18 January 2014

Mosiah 27: A visit from God's angel

The unbelievers were not behaving themselves. Apparently they were persecuting the believers so badly that Mosiah had to consult with his priests and then make a proclamation.
And now it came to pass that the persecutions which were inflicted on the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church began to murmur, and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before their king, Mosiah. And Mosiah consulted with his priests. 27.1 
And it came to pass that king Mosiah sent a proclamation throughout the land round about that there should not any unbeliever persecute any of those who belonged to the church of God. 27.2
There was also a "strict commandment" throughout the churches that there should be equality among all men, and that there shouldn't be any persecutions among the members of the church. While this is a nice thought, you wouldn't think that this would be necessary among the church members. Weren't they behaving themselves already? In any event, the commandment was followed, and the people grew more and more prosperous throughout the land.
And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men; 27.3 
And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land. 27.6
And the Lord did visit them and prosper them, and they became a large and wealthy people27.7
But there were still those damned unbelievers to deal with. Mosiah's own sons were unbelievers, and Alma's son too!  Alma's son, Alma (we'll call him Alma Jr.) was a real smooth talker (a man of many words) and he convinced many church members over to whoredom, baby eating*, and other evil stuff unbelievers do.
Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities. 27.8 
And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them. 27.9
But one day, just as they were about to destroy some more innocent lives, an angel of the lord went and visited them. He said he came because Alma (senior) prayed and prayed for his son to see the light.
And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king -- 27:10 
And as I said unto you, as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood; 27.11 
And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them. 27.12 
Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people. 27.13
And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith. 27.14 
And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God. 27.15
Alma and his buddies were pretty impressed. This guy's voice shook the earth! They knew that nothing besides the voice of God could shake the friggin' earth. (This was before the Seahawks and the Beastquake, so we'll forgive them).
And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth; and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder. 27.18
Alma was so astonished that he couldn't talk or move afterwards. His friends carried him back to his father, laid him at his feed, and told Alma Sr. the story.
And now the astonishment of Alma was so great that he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father. 27.19 
And they rehearsed unto his father all that had happened unto them; and his father rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God. 27.20
Alma brought a bunch of people together, and then they fasted and prayed for Alma Jr. After two days, Alma regained strength and his speech. Then, of course, it was time for his speech.
And he caused that a multitude should be gathered together that they might witness what the Lord had done for his son, and also for those that were with him. 27.21 
And he caused that the priests should assemble themselves together; and they began to fast, and to pray to the Lord their God that he would open the mouth of Alma, that he might speak, and also that his limbs might receive their strength -- that the eyes of the people might be opened to see and know of the goodness and glory of God. 27.22  
And it came to passafter they had fasted and prayed for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them. 27.23 
He proceeds to give a long speech explaining how the Lord saved him, how awful things were before he knew God, etc.
For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. 27.24 
And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; 27.25 
And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. 27.26 
I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off. 27.27 
Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulations, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God. 27.28 
My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more. 27.29 
I rejected my Redeemer, and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all. 27.30 
Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye. 27.31
From then on, Alma and his merry men (the sons of Mosiah: Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni) spent their days preaching to the people, teaching them and "publishing peace" throughout Zarahemla. Glory!
And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them. 27.32 
But notwithstanding all this, they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long-suffering and much travail to keep the commandments of God. 27.33 
And four of them were the sons of Mosiah; and their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni; these were the names of the sons of Mosiah. 27.34 
And they traveled throughout all the lands of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them. 27.35 
And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer. 27.36 
And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth. 27.37

*Just kidding. I'm pretty sure they didn't eat babies.

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