Battle of Two Opposing Views – Alma 44:1-24

What is the purpose of this chapter, other than telling an interesting story regarding how Moroni defeated the army of Zarahemnah? The original record did not have chapter divisions, so this is essentially part two to the story.

1 And it came to pass that they did stop and withdrew a pace from them. And Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: Behold, Zerahemnah, that we do not desire to be men of blood. Ye know that ye are in our hands, yet we do not desire to slay you.

2 Behold, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for power; neither do we desire to bring any one to the yoke of bondage. But this is the very cause for which ye have come against us; yea, and ye are angry with us because of our religion.

3 But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.

4 Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.

My first thought when reading these verses was the great faith of Moroni. Also, how much of a contrast this is to our country today. Would any United States general make such a declaration to a leader of a conquered enemy? Only a country who has an allegiance to God would declare such a thing. America was founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs, but today such things are relegated to traditional protocols which have little meaning in Washington and across the country.

5 And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you, by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children, by that liberty which binds us to our lands and our country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us—

6 Yea, and this is not all; I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us.

7 And now, if ye do not this, behold, ye are in our hands, and I will command my men that they shall fall upon you, and inflict the wounds of death in your bodies, that ye may become extinct; and then we will see who shall have power over this people; yea, we will see who shall be brought into bondage.

8 And now it came to pass that when Zerahemnah had heard these sayings he came forth and delivered up his sword and his cimeter, and his bow into the hands of Moroni, and said unto him: Behold, here are our weapons of war; we will deliver them up unto you, but we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath unto you, which we know that we shall break, and also our children; but take our weapons of war, and suffer that we may depart into the wilderness; otherwise we will retain our swords, and we will perish or conquer.

This is how our soldiers should deal with captured soldiers of ISIS and those who seek the blood of Americans. If they are willing to make an oath upon the name of their God that they will not take up arms against the United States again, we will release them. If not, they will be executed. Such terms would not be allowed under the Geneva Conventions for today’s treatment of prisoners of war.

9 Behold, we are not of your faith; we do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that it is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you. [This is true, yet such inspiration came from the Lord. It is common for people to dismiss good ideas and results as our own ingenuity, when often they come from a source above ourselves.]

10 And now when Zerahemnah had made an end of speaking these words, Moroni returned the sword and the weapons of war, which he had received, unto Zerahemnah, saying: Behold, we will end the conflict.

Zarahemnah was a man seeking power amongst his people, a man of war, filled with hate against those who worshipped Christ. Today, many hate Christians because they hold a view that embraces the freedom of self at the expense of others. No accountability for ones’ actions, whether it be the murder of the unborn and late birth abortion, the stealing of resources through unjust laws, how we enforce taxes and immigration, and the unbalanced treatment of minority groups with special treatment under the law.

The Lamanites were a political opposition to those who sought equity and freedom according to God’s law. The United States today suffers from the same division, as we similarly live in a society divided by Nephites and Lamanites.

11 Now I cannot recall the words which I have spoken, therefore as the Lord liveth, ye shall not depart except ye depart with an oath that ye will not return again against us to war. Now as ye are in our hands we will spill your blood upon the ground, or ye shall submit to the conditions which I have proposed.

12 And now when Moroni had said these words, Zerahemnah retained his sword, and he was angry with Moroni, and he rushed forward that he might slay Moroni; but as he raised his sword, behold, one of Moroni’s soldiers smote it even to the earth, and it broke by the hilt; and he also smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp and it fell to the earth. And Zerahemnah withdrew from before them into the midst of his soldiers. [This is one of the most dramatic scenes in the Book of Mormon from a story point of view. The kind of narrative that great movies are made. To remove the scalp of an enemy is a symbol of domination and humiliation.] 

13 And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword, and stretched it forth unto them, saying unto them with a loud voice:

14 Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace.

15 Now there were many, when they heard these words and saw the scalp which was upon the sword, that were struck with fear; and many came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and entered into a covenant of peace. And as many as entered into a covenant they suffered to depart into the wilderness.

16 Now it came to pass that Zerahemnah was exceedingly wroth, and he did stir up the remainder of his soldiers to anger, to contend more powerfully against the Nephites.

17 And now Moroni was angry, because of the stubbornness of the Lamanites; therefore he commanded his people that they should fall upon them and slay them. And it came to pass that they began to slay them; yea, and the Lamanites did contend with their swords and their might.

18 But behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites; yea, behold they were pierced and smitten, yea, and did fall exceedingly fast before the swords of the Nephites; and they began to be swept down, even as the soldier of Moroni had prophesied.

19 Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they never would come to war again against them.

20 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that the work of death should cease again among the people. And he took the weapons of war from the Lamanites; and after they had entered into a covenant with him of peace they were suffered to depart into the wilderness.

A great act of mercy for an army set upon their destruction.

21 Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites.

22 And it came to pass that they did cast their dead into the waters of Sidon, and they have gone forth and are buried in the depths of the sea.

23 And the armies of the Nephites, or of Moroni, returned and came to their houses and their lands.

24 And thus ended the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And thus ended the record of Alma, which was written upon the plates of Nephi.

War is a sad reality of the world in which we live. There will come a time when the peace that this country enjoys will be swept away by the suffering of war and famine. How did Moroni deal with these challenges? He sought out help from a servant of God he trusted. The army prayed mightily for God to deliver them. For us, the greatest protection will be our access to revelation, like Alma, to know where to go and how to protect ourselves. 

As the United States continue to divide itself according to fundamental beliefs regarding the rule of law, government, sovereignty, individual rights, life, and liberty, the divide will grow until the hate between the two will lead to great violence.

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The Armies of Moroni – Alma 43:1-54

1 And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth.

2 Now we shall say no more concerning their preaching, except that they preached the word, and the truth, according to the spirit of prophecy [the word of God given to them to share] and revelation [specific instructions and enlightenment from God]; and they preached after the holy order of God by which they were called. [calling of the ministry, by direct commandment]

3 And now I return to an account of the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites, in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges. [The following war came about after the righteous remnant had been exiled by the Zoramites.]

4 For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites; therefore, in the commencement of the eighteenth year the people of the Nephites saw that the Lamanites were coming upon them; therefore they made preparations for war; yea, they gathered together their armies in the land of Jershon. [refer to Alma 35]

5 And it came to pass that the Lamanites came with their thousands; and they came into the land of Antionum [“Anti” means “like unto,” which means to the Lamanites, “like unto Onum.”], which is the land of the Zoramites; and a man by the name of Zerahemnah was their leader.

6 And now, as the Amalekites were of a more wicked and murderous disposition than the Lamanites were, in and of themselves, therefore, Zerahemnah appointed chief captains over the Lamanites, and they were all Amalekites and Zoramites. [They also claimed to know the Nephite strategy and ways, making them more effective leaders.]

7 Now this he did that he might preserve their hatred towards the Nephites, that he might bring them into subjection to the accomplishment of his designs.

8 For behold, his designs were to stir up the Lamanites to anger against the Nephites; this he did that he might usurp great power over them, and also that he might gain power over the Nephites by bringing them into bondage.

9 And now the design of the Nephites was to support their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.

As I read this it sounds like the purpose of the original American colonists seeking autonomy from the British Empire.

10 For they knew that if they should fall into the hands of the Lamanites, that whosoever should worship God in spirit and in truth, the true and the living God, the Lamanites would destroy. [the freedom of religion, declared in the Bill of Rights]

11 Yea, and they also knew the extreme hatred of the Lamanites towards their brethren [Because in their eyes they had defected from their country to join the Nephites.], who were the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, who were called the people of Ammon—and they would not take up arms, yea, they had entered into a covenant and they would not break it—therefore, if they should fall into the hands of the Lamanites they would be destroyed.

12 And the Nephites would not suffer that they should be destroyed; therefore they gave them lands for their inheritance.

13 And the people of Ammon did give unto the Nephites a large portion of their substance to support their armies; and thus the Nephites were compelled, alone, to withstand against the Lamanites, who were a compound of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, and all those who had dissented from the Nephites, who were Amalekites and Zoramites, and the descendants of the priests of Noah. [Amulonites]

14 Now those descendants were as numerous, nearly, as were the Nephites; and thus the Nephites were obliged to contend with their brethren, even unto bloodshed.

15 And it came to pass as the armies of the Lamanites had gathered together in the land of Antionum [central eastern area of the United States], behold, the armies of the Nephites were prepared to meet them in the land of Jershon. [Area beneath the Great Lakes area.]

16 Now, the leader of the Nephites, or the man who had been appointed to be the chief captain over the Nephites—now the chief captain took the command of all the armies of the Nephites—and his name was Moroni; [Not to be confused with the Moroni who finished the abridgment of the plates.]

I asked to see Captain Moroni. I saw him working amongst his people. He was a strong man, very serious and committed. He had a short cut black beard and wore armor of mostly leather. His parents were killed by Lamanites when he was a boy. He was committed to fighting for his people his entire life. He wasn’t a prophet like the later Moroni, but was led by ministering spirits and had the baptism of fire. (personal journal entry)

17 And Moroni took all the command, and the government of their wars. And he was only twenty and five years old when he was appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites. [This is typically when a young man is in the height of their physical abilities. Moroni had proven his valor on the battle field and had the deep respect of the army.]

18 And it came to pass that he met the Lamanites in the borders of Jershon, and his people were armed with swords, and with cimeters, and all manner of weapons of war.

19 And when the armies of the Lamanites saw that the people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing—[These were mostly leather with small metal plates attached.]

20 Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites;

21 But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields—therefore, they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor, notwithstanding their number being so much greater than the Nephites.

22 Behold, now it came to pass that they durst not come against the Nephites in the borders of Jershon; therefore they departed out of the land of Antionum into the wilderness, and took their journey round about in the wilderness, away by the head of the river Sidon, that they might come into the land of Manti and take possession of the land; for they did not suppose that the armies of Moroni would know whither they had gone. [They went up into the northern wilderness and around back toward the headwaters of the Mississippi River.]

23 But it came to pass, as soon as they had departed into the wilderness Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquireof the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites. [Moroni did not yet know how to receive revelation from the Lord.]

24 And it came to pass that the word of the Lord [revelation] came unto Alma, and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people. And those messengers went and delivered the message unto Moroni. [Alma had also revealed previously when the Lamanites destroyed Ammonihah where to head off the Lamanites along the Mississippi in the lower region. Alma 16:6]

25 Now Moroni, leaving a part of his army in the land of Jershon, lest by any means a part of the Lamanites should come into that land and take possession of the city, took the remaining part of his army and marched over into the land of Manti. [On the west side of the Mississippi, above Zarahemla, near the wilderness.]

26 And he caused that all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together to battle against the Lamanites, to defend their lands and their country, their rights and their liberties; therefore they were prepared against the time of the coming of the Lamanites. [They were able to make a straight course to the land of Manti, pre-empting the attack of the Lamanites. This was a great act of faith on Moroni’s part, for if he was wrong they would have lost all of the land of Jershon.]

27 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his army should be secreted in the valley which was near the bank of the river Sidon, which was on the west of the river Sidon in the wilderness. [above the land of Manti]

28 And Moroni placed spies round about, that he might know when the camp of the Lamanites should come.

29 And now, as Moroni knew the intention of the Lamanites, that it was their intention to destroy their brethren, or to subject them and bring them into bondage that they might establish a kingdom unto themselves over all the land;

30 And he also knowing that it was the only desire of the Nephites to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their church, therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem; therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take. [To use deceit to have gain was a crime amongst the Nephites, but Moroni did not abide by those rules in regard to war.]

31 Therefore, he divided his army and brought a part over into the valley, and concealed them on the east, and on the south of the hill Riplah;

32 And the remainder he concealed in the west valley, on the west of the river Sidon, and so down into the borders of the land Manti.

33 And thus having placed his army according to his desire, he was prepared to meet them. [He could literally surround their army.]

34 And it came to pass that the Lamanites came up on the north of the hill, where a part of the army of Moroni was concealed.

35 And as the Lamanites had passed the hill Riplah, and came into the valley, and began to cross the river Sidon, the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, which was led by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about on the east in their rear. [This is the son of the general Zoram who was the previous head of the Nephite army. Alma 16:7]

36 And it came to pass that the Lamanites, when they saw the Nephites coming upon them in their rear, turned them about and began to contend with the army of Lehi.

37 And the work of death commenced on both sides, but it was more dreadful on the part of the Lamanites, for their nakedness was exposed to the heavy blows of the Nephites with their swords and their cimeters, which brought death almost at every stroke.

38 While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breastplates, and their armshields, and their head-plates; and thus the Nephites did carry on the work of death among the Lamanites.

39 And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee towards the river Sidon.

40 And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed the waters of Sidon. And Lehi retained his armies upon the bank of the river Sidon that they should not cross. [The Mississippi River had places easy to cross at these times, which is not the case today.]

41 And it came to pass that Moroni and his army met the Lamanites in the valley, on the other side of the river Sidon, and began to fall upon them and to slay them.

42 And the Lamanites did flee again before them, towards the land of Manti; and they were met again by the armies of Moroni.

43 Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly; yea, never had the Lamanites been known to fight with such exceedingly great strength and courage, no, not even from the beginning.

44 And they were inspired by the Zoramites and the Amalekites, who were their chief captains and leaders, and by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea, for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.

45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.

46 And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies. [This is the Lord’s council regarding war. That it is justified to kill if it was unprovoked. Many soldiers have died on the battlefield defending what they believe is a just cause. The Lord is merciful and judges righteously.]

47 And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion. [Are we defending the lives of our families and country, or seeking to expand our economic interests outside our country, and doing so by acts of war? These passages of scripture are clear on this.]

48 And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts—yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage. [He reminded his troops what was at stake.]

49 And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage. [They cried out to God in prayer to give them victory.]

50 And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them; and they fled even to the waters of Sidon.

51 Now, the Lamanites were more numerous, yea, by more than double the number of the Nephites; nevertheless, they were driven insomuch that they were gathered together in one body in the valley, upon the bank by the river Sidon.

52 Therefore the armies of Moroni encircled them about, yea, even on both sides of the river, for behold, on the east were the men of Lehi.

53 Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror.

54 Now Moroni, when he saw their terror, commanded his men that they should stop shedding their blood.

It has helped me greatly to have the Lord give revelation in regards to the visual aspect of these events, where they took place, and the reality of how they transpired. I have not seen everything, but enough to know that such events are a mirror to future events and that we too will need to call out to God in our darkest hour to have Him bless us with the victory we need to preserve our families. 

 

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The Law of Justice – Alma 42:1-31

1 And now, my son [Corianton], I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery. [Many think that God must be a mean and spiteful God, yet they do not understand.]

2 Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden [condescended from a higher glory], to till the ground, from whence they were taken [a terrestrial realm]—yea, he drew out [removed] the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden [the gate to the Throne of Heaven], cherubim [angels that watch over the gate], and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life—[a great barrier]

3 Now, we see that the man [mankind] had become as God, knowing good and evil [The ability to pursue one or the other, to learn the value of faith, which has eternal consequence] ; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, [so that Adam and Eve would not stay in the Heavenly Realm and foil their own progression] the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit— [There was a divide between the higher and lower realm.]

4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent [turn to God], yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God. [“Probationary” implies testing.]

5 For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life [returned to the Throne], he would have lived forever [remained it his current state], according to the word of God, having no space for repentance [to bring to pass the salvation of man]; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated. [The entire plan to save the House of Israel would be void.]

6 But behold, it was appointed unto man to die [to be separated from God]—therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life [presence of God] they should be cut off from the face of the earth—and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man. [entering the telestial realm]

7 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally [in a physical sense] and spiritually [in their glory] from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will. [do as they wish]

8 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness. [no going back]

9 Therefore, as the soul [spirit and mind connected to the body] could never die [without end], and the fall [condescension of Adam] had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death. [brought back to the presence of the Lord]

10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish [seeking their own will, according to the flesh] , by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state. [To prepare for the eternities, leaning to exercise faith in Christ.]

11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption [Christ’s redeeming blood], (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.

12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man [both Adam and mankind] had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;

13 Therefore, according to justice [the laws of God, the separation of all creation according their glory], the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state [not another]; for except it were for these conditions [of a Redeemer], mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would  cease to be God. [God is the source of all order within His dominion. If He did not abide by the laws of order, all would fail.]

14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen [separated from God], and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.

15 And now, the plan of mercy [the plan to be made whole and clean through the act of another] could not be brought about except an atonement [a link be made between the Father to the sons and daughters of God] should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also. [The means to raise us up to Eternal Life.]

16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment [suffering], which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.

17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment? [There must be one before the other. We had to descend to this life in order to rise to the next.]

18 Now, there was a punishment affixed [a suffering prepared], and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man. [requiring a broken heart and contrite spirit]

19 Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder? [Without law their is no consequence.]

20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin. [If God did not give his laws to men we would have no reason not to sin.]

21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature? [You cannot justify a punishment unless a law is given.]

22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God. [A recap of everything just written.]

Its important to note that we have this scripture because Alma was inspired to preserve his letters to his sons, which outlined much of this deeper doctrine he had learned by revelation.

23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth [Jesus Christ claims these souls]the penitent [broken heart, contrite spirit], and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead [the ascension of our spiritual body]; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works [that which they have done to meet repentance], according to the law and justice.

24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved. [There is no other way, but to reach out and grab hold of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and be lifted up through Him.]

25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. [Do you think Jesus can simply grant that all will be saved?]

There are many today that assume either all men will be saved who are nice and loving, whether they worship Jesus Christ or not. Or, that only a group within their own gathering has such status. The only way to enter the gate is through Him, without an man standing there. 2 Nephi 9:41

26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. [even before the Garden of Eden] And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.

27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds. [All may come and receive at some point in their existence, none are denied.]

28 If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God. [The desires of the heart determine where we will eventually go.]

29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.

30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.

It is the nature of most people who call themselves followers of Christ to assume that they need only believe and their sins will be removed and they will be lifted up at the last day. Without true repentance, their is no forgiveness.

31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.

 

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Principle of Restoration – Alma 41:1-15

1 And now, my son [Corianton], I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration [judgment of the soul] of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested [manipulated for personal use] the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee.

Another definition of the principle of restoration is that you reap what you sow. Corianton had reconciled himself with the belief he would simply be forgiven.

2 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself. [The principle that the body, spirit, and mind of an individual is restored according to its glory.]

3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged [divided and separated] according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. [receive a glory in proportion to that faith]

4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—[These are the two opposites.] 

5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.

One might ask, “Why would anyone choose to follow Satan?” The great divide between righteousness and evil is that the followers of Christ seek the will of the Father, and desire good that they may save souls – it is Christ-love. The followers of Satan seek the will of self and the desire to have power, dominion, and self-gratification. This is self-love and is the temptation that leads all fallen beings to become perdition. 

6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.

7 These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness [telestial world]; and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges [they separate themselves], whether to do good or do evil.

8 Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved. [This is the mercy of God, that every soul will have a way prepared that they may come unto Christ. In this is a mystery.]

9 And now behold, my son, do not risk one more offense against your God upon those points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin.

10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.

Alma describes a distinct difference between wickedness and happiness. Some would argue that free expression and self gratification is happiness, but Alma preaches that its result is agony and despair; whereas, righteousness (harmony with God) is true happiness.

11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature [without the law, subject to the natural man] , or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.

12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature? [Like saying, “Can you place a square object through a round hole? This is why there must be a separation and judgment that all things may be in harmony according to God’s laws.]

13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. [That our spirit body will be resurrected according to the glory it possesses. We cannot simply hop from one state of glory to another. A popular doctrine amongst the Nephites (and even today) is that God will excuse all our sins despite our nature and we will be made holy in the next life. The belief that we need not worry for we shall be forgiven. (2 Nephi 28:8, 21)]

14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously [Recognize the difference between good and evil according to the Spirit.], and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward [You will find what you seek.]; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.

This is the principle of “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” When we are compassionate to others we qualify for greater light and mercy from Christ. To have Christ-love instead of self-love is the path to righteousness.

15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

There are many Christians today that believe God loves them just as they are, and that if they simply are good people, all their sins will be taken away. That all religions are a part of a great whole, where love is the only way. But, this is not truthful, of there is only one way. 2 Nephi 9:23-46

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About Resurrection – Alma 40:1-26

1 Now my son [Corianton], here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried [anxious] concerning the resurrection of the dead.

2 Behold, I say unto you, that there is no resurrection—or, I would say, in other words, that this mortal [telestial] does not put on immortality [higher glory], this corruption [sinful state] does not put on incorruption [forgiveness of sins] —until after the coming of Christ. [Our spirit body in its telestial state does not advance without the resurrection of Christ. This event is outside of time and space and those who lived before Christ will obtain the blessing, as will be discussed in the coming verses.]

3 Behold, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead. But behold, my son, the resurrection is not yet. [for you] Now, I unfold unto you a mystery [show you in layers]; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept [not yet revealed], that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know [All mysteries require us to pray and receive revelation in order to fully understand for ourselves.]—that is concerning the resurrection.

The Doctrine of Resurrection is one of the least understood mysteries of God. 

4 Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. [The Lord determines the time. For some it comes quickly, and others they must wait. In all cases it requires faith.] Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed.

The term “come forth from the dead” or “resurrection” is the ascension of the spirit body to a higher glory (gift of the Holy Ghost). It is a physical manifestation, yet not like the physical that we think of. The spirit is also matter, but more refined and in its higher glory more energetic. Our physical bodies are literally “dust” compared to the reality and permanence of the higher resurrection.

5 Now, whether there shall be one time, or a second time, or a third time, that men shall come forth from the dead, it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case—that there is a time appointed that all shall rise from the dead. [These designations of resurrections are referring to different times in which the Lord will judge the righteous and the wicked. See D&C 88:96-102]

6 Now there must needs be a space betwixt the time of death and the time of the resurrection.

“Death” is the moment we enter our second estate or the telestial realm. This includes both mortality and the spirit realm. To be separated from God is considered death as an eternal consequence of mortality. 

7 And now I would inquire what becometh of the souls of men from this time of death to the time appointed for the resurrection? [What is the purpose of entering the second estate?]

8 Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men. [During the span of this earth’s existence there are many opportunities to escape death. In this is a mystery.]

9 Therefore, there is a time appointed unto men that they shall rise from the dead [A time appointed for each person to enter mortality and to come unto Christ.]; and there is a space between the time of death and the resurrection [an opportunity]. And now, concerning this space of time, what becometh of the souls of men is the thing which I have inquired diligently of the Lord to know; and this is the thing of which I do know.

10 And when the time cometh when all shall rise, then shall they know that God knoweth all the times which are appointed unto man. [At the final day of judgment, all shall be understood regarding the Lord’s great plan for us. This is the Everlasting Covenant.]

11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body [die physically], yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. [Return to the spirit realm of this earth, the abode of the former first estate.]

12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their [physical] troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house [baptism of darkness]—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil. [made covenants to Satan]

14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection. [final judgment]

15 Now, there are some that have understood that this state of happiness and this state of misery of the soul, before the resurrection, was a first resurrection. Yea, I admit it may be termed a resurrection [What I am writing about in these notations regarding the change of the spirit by the gift of the Holy Ghost.], the raising of the spirit or the soul and their consignation to happiness or misery [judgment], according to the words which have been spoken.

16 And behold, again it hath been spoken, that there is a first resurrection, a resurrection of all those who have been, or who are, or who shall be, down to the resurrection of Christ from the dead. [These are those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost before Christ came.]

17 Now, we do not suppose [imply] that this first resurrection, which is spoken of in this manner, can be the resurrection of the souls and their consignation [finality] to happiness or misery. Ye cannot suppose that this is what it meaneth.

18 Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but it meaneth the reuniting of the soul with the body, of those from the days of Adam down to the resurrection of Christ. [The literal reuniting of the bodily form to its perfect state from before the foundation of the world.]

19 Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; [For some it is, and others it is not.] let it suffice, that I say that they all come forth [in time]; or in other words, their resurrection [change] cometh to pass before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ.

There was a concern with Corianton that he could not be born again until after Christ came. This was a common unbelief amongst the Nephites. The very baptismal ordinance of water is a similitude of the resurrection. The baptism of fire followed by the gift of the Holy Ghost is the consummation of this ordinance.

20 Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ [It comes at various times before Christ.]; but behold, I give it as my opinion [You must seek revelation on this matter for yourself.] , that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven.

The soul is the connection between the body, mind, and spirit of each individual. The body is the glory of that individual that determines their judgment and to what degree of eternal life they will abide. The term “reunited” is to imply a refreshening of a glory that once was. In this is a mystery.

21 But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say [It will be different for each individual.]; but this much I say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works. [You have an appointed time to come unto Christ between the period of “death,” and to choose what you desire regarding the Everlasting Covenant.]

22 Yea, this bringeth about the restoration of those things [The relationship and presence of the Lord for those who come to Him.] of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets.

23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame. [Our “proper frame” for many is not how we see ourselves in the mirror today. This proper frame for most is how they appeared in their perfect form before the foundation of the world. However, we can appear as we wish in the eternal realms.]

24 And now, my son, this is the restoration of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets— [Faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost – Perfection.]

25 And then shall the righteous [resurrected] shine forth in the kingdom of God.

26 But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God; but they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup.

You will notice that Alma does not go into detail regarding the different resurrections, or degrees of glory. He divides it simply between those who choose Christ and those who follow the adversary. There are those who are telestial in glory, terrestrial, and various degrees of celestial. All these are aside from Outer Darkness. The doctrine of resurrection is an integral part of the Everlasting Covenant. See D&C 76.

More information concerning the different kinds of resurrection go to this link: https://purerevelations.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/the-resurrection-and-condescension/

 

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