma now brings all this message home, by declaring repentance to the people of Ammonihah (vs. 20).

Vs. 22 - This verse is an interesting reminder of the work of angels in preparing the way for salvation to be ministered among all nations.

Vs. 23 - The Nephites had it different than the Jewish nation. Amongst the Nephites the terms of salvation were plain to be understood. This privilege was extended to them because of their being made wanderers in a strange land. Sacrifice frequently brings spiritual advantages.

Vs. 24 - All the land of the Nephites (and even the Lamanites, I would suppose) were being prepared through the ministering of angels for the time of Christ's coming, that the people would be prepared to receive his word.

I find it curious that Alma, the spiritual head of the Church during his time, was made aware of this ministering from beyond the veil -- as if efforts were being coordinated between heaven and earth. How much we don't know! I feel that in a…

"The Prince of Peace... the King of Salem," Alma 13:14-19

Alma 13:14-19

I don't know, or I don't believe that we have anywhere in modern, available scripture a more accurate or accessible account of Melchizedek, who lived during the time of Abraham. I find it curious that the people of his land, the land of Salem, "had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination... full of all manner of wickedness." (vs. 17) The form and manner in which he choose to address this great difficulty was to become ordained to the priesthood and then preach repentance unto his people. To which his people responded by repenting. (see vs. 18)

I find in this hope that at any time, one can decide where he stands before God, and take action to change the course of his own life, and literally the direction of the community where he lives.

"A Holy Calling... Without Beginning or End," Alma 13:1-13

Alma 13:1-13

Immediately following a discussion on the Plan of Redemption and a call to repentance at the end of chapter 12, Alma then begins to discuss the priesthood and the calling of high priests. Perhaps it's a little clearer in my mind this time as I read it, but the two topics are more closely related than I had previously supposed.

The difference between those called to the high priesthood and those who are not is distinguished solely by the individual's ability to exercise faith and perform good works. Alma explains that in all other regards men are equal (see vs. 4-5). The great divide among men is on whether men will repent of their sins and exercise faith in Christ, or not.

The purposes of this high priesthood is to point men to Christ (see vs. 9), even the residue of men, that they might see how it is that they can return to God by following the path that those who have been ordained high priests have had to follow in order to qualify for that ordination.

"A Plan... Prepared from the Foundation of the World," Alma 12:25-37

Alma 12:25-37

In the corruption of Christianity through the means of the great Apostasy, one of the greatest cover-ups that Satan has tried to execute is the reality of a plan: a plan of redemption. No where in scripture is the reality of the plan of redemption (also called the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation, etc. -- it's all the same plan) more clearly explained. Repeatedly, Alma asserts that this plan was prepared from the foundation of the world, and that everything that has transpired since then has been according to plan. (There are 7 specific references to the "plan of redemption" in the end of this chapter.)

As discussed previously, there was a plan laid so that when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit that they would still be allowed a period of probation, in order that they may prepare to return to God's presence. The verses then that follow explain how without the plan, there would have been no resurrection, no probationary state, and the wo…

"A Probationary State; A Time to Prepare to Meet God;" Alma 12:20-24

Alma 12:20-24

The statement found in verse 24, which the prior verses lead up to, is a pivotal, defining doctrine of the purpose of life. "What is this that thou hast said, that man should rise from the dead and be changed from this mortal to an immortal state, that the soul can never die... there was no possible chance that they should live forever?" (vs. 20-21)

One of the rulers of the people of Ammonihah referenced "that God placed cherubim and a flaming sword on the east of the garden of Eden, lest our first parents should enter and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, and live forever." He was without a correct understanding of the events that took place in the garden of Eden, a serious defect that kept them from understanding the plan of redemption.

Alma in the following verses goes on to explain how this action had to be taken to prevent Adam from partaking of the tree of life. He had already partaken of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the "f…

"As Though There Had Been No Redemption Made," Alma 12:8-19

Alma 12:8-19

Alma speaks with such clear authority on the topic of the post mortal condition, spiritual death, and judgement that it causes me to step back and consider how he obtained his knowledge. We know from elsewhere in the scriptures that such knowledge is obtained through the spirit of prophecy and revelation, through prayer and fasting. The thought that comes to my mind is that it is needful to be possessor of such knowledge as Alma has on this topic of things that are to come that pertain to our salvation.  


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I've had to spend a little time reconditioning spiritual muscles to be able to drink deeper from these passages of scripture. I'm still working on it. Reviewing this video has been one of the best reconditioning exercises that I know of spiritually speaking. It forces me to re-look at things and reminds me of spiritual priorities.

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Verse 14 talks of how our words, thoughts, and action will condemn us before God if we are unrepentant. Taken out of context, this…

"A Plan of Thine Adversary," Alma 12:1-7

Alma 12:1-7

Verses 3 to 6 offer important insight into the devil's tactics and motives. While first directing his comments to just Zeezrom, Alma makes clear that all the community around Zeezrom was also being taken advantage of through the devil's efforts.

What's more, these verses explain that the adversary actually had a plan for their destruction. His efforts were crafted to be subtle and imperceivable so that he may gain control of the community and the individual.

This is a reality that the adversary has power to exercise control over us. That is the only power that he has, but that is the whole thrust of his campaign of evil: so that he can bind us during this season of mortality to prevent us from experiencing the peace and happiness of a good life and ultimately, to obtain salvation.

At the end of verse 7, the writer makes this insightful observation: "for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy." …

"All Shall Rise from the Dead," Alma 11:41-46

Alma 11:41-46

These verse contain, in all of scripture, one of the most comprehensive declarations on the Resurrection, its purpose and  nature.

Purpose of the Resurrection"for behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works." (vs. 41)

"and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt." (vs. 43)

"and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil." (vs. 44)
Nature of the Resurrection"Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death;"  (vs. 41)

"Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death,…

"As Though There Had Been no Redemption Made," Alma 11:40-11

Alma 11:40-41

After explaining the truly prominent and omnipotent position that Christ possesses in the grand plan of life, Amulek goes on to explain how Christ's mission is to "redeem his people and... take upon him the transgressions of those who believe upon his name." (vs 40)

There is a chilling declaration in vs. 41, "Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made." A footnote on the verse asks this question:
For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:33)One cannot appreciate the Atonement of Christ until one has received of its power and tasted of its influence, and been healed. But oh what joy and peace that gift does bring!

"Yea, He Is the Very Eternal Father," Alma 11:38-39

Alma 11:38-39

In verse 38, Zeezrom attempts to snare Amulek with one final question: "Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?" It feels as if Zeezrom is backpedaling at this point, having gained no advantage over Amulek because of his words. Then the answer that Amulek gives in reply is both astonishing and remarkably detailed and compellingly convincing.

This title of Christ as the "Eternal Father" is one that, because of Amulek's response, I have taken more time to study and understand it. Zeezrom's question comes of the fact that superficially the title of Eternal Father seems to contradict the title of Son of God. Other scriptures explain the relationship between the titles (Mosiah 15:2-4, Mosiah 5:7). Yet, Amulek's simple explanation also suffices in creating an understanding of why Christ is called the Eternal Father. Christ, the Son of God, is the Creator. His work is the heavens and the earth, "and all things which in them are." (vs. …

"Ye Cannont Be Saved in Your Sins," Alma 11:21-37

Alma 11:21-37

The premise for this very decisive debate between Amulek and Zeezrom, the lawyer, is found in the statement "I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord" in verse 22. In same verse, Zeezrom, the lawyer, states that he will pay Amulek six ontis of silver (see previous post) if he denies the existence of God.

Immediately in verse 23 and 24, Amulek makes a very bold set of accusations against the accusing lawyer. Perhaps, I shouldn't be looking at Amulek's statements as defensive accusations though. Rather, remembering that he is speaking by the power of the Spirit, these are statements of truth. (This isn't a name-calling competition.) So when Amulek declares Zeezrom to be "a child of hell" perhaps this is statement of realization, even on the part of Amulek. Maybe, the Spirit of the Lord is giving Amulek the words to say in the very moment that he is saying them, offering both instruction and perspective to Amulek as to w…

"Behold, Here Are Six Onties of Silver," Alma 11:1-22

Alma 11:1-22

I finally arrive at chapter 11 of Alma. We have at the beginning of the chapter an explanation of the currency of the day among the Nephites. It is laid out as such:

Nephite Coinage ChartGoldSilverValuelimnahonti (vs.22)Equal to a senine, a seon, and a shum of gold combined, or equal to a senum, an amnor, and a ezrom of silver combined. (7 senines, 7 senums, or 7 days of work) (vs. 10, 13)shumezrom2 seons (4 senines) or 2 amnors (4 senums) (vs. 9, 12)seonamnor2 senines or 2 senums (vs. 8, 11)antion3 shiblons, which means it should be 1½ senine (vs. 19)seninesenumThis is the base measurement from which all other coins are valued. A day's wages for a judge. Also, the worth of a measure of barley and every other kind of grain.(vs. 3, 7)shiblonhalf a senum, half a measure of barley (vs. 15)shiblumhalf a shiblon (4 shiblums = a senum) (vs. 16)leahhalf a shiblum (8 leahs = a senum) (vs. 17)

In verse 20, we learn that the motivation for the lawyers to come out in open oppositio…

"The Prayers of the Righteous," Alma 10:13-32

Alma 10:13-32

Immediately upon hearing the testimony of Amulek, some of those that were present saw an opportunity to profit financially from the situation. These were lawyers. The scriptures here detail the motives of those that sought to oppose Alma and Amulek.

Despite being able to manipulate public perception of the Lord's chosen servants according to their training and craft, what these lawyers did not know and what they did not expect was that Amulek was able to discern their thoughts and reveal their wicked intentions.(see vs. 17)

It is then recorded Amulek's response to his discernment of the lawyers' cunning devices and wickedness. What the people don't get yet is that Amulek's response is motivated by discernment. Rather they assume that he is bent on reviling against their written law.

What I find intriguing is that Amulek doesn't start out giving irrefutable evidence of his ability to perceive their thoughts. This doesn't come until much later. He …