Alma, Chapter 14

What’s your reaction?

“And it came to pass after he had made an end of speaking unto the people many of them did believe on his words, and began to repent, and to search the scriptures (v. 1).  But the more part of them were desirous that they might destroy Alma and Amulek; for they were angry with Alma, because of the plainness of his words unto Zeezrom; and they also said that Amulek had lied unto them, and had reviled against their law and also against their lawyers and judges (v. 2).  And they were also angry with Alma and Amulek; and because they had testified so plainly against their wickedness, they sought to put them away privily (v. 3).  But it came to pass that they did not; but they took them and bound them with strong cords, and took them before the chief judge of the land (v. 4).”  After Alma and Amulek had both borne their testimonies, the people had two reactions.  Some were believers and wanted to repent, while the rest wanted to get rid of them, any way they could because they were angry.  Those who did not believe, were greater in number.  They were angry with them because they said that these people were not living the way they should be.  I’ve commented on this type of reaction before.  People react this way when the truth is spoken and they don’t want to hear it.  When you are sinning, and some one calls you to repentance, Satan quickly uses the raw emotions that are there, to stir up the anger.  Sinners, who like their lifestyles, go on the defensive.

When I was younger and I was called to repentance, I usually rebelled on my own.  I’d do things I new were not the right things because people thought I was being bad anyway, so why shouldn’t I do it.  Now that I have grown up a little and have a clearer perspective on this life, I react differently.  When I am chastised I have sorrow.  It helps me to look for the ways that may help me to change for the better.  When we choose to react in a bad way, such as with anger, we are listening to Satan.  This can only lead to worse thoughts and actions, especially when we know we are wrong for what we have been doing.  Instead, we need to humbly acknowledge our faults.  Everyone has them, because no one is perfect.  Once we acknowledge our faults in our own hearts, we can begin to repair any damage we have done.

Is guilt good or bad?

Zeezrom admitted to the people, as he bore his testimony earlier, that he had been sinning and saw the error of his ways.  He admitted that he needed to repent and do what was right.  He told them of how he changed his ways and then had the awesome experience with an angel and then with the arrival of Alma.  He had been questioned and mocked by Zeezrom, but withstood it and then Alma had borne his testimony as well, which persuaded some to be believers.  “And it came to pass that Zeezrom was astonished at the words which had been spoken; and he also knew concerning the blindness of the minds, which he had caused among the people by his lying words; and his soul began to be harrowed up under a consciousness of his own guilt; yea, he began to be encircled about by the pains of hell (v. 6).  And it came to pass that he began to cry unto the people, saying: Behold, I am guilty, and these men are spotless before God. And he began to plead for them from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil? And they spit upon him, and cast him out from among them, and also all those who believed in the words which had been spoken by Alma and Amulek; and they cast them out, and sent men to cast stones at them (v. 7).”

When Zeezrom realized that he, through his words and lies, had been part of the cause for these people to go after Alma and Amulek, he felt guilty.  So guilty that he confessed this to the people and told them Alma and Amulek were men of God.  He was cast out for his change of heart.  I think this may have been bitter sweet for Zeezrom.  He would have felt better for confessing that he had done wrong and trying to help them, but also he would have felt bad for the reaction of the people to his change.  He was pleasing God, by what he had done there.  In Galatians 1:10 we read, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”  It should not be our goal in life to please others around us.  If we try always to please God, than those who are righteous will be pleased as well.

When we truly believe on the words of God’s chosen, we cannot help but want to correct those things that are wrong in our own lives.  When we truly believe there is nothing that we know should come before our attempts to put our lives right.  It becomes the truly important thing in our lives, because we realize the value in living righteously in this life.  Zeezrom’s actions before the change in his heart, led to these people doing these awful things.  It is an example to us of how our actions affect others.  We can be the cause of others choosing to sin, by our own examples to them.  I would much rather be the reason someone changes for the better, than this.  I hope that I live my life in a way that helps others come unto Christ more fully.

Why does the Lord sometimes allow innocent people to suffer?

“And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire (v. 8 ).  And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire (v. 9).  And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames (v. 10).  But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day (v. 11).  Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also (v. 12).  And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not (v. 13).”

Those who believed were taken and burned along with their families and their scriptures.  I cannot imagine being forced to watch this like Almulek and Alma were.  Amulek wanted to stop it with the power of God, but Alma felt the spirit telling him that they should let it go on so that the wicked would feel be able to be judged for their sin, by God.  Many innocent people of different eras have been made to suffer this way because hearts of others were led away by Satan.  In Alma 60:13 we read, “For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God.”  And in D&C 98:13 we read, “And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.”  We need to remember that this life is but a moment.  They suffered horribly then, but because they died righteously, they would be saved in eternity.

We need these types of experiences to happen, so that we can grow from them.  We need to suffer things in our lives so that we are able to progress.  If we always were saved from them, we would never learn and the whole purpose for us living this life, would be taken away.  Even Alma and Amulek needed to witness this act so that they could grow spiritually from it.  They were not killed, because their mission was not finished.  Alma said that if the wicked intended on burning them as well, than that may be, but not before they were done doing what the Lord wanted.  We all have a purpose in this life and some of us will suffer more than others.  We will each be blessed for what we are able to endure.

What is the moral of the story?

There is often a moral to a story.  This is the thing that we are suppose to learn from it.  When we learn of Noah and the ark, we should learn that if we do not repent, the Lord’s work will go forth and we will be destroyed.  When we learn of David and Goliath, we learn that with the Lord’s help anything is possible.  When we learn of Moses parting the Red Sea, we learn that if we have faith, the Lord can work miracles in our lives.

Faith is a Sunrise

Their are important lessons to learn from this chapter in Alma.  As the verses continue we read that once the burning was finished, the chief judge asked Alma and Amulek “After what ye have seen, will ye preach again unto this people, that they shall be cast into a lake of fire and brimstone (v. 14)?”  They did not answer him and so he put them in prison (v. 17).  Many men, all who were in line with Nehor, who had killed the good man Gideon, questioned them while they were in prison, but Alma and Amulek did not answer them (v. 18 ).  The judge spoke to them again, but they did not speak to him (v. 19).  They were hit many times in all of this.  The judge asked them, “If ye have such great power why do ye not deliver yourselves (v. 20)?”  They were mocked and spit upon (v. 21).  Then they made them go without food and drink and then stripped them of their clothes and bound them in prison (v. 22).  What do we learn from this?  That the righteous will be mocked by the wicked.  We learn that we should not contend with those who ridicule us, but that we should wait for the spirit to guide us in our actions.

The story continues, that after many days the judge and these other wicked men returned to the prison (v. 23).  The chief judge said, “If ye have the power of God deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words (v. 24).  All of the men repeated this same statement as they beat them and then Alma and Amulek stood up with the power of God (v. 25).  “And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance.”  And then they broke the cords and the people started to run away in fear (v. 26).  The people were not able to get out of the prison, but fell to the earth.  The walls of the prison fell down and all of the wicked men were killed by them (v. 27).  Alma and Amulek came out of the prison unharmed (v. 28 ).  The other people of the city came to see what had happened and saw Alma and Amulek coming from what was there of the prison.  The people were afraid and ran from Alma and Amulek (v. 29).  What do we learn from this?  The Lord can give us the power to do miracles according to our faith.  We also learn that justice does come to the wicked.

I think the most important moral of this scripture story is that by our faith, we can accomplish great things.  We can withstand the temptations, the suffering, and anything else that Satan uses others to put upon us.  With our faith, we can be instruments in the Lord’s hands.

And it came to pass after he had made an end of speaking unto the people many of them did believe on his words, and began to repent, and to search the ascriptures.
2 But the more part of them were desirous that they might destroy Alma and Amulek; for they were angry with Alma, because of the aplainness of his words unto Zeezrom; and they also said that Amulek had blied unto them, and had reviled against their law and also against their lawyers and judges.
3 And they were also angry with Alma and Amulek; and because they had atestified so plainly against their wickedness, they sought to bput them away privily.
4 But it came to pass that they did not; but they took them and bound them with strong cords, and took them before the chief judge of the land.
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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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