Alma, Chapter 34

The “what,” “why,” and “how” of sacrifice

Amulek began to speak to the Zoramites about the atonement of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that he was for the people, meaning all of us.  “And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it (v. 8 ).  For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made (v. 9).  For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice (v. 10).  Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay (v. 11).  But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world (v. 12).  Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away (v. 13).  And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal (v. 14).”

What is a sacrifice?  It is giving up something that is our own for something else.  In this case the sacrifice, was Heavenly Father giving His son, who gave all that he was and had through the atonement.  In the Bible Dictionary we read, “Soon after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the Lord gave them the law of sacrifices, which included offering the firstlings of their flocks in a similitude of the sacrifice that would be made of the Only Begotten Son of God (Moses 5: 4-8). Thereafter, whenever there were true believers on the earth, with priesthood authority, sacrifices were offered in that manner and for that purpose. This continued until the death of Jesus Christ, which ended the shedding of blood as a gospel ordinance. It is now replaced in the Church by the sacrament of the bread and the water, in remembrance of the offering of Jesus Christ.

Why did Jesus Christ need to be this sacrifice?  No mortal man could give himself for another, and certainly not for all men, the way that our immortal Savior could.  The sacrifice had to be infinite and eternal by the laws of God, so therefore it had to be done by Christ who was not a mortal man as we are.  Meaning he was God’s literal child on this earth.

How was the Atonement different from all other sacrifices?  Because it was the only sacrifice that was infinite and eternal.  Since it was, it took the place of all other sacrifices that would be necessary.  It is the sacrifice that was given for all mankind, because the Savior loved us so much.  I am so grateful for the atonement.

What principle of the gospel leads us to repentance?

Sometimes there are lessons to be learned in life that must be repeated several times before we understand them.  Gospel principles are taught to us continually, because the lessons we must learn from them are so important and we can easily forget to follow them.  Repetition will help us to remember things for longer amounts of time.

“And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance (v. 15).  And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption (v. 16).  Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you (v. 17);”

Alma taught the Zoramites what it was to have faith and now Amulek is taking them to the next step.  It is time for the people to exercise that faith in the principle of repentance.  They have heard the teachings of the gospel before, they know of Christ, but now was the time that they believe in him and what he did for them, so that they may have repentance for their sins.  You cannot repent unless you first have this faith in the atonement.  It is always important for us to be told over and over again to have “faith unto repentance” because it is only through our repentance that we become clean.  We cannot progress if we die in our sins, when we have been taught what is right and wrong.  Our entire eternal progression depends on our willingness now to repent for all that we do wrong.  Since none of us is perfect, this should be of great importance to everyone.

What are we supposed to pray for?

“Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save (v. 18 ).  Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him (v. 19).  Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks (v. 20).  Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening (v. 21).  Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies (v. 22).   Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness (v. 23).  Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them (v. 24).  Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase (v. 25).  But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness (v. 26).  Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you (v. 27).”

First of all, Amulek says to pray for mercy, or for the forgiveness of our sins.  He goes on to say pray for strength to stand against our enemies and most of all satan, so that we do not fall into temptation.  He says to pray that those things we work on will do well, and that our jobs may be a success so that we will prosper.  And finally, he says to pray for our welfare and the welfare of those around us.  We should be continually praying, even if it is just a prayer in our hearts as we go about our day.  Our Father in Heaven wants to give us blessings, and he will if we continue to remember him.

This life is the time to prepare to meet God.

Most people do not know when they will die.  If tomorrow was my day to die, I think I would be worried that my family was going to be alright.  I also would wonder if I fulfilled my purpose, or if my part in the Lord’s work was finished the way it should have been.

In addition to prayer, Amulek tells the people to be charitable.  Then he goes on to say, “Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you (v. 31).  For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors (v. 32).  And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed (v. 33).  Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world (v. 34).  For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked (v. 35).  And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb (v. 36).”

We are here to do the Lord’s work and repent and prepare to meet God.  If we are not prepared to meet God when we die, we will suffer for it eternally.  The way we prepare is to improve now.  We must repent each day.  If we are prepared we will have salvation.  Procrastination is not a way to prepare.  One of the things I think is the most revealing about these verses, is that we cannot wait until after we die to repent because our spirits will be the same.  I have always felt that after this life, we will keep our appetites, desires, personalities and behaviors, but we will not have the same abilities to do the things we may want.  Meaning that if I have the desire to commit a sin the day before I day, then after I die I will still have that desire, but crave it eternally without the ability to commit it any longer.  Therefore, the ability to repent for it, will not be there.  This is how Satan will have his control over us eternally.  We need to gain control over our desires and such through the repentance process, so that we will be able to focus on the Lord’s work in this life and after we die.

A “to-do” list

I love to-do lists.  I have always enjoyed planning my days out and crossing things off as I accomplish them.  One of the best things that I get out of it, is that it leaves me with little time to be lazy or idle.  I even plan in my leisure activities if I can.  Plus checking things off keeps me constantly thinking of what I can do better, or how I am doing right at that moment.

Amulek gives us a kind of check-list from God in this chapter.  “And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ (v. 37); That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you (v. 38 ).  Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing (v. 39).  And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them (v. 40); But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions (v. 41).”

  1. Work out your salvation with fear before God (have faith in God and believe that his laws must have consequences).
  2. Do not deny that Christ has and will come again (believe in Christ and the atonement).
  3. Do not contend with the Holy Ghost (follow the promptings of the spirit).
  4. Take upon you the name of Christ (be an instrument in the Lord’s hands and do His work).
  5. Be humble.
  6. Worship God at all times.
  7. Be grateful to God daily for all that He gives you.
  8. Be mindful of the temptations of Satan and pray for help to resist them.
  9. Be patient in your afflictions (and don’t get angry at others for the situations you end up in even if they cause you to be mocked or ridiculed for it).
  10. Bear your burdens well and look forward with faith in salvation.

These are commandments from God given to us through the mouth of Amulek.  These are things that we can do to prepare for the day of the Lord.  I know that the Lord knows us and knows that as humans we cannot be working to improve the entire list at once.  Each day we think of what we need to work on that day.  Once we master that thing, we move on to the next, but we remember the other things so that we are able to progress.  The more we follow a commandment, the easier it becomes.  If there is a day when you believe in God, but you are unsure of the atonement of Christ, then work on developing faith and a knowledge of Christ and what He has done for us.  Meanwhile, do not let your belief in God waiver.  This is one of the reasons that I am so grateful for daily scripture study and prayer and for a weekly sabbath where I can renew my covenants and be reminded of what I should work on to make myself better.  I would be worried if there came a time, when I thought that I had nothing to improve.

And now, behold, I will atestify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the btransgressions of his people, and that he shall catone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
9 For it is expedient that an aatonement should be made; for according to the great bplan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are cfallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last asacrifice; yea, not a bsacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an cinfinite and deternal esacrifice.
11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is ajust, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
12 But the law requireth the alife of him who hath bmurdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world.
13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a astop to the shedding of bblood; then shall the claw of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.
14 And behold, this is the whole ameaning of the blaw, every whit cpointing to that great and last dsacrifice; and that great and last esacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, finfinite and eternal.
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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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