Helaman, Chapter 14


Signs of the Savior’s birth and death

“And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be written (v. 1).  And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name (v. 2).”  The prophet Samuel prophesied that the Savior would come to the earth in five years.

“And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day (v. 3).  Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born (v. 4).”  He prophesied that there would be a day and a night and a day without darkness.  One of the things that is constant in my life, is the sun rising each morning and setting each night.  What an amazing thing it would be to experience no setting of the sun, but continuous light for that amount of time, as he has prophesied.  If I had lived then, I am sure that that would have been more than enough proof that the Son of God had been born.

“And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you (v. 5).  And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven (v. 6).  And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth (v. 7).  And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life (v. 8 ).”  Samuel prophesied how they would respond to this sign given and that they would be amazed.

“But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead (v. 20).”  Samuel prophesied that when the Savior died, there would be no light for three days.  I think if I had experienced the fear of three days of constant darkness, I would also be more than convinced that the Savior had died.

“Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up (v. 21); Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath (v. 22).  And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great (v. 23).  And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate (v. 24).  And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many (v. 25).  And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me; for he said unto me that there should be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours (v. 26).  And he said unto me that while the thunder and the lightning lasted, and the tempest, that these things should be, and that darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for the space of three days (v. 27).”

These were some pretty scary things for the Nephites to imagine happening to them in their lifetime.  I would hope that I would have one of those who wanted to be prepared for these things and would have looked forward to them with great anticipation and hope.  We have been given warnings of the second coming and we need to be preparing for that just as the Nephites needed to prepare.  The best way to prepare is to follow the Lord’s plan for us by being obedient to his commandments.  Then the spirit will be able to guide us to know what else we can do.

Samuel follows the instructions of an angel

Samuel had been told to return to the city of Zarahemla and preach to the people, even after he had been thrown out of the city (see chapter 13).  He faced the dangerous challenge that came from the anger of the Nephites, because he wanted to be obedient to what was asked of him.  He had received his instruction and inspiration of what to do and say from an angel of God.

“And behold, thus hath the Lord commanded me, by his angel, that I should come and tell this thing unto you; yea, he hath commanded that I should prophesy these things unto you; yea, he hath said unto me: Cry unto this people, repent and prepare the way of the Lord.”  The angel told him to tell the people to repent and be prepared for the coming of the Lord.

“And now, because I am a Lamanite, and have spoken unto you the words which the Lord hath commanded me, and because it was hard against you, ye are angry with me and do seek to destroy me, and have cast me out from among you (v. 10).  And ye shall hear my words, for, for this intent have I come up upon the walls of this city, that ye might hear and know of the judgments of God which do await you because of your iniquities, and also that ye might know the conditions of repentance (v.11);”  The angel told him to tell them that the judgment of God will come to them because they have been sinning.  The Nephites did not want to accept what Samuel was telling them.  They wanted to destroy him and throw him out because they were angry.

“And also that ye might know of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and that ye might know of the signs of his coming, to the intent that ye might believe on his name (v. 12).”  The angel also told him to preach of the birth and death of Christ and the signs that would go along with them.

“And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits (v. 13).”  The angel told him to tell them that through repentance and Christ, they could have a remission of their sins.

“And behold, again, another sign I give unto you, yea, a sign of his death (v. 14).  For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord (v. 15).  Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual (v. 16).  But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord (v. 17).”  He was told to preach of the resurrection and that through it men could return to God.  He was to teach them that the Savior’s death was crucial to the saving of all mankind.  Without it, there would be no resurrection and all would die a physical and spiritual death, never to return to God again.

“Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness (v. 18 ).  Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death (v. 19).”  He was told to teach them that without repentance, the outcome is spiritual death.

“And the angel said unto me that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men (v. 28 )—And this to the intent that whosoever will believe might be saved, and that whosoever will not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them; and also if they are condemned they bring upon themselves their own condemnation (v. 29).”  The angel told him to teach the people that many signs would be given to convince all that lived to believe in Christ and his purposes.  Also that any who did not believe after such marvelous signs would be judged for it.

“And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free (v. 30).  He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you (v. 31).”  He was told to teach them of their agency and that they are free to choose for themselves what they will do – either good or evil.  And that this will either bring life or death, meaning eternal life or spiritual death for eternity.

Through Samuel’s example I can see that when we are rejected by others for sharing our testimonies or the gospel principles, we cannot give up on them.  We cannot allow ourselves to feel defeated in our missionary efforts.  It may not happen right away, but we can influence others by consistently sharing the gospel with them.  It doesn’t always take steps like Samuel’s or saying what we believe about the gospel straight out, but our continual influence for good is something we cannot give up.  We should be willing to give our all to help others to come unto Christ.


2 Responses to “Helaman, Chapter 14”

  1. 1 Rod November 20, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Thanks for your work uploading Helaman, one of my favourite books.
    This takes great work and dedication, so it is with some apprehension I have left my comments.

    I appreciate your comments, they are personal and have great value and we sadly lack much of this type of close relationships, and discussion, where we might learn and grow therefrom. Can I suggest that perhaps if you have other scriptures that you are uploading, that you separate your commentary
    and put them in a different color please. I suggest blue which is nice to read and allows one to switch on and off, from commentary to scripture
    more easily. While I am a less active LDS, I think we need to be careful
    with sacred things and particularly careful that we differentiate clearly, so
    documents remain strictly delineated. Where we are recording a body of ancient work. This differs from a talk, in that we are not quoting scripture in inverted commas, amongst the majority of our own words, but here are recording in majority sacred text. For this reason it must be carefully isolated and remain in a broken yet identifiable body.

    I served a mission many years ago, and quickly realised that signs real or otherwise, follow them that believe and confirm ones belief, but are pretty much useless for those that do not, until it dramatically impinges upon personal freedom.

    Smoking is certainly one such corollary, as people learn from the loss of a love one or colleague but otherwise struggle to change behaviour until they conceptualise what positive influence it may have on their own or others lives they may deeply love. Faith is a positive power and where it does not dwell darkness and eventually misery prevails as hope fades away to be replaced by the law of the jungle as humans regress to self serving or loathing,,,,,hunting or fearing or both, as necessity dictates.

    Hence your comments, regarding the prophetic signs, would be significant for those that believed, forming a firm anchor for their former faith, but their impact would be impermanent as their immediacy wore off…….which is exactly what happened. The righteous became more firm, while the unrighteous, in time found a dozen 1st century equivalent to supernova explanations to explain it away and require no more effort on their behalf to hold to an old rather convoluted law to abide by.

    I well understand these intricate plays of the mind and heart and spirit when one sits between the realities of modern life and the realities of modern church life, where even the more faithful struggle, as many set themselves up as false authorities, the nature of man with a little knowledge believing he or she sees from greater height the big picture.

    I get some of it, some days, but I am human and really see only foggy outlines at best. Under the influence of the spirit, I begin to get “the story so far”, but ones perception changes with maturity”, but unless one can stay strictly in tune, fallen man truly struggles.
    God asks us to obey law, which in time we learn to do, then he will challenge us with, forcing us to obey him over the ‘perception’ we have of what the ‘law’ truly is.

    We live in a very liberal society, and the church only nudges on the edge of the discipline that was practiced by the ancient descendants of Shem, which finally became so torturous, by mans insertions that by Christ’s time it was unrecognisable from the pure form. The carrying of its people to greater spiritual enlightenment is not without difficulty as it must take the most fallen of souls and slowly bring them through gentle steps to a greater appreciation and love of the Savior and hence generate the power within to seek and accept the whisperings of the Spirit of God.

    So we have a multi phase church with all the attendant problems that plagued the early church including rich and poor learned and grasping thrown together. Without faith and a common love for the Savior, and only a common bond of cultural indoctrination, this mix historically has proven to be a volatile one, that continues to tear at the edges and must be carefully structured, so that repentance and rebellion
    are carefully divided and dealt with.

    Samuel was a good old fashioned profit in so many respects, in that he wasn’t there to keep peace with a disperate group of disenfranchised individuals, and play favorites with the popularists. protagonists and priests, but treated all present as what they were, sinners in need of substantial supplication before the Father. For me this is the great lesson of the words of Samuel, that he reminded us that the father will have a humble unproud people.

    I had heard this same story a dozen times at church from “righteous” IN crowd people about how blessed they were spiritually and temporarlly for keeping the laws of God and then a years later, see their lives disintegrate from arrogance or worse destroy others by treating them as 2nd class citizens, because of their imperfections or quirky ways.

    I once had a visit from a drug addict who had lost his wife, his family, his health and I did my best to console him and help him have the desire to go on and somehow rebuild his life. I was as sincere as what I could be, but secretly at the same time, I was judging him, thinking quietly to myself that this guy was somewhat “inferior” and patting myself on the back for maintaining a job, lovely home, nice kids and beautiful wife.

    I was very blessed however. I was about to be taught a lesson, and no doubt my kind father has more bits that require clipping, that he will deal with throughout my life in his remarkable efficient and concise and leave no doubt fashion.

    A few months later my health was seriously failing, my wife had left, the house was to be sold and my children were split between households. I grew during those dark months perhaps more than any other time. The spirit visited me more than ever before (moreso than my mission) and I understood why it is called the comforter. For me it did not take away the immediate pain, I had need of that. I gave myself two weeks to mourn, the day she left. I prayed and wept then wept some more, then prayed again, but the spirit was patient and kind. It provided hope when there seemed to be none and strength. With children, I needed to be strong, so I would visit the garage weep, straighten myself out and get back to being positive loving Dad. I rebuilt and continue to and am far from where I want to be, but I was blessed (as I was in the most profound shock and despair at first) but the spirit gave me strength to deal equitably and kindly with my wife, as she moved away, to give her that freedom, substance and time she needed, to sort out her life…and in time to have her return to my life and begin to rebuild our marriage. It was not the end of my problems, but it served as a very good reminder, about being arrogant, and I honestly hope I remember if there is anything good in me, it surely came from good parents and ostensibly by the kind nurturing of a loving and wise Father in Heaven who has been so very merciful toward me, for no other reason that I know that he lives and through him and only through Him, the Son and the Holy Ghost is light both radiated from his very presence and by our heartfelt and perhaps moreso heart fealty desires (in some degree I understand not) drawn into this world and mankind receives joy either in small or great measure, from time to time, often it seems far beyond what we could have purchased from our own choices and deeds in life, and hence it becomes poignantly clear the true purchaser in this case doesn’t it?
    And so with reference to His greatness and with my sobering and verbose lithurgy, I leave my best wishes and gratitude for your site
    a chance to sit on the Holy Sabbath and contemplate the words directed to us from the Eternal.
    Rod Donegan

    • 2 maryrubow November 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks so much for your comments. I can see you put a lot of thought into these things and I am glad that my site provoked thoughtful consideration of this chapter.

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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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