Law of the Last Second – Alma 57:1-36

Sometimes as I read these long passages about the wars and stratagem of these people I wonder, “What is the Lord trying to teach us from all of this?” I am always astonished at how each chapter has a unique series of thoughts that the Lord reveals. Every portion of the Book of Mormon teaches something new.

1 And now it came to pass that I received an epistle from Ammoron, the king, stating that if I would deliver up those prisoners of war whom we had taken that he would deliver up the city of Antiparah unto us.

2 But I sent an epistle unto the king, that we were sure our forces were sufficient to take the city of Antiparah by our force; and by delivering up the prisoners for that city we should suppose ourselves unwise, and that we would only deliver up our prisoners on exchange.

3 And Ammoron refused mine epistle, for he would not exchange prisoners; therefore we began to make preparations to go against the city of Antiparah.

4 But the people of Antiparah did leave the city, and fled to their other cities, which they had possession of, to fortify them; and thus the city of Antiparah fell into our hands.

5 And thus ended the twenty and eighth year of the reign of the judges.

6 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the twenty and ninth year, we received a supply of provisions, and also an addition to our army, from the land of Zarahemla, and from the land round about, to the number of six thousand men, besides sixty of the sons of the Ammonites who had come to join their brethren, my little band of two thousand. And now behold, we were strong, yea, and we had also plenty of provisions brought unto us.

7 And it came to pass that it was our desire to wage a battle with the army which was placed to protect the city Cumeni.

8 And now behold, I will show unto you that we soon accomplished our desire; yea, with our strong force, or with a part of our strong force, we did surround, by night, the city Cumeni, a little before they were to receive a supply of provisions. [The degree of stratagem used to fight between the Nephites and Lamanites is impressive. The Lamanites certainly had their successes too.]

9 And it came to pass that we did camp round about the city for many nights; but we did sleep upon our swords, and keep guards, that the Lamanites could not come upon us by night and slay us, which they attempted many times; but as many times as they attempted this their blood was spilt.

10 At length their provisions did arrive, and they were about to enter the city by night. And we, instead of being Lamanites, were Nephites; therefore, we did take them and their provisions.

11 And notwithstanding the Lamanites being cut off from their support after this manner, they were still determined to maintain the city; therefore it became expedient that we should take those provisions and send them to Judea, and our prisoners to the land of Zarahemla.

12 And it came to pass that not many days had passed away before the Lamanites began to lose all hopes of succor; therefore they yielded up the city unto our hands; and thus we had accomplished our designs in obtaining the city Cumeni.

13 But it came to pass that our prisoners were so numerous that, notwithstanding the enormity of our numbers, we were obliged to employ all our force to keep them, or to put them to death.

14 For behold, they would break out in great numbers, and would fight with stones, and with clubs, or whatsoever thing they could get into their hands, insomuch that we did slay upwards of two thousand of them after they had surrendered themselves prisoners of war.

15 Therefore it became expedient for us, that we should put an end to their lives, or guard them, sword in hand, down to the land of Zarahemla; and also our provisions were not any more than sufficient for our own people, notwithstanding that which we had taken from the Lamanites.

16 And now, in those critical circumstances, it became a very serious matter to determine concerning these prisoners of war; nevertheless, we did resolve to send them down to the land of Zarahemla; therefore we selected a part of our men, and gave them charge over our prisoners to go down to the land of Zarahemla.

17 But it came to pass that on the morrow they did return. And now behold, we did not inquire of them concerning the prisoners; for behold, the Lamanites were upon us, and they returned in season to save us from falling into their hands. For behold, Ammoron had sent to their support a new supply of provisions and also a numerous army of men.

18 And it came to pass that those men whom we sent with the prisoners did arrive in season to check them, as they were about to overpower us.

19 But behold, my little band of two thousand and sixty fought most desperately; yea, they were firm before the Lamanites, and did administer death unto all those who opposed them.

20 And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted.

21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them. [Helaman was incredibly impressed with the valor and faith of these young men. Twice he has mentioned it in the record that their mothers had taught them.] 

22 And now behold, it was these my sons, and those men who had been selected to convey the prisoners, to whom we owe this great victory; for it was they who did beat the Lamanites; therefore they were driven back to the city of Manti.

23 And we retained our city Cumeni, and were not all destroyed by the sword; nevertheless, we had suffered great loss.

24 And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had fled, I immediately gave orders that my men who had been wounded should be taken from among the dead, and caused that their wounds should be dressed.

25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds. [Often as we read over this we forget that these young men did receive terrible wounds during battle, yet survived. Those who have faith and believe will still stumble and have suffering, yet if they are faithful the Lord will see them through the battle.] 

26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.

This is a good place to mention a particular principle that the Lord has taught me. It is called the “Law of the Last Second.” When the Lord makes a promise, He always keeps it, yet our faith is often required to persevere beyond what we consider to be impossible odds.  There will be times we feel that the Lord has not kept His promises, yet we endure. You must not doubt when the Lord has promised you something.

I remember in the past receiving specific priesthood blessings. I would write them down and date them. I would remind the Lord what was said in my private prayers. Years went by and still the blessing had not been realized. Finally, after I had become numb to it and simply trusted in the Lord’s timing I saw the exact realization of the blessing. And this has occurred many times in my life, so now I have learned to expect it. It is important to have a confirmation beforehand to know it is indeed from the Lord, but then we “trust in Him” that all will be made manifest.

Another principle that is closely aligned to the previous principle is another called “The Law of Asking.” Most blessings require us to officially “ask” the Lord, to petition Him for that which we desire. If we ask in faith (seeking revelation and acting upon it, Moroni 7:26) without wavering (not doubting) God will grant it unto us if it is His will. (James 1:5-6) Do not be afraid to ask God in all things that He may bless you, and be prepared to endure in faith, even until the last second.

27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.

28 And now it came to pass that after we had thus taken care of our wounded men, and had buried our dead and also the dead of the Lamanites, who were many, behold, we did inquire of Gid concerning the prisoners whom they had started to go down to the land of Zarahemla with.

29 Now Gid was the chief captain over the band who was appointed to guard them down to the land.

30 And now, these are the words which Gid said unto me: Behold, we did start to go down to the land of Zarahemla with our prisoners. And it came to pass that we did meet the spies of our armies, who had been sent out to watch the camp of the Lamanites.

31 And they cried unto us, saying—Behold, the armies of the Lamanites are marching towards the city of Cumeni; and behold, they will fall upon them, yea, and will destroy our people.

32 And it came to pass that our prisoners did hear their cries, which caused them to take courage; and they did rise up in rebellion against us.

33 And it came to pass because of their rebellion we did cause that our swords should come upon them. And it came to pass that they did in a body run upon our swords, in the which, the greater number of them were slain; and the remainder of them broke through and fled from us.

34 And behold, when they had fled and we could not overtake them, we took our march with speed towards the city Cumeni; and behold, we did arrive in time that we might assist our brethren in preserving the city.

35 And behold, we are again delivered out of the hands of our enemies. And blessed is the name of our God; for behold, it is he that has delivered us; yea, that has done this great thing for us. [Moroni and Helaman had received priesthood blessings and promises during their stewardships of these wars. What do you think was promised to them? That if they were faithful and trusted in the Lord they would have success in leading their people to safety. Of course, many would die, but the Lord would help them. What does this cause you to think in regards to your own life? Do you trust in the Lord?]

36 Now it came to pass that when I, Helaman, had heard these words of Gid, I was filled with exceeding joy because of the goodness of God in preserving us, that we might not all perish; yea, and I trust that the souls of them who have been slain have entered into the rest of their God.


This entry was posted in BofM Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Law of the Last Second – Alma 57:1-36

  1. S Silver says:

    PR, thank you! I had a cool revelation while reading the notes you wrote after verse 26 about Faith. I had asked months ago if the definition of faith that you gave (seeking for revelation and then acting upon it) was true. I believed and highly suspected it was true but we are still supposed to ask and get our own witness.

    Months ago I sprinkled somehow-expired fertilizer on some cherry tomato plants, which nearly killed them within 24 hours. I prayed for the Lord to spare them, lest I lose my efforts of growing them from seed. I had the tiniest thought to water them heavily, diluting the fertilizer and flushing it away from the roots, which I did. There was nothing else I could do. I prayed for them to be spared more than once every day until it was clear the plants would live. As I read what you wrote, the Lord took that experience and in that instant download, flash-burst kind of way taught me about faith. Your definition is truth. Faith is taking the deliberate step of asking God, with the intent to act. It is not lazily wishing and hoping, as if God was a wishing well or a genie. It is the act of doing some action. Asking for help and looking for the thoughts/revelations that distill on our minds to then follow by doing the action revealed. (Even if that action is “be still”.) This is the “works” that makes faith alive. I get it now!

    Liked by 12 people

Comments or Questions

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.