18 May 2015

"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 "forbidden" fruit as it is traditionally referred to). But now, to prevent Adam from partaking of immortality prematurely, he had to be kept from the tree of life by angelic guard so that he would in fact be able to die, as God said he would. (See vs. 23)

And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead. (vs. 24)
The significance of this statement become more apparent when we begin to search for supporting verses throughout the scriptures. In reality, there only a few key references that point to this pivotal doctrine, most of which are found in the Book of Mormon or in the Doctrine and Covenants. 

06 May 2015

"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 verse sounds extremely harsh. It is however preceded with an explanation of the state the individual who has hardened his heart against God. Only those who have utterly and entirely rejected the words of God will stand in such an awful state of condemnation (see verse 13). But it definitely illustrates the extreme, and I can understand, taken in context, how nothing that we could do or say at that point would save us from the justice of God.

Jumping back to verses 9 - 11, there is a discussion on the mysteries of God and how they are obtained. There is a footnote to 3 Nephi 26:6-11 that discusses another segment of Book of Mormon history being withheld to test our faith, but with a promise, "if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them." (vs 9)

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I have now been more than a month in study of this particular set of verses. Yes, I have come and gone from it to study other topics as well, but every time I come back to it, I find some new insight, some deeper perspective. The footnotes in this particular passage are far to rich and meaningful to even attempt to index what I have discovered. I must move on, but I now feel and understand, even if it only be still in part, why chapter 12 of Alma is considered to be such a a rich source of light and truth.