Where to Begin – Alma 33:1-23

1 Now after Alma had spoken these words, they sent forth unto him desiring to know whether they should believe in one God, that they might obtain this fruit of which he had spoken, or how they should plant the seed, or the word of which he had spoken, which he said must be planted in their hearts; or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith. [That is a reasonable question. How do you begin? Where do you start?]

2 And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye could not worship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them. [There are some today that believe this, that they cannot worship God except in a chapel or temple environment. Or at least that they would be unworthy without such participation to approach the Throne of Heaven.]

3 Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship?

Zenos was a popular prophet to the Nephites who was quoted in the writings of Lehi. He lived after the days of Isaiah and before Jeremiah. He preached of Jesus Christ, which was not popular amongst the Jews and led to his being slain.

4 For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness [completely separated from God]; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me. [released me from the bondage of sin]

5 Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field [When I was dealing with the hardship of life.]; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.

6 And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer. [When I was dealing with the hardship of raising a family and home.]

7 And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me. [When I learned to pray intimately to you concerning my deepest desires.]

8 Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them. [The Lord hears your prayer when no one else will hear.]

9 Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations. [The God of Heaven can hear me in an infinite ocean of voices. He knows you!]

10 Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction. [This can be related to earthly foes, but more likely it means to give you strength to overcome your weakness of sin and be forgiven.]

11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity [real intent]; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son. [The power of the Atonement of Christ unto forgiveness of sins.]

12 And now Alma said unto them: Do ye believe those scriptures which have been written by them of old?

13 Behold, if ye do, ye must believe what Zenos said; for, behold he said: Thou hast turned away thy judgments because of thy Son. [Alma is teaching the Zoramites the power of repentance to come unto Christ.]

14 Now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God? [The Zoramites had a tradition of denying the reality of Christ. Alma points out that Christ is the fundamental tenent of the Gospel.]

15 For it is not written that Zenos alone spake of these things, but Zenock also spake of these things— [Zenock lived before Zenos, a contemporary of Isaiah.]

16 For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.

17 And now, my brethren, ye see that a second prophet of old has testified of the Son of God, and because the people would not understand his words they stoned him to death.

18 But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God.

19 Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live. [Moses clearly taught that the “type” was the son of God, the Messiah which would come. But, those teaching were removed from scripture by the Jews during the first Diaspora to Babylon.]

20 But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them. [A hard heart is a symptom of unbelief. Many today will not seek Christ because their hearts are set upon the things of the world, or they are cemented with the traditions of their fathers.]

21 O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish? [How to begin? Just look toward Christ! Just believe, and allow the blessings to manifest themselves.]

22 If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. [Here is the fundamental essence of what a person new to the faith must know about Christ: That He is the Son of God, sent to redeem His people, suffered and died for their sins, raised from the dead, that all men could also be raised up to stand before Him at the last day and be judged. From here you would need to explain the nature of God, sin, and judgment.]

When the Gospel is taught by the Gatherers for the last time before Christ’s coming it will be a speedy process. There will be no focus on teaching the Restoration, Joseph Smith, Institutional Church hierarchy, Word of Wisdom, or any other peripheral commandments. It will be simple. It will mostly consist of this:

  • An introduction and provide for their immediate physical needs.
  • Will you repent and come unto Christ?
  • Turn your hearts to God, who will make you clean and save you from this hell on earth. At this point they will answer questions and teach the fundamentals of Christ’s mission, of sin, resurrection, and judgement.
  • Listen to the Voice of His messenger, choose to have faith, and believe, and I will baptize you in the name of the Father.
  • In the name of Christ I give unto you the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ye are clean! (It will be instantaneous, because the Lord has personally touched them and given them the power to perform this ordinance by the laying on of hands.)
  • Come, we must go to safety.

23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen. [How are our burdens “light” through Christ? He lifts the damning effects of sin, that we may be made clean. The effects of the atonement are that we can rise above this world to stand in holiness before the Throne of Heaven and partake of a fullness of God. One cannot ascend in glory unless our burdens of sin are taken away.]

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16 Responses to Where to Begin – Alma 33:1-23

  1. Bryce Passey says:

    Where to begin indeed. When you mentioned the “cemented” traditions, I recalled the comments I received when I decided to separate from the church of my youth. My ecclesiastical leader sat stunned and repeated, “What will your kids and family think?” And, ” My boys used to look up to you.” I realized they were his motivations not mine. I have come to see that so much of what I believed was actually tradition, including what I thought were the character and attributes of God. So much for me to learn and unlearn. This fresh journey through the Book of Mormon has been extremely helpful.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. jcodyhale says:

    “Listen to the Voice of His messenger” Is His messenger the gatherer or someone else? [In this context it is referring to the Gatherers. But generally, when it happens like this it is some kind of anointed servant. PR]

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mike Ross says:

    This-

    “An introduction and provide for their immediate physical needs.
    Will you repent and come unto Christ?
    Turn your hearts to God, who will make you clean and save you from this hell on earth. At this point they will answer questions and teach the fundamentals of Christ’s mission, of sin, resurrection, and judgement.
    Listen to the Voice of His messenger, choose to have faith, and believe, and I will baptize you in the name of the Father.
    In the name of Christ I give unto you the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ye are clean! (It will be instantaneous, because the Lord has personally touched them and given them the power to perform this ordinance by the laying on of hands.)
    Come, we must go to safety.”

    Because the Lord has personally touched them? But the Gatherers are doing the touching though in these teaching/ gathering instances, right? How does the Lord personally touch them here? [The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost will occur under these circumstances when an anointed servant touches them as instructed by the Spirit. The gift of the HG is given directly by God. The Servant is assisting the faith of the person receiving. PR]

    Another question: These teaching moments– what sort of time frame? Hours with one individual/family… or days? a week? There seems to be a LOT of urgency in the above paragraph so I am thinking that these people are already prepared well in advance but just do not know where to find the truth. [Some will be short, others will take many days. It will be a time of haste. PR]

    Is there any teaching from the Book of Mormon… there has to be! It’s the missing link for the Jews to accept their Messiah. [Consider the circumstances of the people who gathered to Bountiful and the Savior spent time with them. Kind of like that. PR]

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Jim Chase says:

    PR
    I know you have mentioned that you don’t try to put a time and date when the gatherers will be sent out and many of the events that proceed the coming of Christ will begin to happen, but as I read your comments you make it sound as if they are just around the corner. I can’t see why you are doing what you are doing unless you felt that it was to prepare your readers for these events.

    You brought up that “A hard heart is a symptom of unbelief. Many today will not seek Christ because their hearts are set upon the things of the world, or they are cemented with the traditions of their fathers”

    I think that is true but my hard heart isn’t because I seek the things of the world or I haven’t let go of many of my false traditions. My hard heart comes from hearing and reading of these events that never seem to happen and then get tired of waiting. People have been predicting the coming Christ for years and years and they have come and gone with the wind. The church during Joseph Smith’s day kept looking forward to things that never happened.

    I have been born again and I seek nothing more than to bring people to Christ. That won’t change for me if nothing ever happens. I’ve experienced these things and I’m not going to let them go.

    Here’s my question, how do I stay believing that all these events that you talk about really will come to pass when history continually tells me that we keep waiting for something that will never happen?

    I’m guessing that many of your readers have the same question and have similar feelings. [That is certainly a fair question. I’ve thought that before too. The Jews and Nephites both had similar thoughts before Christ came to them. I’ve seen some of the things shown me come to pass, but the vast majority has not, and I can’t say when it will occur. The Lord told me to pay attention to the events to know how soon. Our salvation doesn’t hinge on how accurate we are in determining the exact time. If you keep your lamp filled, then when He comes you will be ready. That is all we need to do. But, the Lord gave us prophecy of these events so that those living would have hope. Without such knowledge most would give up. PR]

    Liked by 8 people

  5. Ekaterina Turman says:

    You said the Gatherers would begin with an introduction. I am wondering as to how they would introduce themselves. Would they say they are a Servant of God/Gatherer? Would they just give their name? Would they sometimes assume a different idenity to appear to people so they wouldn’t even know who it was that was teaching them? How will we know that we can trust them?There will probably be so much deception before the Lord’s return.
    You also said the Gatherers would provide for people’s immediate physical needs. Does it mean that they won’t come to us until we find ourselves in the most dire circumstances and only then save us from physical peril? [Each and every situation will be different, but what I have seen is that in some cases they will come to particular individuals and request they gather the people, then they will appear at an appointed time and place. It will be under dangerous circumstances, and the righteous will gather and the wicked flee from their presence. It will resemble when Christ taught the multitude and multiplied the fishes and loaves. It will be a miraculous event in many cases. For some it will be less that way. But the purpose will be the same, to gather the Elect and bring them to Zion. PR]

    Liked by 4 people

  6. S Silver says:

    I love the deeper understanding of the praying in the field, then the house then the closet as we draw closer to the Lord!

    Like

  7. Mrs. Anonymous says:

    In response to Mike’s question about the Jews coming to accept their Messiah, there are many Jews today who have already accepted Him, in the thousands! Many believe quietly because of the persecution, which is very real. Jesus has appeared to numbers of them, and there are numbers ofl groups of Messianic Jews who are teaching their own people in Israel at great personal cost and through much persecution. Some testify they have been called personally by Jesus Christ to this very mission. I truly believe there is a lot more going on behind the scenes so to speak, than we are even aware of.
    It is challenging to wait for these great events to take place! I often wonder if they will come in my lifetime, but the thing that impresses upon my heart the most is that my heart is one with His.
    Psalm 27:14  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. 

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Chaser says:

    One of the things you have stated that the Gatherers will teach is the resurrection. There seems to be much about ‘resurrection’ that is shrouded in the mysteries of heaven. I’ve heard or read of different explanations of what resurrection is. Can you shed a little light here for me? On my mission we used ‘the hand in the glove’ object lesson to teach that the spirit will again take on a physical body. But I believe there is more to it than just that, isn’t there? [There is much misunderstanding regarding the doctrine of resurrection. Its not like a glove over a hand to represent resurrection. Our bodies are made of dust and simply create a temporary tabernacle to house our spirits, like a restrictive glove, or a caterpillar in a cocoon. When a body resurrects a butterfly is released, its full beauty and purpose is expressed. This link says much regarding the doctrine of resurrection:https://purerevelations.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/the-resurrection-and-condescension/ PR]

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Chaser says:

    Also, what are some of the things you have been shown that have come to pass already? Besides Trump winning the 2016 election? 😉 [There has been much in my personal life, things which I edited out of the books, and also things related to the current presidency, and some world affairs. What has not happened in some cases is interesting to watch, like watching someone about to sneeze. PR]

    Liked by 6 people

  10. S Silver says:

    Are there some people who are “assigned” to be married to asleep spouses but prepare their families as best they can physically & spiritually for these hard times so the entire family can perhaps be saved together by the humbling of the disasters/calamity and the work of the gatherers? [Yes. It is not uncommon for one spouse to be more awake than another. Even Lehi’s wife didn’t believe until later. Each situation is different and we need to seek the Lord’s council in these matters. PR]

    Liked by 6 people

  11. S Silver says:

    “Come, we must go to safety.”

    Is this going to safety mostly done on foot or instantaneous travel in the spirit as the servant is directed by God? [Both will occur, but I don’t know which is more. PR]

    Liked by 3 people

  12. S Silver says:

    Is commenter Mrs. Anonymous THE Mrs. Anonymous, wife of PR? If so, I’m very excited for her book coming later! 😀 [This is not my wife, but a dear person. My wife has not commented on my blog yet. I look forward to sharing her experiences in the future, as permitted. It will open a new way of seeing things, especially for the sisters. I would not have had the experiences I know had it not been for her encouragement. PR]

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Mike Ross says:

    Dear Mrs Anonymous

    I have watched many YouTube testimonies of messianic Jews who have been called forth by the Lord. These testimonies stir my soul and I think that there are only a few more beautiful ways we can watch the Lord in real time moving in His majesty with respect to the gathering of Israel.

    I know the book of Mormon… ok, I feel strongly that the book of Mormon in the hands of Ephraim will play a significant role in gathering Israel. We are the nursing kings and Queens that will carry them on our shoulders to zion with joy and rejoicing.

    My personal feeling has been that the Jews are in a 2 stage conversion process. 1. Acknowledge Christ has died for them and risen the 3rd day and 2. The book of Mormon will then teach them the restored truths of the Gospel and they will seek out an immersive baptism of repentance by one having authority …

    That has been my understanding. I’m trying to understand why PR feels the book of Mormon will not be a major part of the 2nd stage of their conversion. I don’t mean to place words in his mouth and may have mistaken his explanation on this. (The gathering will take place in haste kind of like Bountiful in 3 Nephi).

    Loved your comment!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. “Turn your hearts to God, who will make you clean and save you from this hell on earth. At this point they will answer questions and teach the fundamentals of Christ’s mission, of sin, resurrection, and judgement.” This will be taught mostly from the Book of Mormon.

    Liked by 8 people

  15. Jake Box says:

    PR, I have a question concerning the Elect and who they are. Through my studies there appears to me to be dual meaning or missions of the elect that I don’t fully understand. Back in 2 Nephi 29 after vs 2 you stated “Whenever I read the House of Israel I think of the literal sons and daughters of light, those who made the everlasting covenant before birth. Only a small portion of those who inhabit this earth have made this covenant. These are the Elect, and they respond to the message. In the very last days, as the Gatherers are sent out in the midst of the judgments of God upon the world, the elect will be gathered to them and receive the Doctrine of Christ in its fulness.” From this I come to understand that the elect are those who made the everlasting covenant and those that are to be gathered to Zion. They are those to progress from the 2nd estate to the 3rd estate? Through other studies of the book of Isaiah, there appears also to be a mission attached to those that are the elect. That the elect are referred to as god’s sons/daughters/servants. They serve in a capacity of proxy saviors in helping to gather others unto Christ and unto a Zion stature? Are the Elect also gatherers/have specific missions unto the lord or are they simply those that will be gathered by the gatherers and taught how to ascend to their next estate? [The Everlasting Covenant includes higher estates as well. Usually, the higher Elect are referred to as anointed. PR]

    Liked by 1 person

  16. MRR says:

    9 Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations. [The God of Heaven can hear me in an infinite ocean of voices. He knows you!]

    “infinite voices”

    I have thought about this a lot. I can’t get to the end of it but I think I’m close. Christ died on this planet 2000 years ago. Yet we believe in millions (billions?) of other planets out there in our universe.

    Did Jesus’ atonement on our earth 2000 years ago cover other people on other planets? [I cannot fully answer that without discussing the Everlasting Covenant in ways I am not permitted. Sufficient to say, it covered this world and beyond. PR]

    if yes, how do they know about him? did he go and perform a 33 year lifespan on millions of planets?

    When people pray on other planets, are they praying to our God that we pray to? (it seems likely dince God created so many habutable planets)… Are they praying In the name of our Jesus or was their another Jesus who died for them that they do that through?

    Mike

    Liked by 1 person

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